Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Ammokkx
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It wasn't very far to the duel table, a bit further back into the shop to separate the dining tables from the dueling area, but still with a clear enough shot for all the customers to watch. The hooded man had a mad grin on his face as he shuffled and set his deck on the table. "Ryuka... my Ryuka..." he kept muttering to himself, with 'Ryuka' taking the first turn of the duel. She was very quick on her moves, wasting no time in summoning her monster and setting three cards. "There it is... Ryuka's famous dragon deck! The undefeated dragon maid... I'm so unbelievably happy!" the man kept commenting. He looked down at the deck in front of him.

"That means it's my turn, right? This is great, so great... I draw," he said, picking up the top card. With another wicked smile he immediately placed it down on the table. "I'll set this monster I just drew," he clarified, then reached for his hand. "I'll also take this card right here to set on my field..." he continued. Sliding it forward and down on the table, the holograms projected onto his field formed a T-shape with the two card backs. "Turn end, my lovely Ryuka."
Hidden 1 yr ago 12 mos ago Post by JarOfGreed
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What a creep. The way he called her lovely made Aiya's skin crawl with the way he was speaking. She knew he had a bit of a crush on her. But there was no way she could of ever considered he'd get this bad. As she would look at his board. Unsure of his facedown monster she'd decide that perhaps it was best to not throw her eggs all in one basket.

"My Turn, I draw." 'Ryuka' would say as she would draw her next card from her deck with a bit of flourish. Immediately moving into her turn. "I'll change my Steam to defense position." She'd say as the aggressive water-like dragon would curl up in a more defensive posture. Its hue fading to a dull blue

Steam, Dragon ruler of droplets DEF 2000

"Next I'll Summon Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles In attack mode" She'd say placing down another of the Dragon King Dojo's cherished cards. The Cards that she had been instructed to safeguard by her forebears for the foreseeable.

Emerging onto the field a grey and brown stoney dragon without wings would crawl up from beneath some unseen soil taking its spot on the side of the field. Letting out a childish roar that sounded more cutesy then intimidating. As it would take a stance ready to attack.

Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles ATK 1800

"Lets start this off strong, Battle Phase. Reactan attack his face down card!" She'd declare as the tiny rock dragon would leap towards the hidden monster laying beneath the card. Ready to destroy whatever it came across.

Right as Reactan made contact with the face-down card, her opponent's delirious smile deepened ever so slightly. The card split in two underneath Reactan's weight, revealing a mass of discarded electronics underneath. They scattered to the side as Reactan plowed right through, giving way to the tiny little metal bug that had been hiding underneath. It shattered into pieces, but not before Reactan looked paralyzed from the impact.

Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles ATK 1800 > 1300

"That's no good, my Ryuka... when you destroy Electromagnetic bookworm, he'll decrease your dragon's attack and defense by 500 points!" he explained to her, then pointed down towards his other set card. [i]"And that's not the last of this... I activate my trap, Broken Blocker!"/i] the man continued. A card revealing Big Shield Gardna getting his shield pierced sprang open on the field, glowed, and out of it spewed more of the same electrical junk as before, this time two piles worth.

[i]"I can summon two more of my little bagworms when one is destroyed by battle... as long as that monster's defense is higher than its attack!"/i]

Electromagnetic bookworm x 2 DEF 1400, ATK 200

[i]"This means your turn is over right, my Ryuka? I'll show it to you on my next turn... the fruit of my passion! The level I've reached to make you mine!"/i] he dramatically speeched, his hands eagerly twitching to draw his next card.

This flamboyant display from her opponent and his overall creepiness would make 'ryuka' shudder. At the very least he wasn't her actual name. And just her job name. But god he was so creepy. It made her skin crawl. Apt given the deck her opponent was playing was full of creepy crawlies. She disliked the irony of that fact.

"Tch. I end my turn creep." she'd say passing it over to her opponent.
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"'Creep...' That's so mean, my Ryuka... but I'll show you soon enough. Soon I'll win this duel, and show you just how strong I am..." the man continued to drone on, slowly drawing his next card and grinning when he saw what it was. In between blinks Aiya could see a dark mist had enveloped the man again, like before. "I understand... you want to come out, don't you? We want to show her what you're like..." he mumbled to himself. "But not yet, not yet... it's not our turn yet. We have a much more important part to play."

The man added the card to the rest of his hand, then looked back at Aiya. The mist surrounding him dissipated again. "Haven't you realised it yet, my lovely Ryuka? On my field are two level 3 LIGHT Insect-type monsters... yes, level 3! When two or more monsters of the same level are on the field, I can do this!"

The man moved one of the bagworms' card over the other and, as he did, a vortex resembling a galaxy opened in the middle of the field. "Using my two bagworms to overlay, I can bring out a new monster! An Xyz monster!" he enthusiastically said. The two piles of junk on his field morphed into two shapeless bundles of light, then jumped into and mixed together inside the vortex. "Now... come on out, my first and favorite monster! Digital Bug Scaradiator!"

A bright flash of light blinded both players for a second, and from the portal, a rolling CPU fan shot out. It took to the sky, flying out of sight for a moment as a tiny blue beetle crawled out of the portal after it. When the fan came down, the bug caught it with its jaw, stopping the movement. It then scurried over the top of the fan, placing itself onto the other side and grabbing onto the electronic device with its hind legs.

Digital Bug Scaradiator: 1800 ATK

"I activate my trap card! Slip Summon!" Aiya would say as the card would rise up on her side of the field. Revealing its power to her opponent. As a dragon wearing a maid outfit would pop out onto her side of the field. "It allows me to summon a level 4 or lower monster in defense mode when you summon one!" She'd say. Eying the monster across from her. She hoped she hadn't made a mistake.

"The monster i summon is Parlor Dragonmaid!" She'd say pointing to her maid who would do a twirl before taking their defensive stance.

Parlor Dragonmaid DEF 1700

"Of course she has an effect when shes summoned, to allow me to send any dragonmaid from my deck to the graveyard" Aiya would say as she would look through her deck. "I choose Dragonmaid Lorpar" she'd say revealing the green dragon as she'd place it into her graveyard.

Still eying up her opponents strange mechanical bug.

"That's right, Ryuka... Keep playing with me, more and more..." the opponent mused again, reaching out for one of the cards in his hand. "But even as you summon more monsters, I'll just keep strengthening my own, with a field spell! I activate Bug Matrix!"

The area around the two duelists' monsters quickly shifted to a neon grid-based landscape, light and dark blues alternating. Orange streaks connected the monsters to various appliances and chips scattered on the board, as if the monsters themselves acted as the parts on the circuit. For Scaradiator, quite literally so as he nested his fan on top of the board and began spinning it around. The hooded customer gave a wicked smile. "With Bug Matrix, all my insects gain 300 ATK and DEF both..."

Scaradiator: 1800 > 2100 ATK

The customer reached out his free hand, palm open. "Now I'll battle! I'll use my Scaradiator to attack your weakened Reactan!" he shouted. Scaradiator spun his fan faster and faster to vent an overheating circuit beneath him. The fan couldn't keep up, though, as sparks ignited a fire on the board that soon shot its way toward Reactan, intending to burn him out.

Enshrouded by a lime-green glow, Aiya's dragonmaid would begin to shimmer. Its features began to shift, changing from a cute dragon girl eager to serve at the slightest convenience to a true dragon, strong and powerful. Lime-green feathered wings unfurled from the ball of light as she would take her position on Aiya's side of the battlefield.

"By the effect of my Parlor Dragonmaid, by returning her to my hand at the start of the battle-phase I can special-summon my Dragonmaid Lorpar!" Aiya would declare, Confident she would be ok due to its high attack power.

Dragonmaid Lorpar ATK 2700

"Now, don't think I'd let you destroy my monster so easily!" She'd declare activating another trick of hers as the card would raise up on her side of the field. "Attack Guidance Armor!" She'd declare, and upon her decleration, The Digital Bug that was attempting to destroy her monster would be blinded by the armor shattering in front of it, Causing the monster that its attack would be going towards to be Dragonmaid Lorpar instead. "It allows me to redirect your attack to Lorpar!"

"Kehehe... you fell for it!" the customer responded to Aiya's attempt at redirection. He slid his hand over the table to the black-bordered card he controlled. "Xyz monsters have one special property... the materials used for its summon also activate its effect, and you've allowed me to use mine! Scaradiator, force Lorpar to heel!"

Two shining, golden orbs floated into Scaradiator's jaw, who clamped down on them. Bathed in a hue of the same colour as those orbs, Scaradiator unfurled and spread its wings. The loud droning sound as Scaradiator lifted off made it clear how powerful the flapping of those wings was, if the strong gust created by it hadn't clued anyone in. The golden hue around Scaradiator flowed off its body and into those winds, colliding with Lorpar. Though she tried to resist, the gale forced her down onto the ground, a defensive posture while the monster itself turned blue to signal it going into defense position.

Dragonmaid Lorpar ATK 2700 > DEF 1700

The sparks redirected from Reactan to Lorpar connected. Though she may have been able to shrug it off before, her lower defense points made it so Lorpar succumbed to the flames that had ignited on impact. She still tried her best to shield Reactan, using her body as a barrier between Scaradiator and it, but ultimately closed her eyes and shattered into particles as she was destroyed.

Aiya's oppenent continued his turn with a confident grin. "This is fantastic... one less obstacle between me and my Ryuka... and to make sure of that, Scaradiator's other effect will now activate!" he enthusiastically shouted. The particles from Lorpar hadn't left the field, instead being scattered around. Scaradiator scuttled around the field, collecting them and rolling them up as they created a new, golden orb. "Any monster Scaradiator destroys will become its new overlay units... and now one more!" he said, picking up a different card from his hand. The circuit around the monsters activated, machine parts and LED lights kicking into gear. Another golden orb found its way to float around the customer's Xyz monster.

"Bug Matrix... with its effect, I gain another overlay unit by attaching a card in my hand... That's right, my Ryuka! I can use Scaradiator's effect over and over to force your monsters into another battle position! But even that doesn't end my turn..." he would continue, looking down at the last three cards in his hand. He placed one of them face-down on the field, then held up another one. "I know all about your deck... next turn, you can use the Parlor in your hand and call another dragon... so that's why I'll use Dragged Down Into the Grave!"

The customer dramatically revealed his card by flipping it in his hand. The field below them split in two as a chasm opened, with several ghostly hands clawing their way up from the depths of the world below. "Both players choose a card in their opponent's hand and discard it, then draw one more from the deck... but I have only one card to choose! I'll bury it together with your Parlor! Let's go together, Ryuka..."

The ghostly hands reach out to both players, grabbing both the cards the customer talked about. The card the customer discarded was the same as the one that he'd drawn for this turn, and as it got carried into the abyss, Aiya could just barely see it being a level 3 monster.

Both players drew a new card. The customer only briefly glanced at his. "Turn end, my Ryuka..."
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Having discarded her card and drawing a new one, Aiya was not in the best of spots, She was facing a monster that she didn't have much experience with, She knew it could activate its effects more but beyond that her knowledge of Xyz monsters was certainly not the best. She just needed to hold out as long as she could until chance dealt her the hand she needed.

The dark aura around her opponent was likely an indicator she was getting stressed, she could of sworn however that it had grown more apparent when it had absorbed her monster. As if satisfying some sort of appetite. As she'd breath slowly. She was above this. She wasn't a little kid anymore. A few blinks later and the Dark Aura was gone. Just a figment of her active imagination was all. These cards merely projected digital holograms. And the entire game was up to chance and strategy. She knew this.

"Draw." She'd declare as she took the card from her deck getting right back into the flow of her turn.

"I summon Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks" She'd say placing the monster onto her duel disk, yet another of the cards she received as part of her heritage taking its place on her side of the field. the small whelpling with sparks of flame falling off it like dust in the wind would float on her side of the field.

Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks ATK 1200

"Just because you've summoned a fancy monster that can absorb mine doesn't mean you've won. So wipe that smile off your face." She'd say bothered by her opponents sickening expression of 'love'

"I set one card and end my turn." She'd say disappointed she didn't yet have a way to deal with her opponents field.
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"Such cruel words, my Ryuka..." the opponent said back to her, drawing another card from his deck. His grin grew into a slasher smile upon seeing his next card. "Hahaha... hahaha! This is perfect! Ryuka, by the end of this turn, I'll have shown you why you should be all mine!" he declared, sliding out two more of Scaradiator's materials. "I use my two overlay units to change that Reactan of yours to defense position!" he declared, the same scene as with Lorpar unfolding once more.

Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles ATK 1300 > DEF 700

The customer was far from done. "But that's not all... I summon my Digital Bug Cocoondenser!" he shouted, one of the devices on the circuitboard flickering to life. A heat rejector, meant to help cool the system, acting as a cocoon for a digital bug nurtured inside. The circuit underneath supplied it some power to make it stronger.

Digital Bug Cocoondenser: ATK 0 > 300

"This one can deactivate itself, switching to defense in order to bring back another piece of hardware from the scrap heap... yes, the same one I discarded last turn! I'll summon Digital Bug Centibit!"

Digital Bug Cocoondenser: ATK 300 > DEF 2000
Digital Bug Centibit: DEF 500

"They're two level three monsters, my Ryuka... you know what that means, don't you?" the customer said, waggling his finger at Aiya. "I'll make sure you never forget... I overlay Digital Bug Cocoondenser with Digital Bug Centibit!"

The same wormhole as was used to summon his Scaradiator opened up, with both of the declared monsters turning into streaks of light to swirl together in its center of gravity. "I'll let you see it, my Ryuka... the power which I've obtained... our beautiful form!" he yelled, the dark mist from before coalescing alongside the light of his monsters. "Xyz summon! Appear, Number 20: Giga-Brilliant!"

With an explosion, a new being rose from the portal. It was initially sealed, folded in on itself as it rose from the depths. Once it had settled itself on the field it suddently began to unfurl, sprouting limbs, wings and pincers. Two large, purple hind legs were supported by two smaller grey feelers at the front, and the monster towered over everything else on the field. It was coated in a metal armor, two wing-like portrusions making such clear as one of them had a brightly shining number '20' on it. The creature's eyes, tucked into the sides of its ant-like head, stared down at Aiya.

Number 20: Giga-Brilliant: ATK 1800 > 2100

The man started chuckling, then laughing. "How's that, my Ryuka?! Are we not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?!" he shouted, seemingly referring to the monstrosity. "Not only does our circuit make us stronger, but our effect is even more dangerous... By detaching one overlay unit, it brings the attack of all our monsters up by another 300 points!" he explained.

Digital Bug Scaradiator: ATK 2100 > 2400
Number 20: Giga-Brilliant: ATK 2100 > 2400

The customer spread his arms wide, seemingly never stopping with talking. "But that's not all! When Cocoondenser and Centibit were used to summon us, they gave us even more power! When I attack your defense-position monster, you cannot activate any effects! When I choose to attack, I can attack all of your defense position monsters! When I activate my next card, I can even deal the difference between your defense points and our attack as damage! Yes, I'll activate the trap that will bind us and you together, my Ryuka: Meteorain!"

The trap card opened up on the field of Aiya's opponent. As things stood, she was about to lose all her monsters to his attacks. However, now that his field had been cut down to just three cards by activating Meteorain, Aiya saw her chance to strike. "I activate three strike barrier! With this trap card, my monsters aren't destroyed!" she was quick to respond. The customer was less than pleased at this result.

"Feeble struggling...! Why won't you just give up and be mine already?!" he yelled at her. "I won't allow you to escape... if I can't destroy your monsters, I'll just shave away your life!! Scaradiator, attack Reactan!" he shouted, sparks once more flying towards Reactan. Due to Three-Strike Barrier, however, Reactan could endure the onslaught. Even though it couldn't be destroyed by battle, Aiya would still take piercing damage because of Meteorain's effect. Though she hadn't yet taken any damage up to this point, she would begin to feel something wrong very, very soon. While the flames of the overheating circuit scorched Reactan's stone body, Aiya's skin would begin to tingle and then hurt. Severely. It's as if she shared the sensation of her monster, feeling everything they did- pain included.

Aiya: 4000 > 2300 LP

"We're not done yet!! Steam and Reactan will both feel our wrath!" he declared, Giga-Brilliant quickly scuttling forward. It knocked into Steam, sending it flying across the field. As for Reactan, Giga-Brilliant bent down and aggressively chewed on it with its pincers, unable but still trying to tear Reactan to shreds.

Aiya: 2300 > 1900 > 200 LP

The customer huffed, as if exhausted, and said "How's that?! You'll be ours, Ryuka! We're sure to carve that into you! We're setting the last card in our hand and ending our turn!!"

The card he'd set was Lumenize. Even if Aiya could summon a monster with high enough attack to destroy the mad man's monsters, he'd be able to negate the attack and boost his own power. To him, it must have looked like Aiya had no chance to win.
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Aiya was certainly not having a good time, There was a non-zero chance that she would lose, and that was most certainly bothering her. Her eyes met her monsters for a half moment, and she could have sworn they returned the gaze. But that was just nerves. Holograms didn't have souls. She had to believe that fate had an out for her. That she could win even on such a back-foot disadvantage. Eying her opponent she was stalling to draw her card and she knew by his staring that she'd prefer to get this over with quickly.

"Draw" She'd say looking at her card, Seeing it. The final piece. The winning move. It was right in front of her. She just had to put it into motion and hope her opponents face down would not disrupt her victory. All or nothing. "Here I go, I summon 'Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts'" She'd declare summoning the fourth and final Dragon-ruler to her side of the field.

Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts ATK 500

The Wind-dragon would let out a roar of triumph even for its smaall stature as it would eye the monsters across from itself. "You almost had me, You really did, but luck is on my side today." She'd say as she'd breath in. "Your creepiness ends here. I activate my trap card!" She'd say as the card would flip up on her side of the field. The bug-guys face staring at it in annoyance. He had no negation. The smile erupting across Aiya's face was plain to see in that moment.

"Fuh-Run-Ka-Zan, to activate it the conditions are that i control a fire, wind, earth, and water monster." She'd say motioning to her dragon rulers "I have assembled all the pieces, So I can activate one of its powerful effects" She'd say as the fire symbol on the statue would begin to glow. "I choose to destroy all of your monsters!" SHe'd declare outstreching her arm towards her opponents side of the field. Her dragons would rise up in a chorus of roars, each one offering their elemental energies to the trap card. As it would begin to charge up. The ball of orange fire growing and growing and growing until! It was blasted at her opponents side of the field. Eradicating all her opponents monsters in bursts of light and noisy explosions.

"The path is open. Battle phase" She'd say as she'd move directly forward. Eying her opponent. "Ah. Please my dear, Reconsider!" The creepy bug dude would tell her.

She would do no such thing.

"Go my dragon rulers, Direct attack!" She'd say as her monsters would leap towards the creepy digibug duelist. Who would soon be barraged by a variety of elemental attacks, from hot fire, to ballistic speed pebbles, to Shivering water droplets, and beating gusts of wind.

A total creep!: 4000 -> 2400 -> 1100 -> 100 -> 0

"And don't come back here again unless you change your attitude!" She'd yell as his life points were depleted to zero.
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Aiya's relentless assault caused the man to clutch himself, doubling over as he took ragged breaths. He did his best to supress a scream, instead letting out pained groans and grunts. One hand was on the duel table in front of him. "I-Impossible... this pain... what is...?" he stammered out, weakly raising up his hooded head. The duel was over, and the dark mist that had been enveloping him slowly evaporated from around his body. "No... no! We... I can't go yet! How could we be separated?! What..." he rambled incoherently, then his gaze noticeably shifted to the cards on Aiya's side of the field. "Spirits... accursed spirits! I... Gaaaaaah!" he screamed out. The topmost card in his graveyard, Giga-Brilliant, was being eaten up by shadows. Before it vanished completely, the man looked up at Aiya again, the hood falling off his head. Even through the mess of dishevelled hair, Aiya could see the bags underneath his eyes and the dull look he had. The man hadn't slept in days.

"Where ... am ... I? ... Ryu ... ka...?" he stammered out. His voice was softer, his demeanour changed completely. He sounded confused. The man reached his hand forward, trying to reach out to her. The last bit of Giga-Brilliant was devoured by the darkness, and at that moment all life seemed to drain from the customer. He promptly collapsed, outstretched arm going limp over the table and taking his deck with him, scattering it all over the floor. There wasn't any response from him after that.
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She was expecting him to be defeated but she wasn't expecting such a dramatic reaction to a defeat. Eyes widening with shock his tone of voice changed from one of creepy to desperate. Aiya could only watch as he started his rambling, She tried to listen to his crazed words. Accursed spirits? What? Was he into that junk her grandfather used to spew about cards. Well not that she cared but. The way he was clutching his chest.

Aiya would quickly hop down from her side of the arena, running over to her opponents side. By the time she got to him, and by the time her eyes looked with that dishevelled look. She only had a chance to hear his stammer. He tried to reach towards her, and she in kind tried to prevent him from collapsing forward, but she was just a bit too late on that front as he fell to the ground in front of her. Immediately she'd try to rouse him, shaking him somewhat. Worried by his slowed breathing and lack of stimuli response.

"Ryuka?" The maid that had been harassed would say as she'd walk in carrying a plate "is everything alright?" She'd say as her eyes drifted towards the collapsed man, and Aiya trying to shake him. "A-ah? I guess not I'll get the manager"

The rest of the work day seemed to be a rushed blur, Her manager had her pulled aside to answer all manner of questions to avoid a possible lawsuit if the guy woke up. But the ambulance had to be called and he was quickly taken to the hospital.. Likely to the same ward as those other comatosed folk.

She had heared about their growing number on the news but hadn't thought it'd come to affect her. As she'd sit outside the duel cafe. Looking down at her deck. Mulling over the idea of "accursed spirits" and how silly it all sounded. She'd pull out her phone. "I might be little late, someone collapsed at work after a duel. An ambulance had to be called. I'll be stuck answering questions for a bit. TTYL", And she'd send that message rght on over to Kei.

Why did this have to happen to her today.
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Kei's Location

C'mon... wake up already!" Kei was still urging his unconscious opponent, but no matter how hard he tried, the big lug couldn't be shaken awake. He raised his thumb to his mouth and bit down on it lightly. "This is bad... I'm going to need to need to call an ambulance," Kei told himself. He took out his phone, dialed the emergency services and gave as detailed of an account as he could. They told him to stay put and watch the other person's condition in case it got worse, so Kei hadn't much of a reason to do otherwise. He rose to his feet again, knees still a little shaky and looked around the area.

There, he spotted it. A figure dashing behind a corner just as soon as Kei turned his head to look in their direction. "...! Hey, wait a minute!" he tried to call for them, mustering up his strength to run after. When he'd made it to the area he saw the shadow from, though, nobody was there. Even if somebody had been, Kei wasn't sure he still had the strength to chase after them. Whoever the shadow was, though, had to wait; Kei felt his phone buzzing. Thinking it was the emergency services he quickly pulled it out again, only to find a text message from Aiya.

"I might be little late, someone collapsed at work after a duel. An ambulance had to be called. I'll be stuck answering questions for a bit. TTYL"
Kei's brow furrowed. "me too" he quickly texted, then followed it up with "some guy acting all weird. I won the duel and then he collapsed and i feel rly tired now"
Kei was about to pocket his phone, then changed his mind. He sent one more text: "can we meet up tmr? I need 2 talk about this"

Kei walked back to the unconscious person and slumped up against a nearby wall. Duel Disk still on his arm, he fetched his favourite card from his graveyard. Putting it up towards the sky again, Kei mused to himself: "Something weird's going on, Partner... and I have this really bad feeling about it."
Earlier...

