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Thread: Heroic Potential [Yugioh! Fic]

  1. #1
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    Default Heroic Potential [Yugioh! Fic]

    Heroic Potential

    Chapter List
    Prologue
    Arc One - The Tournament
    Chapter One
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Five
    Chapter Six
    Chapter Seven
    Chapter Eight
    Chapter Nine
    Chapter Ten
    Chapter Eleven
    Arc Two - The Organization
    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Thirteen
    Chapter Fourteen
    Chapter Fifteen
    Chapter Sixteen
    Chapter Seventeen
    Chapter Eighteen
    Chapter Nineteen
    Chapter Twenty






    PM List
    ThisIsPatrick ; UltimatePokemonExpert ; CuriousHeartless ; Psychic Lunatone ; Krazy95




    Prologue

    Heavy weights lifted as he drearily opened his eyes. Nothing could be seen and his senses were jumbled; the sounds echoed around his ears but none of them were clear. His body felt as if it had been trampled, and he felt a sharp pain ripping through both of his arms. Something tugged down onto his arm, when he looked he saw some kind of contraption attached. Then he noticed he was holding something – a couple of cards in his left hand. He starred at them, unable to decipher the blurs beyond their green borders.

    Noticing he was on his knees, he weakly rose to his feet as he examined the cards, slowly remembering where he was and why he was here. After stumbling a bit, he brought his left arm up to his chest, bringing the contraption with it. In a small slot there was a thin deck placed directly over his wrist. Lightly touching the top card, he took a deep breath to prevent himself from shaking. This would be his last draw. He yanked the card out and flames consumed him.


    ~*~*~*~


    Smoke shot out from the wood as the embers smoldered. Shadows covered the room, with only the light from a small antique lamp fending them off. A man sat alone in his longue chair reading a book carefully. He crossed his legs and repositioned himself in his longue chair as he turned the page. After skimming through another paragraph, he burst into obnoxious laughter.

    “Oh Funny Bunny,” the man chuckled, moving his long pale-blue hair away from the pages, “you never disappoint me.” He closed the book, placing it on the nightstand next to him and watched the ashes fall from the charcoal. He enjoyed nights like this – a quiet evening in his den beside the fireplace. Staring up at the ceiling, he smiled to himself cherishing the stories he had just read.

    A blaring ring snapped him out of his peaceful mood. His attention shot across the room at his desk. The phone was ringing. He jumped up adjusting his bathrobe has he stomped towards it.

    When he arrived at his destination, he grasped the phone, shoving it into his right ear. “What is it! You know I don’t like to be bothered on my night off!” He turned back towards the fireplace listening to the mumbles on the other line, “Speak up! I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

    He sat on top of his desk, moving the sign which read ‘Maximillion Pegasus – President of Industrial Illusions’ out of his way. The person on the phone was rambling pointlessly and Pegasus was losing his patience.

    “I’m hanging up!” A shout could be heard followed by several pleas in quick succession. Pegasus stroked his hair as the person began to speak faster. Suddenly he thrust the phone away from his ear, immediately bringing it back to his mouth.

    “What?! What do you mean someone’s hacked our databases?!” The voice on the other side scrambled again speaking even quicker. “I don’t care what you have to do! Find the culprit and have them arrested! Anyone who messes with my company is going to face my wrath!”

    He slammed the phone onto its base, causing the sign to fall onto the patterned rug. Pegasus circled the desk, facing the window behind it. He rested his hands on the windowsill trembling from rage. “No one messes with my company…”
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 14th December 2013 at 11:40 PM.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  2. #2
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    Chapter One

    A large crowd gathered outside of a large dome-like building. Beside the entrance stood two statues of sky-blue dragons on pedestals that towered over the tiny people below. Over the doorway a banner, that read ‘KaibaCorp’s 2nd Grand Championship Tournament – Elimination Round Is Today!’, streamed above and fluttered with the breeze.

    On the inside groups of people dotted the floors. People were drinking sodas, eating snacks and chatting while they waited. In the center of the building, a receptionist’s desk wrapped around a wide pillar took people one by one as they registered for the events that were about to take place.

    “Josh, hurry up!” A boy in a camouflage jacket shouted with his hands cupping his mouth, “Quick before the line gets too long!” When he saw his friend approaching he brought his hands to his side, letting the device equipped onto his left arm hang freely.

    “Sorry Dave,” the other replied while opening a bag of chips, the crumbs went flying all over his orangey-red sweatshirt, “I was just buying a snack. It looks like a long wait.”

    “It’ll be even longer if we don’t get on line!” He said grabbing his friend’s wrist. He dragged him until they reached the end of the line. “See, look how long this line is,” he sighed, “we’re never gonna be able to register at this rate.”

    “You mean you’re never gonna register,” Josh corrected him, “I can’t duel, remember?”

    Dave shook his head, “No, you’re gonna duel.” He pointed to sign at the receptionist’s desk that hung on the pillar.

    Booster Pack Casual Tournament: New Duelists Welcome!
    (Participants will be provided with a free Card Analyzer upon entry)

    Josh nearly dropped his chips when he read it. “Oohh no!” He took a step back slightly, “I’m not gonna duel, I barely understand how that big watch-thingy works.” He stated twirling his finger around the device on Dave’s arm.

    “First of all it’s called a Duel Disk,” he said bringing it to eye level, “and second I can teach you the basics before you enter.”

    He slid his hand along its two blue and gray platforms. The center was made up of a white circle that had an electronic meter which attached the two halves together. On the white circle there were also two slots, one of which held Dave’s deck of cards.

    Josh groaned, Dave had already given him a quick tutorial on the way over so he wouldn’t be completely lost while Dave was dueling. But he wasn’t in the mood for another.

    “Uhh, I think I’ll pas-“

    “First I’ll teach you about the order of the turn,” he began, oblivious to Josh’s protests, “First there’s the Draw Phase. This is obviously when you draw a card from your deck. At the beginning of the duel both players draw five cards before either player starts their turn. Then every turn after that they draw one card,” He stated pulling the top card from his own deck.

    “Next is the Standby Phase. This is when a lot of card effects take place but they’re easy to understand because all you have to do is follow the directions on the card.”

    He held the brown-backed card to eye level before continuing, “Then you have Main Phase 1. This is when you actually play the cards onto the field.” He looked back to the Duel Disk and pointed to the blue squares on it. “There are three types of cards – Monster Cards, Spell Cards and Trap Cards. Monster Cards are vanilla- or orange-colored and are placed on these blue tiles. These can be ‘summoned,’ which means you place it on the field face-up, or ‘set,’ which means you place it on the field face-down. Normally you can only summon one monster per turn.”

    How exciting… Josh thought, but obviously this wasn’t shown on his face because Dave continued his lecture. He took the card in his hand and placed it on the one of tiles, revealing it to be an orange-colored card that had a picture of black armored warrior on it.

    “When you place the card vertically, it is in ‘Attack Position’ and when it’s place horizontally,” he said switching it to match his explanation, “it’s in ‘Defense Position.’ A monster can be placed in face-up Attack Position, face-up Defense Position or in face-down Defense Position. However, you can never play a Monster in face-down Attack Position.”

    “Why’s that?” Josh asked in a dull tone as he blankly stared at the card on Dave’s Duel Disk. He figured he might as well listen to Dave’s tutorial to pass the time. Or at least pretend. Besides, he was a captive audience.

    Dave shrugged, “I dunno. I didn’t make the rules.” He returned his attention to the card before continuing, “Now for Spell Cards-“

    “Wait wait wait,” Josh carelessly waved his hand to interject, “What’s the difference between the white-colored monsters and the orange-colored ones?”

    Dave brought his hand back to his deck, “The orange-colored ones are called Effect Monsters. Like the name says they are monsters with effects which vary from card to card.” He drew a second card, “The vanilla-colored monsters are called Normal Monsters. They’re just monsters that have no effect so they’re easy to work with for new players.

    “Anyway back to Spell Cards,” he held the card so the front faced Josh, showing the picture of a sword that was surrounded by a green border. “Spell Cards are green-colored cards that are placed in these slots just below the monster cards.” He said placing it in a slot directly below the tile that was currently occupied with Dave’s Effect Monster. “Spell Cards are able to be played face-up and face-down. Most Spell Cards can only be activated during your turn and are usually sent to the Graveyard after being used.”

    Beginning to zone out, Josh stared at the poster featuring the same blue dragons that were outside. They had an air of authority around them, and for some reason sent a pang of pain through his heart. Dave, snapping his fingers to get Josh’s attention again, quickly snapped him back to reality.

    “The what?”

    “The Graveyard, a.k.a. the discard pile,” Dave said pointing to the empty slot on the white circle. It was surrounded by a red plate that went down to the meter. “The Graveyard is where cards go when they are removed from the field or ‘destroyed.’ But I’ll get back to that later.”

    He drew a third card from the deck and this time it was a purple-colored card that had a picture of a torso-piece of armor being shattered.

    “The last kind of cards is Trap Cards. These cards can only be placed face-down during your turn and can’t be activated until your opponent’s turn starts. Trap Cards are usually used to stop your opponent from doing something or to ruin their strategies in some way.”

    Dave placed the Trap Card into the slot next to the Spell Card.

    “You can only have five Monster Cards on the field at a time, and you can only have a total of five Spell and Trap Cards on the field at a time. So be careful when deciding which ones to use.”

    Noticing that the line had gone forward, Josh moved ahead, followed by Dave before resuming his lesson.

    “Then we have the Battle Phase. This is where the action starts. During the Battle Phase no cards can be played from your hand so make sure you play them cards before entering it.”

    Josh munched on his potato chips while he listened, nearly overshadowed Dave’s voice. How the hell does he expect me to remember all these rules?

    “Now in the Battle Phase, all Attack Position monsters you control are able to attack monsters on your opponent’s side of the field. Each monster can only attack once and if you can’t attack if your turn is starting the duel,” He stated stepping forward with the line. “When a monster attacks another monster, we look at the number value of both cards. The left value is the ATK, which is the value used for Attack Position, and the right value is the DEF, which is the value for Defense Position. If you attack a monster in Attack Position and your monster’s ATK is higher that your opponent’s, it’s destroyed and sent to the Graveyard. Then the difference between the two monster’s ATK is subtracted from your opponent’s Life Points.”

    “Huh?” Josh asked as he tossed the empty bag into the nearest garbage bin. The word was more of a reaction then a question.

    “Life Points are what keep you in the game. Both players start with 8000 Life Points and the point of the game is to reduce your opponent’s Life Points to zero. If you can do that you win.”

    Dave took the cards off his Duel Disk and placed them back into the deck. He shuffled it as he talked, “If you attack a monster in Defense Position and your monster’s ATK is higher than the opposing monster’s DEF, your opponent’s monster is destroyed but no Life Point damage is inflicted.

    “However,” he paused to put the deck back in its slot, “if you attack a monster whose DEF is greater than your monster’s ATK, you lose Life Points equal to the difference. Only in this case your monster isn’t destroyed. If your monster attacks while your opponent has no monsters, it’s called a Direct Attack and your monster’s ATK value is subtracted from your opponent’s Life Points. Trap Cards are your friends during the Battle Phase ‘cause they can be activated in case something goes wrong.

    “After the Battle Phase we have Main Phase 2. It’s exactly the same as Main Phase 1 so there’s no reason to go over it. Finally there’s the End Phase, which is when you declare the end of your turn. Then it’s your opponents turn and the cycle starts over and over again until someone’s Life Points hit zero.”

    Dave glanced forward to see that they were almost near the front of the line before turning to Josh. “You got it?”

    Josh wiped some crumbs off his lips, “You lost me after Draw Phase…”

    “Next!”

    Dave patted Josh on the shoulder, “You’ll get used to it. Sometimes it’s easier to actually do something than to learn about it.”

    Or I can just sit and watch like I planned to…

    The two walked over to the counter where a woman dressed in a gray suit sat looking at the forms laid out in front of her. She handed Dave a pen and pointed to one of the sheets. “Sign here… and here… and here…” she said monotonously, then pushed another sheet in front of Josh. “Sign here-“

    “Oh wait, my friend’s participating in the Booster Pack Tournament instead.”

    The receptionist glared at him for a moment before spinning her chair to fumble with a box behind her. When she returned she held out her hand, expecting Josh to give her some money. Dave handed her a bill, then the receptionist gave Josh five booster-packs of cards and a small hand-held computer.

    “These are your booster packs and your Card Analyzer,” she droned in an annoyed manner, “you are only permitted to use the cards from these packs during the promotional tournament. Your Card Analyzer acts as a PDA which allows you to access information on any card in circulation as well as other information on duels at will.” She ended by pointing to their left without looking away from the table, “The promotional tournament takes place in the cafeteria while the Elimination Tournament takes place in the Dueling Arena. Good luck.” The last two words were said with sarcastic emphasis.

    Dave and Josh headed over to their assigned rooms while Josh struggled to open his booster packs. “That woman didn’t seem too happy.”

    “She’s probably just tired of dealing with these people all day.” The two stopped in front of a poster that directed them to their respective areas. “Well, good luck Josh.”

    “You too, Dave.” Josh answered watching Dave step into the Dueling Arena. He looked at the poster before heading to start his own tournament.

    So much for moral support…


    ~*~*~*~


    As Josh entered the cafeteria, he noticed how empty it was. Despite its size and many rows of long tables, only a small section of it was occupied by people. He walked around watching the others play the game. As he observed, he felt that he understood the rules Dave had thrown at him before. After two young teenage boys finished gathering their cards back together into their piles, one of them noticed him watching.

    “You want to Duel next?” he asked as the other moved over to give Josh room to sit. He didn’t really want to, but didn’t feel obligated to reject his invitation.

    “Sure,” he answered sheepishly. He assumed his position on the other side of the table and placed his newly-made deck to his right. He picked up five cards while his opponent did the same from his own deck.

    [Josh LP: (8000)] [Opponent LP: (8000)]

    “You can go first,” the boy said with a wave of his hand.

    “Uh, nah, you go first,” Josh insisted. He didn’t want to make a mistake on his first turn.

    “Alright,” he agreed, drawing a card. Taking one from the batch in his left hand, he placed it horizontally on the table. “I play one monster in face-down Defense Position –” he took another two cards and placed them directly beneath it, “– and two face-down cards and I end my turn.” He brought his hand to his side, waiting patiently for Josh to make a move.

    Josh pulled the top card from his deck as he examined his hand.

    Let’s see… Dave said that I should summon a monster to attack with… Monsters were the orange ones right? He thought addressing this to the middle card. Its image depicted a blue ghoul-like monster that had several limbs and its head near the bottom of its body. He looked at the card more closely, considering it.

    Dark Jeriod… looks like a powerful monster to me. He slid it out of his left hand with his right. Hey, it has an effect. He brought it to eye level to read the description. So I can lower the ATK of one monster on the field by 800? That might come in handy. Josh, committed to this idea, placed it down vertically.

    “I summon Dark Jeriod in Attack Position (1200/1500),” his opponent raised an eyebrow at this, “and when it’s summoned, he can decrease the ATK of one monster on the field by 800!” Josh grinned. This wasn’t as hard as he had originally thought.

    “You know that Dark Jeriod’s effect only works on face-up monsters right?”

    The question caught Josh off guard, “So what does that mean?”

    The boy pointed to the horizontal card in front of him, “It means you can’t decrease the ATK of my card since it’s face-down. The only monster you can select is your own monster.”

    Josh recovered from this set back, “Then I’ll lower Dark Jeriod’s ATK.” (1200 --> 400/1500) No big deal. He figured it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. Now he just had to remember what to do next.

    Oh right, the Battle Phase, Josh thought aiming his finger at his opponent’s monster card. “Now I use Dark Jeriod to attack your face-down monster!”

    The boy flipped the card over to reveal an orange card that had a picture of a brick wall that was shaped to look like a person holding their hands up. “You attacked my Stone Statue of the Aztecs.” (300/2000)

    Josh saw the DEF value and knew he had made a mistake. “Wait, that monster has a higher DEF…”

    “It’s about to get even higher.” The boy took a card from his hand and placed it above the Deck – where Dave had said is where the Graveyard is. “I discard Stronghold Guardian with its effect to increase Stone Statue of the Aztec’s DEF by 1500.” (300/2000 --> 3500)

    “Uh oh,” Josh said, realizing his Life Points were about to drop significantly.

    “I’m not done yet,” he took one of his other face-down cards and flipped it over to reveal a purple-colored card, “I activate my Trap, Cross Counter.”

    Josh peered over to see. “What does that do?”

    His opponent held up a handheld computer which Josh recognized as the same one he had just received. “Check your Card Analyzer.” He obeyed, reaching into his pocket. He pressed a button and typed in the name.

    “Card Analyzer activated…” it beeped, “Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data: ‘Cross Counter’ … … Data Found:

    Cross Counter
    ****ap]
    If the DEF of an attacked Defense Position monster is higher than the ATK of your opponent's attacking monster, the Battle Damage inflicted to your opponent is doubled. Destroy the attacking monster after damage calculation.”

    Josh jerked his head back slightly when he finished reading. “What?! That’s ridiculous!”

    “And on top of that,” the boy continued, “Stone Statue of the Aztec’s effect doubles the damage inflicted again. So that makes it…” he typed the numbers into his Card Analyzer, then faced the screen to Josh, “12400 damage.” [Josh LP: (8000 --> 0)]

    “That was overkill…” Josh exhaled in disbelief. The boy held out his palm to him in sympathy.

    “Good game.”

    Josh hesitated, then accepted his defeat. Looks like there was more to this than he hoped there would. He stood up as the two boys whispered amongst themselves. An embarrassing loss like that probably doesn’t happen too often.


    ~*~*~*~


    Josh mingled around the cafeteria, watching others play. It seemed that this game wasn’t meant for him, he lost to nearly every person in the room. Not like it mattered – he didn’t want to be a part of it to begin with. He was about to sneak out to find Dave when something grasped onto his shoulder.

    “I don’t think I’ve dueled you yet,” a feminine voice said. Josh spun around to see a red haired girl about his age holding a deck of cards. “Why don’t we before you leave?”

    Josh couldn’t find his words so he nodded instead. They both sat at the table closest to the doors, one across from the other. The girl drew her cards and stated firmly, “Your turn.”

    [Josh LP: (8000)] [Red-Head LP: (8000)]

    Josh grabbed the top card and added it to the collection in his hand. He glanced over the cards, this time being careful about which ones he played. While he did this, he noticed he held the cards Cross Counter and Stone Statue of the Aztecs – the same ones that started his lose streak. Then he looked to the rightmost card and saw it was Stronghold Guardian.

    Determined to imitate his earlier opponent’s strategy, he placed Stone Statue of the Aztecs face-down horizontally and then Cross Counter below it before passing the baton to his new opponent.

    The red-haired girl added a new card to her hand. She quickly picked a card from it and placed it down. “I summon Raging Flame Sprite in Attack Position. (100/200)”

    Josh laughed in his mind. Maybe I’m not the worst duelist here after all.

    The girl took another card, placing this one down as well. The flaming serpent shown on it contrasted with its green borders. “Next I activate Salamandra. This increases my Sprite’s ATK by 700 points.” (100 --> 800/200)

    This didn’t worry Josh too much. It still wasn’t strong enough to take down his wall. The girl continued taking one more card and adding it to the field.

    “I activate Double Attack. By discarding a higher leveled monster, I can have my Raging Flame Sprite attack twice this turn.”

    What the heck is a level? Either way, it didn’t matter. The monster would be destroyed after its first strike. Right?

    “Now I’ll use its effect to attack you directly.”

    What! She had to be making this up. You can’t attack directly when a monster was on the opposite side of the field. That’s what Dave had said anyway. He used his Card Analyzer to check:

    “Accessing Card Database… Data Found:

    Raging Flame Sprite
    ***
    [Fire]
    [Pyro/Effect]
    (100/200)
    This card can attack your opponent directly. Each time this card successfully attacks directly, it gains 1000 ATK.”

    Josh put the small computer next to his Deck and looked to the red-haired girl. Turns out she wasn’t a newbie after all. [Josh LP: (8000 --> 7200)]

    She took note of his surprise. “And thanks to Raging Flame Sprite’s other effect, it gains 1000 ATK,” (800 --> 1800/200) “Now I’ll have it attack directly once again –” [Josh LP: (7200 --> 5400)] “– which increases its ATK by 1000 more. (1800 --> 2800/200) Then I activate Hand Mimic,” she put the card next to Salamandra and proceeded to draw cards from her Deck. “This card allows me to draw cards until we both have an equal amount. Now I play two cards face-down and end my turn.”

    That was a lot for Josh to take in. Not only did she out smart him several times over, but now he was unsure how to stop this monster whose power was growing by the second.

    He drew a card before saying, “I summon one monster in face-down Defense Position and place one card face-down.”

    He did so, then he placed down a final card face-up. It was a green Spell Card that showed three red fairies dressed in light blue floating around a background of flames. “I play Tremendous Fire,” he said reading its effect aloud, “this card inflicts 1000 damage to your Life Points and 500 to my own.” He knew this was a somewhat risky move but at this rate anything was better than his constant losses.

    “Not quite.” She took the card she laid down earlier and showed a new Trap Card. This one had a picture of an ancient tomb setting. In the foreground, a golden gun which had a cobra-shaped back was aimed at the man who stood in the background. “I activate Barrel Behind the Door. This card takes the Effect Damage I would receive and sends it back to you.” Hearing this, Josh shoved his hands in his face and let out an exasperated cry. [Josh LP: (5400 --> 3900)]

    Can I go home already? His hands dropped onto the table and with gloom in his voice he said, “It’s your turn.”

    The girl followed the usual routine. After deciding what to do, she let her strategy unfold. “I attack directly with Raging Flame Sprite’s effect.” [Josh LP: (3900 --> 1100)]

    “I activate my face-down card,” Josh said with his hand pressed against cheek, “Attack and Receive. You take 700 damage.” [Red-Head LP: (8000 --> 7300)]

    “Now –”

    “Yeah yeah, Raging Flame Sprite gains 1000 ATK.” (2800 --> 3800/200)

    “Well… that too but that’s not what I was going to say.” She held out the card she had just drawn showing to be the same card Josh had just played, “I activate Tremendous Fire.”

    Josh moved his arm off the table, sitting up straight when he heard the card’s name. Seems that, unlike him, other people are able to use these cards skillfully.

    [Josh LP: (1100 --> 100)] [Red-Head LP: (7300 --> 6800)]

    “Now I activate my Trap Card, Spiritual Fire Art – Kurenai. Now I can tribute Fire monster I control and I can inflict damage to your Life Points equal to its original ATK.”

    “So I take 100 damage and lose. What a surprise.” [Josh LP: (100 --> 0)]

    The girl perked her head up. “Are you okay?”

    Josh tossed his cards onto the table, letting them glide onto the floor. “I’m fine! I just hate this game.” He stood up before continuing, this time he shouted, although no one else appeared to notice, “I never even wanted to play anyway! I only came to cheer my friend on, that’s it! He tricked me into this stupid tournament.”

    He turned his back and growled, “Thanks for the match.” Josh began to storm out of the cafeteria.

    “Wait.”

    This quiet word expressed all the sincerity needed to stop Josh in his tracks. He slowly turned his head back to the red-haired girl. She held out her arm, with his deck in hand. “Come with me, I’ll show you how to duel.”

    ~*~*~*~

    Card Analyzer activated…

    Auto-Update Feature Engaged:

    New Card Information shall be downloaded frequently as it is released for easy access…
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 18th February 2011 at 2:26 PM.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

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    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  3. #3
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    Chapter Two


    Josh stared at the red-haired girl, moving his gaze from her face, down her blue silk sleeve until they reached the deck, and reversed the motion until he made eye contact. She wasn’t going to move until he gave an answer.

    “Listen,” he said slowly making his way back to the table, “I appreciate the offer but this game isn’t meant for me. I’ll just keep losing.”

    “Everyone has to start somewhere,” she said extending her arm so Josh was within reach, “You won’t even have to duel this time. I’ll teach you as I play.”

    Josh paused for a moment. He didn’t want to duel anymore after today, but then again Dave would probably make him in the near future. Besides, what harm could watching be?

    He lifted his hand, gently taking the deck from her and the girl motioned for him to follow. “This way.”

    They circled the table, heading down to the other end near the vending machines. Josh cautiously shadowed his escort’s steps; he wasn’t sure why they were going this far for a lesson. When she stopped walking he noticed the two boys he dueled first were sitting down eating a bag of cheese doodles. Great, now this was going to be even more embarrassing.

    “Excuse me,” she asked politely, “my friend doesn’t know how to duel properly yet. Do you mind if I duel you so I can teach him.”

    While the one boy – Josh’s original opponent – shook his head showing his fingers covered in cheese, the other one smiled in agreement. “Sure,” he said, “I’ll duel.”

    The two duelists arranged their decks in their proper places, drawing five cards each. The red haired girl glimpsed at Josh, who immediately leaned in to see what she held. “Just ask questions as the duel progresses,” she said humbly, “We’ll answer anything you don’t understand.”

    “Okay.” Josh’s voice faded. The girl drew a card from her deck starting the match.

    [Red-Head LP: (8000)] [Opponent LP: (8000)]

    She took the card and shoved it in the middle of the others before lifting them up for Josh to see. He recognized most of the cards, such as Tremendous Fire, Salamandra, Cross Counter and Hand Mimic, but the other two he hadn’t seen before. One was a monster called Flame Manipulator which showed a person in a torn purple shirt gritting his teeth with his veins popping. He noticed that the card had an ATK value of 900, and after his experience with lower ATK monsters, he figured the girl wouldn’t play it.

    The last card was another orange-colored monster named Shadow Ghoul. It featured a tall green ghoul-like creature with long sharp claws and several bright red eyes covering its torso. This monster had 1600 ATK and an effect which Josh figured the girl would explain later, since he assumed she would play this card first. His mouth opened slightly when she pulled Flame Manipulator instead.

    “I summon Flame Manipulator in Attack Position.” (900/1000)

    “Hang on,” Josh interrupted pointing at Shadow Ghoul, “why didn’t you summon that monster instead when it’s clearly stronger.”

    She studied the card he was referring to and then said, “Because it’s a level five monster.” She brought it closer and touched her index finger near the top. “Do you see these stars?”

    Josh leaned in closer, “Yeah? What about them?”

    “Every monster has a certain number of stars on them. The number of stars represents the monster’s level. Depending on the level of the monster, you need to offer other monsters on the field and send them to the Graveyard to summon the new one,” she pointed to Flame Manipulator before continuing, “Monsters whose level’s one through four don’t need to be sacrificed, so you can summon them with no problem. But after that you need to sacrifice.

    “Levels five and six need one tribute. So on my next turn, if Flame Manipulator is still on the field, I will be able to summon a level five or six monster. Levels seven and eight need two tributes and levels nine and up need three. Most players don’t keep too many higher leveled cards in their deck because of that.”

    “Oh, that makes sense,” he stood back allowing the duel to resume.

    The girl took another card from her hand and placed it on the table. “I activate Salamandra and equip it Flame Manipulator. Now since it’s a Fire monster it gains 700 ATK.” (900 --> 1600/1000)

    “Hold on, what do mean equip? And what the heck is a ‘Fire’ monster?”

    Taking Flame Manipulator off the table, she turned and held it up in front of Josh’s gaze. “You see how it says ‘Fire’ in the top right corner?”

    Josh blinked, “Yeah but I don’t get what it means.”

    She returned it to its original spot, “That means it’s a Fire monster. Every monster has an ‘attribute’ in the top right corner of the card. These attributes are Light, Dark, Water, Fire, Wind and Earth. Since Salamandra can only be equipped to Fire monsters, Flame Manipulator is able to use it.”

    Josh nodded slightly. “Okay, but what does an equip mean? I thought Spell cards went to the Graveyard after being used,” he gestured towards the card, “but it’s still on the field. Why’s that?”

    “There are some Spell and Trap cards that stay on the field even after they’re activated,” she began, “This is one of them – Equip Spell Cards. These cards select one monster on the field and are, in a sense, attached to them. They remain on the field until the equipped monster is destroyed or they themselves are destroyed by a card effect. Most Equip Spells require a certain kind of monster to be on the field in order to be activated and usually increase the equipped monster’s stats.”

    Returning to the game, she laid down another Spell Card. “I activate Hand Mimic. Now I draw cards until I hold the same number of cards as you.” One by one she added three new cards to her hand, showing them to Josh before slotting them in between her fingers. As she flashed them he saw two Normal Monsters and Spell Card.

    “Now I place two cards face-down and end my turn.” Josh noticed that one of them was the Spell Card she had just drawn. He was about to ask why, but refrained from it so he wouldn’t ruin a potential strategy of hers.

    “My draw,” the boy said eagerly. He slipped the card off the top and immediately threw another down. “I summon Maruading Captain in Attack Position –” (1200/400) “ – and thanks to his effect I can Special Summon one level four or lower monster from my hand. So now I summon Dark Jeriod in Attack Position as well.” (1200/1500)

    “Wait a second!” Josh broke in, “How are you able to summon two monsters in one turn? I was told the rules only allow one per turn!”

    The boy patted the air, making Josh realize that he must have been shouting. Once he became less tense, the boy answered.

    “It’s called a Special Summon. Special Summons are normally only done through a card’s effect and don’t count towards the one-summon-per-turn restriction. In fact, you can do it as many times as you want. Plus,” he waved his hand at the red haired girl while saying this, “you don’t need to sacrifice monsters for level five and higher monsters. At least not usually.”

    Josh absorbed this, then a small smile spread across his face. “Sounds cool.”

    “Anyway,” the boy continued, “thanks to Dark Jeriod’s effect, I can decrease the ATK of one monster on the field by 800. And I pick your Flame Manipulator.” (1600 --> 800/1000) “Now I activate the Field Spell, Sogen.” He took the Spell Card from his hand placed it beside his monsters’ left.

    “What’s a Field Spell?” Josh asked politely.

    “A Field Spell is a kind of Spell Card that affects every monster on the field. They’re placed next to the Monster Card Zones opposite of the Graveyard and don’t count towards your maximum five Spell and Trap cards. There can only be one on the field at a time though, if another is activated the first one gets destroyed.”

    “So they affect every monster?”

    “Well, not every monster,” the boy shrugged, “it depends on the card. This one specifically increases the ATK and DEF of all Warrior and Beast-Warrior type monsters by 200.”

    Just as Josh opened his mouth, the red-haired girl chimed in, “Just like how every monster has an attribute, every monster also a type. There are about twenty different types so I’m not going to list them all.”

    The boy grinned then added, “Yep, and since my Marauding Captain is a Warrior it gains 200 ATK and DEF.” (1200 --> 1400/400 --> 600) “Now I’ll have Marauding Captain attack Flame Manipulator.”

    “I activate the Quickplay Spell Card, Rush Recklessly,” she said flipping over the green card she played earlier. It featured a red boar that appeared to be dashing towards something. “Now I can select one monster on the field and increase its ATK by 700. I pick Flame Manipulator.” (800 --> 1500/1000)

    “So I guess Marauding Captain is destroyed instead huh…” the boy moped, taking the Monster Card and moving it to the Graveyard. [Opponent LP: (8000 --> 7900)] He took another card and laid it face-down below Dark Jeriod. “I end my turn.”

    “Wait, how were you able to use that Spell Card on your opponent’s turn?” Josh asked eyeing the boar on the card.

    “Quickplay Spell cards are special because during your turn you can activate them from your hand at any time, even during the Battle Phase,” Josh noted this because of the way she spoke about them, “And if you play them face-down, they act as Trap Cards in a sense. You can’t activate them until at least your opponent’s next turn, but after that you can.”

    “Yeah,” the boy said, “But their effects usually only last for one turn so Flame Manipulator loses its ATK bonus.” (1500 --> 800/1000)

    “It doesn’t matter too much. I don’t need it anymore.” She drew a card and pulled out Tremendous Fire. “Now we both take damage to our Life Points. I take 500 while you take 1000.”

    [Red-Head LP: (8000 --> 7500)] [Opponent LP: 7900 --> 6900)]

    “Next I activate Polymerization,” she laid down a card that resembled a hypnotic spiral. Around the bottom edges of it were two orange shapes that resembled some kind of monsters. “Now I take Flame Manipulator from my field and Masaki the Legendary Swordsman from my hand and Fusion Summon my Flame Swordsman.”

    She discarded a green-armored samurai and moved both Flame Manipulator and Salamandra from their spots to the Graveyard. Then she took a card that was placed off to the side prior to the match and placed it vertically on the field. It was a purple card, despite it having an ATK and DEF value. This confused Josh greatly.

    “Whoawhoawhoawhoa… What the heck just happened?”

    All three of them looked up to Josh as if he was growing a third arm. For a second it seemed they had forgotten he was there.

    “Sorry, that must’ve been a lot to take in. It was a Fusion Summon,” she stated when repositioned herself in her seat, “Fusion Summons are a type of Special Summon that’s used to summon purple Monster Cards from the Extra Deck, which is located under the Field Spell Zone.”

    She touched the referenced spot, “Fusion Monsters are never placed in the regular deck or in your hand. They’re only called out after using a card like Polymerization by sending the monsters listed on its text to the Graveyard. There are other methods to summon these monsters, but this one is most common.”

    She turned back to her opponent before saying, “I summon Flame Swordsman in Attack Position and since it’s a Warrior monster it gains 200 ATK and DEF.” (1800 --> 2000/1600 --> 1800) “And since I still get my one summon, I play Blue-Winged Crown in Attack Position as well.” (1600/1200) “Now I’ll have Flame Swordsman attack Dark Jeriod.”

    “I activate my Trap, Spellbinding Circle,” he said flipping it, “Now I can select one monster on the field and that monster can’t attack or change its battle position anymore.”

    With her plan foiled, she decided to improvise. “In that case I’ll attack with Blue-Winged Crown instead. Then I’ll end my turn.”

    [Red-Head LP: (7500)] [Opponent LP: (6900 --> 6500)]

    “Okay,” he said drawing a card. “Now –”

    “Why didn’t Spellbinding Circle go to the Graveyard?” Josh interrupted again. “I thought they did that after they were used.”

    “It’s a Continuous Trap Card,” the boy replied readying his next card, “Both Spells and Traps have Continuous counterparts. Like the name implies they stay on the field until they’re destroyed by a card’s effect.”

    “How do you guys remember all of these rules?”

    Both players shrugged their shoulders. “You get used to it.”

    The boy looked back to the red-haired girl, who was adjusting her sleeves. “I’ll play one monster in face-down Defense Position and end my turn.”

    The girl drew a new card, which Josh saw was a monster. It showed a light blue bat-headed bird floating in the sky with its wings aimed at the left part of the image as if it were striking at something off screen. She took her Flame Swordsman and immediately replaced it with a new card.

    “I sacrifice Flame Swordsman to summon Shadow Ghoul in Attack Position.” (1600/1300) “With its effect, it gains 100 ATK for every monster in my Graveyard and I count three –” (1600 --> 1900/1300) “– Now I’ll use Shadow Ghoul to attack your face-down monster.”

    The boy flipped the card over, revealing it to be the same card that the red-haired girl had just drawn, named Stealth Bird. (700/1700) Since it was destroyed by Shadow Ghoul, he lifted it up, only to be put back down into the discard pile.

    “Since you have no monsters, I’ll have Blue-Winged Crown attack you directly.”

    [Red-Head LP: (7500)] [Opponent LP: (6500 --> 4900)]

    With that the boy sprung for his deck. “My turn. First I’ll activate Soul Taker. This card destroys one monster you control but in exchange you gain 1000 Life Points. So I’ll use it to destroy Shadow Ghoul.” [Red-Head LP: (7500 --> 8500)]

    He took another card and tossed it down in front of him. This one resembled a woman wearing Greek armor with a cape swooping down, covering most of the foreground. She held a staff that had several blades shooting out near both ends.

    “Next I’ll summon Crimson Sentry, and since it’s a Warrior monster it gains 200 ATK and DEF –” (1500 --> 1700/1200 --> 1400) “– Now I’ll use it to attack your Blue-Winged Crown.”

    With that the girl moved her card to the discard pile with no sign of worry in her actions. [Red-Head LP: (8500 --> 8400)] She drew a new card, and played it immediately.

    “I activate my own Soul Taker. Now I’ll destroy your monster and you get 1000 Life Points.” [Opponent LP: (4900 --> 5900)] She moved her Stealth Bird card from her hand and laid it on the table face-down horizontally before calmly saying, “Your turn.”

    The boy drew again and played a new monster on the table. It was a samurai with green armor – the same one the red haired girl used to Fusion Summon Flame Swordsman. “I summon Masaki the Legendary Warrior. Like the name says it’s a Warrior monster so it benefits from Sogen’s boost.” (1100 -->1300/1100 --> 1300) “Now I’ll have it attack your face-down monster.”

    She flipped it over to reveal it to be Stealth Bird, then overturned the card directly below it as well. “I activate Cross Counter. Now your monster is destroyed and the damage inflicted is doubled.” The boy took a moment to think, then unwilling tossed his monster to the Graveyard.

    “I end my turn.”

    [Red-Head LP: (8400)] [Opponent LP: (5900 --> 5100)]

    Josh saw the card the girl had drawn next appeared to be a blue cross with its sides raised up slightly. A red gem was engraved in its center and ribbons spiraled down from them gracefully until they met at the cross’s base. This was the first time Josh felt pleased to see a card like this – maybe it’s just because he likes pretty pictures. The girl placed it down declaring its name.

    “I activate the Spell Card, Monster Reborn. Now I can Special Summon one monster from either player’s Graveyard to my side of the field. And I choose Flame Swordsman.”

    Josh intervened again, this time with excitement instead of confusion: “You can Special Summon monsters from the Graveyard?”

    The girl turned to him with a cheerful smile. “Of course. The cards’ effects are half the game. With the right cards you can do anything really.” She dug through the pile of cards above her deck and returned the purple Monster Card to the field center of the field. “And since Sogen’s still on the field it gains 200 ATK and DEF –” (1800 --> 2000/1600 --> 1800) “– Now I’ll switch Stealth Bird to Attack Position and have both of my monster attack you directly.”

    [Red-Head LP: (8400)] [Opponent LP: (5100 --> 3100 --> 2400)]

    “Next I activate Stealth Bird’s effect. I can flip it into face-down Defense Position once per turn.” She did so as she explained, “And I end my turn.”

    Josh moved closer as the duel began to grow more heated. The boy drew a card silently and, after reading it over, placed it next to his deck. “I activate Swords of Revealing Light. Now all your face-down monsters are flipped face-up and you can’t attack for three turns.” He dragged his hand across the table until it came to his lap. “Your move.”

    The girl repeated the pattern that Josh started to become too familiar with. She skimmed over the card, then: “I activate De-Spell which allows me to destroy one Spell Card on the field. So your swords are destroyed.” The boy reluctantly brushed the card over to the side. He was done. No eye contact was made while she turned her Stealth Bird so it was straight. “I’ll have both my monsters attack you directly.”

    [Red-Head LP: (8400)] [Opponent LP: (2400 --> 1700 --> 0)]

    The boy scooped up his cards and formed them back into a single pile. He shook hands with his opponent, who thanked him for the help. He nodded, turned to Josh saying “Have fun dueling,” and left with his friend who was still chewing on snacks. The red-haired girl took her cards together and stood up in front of Josh.

    “Thanks for teaching me how to duel, uh –”

    “Elisa,” she stated quietly.

    “Thanks Elisa. I think I’ll give dueling another shot.”

    “No problem. I knew you would,” she started to walked away, stopped then added, “Catch ya ‘round.”

    Josh watched her leave before looking to his own deck. He pulled the top card, bringing it to eye level as he brought the deck to his side. He smiled to himself when he saw it was Monster Reborn.


    ~*~*~*~


    For about twenty minutes Josh loitered near the sign where he and Dave had separated. He assumed they would meet there, since it was an unspoken rule between them to meet in the last spot they saw each other. To keep himself busy he fumbled with the cards in his left hand – by doing so he had taught himself how to shuffle one-handed – and played with his sweatshirt’s zipper with his right. He knew Dave should’ve been almost done by now, how long could an Elimination Tournament take?

    The moment this question popped into Josh’s mind, Dave came running over.

    “I made the top sixteen!” Dave shouted in excitement before Josh could ask how he did.

    “That’s great,” Josh said sharing his enthusiasm. “Was it hard getting in?”

    Dave took a moment to catch his breath. “Yeah. I had to win at least six duels. These guys are tough, but I won all eight matches so I’m not too worried.”

    Eight matches? Josh knew the place was packed but could only imagine how crowded the arena must have been. Hopefully he would be able to get a decent seat.

    “How’d your duels go?” Dave asked eyeing Josh’s new deck of cards.

    Josh followed Dave’s stare and his shuffling immediately seized. “I lost every game,” He muttered. Then he looked up to Dave so he wouldn’t be concerned, “but this girl named Elisa showed me how to duel. I like it, I just suck.”

    Dave smiled, “Well, we all start somewhere.”

    “I guess so,” Josh agreed, and shoved the deck into his pocket. “So what should we do now?”

    “I dunno.” Dave stared at his feet for a moment thinking. Josh did the same until when a kid a few years younger than them came over. He was short with a black mop for hair that spiked out at the sides until they met at a single point near his hips. His bangs fell over his forehead as he approached.

    “Are you Dave Litenur?” the kid asked.

    Dave lifted his head, “Yeah that’s me.”

    “You ran away before I could give you this.”

    The kid handed him a sheet of paper that listed the participants of the tournament as well the rules for the competition. On the top was the image of a blue dragon similar to the statues that stood outside of the building.

    “Make sure you show up at 10:25 sharp tomorrow morning,” he stated as if he were reading off a script, “Bring friends and don’t be late.”

    The boy ran in the opposite direction before Dave could thank him.

    “Looks like people really take this game seriously,” Josh said, looking over the sheet.

    “You have no idea.”


    ~*~*~*~


    The boy rushed to the side of the building near an emergency exit door. His long black hair floated in the air as a single unit until he met with a brown haired man on a cell phone. The man’s white blazer had sharp shoulder pads and went all the way down to his feet, but when it reached his hips it stuck out in a dramatic fashion that made it resemble the sharp edges of a dragon’s wings.

    “Seto, I finished handing out the information to th–” A hand halted the boy’s words as the man continued to talk into the phone.

    “Yes, I understand. We’ll keep an eye out.” He ended the phone conversation by pressing a button and held it down before he spoke again, “That was Pegasus. Someone’s hacked into their databases last night.”

    The boy’s pupils widened. “What do you think we should do?”

    The man turned his back to the boy before answering, “There’s not much we can do until the tournament’s over. But until we should beef up security so that nothing happens to us.” He glanced over his shoulder, “Mokuba, I want you to go to all the security guards and inform them about this mishap.”

    The boy nodded, “Right.”

    The man heard Mokuba’s footsteps fade and then mumbled to himself, still holding the cell phone. He tighten his grip on it as if it was about to jump out of his hand.

    What the hell is going on…


    ~*~*~*~

    Card Analyzer activated…

    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …

    … Data Found:


    Hand Mimic
    [Spell]
    Activate only if you have less cards in your hand than your opponent. Draw cards from your Deck until the amount of cards in each player’s hand is equal.
    Tamer's Archives
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  4. #4
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    Wow. That was really good. Being an avid Yu-Gi-Oh! fan I was sure I would like this, and I was right! I can't see any real problems aside from the occasional spelling error or so. Well done. I really like Josh by the way, I find him quite like me (Not to mention having my name. XD) when I first got into Yu-Gi-Oh! Being that I totally sucked and had no idea how to play. But I was like 7 at the time, so hey.

    Anyways, like I said I really like this and I will definitely keep reading, so long as you keep it up!

    EDIT: I forgot to mention; I also really liked how you incorporated some of the characters from the old show. (Seto is my favorite.)
    Last edited by AscendingFire; 15th February 2011 at 9:43 PM.

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  5. #5
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    Thanks Volcanic Typhlosion, I honestly wasn't expecting a reply for a Yugioh! story in a Pokemon-dominant forum this early, so your reply really means alot. I'm glad I met your expectations

    I thought "how can I incorporate rules for the game without derailing the story?" then the answer eventually came to me - Make the main character learn them as well! That was probably the hardest part of the story when designing the plot. Plus, I think it'll make for a more interesting plot if the main hero is always screwing up. But for now, Josh is just going to watch as Dave participates in his tournament.

    I felt it wouldn't be a complete Yugioh! fic without some characters from the original show. Kaiba was a must but others will appear as well, like Pegasus as you already saw. But, of course, they'll only play a minor role for the most part.

    Thanks again, I'll be sure to keep writing this at a steady pace.
    Tamer's Archives
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    Chapter Three


    Darkness surrounded Josh as he headed down the city street. Only the inconsistent noises of cars and cats in the distance stood out to him. The rest seemed to be nonexistent, as if he were the only human being for miles.

    Every so often he would look over his shoulder to see if anything was behind him and every time the result was the same. Nothing. Josh continued down his path, slowing his pace with each step. Not his steps, he thought. His anxiety told him that someone was after him, but over and over again he proved this to be wrong.

    He passed under a streetlight, stopping to survey the area. Once again only the horns from afar could be heard. He grabbed his zipper, closing his sweatshirt while his eyes traveled. It wasn’t unusual to feel nervous while walking around at night. Right?

    Still walking down the same road, he started to calm down. Nothing was going to happen. All he had to do was go home and go to sleep, then everything would be back to normal. A sharp crash from a garbage can broke this mindset and Josh’s head swirled around vigorously trying to find the source. His head sank down into his neck trying to suppress a yell.

    In the alleyway nearby, a figure stood beside an overturned garbage can defiantly facing Josh’s direction; although its features were covered by shadows, its large spikey hair towered over the rest of its body, leaving Josh to believe it was some kind of monster. When the “monster” noticed it had been spotted, it dashed into the abyss of darkness in between the brick walls. Josh instinctively ran after it, shouting to wait for him.

    The figure was fast; Josh had a hard time keeping it in sight before it faded into the night. Although he could no longer see where it was, he knew it had to be straight ahead – there was no other path to take.

    He found himself at the bottom of a stone barrier that stopped him from moving any further. He looked up to check if there was a ladder or anything that the figure could have used to get around it but found nothing. Josh felt the cold air settle on his face as he gazed at the moonlit sky. Whatever that thing was, it had escaped.


    ~*~*~*~


    “Heeeeeeeello everybody! This is 9:00 talk-radio with your host Steven Belwix! Today we have an exciting interview with the president of Dayos Entertainment, Mr. Cain Dayos! But first our opening songs! …”

    An unruly jingle played over the pleasant chirps from the window of Josh’s room. Either the ice cream man was working earlier today or the radio station was set to play circus music. He couldn’t tell.

    Josh dragged himself out of bed, rubbing his head to pat down all his brown hair that stood up in random directions. While picking out what clothes to wear, he heard the radio return to the interview that was on before. They were talking something about rivers or streams. Josh was too tired to actually pay attention to it.

    He opened the bathroom door, walking over to the sink to splash some water on his face. He figured that since he showered yesterday it wouldn’t be a big deal if he skipped taking one today. It’s not like anyone he knows, besides Dave, would be with them and since Dave was his roommate he knew that he wouldn’t care.

    Just as he was about to leave his room, he noticed his Card Analyzer lying on his desk. Figuring that he wouldn’t understand anything that was going to happen today, he grabbed it and switched it on. He looked to his deck, which was held in a small compartment behind the device’s screen, and closed the seal so none of the cards would fall out. It’s not like he was planning to use it, but Dave would probably want to talk about his cards while they were waiting for his match to start.

    Heading down the stairway he stepped over to the kitchen in search of his sweatshirt, finally finding it hanging over a chair by the counter. As he threw it on, he noticed Dave had forgotten his lucky hat. It was a simple baseball cap with a camouflage design, but he had hardly ever seen Dave leave the house without it even if he wasn’t wearing it. He figured Dave was probably too nervous to remember it, so he scooped it up as he made his way to the front door. In less than an hour Dave would be on stage.


    ~*~*~*~


    When Josh arrived at the dome-like building, he found Dave patiently waiting by one the dragon statues near the entrance, separating himself from the large crowd outside.

    “Oh good, I thought I would have to leave without you,” he said opening the door leading inside.

    Josh smiled.

    “Yeah, you left in a hurry. You forgot this,” he said, waving the baseball cap in front of him. Dave’s hands reflexively jumped to his head before calmly reaching for the hat.

    “I guess I’m a little too excited about this.”

    The two laughed as Dave plopped the hat onto his dark brown hair, concealing it under the green cover.

    “Hurry up,” Dave said as he opened the door leading inside, “I’m not sure how long the reservation on our seats will last.”

    The two made their way through the wall of people, eventually reaching the sign where they had met at the day before. They took a right, heading for an arch-shaped hallway. There seemed to be less people in this area but that was probably because they were more spread out than they were in the vestibule.

    After passing through the hallway they arrived in the arena. It was larger than Josh anticipated; he had a hard time believing they were standing in the same building they had entered. Dave tugged onto his sleeve, then the duo roamed around the bleachers until they found their seats.

    “Third row, seats fourteen and fifteen. Yep these are ours.” Dave dropped his body into seat number fifteen, motioning to Josh to sit in the seat next to him.

