YGO COP 2: Duel 18 – Future Plans

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Jiao’s name has been changed to Xiaoyi.

DAY 4 : 1:12 PM : LUXOR

The events of yesterday were too grueling for any one person to bear. Maya, Yukio, and Sophia were exhausted the next day. They could barely sleep from the all the stress last night, their bones ached, and tolerance for stress thin. But they had to keep moving on. Maya’s fatigue brought back her college memories, where she lived alone in a small apartment, fighting in a duel stadium to pay tuition, her every day in class earned in a victory… and getting a Political Studies degree to make a career on top of that… and trying to work on her dramatic arts on top of that…

Time marched on relentlessly anyway, uncaring. Our protagonists had to keep up despite their aches and pains. It was mandatory. Maximus called every team that survived the Ghouls’ attacks and was still in the tournament to meet in the town square of the village workshop. Beyond the workshop lay a field of sand littered with small, sharp rocks and pottery fragments, and beyond the sand lay the tall, jagged hills of the Valley of the Kings, austere and intimidating. They sky was a perfect blue with no clouds or other blemishes, magnifying to yellow shine of the sand the might of the hills.

Our protagonists saw those wondrous scenes and vowed to see them more, but needed to move on. They huddled just inside a hovel over their laptop, deep into conversation.

June 3, 2009
PRIVATE CHANNEL

Maya, Yukio, and Sophia tell the crew back home everything that happened last night.

JOLENE: “I’m so sorry everything happened to you, Sophia, and you too, cher and Yukio.”

HASSAN: “I offer my condolences.”

JC: “I do too. Sorry about everything.”

Did JC just apologize? And why? Maya can’t make out if JC apologized for what the Ghouls did last night or what JC did four years ago, or both.

MAYA: “It’s fine. What’s done is done. We can take care of ourselves.” Maya offers an equally ambiguous reply.

YUKIO: “We don’t know who is left in the tournament. It’s not unreasonable to think the Ghouls took out a lot of people.”

Maya: “Jolene, can you show us all the teams that are left?”

JOLENE: “No problem, cher. I don’t even need to hack anything. Kaibacorp keeps an open record of every duel that took place for spectators.” She then delves to find the records.

MAYA: “This tournament really is Battle Royale…” she mutters to herself. “It’s worse than the Superbowl.”

YUKIO: “Worse. It’s the Superbowl for douchebag fat bearded virgins who don’t bathe, euphoric over the thought of their own enlightenment, while everyone else faints as soon as they smell their armpits. It’s as if Conan the Barbarian, Broly, and Bandit Keith left their jockstraps in a locker room for a week.” He nudges Sophia and winks at her.

MAYA: “You’re not helping, honest as you are.”

SOPHIA: “I think you’re both being unfair to duelists everywhere. Think of Stella and Mathias. They’re great duelists and wonderful people.”

MAYA: “Girl, you need to wake up. Like chess, Yugioh is a game that consumes you totally if you’re not careful. People who resist this game’s corruption maintain their humanity. Most don’t. Among the damned there are only three types. One: the aforementioned neckbeard losers. Two: pedophiles with lolicons for Internet avatars. Three: worst of all, arrogant wannabe champions who netdeck each other.”

SOPHIA: “You mean like you, right?”

YUKIO: “Burn.”

MAYA: “Honey, you need to step up your game, so burn it up your own ass. I’m still the American Champion and have been for the last four years. Please explain to me how I’m a generic meta player who netdecks everyone else.”

Sophia remains silent.

MAYA: “That’s what I thought.”

YUKIO: “You’re taking this really personally, aren’t you?”

MAYA: “The last few days have really put me under a lot of stress, and I hate everyone. My whole life is on the line in this tournament. What happens here will shape my future forever.”

SOPHIA: “As it will ours. Maybe Yukio and I don’t have everything to lose, but our lives are still on the line anyway.”

JOLENE: “Okay, guys. I have all of the teams still standing.” She downloads the information and sends it to Maya, Yukio, and Sophia, who examine it for themselves. Around twelve teams remained, including theirs, Baby Blast Furnace, holding three Item Cards. Team Stella remained, as did Buffalo Chicken, Ultimate Super Sayan Gods, and others.

