Soft footsteps echoed in the long hallways, ricocheting across the mansion with subtle enthusiasm. Marble walls reflected the pale light that shone through the tall, crystal-clear windows, casting innocently onto the youthful boy playing near the transparent coffee-table. His long, wavy red hair flowed onto his shoulders, gently separating and shifting as he heaved the heavy, stainless-pale couch cushion. Bracing it against the armrest on the opposite side, he panted, exhausted from the task.
This was more than the eight-year-old had done in a while.
Grasping a handful of cards from the table, he excitedly jumped up on the couch, then divided the cards even into two piles, one in each hand. Peering down the cushion he had position just perfectly so, he fanned out the cards and placed them on the top of the armrest.
One by one, the cards fell, sliding down the cushion to the boy’s joy. Eagerness lit up his eyes as each card slid diagonally towards the floor. This was the most fun he’d had in years.
As the cards scattered across the polished, tiled floor, the boy leapt off the couch and ran to chase after them. The cards continued to slide; some hitting the walls, others gliding even further across the wide room.
When some cards started to near the double-doors, the boy leapt off the couch to chase after them. The moment he did, he kicked his foot back, gliding across the floor with his socks like and ice-skater. He let out tiny giggles as he dashed around the cards, scooping some up as he passed.
The turning of the doorknob caught the boy off guard, causing him to lose his balance. He tried to turn away from the shelf on the far wall, but his socks had already picked up too much momentum, and he was sent slamming onto his chest as his feet crashed into one of its legs. The cards he held flew out of his grasp, scattering across the floor just as the others did just minutes ago.
The boy lifted his head slowly, dazed. His bangs fluttered near his nose, which he pushed away to see a Spell Card near a broken picture frame. He could see himself in the picture, but the other members were blurred out by the glaring, shattered glass. He groaned, crawling to pick it up, when a black-polished shoe stepped to block his way. The boy’s sight trailed up the figure’s leg, fear fluttering in his heart.
He knew he was in for it tonight.
Adam’s eyes surveyed the crowd, catching a glimpse of each eye that fell upon him. Fearful eyes – eyes that lost hope long ago. The eyes darted away from him, fell onto his opponent. There the fear grew, strengthening exponentially in their pupils.
Before Adam looked over his hand, he shot a glance at the two college students standing on the sidewalk – Josh and Dave. He could see their eyes shining, knowing he had what they needed. They had hope. But Adam didn’t need their hope.
That wasn’t what drove him in the first place.
[Adam LP: (8000)] [Deck Hacker LP: (8000)]
Adam held up the fanned-collection of cards, spreading them in between his fingers. No Card Destruction, he noted. But if his deck didn’t give him that card, maybe he didn’t need it.
Still, I need a way to put a monster in the Graveyard.
He glanced over the cards again, siding past his first four cards. Ah, here we go, he thought. This’ll do.
“Alrighty! Time to start things off!” the hacker gleefully shouted, sliding out a card. “I’ll set a monster face-down and end my turn!”
The brown card materialized at the hacker’s feet, casting a small shadow over the concrete.
Adam drew his card, keeping his attention on the field. Okay, if he had Bartering of the Kings in his hand he would’ve definitely played it immediately to take my deck. He looked up his opponent’s hand, counting. Five cards.
The hacker yawned theatrically, keeping one eye on Adam, attempting to coax him into thinking faster.
Adam was unfazed. Judging from his last duel with Dave, his hand is either full of Normal Monsters or he’s waiting to unleash some kind of combo. He took a moment, looking at the drawn Trap Card – Fine. No point in stalling any longer.
“I activate Tribute to the Doomed.” His voice was flat. “With this, I can discard a card and destroy a monster you control.”
A Spell Card flashed before him; the second it did, tendrils of pale linen strips shot out, ensnaring the brown card until it was entirely wrapped. Once it was, a decayed purple hand rose up, grasping the mummified card and dragging to the depths below.
“Fancy,” the hacker said, smiling. “I like you so far.”
