Keith dragged Sophia by the hair to an arena just for them, a rocky part of Valley of the Kings near a steep cliff. He flung Sophia against the rocky wall, nearly cracking her head, and kicked her duel disk at her.
The scoundrel threw away his Ghouls cloaks, revealing his entire face and body. “Bandit” Keith Howard looked gaunt as if years of torment eroded his body. His small, sharp blue eyes had a vicious hungry look about them while his body was tall and lean with broad shoulders. He looked as a hyena always searching for its next carcass to survive.
Keith said, “I could take you right now and do with you as I wish. I don’t need to duel a little whore like you. But hey, all whores are useless after the thing between their legs.” Noticing the hurt in his prey’s eyes, he took in all the delight such a sight brought him. “But know this, I’m hurting not only you but Pegasus. Once I beat you I’ll cut you up into little pieces and put you in the next dumpster I find. I’ll even send some pics right to Pegasus’ Facebook. He’s gonna’ love that.”
Sophia could not fathom how one person could be so hateful. She could only wonder what horrible thing happened to bend him so out of shape. “Why do you do this?”
“WAAH! Why do you this? WAAH!” Keith jeered at her. “You think I got some complex motive behind all this? I don’t.” He gestured his studded sleeveless jacked and combat boots. “I’m no Hannibal Lecter, kid. I’m the nastiest, meanest motherfucking bad boy you’ll ever want to have sex with. What you see is what you get. Now get dueling before my dick loses patience.”
Sophia had no choice but to beat him in his own deadly game. She accepted his challenge.
Sophia: 8000 || Bandit Keith: 8000
SOPHIA’S TURN: “I activate Future Visions!” A portion of her terrain morphs from the black clouds of a dark game to a celestial realm full of stars. “I Summon Fortune Lady Light and banish her,” A small witch in bright yellow clothes and black tights appears only to vanish through a wormhole. “And Summon Fortune Lady Earth.” A larger, more robust witch appears with dark green clothes and staff to match.”
“I activate Pre-Preparation of Rights to search for my Ritual cards, which I’ll use. Go, Hymn of Light. I Tribute Lady Earth.” Her witch shatters and falls through a painted glass window. “To Ritual Summon Saffira, Queen of Dragons.” The window itself shatter, the pieces come together, transforming into an elegant blue dragon on its hind legs. “I use her effect to draw 2 cards and discard 1.”
This is bad. She has no back row. “Turn End.”
KEITH’S TURN: Sophia’s opponent laughs at her. “You’re the most pathetic girl I’ve ever seen! Didn’t draw the card you needed. Let me help you. Card Destruction!” Both players discard their hands and draw anew. “Now Junk Dealer.” Keith revives Cyber Dragon Core and Proto Cyber Dragon, both rusty and dented. “I now play Infernal Reckless Summon, calling out 3 Cyber Dragons!” Sophia looks on in awe and fear as his three cyborg serpents come into play so easily. “Then Level Equalizer! I make all monsters with the same Attribute and Type the same Level.” His will is done, as all his monsters are LIGHT Machines.
“I overlay my 2 Cyber Dragons to Xyz Summon Cyber Dragon Nova.” Two white metal snakes vanish to give way to a dark one. “And use its effect to revive a Cyber Dragon.” One white snake returns. “And I overlay my Dragon Nova make Cyber Dragon Infinity.” The black snake morphs into an even larger and more dangerous one. “I repeat this twice over. I overlay the rest of my monsters to make 2 Cyber Dragon Nova and 2 Cyber Dragon Infinity!” Two more formidable black snakes appear.
Keith laughs in glee over his creations. “There’s no way you’ll survive this! Infinity, absorb Saffira!” His snake spread its wings, hundreds of tendrils reach out to snatch Sophia’s dragon, but fail to draw her towards it. Keith blinks. “What?”
“My Saffira has to be in Attack Position for you to absorb it.” Sophia states. It is why she Summoned her monster to defend, not attack.
