• We're currently experiencing a minor issue with our email system preventing emails for new registrations and verifications going out. We're currently working to fix this
  • Be sure to join the discussion on our discord at: Discord.gg/serebii
  • If you're still waiting for the e-mail, be sure to check your junk/spam e-mail folders

Heroic Potential [Yugioh! Fic]

SerenadeSP

My Loyal Feraligatr
Chapter Nineteen


Soft footsteps echoed in the long hallways, ricocheting across the mansion with subtle enthusiasm. Marble walls reflected the pale light that shone through the tall, crystal-clear windows, casting innocently onto the youthful boy playing near the transparent coffee-table. His long, wavy red hair flowed onto his shoulders, gently separating and shifting as he heaved the heavy, stainless-pale couch cushion. Bracing it against the armrest on the opposite side, he panted, exhausted from the task.

This was more than the eight-year-old had done in a while.

Grasping a handful of cards from the table, he excitedly jumped up on the couch, then divided the cards even into two piles, one in each hand. Peering down the cushion he had position just perfectly so, he fanned out the cards and placed them on the top of the armrest.

One by one, the cards fell, sliding down the cushion to the boy’s joy. Eagerness lit up his eyes as each card slid diagonally towards the floor. This was the most fun he’d had in years.

As the cards scattered across the polished, tiled floor, the boy leapt off the couch and ran to chase after them. The cards continued to slide; some hitting the walls, others gliding even further across the wide room.

When some cards started to near the double-doors, the boy leapt off the couch to chase after them. The moment he did, he kicked his foot back, gliding across the floor with his socks like and ice-skater. He let out tiny giggles as he dashed around the cards, scooping some up as he passed.

The turning of the doorknob caught the boy off guard, causing him to lose his balance. He tried to turn away from the shelf on the far wall, but his socks had already picked up too much momentum, and he was sent slamming onto his chest as his feet crashed into one of its legs. The cards he held flew out of his grasp, scattering across the floor just as the others did just minutes ago.

The boy lifted his head slowly, dazed. His bangs fluttered near his nose, which he pushed away to see a Spell Card near a broken picture frame. He could see himself in the picture, but the other members were blurred out by the glaring, shattered glass. He groaned, crawling to pick it up, when a black-polished shoe stepped to block his way. The boy’s sight trailed up the figure’s leg, fear fluttering in his heart.

He knew he was in for it tonight.


~*~*~*~​


Adam’s eyes surveyed the crowd, catching a glimpse of each eye that fell upon him. Fearful eyes – eyes that lost hope long ago. The eyes darted away from him, fell onto his opponent. There the fear grew, strengthening exponentially in their pupils.

Before Adam looked over his hand, he shot a glance at the two college students standing on the sidewalk – Josh and Dave. He could see their eyes shining, knowing he had what they needed. They had hope. But Adam didn’t need their hope.

That wasn’t what drove him in the first place.

[Adam LP: (8000)] [Deck Hacker LP: (8000)]​

Adam held up the fanned-collection of cards, spreading them in between his fingers. No Card Destruction, he noted. But if his deck didn’t give him that card, maybe he didn’t need it.

Still, I need a way to put a monster in the Graveyard.

He glanced over the cards again, siding past his first four cards. Ah, here we go, he thought. This’ll do.

“Alrighty! Time to start things off!” the hacker gleefully shouted, sliding out a card. “I’ll set a monster face-down and end my turn!”

The brown card materialized at the hacker’s feet, casting a small shadow over the concrete.

Adam drew his card, keeping his attention on the field. Okay, if he had Bartering of the Kings in his hand he would’ve definitely played it immediately to take my deck. He looked up his opponent’s hand, counting. Five cards.

The hacker yawned theatrically, keeping one eye on Adam, attempting to coax him into thinking faster.

Adam was unfazed. Judging from his last duel with Dave, his hand is either full of Normal Monsters or he’s waiting to unleash some kind of combo. He took a moment, looking at the drawn Trap Card – Fine. No point in stalling any longer.

“I activate Tribute to the Doomed.” His voice was flat. “With this, I can discard a card and destroy a monster you control.”

A Spell Card flashed before him; the second it did, tendrils of pale linen strips shot out, ensnaring the brown card until it was entirely wrapped. Once it was, a decayed purple hand rose up, grasping the mummified card and dragging to the depths below.

“Fancy,” the hacker said, smiling. “I like you so far.”

Adam remained quiet. He held up his arm. “Rise – Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”

Small embers puffed out the Duel Disk, growing into full, swirling flames. As the tornado of fire cooled, a woman leapt out, dancing onto the ground. Her finned gray helmet widely spread out over her shoulders, and her red tank-top matched the tint of her mask. (1200/800)

“Ooh, a lady’s man, aren’t we?” The hacker winked, then raised his eyebrows in intrigue. “And a Fallen deck, that’s a rare sight indeed!”

Adam waved his arm across his torso. “Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – attack him directly!”

Igniting her hands ablaze, Burstinatrix touched her wrists together in an ‘X’, slashing them through the air, projecting flames at the hacker in one clean shot.

The hacker yelped, quickly adjusting his hair. [Deck Hacker LP: (8000 --> 6800)]

“I’ll set two more cards face-down and end my turn,” Adam said, never acknowledging the hacker’s reactions.

Two cards left in-hand, he thought, gripping them tighter. I need to keep hand advantage in case he manages to plays that illegal card early. He watched his opponent draw, in that stupid, condescending manner. But even if he does, he’ll claim control over my deck.

“Hey, Dave,” Josh whispered. Dave nodded to say that he heard, but never looked away from the duel. “Adam doesn’t seem to be letting this guy get to him. You think he has a shot, right?”

Dave shrugged. “Maybe. He’s good, but if they switch decks it’ll become an entirely different game.”

“What if he beats him before that happens?” Josh asked.

Dave considered this; the shadow from his cap covering his downcast gaze. Throughout his duel, the hacker managed to stall until the game shifted into his favor. Technically that could’ve been a fluke, but then he also won at least two games before that…

Dave lifted his gaze, the shadows receding back into his hairline. “No chance.”

“My turn again, then!” The hacker laughed. “Ah, this is perfect! Enchanting Fitting Room!”

The red shower curtain appeared over the hacker’s head, rippling from its golden rings with the breeze. [Deck Hacker LP: (6800 --> 6000)]

“So, let’s see what we got here.” He slid out the top four cards, fanning them. Greed glittered in his eyes. “Perfect! All four get summoned!” He looked to Adam. “And not only that – three of them are Mokey-Mokeys!”

Dave gritted his teeth. Josh watched Matt and Timmy shudder as the rectangular angels flopped onto the field. (300/200) [x3]

“And with them joins Doron!”

The humanoid creature waltzed out its replicated card, the black silk tightly wrapped around its body. (900/500)

Adam observed it. Wait a minute – Attack Position? His stare focused on the hacker’s hand. The thought struck him like lightning; his stare sharpened. I knew it!

“Now I’ll activate this – Encouragement!”

With a storm of static, the Spell Card materialized and, after a few moments of noise and sparks, stabilized into a solid image.

Josh grimaced; he could feel the others do the same.

Especially Dave.

“This allows me to discard two Normal Monsters whose total Levels are equal to or less than five. Then their combined ATK power gets added to Doron’s!”

He presented the cards – Frog the Jam and Candle of Fate – before sliding them into the Graveyard. A blue-ish green aura subdued Doron, eventually empowering it, turning its once green eyes crimson-red. (900 --> 2200/500 --> 1600)

Dave let out an audible growl. Josh turned to him, concerned.

“Now, attack the lovey lady!”

Doron, grasping the power of the aura in its palm, dashed at its target, preparing a punch. Burstinatrix sidestepped to dodge, kicking at Doron with a flaming foot. Reflexively, Doron shot up his hand, catching the hero’s leg, which caused her to gasp from surprise. At last, Doron drew back its fist, slamming it into the woman’s body, shattering it instantly.

Adam’s expression barely changed. [Adam LP: (8000 --> 7000)]

The hacker basked in this small victory, pretending to thank the crowd for their imagined support. “And that’s all for now! But don’t worry – I’ve got plenty more saved for later!”

“I’m really starting to hate this guy,” Matt said. Josh, Dave, and Timmy nodded.

Adam lifted a card off his deck. Just what I needed. He held it near the red slot, pressing a button near one of his Spell/Trap cards. “I activate Fine to discard two cards.”

“Ah, the typical style of a Fallen deck,” the hacker mused. “I gotta tell ya, I’ve actually never seen anyone put one together. You must be pretty rich!”

A heartbeat lashed at Adam’s chest. He subtly inhaled through his nose.

“Rise – ” He snapped his arm up; a rugged sphere flung out “ – Fallen Hero Clayman!”

With that last word, the sphere exploded, expanding into the bulky figure with large, blocky arms. (800/2000)

“Hey, don’t ignore me here! I’m fascinated with this deck of yours, man!” the hacker, for once, said this somewhat angrily. “You gotta tell me how you managed to get all those cards! That’s a pretty impressive feat – even for a scumbag like me!”

Adam lowered his eyebrows; frowned. “End turn.”

“Don’t be like that!” The hacker crossed his arms. “Alright, I’m putting this duel on hold until you tell me how you got all these rare cards!”

The crowd turned to him, awaiting his answer.

Adam’s stare remained cold. He crossed his own arms.

“No.”

“C’mon!” the hacker shouted, throwing his arms in the air.

What’s going on? Josh thought. Why’s Adam being so stubborn about this?

Dave watched Adam’s face, saw the lone stand of red hair resting beside his right eye. Maybe I was right after all, he thought. Is Adam a thief?

“I don’t got all day here!” The hacker waved his arms around. “It’s just a simple question! What? Need to be Mr. Secretive to impress the ladies?”

Adam shook his head; the red stand flipped to the opposite side. “You don’t need to know anything about me. Just duel.”

“Well, now you’ve only piqued my interest further!” the hacker shouted.

Adam didn’t react.

“This is so weird,” Timmy said. “At first this guy seemed like such a strong adult, but now he’s acting like an insecure child.”

Dave and Matt agreed. Josh examined Adam’s stance; he seemed to be closing himself off from the world around him the longer this dragged out.

“Another grain of salt,” Adam muttered. He sighed. “Add that to the mountain already there.”

