YGO COP 2: Duel 12 – Battle Couples And A Couple Of Lessons

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m just going to call mina ivy from now on. Mathias, Maximus, and Ivy are main characters imported from spectre2300’s Path of Virtue series. Spectre and I are friends who import each other’s characters in our fanfiction.

“YOU THINK TODAY’S OVER!” Mathias shouted in his dramatic, over-the-top way, “WE CALL DIBS ON DUELING THE WINNERS!”

Maya immediately stood up. The duel fired her up too. “I’ll take the challenge. Yukio and Sophia are worn out but I’m fresh.” This was a blatant lie as she was still tired from dueling in the City of the Dead last night.

“Agreed, but only on one condition.” Maximus added. “We’ll duel you guys in a tag team. But this time we ante only one Item Card. I don’t want to completely soil your victory, and we have only one Item Card anyway.”

Maya was about to make the nine thousandth sarcastic remark of her life when she stopped in her tracks in her mind. “ – wait, how did you not get any Item Cards?”

Maximus and Ivy blushed a burning red in complete embarrassment and pointed at Mathias. He swiftly turned around, booming, “All I wanted was some buffalo chicken pizza! Was that too much to ask?”

Maya made a facepalm more massive than the Pyramids behind her. “Buffalo chicken pizza… In Egypt…” No wonder they didn’t get any Item Cards. “Absolutely halal.”

“Now before you go about making Internet memes from 2015 in 2009 to sound edgy just to become outdated by the time this book is published, we, Team Buffalo Chicken, will decide who goes first.” Maximus quipped.

“What are you talking about?”

“You’ll understand later, Maya. Then everything will make sense.” Maximus rejoined his comrades to decide who would duel. ”ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS! ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS! Damnit! That doesn’t work!” They found another method and Mathias conceded the duel to Maximus and Ivy, grumbling about not being able to duel without his proper fuel.”

Yukio stretched himself on the sand before joining Maya by her side. “I’ll duel with you instead of Sophia. It’s better than way.” Maya didn’t plan on making Sophia her partner anyway. The poor kid just had the duel of her life. She needed a nap for all Maya knew.

The same crowd from last duel stayed put, hungry for yet another duel. Maximus and Ivy loaded their own unique duel disks. They were shaped like Christian crosses when folded but when unbuckled the sides assembled into a board to put cards on. Maximus bellowed, ‘LET’S ROCK!”

Team Baby Blast Furnace: 16000 || Team Buffalo Chicken 16000

YUKIO’S TURN: “Here goes nothing!” Yukio is itching for a fight already, but as his blood boils in passion something dark and cold knocks on the door behind him. The old spectre of guilt seeps through the door. The old boiler room of the family restaurant becomes painfully visible again. Yukio also feels a different pressure right in front of him. Maximus and Ivy are one of the best duelists ever. He needs to play something big and strong! Now!

“I Summon Summoner Monk.” The heavily robed Taoist priest appears and crouches down in Defense Position due to its effect.

Ivy, tight as a coil, watching every twitch Yukio makes, springs into action. “Perfect, I discard Maxx “C” from my hand. Each time you Special Summon a monster, I draw a card. Will you complete your combo and take the Maxx “C” challenge?”

“Don’t do it, Yukio!” Maya warns, thrusting her palm in his direction for emphasis. “You’ll give them the tools to beat us!”

But Yukio desperately wanted to chase away the dark cloud inside of him. The light of creative freedom was the only way. “For Summoner Monk’s effect, I discard a Spell andSummon Heroic Challenger – Thousand Blades!” A warrior in iron armor straddling over a dozen swords on its back heeds the call. “I activate Thousand Blades, discarding a Heroic monster to Summon Heroic Challenger – Extra Swords, and with his summoning I activate Inferno Reckless Summon to Summon two more from my Deck.” A lightweight warrior with barely any armor, wielding two light swords, appears, joined by two exact copies.

“I overlay all my warriors to Xyz Summon Number 86: Heroic Champion Rhongomyniad!” His heroic warriors collapse and join together into a dance of light, bringing forth a mighty new warrior wielding a huge sword and shielded in white armor. It’s ATK shoots from its original 1500 to 6000 from its own effect and all the Extra Swords overlaid to bring it out. “Rhongomyniad has four Xyz Materials, you and Ivy can’t Summon anything next turn.”

