Sofia: 2900 || Pandora: 1200
“If I go down, I’m taking you with me!” Sofia snaps, desperate, “I activate Crackdown (Continuous Trap) to take control of Dark Magician of Chaos!” A rope springs from her card, seizing the strongest of magicians, dragging him into the line of fire. Sofia loses her entire field and hand, all banished, but Pandora suffers too; he now only has four monsters.
Pandora wags his finger. “The last vengeful act of a loser. How pathetic! Now I Fusion Summon my ultimate wizard, Quintet -” He realizes he cannot. “Oh.”
Sofia hates smug people but cannot help being smug herself at the moment. “Quintet Force doesn’t give you Quintet Magician until after the card resolves, but now you lack the five Spellcasters needed to Fusion Summon it. I knew from the first turn, watching you swarm the field with Dark Magicians and Dark Magician Girls, that you probably had Quintet Force. Not only that, I activate N.D. Traveler in the Banished Zone, letting me Special Summon it (DEF 1300)!” Her cyborg goldfinch appears.
“Oh no!” Pandora shouts as if in the 4Kids dub.
“Oh yes!” Sofia thrusts her fist in the air. “Damn does it feel good being the guile hero!”
A vindictive Pandora points to the field. “Oh yeah!? I have four monsters; you have one! You lose! Dark Magician, attack!” And his monster gets ready to strike.
Sofia begins her counter attack. “My monster came back from the future not just to look cute. I return it and all my banished Dinosaurs back to the Deck to Fusion Summon N. Raptor MaXI – Britannia (ATK 2700)!” A large, bottom-heavy dinosaur with many different colored spots makes its crash landing, threatening to destroy all of Pandora’s monsters with the force of its impact.
“I banish Quintet Force from my Graveyard!” Pandora creates a blue-tinged magic force field, saving his monsters from a messy demise. “No servant of mine gets crushed, kicked, eaten, or pooped out by a goddamn yoshi!”
“My monsters are not yoshis!” Sofia waxes indignant. “They’re an original concept!”
Pandora scoffs, raising an eyebrow beneath his mask. “They eat things with unrealistically long tongues, they poop spotted eggs, and they come in so many colors they’re probably queer. Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay, bi, trans, poly, demi, semi, pan, whatever.”
Sofia’s cheeks become crimson. “Are you saying I’m bi?” The paranoid tone of her voice says, “How do you know?” She likes Jolene after all and even shares the same bed with her.
A Ghoul volunteers to break the awkward silence. “I main Yoshi in Smash Bros.” He comments.
“That’s why you suck, bro.” Another Ghoul says.
“Don’t hate, you Fox-maining-no-items-Final-Destination-only tourneyfag!” Retorts the first Ghoul, and the two fiends get into an argument.
“Fantastic.” Pandora dryly complains. “Anyway, I overlay Dark Magician and Magician of Dark Illusion to Xyz Summon Number 11: Big Eye (ATK 2700) and detach 1 Material to take control of Brittania.” Two Spellcasters make way for a new one, a nontraditional kind, a big upside-down cone with an eye. This odd creature entrances the enemy monster with its huge evil eye, forcing it to switch sides.
“Come on! COME ON!” Sofia protests in exasperation. Just after she barely reclaimed control, she loses it again. She turns to me, the author, pleading, “Could you please give me a Heart of the Cards moment? Pretty please?” She tries making puppy dog eyes but fails miserably.
“No.” I say. “You’re not Yugi. If your Deck isn’t consistent enough, that’s your problem.”
Pandora is utterly bewildered. “Who are you talking to? Did the Duel make you crazy?” He suddenly beams with approval. “If it did, hop right in the audience! Now you’re one of us!”
Sofia, despite her deflated self-esteem, remains resilient, pushing onward.
SOFIA’S TURN: “Okay. Finally my turn. I set a card facedown. I don’t care if I lose. I just want to make your victory hard.”
Such tenacity leaves Pandora unimpressed. “How quaint.”
PANDORA’S TURN: “Magicians, attack!” He commands, eager to finish the Duel. He does not betray it, but he feels exhausted, which is a near constant state of being for anyone past thirty.
Sofia, who is not even twenty, easily fights on despite her self-doubt. “I activate Soul Leveler (Trap)!” A dense cloud of specters appear to drain half of Sofia’s life, then raid Pandora’s field, forcefully dragging his monsters to the Graveyard. (Sofia LP 2900 → 1450)
Pandora briefly puts his fingers beneath his ask to squeeze the place between his eyes. This girl is giving him a migraine. How does Maya handle her? “I set a card facedown and end my turn.”
