Maya: 5700 || Rex: 8000
MAYA’S TURN: Maya draws her next card and ponders her next move. Rex indeed does have a considerable combo but she can break it with a little forethought and take the advantage; that is, until Rex completes his lock. But that won’t happen! Maya smirks in the smarmiest way she can, “Sorry, Rex. You’ll need to do more than shut down one key card to beat me. A simple trick like that won’t work. I’m not like the shallow duelists we faced; not like Michael, not like Akira. People say I use gimmicks because I’m antimeta but frankly they’re the ones who use one-note strategies. Get out Shaddoll Construct, get out Aqliphort Towers, et cetera.”
“And what’s your point? Get on with it already!” Rex demands, his body becoming more tense and stiff. How did his attack not faze her? Is she so strong she can kill effortlessly kill him off no matter what he plays? He remembers when he watched the American National Championship duel with Weevil four years ago. Maya nearly wiped out Matthew on her first turn with a Zombie swarm. Matthew even played three Judgment Dragons in one turn, one after the other, and they all failed to beat her. She overkilled him next turn.
“You deserve a better enemy, one who plays a higher game.” Maya changes expression, deliberately changing from a smarmy insect to a predator right before it murders its prey. “I’ll give you a higher game.”
Sophia softly nudges Yukio on the shoulder and says, “Is Maya doing what I think she’s doing?”
Yukio nods, “Yup. She’s messing with Rex’s head. It works on poor guys like Rex and Matthew but on better duelists.” He shakes his head. “I’m tired of games. But I do think she’s talking to herself too. When Malik possessed a mime to duel Yugi in Battle City, he talked how duelists were like vessels and strategies like water poured in the vessel. The larger and deeper a duelist is, the more water they can take in and pour out. A great duelist has more than one strategy, more than one way of thinking.”
In the battlefield, Maya thought of the very same tale, and thought to herself, “Time to test my depth, and his.”
To Rex she says, “You asked for it! I activate Raigeki! The clouds of the sky gather together to form a vortex, whirling faster, faster, crackling lightning louder, louder, until it threatens to tear apart the entire field. Rex counters, “I use Infinity’s effect to negate and destroy it!” His cyborg beast shoots it dead in the sky, dispersing it. “That’s your higher game? You seriously thought that would break my combo?”
“Of course not.” Maya replies, “For a skilled player, cards like Raigeki are bait, not the answer. I activate a second Seventh Heaven!” And both duelists and onlookers return to the highest of skies. “And I use Seventh Heaven’s effect. I banish Zsa Zsu from my deck. Then I summon a second D.D. Velociraptor.” A twin of the first fiery raptor appears. “And I use Seventh Heaven’s other effect. Once per turn, I can banish a monster I control to summon a banished WIND monster with a Level equal or lower. I banish my Velociraptor to bring back Zsa Zsu.” Maya’s first dinosaur vanishes, replaced by a smaller one, what looks like the earliest bird. “Since Velociraptor was banished, I’ll banish another Mountain Pterra from my Deck, and since Zsa Zsu was summoned, I’ll summon another Zsa Zsu from my Deck.” Another early ancestor to the modern bird flies to the field.
“I activate Ghosts and Stars. I Special Summon a D.D. Velociraptor, but it’s banished at the end of my turn.” The blood red-skinned dinosaur returns. “Its other effect activates. When it’s Special Summoned, I can summon a banished Dinosaur, so I summon another Velociraptor, and then use its effect to summon a Mountain Pterra.” Another red raptor appears alongside a mighty pretosaur with a wingspan of twenty feet.
“I activate Mischevious Mistuning.” Cries a frightened Rex, “Once per turn, I can change the Level of a monster by 1, so I decrease one of your Velociraptor’s Levels by 1.”
“That scared of Evolsaur Laggia? I overlay my two Zsa Zsus to summon D.D. Volcanoraptor, and use its effect to summon my third Mountain Pterra from my Deck.” The two ancient birds merge beyond space and time to form a smaller blood-red raptor, which flies to a stargate that just formed. Seconds later, it returns with another huge pterosaur. “I use the effect of my first Mountain Pterra, I bounce my D.D. Volcanoraptor and your Cyber Dragon Infinity.” The pterosaur circles both monsters in the air, catching them in a whirling cyclone. When the sky clears, both monsters have disappeared. “Volcanoraptor is gone, so I use its other effect. I summon my third Mountain Pterra.” And the final pterosaur materializes.
“God this duel is convoluted.” Yukio complaints.
Maya concurs, “Tell me about it. This game is like chess. It eats your life and your soul.”
She continues with the duel, “I use the effects of my two remaining Pterras to bounce my first Pterra and Velociraptor and your Bahamut Shark and Black Ray Lancer.” Both winged dinosaurs took to the sky and together swept away all four monsters with a double whirlwind. “I overlay two Mountain Pterras to Xyz Summon Golden Sunbird.” And the Pterras fly together for the last time. A large phoenix flies from the Xyz wormhole in a shower of golden flames. “And I use Sunbird’s effect. I summon your banished Dinomist Rex.” And the hydraulic T. Rex manifests on Maya’s field.
Rex gulps, his stomach feels like its falling down a dark pit. Maya commands, “All monsters, direct attack!” The entire horde crashes into rex, the phoenix burning him and the two dinosaurs trampling him on the ground. Weevil covers his face with both his hands – except to peek through his fingers – it was not a pretty sight. (Rex LP 3000 à 1300)
“Is your turn over yet?” Yukio hollers from the sidelines.
“It finally is!” Maya hollers back.
Mathias comments, his stomach growling, “I really wish this village had some Buffalo Chicken pizza.”
REX’S TURN: Rex gets up. He dusts off his shirt. He declares, “That was a nice, fancy turn you pulled back there, but I will complete my combo and shut your deck down.”
“Big talk for a little man. Let’s see you prove it.” Maya challenges him.
“Challenge accepted. I activate Pot of Eternity. I can shuffle four banished monsters back in my Deck and draw two. I knew you would banish my cards so I put my own cards to take advantage. I set one card facedown card. My turn’s over.”
MAYA’S TURN: This game is over, but she didn’t get to see Rex’s great combo. It’s a disappointing, but at least he put up a small fight. “Go, monsters! Direct attack for game!”
Rex springs his trap, “Drowning Mirror Force! I bounce your monsters back to your Deck.” Maya’s great phoenix swoops in over Rex but it hits a wall of water so reflective Maya could see her mirror image in it. The wall drives forward, becoming a title wave, swooping in over all her monsters, making them all disappear.
“Hmm…” Maya bites her lip in frustration. It was too good to be true, but maybe Rex will pull of his lock after all. She wants this really badly but not just to see an awesome play but to hopefully see her own current limits manifest in front of her. Thinking about your limits is one thing. Being confronted by them is another.
REX’S TURN: “Not so great as you think you are. My turn. I summon Vicious Vapor Tyrannmaschine.” A huge engine with what looks like a rotating disk for a face hovers over the board. To Maya the gross and clunky thing looks a bit like the Meteo Crusher from Star Fox 64. Rex elaborates, “I use its effect and summon a banished Level 5 machine. Welcome back, Dinomist Spinos!” The huge machine lights up, spins its disk face around, and the hydraulic spinodon rematerializes. “Now I overlay them to Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Nova and overlay it to Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Infinity!” The two monsters become tiny stars and collide into each other. A black metal serpent emerges, then collapses to make way for a more powerful one. “Next I play Domain of Sanctity. We shuffle our hands in our Decks, I banish half of my Deck, and we both draw six cards.”
Maya comments, “That’s one goofy card. Bet you five hundred dollars it’ll be banned by next week.”
“It probably will, but why not use it while I can.”
Mathias jumps into the fray so fast he leaves a dust devil behind him as he locks Rex in a chokehold. “Where did you get a card like that? You stole it? Because if you did, you’re dead meat!”
“No! I did not!” Rex gags as much as he could. Mathias is so big and Rex so small Rex dangles a few feet from the ground. “Oh no! Vertigo! I’m gonna’ hurl!” Rex swoons, ready to vomit. Weevil scampers to Rex’s aid, trying to climb up Mathias’ thigh but looking like a perverted dog instead. Mathias wriggles his thigh to get Weevil off, screaming at Weevil to stop humping him. Everyone else groans in embarrassment.
Rex gags again and again, spitting out whatever words he can, insisting he did not steal his broken card but got really lucky opening a booster pack. Honest! Mathias lets him go and flicks Weevil away from his thigh. Both stooges crash into the ground. Mathias wipes his hands. “You’d better be right.” And he leaves Rex and Weevil to groan on the sand.
Rex dusts himself and resumes the duel, after complaining about sand in his shoes, “I activate Pot of Cupidity. I banish ten cards and draw two. I Pendulum Summon Dinomist Rex, 2 Dinomist Ceratops, Dinomist Brachion.” Four new Dinomist monsters march into play as if they are real dinosaurs: a T. Rex, two ceratops, and a brachiosaurus. “I overlay Rex and Ceratops to Xyz Summon Number 94: Crystalzero and overlay it to Xyz Summon Full Armored – Crystalzero Lancer. Then I overlay my second Ceratops and Brachion to Xyz Summon Constellar Pleiades.” The Rex and Ceratops collapse together to form an armored amazon from the depths of the sea who transforms into a more fearsome warrior, with an even more elaborate armor, dress, and girdle. The other Ceratops and Brachion form a guardian of the stars, adorned with the purest platinum armor and cape of the richest shade of violet.
Maya realizes at this point that Rex is about to win the game. Before Maya can gasp in terror, Rex commands, “Monsters, direct attack!” Cyber Dragon Infinity blasts her with a plasma beam as the two warriors, one of the depths the other of the stars, spear her. Maya’s spirit hits rock bottom. She lost. It’s all over. But then she realizes she still has Life Points. (Maya LP 5700 à 1150) A feeling of relief washes over her. She’s still in the game!
Rex grunts, “You’re lucky Domain of Sanctity cuts all battle damage I give by half this turn. I set three cards facedown. Turn end.”
MAYA’S TURN: “Oh.” A pit sinks to the depths of Maya’s stomach. Rex really did pull it off and it’s really strong. As Maya gazes onward at Rex’s monsters she realizes that Rex completely covered his bases. Can she activate a card? Infinity negates and destroys it. Summon a monster? Pleiades bounces it back to her hand. Synchro or Xyz Summon? Mischievous Mistuning messes up her monsters’ Levels. Take out his back row? Imperial Custom stops such a plan.
At this moment Maya realizes her limitations are made manifest, not just in dueling but also in life. As much as she always strives to break free from her chains, cuts through the red tape, tear down anyone who stands in her way, she always holds herself back to a degree. Why? She wondered about it for a while but now she thinks perhaps it may be this: if she is truly happy and free than she fears losing control. Of what? Herself? Her world? If she stays miserable she still feels in control, even though she never was in control. She never knew what it was like to be happy and at peace, not to constantly have a fire demonic and angelic burn inside her. Maybe it is time to try something new, not to kill the fire, but make a truce with it.
Now she has to find a strategy. Strange, how easy it is for her now. Solving problems of the inside world makes the outside world much easier to deal with. Now it is time to act. Maya walks to the center of the field, within close striking range of Rex’s monsters, just under the vicious jaw of his Cyber Dragon Infinity, and extends her hand.
The audience blinks in surprise, as does Rex. “You want to call it a draw?”
“Hah!” Rex balks out a laugh. “Why would I want to do that? I control this game and you want me to throw it away? Get real! I expected more from someone like you!”
“My offer is a sign of my mercy, not yours. If you don’t accept my offer I will demolish you and your pathetic combo in three rounds. You can walk away with dignity or lose your Item Card and any respect people have for you.”
Maya’s words hit Rex hard as bullets. What does she mean? His combo is impenetrable and it isn’t even complete! All of a sudden his entire game feels as shaky as a house of cards, a sand castle Maya can blow away at any moment, a feeling that isn’t new at all. There was a time when he felt like a great duelist worthy of world recognition but years of humiliation and defeat, by Jonouchi, by Espa Roba, by Siegfried, by countless other people, thoroughly beat that feeling out of him.
“Y- You can’t break me. Prove it! I flip my two traps: Imperial Custom and Imperial Iron Wall. My combo is not completely finished but it shuts you down!”
“Very well. Round one! I set a monster and four facedown cards. My turn’s over.”
“Hah!” Rex desperately laughs. “That was your combo-shattering move. Such big words!” He looks Maya in the eye, a mistake. She’s not bluffing. Rex stammers, “I- I activate Pleiades’ effect. I bounce your facedown monster back to your hand.” The large holographic card
REX’S TURN: I summon Mean Steam Tyrannmaschine and use its effect to summon my banished Dinomist Plesios” A smaller version of the dimensional machine assembles itself into existence and reassembles the hydraulic plesiosaurus right after. “I overlay them to Xyz Summon Bahamut Shark and use its effect to summon Full Armored – Black Ray Lancer from my Extra Deck.” The two machines leave the field. Once more the large, dragon-like shark and trident-wielding guardian of Atlantis form. “And I use Pleiades’ effect again to bounce your facedown card back to your hand.” Another of Maya’s holographic cards flashes and disappears.
Maya secretly breathes a sigh of relief. Thank the Gods of Egypt it wasn’t one of her key cards!
“And I flip my trap: Vanity’s Emptiness. You can’t Special Summon! My combo is finally complete! Five monsters! Five face-up cards! It’s perfect!”
Weevil hollers from the sidelines, “You got this duel in the bag, Rex! Don’t let her get in your head and tear you down!”
“Don’t worry. I got this, Weevil. Go, monsters! Direct attack!” And with his command all his monsters lunge at Maya for the kill.
Maya braces herself. This is the moment of truth. “I activate Needle Ceiling! All your monsters are destroyed!”
“Not quite! Forget about Cyber Dragon Infinity? It negates and destroys your card!” His black metal serpent fires a photon bullet at Maya’s card, shattering it. “I got you cornered! Monsters, continue you’re attack!”
“I activate Quaking Mirror Force! All your monsters go facedown!” Her trap springs, summoning a fierce sandstorm, driving Rex’s monsters to cower for their lives. They crouch so low in defense they fall to the ground and disappear into five large cards on the field. “No Rex. I got you cornered.”
Rex realizes to his horror she is right. His entire field is full of facedown monsters he can’t flip face-up. He can’t summon anything or attack! And he can’t activate a spell or trap either since his back row is completely full! “I…” He sounds heartbroken. “I end my turn.”
“Wow.” Sophia gasps in astonishment. “A moment before Rex controlled the duel. Now he’s a sitting duck.”
Yukio shrugged. “She was America’s National Champion for four years for a reason.” He whispers, mimicking a line from Jurassic Park. “Clever girl.”
“I heard that!” Maya shouts from the sidelines.
MAYA’S TURN: Maya draws. Trapping Rex was only half the battle. Now she has him afraid, trapped, and cornered, she must, like a hunter, carefully plan her strike. Nothing short of a killing blow will work. “Round two! I set a card facedown. Turn end.
REX’S TURN: “There’s nothing I can do.” Rex sighs. “Turn end.”
MAYA’S TURN: “Final round! Get ready, Rex! I activate my own Pot of Cupidity. I banish my top ten cards and draw two. I activate Twin Twister. I discard a card to destroy Imperial Iron Wall and Prohibition!” Two tornadoes gather on Maya’s field and shoot out like bullets to Rex’s two cards, disintegrating them. “And since some of your cards were destroyed, Vanity’s Emptiness is destroyed too.” Rex groans as his card vanishes. “I Special Summon Lizardon with its effect and I activate Inferno Reckless Summon to summon two more from my Deck.” With Maya’s words a total of three flying red dragon-like dinosaurs swoop over the field.
“H- Hold on!” Rex stammers. “I activate Mischevious Mistuning. I increase one of your Lizardon’s Levels to 9.”
“That won’t help you. I overlay two Lizardon’s to Xyz Summon Stella Ptera!” Two red dinosaurs are replaced by a massive green pterosaur. “And I use it’s effect. I dethatch two Xyz Materials to bounce two cards to your hand.” The flying beast flaps its wings only once and two stormy whirlwinds wipe away Rex’s cards. “I activate my trap: Nanosaur Invasion! I banish a Mountain Ptera to summon all three of my banished Mountain Pteras!” A dimension portal yawns above for just long enough for all of Maya’s pterosaurs to fly out before it collapses in on itself. “And I overlay two of them to Xyz Summon Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon!” Two of the three pterosaurs circle each other, closer and closer, before colliding into each other to form a worm hole. A fiery dragon with scales as black as volcanic soot climbs out of the portal.
The creature roars at Rex as if recognizing an old enemy. “You just had to rub in it, didn’t you?” Rex groans.