MAYA’S TURN: Maya eyes Maximus and Ivy with suspicion. Sure they are a bunch of fun guys who call themselves Team Buffalo Chicken but don’t they also go by another name: The Saints? They sound too much like Matthew’s own former team, the Shining Crusaders. Are they affiliated with him? Do they have his same self-righteous hypocrisy and his need to turn the game into only one way of dueling? Maya had been a pro for only four years and already she met enough people who wanted to the turn the game into a hegemonic hive mind for one lifetime.

Her father – a shadowy form of him, a petty disgusting creature – crawls into her brain. The world looks darker and she feels awful. The petty creature whispers into her ear how she unworthy, abnormal, defective. The volcano inside her boils again, building pressure under the surface. Unfortunely, her hand gives her little opportunity to vent her frustration.

“I Summon Spinodon and set 3 cards facedown.” The orange-colored, fiery dinosaur stomps its feet to announce its presence. “You’re move, Maximus.”

MAXIMUS’ TURN: Right after Maximus draws, Maya springs her trap. “Macrocosmos!” She shouts.

Now it’s Yukio’s turn to protest. “No! I need monsters in my Graveyard. You’re disrupting my strategy.”

“Disrupting their strategy is more important. It probably hurts them a lot more.” Maya reasons back.

Ivy can’t help herself so she seizes the opportunity to crack a joke. “Uh-oh! Is there trouble in paradise!? Are the married couple fighting?”

Maximus heartily laughs at the joke and carries out his turn. “I set a monster and three cards facedown. You go, love.” He passes the turn to Ivy.

IVY’S TURN: “Alright, not much I can do. I set a monster and three cards.”

Yukio detaches Extra Sword from Rhongomyniad, but it is banshed.

YUKIO’S TURN: “Rhongomyniad, slice and dice Maximus’ facedown!” Yukio orders. His swordsman throws his huge sword at the card, slicing it and the monster underneath it, what looked like Kagemusha of the Six Samurai. OK, Maximus is running a Six Samurai deck. Nothing Rhongomyniad can’t handle. “I end my turn.”

MAYA’S TURN: Maya’s hand is nothing impressive. The whole Dino Rabbit + Spinodon combo seems to clog the deck up. The normal monsters were making her deck slow. “I summon Zsa Zsu.” The colorful ancestor of birds leaps into play, with an ATK of 1600. “Zsa Zsu, attack her facedown!”

As the lithe dinosaur leaps to pounce on its target, Ivy springs her trap. “I activate Sinister Shadow Games and Mysterical Space Typhoon.” The typhoon comes first, sweeping away Maya’s Macro Cosmos. With Ivy’s cards safe from the banished zone, she can safely send her Shaddolls to the Graveyard, where they thrive. She sends Shadoll Dragon to the Graveyard ands flips Shadoll Squamata face-up. “Squamata goes first, destroying Spinodon and Dragon goes next, destroying your face-down.” She snaps her fingers with a fatal finality. “Pop! Pop!” And both of Maya’s cards are gone.

“More Shaddolls. Great.” Maya says, half in frustration and half in jest.

“You won’t get anywhere with that angry sarcastic attitude young lady.” Ivy chastises, wagging her finger playfully.

“Are you kidding me? Angry sarcasm was my first language. I learned Serbian, English, Nonchalant Cool As*hole, Pig Latin, and Internet Speak long afterward. It worked in high school and college, both in and out the dueling arena.”

“Let’s see it work in this duel. You can’t reject and attack your way out of everything.”

Maya sees Ivy’s remark as a challenge. She accepts. “I’ll show you! I activate Kaiser Coliseum. I end my turn.”

MAXIMUS’ TURN: “AWW YEAH!!! I’ve always wanted to pull this combo!” He shouts in glee. “Let’s go! Yukio, you’re not the only one who runs bada*s Utopias! I do too! I activate two Six Samurai United, one from my field and one from my hand!” The two continuous spell cards materialize, glowing with a neon-colored energy. “I summon The Six Samurai – Zanji.” A strikingly red-armored cyborg samurai appears, ready for battle, as two neon orb form and float above his United cards, one each. “I Special Summon Legendary Six Samurai Kizan because of his effect.” A new cyborg samurai, this one in black and green, marches into play, and two more orbs appear. “With two counters, I can send both United cards to the Graveyard and draw two each.” With that, he draws four cards.

Yukio is impressed by Maximus’ plays. “You want to swarm the field as desperately as a college freshman wants to get laid.”

“That was a pretty funny joke, but not quite. Yukio, you swarmed the field too quickly, like you wanted to take the game right away. You need to be more patient than that. I don’t know why you did it. You maybe wanted to flashy, were scared of me and Ivy, or you wanted to take something off of your mind.”