    “When do you play against the others?” Josh asked sitting calmly.

    “I dunno,” Dave said staring at the stadium around them. He brought his attention to the platform in the center of the room. It was raised slightly off the ground, just high enough so the audience would be able to see the duelist standing on it without having to bend forward. Dave turned his head to Josh who was also glancing around. “As long as I get to duel I don’t really care.”

    Dave and Josh chatted while they waited for the stadium to fill up. Apparently there was supposed to be some kind of an announcement before the tournament started. Maybe then Josh would be able to figure out whether or not these ‘duels’ are something worth getting involved in. Like Josh predicted, Dave was talking to him about his new deck.

    “So what’s your favorite kind of cards so far?”

    Josh slid the pile out of his Card Analyzer, sliding each one out individually. “I’m not sure. I kinda like cards that Special Summon monsters.”

    “Oh there are plenty of decks like that,” he said leaning over the armrest to get a better view of Josh’s cards.

    “Are there?” He’s gonna make me build a deck later isn’t he?

    “Yeah. Let’s go over to the card shop tomorrow, maybe we can build you a deck!”

    I knew it…

    At that moment the lights dimmed, and a spotlight shone onto the center of the stadium. On stage a man wearing a tuxedo and dark sunglasses stood in the middle holding a microphone. Josh looked around to see that every seat had been filled, except one. The one right next to Dave.

    Looks like someone’s gonna miss the show, he thought. The announcer tapped on the microphone with his finger before holding it up to his face.

    “Welcome ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please! The Second Grand Championship Tournament is about to begin. But first we must go over the instructions for this event.

    “All sixteen duelists will duel until they are eliminated either by losing all of their Life Points, surrendering or a Deck-Out –”

    “When a player runs out of cards in their deck and can’t draw anymore,” Dave whispered to Josh.

    “– and the winners will continue onto the next round. The top two finalists will be able to beta test a brand new line of cards that has recently been developed by Industrial Illusions. The winner of the final round will be able to duel none other than the owner of KaibaCorp and the host of this tournament, everyone please give a hand to the great, Seto Kaiba!”

    Another spotlight shot onto the corner of the stadium’s platform. A man in a white blazer walked arrogantly towards the announcer. The somber expression on his face gave him a detached aura, since he acted indifferent to the cheering that took place.

    So that’s the host of this tournament. Josh’s thoughts were interrupted by a man who bumped into him trying to squeeze his way through the aisle. When he stood up to allow him to pass he noticed the man’s leather jacket and his spikey hair that was overshadowed by the darkness around them. The man sunk into the seat next to Dave, leaving Josh to fall back to his.

    You could at least say ‘Excuse me’…

    The man, who the crowd knew as Seto Kaiba, shook hands with the announcer. He handed the microphone to Kaiba who held it to his mouth. The noise almost instantly died down.

    “That’s right. The winner of this tournament will be able to duel me. However, don’t expect this to be easy. Even if you make it the final round and defeat your opponent, you still won’t hold the Championship title unless you manage to defeat me, which will never happen so long as I hold my Blue Eyes White Dragon cards.

    “In a few seconds the pairings for the first round will be downloaded wirelessly into your Card Analyzers. Take a moment to go over your decks and feel free to walk around the building during and in between duels. All of the duels will be shown on the screens overhead in all rooms in this facility. Participants must be present on the stage within five minutes of the start of their round. If they don’t show, then they’ll be disqualified.”

    He paused dramatically, then shot his arm into the air, “Now let’s duel!” The crowd began to shout mindlessly, flailing their arms as if they were trying to swat something invisible to everyone but them.

    Dave turned on his Card Analyzer with Josh over his shoulder watching the download meter race across the screen. Once it reached the other end, a new file opened automatically.


    Match Pairings (Round 1)
    Match 1: Katherine Jadon vs. Geremy Valdito
    Match 2: Hannah Werra vs. Paul Hillburg
    Match 3: Maria Aloma vs. Joseph Phillips
    Match 4: Adam Prince vs. Simon Phaze
    Match 5: Rachael Torap vs. Dave Litenur
    Match 6: Lucas Coffing vs. Jacob Front
    Match 7: Mike Well vs. Sam Blirr
    Match 8: Peter Grail vs. Chloe Grenshot


    Commotion flowed throughout the area, each person discussing the duels in some way or another.

    “Looks like you don’t go on for a while,” said Josh. Dave shoved the Card Analyzer back into his pocket.

    “Yeah. You wanna go eat something while we wait? We got time.”

    “Sure.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Now that the tournament had begun the cafeteria’s kitchen started to cook meals for those watching the duels. Josh stumbled over to the end of one of the tables with a paper plate in each hand. Both plates held a slice of pepperoni pizza with their points hanging off the sides. He placed one plate down next to Dave, who was concentrating on his deck so intently that he didn’t notice Josh until the smell of pepperoni had reached his nose.

    “So, how do ya feel?” Josh asked, taking a seat on the opposite side of the table.

    “I’m fine,” Dave said, running the cards back and forward between his fingers. “I’m not nervous if that’s what you’re asking. I just can’t wait to use this deck. I’ve been building it for six years waiting for a day like this.”

    Josh took a bite out of his slice. “Really? What’s so special about today?”

    Dave put his deck back into his Card Analyzer and sealed the lid. He put it beside his plate and started eating as well. “Not so much the day, but the tournament. I’ll finally be able to duel a famous duelist like Seto Kaiba.

    “Ever since I learned that Kaiba had been defeated by Yugi Muto I’ve gotten interested in dueling with that dream. With that in mind I’ve built my deck so that it would be able to stand up against the powerful monsters that famous duelists like them use. It took me all this time but I think I have a good chance.”

    “So you think you can beat him?”

    Dave nodded, he still had hardly touched his meal. “As soon as I found out about this tournament I’ve collected my best cards together. Just a few weeks ago I’ve gotten my hands on the card that will cripple Kaiba’s most powerful monsters – the Blue Eye White Dragons.”

    Josh was about mid-bite when he stopped to speak. “Oh yeah he mentioned those things before. What’s so special about them?”

    “They’re one of the most powerful Dragon-type monsters in the world. And he owns the only three copies in existence. It’s his signature card.”

    “Signature card huh?” He said, chomping into his pizza.

    “Yeah, most duelists have a card that they associate best with.” Dave finally began to eat at this point. His voice indicated that he was really driven to win this tournament.

    “If that’s the case, what’s yours?”

    Dave stopped eating (which annoyed Josh a little because he bought the pizza for a reason) and smiled to himself. “Mine’s called Black Luster Soldier,” he paused to bite then placed the slice back down. “It matches the Blue Eyes White Dragon perfectly in strength and it’s easier to summon than most monsters that strong.”

    “How’s that?”

    Once again Dave smiled to himself, “You’ll see.”

    Overhead on a wide television screen, the current duel in the arena was being displayed. It showed the two duelists wearing their Duel Disks, placing cards on them, and the monsters on the cards would appear before the crowd.

    “Hey Dave,” Josh said watching the duel, “how are they able to bring out all these monsters. They’re not real right?”

    Dave laughed, “Of course not. The Duel Disk is just a hologram projector. You play the cards on them and they project the image with Solid Vision technology. It just makes the duels more exciting.”

    “Oh that makes sense.” At least he knew that he wouldn’t be bored watching people pick up cards and putting them back on a table. Now he understood why everyone was so into this game.

    “And the winner is Maria Aloma!” The announcer shouted over the intercom, which echoed throughout the building. “Next up is Match Four: Adam Prince vs. Simon Phaze!”

    Upon hearing this Dave turned to Josh, “We’d better hurry up. I don’t want to be late.”

    Josh sat with an empty plate while he watched Dave devour his pizza in anticipation of his match.


    ~*~*~*~


    Dave hustled over to his seat while Josh dragged slowly behind. Josh noticed that the kid who bumped into him earlier wasn’t in his seat, and figured he would have to deal with that again later. He sat down and gazed at the two participants who took the show.

    On the side closest to them was a skinny teenage duelist who appeared to have gotten up late this morning because his hair was standing straight up and curled unnaturally in the opposite direction of his head. Not only that but he yawned every four seconds, even while he spoke. In front of him was a gigantic version of a face-down card and a clown that wore red pajamas with a blue cape draping down its back. It also had a red double-pointed nightcap on top of its purple hair, which apparently obstructed its vision.

    On the opposite side was a proud teenage duelist wearing a gray leather jacket. Unlike his opponent, his short, dark hair was gelled into perfect little spikes lined the top of his head. None of it appeared to go past his ears, except upon closer examination where Josh noticed a single thick piece of red hovered over the right side of his nose. He looked at the empty seat next to Dave, then back at this man and realized they must be the same person.

    This duelist had a face-down card in front of him as well. Only instead of a clown, a purple dragon with yellow spikes on its wings stood readying to pouch on its enemy. Josh was about to check the score when he heard people talking behind him.

    “This Adam kid is good.”

    “Yeah, it’s only been three turns and he practically has the other guy in a corner.”

    “What was that kind of monster he keeps summoning from the Graveyard?”

    “Oh those Fallen Monsters? I heard those were really rare, most people only own two or three.”

    “Yeah, I hear this guy has a whole deck full of ‘em. Must be rich or som’thing.”

    Looks like Dave was going up against some tough competition. But certainly Dave knew more about his opponents than he did. Josh turned on his Card Analyzer to download the data from the current duel.

    [Adam LP: (5600)] [Simon LP: (2200)]

    He brought his attention back up to the stage watching the match unfold.

    “I activate Block Attack! With it I can switch an Attack Position monster to Defense Position, and I pick my Dream Clown.” The bed-headed boy, named Simon, took one of the cards he held and thrust it into his Duel Disk. A larger image of the card flashed to his side, then glowed extravagantly. In response to its glow, the clown knelt down, signifying a change in battle position.

    “And since Dream Clown was changed from Attack to Defense Position, I can use its effect to destroy one monster on your side of the field. So say good-bye to your dragon!”

    Clouds emitted from the clown’s nightcap, growing bigger and bigger as they drifted away. When they were about half way between the two creatures, they became dark storm clouds that darted in the dragon’s direction.

    “I activate Fallen Koumori Dragon’s effect,” said Adam, pointing to the face-down card in front of him. “By destroying one face-down card I control I can negate your card’s effect and destroy it.”

    The card ignited into a purple blaze which shot up into the air. It made contact with the storms clouds successfully reducing them to vapor as it traveled. When it reached Dream Clown, its nightcap caught on fire, causing it to dance around spastically. Eventually, the fire covered it entirely until ashes were left in its place.

    “Whoa… he is good,” Josh mumbled to himself. In the corner of his eye he could see that Dave shared his amazement. He couldn’t tell exactly what he was thinking, but knew that this guy would be a major obstacle in accomplishing his goal.

    Simon took a moment to absorb what happened in front of him. He flipped over a card on his Duel Disk then said, “Don’t think I’m defenseless just ‘cause you destroyed my Dream Clown. I activate Scapegoat.”

    The face-down card rose up, revealing a picture of four spherical sheep, in varying colors, floating in a field of clouds. At moment later, the sheep depicted on the card floated out, landing gently onto the stadium’s floor. (0/0) [x4]

    With a short yawn, Simon quickly switched to a grin. “Good luck getting past these guys. By the time you do I’ll have a new strategy ready to defeat you.”

    “I don’t need luck,” Adam sternly stated as he pulled a card off of his wrist. “I sacrifice my Fallen Koumori Dragon in order to Special Summon Fallen Summoned Skull from my Graveyard.”

    Suddenly, the dragon dematerialized, forming into an orb of bright blue light. It changed to a yellow-ish shade then sparked towards the ground. When the static ended, a zombie-like figure floated a few inches above it. On its head, two tremendous horns curled out and back facing its nose. It flexed its powerful chest, thrust out its demonic dark blue wings and roared aimlessly at the sky. (2500/1200)

    “Fallen Summoned Skull, attack one of his sheep. Lightning Strike!”

    The monster roared again, this time generating sparks from its horns, shooting them towards the sheep with an ear-piercing bang. It crashed onto the blue sheep, who had no time to react before it had been obliterated. Simon, trembling, managed to pull himself together.

    “I-It’s not like it matters! My Sheep Token was in Defense Position so I don’t take any damage.”

    “Not quite. When Fallen Summoned Skull destroys a Defense Position monster you take damage equal to the difference between its ATK and your monster’s DEF.”

    Simon gasped, staring at the meter on his Duel Disk until only a single digit remained.

    [Adam LP: (5600)] [Simon LP: (2200 --> 0)]

    “The winner the Adam Prince!”

    Uproar from the crowd answered the announcer’s enthusiastic statement. It went on for several minutes, almost as long as when Kaiba had entered, as they watched Adam step off the ring.

    “Next up is Match Five: Rachael Torap vs. Dave Litenur!”

    Josh turned to Dave and stuck out his hand. “Go get’em man.”

    Dave slapped his own hand on top before fighting his way through the audience. Obviously the duel had made him nervous for his match but he hid it well. Not like it mattered, this was a special occasion. Finally Josh would see him duel.


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…

    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …

    … Data Found:


    Fallen Summoned Skull
    ******
    [Dark]
    [Fiend/Effect]
    (2500/1200)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard by offering 1 monster on your side of the field as a Tribute. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Summoned Skull”. When this card attacks with an ATK that is higher than the DEF of a Defense Position monster, inflict the difference as Battle Damage to your opponent's Life Points.
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  7. #7
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    Chapter Four


    The crowd cheered as both duelists walked onto the stage. Dave took his position on the side opposite from his seat, so Josh had a direct view of him. His opponent was a girl dressed in a red and yellow plaid top and worn jeans. Both participants prepared their decks waiting for the announcer to signal the start of the duel.

    During this pause, Josh noticed that the previous victor, Adam, was approaching. Unlike last time he did not cross Josh to get to his seat but went the other way around, to his relief. He didn’t want anything interrupting his first live duel.

    “Begin!”

    With the announcer’s word both duelist stuck their left arms out, showing off the design of the Duel Disks. The two platforms on each side swung over their hand and slammed together, receding along the left side of the device. The panels illuminated once it clicked into place, and both players immediately pulled five cards from the top of their wrists.

    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Rachael LP: (8000)]

    “I’ll start this duel,” Rachael said in a south southern accent. She drew a card, then slapped a couple of them onto her Duel Disk. “I place one monster in face-down Defense Position and two face-down cards. That’s all for now.”

    Three holograms of the brown-backed cards appeared, two directly in front of her, the other slightly ahead of them. The only difference between this card from the others was that it was turned horizontally as opposed to vertically.

    Dave drew a card from his deck before saying, “This shouldn’t be too hard.” He threw a card of his own the slot closest to his hand. “I summon Obnoxious Celtic Guard in Attack Position.”

    A larger image of the card shone onto Dave’s side and a green-armored warrior dashed out, its purple cape trailing behind. It unsheathed its sword, gripping it tightly with both hands, readying for battle. (1400/1200)

    “Obnoxious Celtic Guard, attack her face-down monster!”

    The warrior charged forward with its sword poised. As it approached the face-down card, the hologram faded and was replaced by a pterosaur that held its wings close to its green, flame-covered body. (800/1500) Obnoxious Celtic Guard swiped its blade into the fire but the pterosaur blocked, causing sparks to fly out from the stalemate. After a moment, the pterosaur pushed the warrior away, knocking it back into the card image it had originally appeared from. [Dave LP: (8000 --> 7900)]

    “What just happened?” Dave asked, confused by his monster’s disappearance.

    “You attacked my Jurrac Ptera. When it’s attacked your monster is returned to your hand and it gains 100 DEF times your monster’s level.”

    Dave took the card off his Duel Disk, glancing at the number of stars on it. Four stars. (800/1500 --> 1900) He felt his confidence drop but tried unsuccessfully to hide it from the audience. Placing two cards into two empty slots, he signaled the end of his turn.

    Rachael pulled another card smirking to herself over her early lead. “I summon Black Veloci in Attack Position.” A snarling velociraptor raced next to Jurrac Ptera, flexing to show off its spiked spine as well the feathers that streamed along its arms. She began to speak again but was cut off by her opponent.

    “I activate my Counter Trap, Forced Back. This negates your monster’s summoning and returns it to your hand.”

    One of his two face-down cards rose up and a surge of air shoved the dinosaur violently, eventually causing it to be knocked off its feet. It tumbled until the hologram dematerialized, and Rachael added the card back to her hand.

    “Not bad.”

    In the sidelines, Josh had already stared typing in the words ‘Counter Trap’ into the Card Analyzer’s search engine. He learned there were three types of Trap Cards, so this had to be the third one.

    “Card Analyzer activated… Accessing Rule Database… Searching for: ‘Counter Trap’ … …. Data Found:

    Counter Trap Cards

    Counter Trap Cards are Trap Cards that usually are used to negate the activation of your opponent’s card effects. It is recommended to have at least one of these in a Deck, as it is necessary to guarantee that your opponent’s cards will be shut down, despite their one-time use. Most have a cost or a downside to using them because of the powerful effects they carry. Counter Traps are the fastest Trap Cards available, as they can only be countered by other Counter Traps.”

    Josh took this into consideration – he didn’t think he could actually stop his opponent’s move without any chance of failure.

    “So you’re a new duelist, huh?”

    Taken aback from this comment, Josh searched the seats adjacent to his own. All of the other spectators were entranced by the duel, except for one. The duelist named Adam. He seemed far more mysterious close up; a feeling of absolute certainty exuded from his shoulders that made Josh suddenly feel three feet shorter.

    “How’d you know that?”

    Adam brushed the single strand of red hair off his nose mixing it into his black thorn bush, only to let it fall back into place. “Your Card Analyzer still says ‘Input Name’ in the top corner.”

    Without hesitation Josh’s eyes darted to the top of the screen and saw the same words Adam had just mentioned. His face turned beet-red while his fingers scrambled to type in his name, then dropped the small computer onto his lap. Not only was this guy a good duelist, he was observant.

    “Uh, yea, I started dueling yesterday while my friend was doing the Elimination Round.”

    “Don’t worry about it, we all start somewhere.” He slid a card out of his pocket, handing it to Josh. “Here, take this card. Even new duelists are able to use this card effectively.”

    Josh paused for a moment. Not out of fear or confusion – although it did seem weird that a top-rank duelist would randomly give a newbie a card for no reason. It wouldn’t hurt to take it though, he seemed nice enough.

    Quietly accepting the offer, he took a moment to let the card’s details sink in. It depicted four hands, two on either side. Two of the hands held three cards while the others were outstretched and only held one each.

    He looked back to Adam and asked, “What does this card do?”

    “It’s called Exchange. When it’s activated both players pick one card in the other’s hand and they trade it until the end of the duel.” Adam crossed his legs. “If you have no other options this card can help you out of a bind. But don’t use it if you don’t want your opponent taking away a key card from you.”

    “Thanks.” Josh slipped the card into his deck and put his Card Analyzer into his sweatshirt pocket.

    “I’m guessing the guy up there is your friend?”

    They turned back to the stage to see Dave waiting for his opponent to make her next move. Josh nodded.

    “Yeah, this is the first time I’ve seen him duel, or anyone besides you really.”

    Adam stared at Dave, pondering. “He… has potential…”

    What the heck does that mean?... Josh wasn’t sure how to answer. Feeling uneasy again, he sunk back into his seat trying to focus on the game in front of him.

    Rachael shrugged. “Oh well, I’ll still be able to do some damage.” She selected a card from her hand, showing it to those across from her. “I activate Meteor of Destruction! Now you lose 1000 points!”

    A bright star shined near the ceiling of the arena. Seconds later a flaming meteorite streaked across the room hurtling towards the ground. Caught in its path, Dave braced himself. The meteorite crashed into him at full force, causing a wall of fire to splash from its impact. Once the dust cleared, Dave, now covered in it, grit his teeth and winced from pain. [Dave LP: (7900 --> 6900)]

    Recovering from the blast, he grasped onto his deck. “I’m not gonna go down if you keep hitting me with cards like that!” He threw a vanilla-colored card onto the contraption on his arm. “I summon Dark Blade in Attack mode.”

    Shadows encircled the center of the battle field, intertwining into a single shape. Once they finished forming, a figure in black armor slowly floated until its entire body could be seen. Several sharp spikes protruded from every other inch of its armor, with two smaller horned spikes on the top of its helmet. It reached behind its red cape, pulling out two blades that glistened in the light. (1800/1500)

    “Now I activate After the Struggle. When my turn ends all monsters that’ve been involved in a battle are destroyed automatically. So I’ll end my turn.”

    Jurrac Ptera growled from agony. On its wings a cut caused from the battle with Obnoxious Celtic Guard had been unveiled. Unable to handle pain it keeled over, smashing into tiny pieces as if it were made of glass.

    “Not like I needed it anyway,” Rachael said unflinchingly. “I discard Destroyersaurus from my hand to add Jurassic World from my deck to my hand.”

    She tossed it into the red slot above the Life Point meter, then pulled out her deck to search for the card mentioned. Once she found it, she shoved her deck back into her Duel Disk in order to continue.

    “First I’ll summon Black Veloci again in Attack Position.” The velociraptor appeared before the audience once again, this time it roared from pleasure knowing that it would be here to stay. (1800/300) “Then I’ll activate my face-down card Fossil Excavation. By discarding a card from my hand I can revive my Destroyersaurus from the Graveyard.” She did so and the projection of the mentioned card flew in view.

    Cracks began to form in the ground which spread at an incredible rate. As they became bigger the building started to shake uncontrollably, more violently as time passed. Once it came to the point where Josh was forced to hug the chair’s armrests, a tyrannosaurus rex emerged from the floor. Rubble fell off the axe-shaped blade that lived on its head, onto its red-striped black skin, and gathered in a pile at its feet. (1800/1100)

    So she has two monsters that have the same ATK as mine, Dave thought. What is she planning?

    “Finally I’ll activate Jurassic World.” A small compartment opened on the right side of the Duel Disk’s blue platform. She put the card into the slot presented to her, and it closed once she moved her hand away.

    For the second time the building shook, this time trees sprouted beside the stadium’s platform soaring towards the ceiling. As they rapidly grew higher, dirt drifted along the floor until the stage became a prehistoric jungle. A volcano loomed behind Rachael with puffs of smoke hovering over its peak.

    Dave looked around the room to see the audience bewildered by the scenery change. Even he was impressed, but he wouldn’t allow this to overtake his judgment. “What did you do?”

    “I decided to make things feel more like home.”

    He raised an eyebrow, “You live in a volcano?”

    Rachael scowled at him, “Not for me! For my dinosaurs! When they’re living in this jungle they each gain 300 ATK and DEF.”

    Dave brought his Duel Disk to his chest and pressed a button on the screen in between the Life Point meter and his deck. Apparently this device had another compartment where you could connect your Card Analyzer. On the screen he watched the number values of Rachael’s monsters rise, just as she said they would.

    [Black Voleci (1800 --> 2100/300 --> 600)]

    [Destroyersaurus (1800 --> 2100/1100 --> 1400)]

    “This isn’t good,” Josh whispered to himself, looking at the same information on his own Card Analyzer. When he looked at Dave again, he saw that he seemed indifferent. Was he prepared for this?

    “Now Black Veloci, attack his Dark Blade!”

    The velociraptor snarled before it dashed at its target. Dark Blade took a step back, poising its swords for a counterattack.

    “And,” Rachael continued as her monster charged, “When Black Veloci attacks a monster it gains 400 more ATK.” (2100 --> 2500/600)

    Dave stretched his arm out. “I activate A Hero Emerges. Now you have to select one card in my hand. If it’s a monster I can Special Summon it to the field.” He held up his left hand, showing three cards evenly separated so each one could be easily distinguished.

    Rachael examined the cards carefully. Not like it made a difference; she couldn’t tell which card was which. “I pick the middle one.”

    “Good choice,” he flipped it with his two fingers confirming that it was a monster. But not just any monster. “Welcome back, Obnoxious Celtic Guard!”

    The warrior jumped out from where the Trap Card once was, landing at Dark Blade’s side. (1400/1200)

    Rachael snickered. “So you waste your trap to summon a weaker monster? Fine with me. Change of plans, Black Veloci! Attack his Celtic Guard!”

    The dinosaur redirected its stride with an excited growl. Obnoxious Celtic Guard parried its sword as the dinosaur opened its mouth to bite. Chomping into the warrior’s blade it groaned, seemingly dissatisfied with the taste. With a single swing the warrior fended off its predator, which took its place back at its master’s side. Rachael’s chin dropped seeing her opponent’s monster survive.

    “Wh-what?! Why isn’t your monster destroyed!”

    “Because of its ability,” Dave said. “If it’s attacked by a monster with 1900 ATK or more it can’t be destroyed. But I still take damage from the attack.”

    [Dave LP: (6900 --> 5800)] [Rachael LP: (8000)]

    An expression of avidity passed over Rachael’s face and her lips formed into a wicked smile. “So, your monster can’t be destroyed but you still take battle damage…” She straightened her back and laughed. “You’ve just dug yourself an early grave – Destroyersaurus, attack Obnoxious Celtic Guard!”

    The T-Rex stormed towards Dave and his warriors, whipping its tail left and right as it trudged forward. When it came face to face with Obnoxious Celtic Guard, it tossed its head back, then thrust it down sending the axe attached with it. Obnoxious Celtic Guard managed to block with its sword in the nick of time, keeping the dinosaur’s blade steadily in place. It pushed upward, successfully propelling Destroyersaurus in the other direction, but the recoil of this blow sent the warrior to its knees. [Dave LP: (5800 --> 5100)]

    “Looks like your monster’s getting a little tired,” said Rachael in a cocky manner.

    Dave brushed this off. “I wouldn’t worry about that.” He showed her his most recent card. “I activate Black Luster Ritual. By offering Dark Blade and Obnoxious Celtic Guard, I can Ritual Summon Black Luster Soldier!”

    “Ritual Summon?” Josh turned to Adam puzzled, “What’s a Ritual Summon?”

    Adam cupped his hands and placed them on his crossed leg. He never took his eyes off the duel as he spoke. “It’s hard to explain quickly, look it up.”

    Somewhat hurt by this rejection Josh pulled out his Card Analyzer and typed in the subject of interest.

    “Card Analyzer activated… Accessing Rule Database… Searching for Rule Data: ‘Ritual Summon’ … … Data Found:

    Ritual Summon

    A Ritual Summon is a type of Special Summon that is used to summon blue Monster Cards known as Ritual Monsters. To summon a Ritual Monster, a player must activate an appropriate Ritual Spell Card and send monsters from the hand or field whose levels are equal to or higher than the Ritual Monster’s level. All Ritual Monsters have their own specific Ritual Spell Card that are used to summon them, but there are some Ritual Spell Cards that can be used in their place.”

    After reading this paragraph, Josh scratched his head and said, “There are way too many rules to this game…”

    “You get used to it.”

    Back on the field, two torches appeared on either side of Dave’s monsters. A blue symbol formed on the surface beneath them before shaping into something that resembled a shield with two blades crossed in front of it. Both of them took their blades, holding them parallel to their bodies with the tip of each near the noses. Flames from each torch engulfed them, leaving two pillars of blue fire slowly spreading until it covered the entire symbol’s area. A swift gust blew over the flame, extinguishing it instantly.

    Miraculously a warrior dressed in dark blue and golden armor stood in its place. Each hand held a weapon – in its left, a dark blue shield with a pattern that matched the symbol from the ceremony. In its right, a blade that curved forward, then back closer to its point. Three dark blue horns protruded from its helmet, one on each side and a third on the top. They branched up and out, hovering over the space behind its head. Its dark red ponytail also protruded from the back of its helmet, hanging just below the horns. The warrior brought the shield to its chest, sliced the air with its sword, aimlessly pointing it to the audience. (3000/2500)

    At that moment Josh’s ears perked up. This was the card Dave had said was most important to him. His signature card.

    “Black Luster Soldier, attack Black Veloci.” Dave shouted. The soldier followed its instructions, quickly running to the dinosaur planning to use the momentum to strike. “And,” Dave said while the crowd watched his monster race across the jungle, “When I checked the data on your cards I found out that when Black Veloci’s attacked, it loses 400 ATK.”

    Realizing that her plan had been foiled, she grunted from anger. (2100 --> 1700/600) When it came close to its target, Black Luster Soldier slashed with graceful accurate, causing the velociraptor’s body to split in two. A streak of rainbow colors burst out from inside, before it disintegrated into holographic data. Rachael nearly tripped over her heels thinking that the warrior would charge into her, only to find that it stopped moving just a few steps before a collision would have occurred. Either way, she felt as if she had been stabbed herself. [Rachael LP: (8000 --> 6700)]

    Dave was showered with applause as Black Luster Solider hopped back to its spot on the field. Josh joined the others – he knew Dave had something up his sleeve, and now finally things were going in his favor. The image of a face-down card appeared behind his soldier as the clapping died down.

    Rachael touched her hand to her heart, before putting the same hand onto her deck. “Good move but don’t think I’m done yet.” She took one card, holding it up so the crowd could see. “By sacrificing Destroyersaurus, I can Tribute Summon my Super-Ancient Dinobeast with only one tribute.”

    Destroyersaurus slowly disintegrated into dust, starting from its feet working its way up to its axe. When it disappeared completely, the outline of a new dinosaur shone. It smashed into place abruptly, causing a shockwave to boom throughout the building. No one could help but notice that its entire body was stone-gray with jagged edges at each corner. Its pasty yellow eyes glared at Black Luster Soldier as it lowered its triangle-shaped head, showing the tiny wings that barely reached past its back, and let out a fierce scream. (2700/1400)

    “And since we’re in Jurassic World, it gains 300 ATK and DEF.” (2700 --> 3000/1400 --> 1700)

    They’re evenly matched now, Josh thought. But since Dave didn’t react to this he assumed that he had a plan to destroy it. After all, he said the Blue Eyes White Dragon was also evenly matched against his soldier, so he must have a backup plan.

    “I’ll play one card face-down and end my turn.”

    He drew a card, playing another into the Spell/Trap Card slot without any hesitation. “I activate Black Luster Sword and equip it to Black Luster Soldier.”

    The green card appeared and from it a sword floated out to Black Luster Soldier. It grasped onto it tightly, abandoning its own sword, and climbed its hand up to the top of the black handle. Swiping it once, the silver blade sparkled as it cut through the air.

    “When my sword’s activated, five Black Luster Counters are placed on it, and for every counter attached Black Luster Soldier gains 200 ATK.”

    A purple-ish blue glow emitted from several gems encrusted in the sword’s handle. Its owner looked down to it, accepting the power it had been given. (3000 --> 4000/2500)

    “Black Luster Soldier cut her Dinobeast to shreds.”

    With blade in hand, the warrior dashed at the stiff dinosaur. It fought back by shooting a beam of energy at its opponent, but Black Luster Soldier blocked with its sword. With a strong thrust, the beam reflected back to the Dinobeast, piercing straight through its hardened skin. Being momentarily paralyzed from shock, it uttered a weak cry then collapsed into the rocks it was made out of. [Rachael LP: (6700 --> 5700)]

    Rachael, refusing to accept defeat, flipped one of the cards she had out on the field. “I activate my face-down card, Seismic Shockwave!”

    Tremors rattled the stage floor, knocking Dave onto one knee. He planted his hands against the fabricated dirt in an attempt to stand. But any time he tried, he was immediately lurched forward. Meanwhile Rachael, seemingly impervious to the earthquake, entered some data into her Card Analyzer’s touch screen as the tremors became more violent.

    Soon Dave found himself rocking from side to side, nearly being thrown by the intensity. Thunderclaps were heard and the vibrations abruptly ceased. Dave staggered back to his feet, nodding his head to rid himself of any dizziness that the tremors had caused. He looked to his monster, who was unaffected by them. But something was wrong. To the left of his face-down card, three rectangular craters had appeared that were probably the result of the earthquake.

    “What… what did you do?”

    “It’s because of the effect of Seismic Shockwave,” Rachael pointed to her Trap Card, noting its presence. “For three turns three of your Spell and Trap Card Zones can’t be used, and since you already have two other cards out you’re restricted only to your Sword and your face-down card.”

    Dave examined the craters, then at his face-down card before returning his gaze to monster.

    They’re all I need…

    “And after those three turns are up I can take one Dinosaur monster in my Graveyard and add it to my hand.”

    This reminded Dave of his own hand. It was nonexistent. He had used all of his resources to summon his Black Luster Soldier. If anything went wrong now he would have a hard time recovering. He took his bare hands, eyed their filth and clutched them into fists.

    “Your move,” he said. From the silence he could tell that the audience realized his problem as well.

    “Alright.” She drew, now holding two cards. For a second this relived Dave because even though he had no cards in his hand, he still had advantage over the field. This thought vanished with the activation of Rachael’s other face-down card.

    “I activate the Trap Card, Sixth Sense. Now you roll a die and I select two numbers. If the result is either of the selected numbers then I draw that many draws. But if it’s a different number then I have to send that many cards to the Graveyard from the top of my deck.”

    This wasn’t good – there was a one out of three chance that she would get hand advantage over him. And if that happened she would surely find a way to overpower his soldier. But thankfully the odds were in his favor.

    “I pick five and six.” On cue a blue cube dropped from the ceiling. It rolled down the middle of the arena, passing the two players as it went. It stopped near the edge of the stage landing with a thud. On its surface were five even spaced dots.

    Dave quietly cursed at himself. Rachael fanned the cards in front of her face to taunt him.

    “Now let’s see. What to pick what to pick…” Pretending to look over her hand, she cocked her wrist. Gently slipping a card out with her fingers Rachael made her choice. “I Special Summon Gilasaurus in Defense Position with its effect.”

    A brown dinosaur flashed into view, bringing its long arms to the floor. It dug its claws into the ground in anticipation of a future battle. (1400 --> 1700/400 --> 700)

    “And since it was Special Summon by its own effect, you can Special Summon a monster from your Graveyard.”

    This perplexed Dave. Why would she allow him to have another monster that could easily take down her dinosaur? Something wasn’t right. He punched in the command into his Card Analyzer and an orange card ejected from the Duel Disk’s red container. “I summon Obnoxious Celtic Guard.”

    The warrior leaped out from the crater closest to Dave. Both it and Black Luster Soldier readied themselves for what everyone knew was about to happen. (1400/1200)

    “That thing again? Well it doesn’t matter.” She took another card throwing it into place. “I activate the Spell Card, Big Evolution Pill. By sacrificing Gilasaurus I’m able to Normal Summon Dinosaur-type monsters without needing to offer any tributes!”

    A pill materialized at Gilasaurus’s feet, who promptly slurped it into its mouth. It choked comedically, then started to glow until it was consumed by the dark green light. The aura grew, spreading across Rachael’s entire side of the stadium. Eager to make her next move, Rachael shouted.

    “Now that the stage is set I can summon Ultimate Tyranno, and because of Jurassic World it gets even stronger!”

    The tremors began again, this time cracks encircled the center of the field until a new, larger crater was formed. A dragonic dinosaur rose up with a fierce, beastly howl that sent boulders zooming across the room (which passed through the audience since they were only projections). It remained in its crater until the dust faded, then stepped out with a boastful stride. (3000 --> 3300/2200 --> 2500)

    “Isn’t he beautiful?” Rachael said, admiring the dinosaur’s height. Its head nearly hit the roof and, because of the shape of the building, only had enough room to keep it in that one spot. “And it gets even better. Because of its effect, it can and must attack all your monsters whenever I enter my Battle Phase.”

    But my Black Luster Soldier is stronger than it. It’ll just destroy itself. He glanced at his monsters, then his face-down card, then the craters on the field. It doesn’t make sense…

    “I think it's Battle Phase time. Attack his Obnoxious Celtic Guard!”

    The dinosaur, unable to walk anywhere else without banging its head, lunged its torso at Obnoxious Celtic Guard. It opened its mouth, ready to devour the warrior in one gulp.

    Obnoxious Celtic Guard felt the tremendous dinosaur’s disgusting breath on its face as it drew close. With expert timing it lodged its sword in between the T-Rex’s teeth, leaving it immobilized. Seeing this was getting it nowhere, Ultimate Tyranno gave up and let go.

    “Oh that’s right, your Obnoxious Guard can’t be destroyed ‘cause my monster’s too strong, at least you still take damage.”

    Dave looked to his Life Points meter, watching the numbers drop significantly. [Dave LP: (5100 --> 3200)] This didn’t bother him because in the next attack he knew it would be destroyed.

    The dinosaur brought its head back upright, roared again, then aimed its gaze at Black Luster Soldier.

    “Don’t think I forgot about your sword card,” she said, showing a green bordered card. “I plan to get rid of it with the Quickplay Spell Card, Dino Stomp. When my Ultimate Tyranno starts to attack, this card allows me to destroy one Spell or Trap Card on your field.”

    Ultimate Tyranno slammed its foot into the ground, sending a shockwave throughout the building. The blast caused Black Luster Soldier to release its grip from the Black Luster Sword, which hit the ground shattering into thousands of tiny fragments. (4000 --> 3000/2500) Without its weapon, the warrior was defenseless against the dinosaur’s assault. The unarmed soldier stared into Ultimate Tyranno’s throat awaiting its fate.

    Just as Black Luster Soldier was about to become the dinosaur’s next meal, Obnoxious Celtic Guard came to its aid. Stopping Ultimate Tyranno’s attack with the same method it had used before, the massive creature snorted from surprise. When the warrior knew it was in a stable position, it glanced over its shoulder back at its partner and gave an assuring nod.

    “What?!” Rachael shook her in disbelief. “I ordered you to attack Black Luster Soldier not Obnoxious Celtic Guard! What gives!”

    “It’s because I activated my Trap Card,” Dave said. It had gone unnoticed by most because of the dinosaur’s volume. “When I have two monsters on my side of the field and one of them is attacked, I can use Covering Fire to combine their ATK power until the end of the battle.”

    Black Luster Soldier took this opportunity to unsheathe its original blade, and pounced high into the air over the dinosaur’s head. It struggled to escape its death, but since Celtic Guard’s sword was stuck in its teeth, it was unable to move in time. Black Luster Soldier used the speed from its fall to increase the lethality of its strike. With their combined efforts, Ultimate Tyranno was powerless. (3000 --> 4400/2500)

    Piercing straight through its head, Black Luster Soldier landed on top of its partner’s sword, dislodging it from the monster’s jaw. The two dashed away from Ultimate Tyranno as it collapsed onto the ground, turning into dust upon crashing. With their task completed the two shook hands and took their stance waiting for their next command.

    [Dave LP: (3200)] [Rachael LP: (5700 --> 4600)]

    “I don’t believe it.” Rachael stared at the ground where her king dinosaur once stood. Her eyes trailed back until they reached her feet. She brought her hand into view but dissatisfaction set in. She threw her arm to her side then said, “Your turn.”

    All the tension that had built up during this duel disappeared with Dave’s final draw. He took the single card in his hand, flipped it with his thumb and at that moment Rachael knew it was over.

    “I activate The Warrior Returning Alive, this allows me to take one Warrior monster in my Graveyard and add it to my hand.” He tossed the card into the Graveyard slot and in exchange it spat out his Dark Blade card. “Return to my side, Dark Blade!”

    Like Obnoxious Celtic Guard, it leaped out from the crater in front of its master, landing in between the two comrades it had left behind. They brought their swords together that shone against the lights overhead.

    “Obnoxious Celtic Guard, Dark Blade, Black Luster Soldier, attack her directly!”

    The three warriors withdrew their swords from the others and charged side-by-side at their target. Then, in unison, they swiped theirs swords at Rachael, leaving a mark that formed a perfect triangle. She fell backwards and slammed her hindquarters against a tree, which dematerialized along with the rest of the illusions created for the game. Dave had won.

    [Dave LP: (3200)] [Rachael LP: (4600 --> --> --> 0)]

    Cheers from the crowd started up again and commenced until Dave had left the stage. Josh joined in, enthusiastically clapping along with the rest of them. He laughed from joy, and went to express his happiness to Adam. But he was unable to do so. When turned around Adam was gone.


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:

    Black Luster Sword
    [Spell/Equip]
    This card can only be equipped to a monster with “Black Luster” in its name. When this card is activated, place 5 Black Luster Counters on this card (max. 10). For every Black Luster Counter on this card, increase the equipped monster’s ATK by 200 points. If the monster equipped is targeted by a monster’s attack, remove 1 Black Luster Counter from this card to negate it. If there are no more Black Luster Counters on this card, destroy it.
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  8. #8
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    Chapter Five


    “Let Round Two begin! First up is Dave Litenur vs. Lucas Coffing!”

    Dave, already prepared for the duel, waited patiently for his next opponent to arrive. The announcer also waited, looking to his watch every so often to make sure that Lucas made the deadline. Just as he was about to disqualify him, another teenage boy dressed in dark clothes ran onto the stage.

    “Sorry I’m late. The lines were backed up.”

    He whipped out his Card Analyzer, shoved it into his Duel Disk, automatically activating its platforms. The two combined into a single unit and lights came to life on its surface. On the other end, Dave’s did the same. They both collected five cards in their left hands, then simultaneously shouted “Duel,” sending the crowd into a frenzy.

    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Lucas LP: (8000)]

    “I’ll start,” Dave said. Even with the new addition to his hand he found that he didn’t have many options. Luckily he had a stall tactic in mind. “I summon Black Luster Guard in Defense Mode.”

    The card’s projection appeared horizontally on the ground in front of him. Lights spiraled from the square depicted on it, creating a hurricane of twinkling energy. When it faded an army soldier sat on the card, holding a long rectangular shield that hid the rest of its body from view. Only those on Dave’s side of the arena could see that the soldier was wearing black and gold armor. On its helmet a pattern matching the shield’s design rested on its forehead. (200/1800)

    “When Black Luster Guard is summoned, four Black Luster Counters are automatically placed on it.”

    The shield’s gems, each positioned so that they marked the corners of a perfect square, began to glow a golden yellow. Although nothing else about the shield had changed, the extra golden color seemed to enhance its defensive capabilities.

    “I activate my Black Luster Guard’s effect,” Dave slid his finger along his Card Analyzer’s screen, then pointed at his monster to continue his explanation. “By removing a Black Luster Counter from it, I can Special Summon a Black Luster Guard Token. And I’ll do this four times.”

    The shield’s light separated from each gem, which flew to either side of the guard. The lights hovered over the ground for several beats, then exploded in a contained area. The lights took on physical shape, eventually creating four replicas of the original Black Luster Guard. (200/1800) [x4]

    “With that I’ll end my turn.”

    Lucas drew, placing his new card with the others. “So you have a defense system in place already? Good move.” He contemplated a bit before starting his turn. “Come on out, Noble Sage – Hex!”

    A hooded sorcerer teleported onto the field in a puff of smoke, gently floating towards the ground with its blue robes hanging slightly over its feet. It landed, crossing its arms, allowing its sleeves to wrinkle in the process. (1600/1300)

    “Since he’s not strong enough to destroy your guards, I’ll give him the Book of Secret Arts to give him a boost.”

    The Spell Card gleamed next to Lucas, sending a green book flying into the sorcerer’s hands. It opened the book to a page bookmarked with a quill, read it over, and used its newfound knowledge to increase its strength. (1600 --> 1900/1300 --> 1600)

    “Now get rid of his Black Luster Guard,” he shouted, directing the attack at the original monster. In response the book emitted a green glow, which replicated in the spellcaster’s opposite hand. It extended its arm, releasing the energy, sending it across the arena. Black Luster Guard prepared its shield. The light from the blast gleamed off from its visor as it drew close. Unfortunately, the guard’s defenses were not strong enough and it shattered into bits of data.

    Dave gritted his teeth, looking back to his hand. I can’t wait for too long.

    “Now I set two face-down cards and end my turn.” The holograms appeared as instructed. Hex brought its hand back to its side.

    “My draw.” Dave pulled a card, only to see it was a Spell Card, to his dismay. He glanced over his hand once again, determining what would be the best course of action. Within three turns he could easily break through my defenses. I gotta make a move before that happens. He figured he could bluff a card, and set a useless Trap Card face-down before gesturing his turn’s end.

    “Alright, I’ll summon Noble Sage – Nelit in Attack mode.” Another robed sorcerer teleported into existence. Unlike Hex, Nelit’s robes were green and its dark brown beard could be seen, protruding into a point near its chest. (1500/1200)

    “Next I’ll activate Shield Crush, which allows me to destroy one Defense Position monster you control.”

    The green bordered card reappeared to Lucas’s left in an instant and a bright blue energy sphere formed where the picture should have been. Once it finished charging, it burst out of the card, ramming into one of the Black Luster Guards’ shield. The blast ceased, revealing that it created several cracks in the warrior’s weapon, breaking it into fragments, followed by the destruction of the warrior itself.

    “Now Hex, take out a third Guard!”

    As ordered the sorcerer extended its arm again, shooting the green energy beam created by the spell from its book. Another Black Luster Guard Token had been obliterated, kicking up dust from where it once stood.

    With three of his guards gone, only two remained. Dave looked pass the sorcerers, beyond his opponent, and gazed into the stands where he could see his seat. He saw the duelist, Adam, sitting in the seat next to his, but the two nearby were empty.

    Where’s Josh?


    ~*~*~*~


    Exiting from the men’s room, Josh returned into the packed vestibule of the main room. He made his way through the crowd, consciously avoiding the long lines of people that stood waiting for their turn.

    I’m glad I got out of there alive. He looked back to the men’s room as he walked past the cafeteria doors. The line stretched from the doorway, wrapping around the curved walls of the circular building, leaving only a few gaps for people to walk in and out of the arena’s halls. This place is a mad house.


    Just as he turned to head back to the arena, a group of people dressed in blue uniforms cut him off, one of them bumping into him with a thud.

    Oww…

    “Sorry kid.” The man stepped back. Once Josh saw his cap and the badge pinned onto his shirt he realized that he was a cop. “Didn’t mean to run you over.”

    “It’s no problem,” Josh said respectfully. If there’s no one else in the world he felt he could trust it was the police. Although his friends in high school had always spoken badly about them, they had an air of authority that made him feel safe. And rightfully so.

    One of the officers up ahead called back at them. “Nathan, hurry up. We need to find that deck!” They watched the officer run again, then the man faced Josh.

    “If you’ll excuse me.” He tipped his hat in goodbye, and followed the others through the cluster of people.

    Josh walked back down his original path, wondering why the police were here. Well, the place is crowded, so maybe it was just a security measure in case of a fire. But they said something about a deck… Maybe someone in the tournament lost their deck. That would make sense. In a building like this, things could easily go missing. Settled with this thought, Josh rushed down the hallway leading into the arena. He just hoped he didn’t miss anything while he was gone.


    ~*~*~*~


    Back on stage, Dave drew another card, angered by poor luck streak. If this continued his dream of dueling Kaiba would go down the drain. He couldn’t let that happen. But at the moment all he could do was wait.

    “Really? Skipping a turn on me? I guess this will be easily than I thought it would,” Lucas joked. The comment stung Dave but he let it off with a grunt. “Hex, take care of another guard.”

    Hex did as it was told. This time, it used its powers to lift one of the guards into the air, only to smash it against the floor. Pieces of the guard’s armor and shield flung up from the collision, and the warrior was no more.

    “Your go.”

    At that moment Josh returned to the stands. He saw Dave’s monster being attacked upon entry and saw its destruction by the time he had reached his seat, where he had asked Adam what he missed.

    “Nothing really,” he said, flicking a speck dirt off his worn jeans, “I just got back here myself, but it seems like your friend’s being waiting for you.”

    “What do you mean?” Josh asked, sitting.

    “He summoned a monster on his first turn and used its effect to stall. Other than that, all he’s done is watch his monsters get man-handled and occasionally stare in this direction.” At that moment Dave did exactly that. Josh looked to Adam, who was examining Lucas’s spellcasters, then sent his gaze Dave’s way. Dave answered with a subtle twitch of his hand, bringing it to his Duel Disk.

    “Alright,” Dave began, “now I’ll take you on.” The notion confused Lucas slightly, but no one else other than him and Josh seemed to acknowledge this statement. “I summon Black Luster Warrior.”

    A young warrior appeared on the stage, its armor strikingly similar to Black Luster Soldier’s. The difference was mostly in its helmet, since it only had one spike that swung back instead of three branching spikes. Unlike Black Luster Soldier, this monster did not wield a shield and its hair was covered. It grinned at its opponents, anxiously holding its sword with both hands. (1600/1000)

    “Finally, a challenge,” Lucas remarked. “Too bad it’s not strong enough.”

    “Not alone it’s not. I activate The A. Forces.” The Spell Card flashed into sight, depicting several warrior-like monsters standing belligerently in front of a wavy force field, as if they were waiting for something on the other side.

    “Card Analyzer activated,” Lucas’s Card Analyzer recited with a press of a button, “Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data: ‘The Allied Forces’ … … Data Found:

    The A. Forces
    [Spell/Continuous]
    For every face-up Warrior-Type and Spellcaster-Type monster on your side of the field, increase the ATK of all Warrior-Type monsters on your side of the field by 200 points.”

    He pressed another button which brought up a new screen, showing the stat changes.

    [Black Luster Warrior (1600 --> 2000/1000)]
    [Black Luster Guard Token (200 --> 600/1800)]

    “Black Luster Warrior, attack his Noble Sage – Nelit!”

