Yugioh Endgame: Duel 6 – Cuadros y Compañeros

Somewhere deep in the Chilean countryside, Yukio busily tends his small garden, taking his time to thoroughly reap his corn, avocados, and potatoes. Each of his crops is sorted in its own little rectangle of soil, the wooden borders painted white. Yukio shows as much care to his small brick house, the walls also painted a creamy white and the roof tiles painted a bright red. The inside, as Yukio inspects while he drinks a cool glass of water, is as well made with small homely furniture right where he left –

Yukio straightens the chairs around a small coffee table. Little Narmer must have crawled his way under the table to play there. And he’s still there! Yukio pretends he is a fearsome lion as he drags his son out from under the table to tickle him. “You dare hide from me! I’m gonna’ eat you!”

Little Narmer squirms and giggles as his father, noticing his son hiding something important from him, interrogates the child in mocking seriousness. “Did you steal my car keys?” Little Narmer shakes his head. “Are you sure?” The child shakes his head again but can barely stop himself from laughing. Yukio blows on his son’s belly and snatches the key from under the little rascal’s shirt. “Let’s to the village. We need to barter for supplies.”

Yukio takes his son out and unlocks his bicycle from the fence, then turns around, and there she is. “Maya!” Shocked, Yukio can barely say her name, an odd thing since the woman in the flowery dress before him hardly looks anything other than ordinary. Yukio almost shies away from touching her cheek, afraid she will vanish like the mist from the Andes mountains. Maya awkwardly places her arms on his shoulders, not knowing how to properly touch the man she did not see in three years and nine months.

Then the two lovers suddenly ignite into a bonfire. They make out lewdly in full force and crash on the small table inside the house in their embrace. Maya nearly crushes his waist by wrapping her legs around him while Yukio in turn gives her crests a few hickeys. Their ardent powers exhausted, the couple falls from fire back down to earth.

Yukio catches sight of his son, who went back to playing with his keys, from the corner of his eye. “Did we just have sex in front of our kid? Oh no…”

Maya gives him a warm sweet kiss and gently pushes him away with her legs. “He has a head start.” Finally, Maya does the proper thing and reintroduces herself to the child she did not see in three years. “Hi there. You must be Narmer. I’m Maya, your mother. You were a baby the last time I saw you.” She speaks to her son in the sweetest way she knows how.

Narmer takes out some toy trains and cars under the table and places them around his father’s keys. He offers a toy car to his mother. “For me? Why thank you!” Maya exclaims. Yukio joins in on the fun and all three play Narmer’s mysterious game together. Man and woman converse during this time, telling each other of their lives since they last met.

Yukio says in a dry manner, “I left New York about a year after the Momentum generators were installed. I figured this much displacement and unrest would finally bring forth the global third world revolution communists have wet dreams about. So I prepared for the worst and went to a village in said third world country. Meanwhile, I’ve been chillin’ in my garden and playing games with Narmer.”

Maya does some explaining of her own, hiding her somewhat guilty tone of voice as best she can. “I’ve been playing games too but with a more difficult opponent. Yifan could literally tear half the earth off the ground and leave every human being dangling in the air if she wanted to. But that would bore her. She’s such a threat to humanity and someone needs to challenge her, but she’s so strong. It’s like you’re Kratos trying to battle Zeus but with Zeus himself as the gatekeeper of all the game’s power ups and secrets. So what do you do?”

“You do things the Sith way.” Yukio answers her. “You become an apprentice to a master, learn the master’s secrets of the Dark Side, then kill her. I deduce that has been your modus operandi for the last three years. Also, I don’t know if you had to train with Yifan in the mountains or something like that, but pop culture as we know it is dead. You can’t exactly play bad video games or watch horrible prequel trilogies when you’re living in a tent.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Maya lays on Yukio’s shoulders. “Makes me wonder how pop culture would have gone otherwise. George Lucas may have made another trilogy but as a sequel. Yet by that time a bigger mass media company like Disney would probably have swallowed Lucas whole. Another Star Wars trilogy would be too big a cash cow to pass up and fans would be tired of Lucas by that point. Like imagine if Mickey Mouse went on a quest for world domination and bought out every entertainment business known to man: 20th Century Fox, Marvel, Lifetime, everyone. And then Mickey built a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Death Star to control everyone.”

