Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 24

Duel 24 – Slaying the Dragon

Stella finally has her key card in place, a card that will seal Maya’s fiends back in Hell where they belong.

STELLA: 700 | MAYA: 3100

STELLA’S TURN: “I Normal Summon Night Dracolich!” As the black draconic skeleton crawls up from the dust below, Stella muses to herself that this is the first time she Normal Summoned this entire Duel. Yugioh was such a different game back then…

“Chaofeng attack Charono!” The ferryman is a weak Link Monster, and as such, Maya can’t switch it to Defending Position to spare her Life Points. As her heavenly dragon readies himself for the attack, Stella sprung her trap, “I activate Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror!” And as the evil spirit from Dark Necrofear haunting the field leaps from the dragon to strike Stella down and finish the duel, a magical mirror catches the evil spirit and puts it in place.

Free from evil restraints, Chaofeng pulverizes Charono with the light from its body. (MAYA LP 3100 à 700) Maya looks mildly surprised and amused, but Stella can see the bead of sweat falling from her forehead. “Wu’tien, attack Uria and finish the Duel!” Stella knows Uria needs Continuous Trap Cards in Maya’s Graveyard to gain power, and with only 2 buried there, its ATK is very weak.

“GOTCHA!” Maya seems to jump from out nowhere, like she popped from the darkness itself. “I banish Fiendfyre and a FIRE monster from my Graveyard!” Wu’tien leaps to the attack with her sword but a wall of flame generates from thin air, knocking the dragon empress back. The wall of flame collapses into a meteor, and Stella knows what will happen next.

“I destroy Dracolich for Wu’tien’s effect!” The empress dragon tosses her subject to the meteor to take the hit, dispersing the flames. Stella’s monster is spared and Stella does not take the damage that would have finished her. But her Battle Phase ends all the same.

“I set a card and end my turn.” Stella says, admitting her campaign failed, and Dark Necrofear spells another letter: “A”.

“Two more turns left.” Maya reminds her with the obvious, just to rub it in her face.

MAYA’S TURN: “I play Pot of Avarice!” She returns 5 dead monsters to her Deck and draws 2 cards. “Rats…” Maya softly speaks to herself; she has a nice big hand but it does not look promising. Maya did not believe a duelist could generate so much advantage and still have nothing, until now. “What a terrible deck. I must redo it.”

Maya thinks about how Mathias would have a field day with Maya playing Pot of Avarice. The Saints have a little in-joke amongst themselves where Maximus owns the prized card and Mathias makes every desperate attempt he can to get Maximus to trade it away. And with that brief thought, noticing the void where a big man with an even bigger garrulous laugh would be, Maya feels her heart pierced with a terrible sadness.

Maya had not felt this way since her mother died. Mathias did his best, giving all of his strength to protect her, and the world, from Matthew’s wrath, and Maya realizes her mother did nothing different. The poor woman, abused from her husband, did all she could to protect herself and her child. And Maya’s father? He did not have an easy life, and was disowned by his family, but so was Maya’s mother. That was no excuse.

“I put all my monsters to Defending Position, and I use Uria to destroy your facedown card.” Her monsters meekly obey her, but Uria does give Stella a sly punch below the bely by destroying her facedown Trap Card.

Maya destroys her Link Monster, protecting her Life, “I Tribute Charono to Set a monster facedown and set a backrow card. My turn is over.”

STELLA’S TURN: Stella knows Maya has something up her sleeve. She never admits defeat unless she ruses the opponent to play a dirty trick, but what other choice does Stella have but to fall for it? “Chaofeng, destroy Beatrice, the center of Maya’s Deck!”

The dragon volleys three balls of white-hot fire at the fair Lady of the Eternal, but Maya has something up her sleeve, “I activate Delta Barrier to negate your attack!” She revives 2 Continuous Traps from her Graveyard to aid the first one in blocking the dragon’s attack.

Undeterred, Stella barks, “Wu’tien, destroy Uria!” Her dragon empress slays the dragon demon by cutting off its head.

It would be hilarious if you nerfed Destiny Board at the last moment.” Maya jokes. “Boy, would I be salty!”

“You will be.” Stella replies in kind, “To gloat so early! I activate A Wing Beat of Giant Dragon! I return Wu’tien to my hand to destroy ALL Spells and Traps!” The reigning dragon queen rises to the heavens for the last time, her wings growing bright in tremendous size. She shunts her wings once, and vanishes in a flash, blowing away the Destiny Board, and Dark Necrofear dies a second time.

“Well I’ll be damned!” Maya shouts in utter shock as her strategy is shot to bits.

“You’ll never beat me with such a cheap trick!” Stella remonstrates her opponent. “I should slap you just for being that arrogant.”

Maya admits, “You losing to Destiny Board would disappoint me. I’m very happy you overcame the Occult Combo, but I must ask; why not destroy it sooner?”

“That’s my secret.”

“Or your mistake. I play a second Pot of Avarice!” Maya turns to you and all the other readers. She asks, “Can someone tell me what Pot of Avarice does?”

“Stale jokes are stale, Maya.” Stella nags impatiently, “Make your damn move already.”

“Very well. I set a monster. Turn over.”

STELLA’S TURN: “Well that was short. Not much to do when losing. I activate Preparation of Rites. I return a Ritual Spell and add a Ritual Monster to my hand, and I activate Yang Zing Cycle!” She Tributes Wu’tien herself in a surprise move; and as the sun has the moon, as light casts a shadow, as the mountain shares the land with the valley, a new darker dragon empress emerged. “I Ritual Summon Ci’xi, Dragon Empress of Yin!”

“When she is Ritual Summoned, Ci’xi adds two Wyrm monsters to my hand. Now Chaofeng, destroy Beatrice!” The old dragon succeeds in conquering the maiden this time, but his success is short lived. As Beatrice dies, Maya gives rise to Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss!

“I use its Effect.” Maya says. “I discard a Burning Abyss monster to draw a card.” When Stella reminds her that Chaofeng can now block the Effects of DARK monsters, Maya retorts, “Nah, really?”

“Ci’xi, destroy Dante!” The dark dragon empress draws her sword, a straight blade barbed with deep grooves like a shark’s teeth, screams a savage roar, and mercilessly butchers the pilgrim. Stella discards a card from Dante’s Effect; the penalty a player pays for slaying him. “I destroy a Wyrm in my hand to have Ci’xi attack again! Destroy a facedown card!” The evil queen slaughters the innocent Fluffal Wings under its hiding place.

“Since I destroyed Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing, I Special Summon Taotie, Shadow of the Yang Zing from my Deck; and then, Taotie, destroy Maya’s last monster!” The second dark dragon pounces on its prey, killing the Fiend underneath.

“I set a card and end my turn.” Stella then understands the awful truth. Maya never planned on winning with the Occult Combo; she used it merely as a distraction to build a counterattack. In Battle City, Bakura played the Occult Combo as his ultimate strategy. Maya used the king as a pawn.

MAYA’S TURN: “I banish Fluffal Wings and Fluffal Bear to draw a card. I now use the other Effects of the Burning Abyss monsters: I Special Summon Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss; Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss; and Graff Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and I Tribute them all to Special Summon Raviel, Lord of Phantasms!” Three devils from the malebolge appear soon to give obeisance to the last Sacred Beast.

“I activate Fallen Paradise. It’s just like…” Maya pauses to prompt a response.

“Pot of Greed.” Stella groans.

“Exactly. It allows me to draw 2 cards from my Deck.” And Maya does so, enjoying the vista created from her Field Spell, especially the large withered tree and the forbidden fruit clinging to a ruined branch. “Raviel, attack Chaofeng! It can’t be destroyed in battle, but you can!”

“I activate Damage Diet! I take half the battle damage!” Stella counters; both she and her monster are spared from death. (STELLA LP 700 à 450) 

“Very well. I set a card. You’re move.”

STELLA’S TURN: “Ci’xi, attack Raviel!” As the dark dragon queen leaps to split the fiendish titan in two, Stella adds, “I destroy Zefranu in my hand to double her ATK!”

“And I activate Power Wall!” Maya mills 4 cards and spares her Life. Ci’xi fails to even scratch Raviel with her blade and, seeing this, bounces back to her space in retreat.

“Good grief! That was situational!” Laments the astonished Stella. “I end my turn!” Stella does not worry too much. She has one last Wyrm monster in her hand, ready to sacrifice it to double Ci’xi’s ATK any time.

MAYA’S TURN: “To win is not enough,” Maya tells herself, “You must win to make a point. I must defeat Stella in a more intimate way. Please, let this work!”