XIAOYI: “Oh, you guys survived the second Ghoul attack? You sweethearts are tough cookies, aren’t you?”

MAYA: “Xiaoyi, how are you useful again?”

XIAOYI: “I provide the hovel so your friends to talk to you together, not unlike the hovel you’re in. Listen, I have a tip for you. Notice how Umbra, Lumis, and Bandit Keith went after your team?”

MAYA: “Yes, but Bandit Keith attacked for personal reasons.”

XIAOYI: “That aside, notice how the Ghouls attacked you with their lieutenants, not their foot soldiers. There is clearly an order in their attacks. The capos bring down the biggest threats while the rest of the crew takes out the small fry. Expect Umbra and Lumis to confront you again soon and next time I doubt they’ll use a proxy.”

MAYA: “You know an awful lot about Ghouls.” Xiaoyi sounds like Bakura in her black book.

XIAOYI: “Common induction. Elementary, my dear Watson. Even someone as naive as Sophia could figure it out. Most criminals aren’t very smart. Only strong people can wield evil and not get burned.”

JOLENE: “Anything else going on?”

YUKIO: “Mathias wants everyone to meet up at the town square. Well, village square really. He wants to prepare us for the Ghouls.”

JOLENE: “That makes sense.”

HASSAN: “Before we hang up, I need to tell you something. I had another dream. Among the three snakes, one of them slithers towards with guile and strikes her. The second snake strikes back at the first and they war with each other while the third snake tries to protect the second one.”

JC: “Don’t be ridiculous! Only idiots think bad dreams actually mean anything!”

Maya agrees with JC in silent. It’s not like they have the time to ponder the vague and dim babbling of prophecies anyway.

Mathias called everyone to gather round the square and the meeting was held in short order. Mathias stated his case, “Duelists everywhere, look around you. When the tournament began there were seventy teams. Now, only twelve remain. We don’t know when the Ghouls will strike again. We need to stick together. Maybe we should stop dueling each other entirely until the worst is over. Everyone who agrees, raise their hand and say ‘Aye!’”

Maximus, Ivy, Maria, Stella, Yukio, Sophia and others raised their hand “Aye!”

Maya did not. She furrowed her brow, pondering her thoughts briefly, then spoke, “We can’t stop dueling entirely. We’re still in a tournament after all. What if the Ghouls strike us at the last day? The tournament will end and we’ll all be fair game.”

“But if we duel each other we’ll still weaken ourselves either way.”

“I see your point, but keep in mind our duels are televised all around the world. The tournament is a fight for survival for us but for Kaiba and Pegasus it’s reality TV. They don’t care about us. If we don’t entertain them, if we don’t give them revenue, they’ll make us duel in some devious way, which makes our situation even worse. Besides, the Ghouls care less about technically eliminating us and more about terrorizing us. Why do you think they go to such lengths to destroy the marketplaces, even set tingfires on them?”

Maria took a deep sigh. She disliked Maya in every way, from her brazen impudence towards everyone who was her superior to her rude, perverse, and violent personality to her hatred of everything right and normal about Yugioh and everything. She was Lucifer, wildly trying to grasp the cosmos to bend it to her pride and will.

But Maya had a point. She knew Kaiba loved her, that he would always defend her and never put her in danger. But when Seeker attacked her, he let her get disqualified. Only Maya stepped up to her and saved her. She despised owning a debt to someone like Maya but her doubts of Kaiba’s love overpowered those feelings. Perhaps Kaiba was just testing her or being fair, not to give her any advantage over anyone else. She hoped.

She said, “A compromise, maybe?”

Maximus nodded curtly. He put his foot down on the matter. “We should duel each other, but each team can only duel another team only once per day. No one can leave Luxor. We need to stick together. Everyone agree?”

“Aye!” The group chanted. The meeting was over.

All teams dispersed. Our protagonists wandered the village to find a shelter from the sun’s blazing heat. The day was especially hot. Sweat poured over their heads so much it sometimes got in their eyes, blinding them.

“Have you guys noticed that Heishin, the Egyptian governor, lets the tournament go on in spite of the Ghouls wrecking his country?” Yukio said, wiping huge beads of sweat off his forehead. “Furthermore, his soldiers always come to stop the Ghouls a little too late, when all the damage has been done.”

