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Yu-Gi-Oh!: World Tour [PG-13]

Discussion in 'Non-Pokémon Stories' started by SerenadeSP, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    Fic Concept: Brandy Beavers

    Yu-Gi-Oh: World Tour is a project by Brandy Beavers, Uninspired Author, and myself. The goal is to tie together all of the anime-only portions of the Duel Monsters anime, the GX anime, and the 5D's anime by combining similar plot threads left hanging in each while at the same time trying to tell a decent story on its own so that you hopefully won't have to have watched all (or any) of the previous Yu-Gi-Oh's to have some idea of what's going on. It is set X amount of years after Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's.

    It details the travels of four young women who, through twists of fate, cross paths and are forced to work together. Two thieves, a mechanic, and a former member of society's upper class. The quartet travel the world, each trying to solve their own personal issues that are tangled together in the grander scheme.

    While all three of us are working on this fic equally, and I've been tasked with posting it here on Serebii (because I visit this site most often out of the three of us), it should be noted that Brandy Beavers is, in a sense, the "head writer" of this project.

    This fic is rated PG-13
    , just to play it safe. For the most part, the worst thing that will happen is cursing.

    No one yet, let us know if you wish to be added!
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  2. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    A female figure crept along the shadows of a dimly lit room. It slowly made its way to the center where a large, glass case contained a card, Blue-Eyes White Dragon. The case and the area around it were the only parts of the room that were still illuminated. The figure paused before getting too close, “Alright Juno, I'm ready. Kill the power,” she said into a microphone tucked under her collar.

    “Got it. Power to your location has been shut off.” another female voice answered back. Within a few seconds, the lights that were barraging the case powered down, “Remember, Eula, I can't shut down the entire park or building or they'll know something's up, so be careful.”

    “Yeah, yeah, I got it. Sheesh, you act like we haven't done this a thousand times. When we started doing this Neo Domino still had a police force.” Eula shook her head, “Idiots.”

    “I know, I know but I just... Just be careful.”

    “Fine, fine.” Eula rolled her eyes, which were the only feature on her body not covered in black clothing. The slithered across the floor to the case. She reached into a small bag on her belt and pulled out a glass-cutting tool and carefully cut a perfect circle in one of the case walls. She steadied her hand and removed the card from the cushion it sat on, “And now for the decoy.” Eula said to herself with a slight laugh. She pulled out a black deck case and placed the Blue-Eyes White Dragon inside it. Then, she removed another card from the case and placed it inside the glass display, Blue-Eyed Silver Zombie.

    “Alright, if you're done then you need to get out of there,” Juno pleaded.

    “Always such a worrier.” Eula shook her head as she spoke. She placed the metal container in another bag on her belt, “Alright, I'm going. Give me ten second before you turn the power back on.” With that, Eula was on her way out of the building. She slunk through the halls and out a back window without any problems. As she landed on the asphalt she heard the power return to the building she had just exited, “Fifteen seconds.” She eyeballed the giant theme park she was in, scanning for her way out.

    “Stop right there, thief!” a voice boomed. Eula turned to see three security guards running at her.

    “Well, crap. How did this happen?” Eula thought out loud. She turned to run the opposite direction, but was cut off by two more security guards. She darted left, “Even with you guys on my ***, this is still too easy,” she taunted.

    “Eula, what's going on?” Juno shouted in her ear.

    “They knew I was here, somehow. They were on me as soon as I exited the building.” Eula dashed through the shut down bumper car ring, losing a few of the guards in the process.

    “How is that possible?” Juno's voice had become frantic.

    “Doesn't matter right now.” Eula somersaulted over a handful of guards and kept running, “We can worry about that when I get out, so get ready!” Eula made a leap for the gate, but one of the guards had caught her by the leg.

    “Gotcha!” he shouted. Eula responded by kicking him in the face. It didn't seem to matter, though. Like the heads of the mythical hydra, two more hands grabbed her and began to pull her down. She shook those off and even more hands grabbed her.

    “Looks like I'm not making it home tonight.” Eula said into her communication device before crushing it in her hands. She was caught.

    First Stop: The Thief and the Stone

    Eula stood before a judge and jury in a courtroom. Her catsuit had been replaced with an orange jumpsuit. With her mask removed, everyone could see her pale face and long blonde hair. Her bangs swept outward and were dyed purple at the tips.

    “Please state your name for the court.”


    “Eula what?” The Judge asked, trying not to let the girl get the better of him.

    “That's it,” Eula replied with an arrogant smile, “Like I told the cops, I don't have a name and all those surefire detectives couldn't find one either, so I don't think we're going to get anywhere here if you keep this up.”

    The judge slammed his gavel down to silence the chatter, “Very well, but if you keep up this attitude then I'll have to add contempt of court to your charges, which by the way are burglary, attempted grand theft, trespassing on private property, failure to comply, and defacing a state landmark.”

    “Kaiba Land's a landmark? I didn't know that!” Eula joked.

    “I won't stand for anymore of your outbursts, Miss No-name,” the Judge said as he slammed his gavel again, “That was your last warning, now... How do you plead to the charges being presented to you?”

    “Guilty as hell,” Eula said with an arrogant grin.

    “Very well. Before I sentence you I'm going to give you one more chance to tell us who you were working with and I may just go easy on you, but I think I know how that will go already.”

    “Like I told the cops, I'm the best. Anyone else would slow me down. You guys are lucky actually, after catching me the rest of your cases should be smooth sailing.” Eula mimicked calm waves with he shackled hands.

    “Very well.” The Judge inhaled, “Then I hereby sentence you to three years in the California State Correctional Facility for Women with chance of parole. Bail will be set at $20,000.”

    - - -​

    Seven Months of Hard Time Later

    Eula sat on the lower bunk inside of her cell. It was 4:00 PM which was known as off-duty/yard time where the prisoners were allowed an hour of freedom before being confined to their cells. Eula didn't care much for the yard. Being outside made her nauseous. All that open space and she was still caged. A guard approached her cell while she was lost in thought, “Eula, get a move on. You're coming with me,” he said.

    “Whatever it is, I didn't do it!” she said, almost instinctively.

    “No, you're being released. Somebody bailed you out.” the guard tapped the cell bars with his nightstick, “So come on, let's go.”

    Within a few minutes Eula was standing in front of a large window with a tiny hole through which a woman was returning and inventorying all of Eula's belongings, “Looks like the clothes you were wearing got torn up in evidence so we'll give you these.” The woman handed Eula a pair of white sweat pants, a plain white t-shirt, a pair of white socks, and an incredibly flimsy pair of white shoes, “Let's see, you also had this case containing a deck of Duel Monsters cards on you.” She slid the black deck box to Eula, “And that's it. Wow, you travel light.”

    “It's the only way to travel,” Eula said before gathering her things, “I guess getting my tools back is out of the question?”

    “Entirely,” the woman said firmly, “Those belong to the police now.”

    “Alright, alright.”

    Eula was allowed to change into her new clothes before being escorted outside by two prison guards, “You know, I really liked you,” one of the guards said with a laugh, “You never caused too much trouble. When I read your file I figured I'd have my hands full with you.”

    “Maybe I'm just too sneaky for you to catch?” Eula winked.

    “Maybe.” The other guard said, “But you're the world's problem again now. I hope you understand what I mean when I say that we never want to see you again.”

    “Oh, don't worry, you won't.” Eula sighed as the metal doors to the outside opened. Freedom at last! Only one person could have bailed her out, and that was the only person she truly cared to see. Eula's eyes adjusted to the light of the sun and then there she was... Just down the walkway stood a young woman with crimson hair in a pageboy haircut. Her blue shirt was a welcome change from the sea of orange. Eula couldn't help but rush toward her, “Juno!” Juno looked up from her cell phone at the sound of Eula's voice. She barely had time to smile before the was attacked by Eula's embrace, “I don't think I've ever been happier to see you!”

    “I figured you would say something like that.” Juno laughed as she returned the hug, “But we don't have a whole lot of time so let's catch up on the way.”

    “On the way?” Eula hadn't noticed it before, but Juno had apparently arrived in a rather large limo, “Woah. Did you like... win the lottery or something? Is that how you bailed me out?”

    “Lottery? Me? No way.” Juno laughed again while squirming out of Eula’s grip.

    “You mean you took a job without me? We're partners!” Eula harumphed.

    “C-calm down. I didn't take a job without you. Well, I kinda did, but you're part of the job too.” Juno opened the limo door, “Just get in and I'll explain everything. I brought some of your old clothes too. I imagine you'd rather be wearing them as opposed to... that.”

    - - -​

    The car approached the L.A. city limits as Eula finally decided on a beige over shirt. She didn't bother buttoning it up to hide the white tee she was still wearing. She rolled up the sleeves as she spoke, “So when are you gonna tell me about how you bailed me out and stuff?”

    Juno took a break from blowing on her hot cup of coffee to answer her friend, “Well, I guess I'll tell you now. We're almost there.” Juno paused, “It was Osamu.”

    “Osamu? Osamu who?” Eula frowned, “That doesn't help me, Juny.”

    Juno flinched. She hated that name and Eula knew it, but she didn't want to argue on their first meeting in seven months, “You know we don't deal in last names, Eula.” Juno sighed, “Though I guess you would forget his name. He was the one who hired us to do the Kaiba Land heist.”

    “That guy? Why would he bail me out anyway?”

    “Well, he has a job that he feels only you can do.” Juno smiled softly, “Hopefully your time in the correctional facility wasn't too... correctional.”

    “Not at all.” Eula smirked as she slid a black wrist band over each hand.

    “Good, because we're here.” As Juno finished her sentence the car stopped in front of a large building. It wasn't the largest building in the city or anything, but it was an imposing structure to stand before, “Alright, let's go in.”

    - - -​

    Eula and Juno sat in wooden chairs, waiting for Osamu to arrive. Eula tapped her foot impatiently as time went on, “What the hell is taking this guy so long?”

    “He's a busy guy, Eula.” Juno moved her hands in a downward position, trying to tell Eula to calm down.

    “Well, I can't stick around here forever. I've got a parole officer to stand up, ya know?” Eula paused and laughed at her own audacity before going silent. She sat in thought for a few moments before a realization hit her, “Hey Juno.”


    “As far as this state's legal system is concerned, I don't have any friends, family, or partners. Don't you think that it'd come off as suspicious that you bailed me out?”

    “I wouldn't worry about that,” a deep voice answered from behind the two young women. It belonged to a large Japanese man with slicked black hair and a tight business suit, “I have a... powerful friend who was more than willing to make sure that your file never gets drug up again so long as you're willing to pull a job for him.”

    “Osamu...” Eula stared at the man abrasively, “Yeah, I remember your face now... Why the hell would you ask me to pull a job when I didn't complete the last one you gave me?”

    “You're awfully suspecting considering I'm the only reason you're out of the slammer.”

    “He has a point, Eula.” Juno nudged Eula with her elbow.

    “Alright, alright.” Eula sighed, “What is it you want us to... 'acquire' for you?”

    Osamu smiled and he pushed a button under his desk. The lights in the room dimmed, and the back wall opened to reveal a large television screen. The screen turned on with a picture of a very old stone building with marble pillars at its entrance, “This is the Cyprus Museum in Lefkosia, Cyprus, a small island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.” The screen changed to a dull rock with a strange language sloppily carved into it, “Recently a very valuable stone has been discovered off of the coast of Cyprus and my powerful friend would very much like to add it to his collection.”

    “That's it? Some tiny *** museum on an island nobody's ever heard of?” Eula sighed, “Well, I guess I should start off light after my little vacation.”

    “You should still take this seriously, Eula,” Juno nagged.

    “Yeah, yeah.”

    “That's what you said last time,” Juno said under her breath.

    “Anyway, there's going to be some sort of fancy snob party or something held there in two weeks. I managed to get an invite thanks-”

    “To your powerful friend. We get it.” Eula rolled her eyes.

    Osamu grit his teeth. He had to take a second to cool off before continuing, “I suppose considering that you're a freshly release ex-convict that you would have some trouble speaking to people who are offering to help you, but please try listen, okay?” He sighed, “Anyway, after the gallery or whatever the hell it is, I want you sneak in and steal the stone. I'll be waiting in a location to be designated at a later time to receive it. If you do this right then that twenty grand that bailed you out of jail will be an anthill to the mountain of money you'll be paid. Twenty million, girls. Think about it.”

    “Now you're speaking my language.” Eula snapped her fingers, “When do we leave?”

    “You'll have to leave tonight. You'll be leaving on a fishing vessel in a few hours. I'll leave the day before the event by plane. We can't be seen together. My friend is powerful, but part of that power comes from being careful.”

    “That makes sense.” Juno nodded, “We've dealt with jobs where we've had to travel like this before so it'll be nothing new to us.”

    “Good to know.” Osamu nodded in return.

    “As long as you make good on that promise of a mountain of money then I'll swim to this Cyprus place.” Eula grinned evilly, “What the hell? I guess We'll do it.”

    “I figured you'd come around.” Osamu smiled.

    “One more thing, though.” Eula extended her index finger as she spoke, “I'm gonna need some new tools.”

    - - -​

    The next day Eula woke up in a net hammock in the grimy sleeping quarters of the aforementioned fishing boat. She looked at the hammock above her and saw that it was empty. She wasn't surprised. Juno was always up before her. Any minute now she'd be walking back into the room carrying a piping hot cup of-

    “Coffee!” Juno entered the quarters with a spring in her step, so to speak. She had a plate in one hand and a steaming mug in the other, “I got some breakfast too. It's not bad. I had some earlier.” She sat the plate down on a small metal workbench.

    The sailors must already be working above deck. The only time Juno would ever act with energy was when it was just her and Eula. Eula stared at the food on her plate. Re-hydrated scrambled eggs. Not the greatest dish in the world, but then again Eula hardly ever ate the greatest dishes in the world, especially not lately. That would all change after this job, though, “It looks great.” Eula said with a soft smile before digging in.

    Juno sat down on a cot across from Eula,“Osamu's friend must really be powerful. This is the first time we've hitched a ride on a ship and didn't have to lend a hand.”

    “Or run and jump overboard to get away from some kind of anti-smuggling agency?” Eula said with her mouth still full of food.

    Juno paused before deciding to progress the conversation,“You think after Osamu... or his 'friend' pays us... Do you think we'll be done?”

    “Whachya mean?” Eula carefully took a sip of coffee.

    “Well, this. All this danger and stuff. You just...” Juno lowered her eyes, “You getting caught at Kaiba Land, and the money we're getting for this job, they got me thinking...” Juno sighed. She already knew what Eula would say, but she forced herself to continue anyway, “Maybe we should 'retire' after we get the money for this job. We'd have plenty of money to do it, and...”


    “Huh?” Juno asked in shock. It seems she didn't know what Eula was going to say.

    “Okay,” Eula said again, “As in, I'm fine with that.”

    “You mean it?” Juno still couldn't believe her ears.

    “Yeah. If you want to retire then let's retire.” Eula scarfed down the last of her eggs before continuing, “And like you said, we'd definitely have the money to do it, right?”

    “Y-yeah! We would for sure!”

    “Then it's settled.”

    - - -​

    The rest of the week passed slowly. Eula and Juno were anticipating their final job every waking moment. Finally they reached Cyprus and the ship docked. It was dark outside. Time to go. Eula and Juno gathered their things and headed for shore. They waited while large cranes pulled huge metal containers off the boat, “That one,” Juno said, pointing to a green metal box, “That's ours.”

    “Alright, let's go.” The two young women made their way to their storage container, “Yo, that's ours!” Eula informed the crew. The one closest to the door nodded silently and opened it. Inside was a large white moving truck. Eula rushed inside and opened up the truck's trailer, “Good to see that you guys didn't mess my baby her up.” Eula walked over to a sleek black D-Wheel that was strapped to the bed of the trailer. She unhooked the straps and then wheeled the bike out of the truck. She shut the trailer door and walked back over to her partner, “Alright Juno, we're good to go.” She said with a thumbs up, “Now you get out of here and I'll see you in a bit.”

    “Right.” Juno nodded and jumped into the cab of the truck. She and Eula both exited the shipyard on their respective vehicles.

    Once they hit the main road the separated. Eula was making her way toward the museum while Juno was getting in position. Eula eyed the map on her D-Wheel's screen. “The best time to get in would be around midnight, after the party. I should just be getting there by then.” Eula smiled. She loved this 'job.' It was exciting, it was fun, it was her calling... And this was it. Her last score before settling into a comfortable life... a boring life.

    - - -​

    The museum was closed down for the night, just as planned. Eula approached the building, once again dressed in all black, “I'm closing in.” Eula said into her microphone.

    “Alright, I've hacked into the building's electronic security. Kaiba Land was a lot more high tech but the museum's defenses are nothing. This should be a cake walk.” Juno was positioned a few blocks away, inside the moving truck. She had a large collection of high-tech gadgets spread all around the cab's interior. She turned a few knobs and typed away at her laptop before she continued the communication, “Alright, the alarms are off. You're clear to enter.”

    “What? No 'be careful' or something? I'm almost hurt.” Eula laughed as the scaled a wall up to the nearest window.

    “I was actually about to say that next.” Juno huffed, “Let's just do this.”

    “Alright, alright” Eula checked the building. The room was clear. She slowly and quietly opened the window. She checked the surroundings one more time before dropping to the floor.

    “Alright, so the stone should be about two rooms over. Security files show that there's only one guard on duty right now, so you should be able to get around, but please don't underestimate him.”

    “I won't, sheesh.” Eula whispered, “I'm making my way there now.” Eula moved fluidly through the shadows into the next room. No signs of life. She kept moving until she reached the entrance to the next room. Hugging the wall she slowly stuck her head out the doorway. She saw one of the guards in the next room. He wouldn't be a problem. She snuck into the target room. It was dark, but the moon through the windows made it possible to see most places without a flashlight. Luckily for Eula, she was adept at avoiding most places and able to slipping by in the shadows. She waited patiently between a display case and a wall while the guard made his patrol. Once he was satisfied with his perceived emptiness of the room, he continued on into the next, leaving Eula free to do her thing.

    Eula continued to maneuver her body to the shadows, making her way to a small display case wedged between two others. All this stuff, and these guys want some rink-dink stone? Well, it wasn't her place to question someone who was going to give her twenty million dollars, now was it? She removed a her lock-pick tools from her bag and went to work. “How low tech.” Eula whispered to herself. Within seconds the case was open. Suddenly, the building had filled with the sound of whistling.

    The guard had returned to the room, or perhaps it was the second guard entering the room for the first time. Either way, when the guard entered the room he saw... nothing out of the ordinary. He stood for a second, scanned the room, and then left through another room. Had his eyes been more keen he would have noticed the unlocked display case, or the fact that it was now empty. Unfortunately for him, by the time he noticed this, Eula would be long gone. She was already out the window and moving away from the building. She made her way through some trees and found her D-Wheel right where she left it, hidden in bushes just off the road. She boarded her vehicle. There was a pad between the handlebars which Eula swiped with her thumb to start the machine. After putting the engraved stone in her bag, she was off. “I got it Juno. Get the meeting place from Osamu.”

    “Right!” Juno said excitedly though the mic, “I'll contact him and when I have the location for the drop then I'll contact you immediately.”

    “Alright.” It only took seconds for the interface on Eula's D-Wheel to start beeping with Osamu's location, “Just outside town, huh? Almost over now...”

    - - -​

    Osamu was sitting on a D-Wheel when Eula arrived. Aside from the city just barely visible from miles behind her and the equally distant forest ahead, there was nothing around, “You picked a decent meeting place.” Eula eyed Osamu from her D-Wheel. She didn't want to risk stepping away from her getaway ride so she rolled closer to him.

    “I'm glad you approve.” Osamu said sarcastically, “You got it, right?”

    “Right down to business, huh?” Eula sighed, “Well, whatever. I'd rather not deal with you too much longer anyway. It's bad business to hang around my clients too long... Plus, I just really don't like you.” Eula stared into Osamu's eyes, “Yeah, I got it, but first let's discuss payment.”

    Osamu laughed quietly, “Well, I guess you have good instincts and I guess I'll give you your 'payment' first, then I'll take the tablet.” Osamu reached into his jacket pocket. His hand grabbed coiled around the butt of a revolver.

    Before he could fully draw his weapon, Eula had snatched the revolver from his hand. She glared at the man for split second before a realization hit her, “Juno!” No answer. Eula revved her D-Wheel and raced off toward the city, tossing the gun in the distance, “By the time he finds that, I'll be long gone.”

    “Damn girl!” Osamu growled as he gave chase, “She really does have good instincts. No matter. I won't let her reach the city.” Osamu began to close the gap on Eula. She was too far ahead to completely keep up, but she was close enough.

    “Juno, if you can then you need to answer me.” Despite her constant attempts, Eula knew that Juno would never leave her post without reason. Something was wrong. Eula looked back to see Osamu gaining on her, “Crap. So that's why he brought a D-Wheel. I guess there's no helping it now.” Eula activated the Duel Disk mounted on her bike.

    Eula's interface began to buzz, “Speed World – X Activated. Scanning surrounding area. Darkness field set. Speed World – Yami.”

    “I won't let you get away!” Osamu roared.


    Eula: LP: 4000 Speed Counters: 0
    Osamu: LP: 4000 Speed Counters: 0

    Eula's screen lit up, signaling for her to make the first move. She drew her initial hand and one more card to start her turn, “I summon Phantom Dewan in defense mode.” A figure in a blue cloak appeared on the field. Its hood completely covered its face in shadow, save for its glowing yellow eyes. “Since the Speed World is currently governed by Darkness, my Spellcaster monster gains two hundred points in both stats. (DEF: 600 → 800)

    “You think some weakling monster like that can defeat me?” Osamu taunted.

    Eula ignored him and continued her turn, “I set one card and end my turn.” As Eula finished her round she made a swift 180 with her D-Wheel and raced off in the opposite direction. She had to ditch Osamu far away from the city, and she knew just where to do it.

    “What the hell are you... Whatever.” Osamu turned after her as he drew his card.

    Eula's Speed Counters: 1
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 1

    “I begin by summoning Ancient Dragon Egg in attack mode!” Just as expected, the monster was an unimpressive egg, brown in color. It was seemingly harmless, but caused suspicion when it began to crack, “Ancient Dragon Egg can return to my hand to summon a normal dragon monster from my hand! I summon Curse of Dragon!” A golden, snake-like dragon burst from the egg. “Attack!” It flapped its wicked wings, gaining height. It glared at Eula's ghostly monster before bathing it in hellfire, “At the end of my turn, the monster summoned with Ancient Dragon Egg is returned to my hand,” Osamu said as the monster, as promised, left the field.

    “Then it's my turn,” Eula said as she drew her card.

    Eula's Speed Counters: 2
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 2

    “I summon Great Phantom Thief!” A blue-clad man with a large hat appeared beside Eula's D-Wheel. It crossed its arms and looked smugly at Osamu as it floated through the air. (ATK: 1000 → 1200) “Great Phantom Thief now attacks you directly!” And with that, the phantom monster was in front of Osamu in the blink of an eye. It delivered a stiff punch to his face, causing him to sway on his D-Wheel, before it vanished again.

    “You little...”

    Osamu: 2800

    Eula looked back with a grin.“What's wrong? Not an experienced Riding Duelist?” She taunted, “This D-Wheel is the only getaway vehicle I've ever had, so I've had plenty of practice evading D-Wheel patrols with it. An obvious novice like you won't catch me.”

    “Novice? Me!”

    “Great Phantom Thief's effect activates!” Eula interrupted, “I declare one card name and then I looked at your hand and discard all copies of that card!” Eula didn't have to think about her target. Curse of Dragon was stronger, but without another monster it'd just rot in his hand, “I declare Ancient Dragon Egg.” Osamu's hand was displayed on Eula's interface; Ancient Dragon Egg, Petit Dragon, One-Eyed Shield Dragon, Speed Spell – Final Attack, Speed Spell – Overboost, and Curse of Dragon. Eula shook her head, “Idiot.”

    The Thief appeared again behind Osamu and yanked the egg card from Osamu's grasp.

    “I set two cards and end my turn.”


    Eula's Speed Counters: 3
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 3

    Osamu's rage intensified. He would not let this riffraff defeat him, a man with powerful friends. A man on his way to becoming a powerful figure himself. One glimpse at his drawn card was enough to transform his rage back into confidence, “I'll show you who the novice is, girl! I activate Speed Spell – Overboost, increasing my Speed Counters by four!” (SC → 7) “Next, I activate Speed Spell – Speed Fusion!” Curse of Dragon and Osamu's remaining monsters were sucked into a spatial vortex as he spoke.

