“Look, I’m just giving you a fair warning, is all,” Coach Fuji whispered back with a shrug. “Don’t say I didn’t tell you so!”
“Hey, are we getting this show on the road or what?” Yoko chided the group. “This galla isn’t going on all night!”
“Damn you’re impatient.” Yuuji said as he turned back to Yoko for a moment. Then to his coach: “Gonna stick around and watch?”
“And miss the chance to talk stocks and market shares with the rich and famous? I don’t know, sounds like I’ll have my plate full for the evening,” Fuji joked, chuckling to himself in the process.
“You do you man.” Yuuji said as he turned around and walked back toward the arena. “You good and ready, Miss Amari?”
“I was born ready. In fact, I’ll even give you the first move,” Yoko replied, placing her deck on the old tabletop in front of her.
“Nah.” Yuuji replied, rather bluntly. “Ladies first.” He placed his cards in front of him as well, then drew his starting hand in one motion, correctly counting the number of cards by feel. “Don’t want them to say I got lucky after I win this thing.”
“Aw you’re too kind,” Yoko replied with snide in turn, drawing her opening five cards. She hardly looked at her hand before setting one monster face-down. “Now it’s your move, show me watchyu got.”
“Did she seriously just pass her first turn?” The playful expression Yuuji had been wearing soured. It was one thing to snub him, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to her opening move than being coy.
He looked over the six cards in his hand, and didn’t like what he saw. Most pro duelists didn’t need to worry about dead hands, but due to having to scrape his deck together piecemeal, Yuuji was still occasionally dealt cards that were hard to make use of together. Still, there was at least one move open to him. “Let’s start off with an old favorite of mine.” Normally, he’d add to the summon with some kind of flourish (or a feat of athleticism if the monster he was summoning was larger), but due to the size of the arena and the stiffness of his tuxedo, Yuuji was forced to settle for simply placing the card in the play area in front of him. A moment later, Zombyra the Dark appeared in his monster zone.
Zombyra the Dark
“And I’ll follow it up by setting two cards. You’re up.”
“Aw that’s it? Fine fine, guess I’ll have to take it over from here, I draw.” Yoko drew another card and glanced at her hand once more. “I activate Core Codex from my hand.” She placed the spell card on the field, and a dark cube with lines of purple code running along its faces floated up from behind her monsters. “I use its effect to banish 1 DARK monster from my Deck to summon a Bot Token on my field.” She looked through her deck, picked a card and placed it off the field. Next to her set monster what looked like a mechanic eye with various spider legs sticking out of it appeared and landed. “Next I tribute that token to summon Splicer Dragon from my hand.” The token vanished in a cloud of sparks, and in its place a mechanical dragon with a mix of white and bright red armor plates took its place. The dragon led out a loud, heavily distorted roar that soon began to draw the attention of various Gala-goers.
“And thanks to Core Codex, this beauty gains 200 ATK.” Splicer Dragon let out another roar, as the red portions of its armor glowed brighter for a second.
ATK: 2000 -> 2200
“Neat.” Yuuji was quite obviously not impressed, though that might have had to do with the fact that Splicer Dragon’s hologram was maybe three feet tall, as opposed to the orders of magnitude larger it would have been had they be using newer duel disks. “So does it actually do anything?”
“Well, beggars can’t be choosers. And no, for now it attacks your Zombrya,” Yoko replied with an equally unimpressed tone. Splicer Dragon began to flap its wings, pitch black and lined with neon-red lights. “Now, hit that bargain-bin special with your Black Hole Breath.” Splicer Dragon made the act of inhaling, a sphere of dark energy collecting at its mouth before it fired it off towards the weaker monster.
“That’s too bad. I was kinda hoping I’d see something cool.” Yuuji flipped one of his set cards as he spoke. “I activate Shrink. I’m sure you know what it does.”
“Oh no whatever will I do,” Yoko feigned terror as Splicer’s attack was reduced to 1200.
“You’ll stop playing around and take me seriously.” The playfulness was gone from Yuuji’s voice as Zombyra, who was equally unimpressive and diminutive, sprang up and, after dramatically posing in mid air, delivered a drop kick to Splicer Dragon’s head, knocking it into the ground of the playing field, where an explosion and dust cloud conveniently hid the arena erasing its hologram from view.
Zombyra the Dark
ATK: 2100 -> 1900
Yoko seemed to only chuckle, with a smirk spread across her face, her lifepoints dropping down to 7100. “I think you’ll have to make me. I end my turn.”
“Fine. I’ll make you.” By now, a decently sized crowd had begun to gather around the arena, mostly drawn by recognizing the celebrity standing across the arena from Yuuji. Still, an audience was an audience.