“Heishin may be in league with the Ghouls.” Maya concluded. “It’s not uncommon for politicians to make deals with organized crime.”

Sophia interjected, “That makes so sense. The tournament attracts more tourists. Egypt makes a big profit just accommodating us duelists. Why would Heishin sabotage his own profits?”

Against Sophia’s doubts Maya could only repeat a point she made before, “Heishin may be working with someone else who has other motives.”

The team kept pondering their thoughts as they looked for shelter. It wasn’t easy because heckles kept breaking their concentration. “Come buy alabaster jar! Three dollars! No hassle! No hassle!” The team had no choice but to run away to escape the hassling.

Their exhaustion, the sweltering heat, worrying about the Ghouls, and the store hecklers started to get to the team. Their blood boiled under the sun. Maya and Yukio sounded more irate while Sophia became more sullen. Her eyes were in pain, the horrors of last night still all too fresh to her. Whenever she looked at someone it was almost as if she was pleading for someone to pity her.

The team briefly stopped under the shade of a palm tree. It was nowhere near a good enough place to stay but they could rest for a while. Maya and Yukio guzzled down bottles of water. When they offered Sophia a bottle she refused despite the heat practically melting her. She seemed to withdraw inside herself like a caterpillar into a cocoon, or worse, like a butterfly returning into a cocoon. Whenever the team bumped into another duelist Sophia would almost cry. The duelist would ask what happened to her, she would answer and ask for a hug, which the duelist would then give. Her melancholy degraded into simpering.

Maybe the broiling heat was too much but Maya had enough. When the team was out of earshot from anyone who knew English, Maya turned around and met Sophia face to face. “You really need some cold water to the face and not from an overpriced bottle. You’re self-pity is revolting and precludes any sympathy given to you. It’s fine to feel terrible but you indulge in your melancholy like it was comfort food. Then you display it publicly, sacrificing your dignity so random people will comfort you. How dare you exploit your assault this way!”

The words stung Sophia as a blast of icy wind. She suddenly felt very cold. She looked even more hurt than before. “I – I don’t understand. W – What are you talking about? What’s wrong with you?” She chocked, holding back tears.

“You honestly think all the people who hugged you actually cared? You think they would really stop Bandit Keith from harassing you or would they enjoy the show?”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Yukio stepped in. “Can’t you see she’s trying to heal herself?”

“Bullshit. She’s exploiting her suffering and weakening herself in the process.” To Sophia, she said, “You’re very privileged people treat you as a lily white delicate flower. I was assaulted too at seventeen. I was coerced into having sex in a punk concert bathroom stall over an unflushed toilet. The man was ten years older, kept grabbing me in places and hurting me even when I told him not to. Nobody gave a shit about me. You know what I did the next day? I got up, went to school, and went to work afterwards. Like nothing happened. Because if I told someone, no one would care. I never got to be a delicate flower.”

Sophia burst into sobs. “Why do you hate me?” She cried out again and again.

“Way to go getting Sophia to like you.” Yukio said.

“She’s training herself to become a victim.” Maya rebuked. “She’ll live a life where she keeps ending up with bad men over and over again and won’t be able to stop the vicious cycle. Sympathetic people aren’t drawn to the vulnerable. Predators are.”

Yukio had enough. “You know what, Maya? You’re like a drug addict, except instead of being addicted to coke you’re addicted to being destructive to yourself and everyone else. I bet a million dollars your entire life will be a story of self-destruction. You delude yourself into thinking you’re some kind of freedom-fighting iconoclast when all you are is a MASSIVE BITCH!”

“This is coming from an overgrown wannabe rock star manchild who still lives in mommy’s basement. You’re lamer than Jack Black. Blood Velvet is a band name as original and inspiring as Mystic Spiral. You might want to think of changing it. Tell me, Trent Lane, when will Mystic Spiral finally get off the ground and top the charts? When you’re thirty-five? Fifty-five? When you’re dying a nursing home?”

“Fuck you. You’re an evil person. You’re living proof the Devil is a woman.” Yukio rebuked.

“Don’t flatter me.” Maya shouted over her shoulder as she stormed off.