The regional champion, Shinrei, was talking over the phone as he walked the streets of Kaleido city. "Are you sure it's here?" he said. "There's nobody around."
"Very odd," the voice on the other end said back. "The big guy should've been going back-and-forth in the same area for a few days now. They're simple in the head, from what I've gathered; it'd be strange for them to abandon their territory."
"Slipping out of winner's interview for this wasn't easy... you'd better not be wasting my time," Shinrei growled and continued to patrol the area. When he passes by a side-street he briefly glances into it. There he saw a young boy shaking a large man on the ground. Shinrei narrowed his eyes as that wasn't all he saw. Blinking to make sure it wasn't a mirage, he could tell a faint outline of something around the boy, while the man on the floor had nothing at all. Shinrei backed off for a bit, ready to duck out of sight at any moment as he continued to observe. Quietly into his phone, he said: "You said our target was a big, hulking man... not some frail kid out of grade school."

"What do you mean?" the voice on the other end said. "Your quarry should be- ...Ah. How odd... I don't know of any kids in that condition..."
The boy had called an ambulance and started to take a look around, which Shinrei took as his cue to leave. He heard a voice calling out behind him, but ran much too quickly to be caught. Once safe, he focused on his phone call again. Shinei said: "I don't care who my opponent is. I'm not showing any mercy. Every last one of them will pay, including him."

After this declaration, Shinrei cut the call. The emergency services would be here soon, and from the looks of it, that boy was intent on waiting on them. He couldn't confront him now. But Shinrei knew what they looked like, so all he had to do was wait for his opportunity later. Criminals always returned to the scene of their crime... and that boy would be no exception.
Prologue: End
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New Day, New Duels


Though Aiya wanted to put the events of yesterday behind her. She couldn't. She just couldn't. She was much to curious about why he had suddenly changed in personality. That and what her friend had to deal with had left her with some burning questions. She hadn't thought much about the news of people collapsing and the comatose epidemic until now. Call her shallow for not caring about it until it affected her directly. Aiya didn't really care to think about the semantics of her choices.

Standing outside of the hospital. She'd step inside its clandestine walls, it was busier then she thought. People coming in from ambulances. People waiting in the waiting areas. Yeesh... She knew she was in it for a long haul. As she would go the counter and run through the basic processes.. Maybe she lied a bit and said she was a good close friend with the patient, He was a return costumer after all she at the very least knew him that well.

Getting onto the ward took some time, But she would soon be there. Among the other comatose folk.. Plenty of visitors. All having mysteriously entered a coma. She'd breath in. Her nerves were getting to her as she stood over his bed eying him. Looking down at her deck she wondered if it was the duel that did it. Part of her thinking this visit was a mistake. The Doctors didn't know why they were comatose. She didn't know. Here she was just standing quietly opposite someone looking at her cards. She'd look back out at the ward. Maybe she should look at other people? That guy that Kei beat could be here too.
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Kei's Room

"It was way too weird! I felt sore all over!" Kei complained on the phone to his best friend. "And the way he was acting wasn't normal... the guy at your place too, right? You said he was a regular, never aggressive like that before!"

Kei's deck was sprawled out in front of him at the desk, the boy himself carefully looking over his cards as he was chatting. "The hospital...? Would they even let you in?" he asked over the phone. He kicked back and furrowed his brow a little. "I can't just sit still, either! I'm going to go back to the place where I found the other guy. It's possible they may be more of them." Wobbling his desk chair on its hind legs a bit, he continued: "Hey, did you see something weird with their cards too? Like some kinda... some kinda black fog rising up out of them after the duel? The guy's ace monster even slowly burnt away, like it was- wh- whoa!"

Aiya on the other end of the phone was met with a crash and the clicking of Kei's phone hitting the floor as the boy managed to kick his chair back far enough for it to tip over and send him sprawling over the floor. He quickly nabbed his phone again. "O-oi, no laughing!" he said to the snickering girl on the other end, red to his ears from embarrassment even if she couldn't see it. And, after a bit of banter, both clearly knew what they wanted to do the next day.



The weather was cloudy, not a ray of sunshine able to pierce the sky-cast veil of grey. Kei, oddball that he was, wandered the streets like some kind of yakuza reject. Hands in his pockets, slouched gait and suspicious gazes thrown to his left and right. He'd look like he was picking a fight, but the sight was a bit too comical to take seriously. Some people that passed the guy gave him a suspicious or curious glance, but none had a duel disk strapped firmly on their arm like he did. The basic gist was: Kei'd been walking around for an hour, was getting absolutely nowhere and got extremely bored.

At the limit of his patience, Kei cast his head skywards and yelled "Come on out already! I don't have all day!" to nobody in particular. Before Kei could get someone to call the cops on him for being a sassy lost child, however, something whizzed by his face and lodged itself into the edge of the sidewalk he stood on. First, Kei jumped back in surprise. Second, he looked at what had just flew past him; A Red Ogre card. Kei picked it up in a daze, then realised what it meant. He turned around to see a shadow dashing into a nearby alley. "Hey! Hold it!" he yelled after the mysterious figure.

Obviously, Kei didn't only tell them to stop: the boy had launched into a full sprint after the figure. Much less exhausted than the day before, Kei was able to keep up this time. At the same time however, he couldn't help but feel like he was being lured. The figure made no attempt to outpace Kei, with the boy always managing to catch sight of their back ducking into the next street. Eventually, after what seemed like a maze of back alleys and shortcuts, Kei managed to pin the perp into a corner. Their back was turned, so the boy didn't have a face to pin to the long, flowing white hair yet. "You can't run away anymore! You have something to with all of this, right? Tell me what you know!" Kei demanded of the mysterious person.

"What I know?" a somehow familiar, male voice shot back at Kei. "Haha... don't play dumb with me, spirit. I won't let you take any more victims," the man said with contempt in his voice. He turned around, revealing himself to be Shinrei; regional champion for the past two-and-now years.

"S-... Shinrei?" Kei stammered out his words. "I saw your match only yesterday... there's no way you're behind all this!" he shouted in disbelief. Shinrei, for his part, just raised up his arm to fold out his duel disk.

"Keep pretending. I'll erase you all the same," he said to threaten the boy.

At that moment, something in Kei screamed to run away. A faint voice, crying out that this person was dangerous. It tried to warn Kei, warn him that he couldn't take him on as an opponent. The boy didn't listen. He just put on a smirk of misplaced confidence. "That's fine by me... I've been wanting to get to the top of the regional tournament and take your title! You're on!"

Kei's duel disk whirred to life. A passing breeze made both their clothes flutter in the wind.

"DUEL!"
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A new person came into view of Aiya’s gaze as she looked out towards the rest of the ward. Standing in the frame of the door was the figure of a silver-haired girl, not much older or younger than she herself was, dressed in a nightgown. Said girl’s small, gentle blue eyes were staring curiously at Aiya. "Are those duel monsters cards…?" her voice rang. She had even raised a finger to point straight at what Aiya was holding.

Aiya would look at her, and then back down at her cards then back to the girl. As she would sigh for a bit. She wasn’t used to greeting folk outside of work hours, especially people in the hospital. But this girl seemed gentle. Unassuming even. That she felt like she might as well just be friendly with them. Even as stressed as she was.

“Yep they are!” She’d say with a bit of an upbeat tone, the same type of tone she had when hanging with her friend. As she’d flip them around to show the girl the dragon monsters she was looking at in her hand. “Some really cool dragons right?” She’d say with a bit of passion. Truly behind her shroud of being the coolest. Aiya was a bit of a dork for dragon monsters. Kei knew this, and in this hospital with such a shroud of sadness around it all. She was using her upbeat card-game shop side to try to keep herself from falling into a pit of sadness.

The girl, when asked if Aiya’s dragons were cool, said: "Mhm… I remember my brother using cards like these!" and pointed at some of Aiya’s higher-levelled ones. But when Aiya skimmed past ‘Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks’, the girl’s eyes lit up. "Aaah… this one is cute!" she said excitedly, picking it out from the deck. Her eyes were positively sparkling as she looked intently at Aiya’s card. "You have such nice cards… and you take such good care of them, too!"

“Well! Of course some of them were a gift from my grandfather” She’d say with a smile. “I’m Aiya by the way. I live in the Dragon-Duelist Shrine,” She’d say cheerily.

"Aiya…" the girl repeated after her. "It’s a nice name! I think I’ve heard of the shrine, too…" she muttered, eyes still fixated on the cards. Aiya continued explaining unabated.

“If there's anyone that knows dragon monsters. It's my Grandfather” She’d say as she enjoyed the fact that the other girl seemed to be enjoying looking at her monsters. “So. Why are you here on this ward?” She’d ask the other girl cheerily. As she’d continue to show off her deck to her.

The girl’s eyes widened for a bit, her mouth slightly agape. She got her composure back fairly quick, but it was a noticeable break in character. She hesitantly vocalised a quick "Actually…" and took her eyes off Aiya’s cards for the first time. Giving her an apologetic smile, she said: "...this is my room. I’m a patient here. My name’s Tsukiko."

There had been an empty bed in the room, after all.

“A patient? So this is recoverable from.” Aiya would breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that it would all turn out alright. Given the proof was right in front of her. This girl was up and about. But Tsukiko, for her part, just averted her eyes and muttered something under her breath:

"Recoverable, huh…?"

Aiya, suspecting nothing, continued: “That puts my mind at ease.” She’d say relaxing her posture. Afterall why did she have to worry so much if eventually the guy would be able to get up and be fine. “Do you know why it happens?” She’d be curious now.

Tsukiko matched Aya’s gaze. "Why…? I don’t…" she mutters uncomfortably, a hand on her chest clutching her nightgown slightly tighter than before. "It’s… it’s because you lose a duel, right?" she said, repeating something Aiya likely already knew. "Back before all this, I had a duel with my brother. I collapsed and the next thing I knew, I woke up here…" she told Aiya, but didn’t go into any more detail.

“Yeah. That's as far as I can ascertain.” Aya would say her lips turning downwards in a frown as she’d think back to the regular and how he collapsed. “It happened as soon as his life points hit zero, He seemed to gain awareness of himself before he immediately collapsed.” She’d say. “But. Seeing you awake makes me hopeful. Maybe everyone will be able to get back to health too?”

”I see… it’s not quite the same as with me, then…" Tsukiko muttered to herself. She looked out the window, then said to Aiya: "I also hope everyone else can wake up. I’m sure their families must be worried sick, too."

Tsukiko made a sudden movement, as if she’d just remembered something. "Oh, right…! I needed to be in my room because the doctor was coming to check on me. He’ll be here soon, I think you might be asked to leave… but I want to talk to you a little more, I never get visitors anymore. Do you think you could hide until he’s passed by?" the hospital girl earnestly asked.

“For sure. Do you know any good hiding spots? Aiya would immediately ask. Not wanting to put a stop to this enlightening conversation so early. Her eyes scanned the hospital room. Hiding under a hospital bed would be a bad move due to their adjustability. Perhaps she could hide behind those partition curtains. As she stared at the corner considering it while waiting for Tsukiko to offer input on good hiding spots.

"Over there," Tsukiko pointed at a nearby door. "That’s this room’s bathroom… as long as you close the door far enough, he won’t see you. Now hurry!" she shoo’d Aiya into that direction.
A little earlier…

“Doctor! The equipment you requested from that university professor has arrived!” one of the hospital’s assistants cried out. The assistant was still young, clean shaven and starry-eyed. The doctor, meanwhile, was on the scruffier side with a stubble on the chin and some wrinkles already on his ageing brow. That doesn’t mean he didn’t look the professional part, though, in his green shirt and mouth mask hanging from the neck.

“That so? Let me take a look then,” he said to his assistant, taking a small device that looked somewhat like a CD player. He hooked it up to the computer, gave in some login credentials and the machine popped its lid right open. The doctor reached out for a box at his desk.

“Oh? That’s the deck from one of the patients, right?” his assistant asked. The doctor nodded.

“It sounds ridiculous, but I think something about these cards might be related to the issue. Using this scanner from the professor, I could check for some kind of anomaly.”

“Oh, I see! Do you want me to run the tests? That way you can focus on your patients,” the assistant offered. The doctor shook his head.

“You can take a break, you’ve been a big help already. Why don’t you go talk to that nurse you fancy?” he teased.

“Wh- I-it’s not like that, doctor…” he complained, then both had a laugh about it. Soon enough the assistant had left, leaving the doctor alone in his office. He picked up a card from the deck and let the scanner do its work, typing in some things on his computer in the meanwhile. After a minute, he suddenly said “Wait… this is…!” but before any conclusions could be drawn, the scanner’s lid suddenly shot back open. A black mist was oozing from the card. The doctor shot up and accidentally knocked over his chair.