Adam… what kind of mountain are you dealing with?


The hacker groaned, sighed. “Alright, in that case I’ll ask a simpler question.” He paused, pointing a finger at his opponent. “What’s your name, kid? You can at least tell me that, right?”

Adam stared at the ground before him. Darkness laid there, cast from the shadow of his Fallen Hero monster. He seemed to be pondering over the question.

Slowly, almost cautiously, Adam raised his gaze. “…Adam Prince,” he mumbled.

“There, was that so hard?” the hacker smiled again. “Well, now that that’s out of the way – my draw!” He glanced at it, then put it with the others. “Doron – destroy his Fallen Hero Clayman!”

Followed by the cheers of its fellow Mokey-Mokey, Doron ran towards the kneeling Clayman, holding its palm near its neck. When it drew close, Doron thrust it forward, but Clayman reacted – just as the power for the aura gathered in Doron’s hand, the bulky hero grasped onto its wrist, stopping the momentum of the attack cold.

“What th–”

“Fallen Hero Clayman’s effect,” Adam said. “I’ll banish him to take down your monster! Go – Clay Grapple!”

As commanded, Clayman snagged Doron’s other arm, lifting it into the air as it stood up. Pulling the monster’s two limbs away from its body, Doron began to groan in submission. Clayman didn’t stop – once it was sure Doron was immobilized, the hero jumped into the air, hugging Doron close, then slammed into the ground with a violent thump.

Dust gathered from the attack, leaving a digital crack on the floor. But no trace of the two monsters remained.

“Well,” the hacker said. “That’s a bit of a setback. Oh well, no harm done.”

“Not quite,” Adam barked. “When Clayman destroys a monster with Clay Grapple, you take 800 damage.”

“Wha– huh?!” [Deck Hacker LP: (6000 --> 5200)] The hacker shook his head. “Whatever. I can spare to lose a couple of cards. Anyway, I’ll set a monster face-down and end my turn.”

Adam drew silently.

“And now he’s back to being the strong adult,” Timmy whispered.

Matt shook his head. “I don’t get it either.”

Josh listened to them, pretending to concentrate on the duel.

I’ve got a small advantage, but his field presence is still incredibly strong. Adam eyed the one face-down card floating by his right foot. No monsters and a single face-down vs. his three weak Normal monsters and another face-down monster. He stared at the brown card. The chances of that monster being a threat are low – he doesn’t seem to carry any Effect Monsters at all. That way, he basically guarantees that his opponent’s monsters will be able to run over all obstacles for him. Meanwhile, he uses his stall and illegal Spell Cards to charge ahead as necessary. He hesitated. Still, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a high-DEF monster.

In a passing motion, Adam quickly glanced at the hacker’s left hand (the right hand, however, was once again at the hacker’s mouth, indicating his boredom). One card, Adam thought. Okay, chances of a sudden comeback are unlikely, even if he manages to take my deck next turn. He looked at his own hand, noting his most recent card. Let’s see. Graceful Charity’ll give me another opportunity to send my Fallen monsters to the Graveyard, and maybe even give me more ways to take down his line of defenses. He looked at his choices. One other card in hand. Fallen Vorse Raider…

“Got it,” Adam said aloud.

The hacker perked his head up, seemingly awakened. “Thank god.”

“First I’ll activate Graceful Charity, so I draw three cards and discard two.”

“I think we know how the card works, thank you,” the hacker teased. “Anything else?”

“Plenty,” Adam said. A card ejected from his Graveyard. “Rise – Fallen Vorse Raider!”

A card frame materialized in front of him; from it, the behemoth warrior proudly raised its axe as it took its post. (1900/1200)

“Fallen Vorse Raider – attack his face-down monster!”

The raider held up its axe so that the two blades were parallel to the ground, then began spinning it rapidly as it ran at the monster.

“And, since your monster’s in Defense Position, it gets destroyed automatically!”

Just as the card started to raise itself, Fallen Vorse Raider sliced it to bits, reducing it to mere bits of paper.

The hacker smirked. “Nice one.”

“I end,” Adam said, staring at the two cards he held. Fallen Hero Sparkman and Fallen Alligator’s Sword. He furrowed his eyebrows. Not good enough. At this rate I won’t be able to stop his deck fast enough.

“Alrighty,” the hacker said. “I’ll keep it nice and simple.”

Another brown-backed card materialized next to the three Mokey-Mokeys.

“Your turn.” The hacker smiled coyly.

C’mon Adam, Josh thought. You just need to break through this guy’s defenses and you’ll win!

“My draw.” Adam looked at the drawn card and, dissatisfied, held up his arm again. “Return to us – Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”

Another wisp of fire flung out of Adam’s Duel Disk, expanding until Burstinatrix emerged from the flames. (1200/800)

“You can guess what’s gonna happen next,” Adam said, pointing ahead. “Fallen Vorse Raider – attack his face-down monster. Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – attack the leftmost Mokey-Mokey!”

Both monsters leapt from their posts – Burstinatrix hovering slightly above Vorse Raider – as they raced to the other side of the field. The three Mokey-Mokeys scrambled, panicking like small children during a thunder storm. As the raider slashed its axe down, Burstinatrix launched a flame-fueled kick; the force of the slash sent the paper card into the flames, where it, along with one of the rectangular angels, disintegrated into nothing.

“Go,” Adam snapped.

“Ah.” The hacker drew. “That might’ve been the fastest turn you’ve had so far,” he scolded. “A face-down card and another set monster should do.”

“In that case, I’ll speed things up.” Adam drew, pulling up the card vertically before shouting, “Time to bring out one of my favorite monsters!”

Small thunderclouds gathered overhead, casting a shadow over the playing field. They trickled with static, sporadically giving off light with each zip and spark.

Josh smiled. Here we go!

Burstinatrix crossed her arms, jumping into the air.

“Quite a light show, Mr. Prince,” the hacker mused. “But it’s nothing too impressive.”

“We’ll see about that. I offer Burstinatrix to summon the mighty electrical fiend.” He gazed up at the sky, bellowing, “Rise – Fallen Summoned Skull!”

A clap of thunder served as a harbinger for the lightning that showered down; Burstinatrix flew towards it, willingly allowing itself to become bathed in electricity until its body disintegrated into energy. Once it did, the lightning continued towards the floor, striking the spot it once stood. Following a gust of wind, the clouds dispersed, and a muscular demon unfolded its blue wings, howling a powerful roar. (2500/1200)

“Now that’s something,” the hacker said.

“You have no idea what you’re in for,” Adam said darkly. A shadow vaguely cast over his eyes, veiling the strand of red hair. “I’m not letting you Deck Hackers get away with attacking innocent people. Especially teenagers.”

Fallen Summoned Skull and Fallen Vorse Raider lifted their heads; their eyes gave a detached, unforgiving stare.

Adam dropped his gaze to the ground, allowing the shadow to consume his face.

Josh watched on; unconsciously, his mouth fell agape.

“This is what you get.” His words were soft and quiet, yet still clear and stern. Adam lifted his head; the shadow receded. “Attack!”

Awakened, Fallen Vorse Raider leapt up, slashing at the brown card. In its wake, Fallen Summoned Skull unleashed an array of lightning, trailing towards the one of the two Mokey-Mokeys. It let out a shriek that sent chills through the crowds’ spines.

“And when Fallen Summoned Skull attacks a Defense Position monster, you take piercing Battle Damage.”

Josh stepped forward, proudly clutching his fist. “Go Adam!”

The crowd smiled at Josh’s gestured. Hope seemed to be returning to their gloomy faces.

“Nice try!”

Before the lightning reached the tiny angel, a triad of priestesses miraculously appeared. They held up their hands reverently, deflecting the lightning and axe with a mythical force.

The crowd gasped, dumbfounded.

Adam peered past the three priestesses, spotting a Trap Card. Argh, how did I overlook that! He clenched his teeth, mentally kicking himself.

“Sorry, Waboku stops your attack cold.” The three priestesses vanished. “I’m guessing it’s my move.”

Reluctantly – angrily – Adam nodded.

“Don’t look so glum.” The hacker smiled enthusiastically again. His grin made Dave cringe. “Another monster, another face-down card, and it’s back to you.”

The brown card closest to the hacker materialized with a sharp rainbow glare. Josh peered over at it, then turned to Dave. Within a moment of looking into his eyes, Josh could tell that Dave saw the same thing he did. They both looked to Adam, who watched it as well.

It doesn’t matter, if I don’t act now it could be too late. Holding out his arm, he called, “Rise again – my Fallen Hero Burstinatrix!”

A pillar of flames burst between the two muscular monsters, extinguishing as Burstinatrix spread its arms. (1200/800) She snapped her fingers, setting her hands ablaze.

“Ah, lookie there, the lady’s back again.” The hacker raised his arms. “She just doesn’t know when to quit!”

“Shut it,” Adam scolded him. “I’ll use Fallen Hero Burstinatrix’s effect. By paying 500 Life Points I get to target a monster you control and return it to your hand.” He lifted his index finger accusingly. “So take back your Mokey-Mokey!”

Burstinatrix pushed its hands out, holding the sphere of fire from above. [Adam LP: (7000 --> 6500)] With a firm thrust, a stream of flames shot out, striking the small angel full-force. As it spastically waved its stubby arms, the creature reformed into a piece of cardboard.

The hacker caught it. “Hmph.”

Dave felt a nudge of an elbow. He turned, seeing Josh. “Yeah?”

“Why do you think he didn’t use that effect before?”

Dave pondered, then snapped his fingers. “He’s probably trying to conserve his Life Points.”

Josh nodded. A thought stung him, So, Adam doesn’t think he’s gonna win in time…

“Now – Fallen Vorse Raider, attack his one of his face-down monsters!”

The raider leapt up, slamming down onto the face-down card with a mighty heave. It burst into tiny fragments before a breath could be taken.

“Fallen Summoned Skull – attack his last face-down monster!”

Fallen Summoned Skull expanded its wings and curled its claws, groaning as electricity rippled around its body. After a couple of seconds of charging, it unleashed a bolt through its horns, growling. The monster on the receiving end rose from its hiding spot – a small grasshopper called Basic Insect. (500/700) It had no time to react before the lightning slammed into it, leaving a scorch mark where the bug once was.