Yukio tried to put his hand over Sophia’s shoulder to comfort her. “She’s talking more about herself than anyone else.” He said, but she was too distressed to listen to him.

Maya walked only a short distance away. Her rage dissolved into despair. She fell against the wall of a hut, crying. The stakes for her in the tournament, her promise to Hassan, her feelings for Sophia were too much. The black cloud of depression shrouded her vision wherever she walked. Everything looked far worse than it really was but she could never see how things really were. The bright desert looked black as night to her. Where would she go if she lost the tournament? How would she pay her college debts? Her duelist career debts? And even if she won where would she go? Where was her proper place in life?

Worst of all was her guilt. “Sophia.” She moaned, the only thing she could say. She failed to protect Sophia against Bandit Keith. It was all her fault for letting her get kidnapped. The very thought of Sophia being abused again frightened her and seeing Sophia pity herself guaranteed to her it would happen again. She realized she had to confess to herself she yet only knew in her innermost thoughts. She summoned all her courage to speak her knowledge openly to herself. She loved Sophia. Yes, she liked Yukio and Jolene but she loved Sophia, the first person she ever loved.

She felt so worn out and tired. She wanted to die and sleep in a tomb forever, never to be disturbed, but her thoughts were ahead of her as always. She needed to apologize to Sophia. There was no other way around it. She nodded to herself as if she made a point to convince herself and wiped away her tears. The villagers looked at her as if she was insane.

Maya returned to her friends. “Sophia, I’m so sorry. Anger got the better of me. I didn’t know what I was saying.”

Sophia dried her red, raw eyes, but said nothing. She sniffed and crossed her arms in an almost haughty and defiant gesture.

Maya let her knees hit the sand. She was not a religious person but it was as if she was at confession. “Please forgive me. I beg you to forgive me. You are the only person in the world who can put me on my knees. I love you. Seeing what Bandit Keith did to you drove me insane with guilt. I felt like the biggest failure in the world. I don’t want to see you sad. I want to see you happy. You’re smile twinkles more brightly than all the stars of heaven.”

Sophia, moved to sympathy by Maya’s words knelt down across from her. They became equals. “I care for you. I care what happened to you.”

Maya reached into her bag and gave Sophia the rarest card she owned. “It’s called Sophia, Goddess of Rebirth. It’s not the most practical card but it’s definitely one of the strongest. It’s stronger than any god card. It symbolizes what I see in you, buried deep inside you.”

Sophia and Maya hugged.

Our protagonists found a small bedroom under the ownership of a local who loaned it for a few dollars a night. The bedroom, no the whole building, was a hovel and no hotel in any sense. However, it did have a massive, noisy fan, which eased the burden of the oppressive heat.

As they unpacked their bags, Yukio reminded them of the dueling grounds a duelist mentioned to them. Dueling grounds, places people could just hang out and duel for fun, were everywhere but were very popular in poorer towns and countries where duel disks were not frequently imported. The workshop village in Luxor was no exception. It supposedly even had a duel box, an ancient precursor to the massive duel arenas of the old Duelist Kingdom days.

But first things first. Our protagonists took a hearty bite from the portable food they carried and set out to improve their decks. Their opponents would soon know how to counter their tactics. They had to evolve, always exploring new ideas to keep their opponents on their toes. They tweaked and play tested their decks again and again until they were at last satisfied. Exhausted, they fell comatose on their cots, eager to win a victory later tonight.

Advertisements

YGO COP 2: Duel 17 – An Old Ghost

TRIGGER WARNING: EXTREME PROFANITY AND SEXUAL ASSAULT 

Sophia squirmed on a chair in a dark chamber, her ankles and arms bound together by rope so tight they burned red. She felt the tight rope rub her blisters and tried moan her feelings of pain but couldn’t for she was gagged at the mouth. She saw nothing but absolute blackness everywhere but could smell the oxidated stench of rust. With this information, she guessed she was in one of the Ghouls’ hideouts, maybe an old bunker.

Someone threw a switch, turning the total darkness into a blaze of white light in less than a second. The absolute light burned Sophia’s eyes so even when she clamped them shut she could see it on the back of her eyelids. “Rise and shine, sweetheart.” She heard a mocking voice say, and she opened her eyes a bit to see the dark shape of a Ghoul.