    “Blowing your load a little early, aren't you?” Eula taunted again.

    “You won't be able to make your crude jokes when I'm finished with you! I fuse Curse of Dragon with two normal dragon monsters in my hand! Be born, my immortal monster! I summon Eternal Scourge of Hydra!” A monster resembling a larger Curse of Dragon appeared from the center of the vortex. It now had two clawed arms and rested in a more vertical position. (ATK: 2500) “Speed World – Yami has three additional effects. I activate one of them by removing seven Speed Counters to target Speed Spell – Overboost in my graveyard and add it to my ha- What the?” (SC → 0)

    Eula grinned as the Speed Spell was removed from Osamu's graveyard, but the Solid Vision pulled it over to her hand instead of Osamu's, “You think I'm going to just let you keep your stuff just like that?” Eula pointed to her revealed trap card, Graverobber, “I already knew that you were planning to take back Overboost to cut the wait time for that Final Attack your holding in half as soon as I saw your hand. That's why I had this set to stop that.”

    “You bit-”

    “Let me tell you something, Mr. Osamu. I don't know what makes you think that you're so tough, but I'm a thief. The darkness is my field!”

    “Even so, you can't keep the card added to your hand by Graverobber long enough to use it. I'll get it back soon enough.” Osamu eyed the thief monster, “I probably won't even need it with your weakling monsters cowering at my Hydra's power! Attack!” Green flames bathed the thief, burning it alive. It let out one final scream as its hard light image shattered.

    Eula: 2700

    “At the end of my turn, Overboost sets my Speed Counters to one. Not a bad thing if I have none, right?” (SC → 1)

    “Don't get too full of yourself. Everyone knows that trick.” Eula drew her turn card.

    Eula's Speed Counters: 4
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 2

    “My set card activates! Menacing Phantom!” Eula revealed a trap card depicting a ghost hovering above a teenage couple who were 'adventuring' in a cemetery, “This summons a level three or lower normal monster from either of our graveyards. I'm picking yours of course.”

    “Of course you would, thief.”

    “Is that supposed to be an insult?” Eula laughed as a green-scaled dragon with one eye and a shield strapped to its chest like armor appeared on her field. The mouth at the end of its tail snapped furiously.

    “So what, you're just planning on blocking until you run out of monsters?”

    “Not exactly.” Eula smirked “I summon Phantom Spider!” A large spider appeared before the menacing dragon. It resembled a giant black widow, but its body was was transparent. (ATK: 500)

    “More weaklings.” Osamu scoffed

    Eula stuck up her hand and extended her index finger, as if lecturing a student, “Something you should know. Phantom Spider is a Tuner monster.”

    “What?” Osamu exclaimed, “It's not like it matters! My monster is invincible!”

    “I tune my level three Phantom Spider with my level three One-Eyed Shield Dragon!”

    “Your dragon?” Osamu exhaled violently, “Such audacity. Just wait until I get my hands on you, god damned annoying girl.”

    The spider exploded into three green rings which lined up perfectly in single file. One-Eyed Shield Dragon flew into the rings and its body became a polygonal outline of its former self, revealing three stars within its frame. Eula inhaled, “The moon's glow casts its light and creates an ebony shadow! Synchro summon! Envoy of the night, Moonlighting Phantom!”

    The stars erupted into a bright light and engulfed the rings. When the light began to clear, a human-shaped monster replaced the original two. The figure swung a large crescent moon-shaped scythe and swiping away the residual light from the Synchro Summon. The new monster had a head of long, wild, black hair and wore a tattered pinstriped suit. It's most defining feature, however was the nondescript mask that covered its face. Its glowing red eyes that peaked through the mask were the only insight to its true appearance. (ATK: 2100)

    “A couple more things before I go one, first off Phantom Spider steals a spell card from you whenever it's used for a Synchro summon.

    Osamu looked down at his graveyard slot and noticed a thin silk string glimmering in the moonlight. It retracted to Eula's hand and took Speed Spell – Overboost with it.

    “Can't win with your own cards?”

    Eula ignored the Taunt and continued on, “The other thing is this. Moonlighting Phantom is a Fiend type monster, and as such gains the field bonus.” (ATK: 2100 → 2300)

    “That's still too weak!” Osamu began to laugh, but then it hit him, “Wait.”

    “That's right, you finally put that brain of yours to work, huh? It's like I said, the darkness is my field! ” Eula pointed at the large dragon monster, “I activate Speed World – Yami's effect to remove four Speed Counters to reduce the the stats of a monster you control by a permanent five hundred points!” (SC → 0) A blast of energy shot from Eula's D-Wheel, hitting the Scourge of Hydra and weakening it. (ATK: 2500 → 2000)

    “Now, Moonlighting Phantom, Lunar-tic Slash!” The phantom jumped at the dragon monster with the blade of its scythe dragging behind. It jumped with such force that it completely overshot the dragon, but the scythe dragging behind caught the beast's neck as the Phantom soared through the air. The dragon's head fell to the ground, leaving its body still standing.

    Osamu: 2500

    “Whenever Moonlighting Phantom inflicts damage, I can activate one of its effects.” Eula informed her opponent, “The one I'm activating is one I like to call Darkness Hand. It takes one card at random from your hand and banishes it face-down until the end of my next turn.”

    Osamu looked at the lone Speed Spell – Final Attack in his hand, “Not like I can use this anyway.” Osamu held up the card and allowed the phantom to take the card., “Now let's reveal my monsters effect, okay?” Osamu chuckled, “I negate its destruction by banishing a normal dragon in my graveyard. My monster also gains attack points for every banished normal dragon!” As Osamu finished his explanation the dragon head that had been previously decapitated had returned, accompanied by another, identical head. The two heads snapped and roared as the creature's attack power rose. (ATK: 2000 → 2500)

    “I set one card and end my turn.”

    “Then I guess it comes back around to me!”

    Eula's Speed Counters: 1
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 2

    Osamu eyed the Speed Spell – The End of the Storm he had just drawn, “Useless... Scourge, destroy that annoying phantom!” The hydra lunged at Eula's monster, but a black 1930's Cadillac intercepted the attack, firing Tommy guns at the monster as it drove away, “What the hell just happened?”

    “I discarded Getaway Car. When a monster I control is declared as an attack target, I can discard this to negate the attack.” Eula's arrogant smile was growing weaker. Maybe this guy was a little better than she thought he was?

    “I guess I'll end my turn then. Your stall tactics won't save you forever!” Osamu was gaining on Eula now. The Speed Counters were increasing his allowed max speed and he finally had more than Eula.

    Eula looked back, beyond Osamu at the shrinking city. She had to end this quick, “Draw!”

    Eula's Speed Counters: 2
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 3

    “I activate the card I set the previous turn, Doom's Deal!” The trap card depicted a man in a baseball cap dealing with Dark Ruler Ha Des, who was grinning triumphantly, “This reduces Moonlighting Phantom's attack to zero for the turn, but also allows it to attack directly this turn.”

    “What good will that do you?” Osamu inquired.

    “You're pretty dense, you know that?” Eula shook her head as Moonlighting Phantom's attack stat altered. (ATK: 2300 → 0 → 200)

    “Dammit, the field's power bonus is a continuous thing!” Osamu looked at the card in his hand, “I should have set this.”

    “I wouldn't worry about that card.” Eula pointed at Osamu, “Lunar-tic Slash!” The phantom dissipated in a cloud of smoke and reformed behind Osamu. It slashed him from behind with its scythe, causing him to almost lose control of his D-Wheel.

    Osamu: 2300

    When Osamu regained control of his vehicle, Eula continued, “I activate the second ability of Moonlighting Phantom's, Phantom Thief! When it inflicts battle damage, I may take one of your face-down banished cards and add it to my hand.” Eula snickered, “I'll take that Final Attack now, please and thank you.” The card ejected from Osamu's D-Wheel and the masked monster snatched it away. It brought the card to Eula courteously, “I set a card and end my turn.”

    “Futile. I'll crush that annoying Phantom right here!” Osamu roared as he drew his card.

    Eula's Speed Counters: 3
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 4

    “Since I have three or more Speed Counters, I can activate Speed Spell – Strong Winds, which destroys any face-down card I choose and I pick your left spell or trap.” Eula and he face-down card were bombarded by a huge tempest, “So which was it?”

    “Neither, actually.” Eula smiled as she revealed her card, a grinning orange cat with a fedora, lounging in a cardboard box, “Dillinger's Cat is a monster that can be set in the back row and when it's destroyed I can activate both of its effects.”


    “That's right. It inflicts eight hundred points of damage to you, and then takes one monster from your graveyard with less than eight hundred attack.” The cat pulled out a Tommy gun and fired furiously at Osamu while Moonlighting Phantom took the task of retrieving the card, “I'm taking One-Eyed Shield Dragon again. Oh, and I think you should know that if you had been paying attention that Dillinger's Cat was something I set on my first turn. You should have known it couldn't activate on its own.” Eula's grin widened as she saw Osamu's face redden.

    Osamu: 1500

    “I'm going to end that Phantom of yours right now! I remove four Speed Counters to lower your monster's attack by five-hundred points!” Osamu's D-Wheel fired a burst of Dark Energy and Moonlighting Phantom, just as Eula had done before. (ATK: 2300 → 1800) “Eternal Scourge of Hydra, destroy that reject of a monster!” Twin streams of green fire overtook Moonlighting Phantom and Eula.

    Eula: 1800

    When the flames cleared, Eula was still driving, but more surprisingly Moonlight Phantom was still floating beside her at full power. (ATK: 2300)

    “Explain! What trickery did you do this time?” Osamu yelled in a demanding tone, “Answer me!”

    “It's actually not really trickery...” Eula pointed to her final trap card, “Call Of The Haunted is actually pretty straight-forward. What made you think you could catch me with a Riding Duel again?”

    “You talk big, but you still can't get over my monster! It's your turn.”

    Eula's Speed Counters: 4
    Osamu's Speed Counters: 1

    “It may not look like that to someone who can't think ahead, but let me remind you of something. I activate Speed Spell – Overboost!” (SC → 8)

    “Crap!” Osamu shouted, “You're using my cards against me again?”

    “That was the plan all along, ya damn moron!” Eula sighed, “Now I activate Speed Spell – Final Attack! I'm sure you know what this does, I mean it's your card... but I'll tell you anyway since you might actually need a reminder. It doubles my monsters attack, but destroys it at the end phase.” (ATK: 2300 → 4600)

    “Ha! You can't beat me with that! I'll just save my monster and finish you next tu-wait...” Osamu looked down at his interface. The effect of Speed World – Yami would lower his monster's attack enough for Eula to make the kill. Was he really going to lose? “Wait...” Osamu looked up to see various kinds of trees surrounding him, “Did we really drive all the way to the-”

    “Speed World – X Activated. New terrain has been detected! Forest Field set. Speed World – Forest activated.”

    Osamu's fire returned. He pointed at Eula and laughed, “Looks like you can't lower my monster's attack points now, you tramp! Even if your monster keeps its attack power from being doubled, it's not enough! I win!”

    “You think so?” Eula returned the laughter, “Let's find out. Moonlighting Phantom, attack! Lunar-tic Slash!” Once again the scythe-wielding monster decapitated the hydra, and once again it spawned two heads to replace the lost one. (ATK 2500 → 3000)

    Osamu: 400

    “You see? You see? Not good enough!”

    “Just shut up and take your ***-kicking already!” Eula shouted, “Don't you remember? I was the one who turned this way when the duel started. I lead you here.”

    “Don't play smart with me! You kept going on and on about how darkness was your field!”

    “Well, I do best in the darkness, but trees are a good cover too. I enter my second main phase.”

    “What are you planning to- No!”

    “Speed World – Forest's effect activates! I send one normal monster with less than one thousand attack to the graveyard from my hand to inflict damage to you equal to its attack score.” Eula took a card from her hand and tossed it violently at Osamu, “Take your stupid dragon back. I discard One-Eyed Shield Dragon!” The card hit Osamu in the face, causing him to lose control of his D-Wheel. If not for the automatic shut down, he probably would have crashed into a tree. White smoke shot out of his D-Wheel, signaling him as the loser.

    Osamu: 0

    “Dammit!” Osamu's cell phone rang, “Yeah, what the hell do you want?”

    “My map, Osamu.” a man's voice answered, “Have you taken care of the loose ends yet?”

    “W-well, I uh...” Before Osamu could answer, Eula raced by him, heading back toward the city. When Osamu looked at his hand, he noticed his phone was missing, “I! Hate! That! Girl!”

    “Yo, who the hell is this?” Eula demanded over the phone.

    “You must be the girl Osamu hired to collect my stone. I don't supposed you'd want to hand it over.”

    “So you're the powerful friend, huh? I don't think I'll be making anymore deals with you or your peop-.” Eula's train of thought was cut off when she heard her earpiece come back online. She tossed the phone on the ground and immediately reached for her microphone, “Juno? Is that you? Are you okay?”

    “Yeah, I'm fine.” Juno's voice answered, “I kinda need a ride, though. These guys came from nowhere and took the truck. All our equipment is gone.”

    “Don't worry about the equipment!” Eula shouted, “Just tell me where you are and I'll come and get you.”

    - - -​

    “Eula and Juno, was it?” Osamu's “powerful friend” said to himself in a dark room, “I will take my map from you, no matter where you go...”

    - - -​

    The next day, Eula and Juno were on a small aircraft piloted by a man with pink hair. Small enough to not be a commercial flight, but large enough to transport a D-Wheel, “You girls are lucky I was in town, from what you've said. Sounds like you'd be up a creek, if it weren't for me, Jack Daniels.”

    “Why do you talk like that? It's annoying.” Eula said bluntly.

    “Oh, don't be like that! How many times have I given you girls a nice, free ride? Huh?”

    “Don't answer him, Juno.” Eula said, sticking her hand up to signal 'stop' to Juno who already had her mouth open to answer, “Just shut up and fly.”

    “Okay, okay, but you really need to lighten up. You can be nice to people other than your little girlfriend over there you know.” Jack's words turned Juno's face the same color as her hair.

    “I told you to shut up, Jack!” Eula said, punching him in the back of the head, causing him to lose control of the plane for a few seconds.

    “What the hell is wrong with you?” Jack shouted after regaining control of the plane, “I'll turn this plane around!”

    Eula sat back down. She pulled the stone she had stolen for Osamu's friend out of her bag.

    “So that's it?” Jack asked, “That stone you two were almost killed for?”

    “Yeah,” Eula said somberly, “That's why we have to get to Athens. There's only one person that I know of who could help us figure out just what the hell this is.”
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
  3. Brandy Beavers

    Brandy Beavers New Member

    And I'm the aforementioned Brandy Beavers. Just to let you know that I'm not some kind of ghost and that I am available to answer questions or take criticisms, this is my account. Hope everyone enjoys reading this as much as we do writing it.
  4. Uninspired Author

    Uninspired Author New Member

    Uninspired Author here, completing the trio of writers behind this project. I am also available to answer questions and would love to hear your thoughts and get some feedback. Thank you stopping by and I hope you enjoy the story we're setting out to tell.
  5. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    She hadn’t set foot here in years and yet she felt so at home. Home. America, namely some small town in Florida, was always the only one. Japan had been more of a prison than anything else. Even the awful heat was something she welcomed with open arms.

    It was still early in the morning, but the school grounds were already bustling with activity as parents left their kids in the hands of the staff for the last day. A nostalgic smile managed to worm its way out as she recalled when she had stepped through the gates herself regularly. That had been almost ten years ago though.

    Shrugging her backpack onto a better position, she marched across the street and stepped through the gates once again. Making her way to a familiar bench that gave her a complete view of the playground, she sat and waited. School would start soon.

    “Do you think we’ll stop?” a voice, not unlike her own, rang in her mind as her eyes landed on one particular spot. Anastasia watched as two girls engraved the concrete with their art, the chalk served them faithfully. The setting was all too familiar.

    “Hm? What do you mean by that Ana?” The girls she had been watching had dissolved away and were now replaced by two entirely different people. Her breathing nearly stopped.

    “I don’t know,” Ana said, the girl was desperately trying to stop herself from crying as she set aside her chalk. Her face was plagued with uncertainty as she turned to her friend. She fidgeted some before she spoke “Dad wants us to move to Japan and there’s been a lot of fighting at home.”

    “Oh,” the other girl said after a moment. She stopped her work and turned to Ana, eyes suddenly concerned, her companion’s sniffles now very audible, “Ana you’re crying.”

    “No I’m not,” the first girl insisted eyes already spilling with tears. She hastily rubbed them away with her sleeve, “I just got something in my eye...Ow! What was that for?”

    “You’re lying,” the other girl accused, dusting her hands off after she had thrown her chalk

    “Am not,” Ana insisted angrily. Some snot was coming out of her nose now.

    “We pinky swore,” her friend reprimanded. Ana’s eyes fell to the ground. Guiltily.

    “What happens if he takes me away to Japan?” she murmured, unable to meet her friend’s gaze. “I won’t be able to see you anymore.”

    “We’ll still be best friends. We’ll visit each other and write letters.”

    “How do you know that?” Ana’s best friend was very sincere. It just happened that Ana was just as suspicious. Go figure.

    “Because we pinky swore,” the girl said with a laugh. Her hazel eyes sparkled, “And we’re going to finish this when we grow up.”

    “Because we pinky swore?” Ana scoffed, but she was finally beginning to smile.

    “Well duh,” her friend said suddenly holding out her hand, “So you promise we’re not going to forget any of this?”

    There was no hesitation on Ana’s part this time. “Deal!”

    Second Stop: The Overseer

    The sound of a whistle resounded across the yard prompting the children to reluctantly leave their stations and move towards their teachers. Anastasia rose as well, moving towards the adult in the center. Some still lingered, evidentially to milk whatever remaining time they had left, “Come on, we’re gonna get in trouble if we don’t move,” one of the children whispered, his eyes fell on her and they widened.

    “You’re just mad because you’re about to lose again,” his companion taunted. A girl.

    “Tha-That’s not true,” the boy stuttered as he fumbled with his cards, hastily trying to gather them back in the box nearby. “I’m just trying to get us out of trouble, that’s it!”

    “Riiight,” she sneered. She stopped when Anastasia lightly tapped her on the shoulder. The girl spun around instantly, irritation written all over her face, “What?” she demanded sharply.

    “The whistle rang a few moments ago. You’re holding back your classmates,” Anastasia replied, pointing at the gathering students. The brat’s eyes narrowed. Anastasia found herself facing a lot of the ugliness and malice she had left behind in Japan.

    “So what?” the girl snapped, “Can’t you see we’re busy?”

    Anastasia scowled in return, “You can bully your friend here,” her eyes spared a glance at the boy who cowered a foot or two away, “When you’re let out for recess, but for now you’re going up there to tell your teacher why both of you are still over here.”

    “Make me,” she countered. The haughtiness earned a roll of the eyes from Anastasia, which in turn made the girl angrier. “You can’t tell me what to do,” she sputtered.

    “Marie…” the boy protested but silenced when Anastasia held up her hand.

    “Yes I can,” she said slowly as she knelt down so she made eye contact with Marie. She leaned forward so the next few words were reserved between the two of them “You’re not nearly as tough as you think. Just because you have some loser who follows you around doesn’t make you anything special.”

    “I’m not afraid of you,” Marie countered. Anastasia felt herself involuntarily raise an eyebrow, but pulled back and gave her an equally haughty smirk.

    “If you want to throw down, go ahead.” The girl stared at her for a moment in blank shock as Anastasia gave her a small smile and swept her arm out in a welcoming gesture. Her face turned serious in the next instance, “Otherwise get your *** over there.”

    “Fine,” Marie replied with gritted teeth as she picked up her things.

    “Smart move,” Anastasia observed. Marie sneered as she stomped over to the last remaining group of students.

    Anastasia watched the exchange. It was rather brief. The girl stomped to the back of the line within a minute. The teacher, watched her go with a blend of confusion and concern. “Um…” the boy stuttered. “I-“

    “Unless you like being walked all over,” she said refusing to turn around to acknowledge him and began to march towards the building, “You better grow a spine.”


    “We heard there was a little incident with you and two of our students today.” The man sitting across from her sighed as he put down his papers to clean his glasses. His hair was a lot grayer than she had last remembered it to be, “Honestly, what were you thinking?”

    “The girl was out of line,” Anastasia replied, her attention focused on the rest of the room. She wasn’t a stranger to the place. “From what I remember, I always got sent here when I didn’t listen. You even confiscated my deck.”

    The elderly man gave her a small smile, “As I recall, you went around making bets against the people you played against. Something that was against school rules I might add.”

    She rubbed her temples, “Yeah, that wasn’t too smart of me..”

    “And even after ten years, here we are again. It’s almost like nothing’s changed with you,” he with a small chuckle, “Your hair is a lot shorter than it was when you were a kid. And I’ll have to admit, I never thought I’d see you in a teaching position.”

    “If it makes you feel any better, I only wanted to stop by, but I wound up needing a short job for some money,” Anastasia said her eyes falling on a business newspaper that sat at the opposite side of the table. Medea was continuing its job at being the best D-Wheel manufacturer it seemed. “Thinking of a career shift?” she teased.

    “It’s actually good to be informed,” he replied softly; his eyes glinted with an emotion she couldn’t quite articulate. “Their business expansion has been booming in the last few months.”

    “Hm” she grunted, something unconformable clawing at her chest. It bothered her that she felt this way. Wasn’t this what she wanted? It always should have been Thomas’s job and she never wanted to be a part of it to begin with. She shook her head and rose from her chair, “Is there anything else you need from me?”

    “No,” he said dismissively, “Lunch should have started by now. I believe you’re on duty in an hour or and then the year ends. Just be sure to play nice with the students for the remainder of your time here.”

    “I know,” she said as she turned to leave. She stopped at the door for a moment. It wouldn’t hurt to ask him, she decided. “Actually, I have a question.”


    “You might not remember, but when I was younger, I always hung out with someone and I was wondering if you knew-”

    “I don’t keep tabs on my former students,” he cut-in abruptly. Her heart sank.

    “I see…Thanks,” she said as she stepped out. The disappointment didn’t go unnoticed.

    “Ana, wait,” he called rummaging through a drawer before tossing a small box to her. She gave him a confused look.

    “Why now?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

    ”I always make it a point to return things by the end of the year. Seeing as how things are drawing to a close right now, I thought it would be right,” he answered, his attention now focused on the newspaper she had just pointed out moments ago. “Besides, I probably wouldn’t have gotten another chance after today.”

    “What do you mean by that?” she inquired.

    His eyes didn’t break away from whatever he was reading, “Lots of things just change over the summer is all.”


    “Hey Ms…’ she looked up from her sandwich as the boy she spoke to fumbled to find the right words.

    “Ana,” she said after taking a contemplative bite out of her food. No one could really pronounce her last name anyway. The boy flinched as soon as she spoke. “I’m not going to hurt you, kid.”

    “Oh,” he said visibly relieved. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, still very nervous.

    “Where’s your friend?” she asked.

    “She’s still mad right now,” he confessed casting a nervous look behind him, as if terrified Marie would spring on them both at any instance. “I figured it was safe to talk to you now.”

    “Safe,” she repeated with a roll of her eyes. Seeing his genuinely frightened eyes brought a scowl to her face “What makes you think talking to me is dangerous?”

    “Marie would-“

    “Marie is not as dangerous as she makes herself to be,” Anastasia retorted, dusting off the crumbs from her pants. She cast a look down at the pathetic boy, “The only reason why she’s got you in a bind is because you’re stupid enough to let her put you under her thumb. “

    “It’s not like that, we’re friends and she protects me!” he insisted.

    “Right, I forgot friends put each other down,” Anastasia replied as she removed her deck box from her side. It was really worn out after all these years, but a small content smile wormed its way out. It was almost like being reacquainted with family you hadn’t seen in so long.

    “You duel?” he asked. His curiosity overwrote his fear. She scooted to the side and beckoned for him to sit beside her. After a moment’s hesitation, he did. She could feel his eyes on her as she shifted through her cards. “Some of these cards are really old,” he observed, “Wow, what happened to them?”

    Some were actually peeling off or faded. Others were clearly wrinkled or bent. There wasn’t a single card that went without jagged markings on its back. “I didn’t exactly take care of my cards when I was younger,” she said, suppressing a wince. It was a good thing she had managed to appreciate them later on. She reached for the newer box and pulled out its sole occupant. “I just got them back today.”

    “From the school?” his eyes wide in disbelief, “What did you do?

    “I used to go here,” she said with a shrug, “I wound up getting in trouble after breaking the school rules.”

    “Why did you do that?”

    “Because people like Marie wouldn’t duel me unless I did,” she answered with a snort. “I wanted to show them they weren’t all that.”