“No…! I have to stop it!” he said to himself, focusing his attention back to the keyboard and rapidly typing in kill commands to try and shut the program down. Nothing worked. He took a step back, nervous sweat on his brow and shot another glance at the cards. “No… NOOO!” he yelled, with nobody in the area to hear as he was swallowed in darkness.
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Meanwhile, at Shinrei and Kei’s location, their duel was about to kick off. "The first turn is mine," Shinrei calmly said. He picked up one of the cards in his hand, then plainly stated: "I’m summoning Cyber Larva." The words had left his mouth and, in an instant, a little machine worm had appeared on his side of the field. He followed it up with ”I’ll set a card and end my turn." as his last move.

Cyber Larva: 400 ATK

Shinrei’s face had a cold, steeled expression plastered all over it. It was hard for Kei to get a read on him. "Alright, it’s my turn! I draw!" he shouted, eagerly swiping the top card off his deck and then comparing it to what’s in his opening hand. He looked up to Shinrei’s field and started to think about the state of the game.
"Cyber Larva… I think he played that card during the tournament! When you attack it, the opponent won’t take any more damage, and it summons another one of itself… so in that case, this is what I have to do!"
"I’ll summon Marauding Captain from my hand!" Kei said, placing down one of his Warrior monsters onto the Duel Disk. A blond-haired, slightly gruff knight rose up from the floor, longsword on his shoulder.

Marauding Captain: 1200 ATK

"I know what you’re planning, Shinrei!" Kei confidently exclaimed. "You’re gonna use Cyber Larva’s effect to summon more of itself and stall for time so that I can’t deal any damage to you… but I’ve seen straight through that!”

Shinrei’s face remained passive upon this ‘revelation’. "Have you, now?" would be all he said in response. Kei wasn’t gonna let the champ fake him out, though, continuing with his plan apace.

”I activate Marauding Captain’s effect, allowing me to special summon a level 4 or lower monster from my hand! I’ll choose Gemini Scorpion!" he’d shout. After Kei’s declaration, Marauding Captain stabbed his sword into the ground. A portal opened up and another warrior rose up out of it. Clad in red armour and having flowing locks of white hair, the man would spin his two shortswords around their vertical axis and take a battle-ready stance.

Gemini Scorpion: 1600 ATK

Kei picked up another card from his hand. He explained: ”I’m not done! When Gemini Scorpion’s summoned, I can special summon a level 4 or lower Gemini monster from my hand!" and as Kei finished, Gemini Scorpion’s entire appearance changed. His white hair turned to red, his armour dyed a shade of dark blue and the two blades in his hands started to stain black. ”I summon Gemini Soldier!" Kei declared. Out from behind Scorpion jumped a green-clad ninja kid, his eyes the only thing visible between the bandanas wrapped around his head and mouth.

Gemini Soldier: 500 ATK

”How’s that! Now I have three monsters! Even if you summon more larva from your deck, I can destroy them all at once!" Kei smugly said to the champ. Shinrei didn’t flinch. Kei’s smug smile quickly turned to a moody pout. ”C’mon, give some kind of a reaction… argh, fine! Gemini Soldier! Take out that Cyber Larva! " he said to launch the attack. The kid whipped out a dart with a propeller at the end, tossed it into Cyber Larva and pierced its fragile aluminium shell.

"Because of Cyber Larva’s effect, I take no battle damage and summon another from the deck," Shinrei reiterated, the card in question jutting itself out of his duel disk upon that verbal command. He picked it up, placed it on his disk and summoned the monster in defense position.

”One down, two to go! Let’s go, Marauding Captain!" Kei said to launch the second attack. The troop’s commander dashed over to Shinrei’s field and cleaved the Larva clean in two. The champion simply said:

"I summon another Larva from my deck," and no more.

”One last attack! Gemini Scorpion, it’s your turn!" Kei ordered. The red-haired warrior rushed forward, jumped up into the air and then split into both his forms. The two warriors came down and sliced Cyber Larva in a cross-shaped pattern, sending the last machine to the grave. ”How’s that! With this, I end my turn!" Kei said, clutching his fist and pumping it up in the air. He clearly thought the momentum of the duel went in his favour. For that reason alone, Shinei’s scowl deepened.

”Do you really think you’ve outsmarted me?" Shinrei asked Kei. The boy was confused.
”Huh? I broke though your monsters, didn’t I? Now you don’t have a wall to protect yourself!" Kei replied, fully confident in the answer. Shinei closed his eyes.

”What a waste of my... I draw," he said, opening his eyes again to take a brief look at the card he drew. He put it in with the rest of his hand, then picked up a different one. ”If only my opponent controls a monster, then I can special summon this card from my hand: Cyber Dragon!" he declared. A long, thick and serpent-like dragonic machine appeared on Shinrei’s field. Its sleek and polished white armour reflected Kei’s mirror image back at him. The long, slender creature lowered its head, the eyes behind its metal shell boring into the opposing monsters with their cold gaze.

Cyber Dragon: 2100 ATK

”2-2100 attack without a tribute?!" Kei stammered back incredulously.
”Oh? I thought you were a fan of mine," Shinrei verbally countered. ”You should have known about this card and its effect."
”...! Shut up! It just slipped my mind, okay?" Kei angrily yelled back at Shinrei.
”Is that so? Then did it also slip your mind that I can still normal summon this turn?" Shinrei said. He picked up another card out of his hand and then shouted: ”I summon Proto-Cyber Dragon!" with one more machine appearing on his field. Its design was similar to that of Cyber Dragon, but the differences between them were the prototype’s darker armour, smaller size and less defined features.

Proto-Cyber Dragon: 1100 ATK

Kei instinctively mused ”Two monsters…!" out loud when he saw Shinrei’s play.

”Tell me. If you really saw my duel yesterday, then do you know what card I used to win?" Shinrei asked the boy.
”...Huh? It was… Cyber Eltanin, right?" he replied. Then it hit him. He wanted to cry out: ”Wait are you going to-!?" but never finished the thought. Shinrei got the message and interrupted him before he could.

”Don’t take me for a fool. Cyber Eltanin banishes every machine from my graveyard and my field. But what would happen later in the duel?"
”...Later?"
”Yes, later. Because you told me about your plan, I now have three machines resting in my graveyard. Eltanin powers up for each card it consumes. Further, Cyber Dragon only summons to my field if I control no monsters. If I had summoned my larva and you hadn’t attacked, I couldn’t summon it to my field."

It started to dawn on Kei what Shinrei was talking about. ”Then… this entire time, your plan was to create the conditions to summon Cyber Dragon?!" he stammered out. Like the fool Shinrei thought him to be, Kei had told his opponent exactly how to play out the situation.

Shinrei’s expression became cold once more now that he had drilled the repercussions of his opponent’s actions into their skull. ”Now, then... that Gemini Soldier belongs to the ‘Gemini’ series of cards. If I’m not mistaken, they gain their effects when normal summoned twice. This one negates destruction from battle, corect? Shinrei asked Kei rhetorically, already knowing the answer. He didn’t let Kei get his answer in before continuing to talk. ”Not only that, but Marauding captain redirects any attack to a warrior to itself. Now that I have two monsters, I can get rid of both! Battle! Cyber Dragon, destroy Marauding Captain with Evolution Burst! Proto-Cyber Dragon, attack Gemini Soldier with Proto Burst!" As Shinrei declared his consecutive attacks, both mechanical dragons charged a beam of energy within their maws. Cyber Dragon’s was a bright white, Proto-Cyber’s was a deep yellow. Both still hit their marks and cut through Kei’s field like a knife through butter.

Kei: 4000 > 3100 > 2500 LP

”Turn end." Shinrei dryly stated.

Kei took a step back. ”D-Damn…! In one move, my field’s down to only a single monster!" he incredulously stammered out. He couldn’t even use Gemini Soldier’s effect to shore up his own defenses. Shinrei flicked his hair to the side.
”What’s wrong? Weren’t you going to claim my title?" the champion mocked Kei. The boy shot back a glare at him.
”Don’t make fun of me! The duel’s only just gotten started!" he shouted. Kei looked down at his deck and took a deep breath.

”I’m sorry, guys… he’s strong. I couldn’t protect you just now. He’s not an opponent I can afford to let my guard down against like that. But you guys… you’ll still lend me your strength, right?” he thought to himself. Kei gave his cards a smile. ”I’m not gonna let something like this get me down… so let’s fight him together!” After rallying himself, the boy put his hand on the top card of the deck.

”Regional champion or not, I believe in my friends! We’re gonna win this duel! Draw!"
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Back at Tsukiko’s room, it didn’t take too long for signs of life to be shown. A couple of knocks came from the entrance to the room, with a familiar voice to Tsukiko announcing “I’m coming in.”

In stepped a slightly scruffy doctor, though no less professional than the rest. Unlike usual, though, he looked a bit tired. His smile wasn’t really there, the eyes a bit glazed over. “Let’s see… patient Utsue?” he said in a bored tone, needing to cross-reference the dossier in his hand. Tsukiko gave him a nod.

"Doctor, you seem a bit tired today…" Tsukiko commented, not being used to his current absent-minded appearance.

“There was a little… accident today,” the doctor flatly stated, not looking up at his patient. It only added to her unease when he said: “Everything seems to be in order, so if you’ll excuse me…”

Instead of just letting the doctor go, Tsukiko asked "What about the usual questions?"

The doctor’s face turned into a frown and he looked up from his dossier. He said something to the tune of “Listen, missy, I don’t have all day to deal…” but stop midway the sentence. His scowl suddenly turned into a grin. “Hooo… a duel monsters card, here in this ward?” he said with a mad tone of voice. Tsukiko flinched and looked on the edge of her bed, where she’d put the card from earlier. Apparently, Aiya had forgotten to take it back before hiding.

"Ah, that’s not mine…" Tsukiko tried to explain while the doctor reached out and picked it up. A sinking feeling was settling in her that something was very, very wrong. Even though these cards were forbidden on the ward, her doctor’s eyes shined positively mad.

“Aaaah, naughty and a liar? I bet you have a whole deck in there somewhere… I’d love to see it!” he shouted, reaching out with his free arm and forcefully grabbing onto Tsukiko’s. She gave a yelp and a brief scream, signalling to Aiya that whatever was going on out there in the room proper, it wasn’t good.

Aiya, who had been listening in, would jump out from behind her hiding spot. The madness in the doctor's voice was all too familiar. He was acting like the customer was. “Its contagious?!” She’d think immediately but her body was already springing into action as she’d barge into the doctor to knock them away from Tsukiko, Going full on in on that tackle to force him to distance himself from her newfound friend.

“The only one with a deck on them is me, you idiot. Don’t start fights with people that have nothing to do with it!” She’d declare pointing at the doctor.

The force of the blow was definitely enough to have the doctor let go of Tsukiko and stumble back a bit. Still, all it served to do was shift the focus of his attention. “Oooh, so this belongs to you now does it?” he said, waving Burner in front of Aiya to taunt her. Trying to grab it would’ve been futile, the man was both taller and had a bit more muscle than she did. With a grin, the doctor said: “You know, I picked up a deck of my own recently… I think I could go for a round, unless you don’t care about her treatment?”

The doctor walked backwards and closed the door, then pulled a duel disk out of what seemed to be a hammerspace. Whatever possessed him seemed to also compel him to carry a disk, and while the hospital room was spacious enough to have a duel in, it still seemed a little reckless. Not that Aiya had much choice, if she wanted a shot at getting her card back and to protect Tsukiko.

“Hmm.. Nice Magic Trick” Aiya would say brushing off the seemingly magical coincidence in front of her as nothing more than showmanship. There had to be a logical explanation for everything after all. The simplest answer was always the clearest. As she’d prepare her own duel disk, that thrummed into life as she inserted her deck into it. “You will give me back my card, and you will not hurt Tsukiko.” he’d see Aiya say, her face firmly one of protective confidence.