“Shut your mouth, kid!” Keith violently explodes. “I’ll pound you to oblivion! Infinity, destroy Saffira!” His machine obliges, sending Sophia’s dragon to a quick death. “The rest, attack her directly!” His two remaining machines smash Sophia hard against the wall. She tumbles to the hard ground, head first, scraping her face against the sharp rocks. (Sophia LP 8000 à 2600)
SOPHIA’S TURN: She clasps the hurting wound between her eyes, stemming the blood from flowing down her face. ”Here we go again…” Sophia moans to herself, realizing the familiar peril she is in. “The designers should really make a caveat. Like making it so you can Summon only 1 Infinity per turn.”
But at least she has a way to fight back. Her knees tremble against such a heavyweight opponent. Her friends are nowhere to be found. She almost falls to her knees but steels her resolve. No one can help her anymore. Now she must stand for herself.
Fortune Lady Light reappears from a portal. It effectively travelled to the future, which is now. “I shift Lady Light to Defense Position and set 4 cards facedown.” Sophia ends.
KEITH’S TURN: “I Summon Cyber Grater.” An imposing machine sporting drills and grinders appears.
Sophia triggers her trap. “I activate Dark Renewal.”
“Can’t get past Infinity, kid.” Keith reports, his dragon prepares to blast scorchinh heat from its mouth.
“I play Solemn Warning!” Sophia counters, as her Biblical sages appear and call the wrath of Jehovah to incinerate Keith’s monster. Her black coffin of Dark Renewal draws her Lady Light and Keith’s Cyber Grater inside itself, shutting the lid. The coffin vanishes. A tall and aloof witch takes the field, adorned in black robes and tights. “And since Lady Light left the field I Summon Fortune Lady Aeter.” A taller witch of white appears beside the witch of darkness. (Sophia LP 2600 à 1100)
Keith smirks. She wants to play rough? She’ll get it! “Cyber Dragons, kill her Fortune Ladies.” His machines fire two pillars of scorching flames at their targets.
“I play Quaking Mirror Force.” Sophia responds.
“And I chain with my second Infinity.” Keith shouts.
“And I chain with Solemn Judgment.” Sophia reacts. Three Biblical patriarchs appear and smite the second infernal machine. With its obstacle removed, Sophia’s barrier of sand and glass blows over the field, burying Keith’s last monster facedown. (Sophia LP 1100 à 550)
SOPHIA’S TURN: “Now I’ll strike back!” Sophia declares. She has had enough of Keith’s abuses. “Lady Aeter, kill Keith’s facedown!” And her witch burns Keith’s card away. “I use her effect to banish her to Summon Fortune Lady Water and Fortune Lady Mist from my Deck.” Two witches of water take the avatar of light’s place, one more transparent than another. “I draw 2 for Lady Water. Lady Umbra, attack Keith directly!” And her avatar of darkness strikes Keith in the heart with a curse, making the rouge double over. (Keith LP 8000 à 6700)
“I tune Lady Mist with Lady Water to Synchro Summon Samsara, Dragon of Rebirth.” The two fortune ladies replace themselves with an ethereal dragon with no feet. “I set 2 cards facedown. I end my turn.”
Keith glares up at the woman he hates, his eyes burning with anger yet with sorrow. His hands tremble. “Kid, you have no idea what I’ve been through.”
“Excuse me!” Sophia rebukes him with almost as much venom. “I don’t care what you have to say, not after all the crap you put me through!”
“You don’t know what real suffering is like, kid, you who lived in a posh mansion under Pegasus your whole life. But I’ve never had it good. You know, I grew up poor in Texas and had to bake meth to get some cash. But when Yugioh came around I had a chance to make it big, which I did. That’s why I’m called Bandit Keith, because I won all the prizes. But fruity little bitch Pegasus took all that away from me.
“That Michael Jackson asshole kicked me back to the world of crime I tried to get out of. And now, my life is nothing but violence, murder, gambling drugs. Being Matthew’s right hand man as a Ghoul is my last chance, my last chance of a normal life.”
He clasps his shaking hands to get them under control. His eyes dodge left and right and his muscles tighten as if a wild animal stalks him. Sophia almost whispers, “Are you…?”
“Yes, shell shock.” Keith laughs ruefully. He continues to tremble, tense as a screw, in what Sophia knows is a panic attack.