The Ghoul gestured to his partners in crime and so another Ghoul stepped into the room, and another, until the entire gang was present. One of the Ghouls, bigger than the others and their leader, gestured with his large hand. His cronies swiftly backed off from Sophia. Then the leader approached her, leaning towards her.

His mask was of a deathly pallid skull full of cracks, tears of blood dripping from the eye sockets. Sophia once saw a display of masks crafted by American soldiers after war, and the leader Ghoul’s mask was just as haunting. It spoke to her of death and the surviving, tortured, vengeful spirit that still existed after the person was killed. The Ghoul was terrifying, even among Ghouls.

“Who do you think I am?” The Ghoul’s voice was mechanically distorted and deep, like the voice of most Ghouls who wore a mask, but Sophia could still hear the malice behind them.

Sophia’s heart raced, her palms moist with cold sweat, her body chilled to the bone. All she could do was shake her head. “I have no idea who you are. How can I know?”

The Ghoul growled and tore off his mask. “How about now?” He was a middle-aged man with disordered blond hair and rough stubble on his face that could never grow to a full beard. His cheeks were gaunt and his small, watery blue eyes glinted with restless greed, hate, and a haunted expression. He looked like a starved hyena.

“Bandit Keith!” Sophia gasped.

“That’s right, the great Bandit Keith! I am the American champion and if wasn’t for that kiddie fiddler faggot Pegasus I would still be a household name!”

“Was the American champion.” Sophia impulsively corrected him in spite of her fear. It was only after she said those words she realized she made a terrible mistake, and her fear doubled.

Keith snarled as an angry dog and smacked Sophia in the face, almost sending her to the floor. “What did you say to me!? What did you say to me!? I fucking dare to say that to me again, you little bitch! Pegasus taught you how to be sassy in one his Neverland orphanages, huh!” He drew his knife and pressed it against her throat, threatening to let his blade slide at any moment. “Talk back to me again and I’ll slit your throat and throw you in the dessert! You understand me!?”

Sophia slowly and silently nodded. Her eyes watered, barely holding back her tears. Keith caressed Sophia’s chin, then her hair, pulling her braid with one hand while gently squeezed her breast with another. He muttered lustfully to himself, “Never knew Pegasus adopted such hot girls. Thought he was a total fag like Michael Jackson. Wonder if you’re legal. Uncle Merv always said, ‘Better safe than statutory.’ But why do I care?”

He slipped his hand in between Sophia’s thighs. “What a sexy Russian pussy. Gotta’ lose that braid. You’d look so hot in a metallic animal print dress. I’m gonna’ fuck your pussy so hard I’ll turn it into a bloody gaping hole.” Sophia’s skin crawled. She never felt so awful in her entire life.

A handheld transceiver on Keith’s waist interrupted his fantasies. He answered it with a groan. He listened in briefly before his temper flared like a rocket again. He screamed, “Fuck you! I’m not taking her to you! I serve no one, you fucking brat! I’m only here to get back at that faggot Pegasus for what he did to me and I’ll do it by smacking down this bitch!” He threw the transceiver at the wall, shattering it.

He cut Sophia’s bonds with his knife and threw her on the floor. “Get her duel disk. I’m gonna’ humiliate her and Pegasus in every way possible.” He barked at his stooges, who obeyed without hesitation.

When Sophia stood up, trembling, to meet her opponent, Keith said,

“I heard Pegasus only adopted MENSA kids. Let’s see what skills he taught you, little smartass.”

Bandit Keith: 8000 || Sophia: 8000

KEITH’S TURN: “I summon Cyber Dragon Core, and use its effect to search for Cyber Repair Plant. I activate Machine Duplication to summon two Cyber Dragons!” A small, wiry snake appears, and two metal white armless dragons accompany it. “I use Galaxy Soldier’s effect to summon itself from my hand, and I use it’s other effect to search another one.” The next monster looks like an astronaut in some kind of battle armor. “I activate Instant Fusion to summon Panzer Dragon from my Extra Deck.” And a tank with what looked like a Cyber Dragon head’s rolls into play. (Keith LP 8000 à 7000),

Keith grins sinisterly. “Time for the real kicker! Woohoo! I Xyz Summon two Cyber Dragon Nova!” All of Keith’s Level 5 monsters collapse and collide into each other, forming two black, winged cyborg snakes. “And I Xyz Summon two Cyber Dragon Infinity!” The two Dragon Novas modify their appearance, evolving into even more formidable machines. “Let’s see you get past this!”

SOPHIA’S TURN: “Oh, God no.” Sophia’s kneels trembled and she fell on the floor. Cyber Dragon Infinity could negate any effect she threw at her opponent. What could she do with two on the field? She thought of Maya and of Yukio, and nearly cries for the third time. “I’m sorry I failed you.”

One of the Ghouls looks at Keith, thinking perhaps Sophia gave up. Keith claps his hands together. “Games over! Time for my blow job!”

Sophia rockets back to her feet. Not even her overwhelming fear and feelings of failure match her disgust and hatred. “Baby steps. Baby steps.” Sophia whispers to herself, breathing slowly. She fearfully, instinctively reins her anger as someone who fears losing control by letting it go. She looks at her hand carefully, calculating her solution, checking it twice to make sure it works. Killing two Cyber Dragon Infinity’s was possible.

“I Special Summon Fortune Lady Pendulum Nova and tribute her for Fortune Lady Dark.” A perky fortune lady with a tight, bubblegum pink outfit appears, then disappears, replaced by a dour counterpart. “Lady Dark, destroy Cyber Dragon Core!” The dark seer blasted the small metal serpent with lightning from her staff. Its machinery malfunctioned and it explodes in Keith’s face. (Keith LP 7000 à 5400)

“I set three cards facedown.”

KEITH’S TURN: “Think you’re pretty damn smart, don’t you? Face it, kid.” He chuckles. “One Infinity is bad, two are impossible to get over, but three…”

“Three?” Sophia can’t believe it.

“Well, you’re more screwed than a porn star, sweetie. I activate Cyber Repair Plant, adding Cyber Dragon to my hand, and I discard it to summon Galaxy Soldier.” The second astronaut appeared. “I add a third Galaxy Soldier, but you won’t see him. I summon Cyber Dragon Drei instead.” A lean and long metal serpent materializes. “I use it’s effect to make its Level to 5, and I Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Nova and Cyber Dragon Infinity!” The galactic soldier and metal serpent open the space-time portal to the baryon world, letting a black metal snake with wings emerge. Then it too collapses, and a larger metal serpent follows through the portal.

“Prepare to be blasted the fuck out of existence! I use Infinity’s effect. Absorb Fortune Lady Dark!” The metallic serpent draws metal wire tendrils from its body and laces them to surround the fortune lady.

“This is it!” Sophia says to herself. To Keith she says, “I activate Fortune Wave! I banish a monster in my hand. Now all non-Fortune Lady monsters on the field have their effects negated this turn

Keith bursts out in a course and garrulous laugh. A token resistance is to be expected of course, but this is just pathetic! “Whatever! I detach a Xyz Material, activate my Infinity’s effect to negate your trap.” One of the serpent’s orbs disappears and the snake prepares itself for the task at hand.

“I counter with Solemn Strike!” Sophia declares. “I negate and destroy your Infinity!” (Sophia LP 8000 à 6500) Her card flips face up and an old sage with flowing robes and a long beard steps forward, ready to rain down divine judgment on its target.

“Don’t get cocky, little brat! I use Infinity’s effect to negate it!” Keith shouts, but his Infinity acted two late. The old Moses reins God’s judgment on the cyborg beast and it blasts into pieces. Keith is about to swear at Sophia but then remembers: Solemn Strike is a Counter Trap. Only another Counter Trap can negate it. And he realizes that Sophia’s Fortune Wave is now acting on his other dragons. Their steely hides look cracked and eroded and he realizes he can’t use their effects.

He shrugs it off. “Whatever. You can play as many pussy plays as you want little girl but in the end of the day I’ll drill you so hard you’ll have the greatest pain you’ve ever faced in your life! Infinity, beat down her Fortune Lady Dark!” His monster blazes a red stream of plasma at its target.

“I counter with Mirror Force!” Sophia flips her trap. Infinity’s red plasma bounces off her fortune lady, frying Keith’s remaining two monsters.

“You’ve gotta’ be fucking kidding me!” Keith cries with utter incredulity.

Sophia gives a profound sigh of relief. Keith’s field is wide open and she has some field advantage.

SOPHIA’S TURN: “My turn.” With Sophia’s words, her monster gains a Level and 400 ATK. “Lady Dark, attack Keith directly!” And her dark seer strikes Keith squarely on the torso with her lightning. Keith shouts in pain, “Don’t think you’re getting away with this!” (Keith LP 5400 à 3000)

“I set a card facedown. My turn’s over.” Sophia concludes.

KEITH’S TURN: “You actually beat three Cyber Dragon Infinities at one turn. That’s cute.” Even Keith has to admit it is an impressive feat, but he doesn’t. He draws. “But there’s no way in Hell a brat like you can beat the likes of me. I activate Overload Fusion!” A vortex of smoke and lightning explodes behind Keith, enveloping him in aura of power, much to Sophia’s horror. She doesn’t gasp or even open her mouth, but Keith can see the fear in her eyes and enjoys every second he does so. Nevertheless, Sophia’s jaw is clutched hard in steely determination, as if trying to master her fear. Keith shrugs it off. What can she possibly do?

“I banish 14 – that’s right, you heard me! – 14 machines from my Graveyard! That means all my Cyber Dragons, all my Novas, all my Infities, and my Galaxy Soldiers! I summon Chimeratech Overdragon!” He triumphantly slams his card down on his duel disk.  The king of beasts among the Cyber Dragons forms in the electrical explosion behind Keith, a writhing mass of cyborg serpents, a hydra with fourteen heads. “This baby’s got 112,000 ATK! You’re as good as dead!” Keith bellows with arrogance.

“Maybe.” Sophia admits to her opponent. “But it’s still a monster. A million ATK doesn’t mean anything if I can kill it with a card effect. I activate Dark Renewal! I send my Fortune Lady Dark and your Overdragon to the Graveyard to summon a DARK spellcaster from my Deck!”

“WHAT!?” Keith shouts in complete horror. An austere coffin crowned with a pentagram symbol rises from the earth. It opens, the casket bare and empty, but lures both Fortune Lady and Overdragon with its dark magic. The Fortune Lady reclines gracefully into death while the Overdragon shrieks, torn to pieces, its shards sucked into the casket. The coffin shuts tight, it’s pentagram glows a hellish red, then opens again. A new Fortune Lady rises, darker in appearance with its long, black robes, and greater in power: Fortune Lady Umbra.

SOPHIA’S TURN: Sophia draws while Keith is too shocked to reply. Keith was wide open, meaning Sophia is one step closer to beating him. Her hope brightens. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer! She can definitely do this!

…until, she realizes Bandit Keith is not a man of his word. Not just Keith, but all the other Ghouls surrounding her. Her heard sinks and she imagines all the horrible things Keith will do to her even if she wins. She trembles, first in fear, then in anger, anger at the wickedness and injustice of it all. She instinctively tries to shut it down in fear but can’t. The anger feels to her as if it is seeping out of her as a fiery aura, and it seeps into her monster as if it is borrowing her power, or as if she is giving her power to her monster. She can’t tell.

“You damn, filthy scum!” Sophia screams, losing all restraint. “It’s time I violated you! Lady Umbra, kill the Ghouls!” Her monster rose to the air and struck her staff to the ceiling. Lightning bursts everywhere in a thunderous roar. The bolts strike through the heart of every Ghoul in the room. All of them shriek in surprise, pain, and terror before falling to the ground, lying still. Except one. Keith teeters on his feet, clutching his hand over in chest in agony, but he still stands. (Keith LP 3000 à 600)

KEITH’S TURN: “You brat. You little bitch.” Keith groans. “When this duel is over, I’ll beat you, rape you, and sell you in Thailand for the cheap little whore that you are. You’ll forever suck dick for cash with nowhere to run and no future ahead of you. Just you wait.” He tries to choke back his nausea but can’t any longer. He vomits on the ground while standing up, splattering his black cloak with sick.