“Aiya… be careful,” Tsukiko requested of her new friend. ”If this is like what happened to me, then this duel is dangerous…!”

The doctor’s response was a mere chuckle, followed up with “Now… let’s commence the operation!”

“DUEL!”

Both players drew five cards from their deck, with the doctor taking initiative and putting his turn first. “First we’ll need to start with a dissection… I will activate the spell card Pot of Desires!” the doctor declared, the card’s hologram spinning on its horizontal axis briefly before facing Aiya. The doctor ran his thumb through his deck, picking up ten cards and fanning them out. “In exchange for ten of my cards removing play face-down, I open up the way to the inside of my deck and draw two cards!”

The doctor closed his ten card stack again and deposited the cards into his surgeon’s attire. After drawing his two cards, a smile formed on his face. “Well well… seems like we have quite the procedure left to go. I’m summoning Genex Turbine!” he shouted, a slightly alien, green rotary device popping up on his field soon after. Ugly protrusions from its side were venting steam, with some kind of transformation process happening to the green goo behind its glass window.

Genex Turbine: 1400 ATK

“As long as its on the field, every Genex I have in play gains 400 attack… including itself!” the doctor explained, Turbine’s attack raising up from 1400 to 1800. The doctor flashed two more cards in his hand, then set them face-down on his field without a word. “Turn end,” he declared, the ball in Aiya’s court now.

Aiya would gaze over his field. She had never seen a deck like that before. What kind of machines were they? No matter, she just had to power through it. For Tsukiko’s sake. She’d draw her card for the turn. “Draw,” She’d then immediately place a monster onto her duel disk with a flourish of her hand.

“I summon Reactan Dragon Ruler of Pebbles” She‘d declare as the rock-like dragon would flash into existence on her side of the field. Its boulder-like protrusions glistened in the light of the hospital.

Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles: 1800 ATK

She would take a moment to check if the doctor had any response to her dragon, seeing that they didn’t she would immediately continue: “I activate Dragon Shield, Equipping it onto Reactan” She’d say as she’d place the equip spell into her duel disk. The card would flash on the side of the field, before bursting into a set of armour-like fragments that would attach themselves to her dragon. Causing it to be wearing something akin to a set of tailor made armour.

“Go, Reactan! Destroy Turbine!” She’d say as her dragon would stomp across the field, crashing into the opposing monster with a fierce headbutt. As she opposing monster with equal attack would shatter into fractals her Reactan would not “Dragon shield prevents its destruction by battle.” She’d would explain. Looking at Tsukiko then back at the Doctor.

“Nobody likes a bully doc. I set one card and end my turn!”

“Aiya…” Tsukiko called her name, worry mixed into her voice. The doctor, meanwhile, calmly drew his next card.

“Very good, very good… assess the patient’s condition and proceed when success is assured. However…” the doctor trailed off a bit as he looked at his drawn card, a smile creeping up. His eyes trailed back to Aiya. “What will you do when the situation is far more dire than you had planned for?”

The doctor slammed the card down onto the duel disk, another monster rising onto his field. Its profile followed that of a human’s; two arms, two legs, torso and face, but then the parts it was made of were anything but similar. Both its stomach and arms were containers, half-filled with water. A mesh of tubes went all around and into the monster’s body, seemingly designed to pump up fluid to its diving helmet-like head. “Meet Genex Undine, my dear assistant! With her effect, I send a water monster from my deck to the graveyard and add a new machine from the former to my hand…”

Genex Undine: 1200 ATK

By sending another copy of Undine into his graveyard, the doctor picked out a new card from his deck and didn’t wait long to reveal its identity to Aiya. “I open my trap card! Ultimate Offering!” he shouted as the trap depicting blood sacrifice to an altar sprung up. “By paying 500 of my life, I can normal summon once again… this time my Genex Controller!”

A second monster joined the first after he’d placed the newly added card down. Its head was comically oversized compared to its little stubby arms and legs, with controller generally being much tinier than its companions. The machine was a bit like Kei in that regard, but despite its cutesy look, Tsukiko was worried about it.

“Watch out, Aiya…! Those are two level three monsters…” Tsukiko said to her, and while she was unaware of it herself, reminded Aiya of a similar situation she’d found herself in dueling against the frequenting customer.

“You two seem to have overlooked one detail, however… my controller is a tuner monster!” the doctor explained. “When you add up the levels of a tuner and a non-tuner, a new monster can be summoned from your extra deck… yes, I’m talking about a synchro monster! I’ll tune Controller and Undine!”

The lightbulbs on controller’s head started to flicker rapidly, individually out of sync. The machine rattled a bit before starting to glow, then faded into three green rings that lined themselves up over Undine. Once they had, Undine became transparent, three bright stars revealing themselves from inside her. Once those were aligned with the rings a bright, white light shots through the column.

“Appear, my Genex Ally Tri-Arm!” the doctor shouted with his arms wide. On his field a far more polished, futuristic-looking robot soldier had taken the spot of Undine. It had sleek black armour connected with silver joints, a blue visor and, most prominent of all, a cannon attached to its arm. All three barrels of it were closed off.

“Genex Ally Triarm has multiple effects, which I can activate depending on the attribute of its non-tuner monsters… Now I’ll load a bullet and get rid of that pesky Dragon Shield.” he calmly continued his turn. He picked up a card to discard and, as it entered his graveyard, Aiya could spot it being another monster she hadn’t yet seen this duel. “Fire!” the doctor would shout, the tube connecting to Triarm’s cannon pumping some kind of energy into it. That energy was shot out from the top barrel, piercing right through Aiya’s field and shattering her equip spell to pieces. The doctor pointed his finger straight at her dragon. “Disappear from my operating table, Reactan!”

Tri-arm rushed up and tackled Reactan to the ground, pinning its head down with one arm while pointing his cannon at it with the other. All three of its cylinders opened up, combining a stream of multi-coloured beams to completely incinerate Aiya’s dragon.

Aiya: 4000 > 3400 LP

“Sorry Reactan, But it won’t be for nothing. I activate my trap card. Dragon’s Bond” She’d say as the shattered particles would begin to reform.”It can only be activated upon the destruction of my level 4 dragon monster, allowing me to summon another level 4 dragon monster from my deck.” She’d say as Reactan’s particles reformed into a different dragon.

“With that! I’ll bring out Steam, ‘Dragon Ruler of Droplets’!” She’d declare as the new dragon would take its position on her side of the field

Steam, Dragon Ruler of Droplets ATK 1600

“Hahaha… I can handle any patient thrown my way. Why not show me what you can do? I end my turn.”

“My Turn. Draw!” Aiya would say as she would move with flourish. Immediately in a fluid motion she’d place a card onto her duel-disk. “I summon the Exploder Dragon.”

Exploder Dragon ATK: 1000

She’d say as the dragon clutching some sort of explosive device would appear on her side of the field. “Your Synchro monster is nothing! Battle!” She’d say as her Exploder dragon would lurch forth. Straight towards Triarm.

“Attacking into my 2400 Triarm with only 1000 attack on your side? Hahaha… If you want to be euthanized that bad, let me sign off on your request! Counterattack, Genex Ally Triarm!” the doctor yelled back at Aiya, with his monster crouching down and raising up the arm cannon. It aimed for the Exploder Dragon and, after charging up its laser, shot straight at the rushing dragon.

The Dragon would activate the charge in its hand, detonating both monsters in a fiery blast that would leave neither standing. “Exploder Dragons effect!, Both our monsters are destroyed and neither of us take any damage.” Aiya would say as she was about to follow up with Steam. However, something made her hesitate.

The doctor seemed unphased, and for good reason. “What is it? Are you not going to follow up with a direct attack?” he asked, mockingly. When Aiya remained silent, a mad laugh escaped him. “Hahaha… nothing escapes your eyes, does it?” he said, both players glancing down at his field. One of his set trap cards had vanished.

“You’re completely right… I activated Shadow Impulse! When my synchro monster leaves the field, I summon another from my Extra Deck with the same level… appear before us, Geo Genex!”

The room shook as the coming of the Doctor’s monster was heralded, arriving from behind him in a bright vortex of light. The monster was big, so big it barely fit into the room. It slammed down one of its barrier-like arms in front of the doctor, intent on acting as his shield.

Geo Genex: 1800 ATK

”Kyaah!” Tsukiko screamed as the monster slammed down its arm. Despite the monsters supposedly just being holograms, Tsukiko still seemed rather spooked.

Frowning she would immediately end her onslaught. “I change Steam to defense position.” She’d say with reluctance. “I’ll also set one card and end my turn”

Steam, Dragon Ruler of Droplets DEF 2000

“Then… draw!” the doctor shouted, wasting no time in taking his turn. “First, to restock the supplies… I activate Pot of Avarice, returning five monsters to my deck to draw two cards!” he’d say. Five cards slid out of his graveyard, one by one in the order they’d been sent there: Genex Turbine, two Genex Undine, one Genex Controller and Genex Ally Triarm. After sliding four of those back into the deck and letting auto-shuffle work its magic the doctor picked up two more cards. Once he saw what he’d drawn, the doctor smiled and pulled up his surgical mask.

“Time to commence the surgery,” he said. He summoned another Genex Undine, quickly using the same combo with Ultimate Offering to send an undine, grab back the controller from his deck and then summon it to the field at the cost of 500 LP.

Doctor: 3500 > 3000 LP

“I’ll be tuning Genex Undine and Controller once more!” he declared, the same three-ring, three-star alignment as before repeating itself. This time, however, the monster he summoned was a little different. “Come to my side, Hydro Genex!” he’d yell. The monster that would take place on the field looked like a more souped-up version of Undine, sharing a lot of its features, but being much larger. The two most major differences were in the two wing-like appendages sticking out the back, as well as the fluid-containing lance in its hands.

Hydro Genex: 2300

Tsukiko started getting worried for her new friend, saying ”Two Synchro monsters…? Aiya…”

The doctor, however, just wagged his fingers. “No… two assistants is not enough. When the patient is in cardiac arrest, it’s time to defibrilate! I use the spell Silent Doom to bring back Controller from the graveyard in defense position!” he would continue his turn unabated, bringing the little robot back for a third time this duel. Silent Doom had been one of the cards drawn this turn and, then, the doctor reached for the other one. “When I have controller on my field, I can normal summon this card without tribute… and when Ultimate Offering is on the field, I can normal summon as I please!”

Doctor: 3000 > 2500 LP

Cutting his LP even further, the doctor placed down yet another monster in the Genex Series. “Come, Genex Furnace!” he shouted, with the monster popping up right next to Controller. Once more, there was a tuner and a non-tuner. And, once more, the doctor would say: “I tune Genex Furnace with Genex Controller to call upon another one of my monsters!”

Three rings covered five stars from Furnace. In a brilliant flash of light, a third Synchro Monster had taken to the right side of the doctor’s field. “Descend, Thermal Genex!” was the cry that signalled the arrival of a hulking frame to rival that of Geo Genex. Blue hot flames spewed from the four openings on each of its bulky fists, clearly coming from the reactor chugging along in the middle of its body. The three of these monsters together covered the entire space behind the doctor.

Thermal Genex: 2400 ATK

“Don’t worry,Tsukiko.I’ll be fine I promise.” Aiya would say, though she wasn’t entirely confident given the fact the doctor appeared to so easily weave in multiple synchro summons in a turn. She had never faced a synchro deck that could churn out its monsters like this but that just got her excited. “Besides, when stuff starts getting difficult that's also when it gets the most rewarding. Bring it white-coat” She’d say steeling herself.

“Who am I to deny a patient’s wish? Hydro Genex, pierce through her dragon!” he yelled, the monster spinning its lance around a little before aiming its tip at Stream. Hydro Genex rushed forward and skewered the dragon, shattering it into tiny particles. Those particles, instead of scattering like they usually do, flowed back into Hydro Genex’s body. The fluids inside of them started to rapidly circulate, covering the doctor in a blue aura. “Whoa there! I forgot to mention, but when Hydro Genex destroys one of your monsters, I regain life points equal to its attack!” the ‘white-coat’ said to gloat.

Doctor: 2500 > 4100 LP.

”No…! All of his life is back already…” Tsukiko lamented.

“Oh but that’s not all… Geo Genex, give her a direct attack!” the doctor continued, the hulking monster standing up. It reached one arm back and was tall enough to throw a punch straight at Aiya’s gut without having to move from its position. She could feel a very real impact, like a sledgehammer being tossed straight at her, permeating through her body.

Aiya: 3400 > 1600 LP

Aiya would clutch her head in pain as she felt the attack connect. The barrage was only mental pain. She hadn’t been hit by a sledgehammer in actuality. No bones had been broken and yet every part of her hurt.

“And with that, your life’s down to only 1600! My Thermal Genex’ 2400 attack is enough to finish you, but I’m still activating his effect… he’ll be gaining another 200 for every FIRE type in my graveyard, meaning my Furnace!”

The reactor in Thermal Genex began to churn violently, with both Aiya and Tsukiko able to see the visage of the doctor’s monster being melted in its core. The monster’s attack quickly rose to 2600. “Your disease… is terminal,” the doctor said as he raised up one hand. “Vanish.”

Thermal Genex threateningly raised one arm, its four vents on the fist all opening up. Aiya was quickly engulfed in the flames, signalling her would-be loss.

All of a sudden, a shield would appear from nowhere, absorbing the fire, and compressing its energy down into a wave of gentle green particles that would quickly wash over Aiya. “Draining Shield.” Aiya would say grateful she had avoided the agony of burning alive.

Aiya: 1600 > 4200 LP

“So you made it through the surgery after all…” the doctor growled, clearly annoyed. “Well, it doesn’t matter! I’ll just end my turn. Your field is empty and I have three powerful monsters on my side… I can wait another turn to finish you.”

“My turn then” Aiya would say as she looked out at a field of monsters. She had to do something right? Hopefully luck was on her side. “I activate my spell card. Graceful Charity!”
She’d say as the silhouette of an Angel would appear behind her before dissipating. “It allows me to draw three cards, then discard two cards.” She’d say as she’d add one, two, three cards to her hand. Looking over them. She’d soon put two into her graveyard as she’d look at the doctor.

“Don’t count me out just yet. I summon Decoy Dragon!” She’d say as a cute adorable dragon would float onto her side of the field. Its appearance appearing to taunt the opposing synchros into attacking it.

Decoy Dragon: ATK 300

“Then I'll set one card and end my turn.” She’d say with a sigh. To any outsider this was a pathetic comeback, but she would make it work. She had to.
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Kei was in a pinch. Sure, his monster could take out the Proto-Cyber on Shinrei’s field, but all that would do is leave himself open to a counter attack from Cyber Dragon itself. He needed some other kind of plan, but luckily, his friends were there to support him. He shot a glance to the monster on his field.

”Gemini Scorpion… please lend me your power!" he asked of his monster. The warrior looked back at Kei and, while keeping the same stoic expression as most monsters did, gave him a nod. Kei smiled. ”Thank you!" he said to the monster, then shifted his gaze back to Shinrei. ”I’m tributing my monster to summon a new warrior to my field!" he said, determined.

”Friends, huh? Of course you’d call them that... you’re the same as them," Shinrei growled in a low enough voice to not let Kei notice. His scowl deepened.

Kei didn’t let Shinrei’s musings stop him. ”I got no idea what you’re saying, but here I go! Gemini Scorpion, let’s have you evolve into Divine Knight Ishzark!" he declared. Gemini Soldier sank into the floor and, from the same spot, a new monster rose in his place. A warrior clad in a blue body-suit mostly obscured by his oversized, feather-like shoulderpads and long kilt. The eyes were obscured beneath the helmet and the warrior swung around his buster-sized sword with one hand like it was a mere paperweight.

Divine Knight Ishzark: 2300 ATK

Keeping the momentum going, Shinrei’s opponent declared his battle phase. ”Cleave that Proto-Cyber in two!" he shouted. Shinrei quickly tapped a button in his duel disk and stretched his arm out to the side. Before Ishzark even got close, Proto Cyber was surrounded by light and faded away into it, starting from the bottom.

”Trap card: Attack Reflector Unit. With this, one Cyber Dragon on my field is tributed to summon Cyber Barrier Dragon in its stead," Shinrei explained. Wind kicked up as behind him a slightly larger and bulkier Cyber Dragon rose up. It had a shield built into the “neck” of the beast. Barrier Dragon reached forward and said shield unfolded itself, projecting an electromagnetic barrier in front of Shinrei and his other monster. Shinrei explained: ”Barrier Dragon will negate one of your attacks each turn, as long as it remains in attack position.”

Cyber Barrier Dragon: 800 ATK

Kei recoiled as his attack got interrupted. ”That’s a champ for you…! You seem to have a trick for everything…" he bemoaned the current situation, then picked up a card from his hand and set it face-down. Kei declared the end of his turn, but internally his plans were far from over. He looked down at the card on his field, mentally projecting its image in his mind.

”Even if he summons a monster with attack points higher than Ishzark next turn, my set Intrigue Shield can protect it… further, Barrier Dragon only has 800 ATK. As long as I can get through its first attack negation, I can counter-attack!” was more or less how Kei thought his plan through.

Shinrei wasted no time in taking his turn, drawing a card and playing another from his hand. ”From my hand I activate the spell card Downbeat. I can tribute my Barrier Dragon to summon a second Cyber Dragon from my deck!” he declared. Cyber Barrier Dragon roared and overloaded its systems, the extra armor padded around it flying off after a few localized explosions. The Cyber Dragon underneath was revealed and Shinrei now controlled two of the same monster.

Kei, as has become a pattern, was taken aback once more. ”No way! You only just summoned it, and now you got rid of it for another Cyber Dragon?!" he commented. Shinrei stared him dead in the eyes.

”That was my plan from the start. But before I show you why, I’m drawing two cards from my deck!” he replied back, activating an Iron Draw card from his hand. As long as he controlled exactly two machine monsters, Shinrei could draw from his deck. The trade-off was that he was allowed to summon only once more that turn, but as he put it himself: ”That’s more than enough. I activate Fusion Substitute, combining my two monsters!”

And, at that moment, everything clicked for Kei. Why Shinrei assembled his monsters the way he did, why he kept trying to summons more Cyber Dragons. ”Shoot, I let my guard down…! As long as you have a fusion card and the required materials for its summon, you can summon a new monster from your extra deck!" Kei said. It was far too late for him to realise that, as far as Shinrei was concerned. The white-haired boy raised up one finger skywards.

”An iron shell does nothing to contain your fury! Shackled to each-other, rage against all that oppose your twin wrath! I fusion summon Cyber Twin Dragon!”

A whirlpool of bright colours appeared behind Shinrei as he chanted, his two dragons letting out their mechanical roar while being sucked into it. Their very essence pooled together and combined in the raging swirl, combining themselves into a new form. Twin head suddenly forced themselves out of the whirlpool, roaring and trying to snap at Kei. Once their fusion had completed, the dragon slithered over on Shinrei’s field and wrapped its body around him. The twin heads stared down coldly at Kei.

”Cyber Twin Dragon, tear him apart with Evolution Twin Burst!” Shinrei yelled to declare his attack with. Kei was quick to react, springing the trap card on his field as the first head rained down its laser.

”With Intrigue shield, Ishzark is protected and I take no damage!" he explained as planned, a pegasus-crested shield appearing in front of Kei’s monster to block the blast. Kei didn’t ease up though, looking as nervous as when the attack had been declared. Shinrei took note of that, saying:

”It seems you’ve realised my monster’s attack is far from done! Cyber Twin Dragon’s effect allows it to attack twice per turn!”

Another blast was aimed Kei’s way, this time out of the second head and with no more tricks up his sleeve. The beam melted straight through the shield and Ishzark both, the monster letting out a cry of pain. The Evolution Burst landed in front of Kei’s feet and caused an explosion. ”Guoaaah!” the boy screamed as he flew back from the blast, landing roughly on his spine. Apathetic to the plight of his opponent, Shinrei merely said to him:

”Get up. This duel isn’t over yet.” and then picked up some cards from his hand. ”I’ll set two cards and end my turn.”
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The doctor drew his next card and eyed Aiya’s field curiously. “Decoy Dragon… a card that allows you to redirect an attack to a level 7 or higher Dragon-type monster resting in the graveyard, is it?” he’d say with a wag of his finger. “That won’t do… all the dragons I’ve destroyed thus far have been levels three and four. You can’t win with a bluff like that! Geo Genex, attack Decoy Dragon!” Aiya’s opponent cried out. Geo Genex pulled back its arm again, fully intent on pulverising the cutesy looking dragoling.

The Decoy dragon’s cutesy innocent taunting face would turn into a smirk of confidence as it would fly back to Aiya’s Duel disk and take out a monster card. Slamming it onto the field. At once a large intimidating Dragon would soon rear its head. Its red and black scales glimmering as the hospital lights glowed upon them as it would roar in challenge.

“Decoy dragons effect summons a level 7 or higher monster from my graveyard. But you already knew that. What you didn’t know was that I had managed to place my Darkblaze Dragon there last turn!” She’d declare

Darkblaze Dragon: ATK 1200

“And because it was summoned from my graveyard, its attack doubles” She’d continue as Darkblaze would roar as it was cloaked in a shadowy aura, causing its muscles to bulge and its eyes to glow.

Darkblaze Dragon: ATK 1200 -> 2400

“Now it's more than a match for your Geo Genex! Go Darkblaze Counter-Attack!” She’d roar as her dragon would lurch forward leaping upon Geo Genex as it would scorch it with its infernal breath. As Geo Genex would disintegrate into light particles however the attack would still continue, the breath would scorch the doctor.

“Darkblaze’s effect, if it destroys a monster by battle, you take damage equal to that monster's original attack points!” She’d say pointing at them.

“Guh… Guuaaaaah!” the doctor screamed as Darkblaze’s scorching flames reduced his life from 4100 to 1700. He took one step back, glaring at Aiya. “Impossible… I’ve been keeping track of your graveyard, just when did you-” he’d say, before pausing his train of thought. “Of course… back then. That was the only time you could’ve placed that card in your graveyard…” the doctor growled.

“I activate my spell card. Graceful Charity!” was the image conjured to both players’ minds, the one time Aiya could’ve put cards in her grave that the doctor hadn’t known about.

“This procedure has gone over schedule… I’ll bring it to a close quickly! Hydro Genex, bury Decoy Dragon!” the doctor ordered, with Hydro Genex spinning its spear and rushing forward once more.

Her Decoy Dragon would explode for real this time, as it had already used its little ‘trick’, The spear that had run it through would knick Aiya’s body, causing her to fall to her knee. As she would activate her trap card. “I activate Widespread Ruin” She’d declare. “Since your Hydro declared its attack, I get to destroy your highest attack point monster!” She’d say pointing at Thermal Genex. The reactor inside of Thermal Genex would go haywire, combusting the monster from the inside-out.

“Tch… but don’t forget, I’ll recover my life with your runt of a dragon’s destruction,” the doctor reminded both girls. The lifepoint totals updated:

Doctor: 1700 > 2000 LP
Aiya: 4200 > 2200 LP

The doctor pulled his surgical mask down again, glaring angrily at the one remaining monster on his field. “You’re useless to me, just like you’ve always been…! With your attack power, I might as well wait on Darkblaze to run me through…” he growled, summoning a new monster from his hand. It was a little blue robot, far more sleek and refined to Undine before it. “Genex Ally Solid has me send one of my WATER Genex to the grave and draw two cards… Now vanish from my sight, Hydro Genex!” he yelled at his monster, with Solid turning its little guns on Hydro and spraying it in a dissolving acid. The monster seemed in pain as it melted, with the doctor indifferent as he picked up his two cards.

“Hah… hahaha! Ahahahaha!” he madly laughed, smirking back at Aiya. “You may have thought you’d made a comeback, but you couldn’t be more wrong… Ultimate Offering, drink from my blood once more!” the doctor declared, paying another 500 LP to go back down to 1500. “Appear: the tuner monster, Genex Recycled!”

Genex Recycled: 200 ATK

”It’s… only level one?” Tsukiko would mutter. ”With the level 2 Solid, he should only be able to summon a level 3 synchro monster. That won’t be enough to beat a monster like Darkblaze Dragon!” she hopefully and, somewhat naively, blurted out.

“True, as my field is now I wouldn’t get to do much… but I have yet to activate a monster effect! Recycled copies the name of one of the Genex resting in my graveyard, and I select myself: Genex Doctor! Copy Assembly!

The little robot began tearing off parts of its face, reassembling its parts until its head was a completely different design. Then the doctor activated a spell from his hand, Machine duplication, which “allows me to summon any number of monsters from my deck with the same name as a machine of 500 or less attack on my field!” causing two more doctors to spring up.

“So you pulled the same trick I did.” Aiya said in surprise. Well no matter, she still had her darkblaze dragon! She hoped it was enough.

“Well, it’s true I sent my avatar, Genex Doctor, to the graveyard for the effect of my Triarm. But my ‘trick’ will be quite different to yours,” he said with malice in his voice. “I tune my Genex Spare to my Solid and two Doctors!”

Genex Spare slouched over, turned transparent and one single star was visible from inside of him. The monster rapidly faded out as that star spun around to form a single green ring, which expanded and covered all three other monsters.

“You’re tuning all of them?!” Tsukiko commented. “But their total levels are…”

“Correct! Nine!” the doctor finished her thought for her. The monsters on his field faded into eight bright stars and a pillar of light shot through the one green ring when they had. “Your exhaust pipe screams as you drown in the deep depths of darkness! Assemble the Ultimate Genex monster! Synchro Summon! Run through them, Locomotion R-Genex!

While Furnace and Geo were big, that which appeared this time was even larger. The Solid Vision simulated the room falling apart as the monster broke the roof and walls alike, towering over the three people beneath. Four bulky limbs, two arms and legs, were heavy bolted to the chassis of a steam train’s locomotive. Right in front of the exhaust was a cylindrical head, a lamp in the middle with four glowing red eyes looking menacingly down at the field. As it made its debut, it reached out one of its hands and grabbed onto Darkblaze Dragon.

Locomotion R-Genex: 2500 ATK

“Ahaha! Behold, my ultimate creation! My strongest servant!” the doctor madly laughed. “When this monster is synchro summoned, I gain control of your monster! Darkblaze Dragon will become [/i]my[/i] servant! Ultimate Obedience!

Locomotive brought the dragon closer to its face as it struggled, both the lamp and its eyes lighting up fiercely. The same red glow as in Locomotive’s was being reflected in Darkblaze’s eyes, which soon gave up its struggle. Locomotive released it and the dragon flew itself next to the doctor, who cupped its jaw in his hand and gently stroked the dragon’s face.

“Yes, just like that… soon, I’ll have everything under control. My servants will subjugate the other monsters, and I’ll… I’ll… Gnngh…!”

The doctor suddenly stopped his petting, clutching his head painfully. “What am I…?” he said confusedly, his expressions changing for a moment before going back to an angry look. “Shut up and stay down… this body is mine,” he seemed to talk to himself, then looked back at Aiya with a wicked grin.

“Haha… it doesn’t matter. Soon, I’ll have this duel won, and I’ll get even stronger,” he muttered to himself before standing straight and addressing his opponent again. “You have no monsters or set cards on the field. Your hand is at only one, and I have two powerful monsters on my side. And further,” he boasted, pausing briefly to play the last card in his hand. It spun onto his field, the image facing Aiya, at which point he continued: “with my Soul Absorption, if a card would be banished, I recover 500 points of my life. It’s a shame I didn’t have this when I activated my desires, but even if you tried to banish my field now, you’d only make me more powerful. Turn end.

Aiya would look at her hand, she had one chance to do this, and to do this right she just needed it to all come together. A single card could make or break this, But Aiya couldn’t lose just yet. “Draw!” She’d roar, pulling free the top card from her deck immediately gazing down upon it as her expression steeled.

“I activate Soul Release!” She’d say, as her duel disk would whir, popping out 5 cards from her graveyard. “With it I can banish 5 Monsters from a graveyard.” She’d say as she’d put them aside. Having banished her monsters from the graveyard she’d look across at the doctors field, as his card hummed into life. A blue aura engulfed him, boosting his life from 1500 all the way to 4000 points again.

“Hahaha! I see, I see!” the doctor bellowed, unable to contain his laughter. “Faced with your defeat, you’ll even boost my life just to beg for me to spare you… if you wanted to lose, all you had to do was surrender!” he mocked the girl.

Being mocked would do little to halt her stride as she would continue, flowing into her next action. “You really think i wasn’t aware of that, It won’t be enough for you anyway! Dimensional Fusion!” She’d say as the spell-card lifted itself up on her side of the field showing monsters falling from a dimensional rift.

“This is where it’s all been heading! The effect of my ‘Dimension Fusion’ activates, by paying 2000 of my life points, I can special summon as many of my banished monsters as I can!” She’d declare as her card would pulse, draining away yet more of her precious life points

Aiya: 2200 > 200 LP.

The pain that would go through her body would make her grimace a little as she’d wince. The shock of losing that much lifepoints at once hurting just as badly as being directly struck by her opponent's genex. She’d be stacking it all on this victory.

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5” She’d say as she’d place down her monsters. “Rise my Dragons and retake your place at my side.” She’d say as her monsters would roar out in unison. Facing her opponent.

Decoy Dragon: ATK 300
Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles: ATK 1800
Steam, Dragon Ruler of Droplets ATK 1600
Delta Flyer ATK 1500
Exploder Dragon ATK 1000

“Go, Delta Flyer, Use your effect to increase Decoys dragons level by 1” She’d say as the flyer would flap its wings, as it would let out a rallying screech, Decoy Dragon’s body would be enveloped in a green glow as its level would increase. “Now, Synchro Summon!” She’d say “I tune my level 3 Delta Flyer, with my level 3 Decoy Dragon” She’d chant as her delta flyer erupted into green rings, and her Decoy dragon would fly up into the center. Becoming three balls of light. Which soon exploded revealing her new monster that would stretch its wings and screech out.

“To summon Red Wyvern” She’d say as the monster flapped on her side of the field.

Red Wyvern ATK 2400

“What?! You can also Synchro Summon?!” the doctor said incredulously. He soon feigned composure again, though, saying: “Tch… but that monster only has 2400 ATK! As long as I have Locomotive, I-” before being cut off by Aiya.

“I activate the effect of Red Wyvern” She’d declare pointing at Locomotive. As the red-dragon began to flare up with heat. “If its synchro summoned, I can destroy a monster on the field with more attack points then it, but only once, So i choose your R-Genex Locomotive!” She’d say as the Red Wyverns throat began to bulge with Flame. “Champion Punisher!” She’d say as it would erupt a fireball that would destroy the Locomotive in a shower of fractals of light.

The doctor shielded himself from the smouldering embers that rained down on him, then once safe, glared back at Aiya. “Very clever, missy…” he hissed at her, then dusted off his uniform. “But you’re still deadlocked. You may think to attack into Darkblaze with Exploder Dragon to destroy it, but the moment you do, Darkblaze’s effect will burn away the rest of your life!”

“Who said I was going to attack your monster with my Exploder Dragon?”

“What?! No… you couldn’t be…”

“That’s right. Red Wyvern! Attack Darkblaze Dragon” She’d say as her monster would leap forth, their attack points were equal. Both would be destroyed in the clash. “Now your wide open. Go My monsters, Attack his life points directly!”

The doctor’s field was wide open, and Aiya still had three monsters on hers. “No…” the doctor muttered. The first to attack was Exploder Dragon, dropping his bomb on top of the doctor.

Doctor: 4000 > 3000 LP.

“No!” he then shouted. The second to attack was Stream, shooting a jet of water out of his maw and pushing back the Doctor, making him slide across the hospital floor.

Doctor: 3000 > 1400 LP

“NOOOO!” he roared as the final Dragon, Reactan, slammed his tail right into him, sending the doctor flying against the door.

Doctor: 1400 > 0 LP

“Gha… GHAAAA!” he screamed in pain, the same dark mist as with the regular at Aiya’s workplace flying up and out of his body. The doctor glared back at the girl. “You…! I won’t forget this…! I’ll… have… my reveeeeeenge!” he bellowed, then another pained scream as the final bits of mist left his body. The cards on his disk spilled out over the floor, and one type among them, the three copies of Genex Doctor, burned out alongside the mist.
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Kei twitched on the ground as his body ached from the blow. He scratched his fingers along the dust-covered pavement, getting some grip to push himself back up with. ”Damn… straight!” he groaned out, slowly and weakly getting back on his feet. ”Nothin’s over yet… not this duel, not me!” he defiantly yelled back at Shinrei. Kei raised up his duel disk and hand both, looking at the cards he had available to him. They were two spell cards, no monsters in sight. Kei knew he had to draw a monster the next turn, one that could turn the duel around, or lose right there. There was only one such monster that fit the bill. Kei closed his eyes and gently put his free hand on the deck. A soothing feeling washed over Kei.

”...I can feel you, partner.” he muttered quietly. ”You’re the only one that can get me out of this… I trust you, and my deck both! Let’s beat this guy together!” Kei said to rally both himself and his cards. The boy’s eyes shot open the moment he yelled ”Draw!”

Kei didn’t even need to look at the card. He somehow knew what was in his hand, and it made him burst out into a grin. ”Let’s do this, partner! I summon Silent Swordsman LV3!!”

Kei’s signature, favourite card: Silent Swordsman LV3.

ATK: 1000

Shinrei’s permanent frown got another few wrinkles added to it the moment Swordsman appeared on the field. ”There you are… I finally found you, you parasite,” he said with absolute disdain in his voice. Kei matched the scowl with one of his own.

”...What’s the big idea?” he complained. ”I’ve put up with your comments this whole duel, but I’m not going to let you insult my partner! Explain what the hell you’re on about already!” Kei demanded with a clenched fist. Shinrei flicked his hair to the side.

”...True enough. You don’t seem possessed,” Shinrei cryptically answered, and even though Kei wanted to press for more info, he wouldn’t get the chance to ask about it. Shinrei dramatically pointed at Silent Swordsman. ”But that doesn’t matter. That card’s latched onto you. It’s only a matter of time before you get consumed by it. That’s why I’m not going to show any mercy… I’ll eradicate and annihilate every single one of those accursed ghosts, even if you’re caught up in the crossfire.”

Kei had a bad feeling about Shinrei’s explanation, despite not being any more informed than before. Shinrei was seriously threatening Kei, and it somehow had to do with Silent Swordsman. The boy started to get afraid, the fear not being helped by his body aching all over. It was far more dull than the time with the Red Ogre duelist, but this duel was still wearing Kei out… as if Shinrei was doing the same thing. The thing is that the aura around that other guy isn’t around Shinrei, so whatever it was, something else must’ve been going on.

Kei looked at his hand again and saw it trembling. He knew he was afraid of taking the next step. Doubts started to creep up in his mind, but when things got bad, a familiar voice reached his ears: "...believe in me, Kei…!" its quiet tones registered. Kei snapped back to reality, glancing over at his field to see Swordsman staring back at him over his shoulder. He gave the monster an apologetic smile, and then picked up a card from his hand.

”...Heh. It’s almost like I could hear your voice, partner. I’ll believe until the end… believe we can do this, together!” his thoughts rang, giving Kei the motivation to continue onwards. He met Shinrei’s look dead-on, staring him straight in the eyes with renewed determination. ”Here I come! From my hand I activate ‘Level Up!’!”

Swordsman raised his blade off his shoulder, swinging it to the side and taking a battle ready stance. The air around him started to twist and turn, gales spinning around like a tornado. ”This card allows me to evolve my partner into his true form! Silent Swordsman LV 5!” Kei shouted as the warrior was bathed in light, morphing beneath its veil. He grew taller, older and even his sword gained some girth. Once his transformation was complete, the light and winds shot out in every direction, fluttering the clothes of both duelists.