“Now you’re being silly.” Yukio reprimands her. “Laser satellites are so 80s.” With that remark, Yukio gets up. He walks his family, now whole, to the nearby village, taking his corn with him. Maya takes Narmer with her by slinging him around her chest. The family manages to trade their corn for some batteries, toiletries, fruit, and canned beans, and by sunset are about to head home but Maya takes them to a large mud house at the edge of the village. She booked Yukio for an important meeting.

Yukio adjusts his eyes in the dark dirty room, seeing a small cadre of officers. He notices two familiar faces; one is of a large obese man with thick glasses, the other of a tall Irishman with a sturdy pot belly and a muscular build. “JC? I didn’t think you’d grow an afro. I mean a Che Guevara shirt is bad but an afro? Mathias? Did you honestly bring pizza for us?”

Jeffrey Cade, or JC as people call him, politely clasps hands with Yukio. “Never thought I’d see you in the henpecked husband role –  I can only imagine you two! – assuming you married.”

Mathias embraces Yukio and Maya both in a warm bear hug, nearly mushing them into one person. “You never go wrong with buffalo chicken, even in times like this!” Everyone groans but eats the pizza anyway, too happy with full stomachs to bother asking how Mathias got such food in the first place.

Dinner concluded, JC announces to the cadre, “Now that Maya brought her submissive to the gang, we can get down to business. I’m not talking about attacking Secmeton’s base yet. First, we need a cool name. I’m thinking the Wolf Pack but it needs more chile. Any ideas?”

And a flood of ideas come. “We can go classy. How about the Rat Pack?” Mathias suggests. “Or put Wolf and Rat together… Hmm… Wolf Fat Pack! Ra Wolf Pack!”

Yukio shakes his head. “Needs to be more, dare I say, punny. Get it! Rattata Pack!” And Yukio starts doing the tata dance.”

Maya gently punches her baby daddy on the chest. “Pokemon sucks and will always suck, even if it becomes an iPhone game. Star Airwolf Squadron! We can borrow from Pinochet and give our enemies a helicopter ride or two.”

“I can’t believe this!” JC bellows in disgust. “You plan to take down late stage capitalism in a third world revolution by beating people in a children’s card game but can’t even make a good team name! I’ll pick something good! Reservoir Chile Dogs!”

Maya loses her breath; she is that impressed. “That’s really good, but it gives away our location. – Ah, to hell with it. We’re not staying here. Our name reflects our origin story, like with superheroes.” She pulls out a large map from under the empty pizza boxes. “Now we gotta’ make a strat.

“One of the high mages, as you know, is a generous wealthy donor, hence where we got our boats. Intel from New York informs us the high mages are disputing guardianship of India and Russia. They think America is safe, but they’re wrong. We’ll blind side them by attacking Secmeton in Los Angeles from the sea. We launch our boats from Chile next week. The four of us,” She points to herself, Yukio, Mathias, and JC. “Lead the assault. We can disable Secmeton’s electric shield that stops all metal objects but only up close. We cool?”

Everyone nods except a female commander named Miguella. “What about the missile satellites?” She asks.

“We’ll have to split our fleet and attack Los Angeles from multiple angles.” Maya promptly answers. “Satellites take a while to lock on targets and fire missiles. It leaves us vulnerable to warships and fighter jets but a satellite blowing us all up is an instant knockout.”

Maya turns to you, the audience, in an aside, “I think my team name, Star Airwolf Squadron, is better. It has more of a social commentary thing going on. Humor has more quality when it is dark. Think about it. Do you really believe a pumpkin spice latte is equal to Turkish coffee?”

“Can you please stop talking to yourself!” JC yells at her.

“You were breaking the fourth wall, weren’t you?” Yukio says.

“She indeed was.” Agrees Mathias. To Maya, he says, “JC’s idea is better. Stop being a sore loser.”  

“You taught me and JC over the years on how to use spirit Ka in battle but not how to break the fourth wall. How come?” Yukio asks Mathias.

“Maya will have to teach you.” Mathias patiently explains to him. “You have a close enough relationship with her. Or you can get bumped in the head like I did, get buried under rubble for three days like Maya did, or nearly kill yourself as Yifan did.”

“Yifan never told me that. How do you know this about her?” Maya demands. “Are you in contact with her?”

Mathias confirms Maya’s suspicion. “I am. A rat as big as Yifan needs more than one link to the enemy team. What if one of us is compromised?”

Maya is not convinced. She presses on. “How do I know you’re not a mole?”

“How do I know you’re not a mole?” Mathias mirrors Maya’s suspicion back at her. “How do I know Narmer isn’t a mole? What is real? Am I a brain in a vat? Is God a giant rat like in South Park? Maybe the Earth is flat and the Moon landings are fake.”

Maya becomes exhausted. “Whatever. Enough.”

“Dada, I’m hungry.” Narmer moans, wiping his little eyes with tired hands. He huddles between his father’s legs for protection. Maya’s body surges in a hot flash of jealousy. It lasts for an instant but is enough time for Maya to pick up Narmer from the ground with great force. This frightens the child and he starts crying. Maya tightly cradles him to get him to stop but it does not work.  

JC decides it’s time to shut the book. “Meeting’s over. Goodbye. Adios. Sayonara. Proshchay. Marsinleat. Zaijian. Everyone, shoo!”

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Yugioh Endgame: Duel 2 – Gathering the Artifacts

Duel 2 – Gathering the Artifacts

“Any idiot can create melodrama; it’s using humor with tragedy that takes real skill.” Yifan nears the end of her conversation with Pegasus while finishing her dessert, an odd Mexican tortilla with chicken and chocolate in it. “Your comic mask makes you a layered and bittersweet character, not unlike chocolate mole enchiladas. There’s a certain richness in taste. Imagine having two eyes again and regaining depth perception, something like that but for your tongue.”   

Pegasus J. Crawford finds Yifan, with her sly backhanded flattery, most amusing. The CEO of Industrial Illusions and creator of the Yugioh card game finishes his meal in turn and remarks, “Why thank you! Though I prefer chocolate truffle tarts myself. I’m impressed with how you’re solving the new Millennium Puzzle so quickly – and by the way you’re frilly blue snakeskin dress is just gorgeous!”

“Thank you, sweetheart.” Yifan returns the compliment. “I prefer wearing white but deep blue is my favorite color. It does contrast nicely with your iconic red vest and long pale hair. Sometimes I find it hard to believe a man as astute in fashion as you are ever had a wife.”   

With luncheon finished, Seto Kaiba, severe as always and donning an impeccable white business suit, arrives to commence the business meeting. It is in Kaiba’s character to only suffer eating alone. “I’m afraid the old fuddy-duddy is about to end our fun with a tamakeri.” Pegasus says as he sadly kisses Yifan’s hand. “Good speaking to you.”

Kaiba snowballs the names and titles of some of the world’s most powerful people into a roll call, barking out their names in his usual no-nonsense attitude:
“Aleksandar Kepura, United States Secretary of Defense
Marion Martis, Chairman of Lockheed Martin
Ricardo Atenza, Archbishop of Sao Paulo
‘Anubisius’ Ahmed, CEO of Corral Petroleum Holdings
John Secmeton Walton, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Pegasus J. Crawford, CEO of Industrial Illusions
Xiao Yifan, Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development”

Kaiba then introduces a new person to the congregation, Akutsu, the lead scientist in KaibaCorp’s Technology Research Department. It is about time as everyone by now became very bored with the roll call.

“Who wants to learn SCIENCE?” Akutsu, a tall gangly man with eccentric manners, begins the lecture with a bang, but everyone groans. He tethers a metal ball at the end of a rope and sets the pendulum into motion. “When the ball is up GRAVITY pulls it down and when the ball is down MOMENTUM pushes it back up. The reason the pendulum stops is because motion dissipates energy by converting kinetic energy to thermal energy while friction -“ The metal ball hits him hard, making him fall over, feet dangling in the air.

“Where are all the goofy cartoon sounds coming from?” Pegasus wonders out loud. “Even I find it trite.”

Akutsu gets back to his feet and produces a toy model of Robert Fludd’s water screw, then sets it to work. “In theory this should be a perpetual motion machine. WATER from a TANK turns a WHEEL, which turns a SCREW that brings water back to the tank, which turns the wheel again.” But sooner or later the machines stops as predicted, and Akutsu makes a sad trombone noise. “Energy dissipates through MOTION and FRICTION. The water is a source of energy that remains at a constant amount, so it cannot replace all the energy lost.”

“Get to the point.” Anubisius growls. “This is not a science show for children.”

Akutsu ignores him. “As long as a machine loses energy you need to replenish it with an outside source to make up for all the lost energy. But what if you can use QUANTUM MECHANICS to REDUCE FRICTION almost to zero to make a machine run almost completely on its own MOMENTUM?” And with a dramatic gesture he reveals a model of his invention, a small transparent cylinder with several rings glowing in a rainbow of lights revolving at breakneck speed.