Yukio swiftly shakes his head as soon as he heard “take something off your mind”, confirming Maximus’ suspicions. His dead father reappears from the shadows of his mind and the fight they had in the restaurant boiler room all those years ago. If only he didn’t shout and leave his father he may be alive… The last thing he did was curse his father and slam the door behind him… What a terrible thing to do…

Maybe Maximus and Ivy do not know what’s going on, but Maya does. The winter after Maya, Yukio, Jolene, and JC graduated high school, Yukio told his father, straight up, he wanted to go to Borough of Manhattan Community College and become a musician. His father violently rejected it. Yukio needed to look after the family restaurant and since he was an only child no one else could do it. And how would he afford to live as a musician? Yukio cursed his father and left. Later that night the boiler room exploded, killing his father. Now Yukio only has his mom left, the same way Maya only has her dad left.

She needs to get Yukio and the duel back on track. If Maximus wanted to play mind games he went too far. “Hey you! Wannabe warrior therapist!” Maya shouts at Maximus. “If you want to pretend to understand people go to college and university for four plus years! Get back to the duel, Dime Store Freud!”

Yukio snaps out of it, his concentration back where it should be.

“Oh you really are a special case, Ms. Prickly.” Maximus addresses to Maya. “Am I right, Ivy? Anyway,” he now addresses Yukio. “Back to the duel! Now things can really kick into motion. I activate Xyz Change Tactics. I overlay Zanji and Kizan to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia.” The two samurais disappear into a black hole, building the bridge for Utopia to cross over, and Utopia arrived. “Each time I Xyz Summon a Utopia monster, I pay 500 Life Points and draw a card.”

“This is only the beginning, folks. I overlay Utopia to Summon Number C39: Utopia Ray, and draw 1. I activate Rank-Up-Magic Limited Barian’s Force, overlaying Utopia Ray to Summons Number C39: Utopia Ray V, and draw 1. I activate Rank-Down-Magic Numeron Fall to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia again, and draw 1. I Xyz Summon Number C39: Utopia Ray, and draw 1. I activate Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force, to overlay Utopia Ray to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia Beyond, and draw 1.” Maximus’ latest monster looks similar to the rest of the Utopia crew, except with more advanced black and white space armor and with huge nanotech gold metal wings resting on its shoulders. It is a sight to behold!

Maya is as impressed as Yukio is, but she and Yukio have a duel to win. “That’s a pretty neat combo but I have to stop it in its tracks. Bottomless Trap Hole!” A tunnel that appears endlessly deep, full of lost ghosts, gapes open right underneath Utopia Beyond. “I activate My Body As A Shield.” Maximus counters quickly, losing 1500 Life Points in the process. The tunnel to the infinite abyss below closes as quickly as it opened. Maya releases her tongue from the roof of her mouth, creating the “Tch!” sound familiar in disappointed duelists.

As hard as it seems to believe it, Maximus still has a long way to go with his turn. “I activate Rank-Down-Magic Numeron Fall to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia again, and draw 1. I Xyz Summon Number C39: Utopia Ray, and draw 1. I activate Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force, to overlay Utopia Ray to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia Beyond, and draw 1.” Utopia Beyond fires a futuristic gun at Yukio and Maya’s monsters, zapping them both. Rhongomyniad easily deflects the shock, but Zsa Zsu is hit very hard. “And finally – yes! – I play Stoic Challenge! Utopia Beyond has no less than 10 Xyz Materials!” The space warrior sparks and glows with golden, divine power, its ATK soaring to 9000!”

“AWWWW YEAAAAHH!!!” Maximus almost jumps up and down in glee. He even tries to do it but the Egyptian sand gives way and he almost falls on his face. “Now, Yukio, it is time to talk to my monster. Prepare for some electroshock therapy! Utopia Beyond, slay Yukio’s Rhongomyniad!” Maximus’ and Yukio’s two monsters, their two wills clash violently! They jousted, crashing into each other as medieval knights in the old days, and Yukio’s monster falls to the ground and shatter. Yukio feels the devastating shock of the attack, falling on the sand, receiving the doubled damage from Stoic Challenge. (Baby Blast Furnace LP: 16000 – 6000 = 10000)

Maximus finally concludes his turn, “I set three cards and end my turn.” Stoic Challenge vanishes from the field, taking Utopia Beyond with it. He has no monsters on his field. (Buffalo Chicken LP 10000)

IVY’S TURN: Ivy points her finger at Maya. “Now to deal with you, young lady!”