Silent Swordsman LV5: 2300 ATK

Shinrei’s scowl deepened. ”That much attack still isn’t enough to overcome my Cyber Twin Dragon. Which means…”

”We’ll see about that!” Kei yelled back at him. He declared: ”Let’s attack his dragon, partner!” and the warrior readied his blade. Kei then immediately slammed down another card from his hand. ”And with Silent Sword Slash, his attack goes up 1500 points! Go, partner! Silent Severing Slash!

Silent Swordsman LV5: 2300 > 3800 ATK

The swordsman’s weapon gleamed and lengthened as the warrior leapt up into the air. The air tensed as his dashing figure blocked out the sun, leaving only a silhouette of Silent Swordsman visible. The warrior spun around, realigning his body to allow his blade to come crashing straight down on Cyber Twin Dragon. His acrobatics allowed Silent Swordsman to slice clean through the machine, cleaving it in half.

”Alright! We beat it, partner!” Kei celebrated with a fist pump into the air, Silent Swordsman jumping back onto his side of the field. Then, however, is when Shinrei made himself known once more.

”Is that so?” he mockingly said, the smoke on his field clearing to reveal two Cyber Dragons and his life still untouched.

Kei, in shock, stammered out: ”But… but how?!”

Shinrei flicked his hair to the side, then pointed to the glowing card at his right. ”De-fusion allows me to cancel out the battle by splitting my monster into its fusion materials. And further…” he paused, pulling his free arm back and pointing to his left with the cards in his hand. There was a second card there, a trap this time, glowing just as bright. ”With Pixie Ring, you cannot target the monster on my field with the lowest attack. The only monsters I control are two Cyber Dragons with the same attack…”

”...Meaning… my battle phase… is over…!” Kei hesitantly finished Shinrei’s sentence for him. Kei’s face tightened as he reluctantly declared the end of his turn, and explained that ”Silent Sword Slash’s effect ends, and Swordsman’s attack returns to normal…”

Silent Swordsman LV5: 3800 > 2300 ATK

”Draw.”

Upon the declaration of Shinrei’s turn, the air around the two of them changed. It turned cold, unfeeling. The chill bit into Kei’s skin. Shinrei activated a spell card from his hand, Magic Planter, which removed his trap to draw two more cards. Shinrei looked at them, then up at Kei.

”This is as far as this duel will go,” he coldly said. ”With Fusion Sage, I add Polymerization from my deck to my hand. And then I’ll activate it, fusing the Cyber Dragons on my field with the one in my hand.”

Kei felt a cold drop of sweat trail the side of his face. He knew exactly what was coming. Shinrei’s most powerful, most terrifying card. The two cyber dragons on the field let out a howl, joined by a third appearing on Shinrei’s field. The three of them were then sucked into a portal that opened behind him, swirling together in the vortex of colour. The alley rumbled and bolts of lightning shot out of the fusion pool, hitting the walls and street.

”I fusion summon Cyber End Dragon."

Kei could barely keep himself standing from the shockwave that emerged once the portal burst apart, a gigantic figure spreading its wings and roaring with all three heads from behind Shinrei. Its three pairs of cold, metallic eyes all gazed down at Kei’s monster.

Cyber End Dragon: 4000 ATK
Shinrei’s passive, cold face suddenly looked extremely threatening. He didn’t care a lick about what would happen to Kei, and in order to prove it, he played the last card in his hand: ”Limiter Removal." It caused Cyber End Dragon to howl out once again, more electricity shooting out from all around it. Every orb on its body glowed bright and the monster started thrashing around; no surprise, either, considering its effect had just doubled its attack. And to add to it, this already huge monster doubled in size to match, sticking out clear as day above the rooftops. Its metallic armor blinded Kei, who had to take in its reflection of the sun.

Cyber End Dragon: 4000 > 8000 ATK

”Do it,” Shinrei coldly commanded his dragon. Its three heads each charged up its own, separate beam of energy. The lightning in their jaws could barely be contained.

Kei, in a panic, looked at his monster and shouted: ”PARTNER!!” in fear of what’d happen.

”Eternal! Evolution! BURST!

The gigantic machine fired off its attack, and Kei could only watch in horror as it approached. This was it. Kei could do nothing to stop the incoming attack. It collided with something and caused a huge explosion, wiping Silent Swordsman and Kei off the field both, sending the boy flying backwards as he screamed in pain from taking 5700 points worth of damage. Kei came down hard on the street, bounced once, then landed on his front side. He weakly looked up, seeing Silent Swordsman’s card laying in front of him. He tried to reach out for it, mumbling ”Part…ner…” before losing consciousness.

Kei: 2500 > 0 LP
Shinrei: 4000 LP.

Shinrei stood there, his jacket fluttering in the winds caused by the explosion. His Cyber End roared as it faded away from the field. Shinrei waited for the smoke to clear, and once it had, his scowl worsened even further.

”Tch… ran away, huh?” he growled when nobody was sprawled out on the floor of the alley. ”You can run all you want, parasite… next time, I’ll eradicate you all the same,” he voiced his threat in the vague general direction of where his opponent had been.
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Aiya the Tired

The duel was over. She had won, but at what cost. The room was in shambles, the doctor was slumed against the door and the staff were doing their best to try to force their way inside. "Hah..." Aiya would exhale heavily. The duel was won again but yet another person was comatosed by it. Hardly the time to properly celebrate a victory no matter how hard fought. Her bones were aching. Her body was sore, She wished she could afford a massage parlor.

Going over to the slumped over body of the doctor, she would frisk him quickly, Pulling back the card he had taken, sliding it back amongst her deck. As she would stand upright. Looking back at Tsukiko, her calm and compassionate tone was now cold and steeled. Why? because internally she was panicking, But outwardly she would show a straight face. "I need to go Tsukiko." She'd say quickly to the girl as she'd walk over to them, Clutching their hands in hers for a moment as she'd bow her head at them. "Thank you for everything" She'd say. Taught by her grandpa to always pay her respects to those that help her. Of course she'd thank the girl before she did what she did next. As she didn't even wait for them to respond. Sliding open the window she'd look for a safe spot to land.

"See you around!" She'd say as she'd leap. If Tsukiko was watching she'd notice Aiya land on the fence, Wobble a little but then jump off it safely, as the staff would burst into the room... Leaving Tsukiko alone with the doctor and Aiya's phone would she had left on Tsukiko's bed-stand when she had been talking to them.



Enter Stage Right, and Flee Stage Left


Unbeknownst to the two fellows whom had just had a rather spontanous and desperate duel of desparity between a grandmaster and a novice. There would of been an observer, up from above, a roof-top scoundrel who didn't quite play well with city law and social etiquette, and whom had seen quite enough of this poor display.

"Detonate, my little fluffy friend. That boy deserves a proper even playing field." He'd say patting the duel spirit that was hovering near him, Kuri~! the Spirit would respond in kind as it would float down from above towards the unsuspecting duelists. Exploding into a massive cloud of smoke and obscuring the vision for all involved. A perfect time to exit the stage.

Leaping down from above, with a cry of "Whahoo~!" would be a man dressed in a ragged coat, and ripped trousers, performing athletic stunts that would be quite taxing for anyone to perform, as he'd stumble a little. "My friend, I don't think you should be removed from this court of fools just yet~!" In a fluid motion he had hoisted Kei onto his back, Sliping Kei's Silent Swordsmen into the boys pocket, as he'd take off at a sprint, Moving with haste to a hideout to avoid the ever-growing ire of a champion robbed of a true victory. He had much to discuss with this boy afterall. What young fool would be trying to stop spirits so unpreparedly!
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At the hospital


The duel was over. Tsukiko could breathe somewhat easily with the danger having passed and the holograms fading out. "...! Doctor, are you okay?!" she'd call out to the slumped-over person while Aiya frisked them, but neither Aiya nor the doctor stirred for a response. The girl's expression turned pained as she muttered: "I... I see... it got him too..."

Then, as soon as everything was dealt with, Aiya did something stupid. "Ah- Aiya?!" Tsukiko would call out incredulously as the other teen opened a window, said a brief word of thanks and then jumped out of it. Tsukiko felt her heart skip a beat as she rushed over to look out, but luckily, Aiya somehow had managed to nail the jump onto the surrounding fence. It was just a short climb down to ground level from that point, and thus Tsukiko signed with relief that her new friend was safe. The brief moment of respite wouldn't last long though; as soon as everything was dealt with, the hospital staff burst into the room because they'd hear the screams. Nurses were followed by doctors as the ward got a new patient, and Tsukiko was left to explain the whole mess...
Abandoned Streets


Kei was walking along a narrow, seemingly endless path stretching out into the void. Nothing was around him save for darkness; yet he still seemed able to see fine despite that. The constant march wore on him, tiring him out as he struggled to keep a consistent forward pace. The vista around him changed from time to time; it had been his house, the card shop, the streets of Kaleido... and now, once again, it changed to something new. It morphed to the town square where he saw Aiya leaned against a wall. She noticed Kei and gave him a wave, before vanishing into nothing. The next sight was the alleyways, Shinrei at the end of the road. Kei froze in fear as the champion summoned his Cyber End, but as soon as it looked to fire, the illusion faded.

Then, an unfamiliar sight spread out before Kei. The path he'd been walking on suddenly seemed to come to a halt, a literal light shining at the end of the road. It bathed a tall figure in a blinding veil, making Kei unable to get a good look. The figure spoke to him:

"Find me... save our worlds."

The light grew to be blinding and, in that flash, the figure disappeared. The location changed one final time, back to the square of Kaleido. Shinrei, Aiya and other people he knew were all laid across the floor as a dark miasma poured out of them, blanketing the entire city. It would blot out the light if it weren't for the raging fires all around the city center, buildings collapsing all around. That all, however, still wasn't the scariest part. That honor belonged to a giant, looming figure on the horizon. A gargantuan monster, the source of all this havoc, that slithered forward once it had noticed Kei. It aimed its left arm- ending in the head of a dragon- right at the boy. The dragon head spit out flames, burning Kei just like the buildings around him.

”GUAAAAAAH!!"

Kei screamed awake from that nightmare, having broken out in a cold sweat. He shot up straight and regretted it as soon as he had. A throbbing pain coarsed through his entire body, but particularly his chest and head, alongside heavy exhaustion. It made his head spin, but Kei still tried to look around. He could quickly tell he was neither in the alley he was last in, nor had he woken up in his bed like it was all a second dream. No, Kei found himself in a different street, covered with a not-quite-clean rag and put down next to a pile of trash. He wasn't alone, either.

”Did... you bring me here...?" Kei asked, half in a daze, to a ragged-looking man sitting on top of the nearby dumpster. A person that, most likely, had been watching over the boy and waiting for him to wake up. This situation was bad for Kei, given his recent track record with strangers in back streets, but his body felt much too sluggish to resist even if the stranger did have bad intentions. Clutching his head, Kei added a: ”And why...?"
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Abandoned Street


"A bit of a kid detective aren't ya? Always a good thing to have, though the obvious doesn't need saying." The man would say as he'd close the dumpster lid he had been rummaging in while sitting upon it. Having let the kid get it out of his system that he had indeed woken up in the most gracious palace they could afford he would hop off it, eying him up with some suspect, his hands in his coat pockets he'd lean down and eye up the kid.

Tilting his head a moment, he'd look over at their shoulder at something. Then his eyes would shift back to the boy. Then to that point of interest behind them. A large grin starting to emerge on their face. "Curious. Strange, Marvellous indeed!" He'd exclaim clapping his hands as he would look at the boy. "You my friend are quite unique." He'd say placing his hands on the boys shoulders. "A bond with a spirit yet not a harmonious merge?!, Nor parasitic, my! you are quite interesting." He'd say spilling out concepts that would likely fly over the kids head, but the man was wrapped up in his own immense joy at the presented scenario, but Kai wouldn't be able to get a word in edgewise before the mans face of joy immediately steeled into one of authority. Oddly kingly in a sense. At least that was the aura projected by this homeless man.

"I would like a duel, if your not too tired by your days gallivanting." He would say at least concerned for Kai's wellbeing.
"Let me measure the true nature of you, in a way that you cannot mask, show me the nature of your soul." He'd say a rusted old-model duel disk whirring with heavy clanks to life. There was a sharp hiss as the duel disk that was very much on its last legs locked up, ready to go.
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