Maya says, “D.D. Ancient Firebird is banished and I have at least two Dinosaur monsters on my field, so I Special Summon it!” A small, lithe, fiery orange dinosaur, resembling the most ancient birds, dances on the field. “I tune it and Mountain Ptera to Synchro Summon Dino Demon!” The ancient bird morphs into a gate of three green rings while the last pterosaur flies through it, vanishing in a column of light. The light vanishes, revealing a dinosaur so grotesque and burning with such fury as to look satanic. “I use its effect. I banish Lizardon your two facedown monsters, the one on my far right and my near left.” Dino Demon plucks down Lizardon high from the sky from the sky like fruit from a low-hanging branch, devouring it whole, and fires two blasts as huge as meteors, one after the other, at Rex’s monsters, vaporizing them effortlessly.
Maya explains, “Black Ray Lancer and Crystalzero Lancer can protect themselves from destruction once. Not when they’re facedown though. And for the last card: Dragon’s Mirror.”
“But you don’t have any dragons!” Rex objects.
“Not in my Deck, but I have a Dragon Fusion Monster that needs two Dinosaur monsters to be played, and I do have two Lizardons in my Graveyard thanks to Imperial Iron Wall.” Rex curses under his breath. Maya shouts, “I banish two Lizardon to summon Ancient Dragon of the Badlands!” An enormous enchanted mirror materializes on the field, its glass shines brightly and monstrous black dragon flies out.
Her path to victory all clear, Maya can finally let it all go. She snarls and flings all her fire at her opponent, roaring, “Ancient Dragon, destroy all Rex’s monsters!” And her obsidian dragon burns away the rest of Rex’s defenses. “Monsters, attack for game!” And her remaining monsters, her other black dragon and her freakish fiery dinosaur blast hellfire at Rex, ending the duel.
Maya: 1150 || Rex: 0
“Wow. Talk about an incredible combo.” Maximus comments. The rest of his team nodded, albeit cautiously. Sophia ran up to Maya to hug her while Yukio stared at her, frowning, shaking his head. Rex slumped his posture in disgust while Weevil tried to comfort him. Rex handed over his Item Card to Maya, sighing deeply. Now the team had five Item Cards: Millennium Puzzle, Millennium Ring, Millennium Rod, Millennium Key, Millennium Eye. Two more to go: Millennium Necklace and Millennium Scales.
“You know, it’s a real shame you can’t make any good locks anymore.” Rex complained. “The game’s so fast-paced and cards are so overpowered these days your opponent can just screw you over.”
Maya nodded understandingly, saying, “I hear you. Don’t get me wrong. I love locks and wish I could use more of them. Bakura is actually my favorite duelist of all time. He was the best strategist this game ever had. But back then the game was more like chess, a back and forth exchange where you had to consider your opponent more. Now this game is a dick-measuring contest… well, clit measuring contest in my case… Clits are bigger than dicks anyway… You just can’t see most of it… But that’s beside the point…”
“Are you like a lesbian supremacist or something?”
“No. I just hate frat boys and rich tech brats.”
“Ah, figures. I guess. Me and Weevil have to get more Item Cards. Next time we’ll pick on weak duelists, not crazy assholes like you. Bye.” And Rex and Weevil left.
Maya sighed in relief. It was a really tough duel. It was finally over. But she didn’t even get a few seconds of rest when Yukio, her nagging wife, began his lecture. “You pulled a really dirty trick on Rex. You know he and Weevil have a crippling lack of confidence and you exploited that, you manipulative snake. You talk to Rex about how to be a better duelist. But you’re no duelist.”
Yukio, like all true duelists, expected Maya to lurch back in shock and pain upon hearing his truths, but she merely smirked and put her hand to his face. “Honey, Yugioh is a game. There is no such thing as a true duelist. It’s a stupid label that means whatever people want it to mean, something Matthew did when we fought him. You’re not a samurai following bushido. You’re a gamer just as pathetic as the neckbeard you make fun of for playing World of Warcraft all day in his mother’s basement. And that applies to everyone else.
“One day your obnoxious and selfish attitude will get you killed.”
“I thought my smarmy, cocksure insolence would do that.”
“And you wonder why you’re never popular.”
The couple kept arguing as if they were married but ended their quarrel as suddenly as it began and before Sophia knew it they went back to talking like normal people. “Relationships are strange things.” Sophia noted to herself. She mulled over a decision she wanted to make. It would have enormous consequences but she felt it was something she needed to do, both for the team and for herself. She prodded her two companions, saying, “We have to go back. There is something I must do.