    Eagerly, the warrior dashed at the target monster in a grateful stride.

    “Not so fast!” Lucas called. “I activate Hex’s effect. Once per turn I can select one face-down Spell or Trap card you control and activate it as if it was my own!”

    What?! Dave watched in amazement as his face-down card rose up against his will.

    Just as Black Luster Warrior was about to cross the half-way mark, a line of security officers appeared to block its path. They took their clubs and fended the warrior off, and when they were through, they turned to the Noble Sages who knelt down voluntary. Once they saw that Black Luster Warrior was doing the same, they walked back into the card, which dematerialized immediately.

    “Looks like that card was No Entry!!, so now all monsters on the field are switched to Defense Position.”

    “I know how the card works,” Dave grumbled, tossing it into the Graveyard’s slot.

    “If the card couldn’t be activated at the time I would’ve taken damage. I guess I lucked out.” He laughed, noticeably angering Dave, who continued his turn.

    “I set a card and end.” Impressive, I gotta be more careful.

    “Alright, I summon Noble Sage – Krytra.” A third robed figured warped in between in other two. This sorcerer’s robes were red, matching the lipstick on its feminine face. (1700/1400) Lucas moved his cards on his Duel Disk, and the kneeling sages stood up changing to Attack Position. “Hex, finish off that last guard!”

    Using its magical abilities it lifted the final guard into the air, who squirmed around trying to break out of Hex’s force. Before it could realize that it was no use, Hex slammed it against the floor, just as it did to the others.

    Because Dave had less Warrior-type monsters on the field, his other warrior would lose ATK. Not that it mattered, it was going to be destroyed regardless.

    [Black Luster Warrior (2000 --> 1800/1000)]

    “Nelit, it’s your turn!” On command Nelit gathered green energy on its hands as it circled them in front of him. Once his hands crosses paths, an X-shaped beam flew at Black Luster Warrior, slicing it into four perfect pieces before it was reduced to data.

    Dave subconsciously brought his arms closer to his chest. The next attack was for him.

    “Now Noble Sage – Krytra, attack him directly!”

    The newest spellcaster clapped its hands together, closing its eyes as if it were praying. After a moment of silence it pointed both of its index and middle fingers at Dave, and a streak of bright red light shot at him. Dave took the hit, sliding back until he reached the end of the stage. Thinking he would fall over, he leaned forward just as the assault ended. He grimaced, slowly trudging back to the duel.

    [Dave LP: (8000 --> 6300)] [Lucas LP: (8000)]

    I better take out at least one of his sages before I make any big moves.

    He looked to his newly drawn card, which depicted an orange beam of energy bending around a mirror-like sphere, deflecting it back where it came from. I could attack then set Mirror Force to get rid of Noble Sage – Hex. He glanced up at the blue robed sage, remembering its special ability. I have to attack first so he doesn’t use it against me. Pulling a monster card out, he placed it onto his Duel Disk, causing it to flash in response.

    “I summon Obnoxious Celtic Guard.” The green-armored warrior from Dave’s last duel returned to the stage, parrying its sword to intimidate its foes. (1400/1200) “And since it’s a Warrior-type monster, it benefits from The A. Forces’s boost.”

    The energy depicted on The A. Forces’s card circled the Celtic Guard until it was covered in a wavy aura. (1400 --> 1600/1200)

    “Obnoxious Celtic Guard, get Nelit out of my sight!”

    Obnoxious Celtic Guard drew its sword close to its body, dashing forward as it let out a battle cry. On the other side, Nelit grinned to itself and looked over to Krytra. It nodded in comprehension, bringing its right hand just above its chest. After mumbling a few words, a sudden burst of spiritual energy enveloped the warrior, momentarily freezing it in place, discoloring its features to a depressing shade of gray.

    “Oh,” Lucas began cockily. “Did I mention that Krytra’s effect allows me to pick the attack target once a turn?”

    Dave gasped angrily as he watched his warrior’s body shift direction, angled so that it was facing Hex instead. Once it was positioned precisely, Krytra released the Celtic Guard from its spell, allowing it to resume its attack.

    Obnoxious Celtic Guard rushed at Hex and swung its blade, only to realize it hit the wrong target. At the last second, Hex caught with the blade with an energy-charged hand, successfully blocking the strike. It pushed the blade out of the way to prepare its counterattack. Using the momentum from Hex’s push, Obnoxious Celtic Guard spun around as Hex fired another energy beam. With expert timing the warrior whipped its sword in front of its face, deflecting the energy beam at the ceiling causing the move to fail. Before Hex could attack again, Obnoxious Celtic Guard ran back to Dave to regroup. [(Dave LP: 6300 --> 6000)]

    “Since Hex has 1900 ATK, my warrior can’t be destroyed in a battle against it,” Dave stated firmly. He knew that the damage from the attack wasn’t that severe, but if the attack went to Krytra instead he would have been without a monster next turn. He was getting sloppy and Lucas knew it. He quietly set down the Mirror Force trap and motioned to Lucas to continue the duel.

    Once Lucas added the newly drawn card to his hand, he snickered to himself in amusement.

    “This just got good. Time for a fourth Noble Sage. I summon Noble Sage – Arur in Attack Mode.” Another feminine sage teleported beside the others; this one wore bright yellow robes. It brushed its long, brown hair away from its eyes and formed an energy sphere in the same hand immediately after fixing its appearance. (1400/1600)

    “I’m really getting tired of these Noble Sages,” Dave muttered under his breath, but Lucas still understood what his grunts meant.

    “Hey Adam,” Josh asked, snapping Adam’s attention away from the duel. “I just thought of something. Why does this guy keep using Noble Sage cards?”

    Adam drummed his fingers against his armrest as he spoke. “Most people tend to prefer certain cards over others. Sometimes they prefer a specific series of cards, like my Fallen cards and this guy’s Noble Sages. Others build a deck around a specific type like Spellcasters, Warriors and Dragons.”

    “Oh, so it’s like how that girl Dave dueled only used Dinosaur-like cards.”

    “Right. But a series of cards usually relate to each other in some way. So these cards are all Spellcasters with ‘Noble Sage’ in each of their names. People tend to build their deck revolving around a certain theme,” he nodded his head at Dave. “Your friend seems to favor Black Luster cards judging from his play-style. They’re all warriors that focus on securing dominance on the field. Meanwhile his opponent is using Noble Sages, which focus on using the opponent’s resources against them.”

    So that’s why Dave is struggling so much, using your opponent’s cards must take a lot of skill. He focused on Dave, saw his discouragement in his stance, but was soon distracted by another thought. Adam seems to know a lot about different cards.

    “Hey Adam.”

    Adam turned his head, making eye contact with Josh. “Yeah?”

    “I gotta ask, how do you know so much about this game?”

    Adam looked back to stage, watching Lucas type a command into his Card Analyzer. “Just practice. And watching others play. It’s easier to read into your opponent’s strategy if you’re not facing them in a duel.”

    Josh took note of this. I should warn Dave about that.

    “So what’s your favorite kind of card so far?”

    The question surprised Josh, since he thought the conversation had already ended. “I dunno. I kinda like cards that Special Summon. I dunno about the specific type of cards yet.”

    “Special Summons huh?” A microscopic smile formed above Adam’s chin. “That’s what my cards revolve around. Fallen monsters are mostly Warriors, but my favorite ones are Dragons. You don’t have to restrict yourself to one type of monster either, just use whatever cards work for you.”

    “Thanks.”

    Adam nodded and the two returned their attention to the duel.

    Lucas punched the final button into his Card Analyzer, ready to make his move. “I activate Nelit’s effect. By paying 500 Life Points I can look at one of your face-down cards.” [(Lucas LP: 8000 --> 7500)] “Now let’s see what we have here.”

    Nelit raised its arms straight out, the energy surrounding its hands extending until it reached Dave’s face-down card. The green energy twinkled along the card’s perimeter for a few seconds before the card was revealed to be Mirror Force. Again, Dave silently kicked himself for not checking his opponent’s cards before choosing his strategies.

    “Mirror Force, is it?” Lucas seemed unfazed by the card’s disclosure. He picked out a new card, throwing it into a random slot on his Duel Disk. “I activate Magicians Unite. Since I have more than one Spellcaster-type monster on the field, I can increase one of their ATK to 3000 until the end of the turn.” He pointed to the designated monster. “And I choose Nelit for this effect.”

    The team of sages began to chant in unison, gathering energy in between each of their palms. Nelit stepped forward, holding its hands farther apart. The other three sages gently pushed their energy at Nelit’s own energy sphere, allowing them to merge into a swirling rainbow of power. (1500 --> 3000/1200)

    “The only drawback is that my other monsters can’t attack this turn.”

    Murmurs among the crowd started to spread. Dave could guess their thoughts. He’s still going to attack? Confirming everyone’s guesses, Lucas pointed a finger at Dave’s monster.

    “Now Nelit, attack his Obnoxious Celtic Guard!”

    Nelit extended its arms, releasing the energy in a large beam of spiraling colors. Calmly, as the beam drew close, Dave flipped over his already revealed Trap Card.

    “I activate Mirror Force. Since you declared an attack, all your Attack Position monsters are automatically destroyed.”

    A glimmer of light flashed over an invisible barrier surrounding Dave and his monster, exposing the trap’s presence. Lucas smirked as he pulled out a card from his Duel Disk, presenting it to everyone.

    “I activate the Counter Trap, Glass Shatter,” he tossed it back into its original slot, allowing its hologram version to rise. A strange, swift force pushed the energy beam, causing it to accelerate faster than when Nelit had unleashed it. “When you activate a Trap Card that activates in response to an attack, I can negate its effect and any damage you would receive from the battle is doubled!”

    The beam smashed through his barrier, sending jagged shards of glass flying around the room. Dave couldn’t hold back his consternation. Without missing a beat, the beam plowed into Obnoxious Celtic Guard, who had little time to prepare for the attack. It blocked with its sword but the force of the beam deluged it, sending it skidding backwards until it collided with Dave. They both slid until they reached the end of the stage, where they grunted from the unexpected strength of the blow.

    With the end of its attack, Nelit brought its hands back against his chest, the combined power of those behind it still swirling at his fingertips. Obnoxious Celtic Guard slowly walked back to its spot on the stage, but Dave stayed in place. He was clearly shaken up. His eyes immediately found the number on his Duel Disk, glaring at it.

    [Dave LP: (6000 --> 3200)] [Lucas LP: (7500)]

    Before Dave could make a move, Lucas flipped over another card, and its hologram did the same. “And since Nelit is a Spellcaster monster, the Trap Card Enlightenment allows it to attack again!”

    What!?

    The rainbow energy spiraled rapidly in Nelit’s hands, doubling in size within seconds. It promptly unleashed the beam, shooting it straight ahead. Dave was the first to react – he dove to the side, slamming against the floor. Obnoxious Celtic Guard, unaware of the second attack, got hit full force in the chest. The blast pushed the warrior until it fell onto its back. Dave glanced over his shoulder at his monster. If he had stayed in place he would have surely been knocked off the platform.

    Dave and the green-armored warrior stood up weakly, trying to steady themselves before returning to the game. Lucas chuckled cockily.

    “One turn left then this game is mine!”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:

    Black Luster Guard
    **
    [Earth]
    [Warrior/Effect]
    (200/1800)
    When this card is summoned or flipped face-up, place 4 Black Luster Counters on this card (max.4). By removing 1 Black Luster Counter from this card, you can Special Summon 1 “Black Luster Guard Token” (Earth; Warrior; (200/1800); **) to the field in Defense Position. These tokens can only be used for a Tribute summon, Fusion summon, Ritual Summon or Synchro Summon for a "Black Luster" monster.


    Noble Sage – Hex
    ****
    [Wind]
    [Spellcaster/Effect]
    (1600/1300)
    Once during either player’s turn, you can activate 1 Set Spell or Trap card on your opponent’s side of the field as if it were your own. If it is a Continuous Spell or Continuous Trap card then its effect returns to your opponent the turn this effect is activated. If the Spell/Trap card cannot be activated at this time, Set it face-down and you take 500 damage.
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  9. #9
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    Chapter Six


    [Dave LP: (3200 --> 1800)] [Lucas LP: (7500)]

    Dave knew the damage he had taken this round was significant, but failed to realize how many Life Points he had lost until he looked at the damage calculator on his Card Analyzer. Lucas was right. If he made any more mistakes this would be it.

    You got this Dave, Josh thought. He could tell that last blow had embarrassed Dave. Even in a game like this, how often do you get knocked onto the floor?

    With another card, the duelist scanned his hand with new determination. No more messing around. He slapped a card onto his Duel Disk with a defiant swing of his arm.

    “I summon Marauding Captain in Attack mode!”

    A blond warrior marched out carrying two long swords, one in each hand. Its silver cape rested elegantly against its teal armor as it crossed its swords together, showing pride in them. (1200/400)

    Hey, I have a card like that.

    Josh brought his deck out of its container, being careful not to drop any of his cards. If he lost any here, he’d probably never see them again. He searched through it until he found the most recently summoned monster. It was a common card, since it didn’t having any shiny lettering or holographic picture, but if Dave was using it then it must be good.

    “When it’s Normal Summoned its effect activates, allowing me to Special Summon a Level 4 or lower warrior from my hand.” He flashed the intended monster. “I’ll use Black Luster Knight!”

    Another black-armored warrior appeared from its card’s borders. This one bared a strong resemblance to Black Luster Soldier; however, the design of its armor consisted of golden streaks around the edges of each piece. A single golden horn protruded just above its forehead, curving around until it was inches from the back of the warrior’s neck. A black cape flowed down below its helmet, consuming its entire back in a veil of darkness. (1400/1200)

    “And when my Black Luster Knight is summoned, it gains two Black Luster Counters.”

    Two of the five streaks illuminated brightly on the edges of its gauntlets as the warrior unsheathed its sword. The crowd stared in awe at the warrior, watching it majestically swaying it out in a single motion. Lucas noticed their awe, but refused to acknowledge it. Dave directed everyone’s attention to the Spell Card hovering a few feet away from him using his free hand.

    “And since I have two more warriors, my A. Forces card increases all of my monster’s ATK power. But I’m not done yet!”

    [Obnoxious Celtic Guard (1600 --> 2000/1200)]
    [Marauding Captain (1200 --> 1800/400)]
    [Black Luster Knight (1400 --> 2000/1200)]

    Dave slipped another card into his Duel Disk. The crowd watched eagerly awaiting for his move to reach its peak.

    “Next up is the Equip Spell, Sworn into the Army and I’ll attach it to Obnoxious Celtic Guard.”

    Miraculously, a small medal appeared just under Obnoxious Celtic Guard’s left shoulder. It glistened from the arena’s lighting, causing the tiny metallic circle to glare.

    “A monster equipped with Sworn into the Army is treated as if it were Black Luster Soldier,” Dave stated confidently. To Josh he seemed to become suddenly impatient with himself since Dave immediately began his next move without any hesitation.

    “Now I activate Black Luster Knight’s effect. By removing a Black Luster Counter from it I can increase the ATK of all my ‘Black Luster’ monsters by 200 points each. And since my Obnoxious Celtic Guard is treated as Black Luster Soldier, it reaps the benefits as well.”

    The light faded from one of the streaks on the warrior’s gauntlet, only to remerge in the form of an aura that surrounded both it and Obnoxious Celtic Guard. The aura vanished as quickly as it came, but the support it gave remained.

    [Obnoxious Celtic Guard (2000 --> 2200/1200)]
    [Black Luster Knight (2000 --> 2200/1200)]

    “Black Luster Knight, destroy Noble Sage – Hex with Sword Penetration!”

    Black Luster Knight gripped its blade tightly as it ran toward Hex, bringing its arm back, taking aim with its sword. It yelled to intimidate its foe but the sage wasn’t fazed by the battle cry. Just before the knight was about to impale Hex, its body froze and the golden color on its armor turned gray. Hex calmly stepped aside, leaving the statue of a warrior on center stage.

    “Did you forget already?” Lucas cocked his head at the red-robed spellcaster, who was chanting silently. “Noble Sage – Krytra can stop your attack long enough for Hex to switch places with another monster. This time I’ll have Nelit take the hit.”

    The green-robed sage bravely stepped in front of its adversary, anticipating its death. When the time came, Krytra undid the spell, allowing Black Luster Knight to slay Nelit with a sharp shove of its blade. Despite its groans, Nelit smiled as if to say that its sacrifice was not in vain. Black Luster Knight retreated to Dave as the sage fell over and gave its last breath. [Lucas LP: (7500 --> 6800)]

    Dave adjusted his hat from the rim. “I didn’t forget.” His emotionless stare unexpectedly pierced through Lucas. “Since Noble Sage – Krytra used its effect already, I can pick any monster I want for my next attack.” He thrust his finger at Hex, shouting. “Celtic Guard get rid of Hex once and for all!”

    On cue the warrior dashed out to slay the targeted monster; it paused a moment before stabbing to ensure the blow was fatal. Then, it slayed the sage with a quick movement and it dissolved into the air. Dave was on a roll. [Lucas LP: (6800 --> 6500)]

    “Now Marauding Captain, take out Krytra!”

    “Not quite.”

    Marauding Captain began to move as instructed, but the second it took its first step a mysterious pillar of light surrounded it. It continued to charge forward but the pillar was immovable. Eventually the captain gave up and the pillar vanished instantly.

    “Each turn Arur casts a spell that prevents you from attacking with a certain amount of monsters, depending on the number of ‘Noble Sage’ monsters I control when you began your Battle Phase.” Lucas lifted up four fingers to prove his statement. “Since I controlled four ‘Noble Sages,’ only two of your monsters can attack this round.”

    “Then I guess it’s your turn,” said Dave. For the first time over the course of the duel he felt completely calm. Josh assumed it was because he finally had complete control over the field, just as Adam said he would. Nothing could stop him now.

    Lucas drew. His disappointment was evident from his movements as he placed a monster horizontally on his Duel Disk. “I summon Noble Sage – Xeyoi in Defense Mode.”

    Another male sage clothed in orange robes knelt in between its female counterparts. (1800/1000) The two followed its lead, kneeling down beside it as well.

    “And I switch my other Noble Sages to Defense Mode as well and end my turn.”

    “Alright.” As Dave added a card to his hand, a weird fog started to encircle his left arm. This failed to surprise him, though. “I’m guessing this is Xeyoi’s doing?”

    “You guessed right. If you have three or more cards in your hand Xeyoi makes one card unusable for the rest of the turn.”

    “That’s too bad.” Dave lifted his hand, showing the cards he held. “’Cause I only have two cards in my hand this turn.”

    Lucas blinked as the fog surrounding Dave dissipated. He knew this was the beginning of the end. More confident now than ever before, Dave continued his turn by throwing a Spell Card into a random slot.

    “I activate Black Luster Helmet. Since my Sworn into the Army card treats Obnoxious Celtic Guard as a ‘Black Luster’ monster I’ll give it to him.”

    A helmet, similar to Black Luster Knight’s, wrapped itself around Obnoxious Celtic Guard’s head; the main difference between them was the smaller horn which only reached the top of its head, as opposed to near its neck, and the twenty tiny jewels engraved into it. Once it adjusted to the warrior’s head-size, every other gem on the helmet started to glow bright yellow, matching the color pattern of the other ‘Black Luster’ cards.

    “This card obtains ten Black Luster Counters when it’s played and each turn I can activate one of its many effects. For example.” As he spoke the central jewel blended in with the remainder of the helmet. He reached for his deck. “By removing one Black Luster Counter from Black Luster Helmet, I can draw one card.”

    There’s no way Lucas can come back from the way Dave’s playing now, Josh thought. He noticed Adam had been entranced by the duel since it reached its turning point. Maybe he was trying to pick out Dave’s weak points? Well, if there were any.

    “I summon Luster Dragon!”

    The crowd perked their heads up at the sight of the sapphire dragon. It flew out on stage, stretching its thin, sickle-shaped wings as it landed. It gripped the ground with its claws to show off its muscular limbs and glared across the room with two ruby eyes. (1900/1600)

    A dragon in a deck full of warriors? Adam thought, readjusting himself in his chair. Looks like I’m not the only one who does that…

    “I’ll remove the final counter from Black Luster Knight to increase its and Obnoxious Celtic Guard’s ATK by 200.”

    The remaining golden color in Black Luster Knight’s gauntlets vanished only to be converted into power for the two warriors.

    [Obnoxious Celtic Guard (2200 --> 2400/1200)]
    [Black Luster Knight (2200 --> 2400/1200)]

    “Now that I’ve used up Black Luster Knight’s counters I’ll tune it with Luster Dragon to Synchro Summon Black Luster Dragon Rider!”

    Synchro Summon? Great… More rules. Josh was about to ask Adam, but he was so engrossed by the duel that it would be a waste of time. Instead, he typed it into his Card Analyzer which presented the information accordingly.

    “Card Analyzer activated… Searching for Rule Data: ‘Synchro Summon’ … … Data Found:

    Synchro Summon


    Synchro Summons are another type of Special Summon that allows the player to Special Summon off-white monsters called Synchro Monsters. These monsters are similar to both Fusion and Ritual Monsters to a certain degree. Like Fusion Monsters, they reside in the Extra Deck before being played and thus can never exist in the hand or Main Deck. Tuner monsters tend to be weaker monsters with effects that allow them exist on the field longer or support other cards of their type. To Synchro Summon, a player needs to have a Tuner monster on the field. Then, like Ritual Monsters, they need to send it and 1 or more non-Tuner monsters on their side of the field to the Graveyard whose total levels are equal to the Synchro Monster that is being summoned. Synchro Monsters are recently developed cards and have only been in production for the past two years.”

    Josh had a hard time absorbing this new set of rules. But since Adam said he could create whatever kind of deck he wanted, he figured he would just avoid these cards whenever possible. They’re too confusing.

    During the time that Josh was looking up this information, Black Luster Knight emitted three circular rays from his body, surrounding itself until its body lost its features and eventually disappeared. The three rays floated over Luster Dragon until four more engulfed the dragon, joining the others. When all seven beams reached each other, they formed a straight line and a beam of lights shot abruptly shot through it. When the light disappeared, a black and silver version of Luster Dragon materialized above the field. A warrior similar to Black Luster Knight rode on its back, steadying itself as the golden-armored dragon darted toward the ground. (2500/1600) Josh had to admit he wasn’t expecting a big change, since the monster’s name implied an appearance like this. The dragon floated down gracefully as the warrior unsheathed its sword.

    “When Black Luster Dragon Rider is Synchro Summoned, all cards that can have Black Luster Counters on them gain one each. And since it’s a Warrior-type monster it gains even more ATK from The A. Forces.”

    The gem on Obnoxious Celtic Guard’s helmet restored itself as if it had never left. Meanwhile, the dragon’s golden armor gained a dark blue streak gleamed under its left wing, giving it the appearance of a scar. The energy from The A. Forces card radiated around the duo, successfully captivating the audience as it sparkled in the light. (2500 --> 3100/1600) It took aim at Krytra, awaiting its orders.

    “Black Luster Dragon Rider attack Krytra with Flame Penetration!”

    The dragon took flight once again, this time flying above the three kneeling sages. Purple flames burst out of the dragon’s mouth; the warrior thrust its sword through it, causing them to follow the blades point. With a trail of wisps close behind, the blade swiftly cut through the air until it came close to the red sage.

    Krytra, who had been chanting the whole time, teleported away in a puff of smoke, leaving behind a soft cloud that covered Lucas’s entire side of the arena – it used its power to avoid the hit. The fire-infused sword pierced through the smog, dividing it as it soared through the air. When the smoke cleared, the yellow-clothed sage clutched its hands up to its heart, giving its last breath, allowing its body to vaporize with the remaining fumes.

    Dave watched his dragon knight return to him while he calculated his next move. Arur had been destroyed instead. It didn’t make a difference to him but he knew that it was necessary to get rid of Krytra before Lucas could make a comeback.

    “Obnoxious Celtic Guard,” he started. His contained excitement was evident in his voice. The warrior poised its body for combat. “Krytra is unable to change its target now. This is our chance to take it out, attack!”

    With that the warrior leaped into the air, holding its sword high over its helmet. In a sharp, jerking movement, the Celtic Guard sliced Krytra in half destroying it instantly. Another attack was about to be ordered when the light barrier reappeared around him. Arur’s spell was still in effect.

    “So, I guess since you had three ‘Noble Sages’ I can only attack twice this turn?” Lucas nodded with disdain. He knew it was pointless to continue anymore banter. “In that case I’ll end my turn by activating my dragon’s special ability.”

    Another dark blue streak flashed under the dragon warrior’s right wing; the armor’s design was symmetrical once again.

    “Whenever Black Luster Dragon Rider declares an attack it gains another Black Luster Counter. Right now it has two, and I’m able to remove both of them to increase its ATK by 300.”

    The two streaks separated from the golden armor and began to encircle the dragon warrior. They grew smaller and smaller as they spun until they were absorbed into its skin. Lights twinkled from its armor revealing that the streaks had been recycled. (3100 --> 3400/1600)

    Upon drawing his next card, Lucas scraped his bottom lip with his teeth in a quick, exaggerated motion. Clearly he didn’t get the card he wanted. A moment later a holographic card appeared behind his last sage followed by a Spell Card. Josh noticed it was the same card that Lucas just drew.

    “I activate Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy The A. Forces to end my turn,” He said gravely. Everyone knew this move made no difference in determining the winner, but it did reduce the power of Dave’s monsters enough to stall for a turn. Random members of the audience reached for their Card Analyzers to check the new ATK totals as a small tornado ripped the hologram to shreds.

    [Obnoxious Celtic Guard (2400 --> 1800/1200)]
    [Marauding Captain (1800 --> 1200/400)]
    [Black Luster Dragon Rider (3400 --> 2800/1600)]

    Dave smirked, fanning Xeyoi’s mist away from his cards. Victory was practically assured.

    “I activate one of Black Luster Helmet’s effects. By removing three counters from it I can select a face-down card and if it’s a trap I can destroy it!”

    As three of the gems faded, a scope fell in front of the Celtic Guard’s eyes. Dave punched in the command on his Card Analyzer and a crosshair shone over Lucas’s last played card. A thin strip of light slowly worked its way from one edge of the card to the other, revealing the card to be a purple card depicting a demonized human standing at the bottom of a hole underground. Once the card’s revelation was finished, a bullet shot from above destroying the card from its center.

    “With your Trap Hole out of the way I can summon another Black Luster Knight without worry.”

    Another warrior jumped down from the ceiling, its cape flapping wildly as it fell. It glanced at its dragon counterpart as its gauntlets lit up, seemingly aware of their connection to each other. (1400/1200)

    “I’ll get rid of one of my Knight’s counters to give my monsters 200 more ATK each.” Dave watched as the right streak on each of the knight’s gauntlets vanished. The other warriors readied their swords for their final attack.

    [Obnoxious Celtic Guard (1800 --> 2000/1200)]
    [Black Luster Dragon Rider (2800 --> 3000/1600)]
    [Black Luster Knight (1400 --> 1600/1200)]

    Lucas backed away slightly upon seeing his reflection in Black Luster Knight’s sword. He knew there was no chance for him now.

    “I’ll activate my final face-down card, Reorganized Resources!” Dave said, gesturing to the purple card ahead of him, causing it rise. It depicted Black Luster Knight exchanging its sword for Black Luster Guard’s shield. They seemed to be inside of a fortress that was under fire.

    “When it’s activated I can take every Black Luster Counter on the field and allot them any way I please. And I’ll give all eight to Black Luster Dragon Rider. Then I’ll use its own effect to remove them to give it 1200 more ATK!”

    The remaining streaks from Black Luster Knight’s gauntlets flung out towards the dragon overhead. Meanwhile every single gem from Obnoxious Celtic Guard’s helmet receded to nothing, as their energy did the same. Seeing that the helmet was no longer usable the warrior tossed it aside so it wouldn’t hinder its performance.

    Black Luster Dragon Rider floated in place, allowing the energy to fuse into its armor brightening the once dulled out streaks. The audience stared amazed by the sight of the armor’s full design. After a moment of arousing the crowd, all of the streaks separated from the dragon’s armor and began to spin rapidly in a tornado of dark blue lightning. The warrior raised its sword high above its head, allowing the streaks to spiral into the blade leaving a discharge of energy in its wake. It pulled the blade’s handle down near its chest, pointing it towards its next target. (3000 --> 4200/1600)

    Lucas took a step back; the three warriors before him stepped forward. With only a single sage in between him and four powerful monsters, he knew that it was all over.

    Upon realizing that the match was his, Dave grinned, giving his final command. “Finish this. Take out Xeyoi then triple direct attack!”

    Marauding Captain led the march with the other two land-bound warriors close behind. It whacked the sage down with its sword, leaving it helpless as it was subsequently trampled by the preceding warriors. Marauding Captain stepped back as both of its followers continued their parade. As they approached, each swung their blades at Lucas from either side in a single fluid movement. Lucas grimaced, but didn’t allow himself to lose his posture.

    From above Black Luster Dragon Rider tossed its own blade, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. Since he was distracted by other warriors, Lucas failed to notice the flaming sword until it pierced into the ground infront of him. Fire shot up as the sword crashed into the stage, flinging the teenage onto his back. When the barrage finished, each monster dematerialized into data, signifying the match’s end.

    [Dave LP: (1800)] [Lucas LP: (6500 -->-->--> 0)]

    “The winner is Dave Litenur!”

    Enthusiastic cheers filled the stadium as Dave waved in appreciation.

    “That was a great game. I thought he was gonna lose for a second.” Josh eagerly turned to Adam, but his cold expression negated Josh’s joy.

    “He over played it,” he said, standing up.

    “What do you mean by that?” Josh asked.

    “He would play almost all of his cards in one turn just so he can get them on the field without saving any for his hand. That kind of playing is slopping, even for field control. And on top of that he didn’t analyze his opponent’s moves at all, which caused his own cards to be used against him on several occasions. He nearly lost because he was too focused on one strategy and his opponent took advantage of that.”

    He stared at Dave, who continued to enjoy the crowd’s applause. Josh took his comments into consideration, but was being focused really a bad thing?

    After a moment of fierce silence Adam stepped away. “I’m gonna go work on my deck…” He said quietly. Josh watched him work his way through the aisle, heading for the lobby.

    What’s his problem?


    ~*~*~*~


    Two police officers walked through the crowded vestibule, being careful not to attract too much attention to themselves as their eyes searched the area. Eventually, they reached a private hallway where a security guard stepped aside to let them through. At the end they met with their boss, an old stout officer whose thin, grayish hair contrasted with his dark uniform and glimmering badges. Behind him a door was left ajar.

    “Any luck?” he whispered, although he managed to keep authority in his words.

    “Nothing chief. It seems that they got away.”

    The chief glanced over his shoulder as if to see if anyone was coming. When he saw that the door hadn’t moved, he returned to the two.

    “That can’t be. He said that as soon as it went missing that he had security watch all the exits. No one could’ve gotten out without someone noticing. They must still be here…”

    They chatted for a bit, discussing what to do with their situation. The chief decided he would talk with him, surely he would understand. The younger of the two officers offered his assistance, but the chief reassured him.

    “I’ll be fine Nathan, he’s angry enough as it is. Go patrol the perimeter again. Make sure you both check every inch of the building before you report back to me. Got it?”

    “Yes sir.”

    They nodded, then rushed back to the public while the chief opened the door. This isn’t good. How could they have gotten in here?

    The chief found himself in a small lab-like setting with a single shelf against the opposite wall. A television screen, like the ones in the lobby, hung on the wall taking up nearly half its space. The rest of the room was either filled with chairs or tables, except for the corner where Seto Kaiba stood stiffly.

    “Well?” he asked harshly, without looking away from the wall.

    The chief shut the door before he spoke. “I’m sorry. They can’t find it. But I’m having the–”

    “They can’t find it?!” Kaiba shouted, flipping the table next to him with a frightening jerk. Computers and hard drives toppled across the floor, landing near the chief’s feet. The chief stepped back.

    “No… but –”

    Kaiba faced him with overpowering fury. “What the hell do you mean they can’t find it!? Can you tell me how they got into my vaults – let alone my secret rooms – and managed to steal my deck within five minutes of my absence!?”

    “I... I don’t know.”

    The chief looked past Kaiba so he wouldn’t have to look him in the eye as he came closer. Behind the blazer-dressed duelist was a safe that had clearly been forced open – its door lied beside it on the ground, deformed and useless. Kaiba turned, drawing the chief’s attention back to him, and brushed his hands on another table, sending papers scattering through the air.

    “Don’t bother speaking to me again unless you either have my deck back or you have the culprit dead in your hands. I don’t care what you have to do. Cut off all access to the building. No one is going in or out until my deck is found.”

    Not wanting to anger him any further, the chief stepped out and closed the door. He pulled out his walkie-talkie and pressed the button to speak. He was about to put it to his mouth until he flinched from hearing something slam behind him. Kaiba probably threw another computer off the table. He took a moment to regain his focus, then pressed the button again.

    “Tell my boys that I’m gonna be coming home late. Looks like we’re gonna be here a while.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Black Luster Dragon Rider
    *******
    [Wind]
    [Warrior/Synchro/Effect]
    “Black Luster Knight” + 1 or more non-tuner Dragon-type monster(s)
    (2500/1600)
    When this card is Synchro Summoned, place an additional Black Luster Counter on every card that can have a Black Luster Counter on them (including this card). Every time this card declares an attack, place a Black Luster Counter on this card (max. 8). By removing 2 Black Luster Counters from this card, increase its ATK by 300.


    Noble Sage – Arur
    ****
    [Wind]
    [Spellcaster/Effect]
    (1400/1600)
    Depending on the number of “Noble Sage” monsters on your side of the field at the start of your opponent’s Battle Phase activate the following effect:
    -1 or 2: Your opponent can only attack with 3 monsters per turn.
    -3 or 4: Your opponent can only attack with 2 monsters per turn.
    -5: Your opponent can only attack with 1 monster per turn.
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    ~Back from the dead!~
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  10. #10
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    Chapter Seven


    With another round cleared, Dave and Josh were free to enjoy the stadium for a bit while they waited for the current match to finish. Since Adam was dueling, and the fact that Dave thought Adam’s opponent was terrible, they stayed in their seats to watch. They figured it would be quick. Josh studied Adam while Dave searched through his deck, stopping at Black Luster Soldier.

    “I can hardly believe that this deck has really gotten me this far. I can almost see my secret weapon tearing Kaiba’s cards apart.”

    Josh turned, realizing that he wasn’t just thinking out loud.

    “I don’t think you should get too cocky.” He had been thinking about Adam’s criticism since the last round. “You still have two more rounds to win and you’ll probably have to face that Adam guy if he makes it to the championship round.”

    Dave put his deck on his lap, looking up at the stage. “I’m not too worried about him. He’s good, but he hasn’t summoned any monsters yet that are strong enough to defeat my Black Luster Soldier.” He took off his hat, fixing it, then plopped it back on his head. “Even if he does, I still think I can take him.”

    Josh sighed. It was hopeless. Once Dave had an idea in his head, it never got out.

    “What were you saying that he told you during the last round?”

    Josh looked to Adam, who began his next turn, before speaking. “He said that he studies his opponents to pin-point their weaknesses so that he has an advantage before the match even starts.”

    Dave slotted his deck back into his Card Analyzer. “That’s actually a good idea. I give him some credit for doing that.”

    Back on stage, Adam summoned a new monster, a warrior wearing tinted yellow armor dotted with blue gems at its joints and shield’s center. A red cape flowed from its neck-line, and that was when Josh noticed that it didn’t have a head at all.

    “And since my Fallen Headless Knight is in Attack Position, every Fallen monster I control gains 400 DEF.”

    Since it was the only monster Adam had, it was the only monster that benefited. Ironically, this boost had no use to it at the moment, as Dave pointed out.

    [Fallen Headless Knight (1450/1700 --> 2100)]

    “Now my Fallen Headless Knight, attack her monster.”

    The headless monster drew its sword before hopping into the air. It dove down, slicing a demonic treasure chest in half. As it fell to pieces, worms shot out at the opposing duelist, who shook them off in disgust. [Hannah LP: (5200 --> 4750)]

    “Since you destroyed my Dark Mimic LV3 I can draw two cards,” she said, trying to take her mind off the worms. “And when I draw Watapon with a card effect I can Special Summon it to my side of the field.”

    A pink puffball popped into view, its huge oval shaped eyes gazing aimlessly in front of it. It shook its droopy antennas, rattling the smaller puffballs attached. (200/300)

    Adam remained serious despite the monster’s cute appearance. “I’ll set a card and end my turn.”

    The hologram flashed behind Fallen Headless Knight and Adam placed his arm to his side.

    His opponent drew. “I tribute Watapon to summon Vampire Lord in Attack Mode.”

    A bat fluttered above Watapon, landing on its head as the fuzzball twitched in uncomfortable curiosity. It bit into Watapon, causing its eyes to become a demonic shade of red and its body unnaturally blue. The bat’s wings spread out, clapping them over the monster, covering completely it. When the wings opened a female vampire with sickly blue hair replaced the zombified Watapon, its dark purple wings and armor exuding the presumed sensation of death. (2000/1500)

    “Next I’ll activate Overpowering Eye. Since Vampire Lord has 2000 ATK, it’s able to attack you directly this turn.”

    The vampire smirked, skipping over Fallen Headless Knight in order to dive straight at Adam. While the crowd gasped, this failed to surprise him. He allowed the vampire to grab him forcefully and suck his Life Points away without ever flinching once. [Adam LP: (5500 --> 3500)] When it was finished, the vampire tossed him away, flying past his face-down card to return to its original position.

    Wait, Josh thought, why didn’t he use that card?

    “Whenever Vampire Lord inflicts damage to your Life Points its effect activates,” his opponent shouted confidently. “Now I can declare a card type and you have to send a card of that type from your deck to your Graveyard. And I pick Monster Card!”

    Adam quietly complied, skimming through his deck thoroughly before throwing a card into the red slot on his Duel Disk. He placed his deck back in its spot, leaving a hand there to draw.

    “My turn,” he said coldly. He looked over his hand carefully; long enough for Josh to notice that Dave seemed to be distracted. He knew this wasn’t good for him. He needed to focus on the present instead of a future that may not happen. But knowing Dave, he knew that he would have to come to this realization by himself.

    Back on stage, Adam finally began this turn. “I activate the Field Spell Card, Fallen Nation.”

    A slot, wide enough for a single card, opened on the right side of his Duel Disk where he promptly slid the declared card. It closed, and a flag pole grew out the ground until it was twice Adam’s size. The flag rippled in the (nonexistent) breeze, revealing its insignia that must’ve represented all Fallen monster – a script version of the letter ‘F.’ Several skulls and bones surrounded it near its bottom seeming to serve a weak protection against foes.

    “When this card is out, all Fallen monsters gain 500 ATK and DEF.”

    His Fallen Headless Knight turned to acknowledge the flag, but it was hard to tell exactly how it reacted due to its decapitation. (1450 --> 1950/2100 --> 2600)

    It’s still not strong enough to take out her vampire, Josh thought. But he could tell Adam had something planned.

    “Now I offer my Fallen Headless Knight to summon Fallen Summoned Skull from my Graveyard!”

    Adam shot a hand into the air and on cue a blue streak of lightning burst from the ceiling, consuming Fallen Headless Knight in a tower of static. It took shape, and seconds later the demonic fiend appeared with electricity trickling around its blue wings. (2500 --> 3000/1200 --> 1700)

    His opponent took a slight step back, awestruck by the triumphant monster standing against her. “W-what?! But I don’t remember you summoning that monster.”

    Adam brushed his hand past his single strand of red hair. “How quickly we forget. I sent it to the Graveyard myself when Vampire Lord used its effect.”

    Both Dave and Josh leaned back in their seats. They were both thinking the exact same thing: Clever. That explains why he let the attack go through.

    “I’m not done yet,” he said, addressing the flag pole behind him. “I activate Fallen Nation’s second effect. It enables me to summon an additional Fallen monster each turn and I’ll use its effect to bring back Fallen Headless Knight.”

    Mounds of dirt gave way as a coffin drifted from the depths of the earth. Gravity dropped its dusty cover, causing a ring of dust to encircle it. The decapitated warrior stepped out and knelt, as if honored to be back. (1450 --> 1950/1700 --> 2200)

    “And just in case you forget,” he continued, noticeably angering his opponent. “Fallen Headless Knight increases the ATK all of Fallen monsters while it’s in Defense Position.”

    [Fallen Headless Knight (1950 --> 2350/[b]2200[b/])]
    [Fallen Summoned Skull (3000 --> 3400/1700)]

    3400 ATK. Josh remembered that Black Luster Soldier’s was only 3000. He knew that Dave was able to boost its power with other cards too, but by the way Adam has been playing he wasn’t too sure that it would be a cake-walk for him.

    “Now Fallen Summoned Skull, attack her Vampire Lord!”

    The fiend let out a beastly howl, thrusting its wings forward, sending three blue streaks of lightning at the vampire. It attempted to dodge the bolts by transforming into a tiny bat, but it was only able to avoid two bolts before the third connected with its ears. It plummeted towards the ground completely charred. [Hannah LP: (4750 --> 3350)]

    The teenage duelist watched her monster become reduced to ashes. Thinking Adam’s turn was over, she prepared her hand to draw, but stopped when he abruptly activated his face-down card.

    “I activate Ring of Destruction. With it I can destroy one monster on the field and inflict damage of our Life Points equal to its ATK.” Surprising everyone, he proudly pointed at his own monster. “Ring of Destruction, destroy Fallen Summoned Skull!”

    A metallic tire flung out of its card hologram and at Fallen Summoned Skull, securing itself around its torso. Flames shot out rapidly, engulfing the fiend in a pillar of fire. Once it was completely consumed in fire, the tire exploded, projecting flames and debris in every direction. Even though it was only a hologram, many people ducked – including Dave and Josh – to avoid getting hit. The flames struck both duelists head on, but Adam appeared to be unaffected by it, presumably because he was the only one expecting this to happen. When the smoke cleared, only Fallen Headless Knight and the flag pole remained, with its banner unscratched by the blast.

    [Hannah LP: (3350 --> 0)] [Adam LP: (3500 --> 100)]

    The referee peeked over the end of the stage to see if the explosion had ended. When this was confirmed, he fixed his sunglasses and hopped onto the stage.

    “The winner is Adam Prince!”

    Cheers clamored across the stadium as Adam made his exit. His opponent was still shaken up, patting her skirt to rub of the dirt. Eventually she was able to pull herself together, barely, and left as well.

    It was an incredible match. Adam must’ve planned turns ahead for that plan to work. He was able to completely manipulate his opponent’s moves to make them work in his favor without her ever even suspecting it. He knew her strategy, that’s why. He watched her duel from the first few rounds and learned her style. But he drew it close, literally. With only 100 Life Points left, any miscalculations would’ve ended up as a loss. And yet he still won…

    So this is power of a real duelist. Josh knew Dave had been playing for years, but he never considered that Adam had been playing longer. He glanced over at his friend to see how he reacted to the match.

    Dave stared at the empty stage with passion beaming from his eyes.

    Josh quietly approached. “You still think you can take him?”

    He nodded. “You bet. Nothing’s gonna stop me from reaching Kaiba.”


    ~*~*~*~


    “Let the second Semi-Final match begin! Dave Litenur vs. Peter Grail with the chance to beta test a brand new line of cards at stake. Who’s going to win this?!”

    Dave marched up the stairs to find his opponent already waiting for him, Duel Disk armed. His opponent’s pitch black, wavy hair was intensified by his pure white blazer. He wasn’t sure what kind of deck he used, mostly because he had been preparing his own deck in between rounds. He shoved his Card Analyzer into his Duel Disk, activating it and allowing the game to commence.

    “Duel.”

    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Peter LP: (8000)]


    “I’ll start things off,” the duelist, Peter, said as he whipped a card from his wrist. “I summon Shining Angel in Attack mode.”

    A white robed angel transcended from the sky, gracefully landing on the ground. It folded its creamy yellow wings, rubbing its blond hair to ensure it stayed perfect. (1400/800)

    “Well, I guess it’s your turn.”

    That’s it? This might be easier than he had originally thought.

    “Alright.” He pulled a card, adding it to his hand. It was a pretty good hand too, especially considering how horrible his hand was last round.

    “I activate Advanced Ritual Art!”

    A Stonehenge-designed shrine rose out from the ground, encircling the field. Behind him an altar rose slightly higher than the other structures, and an ominous, green circle started rotating on its platform. At the center, a glowing sphere of energy floated inches from the ground, emitting a sense of serenity that took the breath of several audience members.

    As Dave spoke, the sphere rose. “This card allows me to use Normal Monsters from my deck to Ritual Summon a monster from my hand.” He held up his Duel Disk so that the deck-slot was aimed at the sky. “Now I’ll send Luster Dragon and Dark Blade to Ritual Summon my Black Luster Soldier!”

    Two cards ejected from his deck, transforming them into small spheres that zipped through the air. They circled each other, flying majestically into the air until the larger sphere absorbed them both with a ‘plop’, sending shooting towards the ceiling. From above, a streak of unnaturally green lightning surged through it, crashing into the altar at full force. Static whipped spastically around the stone structure. Peter’s hair danced frantically as the electricity drew it to the pillars behind him. He turned his head to see what was coming; when he turned back he saw the dark blue armored warrior standing atop the altar’s stairs. (3000/2500)

    “Impressive,” Peter said.

    Dave cocked his wrist. “If you liked that, you’ll love this! Black Luster Soldier, attack his Shining Angel!”

    Black Luster Soldier leaped from the altar, bringing its blade near its shoulder. Shining Angel withdrew its wings in anticipation. Wind rushed past Black Luster Soldier, whipping its red ponytail around its back. Once the warrior was able to see its opponent’s pupils, it swung its arm into a semi-circle, successfully chopping off the angel’s left wing. Unable to stay airborne any longer, the angel slammed against the ground with a loud ‘thud,’ where it dematerialized into data.

    While the soldier made its way back onto the altar, Peter picked out a card from his hand. [Peter LP: (8000 --> 6400)] He held it up, preparing to dramatically present it to the crowd.

    “Just as I planned.”

    Dave raised an eyebrow, looking to his monster out of the corner of his eye. There was nothing else out on Peter’s side. There was barely anything on the field at all – just his Black Luster Soldier and the stone pillars used to summon it. How could this be a part of his plan?

    “He’s getting sloppy,” Adam whispered, though Josh wasn’t sure if he was saying to him or just thinking out loud.

    Peter flipped the card; on the other side Dave, apparently astounded by it, took a defensive stance. Looks like the field wasn’t the only place cards were able to use their effects.

    “When I take damage and have no other cards out, I can summon Gorz the Emissary of Darkness from my hand!”

    A blur of shadows shot out from behind each pillar, fusing together into a single unit. Bit by bit the shadows took shape – two arms with large, bladed gauntlets. A black torso armor that tailed into a red, blazer-like cape that was torn at the edges. Silver armor, reminiscent of a skeleton’s bones, lining its black legs. Finally, a head; top half covered with a visor and crimson hair jetting up as if it wanted to cut the sky. The shadows finished transforming, revealing the monster to be human-like in appearance. It held up one of its armored hands, where a soft, glowing ball of light radiated over its fingertips. (2700/2500)

    Dave bit his lip. That’s such a rare card. How’d he get his hands on it?

    “Since Gorz was summoned from Battle Damage, it can summon an Emissary of Darkness Token as well!” Peter said, waving his arm.

    The monster held out its light-filled hand, and the light hovered away. Strange balls of energy surrounded Peter, only to charge at the glowing sphere. The light floated beside Gorz, absorbing the energy, growing exponentially with every tiny piece consumed. Eventually it grew to be about Dave’s height, then expelled into a maiden baring a sharp, glimmering blade. Its armor was similar to Gorz’s, but this monster’s head gear was silver, covering its hair and ears entirely. While it also wore gauntlets, these were silver, finned blades as opposed to Gorz’s hooked blades that protruded outward. Its torso piece was silver as well, resembling a shield with a golden gem at its center. Beneath the armor, the maiden wore a red dress that fluttered as the maiden took its post. (?/?)

    Peter smirked. “This is Kaien, the Emissary of Darkness Token. As you can probably tell, she’s not like Gorz in anyway except appearance. Gorz is a Fiend monster, Kaien is a Fairy monster. Gorz is a DARK monster, Kaien is LIGHT monster.” He paused for emphasis. “And while Gorz’s stats never changes, Kaien gains ATK and DEF equal to the damage I took from your attack.”

    Josh pulled his Card Analyzer and opened up the calculator app. Black Luster Soldier attacked with 3000 ATK against a Shining Angel with 1400 ATK. That equals… 1600 damage. (? --> 1600/? --> 1600)

    “And, let’s not forget that when Shining Angel is destroyed by battle I can summon a LIGHT monster from my deck as long as it has 1500 ATK or less.” He pointed toward the ceiling, nearly yelling at this point. “So I’ll bring out another Shining Angel in its place!”

    A new angel descended from the sky, hovering in between its two allies. They all stared Dave down, awaiting his next move. (1400/800)

    Now this was impressive. Not only did he summon three monsters at once but he did it on his opponent’s turn, without needing to lift a finger. Dave was the one who did all the work. Josh watched Dave as he brought his cards up to avoid eye contact with them. While he was thinking of his next move, Adam stood up and turned to leave.

