Mathias, Maximus, and Mina, the top duelists who call themselves Team Buffalo Chicken, analyze the field. The duel still rages strong among our competitors. Stella and Willow have gained a big advantage while Yukio and Sophia are still recoiling from the attack.
Maximus is way too used to being a duel commentator, jabbering even when there is no large audience. “Things don’t look good for Baby Blast Furnace, both in moral and advantage. If they’re going to get control of the game again they need a real pep talk right now. They need to steel their nerves and get ready for the long fight ahead. Can they keep their concentration and endurance up to keep running to the light at the end of the tunnel? Can they win this marathon?”
Mathias, a firm believer in human strength and courage, replies, “The situation isn‘t ideal but not irreversible. It’s still anybody’s game.” He stretches an open hand to Maya, eager to clasp something from her. “Can I have some baklava? I didn’t eat all day and I’m STARVING!”
Maya licks her fingers, savoring the sweet taste and the fact that it’s all hers and hers alone even more so. “No.” Her nonchalant reply hides her worrying. She trains her sharp eyes on the psychological reality of the match, especially on Sophia.
Yukio runs to comfort Sophia, who is so despondent she is dead still. Yukio shakes her. She has to get up and keep dueling! Sophia shakes her head over and over again. “I can’t anymore. There’s nothing I can do. I’m too weak to do anything.”
Boiled to indignation, Yukio stands up and roars to Stella and Willow across the field. “How dare you pick on a less experienced duelist, especially one who uses a deck more original than yours! And you call yourselves rogue duelists! You shame every great, creative, and independent duelist out there!”
Stella doesn’t seem to care while Willow seethes resentfully from the rebuke.
Maya decides it’s enough. She approaches to and kneels by Sophia herself, offering her bottled water and the last pieces of baklava. Sophia thanks her and fills herself, gradually becoming more animated. Maya declares to everyone imperiously, “Sophia is far from the weakest link. She’s in fact the strongest duelist of us all, stronger than Stella and Willow, stronger than Yukio and me, stronger than Maximus.”
She says to Willow, “In fact, you’re the weakest link and you need to be smacked for using Blackwings. All Blackwings should die in a fire alongside all Nekroz and Qliphorts.” She says to Stella, “Nothing wrong with being competitive, even envious, but Sophia will beat you and show why she’s a better duelist.”
“How could you let such dirty tricks slide?” Yukio challenges Maya with indignation, Maya responds, “Punching below the belt happens all the time in competitive play. Even friends do it to each other.” She kneels next to Sophia, telling her. “Pro dueling is full of unsavory people. You have to learn how to cope with them. When you do, you will realize that subverting and overcoming them does much more than self-righteous indignation ever will.”
Yukio wants to object but he gives up. Sophia nods, taking Maya’s words to heart, and gets up. “Stella, Willow, I will beat you both. You may not have been able to use a great Fortune Lady deck but I do.”
Stella accepts Sophia’s challenge. “Bring it! Show me what you got.”
“More like ‘show us what we got.’” Yukio adds. “We’re a team, Sophia, and we must have confidence in each other. Only teamwork between us will beat them.” He gives Sophia a thumbs up, and she reciprocates.
Maximus provides further commentary to his imagined stadium audience. “We just saw Maya and Yukio coach Sophia – she’s a little green, a new player – and we’re back into the game. This is how great teamwork works outside the duel now let’s see how they take great teamwork inside the duel.”
“Maximus,” Mathias reminds his comrade gently, in a low and soft voice, before suddenly shouting comically. “SHUT UP AND LET THEM PLAY THE DAMN GAME!”
Team Stella: 13100 || Team Baby Blast Furnace: 8400
YUKIO’S TURN: “I summon Heroic Challenger – Double Lance, and use its effect to revive a Double Lance in my Graveyard.” A warrior in white armor, a white knight of sorts, arrives to battle, as does its twin. “You made a big mistake not banishing my Double Lance, Stella. You were too scared of my Extra Sword and Inferno Reckless Summon combo. I overlay both Double Lances to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia!’ The white knights disappear, replaced by a new warrior, armored in high-tech white armor, wielding a broad sword. “I overlay Utopia to Xyz Summon Number S39: Utopia One.” The warrior from the future collapses into an atom orbiting a new warrior, completely in white and shining with blinding intensity. “I discard a Rank-Up Spell from my hand and overlay Utopia One to Xyz Summon Number S0: Hope Zexal!” Utopia One vanishes and a new warrior with long, flaming red hair leaps from the black hole, brilliant with power, surrounded by four orbiting atoms.
Stella gasps in surprise, “Oh God, that gives it…”
“4000 ATK. Hope Zexal, strike the weakest link, crush Nothung!” Nothung and Zexal meet head on. It is no contest. Nothung’s blade breaks under Zexal’s as copper, and Nothung falls soon afterward. (Team Stella LP 14900 à 13300) “Take it away Sophia.”
SOPHIA’S TURN: “Let’s go! I activate Fortune’s Future, returning Lady Aeter to my Graveyard to draw 2 cards.” All right! She drew the 2 cards she needed! She play tested her new cards a few times but never used them in a serious duel. Here is the real test, for her deck and for her character. “I activate Fortune Lady Pendulum Nova and Fortune Lady Pendulum Destiny in my Pendulum Zones.” Two monster illuminate themselves high in the air on the far right and left sides of Sophia’s field, one a spunky woman with pink hair and sci-fi blaster guns, the other a sorceress with three faces, one of a young girl, the other a middle-aged woman, the last a crone.
“I activate Lady Destiny, discarding a card to return Lady Aeter and Lady Water from my Graveyard to my hand. Now I’ll Pendulum Summon them.” An elaborate hexagram shape carves itself in flames high above the duelists, opening a portal where the two Fortune Ladies flooded out. “I activate Lady Water, draw 2 cards. I summon Fortune Lady Wind.” A Fortune Lady in thin green cloth and with green hair materializes. “And since I Normal Summoned her, I can destroy 3 Spells or Traps you control.” Lady Wind summons a gust of storming winds, obliterating Black Whirlwind, Mistake, and Yang Zing Creation.
A beat of sweat drops down Stella’s cheek and it isn’t because of the Egyptian heat. In fact she feels downright cold. She and Willow are losing control fast! Sophia, unsatisfied so far, still has a lot more to do. “Lady Aeter, shatter Baxia!” Aeter burns the dragon Baxia to ashes with her wand of light. “I activate Lady Aeter, banishing her to summon Fortune Lady Dark and another Fortune Lady Fire.” The fiery Fortune Lady appears again, but with different company, a Fortune Lady draped in long black robes. “Fire’s effect activates, destroying Trishula and taking 2700 Life Points.”
“I Special Summon Chiwen from my Graveyard with it’s effect.” Stella manages to grapple her defenses in time, but it amounts to little. Lady Fire obliterates the ice dragon Trishula and scatters its ashes at Stella and Willow’s faces. (Team Stella LP 13200 à 10500)
Yukio pumps his fist in the air so hard as if he could hit a cloud with it. “YOOHOO! YOU GET HER SOPHIA!”
“Guess she’s not the weakest link, huh!” Maya hollers from the sidelines.
The whole of Team Stella, not just Stella and Willow herself look worried. Worse is to come. “Lady Dark, destroy Chiwen!” Stella almost shouts “No!” on seeing on her mistake. Lady Dark strikes Chiwen with a thunderstorm of dark lightning. “And with Lady Dark’s effect I summon a Lady Fire from my Graveyard, and use her effect to destroy Blackwing Armor Master.” The first fiery lady returns, blowing away Armor Master. (Team Stella LP 10500 à 8000) “Both Lady Fires, Lady Water, Lady Wind, attack Willow directly!” All Fortune Ladies strike Willow with their spells of burning fire, drowning water, cutting wind, and corroding darkness. Willow teeters on her feet, almost about to fall, but holds her composure. (Team Stella LP 8000 à 5100)
Still not finished, Sophia concludes, “I overlay both Lady Fires to Xyz Summon Gachi Gachi Gantetsu.” The fiery Fortune Ladies collapse into a black hole to form a crouching, muscular sumo wrestler. “I Special Summon Fortune Lady Mist from my hand, and tune her with Lady Wind to Synchro Summon Herald of Rainbow Light.” Lady Mist aligns with Lady Wind and spherical angel with wings emerges from the white light that ensued. Sophia gasps in relief. “Whew! That was one long turn!”
STELLA’S TURN: Just after Stella draws her card, Yukio shouts. “Don’t get any ideas.” I detach a Material to activate Zexal’s effect!” One of Zexal’s orbiting atoms disappears, and Zexal sends a wave of light from its sword crashing down on Stella and Willow’s field. “You can’t activate any cards this turn.”
Stella’s eyes look dead, the fiery light she had just a turn before gone out. “I set a card face down. Turn over.”
WILLOW’S TURN: The sullen Willow ponders her situation while nursing her grievances from Yukio and Maya’s rebukes. She’ll show them who is the real weakest link is! But what could she do? She drew Mirror Force but Sophia’s Herald is a major problem. “Stella, I have a plan for a comeback. I trust you to know what to do when the time is right. Act first before I do. Let’s work as a team too. I set a card facedown.”
Stella gives Willow a thumbs up.
“Both teams are showing teamwork and support.” Maximus commentates again. “It’s a very endearing and empowering thing to see. It is something this game sorely needs more.”
YUKIO’S TURN: “Sophia, we can’t let our guard down. Who knows what they’re planning. Watch my back. I’ll move in to attack. Zexal, attack Willow directly!”
“I’ll protect her with Breakthrough Skill.” Stella interjects. “Now who’s the bad sportsman? Either way, Zexal has 0 ATK now.”
“Not true. I chain Herald’s effect to negate and destroy Breakthrough Skill.” With Sophia’s words, the Herald and Stella’s trap scatter as illuminated debris.
Yukio commands Zexal to attack again, and it obliges, hitting Willow hard with its blade. (Team Stella LP 5100 à 2100) “I set a card face down.” Yukio ends.
SOPHIA’S TURN: “My turn to attack! All Fortune Ladies, go!”
The Fortune Ladies swarm at Willow again, but she is ready this them. Now it is Willow’s turn to trap them. “I activate Mirror Force!” Their attacks hit a barrier that looks like a mirror without frame, which ricochets all their attacks right back at them. Sophia’s confidence almost deflates. They were so close! But now is not the time to give up. “I set a card face down.”
STELLA’S TURN: “I activate Yang Zing Path. I return Pulao, Jiaotu, and Taotie to my Deck and draw 2. I activate Soul Charge to bring back Baxia and Trishual.” Stella winces as her chest lights up and her two monsters break out to come back to the field. (Team Stella LP 2100 à 100) “I summon another Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing.” A small yellow dragon flies to the stage. “I overlay Chiwen and Baxia to Synchro Summon Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing.” Chiwen becomes a single green ring while Baxia becomes eight stars. They align and from their energy of white light form a huge, snake-like dragon with emerald scales and a bird’s beak.
WILLOW’S TURN: “I activate Silver Lining. I return two Blackwings to my hand but I can only summon Blackwing monsters this turn. I summon my old Bora and Gale the Whirlwind. I overlay both to Synchro Summon Blackwing Tamer – Obsidian Hawk Joe.” Four stars align with three green rings to bring forth an Indian man adorned in a flamboyant red-feathered headdress. “And I use its effect to bring back Nothung.” Hawk Joe chants and dances to an ancient, natural-sounding tune. The black-winged birdman wielding its large black sword springs up from the ground, or rather some place far below the ground.
‘I activate Nothung to inflict 800 damage to Sophia.” Nothumg plucks a razor sharp obsidian feather from its wings and hurls it at Sophia. (Team Baby Blast Furnace LP 8000 à 7200) “Hawk Joe, attack Fortune Lady Water.” The Blackwing Tamer breaks Lady Water’s back with its bare hands. (Team Baby Blast Furnace LP 7200 à 5800) “I end my turn.”
YUKIO’S TURN: “I set a card facedown. Take it away, Sophia.”
SOPHIA’S TURN: “I activate Instant Fusion, paying 1000 Life Points to summon any Level 4 or lower Fusion Monster. I call forth Elder God Noden!” A sealed can opens. The compressed gases within it escape and crystalize into Nordic god with a blue armor and a trident. . (Team Baby Blast Furnace LP 5800 à 4800) “With Noden’s effect, I revive Herald from my Graveyard.” Noden strikes the ground with his trident as if it were a tuning fork, sounding out the ground beneath. The underworld answers, brining Herald back to the plane of the living. “I overlay them to Xyz Summon Outer God Nyaria!”
“What!” Stella shouts in disbelief. She’s not the only one shocked. Maya’s and Yukio’s eyes widen, Mina’s jaw drops, and Maximus leans over in wraps interest. On Sophia’s field both Elder God and Herald merge into the void. What crawls out is so strange as to be terrifying. What shape is it even? It looks like a convoluted mass of tentacles with innumerable mouths all over its body.
“I then overlay Nyaria itself to Xyz Summon Outer God Azathoth!” The utterly disturbing, completely unclassifiable thing collapses into a worm hole itself, giving the space needed for an even odder thing to emerge. This new god of the netherworld doesn’t even resemble a writhing ball of tentacles. It is some murky, morphing thing suspended in the air above everyone. “I detach a Material to use its effect. I destroy all cards in Stella and Willow’s field!” Something comes from the dark mass above, briefly morphing into two large claws and a glowing red eye. The eye shines bright with a fiendish, uncanny brilliance. The whole field before Stella and Willow burns as if on the surface of the sun, their monsters collapsing under extreme gravity and heat.
“For the final attack, Azathoth, attack them directly!’ The outer god creates more hands out of its lack of a body, each forming a ball of black flames. All of its hands shoot at Stella and Willow. They shield themselves from the consuming maelstrom, but the game is over.
Team Stella: 0 || Team Baby Blast Furnace: 4800
Maximus clapped his hands together, jumping up and down in excitement. “Nice dueling! That was an amazing game! I say that to all of you!”
Mathias heartily slapped Yukio and Sophia on the bag with such force it scared them a bit. “You both dueled with courage and teamwork. You didn’t give up until the end. That is how you found your way to turn the situation around.”
Stella, completely beaten for now, tentatively extended her hand to her opponents. “Hope there are no hard feelings. Good game.”
Yukio took her hand firmly. “None taken.” He gestured Sophia to shake Stella’s hand but Sophia hesitated. “Come on, don’t be shy.” Yukio insisted. “You just won for us a huge match.” Sophia clasped Stella’s hand and said good game. Stella was surprised how strong Sophia’s grip was, coming from such a narrow palm and boney fingers.
Stella gave Yukio and Sophia two Item Cards, a Millennium Rod and Millennium Scales, for all of their troubles. Stella was about to make good on her promise to help them climb the Great Pyramid but Mathias, Maximus, and Mina had enough. They were all fired up and ready to duel!