Adam remained quiet. He held up his arm. “Rise – Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”
Small embers puffed out the Duel Disk, growing into full, swirling flames. As the tornado of fire cooled, a woman leapt out, dancing onto the ground. Her finned gray helmet widely spread out over her shoulders, and her red tank-top matched the tint of her mask. (1200/800)
“Ooh, a lady’s man, aren’t we?” The hacker winked, then raised his eyebrows in intrigue. “And a Fallen deck, that’s a rare sight indeed!”
Adam waved his arm across his torso. “Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – attack him directly!”
Igniting her hands ablaze, Burstinatrix touched her wrists together in an ‘X’, slashing them through the air, projecting flames at the hacker in one clean shot.
The hacker yelped, quickly adjusting his hair. [Deck Hacker LP: (8000 --> 6800)]
“I’ll set two more cards face-down and end my turn,” Adam said, never acknowledging the hacker’s reactions.
Two cards left in-hand, he thought, gripping them tighter. I need to keep hand advantage in case he manages to plays that illegal card early. He watched his opponent draw, in that stupid, condescending manner. But even if he does, he’ll claim control over my deck.
“Hey, Dave,” Josh whispered. Dave nodded to say that he heard, but never looked away from the duel. “Adam doesn’t seem to be letting this guy get to him. You think he has a shot, right?”
Dave shrugged. “Maybe. He’s good, but if they switch decks it’ll become an entirely different game.”
“What if he beats him before that happens?” Josh asked.
Dave considered this; the shadow from his cap covering his downcast gaze. Throughout his duel, the hacker managed to stall until the game shifted into his favor. Technically that could’ve been a fluke, but then he also won at least two games before that…
Dave lifted his gaze, the shadows receding back into his hairline. “No chance.”
“My turn again, then!” The hacker laughed. “Ah, this is perfect! Enchanting Fitting Room!”
The red shower curtain appeared over the hacker’s head, rippling from its golden rings with the breeze. [Deck Hacker LP: (6800 --> 6000)]
“So, let’s see what we got here.” He slid out the top four cards, fanning them. Greed glittered in his eyes. “Perfect! All four get summoned!” He looked to Adam. “And not only that – three of them are Mokey-Mokeys!”
Dave gritted his teeth. Josh watched Matt and Timmy shudder as the rectangular angels flopped onto the field. (300/200) [x3]
“And with them joins Doron!”
The humanoid creature waltzed out its replicated card, the black silk tightly wrapped around its body. (900/500)
Adam observed it. Wait a minute – Attack Position? His stare focused on the hacker’s hand. The thought struck him like lightning; his stare sharpened. I knew it!
“Now I’ll activate this – Encouragement!”
With a storm of static, the Spell Card materialized and, after a few moments of noise and sparks, stabilized into a solid image.
Josh grimaced; he could feel the others do the same.
“This allows me to discard two Normal Monsters whose total Levels are equal to or less than five. Then their combined ATK power gets added to Doron’s!”
He presented the cards – Frog the Jam and Candle of Fate – before sliding them into the Graveyard. A blue-ish green aura subdued Doron, eventually empowering it, turning its once green eyes crimson-red. (900 --> 2200/500 --> 1600)
Dave let out an audible growl. Josh turned to him, concerned.
“Now, attack the lovey lady!”
Doron, grasping the power of the aura in its palm, dashed at its target, preparing a punch. Burstinatrix sidestepped to dodge, kicking at Doron with a flaming foot. Reflexively, Doron shot up his hand, catching the hero’s leg, which caused her to gasp from surprise. At last, Doron drew back its fist, slamming it into the woman’s body, shattering it instantly.
Adam’s expression barely changed. [Adam LP: (8000 --> 7000)]
The hacker basked in this small victory, pretending to thank the crowd for their imagined support. “And that’s all for now! But don’t worry – I’ve got plenty more saved for later!”
“I’m really starting to hate this guy,” Matt said. Josh, Dave, and Timmy nodded.
Adam lifted a card off his deck. Just what I needed. He held it near the red slot, pressing a button near one of his Spell/Trap cards. “I activate Fine to discard two cards.”
“Ah, the typical style of a Fallen deck,” the hacker mused. “I gotta tell ya, I’ve actually never seen anyone put one together. You must be pretty rich!”
A heartbeat lashed at Adam’s chest. He subtly inhaled through his nose.
“Rise – ” He snapped his arm up; a rugged sphere flung out “ – Fallen Hero Clayman!”
With that last word, the sphere exploded, expanding into the bulky figure with large, blocky arms. (800/2000)
“Hey, don’t ignore me here! I’m fascinated with this deck of yours, man!” the hacker, for once, said this somewhat angrily. “You gotta tell me how you managed to get all those cards! That’s a pretty impressive feat – even for a scumbag like me!”
Adam lowered his eyebrows; frowned. “End turn.”
“Don’t be like that!” The hacker crossed his arms. “Alright, I’m putting this duel on hold until you tell me how you got all these rare cards!”
The crowd turned to him, awaiting his answer.
Adam’s stare remained cold. He crossed his own arms.
“C’mon!” the hacker shouted, throwing his arms in the air.
What’s going on? Josh thought. Why’s Adam being so stubborn about this?
Dave watched Adam’s face, saw the lone stand of red hair resting beside his right eye. Maybe I was right after all, he thought. Is Adam a thief?
“I don’t got all day here!” The hacker waved his arms around. “It’s just a simple question! What? Need to be Mr. Secretive to impress the ladies?”
Adam shook his head; the red stand flipped to the opposite side. “You don’t need to know anything about me. Just duel.”
“Well, now you’ve only piqued my interest further!” the hacker shouted.
Adam didn’t react.
“This is so weird,” Timmy said. “At first this guy seemed like such a strong adult, but now he’s acting like an insecure child.”
Dave and Matt agreed. Josh examined Adam’s stance; he seemed to be closing himself off from the world around him the longer this dragged out.
“Another grain of salt,” Adam muttered. He sighed. “Add that to the mountain already there.”
Adam… what kind of mountain are you dealing with?
The hacker groaned, sighed. “Alright, in that case I’ll ask a simpler question.” He paused, pointing a finger at his opponent. “What’s your name, kid? You can at least tell me that, right?”
Adam stared at the ground before him. Darkness laid there, cast from the shadow of his Fallen Hero monster. He seemed to be pondering over the question.
Slowly, almost cautiously, Adam raised his gaze. “…Adam Prince,” he mumbled.
“There, was that so hard?” the hacker smiled again. “Well, now that that’s out of the way – my draw!” He glanced at it, then put it with the others. “Doron – destroy his Fallen Hero Clayman!”
Followed by the cheers of its fellow Mokey-Mokey, Doron ran towards the kneeling Clayman, holding its palm near its neck. When it drew close, Doron thrust it forward, but Clayman reacted – just as the power for the aura gathered in Doron’s hand, the bulky hero grasped onto its wrist, stopping the momentum of the attack cold.
“Fallen Hero Clayman’s effect,” Adam said. “I’ll banish him to take down your monster! Go – Clay Grapple!”
As commanded, Clayman snagged Doron’s other arm, lifting it into the air as it stood up. Pulling the monster’s two limbs away from its body, Doron began to groan in submission. Clayman didn’t stop – once it was sure Doron was immobilized, the hero jumped into the air, hugging Doron close, then slammed into the ground with a violent thump.
Dust gathered from the attack, leaving a digital crack on the floor. But no trace of the two monsters remained.
“Well,” the hacker said. “That’s a bit of a setback. Oh well, no harm done.”
“Not quite,” Adam barked. “When Clayman destroys a monster with Clay Grapple, you take 800 damage.”
“Wha– huh?!” [Deck Hacker LP: (6000 --> 5200)] The hacker shook his head. “Whatever. I can spare to lose a couple of cards. Anyway, I’ll set a monster face-down and end my turn.”
Adam drew silently.
“And now he’s back to being the strong adult,” Timmy whispered.
Matt shook his head. “I don’t get it either.”
Josh listened to them, pretending to concentrate on the duel.