Sophia offers her heart. “I wasn’t always Pegasus’ protégé. My parents died when I was young and I was a baby prostitute, which is why I never have sex anymore.” Sophia concludes more to herself than to Keith. “I only got adopted because I stole a fake Millennium Puzzle Pegasus displayed and solved it before they found me. Pegasus vowed to adopt a child who solved it, who was me.”
Sophia’s story catches even her by surprise. She never tells this deep, dark secret to anyone. Why did she give her heart to the man who is trying to destroy her? “I’m sorry, Keith. For everything.”
Keith relaxes, his episode over. He looks at his hands, contemplating his life over and over again. He sighs in utter sadness. Then he gets mad. He looks at Sophia, then his hands, back to Sophia, back to his hands. He clenches his fists. He wants to strangle her and everything she represented! Pegasus would die afterwards but first he would destroy his heart!
Keith roars, standing tall again. He is so ferocious he takes Sophia completely aback. Sophia’s heart crushes, her sympathy and grief burning into hatred.
Keith laughs at her anger and sorrow. “Good, kid! Get mad! If you wanna’ life, little whore, you’d better hit me with everything you got!
KEITH’S TURN: He slyly takes six cards from his right wristband and puts them on top of his deck. His move is so fast, so slick, not even someone with preternatural sight like Mathias can see it. “Oh boy am I ready for a god draw right now!” He draws. “Whoops, there it is! I play Psychic Sanctity! I toss away my hand and guess five cards!” Which he does. He then draws five cards to inspect them, guessing them all right!”
“You cheat.” Sophia snarls at him in disgust. Her opponent doesn’t even try to hide his dirty ways anymore.
“Blame Kaiba for not installing anti-cheating software. I next play Pot of Avarice.” He returns 3 Cyber Dragon nova and 2 Cyber Dragon Infinity to his Extra Deck to draw 2. “Next, Benediction! You tribute your monster to summon my monster to your field. Now choose!’
“I choose to offer Samsara Dragon of course.” Before Sophia can even react, her dragon vanishes, replaced by a golden giant of a king, Zaborg the Mega Monarch.
Keith explains, “And as you know, you gotta’ destroy a monster and we both toss away our Extra Deck based on its Level.”
“I know the rules.” Sophia says, “I choose Zaborg to kill itself.” Her monster destroys itself in a discharge of lightning. And both players send 8 cards from their Extra Deck to the Graveyard.
“Now things get good.” Keith says. “I activate 2 Elder Entity N’Tiss from my Graveyard. Goodbye, back row!” Sophia’s cards shatter. “And I activate my 3 Novas from my Graveyard, letting me summon 3 Barbaroid, the Ultimate Battle Machine from my Extra Deck!” Three colossus titans appear behind Keith, all with drills bigger than both duelists’ bodies combined. “I play 2 Right of the First Night from my hand.”
This is nothing good to Sophia. As long as Keith has higher Level monsters, Sophia can’t destroy any of them with card effects. And while Barbaroid can’t attack her directly, it can kill her Fortune Lady, winning him the duel.
“Barbaroids, attack!” Keith commands, victory in sight. His machine tyrants lung at the witch to grind it to dust but all attacks glance away. Three female emissaries appear, creating a barrier with their spell. Sophia had activated Waboku just before Keith destroyed it. Grumbling, Keith set a card facedown.
SOPHIA’S TURN: “I activate Pot of Avarice. I can recycle cards too.” And she does so. “I set 3 cards facedown. Come and get me, big guy.”
KEITH’S TURN: “What trap could possible save you? Barbaroids, attack!” His machines lung again.
Sophia repels him, “I activate Crumbling Earth and Turn Jump!”
“Like that’s help! I play Royal Decree! You’re trap is gone!”
“Not if I can help it! Mystical Space Typhoon!” Her little tornado sweeps Keith’s trap away, leaving him fuming. How could she outsmart him again! A large pocket watch floats above the entire field, winding itself and time forward by 3 turns. Sophia’s witch of darkness grows ever more powerful while cracks appear beneath Keith’s titans.