    “They said some nasty things to my best friend, She always managed to smile and laugh it off, but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to get back at them,” she said, cutting him off.

    “Yikes,” he murmured, “No wonder no one wanted to duel you.”

    “Actually, I wasn’t that good when I was younger. I lost a bunch. Kind of like you,” she allowed a small smile, “When it comes down to it, you have to be strong for yourself first and then for the people you care about.”

    “But I…”

    “The people that say you’ll always be weak are the weak ones. She needs you around to feel strong,” she interrupted, holding up a hand to silence him. She pointed to the girl. Marie was off to the side sulking. “See how she’s alone now that you’re gone?”

    The boy opened his mouth to speak but stopped and pointing at something behind her. She turned, following his finger and was met with the sight of a bulldozer rolling into view. What the hell?

    “Oh, I guess it’s time,” he said quietly.

    A rather fancy car pulled up moments later. The driver stepped out and immediately walked to the other side, opening the door for his passenger. The man that stepped out was fairly tall, thin, pale, his hair seasoned with streaks of gray. His eyes were a cold blue, and the look on his face less than pleasant. She watched silently as the man retrieved a cell phone from his suit and walked towards the principal who was now at the entrance. The newspaper article sitting on the desk suddenly flashed before her, “Time for what?” she asked suspiciously.

    “They’re going to knock down the school for a new D-Wheel factory,” he explained, “It’s supposed to happen at the end of the year, I didn’t think they’d do it right away though.”

    They wouldn’t. But they were. It was happening right now. She could see the company emblem neatly placed on the car doors. “Why?” she asked.

    “My parents said that they always owned the property the school was sitting on or something,” he said with a small shrug, “And they decided they didn’t want a school on it anymo-Hey where are you going?”

    “Stopping this,” she said as she walked towards the back exit of the school. Her mind was racing now. How long did they have their hold over the school? Why didn’t she know about this? Not that it really mattered; she would crush their plans before they even touched this place.


    She pulled her D-Wheel a stop at the school, and stormed towards the two men that were engaging in conversation. “Hey. What’s going on here?”

    The company’s emissary turned to her, eyes narrowed, “It’s none of your concern.”

    “Actually, it is since I used to go here. If you want to build your stupid factory, put it somewhere else.”

    “The school sits on land owned by the Medea Company. We have the right to do with it as we see fit.”

    So the kid had been right. She pursed her lips as she sorted through the tornado of questions that swept through her mind. “Who authorized this?” she asked as she glanced at the gold nameplate on the man’s suit. Nathaniel Donovan. The name was familiar. He had been someone her father had worked with before, but he wasn’t on the board…

    “That’s also none of your business. What goes on inside the company isn’t for the public to hear,” he replied folding his arms. Challenging her. It was the sort of reaction that had sparked her anger more than once.

    “I’ve already made it mine.” She stepped to the side revealing the D-Wheel, “This went missing a couple of weeks ago, didn’t it?”

    Donovan’s remote expression gave away into genuine surprise, “How did you-?”

    “It was stolen and the files behind its construction were all wiped out by someone,” she continued with a smirk as his scowl deepened. Her voice lowered, “I’m part of the reason why Medea’s been slipping right now and I’m willing to bet you all are very desperate to take this D-Wheel back for the exhibition.”

    His silence was the affirmation she needed.

    “I’ll duel you for it. You can have it if you win, but you back off the school otherwise.”

    “And what makes you think I’ll agree to it?” Donovan replied. His eyes were calculating.

    “Because of the way it’s wired now. It won’t run unless it’s under my voice command and its set to wipe itself out if I tell it to.”

    “Hard to believe trash like you would be defending a school,” He regarded her for a moment before turning to principal, “Did you send her?”

    “He didn’t. He’s too scared to start anything” she supplied with a snort, “Just like most of the people here.”

    Donovan snorted, “And how do I know you’ll keep your word?”

    “How do I know you’re going to keep yours? We’re in the exact same situation” she countered “But you can’t pass this opportunity up, right? What are you going to tell your supervisors when they find out their missing project slipped through your fingers?”

    His lips curled into an unpleasant smile, “I have served the previous company chairman loyally for years. I’ll be damned if you try to get in Medea’s way. We’ll duel. Get back on that bike of your.” Anastasia opened her mouth to protest but he spoke before she could. “If you object, I can just tell the bulldozer to move.”

    “Fine. Just give me a minute” she ground out, not once casting a look back at the principal, whose face couldn’t be any paler. She reached into her bag, shifting through the cards she had bought in her spare time. She removed the spell cards from her old deck and moved through the newer ones. Most of them didn’t look very promising not to mention she had never intended to duel on the D-Wheel either. After several moments of editing she turned back to her opponent, “Where’s your vehicle?”

    As if on cue, the bulldozer began to start up, followed by a distinctive clicking noise that sounded like a duel disk snapping together. This raised several questions, all of which were expressed on the principal’s face and the remaining children. Doing her best to remain impassive, Anastasia stared it down as Donovan made his way toward it, confirming that it was, indeed, an actual thing produced by her company. The emblem on it said so. She shook her head before making her way back to her D-Wheel, ordering it to start.

    “Ana!” someone called out. She turned, finding the boy at the school gates. His voice was still shaky, but his eyes held something much stronger than the rest of his body let on, “You can do it!”

    She gave him thumbs up; all too aware that Donovan’s suspicious eyes were on her again. She didn’t bother to address him, opting to get her vehicle moving. There was a very loud roar that soon followed and it was clear that he was in pursuit. “I can do this,” she breathed out quietly as the bulldozer pulled up alongside her.


    Anastasia Takatsukasa: LP: 4000 Speed Counters: 0

    Nathanial Donovan: LP: 4000 Speed Counter: 0

    “Speed World – X Activated. Grassy field set. Speed World – Sogen”

    “Why don’t you go first? You’ll need all the help you can get.” Donovan offered with a sneer.

    She didn’t bother replying, choosing to draw her sixth card instead. She grimaced before picking the card she wanted to play. Why were these monsters so weak? “I’ll summon Skull Red Bird in attack mode.” The golden winged, crimson bird let out a sharp cry as it placed itself between her and Donovan. (ATK: 1550) “Next I’ll set one card face down and end my turn.”

    “That’s it?” Donovan asked with a laugh as he drew his card, “For all your talk your deck definitely doesn’t live up to much. Crushing you won’t be difficult then.”

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 1
    Donovan’s Speed Counters: 1

    “I’ll summon Goblin Pothole Squad in attack mode!” (ATK: 1500) Half a dozen yellow hardhat wearing goblins suddenly emerged, each armed with various construction tools as weapons, “When this card is normal summoned traps cards can’t be activated.”

    “Fine,” Anastasia replied as they began to fall in line, each of them cheering as their attack score was increased by the Speed World. (ATK: 1500 → 1700)

    “I attack your Skull Red Bird then!” The goblins roared out a challenge as they began rushing over to her monster in a very disorderly march. The winged beast instinctively took off into the air, flapping its wings which sent a gust of wind to push them back. The goblins lost their balance, stumbled back onto their rears, and fell upon each other, each individual member cursing another. Donovan blinked, “Huh?” (DEF: 600)

    “I activated Windstorm of Etaqua during your battle phase,” Anastasia clarified with a smirk as she sent the revealed trap card to the graveyard, “Your monster can’t attack me if they’re in defense mode.”

    “Bah, I’ll set one card and end my turn then,” he growled.

    “And you accused of me of simplistic plays,” she muttered as she reached for her deck. It had been years since she used this, what was her monster lineup again? She doubted she had anything that had significantly high attack points but since his monster was in defense, it wouldn't matter… For now. “Draw!”

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 2
    Donovan’s Speed Counters: 2

    “I’ll summon Battlestorm in attack mode!” (ATK: 1700) A black and white birdman descended from the sky and joined her other monster. “Skull Red Bird attacks your Goblin Pothole Squad.” The crowned bird shot up into the air before executing a dive bomb. Its sharp beak promised immense pain.

    The goblins screamed in terror as they struggled to reorganize themselves, but their efforts were ultimately futile and they collapsed under the constant assault. Anastasia nodded in approval at her monster before making her next command “Battlestorm attacks you directly!” The stronger bird made it half way before it was suddenly surrounded by another six goblins dressed in shining armor. Her calm exterior melted in surprise, “How did you do that?”

    “I activated Goblin Ambush. Since you destroyed a Goblin monster I can use this card to special summon one Goblin monster of the same level from my deck." Donovan placed Goblin Elite Attack Force, "I also get to destroy a monster with less attack points than the special summoned Goblin monster.” The goblins grinned before they tackled Battlestorm into the ground creating a messy pile that flattened the bird against the pavement. All cleared the way a moment later just as the bulldozer turned the bird into road kill. “Are you done yet?”

    Anastasia winced before picking two cards from her hand. “I’ll set these two cards face down and end.”

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 3
    Donovan’s Speed Counters: 3

    “Then I’ll begin by summoning Goblin Recruiter,” Rather than have a couple of monsters crammed into it, this card held one sole occupant dressed in a rather expensive suit. It stepped out of its portrait slowly before adjusting its glasses as it looked disapprovingly across the field, like a manager surveying the damage caused by vast incompetence. (ATK: 1600 → 1800) “Once per turn, I can change it to defense mode to special summon a Goblin monster with less attack points than it. (DEF: 1400 → 1600) I’ll summon Goblin Decoy Squad in defense mode.” (DEF: 0 → 200) Several heavier goblins stumbled sloppily out of their card and onto the scene before falling into a protective line between Anastasia and their master.

    Anastasia frowned at the monster. That's a lot of trouble for a monster in defense mode when it only had 200 defense points. "What are you planning?"

    “Next I activate Speed Spell – Angry Mob. By banishing Goblin Pot Hole Squad I can special summon a monster of the same level. However, I take damage equal to the difference in attack points after the summon. Pothole Squad is level four so come, Goblin Attack Force!” (ATK: 2300 → 2500)

    Donovan: 3000

    “The hell?” Anastasia stared as eight or so helmet-wearing, poorly armored goblins materialized before they joined the ranks of their comrades. Anastasia grit her teeth. That made four monsters now, but it looked as though she was facing against more than a dozen to her one monster.

    “Goblin Attack Force attacks your Skull Red Bird!” The goblins let out another enthused cry as they charged her only line of defense.

    “I activate Zero Gravity!” The charging goblins stopped mid scream and stared at each other in awe as they were lifted into the air. The attack force was left suspended there for a moment before they dropped back into a heap. The Goblin Elite Attack Force suddenly collapsed under the weight of their armor as well; likewise Skull Red Bird was forced closer to the ground as it let out a protesting squawk.

    “I thought as much,” Donovan observed, his voice driven by a sense of triumph as his other two monsters rose. Crap. Had he figured it out? “Goblin Recruiter attacks your Skull Red Bird!” Said Goblin jogged up and flattened the bird with its overly large briefcase. The distinctive sound of crunching bones was unsettling to Anastasia. “Now Goblin Decoy Squad attacks you directly!” There was no escaping them as they sloppily lobbed their personal belongings across the field. The D-Wheel began to wobble for several precarious seconds but Anastasia managed to steady it.

    Anastasia: 2800

    “You planned this?” she questioned. She had only changed his monster’s battle position once, how could he have figured it out so quickly?

    “It was merely an insurance plan if you had destroyed my other two monsters, but I had a hunch that you used more cards like Etaqua. Stall cards are the only things people like you can use right?” he jeered as he set one cards face down. Anastasia inhaled sharply as she drew her next card.

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 4
    Donovan’s Spell Counters: 4

    “Now that it’s your turn I activate Minor Goblin Official. You’ll take an additional 500 points of damage during each of your standby phases now” The card revealed itself a moment later, its entire frame crackling with energy before it lashed out at her bike

    Anastasia: 2300

    One direct attack and it would be over. She grimaced as she moved on with her play. “I summon Mist Valley Falcon in attack mode,” the white haired warrior descended alongside her bike. (ATK: 2000) A set card soon materialized behind it but disappeared in an instant, “Mist Valley Falcon attacks your Goblin Attack Force!”

    "Oh, that's pretty strong."

    The warrior brandished its sword, as it took off into the air, ready to strike down the resting and oblivious crew members. One of the goblins, however, turned and suddenly looked back in panic, rousing the attention of the others. “I activate Battleguard Howling, which forces your monster back into your hand!” The screeches of the goblins were amplified by the trap card and pushed the bird back and swept its card off the duel disk. “You also take damage equal to the monster’s original attack,” Donovan called as she barely managed to grab the card.

    Anastasia: 800

    “I’ll banish my Skull Red Bird to summon Garuda the Wind Spirit then,” the normal monster was ejected from the graveyard as she placed her only monster in defense mode. (DEF: 1200) “Next I’ll set three cards face down and end my turn.”

    “Bluffs,” Donovan laughed as he drew his card.

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 5
    Donovan’s Speed Counters: 5

    “I switch my Goblin Attack Force and Goblin Recruiter in attack mode. Next I summon my Goblin Marauding Squad." (ATK: 1900 → 2100) Anastasia watched as another half a dozen goblins arrived onto the scene before they charged her only line of defense. The solid image of her set cards appeared, jolts of electricity suddenly holding them in place. Her breathing hitched as she realized she wasn't able to activate them and could only watch as a hail of clubs beat down her monster before they switched into a defensive position. (DEF: 200) “You’re wide open now.”

    She laughed then. He thought he had won, but she had him right where she wanted him now. Just like the other lapdogs she knew. Eager. Too eager. “Not quite, I activate Black Wing Revenge!” two small birds suddenly materialized between her and the small army, “Next I chain Waboku, preventing me from taking any damage or losing my monsters.”

    “Don’t tell me this was what you were aiming for,” he said, his words oozing with the surprise he tried to hold back. He set two more cards and allowed the turn to pass to her.

    “There’s no strength in just flaunting you power,” she said with a snort as she drew her card.

    "High and mighty because you stopped my turn, are we?"

    Anastasia ignored him. She looked at the card she had just drawn with nostalgic delight. It was here, her ace card. She smiled. Show time.

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 6
    Donovan’s Speed Counters: 6

    “Don’t forget, you still take 500 points of damage from Minor Goblin Official!” he reminded with a laugh. Another jolt of electricity struck her, but she shrugged it off. “This is your last turn girl.”

    Anastasia: 300

    “Doesn’t matter, I’ve already won.” She had all the pieces now. She reached for her ace card. “I’ll tribute both of my tokens to summon Avis the Scarlet Overseer!”

    Her tiny black birds suddenly burst into columns of fire. The two pillars bent and merged into one large sphere before the mini inferno was sucked into the monster’s being. It spread its crimson wings revealing a black humanoid body coated in bits of crimson armor. On it chest was a large emblem with a golden phoenix engraved in it. The face was that of a bird, though it was covered by the red armor as well. The remaining wisps of fire flew into its right arm materializing into a shield. (ATK: 2700)

    “Avis!?” Donovan flinched. Could she...

    “I remove four speed counters to give my monster 500 more attack points.” (ATK: 2700 → 3200) Her vehicle slowed in response to declaration “Avis attacks your Goblin Marauding Squad, Go! Prominence Dive!” With a single flap of its wings, the bird warrior rose to incredible heights as it performed a somersault in midair before it shot down towards its prey. The armor on its feet suddenly burned away revealing razor sharp talons. “Avis inflicts piercing damage by the way so this little game is over.”

    “I activate Prepare to Strike Back!” Donovan declared, snapping out of his initial shock. One of the sluggish goblins looked up spotting the incoming threat and struggled to get the attention of the others. “All I have to do now is call heads or tails. If I call it right, my monster switches back into attack mode.”

    “Not bad,” she observed, “But you’ll need more than luck. I chain my Dust Tornado to your trap.” Donovan’s card shattered and the drop kick made contact with two of the goblins, the talons crushing the monsters immediately. Before the others could mobilize it took off to the sky and recommenced its attack. “Looks like you lose.”

    “Tch. I activate Damage Diet, halving all the battle damage I would receive this turn!” One of the goblins was kicked straight into the bulldozer. The trap card managed to absorb part of the impact but it was enough to make it wobble. Donovan laughed when the aerial assault ended. “You’ve used up your only attack. It’s over.”

    Donovan: 1500

    “I said I was going to win this turn,” Anastasia snarled as she revealed her last set card, “Lineage of Destruction allows me a second attack. Avis attacks your Goblin Decoy Squad!”

    “Use your brain girl. Damage Diet halves any battle damage I take this turn.”

    “And Avis doubles any damage when it battles a monster in attack mode, meaning your life points hit 0 anyway,” Anastasia countered as her ace card spread out its arms as it rose again, gathering the sunlight. The tips of its wings seemed to glint to a yellowish green. “Reduce everything to ash. Magna Inferno!” The fire that had been previously stored in the shield suddenly shot out, engulfing the bird and forming a giant flaming phoenix.

    There was a loud screech before it crashed into the weakest of the goblin forces. Finished with its victims, the hungry flames greedily lashed wildly out at the bulldozer forcing Donnovan to a stop.

    Donovan: 0

    The distance between them began to close, but she had no intention of stopping. Her work had been done. “Wait,” Donovan said as he removed his helmet and leapt out so he was in her way, “We need to talk.”

    It was too sudden and definitely not something Anastasia had predicted. She cursed and slammed the brakes while attempting to veer her bike away. The vehicle screeched in protest before it fell onto the side and skidded some feet. Wincing, she pushed her up, furious, “What the hell is your problem? Do you want to be road kill?”

    “Anastasia, it’s you isn’t in it? Shiro’s daughter.”

    “Gave myself away with my card didn’t I?” She responded coldly. Focusing on her anger was all she could do to stave off the panic as she reached for the bike. If it were damaged beyond repair she would have just lost everything.

    He was smiling. She knew it. “I haven’t seen you since you and Shiro moved out. Though I doubt you’d remember me.”

    “Hm,” she grunted. Seeing what she was doing, he made his way over and helped her push the bike upright. She sucked in a sharp breath while she gave it a quick once-over. It was scratched and the frame was messed up, but it was definitely still functional. It had to be.

    “You could have just told me who you were and I’d have backed off the school and we wouldn’t have to have this pointless duel,” he added wryly, his tone suddenly became seriously, “The board’s mentioned the missing bike, but nothing about you. Mind filling me in?”

    “A while ago you were calling me scum.”

    “A while ago I thought you were some petty thief, not the daughter of my friend or the head of Medea.”

    “I’m not part of that anymore,” she said flatly as she mounted her bike again. A long second passed before it coughed to life. She exhaled a sigh of relief. It would need repairs, but she could still get some ground covered. Find a city that would fix her bike.

    “I doubt it’s going to hold all the way until you find a mechanic,” Donovan said suddenly appearing beside her, “I’ll call in a towing service to help you.”

    “And what are you going to tell the higher ups?” she asked him warily.

    “I’d rather hear from you than Medea first considering no one’s been notified of your absence,” he said after a moment of contemplative silence, “Depending on what you have to say I’m willing to look the other way for the time being.” She bit her lip. What choice did she have? “Who’s filling in for you?”


    “Does he know?”

    “He has some notion, otherwise he wouldn’t be running it,” she replied as she dismounted. Donovan pulled out his cellphone and began to dial a number. He knew almost everything anyway, she thought bitterly. “I’ll answer your questions now, provided Medea stays away from the school.”

    “Done.” She raised an eyebrow. The directness of the answer was certainly much more welcome than the half-assed ones she had to sit through during her short tenure. He eyed her, “You’re also hurt.”

    “I wouldn’t be if you hadn’t decided to jump out of your stupid bulldozer. Why the hell would Medea even bother with something like that?”

    “You never know when it could be useful,” Donovan replied cryptically. His tone turned serious, “What are your plans exactly?”

    “Finishing this,” she said as she pointed at the bike. That was all that was left of her now.

    “Well you’ll need to get this fixed first. I actually know a reliable business down in Miami if you’re willing to go that far....”
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  6. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    Hospitals suck. Not just because of the waiting, or the tests, or the pain, but because through it all, there was no way to recover from this.

    She remembered it all clearly: an angry customer complaining about his D-Wheel, like so many others, and urging her to fix it as soon as possible. Her inexperience led to panic – how could someone new to the garage do all that work all by herself? The manager was out for the day, and she barely knew how half of the machines worked. Still, she came here to become a mechanic, and that’s what she was going to do.

    The D-Wheel came in, and she raised it on the platform. So far, so good. She had this. It looked like a simple job – or, at least, her manager made it look simple. Just replace the broken parts with new ones and readjust the paint. That’s all she had to do.

    The second she went to fix the tires, things went wrong. The jack that was supposed to support it failed – did she not secure it tight enough? – and the whole bike came crashing down. She rolled to the side, but the bike’s frame slammed onto her forearm.

    She remembered screaming for hours. Or at least, it felt like hours. Her coworker came in sometime later to start his own shift, but by then, she was blinded by tears.

    They quickly went to the hospital, but she could tell it was already too late. Her arm hurt too much. It wasn’t gonna fall off or anything, but it still hurt. The pain was consistent the whole time. By the time the doctor confirmed her fate, she already knew: “Your arm is going to be damaged for the rest of your life.”



    Larissa jolted up and banged her head on the car above her. She slid out from underneath it, and rubbed the bump. “I swear, I’m going to get brain damage one of these days.”

    Yugioh World Tour – Third Stop: Mechanics

    Larissa dusted off her red leather jacket. Grease stains were splotched throughout it, but they somehow matched the blackish-gray color of the jumpsuit underneath it. She got onto her feet and headed over to the garage door. A lanky man – the manager – stood there, with another unfamiliar boy at his side.

    “Larissa, I want you to meet our newest recruit, Roy.” The manager patted him on the shoulder. “He just moved to Miami this week.”

    Roy awkwardly shifted away from the manager’s hand.

    “Nice to meet you,” Larissa said.

    “Roy’s pretty good with computers, so he’ll be a big help with all of the D-Wheel orders we have.” The manager nodded to the workstation. “Why don’t you show him the ropes?”


    Larissa led him to the car that she was fixing previously. Roy watched her as she slid underneath it again.

    “So, have you ever worked in a garage before?”

    “Not really,” Roy said. He gazed blankly around the room. “I worked for a tech company before my family moved. I’ve made the software for D-Wheels before, but I’ve never had to build one.”

    Larissa pulled something and grease splattered around her. Somehow, she managed to avoid getting it on her skin. “Well, there’s a first time for everything.”

    Roy sighed, walking over to a nearby desk. The family and childhood photos told him that it belonged to the girl under the car. A few Duel Monsters cards – Rai Rider, DNA Surgery, and Paralyzing Potion, among others – were spread out across the counter.

    “So you’re a duelist, too.”

    “Yep,” Larissa said casually. She grabbed a monkey wrench. “Been dueling since I was in elementary school. Besides making D-Wheels, it’s all I wanted to do with my life.”

    “Sounds kind of dull.” Roy walked over to the work station. “I mean, staying in this ruckity garage all the time.”

    Larissa tightened a bolt and reached to grab another tool. “I guess, but it’s peaceful here. Miami’s where I spent my whole life, and I see no reason to leave.”

    “Then I guess you’re boring too.” Roy huffed, then briefly glanced around the garage. “There a bathroom somewhere?”

    Larissa pointed to the left without looking. After Roy turned his back, she silently glared at him.


    Larissa jumped again. She spun around to see her manager at the doorstep. “You have got to stop doing that.”

    The manager walked up to her. “We’ve got a new D-Wheel to fix. Help me bring it in.”


    Larissa closed the toolbox and lifted it with her right hand. Her fingers tensed, and the box fell to the floor with a ‘slam’. She grabbed her wrist.

    The manager ran over. “Arthritis acting up again?”

    Larissa shook her head sharply. “No.” She bent down and picked the toolbox up with her opposite hand. “I’m fine.”

    The manager sighed. “Okay, just don’t hurt yourself. We don’t want you to crush your other hand.”

    “Don’t worry about it, I’m fine.” Larissa tossed the toolbox onto a desk. “Where was the D-Wheel, now?”

    The manager gestured. “This way.”


    The manager guided Larissa to a back room, where the D-Wheel sat on an elevated platform about two feet off the ground.

    “Be careful with this thing. The owner was very protective of it.” He handed Larissa the D-Wheel’s key. “I’ll let Roy know that you’re in here so he can help.”

    Larissa took the keys and knelt to look at the D-Wheel. The manager stepped out of the room.

    “Looks like the dueling interface got overloaded,” she thought out loud. “Better fix that separately.”

    She slid out the terminal’s hard drive and gently placed it on a nearby table. She tossed the keys next to it, and then reached for a spray brush.

    Roy walked out from behind her. “What kind of D-Wheel is that?”

    “Not sure,” Larissa said. “I’ve never seen one like this, but it looks pretty unique.”

    Roy got closer. His reflection glimmered on its now-renewed paint.

    “Anyway.” Larissa pointed to the interface. “Boss said you were good with computers, so try to restore that hard drive without damaging the data. The only other thing that’s left is the paint and a few loose parts.”

    “Got it.” There was a tinge of annoyance in his voice.

    Roy grabbed a chair and began tinkering with the computer. A load bar popped up, and slowly processed the data within it. The two worked in silence for about fifteen minutes, when Larissa stood up.

    “Need to grab a tool from my desk,” she said. “Let me know if you need anything.”

    “Right,” he said without looking away from the screen.

    Larissa passed through the doorway.

    The load bar filled at last, and a new window appeared on the screen. Roy yawned and slid the mouse around.

    This interface is revolutionary, Roy thought. I’ve never seen anything like it. He unclipped the data cartridge and turned to his left.

    The keys rested only a few feet away.


    Larissa returned to the other room, carefully avoiding the loose parts another employee had left out on the floor. When she reached her desk, she hopped onto the stepstool and pried a tool off the wall. As she lowered herself back to the ground, something on her workstation caught her eye.

    She put the tool down. A children’s drawing had been pinned there years ago – a drawing done by a friend – of a cartoonish D-Wheel. Behind it was the earth, with hurricanes and fire and tidal waves surrounding each corner.

    Larissa looked at it closer, taking it off the wall. The design was the same. “It can’t be…”

    She knelt onto the floor, and reached for something in a shelf underneath her desk. A dusty-gray box came out, with Greek letters stylized around it in green. She brushed the Duel Monsters cards aside, and placed it on the center of the desk.

    A loud ‘VROOM!’ broke her train of thought, followed by screeching tires. She rushed to the window and saw Roy racing down the street. There was no doubt now – that D-Wheel was hers.

    Larissa grabbed a set of keys off a hook near her desk, and ran to a garage door labelled ‘Indra’.


    Roy cruised along the streets of Miami, enjoying the breeze as it flushed past him. Not a bad turn out. One day on the job and he got away with a one-in-a-million ride. He revved the engine. The speed and control on it was incredible.


    Roy darted his eyes at the rearview mirror. An orange D-Wheel drew close behind him. He slammed on the pedal, but the D-Wheel had already caught up with him. The glare over its rider’s helmet glinted away. “Damnit, what do you want?”

    “That D-Wheel doesn’t belong to you!” Larissa yelled over the wind. Stands of her hair spastically flailed out of the back of her helmet.

    Roy cracked a smile. “Keh, it does now!” He revved the engine again. “I’ve already grown attached to it. Thanks for fixing it up so I could take it for a spin.”

    They approached an intersection, where a red light had halted traffic. The two stopped at the line with a screech.

    Larissa gritted her teeth. “I’m not playing around, kid.”

    “I’m not either. Although, that sounds like fun.” He quickly pulled out a deck. “How ‘bout it? I want to see what this baby can do.”

    Larissa eyed her deck. Then her hand. Her wrist had already started to ache.

    The light turned yellow.

    She gripped the handlebars tighter. “You’re going to regret this.”

    “Speed World – X activated. Scanning surrounding area… City field set. Speed World – Skyscraper. Selecting Duel Course now…”

    The light turned green, and the pair of engines roared like a storm.


    Larissa LP: 4000 – Speed Counters: 0
    Roy LP: 4000 – Speed Counters: 0

    “Ladies first.” Roy raced ahead, turning onto the dueling tracks.

    “Such a gentleman,” Larissa muttered. She drew six cards and put them on the card holder. “Alright, I’ll start off by setting two cards and a monster face-down.”

    Two cards materialized on the roadway, one on each side, before quickly vanishing. Then a smaller card floated over her head, surrounded by a glowing blue sphere.

    Larissa SC: 0 → 1
    Roy SC: 0 → 1

    “That’s all? I’ll top that easily.” He yanked out a card. The wind nearly swiped it because of his speed. “I play summon Saggi the Dark Clown in Attack Mode!”

    Inhumane cackles resonated across the sky as a clown jumped off a nearby building. It somersaulted through the air, crossing its legs in a sitting position, and stopped behind Roy’s D-Wheel. (600 ATK)

    Larissa gritted her teeth and pressed harder on the pedal. The purple tear mark tattooed on the clown’s face became more visible as she got closer. “Sorry, but I was never the kind to be afraid of clowns.”

    “You’ll be afraid of this one.” Roy took another card and tossed it a red slot. “By discarding Malevolent Mistress from my hand, Saggi’s ATK becomes 800 points higher.”

    A witch’s hat loomed over Saggi and showered it in a curtain of darkness. The clown cackled again as black electricity trickled around it, and the monster grew more than twice its size. (600 →1400 ATK)

    “Now attack her face-down monster!”

    Saggi gathered the black electricity in its hands, which manufactured into a ball of shadows. It volleyed the ball at the blue sphere, and Larissa swerved to the left to evade the attack. The blue sphere cracked from the impact, and exploded seconds later.

    “Just as I thought,” Roy observed. “Your monsters are no match for my mine.”

    Larissa realigned herself on the road. “I wouldn’t get so cocky if I were you.”

    “Pfft.” Roy watched the dissipating smoke in the rearview mirror. “Please, your monster’s long gon–”

    A blue lightning bolt shot out of the smoke and struck Saggi directly in the chest. The black electricity already outlining its body conflicted with the blue electricity, and the two coiled around the clown’s torso. The clown squirmed around to escape it, but the two kinds of electricity left it immobile.

    “What in the –”

    “Like I was saying,” Larissa cut in. “The monster you destroyed was my Electric Lizard, and thanks to its effect, your clown can’t attack until the end of your next turn.”

    Roy frowned. “Whatever. I’ll set a card and end my turn.”

    Larissa SC: 1 → 2
    Roy SC: 1 → 2

    “This is where the action starts,” Larissa said. “I’ll summon Revival Jam and have it destroy your clown!”

    As the two duelists veered onto the next track, a formless blue creature splashed out from a manhole. (1500 ATK) It spotted the bound clown and raced towards it, expanding its size to try and engulf it.

    “I don’t think so!” A trap card flashed beside Roy. “I activate Ready for Intercepting!”

    Saggi began to glow an azure blue, overpowering the binds of the electricity long enough for it to regain control of its hand. It snapped its fingers and transformed into a blue sphere just as the jam poured over it. The sphere broke and Saggi burst out with an energy ball in its palm. It ripped against the jam’s liquid body and forced it to retreat.

    When the jam returned to Larissa, it wriggled in discomfort.

    Larissa glanced at her D-Wheel’s terminal. A close-up of the two battling monsters had appeared on the screen. Revival Jam’s orange ATK score – at 1500 – was met with Saggi’s blue DEF score. (1500 DEF)

    “He stopped me,” she said in disbelief.

    “That’s right,” Roy mocked from afar. “My trap flips any Warrior or Spellcaster-type monster into face-down Defense Position. And, because it was flipped face-down, any lingering effects on Saggi are no longer applied.”

    The clown crossed its feet again and taunted the opposing monster. Revival Jam ignored it and readjusted.

    Larissa sped up again. “Like I said, don’t get c[FONT=”Verdana”]o[/FONT]cky.”

    Larissa SC: 2 → 3
    Roy SC: 2 → 3

    “Alright, I’ll switch Saggi to Attack Mode and summon Doron to join it!”

    A man dressed head-to-toe in a black cloth twirled out from an alleyway, shooting past Larissa and her monster. It stopped itself the moment it came next to Saggi, where it turned around and glowered at her. (900 ATK) The clown got out of its sitting position, standing a few inches taller than its comrade. (600 ATK)

    “Now Doron, attack her Revival Jam!”

    Saggi grabbed onto Doron, who used the clown as a springboard to propel itself forward. Larissa drove aside as the monster came flying at her.

    “And don’t forget, thanks to Speed World – Skyscraper, Warrior-type monsters gain 1000 ATK if they battle a monster whose ATK is higher than its own!”

    Larissa checked her terminal. “That’s still not right. It has to be a Normal or a Fusion monster.” The battle screen popped up, showing her orange-bordered Revival Jam against the pale-bordered Doron. “Uh-oh.”

    The jam expanded into a net to absorb the attack as Doron came charging forward. (900 → 1900 ATK) A quick glint of light shone in the man’s eyes as it darted to the side. It kicked off the ground nearby and slammed into Revival Jam from behind. The jam reformed and tumbled into a brick wall.

    Larissa LP: 4000 → 3600
    Roy LP: 4000

    Larissa sped up again. “It’s not gone yet – by paying 1000 Life Points I can bring it back next turn!”

    Larissa LP: 3600 → 2600

    “Keh, that just makes my job easier.”

    Saggi shot an energy ball in Larissa’s path. It hit the ground directly in front of her, causing her to swerve.

    Larissa LP: 2600 → 2000

    “Then one card face-down and that’s all for now.”

    The D-Wheel rocked back and forth uncontrollably. Roy was gaining speed and it was getting hard to keep up with him now. Her wrist hurt to the point where each individual bone ached upon movement. Despite this, she forced herself to raise her hand.

    Larissa SC: 3 → 4
    Roy SC: 3 → 4

    “My draw.” The words were more of a promise to herself than a declaration. She barely glanced at the card before she swung it out and immediately played it down.

    Smoke flushed out of the engine, followed by a plasma-like substance that gelled over in its wake. The smoke took shape into a humanoid figure, and the plasma filled its volume until it molded into a fiery being. (1800 ATK)

    “What the heck is that?” Roy asked.

    “Fuel Harvester.” Larissa brought her wrist closer to her waist. “My favorite monster.”

    Roy smirked. “I wouldn’t get too attached to it. It won’t be around for long.”

    “We’ll see.” Larissa eyed her wrist.

    The pain was spreading – now it was at the point where she started to twitch. If it stayed like this, she wouldn’t be able to move it. She grabbed two cards from her hand, set them in the back row, and desperately pressed a button on the side of the terminal.

    “Voice control activated,” the terminal answered.

    Larissa exhaled, calmly placing her hand back on the grip. “Alright, let’s do this.”

    Fuel Harvester nodded and punched its right arm. Lava spewed from its knuckles. It splashed at Saggi the Dark Clown, who frantically covered its eyes and cowered.

    Doron jumped in front of it, holding out its hand. The lava met its palm and dissipated against an invisible barrier.

    “Nice try.” A trap card appeared behind Roy. “But Fellowship prevents any of my Spellcaster or Warrior-type monsters from getting destroyed if the two types exist on the field.”

    “But you still take damage.”

    Roy LP: 4000 → 2800

    “Even so, I’ve got everything I need now.”

    Larissa SC: 4 → 5
    Roy SC: 4 → 5

    “The stage is set.” Roy pointed to the sky. “I activate Speed World – Skyscraper! By removing four of my Speed Counters, I can perform a Fusion Summon!” (Roy SC: 5 → 1)

    A portal opened up above the buildings, directly in line with Roy’s finger. Saggi and Doron leapt towards it, allowing themselves to get sucked inside.

    Larissa reached him in time to see it up close – a masked man in green with two steel rods, one in each hand. It descended to the streets with mysterious elegance. (2000 ATK)

    “Masked Vigilante, destroy her Fuel Harvester!”

    The masked man clanged the two rods together into an ‘X’ and rushed at the plasma creature. It spun around, arching a rod at the creature’s stomach.

    When it came close, a blue gel shifted in front of it, catching the attack. It spilled into the rod and formed a medieval shield around Fuel Harvester’s side. The vigilante pressed against the shield, but it wouldn’t budge.

    “What in the…?” Roy turned his head to the scene. Masked Vigilante backed off, and the shield morphed into the familiar jam. “But that’s –”

    “Revival Jam,” Larissa finished for him. “I did say that he was coming back during my turn, didn’t I?”

    “But I attacked your other monster, not that!”

    “You did –” A trap card materialized in front of Larissa. “– but my Jam Defender redirects your attacks to Revival Jam regardless.”

    Roy frowned. “Hold on. Even if you blocked the attack, your monster should still be destroyed.”

    “Not exactly.” Another trap card appeared on cue. “I also activated Endurance Aura. It protects my monster from getting destroyed by battle in exchange for 1000 of its ATK and DEF points. And since it was revived in Defense Mode, I’ve effectively cancelled your attack.” (500 DEF → 0 DEF)

    “You’re annoying, you know that?”

    “At least I’m not a thief.”

    Roy returned his attention to the road. “I set two cards and end my turn.”

    “Alright, now pay attention, because this is where things get interesting,” Larissa called. “By sacrificing my normal draw I get to increase Fuel Harvester’s ATK by an extra 1000 points!”

    Bright crystalline energy seeped out of her deck, floating majestically into the creature. Sparks expelled off of its collar and started to jet from the back of its neck. (1800 → 2800 ATK)

    Larissa SC: 5 → 6
    Roy SC: 1 → 2

    “Fuel Harvester – destroy his Masked Vigilante! Pyro Overcharge!”

    The sparks circled around and gathered around Fuel Harvester’s fists. It punched the air, and another stream of lava shot out of its knuckles. Masked Vigilante watched it, unmoved, as it came close.

    “Don’t think so.” Another trap card appeared behind Roy. “Waboku prevents all damage to me and my monsters this turn.”

    Three sages warped in front of the assassin and repelled the attack. Larissa groaned. Not from her failure, but from the growing pains in her wrist. She exhaled slowly. Deep breaths. That always fixed it.

    Fuel Harvester relaxed as well, and the sparks on its neck ceased. (2800 → 1800 ATK)

    Larissa SC: 6 → 7
    Roy SC: 2 → 3

    Roy drew his next card. “About time.” He slid the card in and a replication appeared beside him. “I activate Speed Spell – Overboost. This increases my Speed Counters by four but they’ll drop down to one at the end of the turn.” (Roy SC: 3 → 7) “Naturally, I don’t plan on wasting them, so I activate Speed World – Skyscraper’s second effect!”

    Seven balls of light circled around him.

    “By removing seven Speed Counters from it, I get to destroy one Spell or Trap card on the field.”

    He snapped his fingers, and the lights darted at Larissa. She hit the brakes. As she slowed down, a projection of the Endurance Aura card appeared to shield her. The lights pierced through it like bullets.

    [Revival Jam: (0 → 500 DEF)]

    “Masked Vigilante, finish what you’ve started!”

    The assassin clanked its rods together and charged at Fuel Harvester. Revival Jam intercepted the blow, but failed to regenerate.

    Larissa sped up again. This time she came side-to-side with Roy, and drove past him. “Forgot about my Jam Defender card?”

    “Not exactly.” Roy smiled.

    Fuel Harvester followed Larissa as the assassin’s rod slashed through the remains of the blue liquid. While Fuel Harvester had its back was turned, Masked Vigilante used its momentum to swing its other rod at the fiery being’s head.

    Larissa saw this in her rearview mirror. “Look out!”

    Fuel Harvester spun around. The assassin was now only six inches away. Air rushed past the rod as it came down.

    Roy laughed. “Sorry, did I forget to mention that my monster can attack twice?” He revved his engine. “Say good-bye to your ‘favorite monster’.”

    “Don’t be so sure about that.” Larissa looked back at him. “Take a look at where we are.”

    “What are yo–”

    “Speed World – X activated. New terrain has been detected!” his terminal rang.

    Roy turned his head, gazing out past the road. They were on a bridge now, over the water and away from the city buildings.

    Fuel Harvester charged energy into its hand and caught the rod. Static flared out of it from both ends. The two monsters pushed onto it in an attempt to drive it into the other.

    “No! But that means…”

    “That’s right.” Larissa grinned. “You thought you were making your getaway, but this whole time I was pushing you out towards the water.”

    “Ocean terrain set. Speed World – Umi.”

    Roy looked at his monitor in disbelief. Fuel Harvester’s stats began to climb.

    “And thanks to Umi’s effect, all Thunder-type monsters gain an additional 200 ATK and DEF. Which means, my monster’s ATK is the same as yours!”

    Masked Vigilante shoved the rod to one side and out of Fuel Harvester’s grasp. With a strong thrust, the assassin drove it at the monster again. The sea breeze blew past them, and Fuel Harvester kicked its leg. (1800 → 2000 ATK) Lava smacked into Masked Vigilante’s face as the rod slammed into Fuel Harvester, knocking both monsters in opposite directions. They fell off the bridge and crashed into the waves.

    “Don’t underestimate me.” Larissa gripped the handlebars tighter. Her pain was waning, but it was still there. “You think you’re clever because you tricked me before, but this my home. The ocean is my field!”

    Roy gritted his teeth. He outstretched an arm. “I activate my trap card – Bellowing Tears!”

    A waterfall of droplets rained down next to the bridge.

    “This card lets me revive a monster from my Graveyard should one of my monsters be destroyed during the Battle Phase. The only condition is that it can’t be the same monster.”

    The waterfall ceased and a drenched Saggi the Dark Clown appeared in its place. It crossed its legs and pouted. (1500 DEF)

    “Then I’ll set two cards and end my turn.”

    “It’s time!” Larissa yelled. “I activate Call of the Haunted!”

    A tombstone floated over her head before bursting into flames. They reformed and Fuel Harvester reemerged. (1800 → 2000 ATK)

    “Whatever.” Roy eyed his Speed Counter Gauge. (Roy SC: 0 → 1)

    Larissa leaned to the side as they made a turn. “I’ll skip my draw once again in order to strengthen Fuel Harvester.”

    The majestic sparkles danced around the monster again, and its neck-flame grew fierce. (2000 → 3000 ATK)

    Larissa SC: 7 → 8
    Roy SC: 1 → 2

    “Now I’ll activate another one of my trap cards – Defense Paralysis. Until the end of the turn all face-up monsters are changed to Attack Position.”

    Fuel Harvester jumped up and shot lightning from its fingertips. They clung to Saggi like puppet strings, and forced it to stand. (600 ATK)

    Roy scowled. “I know what it does.”

    “Then you should know what’s next. Fuel Harvester – destroy Saggi the Dark Clown!”

    Fuel Harvester kicked the concrete and a shockwave of magma surged towards the clown.

    “Yes, I did, actually.” Roy pressed a button on his D-Wheel. “Which is why I had this set. I activate Speed Spell – Stat Swap!”

    The card appeared on Larissa’s monitor. “No!”

    “By increasing your Speed Counters by two, I can switch the ATK and DEF of two battling monsters.” (Larissa SC: 8 → 10) “Perfect timing, right?”

    Saggi dodged the shockwave and twirled to tear away the lightning strings. (600 → 1500 ATK) While it spun, it raced towards Fuel Harvester and snatched it into the cartoonish twister. The clown stopped spinning and jumped away, leaving the plasma monster dizzied. (3000 → 1400 ATK)

    Taking this opportunity, the clown unleashed a shadow ball, which struck and destroyed Fuel Harvester with no resistance.

    Larissa LP: 2000 → 1900

    “Looks like I’m the one with the advantage now.”

    Saggi returned to Roy’s side and stuck out its tongue at Larissa. She ignored it. Instead, her attention fell on the virtual placemat in front of her. No monsters. No more trap cards. She turned to her hand, which consisted solely of Mega Thunderball and Speed Spell – Speed Fusion.

    She reached for her Mega Thunderball card. Throbbing pains held her arm down. She had to fight it off, but she couldn’t do it now. All she could do was wait for it to fade.

    “I end my turn,” Larissa said, flustered.

    “Good. Now I get to activate a Trap Card of my own, Shadow Claws.” A card depicting a dark dragon with glowing purple claws flashed before him. “This card equips to a DARK monster I control.”

    Saggi held out its fists. Translucent purple claws ripped out of its knuckles.

    Roy drew his next card and tossed it in the card holder. “Now for the fun part.”

    Larissa SC: 10 → 11
    Roy SC: 2 → 3

    “During each of my Standby Phases, Shadow Claws boosts the ATK of my monster by 100 points for each monster in my Graveyard. I have three, so do the math!”

    Saggi raised its claws higher, where they crossed paths with Larissa’s view of the sun. (1500 → 1800 ATK) It slashed them back down, and a sonic boom resonated across the field. Larissa failed to move in time and the strike connected with her front tire.

    Larissa LP: 1900 → 100

    “And that’s the end of my turn,” Roy said. “I should also mention that Shadow Claws allows Saggi to inflicting piercing Battle Damage, so anything you do now will end in your defeat.” He brushed his hand along the D-Wheel. “Looks like this baby’s mine.”

    Larissa inhaled deeply. Then exhaled. The weight of her pain lightened with each breath. She slowly lifted her hand off of the handlebar and reached for her deck. The pains reignited all at once, but she persisted and tore a card out from it.


    A good start, but not enough. She looked to her Speed Counter Gauge. A plan came to her, but it would only cause her more suffering.

    It was her only choice.

    Larissa SC: 11 → 12
    Roy SC: 3 → 4

    “I activate Speed World – Umi’s effect! By removing seven Speed Counters from it, I get to draw a card. And, if I choose, I can also reveal a Normal Monster in my hand to draw an additional card.”

    A copy of Mega Thunderball flashed onto Roy’s monitor. (Larissa SC: 12 → 5)

    Aches streaked along her veins as she reached for her deck again. It raced to her fingertips, and Larissa involuntarily closed one eye out of discomfort.

    Her hand touched the deck. She hastily pulled two cards out at once, and immediately threw them into her card holder.

    “Got it,” she said with a huff. She opened her eye again. “Alright, first I activate Speed Spell – Speed Fusion! With it, I can perform a Fusion Summon of my own!”

    She took the spell and her two Normal Monsters and tossed them in the Graveyard.

    “I combine my Mega Thunderball with my Ocubeam in order to summon Kaminari Attack!”

    Projections of the two cards appeared beside her before quickly converting into a gathering storm. The wind picked up, causing Roy’s D-Wheel to sway, and a genie formed out of a veil of clouds. (1900 ATK)

    Roy snickered. “You think I’m afraid of that?”

    “You should be, because Kaminari Attack is also a Thunder-type monster.” (1900 → 2100 ATK) “But besides him, I also summon my Solar Flare Dragon!”

    A serpentine magma creature slithered out from underneath the bridge. (1500 ATK)

    Roy observed the card’s stats as it appeared on his screen. The numbers went down. (1500 → 1300 ATK) “Ha, are you kidding me? You said the ocean was your field, but you summoned a Pyro-type monster knowing that it would weaken itself?”

    “The ATK that Solar Flare Dragon lost is made up for the ATK Kaminari Attack gained. Sometimes it’s better to compensate,” she said sternly. “Especially now – Kaminari Attack, strike down his Saggi the Dark Clown!”

    The genie held up its hands, and the storm clouds swirled overhead. Lightning broke out from above, crashing into the street and exterminating the clown before it could react. Roy nearly drove into the lightning onslaught, and swerved to avoid it.

    Roy LP: 2800 → 2500

    “Now you’re exposed.”

    Solar Flare Dragon crept up behind and seared Roy’s back tire. Roy swerved again, only this time he fell in the line of fire. He clenched his jaw as the D-Wheel darted forward.

    Roy LP: 2500 → 1200

    “All that talk, and that’s all you could do?”

    “Who ever said I was done?” Larissa panted as she played her last card. “I activate Speed Spell – Speed Storm!”

    Kaminari Attack’s cloud shifted out from underneath it, where a series of lightning bolts took shape. They morphed into a serpentine creature similar to the Solar Flare Dragon nearby, and raced down at the motorcycle ahead of it.

    Roy, still unprepared because of the last attack, met with the full power of the blast. The lightning serpent bit down on the motorcycle and Roy began to swerve again.

    Roy LP: 1200 → 200

    “And now for the finishing touch,” Larissa said. “I move onto my End Phase, which activates my Solar Flare Dragon’s effect, inflicting a good 500 damage to your Life Points!”

    Solar Flare Dragon drew close to Roy as he slowed down to regain control. Its shadow loomed over him, and he could feel the heat generating from its mouth.

    He kicked onto the pedal to zip ahead, but the blast had already been unleashed. It burst on the concrete next to him, causing his motorcycle to skip and lean to the side. The D-Wheel’s frame grazed against the railing until the shutdown feature stopped it altogether.

    Roy LP: 200 → 0

    Roy groaned and shook his head. Larissa stopped next to him.

    “Agh, and I just fixed the paint.”


    The next few hours following Roy’s arrest were uneventful. Larissa continued to work (or, rework) on the D-Wheel in silence. The last of the paint sprayed out of its holder, and Larissa closed her toolkit. Finally finished. She went to return it to the waiting center, when someone walked in through the doorway.

    Larissa stopped. “Ana…”

    “Larissa, is that you?” She walked over.

    “I can’t believe you’re really here. I thought you were still in Japan.”

    “I was, but… I had to leave.” Anastasia averted her gaze, opting to look at her D-Wheel instead.

    Larissa nodded in understanding. Even after all this time, she remembered – there was no point in forcing Ana to talk.

    “I thought that D-Wheel was yours when I started working on it,” she said. “I went to grab another tool when I saw this.”

    She turned to her desk and delicately handed her the childhood drawing.

    “Remember this?”

    Anastasia smiled keenly. “Wow, my art was terrible back then.”

    They both laughed. Ana took the picture into her own hands.

    “Well, this isn’t just a dream anymore.”

    “So since you’re not in Japan, what brought you back here?”

    “I dunno,” Anastasia said, still mentally critiquing the drawing. “I guess I wanted to go back to my roots. I even worked at our old elementary school for a little while, and got these old things back.”

    Anastasia unclipped a box from her belt and slid out some of her cards.

    “When you said ‘old’ you weren’t kidding. They look like they’re about to peel apart.”

    “Yeah, these things are like relics now.” She slid them back in the box. “Well, I better head out now. Thanks for taking care of my bike.”

    She grabbed the handles and started to wheel it away.

    “Actually, wait,” Larissa said.

    Anastasia turned back. “Yeah?”

    Larissa brushed away a stack of papers and picked up the dusty-gray box. “Your mom left this with me.”

    Anastasia nearly dropped her D-Wheel but re-clenched her grip on the handlebars at the last second. “She did what?”

    “She said a fortuneteller came to her and told her it was important that you specifically had this box.” Larissa shrugged, and then rattled it. “I dunno what’s in it, and I haven’t been able to figure out how to open it.”

    “Fortuneteller? My mom always was one for that superstition garbage.” Anastasia approached Larissa again, who handed her the box. “But why did she leave it with you?”

    “She thought that because we were best friends that I would be able to get it to you somehow but… well, you know.” Larissa sighed.

    Anastasia nodded solemnly. “We’ll change that next time.” She held up the box again. “Right now, I wanna find out what these symbols mean.”

    “They’re Greek, I know that. What they actually say, no clue.”

    Anastasia turned her back, analyzing it. “My company had connections in Athens. If my mom went to all that trouble to give this to you then it must be important, so I’ll book a flight for this week.” She looked to Larissa again. “Want to come with me?”

    “What?” Larissa blurted, taken aback. “I dunno…”

    “Oh, c’mon.” Anastasia gestured with a wave. “Don’t you ever get bored staying in this rickety garage all the time?”

    Roy’s words bit down on her. They stung more coming from her long-lost friend.

    After another moment of hesitation, she finally said, “You’re right.” She smiled. “I’ve never gone anywhere outside of the state before, and you’ve practically explored the world.”

    “I wouldn’t say that,” Anastasia laughed. “But that sounds like fun. After we solve this box’s mystery, we should go on a tour or two and do some sightseeing. Deal?”

    Larissa nodded proudly. “Deal.”
  7. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    “There.” Eula approached Juno, who was enjoying a salad in an outside food court beside one of Athens' brick roads. She pulled some Euros out of a wallet and stuffed them into her pocket before tossing the wallet in a near-by trashcan.

    “You really think you should be doing that in broad daylight?” Juno pushed a small tomato around in her bowl while she spoke.

    “Calm down, mom.” Eula pulled a chair from another table to Juno's, “It's like you've forgotten that I'm a professional or something.” Eula pointed behind her to a group of policemen who were making their way through a gathering crowd in the opposite direction, “Those pigs can't catch me, and these locals can't keep up with me. It's like I've got magic fingers. Well, there was this one incident earlier... N-not important.” Eula tried to reassure her partner with a smile. It didn't seem to work, “What's really bothering you?”

    “N-nothing.” Juno said as her eyes darted away from Eula's.

    “Don't give me that.” Eula prodded, “We've been working together too long for you to be able to dodge my questions. Is it about your van? We'll make those jerks pay that van one way” Eula smirked, “Or another.”

    “I just,” Juno stabbed the tomato with her fork, “I-I thought that last job we pulled was going to be the last job we pulled.”

    Eula's smirk faded as she sighed, “You know as well as I do that things don't always go as planned.”

    “Yeah... I know.” Juno's eyes darted, “I guess I just let myself get lost in the future.”

    “Hey, don't worry.” Eula stood up, “We'll settle down once we take care of whoever it was that hired Osamu. After that we'll settle down, promise.”

    Juno smiled, “I guess I would like to make those guys pay for my van and all of equipment they took.”

    “Now you're talkin'. Whenever you're finished we'll head for the museum.” Juno laughed, “What?”

    “Nothing.” The girl shook her head, “It's just weird hearing you say we're going to a museum when we're not going there to... You know.”

    “I guess.”

    Fourth Stop – Fated Crossroads

    “Holy wow!” Larissa's eyes sparkled as she looked around, “It's pretty old school. Well some of it's old school but some of it's reaaally old school!” Larissa looked at Anastasia, who was silently laughing, making her realize how much of her composure she had truly lost.

    Anastasia couldn't help but to smile, though. Watching her best friend lose herself in the awe of a new land. It almost made her feel nostalgic about the first time she went to a new country herself, “Yeah, if I remember correctly the neoclassical style swooped in around the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but they never bothered to uniform the style so you get this mix of neoclassical and old-world Greco-Roman designs.”

    “Sounds like you've spent too long at the school.” Larissa teased.

    “No, not really. I learned about this place and lots of others when I started traveling. My father always said it was important to know the cultures of the people you'd be doing business with.” Ana's eyes narrowed. She reached her hand back and caught another person's wrist that was too close to her pocket, “He also taught me to be wary of thieves when walking around on the streets.”

    “You're good.” Eula said with a smile.

    “You're not.” Anastasia said back.

    Eula snatched her hand back, breaking Anastasia's grip, “Well, I guess I'll be going now.”

    “You think I'm just going to let you walk away after trying to steal from me?”

    The challenge only made Eula's smile widen. The thrill her lifestyle brought on was always more important to her than the money, “It doesn't really matter if you let me or not.”

    “Guess there's thieves everywhere.” Larissa scoffed.

    Eula's eyes darted through the crowed. Not him, not him, him! She paused on a tourist with a green vest. Him. The selection was not random. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Eula had taken that man's wallet just moments before trying to take Ana's. The second Anastasia caught Eula's hand, Eula dropped the wallet at Anastasia's feet, moneyless of course, “Sir! Hey you in the lame vest!” The man turned around.

    “What are you doing?” Anastasia asked out of annoyance.

    “I just saw that woman take your wallet! She dropped it! It's right there at her feet!” Eula backed away as the crowd advanced on Anastasia and Larissa, “Wasn't really expecting that to work so well.” Eula said under her breath as she made her escape.

    “You've got it all wrong! We're not thieves!” Larissa protested. The crowed blocked their escape as a pair of officers approached the two.

    “When I see that girl again...” Anastasia growled.


    A large crowd had gathered in a Californian courtroom where a young man in a gray suit was being tried. The judge was an intense-looking woman.“In the case of The State of California verses Aornum Enterprises and its CEO Sar Terrian, the defendant, Mr. Terrian, is charged with the unauthorized use of Momentum without the Fortune System. How does the defendant plead?”

    “Guilty, Your Honor.” the thin man said. He swung his straight black hair with a head movement as he spoke. A portly man, Sar's lawyer. He smiled as he watched his client work.

    “I here by fine you a total of sixty five thousand dollars. For the negligence displayed by your staff, I hereby fine the company an additional thirty thousand. Any questions?”

    “No, Your Honor. I will see to it that these issues are dealt with.” Sar grinned as he spoke. There wasn't a hint of regret or shame in his voice.

    “Very well. Case dismissed.” The judge hammered her gavel down. The chatter began immediately as everyone began to pile out of the doors.

    Outside of the courtroom, Sar eyed the reporters waiting for him outside of the building, “You know what I love about this country?” Sar asked his lawyer as the two of them began to walk.

    “Apple pie? Baseball? Democracy?” The lawyer's answer made both Sar and himself laugh.

    “Well, those things, of course!” Sar spoke in a tone that one would expect from a phoney actor interview, “But even more than that, those Momentum projects made me hundreds of billions of dollars last year, and I didn't have to spend a dime upgrading them to be compatible with the Fortune System for a whole year! My salary alone is around a hundred thousand an hour because of 'illegal' projects like these and all they cost my is less than an hour's work. God bless America!” A ringing noise diverted Sar's attention. Sar pulled a phone out of his pocket. A silhouette with a large question mark in the center of it appeared on the video screen, “I have to take this. Stall the press for me, please?” Sar left his Lawyer and pushed against the crowd until he reached a secluded corner, “Speak.”

    “”We're in Athens.” a voice said from the other side of the phone, “Our leak tells us that the two girls we're looking for have actually been acquainted with and even employed by one of our lower-ranking members in the past.”

    “You mean other than our most recent failure, that is?”

    “Yes sir. It's only a matter of time before those girls show up.”

    “Don't let me down.”


    “Understood, sir.” A large man with curly brown hair clicked a button on his own video phone, shutting it off. He turned to a gruff-looking man, “So that's it. According to Osamu those two girls should be around here somewhere.

    "You take care of them, Durward." the man said, "I'm going for the other thing."


    Anastasia and Larissa sat in a dark interrogation room. Fluorescent lights illuminated the table and the policeman in front of them, but left the rest of the room in shadow. The uniformed officer put out his cigarette before speaking, “So let me get this straight...” He exhaled the last bits of smoke from his lungs directly at Anastasia, much to her irritation, “You didn't steal the wallet, some other girl did and then framed you after you caught her trying to pickpocket you?”

    “Yes sir.” Larissa said. Miami had taught her that the best way to handle the police was to be cooperative and polite.

    That was a philosophy that Anastasia did not share. She stood up, slamming her hands on the table, “How many times are we going to repeat this story? You've been trying to 'Get it straight' for about thirty minutes now and the story has gone unchanged!”

    “Please calm down, ma'am.” The police officer lit another cigarette.

    “Calm? This is me when I'm calm. You don't want to see me when I'm not calm.”

    “Ana...” Larissa tugged on her friend's sleeve.

    “Threatening an officer of the law isn't in your best interest right now. You're both a long way from home, the courts won't be easy on you girls here, especially if you're lying.”

    “You.” Anastasia growled.

    A knock echoed through the room. The door. The knocker didn't wait for an answer before opening the door. A suited man entered, “Detective?”

    “You can go now. I'll handle it from here.” the detective shooed the man out the door and made his way to the table. As he sat down the light revealed his face, “Don't think too harshly of him, girls. He's trying to work his way up to detective.” The detective held his fingers less than an inch apart, “He's this close.”

    “Ladon?” Anastasia stared at the man.

    “You remember me, huh? I had hoped so.”

    “Of course I remember you! You were supposed to find my mother.”

    Ladon averted eye contact for a moment, “They pulled the case a few months in. They said we were taking too long. I'm sorry, truly.”

    “Whatever.” Anastasia sighed, “I already knew all of that.”

    “Is that why you went off the grid yourself?”

    “Not exactly. I suppose you've already contacted the company as to my whereabouts?”

    “Nope.” Ladon leaned back in his chair, “I figured you had your own reasons for leaving. You can consider this as part of my apology for failing to do my job, along with your swift release.”

    “Really?” Larissa pepped up.

    “The girl you described fits descriptions of a young woman who was recently arrested in a failed Kaiba Land heist in America and has been suspected in a heist in Cyprus. Doesn't seem like a coincidence to me.”

    “Good. Then I'll be going.” Anastasia began to leave before she felt Ladon grab her arm.

    “One more thing.”

    Anastasia snatched her arm away, “What?”

    “There's something... fishy about the accusations against that girl. The man who bailed her out of prison in America is linked to some dangerous people. Don't go looking for her.”

    “I'm not an idiot, Ladon... Thank you.”

    “Don't mention it.”


    “Alright, let's get down to business.” Eula said. She and Juno stood before a neoclassical building, white in color. The giant pillars in front of the doorway made Eula uneasy. “This place looks too much like a damn courthouse.”

    Juno flinched at the word. 'Courthouse.' Just one of many buzzwords that reminded her of the seven months she spent without Eula.

    “I hope the old man's still working here.” Eula said. She adjusted her backpack strap before advancing to the door. The museum was open, but since it was the middle of the week there were few people around, meaning less people to keep an eye on.

    Once inside, the girls began to look around. Eula could feel a twitch in every part of her body. All this priceless art just sitting there. She resisted out of necessity, but she she really did love her 'job'. Could she really leave it all behind? She looked over to Juno and the twitches stopped.

    “I hope you aren't here for what I think you're here for.” A commanding voice said from behind. It belonged to Anastasia.

    “Who the hell are you?” Eula spun around. Anastasia and Larissa were standing Eula stared at Anastasia for a few seconds. No use, “Look we're kinda busy here.”

    “Don't play dumb with me.” Anastasia snapped, “You've got a lot to answer for.”

    Larissa sighed. She truly believed that Anastasia would punch a small child if it spoke back to her. “Ana, that thief isn't worth it. We're here for other things, remember?” Anastasia didn't so much as break eye contact with Eula.

    “Don't be ridiculous, I'm just a tourist.” Eula's grin was filled with condescension, “That's some pretty harsh talk from someone who just got into trouble with the law.”

    “Trouble? Hardly. People who have done nothing wrong don't get into trouble with the law.” Anastasia shot back.

    Eula twitched, “That so?” Her arrogant smile had faded.

    “The proof is standing in front of you right here.” Anastasia gestured at herself.

    “We don't really have time for thi-” Juno began to say.

    “So did you come for payback or something?” Eula asked.

    “Don't flatter yourself.” Anastasia said.

    Eula looked at Juno and then back to Anastasia and Larissa, “Well then I guess we don't have anything to talk about.” Eula turned to walk away.

    “Glad that's over.” Larissa said with a sigh of relief.

    “Don't think I'm going to just stand idly by while you go around picking stuff out from this museum to steal.”

    “What makes you think a humble pickpocket such as myself would try a museum heist?”

    “Don't use words like that so loud.” Juno said.

    Anastasia's eyes narrowed. There was just something about the way she referred to herself as a pickpocket so innocently that got under her skin, “I know you're more than that. I heard about Kaiba Land, and I heard about Cyprus. You're not just a common pickpocket.”

    “You seem to know a lot about me.” Eula said. She turned to face Anastasia again, “Yeah, that was me.”

    “Eula!” Juno snapped. She recoiled when she realized she had let Eula's name slip.

    “We heard you work for some dangerous people.” Larissa said.

    “We don't work for anyone at the moment.” Eula paused. She had to get these girls out of here, or at least the aggressive one. Eula handed her bag to Juno, “Take this.” she whispered, “I'll be back.”

    “Where are you going?” Anastasia said.

    “I need some fresh air... And maybe I'll help myself to your ride. I doubt you walked here.”

    “And how do you know what I rode here on?”

    “Someone stuck-up like you?” Eula didn't break stride as she spoke, “I'll just go for the nicest looking vehicle out there.”

    “Wait here, Larissa.” Anastasia said as she followed Eula, who was now close to the door. She knew this ‘Eula’ person was likely bluffing, but she couldn't risk losing the D-Wheel. Anastasia exited the building and her eyes darted for where she had parked. She sighed in relief. It was safe.

    “So that's your ride, huh?” Eula was leaning against a parked car, “Don't try and deny it. I saw you eye the thing. A D-Wheel, huh?” Eula could feel her Anastasia's glare. It was like a fire, burning into Eula's skin, “Relax. I don't want it. It'd be hard to steal that with my own ride parked over there.” Eula pointed with her thumb.

    “A D-Wheel?” Anastasia said.

    “Wanna give it a shot?” Eula pulled her deck out of its case.

    “Why would I give someone like you the time of day with a duel?” Anastasia said.

    “I figured you were the type of person who fancied themselves better than others. Maybe put me in my place or something.” Eula shrugged. She put the deck back in its case, attached to her belt, “I was looking forward to wiping that self-righteous look off your face too.”

    “You really think you can?” Anastasia said.

    Eula smiled. Got her. “I know when someone's all talk. Ana, was it? You, Ana are all talk.”

    “I would love to put you in your place.” Anastasia pulled out her own deck, “And it's Anastasia to you. Only my friends get to call me Ana.”


    Juno and Larissa stood in the Museum, neither moving or looking at the other. “So uh, did they just leave us here?” Larissa asked.

    “I guess.” Juno shifted. She wasn't too keen on getting to know this stranger, but she lacked Eula's ability to be blunt and rude.

    “I hope Ana doesn't do anything crazy. They were kinda in their own little world there.” The sound of D-Wheels revving up could be heard outside. “W-was that?”

    “Eula's D-Wheel is moving.” Juno said, poking at a PDA. “It looks like she challenged your friend.”

    “Well that's just great.” Larissa harrumphed.

    “You don't seem to hold your friend's passion, so I'm going to go take care of what I actually came here to take care of.” Juno pocketed the PDA.

    Larissa watched as Juno started to walk away. She should just let her go and save the trouble, but could she live with herself letting a thief go? “W-wait!”

    “We're not here to steal anything.” Juno said. She turned to face Larissa, “We're here to ask the museum director a question, if that eases your mind.”

    “No way.” Larissa mumbled.

    “You don't believe me? I guess I can't blame you since it seems you've already... met Eula.”

    “No, I believe you.” Larissa shook her head.

    “Now that is hard to believe.” Juno laughed softly.

    “It's just that we're here to see the director too.” Larissa reached into her bag and pulled out the gray box, “We're here to ask about this.”

    Juno's eyes widened, “Where did you get that?”

    “Who's your new friend, Juno?” a voice from behind made Juno jump. It belonged to an elderly, but fit man. He twirled his mustache with his finger as he spoke, “I must say, I didn't expect to see you here.”

    “Director Demetrius.”


    “I summon The Bewitching Phantom Thief” Eula announced. The monster let out a deep laugh, sweeping its large, black cape so it could kneel down in a protective position. Eula glanced at her remaining cards in hand. (DEF: 700) ”Turn end.”

    “That weak monster suits you,” Anastasia remarked with a smirk. She didn’t even spare a glance at the top-hat wearing monster, opting to keep her eyes trained on the road ahead.

    “Keep talking,” Eula shot back, more on instinct than anything. Her thoughts were on the duel. What was her opponent’s strategy? Given Anastasia’s personality and her aggressive self-righteousness it wasn’t far off to assume a direct assault was her mode of opposition. Straight-up beat down perhaps?

    “No thanks. My actions speak for me. Draw!” Anastasia snapped as her fingers forced the top card of her deck to leave its brethren.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 1
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 1

    “I’ll summon Transforming Sphere in attack mode!” A white armored golden brown winged creature suddenly swooped down from the skies and joined Anastasia so it was flying alongside her master. The ball clutched its massive talons glinted off the sunlight, its surface a mass of swirling storm gray. It let out a cry as its attack rose by 200 from the field boost. (ATK: 100 → 300)

    “And you called my monster weak,” Eula laughed as the cards battle stats appeared on the monitor of the D-Wheel.

    “If I wanted raw power I’d have just normal monsters,” Anastasia replied as she set a card face down, “And don’t forget it gets a boost from the field spell. Now observe! I’ll use its effect to equip your monster to it!” Wisps emitted from the orb suddenly shot forward, solidifying into tendrils that snaked around the thief. Eula’s monster let out a cry of protest as it struggled against its bonds as it was dragged forward. Its efforts yielded little to no effect. As soon as it made contact with the glass like sphere it disappeared instantly before re-materializing inside. The thief swung its weapon down against the glass-like shell, but each blow seemed to be more taxing for it than the last.

    “Through this effect, my monster gains attack points equal to the strength of its captive,” Anastasia explained. (ATK: 300 → 1000)

    “And you look down at me for taking stuff without permission,” Eula mocked as the winged-beast’s attack rose.

    “Don’t compare me to you,” Anastasia’s tone remained the same but there was a hint of something in it. More anger and she must have struck a nerve because was there a little hurt in it too. Eula smiled a little feeling some slight satisfaction from it. It was short lived, “Transforming Sphere attacks you directly!”

    Eula: 3000

    The orb the monster was carrying opened slightly unleashing a thin stream of energy, drawn from its inhibitor’s life force. Eula felt her D-Wheel shudder for a moment but the damage was small enough for her to regain control almost immediately. Eula cast a look behind her; Anastasia’s eyes still blazed intensely with whatever that was fueling her from when they first met, even more so than before. But what she wasn’t letting it control her. That alone was impressive enough but the fact how aggressively while maintaining control made her dangerous.

    “When my turn ends, Transforming Sphere returns your monster back to you,” Anastasia’s voice cut through her thoughts. The Bewitching Phantom Thief struck at the cracked surface and the gap widened, allowing it to escape its prison. No sooner had it left, the sphere reformed, sealing its previous openings. (ATK: 1000 → 300)

    “Why thank you.”

    “We’re not alike,” Anastasia stated bluntly, her voice was somehow louder. Closer. And it was no longer coming from behind but to her left now. “Now go.”

    “Draw!” Eula declared. Her eyes narrowed as she glanced over the bike. Based on performance alone, it definitely wasn’t a standard model or any that she recognized.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 2
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 2

    “You know it’s too bad you wasted your birdie for a quick shot because now it’s going to die! I summon Phantom Ghost in attack mode!” The ghostly green heads emerged from the card portrait each one letting out a wail as it joined the Phantom Thief. (ATK: 600) “Next I switch my other monster to attack mode. Get ready, they’re coming for you!” (ATK: 700)

    “You won’t hit me that easily.” Before either monster could attack, they both dropped to the ground as some invisible force smashed weighed upon them. Likewise Transforming Sphere was experiencing a similar effect. It let out an indignant caw before as it was forced to land. “Zero Gravity switches the battle positions of all monsters currently on the field.”

    “Damnit,” Eula muttered.. She had been a little too hasty. “I’ll set two cards and end my turn.”

    “Draw,” Anastasia announced.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 3
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 3

    “Hold it there, Missy! I activate Lightforce Sword!” Eula said before pointing at the card Anastasia had just drawn. The blade shot forward and pinned a holographic image version of the card down into the road. “You’re going to have to wait a few turns to see it again.” Anastasia’s stunned expression was all that she needed to see. Eula flashed her opponent a smirk, “Got a good one didn’t I?”

    A little of the composure slipped and handed a bit of control over to the anger on its way out. Anastasia scowled as she reached for another card. “I’ll summon Fire Bird in attack mode!” The crimson avian let out a screech as its attack rose from the Speed World setting. (ATK: 1000 → 1200) Anastasia looked at her empowered monsters. Mountain. This must be her field. “Sphere switches to attack mode and takes your Thief again. Now get her Phantom Ghost out of my sight.”

    “Looks like I’ll have to let these two pass,” Eula taunted. The sphere unleashed another beam, this time striking the vengeful spirit composed of multiple souls. When the attack was over nothing was left.

    “Now Fire Bird attacks you directly!” The scarlet bird slammed itself into Eula’s D-Wheel causing it to shudder from the impact.

    Eula: 1800


    “I see.” Demetrius said, still twirling his white mustache.

    “U-um, I didn't actually say anything.” Juno said.

    “Oh, sorry. I was just assessing the situation myself, “I must say, I never expected to see Anastasia Takatsukasa in the same place as Eula... What's her last name again?”

    “We don't share that kind of information.” Juno said curtly.

    “Wait, you're the guy Ana came here to see?” Larissa asked. She shuffled her feet, “How do you know, Juno was it?”

    “Oh, so you girls aren't here together?” Demetrius asked, “I assumed when I got the call scheduling a meeting between Anastasia and myself that I'd be talking to her alone, but imagine my shock when I look out of my office window only to see four girls in my museum.”

    “You were watching us?” Larissa eyed Demetrius.

    “I watch everyone who steps into my museum, and” Demetrius turned his head to Juno, “No offense, but when Eula enters my museum I pay extra attention to her. I just never know what that girl's going to do.”

    “That's the business, I guess.” Juno said.

    “Where did Eula and Anastasia step off to anyway?” Demetrius eyed the door, “If you four aren't together, it confuses me that they would leave together.”

    “They had to go... uh, work out some issues.” Larissa said.

    “How irresponsible. I'm a busy man, so I'd like for Anastasia to keep up her appointments if she doesn't want to miss out on them.”