Maya says, “I activate Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss! I Tribute Hammon from my hand to Ritual Summon Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss!” Maya loses her entire hand to complete the ritual, giving rise to an imposing fiend brandishing its own deadly rapier.

“It will be a devil, not a knight in shining armor, that will slay the dragon. Malacoda, kill the dragon queen!” The dragon queen and chieftain fiend joust together, clashing blades, locked together in mortal combat.

On seeing the combat, Stella remarks, “How fitting an end. I’m the dragon queen, the best Dragon Duelist in the world, and you are a wicked fiendish person.”

“Yes,” Maya agrees, seeing the battle unfold. Her father was a fiend, but so is she; how could she complain and not be a hypocrite? She became like her father. He was a broken man who broke her; so Maya reasons she is forever broken too, and she instinctively touches the side of her mouth and eye.

She burns with anger; she hates her father with every inch of her body, down to the strands of her hair and tips of her fingernails becoming hot with fiery anger, for breaking her, for crippling her for life. Maya tightly squeezes her face with her hand, lost in the black smog of her hatred, but a clear light, a sudden thought, bursts through; we are all helpless in this world in some way or another, and understanding that and forgiving a bad person does not support or condone their evil. Maya doesn’t need to hate him anymore.

It is interesting how thoughts work. Maya took three seconds to complete the entire journey.

Stella announces, “I use Ci’xi’s Effect: I destroy Suanni in my hand to double her ATK.”

Maya snaps out of her thoughts, “I use Malacoda’s Effect: I mill another Malacoda to bring her ATK down.”

“But Chaofeng stops you!”

“I know, why I activate Breakthrough Skill! I banish it to negate Chaofeng’s effect!”

Cixi requests assistance of Suanni, the fire dragon, who willingly gives its life to power its queen’s blade. Malacoda, in turn, commands aid from another devil in Hell, and from the power of its spirit, the captain of the Hellish squad breaks Ci’xi’s blade. Disarmed, outraged, but not beaten, the dark queen impales Malacoda with her first, killing him. (MAYA LP 300 à 100)

“Good!” Maya thinks to herself. She baited Stella to waste her last defense. “Raviel!” Maya commands as a general in victory, “Destroy Chaofeng! Win the game!” The dragon of light and lord of darkness clash in an epic struggle, but Raviel wins the arm wrestle, slashing Chaofeng with a mortal wound that kills him. Ci’xi and Stella can only watch helplessly as their army falls in ruins. Maya, through Malacoda, made her real retribution; not by killing Ci’xi, but by letting her live to suffer her defeat. (STELLA LP 450 à 0)

STELLA: 0 | MAYA: 100

Stella dropped to her knees, feeling utterly weak, the dark magic surrounded everyone was already doing its work, draining her life force away. Maya sprinted to her as fast as possible, grabbing Stella’s shoulders to keep her from falling. Maya said, nearly crying, “I understand now. I forgave my parents. They were only human. I’m sorry, Stella, for everything I did.”

Stella put one tender hand on Maya’s cheek. “I know.” She fell into darkness, the darkness leaving with her. Maya holstered Stella’s body on her back; her body trembling and stressed, the warm spring breeze felt as ice as to her, and she carried the coma Stella to the hospital herself.

————————————————

CREATED CARDS

STELLA’S CARDS:

Wu’tien, Dragon Empress of Yang
LIGHT/Level 8/Wyrm
2600 ATK/2800 DEF
Ritual Monster

  • This card must first be Special Summoned with the Effect of “Yang Zing Cycle”.
  • When this card is successfully Ritual Summoned: Special Summon up to 2 Wyrm monsters from your Graveyard.
  • Once per turn: you can destroy 1 Wyrm monster you control; draw 1 card.
  • If this monster would be destroyed by battle or Effect: you can destroy 1 Wyrm monster you control, and it is not destroyed.

Ci’xi, Dragon Empress of Yin
DARK/Level 8/Wyrm
2800 ATK/2600 DEF
Ritual Monster

  • This card must first be Special Summoned with the Effect of “Yang Zing Cycle”.
  • When this card is successfully Ritual Summoned: return up to 2 Wyrm monsters from your Graveyard to your hand.
  • Once per turn: you can destroy 1 Wyrm monster from your hand or field; double this cards ATK.
  • Once per turn: if this card destroys a monster in battle; you can destroy 1 Wyrm monster from your hand or field, and this card can attack once more.

Yang Zing Cycle
Ritual Spell

  • Tribute Wyrm monsters from your hand or field whose Levels equal 8 or more: Ritual Summon 1 “Wu’tien, Dragon Empress of Yang” or “Ci’xi, Dragon Empress of Yin” from your hand.

MAYA’S CARDS:

Fiendfyre
FIRE/Level 1/Fiend
600 ATK/ 500 DEF

  • If your opponent’s monster attacks while this card is in your Graveyard: you can banish this card and 1 other FIRE monster; destroy the attacking monster and, if you do, inflict damage equal to half the monster’s ATK. End the Battle Phase.

 

 

Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 23

Duel 23 – Tactics Mashup

Stella suddenly remembers: Maya is playing Bakura’s Occult Combo from the first Battle City! Armed with this knowledge, Stella overcomes her shock and gazes at Dark Necrofear in the eye; she is indeed a sinister creature, her true power unleashed when she is slain; but the last time Stella studied her, her Effect was greatly watered down from its original power through countless reprints over the years, and the same is true for Destiny Board. How can Maya even assemble all the Spirit Messenger pieces anyway, what with milling her Deck and all?

The Occult combo isn’t scary at all! Stella gets that feeling of relief when you shed light on a sinister shadow in the dark and it turns out to only be furniture. Maya splashing out Dark Necrofear was nothing but a cheap jump scare to psyche her out, like those modern horror films pass for genuine terror these days. Now Stella transforms again from being terrified to relieved to annoyed, and so she chastises Maya, “Acting like a copycat fangirl is no way to duel in the finals. You’re flippancy is really starting to piss me off now. How dare you treat our relationship as a joke!”

“No jokes here, I’m dead serious.” Maya says, and she means it; the way she locks down her gaze at Stella tells it so. “And to prove it, I promise you I will never use my god card against you this duel.”

Matthew falls back in shock, in total disbelief he cries out, “What! But you never played it once!”

“You’re right.” Maya dignifies him with an answer. “I don’t play cheap cards like you do, like the way Yugi pulled the god card Osiris out of his ass to beat Bakura at the last moment. Winning with a god card does not show your skill; it shows the opposite; you might as well say, ‘I can’t beat you with my own skills so I have to use a broken card instead!’ Yugi and Kaiba did just that for their entire careers.”

Kaiba contorts his face into an even deeper scowl than the one he usually has, seething, he growls, “You insolent parasite to society, I will disqualify you right now –”

“And what’s gonna’ happen then, big guy? Half of all duelists will quit Yugioh. You’re company will go bankrupt within a week, Google or Disney will buy it out, you’ll shoot yourself in your office, and Mokuba will return to the orphanage. – By the way, Joey is a working class hero.”

Kaiba prepares himself to give the most disparaging retort we can think of but Pegasus cuts the discussion short. “Can we please return to the damn duel already! Have sex after the tournament!”

STELLA: 3500 || MAYA: 4700

STELLA’S TURN: “You missed one important thing, Maya.” Stella declares. “My Chaofeng stops the Effects of DARK monsters. You’re strategy is shot! Chaofeng, destroy Dark Necrofear!” Her dragon easily burns away the darkness with the radiant light from its body. (MAYA LP: 4700 à 3600)

“Now, Wu’Tien, attack directly!”

Stella fell for the first trap, so Maya triggers her second one, “Light-Imprisoning Mirror!” Both of Stella’s monsters get coated with a halo of sorts, but one that pulls them down like dead weight, and with that, Maya shouts! “SPIRIT BURN!” A ghost, the one from Dark Necrofear’s baby doll, leaps out of Stella’s monster and shoots through Stella like a bullet, cutting away her Life and giving the spoils to Maya. (STELLA LP 3500 à 2100, MAYA LP 3600 à 5000).

Stella gasps in shock and frustration. “SHIT!” Maya is using a Dark Necrofear of original print! How did she get her hands on such a rare card! Regardless, Stella’s turn is over. “I set a card facedown.”