    “Hey, where are ya going?” Josh questioned.

    “I need to prepare for the finals,” he said flatly.

    “But don’t you need to ‘analyze your opponent’s weaknesses’?”

    “I’ve seen enough…” And with that, he left.

    For a second Josh was disappointed that he did. He enjoyed Adam’s company. But at least he would be able to enjoy the game without anyone antagonizing Dave.

    Dave looked over his hand intently. Although the match became three on one, none of Peter’s monsters were strong enough to take out Black Luster Soldier. But, he had already declared his attack for the turn. All he could do now was prepare for future battles. He took a Trap Card from his hand, tossing it into a slot in his Duel Disk.

    “I end,” he said, gripping the rim of hat.

    “Alright.” Peter drew a card, only to throw it in his Duel Disk as well. The hologram flashed below Shining Angel, who drifted towards the ground to land. “That’s it. Your turn.”

    Really? Dave thought. This guy seems a little too lax… He focused on the face-down card; his view of it was obscured by the angel as it landed. That card he played must be a trap. He drew a card, recognizing it as The Warrior Returning Alive, a card he used in his duel against the dinosaur girl. He slipped it in between the others in hand, touching another Spell Card with his index finger.

    “I activate Bait Doll to force the activation of your face-down card. If it’s a Trap, it activates whether it works or not.”

    A voodoo doll emerged above the face-down card in a puff of smoke. It plopped onto the card, coercing it to rise in front of Peter. Mirror Force, a card that responses to attacks. Since it failed, the card shattered into thousands of digital fragments. Peter inhaled briskly.

    “After Bait Doll is used, it returns to my deck.” He placed the card on top of his deck, shuffled it, and returned it to its spot in his Duel Disk. “Now I activate The Warrior Returning Alive and use it to bring Dark Blade from my Graveyard to my hand.” He whipped the card near his nose. “And I’ll summon it in Attack Mode!”

    From under Dave, a shadow stealthily surged forward, stretching until it met with Black Luster Soldier’s. Once there, the shadow shot into the air and formed into the familiar blade-covered warrior who unsheathed its two signature swords. (1800/1500)

    “Black Luster Soldier, attack Gorz the Emissary of Darkness!”

    Firmly securing its sword in its fingers, Black Luster Soldier charged at the spikey-haired warrior. Gorz lifted its arm parallel to the ground and a blade of its own rose from its shadow. It grasped and blocked Black Luster Soldier’s strike, pushing it away. When it moved in for a counterattack Black Luster Soldier spun a full circle, dodging the blow and stabbing Gorz in its back. Gorz, staring at the sword piercing through its chest, collapsed and dissipated into streamers of shadows. Now the battle was two on two. [Peter LP: (6400 --> 6100)]

    “Sorry but just having a lot of monsters out doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed victory,” He said. “Now Dark Blade, attack his Shining Angel!”

    Dark Blade crossed its swords in from of its face, dashing at the angel with stunning agility.

    Peter smiled, taking a card from his hand. “Sorry, but just because your monsters are stronger than mine doesn’t mean that they can’t beat you.” He held up a card depicting another angel with sky blue wings somehow holding a glowing light in its arms. “I discard Honest to increase Shining Angel’s ATK by Dark Blade’s until the end of the turn!”

    Dave raised an eyebrow. Another rare card!

    Peter tossed the card into the Graveyard slot, which responded with a glow. A large, sky-blue halo materialized above Shining Angel, flowing down, surrounding the angel, safeguarding it from the opposing monster’s strikes. With each blow, the ring twinkled and fairy dust burst out, covering both combatants. The ring expanded outward, forcing Dark Blade to stand down, and the airborne fairy dust fused into Shining Angel. (1400 --> 3200/800) Dark Blade dashed at it to battle again. The angel gathered more fairy dust in its palm, slammed it into the warrior’s swords, smashing them until only their handles remained. Disarmed, the warrior had no choice but to accept its destruction as Shining Angel eradicated it with a wave of blinding blue light.

    Dave watched dumbfounded as the angel returned to Peter’s side. [Dave LP: (8000 --> 6600)] That was the second turn in a row he used an effect from his hand, bluffing him into thinking that he was defenseless. From now on he needed to be more cautious.

    Back in the stands, Josh was thinking along the same lines, only he also thought that this would be just the jolt Dave needed to snap him out of his trance. Dave concluded his turn, subtly shaking off his astonishment in the process.

    Peter smiled as he drew. “Now the fun starts. I summon Copycat and use it to clone your Black Luster Soldier!”

    A tall, oval mirror formed in front of him, glistening against the arena’s lighting. It was glared, but once it turned towards Black Luster Soldier, its reflection appeared alone within it. A moment later the reflection jumped out of the mirror as a carbon copy of Dave’s monster. (? --> 3000/? --> 2500) Black Luster Soldier stared belligerently at its clone, keeping its sword poised. Dave looked to his warrior on the stone altar, then back at Copycat.

    “A copy is never better than the original,” Dave stated with pride.

    “No… but it’s just as good,” Peter countered with a chortle. “Copycat, attack Black Luster Soldier!”

    The declaration caused gasps throughout the crowd.

    They’ll destroy each other, Josh thought.

    I’ll be wide open. Dave watched his warrior combat with Copycat, each move perfectly matching its opponent’s. Neither seemed to be able to gain the upper hand, but at one point Black Luster Soldier blocked the tip of the Copycat’s blade. The soldier pushed it away, moving in to impale its doppelganger. As the sword pierced through its chest, Black Luster Soldier felt another blade go through its stomach.

    Black Luster Soldier stepped back dizzily, pulling its sword out of the monster. The clone smiled, knowing its mission had been accomplished. Using the remainder of its strength, Black Luster Soldier swung its sword at the clone like a bat, knocking it into one of the stone pillars formed from its summoning. The clone died on impact, and the pillar fell onto the one next to it, creating a domino effect that caused the whole structure to crumble. Black Luster Soldier watched the falling pillars circle the stage, finally meeting at the altar where it was born. When the altar was destroyed, it died as well.

    The stage returned to normal, leaving only Peter’s two monsters and Dave’s face-down card in play. Since both monsters had equal ATK strength, neither player took any damage. Dave tried hard to hide his vulnerability, but Josh saw right through it.

    Apparently, Peter did too. “Kaien, attack him directly!”

    The maiden lifted its blade over her head, and dashed at Dave. It let out a battle cry to intimidate him but Dave refused to lose focus.

    “I activate my Trap Card – Spirit Force!”

    A card with an azure glow flew out of his Duel Disk, passing in front of Kaien as its blade came down on it. Her blade crashed into it, and the card transformed into a translucent version of Black Luster Knight, only his entire body was a ghostly shade of blue. It blocked the attack with its own blade. Surprised, the maiden called off her attack, giving the spirit monster a chance to revert back into a card and fly into Dave’s hand.

    “It negates any damage I would’ve taken from your attack and allows me to add a Tuner monster from my deck to my hand as long as it has less than 1500 DEF,” He said, catching the card with his last word.

    “Doesn’t matter.” Peter gave his Shining Angel a commanding glance. “Attack him directly!”

    The angel complied, swooping through the air. With no cards out on Dave’s field, nothing stopped it from kicking him in the chest. Dave stumbled back slightly, but was relieved that the damage wasn’t as severe. [Dave LP: (6600 --> 5200)]

    “I’ll play one more card face-down before I end.”

    “My turn then,” Dave said, looking to his drawn card. Black Luster Sword. Now was his chance to turn things around. “I summon Black Luster Knight in Attack Mode.”

    The warrior, in the flesh, jumped out of the card reproduced by the hologram projector. It showed off its armor, letting the crowd watch in amazement as two golden streaks lit up on its gauntlets. (1400/1200)

    “I’ll take a Black Luster Counter off my knight to increase its ATK by 200!”

    Black Luster Knight shook its right gauntlet, ridding itself of a streak. It did the same to its left, gripping tightly on its sword’s handle in its sheath. (1400 --> 1600/1200)

    “Finally I activate Black Luster Sword and equip it to Black Luster Knight, giving it 1000 more ATK!”

    The warrior unveiled its sword, revealing that it was not that the usual sword it carried. As Dave stated, it was the sword with gems in its handle, each glowing brightly to signify a boost in power. (1600 --> 2600/1200)

    “Black Luster Knight, take out his Shining Angel!”

    The knight obeyed, charging full force at the floating monster. The angel tried to avoid its strike by drifting upwards but it was caught off guard by the knight’s quick movements. A large scar grew across Shining Angel’s body as its robes became torn. Both monsters fell toward the earth; Black Luster Knight being the only one who landed safely.

    [Dave LP: (5200)] [Peter LP: (6100 --> 4900)]

    “Pfft, so what? Now I’ll just bring out another Shining Angel to replace it.”

    Another angel flew down like its predecessors, stopping just as its feet would have touched the ground. (1400/800)

    “That’s right but my Black Luster Knight is far stronger than both of your monsters.” He slid a card into a Spell/Trap Card slot, allowing it to rematerialize beside him. “I end my turn.”

    “That may be true,” Peter said, drawing to start again. “But so far strength hasn’t really been your strong point has it?”

    Seeing that Dave ignored the joke, Peter immediately followed up by opening the card-sized slot in the side of his Duel Disk. He threw a green card in it that featured a red, winged fiend monster shielding its eyes from a blinding light that flooded the rest of the picture.

    “I activate the Field Spell Card, Luminous Spark! This card increases the ATK of all LIGHT monsters by 500, but lowers their DEF by 400.”

    A glimmering strip flowed along the floor, eventually rising up into wisps of light. The light grew in size and force, eventually becoming a massive, blinding tower that beamed from the arena’s hub. Dave covered his eyes with his Duel Disk; his monster doing the same with its sword. Peter closed his eyes, basking in the light while his monsters held out their arms, absorbing its energy.

    [Shining Angel (1400 --> 1900/ 800 --> 400)]
    [Emissary of Darkness Token (1600 --> 2100/1600 --> 1200)]

    Eventually the light dimmed down a bit, allowing the players to regain their eyesight.

    “And while I’m at it, I’ll activate Shine Palace and equip it to Kaien, which gives her an additional 700 ATK.”

    A medieval tower rose from the ground, casting a light onto Kaien from its peak. The maiden raised her blade, creating a pillar of light from its reflection. (2100 --> 2800/1200)

    “Kaien, attack his Black Luster Knight!”

    Kaien brought its attention to the warrior, swinging its blade, sending the light-pillar with it. The light reconfigured into a bolt of energy that spiraled towards Dave’s monster.

    “No you don’t!” Dave hit a button on his Card Analyzer before the bolt came near. “I activate Black Luster Sword’s effect - by removing a counter from it I can negate your attack!”

    One of the gems on Black Luster Sword’s handle blew out, simultaneously transforming the sword’s color to an unusual shade of blue. The warrior cocked its arm up to block the light beam, barely succeeding as the beam crashed against the blade. Blurs of white and blue sparked from the blade in a struggle for control. Black Luster Knight knocked the beam away, redirecting it towards the ground where it vanished in the stage’s light.

    Kaien gave Black Luster Knight a rueful stare. The warrior panted in silent celebration, but upon looking at its sword it realized that the battle wasn’t over yet.

    “Of course,” Dave said. “Since I had to give up a counter from Black Luster Sword, my knight loses 200 ATK.” (2600 --> 2400/1200) “But it’s worth the price since you can’t do anything else this turn.”

    “Can’t I?” Peter hesitated for a second. He didn’t even look at his hand before he started to chuckle. “Yeah, you’re right. Your turn.”

    Dave smiled respectfully. Peter wasn’t like most duelists. Whether it was overconfidence or not, he was more relaxed about his playing than others were. Maybe it’s because of experience. Then again, it’s probably because his deck is so rare.

    “Alright.”

    He drew, recognizing the card to be another Equip Spell Card. It featured a necklace with dog-tags buried in the sand, with footprints surrounding it in the background. Symbols of Duty. It was one of his favorite Equip Cards, probably because it was so useful. The gears in his head started to turn, this time he would calculate his moves before acting.

    First, to activate Symbols of Duty, he needed a Normal Monster Card. He had just one in his hand – Black Luster Warrior. Then he needed to overpower his opponent’s monsters. He looked to his face-down card. He technically could have used it last turn, but he was happy that he had waited. Looks like things were set up perfectly this time. But Peter did have another face-down card… He needed a back-up plan. If things went awry, which they were bound to at this rate, he could easily lose the duel and his dreams would go down the drain. But that won’t happen.

    That can’t happen.

    Josh watched him look over his cards, continuously checking his Card Analyzer and occasionally glancing at Peter’s side of the field. He smiled. Looks like his – er, Adam’s – advice finally got through to him.

    Dave took a card from his collection. Now was the time to strike.

    “I summon Black Luster Warrior!”

    The young trainee leaped cheerfully out its card hologram, squinting slightly when the intense light hit its eyes. It took its tiny shield in front of its face so it had time for its vision to adjust. (1600/1000)

    Dave pulled out another card; this time he held it far from his body so that his arm extended straight out. Josh thought this was a bit dramatic for a card game but he was used to it by now.

    “I activate Symbols of Duty!” He flipped the card with his fingers, quickly flashing it to Peter, immediately slotting it into his Duel Disk. “By sending Black Luster Warrior to the Graveyard I can revive a monster from either Graveyard and equip it with this card.” A blue monster ejected out his Duel Disk. “And I pick Black Luster Soldier!”

    The blue card flew out to the center of the field, passing through Black Luster Warrior like it was a ghost, and the two entities transformed. The card spread out to reform into the powerful soldier it once was, while Black Luster Warrior converted into a small chained necklace. Black Luster Soldier kept its eyes closed, allowing the necklace to fall gracefully onto its shoulders, only opening them when it heard the dog-tags clang against its armor. (3000/2500)

    “Next I’ll take off another counter from Black Luster Knight to boost my monster’s ATK strength by 200 each.”

    The remaining streaks on the knight’s gauntlets receded into the gauntlet’s design, leaving only the dark blue hue to glimmer in the omnipresent light.

    [Black Luster Knight (2400 --> 2600/1200)]
    [Black Luster Soldier (3000 --> 3200/2500)]

    3200 ATK? Peter thought. Now that’s good.

    “I’m not done yet.” He shot his arm into the air; his face-down card did the same. “I activate Collected Power! I can pick a monster and attach every Equip Card on the field to it whether it works or not.” He pointed to the most obvious target. “And I pick my Black Luster Soldier.”

    Black Luster Soldier inhaled deeply; a strange force exuded from its body, causing the light from Shine Palace to cast onto it. Kaien, the Emissary of Darkness Token, scowled at the soldier, but there was nothing it could do to prevent the castle’s power from being taken. [Kaien (2800 --> 2100/1200)] Black Luster Soldier winced at the light, gesturing to Black Luster Knight to assist it. The knight considered its options for a moment, settling on giving its Black Luster Sword to its superior. [Black Luster Knight (2600 --> 1800/1200)] [Black Luster Soldier (3200 --> 4000/2500)] The two exchanged swords, allowing the soldier to reflect the beam of light using the blade’s metal sheen. It redirected the beam into the tower’s base, somehow causing it to erode through it. With time, the tower fell, leaving Kaien and Shining Angel to dodge the falling debris.

    Black Luster Soldier looked back at its master, who nodded approvingly, and the soldier dove in to attack. It expertly avoided each piece of brick and stone that came its way. Kaien, too busy focusing on the collapsing tower, squealed when Black Luster Soldier came inches from its face. Just as the solider pulled its blade out, Peter flipped a card and a mechanical spring shot out, snatching Black Luster Knight in between its discs.

    “I activate my face-down card, Magical Arm Shield! This allows me to change the attack target to a monster you control instead!”

    “What?!”

    Black Luster Knight resisted, struggling to break free from the device's snare. Even prying its sword under the disc did nothing. Once its grip was secured, the device swept the warrior off its feet, propelling it towards the falling gravel.

    Black Luster Soldier, unaware of this, continued to drive its sword at Kaien’s torso. The maiden ducked, making the soldier hit a bolder instead. It attempted to pull its blade out as Kaien retreated, using the raining rubble as a cover. The now furious soldier tightened its muscles, tugging the blade until it jerked free. Knowing that its life was in danger if it stayed any longer, it chucked its sword clear across the field. Amazingly the sword successfully missed every piece of brick and stone that fell past it. Black Luster Soldier ran back to Dave’s side, nearly getting crushed by the tower’s roof in the process. The tower’s remaining base caved inward, leaving a thick layer of smoke (that was nearly invisible due to the lighting) cloaking Peter’s field.

    Dave sighed thankfully when Black Luster Soldier returned to him. But Black Luster Knight was still lost in the destruction. What was that card Peter used? Magical Arm Shield? If he was right then his knight was a goner. His fears were confirmed when the knight stumbled through the clouds of dust, exposing its blood-stain body. Black Luster Soldier raced to its side. It caught the youth as it tripped over the ground. Black Luster Knight weakly handed Black Luster Soldier the Black Luster Sword, which was blood-stained as well. Guilt struck through the warrior’s heart as the knight died in its arms.

    Black Luster Soldier carefully placed its body on the ground, picking up the sword the fallen knight had left it. It turned back to the smoke and saw Kaien laughing. The intended target had gotten away. This time.

    But this time might be the last. With his plan foiled, Dave searched his hand. He slid a card into his Duel Disk, which rematerialized in front of him, and called out to Peter.

    “You may have destroyed my monster, but you’re the one who takes the damage.”

    “That’s right –” [Peter LP: (4900 --> 2700)] “– but it’s worth the price. Once I get rid of your soldier, you’ll be completely defenseless.”

    Was he right?

    Dave lowered his eyebrows. “Good luck with that.”

    “Is that a challenge?” Peter drew. “I activate Graceful Charity. This lets me draw three more cards but then I have to discard two.” He tossed two cards into his Graveyard, though Dave couldn’t tell what they were since he was suffering from near-blindness. “And since I have exactly four Fairy-monsters in my Graveyard, I can Special Summon my favorite monster – Archlord Kristya!”

    Yet another rare card. And he was clever about using this one. He only had three Fairy-monsters in his Graveyard beforehand – two Shining Angels that Dave destroyed and an Honest he discarded earlier – but he must’ve sent a fourth using Graceful Charity. Smart kid.

    “Now descend upon us, Archlord Kristya!”

    A new angel dropped down from the ceiling; its body was covered in albino armor connected together by off-white, Greek-styled pieces that protruded further out of its elbows and ankles. More off-white armor lined over its lower body and left leg that acted as a type of exoskeleton. The upper portion of its body was also protected by the armor, but this part extended to its helmet that hid its entire head. Its eyes, which were barely visible behind the large horn attached to the helmet, stared coldly at the Black Luster Soldier. It spread its orange, phoenix-like wings as its flame colored sash hovered over its hips. (2800 --> 3300/2300 --> 1900)

    It’s still not strong enough to take out my Soldier… Dave was content with his small advantage, but when Peter reached for his Graveyard it struck him – Archlord Kristya had another effect.

    “And when Archlord Kristya is Special Summoned by its effect, I can add one Fairy-type monster from my Graveyard to my hand. So I’ll bring back my Honest card.”

    Dave grunted slightly and took a defensive stance when Honest’s halo began to orbit Archlord Kristya’s body. Black Luster Soldier did the same, raising its shield in preparation.

    “Now Archlord Kristya, attack his Black Luster Soldier!”

    The white armored angel followed its orders, stretching its wings so that Honest’s ring expanded at an incredible rate. The ring smashed against Black Luster Soldier’s shield, creating friction from the collision that sparked along the edges. Black Luster Soldier managed to push it away, but the sparks created from the struggle quickly transferred themselves to Archlord Kristya. (3300 --> 7300/1900) With azure static trickling from his body, the angel swooped at Black Luster Soldier.

    The soldier tried swiping at the angel with its sword, but the angel skillfully evaded each strike with nearly no effort at all. The angel moved in, but Black Luster Soldier refused to go down without a fight. It fended the angel off, swiping its blade at the angel’s wings, blocking with its shield when the angel attempted to hit back. The process continued; neither combatant showed any signs of fatigue or strain and the audience began to wonder what would happen despite knowing what the outcome would ultimately be.

    At last the angel backed off, allowing the soldier to take a deep sigh of relief. But soon it realized it had set up its own demise. With each strike, the angel had been pushing it back until it had been pushed to the edge of the stage. The soldier eyed the angel, who glared back mischievously. They stared at each other for a while, seemingly suspended in time.

    “Get out of there!”

    The order from Dave alerted the soldier to danger once again, but the angel was too fast – it darted so quickly that it appeared to have teleported across the room. Black Luster Soldier felt the angel’s gauntlets crush into its armor, forcefully knocking it off the stage. As it flew through the air, the soldier managed to make eye contact with angel one final time. It felt its armor pierce through its back, let out an inaudible groan and its vision blurred until only darkness remained.

    The crowd, as this happened, peered over the side of the stadium in order to get a better few of the warrior. Most could not see past the stage (including Josh), but those closest to Dave could see the mess of broken armor slowly digitize. Peter stepped forward, finger pointed at Dave, as he prepared his next move.

    “Now this game is mine! Kaien! Finish hi – ” His voice choked. His eyes bulged out and his hand began to tremble as he lowered back to his hip. “No… this can’t be… I was so close!”

    Murmurs began to spread across the crowd. No one was sure what had caused Peter to panic without warning. Josh scanned the field, eventually making his way to Dave. The camouflaged teenage smirked. In front of him a card had been raised, and Josh knew this could only mean one thing.

    “When the Trap Card Dimension Wall is activated, any Battle Damage I would’ve taken from your attack is transferred to you instead.” Dave adjusted the rim of his cap. “My soldier didn’t die in vain.”

    “No way…” Peter dropped to his knees, finally accepting his loss.

    [Dave LP: (5200)] ([Peter LP: (2700 --> 0)]

    “And Dave Litenur moves onto the Final Round!”

    Cheers immersed the arena as the remaining holograms faded and the stage’s light dulled out. Dave walked over to his opponent. Peter looked to him distantly, stood up, and quietly held out a hand as he drew near.

    “Well, you definitely deserved that win.”

    Dave reciprocated the handshake with a grin. “Thanks. You nearly had me there a few times.”

    “Good luck in the finals.”

    The two nodded and made their way off stage. Dave shot a glance to Josh, who answered with a thumbs-up.

    “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I please have your attention.”

    The clapping died down; at this point Dave had returned to his seat. Josh nudged him with his elbow and mouthed ‘Congrats’ as the announcer resumed his spiel.

    “The Final Round will begin shortly. We’ll be taking a short fifteen minute break. Please feel free to visit the cafeteria and gift shops in the meantime.”

    Josh turned to Dave, who congratulated him again, this time out loud.

    “Thanks Josh, I guess your advice was right after all.”

    Josh smiled and shook his head. “Don’t thank me. Adam was the one who told me that.”

    Suddenly a solemn feeling fell over the two teenagers. They looked to the vacant seat next to Dave, before looking back to each other.

    “Speaking of which, where did he go?”


    ~*~*~*~


    Massive clumps of people began to fill the empty lobby; slowing congesting the wide space so that Nathan was unable to move any farther.

    “Nathan,” a voice rang out over his walkie-talkie. “We need strategize our search more thoroughly. There’s too many people in here to do a quick sweep. Meet me by the reception desk and we’ll talk there.”

    He unclipped it from his belt, touching it to his mouth. “Roger.”

    Nathan slid the walkie-talkie back into place. He had done other jobs like this, but none of those were nearly this taxing. His partner was right – there were too many people in this building. If anything were to happen the place would be thrown into hysteria in a matter of minutes. He took a deep breath, trying to pry a path through the walls of people that surrounded him. It took a bit of effort, but they finally moved.

    Despite what he had initially thought, Nathan arrived at the desk before his partner did. He leaned up against it, surveying the crowd for him. Nowhere to be found. He was about to look in another direction when he locked eyes with a mysterious man wearing a gray leather jacket. The man’s stare was fierce; he wiped his hand across his nose, brushing the lone strand of red hair into the black spikes atop his head. The man stepped away from view as Nathan’s partner returned to the scene.

    “Alright, now we can… Nathan, something wrong?”

    Nathan watched the spot where the man had once stood. Something was off about him.

    “Nathan, did you hear me?”

    This time he acknowledged him with a nod, but remained transfixed on the crowd.

    “No. Nothing at all.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Black Luster Knight
    ***
    [Earth]
    [Warrior/Tuner]
    (1400/1200)
    This card cannot be used as a Synchro Material Monster except for the Synchro Summon of a Warrior-type monster. When this card is summoned to the field or flipped face-up, place 2 Black Luster Counters on this card (max.5). Once per turn, by removing 1 Black Luster Counter increase the ATK of all monsters with “Black Luster” in their name by 200 points.


    Black Luster Warrior
    ****
    [Light]
    [Warrior]
    (1600/1000)
    The young apprentice of Black Luster Soldier. He shows great potential; once his training is completed he may even surpass his master in skill.
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 20th August 2011 at 5:01 AM.
    Tamer's Archives
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  11. #11
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    Chapter Eight


    The audience members slowly refilled the otherwise empty arena, after mingling in the lobby and snack areas, to watch the remainder of the tournament. In five minutes, the final round would begin. Figuring that it would be impossible to fight their way through the crowd in time, Josh and Dave had stayed in their seats. Josh leaned back in his chair, shuffling his new deck with his left hand, while Dave looked over something on his Card Analyzer.

    “Kaiba has three copies of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon in his deck. So that means he has a three out of forty chance of drawing it, assuming his deck has forty cards that is…”

    Josh stopped shuffling and leaned forward. “Remember what we said earlier, right?”

    Dave looked to his friend. “I know. One more round to go. But like I said, I’m not too worried about that Adam guy.”

    “Are you sure? He seemed really good from what I can tell.” Although, he had to admit that he didn’t know much about this game to begin with.

    “Yeah, I figured out his strategy during the last round.” He put his Card Analyzer on his lap and crossed his legs. “He tries to send his monsters to his Graveyard with his Spell Cards, then he tries to outsmart you with his Trap Cards. It’s a good strategy too. But most of his tactics are so unorthodox that they’re obvious when you really pay attention. I just need be wary of his tricks and I should be set.”

    Josh leaned back again. “Alright.” He smiled. Dave knew what he was doing. He could trust that.

    Once the stadium was repopulated, the lights went out and a spotlight shone on center stage. The announcer, who seemed to appear out of the floor, gave a two-minute warning and told the finalists to proceed to the stage. Josh bumped Dave’s fist as he passed him by, watching him make his way to the meeting spot.

    “Good,” the announcer whispered to Dave. “Now we just need to wait for your opponent and we can begin.”

    Dave nodded. Hopefully he wouldn’t take too long.


    ~*~*~*~


    Near a private entrance, Kaiba and his brother, Mokuba, waited in the shadows for the finalists to show up.

    “Seto, are you okay?” Mokuba asked shyly. Kaiba patted him on the shoulder tenderly.

    “I’m fine.” He pulled his hand away.

    “But what about your deck? How are you going to duel without it?”

    Kaiba hesitated, then spoke gravely, “We need to continue with the tournament as if it never happened. Hopefully we can bide our time...”

    Mobuka turned to him. “I wouldn’t worry about that. These two guys are the best I’ve seen since Yugi Muto and Joey Wheeler.” Kaiba rolled his eyes at the mention of Joey’s name. “They’ll be able to put on a show long enough for us to find the culprit.”

    “Let’s hope so,” he whispered under his breath.

    “Mr. Kaiba,” the chief said, arriving behind them. “How are things holding up?”

    Kaiba nodded. “We should be able to stall long enough for you to find my deck.”

    Mobuka elbowed him teasingly. “Yeah, hopefully Seto can keep his cool while we wait.”

    The chief and Mokuba forced a nervous laugh. There was a moment of awkward silence until the chief pointed to the stage.

    “Look, that other boy’s here.”

    They looked to the stage, watching the confident teenager somberly walk over to the other duelist. Kaiba stepped forward.

    “I have to go up.” He glanced at the chief over his shoulder. “If you hear any word about my deck alert me immediately.”

    The chief gave an assuring nod and stepped back into the doorway. Kaiba took a few more steps; a beam of light exposed him from the darkness. He steadily climbed the stairs, met with the other three, where the announcer handed him a microphone.

    “Ladies and gentlemen. The duel that is about to take place is destined to be unlike any other.” Mokuba chuckled – everyone knew that Kaiba didn’t believe in destiny. “In the left corner we have a local duelist known as Dave Litenur and in the right, we an unknown duelist by the name of Adam Prince. Both are equally skilled in varying ways, but one thing we know is that they were able to make it here today.”

    Kaiba paused to allow both contestants to take their spots on the stage, simultaneously allowing the audience room to applaud. Dave had his back turned to Josh, where he would be able to get a good view of Dave’s hand. The two showed off their Duel Disks, but waited for permission to activate them.

    “As you already know, both of you already qualify to beta test a brand new line of cards. But that is not enough. In order to gain the title and glory of becoming a champion, you must win this round to have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to duel me.”

    Dave stared at Kaiba as he gave his spiel. I’ll be sure to.

    “If you win, then fame is yours. But now let’s return to the moment shall we?” He looked to Adam, who stood emotionlessly. Then to Dave, who remained focused on the famous duelist.

    Just one more round and my dream will come true…

    “Dave.” Hearing Kaiba say his name broke him from his trance. Kaiba held out a coin engraved with a dragon’s head on one side, fumbling with it. “Since you won with more Life Points during the last round, you get to call the toss.”

    A formal coin toss. It was rare to see this in casual play, but even throughout this tournament the announcer had predetermined the turn order. He was honored to be left with this choice.

    “Heads,” he said with confidence.

    “Hmph.” Kaiba threw the coin into the air, where it flipped distinctively as it fell. When it returned, Kaiba griped it with his right hand, plopped it onto his left and called out the result.

    “Tails.”

    Dave grumbled. But he knew it didn’t matter in the long run – it was rare for the turn order to determine the winner.

    “Adam, since you won the toss you get to go first.”

    Adam darkly watched Kaiba step off stage, where Kaiba passed the baton to the announcer.

    “Alright! Let the final round begin!”

    The crowd cheered; Kaiba disappeared into the darkness. Only two spotlights remained, one on either player, each expanding so that their fields were lit up in a sharp, pale light. Kaiba acknowledged Mokuba as he came close, and the two turned to watch the match unfold.

    They better find it. Or else.


    ~*~*~*~


    Each duelist activated his Duel Disk, clapping the two platforms together and swinging it so that it was facing the other player. They pulled their five cards and their Life Points meters ignited with electronic digits.

    Here we go.

    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Adam LP: (8000)]

    While Adam started his turn, Dave looked over his hand. First card was Black Luster Soldier. He lacked its Ritual Spell Card though, but with his Pot of Greed card he could easily pull it in addition to his normal draw. Then he had Black Luster Sword, Dimension Wall, and Black Luster Guard ready to support it if needed. He couldn’t have asked for a better starting hand. This game was good as his.

    “I activate Graceful Charity,” Adam said. A Spell Card appeared depicting a red-haired angel cupping its hands under a glowing, pale card that floated above it. “This card allows me to draw three cards, but discard two.”

    So he’s gonna dump a Fallen monster into the Grave first thing.

    Adam looked over his new cards, then tossed two of them into the red slot of his Duel Disk.

    “Next I’ll set two cards face-down.” Two brown-backed cards flashed a foot ahead of Adam. He pressed a button on his Duel Disk, and an orange card ejected from the red slot. “Now I’ll summon my Fallen Koumori Dragon from my Graveyard.”

    The purple dragon appeared with a burst of flames, its yellow eyes glaring at Dave through the spotlight. (1500/1200)

    “Your go.”

    Dave pulled a card, disappointed to see it was Obnoxious Celtic Guard. He reached for his Pot of Greed card, but one of Adam’s face-down cards triggered the second he did.

    “I activate Extended Trip-Wire. This lets me pick up cards from my deck until I draw a Trap Card. Then, if it can activate, I can use it immediately and send all the other cards to the Graveyard. Otherwise my picked-up cards go back to my deck.”

    I see right through that. Dave touched his finger to Pot of Greed, still preparing to use it. His real plan is to populate his Graveyard full of Fallen monsters. It doesn’t matter what trap he pulls so long as it works.

    Adam drew card after card; Dave counted them as he pulled. An orange card. A green card. Another orange card. A third… he continued until finally drew a purple card and slid it into his Duel Disk. At that point he had seven orange cards, monsters, and three green cards, spells, all of them going into his Graveyard. Now he needed to be prepared for anything.

    “Since my Ring of Destruction card was drawn, I’ll use it to destroy the only monster out – Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    A metallic tire stuck itself around Fallen Koumori Dragon’s neck. The dragon attempted to pry it off but fire shot out of the tire’s pores, completely submerging it. In a final effort to escape the dragon spread its wings, shooting the flames at both players. Dave shielded himself with his Duel Disk, while Adam took the hit unflinchingly.

    [Dave LP: (8000 --> 6500)] [Adam LP: (8000 --> 6500)]

    Dave lowered his arm, glared at his opponent through the smoke. Adam barely seemed to care about the blast. Dave took his Pot of Greed card, slamming it angrily into a random slot.

    “I activate Pot of Greed which allows me to draw two cards.” He brought the same hand to his deck.

    “I chain Exchange of Spirit!”

    No way!

    Upon hearing the card’s name, Kaiba perked his attention at Adam. He and Mokuba watched the card rise from their corner, each of them stepping forward to get a better view. Dave was completely taken aback. He couldn’t believe he fell for this.

    “Since I have fifteen cards in my Graveyard, I can pay 1000 Life Points –” [Adam LP: (6500 --> 5500)] “– to have our Graveyards switch places with our decks.”

    Ghosts spewed out the card’s hologram, spiraling chaotically around the arena, a few headed for both players. A cluster of ghosts assaulted Dave, absorbing his deck one card at a time. As one ghost moved away, another one took its place, and the previous ghosts squished itself into Dave’s Graveyard. He tried to fan them away, but his arm passed straight through. He had no choice but to wait for the madness to finish. By the end of the mayhem, Dave’s deck was gone. Since Pot of Greed needed to take effect, Dave was forced to draw. He still had his hand on the empty compartment, pressing his fingers against the cold gray metal.

    No… this can’t be. Dave’s heart became stone. He fell to his knees, found himself paralyzed by trauma.

    Audience members shot themselves onto their feet. Despite the impressive move, everyone remained in silent awe, as if expecting more to happen. Even the announcer and, in the dark, Kaiba expressed their amazement. The holograms disintegrated; the platform on Adam’s Duel Disk unhinged itself into two separate units. For a moment, the arena seemed to become a place of mourning, as if a murder had just been witnessed.

    Josh saw his friend digging his hands into the stage floor. He watched Adam walk over, snapping the announcer out of his trance.

    “Dave Litenur has Decked Out. Adam Prince is the winner!”

    A delayed uproar filled the stadium, louder than any other before it. Adam held out his hand to Dave, but Dave remained unresponsive. The shock was too much.

    Oh Dave… you were so close.

    Kaiba, too, stared at the duelists in horror.

    “Seto,” Mokuba said. “Seto, what’re we gonna do now?”

    Kaiba hesitated. “How the hell…”

    “Seto.”

    Mokuba looked to his brother, shaking his arm. Kaiba answered with a glare.

    “Stall. I need to find the chief.”

    With that he waved Mokuba away and whipped open the door, his blazer trailing behind him.

    Back on stage, Adam crouched so he was eyelevel with Dave. He began to whisper. “Don’t worry. You’ll get your chance.”

    Dave finally acknowledged him. Get his chance? What did that mean? Adam offered his hand again, Dave accepted reluctantly. They stood up, the crowd burst into a deafening frenzy.

    “Next up we’ll have the Championship Round – Seto Kaiba vs. Adam Prince! But first we’ll have a fifte…”

    A panic-stricken Mobuka sprinted onto the stage. Josh, probably the only person not caught up in the moment, noticed the announcer’s astonishment at his arrival. The announcer leaned in to hear what the teenager was whispering in his ear. When Mokuba stepped back, the announcer held up his microphone.

    “Erhrm. We’ll be having a thirty minute break, then the Championship Round will begin!”

    More cheers wisped across the stadium. Josh saw his friend step down the stage’s stairs, using his hat to hide his shame.


    ~*~*~*~


    While the remainder of the crowd headed for the lobby, Dave and Josh stayed behind to talk. Dave looked through his deck again, this time with sullen guilt.

    “Dave, you okay?” He waited, but Dave continued to search through his deck. “Don’t worry about the loss man, you still get to beta test those cards.”

    Dave stopped, looked to him. “I was so close!” He started to sloppily shuffle his deck. “I’m never gonna have a chance like this again.”

    “You don’t know that.” Josh said reassuringly. Though, from the way Dave sounded earlier, he knew that Dave was probably right.

    “Whatever.”

    Dave shoved his deck back into his Card Analyzer, collapsing in his chair.

    “You wanna go home?”

    Dave stared at the floor, sulking.

    “Yeah. Let’s go…”


    ~*~*~*~

    “What do you MEAN we can’t leave?!”

    The security guard shook his head, holding out a hand to protect himself from Dave’s outrage.

    “I’m sorry sir. Mr. Kaiba’s orders. No one is allowed to leave until the tournament is concluded.”

    “That’s ridiculously stupid!” Dave shouted, waving his arms in exasperation. Josh gave a frightened look to the guard, who retracted his jaw. “What if there was a fire or shooting or something! Why the hell would you keep everyone here against their will!”

    The security guard remained firm, but gentle. “If that was the case we would override the order. But until then we have to listen to what he says. I’m sorry.”

    “Dammit!” Dave kicked a nearby pillar and trudged away. Josh stayed behind to apologize but the security guard simply nodded. With that settled, he caught up to Dave, who had started to push his way through the crowd. Josh followed, but struggled to reach him. People started crossing his path almost immediately.

    “Dave! Where are you going!”

    Dave didn’t hear him – whether it was because of the noise or his withdrawn anger, Josh wasn’t sure – and headed for the cafeteria door. Though Josh tried, he could not keep up with him. Eventually he was lost in the crowd.


    ~*~*~*~


    “Nathan.” A voice rang from the police officer’s walkie-talkie. He picked it up, quickly trying to fight his way toward the cafeteria door so he could hear it better.

    “Yes sir?”

    “We have less time than we thought. Please hurry and find that de –”

    There was a struggle on the other line, shortly followed by a deafening roar.

    “Find that deck NOW!” Kaiba’s voice shouted, forcing Nathan to momentarily take the walkie-talkie away from his ear. “If you don’t find that deck in twenty minutes I’ll be sure to make your life a living hell!”

    Nathan’s voice started to falter. “On it sir.” He hung up just as Kaiba began another barrage of threats. Now he was racing the clock.

    He glanced around the crowd at first, waiting to see if he could anyone that looked slightly suspicious. Then he saw him – the same man from before; his gray leather jacket and his black spikey hair contrasting with that single strand of red hair that hung above his nose. This time he wouldn’t get away. Nathan silently marched in his direction, only to bump into another man from his haste.

    “Ah, I’m sorry,” the boy said. It the same kid he had bumped into earlier; the timid one who wore the red sweatshirt.

    “It’s alright. I’m just in a hurry.”

    He was about to walk away so the suspect didn’t have a chance to escape, but stopped himself. The boy seemed troubled. Nathan cast his gaze at the spikey-haired man, just to make sure he was still there. When he felt secured, he questioned the boy before he left.

    “You alright there kid?”

    The boy seemed surprised when he asked. “Yeah. My friend just ran off, so I’m trying to find him.”

    “Oh, I see. Carry on.” He nodded, tipping his hat. He was about to pursue the spikey-haired man when the boy started to speak again.

    “Hey, can I ask you something?”

    Nathan looked again to check if the man had left. He hadn’t.

    “Sure. What’s bothering you kid?”

    “What’s going on today? I mean, the announcer’s acting weird with all these delays and my friend and I weren’t allowed to leave before.”

    Now he was stuck. He needed to think quickly so the boy wouldn’t be too concerned. Maybe tell the truth with a detached tone?

    “It’s nothing. Something valuable was stolen before and the owner was making a fuss about it.” He wasn’t lying, just leaving out some key details. “Security’s playing along just to calm his nerves. There’s no need to fret.”

    “Ah, alright.” The boy held out his hand. “Hopefully you find it so we can leave. My friend’s angry about his loss and just wants to get outta here.”

    Nathan accepted the handshake. “Don’t worry, you should be able to leave soon.”

    “Thanks.” The boy smiled politely, opened the door to the cafeteria.

    Hopefully this thief isn’t too dangerous. Nathan looked back to the crowd and, once again, the spikey-haired man was gone.

    Shit.


    ~*~*~*~


    Josh entered the cafeteria, closing the door behind him. Now that there was a break in the tournament, the whole room was flooded with people waiting for the finals. It would definitely be harder to find Dave in here.

    He walked straight ahead, thinking about what the cop had just said to him. Something was stolen. That was easy enough to understand. But wait… he never answered why the announcer was acting weird. Could something have been stolen from him? That didn’t make much sense. And he remembered before that all of the cops were looking for it. Was it really that important? Something didn’t add up.

    Eventually Josh found himself at the center of the cafeteria – in between the wide rows of tables that stretched from one end of the room to the other. Not one seat was vacant in here, and every inch of the tables had either trays or cards laid out on them. He cupped his hand over his eyes in search for Dave but he still didn’t see him. Maybe he snuck out?

    Josh twisted around, thinking that he would be able to find him from a different vantage point, when he slammed into a person dressed in dull business clothes. He heard a feminine grunt. A briefcase fell to the floor, spilling its contents all over the place.

    “Ah, I’m so sorry. Let me help.”

    He leaned down to pick up the small trinkets, including some make-up, a few sheets of paper, and a blue Card Analyzer. He was about to stand up when he noticed that the hinge securing the Card Analyzer’s deck slot was opened, a card was sticking out slightly.

    A thought flashed into Josh’s mind, something he had heard before.

    “Nathan, hurry up. We need to find that deck.”

    Was that what the police officer was referring to? At that moment, another thought hit him.

    “I’m sorry sir. Mr. Kaiba’s orders. No one is allowed to leave until the tournament is concluded.”

    Mr. Kaiba… Why would he order to seal the exits if it wasn’t a big deal? He slipped the card higher to could read its name. Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Now a new voice rang out in his head. This time it was Dave’s.

    “They’re one of the most powerful Dragon-type monsters in the world. And he owns the only three copies in existence. It’s his signature card.”

    No… this was Kaiba’s deck! He sprung up from shock, but the business woman punched him in the gut, loosening his grip of the Card Analyzer. She snatched it away from him, tossed her scattered belongings into the briefcase and fled from the scene. By the time Josh recovered she was already half way across the cafeteria.

    “Stop her!” Josh ordered aimlessly. Curious people nearby turned. “She stole Kaiba’s deck!”

    Silence brushed along the cafeteria like a droplet of water hitting the surface. Josh chased after her. Others stood up to cut her off but she managed to smack them away with her briefcase. Josh was the only one who was able to follow her trail unflinchingly. The business woman rushed for the exit; as she drew close several people stood up with arms outstretched, successfully blocking her path. She had nowhere to run now.

    The woman quietly cursed. Josh approached behind her, followed by others.

    “Give it up.” “You got nowhere to run now lady.” “Give us Kaiba’s deck back or else.”

    A minute smirk spread across her cheeks.

    “Hand it over,” Josh said, gesturing towards the briefcase. He walked closer, finally recognizing the woman’s face. “You… you’re the receptionist!”

    The receptionist’s smile widened. “That’s right!” She grasped his arm, tugging on it violently. Josh, having no time to react, found himself clung up against her body. A cold, metal circle touched his neck. The others trembled, backing off subconsciously. Josh tried to speak, he failed. He was paralyzed by fear.

    “Alright,” the receptionist spoke coldly. “Now I’m gonna leave. If anyone follows me out this door, I’m gonna shoot.”

    The others exchanged fearful glances, eventually giving in. Those blocking the door stepped aside.

    “That’s right,” she said. She pressed the gun’s barrel tighter against Josh’s neck, walking him over.

    So this was how his life was gonna end. All over a stupid deck of cards.

    “Oh no you don’t.”

    The receptionist stopped, glancing over her shoulder. Josh, too afraid to move, barely managed to see who was speaking. But he knew the voice. It was Dave.

    “What the hell do you want?” She presented Josh, twisted the gun into his skin. Josh winced in panic. “You know what’s gonna happen if anyone tries to stop me.”

    “What if I make you a deal?” Dave said gravely. “I’ll challenge you to a duel. If I win, you let him go and return Kaiba’s deck.”

    The receptionist pulled Josh back by his neck. “The hell I am!”

    “I’m not done yet.” Dave held out his Card Analyzer. How was he able to stay so calm? “If you win, not only will I let you run off with Kaiba’s deck, I’ll give you my deck as well so long as he’s unharmed.”

    His deck? The one he spent six years putting together for this tournament. And he was willing to surrender it to save his friend.

    Me.

    “Hmmm…” The receptionist was intrigued. “You were a finalist, am I correct?”

    Dave stiffened his lips; he nodded.

    The receptionist flung Josh at the people near the door, gun poised at them. “You have yourself a deal!”

    She bent down, opening her briefcase to expose a Duel Disk inside (how it fit in there Josh will never know). She fitted it onto her left arm, equipping it with Kaiba’s Card Analyzer.

    “I’m gonna have fun with this.”

    The receptionist waved her gun at the crowd, forcing them away as she and Dave climbed atop two tables, each separated by three tables in between them. Everyone cleared the area so that the holograms could appear without interference – though it was more likely because they didn’t want to be too close if things went wrong. Josh kept an eye on the receptionist’s gun, how she stuffed it in her belt before activating her Duel Disk. If he could sneak behind her and take it, then he may be able to overpower her so Dave wouldn’t be at risk. But it was too dangerous, and everyone knew it. All they could do was cower while Dave faced off against the most powerful deck in the world.

    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Receptionist LP: (8000)]

    “I’ll start things off,” the receptionist said, drawing gleefully.

    Josh recalled what Dave had said to him earlier. Kaiba had three Blue-Eyes White Dragons in his deck, so there was a three in forty chance that the receptionist would draw it. As long as Dave took control before that happened, he might be able to win.

    “First I’ll summon the Lord of Dragons in Attack mode.”

    On the table in front of the receptionist, a man dressed in a strange costume materialized. Its helmet was shaped like a spiked, eyeless dragon’s head, with the man’s face being inside its mouth. The off-white design of the helmet continued all the way down the man’s costume, and two dragon claws hooked onto its shoulders, connecting its long, night blue cape with the rest of its armor. (1200/1100) The man, formally known as Lord of D., held out its tree-bark brown hands and glowered at those who dared to make eye contact with it.

    “I know that card,” Dave said. His voice never changed pitch. “It prevents all card effects from targeting Dragon-type monsters. But it’s useless without any dragons out.”

    “Yes,” the receptionist said, picking out a new card. “But that’s about to change. I activate The Flute of Summoning Dragon!”

    Dave gritted his teeth, tensed his neck. Many people around Josh started murmuring amongst themselves, clinging onto each other. He didn’t know what it meant, but he knew it wasn’t good. A golden dragon-shaped flute appeared in Lord of D.’s hand. It held the instrument to its mouth, blowing into the tail, emitting a low roar from the flute.

    “This allows me to call out up to two Dragon-type monsters from my hand and summon them. And guess which ones I happen to have on me?”

    Josh finally understood. Not even one turn into the game and the crowd had already lost hope.

    “Come on out, my blue-eyed beauties!”

    Sparkles of light flowed out of the receptionist’s Duel Disk, spiraling around each other into two twisters on either side of her. They intertwined, creating two white dragons, looming majestically over her head. Their tails whipped around as they roared, incidentally showing of the three-pronged spikes on either side of their cheeks. People crouched down to avoid the windblasts caused by the dragons thrusting their wings at their new enemy – Dave.

    Dave gripped tightly onto the five cards in his hand, feeling the force of the wind pushing against his body. The receptionist cackled madly as each Blue-Eyes White Dragon let out another sound-breaking howl. Strain tightened all of his muscles, his heart was pounding heavily. The odds were against him.


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Extended Trip-Wire
    ****ap]
    When this card is activated, pick up cards from your Deck until you draw a Trap Card. If the conditions allow, activate the Trap Card immediately and send all the other cards picked up to the Graveyard. If not, send the Trap Card to the Graveyard. Return all other cards picked up to the deck and shuffle it.


    Fallen Koumori Dragon
    ****
    [Dark]
    [Dragon/Tuner]
    (1500/1200)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Koumori Dragon”. By destroying 1 face-down card on your side of the field, you can negate an opponent’s card effect and destroy it.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Chapter Nine


    [Dave LP: (8000)] [Receptionist LP: (8000)]

    Dave kept a stable stance as the receptionist continued her mindless cackle. One turn into the game and she had already summoned two Blue-Eyes White Dragons (3000/2500) [x2], as well as protection for them in the form of Lord of D. (1200/1100). He angrily waited for her to finish laughing, but it seemed she would never stop.

    “You got this Dave,” Josh whispered under his breath. A slight chill travelled up his spine at the sight of the dragons, peaking at his neck. He could only imagine the pressure that was on Dave right now.

    “Are you done yet?” Dave shouted. Though it was mostly to get the receptionist to end her turn, he was secretly trying to shed his fear of the two bloodthirsty dragons. They were ready to feast, and he was their next meal. The receptionist finally ended her cackling with a snort.

    “Phew. Yeah, basically. You got lucky this time around, since my monsters can’t attack on the first turn. But I’ll set this face-down card so you can have yours.”

    Dave hesitated before drawing, still eyeing the Blue-Eyes White Dragons. His cards would protect him, but the fear was still there. He needed something that would eliminate the Lord of D. card first before he had any chance of taking them down. He drew. Hope filled his stomach, relieved some pressure off his chest. The blue bordered card would be all that he needed.

    “I activate Advanced Ritual Art. This allows me to send Dark Blade and Black Luster Warrior from my deck to the Graveyard to Ritual Summon my Black Luster Soldier!”

    Rumbling resonated from the table behind the camouflage-dressed duelist; onlookers scattered out of the way in anticipation. A stone altar rose behind him (despite the fact that it was clearly too heavy to be supported by the table) and the light green ritualistic circle rotated at the center of its floor. Dave tossed the two vanilla bordered cards into it, and a bolt of green lightning shot upward, hitting the ceiling’s lights, and sending it back where it came from. A burst of light surged into the ground, leaving the familiar silhouette of a proud warrior in its wake. The warrior unsheathed its sword, dispelling the glowing light around it, and solemnly waited for its orders. (3000/2500)

    The receptionist grinned. So this is the card that allowed this boy to reach the finals. She looked to her opponent; her grin grew. Let’s see how long it can last.

    “Black Luster Soldier,” Dave said, pointing. “Attack her Lord of D.!”

    “No ya don’t!” The receptionist held out her hand, the card before her lifted. “I activate Negate Attack!”

    Black Luster Soldier leapt from the altar, bringing its sword near its shoulder. As it fell near the dragon-clothed man, a portal sucked it up and returned it back to its original position, to everyone’s dismay.

    The receptionist laughed again. “Too bad.”

    Dave scowled. “I end my turn.” He felt those around him shudder.

    “Really? Come on! You made it sound like you were to make this a grand performance!”

    She browsed over the two cards in her hand, comfortably formulating a strategy. From Josh’s perspective, it was more to mock Dave than to think.

    “Alright. I set a face-down card and then activate Card of Demise.” She skimmed the top of her deck, sliding out several cards in a single motion. “This card allows me to draw cards until I hold five cards in my hand, but in five turns I have to send everything I hold to the Graveyard.”

    After briefly scanning her new hand, she held up a Spell Card, depicting a red water droplet falling into a lake. The droplet had a face, apparently dreading the fall.

    “Next up is Heart of Clear Water. Since my Lord of Dragons has less than 1300 ATK, I can equip this to him and it’ll prevent him from being destroyed by anything that directly affects him.” A glowing light dripped onto the lord, covering it in a translucent veil of water. It knelt. “Now I’ll switch him to Defense Position and end my turn.”

    Great. Now Dave had another obstacle in his way. With the Lord of D. in Defense Position there was no way to inflict damage to the receptionist’s Life Points. And with Heart of Clear Water equipped, any attack against was useless. On top of that, her Blue-Eyes White Dragons were practically indestructible as long as Lord of D. was still on the field.

    “Ya know, I’ll let you all live if you give up now,” the receptionist called out to him, breaking his train of thought. She tilted her head upward, raising her eyebrows sinisterly. “You weren’t even good enough to beat a random nobody. How do you expect to beat this kind of power?”

    That hit a nerve. Dave clutched onto his deck, pushing the top card up slightly.

    “The hell I’m gonna give up!” He drew, revealing his rage. “My turn!”


    ~*~*~*~


    Back in the lobby, Nathan worked past the crowd, silently stalking the mysterious man in the gray leather jacket. He was far enough away to avoid detection, but close enough to see the whites of the thief’s eyes. A barrier of people, about five feet wide, prevented him from hearing anything the man could be saying, but that was fine. This was the closest he had ever gotten to confronting the evasive bandit.

    The man was looking through a deck of Duel Monsters cards, carefully examining each one as if he were studying for a test. He occasionally brushed his fingers over his forehead, pushing the single strand of red hair into the black spikes on his head, only to have it fall back onto his nose. He leaned on the pillar behind him, shifting his eyes in awareness, and then cautiously slid the cards back into a Card Analyzer. When everything was put away, the man glanced around the room again before he started to leave.

    You’re not getting away this time. Nathan ducked his head as the man turned in his direction, making sure to move away as he came close. Once he passed, Nathan proceeded to follow him. He was heading for the opposite side of the lobby, near the room where the deck had been originally stolen. That figured – thieves always return to the scene of the crime.

    The man walked nonchalantly towards the door, with Nathan secretly sneaking behind him. He had to be prepared for anything. For all he knew this man was a dangerous criminal. Then again, he could be wrong. This man could also just be a harmless civilian. That happened sometimes. But he was sure this was the guy. He was absolutely sure.

    The man eventually stepped away from the crowd, subtly quickening his pace, heading for the back room. Nathan couldn’t allow him to get away again. He swiftly tiptoed through the crowd; caught up to the man as he placed his hand on the door knob. Upon sensing Nathan’s presence, the man momentarily froze in place.

    “Where do you think you’re going sir?”


    ~*~*~*~


    Josh stepped closer to the receptionist’s table, still staring at the gun wedged in her belt. He was too far away to jump up and grab it. And even if he was, by the time he reached her she would surely shoot. He wanted to do something, he had to do something. But he couldn’t. It was too dangerous. All he could do was watch Dave fight for their safety.

    As he stepped closer to the table he realized he was standing near the same spot where he and Dave ate before Dave’s first match. He recalled what Dave had told him during their meal – how he spent the past six years building his deck for this day. Then it clicked. Dave had a card that could ‘cripple Kaiba’s Blue-Eyes White Dragons’ in his deck. No wonder he was so willing to play such a dangerous game – he held the card that could turn the tables in a single move! But only Dave knew what that card was, and there was a chance that he wouldn’t draw it in time.

    If at all.

    “My turn!” Dave said, slapping an orange card beside the blue one. “I summon Black Luster Guard in Defense Position.”

    A new warrior knelt beside Black Luster Soldier, hiding behind its large rectangular shield. (200/1800)

    “Another warrior? What good is that gonna do you? Its DEF is way too low to survive a blast from my Blue-Eyes White Dragons. Especially when I activate my face-down card!”

    A purple bordered card rose, hiding the receptionist’s legs from sight. “When my Aqua Chorus is activated all monsters that share the same name gain 500 ATK and DEF for every copy on the field!”

    Gasps filled the cafeteria; a soothing chant emitted from the Trap Card. An azure aura surrounded both of the blue dragons, which drifted closer to each other to symbolize their shared power. (3000 --> 3500/2500 --> 3000) [x2]

    “Next turn I’ll wipe out your two warriors and then it’s all over from there!”

    “We’ll see about that.” Dave tapped a button on his Card Analyzer. “I’ll remove three of the four Black Luster Counters from Black Luster Guard in order to summon three Black Luster Guard Tokens.”

    Each gem on Black Luster Guard’s shield sparkled and a beam of light flew out of them, leaving only the bottom corner one remaining. The beams swirled around Dave, causing his jacket and hair to flutter, before flowing gracefully into the table. The beams spread out, and when the light faded, three new copies of Black Luster Guard stood, leaving two on either side of Black Luster Soldier.

    The receptionist shrugged. “So it’ll take an extra turn to tear down your wall. Big deal.”

    “Who said I was using my guards as a shield?” Dave said, grinning. He held up another card.
    A familiar card.

    “I activate Black Luster Ritual!”

    Sky-blue flames ignited around the table supporting Dave’s five warriors. The receptionist raised an arm, clearly taken aback. The four Black Luster Guards lowered their shields, succumbing to the flames swirling around them. Dave extended his arm – the Spell Card in his hand sucked up the embers until only the lone soldier remained at his side. When his field was cleared, he chucked the card, which exploded in an intense blue light.

    Josh covered his eyes, but the light still seeped into his vision. This could only mean one thing.

    “What the hell are you doing?!” the receptionist yelled, closing her eyes tightly.

    Dave smiled, watching the light dim. The receptionist, and the others, finally opened their eyes, cautiously looking around the room. Their vision blurred at first, but they slowly regained their sight. At first the receptionist thought that she was seeing double. But she was wrong. There were indeed two Black Luster Soldiers standing in front of her. (3000/2500)

    “That can’t be…”

    “That’s right. Just like how Kaiba has three Blue-Eyes White Dragons his deck, I have three Black Luster Soldiers in mine!”

    The receptionist straightened her posture. “Not like it matters. My dragons are still stronger than your soldiers.”

    Dave smiled again. “Are you so sure?”

    Both Black Luster Soldiers unsheathed their swords, clanging them together to form an ‘X’ in between them. As the sound rang in everyone’s eardrums, an azure aura loomed around the two monsters. (3000 --> 3500/2500 --> 3000) [x2]

    The receptionist gawked.

    “That’s right. Your Aqua Chorus affects my monsters as well!”

    Steady cheers gradually built across the cafeteria, eventually peaking when everyone started chanting his name.

    “Dave! Dave! Dave!” “You got this Dave!” “Finish her off!” “Show her who’s boss!”

    Josh contributed as well. “Way to go Dave!” He presented the thumbs sign; Dave acknowledged it by smiling once more, moving his right hand closer to his left.

    “I’ll place one card face-down and end my turn.”

    That really was a great move. He managed to use her own card against her to even the field. Now all he had to do was get rid of Lord of D. and he could win.

    And if she somehow manages to make her Blue-Eyes White Dragons stronger my Covering Fire card will stop her in her tracks, Dave thought, content with his slight advantage.

    “I wouldn’t celebrate yet,” she said, prying a card from her deck. “I activate Dragon’s Gunfire. Since I have a Dragon-type monster on the field I can inflict 800 damage to your Life Points!”

    Dave took a half step back. One of the Blue-Eyes White Dragons charged up a red fireball. He knew this blast wasn’t its natural attack, since it would normally be pale-blue. Blue-Eyes White Dragon launched the meteor-like fireball, bypassing both of Dave’s monsters, striking him directly in the chest. [Dave LP: (8000 --> 7200)] He fell to his knees, relaxed when he realized the attack was over. Although that was the first move to lower either player’s Life Points, the damage was minimal, so he had plenty of time to fight back. He stood up as the receptionist summoned a new monster – a wingless reptile with a rugged, stone build. It bared its claws, holding them to its head for protection.

    “As long as Golem Dragon (200/2000) is out you can’t attack any of my other Dragon-type monsters.” She swung her arm to the side. “Make your move.”

    Dave did as he was told. Perfect. He slid the new Spell Card into his Duel Disk with subtle enthusiasm.

    “I activate Black Luster Helmet.” A new helmet wrapped around one of the soldier’s heads, sparkling as ten of its gems illuminated under the cafeteria’s lighting. “Now I’ll remove four of my helmet’s ten Black Luster Counters to add Black Luster Sword to my hand.” He presented the card to her. “And now I’ll equip it to my other Black Luster Soldier, giving it 1000 extra ATK!”

    The receptionist swallowed her gasp while the Black Luster Soldier took possession of its new blade. (3500 --> 4500/3000) This could be an issue. She looked back to her hand in search of a solution.

    “Now my Black Luster Soldier,” Dave said, instructing the stronger one. “Attack her Golem Dragon!”

    Black Luster Soldier, with its sword in hand, dashed across the tables. It used its momentum to stab straight through the dragon’s stone claws, causing it to explode into a pile of rubble as the soldier jumped away.

    “That ends my turn.” Dave put his hand to his side as well. They were evenly matched before this, but now he clearly had the advantage her over. Next turn her dragons would be gone.

    The receptionist calmly added a new card to her collection. “Alright. First off I’ll activate Magic Reflector.”

    A mechanical spider materialized onto the field, climbing awkwardly up the hologram of the Heart of Clear Water card. Once it was secured, it latched itself to the card and a satellite dish opened.

    “As long as this thing is attached, my Heart of Clear Water can’t be destroyed by card effects.”

    So it would take an extra turn to get rid of it. Not a big deal since now he could just destroy her Blue-Eyes White Dragons by attacking them.

    “And now I activate this card – A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon!”

    Dave nearly dropped his cards. “No!”

    “That’s right! I’ll return my Blue-Eyes to my hand to destroy all Spell and Trap cards on the field!”

    The dragon on her left raised its body so that it was standing erect and let out a screeching roar. It forcefully flapped its wings repeatedly, creating a wave of whirlwinds, ripping the air with its power. People narrowly evaded plates and trays from surrounding tables that were sent fluttering around the room. Dave planted his feet to prevent himself from becoming airborne.

    His face-down Trap Card flew into the air like a sheet of paper, not only revealing its identity, but ripping it to shreds. One of the Black Luster Soldiers lost its grip on its Black Luster Sword, allowing it to slip out of its hand, shattering against the wall on the opposite side of the room. The other soldier’s helmet flung off its head, crashing into the ceiling, instantly flattening it into a pancake. The remaining cards fell to the same fate as Dave’s face-down card; the only exception being Heart of Clear Water, which was protected by a small barrier generated by the Magic Reflector.

    A tiny twister of scraps fluttered around the field once the winds died down. The azure aura surrounding the soldiers and dragons was gone. The robot shielding Heart of Clear Water, now drained of all its energy, dismantled itself, clumsily dropping to the floor. The unarmed Black Luster Soldier unsheathed its original sword, now aware that its power was even with its rivals’.

    Everyone managed to recuperate, cleaning themselves of any garbage that been thrown at them. Rainbow flashes transformed the Blue-Eyes White Dragon that had summoned the winds into a burst of pure energy, sucking itself back into the card in between the receptionist’s fingertips.

    “Looks like I have the advantage now.” She stuck out her tongue, gesturing for Dave to start his turn.

    [Blue-Eyes White Dragon (3500 --> 3000/3000 --> 2500)]
    [Black Luster Soldier (3500 --> 3000/3000 --> 2500)]
    [Black Luster Soldier (4500 -->--> 3000/3000 --> 2500)]

    Dave looked around the room, seeing the flurry of frightened faces around him, reminding him of their fear. He saw Josh who, even during the windblasts, was still transfixed on the gun in the receptionist’s belt. Dave had enough; he glared angrily at the receptionist. This was the last straw.

    He drew wordlessly. The receptionist was right in one respect but wrong in another. She did have the advantage since she still had her dragons protected by Lord of D., which was protected by Heart of Clear Water. But at the same time she was out numbered. Dave had two 3000 ATK monsters while she only had one. He could easily destroy his own monster to take down her Blue-Eyes, but then he would still have to deal with the indestructible spellcaster kneeling before him.

    Luckily, his newest card would allow him to do just that.

    “I summon this monster,” he showed it to the crowd, then to the receptionist. He was serious this time – nothing was going to distract him. “Black Luster Knight, reveal yourself!”

    The young knight hopped between its two superiors, somberly flashing its gauntlets to show their glowing streaks. (1400/1200) Dave gave no time to breathe before barking out his next order.

    “By removing a counter from my knight I’ll increase the ATK of all my monster by 200.”

    Black Luster Knight flicked its wrist, snapping a streak off its gauntlets as it reached for its sword.

    [Black Luster Soldier (3000 --> 3200/2500)] [x2]
    [Black Luster Knight (1400 --> 1600/1200)]

    The receptionist twirled her hair with her finger. “So what? I’ve got plenty of resources to beat a measly 200 point boost.”

    “I’m not done yet,” Dave said fiercely. The receptionist subconsciously repressed her twitch, brought her hand near her waist. Dave turned to his monsters as he spoke again. “Now Black Luster Knight, tune together with your fellow Black Luster Soldier!”


    What could he be planning? The receptionist thought. That would make it a Level 11 monster he’s trying to Synchro Summon, there’s only a few of those in existence.

    Black Luster Knight’s body disappeared in a burst of pale blue energy, forming three circles that wrapped themselves around the soldier beside him. The soldier slowly dissolved into eight tiny stars, spinning rapidly around the three circles until they formed a glistening twister of light.

    “Synchro Summon! Black Luster General!”

    A proud general appeared in the dissipating twister, the glitter floating gently around its black suit. The general adjusted its cap, revealing five dulled stars on it; the center three lit up to match the lustrous glow of the rest of its badges, showing off its achievements. Two black cannons rested beside it, kept in place by anchoring its golden wheels into the floor. The general positioned them so that they aimed at the receptionist’s monsters, then stood with a solemn stare. (3600/3000)

    The receptionist yawned. “That whole light show for a senile old man? It’s gonna take more than that to stop me.”

    Dave pressed a button on his Card Analyzer – a green bordered card ejected out of his Duel Disk’s slot. “When Black Luster General is Synchro Summoned I get to return a ‘Black Luster’ card from my Graveyard to my hand, so I’ll take back my Black Luster Sword.”

    “What difference does it make?” The receptionist fanned herself with her cards. “I still have all three of my Blue-Eyes waiting to tear you apart. Power or no power, you don’t stand a chance with the defenses I’ve built up for them.”

    “I don’t think so.” Dave gestured to his general, who promptly saluted. “When my Black Luster General is summoned, three Black Luster Counters are placed on it. By removing one of them I’m able to destroy any card on the field.”

    The receptionist let out an exasperated sigh, quickly recomposed herself. “How many times to I have to tell you? Lord of Dragons prevents my Dragons from being targeted by card effects, and it can’t be destroyed either. Your veteran is a wasted effort.”

    “That’s what you think.” Dave pointed his finger, exposing his true target. “Black Luster General, destroy her Heart of Clear Water!”

    “What?!” The receptionist gawked. Black Luster General brought its hand down from its cap, vanquishing its center star to power up its cannons. It took aim, ensuring that it wouldn’t miss.

    “Attack with Order Barrage!”

    “Hmph.” With a wave of the general’s hand, cannonballs burst out of the cannons, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake. They darted across the room, smashing into the Spell Card one at a time, shattering it instantly. The receptionist shielded herself from the tiny flying fragments that flew around her. The lord’s protection melted off, splashing onto the seats below.

    “Now I’ll equip my Black Luster Soldier with Black Luster Sword, boosting its ATK by 1000 points.” A glow submerged the warrior’s old blade, transforming it into the aforementioned sword. Its gems’ sparking light reflected in the warrior’s eyes. (3200 --> 4200/2500) Dave pointed his finger again, this time viciously. “Black Luster Soldier, destroy her Blue-Eyes White Dragon! Attack!”

    The soldier leapt across the tables, slicing its blade through the dragon’s neck, arching gracefully next to the dragon lord as the beast exploded from the wound. [Receptionist LP: (8000 --> 6800)]

    Cautious clapping showered the cafeteria, congratulating Dave for his comeback. He stood proudly, forgetting the dangers for the first time since the match began.

    Josh’s applause was delayed – he could hardly believe Dave was doing so well under so much pressure. With the Blue-Eyes White Dragons gone and the field secured nothing could possibly go wrong.

    “You’re lucky,” Dave said, smirking. “Since I used Black Luster General’s destruction effect it can’t attack this turn so you’re Lord of Dragons has one last turn to live.” He paused to relish the moment. “It’s your turn.”

    The receptionist hesitated – at first she appeared to be distraught but that thought vanished upon her hysteric laughter. The return of her cackling struck urgency into the crowd, even causing the once proud Dave to gawk.

    She continued to cackle between each word she spoke. “You really think it’s over?” She drew, presenting the card. “I activate Graceful Charity.” She drew three more times, keeping her fingers near her hand. “This allows me to draw three cards…” She held up two vanilla-bordered cards. Everyone immediately recognized them as the remaining copies of Blue-Eyes White Dragon. “…and discard two.”

    Josh glanced back and forth continuously between the two duelists. But why would she throw away the strongest cards in her deck?

    Is she doing what I think she’s doing? Dave brought his arms closer to his torso.

    The receptionist slid both Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards into the red slot, returning her attention to her hand, only to hold up another Spell Card.

    “Now I’ll activate the Dragon’s Mirror.”

    Dave dropped his jaw, horrified by the picture, but Josh couldn’t understand why. It must be a trick.

    Shadows created from her hair cast onto the receptionist’s face – her sinister laughter intensified as a golden mirror rose up behind her. Its sides vaguely resembled a dragon’s wings, and the glare in its glass reminded Dave of the Copycat card that was used against him a few duels ago. Something was coming.

    “This allows me to banish the three Blue-Eyes White Dragons in my Graveyard to summon one of the most powerful dragons in existence.” She turned to the mirror, seemingly searching for her reflection. Upon her gaze came the image of the Blue-Eyes White Dragons, each wriggling around in their prison, trying to get a view of the human world. The receptionist smirked again, turned back to Dave, and raised her arm violently into the air.

    “Now rise – Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!”

    The three dragons rammed their heads through the glass, shooting pieces across the room, forcing others to duck. They proceeded to squirm out of the now shattered mirror, destroying the golden frame, reducing it to a discarded trinket of the past. As their necks flowed out, they exposed their body – a single unit connecting the three beasts together. They roared in unison, sending a jolting awareness into Dave, signaling their lust for vengeance.

    Dave held onto the tip of his hat, looked among the crowd for support, but none came. All he could do was stare at the three-headed dragon as it spread its wings wide, cutting off any hope for escape.


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Glass Shatter
    ****ap/Counter]
    Negate the effect of a card that activates in response to an attack and destroy it. All Battle Damage your opponent would receive is doubled for this attack only.


    Black Luster General
    ***********
    [Earth]
    [Warrior/Synchro/Effect]
    (3600/3000)
    “Black Luster Knight” + 1 or more non-tuner Warrior-type monster(s)
    When this card is Synchro Summoned, add 1 card with “Black Luster” from your Graveyard to your hand. When this card is summoned, place 3 Black Luster Counters on this card (max. 5). Once per turn, by removing 1 Black Luster Counter from this card, destroy 1 card on the field. This card cannot declare an attack on the turn this effect is used.
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 17th October 2011 at 8:45 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Chapter Ten


    This was the moment he had been waiting for. After going through so much trouble to get where he was, this would be the deciding moment of his career. Once this thief was arrested, he would finally be acknowledged as a real police officer instead of just a new hire.

    “I’m going to repeat myself one last time,” Nathan said, keeping his stance stiff and rigid. “Where do you think you’re going?”

    The supposed thief cautiously lifted his hand off the doorknob, bringing it slowly to the side of his black jeans.

    “I was looking to get away from the crowd,” the thief said, calmly. “I need to think before my match against Kaiba.”

    “A likely story,” Nathan remarked, even though he had seen this man in the stadium earlier. “Tell me your name and what you’re doing?”

    The man raised his eyebrows, then lowered them. It wasn’t a twitch; more like a warning.

    “My name is Adam Prince. I’m participating in the tournament and made it past the final round. I just wanted to get away from everyone so I can prepare my deck in peace.” Adam took a second to think. Liars always did this. “Kaiba is a tough opponent. I need to be sure that my cards are able to handle his and I can’t think straight when I’m in public.”

    “So you decide to go into an off-limits hallway just so you can ‘think’?” Nathan hoped that his tough-guy act was working. After a while he wouldn’t be able to keep it up.

    “Yes,” Adam said. He had him now.

    “Sir, are you aware that a deck had been stolen during the second round of this tournament?”

    Adam raised his eyebrows, only to lower them again. Now that was a twitch.

    “No, I’m completely unaware,” he said in an unconvincing tone.

    “Well,” Nathan began. “I’m going to have to check your Card Analyzer in case you happen to be connected to the thief.” He put out his hand, sharply forcing eye contact. “Hand it over.”

    Adam hesitated, staring back into Nathan eyes. His stare was cold and mysterious. Nathan nearly cracked until he saw Adam reach for his belt, allowing the officer to regain his posture. Adam handed Nathan the handheld device, noting that it had a small lock on the deck box slot.

    “Allow me,” Adam said. He punched in the code on the Card Analyzer’s touch screen, and the slot opened with a click.

    This caught Nathan off guard. But if anything, it made the evidence more valuable. Thieves always know how to break locks. How else did he get inside that safe?

    “Thank you,” Nathan said, recuperating. He brushed his index finger into the box, allowing the cards to float up with it. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Just a bunch of brown-backed cards that everyone else in world had, but that didn’t prove anything. He flipped a card over, revealing its pale border.

    The revelation came as a shock, but it was expected. This was definitely Kaiba’s deck. His eyes raced along, barely catching the details in his inner excitement. The picture was a dragon. That clue alone meant nothing until he saw the end of its name. The final word was ‘Dragon’ and, upon glancing towards the other side, he saw that the center word was ‘Eyes’. He contained his urge to shout, but searched some more just to prove Adam’s guilt further. On the bottom of the card, he noted that one of the stats had three zeros next to each other. Well, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon has 3000 ATK, so everything added up perfectly. This had to be the card.

    Nathan slid the card back into the deck box, returning his gaze to Adam, whose stare hadn’t changed since he confiscated the deck.

    “Sir, I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me.” He reached for this handcuffs, but his hand found his walkie-talkie instead.

    “Attention all officers,” a voice rang out from its speaker. Nathan jerked his hand away from the unexpected sound. It was the chief. “An unauthorized duel is taking place in the cafeteria. A woman has the entire room hostage and she has been reported to hold Kaiba’s deck. Everyone focus all efforts to securing the building and getting those people away from her immediately.”

    Nathan stumbled a bit, turned sharply to Adam, who brushed his fingers along his spikey hair, only to hold his hand out in the end. Pleasure was never evident on his face the whole time, but Nathan knew he was relieved.

    “Can I have my deck back?”

    The officer opened the deck box again, sliding the same card out. He had mistaken; this card was a Synchro Monster. He closed the box, clicking the lock, and handed it back to Adam.

    “I’m truly sorry sir.” He bowed, taking off his cap.

    Adam held out his hand. “It’s fine. You were doing your job.”

    Nathan looked up, awkwardly accepting the handshake. He probably looked like an idiot at this point.

    “Hopefully you can get everyone out safely.”

    That returned him to the real world. “Right, carry on sir.” Nathan let go, throwing his cap on his head and darting back into the crowd.

    Adam watched him go, turned to the door behind him. “So it’s true. She is here after all…”


    ~*~*~*~


    Terror surged throughout Dave’s body, replacing his pulse with a quick jolt of electricity, sparking along each of his nerves one at a time. He knew this might happen, but hoped that the duel would be over before the receptionist was able to summon it. But it was too late for that. Now the three-headed beast stood before him – the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. (4500/3800)

    4500 ATK?! Josh thought. Dave hasn’t been able to bring out anything with that kind of power. He looked to Dave, saw the mutual fear beating in his eyes. What the hell did he get himself into?

    The receptionist dusted off her shoulder, ridding herself of any dirt that had flown on her from her monster’s summoning. She grinned.

    “From the look on your face I can tell that you’re out of options.” She eyed the general (3600/3000), who stood unflinchingly despite the panic that had spread around the room. Its cannons were still aimed at the Ultimate Dragon. “Well, your general can still destroy it with its effect, but I’m about to take care of that.” She pointed at the monster. “Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, eradicate his Black Luster General! Neutron Blast!”

    Each head opened its mouth, charging up an energy sphere that radiated with a fierce glow. After the spheres exceeded the mouth’s size, they released the blasts, sending three beams forward with overwhelming force. The beams wrapped around each other, converging into a single, larger beam that accelerated faster than a single Blue-Eyes White Dragon could ever dream. Black Luster Soldier jumped out of the way before the beam came too close. The blast deluged Black Luster General, engulfing it in a stream of white light. Dave grasped onto his hat to prevent from flying off, pulling it down over his eyes. When he lifted it back up, a large scorch mark spread where Black Luster General once stood. Nothing remained of the general expect a wisp of smoke and evaporated hope.

    [Dave LP: (7200 --> 6300)] [Receptionist LP: (6800)]

    “Alright! I’m on a roll!” The receptionist yelled enthusiastically, to the dismay of everyone around her. She picked out a new card, showing Dave a Spell Card that featured a meteorite falling through the sky with a pink energy trail in its wake. “Now I’ll activate Fairy Meteor Crush and equip it to Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, enabling it to inflict damage even when it attacks a monster in Defense Mode!”

    A dark pink aura radiated around the three-headed dragon; it retracted its necks closer to its body, soon embracing the newly acquired ability with a red gleam in its six eyes.

    Dave still stared at the spot where Black Luster General had been obliterated. If I summon any more monsters my Life Points will be gone before I know it. He distantly gazed at his remaining monster. His favorite monster. And so will my deck. And everyone…

    This was the first time since the Ultimate Dragon had been summoned where he acknowledged those around him. He wasn’t playing a game anymore.

    He was playing for their lives.

    The receptionist snapped her fingers, breaking Dave out of his trance.

    “Hello there,” the receptionist mocked, waving a hand. “I said it’s your turn.”

    Dave refused to answer, instead ripped a card out of his Duel Disk. He glanced over his hand, but nothing he held could even put a dent into that dragon. What he needed was a miracle.

    His eyes darted to his soldier – it also shakily glared at the dragon, gripping onto its gem-encrusted sword (4200/2500). Even it was scared. And it was a hologram.

    “Alright, look,” the receptionist butted in again. “There’s no way you’re gonna win so just surrender and I may let you go.”

    Dave grimaced; his monster mimicked his facial expression. “And there’s no way I’m gonna give in to a coward like you.”

    The receptionist snorted again, resting her free hand on her pocketed gun. “Suit yourself. Just hurry up. I don’t have all day.”

    Be careful Dave, Josh thought, stepping back sub-consciously. You’re in no position to make insults.

    Dave searched the field again, averting his eyes away from the three-headed dragon. His gaze fell upon another monster – Lord of D. (1200/1100) – that had gone unnoticed behind the tremendous creature next to it. Even with the boosts from Black Luster Knight and Black Luster Sword, my Black Luster Soldier isn’t strong enough to take on her Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. If I have any chance of destroying it, I’ll need to get rid of that thing ASAP.

    “Black Luster Soldier,” Dave commanded, urging the warrior into a fighting position. “Attack her Lord of Dragons!”

    The soldier darted forward, skipping over the gap in between the tables – high enough to make the leap, but low enough to avoid the dragon’s three necks – and carrying its sword to protect itself from any sudden attack from the beast above it. Though it was hidden behind the dragon’s left wing, Black Luster Soldier coaxed it out of hiding by slamming its sword on the ground by its feet. The lord nervously jumped away, giving the soldier the opening it needed to slay it with ease.

    Beside the battle scene, the dragon groaned ominously. Thinking that it would strike, the soldier rushed to Dave’s side, sweat racing off its face.

    “It’s your move.” He sighed. Only a minor dent in a huge obstacle. I need to draw that card, or this could be my last duel. Once again, he weakly glanced at the crowd, the children, the adults. Josh.

    And theirs…


    ~*~*~*~


    “Mr. Kaiba,” the chief said. He, the Kaiba brothers, and the army of police officers surrounding them hurried through the vestibule. Others moved aside in wonder and confusion, though they could tell they weren’t playing around. “It’s confirmed that the deck is fully intact. The thief is dueling one of the finalists in your tournament, and it appears that she also is under your employment.”

    “Of course she is,” Kaiba snarled, as if he knew the whole time. “How else could someone bypass my security system unless they were on the inside?”

    “Seto,” Mokuba said, quickening his pace to match his brother’s. “Do you think this has to do with what Pegasus said?”

    Kaiba stiffened slightly; only Mokuba noticed. “I don’t know Mokuba. But I do know that it has to do with my Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards.”

    Still, that doesn’t mean the two aren’t connected, he thought. He stared at the ground by his feet while he walked. If this thief went through the trouble of keeping her affiliation hidden then maybe it’s worth paying Pegasus a visit. He moved his gaze ahead of him. The group finally arrived outside the cafeteria’s double doors. After all, Pegasus owns the company that created Duel Monsters while I own the company that changed its history…

    Two officers opened the door on his respective side, slamming them against the wall on the opposite side. Kaiba walked in, with Mokuba and the chief beside them. Everyone in the room turned to look. Their expressions ranged from relief to agony, though Kaiba paid them no attention. His focus immediately fell on the duel elevated above the others – the finalist, Dave, on one side with his signature Black Luster Soldier, and his Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon on the other. Behind it was the thief; a lowly receptionist he had never met before.

    Dave subtly moved his eyes to the noise. Kaiba!

    The receptionist snickered. “Ah, the man of the hour!” She held up a hand, motioning towards the dragon. “Glad you could finally come and see me duel after all our time working together.”

    Kaiba remained hardened. “Do I know you?”

    The receptionist clutched both hands into fists, returning her raised hand to her side. “Of course you don’t!” she howled. She practically spewed venom with each word. “Ever since you took over your father’s company I’ve been treated like a rat at the bottom of a well!”

    Mokuba and the chief exchanged puzzled looks. Kaiba stepped forward, waving his arm across his chest.

    “Maybe if you had some manners you’d earn some respect.”

    “Respect!?” she stomped her foot. Josh could’ve sworn he saw a woodchip fly. “When this company was a weapons manufacturer I was one of the top gun specialists in the nation! But then you beat your step-daddy in a little competition and boom! Back to the bottom of the food chain for me!”

    The receptionist flailed herself madly around the table, overwhelmed by her anger. Everyone looked on in consternation, but Kaiba didn’t react.

    Josh cringed. This lady’s completely insane.

    “But now I’ll have my revenge! Once I take your deck back to my new boss, we’ll be one step closer to ruining this company and eventually I’ll burn it down with my bare hands!”

    Dave glanced back to the receptionist. Her new boss? So she’s not just some desperate psycho?

    She slammed her hand to her hip, whipping it out the gun, aiming it at Kaiba’s forehead. Mokuba jumped. Collective gasps swept throughout the crowd. “Any last words, Seto Kaiba!”

    “Yeah,” Kaiba said, staring past the barrel, into the receptionist’s glare. “Put that toy away before you blow your eye out. Then you can give me back my deck while you take your sob story to your oh-so-wonderful new boss, you worthless bitch.”

    Bitch!?” If she wasn’t an armed criminal Dave might’ve started laughing. The receptionist lowered her gun, trembling with rage. “I’ll show you who’s a bitch! Right after I wipe this kid out with your deck!”

    Kaiba gave a sarcastic laugh. “Please. You honestly think you have what it takes to handle the power of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon? No one can use my deck but me. Just because you hold my cards doesn’t mean you know my strategies.” He turned his body, looking directly at Dave. “In fact, I bet your dueling skills are so poor that Dave here can beat you in one move.”

    Dave felt a warm beat thrust through his heart. He made eye contact with Kaiba. He does?

    “Dave, don’t let this bitch prove me wrong.”

    Dave nodded. I guess that was a compliment.

    “Yeah? YEAH?!” She stiffly shoved in gun back into her belt, twisting herself back towards the duel. “I’m not gonna let you get away with your abuse. I’ll show you all the power of revenge! It’s my turn!” She pulled a new card, inwardly grinning at it. Especially now that I just drew Kaiba’s strongest Trap Card – the Crush Card Virus. She fumbled with it in between her fingers. All I need is a weaker DARK monster and I’ll be able to destroy nearly every monster in Dave’s deck. Then nothing will be able to stop me.

    Mokuba leaned closer to Kaiba, whispering in his ear. “Seto, are you crazy? After all the trouble you went through to get your deck back, you’re really going to risk it all here?”

    “I know what I’m doing Mokuba.” His eyes never left the camouflaged duelist. Let’s just hope Dave doesn’t screw things up.

    The receptionist added the card to her hand, glanced up at the Ultimate Dragon. “Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, wipe out his Black Luster Soldier! Neutron Blast!”

    The three-headed dragon prepared another trio of energy spheres, seemingly enjoying the demise of its final opponent. Unleashing the blast onto the warrior, the spiraling beam gradually sped up as it came close to its target. Black Luster Soldier, poised with both sword and shield in hand, boldly stared at the beam, its white glow shining in its eyes.

    This game is mine. The receptionist smiled sinisterly. Who’s the bitch now!

    “…Now!”

    The command from Dave caught everyone off guard, especially the receptionist.

    Black Luster Soldier spun around, its shield and armor glimmering with the light of the fatal beam, its red ponytail twirling as it twirled. The warrior completed its circular turn on one knee, swinging its sword inches from its face. Using the momentum from its spin, the soldier deflected the light into the ceiling, creating an array of sparkling twisters scouring through the air.

    For a moment, silence filled the room. Then, brave cheers erupted behind Dave, soon engulfing the entire cafeteria. Black Luster Soldier rose to its feet, focusing so intently on its task that it failed to notice the shower of applause. It peered at the blade in its hand, turning the handle with its thumb. Of the ten tiny gems, only five were glowing. But, at that moment, one of them died out, leaving only four.

    The receptionist growled. She saw the stupid grin on Dave’s face, the pitiful joy of his ‘fans’. She darted her eyes at Kaiba, who stood emotionlessly scowling at her the whole time. Her blood boiled.

    “You triggered the effect of my Black Luster Sword,” Dave stated with pride. “When you declare an attack against the equipped monster, I can remove a Black Luster Counter from it to negate the attack. But, since it lost a counter, Black Luster Soldier loses 200 ATK.”

    [Black Luster Soldier (4200 --> 4000/2500)]

    Josh exhaled, relief flowing out of his lungs. Thank god…

    The receptionist growled again; this time loud enough for her opponent to hear. She clutched her hand to her belt, swiped her gun from it, sent two shots out towards the sky. Everyone ceased their cheering, breathlessly scampered away.

    “One more sound uttered from you vermin and I’ll shoot you all right here.” Her eyes shot daggers at random crowd members, then at her former prisoner – Josh – then at Dave. “Don’t think for a second that I’m going to let you get away alive.” She shoved her gun back into her belt. “Take your turn.”

    Dave quietly complied.

    Josh, who had ducked his head under his arms when the receptionist started shooting, cautiously tilted his head, gazing back at the duel. Dave, I hope that card of yours works, ‘cause I don’t think I can take much more of this.

    This isn’t good, Dave thought, intensely staring at the card he drew. The picture seemed to be lurching out at him, sucking him into its blue border. His third Black Luster Soldier. If it had been just a few turns earlier he would have celebrated. But now – with everything stacked against him – it was a dead draw.

    Dead. Just like he would be.

    My Black Luster Sword’s effect won’t last forever, and with Fairy Meteor Crush equipped to her dragon I won’t be able to summon any more monsters without taking a heavy hit to my Life Points. But he couldn’t do anything now. Defending was his only option.

    Black Luster Soldier knelt.

    “I switch my Black Luster Soldier to Defense Mode and end my turn.” He didn’t look up from his Duel Disk after turning the card’s position on its platform. He could feel everyone’s shameful stares stabbing into his skin.

    “Where’s your confidence now?” The receptionist gave a halfhearted laugh, quickly reverting back to her annoyed expressions. “It’s my turn.”

    Yes. She held her new card to eye level – it was a clown monster, dressed in baggy, striped clothes. Peten the Dark Clown fits Crush Card Virus’s requirements perfectly. She moved the card out of her line of sight, her gaze falling onto the kneeling soldier. And I’ll finally be rid of that pesky Black Luster Soldier.

    “Alright, first I’ll summo –”

    A loud ringing sound emitted out of the receptionist’s Duel Disk, awakening everyone from their gloomy daze like an alarm clock early in the morning. Dave raised an eyebrow, watched the receptionist share his confusion. She found the source of the sound, noticing that the meter on her Duel Disk read the word ‘DISCARD’ instead of her Life Point total.

    Kaiba chuckled softly, but loud enough for the receptionist to take notice.

    “Seems that you’ve activated Card of Demise before I showed up to your ‘party’,” he said, crossing his arms. “‘Cause five turns after Card of Demise is used you’re force to discard your hand. Of course, if you were a competent duelist you’d be able to remember that.” He waved a hand, pretending to bask in the light. “Or maybe it’s just ‘cause your math skills are that of a rodent’s.”

    The chief cracked a smile – though it vanished when the receptionist thrust her cards into her Graveyard.

    “Doesn’t matter.” She pointed to her opponent. “I’ve got all the power I need! Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Neutron Blast!”

    “Black Luster Soldier, block!”

    Another stream of static burst out of the dragon heads, fusing into a single beam. Black Luster Soldier heaved its sword like a bat, knocking the beam away before it could do any harm. Though the soldier remained intact, another gem on its sword dulled. (4000 --> 3800/2500)

    Dave grimaced. Only three turns left before my sword gives out.

    “Well, that was disappointing.” She twirled her hand, cocking her wrist at Dave. “Your turn.”

    He drew – a Spell Card depicting some sort of ancient Egyptian rifle. It could save him, but he needed a lot of luck.

    A lot of luck.

    “I activate Reload. This allows me shuffle my hand back into my deck and then draw an equal number of cards.” He folded the four remaining cards together, slid them into his deck, only to slide the deck out. He took the bottom half, choppily placed it on top, continuing the pattern while the crowd watched nervously.

    So he has four chances to draw that card. Josh was hopeful, but it was hard to stay optimistic when an armed criminal stood a few yards away. Please draw that card.

    Finally, the camouflaged duelist returned his deck to his Duel Disk, proceeding to draw one card at a time. First card was Forced Back. Useless. Next card, Obnoxious Celtic Guard. Even worse. Third card, his third copy of Black Luster Soldier. Dave saw its return as a sign of good fortune – if he was able to draw it again then that means his deck was thinning out. He would be able to draw that card. He closed his eyes, slowly pulling the card out. Pressing the corner with his index finger and thumb, he opened his eyes, the picture reflecting in his stare.

    Luster Dragon.

    Dave glared at the held card for a long time. For a second Josh thought that he was forming a new strategy, until he uttered the words that shattered any remaining optimism.

    “I… I end my turn.” Dave lowered his gaze, the rim of his hat acting as a veil, hiding his fear-filled pupils.

    “This isn’t looking good,” Mokuba whispered. The chief nodded. Kaiba heard him, didn’t acknowledge his words. He crossed his arms.

    Don’t make me regret my decision.

    The receptionist grinned sinisterly. “How quickly things change.” She whipped her hair back, holding a lone card between her fingertips. “You started this duel with naïve hope of winning. Now look at you! You’re practically cowering before me!”

    Dave clutched his fists, refused to look up.

    Josh wanted to say “Don’t let her get to you!” but he was afraid as well. He couldn’t stand here and watch her insult his friend, yet that was exactly what he was doing.

    If only he was more courageous…

    “Anyway, it’s my turn.” Ah, looks like Kaiba got some new cards. She fumbled with the Spell Card in her hand. Twin Swords of Flashing Light – Tryce. ‘Allows the equipped monster two attacks at the cost of 500 ATK points.’ This’ll speed things up. She read over the card again. Oh, but I need to discard a card to activate it. She lowered it, returning to the duel. No matter. I can afford to wait one turn.

    “Blue-Eyes Ultimate, attack again!”

    The three-headed dragon reared its heads, dripping sheer power out its mouths like saliva. The energy melded into a single orb, bursting forward at the soldier in an explosion of static. Black Luster Soldier sliced its sword in front of it, dividing the blast into two separate beams, sending them jetting into the floor adjacent to it. The Black Luster Sword lost another gem, predictably, but the soldier was shocked to see that the blade had cracked during that last attack. (3800 --> 3600/2500)

    “Won’t be much longer now.” She gestured to Dave with her lone card. “Your go.”

    Time’s running out. Dave’s eyes trailed his fingers as he reached for his deck. This had to be the card. He drew, found it to be Sworn into the Army. Not only was it useless, it was redundant – it would treat his monster’s name as Black Luster Soldier, the only monster he had out.

    “Go,” Dave said, adding the Spell to his collection of cards, analyzing them in an attempt to work out a strategy.

    Nothing works… He tilted his head away from his hand, lowering it. If I don’t draw it soon I’ll have no choice but to surrender. Maybe she’ll spare us if I do…

    He brought his attention to the kneeling soldier, who still gawked at its chipped blade.

    I’m sorry, old friend. Our lives are more important…

    The receptionist drew. She smiled.

    “It’s all over.” She revealed one of her cards. “I activate Twin Swords of Flashing Light – Tryce!”

    Kaiba gritted his teeth. Remind me to fire whoever built that safe…

    “By discarding a card from my hand I can equip to my Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!” She placed her only card above the Graveyard slot, which automatically sucked it in. “It loses 500 ATK points, but now it can attack twice each turn. That’s more than enough to finish you off.”

    The Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon’s two side heads bared their fangs, revealing their growth before everyone’s eyes. They curled slightly as they grew, shining in the light generated from the energy forming in their mouths. (4500 --> 4000/3800)

    Black Luster Soldier averted its attention away from its blade, staring into its adversary’s central mouth. The light finished charging; the dragon let loose two spheres of energy from its two side heads, as opposed to a large blast from all three. Black Luster Soldier blocked one sphere with both its sword and shield; the sphere was large enough to encompass their entire surface, sending the warrior slowly skidding backwards. With sweat dripping from its face it thrust the sphere away, propelling it into the other, negating the blast as well as creating a film of smoke over between the two monsters.

    The soldier knelt, gasping heavily. It dropped its weapons; their cracked surfaces shattering against the table, reducing them to blue and golden fragments. (3600 --> --> 3200/2500) Dave stepped forward, realized it was no use. Next turn the dragon would take away his monster, then the rest of his Life Points.

    Then his life.

    “Just give it up kid,” the receptionist said, forcing eye contact with Dave. “Face it – you can duel your way through a stupid tournament but when it comes to the big leagues you don’t stand a chance! I saw your last duel, you couldn’t even last one turn against a real duelist.”

    Dave’s stare dropped to his shoes. Maybe she’s right…

    “I’ve had enough!”

    The receptionist diverted her attention to the voice from her right, inevitably drawing the attention of everyone else one by one. Josh came out of his hiding spot, jumping onto one of the seats nearby, fists clenched.

    “I’m not gonna sit here any longer and listen to you threaten our lives over a bunch of cardboard!”

    Kaiba scowled while he listened. The kid has a bit of Wheeler in him. He tensed slightly. I hate Wheeler.

    “You shut it,” the receptionist said, swatting a hand at him. “You already had your chance to be brave and that left you at gun point. Unless you want that again…”

    “No you shut it!” Josh countered, catching both duelists (and himself) off guard. He turned to Dave, who watched him intently. “Dave, you are a real duelist. I haven’t played this game for very long but you’ve been working on that deck for six years preparing for this duel. If there’s anyone here who can stop her, it’s you.”

    Dave smiled. Thank you Josh…

    “Now show us that card you’ve been telling me about! Take her down!”

    The speech roused the audience, riling them into cheering once again.

    “Dave! Dave! Dave! Dave!”

    Even Mokuba found himself chanting along with them. The chief leaned closer to Kaiba, whispered to him over their shouts.

    “You think he can do it?”

    Kaiba didn’t move.

    “Depends on what he draws…”

    Dave held his hand over his deck, preparing to draw. He closed his eyes. Inhaled through his nose. Everything around him faded from existence, leaving him alone in a black abyss. The sounds around him muffled until they were mute. Nothing else mattered except for him and his deck.

    What would Yugi do? He pressed his fingertips on his deck, feeling the cold texture of his next card.

    Yugi would win.

    He drew.

    Others looked on as he pulled the card past his head, seemingly in suspended animation. Time stood still, only continuing when the camouflaged duelist slowly brought the card closer to his face. He opened his eyes, the card’s picture assaulting his sight.

    “You’re right,” Dave said. The receptionist raised a nervous eyebrow. “This duel is over.”

    He grinned.

    Josh stabilized his stance. Kaiba uncrossed his arms.

    Dave added the new card to his hand, taking another card from it, slapping a pale card on his Duel Disk next to the blue-bordered card. “First off I’ll summon Luster Dragon in Attack Mode!”

    The sapphire dragon flew out its card image, landing near the unarmed Black Luster Soldier. With its ruby eyes, it stared at the Ultimate Dragon towering over it, ready to battle. (1900/1600)

    “So your big draw was a tiny dragon?” The receptionist cackled. “You had me worried for a second.”

    “That wasn’t my big draw – this is!” He snatched another card from his hand, flipping it over. “I activate Super Polymerization!”

    The receptionist nearly fell backwards. “What?!”

    Kaiba lowered his arms, raised his eyebrows. There’s no way.

    Super Polymerization? Josh remembered Polymerization from yesterday’s lesson. It summoned Fusion monsters. So he’s gonna fuse his monsters together right?
    “By discarding my last Black Luster Soldier in my hand, I can fuse any two monsters on the field!” He shoved the blue bordered card into his Graveyard, the Spell Card’s hologram rose with a blinding glow. “Any two monsters!”

    Streaks of light shot out of the card, projecting endlessly with piercing might. The streaks began to whirl around – a ferriswheel spiraling into a hypnotic ray that froze the receptionist in place.

    Tendrils of light whipped around the tables, snaring Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon’s central neck. It tossed its neck side to side, even had its other two heads bite at the streak. Nothing could be done. While they were distracted, more streaks latched onto the other heads, then more wrapped around its body and tail.

    Black Luster Soldier, too, became clasped by the streaks around its arms and torso. It closed its eyes, willingly allowed them to pull it into the rotating light.

    The dragon planted its feet, but it even its strength failed to prevent the powerful streaks from dragging it into the abyss. Its tail vanished into the warphole, consumed by light. With both monsters gone, an explosive glow emitted out of the card, forcing everyone to cover their eyes.

    “Behold,” Dave raised his arms, shouting to the heavens. “The mighty Dragon Master Knight!”

    The receptionist’s sight finally adjusted. Her Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon was no longer in front of her. Instead, it stood opposite of her, on Dave’s side of the field. Not only that, but his own Black Luster Soldier sat perched on top of the dragon’s central neck.

    It had been tamed. (5000/5000)

    “5000 ATK!” The receptionist took a step back.

    He used her own cards against her, Josh thought. A calm smile spread across his cheeks. Way to go Dave.

    Kaiba stepped forward. I haven’t seen that card in years… Not since Yugi and I… He shook his head. [i]No. He’s not Yugi. Not even close. He got lucky, and this bi[i/]tch got what she deserved.

    “Yes…” Dave thrust his arm forward, his confidence fully restored. “But 5000 isn’t enough. Thanks to its special ability, Dragon Master Knight gains even more ATK for every Dragon-type monster on the field!”

    The receptionist sent a frightful gape to the smaller dragon beside it. The Luster Dragon floated up, its body exuding a mysterious blue aura. Eventually the dragon lost its shape, transforming into pure energy, transferring itself into the knight’s sword. Dragon Master Knight began to glow with the same aura, its power levels increasing greatly. (5000 -->--> 6900/5000)

    “N-no. No way!”

    “Finish her off!” Dave commanded, exposing the receptionist’s fear for the first time.

    The soldier raised its sword, sending the aura around it flaming out of the blade. As the aura grew taller, the dragon generated three gleaming spheres in each of its mouths.

    “Dragon Master Knight, attack with Dragon Saber Blast!”

    The soldier whipped its sword towards the ground, sending the aura surging at the receptionist. Simultaneously, the dragon unleashed three explosive sky blue beams, blaring through the air with frightening speed. The receptionist searched spastically for a place to dodge but failed to move in time. The four beams crashed together, slamming into the receptionist all at once, throwing her onto the table behind her. She weakly tried to get up, only to knock her head against the table.

    [Dave LP: (6300)] [Receptionist LP: (6800 --> --> 0)]

    Police officers from around the room started to walk closer; the chief and the Kaiba brothers closely followed. Dragon Master Knight vanished, leaving Dave alone on the table, panting heavily. He still stared at the receptionist, then slowly returned his gaze to the purple card resting on his Duel Disk.

    “I… I did it.”

    Kaiba approached the receptionist, who had clumsily begun to get onto her knees. He motioned to the others to wait.

    “See, one move.” He held out a hand. “Now I’ll be taking my deck back.”

    The receptionist turned to him, anger ignited in her eyes. “This wasn’t part of the plan!” She stood up. “My master said this was flawless! I was going to leave with your deck and then we would begin our real plans!”

    “Well obviously your master never met me.” Kaiba held out his hand further.

    “You’re wrong… I’m going to get my revenge on you Kaiba!” She glared at Dave. “But first I’m going to get rid of you!”

    She snapped her gun off her belt, cocking it in a single motion. Kaiba pulled his hand back, his eyes trailing down the barrel’s path. Dave froze; air clogged his lungs. Police officers poised their guns to shoot. The chief yelled to them.

    “Hold your fire!”

    “I’m taking this deck, and no one’s gonna stop me! Hahaha!”

    Dave peered into the barrel, sweat sliding past his ears. His persecution seemed to be in slow motion. The receptionist placed her finger on the trigger, carefully applying pressure.

    Miraculously, a projectile shot across the room, slamming the receptionist’s hand, knocking her gun into the air. She clutched her struck hand with another. The gun flew across the tables, drifting near Josh. On impulse, he dove at it, clasping it with both arms before slamming onto the floor.

    The whole sight staggered all. Dave barely managed to figure out what happened. His gaze fell onto the table in front of him – a Duel Monster’s card lied before him, its picture lurched at him. A pale-armored angel with phoenix-like wings.

    Archlord Kristya.

    “That’s what you get!” Peter shouted, standing with one leg on the receptionist’s table. “You made a deal and you lost. Don’t try to cheat your way out of this one!”

    The receptionist barely saw him before the cops blocked her view. You little brat…

    “You’re under arrest,” the chief said, closing the handcuffs around her wrists. The Duel Disk had already been removed from her; Kaiba held it in his hand. “Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

    She glared at Kaiba once more. “My master will avenge me!” Then to Dave. “I WILL get my revenge!”

    “Shut up.” Kaiba equipped the Duel Disk to his arm, turned his back to her, walked away.

    “OH NO YOU DON’T!!” the receptionist began to flail around madly, forcing multiple officers to clasp onto her arms and shoulders. “GET BACK HERE!!

    Dave stepped down from the table, reaching to pick up the Archlord Kristya card. Josh and Peter ran over from either side, the former with the gun still in his hands.

    “Are you alright?” Josh asked, conscious of where the gun pointed.

    “Yeah.” He gave Peter his card back. “I think this belongs to you.”

    Peter accepted the card, pocketing it. “Thanks.”

    “That was amazing – how you threw that card across the room!” Josh said. “I never even thought of using it to disarm someone!”

    Peter smiled. “It was nothing. Just takes practice.”

    “‘Nothing’? You saved my life!” Dave said.

    “Nah, I only did what my instincts told me to. Someone had to do something or that crazy bitch would’ve shot us all to death.”

    “Dave.”

    The three boys turned – behind them stood Seto Kaiba, pridefully showing his deck. Dave locked eyes with him, attentively waiting for him to speak. It felt as if there were no other people around for miles.

    “While that finishing blow was impressive, we both know that if this deck was in my hands that the duel would’ve ended differently…”

    Dave, awestruck by the statement, nodded in agreement.

    Kaiba gave a subtle nod, turned his back to them. “I’ll be waiting for you at KaibaCorp.” He walked away, striding through the path the crowd had formed for him. The trio watched him leave, disappearing in the doorway.

    On the opposite side of the room the receptionist had finally been subdued; three police officers escorted her out of the building with several other officers circling them. The chief came up to them, eyeing Josh, making him nervous. Another officer – Josh assumed his name was Nathan from their first encounter – stood behind him.

    “I believe you have an important piece of evidence…” he pointed a finger at the gun in Josh’s hand, repeatedly pushing it downward as if he were pressing a button. Josh nearly forgot he was holding it.

    “Oh, of course.” He handed the weapon to the chief, stepping back immediately after.

    “That was very brave of you, diving to catch it. It could’ve fired on you and you could’ve been seriously hurt.”

    Josh blushed. “I dunno,” he said bashfully. “I kinda just did it on impulse.”

    “It was a heroic move.” The chief addressed Peter and Dave as well. “All of you, if it weren’t for you we could’ve had a crisis on our hands. Thank you.”

    The chief tipped his cap, then returned to the others with Nathan. Josh patted a hand Dave on the shoulder.

    “Looks like you got your chance to duel Kaiba’s deck after all.”

    Peter had said something as well, Dave didn’t hear him. His eyes widened. My chance…

    “Don’t worry,” Adam’s face flashed into his mind. “You’ll get your chance.”

    “Dave.”

    He shook off the thought, looked to Peter who repeated himself. “Are you guys gonna watch Adam in the last round?” He glanced over his shoulder, as if suspicious of those around them. “I’ve been hearing good things about him.”

    “Yeah,” Josh answered for him, “after today we definitely need something to calm our nerves.” He took his hand off Dave’s shoulder. “Why don’t you sit with us? Since Adam’s dueling his seat’s vacant.”

    “Sure, I’d be happy to.”

    The three passed through the dispersing crowd, headed for the doorway. Josh led the way, Peter followed, while Dave trailed behind staring at the floor.

    How did he know?

    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Fallen Headless Knight
    ****
    [Earth]
    [Fiend/Effect]
    (1450/1700)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Headless Knight”. While this card is in Defense Position, increase the ATK of all “Fallen” monsters by 400 points. While this card is in Attack Position, increase the DEF of all “Fallen” monsters by 400 points.


    Sworn into the Army
    [Spell/Equip]
    This card can only be equipped to a Warrior-type monster. The equipped monster’s name is also treated as “Black Luster Soldier”.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Chapter Eleven


    People collectively entered the arena, populating their seats with enthusiastic relief. Those who had witnessed the hostage situation in the cafeteria spoke to each other cheerfully; those who hadn’t listened to others relay each event bit by bit. They spoke about the thief, and about Kaiba, and even Dave, the finalist who had lost just moments before. They called his act of bravery a kind of ‘redemption.’ They were safe now; just glad that it was over. Now they could look towards the future.

    Soon the tournament’s final duel would begin.

    Josh sat angled to his left, listening intently to Peter, while Dave sat on the other side with one leg crossed over the other. Dave pressed his Card Analyzer against his thigh, scrolling through a screen.

    “Yeah, I love collecting rare cards,” Peter said, leaning back in his chair. “Ever since I opened my first pack and got my Archlord Kristya card I’ve been obsessed with collecting them whenever possible.”

    “You said that card is your favorite right?”

    “Yeah, I put it in every deck I’ve ever built. I guess you could say it’s my ace card.” Peter chuckled softly.

    “I hope I get a rare card I can associate myself with,” Josh said. After all, everyone else seemed to have at least one. Peter had Archlord Kristya, Dave had Black Luster Soldier, Kaiba had his Blue-Eyes White Dragons…

    “Don’t worry about it.” Peter waved a hand. “It’ll come to you one day, and it may change over time. I have a couple cards I always use. And they’re not always rare, either; they just have to have some kind of special meaning.”

    “I guess that makes sense.” Josh adjusted himself, straightening his posture.

    “Just go over cards you like and you’ll find it. I know one of my favorite cards is one that I got for my thirteenth birthday.”

    Josh considered this. He pulled out his deck, showing each card to Peter.

    “Well, there are a few in here…”

    Their words were just background noise to Dave, as was the chattering amongst the crowd. While they were all waiting, Dave was researching. Ever since Adam’s victory, Dave had grown suspicious of his actions, especially what he had said to him on stage. He figured he would learn something about Adam by learning about his cards, especially because they were so hard to find. He traced his finger along each word as he read.

    Fallen Monsters

    ‘Fallen’ monsters are an archetype whose effects revolve around Special Summoning themselves from the Graveyard. Though, as of today, there is no card in the archetype itself that can send them to the Graveyard, cards like Card Destruction and Graceful Charity fulfill this requirement while also allowing the user to gain new cards to make up for lost resources. All ‘Fallen’ monsters are treated as if they were their non-Fallen counterparts. For example, Fallen Summoned Skull is treated as Summoned Skull. By utilizing the correct support cards, this can allow ‘Fallen’ decks to become very diverse.

    One downside to using ‘Fallen’ monsters is that no other monsters can be in the Graveyard besides ‘Fallen’ monsters, otherwise they will be unable to Special Summon themselves with their own effects. This means that a deck has to be built around them entirely in order for these cards to be used effectively, although they can be Special Summoned by other card effects such as Monster Reborn. Creating a ‘Fallen’ deck is a tremendous feat, as each card is extremely rare (most are Ultra or Secret Rare, with a few Limited Edition) in booster packs and cost roughly $70-130 in stores.

    A similar archetype to this i–”

    The lights shut out, silencing the crowd instantly. Dave turned off his Card Analyzer, pocketing it reluctantly. Peter handed Josh his cards for him to pocket as well. A spotlight flashed on center stage; the announcer stood with microphone poised.

    “Ladies and gentlemen! After a long series of events, the Championship Round is finally ready to begin!”

    The crowd cheered. Josh and Peter clapped; Dave clapped as well, then crossed his arms.

    “And now I present our challenger – Adam Prince!” The announcer flagged his arm to his right, where Adam emerged from the shadows. His back was turned to the trio, yet Dave could still sense the fierce determination that rested on his face.

    “And now our host – the great Seto Kaiba!”

    A stream of light burst through the darkness covering Kaiba, reflecting off his pale blazer. He strode up the stairs, flicking his arm (and his Duel Disk) near his chest. The announcer turned to Adam, walked over so that the microphone could pick up his voice.

    “Adam, after a number of great challenges and impressive plays –” those last two words stung Dave a bit. “– you finally have the honor of dueling one of the most powerful duelists in the world. Do you have anything to say before we begin?” He tipped the microphone towards Adam’s mouth.

    “I have nothing to say.”

    The announcer, clearly baffled, retreated the microphone. “Alright. In that case, let the duel begin!” The declaration provoked countless squeals and shouts from the audience. Dave, however, kept his arms crossed, intently watching both duelists activate their Duel Disks.

    He only uses Fallen monsters, Dave thought, he must be from a wealthy family to afford them all. Dave scowled, repositioned himself in his chair. Either that…

    Adam fanned his five cards in his left hand. He took his right hand against his forehead, brushing the single strand of red hair to the side.

    Or he’s a thief.


    ~*~*~*~


    [Kaiba LP: (8000)] [Adam LP: (8000)]

    Kaiba glanced over his hand briefly. Adam was good. There was no doubting that. The combo he used in the final round was a fatal one, though the chances of it repeating were slim to none. Kaiba gave Adam a stern gaze.

    “As a reward for making it this far, I’ll let you go first.”

    Adam answered with a nod, withdrawing into his cards.

    He may have strong strategies, but nothing can overcome the might of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He paused, corrected himself. That is, in my hands. He clenched his jaw behind closed lips. Only my hands…

    “I activate Graceful Charity, so I’ll draw three cards and discard two.” The card flashed before him, disappearing as quickly as it came. “Now I’ll place two cards face-down and finish my turn by summoning my Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    Two brown card holograms appeared, followed by a purple flame erupting out of Adam’s Graveyard. The flames crashed just beyond the other holograms, extinguished itself upon hitting the ground, leaving the purple dragon in its place. It hugged its bat-like wings against its body, keeping their two yellows spikes near its eyes. (1500/1200)

    That’s the same opening move he made in my duel, Dave thought.

    Kaiba remembered this too, drew cautiously. But he also noticed a huge difference. In Dave’s duel, Adam summoned Fallen Koumori Dragon in Attack Mode. This time, however, he placed it in Defense Mode, which means he’s wary of an oncoming threat. He was safe.

    For now, at least.

    Kaiba slipped a card out of his hand, slapping it rigidly onto his Duel Disk. “I summon Vorse Raider in Attack Mode!”

    From the depths of the shadows beneath the stadium, a muscular, fiendish body-builder monster leapt up, spinning its dual-bladed staff, causing the axe blades to glare. It braced one end of the staff against the floor, puffed out its chest, along with its green and purple-spotted armor, and gave a sneer that hinted at its devious intentions. (1900/1200)

    “Slash his dragon to bits!”

    Vorse Raider gripped tightly onto its axe, dashed with all of its might. As it traveled across the field, Kaiba noticed Adam hadn’t moved.

    He bluffed.

    Fallen Koumori Dragon flexed its wings, braced itself as the axe came down, slicing diagonally across its body. The raider heaved it back upwards, shredding the dragon further, resulting in an explosion. Vorse Raider hopped to its original spot with one backwards leap. A new card appeared behind it, glimmering with a holographic glow.

    “I place one card face-down and end my turn,” Kaiba said. “Next time you should pay attention to the duel instead of drifting into fairyland.”

    Adam started his turn, ignoring the comment. “I activate my face-down card.”

    The card on Adam’s left rose, revealing a green bordered card featuring a fancily dressed man hugging a coffin.

    I was right, he bluffed. Kaiba smirked subtly. There was no way he was gonna be able to pull off a combo like that twice in a row.

    “By using The Cheerful Coffin I can discard up to three monsters in my hand to the Graveyard.” Adam took the center three cards in his hand, carefully moving them into the red slot leading to the discard pile. He slid the remaining two cards closer together with his fingers.

    If I counted correctly that makes five monsters, Kaiba thought.

    Adam extended his arm, aimlessly pointing his hand. “Now rise, my Fallen Hero Clayman!”

    Tremors under the stage jostled Kaiba and his monster, causing them to stumble. Soon after, a bulky man broke out of the ground, rubble raining along its rock-shaped armor. It knelt, holdings its blocky wrists near its tiny, red face. (800/2000)

    “That’s my turn.” Adam brought his hand to his side.

    From behind, Dave admired the rocky monster. “He must use Elemental Hero support then, too,” he whispered.

    Josh heard him; nudged his arm with an elbow. “What’s ‘Elemental Hero’?”

    Dave nearly forgot Josh was with him. “The Elemental Heroes are an archetype based around Fusion Summoning. They’re pretty good, but I didn’t expect an archetype to copy off another archetype like this.”

    “Well, he’s already used Fallen versions of other famous cards,” Peter interjected. “I mean, we all know that Yugi uses Summoned Skull.”

    Josh sunk in his seat slightly. Dave leaned forward.

    “This just got interesting.”

    “Alright, my move.” Kaiba pulled a card, flipped it over with his thumb. A blue-bordered card. Just what I needed. “I activate White Dragon Ritual.” He threw a Spell Card into his Duel Disk, reinventing it before him seconds later. A blue-ish glow emitted out of the card’s picture frame. “With it, I’ll offer the Swordstalker from my hand in order to summon – Paladin of White Dragon!”

    Kaiba thrust his arm forward, simultaneously releasing a monster through the card’s wall of aura. The monster was essentially a baby version of Blue-Eyes White Dragon – its wings were small and veiny and its smooth head lacked the Blue-Eyes White Dragon’s three pronged spikes. Mounted on top, a warrior, adorned in blue and gold armor, tamed the young dragon. It swung its long sword above the dragon’s head, while the dragon playfully opened its mouth, revealing the tiny needle-shaped fangs. It hovered just above Vorse Raider, where it stared at Adam with its egg-yellow eyes. (1900/1200)

    “Neither of his monsters can break through Adam’s defenses,” Josh whispered. “What is he doing?”

    “Watch,” Peter said.

    “Next I’ll activate Stop Defense.” Kaiba lifted another Spell Card out of his hand. “In case you can’t figure it out, this card allows me to change one of your Defense Position monsters to Attack Position, and I choose your Fallen Hero Clayman.”

    Fallen Hero Clayman stood upright, as if by its own will. (800/2000) Once again, Adam didn’t react.

    “Now Vorse Raider, attack!”

    The raider obeyed, charging at the rock-armored monster with axe in hand.

    “Just as I planned – Clayman, stop the attack!”

    Just as Vorse Raider flung its axe towards its opponent, Clayman clutched the blade with its bare hands, halting the raider in its tracks.

    “What?!” Kaiba took a half-step forward. “But how!”

    Adam brushed the lone strand of red hair into his black spikes.

    “When Fallen Hero Clayman is attacked, I can banish it to destroy the attacking monster and inflict 800 damage to you.”

    Clayman tighten its hold on the blade, shattering it. The now weaponless Vorse Raider backed away slightly, only to get tackled by the colossal figure. Clayman grappled Vorse Raider, charging all the way across the field, slamming straight into Kaiba as they both burst into a dust cloud of gravel. Kaiba dug his heels into the ground, held a hand to his heart. [Kaiba LP: (8000 --> 7200)]

    “Hey Dave.” Josh tapped him on the shoulder. “What does banish mean?” He remembered hearing the same phrase during his duel the receptionist, figured it was another game mechanic.

    “It’s another game mechanic.” Josh’s instincts always knew best. “Banished is when a card is sent out of the game, but not placed in the Graveyard. Instead they go to their own section that’s usually not specified. But unless a card says otherwise, it’s assumed that all cards are sent to the Graveyard.”

    So cards can be sent out of the game? Josh gazed at Kaiba. And I guess there’s cards even famous duelists haven’t heard of too.

    Kaiba recomposed himself, brushing dust off his sleeve. “You think a few stones are gonna stop me? I’ve still got another monster ready to pounce! Paladin of White Dragon – direct attack!”

    The young dragon dove at Adam; the mounted knight sliced its blade through Adam’s left arm, forcing him to cringe despite his best efforts to hide his pain. [Adam LP: (8000 --> 6100)]

    “And I’m not done yet,” Kaiba said, bringing his hand close to his deck. Paladin of White Dragon returned to his side. “I activate Paladin of White Dragon’s special ability, allowing me to replace it with a stronger version of itself.” The mounted knight on Paladin of White Dragon disintegrated, transforming into a blue aura which engulfed the young dragon. “Now, come forth –” Kaiba ripped a card out of his deck, slapped it on his Duel Disk. “– mighty Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    The young dragon let out a child-like roar as the aura intensified, consuming its body completely, reshaping it. The dragon grew; its fangs became sharper, its figure more built and jagged, and its wings wider than before. The dragon’s roar continued to resonate throughout the arena, now fierce and threatening. It had reached its adult stage, gaining its title as the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. (3000/2500)

    “Lucky for you, my Blue-Eyes can’t attack the turn it’s summoned by Paladin of White Dragon, so take your turn.”

    Josh bent forward, whispering. “I can’t believe he’s able to summon the same monster in so many different ways.”

    Dave turned. “Are you surprised? Some people specialize their decks so they can summon one monster over and over.” He pulled out his Card Analyzer. “Just look at me and my Black Luster Soldier.”

    “That’s true…” Josh clapped his hands together, stared at them. I’d like to have a card like that.

    Back on stage, Adam held up his Duel Disk, facing the red slot away from his head. “Rise, Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    Purple flames surged out of the red slot, flaring out until the purple dragon came forward. (1500/1200)

    “I’ll set another card face-down and end my turn.”

    “If you’re gonna do the same thing over and over again you should at least make it interesting.” Kaiba threw an orange bordered card down. “I summon Kaiser Sea Horse!”

    A purple- and blue-armored sea horse majestically descended onto the field, holding its golden trident close to protect its master. (1700/1650)

    “Now, Kaiser Sea Horse, attack his Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    The bipedal seahorse dashed forward, aiming its spear for Fallen Koumori Dragon’s head. The purple dragon brought its wings closer to its face.

    “I activate Negate Attack!”

    Just as Kaiser Sea Horse thrust its spear, a warp hole opened, soothingly absorbing the blow. Since it failed, Kaiser Sea Horse saw no reason to stay, returned to Kaiba.

    “Stall tactics can only last so long,” Kaiba remarked.

    “I don’t need to stall anymore,” Adam said, without glancing at his drawn card. He held up his Duel Disk again. “Time to bring out my own ace monster. Rise, Fallen Hero Avian!”

    A flurry of feathers flew out his Duel Disk, spiraling together into a tornado that extended to the ceiling. After a few moments of gusts, a humanoid creature appeared from the dispersing tornado, spreading the feathered wings attached to its dull, green armor. It crossed its clawed-gauntlets in front of its torso, knelt down next to Fallen Koumori Dragon. (1000/1000)

    Kaiba laughed. “Sorry, but if that’s your ace then you may have to raise your standards.”

    Adam gave a cold stare. “I’m not done yet.”

    “Another Fallen Hero?” Peter said. “He must be preparing to Fusion Summon something.”

    “Hang on, look at this.” Dave held out his Card Analyzer, tilting the screen so Josh and Peter could see.

    Fallen Hero Avian
    ***
    [Wind]
    [Warrior/Tuner]
    (1000/1000)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Elemental Hero Avian”. Once per turn, this card can attack as many times as the number of monster(s) you control when you activate this effect. If this effect is used, this card cannot attack your opponent directly, and your other monsters cannot attack.”

    Josh blinked. “I don’t get what you’re trying to say.”

    Dave pointed under its attribute. “It’s also a Tuner.”

    “Now, I’ll tune my Fallen Hero Avian with my Fallen Koumori Dragon.”

    Avian stood up; three glowing, dark red feathers jetted out of its wings, encircling its body. It leaped directly above Fallen Koumori Dragon, shooting out more feathers, four pitch-black ones, which surrounded the dragon below. Adam stepped forward, brushing the strand of red hair once again.

    “It’s time to introduce the most trustworthy monster I know.” He held out both arms, as if he were summoning a god above. “Rise – my loyal Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

    Kaiba’s eyes darted out of his head. Red-Eyes?

    The feathers surrounding both monsters quickened, soon creating two rings, red and black, from their speed. The rings slowly floated towards each other, leaving a thin barrier of their respective colors in their wake, acting as a veil between the two monsters and the outside world. The rings collided, blending together, swirling into a red and black tower. It crackled, sending streaks of red lightning across the room. Two dark red eyes pierced through the black core of the tower, finally smashing out of it with ferocious force. Its eyes met with the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, let out an ear-splitting roar to assert its challenge. (2400/2000)

    The sound sent a jolt through Josh; his pupils dilated, and he broke into a cold sweat.

    “The Red-Eyes Black Dragon,” Dave said, watching in awe. Peter did the same. Josh recovered from his amazement.

    “Uh guys,” Josh said, glancing back and forth between the two. “What’s the Red-Eyes Black Dragon?”

    Dave answered without looking away. “It’s a card used by another famous duelist. It’s also said to be the counterpart of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.”

    Josh turned to Peter. “Is that true?”

    Peter nodded. “It’s said that while the Blue-Eyes White Dragon represents power, the Red-Eyes Black Dragon represents potential.” He paused long enough for Josh to turn back to the duel. “They’re polar opposites in nearly every way imaginable.”

    That’s Wheeler’s best monster, Kaiba thought. So, he’s trying to insult me by playing an amateur’s card at a public event. “Not to disappoint you, but your Red-Eyes doesn’t have enough fire power to defeat my Blue-Eyes.”

    Adam held up another card. “I never said I was attacking.” He flipped it over, revealing a Spell Card depicting a Red-Eyes Black Dragon. “I activate Inferno Fire Blast, which allows my Fallen Red-Eyes to inflict damage to you equal to its original ATK.”

    Kaiba braced himself as the opposing dragon inhaled, gathering molten fire between its fangs. It exhaled sharply, shooting the blast beyond both of Kaiba’s monsters, striking him directly in the chest. It tore across his body; using sheer will, Kaiba kept himself from flying backwards. He lunged himself forward, catching his stomach with his left arm. [Kaiba LP: (7200 --> 4800)]

    “That all?” Kaiba asked calmly, standing erect.

    “No.” The image of another Spell Card flashed beside him. “I activate Creature Swap. Each of us picks a monster we control and the two monsters trade places.”

    Why would he do that? Josh thought.

    If he thinks I’m giving him my Blue-Eyes he’s out of his mind. Kaiba stuck out a finger. “I choose Kaiser Sea Horse.”

    “And I pick Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon.”

    Both monsters peacefully walked to the opposite sides of the field. They crossed paths, failed to acknowledge each other, instead looked to please their new masters. They turned around, poised for battle.

    “So you gave me a strong monster in order to obtain a weaker monster,” Kaiba chuckled. “What kind of move was that?”

    A desperate groan erupted from the Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon; everyone gaped at it in sudden confusion. It strained its body, flailed its neck around madly as if in severe pain.

    “What the hell,” Kaiba said. He addressed Adam immediately. “What did you do to my dragon!”

    “Not your dragon,” Adam retorted. “There’s a reason I called Fallen Red-Eyes the ‘most trustworthy’ monster in existence.” He held out a hand, pointed to the dragon. “It’s so loyal to its owner that when it switches sides it automatically destroys itself to damage anyone who tries to tame it!”

    “What!” Kaiba had no time to react as the dragon thrust its wings outward, exploding violently. Kaiba could only close his eyes and embrace the cloud of darkness that now submerged his field. [Kaiba LP: (4800 --> 3600)]

    “I don’t believe it,” Dave said, sliding closer to the duel. “Adam has the lead.”

    Peter echoed his remark. “But for how long?”

    The cloud cleared; Kaiba was covered in black ash and dust. He rubbed it away from his eyes, began to shout at Adam.

    “Flashy plays can only get you so far!” He whipped the top card off of his deck, throwing back another without ever taking the time to breathe. “I activate Soul Exchange! This allows me to use monsters you control as Tributes for my cards this turn.

    “And thanks to Kaiser Sea Horse’s effect, it can be treated as two monsters for the Tribute Summon of a LIGHT attribute monster.”

    The Kaiser Sea Horse nodded, began to glow with a bright yellow aura.

    “You’re not the only one who can manipulate their cards.” Kaiba snickered. He slapped down another pale card. “Come forth – Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    Kaiser Sea Horse bowed to its owner, willingly succumbing to the force that tore through its spirit. Another Blue-Eyes White Dragon rose out of the aura, circled Adam once, then returned to its rightful place next to its brother. (3000/2500)

    “Adam’s wide open now,” Peter said. “He may have the lead Life Point-wise but Kaiba dominates the field.”

    Josh considered this. I guess there’s a lot more to think about than meets the eye…

    Adam looked to the Blue-Eyes on his left, then to the other on his right, then to Kaiba.

    “Lucky for you my monsters can’t attack the turn Soul Exchange is activated, so you have one more turn before I end this.” Without any cards remaining in his hand, Kaiba crossed his arms. “Your move.”

    Adam drew, never taking his eyes off his opponent. Then, once again, he retreated into his hand.

    Josh turned to Dave. “Do you think he can do it?”

    But Dave was lost in the duel. Adam was able to wipe out my entire deck with just two cards. And he’s already proven to be master strategist in this duel alone. He hated to admit it, although the truth was there: This duel really could go either way.

    Adam’s eyes went between each card – back and forth, back and forth – slowly, yet each moment brought new possibilities. And new threats.

    How long does it take to look over two cards? Kaiba thought. For the first time since the duel’s start, he peered into the crowd, watching the shadowed figures watch him. No, not him. Adam. The duelist whose plays were subtle, yet lethal.

    The duelist who plays to win.

    “Make your move already!” Kaiba called. “I’m starting to get impatient.”

    Adam, seemingly awakened, delicately brought a finger to his Graveyard slot. The crowd held their breath.

    As did Kaiba.

    “I summon Fallen Hero Sparkman in Attack Mode.”

    Streaks of electricity flooded out of his Duel Disk, dancing on the ground collectively until it gathered into a humanoid shape. The static merged, transforming into yellowish armor along with a blue-plated helmet and boots. Two wing-like flaps stuck out of its back, acting as reflectors when the warrior unleashed its electrical powers. (1600/1400)

    “Now I activate Call of the Haunted!” The purple card rose, revealing a misty cemetery scene on its image. “And I’ll use it to revive my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

    Mist poured out of the purple card, filling the stage in a thin, spooky layer. The dragon’s signature red eyes resided in the mist, followed by its silent groan. With a single thrust of its wings the mist vanished, replaced by the belligerent black dragon. (2400/2000)

    Of course, Dave thought. He can still summon his Fallen monsters by other card effects.

    “And finally I activate the Spell Card, Double Grave Ceremony.” Two tombstones rose on either side of Adam’s field, with him standing at the center. “Each turn this allows me to summon an additional Fallen monster by their own effects.”

    So he’s gonna bring back another? Kaiba thought. He’s already used four of his five monsters against me at least once this duel. They’re all too weak to take me on. He glanced at the face-down card before him, which had been laying there the entire time. And if he tries anything, my Shadow Spell card will stop him in his tracks.

    Adam hesitated. His eyes lingered around the field, lost in thought. First at his Red-Eyes, then at Sparkman, then at Kaiba’s face-down card (which unnerved Kaiba a bit), and then finally at the single card he held in his hand. He kept his eyes there for what felt like an eternity.

    Well, what’s he gonna summon? Josh thought. He just said he can summon another monster but then he just… stopped.

    It must have to do with that card. Kaiba watched Adam intently. He’s probably trying to form a very precise strategy but he only has one shot at getting it right.

    Adam brought the card to his side. “I offer my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon –” the dragon disintegrated, reverted back into the mist it once was. “– in order to summon my Fallen Flame Swordsman!”

    Flame Swordsman?

    The mist gathered together, igniting into a flurry of embers. A muscular warrior emerged out of the fire, heroically transferring the flames to its burning sword. Contrary to its name, the warrior wore tight, blue clothing, although an orangey-red sash drooped around its waist. Its head gear was the same shade of red; a spike shot straight up above its forehead, and two sharp pieces drooped from either side of the spike like the blade-end of a hammer. It knelt, holding its sword across its chest. (1800/1600)

    Kaiba silently grumbled, though no one in the crowd could tell. I’m getting tired of all the Wheeler references today.

    Isn’t that the card Elisa used in her lesson? Josh subconsciously put his hand on his pocket, fumbling the Card Analyzer there. That card was a Fusion Monster. But this card doesn’t seem to be a Fusion Monster at all.

    “And with my Fallen Flame Swordsman’s special ability, I’ll transfer all of its ATK points to my Fallen Hero Sparkman.”

    Fire flew out the warrior’s sword, consuming Sparkman in a bright light. The flames did not burn or hurt, instead it empowered the hero with confidence.

    [Fallen Hero Sparkman (1600 --> 3400/1400)]
    [Fallen Flame Swordsman (1800 --> 0/1600)]

    Adam extended his arm, gripping the lone card in his opposite hand tightly with his fingertips. “Sparkman, attack his Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    Sparkman pranced across the field, electricity trickling from its palms, dancing around the flame aura surrounding its body.

    Hmph. Kaiba pressed a button, triggering his face-down card. Chains broke out of the card’s surface, binding the hero by its wrists and ankles. More chains wrapped themselves around its torso, tightening their grasp.

    “Thanks my Shadow Spell Trap Card, your Fallen Hero can’t attack or change its Battle Position.” Kaiba boastfully stomped ahead. “On top of that, it loses 700 ATK points!”

    Sparkman wriggled around, trying to break away from the chains. Despite its enhanced power, it simply could not escape. (3400 --> 2700/1400)

    Adam focused deeply on the lone card in his right hand. Stared at it. Almost through it. At last, he brought it down again.

    “I end my turn.”

    “For a second I thought you were gonna do something impressive,” Kaiba mocked. “But then you proved to be like everybody else.” He uncrossed his arms, readying two fingers to draw. “Allow me to show you how a real duelist plays!”

    Kaiba drew, sneered. He wanted to laugh. Even after all this time his deck always knew how to amuse him.

    “I activate Card of Demise which allows me to draw cards until I have five in my hand,” Kaiba grasped onto his deck, skillfully fanning out five new cards. “In exchange, I’ll have to discard my entire hand in five turns. Of course, that won’t be necessary ‘cause I’m gonna end it right here!”

    He threw a green card into a gray slot, causing an old, beaten scroll to appear on the floor beyond his monsters. “Thanks to my Ancient Rules card, I can summon any Level five or higher Normal Monster in my hand. Which means I can bring out my third Blue-Eyes White Dragon!” He shot his arm toward the sky, seemingly causing the scroll to unravel; a spiral of glitter jetted out of the paper, forming a portal for the final Blue-Eyes White Dragon to enter. It roared vigorously as it descended near the stage, where it floated between, yet slightly above, its two counterparts. (3000/2500)

    “And now that I have all three of my Blue-Eyes White Dragons on the field I can activate this!” He presented the green card to Adam, as if shoving it in his face. “Delta Attacker!”

    The Blue-Eyes White Dragons flew high into the air, near the ceiling. They maintained their positions, and a blue triangle-pattern connected the three entities together.

    Dave fell back. “This is it.”

    “Since I have all three copies of my Blue-Eyes White Dragon out on the field, each of them can attack you directly!” He clutched his left hand into a fist. Above him, each dragon charged a blue energy sphere, holding it with their teeth. “Game over.” He stabbed an accusing finger at Adam, sentencing him to death. “Blue-Eyes White Dragon, White Lightning attack!”

    Each of the three Blue-Eyes White Dragons opened their mouths wide, sucking in air with tremendous force. Seconds later blue streaks of light formed, expanding until they became three overflowing spheres of light.

    Adam stood below, watching this all occur.

    The three dragons roared in unison, firing their blasts simultaneously, combining them into one enormous ray. The beam rained down on Adam, submerging him, pushing him towards the ground with the force of a waterfall.

    He gritted his teeth in an attempt to keep his composure, but ultimately gave in. His grip loosened, releasing the lone card from his grasp, sending it fluttering onto the floor nearby. Blue streams continued to fall endlessly, nearly blinding him with their intensive might. [Adam LP: (6100 -->-->--> 0)]

    Hmph, about time. Kaiba retracted his Duel Disk, separating its platform into two smaller pieces, bringing them back to its sides.

    “And the winner is, the great, Seto Kaiba!”

    Cheers and clamor erupted in the arena, growing louder as each hologram faded away. Adam stumbled, yet never showed any sign of regret or sorrow. Kaiba approached the announcer, who had stepped by Adam’s side.

    “Damn,” Peter said, “I can’t think of one way Adam could’ve gotten out of that one.”

    Josh nodded. “Yeah, that was some move.”

    But that card, Dave thought, still focused on the stage. He stared at his hand for a long time, but in the end did nothing with it.

    The cheers died down, and with a wave of Kaiba’s hand, the crowd fell into complete silence. The announcer held up his microphone, holding out his own hand.

    “Will Dave Litenur please come on down!”

    That snapped him out of his trace. Dave lifted himself off his seat, glanced at Josh (who smiled and gave him a thumbs-up), and rushed through the audience, eventually reaching the stage’s stairs.

    Kaiba waited impatiently. Now that the tournament was over, he could finally focus on more important matters.

    Like that phone call from Pegasus…

    “Adam Prince –” the announcer nodded to Adam, then turned to Dave “– Dave Litenur – “ he nodded again, waving his arm out again. “Both of you dueled with skill and elegance like no other…”

    Blah, blah, blah. Kaiba subtly shook his head. So much pointless blabbering, just get on with the goodbye speech so we can go home already. He needed to zone out, that always made these things go by faster. His gaze fell towards the ground, by Adam’s feet.

    A card rested there, unnoticed by the audience. He assumed it was the last card Adam held before his defeat. It must’ve fallen when his Blue-Eyes blasted him to oblivion. He looked closer, trying to decipher its image.

    Then, at least, he recognized it. He knew the card well – he even had one of his own in his deck – and knew it to be one of the most powerful Trap Cards in existence. The Ring of Destruction.

    Just then, a thought flashed through his mind, so quickly that it struck him like a spark of lightning. The thought crackled along his brain, taking it over. He became deaf to everything else while it echoed between his ears.


    ~*~*~*~


    He remembered the final moments of their duel, just after Adam revived his Fallen Hero Sparkman and threw out his Double Grave Ceremony card to summon another Fallen monster. Adam activated Call of the Haunted to bring back his Fallen Red-Eyes, which he would proceed to sacrifice to summon Fallen Flame Swordsman. Only, in this vision, he didn’t. He offered the Fallen Hero instead.

    “And with my Fallen Flame Swordsman’s special ability, I’ll transfer all of its ATK points to my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon.”

    [Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon (2400 --> 4200/2000)]
    [Fallen Flame Swordsman (1800 --> 0/1600)]


    At this point, Adam only had one card left in his hand. He stared at it again, then looked to Kaiba’s face-down card. From the look in his eyes, Kaiba knew he expected an attack to backfire.

    “I’ll place one card face-down and end my turn.”

    Kaiba would then draw, and smirk. Everything had laid out perfectly for him. Even with Adam’s stronger dragon protecting him, Kaiba still managed to overpower him. He continued his moves, right up to Delta Attacker. The three dragons flew upward, and poised to attack.

    Then…

    “I activate my Trap Card!” Adam shouted, raising his arm. “Ring of Destruction!”

    The metallic tire constricted the black dragon, bursting moments later.

    [Kaiba LP: (3600 --> 0)] [Adam LP: (6100 --> 1900)]

    Kaiba leapt back, traumatized.

    He couldn’t contain his screams.


    ~*~*~*~


    Even after this long train of thought, the announcer continued to babble to the two finalists. Kaiba came back to reality, found himself still staring at the card on the floor. A hand snatched it away, awakening him with urgency, and his eyes darted to the hand’s owner. Adam lifted the card, met Kaiba’s gaze, then nonchalantly slipped it back into his deck without ever attracting any attention.

    Kaiba glared at him. More thoughts poured into him, flowing throughout his blood stream. That move wasn’t farfetched. He knew it. Adam proved himself before by wiping out Dave’s deck without even knowing if he would succeed. Yet he knew.

    His eyes searched the crowd until his disappointment set in. He turned back to the finalists, and found Adam’s eyes gazing into his own.

    Kaiba clutched his fist; he saw something in Adam’s stare that somehow mocked him. Adam seemed to be gesturing the tantalizing thought that tormented Kaiba’s mind, without ever making a single move:

    “I could have won.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Fallen Flame Swordsman
    ******
    [Fire]
    [Warrior/Effect]
    (1800/1600)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard by offering 1 monster on your side of the field as a Tribute. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Flame Swordsman”. During either player's turn, you can have this card lose any amount of ATK to have another face-up monster gain an equal amount of ATK.


    Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon
    *******
    [Dark]
    [Dragon/Synchro/Tuner]
    (2400/2000)
    1 Tuner monster + 1 or more “Fallen” monsters
    Synchro Material Monsters used to Synchro Summon this card are banished instead of being sent to the Graveyard. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard after it is Synchro Summoned by offering 2 monsters on your side of the field as a Tribute. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Red-Eyes B. Dragon”. If control of this card changes from its original owner, destroy this card immediately and inflict 1200 damage to its current controller.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  15. #15
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    Nov 2005
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    Chapter Eleven


    People collectively entered the arena, populating their seats with enthusiastic relief. Those who had witnessed the hostage situation in the cafeteria spoke to each other cheerfully; those who hadn’t listened to others relay each event bit by bit. They spoke about the thief, and about Kaiba, and even Dave, the finalist who had lost just moments before. They called his act of bravery a kind of ‘redemption.’ They were safe now; just glad that it was over. Now they could look towards the future.

    Soon the tournament’s final duel would begin.

    Josh sat angled to his left, listening intently to Peter, while Dave sat on the other side with one leg crossed over the other. Dave pressed his Card Analyzer against his thigh, scrolling through a screen.

    “Yeah, I love collecting rare cards,” Peter said, leaning back in his chair. “Ever since I opened my first pack and got my Archlord Kristya card I’ve been obsessed with collecting them whenever possible.”

    “You said that card is your favorite right?”

    “Yeah, I put it in every deck I’ve ever built. I guess you could say it’s my ace card.” Peter chuckled softly.

    “I hope I get a rare card I can associate myself with,” Josh said. After all, everyone else seemed to have at least one. Peter had Archlord Kristya, Dave had Black Luster Soldier, Kaiba had his Blue-Eyes White Dragons…

    “Don’t worry about it.” Peter waved a hand. “It’ll come to you one day, and it may change over time. I have a couple cards I always use. And they’re not always rare, either; they just have to have some kind of special meaning.”

    “I guess that makes sense.” Josh adjusted himself, straightening his posture.

    “Just go over cards you like and you’ll find it. I know one of my favorite cards is one that I got for my thirteenth birthday.”

    Josh considered this. He pulled out his deck, showing each card to Peter.

    “Well, there are a few in here…”

    Their words were just background noise to Dave, as was the chattering amongst the crowd. While they were all waiting, Dave was researching. Ever since Adam’s victory, Dave had grown suspicious of his actions, especially what he had said to him on stage. He figured he would learn something about Adam by learning about his cards, especially because they were so hard to find. He traced his finger along each word as he read.

    Fallen Monsters

    ‘Fallen’ monsters are an archetype whose effects revolve around Special Summoning themselves from the Graveyard. Though, as of today, there is no card in the archetype itself that can send them to the Graveyard, cards like Card Destruction and Graceful Charity fulfill this requirement while also allowing the user to gain new cards to make up for lost resources. All ‘Fallen’ monsters are treated as if they were their non-Fallen counterparts. For example, Fallen Summoned Skull is treated as Summoned Skull. By utilizing the correct support cards, this can allow ‘Fallen’ decks to become very diverse.

    One downside to using ‘Fallen’ monsters is that no other monsters can be in the Graveyard besides ‘Fallen’ monsters, otherwise they will be unable to Special Summon themselves with their own effects. This means that a deck has to be built around them entirely in order for these cards to be used effectively, although they can be Special Summoned by other card effects such as Monster Reborn. Creating a ‘Fallen’ deck is a tremendous feat, as each card is extremely rare (most are Ultra or Secret Rare, with a few Limited Edition) in booster packs and cost roughly $70-130 in stores.

    A similar archetype to this i–”

    The lights shut out, silencing the crowd instantly. Dave turned off his Card Analyzer, pocketing it reluctantly. Peter handed Josh his cards for him to pocket as well. A spotlight flashed on center stage; the announcer stood with microphone poised.

    “Ladies and gentlemen! After a long series of events, the Championship Round is finally ready to begin!”

    The crowd cheered. Josh and Peter clapped; Dave clapped as well, then crossed his arms.

    “And now I present our challenger – Adam Prince!” The announcer flagged his arm to his right, where Adam emerged from the shadows. His back was turned to the trio, yet Dave could still sense the fierce determination that rested on his face.

    “And now our host – the great Seto Kaiba!”

    A stream of light burst through the darkness covering Kaiba, reflecting off his pale blazer. He strode up the stairs, flicking his arm (and his Duel Disk) near his chest. The announcer turned to Adam, walked over so that the microphone could pick up his voice.

    “Adam, after a number of great challenges and impressive plays –” those last two words stung Dave a bit. “– you finally have the honor of dueling one of the most powerful duelists in the world. Do you have anything to say before we begin?” He tipped the microphone towards Adam’s mouth.

    “I have nothing to say.”

    The announcer, clearly baffled, retreated the microphone. “Alright. In that case, let the duel begin!” The declaration provoked countless squeals and shouts from the audience. Dave, however, kept his arms crossed, intently watching both duelists activate their Duel Disks.

    He only uses Fallen monsters, Dave thought, he must be from a wealthy family to afford them all. Dave scowled, repositioned himself in his chair. Either that…

    Adam fanned his five cards in his left hand. He took his right hand against his forehead, brushing the single strand of red hair to the side.

    Or he’s a thief.


    ~*~*~*~


    [Kaiba LP: (8000)] [Adam LP: (8000)]

    Kaiba glanced over his hand briefly. Adam was good. There was no doubting that. The combo he used in the final round was a fatal one, though the chances of it repeating were slim to none. Kaiba gave Adam a stern gaze.

    “As a reward for making it this far, I’ll let you go first.”

    Adam answered with a nod, withdrawing into his cards.

    He may have strong strategies, but nothing can overcome the might of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. He paused, corrected himself. That is, in my hands. He clenched his jaw behind closed lips. Only my hands…

    “I activate Graceful Charity, so I’ll draw three cards and discard two.” The card flashed before him, disappearing as quickly as it came. “Now I’ll place two cards face-down and finish my turn by summoning my Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    Two brown card holograms appeared, followed by a purple flame erupting out of Adam’s Graveyard. The flames crashed just beyond the other holograms, extinguished itself upon hitting the ground, leaving the purple dragon in its place. It hugged its bat-like wings against its body, keeping their two yellows spikes near its eyes. (1500/1200)

    That’s the same opening move he made in my duel, Dave thought.

    Kaiba remembered this too, drew cautiously. But he also noticed a huge difference. In Dave’s duel, Adam summoned Fallen Koumori Dragon in Attack Mode. This time, however, he placed it in Defense Mode, which means he’s wary of an oncoming threat. He was safe.

    For now, at least.

    Kaiba slipped a card out of his hand, slapping it rigidly onto his Duel Disk. “I summon Vorse Raider in Attack Mode!”

    From the depths of the shadows beneath the stadium, a muscular, fiendish body-builder monster leapt up, spinning its dual-bladed staff, causing the axe blades to glare. It braced one end of the staff against the floor, puffed out its chest, along with its green and purple-spotted armor, and gave a sneer that hinted at its devious intentions. (1900/1200)

    “Slash his dragon to bits!”

    Vorse Raider gripped tightly onto its axe, dashed with all of its might. As it traveled across the field, Kaiba noticed Adam hadn’t moved.

    He bluffed.

    Fallen Koumori Dragon flexed its wings, braced itself as the axe came down, slicing diagonally across its body. The raider heaved it back upwards, shredding the dragon further, resulting in an explosion. Vorse Raider hopped to its original spot with one backwards leap. A new card appeared behind it, glimmering with a holographic glow.

    “I place one card face-down and end my turn,” Kaiba said. “Next time you should pay attention to the duel instead of drifting into fairyland.”

    Adam started his turn, ignoring the comment. “I activate my face-down card.”

    The card on Adam’s left rose, revealing a green bordered card featuring a fancily dressed man hugging a coffin.

    I was right, he bluffed. Kaiba smirked subtly. There was no way he was gonna be able to pull off a combo like that twice in a row.

    “By using The Cheerful Coffin I can discard up to three monsters in my hand to the Graveyard.” Adam took the center three cards in his hand, carefully moving them into the red slot leading to the discard pile. He slid the remaining two cards closer together with his fingers.

    If I counted correctly that makes five monsters, Kaiba thought.

    Adam extended his arm, aimlessly pointing his hand. “Now rise, my Fallen Hero Clayman!”

    Tremors under the stage jostled Kaiba and his monster, causing them to stumble. Soon after, a bulky man broke out of the ground, rubble raining along its rock-shaped armor. It knelt, holdings its blocky wrists near its tiny, red face. (800/2000)

    “That’s my turn.” Adam brought his hand to his side.

    From behind, Dave admired the rocky monster. “He must use Elemental Hero support then, too,” he whispered.

    Josh heard him; nudged his arm with an elbow. “What’s ‘Elemental Hero’?”

    Dave nearly forgot Josh was with him. “The Elemental Heroes are an archetype based around Fusion Summoning. They’re pretty good, but I didn’t expect an archetype to copy off another archetype like this.”

    “Well, he’s already used Fallen versions of other famous cards,” Peter interjected. “I mean, we all know that Yugi uses Summoned Skull.”

    Josh sunk in his seat slightly. Dave leaned forward.

    “This just got interesting.”

    “Alright, my move.” Kaiba pulled a card, flipped it over with his thumb. A blue-bordered card. Just what I needed. “I activate White Dragon Ritual.” He threw a Spell Card into his Duel Disk, reinventing it before him seconds later. A blue-ish glow emitted out of the card’s picture frame. “With it, I’ll offer the Swordstalker from my hand in order to summon – Paladin of White Dragon!”

    Kaiba thrust his arm forward, simultaneously releasing a monster through the card’s wall of aura. The monster was essentially a baby version of Blue-Eyes White Dragon – its wings were small and veiny and its smooth head lacked the Blue-Eyes White Dragon’s three pronged spikes. Mounted on top, a warrior, adorned in blue and gold armor, tamed the young dragon. It swung its long sword above the dragon’s head, while the dragon playfully opened its mouth, revealing the tiny needle-shaped fangs. It hovered just above Vorse Raider, where it stared at Adam with its egg-yellow eyes. (1900/1200)

    “Neither of his monsters can break through Adam’s defenses,” Josh whispered. “What is he doing?”

    “Watch,” Peter said.

    “Next I’ll activate Stop Defense.” Kaiba lifted another Spell Card out of his hand. “In case you can’t figure it out, this card allows me to change one of your Defense Position monsters to Attack Position, and I choose your Fallen Hero Clayman.”

    Fallen Hero Clayman stood upright, as if by its own will. (800/2000) Once again, Adam didn’t react.

    “Now Vorse Raider, attack!”

    The raider obeyed, charging at the rock-armored monster with axe in hand.

    “Just as I planned – Clayman, stop the attack!”

    Just as Vorse Raider flung its axe towards its opponent, Clayman clutched the blade with its bare hands, halting the raider in its tracks.

    “What?!” Kaiba took a half-step forward. “But how!”

    Adam brushed the lone strand of red hair into his black spikes.

    “When Fallen Hero Clayman is attacked, I can banish it to destroy the attacking monster and inflict 800 damage to you.”

    Clayman tighten its hold on the blade, shattering it. The now weaponless Vorse Raider backed away slightly, only to get tackled by the colossal figure. Clayman grappled Vorse Raider, charging all the way across the field, slamming straight into Kaiba as they both burst into a dust cloud of gravel. Kaiba dug his heels into the ground, held a hand to his heart. [Kaiba LP: (8000 --> 7200)]

    “Hey Dave.” Josh tapped him on the shoulder. “What does banish mean?” He remembered hearing the same phrase during his duel the receptionist, figured it was another game mechanic.

    “It’s another game mechanic.” Josh’s instincts always knew best. “Banished is when a card is sent out of the game, but not placed in the Graveyard. Instead they go to their own section that’s usually not specified. But unless a card says otherwise, it’s assumed that all cards are sent to the Graveyard.”

    So cards can be sent out of the game? Josh gazed at Kaiba. And I guess there’s cards even famous duelists haven’t heard of too.

    Kaiba recomposed himself, brushing dust off his sleeve. “You think a few stones are gonna stop me? I’ve still got another monster ready to pounce! Paladin of White Dragon – direct attack!”

    The young dragon dove at Adam; the mounted knight sliced its blade through Adam’s left arm, forcing him to cringe despite his best efforts to hide his pain. [Adam LP: (8000 --> 6100)]

    “And I’m not done yet,” Kaiba said, bringing his hand close to his deck. Paladin of White Dragon returned to his side. “I activate Paladin of White Dragon’s special ability, allowing me to replace it with a stronger version of itself.” The mounted knight on Paladin of White Dragon disintegrated, transforming into a blue aura which engulfed the young dragon. “Now, come forth –” Kaiba ripped a card out of his deck, slapped it on his Duel Disk. “– mighty Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    The young dragon let out a child-like roar as the aura intensified, consuming its body completely, reshaping it. The dragon grew; its fangs became sharper, its figure more built and jagged, and its wings wider than before. The dragon’s roar continued to resonate throughout the arena, now fierce and threatening. It had reached its adult stage, gaining its title as the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. (3000/2500)

    “Lucky for you, my Blue-Eyes can’t attack the turn it’s summoned by Paladin of White Dragon, so take your turn.”

    Josh bent forward, whispering. “I can’t believe he’s able to summon the same monster in so many different ways.”

    Dave turned. “Are you surprised? Some people specialize their decks so they can summon one monster over and over.” He pulled out his Card Analyzer. “Just look at me and my Black Luster Soldier.”

    “That’s true…” Josh clapped his hands together, stared at them. I’d like to have a card like that.

    Back on stage, Adam held up his Duel Disk, facing the red slot away from his head. “Rise, Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    Purple flames surged out of the red slot, flaring out until the purple dragon came forward. (1500/1200)

    “I’ll set another card face-down and end my turn.”

    “If you’re gonna do the same thing over and over again you should at least make it interesting.” Kaiba threw an orange bordered card down. “I summon Kaiser Sea Horse!”

    A purple- and blue-armored sea horse majestically descended onto the field, holding its golden trident close to protect its master. (1700/1650)

    “Now, Kaiser Sea Horse, attack his Fallen Koumori Dragon!”

    The bipedal seahorse dashed forward, aiming its spear for Fallen Koumori Dragon’s head. The purple dragon brought its wings closer to its face.

    “I activate Negate Attack!”

    Just as Kaiser Sea Horse thrust its spear, a warp hole opened, soothingly absorbing the blow. Since it failed, Kaiser Sea Horse saw no reason to stay, returned to Kaiba.

    “Stall tactics can only last so long,” Kaiba remarked.

    “I don’t need to stall anymore,” Adam said, without glancing at his drawn card. He held up his Duel Disk again. “Time to bring out my own ace monster. Rise, Fallen Hero Avian!”

    A flurry of feathers flew out his Duel Disk, spiraling together into a tornado that extended to the ceiling. After a few moments of gusts, a humanoid creature appeared from the dispersing tornado, spreading the feathered wings attached to its dull, green armor. It crossed its clawed-gauntlets in front of its torso, knelt down next to Fallen Koumori Dragon. (1000/1000)

    Kaiba laughed. “Sorry, but if that’s your ace then you may have to raise your standards.”

    Adam gave a cold stare. “I’m not done yet.”

    “Another Fallen Hero?” Peter said. “He must be preparing to Fusion Summon something.”

    “Hang on, look at this.” Dave held out his Card Analyzer, tilting the screen so Josh and Peter could see.

    Fallen Hero Avian
    ***
    [Wind]
    [Warrior/Tuner]
    (1000/1000)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Elemental Hero Avian”. Once per turn, this card can attack as many times as the number of monster(s) you control when you activate this effect. If this effect is used, this card cannot attack your opponent directly, and your other monsters cannot attack.”

    Josh blinked. “I don’t get what you’re trying to say.”

    Dave pointed under its attribute. “It’s also a Tuner.”

    “Now, I’ll tune my Fallen Hero Avian with my Fallen Koumori Dragon.”

    Avian stood up; three glowing, dark red feathers jetted out of its wings, encircling its body. It leaped directly above Fallen Koumori Dragon, shooting out more feathers, four pitch-black ones, which surrounded the dragon below. Adam stepped forward, brushing the strand of red hair once again.

    “It’s time to introduce the most trustworthy monster I know.” He held out both arms, as if he were summoning a god above. “Rise – my loyal Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

    Kaiba’s eyes darted out of his head. Red-Eyes?

    The feathers surrounding both monsters quickened, soon creating two rings, red and black, from their speed. The rings slowly floated towards each other, leaving a thin barrier of their respective colors in their wake, acting as a veil between the two monsters and the outside world. The rings collided, blending together, swirling into a red and black tower. It crackled, sending streaks of red lightning across the room. Two dark red eyes pierced through the black core of the tower, finally smashing out of it with ferocious force. Its eyes met with the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, let out an ear-splitting roar to assert its challenge. (2400/2000)

    The sound sent a jolt through Josh; his pupils dilated, and he broke into a cold sweat.

    “The Red-Eyes Black Dragon,” Dave said, watching in awe. Peter did the same. Josh recovered from his amazement.

    “Uh guys,” Josh said, glancing back and forth between the two. “What’s the Red-Eyes Black Dragon?”

    Dave answered without looking away. “It’s a card used by another famous duelist. It’s also said to be the counterpart of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon.”

    Josh turned to Peter. “Is that true?”

    Peter nodded. “It’s said that while the Blue-Eyes White Dragon represents power, the Red-Eyes Black Dragon represents potential.” He paused long enough for Josh to turn back to the duel. “They’re polar opposites in nearly every way imaginable.”

    That’s Wheeler’s best monster, Kaiba thought. So, he’s trying to insult me by playing an amateur’s card at a public event. “Not to disappoint you, but your Red-Eyes doesn’t have enough fire power to defeat my Blue-Eyes.”

    Adam held up another card. “I never said I was attacking.” He flipped it over, revealing a Spell Card depicting a Red-Eyes Black Dragon. “I activate Inferno Fire Blast, which allows my Fallen Red-Eyes to inflict damage to you equal to its original ATK.”

    Kaiba braced himself as the opposing dragon inhaled, gathering molten fire between its fangs. It exhaled sharply, shooting the blast beyond both of Kaiba’s monsters, striking him directly in the chest. It tore across his body; using sheer will, Kaiba kept himself from flying backwards. He lunged himself forward, catching his stomach with his left arm. [Kaiba LP: (7200 --> 4800)]

    “That all?” Kaiba asked calmly, standing erect.

    “No.” The image of another Spell Card flashed beside him. “I activate Creature Swap. Each of us picks a monster we control and the two monsters trade places.”

    Why would he do that? Josh thought.

    If he thinks I’m giving him my Blue-Eyes he’s out of his mind. Kaiba stuck out a finger. “I choose Kaiser Sea Horse.”

    “And I pick Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon.”

    Both monsters peacefully walked to the opposite sides of the field. They crossed paths, failed to acknowledge each other, instead looked to please their new masters. They turned around, poised for battle.

    “So you gave me a strong monster in order to obtain a weaker monster,” Kaiba chuckled. “What kind of move was that?”

    A desperate groan erupted from the Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon; everyone gaped at it in sudden confusion. It strained its body, flailed its neck around madly as if in severe pain.

    “What the hell,” Kaiba said. He addressed Adam immediately. “What did you do to my dragon!”

    “Not your dragon,” Adam retorted. “There’s a reason I called Fallen Red-Eyes the ‘most trustworthy’ monster in existence.” He held out a hand, pointed to the dragon. “It’s so loyal to its owner that when it switches sides it automatically destroys itself to damage anyone who tries to tame it!”

    “What!” Kaiba had no time to react as the dragon thrust its wings outward, exploding violently. Kaiba could only close his eyes and embrace the cloud of darkness that now submerged his field. [Kaiba LP: (4800 --> 3600)]

    “I don’t believe it,” Dave said, sliding closer to the duel. “Adam has the lead.”

    Peter echoed his remark. “But for how long?”

    The cloud cleared; Kaiba was covered in black ash and dust. He rubbed it away from his eyes, began to shout at Adam.

    “Flashy plays can only get you so far!” He whipped the top card off of his deck, throwing back another without ever taking the time to breathe. “I activate Soul Exchange! This allows me to use monsters you control as Tributes for my cards this turn.

    “And thanks to Kaiser Sea Horse’s effect, it can be treated as two monsters for the Tribute Summon of a LIGHT attribute monster.”

    The Kaiser Sea Horse nodded, began to glow with a bright yellow aura.

    “You’re not the only one who can manipulate their cards.” Kaiba snickered. He slapped down another pale card. “Come forth – Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    Kaiser Sea Horse bowed to its owner, willingly succumbing to the force that tore through its spirit. Another Blue-Eyes White Dragon rose out of the aura, circled Adam once, then returned to its rightful place next to its brother. (3000/2500)

    “Adam’s wide open now,” Peter said. “He may have the lead Life Point-wise but Kaiba dominates the field.”

    Josh considered this. I guess there’s a lot more to think about than meets the eye…

    Adam looked to the Blue-Eyes on his left, then to the other on his right, then to Kaiba.

    “Lucky for you my monsters can’t attack the turn Soul Exchange is activated, so you have one more turn before I end this.” Without any cards remaining in his hand, Kaiba crossed his arms. “Your move.”

    Adam drew, never taking his eyes off his opponent. Then, once again, he retreated into his hand.

    Josh turned to Dave. “Do you think he can do it?”

    But Dave was lost in the duel. Adam was able to wipe out my entire deck with just two cards. And he’s already proven to be master strategist in this duel alone. He hated to admit it, although the truth was there: This duel really could go either way.

    Adam’s eyes went between each card – back and forth, back and forth – slowly, yet each moment brought new possibilities. And new threats.

    How long does it take to look over two cards? Kaiba thought. For the first time since the duel’s start, he peered into the crowd, watching the shadowed figures watch him. No, not him. Adam. The duelist whose plays were subtle, yet lethal.

    The duelist who plays to win.

    “Make your move already!” Kaiba called. “I’m starting to get impatient.”

    Adam, seemingly awakened, delicately brought a finger to his Graveyard slot. The crowd held their breath.

    As did Kaiba.

    “I summon Fallen Hero Sparkman in Attack Mode.”

    Streaks of electricity flooded out of his Duel Disk, dancing on the ground collectively until it gathered into a humanoid shape. The static merged, transforming into yellowish armor along with a blue-plated helmet and boots. Two wing-like flaps stuck out of its back, acting as reflectors when the warrior unleashed its electrical powers. (1600/1400)

    “Now I activate Call of the Haunted!” The purple card rose, revealing a misty cemetery scene on its image. “And I’ll use it to revive my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

    Mist poured out of the purple card, filling the stage in a thin, spooky layer. The dragon’s signature red eyes resided in the mist, followed by its silent groan. With a single thrust of its wings the mist vanished, replaced by the belligerent black dragon. (2400/2000)

    Of course, Dave thought. He can still summon his Fallen monsters by other card effects.

    “And finally I activate the Spell Card, Double Grave Ceremony.” Two tombstones rose on either side of Adam’s field, with him standing at the center. “Each turn this allows me to summon an additional Fallen monster by their own effects.”

    So he’s gonna bring back another? Kaiba thought. He’s already used four of his five monsters against me at least once this duel. They’re all too weak to take me on. He glanced at the face-down card before him, which had been laying there the entire time. And if he tries anything, my Shadow Spell card will stop him in his tracks.

    Adam hesitated. His eyes lingered around the field, lost in thought. First at his Red-Eyes, then at Sparkman, then at Kaiba’s face-down card (which unnerved Kaiba a bit), and then finally at the single card he held in his hand. He kept his eyes there for what felt like an eternity.

    Well, what’s he gonna summon? Josh thought. He just said he can summon another monster but then he just… stopped.

    It must have to do with that card. Kaiba watched Adam intently. He’s probably trying to form a very precise strategy but he only has one shot at getting it right.

    Adam brought the card to his side. “I offer my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon –” the dragon disintegrated, reverted back into the mist it once was. “– in order to summon my Fallen Flame Swordsman!”

    Flame Swordsman?

    The mist gathered together, igniting into a flurry of embers. A muscular warrior emerged out of the fire, heroically transferring the flames to its burning sword. Contrary to its name, the warrior wore tight, blue clothing, although an orangey-red sash drooped around its waist. Its head gear was the same shade of red; a spike shot straight up above its forehead, and two sharp pieces drooped from either side of the spike like the blade-end of a hammer. It knelt, holding its sword across its chest. (1800/1600)

    Kaiba silently grumbled, though no one in the crowd could tell. I’m getting tired of all the Wheeler references today.

    Isn’t that the card Elisa used in her lesson? Josh subconsciously put his hand on his pocket, fumbling the Card Analyzer there. That card was a Fusion Monster. But this card doesn’t seem to be a Fusion Monster at all.

    “And with my Fallen Flame Swordsman’s special ability, I’ll transfer all of its ATK points to my Fallen Hero Sparkman.”

    Fire flew out the warrior’s sword, consuming Sparkman in a bright light. The flames did not burn or hurt, instead it empowered the hero with confidence.

    [Fallen Hero Sparkman (1600 --> 3400/1400)]
    [Fallen Flame Swordsman (1800 --> 0/1600)]

    Adam extended his arm, gripping the lone card in his opposite hand tightly with his fingertips. “Sparkman, attack his Blue-Eyes White Dragon!”

    Sparkman pranced across the field, electricity trickling from its palms, dancing around the flame aura surrounding its body.

    Hmph. Kaiba pressed a button, triggering his face-down card. Chains broke out of the card’s surface, binding the hero by its wrists and ankles. More chains wrapped themselves around its torso, tightening their grasp.

    “Thanks my Shadow Spell Trap Card, your Fallen Hero can’t attack or change its Battle Position.” Kaiba boastfully stomped ahead. “On top of that, it loses 700 ATK points!”

    Sparkman wriggled around, trying to break away from the chains. Despite its enhanced power, it simply could not escape. (3400 --> 2700/1400)

    Adam focused deeply on the lone card in his right hand. Stared at it. Almost through it. At last, he brought it down again.

    “I end my turn.”

    “For a second I thought you were gonna do something impressive,” Kaiba mocked. “But then you proved to be like everybody else.” He uncrossed his arms, readying two fingers to draw. “Allow me to show you how a real duelist plays!”

    Kaiba drew, sneered. He wanted to laugh. Even after all this time his deck always knew how to amuse him.

    “I activate Card of Demise which allows me to draw cards until I have five in my hand,” Kaiba grasped onto his deck, skillfully fanning out five new cards. “In exchange, I’ll have to discard my entire hand in five turns. Of course, that won’t be necessary ‘cause I’m gonna end it right here!”

    He threw a green card into a gray slot, causing an old, beaten scroll to appear on the floor beyond his monsters. “Thanks to my Ancient Rules card, I can summon any Level five or higher Normal Monster in my hand. Which means I can bring out my third Blue-Eyes White Dragon!” He shot his arm toward the sky, seemingly causing the scroll to unravel; a spiral of glitter jetted out of the paper, forming a portal for the final Blue-Eyes White Dragon to enter. It roared vigorously as it descended near the stage, where it floated between, yet slightly above, its two counterparts. (3000/2500)

    “And now that I have all three of my Blue-Eyes White Dragons on the field I can activate this!” He presented the green card to Adam, as if shoving it in his face. “Delta Attacker!”

    The Blue-Eyes White Dragons flew high into the air, near the ceiling. They maintained their positions, and a blue triangle-pattern connected the three entities together.

    Dave fell back. “This is it.”

    “Since I have all three copies of my Blue-Eyes White Dragon out on the field, each of them can attack you directly!” He clutched his left hand into a fist. Above him, each dragon charged a blue energy sphere, holding it with their teeth. “Game over.” He stabbed an accusing finger at Adam, sentencing him to death. “Blue-Eyes White Dragon, White Lightning attack!”

    Each of the three Blue-Eyes White Dragons opened their mouths wide, sucking in air with tremendous force. Seconds later blue streaks of light formed, expanding until they became three overflowing spheres of light.

    Adam stood below, watching this all occur.

    The three dragons roared in unison, firing their blasts simultaneously, combining them into one enormous ray. The beam rained down on Adam, submerging him, pushing him towards the ground with the force of a waterfall.

    He gritted his teeth in an attempt to keep his composure, but ultimately gave in. His grip loosened, releasing the lone card from his grasp, sending it fluttering onto the floor nearby. Blue streams continued to fall endlessly, nearly blinding him with their intensive might. [Adam LP: (6100 -->-->--> 0)]

    Hmph, about time. Kaiba retracted his Duel Disk, separating its platform into two smaller pieces, bringing them back to its sides.

    “And the winner is, the great, Seto Kaiba!”

    Cheers and clamor erupted in the arena, growing louder as each hologram faded away. Adam stumbled, yet never showed any sign of regret or sorrow. Kaiba approached the announcer, who had stepped by Adam’s side.

    “Damn,” Peter said, “I can’t think of one way Adam could’ve gotten out of that one.”

    Josh nodded. “Yeah, that was some move.”

    But that card, Dave thought, still focused on the stage. He stared at his hand for a long time, but in the end did nothing with it.

    The cheers died down, and with a wave of Kaiba’s hand, the crowd fell into complete silence. The announcer held up his microphone, holding out his own hand.

    “Will Dave Litenur please come on down!”

    That snapped him out of his trace. Dave lifted himself off his seat, glanced at Josh (who smiled and gave him a thumbs-up), and rushed through the audience, eventually reaching the stage’s stairs.

    Kaiba waited impatiently. Now that the tournament was over, he could finally focus on more important matters.

    Like that phone call from Pegasus…

    “Adam Prince –” the announcer nodded to Adam, then turned to Dave “– Dave Litenur – “ he nodded again, waving his arm out again. “Both of you dueled with skill and elegance like no other…”

    Blah, blah, blah. Kaiba subtly shook his head. So much pointless blabbering, just get on with the goodbye speech so we can go home already. He needed to zone out, that always made these things go by faster. His gaze fell towards the ground, by Adam’s feet.

    A card rested there, unnoticed by the audience. He assumed it was the last card Adam held before his defeat. It must’ve fallen when his Blue-Eyes blasted him to oblivion. He looked closer, trying to decipher its image.

    Then, at least, he recognized it. He knew the card well – he even had one of his own in his deck – and knew it to be one of the most powerful Trap Cards in existence. The Ring of Destruction.

    Just then, a thought flashed through his mind, so quickly that it struck him like a spark of lightning. The thought crackled along his brain, taking it over. He became deaf to everything else while it echoed between his ears.


    ~*~*~*~


    He remembered the final moments of their duel, just after Adam revived his Fallen Hero Sparkman and threw out his Double Grave Ceremony card to summon another Fallen monster. Adam activated Call of the Haunted to bring back his Fallen Red-Eyes, which he would proceed to sacrifice to summon Fallen Flame Swordsman. Only, in this vision, he didn’t. He offered the Fallen Hero instead.

    “And with my Fallen Flame Swordsman’s special ability, I’ll transfer all of its ATK points to my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon.”

    [Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon (2400 --> 4200/2000)]
    [Fallen Flame Swordsman (1800 --> 0/1600)]


    At this point, Adam only had one card left in his hand. He stared at it again, then looked to Kaiba’s face-down card. From the look in his eyes, Kaiba knew he expected an attack to backfire.

    “I’ll place one card face-down and end my turn.”

    Kaiba would then draw, and smirk. Everything had laid out perfectly for him. Even with Adam’s stronger dragon protecting him, Kaiba still managed to overpower him. He continued his moves, right up to Delta Attacker. The three dragons flew upward, and poised to attack.

    Then…

    “I activate my Trap Card!” Adam shouted, raising his arm. “Ring of Destruction!”

    The metallic tire constricted the black dragon, bursting moments later.

    [Kaiba LP: (3600 --> 0)] [Adam LP: (6100 --> 1900)]

    Kaiba leapt back, traumatized.

    He couldn’t contain his screams.


    ~*~*~*~


    Even after this long train of thought, the announcer continued to babble to the two finalists. Kaiba came back to reality, found himself still staring at the card on the floor. A hand snatched it away, awakening him with urgency, and his eyes darted to the hand’s owner. Adam lifted the card, met Kaiba’s gaze, then nonchalantly slipped it back into his deck without ever attracting any attention.

    Kaiba glared at him. More thoughts poured into him, flowing throughout his blood stream. That move wasn’t farfetched. He knew it. Adam proved himself before by wiping out Dave’s deck without even knowing if he would succeed. Yet he knew.

    His eyes searched the crowd until his disappointment set in. He turned back to the finalists, and found Adam’s eyes gazing into his own.

    Kaiba clutched his fist; he saw something in Adam’s stare that somehow mocked him. Adam seemed to be gesturing the tantalizing thought that tormented Kaiba’s mind, without ever making a single move:

    “I could have won.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Fallen Flame Swordsman
    ******
    [Fire]
    [Warrior/Effect]
    (1800/1600)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard by offering 1 monster on your side of the field as a Tribute. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Flame Swordsman”. During either player's turn, you can have this card lose any amount of ATK to have another face-up monster gain an equal amount of ATK.


    Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon
    *******
    [Dark]
    [Dragon/Synchro/Tuner]
    (2400/2000)
    1 Tuner monster + 1 or more “Fallen” monsters
    Synchro Material Monsters used to Synchro Summon this card are banished instead of being sent to the Graveyard. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard after it is Synchro Summoned by offering 2 monsters on your side of the field as a Tribute. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Red-Eyes B. Dragon”. If control of this card changes from its original owner, destroy this card immediately and inflict 1200 damage to its current controller.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  16. #16
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    Great Fic, im a Yugioh fan myself. I liked how you incorporated the rules and told the readers what the cards did. Well done
    [IMG]http://i39.*******.com/nlr2pt.png[/IMG]
    May the flame burn forever
    [IMG]http://oi43.*******.com/2mfjeow.jpg[/IMG]

    [IMG]http://oi42.*******.com/25ytxjt.jpg[/IMG]

  17. #17
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    Thanks charizard88. Now that I got all of technical stuff out of the way, the plot is going to move forward at full force (read: more duels. ). I'll try to post up Chapter 12 later tonight.

    EDIT: I'm also gonna start a PM List, since I realize that my updates tend to be erratic at times.
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 11th February 2012 at 7:52 PM.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

    Heroic Potential
    A Yugioh! fic. Chapter 20 is up [12/14/13]
    ~Back from the dead!~
    No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy this fic!

  18. #18
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    Chapter Twelve

    Where am I?

    Josh opened his eyes, staring at the dirt-covered floor beneath him. He braced his hands against the rough ground, pushing against it, composing himself into a sitting position.

    A disarray of orange and red flooded the sky above, with charcoal-colored clouds lurking in the foreground. He looked around; found himself in a square area with tiny walls standing about waist-high. There was no use staying here, he thought, so he stood up.

    Just then, a sharp jolt surged down the left side of his body; he reflexively grasped his left arm with his hand.

    What happened to me?

    The pain eventually toned down until it was almost soothing, healing. Like a gentle flame dancing on a candle’s wick. He turned his torso; a strange odor rested on his nostrils.

    What was it?

    He limped over to the right wall, discovered that he was on a rooftop. The smell became stronger as he gazed over the edge; it smelled like someone had lit a campfire. But that was impossible – there was only the ocean beyond this building. The waves fluttered along the surface, peacefully rippling with the breeze. He had nearly forgotten about his pain, mesmerized by the constant movement of the ocean.

    That is, until a black cloud obstructed his view.

    Josh stepped back, his eyes tearing as the smoke attacked him, slowly crawling into his lungs. He coughed, fanned it away. He dizzily fell forward, caught himself using the wall as a post. He wiped his eyes – the ashes sprinkled down from his fingers onto the ground below.

    Then he saw it.

    A fire had erupted on the dock below, encompassing all the land between the building and the sea. Only a single circle was untouched by the flames; two people stood on either end, with Duel Disks ready.

    What… what’s going on?

    He looked closer – on the right, a duelist stood wearing a camouflage jacket and cap, preparing to draw. Camouflage…

    No… it can’t be.

    “Dave!” Josh yelled, scrambling to his feet. “Get out of there!”

    Dave couldn’t hear him; he appeared to be entranced by his opponent, refused to look away from the proud figure. Josh couldn’t see the man – the flames somehow shrouded him in darkness, revealing only a golden pyramid dangling below his chest. It glimmered; the flames answered by backing away.

    He’s controlling the fire!

    “Dave!” Josh yelled again. Still no response. It was as if he stood behind a soundproof barrier – nothing he shouted seemed to be getting through. All he could do was watch his friend place a card on his camouflage Duel Disk (strange, Josh thought they were blue). A few feet ahead, his signature Black Luster Soldier rose, its armor darker than usual, supposedly due to the lighting from the flames.

    Dave pointed at the shaded figure. Josh saw his mouth move, ordering an attack.

    Black Luster Soldier sprung forward, holding its sword close. The figure nodded, his tall, spikey hair wobbled as his pyramid shined brighter. The warrior dove in to strike, keeping its head low and shield lower.

    A pillar of flames flared from its right, engulfing the soldier, halting it completely. Dave, horrified, only gaped in awe. His soldier’s shield fell from the arching fire, reduced to a deformed metal oval. He stepped back.

    The figure drew, his pyramid glowing stronger. Without even looking at the drawn card, he threw it into his Duel Disk and a green-bordered card appeared by his side. The blue cross contrasted with the red glow of the fire around them. Monster Reborn.

    Another batch of flames flew into the Spell Card, scorching the card, burning it to a crisp. The burnt card exploded, exposing the revived monster.

    Dave’s monster.

    Black Luster Soldier’s armor was different this time around. It seemed to become a part of the flames – sparkled with a red and silver sheen. Now the man held out a finger. This time Josh heard him. A deep, authoritative voice: one that showed no mercy.

    “Attack his Life Points directly!”

    The Black Luster Soldier pounced at its former master, the flames trailing in its wake. The light from the man’s pyramid shined violently as the soldier’s sword pierced through Dave’s heart.

    “DAVE!”

    Josh wanted to jump down, but the light from the man’s pyramid grew too intense. He saw his friend drop to ground, dead, before his vision blurred out and left only a pale, undulating flame. A pair of wings rose out of the flame, no, they part of the flame itself. A voice spoke out to him, the man’s voice, echoing in his ears. He could barely make out his words.

    “Josh, … fate … … world depends … you.”

    Josh tried to listen harder but the voice was gone. Shadows invaded the light, and the flames died out.


    ~*~*~*~


    “Josh! … Hey Josh! Wake up!”

    Josh opened his eyes, staring the pure white fabric that had been slapped against his face. He braced his hand against the soft pillow, pushing it aside so that it fell against his ear.

    Dave stood over him, laughing. He was fully dressed, ready to start the day.

    Josh wasn’t amused. “Do I have to? It’s Saturday…”

    “Yep, it’s time to buy you your own deck!”

    Josh rolled over, digging his face into the bed.

    “Come on,” Dave said, pulling Josh’s limp arm. “You’ve been stalling since the tournament ended last week! You should at least have a Duel Disk before we go visit KaibaCorp.”

    Josh, too tired to fight, eventually was tugged over the edge, slammed onto the floor.

    “OWW!”

    Dave stepped back. Josh jumped to his feet, finally energized by anger.

    “The hell was that for!?”

    Dave laughed again. “Well, that got you up.” He clapped a hand onto Josh’s shoulder. “Get dressed. I’ll tell the shopkeeper we’re on our way.” He turned around, walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

    Josh rubbed the bump on his head. He looked to his desk, spotting his Card Analyzer on top of a college textbook.

    “This better be worth the trouble.”


    ~*~*~*~


    “I buy all my cards from this guy,” Dave said, guiding Josh through the city. The breeze caught their jackets, lifting them gently. Birds flew overhead, dancing between the trees and alleyways nearby. Very few cars drove on this side of town, despite the large amount of attractions dotting the area. “He always carries top-rate cards. I’ll admit that they’re a little pricey sometimes, but he said he’d give us a discount.” He smiled, looking over his shoulder. “I even got my Dragon Master Knight card from him. Can you believe it!”

    “Yeah,” Josh said, uninterested. He didn’t mind watching duels, but participating in them was something he could live without. Josh fumbled with his zipper, crashing into Dave when he unexpectedly came to a stop.

    “Here it is.”

    Across the street, an isolated yellow building stood, with a green rooftop and sign above the single windowed door that read “GAME”.

    Dave turned to his friend, unaware of their collision. “Let’s head inside.”

    The duo crossed the street, passing under the shade of the trees. Dave held the door open, allowing Josh to go in first. They closed the door behind them.

    “Mr. Muto! It’s me, Dave!”

    The store was smaller than Josh expected, considering how big it looked outside. Windows of cards and various games and knick-knacks lined the walls, leading to a glass desk on the opposite wall. Dave walked over to the desk, resting his arm on it.

    “Ah, Dave!” From the doorway behind the desk, a short, older man arrived. He wore green overalls and dark, flapless cap that reminded Josh of a bowl. “Good to see you again.” He fixed his cap (Josh noticed its hourglass-like pattern) which also shook his gray, spikey hair. “I’m guessing this is your friend?”

    Dave brought his arm off the counter. “Yep. Josh, this is the owner of this store, Mr. Muto.”

    “Nice to meet you Josh,” He hopped uncomfortably close, winked at Josh. “Mr. Muto makes me sound old, so just call me Grandpa!”

    Josh blinked.

    “Mr. Muto’s grandson is Yugi, the greatest duelist in the world.”

    Grandpa turned back to Dave. Josh took this opportunity to acquire more personal space.

    “That’s right! I’d introduce him to you, but he’s away on a trip to Hawaii with some friends.” He shoved a hand into his overalls. Josh raised an eyebrow. “See!”

    The old man threw a postcard in Josh’s face, showing a group of six friends, four boys and two girls (he guessed that the shortest guy was Yugi, since Dave said he had purple and yellow hair). Closest to the front, a blond kid grinned widely and gave the peace-sign, while the remaining two boys seemed to be fighting over the long-haired girl in the background. Behind her, Yugi and another short-haired girl held their heads in their hands.

    “Uh, they look like they’re… having fun.”

    “Yep!” Grandpa withdrew the postcard, hopped away. Josh’s mind boggled when he saw that the man was already behind the desk. “So how can I help ya today?”

    “Well, Josh doesn’t really have a deck yet,” Dave said. “Do you have any idea what kind of cards might be good for him?”

    Grandpa quizzically observed Josh, holding a hand to his chin. Chills flowed through Josh’s spine. Then, the old man smiled.

    “Nope!”

    Dave and Josh both looked at each other, then back at Grandpa, who hadn’t moved.

    “Maybe we should buy a Duel Disk for him while you decide.”

    Grandpa smiled wider, turned to Dave. “Great idea! I’ll look through my collection while you two head over to the Black Clown.”

    “Wait, you’re telling us to go to another store?” Josh asked, perplexed.

    Grandpa smiled even wider, wider than Josh thought was humanly possible. “Yep!”

    Josh hesitated.

    “Uh… aren’t you guys, well … competition?”

    Grandpa relaxed his face, waved a hand and laughed. “Oh no, we made a deal a long time ago. That store handles all the fancy-technology stuffs while I sell all the rare and valuable cards.” He leaned closer. Josh could smell his breath now.

    It smelled like pickles.

    “I recommend playing in the Arcade while you shop, so can get a feel for the different types of cards. Ya never know when a good card might pop up out of nowhere!” Grandpa gave another jolly-filled laugh.

    “I’ll… keep that in mind.”

    Josh slowly backed up, wanting to sprint for the door. Dave casually followed.

    “See ya later, Mr. Muto!”

    Grandpa waved. “See ya! Oh, and call me Gran–”

    Josh shut the door.

    Dave led him back across the street. “So what’d you think of Mr. Muto?”

    “He’s… interesting.”

    The two continued to talk as they made their way to the arcade. Birds watched them go by from the tree branches above, chirping gleefully while they hopped from tree to tree.

    The loud stomp of a foot crashed onto the sidewalk, sending the panic-stricken birds scampering away.

    “This is the place,” a dark, edgy voice whispered. “Hopefully this job won’t be too messy.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Upon entering the Black Clown, dozens of tiny TV screens could be seen, piling on top of each other on the wall opposite the double doors. The arcade itself seems to be a massive hallway with video game terminals that lined the walls. Children ran past with tokens in hand, eagerly searching for a game to play.

    “This is the place,” Dave said, turning to his friend.

    Josh observed his surroundings – dozens of arcade games covered every inch of every wall, loud bleeps and zams echoed with each button pressed and trigger pulled. He noted one game in particular at the center of the arcade, one with dice that seemed to resemble some kind of board game. Dave led him away from it before he could express his interest.

    “Hiya,” one of the cashiers eagerly said as they approached. “Can I help you with anything?”

    “Yeah.” Dave pointed to Josh. “My friend needs to buy a Duel Disk. Are there any cheap models in stock?”

    “Hmm,” the cashier mused. She quickly typed something into the computer in front of her. “Yep. Here’s an old one. I’ll get it in a sec.” She smiled at her customers and retreated through a doorway behind her.

    Josh turned around, leaned against the counter. He sighed.

    “Something wrong, Josh?” Dave asked.

    Josh shook his head. “Oh, nothing.” It wouldn’t have made a difference even if he said anything. The cashier returned moments later.

    “You’re in luck, we have exactly one left!” She lugged out an old, dusty box. Josh’s nose tingled after she slammed it onto the counter. “That’ll be fifty dollars.”

    Josh leapt back. “Fifty?!”

    Dave nudged him, handed the cashier a coupon.

    “Ah, give me a sec.” She typed on keyboard again, and a new total flashed on a monitor in front of them.

    “Twenty-five dollars, please.”

    Josh sighed again. “I guess that’s better.” He reached for his wallet, paid the woman behind the desk.

    “Thank you sir.” She handed him the box. “Have a good day!”

    “You too,” Josh said reluctantly. He lifted up the box; almost lost his footing as he carried it over to a table nearby.

    “Too heavy for ya?” Dave laughed.

    Josh gave an annoyed grin. “A little. I don’t get how you guys can carry these things on your arms all day.”

    “You get used to it.” Dave slapped a hand on the box. “Let’s open this baby.”

    They ripped the box apart, revealing a sparkly Duel Disk nearly identical to the one Dave wore now. Despite being an old model, Josh thought it looked pretty nice.

    “There’s an adjustment strap, so you can make it as tight as you want. Then you shove your Card Analyzer here.” Dave pointed to a slot where the deck was supposed to go. “That way you can just unclip the lock on it and start your duel immediately.”

    “Right.” Josh finished wrapping it around his wrist. He waved it around – apparently it was lighter than he initially thought.

    “Alright, let’s head back to Mr. Muto’s!”

    Josh rolled his eyes. “Uh, about th–”

    “Hey! You guys!”

    Dave and Josh, alarmed, darted their attention to the voice. Peter stood near a blocked-off game station, waving at them.

    “Peter!”

    The duo walked over; Josh shook hands with him, followed by Dave.

    “Good to see you again,” Dave said.

    Josh nodded. “Yeah, didn’t expect to see ya here.”

    Peter smiled. “I work here now.”

    The two raised an eyebrow. “You do?” Dave asked.

    Peter turned back to the station behind him, resting a hand on the sign that read ‘River Duel – brought to you by Dayos Entertainment.’

    “Well, sorta. I was only supposed to come here to install this machine. But then the owner said he was going on vacation and offered me an extra few bucks to watch the place.” He waved his other hand. “My boss didn’t mind, so I took the deal.”

    Dave stepped closer to the platform. “So what is this thing? Some kind of arcade game?”

    “Yep.” Peter stepped aside, unveiling the ‘rules sign’ behind him. “It’s basically a regular duel, only neither player starts out with a hand or a Deck.”

    “How do you play without any cards?” Josh asked curiously.

    “Easy.”

    Peter brought their attention to one of the two tables on either end of the station. Josh recognized the tables’ design – it was similar to the Duel Monster’s game mats that he used in the casual tournament. To their left, a large slide-like table stood next to the table; two mechanical hatches were sealed on both the top and bottom of it.

    “See this thing?” He pointed to the slide. “At the start of your turn, dozens of random cards pour out of it. Instead of just drawing from a traditional deck, you pick out one of these cards and use it to duel instead.”

    “You duel with only one card at a time?” Dave asked, smiling. “That sounds like a challenge.”

    “Yep, there’s two modes too. Quick-Play and Regular. Regular Duel gives you 8000 Life Points, like a normal duel would, while Quick-Play only gives you 4000.” Peter ran back over to the rules sign. “I actually just finished wiring this thing up. You guys wanna be the first to test it out?”

    Dave glanced at Josh, who hesitated. He didn’t really want to duel again, though Dave probably was going to force him to eventually. Besides, Peter’s their friend.

    “Okay,” Josh said. “Let’s go for a Quick-Play.”

    “Alright.”

    Peter fumbled with a monitor near the sign, and the station came to life with a piercing white light. Josh took his position behind one of the tables, while Dave did the same on the opposite side.

    “I’m just gonna go in the back to make sure the card shooter works correctly. Have fun!” Peter said, rushing away.

    Josh looked at the slide again, unsure what to think of it.

    “Hey Josh,” Dave said, drawing Josh’s attention, “This’ll be a great way to see what kinda cards suit you best. Good luck.”

    Josh paused, then smiled. “Same to you.”

    [Josh LP: (4000)] [Dave LP: (4000)]

    A holographic roulette spun, eventually highlighting Josh’s name. It then prompted him to choose ‘First to Go’ or ‘Second to Go’. Since he still didn’t feel comfortable with the game yet, he selected ‘Second to Go’ and the holograms faded on cue.

    Hopefully this won’t be too complicated.

    On Dave’s side, the small hatches opened, shooting out a stream of face-down cards from top to bottom. Dave hesitated, waited to see if there was any trick to it. But then, he decided, it was all luck anyway, so he snatched a card and quickly retreated his hand. The top hatch shut automatically, and, when the remaining cards finished falling through, the bottom hatch shut as well.

    “I like this so far,” Dave said, smirking. “I set a monster face-down and end my turn.”

    He placed the card on the center of the table, and the image of the brown-backed card recreated itself on the platform between the two players.

    Now Josh’s slide activated, spilling out cards to no end. He cautiously swiped a card, and the slide shut off immediately.

    Josh sighed. This shouldn’t be so bad. He looked at his chosen card, a 4-starred monster. It doesn’t really give us much of a choice either way. “I summon Raging Eria.”

    With a whirlwind of water, a rag-dressed maiden appeared. Its wavy blue hair tumbled down to her hips, and its tiny dinosaur hovered over its shoulder, eagerly awaiting an order from its master. It held up its staff, as if to tell the pet not to make any harsh movements. (800/1500)

    “Raging Eria – attack his face-down card!”

    The maiden lifted its staff, shooting off a barrage of bubbles. The face-down card converted into a monster – a purple ball of blob (as Josh would described it) that sat wiggling around as the bubbles burst around it. The blob exploded, unable to handle the assault.

    Josh silently celebrated. Now he had an advantage.

    “You destroyed my Giant Germ,” Dave started, “which means you take 500 damage.”

    Josh felt mucus latch onto his arm, apparently sucking the Life Points out of him. [Josh LP: (4000 --> 3500)] He shook it off, disgusted. At least he still had a monster out, while Dave still had nothing.

    “And not only that, when a Giant Germ is destroyed, I can Special Summon any number of them from my Deck.” The top hatch opened, spitting out two cards. Dave promptly laid them on the table, allowing the two blobballs to reappear. (1000/100)

    Well… so much for that. “I end my turn.”

    “Alright.” The stream of cards shot out again; Dave picked a new one and the slide closed once more. “I activate this, The Wave of Ill Intent.” A Spell Card materialized behind the two germs, the Spell’s two large eyes glaring maliciously at Josh. “Now whenever a monster I control is destroyed by battle, you take 300 damage.”

    Josh nodded. He needed to be careful of that.

    “Now, Giant Germ, attack his Raging Eria!”

    The germ on the left rolled forward like a bowling ball, growing in size as it gained momentum. It bashed into the maiden and its pet, crushing them into holographic pancakes. Josh cringed. [Josh LP: (3500 --> 3300)] Now he was at a disadvantage.

    “Giant Germ number two, attack him directly!” Dave ordered, the second germ rolled just as the other returned.

    Josh panicked – he knew this would happen but he didn’t expect it to happen so soon. His eyes flashed side to side trying to find a place to dodge. The germ came closer. Without any time left, Josh ducked behind the table, and the germ rammed straight into it at top speed. [Josh LP: (3300 --> 2300)]

    Dave peered over, trying to see Josh. “You alright?”

    A second later he saw an arm climb onto the table, then Josh pulled himself up. “Ye-yeah.” Suddenly self-conscious, Josh gazed at the arcade beside him. Thank god no one saw that.

    Josh stood up to find his slide had already activated. To make up for lost time, he pulled one out quickly. Fairy Box, he thought. Darnit, I was really hoping for a monster. He skimmed through its text. Still, this Trap may stop me from taking any more hits. “I’ll set card face-down and end my turn!”

    “Alright.” Dave brushed his hand against the mechanical slide, catching the first card that fell out. He looked at it, then put it aside. Seemed like it wasn’t going to use it this turn. “Giant Germ, attack him directly!”

    “No ya don’t!” Josh flipped over his Trap Card. “I activate this!”

    The germ proceeded to roll at its opponent, when a large whack-a-mole game wrapped itself around both Josh and his Duel Table. It stopped, seemingly from confusion (although neither player could really tell).

    “When Fairy Box is out, your monster has to take a guess whether or not me or my monsters are under there. If you miss, then your monster’s ATK becomes 0!”

    Josh ducked down through one of the holes, hiding inside the box. The germ had six holes to choose from, but only one of them hid its target.

    So it’s an arcade game within an arcade game? Dave chuckled. “Giant Germ –” he shouted, “– attack the leftmost hole!”

    The Giant Germ obeyed, leaping into the air before forcibly smashing into the designated hole. However, it fell straight through, then rolled back out in a dizzied manner. (1000 --> 0/100)

    Dave frowned. “Alright, then I’ll attack the rightmost hole!”

    shit! Josh felt the floor beneath him rise.

    The next Giant Germ repeated the same movements as its partner, only this time Josh unexpectedly came out of hiding. Josh leaped out of the way before it struck him, allowing the germ to roll off the table again, leaving a trail of mucus where it hit. [Josh LP: (2300 --> 1300)] Josh reluctantly stepped back into the hole, trying not to vomit.

    “My turn, then…”

    Josh selected a new card, happy to see that he got a monster. And it was strong enough to take down those Giant Germs! Good riddance to them.

    Before he could play his monster, though, another holographic screen prompted him, saying ‘Pay cost?’. At first he was confused, then he realized what it meant. In order to keep Fairy Box in play he needed to pay 500 Life Points each turn. It had been good to him so far, so he clicked the ‘Yes’ button and the screen went away. [Josh LP: (1300 --> 800)]

    “Alright, here we go.” He laid the Monster Card onto the table, which lit up with a computerized-circuit pattern.

    On cue, an array of whirlwinds circulated in front of him, forming together until a green genie rose out of the top. The remainder of the whirlwinds swirled underneath it, hiding the lower half of its body.

    “Koa’ki Meiru Tornado (1500/1200),” Josh called, struggling to pronounce its name, “attack his Giant Germ!”

    The genie flexed its muscles, causing the whirlwinds beneath it to aimlessly shoot out multiple shockwaves of gust. One of them cut through the leftmost Giant Germ, splitting it in half before it exploded. [Dave LP: (4000 --> 3500)]

    “Yeah!” Josh celebrated, fist-pumping.

    “Giant Germ’s effect activates, taking away 500 points of damage.”

    “Wha?!” Josh loosened his fist as the same mucus from before clenched onto his skin. [Josh LP: (800 --> 300)]

    Dave pointed to his Spell Card, whose picture started to glow with a black aura. “And now Wave of Ill Intent activates, inflict 300 points since you destroyed my monster.”

    Josh shook the mucus off. No way!

    As the whirlwinds died down, a new vortex formed between the duelists. Dark static whirled around, sparking through Josh’s table, destroying his monster and his Fairy Box in the process. [Josh LP: (300 --> 0)] The holograms died down, and the terminals shut off with a click.

    Dave walked to Josh, who stilled stared distantly at the center of the field.

    “You gotta be careful. Remember to pay attention to every cards’ effect before you make any decisions.”

    Yeah, ‘cause Dave’s never made any impulsive decisions before.

    Peter ran back to them just as they stepped down from the platform.

    “Looks like everything ran smoothly. Thanks again guys.”

    “No problem,” Dave said. “We’ll be sure to visit you again sometime.”

    Peter grinned. “Thanks. I look forward to it.”

    The three parted ways; Josh and Dave proceeded back to the entrance.

    “So you know what kinda cards you like yet?”

    “Not really,” Josh mumbled. He honestly didn’t care at all.

    “Well there’s plenty of tim…”

    Dave stopped. Josh, only noticing after a couple of paces, looked back at him.

    “Dave?”

    Dave seemed to be in a trance, staring blankly at someone behind him. He averted his gaze in the same direction.

    A man in a gray leather jacket fumbled with the arcade machine in front of him, occasionally brushing his spikey hair back.

    “Hey, it’s Adam!” Josh shouted, walking towards him. Dave, apparently startled, followed reluctantly.