    “Then how about talking to me instead?” Juno lifted the backpack, “I have something that might just interest you.”

    “Very well. I imagine I'd be talking to you more than Miss Eula anyhow.”

    “Wait!” Larissa shouted. She quickly recoiled and regained her composure, “I mean, I have the thing that Ana wanted to talk about right here.” Larissa lifted her own backpack, “So I can hold her appointment.”

    “Well I guess I'll just have to speak to you both. Come on, this way.”


    The Phantom Thief suddenly slipped out again, indicating that her opponent’s turn was currently at the end phase. “Before we get to my actual turn though I’m going to activate my trap card first! Menacing Phantom allows me to revive Phantom Ghost!” The souls let out another pained cry as they were returned to the living world.

    Visibly less than pleased, Anastasia’s scowl deepened even further, “You must not be that much of a successful thief if you’re using such cheap cards.”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 4
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 4

    “I summon Night’s End Sorcerer,” Eula announced after she had drawn her next card. Next I’ll tune it with Phantom Thief and Phantom Ghost!”

    “A Synchro summon huh?” Anastasia murmured to herself, so Eula did have some good cards on her after all.

    “The’s glow casts its light and creates an ebony shadow!” Eula’s monsters had fully dissolved with Night’s End forming two green rings and her other two monsters being reduced to a total of four small clusters of light, “Synchro summon!” The clusters gave out and turned into a large pillar of light that swallowed the emerald rings whole. “Envoy of the night! Moonlighting Phantom!” It swung its large crescent scythe, swiping away the remaining residue of particles generated for its own summon. It turned to face Anastasia, long hair and tattered suit swaying to the wind, and trained its red eyes on her. (ATK: 2100)

    “…Impressive,” Anastasia allowed begrudgingly as she met the monster’s stare dead on for several moments, “But I was expecting something more to follow up with its grand arrival. 2100 isn’t a lot of attack points. ”

    “Don’t be so quick to judge,” Eula replied with a smirk before pointing at Fire Bird, “My monster attacks!” The targeted bird had already begun to ascend but it was too late. The phantom merely yanked the bird down with its weapon, the blade curving around the winged-beast’s neck. The latter screeched in pain as it came crashing back down. Pinning the Fire Bird down and using its foot as leverage, the Synchro monster twisted the scythe quickly triggering a distinct snapping noise.

    Anastasia: 3100

    “You could have dealt more damage if you hit Sphere.” Anastasia observed, unaffected by the gorish scene.

    “Oh I’ll deal with it when the time comes, so don’t you worry. In the meantime, I’m going to activate my monster’s effect, allowing me to steal your face down banished card.” The monster reached into Anastasia’s banished zone and fished out the sole card resting there.

    “No!” Anastasia shouted.

    Something was off. Eula cast a glance at the opponent beside her. The usual composure was gone. Now completely void of anger, Anastasia’s eyes were wide with something akin to panic while her breathing lost its regular tempo. Moonlighting Phantom placed the card in Eula’s hand and her eyes scanned over it immediately to discover what kind of card warranted that sort of reaction.

    “I knew it was a good card judging from your reactions, but damn,” Eula said with a grin, “Avis the Scarlet Overseer huh? That one’s sure worth a lot.” Her opponent said nothing, but the panic was now gone packed away in a little box as a steely look took hold. “Mad huh?” Eula inquired, her grin widened, “Well you’re welcome to try and take it back if you can. I set one card and end my turn.”

    She was going to pay. Anastasia’s grip on the left handlebar tightened as her right hand nearly tore the top card of her deck, “Draw.”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 5
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 5

    She examined her four cards, her mind racing furiously. The first order of business was to remove Eula’s Phantom before it could snatch any more cards. Thankfully, she had the means to do so already. “First I’ll set a card face down.”

    “Setting a card first thing? Kind of an amateur play don’t ya think?

    Good. She was still confident from taking Avis, meaning she’d slip up eventually. That’s how people are. She reached for her next card, “I activate Speed Spell – Ignition. By destroying my set card, I can change your monster to defense mode.”

    The thief’s smirk slipped as she realized the implications of the card effect, “Crap!”

    “That’s right. If you’re taking my ace, I’ll just take yours” Anastasia said feeling a smirk beginning to tug on her lips, “Sphere takes Moonlighting Phantom.” Like the Phantom Thief, the Synchro monster had no means of escaping the pull and was sealed shut into the orb. Transforming Sphere let out a cry as its attack reached up to 2400. “You should have hit Transforming Sphere when you had the chance. And speaking of amateur, Transforming Sphere attack her directly.”

    “Negate Attack!” Eula cried just as the bird creature unleashed another shot of energy. Before it could collide with Eula and end the duel a vortex suddenly opened and absorbed the blast completely. “Your monster is useless and vulnerable if you can’t land a hit.”

    Anastasia scowled, as her monitor informed her that she was now in her second main phase. “Dodging and barely hanging on by the skin of your teeth... I set one card and end my turn.”

    “That’s the way I like it,” Eula replied cheerfully. Avoiding massive consequences had always excited her, “I draw.”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 6
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 6

    “I’ll start by playing Speed Spell – Angel Baton,” Eula declared as she removed two more cards from her deck and added them into her hand before discarding one card. It was ejected out of the graveyard almost immediately as she made her next move, “I’m using the effect of Level Eater to reduce my Moonlighting Phantom’s level by one to special summon it from the graveyard.” Eula flashed Anastasia an arrogant smile as she reached for her opponent’s card, “Now it’s only fair I get to use your ace if you’ve already used mine, right?” The two monsters suddenly burst into pillars of fire, “I tribute my Moonlighting Phantom and Level Eater to summon Avis the Scarlet Overseer!” (ATK: 2700)

    “So you actually managed to summon it right away. Cute, but you should know you can miss a lot when you plan on the go.” Anastasia said as she eyed her own ace monster as it opposed her on her very own field. (ATK: 2700 → 2900) Seeing it like this after so long was surreal.

    “All you ever is do talk and make empty threats. Let’s get right down to the action for once! Avis attacks your Transforming Sphere.” The bird warrior spread its arms out as fire poured out of its shield and engulfed it, forming a giant fire bird.

    “Pretty awesome,” Eula said, feigning awe before flashing Anastasia a smirk.

    “Don’t patronize me,” Anastasia snapped as her set card revealed itself, “Mirror Mail makes it so my Transforming Sphere has the same attack points as the monster battling it.” Now bestowed an extra layer of defense, Transforming Sphere’s armor glinted in the sun, reflecting Avis’ incoming attack. Flames similar to the Overseer’s attack erupted from the armor swallowing Transforming Sphere and replicating Eula’s attack. The two flame projects slammed into each other resulting in a massive explosion above. When the smoke cleared, both monsters were gone.

    “Well that’s a shame,” Eula said looking at where their monsters would have been. She shrugged as she moved onto her next play. “I set two cards facedown and end my turn.”

    “Then it’s my turn,” Anastasia declared as she drew her next card.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 7
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 7

    Useless. She grimaced, not liking her options. Eula had already seen all of Avis’ effects when she had snatched the card meaning she was probably prepared for it. But given the situation, there was little to no choice. “I activate Speed World - Mountain’s effect! By removing seven speed counters, I can draw two cards but I have to discard one.”

    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 0

    The next two cards were just as bad. She really had no choice now, even if Eula knew what was about to come. She discarded one of the cards at random before moving on, “I discard the rest of my hand to activate Avis’s effect. Be reborn, Scarlet Overseer!”

    “Of course.” Eula watched as the small gem embedded on Avis’s weapon shield shot out of her opponent’s D-Wheel. The ruby spun in the air for a moment before fire began to pour out of it seemingly random at first. But then it began to take the shape of the monster she had taken from Anastasia a while ago. “Here it comes,” she breathed out.

    “Avis. Finish this!” Anastasia ordered. The flames grew larger and wilder reshaping into the phoenix. It screeched once, as it dove towards Eula, intending to put an end to the entire duel.

    “I activate Call Of The Haunted!” The attack began to slow as Eula hastily selected the card she had targeted. A hand wielding a scythe slipped out of the trap card’s frame. It pulled the rest of its body out revealing a familiar masked wearing individual. “Welcome back, Moonlighting Phantom!” (ATK: 2100)

    “That won’t save you,” Anastasia snapped, “Go Avis!”

    “Then let’s try this! I activate Ill Omen – Blood Moon!” Despite the sunny weather, the sky almost seemed to darken slightly as a blood red moon appeared beside the sun. “By discarding a card, I can negate my monster’s destruction and have it gain 700 attack points!”

    “Hmph, you keep trying to reach me but you fell short,” Anastasia sneered as the fire projection crashed into the Synchro monster. Moonlighting Phantom staggered and fell to its knees but remained alive.

    Eula: 1600

    “I end my turn,” Anastasia concluded.

    That was a bit too soon for her tastes. Eula tensed as the four words left Anastasia’s mouth. The beach was within sight and Anastasia hadn’t seemed to notice, but they wouldn’t reach it soon enough.

    “Please make a move or end your turn.”


    “Draw!” Eula announced.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 8
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 1

    She was out of steam and there were no plays she could make at the moment. Without Mountain’s field boost, Moonlighting Phantom would be able to overpower Avis. All she could do was stall. “Tch, no choice,” she muttered before stepping on the accelerator, willing her bike to move faster.

    “Trying to get away?” Anastasia called. Despite the difference in speed counters the distance between them hadn’t increased much. Even if she was a smug entitled brat, Eula found herself grudgingly acknowledging that Anastasia was smarter than she had initially given her credit for. Even if Anastasia didn’t know what she was planning, the woman’s instincts weren’t off.

    “How is your bike so goddamn fast?” Eula asked incredulously.

    “Please continue your turn,” a robotic voice cut in. Eula’s breath hitched. This was bad. “Please continue your turn,” it repeated again helpfully.

    “Shut the hell up,” she snarled, slamming her fist down on the display, “Damn machine.”

    “You should treat your D-Wheel better. It deserves some respect, though I guess you wouldn’t care since you probably stole it.”

    A twinge of anger knotted in her chest at hearing those words, “Not that you’d believe me but no, I didn’t.” she snapped.

    “Turn end.” The D-Wheel announced.

    She lost focus. Anastasia had effectively distracted her. “Dammit!”

    She heard a laugh from her left. She turned to glare and found Anastasia struggling to regain her composure before she drew her next card. It took a moment for the laughter to stop shaking her body, which made it all the more infuriating

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 9
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 2

    She was almost there. She still had a chance. She floored the accelerator. If she could just change the field before Anastasia- “Avis attacks your Phantom. Magna Inferno!” Eula could only stare as in disbelief as her opponent’s bike still continued to keep pace with hers. There was no delay in the attack. Moonlighting Phantom was quickly reduced to ash.

    Eula: 1500

    “And now I activate the card I discarded for Avis! Spirit of the Second Wind! When Avis destroys another monster by battle. I inflict damage to half of its current attack!”

    “Looks like her card revolves around that one card. No one wonder why she was so mad,” Eula muttered as the harsh winds struck them. The girl was too damn fast.

    Eula: 50
    Anastasia: 1650

    “Speed World – X activated. New terrain detected! Umi Field set. Speed World – Umi activated.”

    “So that’s what you were up to,” Anastasia observed as her monster’s attack dropped back to its original 2700. “Not that it matters, you barely have anything left. Turn end.”

    She was at the brink of losing. Being pushed into a corner like this was something she hadn’t foresaw at all. “Get it together, Eula,” she muttered to herself as she drew her next card, “You can still win this.”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 10
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 3

    She drew her card. It wasn’t what she wanted exactly, but she could fight back now. “I drop seven of my speed counters to activate Umi’s effect! By revealing a normal monster, I can draw 2 more cards!”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 3

    “What are you up to now?”

    “Just watch! I summon the tuner monster Nightingale” (ATK: 700)

    “You don’t have any monsters to Synchro summon though, “Anastasia noted.

    “I will now! I special summon Caligo Claw Crow from my hand,” (ATK: 900) the small raven let out a small caw as it hovered around the tuner monster’s head. The tuner’s body began to dissolve into the rings while the bird broke down into the small clusters of light, “Dark waves crash against the light sand! Synchro summon, beauty of the lonely sea! Synchro Siren!”

    As the waves surged forward a slender figure shot out of the sea. It was fast. Anastasia’s free hand instinctively shielded her eyes from the glaring sun as her gaze tracked her opponent’s new monsters movements. The monster descended down onto the field moments later revealing a women dressed in elegant black armor all the way down to her waist. The lower half of its body glittered in the sun, courtesy of the navy blue scales of its exposed fish tail. It smiled mischievously at Avis before making a slow beckoning motion, intending to lure the bird monster into a very obvious trap. (DEF: 1700 → 1900)

    “I was expecting something more,” Anastasia eyed the mermaid with disinterest as it 'swam' in the air alongside them.

    “And you’ll get it! When Nightingale is used to Synchro summon, I can add one of you traps from your graveyard to my hand. Zero Gravity seems nice so I’ll have that.”

    “So you’re going to use my cards again.”

    “Maybe I just like showing people how to actually use their cards. I’ll set two cards face down and end my turn.”

    “My turn, draw!” Anastasia declared.

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 4
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 3

    “Avis attacks your Synchro Siren!” Eula had Zero Gravity set but it was still better to get out it out of the way now to avoid further problems. “I’m sure you know Avis inflicts piercing damage.”

    “Then why bother mentioning it?” Eula asked.

    “I just wanted you to know that no matter what you do, you cannot hide from me,” Anastasia snarled.

    “Hiding is part of my job description, baby,” Eula answered with a cheeky grin.


    “Zero Gravity!” Eula cut in as the trap revealed itself. The pressure forced Avis down to the ground.

    “As I thought,” Anastasia said as she moved one more card into the spell and trap card zone “I’ll end my turn.”

    “Then I’m activating Hook Shooter before we move on to my turn!” Eula said as the trap card revealed itself. “Here’s how it works, I discard a card type and then I can add one card of the same type from your graveyard to my hand. So if I discard my Phantom Dewan, I can add one monster from your graveyard to my hand!”

    “And you’re taking-“ Anastasia’s eyes widened as the grapple dragged one of her cards out- “No!”

    “Yep! Transforming Sphere.” Eula affirmed. “Now it’s my turn, draw!”

    Eula’s Speed Counters: 5
    Anastasia’s Speed Counters: 4

    “I summon Transforming Sphere in attack mode.” The familiar bird monster returned to the field, this time to Eula’s side of the field. (ATK: 100)

    Anastasia watched as her monster had once again been taken by this thief.

    “Well you know what happens now, I’ll use its effect to take Avis!” Eula declared as the orb absorbed the Overseer. “You’ve got no monsters left, I attack you directly!” (ATK: 100 → 2800)

    There was no stopping it now. Her set card was Power Frame. As Sphere unleashed its attack backed by Avis’s sheer power Anastasia could only wonder how she lost.

    There was little time for Anastasia to dwell on the loss. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of an explosion coming from the city behind them.

    "What the hell?" Eula said, spinning her D-Wheel around. She drove by Anastasia and began to head back to the city, “Juno.”

    Anastasia followed, “Larissa.”


    Demetrius sat at his desk, staring at the gray box and the stone, “Interesting.”

    “What do you mean?” Larissa asked. She and Juno were sitting in chairs opposite the desk.

    “Director, I apologize, but we're here on a very pressing matter.” Juno scooted forward, “Could you please be a bit less vague?”

    “Of course.” the director laughed, “First off, this stone is written in the Enochian language, not Greek. Enochian is a language many assume to be fictional.”

    “What does it say?” Juno asked.

    “Well, I don't know. I'm sure you could translate it literally using something as simple as an internet search, but I'm almost sure that it'd be clouded in riddles or something to that effect.”

    “I see.” Juno slouched, “Well, thank you for having us.”

    “Wait.” Demetrius said, “I haven't gotten to the interesting part. This box...”

    “Yes?” Juno and Larissa said in unison.

    “I've seen this before. It was in-”

    “Italy?” Juno cut him off.

    Demetrius was taken back for a moment, but quickly recovered, “That's correct. Furthermore, the symbols on it aren't from the Greek alphabet either. No, these are also Enochian.”

    “This is getting spooky.” Larissa leaned forward, “So do you think these things are connected?”

    “They could be. My advice? Check Italy and Britain, specifically Sicily and London. I know two people there that could possibly help you with these.” He paused, “I'd also advise that you go together.”

    Juno and Larissa stared at each other. Neither of them were really crazy about teaming up with strangers, but both were willing. The question was, would the other two be?

    Demetrius jotted some names on a piece of paper, “These are the names of the people who I want you to meet with. I don't know what kind of connections you girls have, but if you mention my name then they'll gladly help... probably.”

    “Probably?” Juno took the paper.

    “So you have no idea how to open this?” Larissa asked.

    “The man in Sicily is a locksmith. I'm almost certain that he can help you with that box.”

    “Thanks!” Larissa stood up. She inhaled, “So I guess... We're working together?” She extended her hand.

    “I don't know.” Juno said, “We need to discuss this first.” Larissa's hand didn't move. It didn't seem like it would anytime soon. Juno smiled. It was almost cute. She eyed the box on Demetrius' desk. Juno stood up and returned the gesture, “Let's go talk to the others.”

    “Right.” Larissa smiled, “Oh, uh, thanks Mister Director.”

    “No problem, ladies.”


    Juno and Larissa walked out of the museum. Neither was sure where this new union would go, if anywhere. Juno eyed Larissa. She wanted to know about the stone and the box, but there were dangerous people after them. Could she really get this innocent girl involved? Even the other one, 'Ana'. Could she get her involved? Maybe it'd be easier is she and Eula just took the box and went about their way. These thoughts were cut off by a blinding green light coming from behind them, followed by a deafening bang.

    “What in the world?” Larissa spun around.

    “That sounded like it came from the Director's office.” Not two seconds after Juno finished her sentence did Larissa rush back into the building, “H-hey, wait!” Juno called out in vain. Before she knew it, she was running after the girl.


    Eula and Anastasia drove back into the city, following the source of the green explosion. “Why are you following me?” Anastasia snapped.

    “Juno wasn't at the museum.” Eula said, “The best bet I have to finding her right now is finding your friend.”

    “Larissa wouldn't hurt a fly, if that's what you're insinuating.”

    “No, that's more your department.” Eula didn't look at Anastasia, but she was constantly checking the surroundings for signs of Juno, “There's no traffic on these streets. It's eerie.”

    “I don't think I've ever met someone who got under my skin as much as yo-”

    “There!” Eula pointed to a wrecked D-Wheel with two bodies on the ground near it.

    “That's Larissa's!” The girls picked up speed. They stopped just feet from the crash site before parking their D-Wheels.

    “Juno!” Eula rushed to Juno. She checked her pulse, “She's alive. What about yours?”

    “She doesn't seem too beat up.” Anastasia didn't have the emotional attention span to keep up her banter with Eula.

    “Well, what do we have here?” Roger’s imposing partner stepped out of the shadows, “My my, this is quite a mess.”
  8. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    A man sauntered around the museum with his hands in his pockets. Boring, he thought. So many priceless artifacts, and they were all worthless. He pretended to examine some antique vase while he waited by a door. The voices of two girls and another man resounded behind it.

    “Right. Oh, uh, thanks Mister Director.”

    “No problem, ladies.”

    The two girls walked out of the door, with the crimson-haired girl closing it behind her. They calmly headed for the exit, with their backs turned to him. He took his eyes off the vase to see if the opening was clear, then reached for the doorknob.

    The door creaked open, and the man peered in. The director, Demetrius, heard the creak and reflexively turned towards the sound, and saw the man walk inside. “This is a private area. You’re not allowed in here.”

    “Shut up,” the man said. His voice was rough, as if sandpaper pressed against his vocal chords. “I’m allowed to do whatever the hell I want.” He closed the door behind him.

    Demetrius grabbed the phone on his desk. The man continued to approach. “If you don’t leave in three seconds I’m going to call the police.”

    The man smirked, revealing that he had a missing tooth. “How cute. How ‘bout I count for you?”

    Demetrius eyed the man as he came closer. His riding boots squeaked with each step.

    “Three.” The man came chest-to-chest with him. His breath smelt rancid.

    Demetrius tightened his grip on the phone and brought it closer to his ear.


    The man ripped one hand out of his pocket and grabbed the director by the neck, slamming him against the window. When the phone hit the floor, the man pulled out his opposite hand, which held a green stone.


    The man crashed his palm into Demetrius’s neck, bringing the stone with it. Demetrius let out a guttural scream and a menacing green light invaded the room.

    Yugioh: World Tour – Fifth Stop: The Green Light

    Larissa stopped at the door. She regretted that handshake earlier: her friendly gesture caused her enough pain as it was. But there were more pressing matters now—What was that light? Why was Demetrius screaming? Before Juno could notice, she awkwardly turned the doorknob with her left hand and slammed it open.

    Demetrius was now on the ground, limp and groaning. The man loomed over him, with the stone still in his hand, and eyed the two girls as they walked in.

    “Figures,” the man said, “Damn guy couldn’t stay quiet, only natural that his lackies came to save him.” The man kicked Demetrius in the gut and then shoved him to the side with his foot.

    “Get away from him!” Larissa yelled. She and Juno flinched when the man walked toward them.

    “Three seconds here and you’re already a pain in my ***.” The man lifted the stone into the air. “It’s time I’ve gotten rid of you two!”

    A bright green light emitted from the stone once again. The girls averted their gaze due to its intensity.

    “That’s right!” The man grinned widely. He held his palm up higher. “Cower before m—”

    Like a faulty light bulb, the stone’s shine flickered and undulated back and forth in its brightness. The man lowered his hand, observing the stone.

    “What? Why’s it—agh!”

    The glow disappeared entirely and the man fell to his knees, dropping the stone in the process. He quickly snatched it up and ducked to behind the desk. He scrambled into his pocket and pulled out his phone.

    Juno was the first to look back. While the assailant was struggling, she ran over to Demetrius and took his pulse.

    “It’s Roger!” The man yelled. “Send in the D-Wheel—Quickly!”

    When Larissa finally adjusted her eyes, the wall in front of her broke apart forcibly as a white D-Wheel barged through, swiping in front of her and knocking her off her feet. Her torso landed on her arm—which amplified her pain tenfold—and then she rolled over while clutching her wrist.

    A robotic hand reached out to Roger, who grabbed it desperately and hoisted himself into a sidecar.

    Juno stood up again as Roger and his robotic driver crashed through another part of the wall. She ran over to Larissa. “Are you okay?”

    “Fine.” Larissa sat up and immediately got on her feet. Her heart clenched each time she moved her fingers, but now wasn’t the time for that. “What happened to—”

    “I don’t know,” Juno interrupted, shaking her head. “He’s unconscious but something’s wrong.”

    Larissa ran to the hole in the wall and spotted her D-Wheel in the parking lot. She faced Juno. “C’mon.”

    The two jumped on the Indra, Larissa tossed Juno a spare helmet, and they zipped onto the streets. By some miracle, Roger wasn’t too far ahead.

    He turned off onto a dirt road with Larissa in pursuit. Roger turned back to them, glared at his robotic driver, and pinched his thighs.

    “Dammit,” he muttered. “Why now.” He gritted his teeth and pulled out the stone again. “Work, dammit. Work!”

    He clenched his fist and the light reignited. Tendrils of green energy flowed out of his fingers and onto the streets, flushing through it like a newly born river. Larissa and Juno marveled as strange symbols engraved into the pavement.

    “Hang on,” Juno said. “Those signs… aren’t they the same one’s that are on your friend’s box?”

    “Yeah, they ar—” Larissa stopped when her D-Wheel clicked into autopilot mode. She revved the engine, but the speed was fixed. Glitchy numbers crawled along the terminal screen until the electronic voice resounded.

    “Speed World – X activated. Scanning surrounding area… Mountain terrain detec–” The electronic voice became overrun by static. When it bled back through, it sounded ominous. “New terrain detected! Field set. Speed World - Orichalcos.”

    “Orichalcos?” Larissa repeated. “What in the world…?”

    “Fine, we’ll do this the hard way!” Roger shouted. He opened a compartment in the sidecar and inserted his deck before sloppily drawing six cards. “I summon Gradius in Attack Mode!”

    A pale spaceship swooped down from the clouds, hovering directly over Roger’s head. (1200 ATK)

    “W-wait!” Larissa yelled. “I didn’t even accept this duel!”

    “Too bad.” Roger reached for more cards. “Now I’ll summon two copies of Gradius’ Option to join it!”

    Two triangular red spaceships flew towards the two bikes. (? ATK) [x2]

    “And thanks to their effects, Gradius’ Options will always have the same stats as the mother Gradius!”