And now it was time! “I release Crumbling Earth!” Sophia’s trap disappears and Keith’s monsters collapse on the fissure below them, weakened, felled on their own weight. “Lady Umbra, counterattack!” The witch struck a fatal blow at one Barbaroid, causing it to blow up. (Keith LP 4300 à 3200)
SOPHIA’S TURN: “My turn! I Summon Fortune Lady Wind and use her effect.” Her witch in bright green appears and takes the assistance of Lady Umbra to obliterate Keith’s two Spells.
“Lady Umbra, destroy the next Barbaroid!” The witch destroys the next Barbaroid. “And with her effect I destroy the last one!” And Keith’s last monster bursts. (Keith LP 2100 à 1200) “I set a card facedown.” Sophia ends her turn.
Keith’s hands and legs tremble, his face contorts into terror, then rage as he fights his inner demons. He resumes his assault! He will tear Sophia down no matter the cost! He tears six cards from his left armband, not even trying to conceal his crooked ways anymore.
KEITH’S TURN: “I set a card facedown and play another Psychic Sanctity.” He discards his hand. Guesses 5 cards and calls them all right. “I play Power Bond and chain it with my facedown Cybernetic Fusion Support.” Keith loses half his Life but it is a small price to pay to banish his dead Machines to summon his most powerful monster ever. (Keith LP 1200 à 600)
“I Summon Chimeratech Overdragon!” A coiling mass, a hydra of metal snakes takes his field. As Keith banished not 10, not 15, but 17 Machines to Summon it, his monstrosity has 17 heads, each with 800 ATK, not doubled from Power Bond to 1600 ATK. The entire creature held 27,000 ATK en masse.
“I play Battle Fusion!” Energy transfers from Lady Umbra to Chimeratech as it gained 3600 ATK, reaching 30,800. “I play 3 Limiter Removal! Each one doubles my monster’s ATK!” His metal beast overloads with power, going on overdrive, almost ready to break down from the immense pressure, its ATK jumping to 246,400!
Keith screams. He lifts his trembling hands to sky as if challenging the sun god Ra himself. “Take all of my hatred, all of my rage, Sophia!”
“Don’t!” Sophia pleads. “Hatred will only kill you! Please, end this duel! I beg you! I’m not saying this because I’ll lose! You won’t life past this turn if you attack! Please, no!”
Keith has none of it. “Chimeratech, attack! Blast her to bits! I WIN!” All 17 heads hurls their hottest white flames at Keith’s target.
“No!” Sophia has no choice. “I play Jauk Dance!” Her trap reveals itself. She banishes Lady Light and Lady Aeter from her Grave. The two ghostly witches of light join the witch of darkness. They raise their staffs together, gathering just enough power to strike back. “Destroy Chimeratech!” The witches receive Keith’s savage attack, accept every ounce of hatred he bottled up inside for the last decade, and throw it back at him. Keith’s monster shatters under its own attack.
Now Power Bond’s other effect kicks in. The burning pieces of Keith’s monsters crash into their owner. Keith’s own hatred smashes him backward unto the dirt. (Keith LP 600 à 0)
Sophia: 550 || Bandit Keith: 0
The duel was done, but hungering darkness surrounding them was not. Keith watched in horror as a bullet muzzle grew out of his right hand. He clasped his hand, desperately trying to steer it away from his head but it was no use. His hand moved by its own will. It pointed to his temple, then fired a bullet. Keith collapsed on the floor dead.
Sophia screamed on horror. She collapsed on her knees, sobbing from seeing a sight so terrible, burying her face in her hands. The deadly magic of the dark game finally ended. The black clouds over Luxor faded away, revealing the fairest, most radiant daylight. But Sophia did not see any such light.
All surviving duelists found her, including the Saints, as well as Yukio, who carried Maya on his back.
“Thank God you’re okay!” Mathias crossed his chest in thanks to his deity.
Maya, who was awake at this point, climbed off Yukio. Both staggered to Sophia and embraced her. The young Sophia buried herself in her friend’s arms, sobbing her heart out. Maya hushed Sophia, holding her like she was her child, saying over and over again, “It’s okay, sweetie… It’s okay… It’s okay…”
CREATED CARDS FOR THIS DUEL ARE HERE: