DAY 5 : 5:38 PM : LUXOR
Our team led a quiet morning. They went to the marketplace to buy some food for they ran out of rations and needed to restock and brought back bread, eggs, and fava beans, and garlic to their small hut. Maya and Yukio wanted to play a couple so they created a makeshift stove outside, lighting a fire over a borrowed pan. The couple squabbled with each other as all couples do. Maya berated Yukio for how could a man whose parents owned a restaurant fail to cook? Yukio fired back, calling Maya “Kyle’s mom” and telling her she didn’t need to wear the pants in every relationship!
Yukio sang in a very fast-paced, breathless voice, “Maya’s a bitch she’s a big fat bitch, she’s the biggest bitch in the whole wide world she’s a stupid bitch if there ever was a bitch, she’s a bitch to all the boys and girls! On Monday she’s a bitch, on Tuesday she’s a bitch, on Wensday though Saturday she’s a bitch, then on Sunday just to be different she’s a super King Kamehameha beeyotch!” Sophia danced and clapped her hands without a second thought. She knew the lyrics all too well.
“Shut you’re fucking mouth, Yukio!” Maya shouted. She pretended to be angry but could barely suppress her laughter and tackled Yukio head on, plummeting them both to the sandy ground. She lowered her voice to that of a gruff, American black man, barking, “Where you think you goin’, Anna May! I’m the Ike Turner in this relationship!” Yukio kept shouting, “You shall not silence me!” He muffled under Maya’s hands, trying to wriggle away from her grip. “I really mean it! Maya, she’s a big, fat, fucking bitch! A big ol’ fat fuckin’ bitch! ARRGH!” And he ended his song.
Sophia would never dare let such a chance pass her buy. She filmed the entire scene on a video camera for posterity. Let every future duelist who worships these two heroes for their skills and deeds know what they’re like in the flesh. By the time the two heroes stopped trying to kill each other their slapdash dish burned black but they had to eat it. The beide hamine and ful medames they tried to cook became black gruel instead but everyone ate without complaint because they were so hungry. Maya and Yukio vowed never to cook anything again. Next time they would buy something already made, even if they went to a nearby city, or so they swore. Sophia knew they lied.
Maya and Yukio did tell each other how awful they smelled. How could they not know after trying to kill each other a moment before? So everyone took a shower, which they didn’t have in a long time. The water, heated by the desert, was barely cold but it still felt like an icy, crystal paradise. It was a rather uneventful morning.
Maya now set herself to work. She opened the team’s laptop, dumped all her cards out of her back, spread them out, searched for Rex Raptor’s records on the Dueling Network, used Millennium Key Card to unlock the full recipe for every deck Rex ever used throughout the entire tournament; she did everything she could to learn her opponent’s tricks and stratagems to outmaneuver him in their coming duel.
Maya held a thought that gnawed her from inside her head for a very long time. She was shackled somehow. Her dueling, no, her everything, was not as good as it could be, her full potential still unfulfilled. She suspected an upsetting fact, that she herself kept her chains on her wrists and ankles steadfast. And now, more than ever, she wanted to break them. Her approach was nothing knew. Even when she was a child she always strove to grow stronger, clear all challenges, and break past limitations. The greater the challenge the happier she felt, especially if it meant snubbing the nose of a rich white kid or corporate stooge. She still fondly savored her last duel with Matthew when she completely scorned his pride. Once, after Maya defended her National Champion title, Maria spoke how she dueled without grace or humility, as if she was always annoyed by the game’s limitations.
And Maria was right. Limitations always annoyed Maya. Once again she struck a wall and once again she wanted to break it down. But how? That was a puzzle she couldn’t solve. Perhaps she needed to figure herself out and solve herself to do it. It would be a hard task indeed, maybe even harder than Yugi solving the Millennium Puzzle. She took a first step, something she always did to break a deadlock when she was in one. She changed her deck so she had more monsters with different Levels, expanding her Extra Deck options, and changed her Extra Deck accordingly. She wanted her deck to be faster, to get more monsters to her hand even faster. There were some traps she wanted to try out too. As she said to Yukio just yesterday, every other boss monster can’t be destroyed by card effects. She needed to work around it.
She heard a singing voice, seeming to come from nowhere, such a sweet yet sad enchanting voice; a tender alto more full than the viola! Who was this muse? Where was she? Maya and Yukio found Sophia singing outside under the shade of a palm tree to pass the time. She was in her own universe, somewhere in the lonely Russian winter, oblivious to the sweltering Egyptian heat or the effect her singing had around her. Maya and Yukio slowly crept up to her as to not disturb her, patiently waiting for the fallen angel to end her serenade.
When Sophia did, Maya embraced her, kissing her in the cheeks. “Why didn’t you tell us anything about your talent? We are musicians too!” Sophia’s cheeks blushed red against her pale white face. No one could tell if she was shy or sunburnt, or both.
By sunset the team wandered back to the marketplace, for trinkets and souvenirs. Villagers harassed them as always, “Only five dollars! Real alabaster relic! No hassle! No hassle!” And when they left the villagers insisted, “Three dollars! No hassle! No hassle! Americans! Mr. Washington! Mrs. Washington! Only three dollars!” This prompted Yukio to say, “Three dollars? Who does he think we are, the Kardassians?” And Maya remarked, “He’s a good conman. If he moved to America he’d make millions.” One of the villagers proudly stated to Sophia, “If you marry me I’ll give you ten thousand camels!” Maya dragged Sophia away, one of the rare times she had good sense.
The team explored further, even getting a boat across the Nile with a few tourists. A village on the other shore greeted them with open arms. Our protagonists sat on rugs and drank coffee under a wooden canopy, visited the insides of small brick houses layered with white plaster, admiring the tapestries with complex designs, and even went out to the small plots of farmland, which meant petting a few goats. Of course Sophia took pictures and videos of the whole thing.
Maya sat by the Nile’s shore, gazing at the sun as it descended behind the Valley of the Kings and into the underworld. She held the card Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal and thought of Sophia. She asked a villager what he thought when he saw the setting sun but he merely gestures. He probably didn’t understand. If she and her teammates dueled well they would be at the tournament finals very soon. Her dueling was decent but if she wanted to win she would need to take a step further. She needed to not hit a high target but hit a target that no one could see. And this was more than about winning some tournament. Dueling was one of her talents, one of her intelligences, but all her talents and intelligences were linked together. Yukio and Sophia called on her to take the boat back to the Valley. As she was about to leave, the same villager came to her and said, “I think of being forever young.” Maya looked at the Sun, the Beatrice card, and thought of Sophia. Maybe this was the answer.
Dusk became darkness. The dueling grounds opened again to blazing torches, loud music, and dancing villagers. Maya saw her opponent, Rex Raptor, across the darkness. They shook hands and took their places opposite each other in dueling pit.
Mathias, who made himself the leader and referee of the dueling grounds announced, “MAYA BOSCH VERSUS REX RAPTOR ! DINO VERSUS DINO! LET’S GET READY FOR SOME JURASSICE RUMBLE!”
Maya: 8000 || Rex: 8000
MAYA’S TURN: “I activate Terraforming to search a Field Spell, and I activate it: Seventh Heaven!” Before anyone could know it, a gust of wind from the seventh region of the air lifts them from the dark, shallow sand pit of the dueling grounds to the highest clouds, a place so high the skyline was red and outer space could almost be seen. “And I use its effect. Once per turn, I can banish one WIND monster from my Deck, and I choose Mountain Pterra. I set a monster and a card facedown. You’re move.”
Rex’s TURN: Now that was a setup Rex didn’t see before. Anyway, it’s his turn and he has the perfect combo to seal every play she could make. Now he just needs to set it up. “I activate Prohibition and the card I call is ‘Inferno Reckless Summon.’” Maya feels her back tingle in mild shock. Not bad. Does he have more? Rex seems to have read her thoughts for he carries on, “And there’s much more! I activate Pendulum Call! This card let’s me –”
“I activate Macro Cosmos!” Maya cuts him off. “Now you’ll have to banish the card you discard if you want your two dragon magicians.”
Rex grunts as he does so. “That won’t stop me one bit. I activate Dragonpulse Magician and Dragonpit Magician in my Pendulum Zones.” Two neon columns of light, one blue and one red, flank Rex’s field, a magician soaring high above each column. “Go! Pendulum Summon two Dinomist Rex, Dinomist Stegosaur, Dinomist Plesios!” Four great dinosaurs made from steel and hydraulic pistons not from flesh and blood march by Rex’s Side: two T. Rexes, a stegosaurus, and a plesiosaurus.
“Go, Xyz Summon! I overlay Spinos and Rex to make Cyber Dragon Nova and overlay it to make Cyber Dragon Infinity!” The Dinomists merg into a wormhole to create a cybernetic serpent plated in black steel, which then collapses into the wormhole to create a larger serpent of black steel. “I overlay Stegosaur and Plesios to make Bahamut Shark.” His other Dinomists fuse in space-time to make a powerful blue beast with wide wings, more a water dragon than a shark. “And I use its effect to summon Nightmare Shark right from my Extra Deck and overlay it to make Full Armored – Black Ray Lancer.” A large shark with fins so huge they look more like wings appears only to replace itself with a black armored warrior of the sea, armed with a mighty trident.
“That’s a pretty big combo.” Sophia remarks, to which Yukio nods, adding, “And if Rex is as good as Weevil, he has way more where that came from.”
“Black Ray Lancer, attack Maya’s facedown!” Rex commands, and his undersea warrior spears the facedown card, impaling a fiery D.D. Velociraptor in the heart. “And I use my Lancer’s effect. Say goodbye to Seventh Heaven.” And his Lancer smites Maya’s card with his spear, returning both duelists to the dark desert.
“I activate D.D. Velociraptor.” Maya begins, her monster opening a dimensional portal behind her, but she knows it’s pointless.
“I use Cyber Dragon Infinity to negate its effect.” One orb, one Xyz Material, disappears, the black serpent spreads its wings, glowing a bright orange, and Maya’s portal is sealed. “Cyber Dragon Infinity, direct attack!” And his machine snake strikes Maya with a ball of plasma. (Maya LP 8000 à 5700)
Maya bears the assault with no hardship. She faced much worse, but she knows Rex has more in store. Prohibition, Cyber Dragon Infinity, Black Ray Lancer: seeing these cards Maya knows Rex is building a lock combo just to beat her. What she just observed is the tip of the iceberg, or so she hopes. She doesn’t want Rex to waste her time. Weevil jumps up and down, punching his fists in the air, happy as a little grasshopper. “Yes! Bring out your dino-might, Rex! Get back our Item Card!”
Rex declares, “You’re not the only clever antimeta duelist out there. I do my homework too. I researched all of your duels and made the perfect combo to stop all your strategies.”
“Perfect, huh. Now I’m skeptical.” Maya rebukes. “A bold claim from one of the Two Stooges.”
Rex insists, “I mean it. Once my combo is complete you won’t be able to do a single trick against me. I’ll cancel every wily stratagem you have hidden in your deck. I set one card and end my turn. No amount of cunning or foresight will get you out of this hole.”
“That’s what she said.” Yukio, Mathias, Maximus, and Ivy say in unison, chuckling at each other over the happy accident. Sophia covers her face with her hand, embarrassed her older peers are such manchildren.