Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Ammokkx
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Rui held a balled-up fist to her chest, worriedly looking to Sora as he tried to pull himself together. Lumia was sitting on Rui's shoulder and took notice of the field. "Nee-chan," she said to grab Rui's attention, "it's not looking good. Sora only has three life cards."

"Life... cards?" Rui repeated. She tried to think back to the small rulebook from earlier. "Sure, that's bad, but... he should still be able to survive as long as he can put more attackers on the field." Rui had hope. Even if Sora was a beginner, he could still play. She felt that hope surge when Sora played his cards. "Keep it up, Sora! You can still make it!" she cheered him. As long as he ended his turn now, Sora would be in a position to claw it back.

"Wolf... Full attack." Sora declared. Rui felt a shiver run down her spine.
"Wait, Sora, don't! Just end your-"
"I can't block because my attackers are exhausted, so I'll take it all from the life." Haruto interjected before Rui could finish her sentence. Rui's pupils shrank as she turned her head to look at Sora's opponent.
"Wait... no, don't..." she stammered, but it was too late.

Wolf launched forwards, empowered by his three attackers. Sacchi couldn't draw upon his own attackers to block Wolf's strikes with, so the red Avatar was left defenceless as Sora's partner pummelled him. "Nh-! Gah! Urgh!" Sacchi grunted, trying to bear the pain of the blows. A final kick launched him onto his back, five of the lights around him shattering like glass. Five more cards appeared in front of Haruto, having been added to his hand. Sacchi giggled and defiantly stared back at Wolf. "It felt good, right? To get back at me like that?" he said to Wolf, unsteadily rising to his feet. Sacchi met the green avatar's gaze even long after the latter had retreated back to his own field.

"He wanted him to copy his moves..." Lumia muttered under her breath, realising something. "That guy knew Sora-kun would follow his lead. He wanted to leave him wide open for every attack!" she hesitantly explained to Rui. Rui angrily looked at Haruto.

"What's your problem!?" she yelled at him. "Sora's just a beginner! Why are you doing this to him!?" she continued to shout, as it was all she could do. The mist separated Rui from the target of her anger and she wasn't about to test if there was any solid ground off her platform.

"So what if he's a beginner?" came the reply. "Sora is the one who said he needed to battle. I don't any reason to go easy on him. Not me, not anyone else."

Rui's anger continued to bubble to the surface. "That's so low! You're the worst kind of scum! Taking advantage of him like that...!"

"Ooooh, I see how it is!" Sacchi suddenly chimed in, a smug grin plastered all across his face. "Onee-chan's just mad she didn't get her cute little brother's first time..." he said with his index finger on his bottom lip. "You shouldn't be so attached to him... Sora's never going to grow into a big boy with you hovering over him like that, you know~!"

Rui was taken aback, all she could do was yell back at Sacchi to "Shut up!" and not much else. Lumia tried to calm her Commander down with very few effective results. As if bored by Rui's tantrum, Haruto turned his attention back to Sora.

"Is that everything?" he flatly asked. It was all business with Haruto, just like it had been from the start of this battle. "Your attackers are exhausted. You've used all your colour. There's nothing left for you to do but wait for me to end it."
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Squirrel98
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Wolf realised it was a bad move, but he couldn't go against the decision of his Commander. With fear and pain in his heart, he jumped off his platform towards the Avatar who apparently carried the name Sacchi. "We lost." He whispered. From the distance, Wolf and Sora could hear Rui's voice yelling that they shouldn't attack, but it was already too late.

"No. No, it doesn't feel good." Wolf answered Sacchi. It did feel good to hit the horrible guy, it really did, but the attack felt bittersweet knowing that they would lose big time in the next turn. Wolf was shaking out of fear. Tears were streaming down Sora's face. He really hated crying in front of others, but he couldn't help himself. However, soon after, the tears suddenly stopped as he heared his sister stand up for him.

Hearing how Rui got mad at Haruto and Sacchi for bullying her little brother felt familiar. It felt almost like he was remembering an event from their past, which caused Sora a headache. He put his hands against both sides of his head and started to groan out of pain. "Sora-sama?" Sora groaned louder and louder. "I see. That happens when you try to remember a memory that Nexus took away. Just focus on something else." Wolf's advice seem to work as Sora's headache faded away.

"Thanks, onee-chan. For everything." Sora smiled at Rui before turning back to Haruto. "You're right. There is nothing left for me to do. Turn end." He said. The second those words came out of his mouth, Haruto began the end of the battle. Sora had a hard time watching, but he owed it to Wolf. He was forced to watch his friend being beaten until one of his coins turned black. "My second most important memory will disappear, right?" Wolf nodded.

A little Rui and a little Sora were playing at the playground somewhere in their street. They were laughing, running around, teasing each other. At one point, they decided to play tag. Of course Rui was no match for Sora as he had more energy than she did. Then Haruto suddenly walked up to them. "Go away!" He heard himself yell to Haruto. What? Why would he ask his best friend to go away? Something felt wrong about the memory. Did he already know how evil of a person Haruto was? Did he push the memory away? Did he try to forget the memory. He wanted to remember so badly... but he couldn't anymore. Previously, he didn't want to, and at that point, he couldn't.

"AAAAAAAH!" Wolf yelled out of pain and with that shout, the battlefield started to break apart. Sora closed his eyes and when they opened again, he found himself still leaning against the tree. Haruto was standing close to him... and so was his sister. "Onee-chan... I'm sorry." He said tiredly. He took Wolf's card, but Wolf seemed like he was sleeping. "I hope you feel better soon. I'm sorry I'm such a horrible Commander." He put Wolf's card back into his pocket and turned to Haruto. "I thought we were best friends."
Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Ammokkx
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The night sky had settled in as the battle concluded. After the battlefield had gone, Rui, Haruto and Sora were left blanketed what the few stray rays of street lighting they could get. Rui was very close to Sora. "Don't apologize, you dummy..." was all she could say to comfort him after the fact. Sora apologised to Wolf, and in that moment, Lumia spoke up.

"Don't worry, Sora-kun. Wolf is just resting." she said. "Battling is rough on us Avatars. It sucks all the energy right out of us. He'll be okay."

"It's the same for my Sacchi." Haruto suddenly chimed in. He had his back turned to both Rui and Sora. Without looking back at them, Haruto raised up Sacchi's card. Sacchi was curled up into a ball, peacefully resting as his chest bobbed up and down.

"Who cares about you? You're horrible," Rui spat back at him. Sora also had something to say about the situation.
"I thought we were best friends."

Haruto turned to Sora. Haruto's face was neutral, expressionless. Just like it had been throughout the battle. "I guess we were, huh?" he replied.

Rui blinked twice. "Best... friends? Sora, you know this guy?" she questioned her brother. It wasn't her brother that answered, though.

"I've known you and him for years. You're a Commander too. Your memories of me must be stolen." Haruto told her.
"Don't give me that! If you're his friend, then what was this about!? Why would you toy with him like this?"
"For my wish," Haruto replied in monotone. He opened his hand; five golden coins were inside of it. "I'll do whatever it takes. Even if it's taking advantage of Sora-kun."

Haruto turned his back to the two of them again. "Wait! I'm not done with you yet!" Rui called back to him. Haruto tilted his head so he looked back over his shoulder at Sora.

"I meant it when I said I didn't want to get you involved. Even if we were friends, now you're just another Commander for me to defeat. Stay out of my way, Sora."

Haruto walked off after saying his piece, even when Rui protested it. As her attempts were all ignored, just her and Sora were left behind. After Rui was done watching Haruto's back she turned her attention to Sora. She gave him an apologetic smile and took his hand into her own. "...I'm sorry, Sora. It's my fault for yelling at you. Let's go home, okay?" she requested of him. Rui began tugging on him to bring him back. A familiar, nostalgic feeling washed over her. When she tried to place why, static filled her head. Rui stayed strong for Sora's sake and didn't let it show she was in pain. She knew, though. She knew what was causing the headache.
"...promise...!"
'...I'll remember our promise, Sora. And when I do... I'll make sure to keep it, too.'
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On their way back home, Sora had to seek support from his sister to be able to walk. He couldn't help but keep on looking at the sleeping fellow in one of his cards. Why was he so stupid to believe Haruto? Why did he think Haruto would go easy on him? Why did he even go out to battle? He sighed deeply out of frustration. "I guess I only have one coin left, huh." He whispered, almost inaudible, but just loud enough to be heard by Rui and Lumia.

"You know what? Maybe it's better to lose this stupid game. That way, I don't have to worry about winning or losing and I've already lost most of my most precious memories anyways." He said with a sad smile on his face. He really thought he meant those words, but a little voice in his mind kept on reminding him what his wish was, how important his wish was. He couldn't handle the pressure anymore, the betrayal of his best friend and the shame of losing so badly really got to him. That's why he wanted that little voice to keep quite, why he NEEDED it to keep quite. So he kept on going.

"Who will miss me if my personality disappears? Not okaasan (mother) or otousan (father). My friends will find someone else to take my place and we haven't been close in years." The moment those last words came out of his mouth, he regretted it. He shouldn't have said those words out loud, but he did and he couldn't take them back. Well, he could, but that would be lying and he couldn't lie to his sister, could he?

"I will find another dream." He declared, not at all convinced of that statement himself. When Rui and Sora arrived at home, their parents were waiting on them. They wanted to make sure that Rui was alright, so she could go back to study, and they wanted to yell at Sora for disturbing his sister's studying. A normal person of his age would be sad and would possibly cry, maybe they would even be depressed, but Sora didn't care about their yelling. What he actually cared about, was that it was the first time in a long while that his parents were talking to him. Actually talking to him, instead of giving him some sort of command without even looking at him. He was even glad and happy to hear his parents yell. For that reason, a big smile appeared on his face, which made his parents even angrier.

"I am going to my room, okaasan, otousan." He said, completely ignoring his sister after all that had happened and not waiting for his parents to answer. He ran upstairs, towards his room, threw himself on the bed and started to cry. Wolf's card lied on the pillow, right next to Sora's head, but Wolf was still sleeping. "I guess my wish is not meant to come true after all."
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Ammokkx
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The walk back home was gloomy. The streets were darkened alongside the mood of both teenagers. Sora felt bad about the situation, that much was clear as Rui hear him talk. She couldn't say anything back to him. Not even when he commented on how they hadn't been close for years; the most she could muster was a soft "sorry" muttered between breaths. Actually getting home wasn't much better for the duo. Their parents began to yell at Sora. Rui cast her eyes to the floor.

'Stop it,' she thought to herself, gritting her teeth.
'It's not his fault. Why are you always blaming him?' those thoughts continued to rage, one after the other.
'Get angry me!'
'I'm the one that caused trouble!'
'Stop treating me like I'm special!'
Rui blamed herself in her head, over and over. But she couldn't muster any courage to talk back to her parents. She was part of the problem, just standing there and allowing them to heap the blame onto Sora.

"I am going to my room, okaasan, otousan." her brother said. Rui turned and tried to call his name, but she was ignored, leaving her stranded there with their mother and father.

"Go back to your room and study, Rui. We'll make sure he doesn't disturb you again tonight," her father told her. All she could do was nod. She went back to her room, shut the door behind her and then leaned against it, similar to how she had done when she'd sent Sora out of her room.

"Nee-chan? Are you okay?" Lumia spoke up from Rui's pocket. The commander took her avatar out, said avatar able to see the tired expression on Rui's face.
"...People at my school play this game, too. Against a normal person, I shouldn't have to worry about losing coins, right?" she asked of her avatar. Lumia was taken aback.
"Eh? Well, no, you don't, but... does this mean you're going to battle?" Lumia asked her. Rui just nodded. Lumia gave her a serious look. "...And your wish?" she asked. Rui closed her eyes.
"My wish is..."
~The next day~

Normally Rui spent her lunch breaks going over her notes as soon as she got done eating, but today was a little different. Her school wasn't old-fashioned enough to lack a cafeteria, so she'd managed to find a spot there to sit down. Rui had already finished her meal and was taking time to sort through something else she'd brought to school: her deck. Box half-opened on the table, Rui carefully went through her cards one-by-one to understand what they all did. Lumia had her own little corner on the table, eyes upturned at Rui's focused gaze, but she was uncharacteristically silent. There wasn't much point to talking to her commander; if nobody else could hear Lumia, Rui would look silly if she started talking to some cardboard. So she observed.

Turns out, though, that Lumia was far from the only person observing Rui. "Hey, you're Kadomori right?" she'd get asked from a girl who approached her. Like Rui, she'd recently bought a deck to play with, but had trouble asking around for anyone to play with her. The two practiced against each-other. The longer the game went on, the more people started to crowd around Rui's table, another pair even settling down next to her to start a game of their own.

'...No commanders, huh?' Rui thought to herself. She got her bearings on the game, but she couldn't get what happened the day before out of her mind. It didn't affect her much; she won pretty handily against the other beginner. The game came so... naturally to Rui. She had to stop more to explain the rules to her opponent than she had to actually think about her own moves.

"Hey, she might be a genius at this!"
"It"s just beginner's luck, dude..."
"I didn't know Kadomori was into Nexus. Never seen her do something besides study."

Chatter surrounded Rui. People started arguing who should play against who next. Some of them wanted to try their luck against Rui, others wanted to help the other girl out. Only Lumia's voice, however, made a chill run down Rui's spine.

"Nee-chan! I feel a commander!" Lumia warned her. Rui couldn't answer; it'd be too suspicious, but she raised her head and looked through her crowd. One person wormed their way through the rest. The sight of them made Rui's hairs stand on-end.