Now for Maya’s final trap. “I activate Destiny Board!” The deceased spirit of Dark Necrofear rises from the grave with a Ouija board, looming over Maya’s field, and moves its planchette to the first letter. A ghostly fiend rises forth with the first message: the letter “D”, as in “D”, “E”, “A”, “T”, “H”. Once Maya spells DEATH within four more turns, she will instantly win the Duel.

Stella gasps, her moods changing again within fifteen minutes: from terror to relief to annoyance to frustration to wonder. “And it’s not censored! That’s so cool! If only Mathias could see this!”

Matthew shrinks away in disgust, mumbling to himself. “Lousy hypocrite, using broken cards…” And he mumbled some more.

MAYA’S TURN: “Everything is in place,” Maya speaks to herself. “Let me built my counterattack while Stella is distracted. – I still didn’t draw Jewels of the Valiant. Crap.”

“I banish Dark Summoning Beast in my Graveyard to add a Sacred Beast to my hand, and so I send my 3 Triangle Force to the Graveyard to Special Summon Hamon, Lord of Striking Thunder!” The dark skies around them loudly bellow with lightning to herald, as trumpet fanfare, their lord.

“Preparations are not yet done. I discard Fluffal Bear from my hand to Set Toy Vendor from my Deck, then I activate it: I discard Fluffal Wings to draw a card.” Maya takes the vendor’s cheap prize and shrugs, discarding it: a useful Trap Card called Breakthrough Skill. “Anyway, I banish Fluffal Wings and Fluffal Bear, and destroy Toy Vendor, to draw 2 cards.” Once Maya did that, she used Toy Vendor’s other Effect to search for yet another Fluffal Wings, and she finally finished her chore.

Time to attack; Maya commanded her monster, “Hamon, launch your lightning at Chaofeng and destroy him!”

Maya’s monster is very large and intimidating indeed, but Stella easily stops it. “I play Storming Mirror Force!” All the sand of the island seems to gather around them as a hail storm and, raining hard on the lord of thunder, forces it to retreat back to Maya’s hand.

Maya sets a card and ends her turn in a huff.

STELLA’S TURN: “Maya, you’re Occult combo was an awesome surprise but that can’t beat me.”

“You know what they say, a player surprised if half beaten.” Maya says, winking at her.

“But only half. I’m not scared of Dark Necrofear and her aborted fetish baby, not even when they’re dead. If I intuit things right, Dark Necrofear’s Effect most likely resembled the modern print of Dark Sanctuary. Your Spirit Burn attack depends on the flip of a coin, like a fifty-fifty chance a fetus becomes a boy or a girl.”

“And what if it lands on its side?”

“Then we’ll call the little hellspawn transgendered and I’ll buy you a Bourbon, but only if you beat me.” Stella then clenches her fist, steeling her resolve, hoping luck is on her side. She drew a card she needed to seal Maya’s monsters forever, but she wants to hit Maya while she can, and Maya must play her part by destroying it.

“Wu’Tien, hit Maya directly!” Stella commands. The empress dragon does not, can not attack; the spirit possessing the field leaps out of her again, tearing away more of her life. (STELLA LP 2100 à 700, MAYA LP 5000 à 6400) Yet Stella is not frightened by such a move, she moves in for another attack, throwing her life to chance. And chance rewards her! Chaofeng smashed Maya with bars of light sprouting from its body, with no evil spirit blocking it. (MAYA LP 6400 à 3100)

Stella sets 2 cards, and as she ends her turn the spirit of Dark Necrofear spells another letter on her Ouija Board: “E”.

MAYA’S TURN: “I play the Trap Fiend Grieving: I return a Yang Zing monster from your Graveyard back to your Deck while I mill Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and use its Effect to Special Summon Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss from my Deck.” Two fiends from the fourth malebolge arrive from Hell on schedule, but only one stays.

“I link up Cir to Link Summon Charono, Ferryman of the Burning Abyss, and use his Effect to Special Summon a second Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss from my Deck.” The Link 1 monster rows his way through the air from the River Styx to the field, a humble yet dangerous monster.

“And more, I use my second Graff to Link Summon another Charono, Ferryman of the Burning Abyss, and use his effect to Special Summon Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss from my Deck, and my second Graff, now destroyed, does likewise, so I also call upon Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss!” Another ferryman appears with a couple of Fiends attending to him.

“I Tribute Summon Dark Summoning Beast and Tribute it to Special Summon Uria, Lord of Searing Flames from my Deck.” One of Maya’s ferrymen vanish to make way for a larger more savage creature, which in turn dissolves away to bring forth a large vicious red dragon. “And I use its Effect to destroy your facedown card.” The great red dragon emblazons with fury and destroys the hidden trap. Stella nearly jumps for joy, as Maya hit the jackpot, but she would never dare reveal it.

Thankfully for Stella, Maya can’t attack with Uria this turn. Still unfinished, Maya maneuvers even more through her convoluted dance, making Stella wish she drew the exact card sooner. “I overlay Farfa and Scarm to Xyz Summon Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, and send Calcab to the Graveyard to Xyz Summon Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal!” The two fiends collapse to form the famous Dante, who sublimates in the eternal feminine to summon Beatrice.

And with the Effect of Calcab, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, Maya bounces one of Stella’s backrow cards to her hand. Stella doesn’t care, as Maya already fell into her trap. Regardless, Maya did assemble all the infernal society to her court.

Matthew moans in utter boredom at the sidelines, and hollers out to everyone, “Can you please finish your turn already!”

“If only I could.” Comes Maya’s replay. “The game would be far less tedious.” She resumes her turn yet again. “I activate Jewels of the Valiant and banish Dark Summoning Beast from my Graveyard to add the last Sacred Beast to my hand, and with that I use Jewels to mill a monster. I set a card and end my turn.”

Matthew sighs in relief, acting like a little boy when he finally gets a marshmallow his mother promised him.

Now it is Stella’s turn to sigh in relief. She said, “I’m sorry, Maya, but you fell into my trap. I activate The Lost Ark in my Graveyard! Since you destroyed it this turn, I can Set any Trap Card from my Deck facedown. You gave me exactly the card I needed to smash your occult combo!”

Maya is all too eager to see Stella try, for it would be boring if Maya did win with Destiny Board, and regains a fondness for Stella she did not feel in a very long time. But a duel is a duel, so she pretended to be nervous and incredulous. All she said was, “Bring it!”

Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 22

Duel 22 – Huge Clash, Tiny Arena

Maya touched the hologram cards projected from her duel disk, moving them this way and that to edit her deck. Yes, she beat Maria but she was horrified at how bad her was; bit to the very sixty-card limit, it was bursting from the seams. The Sacred Beasts were powerful all right but they were unwieldy was a giant club. Maya took a few cards out, added a few more; Burning Abyss needed more support. She would deal with the Sacred Beasts later, but she had no time at the moment.

Stella quietly and solemnly made her way up to the arena, and Maya realized at this moment how tiny the arena truly was. People were like vast gulfs unknown fathoms deep, but blocked from each other by mountains. Games, at least this one, were a way to make the mountain vanish for a while, and when the two gulfs blend you get a tempest. Maya doubted any arena could contain such a thing.

Maya saved her file in her duel disk; her deck was ready. She said to Stella, “Ready to give everything you have?”

The air was very tense, and both duelists couldn’t properly breathe, but Stella did answer, “If we were any closer I would punch you in the face.”

“That’s the spirit!”

STELLA: 8000 || MAYA: 8000 

STELLA’S TURN: “No mercy, Maya! Here I come! I play Yang Zing Cycle, I tribute 3 Wyrm monsters to Ritual Summon Wu’Tien, Dragon Empress of Yang!” The famous yin-yang symbol appears behind her as three Chinese dragons dissolve into the yin half of the cosmos circle, then the empress of light flies out from the white dot in the darkness. “And with her Effect I revive Toatie, Shadow of the Yang Zing and Bi’an, Earth of the Yang Zing!” The dragons of shadow and earth, one large and muscular, the other small, appear beside their queen.

“I activate Qu’Tien again, destroying Taotie to draw a card, and from Taotie’s death I Special Summon Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing from the Deck.” Enter a new dragon of water, resembling a turtle, to replace the old one. “I tune Bixi and Bi’an to Synchro Summon Denlong, First of the Yang Zing, and use its Effect to searh for Zefraxi, Treasure of the Yang Zing, and I Normal Summon it.” Water and earth blend into a primitive dragon of white hot light, and a small dragon of jewels joins it. “I tune Denlong and Zefraxi to Synchro Summon Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing, and from Denlong’s Effect I Special Summon Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing!” A large black dragon of evil replaces the first dragon of light, taking its jeweled friend with it, but a new light dragon now joins the party, small and bright as a lightbulb.

“I play Soul Charge to revive Denlong, Pulao, and Taotie!” And three Chinese dragons return from the Graveyard, but Stella pays a steep price to make it so. (STELLA LP 8000 à 5000) It is well worth the effort. “I set a card facedown and end my turn.”

MAYA’S TURN: “I draw!” Maya finds Stella’s army formidable, but also amusing. She used to spam the field with monsters too, just a week ago in fact. Well, it is time to see if she truly matured in her strategy. “I set a monster and a back row card. I end my turn.”

“What?” Stella can’t make out such a move. She has an entire army of the Dragonstar Ten and Maya just baits her? She could at least set three cards or something like that! “You will pay for disrespecting me!”

STELLA’S TURN: “I’ll get rid of what little defenses you have. I use Yazi’s Effect to destroy itself and your back row!” Dragon and card shatter instantly.

Maya rejoices, “Good! You fell for my true trap! You destroyed Blaze Accelerator Reload, which triggers it’s Effect: I banish it to mill Volcanic Scattershot from my Deck, which lets me mill 2 more!” The cumulative power of all these moves is a tidal wave of fire; the disaster burns all of Stella’s monsters to a crisp before washing away the ashes. (STELLA LP: 5000 à 3500)

Almost all. Wu’Tien remains standing, as regal as ever. Stella let herself smirk at the result. “Sorry, Maya. That may work against Maria but not me! I had Wu’Tien pop one of my monsters to save herself, and you forgot one crucial fact: Yang Zing monsters can replace themselves! I call forth Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing; Bi’an, Earth of the Yang Zing; Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing; and Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing!” Four new dragons appear from the orient, with all the colors of the rainbow.

“Hmph!” Maya bushes away this new development with scorn.

“I tune all my Yang Zing monsters to Synchro Summon Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing!” The rainbow of dragons returns its source of white light, from which comes their emperor of many colorful flags. “I activate Path of the Yang Zing: I shuffle 3 Yang Zings back in the Deck and draw 2! Wu’Tien, slay the facedown monster!” The empress readily obeys her master, ironically, and splits the monster beneath it with her elegant curved sword.

The monster is Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, but Maya knows she can’t use it, because Chaofeng stops all monster Effects with Attributes used to Synchro Summon it. In fact, the only monsters she can use for Effect purposes are LIGHT and WATER monsters, and she has none of the latter. And that’s not all! Chaofeng can’t be killed by battle or effected by Spells either. This is bad.

Stella holds the lights of joy and victory glinting in her blue eyes. “Chaofeng, hit Maya directly!” The great dragon hits Maya with a savage gust from its wings, propelling her on her back. (MAYA LP 8000 à 4700) “I end my turn. I told you I’d punish you for a flippant move!”

“And so you have.” Maya says in a nonchalant way as she resumes her posture, not revealing the extreme pain wracking her chest. Dueling is the last thing you should do with broken ribs. With every breath making Maya feel like she is being stabbed, it was a wonder indeed she didn’t faint from the first duel.

“However,” Maya reveals to her former lover, winking at her. “You showed your hand too early, and no army of Technicolor dragons can compensate.”

“I’m not worried. No amount of cockiness will cover that bluff.”

“But you should be, Stella. You walked away from me last duel. You don’t know all my strategies. Who is disrespecting who again?”

Stella bites her lip on hearing those words. Maya is right.

Matthew, that manchild, comes up with something he thinks is the cleverest idea in the world. He calls upon the dark powers Xiaoyi bequeathed him, once more smothering the arena in a fog so black no sunlight can pierce it. The young man laughs in a villainous triumph, “The ultimate shadow game has begun! Former lovers, now you are the bitterest enemies! For the ultimate sadistic choice, only one of you can make it out alive, the other dies! How ironic, the one person you once loved more than any other is the person you kill! Who will it be!”

Maya and Stella both freeze from the news, but only for a moment. They effortlessly laugh it all off, throwing Matthew into bewilderment and frustration. “Are you kidding me!” Stella shouts from up the arena. “Everyone wants to kill their ex! Lamest! Supervillain! Plotwist! Ever!” Before she convulses into coughs.

“NO!” Matthew screams. “NO! NO! NOOOOOOO! You’re supposed to be full of despair!”

Maya yells at him, “You’re not Jigsaw! Take a seat, you amateur, and shut up! We’re having couples therapy over here!”

“But Xiaoyi says I’m a special villain. When will it be my turn to win for once?” Matthew whimpers with his eyes staring at the ground, and that just causes Maya and Stella to ridicule him even more.

MAYA’S TURN: “Speaking of which, I play Triangle Force, letting me activate 2 more from my Deck, and I set two cards. Good luck, Stella.”

STELLA’S TURN: “I’ll punch your confidence to the dirt with Matthew, where both belong, and because it’s a shadow game, you’ll feel the damage for real.”

“Nearly getting my ribs broken twice felt pretty real.” Maya objects.

“Then wait until you see my Yang Zings nuke you like China would nuke Japan if they wanted to; monsters, attack!” The dragon empress swung her sword at Maya while her partner fired a volley of wind and thunder, blowing the typhoon over to knock out the puny human that stood in its way.

“You fell for my second trap!” Maya declared. “I activate my 2 Traps, Power Wall!” Maya mills a total of 13 cards from her Deck, and both dragon emperors are rendered impotent. “I can’t use Burning Abyss monsters, but I can activate Toy Vendor in my Graveyard, adding a Fluffal Bear from the Deck to my hand.”

“Damnit.” Stella grits her teeth in frustration, then makes a gentle laugh. “You are slippery snake, aren’t you.”

This left-handed complement makes Maya smirk ever so slightly; she says, “Oh please, Xiaoyi called me a snake too, and both of you embarrass me. A snake implies mystique and elegance, and I have neither, nor would I want them. I’m more like an ass or a pig: stubborn and shameless, but shrewd and with good memory.”

“So that’s why you don’t eat pork. It would be cannibalism.”

MAYA’S TURN: “I activate Toy Vendor from my hand, then I banish Fluffal Wings and Fluffal Bear, and destroy Toy Vendor, to draw 2.” And the vendor appears and vanishes with a snap of the fingers. “I use Toy Vendor’s Effect in the Graveyard, adding a Fluffal Wing to my hand.”

Maya gives herself pause at this moment to relish what will come “Yes, everything is in place! It’s time for a little old combo to come back from the grave.” Before Stella can even ask what that cryptic comment means, Maya says, “People look with nostalgia to the past, until they experience it again. I banish two Burning Abyss monsters and Tour Guide to Special Summon DARK NECROFEAR!”

The dark arena grows even darker, if such a thing is even possible, as a ghost haunts the field, its presence so eerie even Kaiba gets the chills. “Come out!” Stella shouts, her voice growing in fear. “Show yourself!” And the fiend obliges her, condensing into human form from the darkness: of a tall gaunt woman in dark blue skin, holding the cracked remains of a baby doll.

Stella’s fear turns into fury. “What are you trying to pull, Maya!”

And Maya answered. “Donkeys live very long. You’ve never seen a dead donkey, have you? I set two cards facedown. Attack me, if you dare.”

Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 16

Duel 16 – Full Jump

Kaiba, who stands watching Maya’s and Maria’s encounter has enough. “Maria, cease talking to Maya at once!” He orders her. “Maya’s using her forked tongue to shatter our bond. Don’t you dare give in to that snake! Only the weak use psychological tricks instead of the powerful monsters who choose their rightful duelists. That fact will decide your victory over this reptile! Make her rue the day she ever picked up a duel disk!”

“Um, hello?” Mathias points to himself. “One of the world’s greatest over here. Screws with people’s minds all the time. Beat Kaiba a few years back. Fanboys still hate me for that.”

Maya brushes Kaiba’s threats aside with a comical swipe of her hand, as if the threats are literal pests. “Yes, yes, the luck of the strong, might makes right, destiny chooses the winner, all those fallacies aside. Bourgeois gamers pretending to be feudal overlords would amuse Marx until he is red in the face, before making his head explode.”

Maria: 4100 | Maya: 300

MAYA’S TURN: “4500 ATK is impressive but it’s only appetizer compared to the main course. Armityle, attack Neo Blue-Eyes!” The phantom king conjures another wave of dark chaotic waters, but Maria is prepared.

“I activate Rescuer from the Grave, and banish five cards from my Graveyard!” A new wave of water, one from the global flood, challenges the dark tsunami, crashing its attack to a standstill.

“Hmm, this is a problem. I set a card facedown.” Maya mutters under her breath.

MARIA’S TURN: “Your Armityle is now weak with 0 ATK, as it is my turn. Kill it, Neo Blue-Eyes, and win me the duel!” Its three heads join forces to fire one neutron blast.

“I activate Beatrice!” Maya says, detaching its last Xyz Material. “I mill Electromagnetic Turtle, now banish it from the Graveyard to activate it!” Maria’s dragon swings at Maya with the strongest force of all of Maria’s dragons, but the electromagnetic barrier surrounding Maya disperses it, similar to how the Earth’s field defends itself from solar winds. “As my Turtle banished itself, I activate Jewels of the Valient, milling a Glow-Up Bulb.”

“Wait, why would you use Glow-Up Bulb of all monsters in a Burning Abyss Deck?” And the third epiphany this duel hits her like a rock, though to be fair Maya has her fair share of head bruises. “Oh no! Oh no!!!”

MAYA’S TURN: “I play Pot of Acquisitiveness, returning 3 banished cards to my Deck to draw 2, and activate my Set Trap Jar of Avarice, recycling 5 cards in my Graveyard to draw 2. Now, Monster Reborn! Revive Cherubini!” The black cherub resurrects through Egyptian magic.

“Beatrice is my guide this duel, but she has fulfilled her purpose; I link her with Cherubini to Link Summon Spadiavolo, Swordsman of the Burning Abyss!” A new, exceedingly wicked devil makes its entrance, wielding a huge broadsword to cut sinners to pieces. “I Normal Summon Fluffal Dog and Special Summon Glow-Up Bulb from the Graveyard with its effect, and I tune it with Fluffal Dog to Synchro Summon Naturia Beast!” Weevil jumps for joy at seeing one of his favorite monsters make a cameo. “Armityle, attack Neo Blue-Eyes!” Maya orders.

“No! I banish five cards to activate Rescuer from my Graveyard! ” But Maya mills two cards from her Deck so her Beast can negate Maria’s magic with its own. Maria banishes more cards to activate her Spell Card again, and Maya negates it in kind, carrying the cycle through until Maria has no cards left to banish, though it does somewhat injure Maya’s Deck. Armityle finally has the last laugh, overwhelming Neo Blue-Eyes with its tidal forces.

But Maria is not gone yet. “I activate Counterlife!” She receives no damage and instead the shattered remains of her dragon sublimate into healing energy, granting her new Life. (Maria LP 4100 à 8600)

“You’re not safe from my wrath, Maria! Naturia Beast, maul her!” Maya’s beast assaults its prey under its master’s command. “I attack with Spadiavolo, and mill four Burning Abyss monsters to increase its ATK!” Four demons from Hell emerge from the sulfurous pit, their evil spirits infesting their new host body, but rather than suffering the swordsman fiend only doubles in strength. Maria gasps; it has 4000 ATK! “WATCH THIS! Devil’s Revolution!” The fiend mercilessly cuts loose into Maria, the force of its strength battering her in a wild gust of filthy wind; Maya laughs horribly the whole time. (Maria LP 8600 à 2400)

“I activate Barbarriccia, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, banishing itself and 2 more of its kind to dish out your just deserts!” Three of Maya’s fiends emerge from the Graveyards as flaming ghosts to burn a little bit of Maria’s flesh. (Maria LP 2400 à 1500) And in one fell swoop Maya equalizes the game. “Had enough punishment yet, Maria? I told you, I will grind you down in due time! The hourglass to your death is ticking!”

“But hourglasses don’t tick.” Maria almost collapses to the ground, sweating and gasping for air. Maya’s attack was too much; her vision begins to get blurry.

Maya looks she cannot care less of Maria’s suffering. “This is how 6000 odd damage feels like. Contrapasso is a bitch. I set a card facedown, now it’s your turn to hopelessly struggle.”

MARIA’S TURN: “I set a card facedown. Maya, make no mistake; I will win this duel.”

“No, you will not, Maria.” Maya rebukes her as sternly as she has ever done before. “You fight for a man’s love. I fight for my life. No amount of Twilight romance or Happy Potter love will overcome a woman’s desperate struggle for survival.”

“Wow, what a hardass.” Kaiba comments with stinging sarcasm.

“Please, ‘Kaiba boy’.” Maya shoots at him darts of her own. “You sound more like a Nietzsche fanboy than I ever could.”

Pegasus chuckles to himself in amusement. “Honestly, Kaiba boy. You would do better with Maya than ever with Maria. Your temperaments match and, I dare say, I can taste the belligerent sexual tension all the way over here.”

“EW NO!!!” Maya shrieks, curling away at the very thought as a vampire exposed to sunlight.

“Say that one more time and I will kill you.” Kaiba growls at Pegasus. “You have been warned.”

Is Pegasus intimidated by such a threat? Nope! He replies with, “And what then, Kaiba boy? Not even Kaibacorp could endure the years of litigation that would descend on your ass the instant you lay one hard hand on one soft hair on my head.”

MAYA’S TURN: “By all means, keep struggling, Maria. If I indeed am a reptile, then you are a baby bird, and nothing like moving prey more excites a reptile to hunt. Monsters, attack!”

Maria blocks the assault, “Return from the Different Dimension!” Cutting her Life in half to return her three Blue-Eyes White Dragons back to the field.

Grunting, Maya calls off her titan’s attack, sets a card facedown, and ends her turn, letting Maria’s dragons become banished once more. Better to have a Blue-Eyes banished then in the Graveyard.

MARIA’S TURN: She places her hand on her duel disk, almost ready to surrender, but pushes herself onward. If she lost the duel, everything would be ruined, and she cannot let that happen, no matter what! She pleads to the spirit of Atem, the great pharaoh, to lead her to victory. She draws her card.

“I play Monster Reborn to resurrect Neo Blue-Eyes!” True to her word, her dragon rises from its tomb in a miraculous comeback. “Neo Blue-Eyes destroy the fiend Armityle, and grant me victory!” And her dragon delivers its last assault.

Maya reacts on cue, “I trigger Hate Buster! Our monsters die and you lose 4500 Life!”

“That won’t happen! Card Guard!” Maya discards a card in her hand, the storm of hellfire expands outward from Armityle and rages over the entire field. Maya counters with her Naturia Beast, but Maria is prepared even for that. “I discard Effect Veiler to negate your Beast! My dragon is safe.” The king of phantoms burns away in its hateful fury but a floating shield spares Neo Blue-Eyes its life. “In want of a new target, Neo Blue-Eyes, assault Spadiavolo!” And it continues its assault.

“I activate Phoenix Wing Wind Blast!” Maya declares in her final refutation this duel, discarding a card from her hand. Maria’s great dragon bursts into flame, but rather than being destroyed, it rises up and away as a phoenix taking flight, returning to the Extra Deck.

Maria collapses to her knees in despair. “I lost. Just finish me off already.”

MAYA’S TURN: “I draw!” But she pauses. As Maria said, she lost. Maya had already crushed her spirit. There is no point in torturing her any more. Her bloodlust satisfied, Maya calms down, breathing deeply a few times, her flaring temper snuffing out, letting all holograms dissipate on their own.

Maria: 0 | Maya: 300

Maya offered her fallen rival a hand, saying, “I know I’m a terrible person, but at least I am fair. All potshots aside, you are an amazing duelist, the strongest one I have ever faced in my life, and had I not been forced to evolve in my skills you would have easily defeated me. Though trying to get someone to like you is foolhardy and insulting to your humanity, any man who is not a fool should at least treat you with admiration and respect.”

Maria, as much as she still hated Maya, took her hand, using it to stand up. Pegasus, Mathias, even Rex and Weevil gave warm applause for the great game they just bore witness to, certain it would be saved for posterity. Meanwhile, Matthew seethed in rage as ever and Kaiba remained dead silent, sinking his head in shame.

Maria jumped down the arena to embrace Kaiba. “I know I lost the duel, Seto, but I dueled so well; everyone thinks so.”

Kaiba pushed her away in disgust. “You lost to a dreg using a Blue-Eyes Deck, a terrible humiliation I can never forgive you for. Get out of my sight, loser dog.”

Maria, upon hearing those words, shrank away, heartbroken, but shed no tears, showing nothing more than a look of vague disgust. “I hoped you had actual human emotions above ambition, resentment, and greed; I thought you had something deeper within you than selfish frustration, but I was wrong. Goodbye.” And the couple parted.

Pegasus mimicked a burning noise on his finger. “That was savage.”