    Adam pressed a final button and the word ‘WINNER’ raced across the machine’s screen. When he finally noticed them, he greeted them by tossing his head to the side.

    “Long time no see,” Adam said. He faced them, positioning his body so his hands still rested on the terminal’s surface. He nodded towards Josh’s arm. “I see you started dueling now.”

    “Not really,” Josh said. “I just bought this thing five minutes ago.”

    “I see.” Adam took his hands away, hung them by his waist.

    Dave gazed past him, gestured towards the machine. “What’s that you were playing?”

    Adam looked back at it; it was designed after an Egyptian-themed, human-shaped monster, presumably a Duel Monster, judging from the cards resting on the table.

    “Exodia the Invincible One,” Adam said. “Fun game, kinda easy though.”

    Josh examined the monster’s face. It kinda frightened him, but it wasn’t exactly scary. More like fierce.

    “What’s Exodia?” Josh asked. “Is it some kinda strong monster?”

    Dave and Adam chuckled.

    “Kinda,” Dave said, reaching into his back pocket.

    “It’s a unique monster – the whole creature is spread out into five cards,” Adam began. “Two arms, two legs, and the head. All of them are incredibly weak by themselves, especially because the limbs are all Normal Monsters. But if you can get them all into your hand at the same time, you automatically win the duel.”

    Josh considered this, interested. “So that’s all that’s required? I’m surprised everyone doesn’t use a deck with them in it.”

    “It’s ‘cause they’re all so rare,” Dave said. He lifted out a card, showing it to them; a vanilla-colored card with a brown, bulky arm protruding from the left side of the picture. Behind it, a mystical star-pointed design appeared to be forming. “I only managed to get the Left Arm, but it has no place in my deck, so I just keep it on me for good luck.”

    Josh watched him put it away, then faced Adam again. “So I’m guessing you have to beat the computer before it uses Exodia on you?”

    “Right,” Adam said. “But there’s a catch – the computer has infinite Life Points, meaning you can’t beat it through normal methods.” He made brief eye-contact with Dave. “I won by making the machine Deck-Out.”

    Wasn’t that the same way he beat Dave? Josh recalled.

    “Wait a second.” Dave stepped forward, intrigued. “How did you do that without the computer summoning Exodia? It definitely has methods to recover lost pieces even if you managed to get some in the Graveyard.”

    “Like I said, it was easy.” Adam slid his fingertips across the terminal’s surface, picking up one of his cards in the process. He lifted it up, showing it to them.

    Josh recognized it immediately – Exchange.

    “All I had to do was take a piece away.” He shoved the card back into his Card Analyzer. “Once I did that, I just had to stall. The computer’s only programed to gather the pieces together, so once I held one of the pieces in my hand it was completely helpless.”

    Dave attempted to hide his amazement. “Good strategy. I would’ve never thought of that.”

    Adam weakly smiled. “Well, I gotta do some shopping. I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

    Josh held out his hand; Adam answered with a handshake.

    “See ya then.”

    Adam scooped up his cards, carefully gathering them into his Card Analyzer. Dave started to tell Josh about alternate win-conditions as they headed out the door.

    Meanwhile, from the River Duel station, Peter watched them exit. He had watched them the whole time, with suspicious edge in his eyes. He slowly traced his eyes back to the Exodia game, glaring at Adam.

    “So,” he whispered, “the target has friends.”


    ~*~*~*~


    The air stood still on the walk back; no one seemed to be around for miles. Even the birds remained silent as they approached Mr. Muto’s game shop.

    “So, you have any idea what kinda cards you wanna get?” Dave asked. For the seventh time today.

    “Nah,” Josh said, reaching for the doorknob. “I’m just gonna see what he has and go from there.”

    Dave smiled gently. “Sounds good to me.”

    Good, Josh thought. He placed his hand on the doorknob, cradled it in his palm.

    And the sound of shattering glass stabbed through their ears.


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…
    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
    … Data Found:


    Fallen Nation
    [Spell/Field]
    Increase the ATK and DEF of all “Fallen” monsters on your side of the field by 500 points. You may Special Summon an additional “Fallen” monster from your Graveyard each turn. If this card is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, you can pay 1000 Life Points to return it to the top of your deck.


    Double Grave Ceremony
    [Spell/Continuous]
    You may Special Summon an additional “Fallen” monster from your Graveyard each turn.


    Fallen Hero Clayman
    ****
    [Earth]
    [Warrior/Effect]
    (800/2000)
    This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Elemental Hero Clayman”. If this card is attacked, you can remove this card from play to destroy the attacking monster to inflict 800 damage to your opponent’s Life Points.
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 12th February 2012 at 2:40 AM.
    Tamer's Archives
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SerenadeSP View Post
    Thanks charizard88. Now that I got all of technical stuff out of the way, the plot is going to move forward at full force (read: more duels. ). I'll try to post up Chapter 12 later tonight.

    EDIT: I'm also gonna start a PM List, since I realize that my updates tend to be erratic at times.
    cool, add me to the PM list when you get the chance.
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  20. #20
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    Please continue, I want to keep reading this so badly!
    † I am a Christian and proud of it! Copy and paste this if you are too.†



    Christianity is a Relationship with our true God, Jesus. It's not a Religion. Copy and paste If you agree

    Registeel is mine, yay!

    Adventure of Adventureness & Awesome of Awesomeness: Smashing the 4th wall into gazillion pieces since 2010.

    I'm looking for the following pokemon.
    Mew, Ho-oh, Registeel, Regigigas, Palkia, Dialga, Giratina, Manaphy, Phione, Shaymin, and Xerneas. Please pm me if you're interested in trading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charizard88 View Post
    cool, add me to the PM list when you get the chance.
    You're added.

    Quote Originally Posted by UltimatePokemonExpert View Post
    Please continue, I want to keep reading this so badly!
    Don't worry, I don't plan on stopping this any time soon. I have rough drafts for the next 6 chapters set up and I plan on posting Chapter 13 within the next week or so.
    Tamer's Archives
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  22. #22
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    Yes! Praise the Lord!
    † I am a Christian and proud of it! Copy and paste this if you are too.†



    Christianity is a Relationship with our true God, Jesus. It's not a Religion. Copy and paste If you agree

    Registeel is mine, yay!

    Adventure of Adventureness & Awesome of Awesomeness: Smashing the 4th wall into gazillion pieces since 2010.

    I'm looking for the following pokemon.
    Mew, Ho-oh, Registeel, Regigigas, Palkia, Dialga, Giratina, Manaphy, Phione, Shaymin, and Xerneas. Please pm me if you're interested in trading.

  23. #23
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    Chapter Thirteen


    Josh’s heart thumped heavily in his chest. Sweat slipped passed his ear, sliding down his neck. His hand, still on the doorknob, was frozen in place.

    Behind him, Dave stepped forward silently. He, too, was clearly shaken up.

    “Open the door,” he whispered. “We need to make sure Mr. Muto is okay.” He put his hand on top of Josh’s, turned the doorknob for him.

    The once organized shop was now an area of chaos. Cards and glass fragments laid sloppily across the floor, creating a messy path leading to the desk. A man stood at the end; his tall, bulky build towered over Mr. Muto, who was lying on the floor with his eyes closed. A cracked had formed on the glass behind him – the man probably threw him into it.

    “Mr. Muto!” Dave yelled against his will. He ran forward, Josh grabbed his arm, forcing him back.

    The man turned around; his worn, blue uniform turned with him, revealing its rusted badges and tears. He lifted his chin, showing a deep-cut scar trailing from the top of his neck to the bottom of his left eye.

    “Who the hell are you?” The man asked gravely.

    “I should be asking you the same question!” Dave shouted, stepping forward again. Josh restrained him. “What the hell are you doing to Mr. Muto!”

    The man held out his right arm, aiming the in-hand gun at them. A click snapped throughout the room.

    “I came here in search of powerful cards.” He showed his left arm, revealing a Duel Disk. “I heard the old man here holds the best cards in the country, so I decided to pay him a visit.” His lips formed a crooked smile.

    “You’re insane! He’s done nothing to you!”

    “No, but my boss wants me to prepare for our… ‘project’, and he needs powerful cards to do it.”

    Dave thrust his left arm, breaking free of Josh’s hold, showed the man his Duel Disk.

    “If you really want rare cards take mine! My deck has plenty of rare cards!”

    “No.” the man turned. “You may have been a finalist in Kaiba’s tournament, but your cards aren’t what we’re looking for.”

    Kaiba’s tournament… Josh perked his eyebrows up in realization.

    “You’re with the receptionist!” he shouted, joining Dave.

    The man laughed darkly. “If that’s what you call her. Yes, she is with my organization but she’s one of our underlings. She failed her mission so I decided to make up for her stupidity.”

    Grandpa roused, started to stand up.

    “Ah, looks like the old man’s finally awake.” The man clasped a strong hand onto Grandpa’s bicep, pointing the gun just above the shopkeeper’s nose. “Now, I’ll tell you one last time – give me all your powerful cards or I’ll shoot you and burn this whole place down!”

    “No, please!” Grandpa shouted, afraid to get too close.

    “That’s enough,” Dave stepped forward again. “I challenge you to a duel. If I win you leave without second thought. If you win you take as many cards as you want!”

    “Is that so?” The man turned back, angrily darting his eyes at Dave. The gun soon followed. “Do you think I’m that stupid?!”

    Alarmed, Dave backed up. Josh drew in his breathe.

    “You used the same trick on that dumb bitch. It’s obvious that you’re the better duelist here…” He paused, eyeing Josh’s Duel Disk. “But I’ll take your offer.” He lowered his gun. “If I duel your friend instead.”

    Josh’s eyes lit up. His voice shook.

    “Me?! No! Nononono no!”

    Dave stepped in front of him.

    “He’s never dueled before in his life!” It was sort of a lie, but Josh wasn’t complaining. “That isn’t fair at all!”

    “Then how about this?” The man said, lifted Grandpa by the arm. Grandpa weakly limped in his hands. “I’ll duel with 4000 Life Points instead of 8000, and you get to monitor your friend’s actions.”

    “But I don’t even have a deck!” Josh shouted, tossing his arms to the side. The platform on his Duel Disk knocked into his sweatshirt, knocking out his Card Analyzer, knocking it onto the floor. The case broke, spilling his cards everywhere.

    Josh stared at them, dumbfounded.

    The man chuckled. “I’ll see you outside.” He dragged Grandpa past them, looked over his shoulder as he exited. “The name’s Jonathan, to answer your question.” He laughed again.

    Josh bent over, picked up the Monster Reborn card at his feet, silently prayed.

    “Dave.” His eyes trembled. “You didn’t tell me this game involved guns.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Jonathan tossed Grandpa onto the dirt beside him; the short, old man rubbed his head, steadily crawling away from Jonathan’s gun. He managed to slide about a foot away before he collapsed on the ground.

    He cupped his face in his hands. “I’m getting too old for this...”

    On the other side of the entrance, Josh shuffled his deck, with Dave standing over his shoulder. Josh was happy that Grandpa’s shop was so isolated for two reasons. One, there wouldn’t be anyone around to watch him embarrass himself when he lost. Two, there wouldn’t be anyone around to watch him embarrass himself when he had to dodge bullets like a frantic chicken.

    “Remember, pay careful attention to your opponent’s cards. That’s the reason I beat you in the Arcade. If you don’t, we’re dead.”

    “Yeah, so no pressure right?” Josh said dryly. He shoved his Card Analyzer into his Duel Disk. Dave realized his mistake.

    “Sorry. I didn’t –”

    “I know what ya mean,” Josh said. He held up his arm, trying to figure out how to turn the Duel Disk on.

    “Don’t worry. If you need me I’m right here with you.”

    Josh finally found the button – the Duel Disk miraculously swung together, nearly chopping his left hand off. Its blue platform swung to the side, and its meter lit up with electronic digits. He drew his five cards, looking them over as Dave told him to. On the other side, Jonathan laughed again.

    “This should be quick.”

    [Josh LP: (8000)] [Jonathan LP: (4000)]

    “Since I start with a disadvantage it’s only fair that I go first, right?” He cracked wicked smile. “I summon Volcanic Slicer in Attack Mode!”

    A bipedal dinosaur-like monster charged out its reanimated card hologram. Though it had no visible eyes on its spikey golden armor, its stare pierced through Josh’s soul. (1800/1200) It growled, exhaling a small ember from its fangs.

    “Don’t worry,” Dave said. “He can’t attack the on the first turn of the duel, so you still have a chance to strike back.”

    Jonathan smiled again, revealed that one of his teeth was cracked. “Not quite. Thanks to its special ability I can inflict 500 damage in exchange for its attack each turn.”

    Josh’s eyes widened. Dave took a defensive stance.

    “And, as you said, I can’t attack this turn, so that sounds like an excellent trade off!” Jonathan proudly clutched his fist. “Volcanic Slicer, set him ablaze!”

    Volcanic Slicer reared its head back, using its entire body’s momentum to shoot a fireball from its mouth. The molten sphere reflected in Josh’s gaze, struck him full force. He stumbled back, but Dave caught him by the arm. [Josh LP: (8000 --> 7500)]

    “Are you okay?”

    Josh caught his breathe, nodded. He had just survived his first real attack. But judging from the tournament, he hadn’t seen anything yet.

    “That’s nothing compared to what’s next!” Three cards flashed at Jonathan’s feet. “Your turn.”

    Josh stepped forward, gripping his top card. He was shaking – he couldn’t control it – but he couldn’t let his opponent know.

    Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “What’s the matter kid? Scared?”

    Shit. He drew, averted his attention to his hand. The drawn card was Cross Counter – the card that had humiliated him in his first duel against that one kid. Then he looked to his other cards. Shadow Ghoul, Dark Jeroid, Double Attack, Stealth Bird, Attack and Receive – all cards he’d seen Elisa use in his lesson. This calmed him down greatly.

    He actually knew what to do.

    “Alright,” Josh said, taking the Dark Jeroid card out. “I’ll summon this monster!”

    Dave watched him slowly fit the card onto the center space, the multi-limbed ghoul remerged before them. It groaned, holding its bottom hands near its lowered face. (1200/1500)

    “Too bad, that card’s too weak.” Jonathan smiled, repressed a chuckle. “Looks like I chose the right opponent for this duel.”

    Grandpa slowly stood up, regaining his strength. Come on Josh, my shop depends on you.

    “No-not quite.”

    Dave looked to Josh. This wasn’t good. Even if Josh had a strategy in mind, Jonathan could easily overwhelm him with his current mentality.

    “I use D-Dark Jeroid’s effect to decrease your monster’s ATK by 800!”

    The blue ghoul held out his hands and spikes. A thumping sound resonated from its body; its heart above its head shined with a dark pink glow. A soundwave shot out at Volcanic Slicer, and the monster irritably held its stubby arms to its non-existent ears. (1800 --> 1000/1200)

    “Now I activate the Tra… er, Spell Card, Double Attack!” Josh had trouble shoving the card into its slot, eventually it fell in place like a key to a lock. “By discarding a higher leveled monster I can have my Dark Jeroid attack twice this turn.” He threw his Shadow Ghoul card into the red slot, which he knew led to the Graveyard. He was slightly surprised to see that when he placed the card above it, the Duel Disk automatically sucked it up.

    Dark Jeroid prepared to pounce.

    “Ha, not bad kid,” Jonathan whispered, though everyone could still hear him.

    “Dark Jeroid, attack!” Josh felt empowered when he gave the command. The monster lunged at the dinosaur-monster, crushing through its armor with its sharp spikes. [Jonathan LP: (4000 --> 3800)]

    “But not good enough.” Josh’s heart skipped a beat. Jonathan activated a Trap. “When a FIRE monster gets destroyed Backfire gives you a nice surprise!”

    The center card rose, fire surging out of it immediately. The blast submerged Dark Jeroid, knocking it back to its original spot, with the residual flames searing Josh’s torso. Josh held a hand to his chest, bending over. [Josh LP: (7500 --> 7000)]

    “Agh, this is too much.” Josh weakly looked to Dave. “How do you handle all this?”

    “You get used to it.”

    Jonathan crossed his arms. “Are you done yet?”

    Dave helped Josh recompose himself.

    “Not even close,” Dave said. “Double Attack is still in effect, which means Dark Jeroid can attack again!”

    Josh looked to his monster as if it had disobeyed. “You heard him!”

    Dark Jeroid pounced again, this time using all its strength to throw itself straight at Jonathan.

    Another Trap rose. “I activate Firewall!”

    A card ejected out of Jonathan’s Graveyard, igniting as it struck the ground, creating a literal wall of fire, successfully stopping Dark Jeroid in its tracks.

    “No!” Josh yelled in dismay.

    “Yes.” Jonathan held out his arm, presenting the card responsible. “With Firewall out I can banish a FIRE monster from my Graveyard to stop any direct attack I choose.” The flames went out. “Nice try.”

    Josh hung his head. “Sorry Dave, I thought I had him there.”

    “That wasn’t your fault, I thought you did too,” Dave said. Josh brought his gaze to him. “He’s not playing around. Be prepared for anything now.”

    Josh returned to the duel. “I’ll try.” He slid Cross Counter and Attack and Receive into two slots, their enlarged forms greeting him a few steps ahead. “But I dunno if I can take much more of this.”

    “I take it that your turn has ended,” Jonathan said. His third Trap rose, depicting a woman gleefully basking in a sun shower. “I activate Solemn Wishes. Each time I draw a card I gain 500 Life Points.” He drew, causing the designated card to shine. [Jonathan LP: (3800 --> 4300)]

    “What a cheap way to get around his own rules,” Dave grumbled.

    “And now it’s time to pay Firewall’s fee to keep it in play. A measly 500 Life Points per turn.” [Jonathan LP: (4300 --> 3800)]

    An excellent strategy, Grandpa thought. The two cards cancel each other out but he still gets the benefits of both.

    “I’ll place a monster in Defense Position and end to give you a fighting chance.”

    A horizontal brown card appeared ahead of the other three. Jonathan crossed his arms again.

    Alright Josh, the new duelist said to himself. Concentrate. You can do this.

    His next card was Salamandra, which he remembered Elisa equipping to a FIRE monster to increase its power. But he had no FIRE monsters out right now, so it was useless.

    Josh glanced over his shoulder at Dave. “What should I do?” he whispered.

    Dave leaned closer, whispering in his ear. “Try setting Stealth Bird face-down and keep Dark Jeroid in Attack Position. He’ll probably go after the Attack Position monster to eat at your Life Points and will probably ignore your face-down Stealth Bird for the moment. Then next turn you can Flip Summon Stealth Bird to inflict 1000 damage to him.”

    “But Stealth Bird only has 700 ATK, won’t it get trampled the turn after?”

    “No, look at the rest of its effect – it can flip itself face-down once a turn.”

    “Hurry up,” Jonathan shouted to them. “I’m on a timetable here. My boss doesn’t like it when his subjects are late.”

    Subjects? Josh took his Stealth Bird card, pressed it on the slot next to his other monster. “I’ll play a monster face-down.” A brown backed card flashed ahead of Josh’s two traps. “And now I’ll have my Dark Jeroid attack your face-down monster!”

    Dark Jeroid leapt, using its many hands to push it off the ground. Dave tensed.

    “Josh, no!”

    Josh glanced back. “Huh?”

    Dark Jeroid slammed its spikes into the opposing face-down card, smashing it to bits. A small, green robot momentarily appeared in its place, shattered like glass a second later. The fragments hovered, and Jonathan laughed.

    “You destroyed my Volcanic Blaster, which means I get to take one ‘Volcanic’ monster in my deck and move it to the top.” He shortly searched, presented the card a beat later. “I think I’ll use Volcanic Rocket.” He shoved his deck back into his Duel Disk, placing Volcanic Rocket on top.

    “Was that what you were warning me about, Dave?”

    Dave shook his head.

    “And now –” The floating fragments flew into Jonathan’s Trap Card, igniting its frame. “– Backfire inflicts 500 damage to you!”

    “What?!”

    A stream of flames burst out of the card, engulfing Josh in the wave. [Josh LP: (7000 --> 6500)] Josh held his chest again. Dave comforted him.

    “You gotta pay attention to the cards he has out. His cards support FIRE monsters so it’s safe to assume his whole deck revolves around them.”

    “These FIRE monsters are pretty tough,” Josh said weakly. He strained to straighten his posture.

    “And they’re only gonna get tougher!” Jonathan snarled, drew a card. “Solemn Wishes gives me 500 extra Life Points for drawing –” [Jonathan LP: (3800 --> 4300)] “– and Firewall takes it away.” [Jonathan LP: (4300 --> 3800)] “Now I’ll summon a monster.” He flipped the card with his thumb. “Guess who!”

    Volcanic Rocket darted out of the trees, cutting the air with its sharp wings. The brown pterodactyl-like monster landed, keeping its body close to the ground, poised to charge. (1900/1400) True to its name, while the monster was idle, it resembled the aerodynamic shape of a rocket.

    “When this card is summoned, I can take a Blaze Accelerator card from my deck and put it in my hand.” A card from the center of his deck stuck out. The scarred duelist took it with two firm fingers. “Your Dark Jeroid has been out longer than necessary. Volcanic Rocket will change that.”

    Volcanic Rocket lifted its limbs off the floor, aimed itself at the ghoul. Whipping its tail back, it shot forward, slicing through the ghoul with its beak, resulting in a small explosion. Josh and Dave covered their eyes with their sleeves. [Josh LP: (6500 --> 5800)]

    “Now I’ll activate Blaze Accelerator!” A tiny, three-legged machine perched itself beside Jonathan. The machine unfolded, setting up its weapons, and aimed its single barrel. “Of course, I can’t use it this turn, so I’ll end.”

    “He has a lot of Continuous Spell and Trap Cards,” Dave said. “Do you have anything that can take them out?”

    Josh shook his head. “I don’t think so.”

    Dave grimaced. “Those cards are gonna be a problem if we don’t stop them soon.”

    Josh pulled a new card, the Stronghold Guardian. Now he remembered his first duel completely – he attacked into a Defense Position monster, and his opponent powered it up with this card. Then, he used Cross Counter to double the damage and destroy the attacking monster.

    He looked to his face-down card, which he knew to be Stealth Bird. All he had to do was reveal it so that Jonathan would know its DEF value – that way, Josh would be able to trick him into attacking it and use the same strategy that had done so much damage to him.

    It was worth a shot.

    “I got you now!” Josh flipped over the card, switching it to a vertical position. “I summon my Stealth Bird!”

    A sky-blue bird soared out of the card, fluttered over the field. Its head resembled a bat, and perked its ears just as a bat would. (700/1700)

    “Not strong enough to take on my Rocket.”

    “No.” For some reason Josh’s heart skipped a beat. But why? He knew what he was doing.

    Oh Josh, Dave thought. Please don’t let your nervousness get to you.

    “When Stealth Bird is Flip Summoned, it inflicts 1000 damage to your Life Points!”

    Josh pointed at Jonathan; Stealth Bird dove in, folding its wings so its strike was quick and sharp. Jonathan cringed, then swatted his arm as the monster flew away. [Jonathan LP: (3800 --> 2800)]

    “And now I’ll use Stealth Bird’s second effect to return it to face-down Defense Position.” A hollow card appeared on the ground, serving as a landing pad for the bat-like bird. Once its talons touched its surface, it reverted back to a normal brown card. “That’s it for now.” Josh’s hand trembled as he brought it to his side.

    “Like I said, this’ll be quick.” Jonathan drew. [Jonathan LP: (2800 --> 3300)] “You know what? I don’t think you’ll be getting to my Life Points for a while. So I don’t need this card anymore.” He gestured towards his Firewall card, which shattered on cue.

    Now his Life Points will constantly increase without any hindrance, Grandpa thought, touching his fingers to his chin. This isn’t good.

    “Now let’s see what we have here…” Jonathan looked at his drawn card. A wicked sparkle glimmered in his eyes.

    Josh froze again.

    Jonathan held the card close to his Duel Disk. “I Set one card face-down.” He slid it into a lower slot. Once the card fit in entirely, small bits of rainbow static sparked around his Duel Disk; its platforms glared unusually bright.

    For a second – so quick that it almost went unnoticed – the holograms flickered, disrupting the images so that they appeared jumbled bits of electronic data. Another second later, they reverted back to normal.

    Huh? Josh blinked. What just happened?

    “Time to put my Blaze Accelerator to use!” Jonathan shouted, picking out another card from his hand. The tiny machine whirred to life, aimed itself at his opponent. “By discarding a Pyro monster with 500 or less ATK, Blaze Accelerator allows me to destroy a monster you control.” He threw a card into his Graveyard – Dave noticed it; knew it to be Volcanic Counter – and the tiny robot charged up its barrel.

    It was aimed at Stealth Bird.

    “No!” Josh stared at the barrel, traced its path with his eyes. My strategy’s ruined if it’s gone!

    “Fire!”

    The machine blasted a small bullet-sized monster, sending it spiraling across the lawn. It slammed into the brown card, setting it on fire. The bat-like bird tried to escape the flames, but its wings had been ignited, rendering unable to fly away.

    Josh stared at the ashes, the smoke. His plan was up in smoke.

    “You’re lucky,” Jonathan stated, calling for everyone’s attention. “Whenever Blaze Accelerator is used, I can’t attack for the rest of the turn. So I’ll place a monster face-down and end.”

    Jonathan watched Josh’s hand move for his deck, grinned.

    “Alright, my go.” He was in bad shape. He needed a good card to save him, and he needed it now.

    He drew.

    Dave watched Josh lift the card closer to his face, as if he moved in slow-motion. On the other side of the field, Jonathan’s smile widened.

    Josh knew this card. It wasn’t his. At least, not originally.

    “It’s called Exchange. When it’s activated both players pick one card in the other’s hand and they trade it until the end of the duel. If you have no other options this card can help you out of a bind. But don’t use it if you don’t want your opponent taking away a key card from you.”

    Adam…
    Josh lowered the card slightly, gazed at Jonathan’s hand.

    He held one card.

    Adam was right. If he could swipe a strong card from Jonathan – which, from the way he’d been playing, wouldn’t be a problem – he may be able to turn this duel around.

    It was his only chance.

    “I ac–” A rising Trap Card cut him off.

    “I activate the Trap Card, Theft.”

    Dave and Grandpa raised an eyebrow.

    “I’ve never heard of that card,” Dave said aimlessly. Josh turned to him.

    “I don’t think a card like even exists,” Grandpa mused. “Surely I would’ve heard about it.”

    Jonathan smirked. “If you’re so sure, then why don’t you check that Card Analyzer of yours and find out?”

    Dave waltzed over to Josh. “Do it.”

    “Right,” Josh nodded, opening the search menu. He typed in the card’s name – Theft – and waited for the bar to finish loading.

    “Card Analyzer activated…

    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data: ‘Theft’ …”

    Hehehe…

    “Searching for Card Data… … …”

    “What’s wrong?” Dave whispered. “Did you type it in right?”

    “Yeah. I don’t know what’s taking so long.”

    “… … … … …No match found.”

    “What?!” Dave and Josh shouted simultaneously. They stepped back, as if a windblast had shoved them, and glowered at their opponent.

    He laughed madly.

    “What kind of trick is this?” Dave yelled, angrily clutching his fist.

    Jonathan calmed himself; the sinister grin never left his face. “This is the power of the Deck Hackers!”

    Deck Hackers? Josh receded into his thoughts.

    “Once I take your deck back to my new boss, we’ll be one step closer to ruining this company and eventually I’ll burn it down with my bare hands!”

    “No, but my boss wants me to prepare for our… ‘project’, and he needs powerful cards to do it.”

    “Yes, she is with my organization but she’s one of our underlings. She failed her mission so I decided to make up for her stupidity.”


    “Who are you?” Josh finally spoke. His fear disappeared; replaced by curiosity. “What kind of organization is the ‘Deck Hackers’?”

    Jonathan’s smile twisted. “As I said, I am Jonathan. And, just as I said before, the Deck Hackers is an organization that needs rare cards for our plans to be successful.” He turned to the side, met his gaze with Grandpa. “Of course –” he looked back to the two duelists “– most truly powerful cards have way too many restrictions on them. So…”

    He began to laugh again, reeling his head back.

    Everyone silently waited for him to continue.

    “So, we decided to create our own!”

    “But how!” Dave stepped beside Josh. “Cards need to be registered on the Card Database for them to work with our Duel Disks. If there’s no data on it in our Card Analyzers then there’s no way you can use it.”

    “You two don’t listen very well, do you?” He held up his Duel Disk, showing his Card Analyzer. Its screen went red. “I’m with the Deck Hackers. In other words, we hacked the system so we can do whatever we want!”

    Josh shot a frightened glance at Dave.

    Dave returned his own.

    “Back to the duel,” Jonathan commanded. “Since none of you can figure out what this card does, I’ll gladly explain it to you. By paying 800 Life Points –” [Jonathan LP: (3300 --> 2500)] “– Theft enables me to take any cards you draw and put them in my hand.”

    No!

    Static whipped around the Trap Card in question until it finally stabilized its position.

    “I don’t believe it,” Dave said under his breath.

    The silhouette of a hand flung out of the card, snagging the Exchange card out of Josh’s hand. He tried to grab it back, but the arm retreated, tossing the card into Jonathan’s hold.

    Jonathan presented the card to him. “What’s wrong? Did a take a good card from you?” He laughed again.

    Josh moped, looked to the two cards in his hand. Stronghold Guardian, and Salamandra. Without another monster, his strategy was ruined. He had no choice but to put Stronghold Guardian out to defend his Life Points.

    “I play a monster and end my turn.” A horizontal card flickered before him.

    “That’s it? Looks like I did more damage than I thought.” Jonathan yanked out a card [Jonathan LP: (2500 --> 3000)], placing it beside the single card in his hand, which Josh knew to be Exchange. “Let’s see here… ah, I know.” A Spell Card rose up; Dave grimaced at the sight of it.

    “Pot of Greed lets me draw two cards, and Solemn Wishes gives me more Life Points since I drew again.”

    [Josh LP: (5800)] [Jonathan LP: (3000 --> 3500)]

    “Now, to use your own card against you, I activate Exchange!”

    Josh’s heart skipped a beat at the sight of it.

    “I’m not gonna insult your intelligence on this one…” Jonathan smiled. The holograms vanished. He walked towards his opponent boastfully.

    “Remember, read their effects carefully and take a card that you think he can use against you,” Dave said.

    Josh nodded, walked forward.

    The two duelists met in the center of the playing field; Grandpa watched them look over the others’ cards.

    “You’re not giving me much options are you?” Jonathan said, taking the Salamandra card. With empty hands, Josh glanced at the three cards Jonathan had.

    All of them were monsters. That was a good thing – if he didn’t draw one next turn he would at least have one ready. Now it was just a matter of which one to take. The first card was a small monster whose body resembled Volcanic Slicer’s head. That didn’t matter much – he needed to take Dave’s advice and judge it by its power. 100 ATK, 0 DEF. That didn’t seem very useful…

    The second one looked far stronger – it looked like a massive blob made of molten lava. A cage hung from its chest, containing a person inside. It looked pretty cool. No, that didn’t matter. He needed to check its stats. 3000 ATK, 2500 DEF. Now that was more like it. Wait – it probably needs some Tributes to summon it, which would make it useless under his command. But, then again, Dave did say to take the card that could be used against him...

    The last one was a mouse-like monster that looked like it had been infused with some magma. It was a vanilla-colored card, so that meant no effect. But if its stats were good, that wouldn’t make a difference. 500 ATK and DEF. It was easily the worst option there…

    He made his choice. Josh carefully slipped the Lava Golem card out from Jonathan’s grip.

    “’Bout time.” Jonathan turned his back and returned to his spot by the trees.

    As he made his way back to his own spot, Josh read over the card he took. Hey, this is better than I thought. He stopped, faced his opponent once again. It lets me use my opponent’s monsters to summon it. That’ll leave him wide open.

    “What’d you get?” Dave asked.

    “It’s good. I have an idea,” Josh whispered.

    “Volcanic Rocket, destroy his face-down monster. Volcanic Impact!”

    Volcanic Rocket kicked off the ground, launching itself through the air. It stabbed its beak into the brown card, resulting in an explosion that kicked up dust from the ground. Volcanic Rocket flew out of the dust cloud, showing off its agile shape.

    “Heh, it’s your turn.”

    “Are you sure Josh?” Dave asked, peaking over his shoulder. “Let me see the card you too–”

    “It got it,” Josh interrupted. “I know how to handle this.” He smiled. Blue-Winged Crown was his latest card. It didn’t have bad stats, but without an effect it wouldn’t be able to take on Volcanic Rocket. But for his plan, he didn’t need to battle it at all.

    “Now to use your card against you!” Josh held it out. “I offer your two monsters to summon the almighty Lava Golem!”

    “Josh, no!” Dave nearly dove in to stop him, but he had already thrown the card down.

    Grandpa gasped. He tricked him!

    Jonathan stared at his monsters; lava washed over Volcanic Rocket, soon dripping onto his face-down card as well. They melted into a pool of molten goo, which stewed together, swirling until two yellow eyes glared out of the puddle. Lava exploded out of the pool, consuming Jonathan entirely as it stretched upward until it was almost the size of building next to them. The lava shaped into a massive blob-like being, and a cage seeped through its chest, containing Jonathan inside. (3000/2500)

    “Now how do you like that!” Josh pointed, then immediately lowered his finger. Something was wrong.

    “You idiot.” Jonathan cackled. “When Lava Golem is summoned, it’s summoned to the opponent’s side of the field! This monster’s mine!”

    “N-no!” Josh stumbled back. How could he have been so stupid!

    “Josh! You didn’t read its effect did you?” Dave shouted.

    “I-I did! But...” Josh shut his eyes tightly, shook his head. “I guess I didn’t read close enough.” He took his last card, held it near his ear. “I’ll make up for it though! I summon Blue-Winged Crown in Defe–”

    Jonathan wagged a finger. “Sorry, but Lava Golem takes up your summon for the turn.”

    No… This can’t be it. Now he’s wide open. Josh’s world spun out of control. Why did this have to happen to him? All he wanted to do was watch!

    “Since you have no other cards to use, I guess you’re done.” Jonathan smiled and drew. [Jonathan LP: (3500 --> 4000)]

    Lava Golem groaned, holding its colossal hands closer to its chest.

    Josh eyed the golem. What’s going on?

    Molten lava oozed from the monster’s arms, dripping onto the cage underneath. It slimed down each bar, occasionally dripping onto Jonathan himself, who cringed as the liquid rock burned his flesh.

    “Hehe,” Jonathan opened one eye, gritted his teeth into a smile. “The pain feels good.”

    “What just happened?” Josh demanded.

    “Lava Golem’s fee. As long as I control it, I take 1000 damage each turn. That’s what I was referring to when I was talking about powerful cards – too many things holding them back!” The vaporizing lava reflected in his eyes. [Jonathan LP: (4000 --> 3000)]

    That’s a lot of damage each turn… Josh fumbled with the Blue-Winged Crown card. If I can stall long enough I may actually be able to win.

    “I think it’s time to use the gift you generously gave to me. I activate Salamandra!”

    A flaming, serpentine dragon swirled out of the ground, wrapping Lava Golem with its body. The golem outstretched its arms, and the whole being erupted with an aura of fire. (3000 --> 3700/2500)

    Josh gulped.

    “Lava Golem, strike at his Life Points! Magma Fist!”

    Grandpa covered his eyes with his sleeve. Josh braced himself for the impact. Jonathan swung his fist across the air. Lava Golem hurled a punch at Josh simultaneously, as if its movements were linked to its master’s. A gooey, flaming punch struck the duelist, causing him to stumble backwards slightly.

    “Agh!” Josh screamed; wisps of pain shot through his body.

    “Round two!” Jonathan threw an uppercut; the Lava Golem mimicked him, shooting residual flames from its molten fingers. The punch crashed into Josh’s torso, toppling him over onto his back. [Josh LP: (5800 --> 2100)]

    “Josh!” Dave shouted, watching his friend fly past him.

    “Hahahaha! This is too much fun!” Jonathan relaxed his fists, Lava Golem did the same. Josh sat up, rubbing his head.

    Dave faced him, angered. “You’re sick! Picking on an innocent person – this is power play!”

    “You’re right.” Jonathan snickered, touching his pocket. “This is power play.” He eyed Josh, who had just started to stand again. “You can’t win. My cards are better, and my strategies are better. There’s no hope for you.”

    Dave stepped forward, gripping his hat. “That’s it.” He held up his arm, flashing his deactivated Duel Disk. “I’m not gonna stand here while my best friend gets slaughtered by a flaming thief!”

    Josh slowly lifted himself off the ground. His body ached everywhere. When he stood up a tight pain webbed on his shoulder blade. It probably bruised.

    Jonathan’s smile widened. “I think you will…” he whipped out the gun, shot two bullets in quick succession. Dave leapt as dirt flew up by his feet; his hat flew off his head as he came back down. He slammed onto his rear, the hat landing a few feet behind him.

    Josh got up, ran to his side. “Dave, no!”

    “Get outta the way!” Jonathan shouted, gesturing for him to move beside Grandpa.

    Dave carefully lifted himself off the ground.

    “Are you alright?” Josh whispered. This had gotten far more dangerous than he had ever dreamed.

    “Who cares about me?” Dave silently countered. “We can’t let him get away with this.” He slowly limped next to Grandpa, who helped him stabilize his balance.

    “I suggest you call it quits right here. I mean, why should I do any more harm to an innocent young boy like yourself?” Jonathan mocked. “The worst I’m gonna do is steal some cards. Why go through any more pain for a few pieces of cardboard?”

    What he said made sense. But…

    Josh sent a weak glance to the shop. Grandpa and Dave, both barely standing, were staring at him, hopeful, no… that wasn’t it. They were fearful. Their lives were at stake – and that was something he couldn’t risk anymore. He stared at the ground, contemplating his decision. Under his foot, he noticed something. Dave’s hat. He picked it up, holding it firmly.

    Jonathan watched on; raised an eyebrow.

    “I’ve had enough of this!” Josh yelled, putting Dave’s hat on his head. “I don’t care how good you are or how bad I suck, I refuse to lose to you!”

    Jonathan smirked. “Then show me what you got, boy!”

    “I activate Attack and Receive!” Josh outstretched his hand; the Trap Card rose on command. “When I take Battle Damage it sends 700 damage your way.”

    “Heh, so what?” [Jonathan LP: (3000 --> 2300)] “It’s not gonna make a difference in the long run. Now go.”

    Right. Josh held his hand on his deck, breathed in through his nose. So much pressure was on this next card. And – even if he drew a good one – he wasn’t sure he would be able to use it correctly.

    It’s now or never.

    He drew.

    A Spell Card, featuring a golden grail, rested in between his fingertips, staying there as he read it over. This might work… this might just work.

    “What are you waiting for?” Jonathan asked impatiently.

    Josh glared at him. “This!” He thrust the card into its slot. “I activate Cup of Ace!”

    The golden grail materialized in the center of the field, magically filling up with water in an instant.

    “Here’s how it works. The grail chooses one of us –” he pointed at himself, then at Jonathan, who listened intently – “and that player gets to draw two cards.”

    That’s a very risky move, Grandpa thought. It could easily backfire.

    Josh waved his arm. “Now, choose!”

    Silence swept across the playing field, followed by a light breeze that softly ruffled the trees. Everyone – Grandpa, Dave, Josh, Jonathan, and the giant creature towering over them – stared at the grail, expecting it to do something, but it never moved.

    At that moment, a leaf danced through the air, guided by the wind, aimlessly floating in spiraling wonder. It passed both duelists, who traced its path with their gaze, until it finally landed in the tiny pool of water.

    Both players leaned in to see.

    The leaf pointed to Josh.

    “Yes!”

    Dave and Grandpa, with renewed energy, high-fived each other, then gave Josh a thumbs-up. Josh returned it; the holographic grail disintegrated, though its water remained, flowed towards the chosen duelist.

    “Looks like I get the cards!”

    “Not like it’s gonna make a difference.” Jonathan shrugged.

    Josh slipped his two new cards out, tried to contain his eagerness. Both cards related to fire – Tremendous Fire, a Spell Card, and Raging Flame Sprite, a Monster Card. It wasn’t much, but now he knew what to do.

    He really knew!

    “Here we go!” Josh held out his next card. “First I activate Tremendous Fire!”

    Three light-blue pixies descended from above, holding small embers in each hand. They circled the field, throwing them down, setting the ground on fire. The flames scattered and spread, whipped around aimlessly without any hope for control.

    “Huh?” Jonathan backed up in his cage. “What is this?!”

    “Tremendous Fire, of course.” Josh smirked. His first real confident move. Ever. Dave couldn’t have been prouder. “When it’s activate you take 1000 damage while I only take 500!”

    Flames lashed out at Jonathan, slipping past the cage’s bars, searing his worn clothes. [Jonathan LP: (2300 --> 1300)] He clutched his chest, grabbing onto a nearby bar with another hand. On the other side, a wave of fire crashed over Josh, drowning him in the intense heat. [Josh LP: (2100 --> 1600)] He cocked his head upwards, resurfacing as the flames died out.

    Both players panted heavily, each glared at the other on the opposite side. Jonathan recomposed himself, and Josh adjusted Dave’s hat on his head.

    “Not bad, kid.” Jonathan sighed, transformed it to anger. “But don’t think a flashy spell is gonna turn things around.”

    Josh smiled. He had the lead now. And if he did his math right, Lava Golem would wipe out the rest of Jonathan’s Life Points in two turns. All he had to do was survive one last turn, and he would win.

    He would actually win.

    “I place a monster face-down and end my turn.” He set his Blue-Winged Crown card onto his Duel Disk, kept his hand against the brown backing.

    Just one more turn.

    “Alright,” Jonathan said, drawing. “And remember, with Solemn Wishes out, I gain 500 Life Points since I drew.” [Jonathan LP: (1300 --> 1800)]

    Josh’s heart stuttered. He did forget about that card. And, now that he rapidly recalculated, he realized he needed to survive two more turns, not one. He could do it.

    He had to.

    Come on Josh. You got this. Dave inhaled through his nose, held his breath.

    Believe Josh, Grandpa thought.

    Josh clutched his fist. I can do this.

    It’s all over, Jonathan thought, staring at the card in his hand. The second I discard this Volcanic Scattershot to activate Blaze Accelerator, he’ll lose nearly all of his Life Points... He lifted up the rest of his hand – specifically the monster he drew last turn. Then I’ll offer my Lava Golem to summon Volcanic Hammerer, which’ll wipe out the rest.

    Jonathan extended his arm, grinning madly. “This game is mine!”

    Josh tried to hide his fear, failed. Dave and Grandpa gasped.

    “I activate Blaz– ”

    “Groooo….”

    Huh?!

    Both players looked up at the groaning magma monster. It stood still; its animation froze and the lava once flowing down its body halted in place. Static rippled out of the monster, then the other holograms began to flicker as well.

    Josh looked on in disbelief. “What’s… going on?”

    “His monster,” Grandpa said, awestruck. “Its effect hasn’t activated yet…”

    “Groooa….”

    Lava Golem’s animation resumed – it lifted its arms, only to have them crash back onto the ground. The creature flickered and flashed, before it vaporized into nothing.

    “CARD READ ERROR,” Jonathan’s Card Analyzer said. “DAMAGE CALCULATOR DISENGAGED.” [Jonathan LP: (1800 --> 0)]

    NO!” Jonathan squealed, flailing his arms around like a mad ape. “How could this happen?! It must be a glitch!”

    Josh, though grateful, couldn’t help but stare at the defeated thief.

    Rage burst out of Jonathan’s eyes. “You!” He pulled out his gun again.

    Josh reflexively jolted back.

    “I will not be shown up by a rookie!” He tensed his hand, put pressure on the trigger.

    “Jonathan,” a voice said through a tiny speaker hidden in his ear. “That was me. I needed to get your attention.”

    Jonathan lowered the gun. A puzzled Josh sighed.

    “Return to me now. I need you for the next phase of our plan.”

    Josh, keeping his gaze on Jonathan’s gun, did his best to catch his breath.

    Calmly, Jonathan put it away. “I’ll get you next time.” He pulled something out of his pocket, threw it onto the ground. Sparks shot upward, creating a veil of smoke.

    “Wait!” Josh shouted, covering his eyes.

    The smoke cleared; he was gone.

    Dave ran to Josh’s side, with Grandpa walking behind him.

    “Are you okay?”

    “Who cares about me?” Josh said, laughing. “We’re alive – that’s all that matters!”

    Dave smiled, laughed too.

    “Here, I think this is yours.” Josh took off the hat, tossed it onto Dave’s head.

    “Thanks.” The camouflage teenage quickly readjusted it.

    “Josh!” Before Josh could even turn to look, Grandpa latched onto him. “You saved my shop!” He yelled tearfully. “How can I ever repay you?”

    Josh tried to shake him off. “It’s alrigh–”

    “I know!” Grandpa jumped off. “You said you wanted to build a deck, right? So I’ll give you a deck’s worth of cards, for free!”

    Josh nearly declined, when Dave intervened.

    “That’s sounds great.” He nudged Josh.

    Grandpa bowed, clapped his hands together. “Are there any specific kinds of cards you would like? I’ll fetch them out right now. Just say the word!”

    Uh... Josh put his hand on his chin. He may as well. Dave was gonna make him build one either way.

    “I did like those FIRE cards,” Josh finally said, looking between the two. “And I also like these bird cards I kept drawing.” He took his deck out of his Duel Disk. “But I don’t think there’s any card in my deck that’s strong enough to take on a huge monster like that Lava Golem, so I’m gonna need a card like that.”

    “You could base your deck around it, too.” Dave said. “Just like how I use Black Luster Soldier.”

    “Yeah.” Josh nodded. “Oh, that reminds me.” He started looking through his deck. “While I was dueling that guy we noticed my deck didn’t have a way to deal with Spells and Traps.”

    Grandpa nodded. “Right, you’ll definitely need to cover them.”

    Josh sifted through his cards again, noticed his Monster Reborn card. That’s when he remembered something else. Something Elisa had told him.

    “And I also like cards that Special Summon monsters, especially from the Graveyard.” He paused. “Is… that too much to ask?”

    Grandpa smiled widely, clapped his hands again. “Of course not! I have just the card.” He rushed back into the shop; the other two followed.

    He led them back to the customer service desk, where he began throwing boxes of cards over his shoulder, nearly hitting Josh in the head a few times with them.

    “Ah!” Grandpa shouted, lifted up a card from the wreckage. “Here it is.” He turned around, sacredly handed it to him.

    Josh took it with his fingertips, held it closer. It was a monster; a FIRE monster, too. The image itself depicted a phoenix majestically flapping its wings, with fire swirling from its head, wings and tail.

    “Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys,” he read aloud.

    “Yep, it’s a good card too,” Grandpa stated. “It can summon itself from the Graveyard if it’s destroyed by any means besides battle, and when it does – it wipes out all Spells and Traps on the field!”

    “That’s perfect!” Josh shouted, presenting the card to Dave. “Thanks Mr. Muto.”

    “No problem,” the old man winked. “And call me Grandpa.”

    “Come on,” Dave said, gesturing towards the pile of cards on the floor. “Let’s start building that deck.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Darkness cascaded down the tall steel doors as they slowly creaked open. Jonathan, the size of an ant compared to the doors, cautiously entered, alarmed by the slamming doors behind him. Shadows enveloped the room, and, though this did not surprise him, his heart rate quickened like the gradual beat of a drum.

    “Hello, Jonathan.”

    Jonathan approached the voice near the opposite wall. He could see the base of the throne, as well as the rigid outline of his master, but the rest of his features were obscured by the shade.

    “Hello Master.” He bowed.

    The voice waited for Jonathan to face him before speaking. “I’m sure wondering why I cut off your little game.”

    “Yes.” He clutched his fists. “I had those cards in my hands, and there was no chance that that kid was gonna wi– ”

    “Relax, Jonny.”

    Jonathan suddenly looked up, loosened his grip.

    “I called you here because I have a use for your skills. You’re too important to fetch cards like an underling.”

    A grave expression crossed Jonathan’s face. “You mentioned ‘the next phase’ is in motion?”

    “Yes.” Jonathan could vaguely see a glimmer in his master’s eyes. “And I need your help, Jon.”


    ~*~*~*~


    Card Analyzer activated…

    Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …

    … … …

    Internal Error:

    Cannot Access Card Database.
    Last edited by SerenadeSP; 25th February 2012 at 4:23 PM.
    Tamer's Archives
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  24. #24
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    Great chapter! Good to see that Josh is finally getting a deck. What deck do you run? I'm trying to run a Dragunity deck. Anyways, can I be on the PM list?
    † I am a Christian and proud of it! Copy and paste this if you are too.†



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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltimatePokemonExpert View Post
    Great chapter! Good to see that Josh is finally getting a deck. What deck do you run? I'm trying to run a Dragunity deck. Anyways, can I be on the PM list?
    You are added.

    I tend to jump around when it comes to the deck I use, but I usually go back to my Volcanic/CyberDragon synergy deck whenever I'm dueling on DN (which is the only way I actually duel anymore). I like exploiting small combos on a grand scale.
    Tamer's Archives
    A Pokemon fic. Chapter 4 is up [1/25/11]

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