"Rui! You play too?" Haruto asked her with a gentle smile, as if they'd never met yesterday. Even without Sacchi's snickering Rui had seen through the act well enough. "Would you like a match with me? I'm sure I could teach you some things," he politely offered. Haruto knew that with a crowd this size, Rui had a hard time making a scene.

"Haha... sorry, I think I'm done already, actually." was her answer. Polite, but firm. Rui stood up from her seat to collect her things. "Thank you for your company, everyone!" she said. some of the guys protested, insisting she stuck around, but Rui was equally insistent on leaving. On getting away from him. She couldn't believe he went to the same school as her. Haruto stuck around for a bit, chatting, giving some tips to the other newbie as she played against someone else, before leaving as well. The crowd- particularly the boys- talked about it a bit longer.

"So cold!"
"Weird how she leaves just when when Takahashi gets here."
"Maybe I should ask Kadomori out after school..."
"You don't have a chance with that frost queen, dude."
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Confused. Down in the dumps. Afraid. There were a lot of words that could describe how Sora felt the moment he woke up the next day and at the same time, there were none. He had to crawl his way out of bed, to the closet to dress himself, downstairs and finally out of the door. Wolf wanted to tell him that he should eat something. He wanted to tell him that losing one time wasn't such a big deal. He wanted to tell him that he would get back at Haruto for his behaviour. However, not even a sound escaped his throat. The Avatar looked at his Commander with a sad expression on his face, not sure if Sora was planning to ever battle again.

For once, he didn't care about his friends or the girls surrounding him. He ignored all of them and when he didn't ignore them, he simply nodded yes or no without giving much of an explanation of what happened.

"I had a bad dream."
"I had a big fight at home."
"I am having a hard time keeping up with the homework."
"I am just having a bad day."
"It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
"I just have a cold or something."


He made up a lot of excuses, a lot of lies, to silence the others, but it didn't work. None of them believed him and they kept on pushing him to tell them what's wrong. So he went on to sit alone during the lessons and even sit alone during lunch, not that he decided to eat much of the food. Although Wolf knew that Sora couldn't answer him where normal people, the ones who aren't Commanders, could see him, but it didn't stop Wolf. "Come on, Sora-sama! Let's battle! Let's fight! Let's learn about the rules! Maybe you can ask your sister to ..." He didn't dare to finish that sentence. The moment the words 'your sister' came out of his mouth, Sora looked straight at him. If looks could kill ...

After a couple of minutes, he started to notice the crowd surrounding Rui. He didn't know if he should have been glad that she was a lot better at the game than he was or that people finally started to notice her. He didn't know if he should have been jealous or angry. But the moment that Haruto approached Rui, he knew exactly what he felt: anger. He waited for the guy to walk away from the crowd, after which he quickly ran up to him.

"You want me to bless me with a win again? That's so sweet of you." Haruto said on a polite tone, knowing that they were still in public and he couldn't afford to ruin his image.

"You know that's not what I am here for!"
"Then why are you here?" He said, playing dumb.
"I want you to stay away from my sister! I am not going to let you do to her what you did to me!"
"That wouldn't work. She is a lot better at the game than you are. She probably wouldn't fall for the same tricks."

Those last words were the last straw. He couldn't take the guy's attitude anymore. His anger took complete control over his body and he finally punched him right on his nose. That's when a lot of eyes started to direct towards the two guys. People started to talk. "I thought those two were close friends." Most people said.

The guy, usually very popular, ran away from the cafeteria. "Sora-sama, they're gone. You can stop running. Sora-sama? Sora-sama!" Wolf yelled, which finally made Sora come to a stop. He could still feel the angry looks from other students. In their eyes, Sora was the bad guy.

Sora laid down on the grass with his hands underneath his head and his gaze directed at the sky. He let out a big sigh when Wolf disturbed the silence Sora was enjoying so much. "Sora-sama! I feel a Commander nearby!" A confident girl walked towards Sora with a big smile on her face. Sora looked up to see who it was, but laid back down calmly when he recognized the girl.

"Sora-kun!" She yelled, laying down beside him. "How are you?" She said playfully.
"Natsuko-chan. Bad." He said with a soft smile on his face. Her presence was a great comfort.
"I really liked that punch. You know he's bleeding, right? It's so perfect."
"I know you can't stand him, but he used to be my best friend."
"Yeah, used to. Hey, I didn't know you were a Commander."
"I am not very good at it and I am certainly not in the mood to battle."
"That's alright."

A silence followed after those last words from Natsuko. A silence where Sora and Natsuko were laying close enough to each other for their shoulders to be touching and were both simply enjoying looking at the sky.
Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Ammokkx
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"Nee-chan? Why didn't you battle him?"

Lumia's question was late and delayed, but she hadn't gotten a chance to ask before Rui had retreated back to her classroom. Lessons would resume soon, though, and a couple of Rui's classmates had returned as well. So, instead of answering her verbally, Rui began to scratch her pencil against some notepaper, scribbling down her response.

"Got a feel for this deck. Can't win. Needs more cards."

Rui made sure to hold Lumia in front of the paper so she could see. The girl in the card crossed her arms. "Do you think so? That other girl seemed to struggle against you, though..." she replied in turn. Rui wrote down her answer again.

"She had a starter deck too. Haruto won't." she wrote. Rui looked up at the clock hanging in her classroom, nibbling on the back of her pencil. "I'll battle to win" she continued to scribble, "and I'm going to the card shop after school. He won't get away with hurting Sora." Lumia scratched her cheek, shifting nervously within the confines of her card. She looked like she had something to say. "What's wrong?" Rui asked her in writing.

"Well, your deck... it's not actually..." Lumia slowly tried getting to the point, but she shook her head before finishing the thought. After letting out a deep breath, Lumia gave Rui her most cheerful smile. "Nevermind. I'm just a little impatient to get our revenge, y'know?"

Rui's own expression softened after hearing those words. She wanted to thank Lumia, but the bell rang. Time was up. Rui quickly folded up the notepaper she scribbled on and put it away in her bag so she could dispose of it later. For now, she'd focus on her lessons. Then after that...
~After school~


Rui leaned back against the entrance of the school. She took out her phone to text Sora.

"I'm going to buy some cards. It's near the station, right? If you want to" was as far as she got before noticing the murmurs of students nearby. She thought she heard her name, so Rui perked up her ears and listened in.

"...had a fight."
"No way! With Haruto?"

Rui narrowed her eyes. What were they on about, she wondered? Rui stood up and left the table, sure, but neither of them raised their voices. Unless... "Good evening. Were you talking about me?" she asked of the duo of juniors.

"Oh! Senpai?" one of them reacted with surprise, not having seen Rui standing just a little ways away. "Oh... right, you're Kadomori-kun's older sister," the other murmured.

"You were talking about Sora?" she asked the two of them. One nodded and explained how rumor has it Sora got into a fight with Haruto during lunch break, but never got sent to the student guidance counselor. Rui's face turned into a frown.

"Don't joke about that. Sora would never," she defended his honor, even though it slowly dawned on her why he might've done so. In the back of her head she was already cursing that idiot for making a scene at school, but cursing herself more for not keeping an eye on Haruto. "Don't spread any more nasty rumours about my brother. If he steps out of line, I'll scold him for it myself." she warned the two first years. Rui made her way out of the school gates and opened her phone again. She edited her in-progress message.

"I'm going to buy some cards. Try to stay out of trouble, okay? I'll see if I can't pick something up for you, too."

Rui pocketed her phone when the message had been sent, then pulled up her scarf a little. She'd been on-edge all day and this new information only made the chill of the wind bite harder. Lumia had been quiet for a while, too, but maybe she didn't have something to say in the first place. Rui's eyes drifted to the sky. The weather had been nice for most of the day, but a bank of clouds was rolling in.

'Well, I guess the weather will suit me soon...' she thought to herself. Hopefully it didn't rain... if it did, she would be stuck inside that shop until the weather passed or she was forced to leave. She couldn't imagine what her parents would think if she came home drenched.

"Oh, right... mom would want to know if I'm back late," Rui mused to herself out loud. She sent her mother a text. Her phone would buzz periodically after that, almost like clockwork. Endless questions about where she was, what she was doing and telling her to come home as soon as possible. Well, that was what she was assuming in any case. Rui ignored it and kept walking.
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School ended some time ago, but Sora and Natsuko were still laying in the same pile of grass, looking at the sky. Sora put his hands underneath his head, while Natsuko decided to take her avatar out of her pocket. She put the card next to Wolf, whose card was leaning against a rock in order to be able to see the two Commanders. Natsuko's avatar was a cute, blond girl named Ema who wore a cute, blue suit and who had her hair up into two pigtails. The two avatars easily got along. They were talking, whispering, so silent that even the two Commanders couldn't hear them. Not that Natsuko or Sora were paying attention to anything else than each other.

"It's fun to hang out with Sora. He's cool. But I hate that I have to lie to him."
"Hai. Natsuko is so sweet. I know we have to lie, but it feels wrong. Nyaaa."
"What is Natsuko's wish?"
"It's ... Nyaaa!!"

Wolf's mouth fell open out of surprise. He was silent. Speachless. Shocked. That's Natsuko's wish? A voice inside of his head told him that he needed to warn Sora and keep him away from Natsuko, but he wasn't planning to listen to the voice. Natsuko seemed to really comfort Sora. He liked being around her. She respected him and treated him well. She would only be a danger if her wish came true and that probably wasn't going to be soon.

Sora took a deep breath and turned his head in Natsuko's direction. Their lips were a couple of millimeters away from each other. They were so close, yet so far away. He came closer and closer and right on the moment that he could feel their lips touching, his phone vibrated. He pulled back, preventing the supposed to be romantic kiss that otherwise would have occurred.

Stay out of trouble? She probably heard about the punch in Haruto's face. Why would she ask him to stay out of trouble if she didn't hear it? His breathing became heavier. It wasn't up to her to decide what he could and couldn't do. "She is going to bring you some cards too? Your sister is so sweet." Wolf suddenly said, after secretly looking at the text on Sora's phone. "She probably only said it, because my bad reputation would ruin her good reputation. She only cares about her books." He tried to convince the other Commander and the two avatars, but mostly himself.

"Why does it matter? Let's go on a walk, just the two of us." She said, smiling at him. Sora nodded agreeingly. "Let's go." He said. "I hate this day." He took Wolf in one hand, so he could see where they were going, and Natsuko's hand in the other. Natsuko did the same with her avatar, Ema.

"Nyaaa!!"
"You're such a cute neko! So kawaii..."
"What's wrong, Ema?"
"Your hand is sweating."

Natsuko raised her arm in order to look at Ema. She wanted to yell at her, but was thrown off balance when Sora laughed. "You two are amazing together." Ema put her hands on her cheeks, closed her eyes, shook her head and blushed. "We are. Nyaaa." Natsuko smiled and lowered her arm. "Let's go to my house." Natsuko's parents owned a small café in the middle of town. There weren't many customers with the bad weather, which means that they had the whole place to themselves. Sora ordered a hot chocolate and Natsuko simply ordered the same thing. The two of them said across from each other holding hands. Their avatars laying on the table.
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"Welcome," the store clerk greeted Rui as she pushed open the card shop's door. She looked around a bit and then walked up to him, noticing the guy behind the counter wasn't much older than her. He also had a really angry-looking face. "Ah, I haven't seen you here before, he noted before asking Can I help you with something?" of Rui.

"Ah... well..." Rui hesitated a bit before explaining her situation. The store clerk attentively nodded and started looking through stock.

"Yellow and green, huh...? If you're looking for a quick power-up, you probably want..." he trailed off a bit, before coming up with a few varied products. "Normally you'd want singles, but since you're still building your collection, buying packs is the way to go. You can either go for boxes or..." he began to ramble off, admittedly going quicker than Rui could keep up with. The clerk explained the differences in each set, what cards she could expect to get and what those cards would do for a deck. Rui looked over all of them, nibbling her thumb a little as she considered her pocket money.

'I don't have that much money, but if it's for Sora...' she thought to herself. After a few seconds longer of such deliberations, Rui steeled herself and looked up at the clerk. "I'll take one booster box of both of these," she told him. After checkout Rui seated herself at one of the tables to open her collection, tearing open one pack after the other. She read each card carefully, even off-colour ones, to see if they were any help. Most weren't of much use to her, but one stuck out in particular. "Colour boost..." she muttered to herself, taking out her own deck and sorting through her cards. If she coupled that with some of the other cards she'd gotten so far, then maybe...

Her thoughts were disturbed as she heard the store clerk yell "Welcome!" to someone new who'd stepped in. Rui looked up to see who it was, a little surprised at who it was. That person, in turn, seemed to notice Rui.

"So we meet again." the masked boy from the day prior said to her.
"Oh? You're friends with her, Nanashi?" the clerk chimed in again. Rui looked back at them.
"Nanashi...? Like 'No name'?" she asked.
"Something like that. He comes by often, but never told anyone his real name," he answered back. The clerk looked up at Nanashi. "Hey, why don't you play with our new customer a bit? She's recently gotten into Nexus, just like you."

Nanashi turned his head to Rui. "I see... so you too, then." the boy said. He walked into the store and took the seat opposite of Rui's.

Lumia looked up to her partner. "He's not a Commander, Nee-chan. It's okay." she reassured her. After Lumia opened her mouth, though, Nanashi's gaze shifted to her. It made both Commander and Avatar tense up for a moment, thinking he could her Lumia.

"Is that your Avatar?" he asked. Rui nodded. A mysterious "I see." was all the reply she got after that. The mask made it hard for Rui to know what the boy was thinking. Could he hear Lumia, or was she just imagining it? He unnerved her, even more when she thought back to yesterday. Nanashi had talked to her about memories, after which Lumia and Rui met. It's almost as if he knew this would happen, but without being a commander himself...

Lumia, being the empath she was, could feel the tension coming off Rui. "You wanted to test your new deck, right? Battle him. I'm sure it'll work out!" Lumia reassured her. Rui closed her eyes for a bit in thought. When she opened them again, Rui gave Nanashi a smile.

"I hope you don't mind that I'm just a beginner," Rui told him.

After cleaning up her mess and laying a play mat on the table, both Rui and Nanashi played against one-another. Nanashi's Avatar was Green, which reminded Rui of Sora. Unlike Sora, however, his deck was much slower. It didn't lay out many attackers and Nanashi spent most of his time blocking and gathering cards. Rui had the upper hand for most of it.

"Seraph and Gleipnir," Rui said with focus. Nanashi countered her Attackers. She didn't stop pressing her advantage, but Rui could feel the game slipping away from her.

"I place Divine Knight Yggdrasil on the field. Diana, my avatar, evolves at no cost."
"A level three attacker..." Rui muttered in awe. She moved her own cards into the trash due to Diana's effect. Once her turn came around, Rui knew she had nothing left. Rui put down her cards. "I lose," she plainly told Nanashi. "I guess my deck still needs more work..." Rui mused to herself.

"Are you that quick to give up?" her opponent asked. Rui narrowed her eyes. Nanashi spoke up again: "If you're only doing this half-heartedly, then stop it. In order to win... in order to keep winning... you need to have the resolve to see things through to the end. Until the bitter end..." Nanashi's voice trailed off as he, looked up at the roof.

"...Aren't you being a bit dramatic? Nexus is just a game," she retaliated.
"It's more than just a game to me. I thought it would be the same for you, but... I guess you're different from her after all," Nanashi countered. He gathered his cards, got up from his seat and turned back to the clerk. "I'll drop in again later. I didn't have much time today," he told them before walking out of the store. Rui sighed.

"Strange guy, huh? Don't feel too bad at losing. He's the store's number one player," the older boy told Rui.

"No joke..." Rui replied with exhaustion. She leaned back in the chair, looking down at her cards still strewn about.

"...What do you think, Nee-chan?" asked Lumia. "Do you think you could win against another Commander now?"

Rui picked up Lumia's card and held it in front of her face. "I wonder about that...? Let's try to find one together."

"...!" Lumia was surprised at first, muttering "So you really..." before giving Rui a determined nod. "Leave it to me, Nee-chan!"

Rui cleaned up her table and left the store. She first looked up at the sky. It was grey, but no rain had fallen yet. Then, Rui looked down at her hand. She opened her palm, two shining coins among a pile of black ones.

'...Sora only has one of these now. It's time to get to work.'
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Natsuko dominated the conversation with Sora by talking about all kinds of Nexus battles that she had witnessed and fought. Apparently, the girl had been a Commander for quite some time. Sora wasn't really in the mood to think, hear or talk about Nexus, but Natsuko sounded so passionate that he didn't want to interrupt her. She had six out of seven coins, but she also lost two times already. In other words, her next Nexus battle determined the rest of her life. It really was a life or 'death' situation for her. That's why she tried to avoid that last Nexus battle for as long as possible.

"Look, I know that you don't want to hear it right now, but it would be great if my last battle was to you!"
"It would be great, because you would win with absolute certainty and you won't lose all of your memories."
"You're funny. But I swear that's not the only reason."
"Of course not. It's because you love ..."
"Battles! Battles! I love battles!"
"Nice safe. Nyaaa!"

Natsuko looked very angry at Ema, while Ema couldn't stop laughing. Sora couldn't understand what was going on at all. "Sora... Sora..." Wolf suddenly whispered. "What? You're ruining the mood." Sora answered in a whisper without taking his eyes of Natsuko, who was holding Ema's card in her hand. "There is something wrong with that girl. I don't think that you're safe with her. It's a feeling I have." Sora didn't want to hear anything that Wolf had to say. Wolf was right about Haruto. He was right about the strategy Sora should have used in the battle with Haruto. But Wolf was wrong about Natsuko. Natsuko was just a sweet girl who had Sora's best interest at heart.

Wolf sighed loudly and clearly annoyed. "Come on. That girl is obsessed with you. It isn't healty." Wolf's words actually made Sora angry. "What are you talking about? She is just being nice." Natsuko put Ema down and continued to talk about all of the stories that she could tell about Nexus, the wishes she heard about and saw come true, the people who lost their last memory right before her eyes. "Look, Natsuko. I think it's getting a bit late. Maybe I should think about going home." Sora said, finally giving in after receiving a lot of other warnings from Wolf. Wolf himself sighed relieved. "You're really going home? Already?" Sora nodded and gave Natsuko a big hug before leaving the house.

"Goodbye. Nyaaa!" Sora yelled at Wolf for being so rude the whole walk home and Wolf didn't try to defend himself. He didn't talk back. He didn't say a word. He knew that he succeeded in protecting his Commander... for now.
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"You're a Commander, aren't you?"

Rui, at the town square, was stopped dead in her tracks when she heard a voice call out from behind her. She turned around, finding the source to be a girl around her age, or maybe just a little younger. Rui raised up Lumia's card to show it to her would-be challenger. "Mhm. I've been looking for some others." she said. The slightly younger girl had a confident grin on her face, but Rui's was placid. Rui followed the other girl, out of the public's sight. They found themselves standing in a small side street not many people pass through.

"Open."


A thick fog set in around the two girls, obscuring their surroundings. No sooner than it had arrived was it gone again, the duo transported to the battlefield. A sea of yellow mist was continuously shifting below Rui's feet, some of it making it onto her platform and tickling her leg.

"So it's this place again..." Rui muttered to herself. When she went to look for Sora, Rui was made to watch from the sidelines. Now she stood on her own platform. The girl was almost indifferent as she calmly looked around, eyes lazily scanning from one end to the next. Rui's two coins appeared above her head, three for her opponent. Somehow, in this battlefield, Rui felt at ease. The reason why... she just couldn't place it. She turned her head down to the table in front of her. There, for the first time, she saw her Avatar in their own body. Lumia was standing proudly, outside of the card Rui always carried around. Rui gave her a soft smile and said: "Lumia. Can I count on you?"

Lumia turned hear head over her shoulder and smiled back. "Leave it to me!" was all the confirmation needed between the two of them. The hands of the massive clock above their heads turned to yellow, signifying Rui got the head start.