    The triangles neared the Gradius ship and began to rotate around it. A translucent signal passed through both of them from the cockpit. (? → 1200 ATK) [x2]

    The street took on a green tint and a pillar of light shot up at the three floating machines. They were bathed in its energy and the same green aura manifested around them. (1200 → 1700 ATK) [x3]

    “Wait a second, where’d that ATK boost come from?” Juno asked. “None of his cards should be able to do that!”

    “It’s the Orichalcos,” Roger said. “As long as it’s out, all of my monsters gain 500 ATK.”

    “I just said, I never accepted this duel!” Larissa yelled.

    “And I said too bad,” Roger scoffed. “Once the Orichalcos goes up, you have no choice!”

    Larissa bit her lip. Her wrist strained like vibrating guitar strings. Reluctantly, she forced herself to draw five cards.

    Larissa LP: 4000—SC: 0
    Roger LP: 4000—SC: 0

    “Good girl.” Roger continued as Larissa drew her starting hand. “I activate Speed Spell – Overboost!” (SC: 0 → 4)

    Larissa tensed. “Speed Counters already?”

    “And now I’ll use the Orichalcos’s power once again by removing four Speed Counters!” (SC: 4 → 0)

    The larger Gradius shifted back from the two smaller ships.

    “That’ll finish my turn, but that’s not the end, ‘cause Overboost grants me a free Speed Counter at the end of the turn.” (SC: 0 → 1)

    “Larissa,” Juno said into her ear. “His Gradius cards can get strong quickly, but there’s a huge flaw. If you can destroy the original Gradius, all of his monsters will destroy themselves.”

    Larissa nodded. “Gotcha.”

    “Hurry up and go already!” Roger hollered.

    “My draw.” Larissa bit her lip harder—so hard that she thought it would bleed—and ripped out her sixth card.

    Speed Spell – Speed Storm.

    Perfect. If she could just stall for a few turns, this duel would be over quickly. She added it to the collection and looked to her terminal.

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 1 → 2

    Larissa stared at the screen in disbelief. “W-wait, why didn’t my counters go up?!”

    “Weren’t you paying attention?” Roger mocked. “When I said the Orichalcos powered up my monsters, I meant it was mine. As in, I’m the only one who gets to reap the benefits!”

    “Crap,” Larissa uttered. “I gotta find a way around this, and fast.”

    Juno raised an eyebrow. “Are you talking to yourself?”

    “Yeah, I do that sometimes.” Larissa brushed her hand across the card-holder and a monster card fell perfectly onto the duel mat.

    Fire erupted out of the Indra’s exhaust pipe, spiraling into a ball of plasma. The ball reformed into a humanoid shape and it dashed alongside its owner. (1800 ATK)

    “Fuel Harvester—attack his Gradius!”

    The plasma creature kicked off the green street, launching itself over the trees. Once it was twenty feet away from its target, the creature stopped itself and shot a fireball with the remainder of its momentum. Before the flames could touch the mothership, the two triangular ships intercepted and deflected the blast.

    “What?” Larissa shouted in consternation. “But how?!”

    “Wait, look!” Juno extended her arm past Larissa’s hips, pointing at the terminal screen. The Gradius’ Option cards were in the top row, the Monster Card Zones, but the original Gradius card wasn’t. It was directly below them, in the bottom row.

    “I see you’re catching on.” Roger laughed. “Yes, during my previous turn, I used the Orichalcos’ power to move my monster to one of my Spell/Trap Card Zones. And because I did, you can’t attack it unless you destroy all the monsters in my Monster Card Zones first!”

    “Then I’ll do just that!”

    Fuel Harvester nodded in confirmation, kicking the satellite ship with its burning leg. It tumbled through the air before crashing into the tree line.

    Roger LP: 4000 → 3900

    “Peh, minimal damage.”

    Larissa weakly held two cards in her hand—the same cards that she had been struggling to play since she launched her attack—and set them onto her field.

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 2 → 3

    “My turn again.” Roger grabbed a green card. “I activate this baby: Speed Spell – Rapidshot Wing! This allows me to increase my Gradius’ ATK by 200 for each Speed Counter that I have. But that’s not all. As you know, Gradius’ Option gains the same boosts as its base ship!”

    The green aura surrounding the two ships took on a blue tinge, causing the aura to grow a third of its original size. (1700 → 2300 ATK) [x2] The larger of the two ships channeled this aura into its turrets and immediately fired a bluish-green beam.

    Larissa gritted her teeth. The beam drew closer and closer to Fuel Harvester as she extended her arm. The act was resisted by her tightened veins and muscles. Fuel Harvester backed away but the beam had already passed the trees. Larissa slammed her finger on a button and the electronic voice responded:

    “Voice Control activated.”

    “I activate my Trap Card!”

    Fuel Harvester crossed its arms and a jet of fire emerged out of each of its elbows. The beam hit it directly in the chest but it proved ineffective. Fuel Harvester clenched its fists tightly. Smoke rose out from where it had been struck.

    Juno shot a questioning look to Larissa. Why did she use voice control as opposed to just playing the card?

    “Nice try,” Larissa began with a pant, “but my Heat Shield can negate an attack against a FIRE monster by halving that monster’s ATK.”

    Fuel Harvester winced. A fiery equivalent of sweat dripped off its forehead. (1800 → 900 ATK)

    Roger smiled. “Pfft, like that’s gonna do you any good now.” He noticed an orange glow reflecting off his robot-driver’s back. “Huh?”

    “If that’s not enough, then how about Heat Shield’s second effect? When I negate an attack with it, you take damage equal to the amount of ATK my monster lost!”

    Fuel Harvester fought off the excessive smoke by uncrossing its arms. A yellow-and-orange reinvention of the laser attack flung down the street and into Roger’s bike.

    Roger LP: 3900 → 3000

    Roger recuperated and turned around completely to face his opponent. “Smart talk and cheap tricks will only get you so far.” He faced the computer on his sidecar again. “I set one card and end my turn.”

    A brown card appeared next to him before quickly fading away. At that same moment, the bluish glow from the spaceships’ Orichalcos aura dissipated and they returned to their normal size. (2300 → 1700 ATK) [x2]

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 3 → 4

    Larissa looked to her deck. The aches in her wrist worsened, and continued to worsen, the longer she stared at it. She held her breath as she drew. The second she saw it was a monster she put it down without second thought.

    “I’ll switch Fuel Harvester to Defense Position as well and end my turn.”

    The panel on her terminal rotated ninety degrees and locked into place. Her monster became lined in a pale-blue glow. (1200 DEF)

    Roger grinned smugly. “I can sense your desperation.”

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 4 → 5

    “Hohoho, we got a winner here,” Roger said. “I summon Victory Viper XX03 in Attack Mode!”

    Another spaceship zipped across the sky and ran parallel to Gradius’ Option. It appeared to be an updated version of Gradius, much sleeker and refined than its counterpart. It slowed down and allowed the Orichalcos power to seep into its frame. (1200 → 1700 ATK)

    “Next I’ll activate this card!” Roger played a spell and a virtual recreation appeared beside him. Larissa read its name on her screen: Speed Spell – High Speed Crash. “When this is activated, I get to destroy one card you control as well as one card I control. So now I’ll destroy your Heat Shield by using my face-down card.

    “But, why should I let it go to waste?” The brown card materialized and then arched up. “I’ll chain my Miracle Locus, so it’ll resolve first!”

    A pillar of maroon energy burst out of the card and overlapped with the Victory Viper above it.

    “This grants my monster an additional attack this turn, as well as giving it 1000 extra ATK points.” (1700 → 2700 ATK) “But as a drawback, it can’t inflict damage this turn, and you get to draw a card in exchange for its boost.”

    Larissa clenched her jaw. Her grasp remained on her handlebar.

    “What the hell are you waiting for?” Roger yelled. “Draw!”

    The sound reverberated through her bones. Larissa closed one eye and groaned as she let go.

    “What’s wrong?” Juno asked.

    “It’s my hand,” Larissa finally admitted. Her voice squealed. “My arm got crushed when I was younger and I can’t—”

    “Oh please,” Roger scoffed. “You think you’re the only one who’s been in an accident? You’re talking to someone who’s paralyzed from the waist down.”

    “But you were walking!” Larissa called.

    “Peh, you call that walking.” Roger cupped the stone in his hand. “No, that wasn’t me walking. That was the power of the Orichalcos pouring energy into my legs. It was the one moving for me.

    “When I was in my late twenties, I used to be a part of a motorcycle gang. We tore up the streets and stomped anyone who got in our way. But I had bigger ambitions. I was going to go on to be a Dueling Pro. But that all fell to the wayside…”

    Roger clasped the stone.

    “I took my bike to get refitted into a D-Wheel before my first big expedition match, and while I was on a practice ride the next day, a belt came loose and the entire vehicle fell apart from underneath me. I crashed onto the road and cracked my lower spine. The doctors said it was irreversibly damaged and that I would never walk again.”

    Larissa felt her heart strain. She looked at her wrist. The pain remained as it was before, but it seemed so small now.

    “But then I met a powerful man named Sar,” Roger continued. “He showed me the power of the Orichalcos—a power that can bridge the gap between life and death—and gave me the ability to stand on my own two feet. Of course, you saw, this tiny stone’s power is only temporary.”

    Roger fumbled with the rock. The Enochian symbol on it reflected in his eyes.

    “But, by gathering more stones together and replenishing their powersource, Sar promises that one day I will walk again on my own.”

    “Powersource?” Larissa repeated aloud. “What on earth could that thing run on?”

    “Souls,” Roger stated gravely. Then he smiled. “Haven’t you figured it out yet? Your friend wasn’t unconscious before—I ripped his spirit straight out of his body. And, once you lose this duel, I’m going to do the same thing to you. Now draw, dammit!”

    Her heart began to pound madly. Was it really possible for a stone to do that? Larissa gazed along the green roads. No wonder this Speed World put her on edge so much. If Demetrius was really gone… no. She couldn’t think like that now. She held her breath, and yanked a card out as her eyes began to water. The card nearly flew away in the wind. She couldn’t hold it.

    “Now, as I was saying.” The High Speed Crash card merged with the Miracle Locus, propelling it forward at Fuel Harvester. The monster was shielded with a literal card barrier, which burst apart like exploding bricks. “Wipe out her two monsters!”

    Victory Viper descended slightly below its ally ships. The ship unhinged its bottom plate, aiming its two lasers at Fuel Harvester and the hidden monster. The two individual blasts spiraled through their targets: Fuel Harvester toppled over a few feet, then yards, behind the racing motorcycles. Meanwhile, the blue card caught ablaze, leaving only scraps of metal remaining.

    Larissa swerved away from the debris. Two more attacks, she anticipated. She could still survive this turn.

    Juno spotted two strange formations in the sky. They looked like shadows, but they were above the spaceships, engraved into the clouds. As Victory Viper floated upward, two more copies of it floated down. (2700 ATK) [x2]

    “But how?” Larissa asked.

    “It must be his card’s effect,” Juno answered.

    “Correct.” Roger grinned again. “When Victory Viper destroys a monster in battle, I get to activate any of its three effects, and I choose its first one. It enables me to summon an ‘Option Token’ that copies my Victory Viper card to-the-letter.” He laughed. “Well, maybe not quite to-the-letter.”

    The four ships charged their lasers.

    “My Viper Victory may have lost its ability to inflict damage this turn, but no one ever said anything about its offspring!”

    Juno ran the numbers through her head. If those attacks connected, it would be over 8000 damage in one shot.

    “Go, finish her off!”

    Larissa reeled her head back. “I don’t think so, Trap card, open!”

    A purple card depicting Zaborg the Thunder Monarch getting shocked by various Thunder-type monsters flashed before her. The image whited out and three Mega Thunderballs lined up to intercept the attacks.

    They were obliterated as quickly as they arrived, and failed to protect Larissa from one stray beam. Her D-Wheel skidded back upon impact. Juno shifted in her seat while Larissa steadied their balance.

    Larissa LP: 4000 → 1300

    “What in the world was that?” Roger asked.

    “Overcharge. It lets me summon any number of non-Tuner Thunder-type monsters from my Deck so long as their Levels are equal to six or less,” Larissa said. “I summoned my monsters in Defense Position, so only one of your attacks went through.”

    “Whatever.” Roger waved his hand dismissively. “I’ll use the Orichalcos to move Victory Viper XX03 to my backrow and end my turn.” (SC: 5 → 1)

    Victory Viper slowed itself, allowing the other three ships to take the lead, and hovered alongside Gradius. The three Vipers shed their newfound luster, returning to their original color scheme. (2700 → 1700 ATK) [x3]

    Larissa mulled over her cards. Speed Spell – Speed Storm, Speed Spell – Power Baton, Speed Spell – Speed Fusion. All of them useless without any Speed Counters. Overcharge would prevent her from drawing this turn, due to its restriction. Her final card, the one she just drew from Miracle Locus, was still clutched in her fingers. It was a monster, but how was she going to stop this with just one monster?

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 1 → 2

    Larissa shook her head. There wasn’t any better choice. “I summon Bowganian in Defense Mode!” She flattened her palm against the terminal and kept it there, knowing that the autopilot would balance her.

    A green, spherical creature rolled onto the street, hopping into the air and opened its sole blue eye. It stretched its arms out of their compartments and prepared its crossbow. (1000 DEF)

    Larissa moved her hand away. A rippling sensation laced down her arm and peaked at her elbow. She braced her arm against her stomach, on top of Juno’s arm. Juno could feel her shaking.

    “That’s it? What a pity.” Roger drew. “I was hoping for more of a fight after that.”

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 2 → 3

    “I guess it’s your funeral.” Roger smirked at his drawn card. “I activate Speed Spell – Power Capsule. Since I have three Speed Counters, I get to activate one of Victory Viper XX03’s effects as if it were this card.”

    Another Victory Viper descended alongside the three leading ships. (1700 ATK)

    “Just for good measure.” Roger chuckled. “Now, my original Victory Viper XX03, take out that stupid archer.”

    The backmost Viper spun around and fired its laser. An unusual shell formed around Bowganian as the attack would have hit, deflecting the beam and repelling it into the trees.


    “Sorry, but it’s not gonna be that easy.” Larissa panted after the last word. This damned wrist. “Electromagnetic Turtle activates. By banishing itself, your Battle Phase stops cold.”

    “I see. That was the face-down monster I destroyed, right?” Roger shrugged. “So you bought yourself a free turn. Not going to make a difference now.”

    Was he right? Larissa turned to her deck. Her arm was still braced against her stomach. She lifted it up, but a searing tear brought it back down. She cried out audibly.

    “I can’t…” she muttered. “D-damn it…!”

    A hand reached out and grabbed the top card. Larissa gawked at it. She looked down; her arm had never moved.

    “You’re not gonna let this guy get to you, right?” Juno asked. She slid the card off the pile.

    Larissa turned to her. “Th-thank you.” She winced.

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 3 → 4

    “How cute.” Roger rolled his eyes.

    Juno glared at him, then recomposed herself. She showed Larissa the card. Larissa nodded in approval.

    “First thing’s first,” Larissa said. “During my Standby Phase, Bowganian activates. Eat 600 damage!”

    The spherical machine pointed its bow at Roger’s D-Wheel and an arrow struck him in the back. Roger was unfazed.

    Roger LP: 3000 → 2400

    “Pitiful,” he grumbled.

    Larissa nodded to Juno, who set the card on the terminal. A larger version of it appeared beside them and quietly faded away.

    “That’s our turn.”

    “Your final turn,” Roger noted.

    Larissa SC: 0
    Roger SC: 4 → 5

    “Alright, I’ll remove four Speed Counters to move my Gradius’s Option to my backrow.” (SC: 5 → 1) The red triangle scaled back between the two leader ships. “Now, Victory Viper, destroy her stupid monster!”

    The six spaceships flew to the side as the final one moved in on the offensive. The ship generated a red laser beam that sliced through the robotic archer like butter. Larissa swerved as a result of the attack. Juno grabbed on tighter.

    “And since I have room, Victory Viper summons another Option Token,” Roger deemed. “This is the end of the line for you.”

    Victory Viper joined its newfound comrade while the others charged their beams.

    “We’re not out yet!” Larissa yelled. “I activate my Trap Card—The Republic’s Downfall!”

    The brown card rematerialized over her head and turned over. The action caused a visible shockwave to pierce the sky, flying over each spaceship and preventing their charges from holding.

    “This card activates when you declare a direct attack while my Life Points are lower than yours,” Larissa began, ignoring the twitches in her arm. “In exchange for my Draw Phase, it destroys all monsters you control and inflicts 400 damage to both players for each monster destroyed!”

    “Wh-what?!” Roger’s composure shattered. He gazed up at his eight monsters as they each prepared their attacks again.

    The trap card turned around, unleashing another, more forceful shockwave. It met the spaceships just as they had fired their lasers and caused them to spin out of control. With the ships in disarray, the lasers rebounded almost aimlessly. They struck each other down, whether by crashing into another or by blasting them away.

    Debris rained down on Roger, whose pilot zigzagged between them to avoid it. Larissa and Juno dodged as well. Both drivers scrambled to escape, but each of them was pelted by another onslaught of metal scraps. They pounded on the D-Wheels and each person reflexively shut their eyes.

    Larissa LP: 1300 → 0
    Roger LP: 2400 → 0

    The debris rained ended, leaving both D-Wheelers and their passengers banged up and fatigued. Larissa huffed—the pain in her arm now spread all over her body. But that didn’t matter now. She looked at Juno through the rearview mirror. “You alright?”

    “Yeah, I’m fine.” Juno opened her eyes again. “Just glad that’s over.”

    “This can’t happen,” Roger yelled at the roads. “This can’t happen to me!”

    Juno noticed this and started to speak when she saw something on the street move. The Enochian letters detached themselves from the pavement once again and began to encircle Roger’s D-Wheel. A perfect ring formed and solidified around him, and a green beam of light shot down from the sky.

    “What’s happening to him?” Juno asked over the wind.

    “I dunno but it’s also happening to us!” Larissa began to sweat as the letters formed a ring around their bike as well. Something clutched at her heart. This was no normal reaction. No, this was unnatural. Whatever this light was, it was pulling at her from the inside.

    The two rings expanded as the descending green light intensified. Larissa started to lean forward and her eyelids became heavy. She felt her grip weaken, and the pain she felt slowly drained away.

    Juno shook Larissa to keep her awake. She seemed to be lost in another world. Roger reacted violently: screaming for his life.

    The two D-Wheels continued along their path, and the rings continued to expand. Eventually their borders intersected, where red electricity jolted out from their collision.

    Larissa jerked out of her trance, and Roger ceased to yell. The once green rings around them overlapped into a red Venn-diagram and a burst of pure energy erupted out of the center. Both D-Wheels flipped through the air in opposite directions. Roger flew forward and tumbled a few feet away from his D-Wheel. Larissa launched backwards and fell on top of Juno. They skidded alongside their rides and collided with the nearby bushes.


    “So, Eula was it?”

    “Yes,” Osamu said. He stood in the center of a meeting room, while Sar was sifting through paper work. “Eula and Juno are the ones who took the stone out from under our noses.”

    “Under your nose,” Sar reminded him. He tossed a folder onto the table, which slid across to the opposite end. “Don’t tie me to your failings.”

    Osamu swallowed a lump in his throat. “If it makes up for anything, I have a picture of the culprit.” He pulled a photo from his coat pocket. Sar took it from him. “It was taken by the security cameras when she was arrested seven months ago.”

    Sar glanced at it briefly, then placed it in front of him. “She’s nothing more than a nuisance.” He reached for another piece of paper.

    “Agreed,” Osamu said. “She wi—”

    “She’ll be taken care of by someone who’s qualified,” Sar said without looking up. “Continue our research as you were instructed, and don’t mess up this time.”

    “Yes sir.”

    Osamu calmly exited the business room and shut the door behind him. When he was sure it was closed, he broke from his composure and allowed his inner panic to be known.


    “Juno!” Eula rushed to Juno. She checked her pulse, “She's alive. What about yours?”

    “She doesn't seem too beat up.” Anastasia didn't have the emotional attention span to keep up her banter with Eula.

    “Well, what do we have here?” An imposing man stepped out of the shadows, “My my, this is quite a mess.” He waltzed over to Roger and dragged him out of the wreckage. “How much did you tell them?”

    “Shuddap Durward…” Roger said more, but it was reduced to inaudible grumbling.

    “Who the hell are you?” Eula yelled. “Did you do this to them?!”

    “No, no. They did this to themselves.” Durward heaved Roger, cringed at the smell, and slugged him over his shoulder. Roger groaned in protest. “Damn drivers are always so reckless.”

    “Larissa’s not reckless.” Anastasia stood up.

    “Does it matter? I don’t think it does.” Durward turned his back to them and headed for his D-Wheel, which was parked a few yards away.

    “Where the hell do you think you’re going?!” Eula called after him. “Get back here!”

    Durward scoffed. He glanced over his shoulder. “As if I’m going to waste time on the likes of you.”

    Eula and Anastasia glared at him. Durward tossed Roger into his side car and drove away unceremoniously. Eula faced her own D-Wheel, ready to chase after him, but…

    “C’mon,” she said. “We need to treat their injuries.”
  9. SerenadeSP

    SerenadeSP My Loyal Feraligatr

    “Keep an eye on Larissa and Juno,” Anastasia said as she and Eula stepped into the hospital.

    “Dumping the work on me, huh?” Eula asked as she suddenly pulled to a stop. Anastasia stopped as well and turned to face Eula. The thief’s violet eyes narrowed, “I’m not stupid. What’s to stop you from calling the cops once you step away?”

    Anastasia clenched her fists, but her voice was level and calm, “I gave you my word.”

    “Lot of good that’s done for me when people say that,” Eula replied sarcastically.

    “You heard Larissa when she woke up when we loaded her in the ambulance,” Anastasia’s normal, steely look melted away for a moment and her eyes burned with the usual anger but there was just as much concern as she flashed back to the moments that had happened an hour ago. “She said we had to stick together and though I may not like it, that’s what we’re going to do.”

    “She your boss or something?”

    “My friend.”

    Eula didn’t respond. Her eyes flicked over towards several paramedics rushing a wounded civilian down the hall. She tensed slightly. Juno wasn’t horribly injured but that could have been her if she hadn’t been so lucky during the crash. Their luck wasn’t going to last forever if they stayed, “Maybe you haven’t noticed, but we can’t sit around here, There’s paperwork-” her eyes jerked toward the pesky machine connected to the wall.

    “And security cameras,” Anastasia finished for her as she walked over to a nearby wall with a map of the hospital. Eula quickly followed, “That’s what I’m here for.”

    “ You’re gonna hack their security feed and forge a bunch of papers?”

    Anastasia remained silent for a moment. Eula scowled as she waited for the girl to reply. “They’ll be over there,” Anastasia said abruptly as she pointed at a specific area of the map. “Third floor. Make a right from the elevator.”

    “That still doesn’t answer my question,” Eula said, tapping her foot impatiently.

    “I know someone that can help us out,” Anastasia replied.

    “A ‘powerful’ friend huh? Gee I’ve never heard that one before,” Eula muttered.

    “What was that?” Anastasia asked.

    “Nothing Annie, don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”

    Her eyes narrowed, “Don’t call me that.”

    “Yeah, yeah,” Eula replied with a dismissive wave of her hand, “So I’m going because…”

    “That way one of us can keep an eye on Juno and Larissa just in case,” Anastasia explained as she walked Eula to the elevator and punched the button with the arrow pointing up, “And if you’re able to get yourself out of all the trouble you into, I’m sure helping people won’t be so hard.”

    “Are you always this way, or am I a special case?” Eula asked as she stepped in, arrogant smile still present. It irked Anastasia now that she knew she was going to be seeing a lot more of it “You’re not still upset about losing to a no-good thief are you?” Anastasia didn’t get a chance to reply. The door shut.

    Anastasia sighed as she marched towards the receptionist desk and pulled out her phone as she fell back into line, dialing a number she hadn’t in a long while. Once she was sure the he had answered she spoke, “Ladon.”

    “You could start by just saying hello,” the man responded with a sigh.

    “I need something done,” Anastasia said as she took several steps forward while the line shortened, “And I figured I should be calling in some of the favors you owe me.”

    “Didn’t I just bail you out?”

    “That was because of your incompetent cops,” Anastasia snapped.

    “And I didn’t report your whereabouts to Medea.”

    “You said that was ‘part’ of your apology, so I’m calling to collect the rest.”

    Ladon laughed for a moment, “You sure you didn’t pick up a thing or two from running that business of yours?”

    “There was a crash a couple of hours ago.”