“And people told me why try making a perpetual motion machine? Why bother? I’ll tell you what – oh yeah, because it’s cool! My invention, which I call MOOOOMENTUUUUM,” He now twirls a hula hoop. “Not only has near perfect efficiency, it even causes photons to TRAVEL BACK IN TIME and give additional energy FROM THE PAST! BOOM! SCIENCE!” He trips over his hoola hoop, falling flat on his face as usual.

Yifan leans over to look down on the silly man, admonishing him, “In other words it’s not really a perpetual motion machine, you carnival barker, just a very, very efficient one. It is the stuff utopian pipe dreams are made out of.”

Akutsu jumps right back up, lively as ever. As Kaiba is fond of saying, it is impossible to dampen the enthusiasm of an idiot. “With MOOOOMENTUUUUM the world will have a near limitless power source. Technology and urban development will develop rapidly and, who knows, we may one day travel to space and meet COOL ALIENS. But only a certain kind of energy can power my invention.”

Now Kaiba steps in for the climax, revealing seven golden talismans from Ancient Egypt. “Momentum can only use the Millennium Items as a power source. I even used Yifan’s help in reforging the Millennium Puzzle and Millennium Ring for this purpose. This is the nature of our deal.” He gestures to everyone in the room. “You funded my momentum project. Now you each get a Millennium Item and a momentum generator.” He hands everyone except Pegasus and Yifan a Millennium Item, trying not to touch the cretins he has to compromise with.

Secmeton, a kindly man with a full salt-and-pepper beard and blue uniform, looking like a kind of marine admiral, receives the Millennium Necklace. Anubisius, tall, muscular, imposing, receives the Millennium Key. Atenza, the thin and stringy Archbishop, is bequeathed the Millennium Ring. Martis, his suit drab as can be and his face unreadable, accepts the Millennium Scales. Kepura, obese and tall, with large fish lips and small squinting eyes as his most prominent features, takes the Millennium Eye for himself.

Kaiba lays claim to the Millennium Rod while Yifan clicks in the final piece of the Millennium Puzzle, completing it. When Pegasus, astonished, asks her how she managed to finish the puzzle in only a few months, she replies, “I’m not a teenage boy. And I’m sure Kaiba has a supercomputer that could assemble it in mere hours anyway.”

Yet Akutsu is not finished with his demonstration. “Wait! There is catch!” He reminds his audience. “MOOOOMENTUUUUM must always be kept running. It can never stop or change direction.” He blows up a large balloon. “IMAGINE my invention is this BALLOON and all the energy it generates is the AIR in the balloon. Now with lots of air the balloon is useful and you can do all sorts of COOL THINGS with it.” He twists the balloon into a poodle. “But if you suddenly release all the air,” He pops the balloon. “BOOOOOOOOM!” And he finishes his lecture by making a lot of silly exploding noises.        

“Enough!” Kaiba quickly shews the eccentric man off the premises. Already the businessmen in the conference begin to argue with each other.

Anubisius even threatens to walk out, feeling threatened himself of what Momentum would do to his oil business. “If you have any idea how often I buttplugged alternative energy research, you would call me Bugger in Cheif!” He bellows. “I funded your research, Mr. Kaiba, thinking I would be handsomely rewarded! But to be made master of Momentum, which wipes out generations of my family’s business – “

Secmeton gently puts his large warm hands over the other man’s shoulders, “No need to get your balls tied up. With Momentum and the Millennium Key, you will, in effect, control Saudi Arabia and God knows what else. Imagine how many power mongers like old Heishin would love to dominate the region but were not fit enough to do so. Nature has rewarded you the power you are rightfully fit to use. Your family, by forming an oil business, simply took advantage of the most efficient energy source at the time. You would be a fool not to step up your game and advance your family’s name.”

Anubisius listens to reason and sits back down. Yet other butts in the room remain irritated as their owners keep squirming on their chairs, jousting with their prides on the line. Atenza, inflated with self-importance, wants religious freedom abolished in Brazil while Martis, pragmatic as ever, points out how ludicrous the idea is. “The facade of liberal democracy must always be maintained.” He explains patiently.

“Kind of like filming a movie.” Yifan observes, speaking to Pegasus and you, the audience. “You must go to great lengths to keep the audience’s suspension of disbelief. In a play, the audience more easily, well, plays along.”

Pegasus agrees, lamenting, “In the past, it was much easier for kings and governors to keep their people in line. They didn’t have to lie as much. Nowadays, everyone thinks he is a free man, an enlightened consumer, living in a transparent society, protected by human rights. Keeping up such a charade can get tiring sometimes. Popcorn, Yifan?”