“Couldn’t think of anything better. “All I could do is make some lame joke comparing Seto Kaiba to Donald Trump, though it would be pretty funny to watch them duel. Hmm, wonder what kind of Deck Trump would use.”

“ENOUGH!” Kaiba roared as a lion, the full power of his temper exploding, quickly straddling himself on the duel arena. “I have tolerated enough of your insults during the duel, but no more, dirty trash! You dare mock my Blue-Eyes White Dragon, I will beat you down so bad you will walk sideways for the rest of your life!” He readied his duel disk, his intentions clear to everyone.

Maya did likewise. “Look at that temper, big guy! Wanna’ screw me over like you did your ex already, huh? Talk about a pure deep love affair!”

“Stop this instant!” Pegasus ordered, but neither duelist listened, so everyone else took it upon themselves to persuade the two fighters to cease their quarrel, an affair that lasted for five tense minutes. Maya and Kaiba stepped down, an decision that disappointed every Yugioh fan in the world, but one that was for the best.

Isono the referee declared, on schedule, “All surviving duelists will now commence a thirty minute break, wherein afterwards Matthew Carter will duel Mathias Blackheart and Svanhildur Minervudottir will duel Marina Bozuslowsky. Surviving duelists are free to alter their decks as they see fit during this time period.”

And so, exeunt al.

Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 15

Duel 15 – Tighter Knots

Maya struggles to stand on her feet, her knees wobbling and her chest burning from her fractures ribs, but she forces her way onward. She cannot lose this tournament. She might as well die if she had to because if she loses she won’t have a life, anyway. Maya even realizes the humor in these words; people would laugh if any other Yugioh character said it, and maybe some would even laugh at her, but she needs the money more than anything. The banks would use her crushing debts to drive her homeless and, well, she might as well striptease or turn tricks for Wall Street stockbrokers, but as enticing as the thought of a rich a****** snorking coke from her ass seems to her, it is not a fate she will tolerate.

Maria: 4600 | Maya: 1500

MAYA’S TURN: “I play Jewels of the Valient; each time I banish a card from my Graveyard, I get a mill a card. Dark Summoning Beast gives me the perfect opportunity; I banish it to add a Sacred Beast monster to my hand, and this lets me mill a Carboneddon. Next, the Permanent Spell Card Triangle Force, putting three more from my Deck to the field, and I destroy them all to Special Summon Hammon, Lord of Striking Thunder. I offer my Phantasm Token to Tribute Summon my second Dark Summoning Beast, and Tribute it to Special Summon Uria, Lord of Searing Flames from my Deck!”

The bright sky broils into dark clouds yet again, hailing the dark advent of two more huge fiendish beasts; all three together resembling the three Egyptian Gods: Raviel for Obelisk, Uria for Ositis, and Hammon for Ra. “I activate Fallen Paradise to draw two cards, and I use Uria’s effect to pop Maria’s faecdown card.” The red fiend of illusions blasts away its target with a gust of flames. “I combine the Sacred Beasts together – I don’t need Polymerization to fuse them. – I call form Armityle the Chaos Phantom!” Raviel, Uria, and Hammon melt into each other, their limbs and organs fusing together into a serpentine body, Uria’s head becoming the left arm and Hammon’s head becoming the right, creating the ultimate illusion beast.

Mathias himself gases at the ancient creature in wonder. Maya’s titan truly calls back to the dark mystic past before the gods of Olympus and their era of Apollo’s glowing beauty. It is the closest embodiment to Typhon he can think of, holding ginormous 10,000 ATK!

Maya is still yet to fisnish. “I have two Carboneddon sleeping in the Graveyard; I banish them to Special Summon two Dragons from my Deck: Labradorite Dragon and Wattail Dragon.” As carbon is forged into diamond, Maya’s two lowly dinosaurs are ground under immense pressure to create two rare, bejewled dragons, one of light, the other of darkness.

Maria knows what will happen next; Maya will bring out the same Tzolkin combo Matthew did in his duel, and says as much to suggest Maya is not so inventive after all. But Maya dismisses the suggestion outright, “No, I am being even less inventive.”

She calls once more upon Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal, this time two dragons rather than Dante become the Xyz Material. “I use her effect to mill Calabrina, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and use its effect to bounce your other facedown card.” And Maya’s target vanishes in due time. “Two down, one to go. I’ll burn the last one out with an attack! Raviel, destroy Chaos MAX Dragon! Eat 10,000 ATK for afternoon brunch!”

Marai springs her trap, “Negate Attack!” And the phantom’s beasts onslaight is repelled, sparing Maria and her monsters.

“I expected as much.” Maya bemoans. “I set two cards and end my turn.”

Seto Kaiba, scowling and unreadable as ever, surveys the battle in a way he had never done before; there is something very new at work. Nearly every duelist until now, himself included, built their decks as a pyramid, their strategies culminating into an ace monster they held a special bond with, such as his Blue-Eyes White Dragon; his stronest servant, his very pride and soul. Everything revolves around that monster, or a few key monsters, creatures that a duelist puts all his faith in carry him to victory.

But Maya’s entire strategy is inverted; her deck a spider web of equally interconnected parts, with Beatrice as the spider in the middle, her gravity holding everything else together. From that center, Maya can reach into any corner of her web to achieve any effect she desires; there is no true ace monster. Kaiba saw only a few such atheists back in his day: Pegasus turned whatever cards his opponent used against him, Bakura used his monsters as fodders to achieve a terrifying lock combo, even Yugi used various strategies where his Dark Magician was a favorite but one of many. To think people worship that twerp but completely miss his gaming style.

Kaiba snorts at Maya’s performance with contempt, “The Sacred Beasts are bootleg copies of the Egyptian Gods at best, the poor man’s form of divine strength. What is Armityle’s 10,000 ATK compared to the Infinite ATK of the Gods fused together?

MARIA’S TURN: “I activate Trade-In, discard a Blue-Eyes to draw two cards. Maya, your Armityle is strong but only during your turn. Now, on my turn, its ATK is 0. Chaos MAX, destroy Armityle! DARK NOVA!”

But the light-warming destructive energy never reaches it’s target. Maya refutes her with Fiend Grieving, “I return the Blue-Eyes you discarded to your Deck, and I mill Fiendish Rhino Warrior, which lets me mill Farfarello, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and I use it’s effect.”

“That won’t save you! Even if Chaos MAX is banished I still – Oh!” Armityle dissapears, leaving Maria to still adjust her eyes to the titanic-sized voide left behimd from it’s dissapearence. “I instead direct Chaos MAX to kill Beatrice, and since she is in Defense Position I inflict double piercing damage!”

“I use Beatrice’s effect to mill Scarm, and I play Damage Diet!” Maya’s fair angel is vaporized, leaving the offending dragon’s wrath to pursue its true mission, but the Trap Card slows it down enough until only a mild blast hits Maya. Getting punched in the ribs doesn’t hurt – Getting punched in the broken ribs doesn’t hurt! (Maya LP 1500 → 300)

But though Maya barely hangs on the game, she still shows her infinite resiliance. “Beatrice was destroyed, letting me Special Summon directly from the Extra Deck Dante, Pilgrim of the Burning Abyss!” Dante returns, completed by Beatrice, his journey to God complete. “With his arrival, I discard Ciriatto, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and draw a card, then use its effect to Special Summon Graffiacane, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss from the Deck.” Her old fiend, the nasty dog, returns, making a painful contrast with the great pilgrim.

An understanding dawns on Maria; that this scene of devout and devil forms the core of Maya’s character, but the devil tugs on its leash as a rougue hound, tearing its noble but weak master to wherever its caprices demand it must go. A similar insight reveals itself to Mathias. Yugioh really is a strange game.

Maria sees another fatal weakness in Maya’s forces: her Cherub; being a Link Monster, it can’t defend itself. “Firewall Dragon, attack Cherub!” The online dragon creates a gateway, then launches from it a deadly virus code to kill the black cherub.

But Maya has more tricks up her nonexistent sleeve, activating, “Absolute King Back Jack! Banishing it from the Graveyard, I excavate my Deck’s top card, and if it’s a Trap Card…” If there is such a thing as the Heart of the Cards, Maya could sure use it now, and she prayed to God/Satan/Buddha/Flying Spaghetti Monster/Great Spirit/Orochi the Neckbeard/The Universe/No One/Whatever it would be the right card. She drew it… “I play Raigeki Break!” She discards a card from her hand, and directs the lightning to destroy her own monster, breaking her black cherub. And as if that isn’t enough, she mills another card due to Valient.