    “So I heard…” Ladon’s voice trailed off. The suspicious undercurrent couldn’t have been any more noticeable.

    “My friend was part of it,” Anastasia continued.

    “Why do I not like where this is going?”

    “It’s a long story, but we ran into the thief again.”

    “And they caused the crash?” Ladon asked incredulously.

    “No. It wasn’t their fault, another party was responsible” Anastasia said.

    “You’re kidding.”

    “I don’t joke.” Anastasia replied.

    “So what do you need from me?” Ladon asked.

    “Larissa and I’ll be travelling with Eula,” Anastasia replied, “I need you to look the other wa-”

    “No, absolutely not. ” Ladon said flatly.

    “I just said she wasn’t responsible for the crash.”

    “Eula is still a wanted criminal, Anastasia.”

    “Ladon,” Anastasia began to argue. She stopped before the words made it out. Ladon could trace the call and the entire conversation would be rendered moot. She exhaled slowly, the next word took a little bit of time to force out, “Please.”

    “It’s that bad, huh?” There was a touch of surprise in his voice.

    “She has a possible lead to my mother. I won’t get another chance like this.”

    “Just this once,” Ladon said after a tense moment of silence, “But you have to tell me what your plan is first.”

    Anastasia smiled in triumph, “We’re going to Italy.”

    “I’ll see what I can do then,” Ladon said, “Your best bet is going by boat.”

    “Thank you.”

    “One more thing.”


    “Be careful.”

    “You told me that last time.”

    “And then you somehow ran into them again, Anastasia. You do realize with a record like hers, Eula is going to attract a lot of dangerous people,” Ladon warned. The way he said it brought a scowl to her face.

    “I can take care of myself,” Anastasia replied curtly as she ended call. Ladon had been right, whoever that Durward person and his accomplice were, she was fairly sure they had been deliberately targeting Eula and Juno. If Larissa hadn’t said anything when she regained consciousness, Anastasia wouldn’t have hesitated in cutting ties with them immediately. Still…why did Demetrius want them to work together?

    “Next!” the receptionist’s voice rang out. Anastasia took a step forward, before realizing there was no one else in front of her. The woman behind the desk gave her a small encouraging smile as if she was beckoning a child to take their first daring step. Anastasia hated that. “How can I help you?”

    “I’m with the people that got into the crash an hour ago,” Anastasia answered. The receptionist nodded sympathetically.

    “What’s your relation to the patients?”

    “I’m a close friend of Larrisa,” Anastasia said.

    “And Ms. Rosewood?” That must have been Juno’s fake ID then.

    “We just met her today while we were sightseeing. She looked a little lost, so Larissa wanted to help her get back to the hotel,” Anastasia lied with a small shrug.

    “How did the accident happen?”

    “Some reckless driver sped down the street and rammed into them when they had the right of way. I was a good distance away so I wasn’t able to stop him from speeding off.”

    “Was Ms. Rosewood the driver?”

    “No, they were on Larissa’s bike.”

    The receptionist suddenly had an apprehensive look on her face as she scrolled the medical data banks. It didn’t disappear when she focused her gaze on Anastasia. “You actually let your friend on a D-Wheel?”

    “Why not?” Anastasia asked unable to shake off the feeling that something was going wrong, but it quickly subsided and gave control to her anger when she realized what the receptionist was insinuating, “Larissa’s perfectly capable of handling a D-Wheel on her own.”

    “If you say so.” There it was again, that false tone of sympathy. It was pity really. It made Anastasia angrier. “I know there’s auto-pilot built into the system and everything, but even then I’d never recommend taking the risk. Especially if it’s your arm that's diagnosed with arthritis.”

    Sixth Stop: Clandestine Currents

    “Hey,” Larissa said as she stepped in to join the others. Eula and Anastasia were sitting across from each other both pointedly refusing to acknowledge the other person. Eula was eating breakfast, though her eyes were focused on their surroundings and the other passengers of the boat. Anastasia’s attention was seemingly focused on some documents before her, but Larissa knew her well enough to know she was also keeping an eye on Eula.

    There was a certain tension in the air but the atmosphere was much more awkward than it should have been. Neither seemed to acknowledge her arrival. Silence reigned for a few more moments.
    Larissa cleared her throat before trying to start the conversation again. “Where’d Juno go?”

    “Below deck,” Anastasia said as she set down her papers and turned towards her friend. She definitely looked worse than she had when they reunited. There were a lot of dark rings under her eyes now, and something seemed to be haunting her. Anastasia paused for a moment as she was about to say something but shook her head, “I should go there too…I need to check up on my bike.”

    “Want any help?” Larissa offered. It’d give them something to do together and they hadn’t talked much after the Roger incident. Most of her time was spent being stuck in the hospital. It’d be refreshing to work on something she enjoyed to get back into the swing of things.

    “No it’s okay, I just like to make sure it’s in working shape so it’s not a big deal,” Anastasia replied with a forced smile.

    “Oh…” Larissa said frowning, “I mean it’s not a lot of troub-“

    “You just got out of the hospital, I don’t want you to push yourself,” Anastasia said as she rose from her seat, “Breakfast is on me, so order whatever you like. Others have already helped themselves…” Eula met her glare with a cheeky smile as she dug into a particularly large spoonful of food. It looked pretty expensive.

    Before Larissa could say anything else, Anastasia scooped up the papers, shoved them into a folder and stalked off and that left her with someone she didn’t know…again. Larissa sighed as she sat down in Anastasia’s seat and stared at the menu absent-mindedly. “Hurricane Anastasia blows through again,” Eula commented dryly.

    “She’s usually not like that,” Larissa said after a moment.

    “Could have fooled me,” Eula replied turning her attention back to her food. The next moments fell into silence.

    “Well it’s good you two managed to work together,” Larissa offered with an awkward laugh, “I mean Juno and I weren’t sure how we were going to convince you two to go along with it. Or I wasn’t sure on how to approach Ana about it at least.”

    “She sure knows how to give people a little dose of hell when things don’t go her way,” Eula muttered.

    “Oh, that I can understand,” Larissa said with a small smile as she recounted the times when they had been children. Laughter soon broke out afterwards as she stumbled upon the particularly fond memories.

    “What’s so funny?” Eula asked.

    “Sorry, I just remembered something,” Larissa said as she calmed down, “It was really dumb, but it was such a big deal for us when we were kids.” Her hazel eyes twinkled, “In the mood for a story? You’ll love it, I promise.”

    “Juno’s working on the bike and we’re just waiting here to kill time,” Eula said with a sigh, “Go for it.”

    “Well when we were, like, eight or something one of our classmates watched one of the recordings of the Battle City finals from way back,” Larissa began as she set aside the menu, “Anyway he managed to get everyone into it and pretty soon our whole grade wanted to do something like Battle City. The only problem was, we had no organization whatsoever. Ana decided to take charge and well she took things very seriously so when we got to the Battle Royale bit…”


    “Ana,” Larissa said uncertainly as she eyed the dueling platform, “Maybe this isn’t a good idea.”

    “Why wouldn’t it be?” She asked after turning away from one of the other finalists, who had been arguing with her for a while, maybe about the same thing. There were six of them, Ana and herself included, when there should have been four. That had bugged Ana a lot but she eventually managed to work with it. “We’re supposed to do this like Battle City right?”

    “Yeah but…” Larissa began with a sigh trying to find a way to describe the problems with this entire set up.

    “Larissa,” Ana said with her fist on her hips and a frown on her face, “We can’t be real duelists if we can’t duel in any situation.”

    “But what if someone gets hurt?”

    “People get hurt all the time when they duel,” Ana said fishing into her pockets and pulling out several bars of candy. She placed them in the waiting hands of some of the other children, “There’s your payment. Give it all you got.”

    “Yeah but that’s because they ride on motorcycles,” Larissa said still shifting around uncomfortably, “And they’re grown-ups.”

    Grown-ups were probably one of the worst things to use in an argument with Ana. She froze mid-step and let out a noise of frustration before stamping her foot down, silently fuming for a bit.
    “Well we’re not on motorcycles so we can’t crash. We’re not on platforms that send us up several hundred feet when we lose either okay!? We weren’t even allowed to bet our rare cards!”

    “Losing Fuel Harvester would suck though,” Larissa muttered to herself as she nervously looked at her deck. It was probably a good idea they had stuck to candy. They stood there for a moment.

    “Larissa,” Ana said quietly as she eyed the platform where the other four finalists stood. One or two looked like they were trying really hard not to look scared. Or cry. “I thought we were going to shoot for the finals together.”

    “We are, I just…” she paused uncertainly. They were friends. They liked the same things. They almost did everything together. Two peas in a pod was what she overheard one of her teachers say about them… Except Ana was willing to bet her best card and Ana was willing to jump on the dueling arena even though it seemed dangerous and scary.

    “You’re not going to lose to anyone up there.” Ana cut in with a huff, “Well except maybe me, but we’re a team aren’t we?”

    ‘Y-Yeah,” Larissa stammered with a quick nod.

    “And they suck. Besides,” Ana’s eyes softened a bit as she pulled her deck out, staring at one card in particular, “If it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I’d ever know how to use the card Mother gave me.”

    “Oh. I guess I did huh,” Larissa thought out loud with a laugh.

    “So there’s nothing to be afraid about, you’re strong Larissa,” Ana said with a small smile as she slowly dragged her friend up onto the platform.

    “How come you’re not scared?”

    “Because it’s not going to be me against everyone, it’s going to be two versus four,” Ana answered. The kids Ana had given the candy to earlier started to spin the arena. Larissa grabbed the railing instinctively with her right hand as the kids pushing the stadium picked up the pace. The world was suddenly a blur. Ana was the first one to activate her duel disk followed by someone else. Larissa quickly pressed the button to start up her own.

    “The Merry-Go-Around-Of-Death Finals begins now!” Ana announced. There were some cheers from the sidelines. Larissa did her best to focus on keeping her balance and the arena itself.

    “I don’t wanna die!” One of the kids bawled. She did her best to ignore that. And the fact that one of the kids was actually flung off before anyone started too.

    “DUEL” the remaining five contestants shouted as they drew their starting hands.


    “Thank you,” Anastasia said. Her voice ended the silence that had lasted nearly for an hour. It came out a little too forced. From the moment she had left Larissa and Eula and stepped down below deck, her mind had been trying to sort out the right words and map out the right things to say in order to get to this conversation. It still felt very awkward and there was a hint of a bitter aftertaste when the words left her mouth. Then again, there had been worse starts.

    “I’m sorry?” Juno asked. The sound of the tools working on the bike stopped. Moments later her head emerged from behind Eula’s D-Wheel.

    “For helping Larissa when I was…preoccupied,” Anastasia elaborated as she went through her mental cue cards. Diplomacy was never her strong suit. “I’m glad the two of you made it out alright.”

    “You don’t really need to thank me,” Juno said with a shake of her head. “The two of us just got caught in a bad situation and I think I’d have been in a lot of trouble if Larissa wasn’t there.”

    “I see,” Anastasia replied, biting back down on her frustration. This should not have been this hard to do. The conversation was somehow steering away from what she had expected.

    “I’m a little surprised about how quickly you and Eula managed to work together,” Juno laughed softly, “When Larissa and I were told the four of us should work together we were wondering how we were going to make this work.”

    “We figured that could wait and there were bigger things to focus on,” Anastasia replied stiffly. She had no follow up after this point. The silence resumed.

    “Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

    Anastasia almost flinched. Was the girl really that perceptive?

    “No,” Anastasia replied reflexively then she grimaced. That was not what she wanted either. Juno just watched her curiously. It was fairly unsettling.She went back to her bike a moment later.

    “You know Eula never shows when anything’s bothering her either. Is it about Larissa?” Juno asked as she cleaned the exterior of the bike. She could feel Anastasia's vicious stare on her. “You’ve been avoiding her ever since the time we agreed to go on this trip together. Did you two get into a fight or something?”

    “No, there’s no reason for something like that,” Anastasia said clearly unenthused. Why was she pressing so hard?

    “Why’s that?”

    “Because she’s Larissa,” Anastasia said flatly, a touch of bitterness in her voice, “I’ve known her for years. She wouldn’t hurt anyone. Ever..”

    “Then why have you been so distant from her? According to her, you two are best friends so…”

    “Maybe we’re not.” Anastasia cut in. The walls cracked a little and doubt flickered through her eyes. Something wet splattered on her hand and the papers it was covering. She wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of someone she didn’t know. Showing any sign of weakness was something forbidden by both her parents. “Best friends trust each other after all…”


    “ I’ll tribute my Illusory Gentleman and Witch’s Apprentice to summon Cosmo Queen! Now I’ve got the strongest monster on the field now!” one of the opponent’s across from Larissa laughed gleefully. She didn’t know his name, but his sandy brown bowl-cut hair and his baggy shorts seemed familiar “Your Avis is toast, Ana.”

    “You don’t get to call me that, loser.”

    “Yeah? Well I know what you are but what am I?”

    “Still a loser, since you can’t attack this turn.” Ana taunted, Avis hovered beside her staring at the new high level monster without batting an eye. It was almost like the card was made for her, Larissa thought. She wondered if Fuel Harvester shared any similarities with herself. One of Ana’s trap cards flipped face up, “I activate Threatening Roar!”

    “W-Well. You’ve got nothing left in your hand and it’ll only take a small amount of damage for you to hit zero,” their opponent shouted before turning to Larissa. “I end my turn, so hurry up so I can kick your friend’s butt!”

    “My turn,” Larissa said as she looked over the field in its entirety. The kid with the bowl-cut and shorts had Cosmo Queen and nothing else, but it was still the strongest monster on the field. Some other kid from her class was left with Beast of Talwar which Ana could wipe out easily when it got to her turn, but Cosmo Queen was going to be a problem unless…

    Ana didn’t move, but her gaze flicked over towards Larissa. Then there was a slow nod. Larissa found herself smiling as the plan laid itself out. “Okay, I’m going to skip my draw phase to give Fuel Harvester its 1000 attack point boost!” Fire suddenly rushed out in a roaring inferno as her ace monster’s strength increased (Attack: 1800 → 2800).

    “Still not enough,” he sneered, “But you’re welcome to get rid of the competition.”

    “I’m not done,” Larissa announced as she shakily but quickly snatched a card from her hand. She had to be careful about letting go of the railing. One of the other kids had flown off since he lost his balance, “I equip Salamandra to my monster giving him another 700 attack!” The flames shooting out of on Fuel Harvester’s neck and back began to take shape, thinning out and reforming into a dragon made of pure fire. It circled her monster protectively as it emitted more power (Attack: 2800 → 3500) “Now for my battle phase!”

    “I-I activate Waboku,” he stammered, “My monster can’t be destroyed this turn and I won’t take any damage.”

    “Stupid,” Ana sneered, “She’s not aiming for you.”

    “Wha-?” Derek stared as Fuel Harvester rushed towards Avis. He started to laugh, “You see that?
    Even your best friend’s turned against you.”

    “You wish,” Ana replied as she activated the set card, “I activate Power Frame. This negates the attack and makes it so Avis has the same attack points as Larissa’s Fuel Harvester.” Avis merely raised his arm, the shield absorbing the wildfire that Larissa’s monster had blasted towards it. The bird warrior let out a cry as it became stronger. (2700 --> 3500)

    The smile dropped off of the boy’s face. “What!?”

    “You’re a wuss, Derek,” Ana said, a smirk on her face, “It wasn’t that hard to figure out what was going to happen.”

    “How did you know then?”

    “We’re best friends. Larissa’s got my back and I’ve got hers,” Anastasia said as she drew her next card, “Now go! Magna Inferno!”

    The gigantic flaming phoenix crashed into Cosmo Queen reducing her to nothing. Derek raised his arms up to protect himself from the force of the blast. He stumbled a few steps back, nearing the edge of the platform.

    Derek: 1200

    “Y-You’ve only one got monster meaning I’m still fine!” Avis just towered over him, unmoving,
    “Why is your monster still here!?”

    “I activated Lineage of Destruction, meaning he gets a second attack,” Ana said coldly with her arms crossed. “Looks like you lose.”

    “NOOO!” Derek cried out as Ana’s ace kicked him off the platform. Larissa could only watch as the boy fell to his doom.

    “Ana…” she began.

    “He’ll live,” Ana replied coolly. There was a thud a moment later and their classmate was on the ground bawling his eyes out. Larissa wasn’t sure if she felt bad at or not. On one hand, Ana was a little harsh; on the other hand he did kind of deserve it…

    “Ow! My leg!” he wailed, “I think I broke it!”

    “Anastasia, what is the meaning of this? Call off the duel immediately.” An adult. One of the teachers.

    “Aw nuts.”


    “Seriously?” Eula asked incredulously. When Larissa nodded, Eula burst out laughing, her fist slammed against the table as her body wouldn’t stop trembling. She wiped a stray tear from her eye, “Well what happened next?”

    “We never knew who would have made it to finals,” Larissa said with a small laugh.

    “And Anastasia?”

    “She got detention for a long time,” Larissa said after a moment, “Apparently what we were doing
    was really dangerous and all the other kids pointed fingers at Ana so…”

    Eula laughed even harder, “Looks like she hasn’t changed one bit.”

    “You think so?” Larissa’s smile faltered for a moment.

    “With an attitude like that? That girl’s never going to change. It’s either her way or the highway,”
    Eula said with a smirk as she eased back into her chair.


    “She was working on bikes or something,” Anastasia told Juno sullenly as the ship continued to rock back and forth. It did little to soothe her. “Apparently there was some sort of accident and her hand got crushed.”

    “I don’t think that’s your fault,” Juno replied quietly. Anastasia didn’t move, “You weren’t the person that got her to work on the bike and even then these sort of accidents do happen. There’s not a lot you could have done.”

    “You wouldn’t understand,” Anastasia muttered bitterly,

    “Well,” Juno said thoughtfully as she looked at Anastasia, who had buried her head in her arms. The girl was absolutely miserable. “I can’t say that I completely do, but I know it hurts when someone close keeps secrets from you. Even if they keep those secrets because they mean well.”

    “I just don’t get why she didn’t tell me,” Anastasia said after a moment.

    “I don’t think she wanted you to worry. Larissa seems like that kind of person,” Juno said. That managed to elicit a small, nostalgic smile on Anastasia’s face. Juno inwardly sighed in relief. That was some progress, “Thought of something?”

    “It was just us doing something stupid when we were young,” Anastasia said, as she straightened herself. Her smile turned a little sad, “Larissa didn’t want to get on this arena I set up for some tournament even though she was a finalist.”

    “Why not?’

    “It wasn’t exactly safe.”

    “But she did?”

    “As soon as I asked her to,” Anastasia replied, “I just never noticed that kind of stuff until I had to leave for places that weren’t so great. Now that I’m older I thought I’m more…aware of things, but I talked her into this trip and now she’s gotten tangled up in this mess.”

    “I was with her during that duel. Roger kept pressuring, and even without Speed Counters she managed to fight back. If it hadn’t been for her, the situation probably would have been a lot worse.”

    The next few moments passed in silence until Anastasia’s face shifted to annoyance. “I shouldn’t have run off and gotten into that stupid duel.”

    Juno found herself laughing softly, “Eula’s known for provoking a lot of people. It’s pretty easy to get baited by her. You weren’t the first and definitely not the last.”

    “I still should should have known better.”

    “Don’t worry about it too much. Your bike looks pretty valuable.”

    “It’s one of a kind,” Anastasia informed her. The flash of pride didn’t go unnoticed by Juno nor was it to foreign to her. She had it seen it whenever Eula had pulled off a successful heist. “You two are close, right?”

    That was a little personal. Juno paused to assess the situation. Divulging personal information wasn’t exactly a good idea when it came to her job, but the look on Anastasia’s face told her the girl was still searching for an answer. “We are,” Juno finally replied, picking out her words carefully as she directly addressed the unspoken question, “And your situation isn’t uncommon. Eula and I’ve worked together for so long and we still don’t know each other’s last names.”

    Anastasia rose as she swept the files into the folder. Her face shifted to that of confusion, “That’s really weird.”

    “Every relationship has its quirks,” Juno said which prompted Anastasia to frown for a moment, obviously lost in thought. “Let’s go meet up with the other two.“

    “Ana,” Anastasia said abruptly after a moment of contemplative silence.


    “My friends call me that and it’s kind of a pain to say my full name all the time. Even I get tired of it,” Anastasia said with a half-smile before nodding to Juno, who had picked up her toolkit, “Let’s go.”


    “So then we- Hey Juno! Annie didn’t give you hell did she?” Eula said, cutting off from mid-story.

    “I told you not to call me that,” Ana snarled.

    “Yeah well, if you’re only nineteen that makes you the baby of the group, so I think it fits,” Eula said with a sneer as she propped her feet on the table, “Gotta say, I never pegged you as the kind of person that could run a tournament so well. That Merry Go Round Death Battle? Classic.”

    “You…” Ana’s mortified gaze fell on Larissa a moment later.

    “Well we had to pass the time somehow,” Larissa said bleakly, hands twisting nervously. Ana only sighed loudly before dropping into a chair next to her. Juno quietly sat beside Eula and set the toolkit beside the table. “Well now that we’re all here. We might as well talk about the incident with Roger. He said something about a Sar…Anyone have any idea who that is?”

    No response. Larissa sighed. It was worth a shot.

    “He’s one of the richest people in America,” Ana said, suddenly cutting through the silence. She eyed at the other three members who stared at her. She shrugged, “You mean you guys don’t keep up with the news? He gets into all sorts of legal trouble but he manages to buy himself out of it.”

    “Well whatever the case, he’s just like all the other bigshots,” Eula said with a yawn, “So. how are we gonna take him?”

    “We should probably focus on Italy first,” Juno said after a moment of consideration, “That’s where Demetrius wanted us to go. The four of us.”

    “Agreed,” Ana said while Larissa nodded, “But there’s no point in rushing straight into things.”

    That was a first, Ana had never been like that when they were kids. Larissa watched as she put the folder she had been carrying around all day away and unclasped her deck box before emptying out its contents in front of Larissa, “It’s been a while since I played the game, so this thing could still use a little tweaking. You know, if you’re up for it.”

    “Yeah, no kidding,” Eula commented.

    Ana’s eyes flashed with anger, “Last I recall, I had you down to 50.”

    “But I still won,” Eula smirked.

    “I’d love to,” Larissa said, ending the argument with a grin as she took the pile of cards. Ana returned it with an appreciative smile and for a moment it was almost like they were kids again. Larissa absentmindedly listened to the banter between Ana and Eula while Juno tried to stop them. This was good, Larissa thought. The four of them were brought together to carry out a mission. Things were beginning to fall into place. She just hoped this group could last throughout the trip


    “Athens has been taken care of. Roger has seen to that” Durward reported with a grimace as the memory of suffocating under the man’s stench lingered in his mind.

    “Good. The plan is going along smoothly then,” Sar said. Even if the entire conversation was being held through a video call, the atmosphere somehow seemed to tense. Almost as if Sar knew of the unspoken subject. “So what’s the bad news, Durward?”

    “We had a little incident. Roger was spotted during his attempt on Director Demetrius. Evidentially he didn’t wait long enough for the two visitors to leave before he made his move.”

    “Sloppy,” Sar’s eyes flashed with anger, “And?”

    “You know how impulsive he is. He acted without thinking and rushed in without me. Given how loose of a cannon he is, he forced the witnesses into a meaningless duel,” Durward said.

    “Which would explain the massive crash site,” Sar concluded coldly.

    “I managed to Salvage the situation before the authorities arrived.” Durward replied. Sar knowing things before he even reported the incidents was not uncommon. The man’s reach extended to just about everywhere.

    “Did you find the girl that Osamu hired?” Sar inquired.

    “No. Roger’s accident forced me to cut the search short,” Durward's calm exterior gave way into annoyance, “My apologies, sir. I should not have left him with handling the job that required tact.”

    “That’s not your fault,” Sar replied with a scowl, “Speaking of which, Osamu finally managed to get the photographs of the girl when she was in prison,” Sar said as his face began to shrink on the screen to give room for a compilation of images.

    “I’ve seen her before,” Durward said quietly as he looked through the mugshots of Eula “She came moments after the crash with another girl. I didn’t think of it much before since there were four of them,” Durward paused, “If she’s still near-”

    “She’s long gone,” Sar said as he turned his chair away from his desk, apparently having an interest in his nails at the moment, “Sources have told me she’s headed for Italy.”

    “Should I intercept her then?”

    “No,” Sar said. It was only one word, but it somehow managed to convey so much authority that it would have made even the most defiant person flinch for a moment, “I need you elsewhere for far more important things. Just send one of the dogs out to get her.”
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015

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