Yifan gladly takes the snack. “Yes, the idea of human rights. It is a dogma that cannot be questioned, not now at least. Otherwise it will bark at you loudly since it lives in a doghouse owned by a rich banker who keeps the seven trains running on time but the conductors are artifacts with rickets so sometimes they can’t go anywhere and a crocodile will eat them as it’s crocodiles all the way down and crocodiles make the world go round.”

Pegasus gives Yifan a worried smile. Meanwhile, Kepura and Kaiba escalate their debate. Kepura demands exclusive access to KaibaCorp’s research for the United States Army while Kaiba rebukes the idea. “I will not let my research become a weapon of war.” Kaiba spits venom at Kepura’s face. “Leave the United States out of it. I am not the man my stepfather was.”

Amused, Kepura can’t help himself but laugh, revealing his large pearly white teeth. “But you are the man your stepfather was. Never in any empire, the United States or otherwise, can you separate capital from military. The U.S. Department of Defense funded what would later be the Internet. Had Gozaburo Kaiba not developed weapons you would have no template to turn KaibaCorp into a gaming empire, now would you?”

“That does not matter!” Kaiba spits back. “It goes beyond our contract! You have no right!”  

“So I don’t.” Kepura admits in a glib manner, “But, as you most likely know, business goes beyond the contract. Once Momentum is up and running around the world – think! – would not the Japanese government become curious and get their hands on it? And once that happens, would not every major power in the world demand to have Momentum as a right?

“Unlike you, Gozaburo knew he was not king, not even of of his little corner of the world. He, like we all, are simply part of a big hive. He knew that if he refused to sell weapons to the United States he would miss the biggest deal he could. Other weapons manufacturers would get the deal, meaning bigger profits, meaning KaibaCorp would run out of business.”

Kaiba snaps, “Don’t need to explain basic business to me, you smug cretin! I gave you enough!”

“True.” Kepura admits again. “But you don’t seem to understand the ‘philosophy’ behind it all. We’re all prey to bigger impersonal forces beyond our control but here you are, like a small child, thinking you can single-handedly shape the future. Gozaburo knew that if he went against the forces of nature he would end up on knees, bent over, ready to receive a royal pounding from his rivals. Cross me enough times and I will, inevitably, force you on your knees, making you give to me what daddy couldn’t. Think of this meeting as a hazing ritual. Welcome to the wider world of geopolitics. You’re playing with the big boys. – Ooh! That makes a catchy song!”

Kaiba wishes he could deck Kepura in the face with his steel briefcase but knows it would be a suicidal to do so. Yes, Kaiba technically wins the argument and Kepura has no right to access KaibaCorp’s research but he will lose exclusive control of Momentum. There is nothing he can do about it.

It begs the question why Kaiba even bothers to waste his time with these jokers. He does so because he has a vision. Ever since he last faced Yugi, he worked tirelessly to upgrade a cloud server that could connect every duelist around the world. As of now he only had clumsy devices that linked up duelists to a virtual online world. But Momentum can change all that. It can bring the virtual online world here. Imagine how dueling would evolve with such a system! And he can use his profits to build more Kaibaland amusement parks for orphaned children, who always hold a soft spot in his heart as he and his younger brother were once orphans themselves.    

There is another issue on the table, pun intended. About a decade ago, Kaiba managed to travel across time and space into the afterlife to duel Atem, the spirit who possessed Yugi and was his true rival, one last time. The result was a draw. Kaiba can live with that, maybe. But now, with Momentum, he can explore all the dimensions the universe has to offer. The possibilities for humanity are endless! And it is for those possibilities that Kaiba willingly gambles not just his company but the future of humanity itself.    

As for the mundane present, Kaiba is done. He turns around to leave with a dramatic flair. “Let’s go, Mokuba!” He commands, only to realize his younger brother isn’t there. Force of habit.

Yugioh Endgame: Duel 1 – Setting the Stage

Duel 1 – Setting the Stage

“I sing of children’s card games, the dire fates that we humans
must duly face, and the nerds who think they’re warrior poets,
these so-called ‘duelists’, as they try to control the world’s future.
I’ve learned all kinds of unwisdoms, unlearned many secrets,
bringing knowledge from farther back than the life of our species,
partly from Yifan, partly from my time on this brown earth.
My parents made and have raised me as two-thirds fiery venom
and one-third loathing while, of course, not knowing what they were doing.
Can the mind of a small sad meme queen, ever so human
– Yifan, I mean – have a scheme so divine it out-trumps all the old gods?
Sour old notes aside, I bring strength, joyous and outrageous.
In both One Player Campaign and PvP Duel Arena
I will send every god to a rainbow of colorful deaths.”

Maya recites these lines she invented in good fun, or so she thinks, until Sofia claps her hands from the corner of the stage. Sofia praises Maya two ways at once, one sarcastic and the other genuine, and Maya reads both messages through Sofia’s body language. The older woman invites the younger to join her on center stage and the younger woman obliges.    

There Maya and Sofia stand, alone together, in the abandoned Fabian Theatre in Peterson, New Jersey with ghosts and the unborn for an audience. “The Fabian,” Maya Mis-Exposition explains to the audience. “Was a vaudeville theatre that later also did film screening in the early days of cinema.” Hence, she points to the old big screen behind her. “What did you think of my lines, Sofia?”

“It was kind of pretentious and douchey.” Sofia admits. “But I like all the little parodies you threw in it like it was a kind of parody fruit salad… all while making a mockery of dactylic hexameter, one of the most ancient and venerable poetic forms… That’s horrible! That’s like ruining a classic meal like Margherita Pizza by putting pineapple – no, worse, M&Ms or golden crust on it! – Wait, how does golden crust debase pizza? Doesn’t it make it rarer by making it ridiculously expensive? Ah! I’m losing track of my food metaphors! Why do you do this to me, Maya?”

“Food similes.” Maya corrects her student as she opens a laptop and connects it to a small projector. “First lesson: the sublime and silly are two sides of the same coin. This is the bread and butter of Yugioh. Anyway, we shall do nothing less than commence a revival festival for The Fabian Theatre, an audience for two. The first film of the programme? Riding The Golden Elevator, never before seen footage of the Pentagon getting on top of KaibaCorp at one of those backdoor corporate meatings we hear so much about.”

“Which would not be possible without me.” Sofia reminds her tutor, pointing at herself. “Jolene and I hacked the building’s cameras. Thanks to us, you’ll know everything KaibaCorp, the Pentagon, and other multibillion dollar institutions will be planning for the next several years, giving you the chance to plan your next move. You know, for your so-called endgame.”

Maya then points at you – yes, you! – the audience. “Pay attention. Two ‘seasons’ ago I had a vision, while I was buried under stones deep in an Egyptian tomb, that let me break the fourth wall. We are all simulations from a person’s programming or projections of information from the inside of a black hole often called a universe. Yet those programmers and black holes are themselves simulations from something else, and it goes on in a cycle forever and forever.

“For example, every Yugioh universe, or dimension, that has ever existed forms a multiverse created by a programme called the Numeron Code, which was itself created by a basement-dwelling brony incel nerd called Darius ‘Orochi’ O’Reilly who lives with your mother. Your universe, in turn, is a projection from inside the event horizon of a black hole, which is itself a program created by Xenu, and so on.      

“There exists four Yugioh dimensions that concern us the most. The first is the ‘manga dimension’, which features Dark Side of Dimensions, and continues with the ‘GX manga’, ‘5Ds manga’, and so on. There is an ‘anime dimension’ that does not have Dark Side of Dimensions, instead going straight to ‘GX anime’, which then splits into at least four separate dimensions because some chud named Zark gets real salty after losing to a girl.

“Our realm is the ‘manganime dimension’, which does feature Dark Side of Dimensions, and carries on to the present moment. The last dimension is the ‘dark dimension’ where Bakura, Zorc, Cody Martin, and a demon-possessed teddy bear succeed in destroying the world by singing Disney songs, replacing it with a realm of darkness.”

“You made up the Orochi and teddy bear stuff, didn’t you?” Sofia demands, incredulous.

Maya laughs ruefully before saying, “I’m afraid not. I saw it all in my vision, or stress-induced hallucination. Whatever you want to call it.”

With the fun and games over, Maya takes the time to confess to Sofia something very important. “Whether or not we know exactly what Kaiba, Yifan, or anyone else are planning at the moment, I know all the major events that will most likely happen. I don’t need a Millennium Item to see the future. I just see what is necessary for us, what we must do, the trials we must face if we are to conquer any of the demons in our way.” Sofia asks what is in the future and Maya tells her everything, leaving an awkward silence.

Maya finishes setting up the projector and dusting two front row seats. She beacons Sofia to sit by her and, when Sofia does, gives her a warm kiss on the cheek. “The curtains roll back. The show begins. Everything that happens from now on is for you.”