After her Color Charge, Rui wasted no time in calling forth an attacker. The turn passed to her opponent, who's own attacker forced Rui to reveal a card in her hand. As the battle went on, Rui's hand and deck were slowly chipped away at. Her cards were shaved off one at a time. Rui's situation looked desperate at a glance, but in actuality none of the cards discarded were hindering her plans. Rui remained calm and managed to easily play through it, even turning around the effects on her opponent's head with a well-timed Trap card.

"W-what's wrong with this girl?" Rui's opponent nervously began to murmur. "I've been doing nothing but attacking her this whole time, but she remains so calm...!"
"She's... looking past us," the girl's Avatar, draped in a cleric's robe, chimed in. "It's like we're not even on her mind..."

"Cherub's effect lets me use two yellow to set Angel's Strike back from the Trash onto the field," Rui calmly ignored the duo. She set up her counter to their strategies, ensuring her own safety. Rui looked up from her board. "You've won before, right?" she suddenly asked of her opponent.

"What's it to you?" the girl bit back at Rui. Their Avatar worriedly looked up to her Commander.

"What kind of opponent were they?" Rui asked.
"Nee-chan?" Lumia looked back to Rui, who didn't answer her. The face of the opponent on the other side of the field darkened.
"That's not your business," their answer sounded, "and you should be more worried about yourself. You only have-"
"...two coins. And my brother only one." Rui interrupted and finished the opponent's sentence for her. "Someone took advantage of him in his first battle. He trusted that person, yet they betrayed that trust..." she mused to herself. "One of us risks losing something precious each time we enter this field... my brother, me and you..."

Rui threw her head back and looked up, being met with the endless black void up above. "Back then, I was really angry about that. But somehow... now that I'm here, none of that seems to matter to me."

Rui's opponent was unnerved by her. But it wasn't just them: Lumia, too, could feel something was wrong. She didn't want to say anything, but the musing Rui had something cold and unfeeling in her eyes. They were like that Haruto's eyes. Lumia turned back and put her gaze towards the floor. "I think... we'll win in just two turns, Nee-chan," she told her commander, focusing back on the battle to get her mind off of the situation. Rui moved her gaze down again to look at Lumia and paused. She closed her eyes.

"...No. It's over by the next one," she said with absolute certainty.
"Aren't you confident?" the girl on the other side snippily said back. She shored up her defenses, seemingly an attempt to avoid Rui's prediction. When the next turn came around, Rui only briefly looked at her drawn cards.

"I think I understand it a little now..." she whispered under her breath, "what it means to fight for a wish." Rui raised up her head and threw forward her hand. "I'm using two Incantations: Colour boost and Heaven's Gate. The first gives me another Colour to use this turn... the second sends your field to the Trash."

Rui's yellow colour gathered and spiralled together, up and away from her table. Its collective light pierced through the three cards on the other girl's field. "N-No... you didn't have those cards earlier! They weren't in your life, or your hand..."

"...Nee-chan drew them," Lumia answered in Rui's stead. She closed her eyes for a little while. 'It's like she said. It'll be over now. But she couldn't have known that she'd draw Heaven's Gate...' Lumia pondered to herself.

"You have a wish worth fighting for, right?" Rui asked her opponent. "What is it?"

The other girl went quiet. "That's... not your business," she curtly replied.

"I... guess not. Full attack."
Rui shuffled along the road back home, one hand holding Lumia and the other her now-three coins. Lumia was fast asleep, exhausted after the ordeal. Even if Rui wanted to talk to Lumia, her voice would never reach the Avatar. Even so, Rui whispered "Thank you." to her.

Rui looked back at her three coins. She watched one of the other girl's turn black before her eyes, which meant Rui must have taken a memory of hers. It left her conflicted, but she didn't have a choice. Everyone was fighting for something, but Rui still didn't know about anyone's wish. The only ones she knew about were hers, and...

"Sora?" she muttered to herself when she thought to hear a familiar voice. There, on the other side of the road, was her brother. Rui stood still for a second, frozen with both Lumia and her coins in hand. Sora seemed to have noticed her at the same time she had him, since the boy was staring at her equally puzzled. Rui closed her palm so the coins would vanish and rushed on over to him with a smile. She was closer to their house than he was, but Rui didn't care too much- she just ran right past it.

"Sora! I thought you'd be home already... no, nevermind that! I went to the card shop, like I said. I put aside the ones I think your deck could maybe use! Here, let me look through my bag for you..." she excitedly began to share with him. Instead of waiting to show them to him inside, Rui eagerly started rummaging through her bag to find the cards she'd bought for the two of them.
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After some time, Sora suddenly went unusually quiet. "She was strangely happy." Wolf looked at Sora with a questionable look in his eyes. "What do you mean, Sora-sama?" Sora sighed. "Of course she was just acting nice and all, but she wasn't acting like the girl I used to know... The girl I used to lo... She was acting weird, alright?" Wolf sighed too. So he did see it, huh? "Don't worry about it, it's... it's... probably... nothing." Wolf was usually very cheerful, but this time around... he couldn't even act as if he believed his own words.

Sora started to think. There was something about that girl, something he couldn't remember. Did she also act that... obsessive - to put it in Wolf's words - towards him in the past? He just couldn't remember. He even got a headache from just thinking about it. What was she like in the past? Was she somehow related to the memories he had lost? If that were the case, would they even be good memories of her?

At some point, he noticed Rui and she noticed him. She even started running towards him, but he wasn't in the mood to talk. "That's good, Rui." He blurted out, but after he noticed the look in Wolf's eyes, he decided to change his answer. "I mean... That's very thoughtful, Oneesan." He smiled softly.
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"That's good, Rui."

Those three words, said on impulse, shot like a bullet through Rui's heart. Rui froze up a bit, pausing her rummaging. When Sora decided to change his sentence to be a bit less direct, only then did Rui quickly pull her hand out of her bag and looked up to meet his gaze.

"Ah... n-no, it's fine." she replied gently, if a bit shaken. "I'm sorry, I just kind of acted on my own. I didn't ask if you even wanted to see them after all, haha..." she nervously laughed to try and play it off.

'Sora doesn't want to talk to you.'

Rui turned her head to look back at their house. "We probably shouldn't talk outside like this," she said, but added on "though I don't really want to go inside either." at the end.

'Stop bothering him.'

Rui folded her arms behind her back and gave her brother the most confident smile she could. "...So! Forget about what I've been up to. Was your day anything special?" she asked of him, then turned her sights Wolf to give him a wink. "Don't keep anything a secret or I'll get Wolf-kun to tell me all about it!"
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Sora felt hurt inside, seeing how uncomfortable his sister was acting. That's why he needed to battle. That's why he needed to win. If he were to win, then he could wish for Rui and him to be like a REAL brother and sister again: playful, loving and caring. He needed to win, although he had absolutely no idea how he was supposed to do that. Now that he was thinking about it, what was the reason that his sister wanted to battle? He had never asked and he wasn't going to either, because if he did ask, he had to tell her his wish and he was NOT ready to talk about it with her of all people.