He looks at Sophia and realizes he faces quite a challenge. He has an empty field and his small hand can’t do anything for him. But he always has a trick up his sleeve. “I’m Bandit Keith for a reason.” He snickers to himself, his nausea turning into glee.  Hidden in his sleeve is a small machine strapped to his wrist, holding a few stashed away cards. If he ever is in a tight spot, he can make the machine give him whatever cards he needs.

Under Keith’s command, the machine puts five cards on the palm of Keith’s right hand. Keith subtly stacks the five cards on top of his deck so Sophia doesn’t notice. “All right. Everything’s stacked perfect.” Keith says to himself.

He draws and says to Sophia. “Look what I got! I activate Psychic Sanctity! I discard my entire hand and guess the next five cards I’m gonna’ draw. If I guess right, they go in my hand. If I guess wrong, I lose all my cards and lose 1000 Life Points for each one. Quite a gamble, isn’t it? But you know as they say, ‘Fortune favors the bold.’ Here I go! I guess Barrel Dragon? Nice! Blowback Dragon? Yoohoo! Polymerization? Fantastic! Megamorph? Perfect! Limiter Removal? I got it!”

“There’s no way you can guess all those cards right.” Sophia says. “You have to be cheating, you coward.”

“Don’t get salty on me just ‘cause I’m a pro.” Keith nonchalantly brushes her comments aside. “Time to meet you’re doom! Polymerization! I fuse Barrel and Blowback Dragon to summon Gatling Dragon!” A machine brute with three Gallic guns screwed on its body for heads appears. “And I use its effect. Russian Roulette!” All three barrels rotate, then stop with a click, all on a full chamber. The machine dragon fires all three of its barrels, riddling Sophia’s Lady Umbra with holes.

“I activate Megamorph, doubling its ATK!” Gatling Dragon grew twice its size. “And activate Limiter Removal, doubling its ATK again!” The dragon fires its power to maximum, overheating its circuits. “Let’s go! Blowback Dragon, smack Sophia directly! End this game!” The dragon fires all three of its revolvers at Sophia, smashing her to the bunker wall behind her. She collapses to the ground in defeat.

Bandit Keith: 600 || Sophia: 0

Bandit Keith basked in his victory before looking at all the fallen Ghouls around him. Even he had to say something, so he said, “You took out all of my stooges, you nasty little viper. Oh well, the duel’s done. Time to make a slashfic.” He knelt down on Sophia, caressing and squeezing many places of her body.

Sophia was so revolted she wanted to cry and throw up at the same time. She felt his hard hands, looked at his deranged eyes, and smelled his breath, which reeked of decay and alcohol. “Get off of me, you creep.” She squirmed, trying to get him off her, but in vain. She struck out in desperation, painfully contorting her leg, striking at Keith’s groin three times.

Keith groaned in pain and let go of her. He slumped to the floor, and Sophia saw her chance. She ran out the dark bunker and into the blinding light and heat of the Egyptian desert. She didn’t get very far. Keith tripped her, and she fell face-first on the scorching sand. Keith fell on her and grabbed her feet as if trying to pull her back into the bunker only a few meters away.

“Let me go! Let me go!” Sophia cried, sticking him in the face with her foot. Keith shrieked again and she ran as fast as she could, not caring where she went, only to get away from him. Keith clasped his bleeding forehead, angrily cursing at her the most obscene invectives he could think of, but did not follow her. He was too weak.

Sophia saw a car in the distance and, seeing Maya, Yukio, and Mathias in the car, hollered at them. The crew got out of the car. Sophia ran to Maya and buried her head in her chest, violently sobbing. Maya and Yukio sank to the ground with her, hugging her tightly, telling her everything was all right. The nightmare was over. She was safe.

Sophia told Maya and Yukio everything that happened to her, her bitter story broken by her tears. Mathias could only look at Maximus and Ivy and shake his head in pity. He put his hands on Sophia’s shoulder. “Mark my words. If I ever find Bandit Keith I’ll make him play the worst game of his life.”

“Don’t even bother dueling him.” Maya said, barely containing the burning hatred inside her. “I would shoot the pig right between the eyes, or make him so scared of me he’ll shoot himself first.”