I’ve got a small advantage, but his field presence is still incredibly strong. Adam eyed the one face-down card floating by his right foot. No monsters and a single face-down vs. his three weak Normal monsters and another face-down monster. He stared at the brown card. The chances of that monster being a threat are low – he doesn’t seem to carry any Effect Monsters at all. That way, he basically guarantees that his opponent’s monsters will be able to run over all obstacles for him. Meanwhile, he uses his stall and illegal Spell Cards to charge ahead as necessary. He hesitated. Still, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a high-DEF monster.
In a passing motion, Adam quickly glanced at the hacker’s left hand (the right hand, however, was once again at the hacker’s mouth, indicating his boredom). One card, Adam thought. Okay, chances of a sudden comeback are unlikely, even if he manages to take my deck next turn. He looked at his own hand, noting his most recent card. Let’s see. Graceful Charity’ll give me another opportunity to send my Fallen monsters to the Graveyard, and maybe even give me more ways to take down his line of defenses. He looked at his choices. One other card in hand. Fallen Vorse Raider…
“Got it,” Adam said aloud.
The hacker perked his head up, seemingly awakened. “Thank god.”
“First I’ll activate Graceful Charity, so I draw three cards and discard two.”
“I think we know how the card works, thank you,” the hacker teased. “Anything else?”
“Plenty,” Adam said. A card ejected from his Graveyard. “Rise – Fallen Vorse Raider!”
A card frame materialized in front of him; from it, the behemoth warrior proudly raised its axe as it took its post. (1900/1200)
“Fallen Vorse Raider – attack his face-down monster!”
The raider held up its axe so that the two blades were parallel to the ground, then began spinning it rapidly as it ran at the monster.
“And, since your monster’s in Defense Position, it gets destroyed automatically!”
Just as the card started to raise itself, Fallen Vorse Raider sliced it to bits, reducing it to mere bits of paper.
The hacker smirked. “Nice one.”
“I end,” Adam said, staring at the two cards he held. Fallen Hero Sparkman and Fallen Alligator’s Sword. He furrowed his eyebrows. Not good enough. At this rate I won’t be able to stop his deck fast enough.
“Alrighty,” the hacker said. “I’ll keep it nice and simple.”
Another brown-backed card materialized next to the three Mokey-Mokeys.
“Your turn.” The hacker smiled coyly.
C’mon Adam, Josh thought. You just need to break through this guy’s defenses and you’ll win!
“My draw.” Adam looked at the drawn card and, dissatisfied, held up his arm again. “Return to us – Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”
Another wisp of fire flung out of Adam’s Duel Disk, expanding until Burstinatrix emerged from the flames. (1200/800)
“You can guess what’s gonna happen next,” Adam said, pointing ahead. “Fallen Vorse Raider – attack his face-down monster. Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – attack the leftmost Mokey-Mokey!”
Both monsters leapt from their posts – Burstinatrix hovering slightly above Vorse Raider – as they raced to the other side of the field. The three Mokey-Mokeys scrambled, panicking like small children during a thunder storm. As the raider slashed its axe down, Burstinatrix launched a flame-fueled kick; the force of the slash sent the paper card into the flames, where it, along with one of the rectangular angels, disintegrated into nothing.
“Go,” Adam snapped.
“Ah.” The hacker drew. “That might’ve been the fastest turn you’ve had so far,” he scolded. “A face-down card and another set monster should do.”
“In that case, I’ll speed things up.” Adam drew, pulling up the card vertically before shouting, “Time to bring out one of my favorite monsters!”
Small thunderclouds gathered overhead, casting a shadow over the playing field. They trickled with static, sporadically giving off light with each zip and spark.
Josh smiled. Here we go!
Burstinatrix crossed her arms, jumping into the air.
“Quite a light show, Mr. Prince,” the hacker mused. “But it’s nothing too impressive.”
“We’ll see about that. I offer Burstinatrix to summon the mighty electrical fiend.” He gazed up at the sky, bellowing, “Rise – Fallen Summoned Skull!”
A clap of thunder served as a harbinger for the lightning that showered down; Burstinatrix flew towards it, willingly allowing itself to become bathed in electricity until its body disintegrated into energy. Once it did, the lightning continued towards the floor, striking the spot it once stood. Following a gust of wind, the clouds dispersed, and a muscular demon unfolded its blue wings, howling a powerful roar. (2500/1200)
“Now that’s something,” the hacker said.