"I'm sorry. I'm just not good at games like these, so they frustrate me. Thank you for helping me with my deck, I'm sure I'll be able to become better with your help." He said with a wink, faking happiness. "I... I had a weird night with that girl, Natsuko. But let's not talk about that." Wolf started to chuckling. "They are in looooooove." He pretended his usual playfulness, but inside worrying about that girl's obsession over Sora. However, Sora couldn't laugh with the joke and gave Wolf an angry look.

"Let's go home." Wolf said, shocked by his own willingness to go home to that hell.
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"Home, huh...?" Rui repeated after him. She really didn't want to go back. It was funny; moments ago she was ready to walk through the door that was only a few houses removed from them. Now that she'd ran into her brother, though, Rui just wanted to run away again. She wanted to keep talking to him here outside, keep being free from her burdens. She knew it couldn't be that way. "I guess we should. It's getting a bit late," she agreed with Sora, turning around. "Mom's probably going to be mad that I got back late, so... just let me go in first, okay?"

The two walked the rest of the street down to their own home, but Rui insisted on being through the door first. "We're back," she shouted through the door, took off her shoes in a hurry and made absolutely sure she was in the house quicker than Sora was. As to be expected, their mother was quick to intercept Rui in the middle of the hallway. She didn't immediately spare a glance in Sora's direction.

"Where have you been?" she asked, "Why didn't you respond to my texts?" she demanded answers, "Your father and I were worried about you." she chastised. All of her attention, all of the questions, they went straight to Rui.

"I'm sorry, mom..." Rui initially apologised, but managed to weave in something else: "Actually, it was Sora that picked me up to come home. He said I should still study, so..."

Their mother narrowed her eyes at Rui. She glanced over in her son's direction, then back at Rui. "Next time, you should come straight home. And besides..." her mother continued to lecture. Rui grit her teeth.

"...shouldn't you thank Sora, mom? Without him, I..."
"He's not important! You should just focus on your studies and..."

...Rui really did hate it here. She endured her mother's lectures, stood there patiently and took the verbal bashing, even long after Sora had left. No matter what she tried, she couldn't get her parents to acknowledge their own son at all. She hated them. She really hated them. Rui couldn't do a thing about it. She endured and endured until she was finally released from the iron grip of her mother's tongue.

"Dinner will be ready soon, so go get changed."
"...Yes, mom."

Rui slumped back to her room, defeated. She closed her door behind her, took a seat on her bed and pulled out Lumia's card. The girl was still sleeping peacefully.

"You... you'll make my wish come through, right?" Rui muttered. She began to sniffle, "I-It'll def-finitely *hic* come true, right...?" and sob. Rui clutched Lumia's card to her chest, let herself fall onto her side and cried. "What... what can I even do?"
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Sora sighed. Why did he ask her to go home instead of asking her to spend more time together? He really wanted to and she seemed like she wanted that too, but it couldn't be like that. He needed to win in order for it to finally be like that again. He didn't say anything anymore, he just nodded at Rui and followed her to their house. She insisted on going in first and he didn't refuse as it didn't really matter if he went in first or second, his parents wouldn't pay any attention to him. His parents didn't care at all if Sora was early or late. They didn't care or even notice when Sora didn't even come home at all.

Sora listened at his mother's yelling towards Rui for a bit before going upstairs to their room. He wanted to stand up for his sister, tell their parents that they didn't need to be so angry at her, that she didn't deserve all of that, that they needed to give her more freedom. Why didn't he tell them? Probably because he didn't feel like it would matter. His parents would never listen to anything that Sora had to say. They would ignore him and keep on yelling.

Eventually, he heard Rui slam her door closed. Their mother yelled at her for a long time, Sora noticed. Sora threw himself on his bed and held Wolf's card into the air. "Is our situation ever going to change, Wolf? Are we ever going to be like a normal family?" Wolf thought about his answer for a moment. "If you wish for it and you win the battles, then you will get what you want. That's Nexus, Sora-sama." Wolf sounded as if he was repeating those words from a manual or something. "Rui didn't deserve all of that yelling." Wolf nodded in agreement. "Of course she didn't, but what will you do about it, Sora-sama?" Sora waited for a couple of minutes before entering Rui's room without knocking, closing the door behind him. "Teach me how to win."
Hidden 25 days ago 23 days ago Post by Ammokkx
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"Nee-...chan?"

The sound of Lumia's voice snapped Rui out of her sobbing. She slowly pulled Lumia's card away from her chest. The girl inside had only just woken up from her slumber. "...! Nee-chan, what's wrong?!" she immediately panicked upon seeing her commander's tear-stained self. Rui got up from her bed, grabbed a tissue or two to clean herself and only then gave her answer.

"S-sorry, it's... it's nothing, Lumia." sounded Rui's reply, cagey as always.
"It's not nothing! You were crying!"
"I'll be fine, Lumia. As long... as long as I keep winning," Rui muttered, her voice still a bit shaky.
Lumia felt a sharp pain in her heart when she heard her commander talk like that. "Nee-chan, you..." Lumia tried to force out an answer, but nothing came. She looked off to the side. "Do you really want to make it come true that badly...?" she whispered to herself. The air was heavy between the two of them.

The air being heavy wouldn't stop Sora from coming through the door unannounced, though. "Sora? -ow!" Rui yelped in surprise, hitting her ankle against the foot of her desk.

"Teach me how to win." Sora asked Rui, staring her straight in the eyes. She looked away immediately.

"E-even if you say that, right now is a little..." she uncomfortably shifted in place. Her brother had the most awful timing sometimes. Rui thought up of a good excuse though. As if remembering something all of a sudden, she said: "Sorry! I haven't changed out of my uniform yet, and, and mom gets really mad if I don't! I need to get changed for dinner, so-"

...which, while not untrue, also meant she had to un- and redress. Rui's face steadily grew more embarrassed as she kept digging her hole deeper and deeper. "Get out of my room for a minute, please!" she hurriedly ordered him, shoving Sora straight back out of the room and leaning against her closed door. Heart still pounding, Rui yelled "Sorry, Sora! I really promise to teach you after dinner, okay?!" through her door.

All of that just because she didn't want him to notice her swollen eyes.
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Something was off about Rui. Just a while ago, she was so happy to see Sora and when he got into her room, she literally pushed him out. He didn't believe a single word of the excuse she gave him. She was his sister, he could tell that it was a lie. Well... He didn't need her. He could figure it out for himself. If she didn't want to help him, then he would just have to figure it out all on his own. He shouldn't even be surprised that she didn't want to help him. The whole reason for him to battle was to win and wish to be as close to his sister as they were in the past. If they were close right there, then he didn't even need to battle.