SOFIA’S TURN: Excellent! Sofia draws a good card. “I Normal Summon Kleinekarnosaur (ATK 500) and pop it to search another Dinosaur.” The vicious little t-rex barely appears before eating itself in a gruesome but fascinating display of gluttony and rapaciousness. Sofia adds a Dinosaur from her Deck to hand. “And I banish two Dinosaurs from my Graveyard to Special Summon Ultimate Conductor Tyranno (ATK 3000)!” The massive predator, brimming with a sickly dark energy, nearly takes up the whole stage.
“Stop right there!” Pandora orders, as if afraid Sofia will declare an attack. – The window for using his Trap Card is small indeed. – “I activate Shadow Balance (Trap)!” A huge scale takes over the whole field, except the scale is alive with jaws for balances. Pandora’s side is empty, lighter than a feather, but Sofia’s side weighs heavy with a monster. The jaw underneath the dinosaur clamps shut, like the mouth of a Venus fly trap, swallowing its prey.
“Oh…” Sofia stops in her tracks. “Shinosaurus.”
“I’ll enjoy licking your saltosaurus tears.” Pandora promises her.
“Ew, gross.” Sofia recoils. “Is this harassment? I think it’s harassment.” Jolene will definately think this is harassment. Sofia turns to the audience of Ghouls. “Do you think this harassment?” Actually, Sofia just being here is harassment. “Oh, gobisaurus! STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER!”
PANDORA’S TURN: “I activate Wizard’s Mirror (Spell)!”
“It’s like Dragon’s Mirror but for Spellcasters, right?” Sofia correctly guesses.
“Yes.” Pandora confirms. “That is quite obvious. I banish five Spellcasters from my Graveyard to finally Fusion Summon Quintet Magician (ATK 4500)!” A tall dimensional magic mirror appears behind him, releasing the great wizard within as if freeing it from a prison. The monster itself is constantly surrounded by five hexagram circles. “Quintet Magician, attack!” All five hexagrams hit Sofia squarely in the torso. (Sofia LP 1450 → 0)
Sofia: 0 || Pandora: 1200
The Ghouls cheer wildly at the victory of their leader, and in such a close game too! Pandora can finally relax, basking in the applause. The Ghouls even applauded to Sofia, eager to give her a fine farewell before she gets butchered by the buzzsaw now swerving towards her ankles.
“Well that checks out.” Sofia remarks. She tightly shuts her eyes, puts her hands over them anyway, and starts singing, trying to make light of a dark situation. Guess she’ll have to replace her feet with a flipper.
“So long and thanks for all the fish.
So sad that it should come to this.
We tried to warn you all but, oh, dear.
You may not share our intellect,
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that grow around you.
So long, so long and thanks for all the fish.”
The doors burst open as Maya barges in, her eyes blazing red, with a blast of fire so strong the whole wall breaks down. The Ghouls flee in terror, except for the two of them still arguing about Smash Bros., but keep smacking onto the three remaining walls like flies trying to exit a glass window.
“Ce que les flambeaux!” Pandora is too flabbergasted to speak English.
The buzzsaw cuts part of Sofia’s ankle but Maya comes to the rescue before it can do any more damage. She catches the thing with her hands and tears it away from the wall. She is superpowered enough at the moment to do so but not strong enough to avoid getting her palms cut.
Maya urgently clasps Sofia’s shoulders. “By the Egyptian Gods, are you okay! Tell me where the bad man touched you!”
Sofia hugs Maya tightly, her sadness at disappointing her friend far greater than any fear for her life. “I’m sorry I failed you. I tried my best.”
Maya strokes Sofia’s hair, whispering soothing words for her. “Criminals, like the Ghouls, are AIDS. They keep adapting and coming back. There’s no shame in being caught off guard, but you must remain alert in the future.”
Sofia nods, secretly wiping her eyes. She will not dare show Maya her tears. “That’s a weird way to console someone, but fine. I promise.”
“Que fais-tu ici, folle salope noire!” Pandora shouts from behind her. “She is my spoils of war!”
Maya turns to face Pandora. She has exhausted her Ka searching for Sofia, so she makes it recede, her eyes returning to their natural dark brown color and her body no longer stronger than anyone else’s. Otherwise, the strain on her body will be too great. Now, she will have to fight with – cards? Yes. Unbelievable.