“You’d better deal with me!” Maya parries back. “Maximus would have won the duel if he attacked my Zsa Zsu. I was defenseless.” Maya has a hunch why Maximus spared her.”

“Yes, you were, but as you said when you claimed the American Nationals, it’s not about winning. It’s about sending a message. Maximus sent a message to Yukio. Now I will send my message to you, Ms. Prickly.”

She ponders her next move but it doesn’t take long as she is done in a few seconds. “I activate Spell-Shattering Arrow.” A brilliant arrow shoots from her card, piercing through Maya’s face-up Kaiser Coliseum and to her heart. Maya gasped, clutched her chest tightly for dear life. (Baby Blast Furnace 10000 à 9500) “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“You’re not the only antimeta duelist around town. Antimeta is great, especially yours, but it’s not enough. Your antimeta is too obvious. You treat your opponents the same way you treated your opponents in the past who ran Chaos Control, Dark Armed Dragon, and Monarchs. But duelists around the world are different. It’s not America in 2005 anymore. You’re still angry and contemptuous towards the same people, and that ironically blinds you from opposing the ‘system’ in better ways.”

Maya remembers all the times her father demeaned and hit her. She remembers when he called her “defective” because she couldn’t talk until she was three and asked a doctor if she was “insane” because she imagined and played too vividly as a small child. And there were the bruises, when he threw his anger and anxieties at her and mother, and she would cover up the bruises at school the next day. She held the smoldering anger in her until it hurt. She stole money from other children and sometimes even hit them.

Sometimes, she played the piano and composed her earliest music, releasing some of the pent up steam. She would join the boys and take on their challenges. But sometimes that wasn’t enough and she would explode. She once got expelled and father hit her very hard. Mother died shortly after the family moved to America. Maya wished ever since she could have somehow protected mother from dying as mother always protected her from father’s angry words and fists. She felt so helpless… but how could she stop an enraged man over six feet tall let alone lung cancer…

America was so different from Serbia. Whenever she earned As at school, got into a top college, composed great music, and climbed her way up the dueling world some prick assumed she got ahead through some quota or another. A few times police nearly arrested her for things she didn’t do. When she was assaulted twice, once in high school and once in college, the administrators told her it was her fault. The message to her was always clear. “You are an intrinsically inferior human being and unworthy of dignity.”

And who told her this message the most? The first person she often thought about was Matthew. People like Matthew: vicious, smug hypocrites, absorbed in their “superiority”, who tried to destroy anyone who was different because of their fear, ignorance, and resentment. They embodied an entire way of life that Maya reviled to its very core. To her the metagame isn’t just a way people played Yugioh. It is a way people lived.

All of these troublesome thoughts and associations flood Maya’s mind in an instant. She has seen them so often before. She is that familiar with all of them. To make things worse, Ivy is far from done with her turn.

“I Summon Denko Sekka!” Ivy declares as a samurai in electric blue armor takes its stance. “And I banish Squamata from my Grave to Summon White Dragon Wyverbuster.” An apparition of Ivy’s doll lizard evaporates and a blue dragon emerges from the smoke.

Maya can’t help but make a tongue-in-cheek remark. “Denko would’ve been much more useful last turn, huh.”

“You’re the one who is in trouble, not me.” Ivy retorts. “Denko, turn that ancient chicken Zsa Zsu into nice Thanksgiving dinner.” The samurai easily kills the dinosaur. Off with its head! “And Wyverbuster, attack Maya directly!” The blue dragon vomits a torrent of white light from its mouth, hitting Maya squarely in the chest.

Yukio has been waiting all turn to use Thousand Blades’ effect and now was the time. “Since my partner took damage, I resurrect Thousand Blades from the Graveyard.” And sure enough, Yukio’s multi-sword wielding warrior returns.

“I set two cards. You’re turn.” Ivy concludes. (Baby Blast Furnace LP 9500 à 6000)

YUKIO’S TURN: “Having two Double Lance in my hand isn’t so great.” Yukio thinks to himself. “But I’ll have to manage.” To Maya he says, “So far we didn’t cooperate. Now we need to work together if we want to take back the game. We have to put aside our issues to win.” Maya silently agrees.

“’kay, I Summon Heroic Challenger – Assault Halberd.” A tall knight in dark robes and with a long sword appears. “I overlay Thousand Blades and Assault Halberd to Xyz Summon Blade Armor Ninja.” His two warriors make way for a new one: a dark-armored ninja with two huge daggers. “I detach Thousand Blades so Armor Ninja can attack twice.” One of the ninja’s electron-like orbs, so often seen with Xyz monsters, absorbs itself into the body. “Ninja, take out Ivy’s monsters!” Armor Ninja deftly throws its two daggers at the dragon and samurai, swiftly eliminating them. (Buffalo Chicken LP 9500 à 9000) “I set a card. Turn end.”

MAYA’S TURN: “I may have only one card left but I can still do a lot of damage. You’ll be surprised how much I can do.”

“I never doubted either of your skills. It’s you beyond the game that is the problem.” Maximus says to both to Yukio and Maya.

“I activate Instant Fusion, paying 1000 Life Points to Summon Elder God Noden.” What looks like a ramen can opens, releasing its smoke. The fog congests into a Poseidon-like deity wielding a triton and driving a chariot. “And it can bring back a monster from my Graveyard. Welcome back, Spinodon!” The red and orange frilled dinosaur reappears. (Baby Blast Furnace LP 7700 à 6700) Now I overlay them to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia and overlay it to Xyz Summon Number S39: Utopia the Lightning.” The space warrior emerges from the collapsed void before upgrading a more heavily armored version of itself.

“Utopia Prime, attack Maximus and Ivy directly!” Maya declares, and her space warrior zooms to the opponent’s field, striking both squarely in the torso. (Buffalo Chicken LP 9000 à 6500)

“Oof!” Maximus gasps for air. “That was a strong attack.” Maya also stopped him from triggering his traps during battle because of her monster’s effect. “But on your Main Phase 2 I activate Xyz Reborn, I bring back my own Utopia and my trap becomes an Xyz Material!” Maximus’ own space warrior returns. (Buffalo Chicken LP 9000 à 6500)

“Thanks for the compliment, but it wasn’t needed. I end my turn.”

MAXIMUS’ TURN: “Now it’s my turn to Summon my own Number S39: Utopia the Lightning!” Maximus’ monster gets its own upgrade. “And I Summon Legendary Six Samurai Kageki, and with its effect I Summon Kagemusha of the Six Samurai from my hand.” Two new samurais, one green-armored, staunch, and barrel-chested, and the other red-armored, small, and thin take the field in arms. “I tune Kageki and Kagemusha to Synchro Summon Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En.” His two samurais got on the same wavelength, merging to form a mighty red samurai of high rank.

Yukio senses in the instant what Maximus wants to do. He wants to suicide his Utopia into Maya’s! “I activate Breakthrough Skill!” It is his only chance to do so. “Utopia’s effect is negated.” And surely it was. Utopia seems to wince under a cramp as its body briefly glows a malevolent red.

“It’s not it’s gonna’ help anyway.” Maximus sees the confusion on Yukio’s face so he clarifies, “Both mine and Maya’s Utopias stop each other from using our effects. Sorry kiddo, but no cigar.” He commands, “Shi En, butcher Armored Ninja!” Yukio’s ninja tries to resist but it’s futile. The august red samurai is too quick, slashing through its torso. (Baby Blast Furnace LP 6500 à 6200)

“Since we took damage I resurrect Thousand Blades.” Yukio interjects, and his warrior once more returns.

Maximus doesn’t pay attention. His sights are on Maya alone. “You ready, Ms. Prickly!” Maximus calls to Maya. “I’m going to give your space ranger the ride of his life! Utopia, attack!”

“Analyze this, Dime Store Freud!” Maya shoots back. “Utopia, attack!” Their monsters charge straight for each other. They smash together, exploding in a terrific atomic blast that almost knocks everyone off their feet, even the spectators! Everyone coughs from the Egyptian sand, since the two Utopias almost created a desert storm when they clashed into each other.

Maximus says, “I set a card. Ivy, their field is clear. Take it away!”

IVY’S TURN: Ivy winks at Maximus and gives him a thumbs-up. “With pleasure. I Summon Madolche Mewfueille, which lets me Summon Madolche Anjelly.” A small cat appears followed by a girl with a cute pink dress and candy in her hair. “I tribute Anjelly to Summon Madolche Hootcake from my Deck.” The girl disappears, replaced by an owl clasping a candy cane in its beak. “I use Hootcake to banish Anjelly from my Graveyard to Summon Madolche Messagelato and use its effect to add Madolche Chateau to my hand.” A youthful mailman in nostalgic formal attire arrives. The new Kaiba Corp. duel disk ejects a card from Ivy’s deck to her hand, something all the new duel disks do.

“I activate Madolche Chateau.” The spell card transports all the duelists and spectators into a rich candy land, far away from the ancient, barren Egyptian dessert. A massive ginger bread mansion looms in the background. “All my Madolches gain 500 ATK and DEF, and if any of them are to return to my Deck they go to my hand instead. “Moving on, I activate Instant Fusion to Special Summon Fusionist.” Ivy’s sealed ramen can pops open. Smoke spreads on her field and then condenses to form a black cat with wings and menacing red eyes. (Buffalo Chicken LP 6500 à 5500)

“I overlay Mewfeuille and Fusionist to Xyz Summon M-X-Saber Invoker.” The two beasts collapse to summon a swordsman with long red hair from another dimension. “And I use its effect to Summon another Madolche Messagelato and use its effect to add Madolche ticket to my hand.” Another mailman reports for duty and Ivy searches for another card.

Maya and Yukio both know they are probably done for this turn. The ice cold, stinging feeling of disappointment already sets in. But some hope stubbornly shines. Can they survive the turn and somehow turn things around?

Not a chance! “I activate Madolche Ticket.” Ivy says, “When a Madolche monster is returned to my Deck or hand I can add a Madolche monster from my Graveyard to my hand. That’s not all: If I control a Madolche monster, I can even Special Summon it. I overlay both Messagelatos to Xyz Summon Queen Tiaramisu.” The two mailmen jump into a newly formed void, which then disappears with the arrival of her Most Delicious Majesty, a queen in a dark gown with hair so luxuriant it looked edible. “I detach a Xyz Material to bounce you’re face-down card, Maya, and your Thousand Blades, Yukio.” The two cards return to their respective duelists’ hands.

“With Madolche Ticket I Summon Madolche Cruffsant.” A small, adorable lapdog with a tiny top hat hops into play. “I overlay Hootcake and Cruffsant to Xyz Summon Leviair the Sea Dragon, which I use to bring back my banished Madolche Anjelly.” The dimensional seadragon glides into play and with its breath opens a wormhole allowing Anjelly to return. “I tribute Anjelly again to Summon Madolche Messagelato from my Deck again.” The girl disappears replaced by Ivy’s third candy land mailman. Ivy searched for her final card: Madolche Lesson.

“Good game, Yukio, Maya. You two fought well but it’s over. Attack, my monsters!” Invoker slashes at Yukio and Maya, Leviair burns them, Messagelato throws a present box at them, which explodes, and the queen Tiaramisu casts a rainbow beam of light at them from her scepter. The collective strike ends the duel.

Team Baby Blast Furnace: 0 || Team Buffalo Chicken: 5500

The spectating crowd clapped loudly, cheering for all duelists, both winners and losers, just as they did for the last duel. Yukio and Maya knew they were outclassed by duelists far older and more experienced than they were. They humbly accepted the applause.

Maximus and Ivy shook Yukio and Maya’s hands. “That was a great duel. You both dueled with exceptional skill.” Matthew congratulated them with warmth and appreciation.

“Your dueling was just awesome. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Yukio admitted, while Maya said. “We have a lot of new strategies to learn. We’ll rebuild our decks so to become stronger than ever.” Yukio and Maya really started to appreciate Maximus and Ivy for their courtesy and kindness. Dueling was so often a cutthroat battle with bitter rivals who would do anything to win. But Maximus and Ivy actually made dueling fun and a positive experience again.

Yukio and Maya surrendered their Millennium Item Card, the Rod Card. New had four Item Cards left: the Puzzle Card they started out with, the Ring Card and Key Card Maya won, and the Key Card Sophia and Yukio won. They were more than halfway done but still had a long way to go. They reckoned things would especially get tough in the later stages of the tournament when few duelists would remain.

Mathias complained of his growling stomach and intruded from the audience. “I loved this duel and I’m really happy for you guys but can we get a pizza somewhere. We’re STAAAAARRRVIIIIIIIIIIIING!” Maximus, and Ivy laughed, Yukio shrugged, while Maya covered her face in pretend embarrassment.

Sophia took out a black shutter camera for she was very fond of photography and captured everything from the moment: Mathias’ bawdy laugh, Yukio’s puffed mouth, rolling eyes, and shrug, Maya’s laugh glittering behind the feigned embarrassment. They were frozen in time into timelessness, and Sophia loved that.

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