The hacker stared at the spot, watching a thin string of smoke rise above his head. [Deck Hacker LP: (5200 --> 3400)]

Upon seeing the numbers drop, Adam regained his confidence. Hmph. Guess that card was a bluff after all. He pressed on.

“Fallen Hero Burstinatrix – direct attack!”

Burstinatrix kicked itself off the ground, flipping into a cart-wheel-like motion. Its left foot caught on fire; the flames arched as the woman spun.

The hacker gazed up from his empty field and, to the crowd’s alarm, laughed maliciously.

“I’ve got you now!” He ripped out his face-down card, flicking it to the other side. “You fell right into my trap.” The hacker’s eyes scanned those around him without moving his head; his grin widened. “And now they’re gonna pay the price!”

As the face-down card rose, several neon-purple wires shot out from behind it, smashing into Burstinatrix, forcing it to retreat. Adam watched the wires flail amongst the crowd aimlessly, like an octopus’s limbs. “The hell is this,” he whispered.

The hacker turned around, addressing the audience. “Now, which of you would like to volunteer!” The crowd didn’t answer; instead, they slowly stepped backwards, trying to avoid the wires. With false dissatisfaction, the hacker faced Adam and shrugged. “Seems like they don’t care much about me.” He grinned again, his pupils flashed. “Let’s change that.”

In a violent explosion of movements, the wires lashed out from the street, whipping themselves at the crowd. People screamed, others fell onto the ground trying to duck. As this occurred, Adam glowered.

“You bastard!” he shouted. “This is between me and you! Don’t involve them!”

The hacker chuckled (somehow, Adam heard him over the loud shouts and whipping sounds of the wires). “Don’t you get it yet, Mr. Prince?” He boasted out his chest. “I’m a Deck Hacker – I can do whatever the hell I want!”

The declaration seemed to strengthen the wires’ assault; now they began lashing at individuals, wrapping themselves around their limbs and torsos. A young girl yelped, extending a hand to her mother before being forcefully ripped away. A business man failed to evade another set of wires; his briefcase thumped to the ground in the process.

Josh and Dave defensively held up their arms, hoping to fend off any wires that came towards them. “I don’t believe this!” Josh shouted, “I knew these Deck Hackers were power crazy but this just takes it to a whole new level!”

Dave ducked as a wire shot near him, grabbing his hat. “We can’t worry about that now – we just have to –”

“Look out!”

The two darted their eyes to the side; Timmy, shouting to his brother Matt, pointed to a set of five wires, each launching themselves at him. Matt froze, realizing he had no way out.

Instinctively, at the last second, Josh lifted Matt up, tossing him to the side. Matt flew into Timmy, knocking them both into neighboring bystanders. Before Dave even knew what happened, the wires ensnared Josh’s wrists. He yanked his arms away but the neon-purple wires proved to be stronger than steel. (How’s that possible? They’re only holograms!) Still, he willed himself to keep trying. More wires came at him, grasping his shins, straining his body until his diaphragm became crushed by yet another. By the time Dave shoved his way through the confusion, Josh had already been whisked away.

Josh!”

Suddenly the remaining wires stopped, reeling back into the card where they came from. Josh hovered over the ground, joined by four others. He weakly glanced at their faces – tired and panicked – before looking ahead.

At Adam.

“Wha… what is this?” Dave asked. Timmy and Matt stood up, mouths agape.

The hacker held out his arms, raising them high above his head. “Behold the power of my Spectator Shield!”

Spectator Shield… Josh glanced among the crowd again; he realized he had been lifted to a higher plane than they were – he could see the tops of their heads, yet was still low enough to see their expressions. Fear, concern, agony; all knowing that they were helpless against the superior power of the Deck Hackers.

He straightened his head, peering down at Adam again. He saw the duelist glowering, yet he couldn’t tell exactly what he was thinking. Josh gulped. Before the duel started, he thought Adam was the only one capable of helping them.

But that was before the threat became real.


~*~*~*~

Card Analyzer activated…

Accessing Card Database… Searching for Card Data …

… Data Found:


Fallen Hero Burstinatrix
***
[Fire]
[Warrior/Tuner]
(1200/800)
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Elemental Hero Burstinatrix”. Once per turn, by paying 500 Life Points, you can select 1 monster on the field and return it to its owner’s hand.


Fallen Vorse Raider
****
[Dark]
[Beast-Warrior/Effect]
(1900/1200)
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Vorse Raider”. When this card attacks a Defense Position monster, destroy it automatically without applying Damage Calculation.


Trusted Ally
[Spell/Equip]
This card can only be activated during a Tag Duel. Equip this card to a monster you or your partner controls. That monster may be used in any instance by either player.​
 

ambroseffez

New Member
Heroic Potential Yugioh Fic

I was actually able to reach my planner this morning and be allowed the luxury of being told some of my trips are gone. Of course, when they told me a couple of them were fine before, I suspected that was bs.

No sign of them filing as of now, so one has to assume they did not. Which only means Cap Source is in charge and likely that JT is holding out on them. Probably gathering "data" from his poll to persuade them. Id suspect the wheels are completely off the bus by the end of the week unless we see a filing so there is a DIP to continue operating expenses.

Has anyone else heard anything?
 

SerenadeSP

My Loyal Feraligatr
Chapter Twenty

From the rooftops, a man loomed over the city street like a dark cloud haunting a sunny day. The man’s sharp, black hair fanned over his ears like the tips of feathers, stopping just as they reached his earlobes. He sighed, bored; he could barely make out exactly what was happening in the duel below, but the purple wires flailing at the crowd revealed one thing.

An illegal Trap Card had been activated.

Not just an illegal Trap Card, but one this man had designed himself.

He looked away from the street, gazing at the rooftop parallel to the one he was standing on. On the other side, he could see another one of his accomplices, still analyzing the game below. They had been watching since they received the report: their target was there.

The man returned his attention to the duel, pulling out a phone and holding it to his ear.

“It’s Jacob,” he said, pressing the phone against his jet-black hair. “We can confirm that, yes, Adam is indeed the opponent playing against our underling. We should be getting a lock on his Card Analyzer’s signal soon.”

He listened intently as the voice gave its commands.

“No, the underling is completely unaware. If he uses the wron–” the voice cut him off, apparently asking a question.

Jacob raised an eyebrow.

“The crowd?”

He leaned over the side, surveying the dozens of people surrounding the two players. The voice had asked if he could see two college-aged teenagers; one wearing a camouflage hat and the other wearing a red sweatshirt. The boy wearing the hat was harder to find, since he was hidden amongst a wall of people, but the boy in the red sweatshirt was easy to spot.

He was one of the victims taken by the Trap.

“Yes, those two are here. What do they have to do with anything?”

The answer came almost immediately.

“I see.” Jacob hesitated, then said, “Alright, I’ll make the necessary preparations.”


~*~*~*~​


Adam gazed dryly at the five innocent people hanging above the field. The neon-purple wires gripped them tighter, causing their eyes to wince then widen at the thought that they could potentially fall.

Josh, among these five, tried to keep his breathing steady. He slowly curled his fingers into a fist as if he were trying to break the wires with his mind. Although he couldn’t move his arms freely, he managed to force them closer to his body so he didn’t feel as exposed. He stared at Adam’s field; three monsters – Fallen Hero Burstinatrix (1200/800), Fallen Vorse Raider (1900/1200), and Fallen Summoned Skull (2500/1200) – all of which looked up at them, pondering whether or not to strike. Josh looked back to Adam, who just stared at the face-down card on the floor. He could see it in Adam’s eyes – he wasn’t sure what to do.

The wires lowered the five hostages so that they were just a foot off the ground. Adam averted his gaze from the face-down card to his opponent, whose grin was wiser than ever.

“Judging from the looks on your faces –” the hacker surveyed the crowd once again, “ – I can tell your loving my new Spectator Tokens! (0/?) [x5]”

“Spectator Tokens?” Dave whispered to himself. He stepped closer; Timmy and Matt helped each other to their feet. They were now directly in front of the duel – a good five feet from Adam’s right side. “What the hell are these Deck Hackers up to?”

“Wait a second,” Adam said, looking at his Card Analyzer. “This monitor says they have variable DEF.” Adam’s face strained. “What the hell does that mean?”

“Easy,” the hacker said, waving a hand. “They gain 500 DEF for each Spectator Token out on the field. And since I count five, that means they all have 2500 DEF!” (0/? --> 2500) [x5] “Lucky for you, they’ll get weaker as each one goes down, so don’t worry about holding back!”

Adam looked at the five hostages again. He sent his gaze downcast, once again on the face-down card. The strand of red hair wavered in front of his eyes.

“Burstinatrix.”

Burstinatrix turned to Adam, surprised, and waited for an order.

“Cancel your attack.” Adam lifted his head. “I end my Battle Phase and move to my Main Phase 2.”

“Oh, so you’re not going to attack then?” The hacker clapped his hands. “Marvelous! The longer we wait, the sooner I’ll be able to use all those rare Fallen monsters against you!”

Dave grimaced, looking to his Duel Disk. The empty deckslot matched the void in his chest.

Adam lowered his wrist. This is ridiculous. I gotta find a way around this wall he’s built. But… He felt the gazes of the hostages pierce through him. I can’t risk attacking innocent people. Adam lifted his wrist again, typing into his Card Analyzer.

The hacker craned his neck upward, peering past his captives. “Just end your turn. Spectator Shield won’t come up in the Card Database ‘cause it’s the only copy in existence! No one but me owns one, and my superiors made sure that only I would be able to access it!”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t destroy it,” Adam pressed a final button; the screen shone red. “You haven’t taken my cards yet, so until then I’ll be able to do what I please.”

Adam brought his hands to his sides, clutching them into fists. He boasted his chest out as Burstinatrix and Vorse Raider began to glow.

“I tune my Fallen Hero Burstinatrix with my Fallen Vorse Raider in order to Synchro Summon the dragon of ultimate potential!”

Burstinatrix and Vorse Raider lit up in an undulating aura of red and black light. Seven circles spiraled past them, creating a pathway for the two monsters. As traveled through, their bodies deformed and separated into seven stars, each one connecting to a corresponding circle.