Maya breathes a deep sigh of relieve and winks at Maria, saying, “I needed a lucky break too.”

Maria reluctantly admits that Maya survives another turn. “Blue-Eyes, destroy Dante! Dragon Spirit of White, destroy Graff!” Saint and fiend burn to ash, letting Maya use their effects: Dante forces Maria to discard a card while Graff lets Maya Special Summon Calcabrine, Malebrache of the Burning Abyss, yet another Fiend, to the field. Maria sets two cards, ending her turn, which lets Armityle to return and Scarmiglione, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss to fetch yet another Burning Abyss monster for its master.

MAYA’S TURN: “I activate my facedown Toy Vendor, the one I set facedown two turns ago, then activate Fluffal Wings, banishing itself and Fluffal Bear, and popping Toy Vendor, to draw two cards. Then I use Vendor’s effect to search for Fluffal Dog.”

Now for the turn proper. “I Normal Summon Rubicante, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and tune it with Calcab to Synchro Summon Dante, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss! And I use its effect to bounce your facedown card.” The red-faced terror and grace-stomper vanish into a white portal so the famous Roman poet descends from Elysium to Earth, and as soon as he does so Maria loses one of her defenses. “I use Destiny Hero – Malicious from the Graveyad, banishing itself to bring out another one from the Deck, then I overlay it and Virgil to bring out a second Beatrice, Lady of ther Eternal!”

As soon as the holy angel finishes her advent, Maya turns her attention to a possible victory, but most likely, as Maya fully knows, a strategic step to burn out her defenses. Not having a backrow of facedown cards did not guarantee a sucessive hit these days. “Armityle, take out Chaos MAX!” The titan combines darkness, fire, and lightning to recreate the dark primeval waters of myth, and pushes them unto Maria’s field as a massive tital wave, threatening to overwhelm everything.

“I play the Hand Trap Soul Desperation!” Maria calls forth a huge black altar, her tone as desperate as her card implies, offering her entire dragon army to the hungry altar, leaving her wide open but increasing her Life enough to withstand the dark waters of Armityle… and the light fires of Beatrice. (Maria LP 4600 → 16600 → 4100) The combined attacks become so strong, Maria is nearly thrown off the arena, only saving herself at the last moment by grabbing the ledge for dear life, dangling like a rag doll. Maria, however, is lucky enough not to have endured having her ribs broken, her flesh bruised, or her conscience racked with stress and guilt; and she gets back to fight with a resiliance that even impresses Maya.

Maya even comments, “This is probably the longest, most high level, most exciting duel I ever had. I will kill Stella if she doesn’t deliver a duel at least as good as yours.”

“Assuming you win.” Maya says, chastizing Maya for her arrogance.

“Don’t get your hopes up. I claimed a huge field advantage after much struggle. You can drag the duel on until the heat death of the universe, but I will win in the end. Unless you’re Yugi, no amount of ass pulls will save you.”

MARIA’S TURN: “That’s where you’re wrong, Maya. I just drew Dragon’s Mirror, and I play it to banish all three dead Blue-Eyes to Fusion Summon Neo Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!” Three spirits, dragons of white, merge through a looking glass, and the triple-headed king of dragons manifests from the other side. “Neo Blue-Eyes, attack Armityle!”

Maya, at most expressing mild surprise, defends herself with ease. “I activate Beatrice, to mill another Farfarello, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, and use its effect to banish your dragon this turn.” And Maya’s goblin grabs hold of the dragon, transorting itself and the gigantic beast far away from the battlefield.

Frustrated, Maria moves on to a second plan. “I play Melody of Awakening Dragon. I discard a card and add 2 High Level dragons to my hand. I end my turn.” Maria knows she’s on the ropes. Yes, she has a powerful monster, and more Life, and only needs to hit Maya with one attack to win the duel, but she feels as if she is losing. “Why?” She thinks to herself, but she soon understands. Maya’s Deck is, ironically, more consistent. She knows how to access her entire Deck at a given point. Maria can only make her hand bigger.

Maya, on the other hand, knows it is time to make her true assault, now Maria was vulnerable enough to penetrate. She suspected Maria’s fatal weakness for a long time, but only now, in this duel, could she say for certain. “It makes perfect sense now.” Maya pretends to speak to herself, just loud enough for Maria to hear her.

“What do you mean?” Maria asks.

“At first I thought you used a Blue-Eyes Deck simply because you weren’t creative, but it is obvious that you are creative and intelligent, too much so to practically netdeck Kaiba. I wondered why, and thought of the drunk fun we had together last year, and it dawned on me. You truly love Kaiba and want him to love you in return, but your frustration will last forever. It’s desperate. It’s pathetic. You have ‘Please notice me, sempai!’ writ all over you.”

“Quiet!” Maria shouts more loudly than she ever shouted in her entire life. “Enough of your lies, you fiend! You manipulative, callous, destructive…” Maria summons the most hateful word she can think of. “Jerk!”

“Yes, I’m a cocksure sarcastic b**** who is as funny as Amy Shumer, I know.” Maya assures her. “But I know that pain; I felt it with Yukio.” And she feels it with Sophia, but she doesn’t say it. “All you can do is stand strong on your two feet, and you certainly can, Maria. Kisara is, for all intents and purposeses, Kaiba’s companion cube, but you are not Kisara, and even if by some wierd accident of reincarnation you are, you are far stronger than that. Don’t be the innocent waif possessed by the dragon, be the dragon!”

Maria remains unmoved, at least at the surface. “As if a left-handed compliment isn’t bad enough, you now condescend to me.”

“Hey, it’s your life.” Maya shrugs. “If you want to depend on someone else for your happiness, that’s your problem, but have no illusions. You will be no better than the millions of girlfriends and wives abused every day, and as someone who was abused, I can assure you there is nothing romantic about a moody, jealous boyfriend.”

Yugioh the Dark Dimension – Duel 14

Duel 14 – Shatterpoints

Maya’s habits still amaze her at times; for instance how she holds herself back out of fear even when in danger of losing a tournament she cannot afford to lose, and she wonders what Freudian backstory leads to such behavior. Her father can beat her until she bleeds, and has done so more than once. Maria could never touch her.

Or is it Kaiba who is scary? Her father shares Kaiba’s height, his broad shoulders, and ice-cold blue eyes. It doesn’t matter at this point. She’ll hire a shrink after the tournament, when she can use the prize money to actually afford one.

But there is more going on. Maya confirms what she suspected for many years now: Maria wants Kaiba’s love, respect, and approval. But why would she want that? The same reason Maya sought for it in Stella, and failed. Maria will fail too.

Maria: 6500 | Maya: 8000

MAYA’S TURN: “I banish Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss in my Graveyard to discard a Burning Abyss monster to add another one from my Deck to my hand. Next, Libicocco, Malebrancho of the Burning Abyss activates in the Graveyard: I Special Summon Graff from my hand. And I use the effect of Barbariccia, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss to Special Summon itself from my hand.” Her two demons fly out from a volcanic geyser from Hell: a burly bearded monster and a beastly dog.

“I discard Fluffal Bear from my hand to set Toy Vendor from my Deck, and activate it; I discard Fluffal Wings from my hand and draw another card.” It was Carboneddon, a non-Fluffal monster, so Maya had to discard it too. Every other duelist in the arena betrayed a mild look of shock, a look Maya didn’t have the time to notice, so engrossed in fulfilling her complex strategy. “And I banish Fluffal Wings from my Graveyard, plus Fluffal Bear, and destroy Toy Vendor to draw two cards. Toy Vendor activates when destroyed, so I search my Deck for Fluffal Bear.”

One engine done, now another one; together they move the entire machine. “I link up Barbar and Graff to Link Summon Cherubini, Black Angel of the Burning Abyss!” Her monsters align in a fiery grid to be sacrificed, and the black cherub, satisfied with Maya’s tributes, rises from the fires of Hell. “Graff now activates. I Special Summon Draghignazzo, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss.” A black-winged fiend with the scales of a black dragon follows the black cherub into the mortal realm in an iron leash.

“I use Cherub to mill Cir to give its ATK a boost.” But such a meager offensive increase is far from my Maya’s objective. “I use Cir’s effect to Special Summon Scarm from the Graveyard. I overlay Draghig and Scarm to Xyz Summon the second Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, and use it’s effect to mill three cards. But I’ll take the evolution further; I discard Malacoda to overlay Dante to Xyz Summon Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal!” As the eternal feminine descends from Heaven to absorb Dante into herself, Maya thinks of Sophia, that beautiful soul, and how that beauty brings Sophia down.

“This is it.” Matthew thinks to himself. “It’s the arch stone of her deck.” But the thought triggered his fragile mind, setting him into a rage as soon as he grasps it’s meaning. He screams at Maya, “Don’t tell me you will not use your Golden God Card this duel! You will not insult me by not dueling at your fullest strength!”

“I won’t need to use a god if I don’t have to.” Maya replies to him in a tone as relaxed and cool as if she is drinking Texas moonshine in a rustic bar. “And how would you know, anyway? Did you read the script?”

“I acknowledge you as my one rival, so you must have a god to rival mine! It’s destiny!”

“Or a cliché plot.”

Mathias tries to whisper to Maya as best as he could from a few meters away, if such a thing is even possible. “Top-say reaking-bay the ourth-fay all-way.”

“Speak Normal.” Maya says. “I can’t understand you.”

Mathias repeats himself, “Diruam non murum quartum et re fabricam destruere.

Maya bats his warning aside. “A quis iocus non nocere.”

Maria can only stare at them quizzicly. “I have no idea what kind of Italian they’re using. Do you know, Seto?”

Kaiba shakes his head. Gozaburo Kaiba, is stepfather, never bothered to school him in the humanities, as he thought they had no purpose to running a multibillion dollar company. Matthew, however, who did learn the wisdom of antiquity from his grandfather, replies, “I understand them perfectly. They’re making a dumb joke.”

Pegasus takes his turn to make a coy comment, the first one in this entire duel. “I’m impressed. The American education system hasn’t failed everyone.”

Now Maya starts her third engine. “I Normal Summon for the first time this turn; come out Illusion Brigadier, and use it’s effect to Special Summon two Illusion Tokens and deal you, Maria, 900 damge.” A hunchebacked fiend stooping from carrying two massive turrets appears and copies itself twice, then all three fiends fire six blasters at Maria. (Maria LP 6500 → 5600) “And now I Tribute the three of them to Special Summon Raviel, Lord Phantasms!” The skies blacken to smoke, lightning shakes the entire pyramid they stood on, threatening to split in two, and a giant diety, a king of fiends and shadow magic, is called forth from the netherworld.

Mathias gasps in surprise. “Illa fregit cerebrum meum.” And everyone else shares the same feeling.

Maya is still not done. “I activate the Field Spell Fallen Paradise!” The dueling arena transformed into a desolate valley, a barren whithered tree towering over the entire group on the side, yet still made bright by the early afternoon sun. “And I use it’s effect: since I control a Sacred Beast monster, I draw two cards.” It is time to battle! “Raviel, destroy Maria’s Alternative Dragon.” The lord of phantasms turns all the shadows around it, made so sharp and black by the bright sun, into living beings that together drag Maria’s white dragon to its grave. (Maria LP 5600 → 4600)

“I activate Fluffal Bear, discarding to set Toy Vendor from my Deck. And I Set three cards facdown. I end my turn, making Scarm activate, meaning I search for a Burning Abyss monster.”

Stella, who silently stood in the corner watching the duel so far, begins to leave the arena. She saw Maya’s strategies, everything she needed to know, and will not dignify Maya with her prescence any more.

“Stella, where are you going?” Maya calls out to her with anxiousness.

Stella says nothing, and Maya changes her tone from anxiety to indignation. “Giving me the silent treatment, huh. What are you, in third grade? Grow the f*** up!”

Stella climbs down the stairs of the pyramid, with Maya hollaring at her, “Do what you will, but I guarantee it will be your loss!”

MARIA’S TURN: “Your terrible fiend does not frighten me. Darkness always triumphs over the light! I banish both White Stone of Ancients in my Graveyard to add two Blue-Eyes monsters to my hand. I activate Pot of Avarice to shuffle the five remaining monsters in my Graveyard back in my Deck to draw two cards. “I activate the two Cards of Consonance I just drew, each one makes me discard a low Level Tuner to draw two cards, which then triggers the two White Stone of Legend in my Graveyard; I banish them and add two Blue-Eyes White Dragon from my Deck to my hand.

All Maria’s cards at this point this turn served to replenish her hand, so she may mount a counterattack. “I Normal Summon The Agent of Creation – Venus!” The first offender appears, a placid and delicate goddess. Maria undertakes a difficult sequence of Link Summoning; she uses Venus’ effect to Special Summon many Mystic Shine Ball from her Deck, and uses them to Link Summon Link Spider and Proxy Dragon afterwards, paying 1500 Life Points in the process. (Maria LP 4600 → 3100) “I link up Venus, a Shine Ball, and Proxy Dragon to Link Summon Firewall Dragon!” The three diverse creatures dissapear so the cyberverse dragon could cross to the physical plane.

Since Maria did Normal Summon a monster, Maya Special Summoned a Phantasm Token to her field, a weak dwarf of its sire. Regardless, ss soon as Firewall Dragon appears, Maria uses its effect, “I bounce your Beatrice back to the Extra Deck.”

Such a play shocks Maya, but she reflexively makes her commands, “I activate Beatrice to mill a card.” The eternal feminine vanishes by Maria’s hand, the irony not lost to Maya. “I detatched Draghig to use Beatrice, so I use its effect to put a Burning Abyss monster at the top of my Deck.”

Once Maya got her bearings together after a few seconds, she understood Maria’s tactic. “Firewall Dragon pointed to Raviel with its Link Arrows, letting it bounce Beatrice, and since she would not be destroyed you got around Cherub’s protection. That was really cool. See, you’re more than Kaiba’s trading card.”

“Thanks for the left-handed compliment, I guess. I reveal Blue-Eyes in my hand to Special Summon Dragon Spirit of White and use it’s effect to pop…”

“You guess what?” Maya says. She set three cards facedown and Maria’s new dragon could only banish one. She took great care to hide Toy Vendor among them, shuffling her cards before setting them all facedown at once. Only one of them can protect her from Maria’s onsluaght, so Maya made it hard to find.

Maya finds the scene amusing; kind of like when Yugi would hide his Dark Magician inside magical hats, forcing Kaiba to play a guessing game. Too bad this guess game is nowhere near as awesome.

Maria tries to read Maya’s mind, pointing at one card, then another, trying to detect any sign of nervouseness, then holds her finger over the middle one. Maya keeps her poker face stiff with a smarmy look she knew would annoy Maria oh so much, and oh how well it worked. “I’ll make give you a hint, Maria. The card on my left is Toy Vendor. Perhaps you should choose a different card.”

“Maria Wight, you have ten more seconds to make a move.” Isono the referree warns her. “Failure means discquialification from the finals.”

Pressured into action, Maria declares, “I banish the middle facedown card!”

“JACKPOT – For me that is! Jar of Avarice!” Maya plays her Trap Card right before it gets erased from existence. “I shuffle five cards in my Graveyard back to the Deck and draw one. Better luck next time with the Monty Hall problem.”

Kaiba turns his already scowling face a shade darker with a grimace. “I can’t believe Maya would use such a cheap trick.”

“If meta duelists can use cheap decks, Kaiba boy, Maya is perfectly entitled to use cheap tricks.” Pegasus gives a sly comment. “Reminds me of the good old days, when I used mind games to utterly control my opponents.”

“And a fair bit of cheating, I might add.” Kaiba reminds him.

“It doesn’t matter! Chaos MAX Dragon, destroy the Phantasm Token!” Maria commands, clearly frazzled. “Eat 6000 damage!”

“Never!” Maya refutes her. “I activate Delta Barrier, bringing back two more from my Graveyard to block all damage!” Her weak token remains standing.

“Firewall Dragon, Dragon Spirit of White, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon, destroy Cherub!” The rest of her dragons open fire, eager to send the fiend back to Hell.

“I use Cherub’s effect. I destroy all Delta Barriers, letting Cherub survive battle three times.” The black cherub bears the brunt of all three attacks, deflecting one after another, but at great cost. The dragon’s combined powers hit her hard, almost throwing her out of the arena, the impact of her already broken ribs on the ground sears her with a piercing pain, as if her chest and back are being stabbed by countless knives. (Maya LP 8000 → 1500)

Maya is more than hearty enough to take such a hit, and even when smashed against the ground and in extreme pains, she still sings Maria’s praises for nearly killing her with such mighty attack, though she makes a codetta, “I am never this well-behaved in a duel. I must still feel crushed by my debt to you. How annoying.” But what truly hurts her is not the petty pain in her body but the fact Stella left.