“You have no idea what you’re in for,” Adam said darkly. A shadow vaguely cast over his eyes, veiling the strand of red hair. “I’m not letting you Deck Hackers get away with attacking innocent people. Especially teenagers.”
Fallen Summoned Skull and Fallen Vorse Raider lifted their heads; their eyes gave a detached, unforgiving stare.
Adam dropped his gaze to the ground, allowing the shadow to consume his face.
Josh watched on; unconsciously, his mouth fell agape.
“This is what you get.” His words were soft and quiet, yet still clear and stern. Adam lifted his head; the shadow receded. “Attack!”
Awakened, Fallen Vorse Raider leapt up, slashing at the brown card. In its wake, Fallen Summoned Skull unleashed an array of lightning, trailing towards the one of the two Mokey-Mokeys. It let out a shriek that sent chills through the crowds’ spines.
“And when Fallen Summoned Skull attacks a Defense Position monster, you take piercing Battle Damage.”
Josh stepped forward, proudly clutching his fist. “Go Adam!”
The crowd smiled at Josh’s gestured. Hope seemed to be returning to their gloomy faces.
Before the lightning reached the tiny angel, a triad of priestesses miraculously appeared. They held up their hands reverently, deflecting the lightning and axe with a mythical force.
The crowd gasped, dumbfounded.
Adam peered past the three priestesses, spotting a Trap Card. Argh, how did I overlook that! He clenched his teeth, mentally kicking himself.
“Sorry, Waboku stops your attack cold.” The three priestesses vanished. “I’m guessing it’s my move.”
Reluctantly – angrily – Adam nodded.
“Don’t look so glum.” The hacker smiled enthusiastically again. His grin made Dave cringe. “Another monster, another face-down card, and it’s back to you.”
The brown card closest to the hacker materialized with a sharp rainbow glare. Josh peered over at it, then turned to Dave. Within a moment of looking into his eyes, Josh could tell that Dave saw the same thing he did. They both looked to Adam, who watched it as well.
It doesn’t matter, if I don’t act now it could be too late. Holding out his arm, he called, “Rise again – my Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”
A pillar of flames burst between the two muscular monsters, extinguishing as Burstinatrix spread its arms. (1200/800) She snapped her fingers, setting her hands ablaze.
“Ah, lookie there, the lady’s back again.” The hacker raised his arms. “She just doesn’t know when to quit!”
“Shut it,” Adam scolded him. “I’ll use Fallen Hero Burstinatrix’s effect. By paying 500 Life Points I get to target a monster you control and return it to your hand.” He lifted his index finger accusingly. “So take back your Mokey-Mokey!”
Burstinatrix pushed its hands out, holding the sphere of fire from above. [Adam LP: (7000 --> 6500)] With a firm thrust, a stream of flames shot out, striking the small angel full-force. As it spastically waved its stubby arms, the creature reformed into a piece of cardboard.
The hacker caught it. “Hmph.”
Dave felt a nudge of an elbow. He turned, seeing Josh. “Yeah?”
“Why do you think he didn’t use that effect before?”
Dave pondered, then snapped his fingers. “He’s probably trying to conserve his Life Points.”
Josh nodded. A thought stung him, So, Adam doesn’t think he’s gonna win in time…
“Now – Fallen Vorse Raider, attack his one of his face-down monsters!”
The raider leapt up, slamming down onto the face-down card with a mighty heave. It burst into tiny fragments before a breath could be taken.
“Fallen Summoned Skull – attack his last face-down monster!”
Fallen Summoned Skull expanded its wings and curled its claws, groaning as electricity rippled around its body. After a couple of seconds of charging, it unleashed a bolt through its horns, growling. The monster on the receiving end rose from its hiding spot – a small grasshopper called Basic Insect. (500/700) It had no time to react before the lightning slammed into it, leaving a scorch mark where the bug once was.
The hacker stared at the spot, watching a thin string of smoke rise above his head. [Deck Hacker LP: (5200 --> 3400)]
Upon seeing the numbers drop, Adam regained his confidence. Hmph. Guess that card was a bluff after all. He pressed on.
“Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – direct attack!”
Burstinatrix kicked itself off the ground, flipping into a cart-wheel-like motion. Its left foot caught on fire; the flames arched as the woman spun.
The hacker gazed up from his empty field and, to the crowd’s alarm, laughed maliciously.
“I’ve got you now!” He ripped out his face-down card, flicking it to the other side. “You fell right into my trap.” The hacker’s eyes scanned those around him without moving his head; his grin widened. “And now they’re gonna pay the price!”
As the face-down card rose, several neon-purple wires shot out from behind it, smashing into Burstinatrix, forcing it to retreat. Adam watched the wires flail amongst the crowd aimlessly, like an octopus’s limbs. “The hell is this,” he whispered.
The hacker turned around, addressing the audience. “Now, which of you would like to volunteer!” The crowd didn’t answer; instead, they slowly stepped backwards, trying to avoid the wires. With false dissatisfaction, the hacker faced Adam and shrugged. “Seems like they don’t care much about me.” He grinned again, his pupils flashed. “Let’s change that.”
In a violent explosion of movements, the wires lashed out from the street, whipping themselves at the crowd. People screamed, others fell onto the ground trying to duck. As this occurred, Adam glowered.
“You bastard!” he shouted. “This is between me and you! Don’t involve them!”
The hacker chuckled (somehow, Adam heard him over the loud shouts and whipping sounds of the wires). “Don’t you get it yet, Mr. Prince?” He boasted out his chest. “I’m a Deck Hacker – I can do whatever the hell I want!”
The declaration seemed to strengthen the wires’ assault; now they began lashing at individuals, wrapping themselves around their limbs and torsos. A young girl yelped, extending a hand to her mother before being forcefully ripped away. A business man failed to evade another set of wires; his briefcase thumped to the ground in the process.
Josh and Dave defensively held up their arms, hoping to fend off any wires that came towards them. “I don’t believe this!” Josh shouted, “I knew these Deck Hackers were power crazy but this just takes it to a whole new level!”
Dave ducked as a wire shot near him, grabbing his hat. “We can’t worry about that now – we just have to –”
The two darted their eyes to the side; Timmy, shouting to his brother Matt, pointed to a set of five wires, each launching themselves at him. Matt froze, realizing he had no way out.
Instinctively, at the last second, Josh lifted Matt up, tossing him to the side. Matt flew into Timmy, knocking them both into neighboring bystanders. Before Dave even knew what happened, the wires ensnared Josh’s wrists. He yanked his arms away but the neon-purple wires proved to be stronger than steel. (How’s that possible? They’re only holograms!) Still, he willed himself to keep trying. More wires came at him, grasping his shins, straining his body until his diaphragm became crushed by yet another. By the time Dave shoved his way through the confusion, Josh had already been whisked away.
Suddenly the remaining wires stopped, reeling back into the card where they came from. Josh hovered over the ground, joined by four others. He weakly glanced at their faces – tired and panicked – before looking ahead.
“Wha… what is this?” Dave asked. Timmy and Matt stood up, mouths agape.
The hacker held out his arms, raising them high above his head. “Behold the power of my Spectator Shield!”
Spectator Shield… Josh glanced among the crowd again; he realized he had been lifted to a higher plane than they were – he could see the tops of their heads, yet was still low enough to see their expressions. Fear, concern, agony; all knowing that they were helpless against the superior power of the Deck Hackers.
He straightened his head, peering down at Adam again. He saw the duelist glowering, yet he couldn’t tell exactly what he was thinking. Josh gulped. Before the duel started, he thought Adam was the only one capable of helping them.
But that was before the threat became real.
Card Analyzer activated…
Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …
… Data Found:
Fallen Hero Burstinatrix
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 Burstinatrix”. Once per turn, by paying 500 Life Points, you can select 1 monster on the field and return it to its owner’s hand.
Fallen Vorse Raider
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 “Vorse Raider”. When this card attacks a Defense Position monster, destroy it automatically without applying Damage Calculation.
This card can only be activated during a Tag Duel. Equip this card to a monster you or your partner controls. That monster may be used in any instance by either player.