“Rise – my loyal Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

Fallen Red-Eyes! Josh watched on as a beam explosively blasted through the tunnel of circles, causing a rush of wind to flow over the area. He clutched his fists. He could see the shadow of the black dragon, casting itself over the muscular Fallen Summoned Skull. Then he could hear it – the dragon’s low growl acted as a harbinger of its quick, swooping descent. It landed beside Fallen Summoned Skull, eyes glowing crimson-red. Josh felt his heart beat at a thunderous rate; his hairs stood on end as the dragon’s shriek broke through the sky. (2400/2000)

The hacker laughed. “How generous. You offer your two weak monsters and send them to the Graveyard just so you can give a stronger monster for me to use later!” His laughter turned into a condescending cackle. “Why thank you!”

“Not quite,” Adam spat. “Whenever a monster is used for the Synchro Summon of a Fallen monster, they get banished instead.” He took the two cards off his Duel Disk, casting them to the side. “So that means you won’t be able to summon them at all.”

“I see,” the hacker said. He put a thumb on his chin. “But what about the matter at hand, hmm?” He gestured towards the hostages.

Adam clenched his teeth. “I… end my turn.”

“Thought so. My draw. Wonder if it’s Bartering of the Kings!” The hacker held the card to eye level, then frowned. “Well, that’s disappointing.” He shrugged. “I activate Dian **** the Cure Master, which grants me 1000 extra Life Points.”

[Adam LP: (6500)] [Deck Hacker LP: (3400 --> 4400)]​

That won’t do much, but if I can’t fix this fast enough, that 1000 Life Points could make a huge difference to this game.

Adam shook his head. “My turn.” A useless monster – Fallen Flame Swordsman. Why isn’t my deck giving me the cards I need? He looked over his Card Analyzer again, opening a command window. It’s never let me down before, why now?

The hacker sighed after a minute of Adam scanning through screens.

Alright, I guess I just have to wait. “I end my turn.”

“Good.” A face-down card flashed at the hacker’s feet. “Your turn.”

Josh glanced behind him, turning as far as he could without having the wires tear at his flesh. This game is going so much faster now, but at the same time they’re locked in a complete stand-still. He turned back to Adam, who drew again. Please, please don’t lose. You’ve proven to be so good ‘til now, how is this any different?

Dave dropped his gaze, gripping his hat as a small breeze crossed the field. Adam’s never faced a Deck Hacker before...

Adam drew. Damnit, this isn’t working. “I end.”

“Alrighty,” the hacker said, drawing. He let out an exasperated sigh. “And I end. I swear, this is getting more boring by the minute.”

Boring?! I’m hanging four feet in the air! Josh thought angrily. This only made him more aware of his situation; nervous sweatdrops glistened on his forehead.

Adam drew. Spark Blaster, he thought, looking over his hand again. Just one more turn.

“I end.”

“Right.” The hacker placed his hand on his deck. “I swear, this better be Bartering.” He drew, held it up. “Nope. But it’ll save some work for later. I activate Raigeki!”

Sharp streaks of lightning rained down in between the hostages and Adam, frying the two Fallen monsters in a thunderous explosion. Adam’s eyes bulged out involuntarily. Josh and the others gasped at the abruptness of their deaths. Summoned Skull dove to protect the dragon, trying to absorb the lightning with its claws. But the lightning soon overpowered the fiend, and the two monsters disintegrated into dust.

“Holy shit,” Matt said.

“This isn’t good,” Timmy said, looking to Dave.

Dave turned to the hostages again, noticing how terrified everyone seemed.

Except for Josh.

Adam allowed his heart to slow before reaching for his deck. He looked to the hostages once more before drawing. He made eye contact with Josh, who seemed to be saying, “I know you have a way out of this.”

“I guess it’s my turn.” Adam drew.

“Well?” the hacker asked.

Adam thought for a moment, glancing at his hand again, before bringing his arms to his side.

“I end my turn.”

The crowd audibly expressed their shock.

“Really? Nothing? You’re certainly not the most interesting person here.” The hacker positioned himself to draw. “My tur–”

“Hold on,” Adam stated. The red strand raised itself in the wind. “I have seven cards in my hand, so I have to discard one.” He fanned them again, pulling one out with care, then slotting it into his Graveyard.

“You done yet?”

Adam nodded.

“Good.” The hacker drew. “Nope, not it. Guess I have to end.” He sighed. “Ya know, I’m getting kinda bored. Why don’t you just attack these guys so we can get some action here.”

Everyone tensed. Josh inhaled slowly to calm himself, but the sweat dripping off his nose indicated otherwise.

“Oh, we’re gonna get some action.”

The crowd perked up; everyone darted their eyes to Adam, who pulled his next card. Adam lifted his eyes, addressing the hostages.

“It’s time for me to set you all free!” He shouted, raising his arm. “Rise – Fallen Hero Sparkman!”

Blue lightning trickled around his Duel Disk’s Life Point meter, shooting out in all directions. The lightning gathered together and hit the ground, washing over Adam like a curtain. It quickly flashed away, and Sparkman took its place. (1600/1400)

“What the hell do you expect to do with him? He’s not nearly strong enough to take on any of my Spectator Tokens.”

Timmy and Matt turned to each other.

“What do you think he’s planning?” Timmy asked.

“I dunno, but he seems pretty sure of himself.”

Dave listened to them, never taking his eyes off the Fallen Hero. He better be.

The hacker laughed. “Go on, try to attack. Not only will you hurt them but you’ll take 900 damage as a result. What a stupid idea!”

“I never said I was attacking,” Adam stated. “I activate this!” Extending his arm, he presented a Spell. “Spark Blaster!”

A blue, laser gun materialized around Sparkman’s arm. It grasped onto the gun’s handle, using its electrical powers to charge it.

“So how much ATK does it gain from that thing?” The hacker asked.

“None.”

The hacker raised an eyebrow. “You’re kidding, right?”

Adam shook his head. “Like I said, I don’t plan on attacking. Instead, I’ll use Spark Blaster’s effect!”

Sparkman aimed the gun at the neon wires; a whirring noise emitted as static rippled out of its sides. The hostages trembled nervously, trying to avoid getting hit, but their tensions eased when the hero lowered its gun. Clicking the trigger rapidly, three shots burst out in quick succession. Upon striking the wires, static rippled again, spreading all the way up to the hostages.

“What the hell are yo–”

“Unfortunately –” Adam continued “– Spark Blaster is only good for three uses. So instead I’ll use my Fallen Hero Sparkman’s special ability!”

After firing the final shot, the gun shattered, allowing Sparkman to use its newly-freed hand to charge up a ball of electrical energy. Flicking its wrist, Sparkman threw the ball at the wires again, causing them to squirm. The audience gazed up.

Dave adjusted his cap.

“Both Spark Blaster and Fallen Hero Sparkman have the same effect – they can change the Battle Position of any monster on the field.” Adam addressed the hacker, “And as you know, when your Spectator Tokens are switched to Attack Position, they’re automatically destroyed!”

The hacker reacted as if he had been punched in the chest. “How did yo–?!”

“So that means four of your ‘hostages’ are free!”

The wires’ strong grip on the hostages loosened, seemingly going from steel to silk as the static raced across each one. They flopped to the ground, dropping the group of people in the process. After recovering from their fall, the four returned to the crowd, consulting their loved ones and peers.

Josh felt his wires weaken as well, but knew he hadn’t been freed yet. He looked to the crowd – specifically Dave, Matt, and Timmy – before facing Adam.

Adam made eye contact with him – a look of reluctance shone in his pupils.

Josh held his breath.

“How the hell…” the hacker twitched, thrusting his arms back as he screamed. “How the hell did you know my card’s weakness?!”

Adam trailed his eyes to him, then back to Josh. “With your other four Tokens gone, your last one is weakened by 2000 DEF points.”

Josh felt the wires shift slightly. He could tell that they had a hard time holding him now. (0/2500 --> 500) That means he can destroy the last token – me – with his Fallen Hero! He slowly smiled. Then he can finally make his counterattack!

“But as I said, I’m not going to attack an innocent person.”

Josh’s heart leapt. But if he waits –

Adam brought his hand to his side. “I end my tur–”

“Stop!” Josh yelled.

Everyone – including those celebrating the four hostages’ freedom – abruptly became silent.

“You can’t wait any longer!” he screamed, “Any moment that freak is gonna draw that card and you’ll whole deck will be used against you!”

The hacker snickered.

“But Josh –”

“No! I’m not gonna let this guy get away with what he’s done! If you lose this duel trying to protect me, I’ll never forgive myself.” Josh shifted his gaze, looking to Fallen Hero Sparkman. “Attack me! Once I’m out of the way he’ll have nothing left!”

Everyone became silent again. Not even the wind blew as Josh’s final words soaked into their skin. The former hostages quietly admired him – after spending the last few minutes cowering, the notion of taking a hit to save them was bold.

Adam’s stare dropped to the floor.

The hacker grinned. “So, I guess that’s a no.” He prepared to draw. “In that case, I’ll –”

“Alright Josh,” Adam lifted his head again. He made eye contact with Josh once more. “Get ready.”

Josh furrowed his brow, nodded.

“Fallen Hero Sparkman –”

Sparkman lifted its arms, charging up electrical spheres in its hands.

Josh gulped.

“– attack his final Spectator Token with Static Shockwave!”

Sparkman crossed its wrists into an ‘X’, then waved them across his torso. Two streaks of lightning shot upward, jaggedly flying through the air.

Dave felt his fingers tremble.

The lightning struck Josh full force, blasting the wires apart in one swift burst. Josh screamed as he fell, closing his eyes tight. He slammed onto the concrete with a thud, static rippling on his motionless body.

Dave rushed out to the field, closely followed by Matt and Timmy. They flipped him onto his back; Josh limply succumbed.

“Josh…” Dave whispered.

“Well, that was stupid,” the hacker said, breaking the silence. “Now, if you’ll allow me to continue.”

“Ughh…”

Dave, shocked, jumped to his feet. Josh slowly lifted himself into a sitting position, rubbing his face. “That hurt like hell…”

“Josh!” Matt and Timmy shouted. The three helped him to his feet.

The crowd gave gasps of hope. They cheered and whistled for Josh as he stood up.

“Are you alright?” Dave asked.

“I’m fine, just a little beat up,” Josh said. The others smiled. As they walked back towards the crowd, Josh faced Adam again. “Don’t let him win.”

Adam simply watched them go.

“Enough of this!” the hacker barked, pointing an accusing finger at Adam. “I dunno how you got around my Spectator Shield, but there’s no way in hell you’re gonna get around this.” He held out his drawn card. “Bartering of the Kings!”

The crowd’s expressions unanimously became grave. Timmy and Matt gasped, while Josh and Dave gritted their teeth.

I knew it, Josh thought.

I owe you one, Josh[i/]. Adam ejected his deck from his Duel Disk, somberly stepping towards the center of the field.

“Now, lemme see that Fallen deck!” the hacker shouted, greedily snatching it away. He tossed his own deck carelessly at Adam, who slotted it in with care.

Adam walked back behind Sparkman, pressing the auto-shuffle button on his Card Analyzer. This fight would’ve been a lot harder if it wasn’t for you.

“Alrighty!” the hacker said enthusiastically. “Let’s see what we got here – I activate Card Destruction.”

Adam glowered.

“Hope you like my gift, ‘cause I certainly love yours!” the hacker cackled.

Quietly, Adam fanned his cards together, shoving them into the Graveyard before sliding out six new cards.

Four weak Normal Monsters, he thought. If this is what I’m getting, then that must mean that this deck must be pretty bad. He faced the crowd again, spotting Josh.

But I’ll find a way.

“Ah, wonderful!” the hacker mused, holding the cards with all ten fingers. “These Fallen cards are pure gold! And once I win, they’ll be all mine!” He cackled.

“Damnit, how the hell did I lose to an idiot like him?” Dave curled his fingers into fists. His veins popped.

“Easy Dave,” Josh said. “Adam’s got this.”

“Alrighty!” The hacker lifted up his Duel Disk, scrolling through a new screen on his Card Analyzer. “Let’s see what kind of monsters ya got here.”

Adam’s lucky that his cards are restricted to the Graveyard, so that Deck Hacker can’t just summoned them as he draws like he did with me. Dave thought, flexing his hands. “Adam’s good but I don’t think he can stop his own deck with the cards he has now. He doesn’t have control over the game anymore.”

“Let’s hope you’re wrong,” Matt said.

“Perfect! I’ll summon this thing!” The hacker pressed a button and an armored, bipedal alligator appeared, swinging its blade. “Fallen Alligator’s Sword (1500/1200)!”

Adam gritted his teeth.

“But that card’s weaker than Sparkman, what’s he thinking?” Timmy asked Dave.

“That card probably has an effect.”

“Two points to the losers in the corner!” the hacker laughed.

Timmy, Dave, and those around them cringed angrily.

“When Fallen Alligator’s Sword declares an attack, it gets an additional 500 ATK for the duration of the battle. Now, how ‘bout we put it into use?”

Fallen Alligator’s Sword pushed off the ground with its heels, hurling itself at Fallen Hero Sparkman. (1500 --> 2000/1200) Sparkman shot out an electrical blast at it, but the bipedal alligator deflected the blast with its sword, never losing its momentum. Soon Fallen Alligator’s Sword flew past the hero, and Sparkman dropped to its knees, shattering into digital fragments.

Adam covered his eyes with his sleeve as the fragments blew past his face. [Adam LP: (6500 --> 6100)] He pulled his arm away, watching Fallen Alligator’s Sword return to the Deck Hacker’s side (2000 --> 1500/1200).

“Well well well, looks like I’ve successfully taken all of your Fallen cards away from you.”

“Like that matters,” Adam spat.

“Oh please. If you were here for the last three matches you would know by now.” The hacker held up his wrist, pointing to his – Adam’s – deck. “I’ve got everything you ever knew, and now you’re stuck with cards that can hardly function. Face it, there’s no chance that you’re gonna beat your deck with those cards.”

The crowd grew uneasy, mumbling to each other about the match.

While they did, Josh receded into his thoughts. No, that’s not right. He shook his head, closing his eyes tightly. “That’s not right at all!”

Josh stepped out from the crowd, and all eyes fell on him.

The hacker smirked. “You again?”

“You don’t know anything about this game,” Josh shouted. “I’ve been playing for a week and even I know that you can’t just take any card and call it your own. Players spend months, even years building their decks, pouring their hearts and souls into it, and that’s something you can’t take away!”

Dave perked up. That last sentence was said with him in mind.

“I don’t know Adam very well either, but I know that only he can use that deck that you claim to control, and I know that only he can stop it.” Josh glanced to his side. “Right Adam?”

Adam nodded. “Exactly.” He faced the hacker again. “But there’s one thing I need to get straight.”

The hacker raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“I don’t plan on defeating my deck during this duel.”

The crowd was sent into mumbling confusion again. Even Josh lost some of his intensity with that statement.

“Bold words, but that’s not how this game works,” the hacker said.

“No, you’re wrong.” Adam shot an accusing finger his way. “I don’t need to defeat my deck, when my plan is to defeat you!”

The noisy crowd became silent again.

“We’ll see. Take your turn.”

“Gladly.” Adam drew. He stared at the card for a while, then lifted his eyes slowly. “Josh.”

Josh’s heart jumped. “Yeah?”

“This one’s for you.” Adam flipped the card with his thumb. “I activate Heart of the Underdog!”

Heart of the Underdog? Dave stepped out of the crowd, joining Josh.

The Spell Card materialized on Adam’s right; its imaged featured a normal person as he struggled to walk through the red force pushing him back.

“Hmph, like that’s gonna do you any good.”

“I think it will,” Adam said. He turned to Josh again. “With Josh’s heroic heart I’ll defeat you in no time at all.”

Josh felt his face turn red. It was only now that he realized everyone was staring at him. My… heart?

“Please, you need to draw a Normal Monster in order to trigger that card’s effect. And that won’t help you anyway. I added that card to make drawing Bartering of the Kings easier for me, now that I already used it Heart of the Underdog is basically worthless.”

“You may think that now, but I know exactly how I’m going to win this duel.”

The hacker crossed his arms. “Are ya done yet, Mr. Prince?”

“Not quite. I activate Vengeful Bog Spirit.”

A gloomy fog shrouded the field; the crowd stepper slightly closer since the fog obstructed their vision.

“With this out, a monster has to wait a full turn after its summoning before it can declare an attack. Then I’ll set a monster and end for now.”

“’Bout time.” The hacker drew. “Alrighty, no more mister nice guy. I’ll revive Fallen Hero Sparkman from the Graveyard!”

Static gathered into a circular pattern, forming beside Fallen Alligator’s Sword. It served as a vortex for the Fallen Hero to rise through as it absorbed the electricity and unleashed it back into the fog. (1600/1400)

“Vengeful Bog Spirit may be a good stall card, but it can’t stop my monsters from activating their effects. Sparkman – switch that face-down monster into Attack Position!”

Willingly, Sparkman raised his arms as a mummy would, shooting out small jolts of lightning from its fingertips. They raced around the perimeter of Adam’s face-down card, forcing it to flip over, uncovering the monster hidden underneath. The monster used its claws to pull its red fabric down, so that only its scrawny arms could be seen. (600/500)

“Ah, Curtain of the Dark Ones, a personal favorite.” The hacker addressed Fallen Alligator’s Sword. “Tear it apart like a good monster.”

Fallen Alligator’s Sword nodded, leaping up and slamming its blade down onto the tiny monster (1500 --> 2000/1200). A groan emitted from under the fabric before it faded with a holographic glare.

Adam poised to draw. [Adam LP: (6100 --> 4700)] “I’m guessing you’re done?”

“For now, yes.” The hacker smiled. “This shouldn’t take much longer.”

“We’ll see.” Adam held up the new card, dissatisfied to see it was a Trap. “I’ll set another monster face-down as well as a backrow card and end my turn.”

“You’re making this too easy.” The hacker pulled out a new card, flipping it over gleefully. “Perfect! Now get even more Fallen cards into the Graveyard! I activate Card Destruction!”

Adam calmly slotted his cards into the graveyard, drawing three new cards. Good, at least now I’ll have better cards to work with.

“Ooooh, this one’s a gem. I’ll play Double Grave Ceremony!”

The declaration broke Adam’s concentration, startling him so much that he nearly dropped his cards. Two tombstones rose on either side of the hacker, gaining an eerie glow that matched with the haunting atmosphere of the fog.

“Judging from your reaction I can tell that you know this card well.” He gave a wide, condescending smile. “But for those at home who don’t, I’ll gladly explain. With this card out, I can summon an additional ‘Fallen’ monster from my Graveyard each turn. And now, without further ado – I’ll bring back the Fallen Hero Avian I just discarded!”

Through the fog above, the green winged-hero descended quickly, landing with its palm to the floor. (1000/1000) It stood up, joined by its two comrades.

“Now we’ll put Double Grave Ceremony to use to revive the all-powerful Fallen Summoned Skull!”

Adam clenched his jaw.

Lightning burst out of both tombstones simultaneously, shocking Avian to the point where it no longer had any physical features. Instead of deteriorating, the body expanded, growing stronger and wider until it took the demonic shape of Fallen Summoned Skull. Its pupils glimmered as blue lightning trickled along its biceps. (2500/1200)

“Lucky for you, the fog prevents it from attacking. Otherwise that’d be a huge dent in your Life Points.” The hacker shrugged. “Either way. Fallen Sparkman – change his monster to Attack Position and Fallen Alligator’s Sword’ll go in for the kill.”

Sparkman raised its hands again, firing strings of electricity into the face-down card and moving it like a puppet master. The cutesy little angel reluctantly came out of its hiding spot, failing to resist by pulling its tiny wings down. (800/500)

“Happy Lover? Now that’s desperation! Anyway, attack!”

Fallen Alligator’s Sword pointed its blade at its target, tossing it at the cowering angel with a flick of its wrist.

“Not so fast, I activate my Negate Attack Trap Card!”

Just as Happy Lover ducked down in tears, a portal opened up and swallowed the sword. A moment later, the sword fell from the sky and Fallen Alligator’s Sword caught it without question.

“Lucky move, but you’ve only delayed the damage, my friend.”

“Hey, Adam has that card in his deck,” Josh said. “You think he slipped it in somehow?”

“Nah,” Dave answered. “It’s a common defense card. Given the stall-based nature of the Deck Hacker’s deck, he probably has a bunch of cards just like it.”

Still, Dave thought, the fact that Adam drew a card he was familiar with during a crucial turn must count for something.

“My draw.” Adam slid a card out, smiled, then flipped it. “I activate Heart of the Underdog. By revealing Ancient Jar, I get to draw again.”

“Like I said, that’s not gonna do you any good.”

“I’ll set a monster face-down and switch Happy Lover to Defense Position.”

A brown-backed card materialized alongside Happy Lover, with another card appearing underneath it, serving as a platform for it to land on.

“I end.”

“Let’s spice things up, shall we?” The hacker moved dramatically, shoving a Spell Card toward his opponent. “I activate Graceful Charity to discard three cards and draw two!” He fanned out the cards, considered them carefully, then tossed two away. “Alrighty! Time for some fun! Sparkman, change Happy Lover’s Battle Position again please!”

Despite Happy Lover’s efforts to resist, Sparkman successfully ripped the platform out from underneath Happy Lover’s feet, causing it to flip dizzily into the air.

“And now for my favorite part! I’ll tribute my Fallen Alligator’s Sword as well as Fallen Hero Sparkman in order to summon ‘the dragon of ultimate potential’!” the hacker mocked.

“What an insult,” Dave whispered. “Using your opponent’s favorite monster against them is bad enough, but this guy is just an asshole.”

“Yeah, I can only imagine how that fee–” Josh broke off. His gaze fell upon Adam, who barely blinked as the two monsters dematerialized. Damn, he must have ice in his blood or something.

And yet, something told him otherwise.

“Behold, my Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon!”

Piercing red eyes glared through the fog, followed by a low growl. Josh could feel his shoulders tremble as a wind blast shot overhead; Red-Eyes encircled the scene before somberly landing beside Fallen Summoned Skull. (2400/2000)

“So, how does it feel to have ‘your loyal monster’ used against you!”

The hacker gave a belly-laugh, reeling his head backwards. The laughter noticeably bothered the crowd, who could only watch and wait. Josh turned back to Adam to see his reaction, but Adam’s face was blocked out by the fog. He stepped forward a bit to see better, and then stopped.

Adam… smiled.

“Red-Eyes, do it.”

On command, the dragon’s eyes shone brightly. It flapped its wings, startling Fallen Summoned Skull as it took flight. The hacker saw it rise, and nearly choked on his own saliva.

“Agh, what the hell! Red-Eyes get down here!”

Fallen Red-Eyes answered with a shriek and a whip of its tail, which smacked the hacker in his face and knocked him to the floor. Everyone chuckled. Red-Eyes then pounced on top of the hacker, pinning him down.

“Gah! Get! Off! Me!” He started to shoo it away, but the dragon didn’t budge. The hacker glowered at Adam, who he could barely see behind the dragon’s hind leg. “What kind of trick is this?! I’m in control of this dragon, not you!”

“Wrong.” Adam lifted his head, the red strand of hair shifted aside, falling along his black hairline. “Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon won’t obey just anybody. In fact, he’ll automatically destroy himself if he’s forced away from his original owner.” Adam jabbed his thumb towards his chest. “Me!”

“What?!”

Fallen Red-Eyes’s body lit up again, flashing spastically between its two main colors. The lights began to overlap, and the dragon craned its neck upwards. With another final shriek, the dragon violently exploded, consuming the hacker in a thick cloud of smoke.

“Go Adam!” Josh did a fist-pump. Others joined him, and soon the whole crowd started to cheer.

Adam gave Josh a thumbs-up, then recomposed himself as the hacker drearily stumbled back to his spot.

The hacker’s body strained. His eyes tensed; Adam could see a fire building within him, one that threatened to burn everything in sight.

“You think I’m done because you manage to outsmart me?!” [Deck Hacker LP: (4400 --> 3200)] “Think again! I still have all of your cards and now things are going to get really serious.”

“I thought they already were,” Adam teased. The joke caught Josh off guard.

And apparently the hacker. He stomped his feet against the ground. “You’re a dead man, Mr. Prince. Once I’m done here, I’m sicking my fellow Deck Hackers on you and then you’ll pay!”

“That doesn’t scare me.” Adam’s voice was flat. “Finish your turn already.”

“Oooh, I plan to! Stand up, my Fallen Hero Sparkman!”

Sparkman jumped out from behind the hacker, stealthily landing next to Fallen Summoned Skull like a ninja. (1600/1400)

“Now Fallen Summoned Skull – incinerate his Happy Lover!”

Fallen Summoned Skull crossed its arms, channeling the electricity from its body into its claws, and releasing it through its horns. The lightning ricocheted across the fog, bouncing around until it zapped the tiny angel, burning it to a crisp. [Adam LP: (4700 --> 3000)]

“That’s enough torment for now.”

Adam drew. “Perfect.” He threw his arm across his chest, presenting the card near his shoulder. “I drew Droll Bird, which means Heart of the Underdog gives me another draw.” He did so. “D.D. Trainer. I draw once more.”

“Draw all you want. Nothing in that deck is any good to you.”

Dave examined the Heart of the Underdog card. He’s right. Adam’s just mindlessly drawing with that card. And with a handful of Normal Monsters, he’s never going to – A thought struck him. That’s it! He’s using that card to pull out the deck’s Spell and Trap cards!

“Here we go,” Adam said. “I’ll set another monster and this card face-down and end my turn.”

When I dueled the Deck Hacker every monster I drew was a dead draw. But the hacker’s deck is so stall-oriented that nearly every Spell and Trap card he has will always guarantee that Adam gets another turn. With Heart of the Underdog he’s able to weed out all the useless cards and get the ones he actually needs. But the hacker’s still right, Adam doesn’t have anything that can take him on. Dave turned, noticing that Josh was staring at him.

“Something on your mind?”

Dave nodded. “Adam’s got a decent strategy but I don’t see how he can win this.”

Josh faced the field again. “He’ll think of something.”

“I hope so.”

Dave stared out at the field, watching the ghostly fog overtake the landscape. It subtly swirled around, haunting the monsters, seemingly waiting to absorb them into the darkness. He shivered, sending his downcast gaze at his Duel Disk.

Wait a minute. Dave’s eyes widened; he seemed to fall into an entranced state. I know exactly what he’s trying to do.

“Time to summon back not one, but two Fallen monsters!” The hacker pressed a button and two cards ejected out of his Graveyard. “Say hello the familiar Fallen Alligator’s Sword, and Fallen Hero Avian!”

Fallen Hero Avian and Fallen Alligator’s Sword both hopped out from behind the tombstones, leaping high over the crowds’ heads. Each took its place beside Fallen Summoned Skull, with Avian (1000/1000) on the left and Alligator’s Sword (1500/1200) on the right.

“Sparkman – flip that monster over.”

The electrical hero zapped the card, causing it to disintegrate, exposing the Ancient Jar monster – a large brown jug with a black, one-eyed creature living inside (400/200).

“Seems weak enough. Fallen Summoned Skull, finish the job!”

Groaning, Fallen Summoned Skull took Sparkman’s excess electricity and transferred it into its claws. Clanging them together, it began to form another sphere of spastically sparking static.

“I don’t think so.” Adam’s face-down card rose. “I activate Order to Charge!”

Ancient Jar launched off the ground like a rocket, flying full-speed at Fallen Summoned Skull.

“When this card’s activated, I can Tribute a Normal Monster I control to destroy a card you control!”

Ancient Jar slammed into Fallen Summoned Skull’s electrical sphere, causing it to combust, producing a cloud of smoke over the hacker’s side of the field. Between the smoke and the fog, seeing anything was completely impossible. It took a good two minutes before the hacker was visible again.

“A minor setback,” he said. “Even if you stopped my attack, you also just wasted a monster. Now Sparkman – attack his face-down card!”

Sparkman punched the air, creating an electrical shockwave that split the card straight in two. The image of a large-billed duck – Droll Bird – appeared before reducing itself to ones and zeroes.

“Don’t think I’m done yet. I’ll activate Premature Burial to revive Fallen Summoned Skull at the cost of 800 Life Points.” [Deck Hacker LP: (3200 --> 2400)]
 

SerenadeSP

My Loyal Feraligatr
A red spectral hand shot out of the ground, cracking the concrete between the Deck Hacker and his monsters. Using the hand as a rope, Fallen Summoned Skull climbed its way out from the underworld, shaking the rubble off of its massive wings. (2500/1200)

“Smart move,” Dave whispered to those around him. “With that Vengeful Bog Spirit out he wouldn’t have been able to attack with Summoned Skull if he summoned it next turn.”

“Not only that, but saved himself a monster by getting around its Tribute cost,” Matt said.

“My draw,” Adam said. “Since I drew Hard Armor, Heart of the Underdog allows me to draw again.”

“You’re wasting your time,” the hacker reminded him scornfully.

“Now to waste even more time,” Adam mocked. “I activate One Day of Peace. As the name implies, neither of us can take any damage until my next turn, and we each draw one card.”

The hacker pouted, slipping out a new card.

“Then I’ll set a face-down card and set a monster to finish my turn,” Adam said.

“Heh, seems you’re putting my stall tactics to good use, but they can only last so long.” A brown-backed card flashed at the hacker’s feet. “Even though I can’t inflict damage this turn, I can still build my arsenal. I’ll Tribute Avian to summon Fallen Flame Swordsman, then using Double Grave Ceremony to bring him right back!”

Avian burst into flames, holding out its arms as if it were a martyr accepting its demise. Its face deformed under a ghoulish glow, molding itself into the proud warrior adorned in red and orange garments. (1800/1600) The fire around it faded, and, dashing through the wisps of smoke and ash, Fallen Hero Avian landed beside it, good as new. (1000/1000)

Now he has five monsters to Adam’s one, Josh thought. He’s safe this turn, but there’s no way he’s gonna be able to take them all on at once. He turned to Adam again, eying his face-down monster. That Deck Hacker is gonna plow right over that piece of cardboard, and after that…

Josh’s train of thought stopped with a jarring realization. He looked over Adam’s field again, noting each card individually. First there was his monster, which rested horizontally in front of his Heart of the Underdog card. To the left of that was the face-down card Adam had just set before ending his turn. But then, Josh noticed, there was another face-down card, sitting closest to him.

When did he play that card?

“I’ll activate Fallen Flame Swordsman’s effect, transferring all of its ATK power to my Fallen Summoned Skull.”

The swordsman grasped its handle with both hands, holding the blade parallel to its torso. Igniting it with sheer will, the swordsman swung the blade at the demonic creature standing in front of it (1800 --> 0/1600). Although the flames engulfed Fallen Summoned Skull, they did not seem to harm it but instead caused its muscles to expand (2500 --> 4300/1200).

“You’re lucky that One Day of Peace is active, otherwise this would be your final turn. Fallen Summoned Skull –” the hacker pointed at Adam’s field “– attack his monster with Lightning Strike!”

Digging its claws into the ground, Summoned Skull unleashed its electrical blast through the pavement. A trail of light could faintly be seen through the fog; once it drew close, electrical spike towers started to rise up, gaining speed as they traveled toward the sky.

“I don’t think so – I activate Book of Eclipse!”

A sky blue book dropped in front of the face-down card, stopping the spike towers in their tracks. It opened to a random page and a glaring light shined at the hacker, whose monsters cringed and tried to turn away. The light bounced off the fog, making it completely impossible to see anything beyond the two duelists.

“When this card activates, every monster on the field is switched to face-down Defense Position. Then, at the end of the turn, you get to draw one card for each of them.”

“What?!” Timmy shouted. “That doesn’t make sense. All he did was give his opponent more cards to work with.”

“Especially when Adam should’ve used that next turn to stop an attack that could actually hurt him,” Matt said.

Dave gripped onto his cap’s rim. Adam, I hope you’re doing what I think you’re doing.

“A very foolish move,” the hacker said. “I’ll set a card face-down and end.” The hacker fanned out five new cards with his free hand, then held both of them up. “But lookie here, I have too many cards in my hand so I’ll need to discard.” He grinned. “Which means I get three more Fallen monsters to use later!”

The light gradually faded, and each of the hacker’s monsters could be seen in a kneeling position.

“I hope it was a good one,” Josh said, looking back at Adam, who was poised to draw.

“My turn.” Adam closed his eyes, touching the top card of his deck. I need something big here. He slid it out carefully. Otherwise, this is it.

He pulled it far beyond his shoulder, moving his arm until it extended straight out.

Here we go.

Adam brought the card closer. A sharp, disturbed sensation came over him. He read the card’s name, his heart battering its way into his throat. Old images crawled out from the innermost parts of his memories, weighing down on his lungs. Though he wanted to look away, he continued to stare at the card’s image, thinking the same sentence over and over again:

So, this is what you thought of me.

Adam added the card to his hand, dropping his gaze to the floor. He stared at the face-down card to his right, then looked up, noticing that Josh’s eyes were also transfixed on it.

“It’s time,” Adam said. His voice became grave, almost sinister. “I’ll activate my face-down card.”

The card arced upward, slowly creaking until it reached an upright position. Everyone saw that it was a Spell Card, depicting a bolt of lightning crashing down through raging whirlwinds.

“Special Hurricane!”

“What!” The hacker jumped up, enraged. “That’s impossible! I know every single card in my deck, and that’s not one of them!”

“Who ever said it was yours?” Adam asked flatly. “I set this card on my very first turn!”

Everyone let out an awestruck gasp.

“No way!” the hacker shouted.

The once still clusters of fog started to whip around the field, spinning into thin strips that layered together into a twister. The hacker stepped back, gazing up at the tunnel formed by the whirlwinds. Pale lightning shot down, striking at random spots around the hacker’s field. Each of the Fallen monsters huddled closer to each other, knowing that staying too close to the edge surely would lead to their doom.

Adam’s red strand of hair whipped in front of his eyes, spastically fluttering. He held up a vanilla card – Hard Armor – near his nose. “All I have to do is discard one card, and all Special Summoned monsters are destroyed.” He slotted the card into the Graveyard. “And, as you know, in order to bring Fallen Monsters onto the field, you have to Special Summon them.”

“N-no!” The hacker frightfully gazed up; he could see spiraling pale lights converging above him. “This can’t be happening!”

“That’s right. You wanted to seize our cards in order to abuse their strengths.” Adam swung his arm. “But in order to do that, you have to take their weaknesses as well!”

A loud crack! echoed throughout the sky, propelling an enormous bolt of pale lightning towards the hacker’s field. It plowed into the ground, deluging the hacker’s monsters with its intense power. They slowly disintegrated, reduced to falling bits of data as each gave out a desperate moan.

The winds subsided, and the fog returned to plague the field. Adam brushed the red strand of hair into his black spikes.

The hacker’s right eye twitched. His field was once filled with a surplus of monsters, but now it was reduced to nothing.

“Looks like the tables have turned,” Adam said. “It’s about time I won this duel.”

The hacker clutched both hands into fists. “As if!” he barked. “You might’ve tricked me into wiping out my monsters, but those cards you have are still worthless piles of junk!”

“That’s the problem with you,” Adam said. He touched his face-down monster card, slipping his thumb underneath it. “You think that all of your cards are weak, and try to use your opponent’s power against them by projecting your weaknesses onto them. But it’s actually the other way around. In order to win this game, you have to take your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths!” He flipped the monster over. “I summon D.D. Trainer!”

The face-down card vanished, replacing itself with a hole in the ground. A serpentine, orange worm-like creature wriggled out, digging its claws into the concrete. A small goblin sat mounted on it, commanding the grotesque worm to stay in place. (100/2000) The fog gathered around it, preventing either creature from seeing any further.

“Pfft… Hahahaha!” the hacker cackled, wiping a tear from his eye. “You really had me scared for a second. Sorry, but 100 ATK isn’t going to do anything damaging.”

“It’s not gonna stay that way for long.” Adam held out the two cards in his hand, deliberately fanning them as he pulled one out.

He stared at it for a moment. The Spell Card seemed to be speaking to him. Taunting him. His eyes sharpened the longer he looked at it, anger building with him.

Josh raised an eyebrow. What’s he doing?

“You’re never gonna get away with what you did,” Adam said. His voice lost its heroic boldness, replaced with that sinister edge once again. “I activate the Spell Card –” he held it up high; despite the fog, everyone could see it clear as day “– Elderly Expectations!”

A simultaneous gasp seeped through the air. Josh, Dave, and the two brothers watched closely; the hacker started to laugh again.

“Right. You know what happened the last time everyone tried to use my cards?” He closed his fists, then opened his hands wide, exposing his palms. “Poof.”

“Hmph.” Adam slid the card in.

Amused, the hacker watched Adam’s Duel Disk glare in rainbow light, as all Duel Disks did when playing an illegal card. Static raced across the enlarged card-hologram as it rose. At the same time, all of the holograms flickered briefly, just as the hacker expected. He grinned; this was his favorite part – the part where the hologram exploded, and his opponent yelled in exasperation over his failure. But then, the unexpected happened – the static ceased, and the Spell Card stayed in place, glowing with a pure-red aura.

The hacker’s jaw fell – that cherished moment never came.

“You were saying?” Adam asked coyly.

“That’s not possible!” the hacker squealed, throwing his arms toward the ground. “Only I should be able to use that card! I’m the only one here with a hacked Duel Disk!”

“Unless,” Timmy said. “Does Adam… have one too?”

Josh shot a quick glance at Adam’s arm. Nothing looked abnormal about it, but then – upon closer inspection of the Card Analyzer attached – he could clearly see that the screen glared blood red.

But, if Adam has a hacked Duel Disk… His heart sank. Does that mean, he’s a Deck Hacker too?!

Josh saw Dave in his peripheral vision, and could tell he had the same thought process. They warily turned to each other.

“You thought wrong.” Adam pointed to his monster. “With Elderly Expectations out, I can increase the ATK and DEF of one monster I control by 2000, and during my Battle Phase, the effects of Spell and Traps card have no effect on it.”

The red aura poured out of the illegal Spell Card, washing over the serpentine creature. The goblin on top cracked its whip, forcing the worm to raise its front legs. (100 --> 2100/2000 --> 4000)

“And now it’s my Battle Phase,” Adam said. The goblin cracked its whip again, somehow commanding the aura to glow brighter. As the aura grew, the fog scampered away. “D.D. Trainer – attack his Life Points directly!”

The goblin cracked its whip once more, hitting the creature’s hind legs. It slithered across the field, following a wavy trail.

“Oh no you don’t! I activate Ring of Destruction!”

The hacker’s face-down card rose – a tire flung out and ensnared the beast’s neck. Seconds later, violent flames burst out, leaving a veil of smoke in its wake.

The hacker crossed his arms, satisfied. “Heh, nice try.”

“I could say the same to you,” Adam countered. “Especially since I just said that Traps have no effect on it.”

“What!?”

“That’s the problem with always relying on your opponent’s cards – you never get to learn how to use your own.”

Unfazed by the blast, D.D. Trainer continued its stride. As it drew near, it slashed at the hacker with an arcing claw, ripping right at his chest.

“Agh!” [Deck Hacker LP: (2400 --> 300)]

“And now I’ll end my turn.”

The hacker ripped out a new card, raising his arm high over his head. “I’m not gonna drag this out any longer! First I’ll summon Fallen Hero Avian, and then sacrifice it to bring out the almighty Fallen Summoned Skull!”

A barrage of feathers shot out of the Graveyard’s slot, followed by a streak of lightning. The lightning shot across the feathers, incinerating them, and the Fallen Summoned Skull lived again. (2500/1200)

“Lucky for you, that Vengeful Bog Spirit delays my final assault, so I’ll end my turn. But not before I send another Fallen monster into my Graveyard!”

Adam drew, frowned. “I switched D.D. Trainer to Defense Position.”

The goblin pulled the worm’s reigns back, commanding it to kneel. (2100/4000)

“I end.”

“Heh, that won’t do anything.” The hacker pointed to the tombstone on his right. “Now I’ll bring back Fallen Hero Sparkman!”

A flash of light spread over the field, blinding everyone momentarily. When they looked back, Fallen Hero Sparkman stood on top of the tombstone, with arms held high. (1600/1400)

“Sparkman, use your effect to switch his D.D. Trainer to Attack Position!”

Sparkman created a bolt of electricity, using it as a lasso to wrap around the worm. Although the goblin tried its hardest to tame its ride, the worm couldn’t help but succumb to the tugging force of the rope. (2100/4000)

“And since Sparkman no longer serves any use for me, I’ll Tribute it to summon Fallen Flame Swordsman once again.”

Sparkman jumped down behind the tombstone, and, as if they had coordinated the action beforehand, Flame Swordsman jumped out, landing on one knee. (1800/1600) It crossed its sword in front of its face, aiming the tip of its blade at Summoned Skull.

“I think you can guess what I’m going to do now. Flame Swordsman – transfer all of your power to my Fallen Summoned Skull!”

Flame Swordsman held up its sword, and the fiery aura surrounding it engulfed Summoned Skull. The demon combined its electricity with the flames, causing blood-red wisps of static to trickle around its torso and horns. (2500 --> 4300/1200)

“4300 ATK,” Timmy whispered.

Matt nodded. “If Adam doesn’t do something soon, it’s all over.”

“Obliterate his D.D. Trainer with Searing Lightning Strike!”

As the goblin struggled to bring its worm down, Summoned Skull unleashed a barrage of red lightning, sending five red bolts arcing towards them. The goblin was the first to react, screaming as its body shattered like glass. The worm cringed, backing up in a feeble attempt to get away, but soon its skin caught fire and burned like kindling.

The flames reflected in Adam’s eyes. [Adam LP: (3000 --> 800)]

“And now, my turn is done.” The hacker smiled, casting a magician’s hand over the field. “Well, will you look at that? An empty field. Looks like you have no chance now.” He pointed to Summoned Skull. “Even if you manage to summon a monster, Skull’s piercing effect will eat at the last bit of your Life Points, and then this deck will be mine for the taking!”

“I don’t think so.” Adam closed his eyes. “As long as my heart beats, my deck will always enable me to win.”

“Keh,” the hacker laughed.

“Does he…” Dave trailed off.

Josh quizzically turned to Dave. “You know what he’s talking about?”

Dave nodded. “I think he believes in the Heart of the Cards.”

“The what?”

“It’s a belief that a person can force the outcome of a duel by believing their deck. Yugi’s made it famous – he’s even accredited every victory he’s ever had to it.”

“You’re right, Dave,” Adam said, opening his eyes. “But that’s not all.” He dramatically pointed to the Heart of the Underdog card beside him. “Josh’s heroic heart inspired me to win, so I know that I can’t fail now.”

“Please,” the hacker said. “He hasn’t contributed to this duel at all besides serving as a punching bag for our monsters.” He grinned. “Besides, I’m the one holding your deck, so your silly ‘Heart of the Cards’ will only work in my favor.”

“We’ll see.” Adam positioned his feet in a fighting stance. “It’s my draw.”

Silence. Even those closest to the hacker could hear the sweeping sound of Adam pulling the card from the deck as clear as day. They held their breathe, watching Adam examine his hand.

Please Adam, Josh thought.

Adam glanced over at the hacker’s field, trailing his eyes between each card – Fallen Summoned Skull, then Fallen Flame Swordsman, and, finally the hacker himself.

Even though you’re probably a Deck Hacker, and even though everyone hates you, I know that ¬you wouldn’t be fighting for us if you really were the selfish person everyone makes you out to be.

He cast his gaze back over his hand, absorbing the pictures, the text, the borders.

You’ve been able to last this long, so there’s no way you can lose now. I know you won’t let me down.

Bringing his cards lower, Adam gazed past the Heart of the Underdog card, making eye contact with the person directly behind it – Josh.

I believe in you.

Adam maintained eye contact for a few seconds. He closed his eyes, lowering his arms to his side.

Everyone – including the hacker – stared intently at his mouth as he spoke.

“I end.”

The hearts of crowd were simultaneously crushed, like the devil’s hand squeezing the life out of them. The hacker’s cackles returned, louder than ever. Adam stood motionless, eyes still closed.

“N-No way…” Timmy felt his skin crawl.

Matt nearly fell to his knees. “He came so close, but it still wasn’t enough.”

Josh hung his head.

Adam… I don’t believe it.

“Gahahahaa! This is rich!” The hacker danced around like an overjoyed monkey; the crowd jumped back, disturbed. “After spending all this time preaching about bravery and heroism, you couldn’t even keep your advantage for a single turn! Hahahahaa!”

The hacker faced Adam again, panting to calm himself down. Adam hadn’t moved.

“Ah, what fun. Too bad I have to end this now. But then again these four decks I’ve won will certainly make my master happy, which means promotion for me!” He lifted up his hand, wiggling his fingers. “Been a pleasure dueling you, Mr. Prince. My draw!”

“I don’t think so.” Adam opened his eyes, smiled.

“What are yo–” The hacker touched his fingers against the deck slot, feeling a cold metal texture. He slid his fingers along it, expecting a card to glide into his palm. Nothing. He tried again, pressing harder this time. Nothing. Confused, he slowly peered downward, eyes falling onto where his deck should have been.

The sight bewildered him – no cards were there at all.

“What?!”

“I’ve won this duel.” Adam shoved a defiant finger toward the Deck Hacker’s Duel Disk. “You were so eager to use my own cards against me you failed to realize that I was deliberately making my deck thinner and thinner with each passing turn. By the time we switched, my deck was already half its size. That’s the one weakness of my deck – a weakness I’ve turned into a strength.”

The holograms faded, and the fog dispersed, allowing the sun to cast a natural spotlight onto the street.

The hacker dropped to his knees. Cards spilt out of his pockets; their images mocking him – Black Luster Soldier, XYZ-Dragon Cannon, Fallen Red-Eyes Black Dragon – plus many more. He winced, as if in pain.

“People think Fallen cards are strong because they’re able to continuously revive themselves with very little effort. But because of that, it’s very easy to lose track of the most important resources – the hand and the deck. All I had to do was wait, and my deck would defeat you for me.”

Adam walked over; his confidence beaming.

“That was a close one,” Dave huffed. “I almost thought Adam wouldn’t be able to Deck him Out in time.”

“You knew?” Matt asked.

“Yep.” Dave stepped out of the crowd, following Adam’s trail. “That’s how Adam beat me.”

Timmy and Matt chased after him.

Josh grinned. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

“Now,” Adam said, holding out a hand. “Give everything you stole back.”

The hacker craned his head up. Blood stained his eyes. “As if!” He pushed Adam in the chest, knocking him back, then began to scoop up the cards he dropped. “I’m getting the hell outta here!”

“Wrong.”

A gun cocked.

Everyone tensed, turned to the source of the sound. They became relieved to see a police officer, aiming at the hacker’s neck. But this wasn’t just any cop – Josh recognized him.

Nathan!

“Hands behind your head. You’re under arrest for theft as well as possession of illegal property.”

The hacker did as he was told; the cards he held fluttered to the ground, landing in front of the group of five.

Nathan clicked handcuffs around the hacker’s wrists, tossing him to another pair of police officers before joining the others.

“Good timing,” Josh said. “I thought he was gonna get away for a second.”

“Luckily a civilian called and reported the incident, otherwise he would’ve.”

Dave picked a Black Luster Ritual card off the ground, dusting it off. “There were a couple of seconds where I thought I would’ve never seen my deck again.”

“Yeah, same here,” Matt and Timmy both said. They collected their cards using their shirts as trays. “Thanks, Adam!”

“No problem,” Adam said quietly. “I hate seeing thugs like him picking on innocent people. I did what needed to be done.”

“We really owe you one,” Timmy said. Matt nodded in agreement, and then they both took off.

“Speaking of thugs,” Nathan whispered, stepping closer to them. “Did you guys see any more Deck Hackers around? I only got here in time to see the fog clear; I’m not sure if any others got away.”

Josh and Dave both looked to each other, then turned back to Adam. Adam remained silent, waiting.

“No sir,” Josh said. “He was the only one.”

“I see.” Nathan tipped his cap. “Then I guess I better hurry. Make sure to call if you learn anything about these Hackers.”

The three nodded. “Right.”

Nathan twisted around, sprinting to catch up to his colleagues.

“Thank you,” Adam said, stepping closer to Josh. “If you didn’t let me attack you then, I would’ve been at a severe disadvantage. Here –” He held out a card – Heart of the Underdog “ – take this, you earned it.”

Josh hesitated. “Wait, wasn’t that the hacker’s card?”
“It probably wasn’t even his to begin with.” Adam shrugged. “Besides, I would feel better if a good card like this was in the hands of a hero.”

Cautious fingers accepted the gift; Josh shuddered. “Are you sure?”

“Positive,” Adam said. “I’ll catch ya ‘round.”

The two stayed in the center of the street, watching him leave. The crowd had been long gone at point, and the sun’s light enveloped the sky.

“What now?” Josh asked.

“Dunno,” Dave said. He assembled his cards into a neat deck, shoving it into his Duel Disk. This brought a warm sensation forward, one he hadn’t felt in a long time. “But I’m definitely done dealing with the Deck Hackers, at least for today.”

“Me too.”

“Let’s head home, I guess.”

“Right,” Josh smiled, patting Dave on the shoulder. “Lead the way!”


~*~*~*~​


Jacob grasped the ice-cold railing tightly, cradling it as he reached the bottom of the stairs. After quickly surveying the area, he passed through a doorway leading outside, returning him to the busy streets of Domino City. Nonchalantly blending into the crowd, he pulled out his Card Analyzer. An outlined version of the city appeared on its screen, with a blinking red dot moving towards the top of the screen.

Perfect.

He put the Card Analyzer away, shoving his hands into his pockets. He continued to follow the flow of the people walking around him, never straying from his predetermined path.

Everything is going just as Master expected.


~*~*~*~

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

Fallen Hero Sparkman
****
[Light]
[Warrior/Effect]
(1600/1400)
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Elemental Hero Sparkman”. Once per turn, you may switch the battle position of 1 monster on the field.

Fallen Alligator’s Sword
****
[Earth]
[Beast/Effect]
(1500/1200)
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can Special Summon itself from the Graveyard. You can only Special Summon 1 “Fallen” monster this way per turn. If a non-“Fallen” monster exists in your Graveyard, you may not Special Summon this card this way. This card’s name is also treated as “Alligator’s Sword”. When this card declares an attack against an opponent’s monster, increase its ATK by 500 during the Damage Step only.

Hand Unity
[Spell/Continuous]
Activate in a Tag Duel only. You and your partner can now use cards from each other’s hands with their permission.​
 
Top