Sora walked off to his own room, not even interested in dinner. He printed some explanations about the Nexus game off of the Internet, sat on the floor with Wolf laying beside him and read the rules... not understanding even a little bit of it. Games like these really weren't his strong suit. "Okay... So... On the board are seven cards, they are basically my life and if I lose all seven of them, I lose. Right?" Wolf nodded. "Well, you don't lose if you have no Life Cards left. You lose if you get attacked while not having any Life Cards left." Sora sighed. It was already getting pretty complex for him. "Okay... And you are at the center of the board. You start at level 0, but I can evolve you to level 3, right?" Wolf nodded again. "Yes, under the assumption that you meet the requirements for evolving, which differ from Avatar to Avatar." Sora sighed even deeper than before.

"Ohh... I'm never going to get this!" Sora leaned back and went to lie down on the ground on his back. Tears started streaming down his face. "I'm going to lose my last coin... which means that I'll forget every memory I had with Rui. Then we'll never be close again, because I won't even remember how important she is to me." Wolf looked sad. "No! Sora-sama! You won't lose your last coin! You can get this! Come on, what did you just read? Just repeat what you just learned." Wolf tried to smile through his sadness. He didn't like to see his friend like that.

"I have seven Life Cards. If I get attacked while not having any Life Cards left, then I die and lose the game. Meanwhile, you are the center of the board and the core of my deck. You start the game at level 0, but if I meet certain requirements, then I can evolve you to level 3 and you get stronger." Wolf's sadness disappeared and was replaced with a bright smile. "See! I knew you could get this, Sora-sama! Let's continue."
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Rui waited for a bit, made sure Sora had left and let out a sigh of relief. "I'll have to apologize later..." she muttered to herself, walking over to her closet to swap out her clothes. Once changed into something casual, Rui checked the date on her phone briefly. "We don't have school tomorrow, and I think mom's doing the laundry today..." she muttered, exiting her room so she could bring her uniform to the washing room. She passed by Sora's room on the way, pausing when she heard voices coming from it. She heard something about Life cards and Avatars.

'Sora's also trying his best, huh?' she mused to herself before continuing on her way. Rui bumped into her mother halfway down the stairwell.
"Dinner is ready." she told her daughter.
"I'll be right there. I'll let Sora know," Rui answered her, then rushed to drop off her laundry. Once that was done she returned up the stairs and knocked on Sora's room. "Sora! Dinner's ready," she said without opening the door. There wasn't much response, so Rui just assumed he wanted to be left alone for a little while.
'We're not eating together today, either?' she pondered to herself. When Rui heard her name called by their mother, though, she knew she had to run down to join her parents at the dinner table. Naturally, both didn't seem to mind all that much that Sora didn't show up. They'd just leave a portion for him to heat up at his discretion, like always.

Meals in the Kadomori household really weren't that much fun in the end.

Rui made sure to make her exit the first chance she got. Upon returning to her room, Lumia looked up at Rui. "Ah! There you are! I totally thought your forgot about me," the card-bound girl pouted.
"Sorry, sorry! Mom called me over." Rui explained herself. She rushed over to her bag and took out the box of cards she'd picked up earlier. "Let's go join Sora."

Unlike her brother, Rui had the decency to knock before entering. "I'm coming in, Sora!" she warned him, clutching everything she needed with one arm and closing the door behind her with the other. "I promised to help you out, didn't I?" she said to him with a gentle smile. She joined him on the floor without waiting for any of his input.

"Let me see, let me see... ah, are you looking at the rules again?" Rui commented. "I think it might be easier to learn by doing... I found somebody to practice with at school, but you haven't yet, right?"
"Ah, Nee-chan, wait!" Lumia said from Rui's pocket. Rui pulled her out. "If you're going to fight Sora, you can't use me or Wolf for your deck! If you do, it'll be a real fight!"
"Oh... is... is that so? Then if I could find another Avatar, would it be fine?"
"Mhm, I think so." Lumia replied.

Rui pulled open the booster boxes from the store and looked through the cards. She pulled a few avatars, but while there was a green one among them for Sora's deck, Rui couldn't find a yellow avatar to replace Lumia with. "It doesn't really work well with my deck, but if it's just to teach you the rules it should work, I think..." Rui muttered to herself as she divided the cards between them. She'd look at upgrading Sora's deck later once he actually got used to the rules a bit.

Lumia and Wolf, meanwhile, were placed against the wall on the far side. Their cards being propped up against it meant they could still see what was going on, just at a far enough distance so the two of them wouldn't accidentally have a fight as Commanders. Conveniently for them, it was also out of earshot while the siblings were talking.
"Nee-chan and Sora-kun are hopeless, aren't they?" Lumia asked wolf while pulling up her shoulders. "I swear, one moment they're squabbling and the next Nee-chan's scrambling for his attention... well, I guess I'm partly to blame for that. She probably wants to make up for the memories I stole," Lumia darkly muttered at the end.

"With our decks and avatars set, we can start playing. On the first turn I draw a card," Rui explained as she took the first move. She wanted to show Sora how the game was properly played. Next to drawing a card from her deck she also took a card off a smaller pile, placing it down on her field and showing its artwork. "Don't forget to play a colour card at the start of your turn! Without these we can't play any of our stronger cards, like this!" she explained, turning it on its side to bring forth a level 1 attacker to the field. Rui also set a level 0 from her hand.

"I can't attack on the first turn, but you could on yours. Now it's your turn to try it out, Sora!"
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Squirrel98

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Of course Sora heard Rui call for him to eat dinner downstairs, but he interpreted it as an invitation just to be polite, not actually wanting him there. That's why he ignored her and didn't even bother to go get the food from the kitchen. He kept on trying to understand the rules until Rui suddenly came in. He did hear the knock, but it came as a complete surprise to him that anyone would want to see him, especially his sister who previously pushed him out of her room. "Euhm... Oh... Yeah! Thanks!" He said with a bright smile on his face.

"I have to play without Wolf?" Sora said unsure of himself. Rui was surely going to be amazing at Nexus and she was going to laugh at him or feel sorry for him if she noticed how bad he actually was and he didn't want to hear or see that happening, although she had already witnessed his battle with Haruto. Meanwhile, Lumia and Wolf were able to talk without anyone hearing them. "Yeah... They are... If they would just talk with each other, really talk, then all of their problems would disappear."

Sora took a deep breath and looked at Rui playing her first turn. He was shocked at how easy the game came to Rui, even though he should have already known how well she played these kind of games. She still was very much at ease and even explained the game very clearly and patiently. "Okay, so I first draw a card. Then I play a colour card." Sora said as he put forth a level 1 attacker from the card pile and a level 0 attacker from his hand. "Then I guess I will attack your level 0 attacker with my level 1 attacker?" He whispered, looking straight into his sister's eyes as if he was searching for some kind of approval from her.
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