Thankfully, Yuuji’s deck had been nice enough to give him something a but more substantial for him to work with this turn. “I’ll start with a dragon of my own, since yours was so lame. Eclipse Wyvern!” On cue, the strange dragon, its colors divided evenly between black and white down the middle of its hide, appeared.
“And now that it’s upstaged your Splicer Dragon, Yoko, I’ll add to the gang by special summoning Apex Arsenal- Brawler Buffalo from my hand.” A metallic, armored buffalo charged onto the field from just outside of its monster zone, its horns resembling curved metal spears.
“And since its a Union monster, I can equip it to one of my monsters, like Zombyra over here.” On command, Buffalo leapt into the air, transforming itself into an oversized metal gauntlet, with both horns protruding as blades from the first two knuckles. As it fell, Zombyra, in typical dramatic fashion, struck a pose and jumped up once again, extending its arm upward at just the right moment for the Buffalo gauntlet to fall into place around it.
Zombyra the Dark
ATK: 1900 -> 2700
“It's action time! Zombyra, attack her set monster!” Three extravagant poses later, Zombyra was in the air, oversized fist outstretched and falling toward the flashing white monster zone where Yoko’s card was hidden.
The monster revealed itself to be BM-4 Bomb Spider, but with only 2200 defense the monster was shattered into pieces. Yoko’s expression continued to look unchanged.
Zombrya the Dark
ATK: 2700 -> 2500
“Now for Eclipse Wyvern! Hit her directly!” The dragon did as it was commanded, breathing a hazy, grey flame toward Yoko’s side of the arena.
Yoko’s lifepoints dropped down further from 7100 to 5500. “Was that it?” She asked with a smirk.
“Keep pretending you’ve got the upper hand until your life points hit zero. Turn end.” Yuuji had his poker face on now. He didn’t want to give anything up to Yoko, least of all the lack of resources in his hand, and he was trying his best to get her to start using hers.
“Nobody’s pretending, I draw,” Yoko looked at her hand and smiled. “Remember how I said Splicer Dragon did nothing for now? By discarding 1 DARK monster from my hand, I can Special Summon him from my Graveyard. So I discard Slash Trooper from my hand to bring him back. Why don’t we give him a warm welcome?” Yoko discarded 1 card and a summoning circle appeared on her side of the field, with Splicer Dragon rising from it once more, his attack raising to 2200 again. “Next, I activate Splicer Dragon’s other effect. By revealing a level 8 or higher DARK Machine in my hand, I can Special Summon the monster I discarded for his summon from the Graveyard, but its effects are negated and its attack and defense become 0.”
“Finally decided to start playing the game, did you?”
Yoko laughed, as she revealed Floodnet Carrier in her hand. “You have no idea. Slash Trooper returns to my field.” A robotic soldier with energy swords rose from a similar summoning circle, but as it was fully summoned it powered down completely. “Next, I activate the field spell System Core.” Placing the field spell on the tabletop, the hologram projectors formed a large, alien-like craft that slowly descended from holographic clouds above the arena, with curved apendages reaching towards the field itself. “Finally, I tribute my Splicer Dragon and Slash Trooper to summon Floodnet Carrier.”
Both Splicer Dragon and Slash Trooper vanished in sparks, and in their place a much larger robotic dragon took its place, its circular wings forming together at a cannon on its back. “Ah but don’t think it’s quite over. Thanks to Core Codex he gains 200 ATK, and thanks to System Core he gains another 300 ATK and DEF.” Floodnet Carrier roared as black-and-red lightning peeled away from its wings. “Awww, isn’t he a cutie?”
ATK: 2800 -> 3000 -> 3300
“Certainly better looking than you with that awful grin on your face.”
“Don’t be angry, Sakata. It’s not over yet! I activate Floodnet Carrier’s effect. During either player’s Main Phase, I can Special Summon one DARK Machine from my Graveyard in Defense Position, but its effects are negated. I think I’ll bring back Bomb Spider.” Floodnet brought its paws together and lightning sparked between them, forming a sphere of energy from which a powered-down Bomb Spider dropped down to the field with a metallic crash. “Now then, down to business. Floodnet Carrier? I think Eclipse Wyvern deserves a bit of punishment for daring to attack me directly. Hit him with your Carrier Cannon, if you please.”
Floodnet Carrier roared in agreement and leveled the large cannon on its back down at Eclipse Wyvern, charging a blast and firing off a searing bolt of red energy, once again followed by an explosion and dust cloud to hide the Arena’s slow load times. Yuuji’s lifepoints dropped a moment later, down to 5300.
“You know I get to banish a dragon from my deck when Wyvern hits the graveyard, right? Or were you not paying attention?”
“Oh I was paying attention, but if you think you can bring something out to stop my monster feel free to try.”
“Trust me, I’ll do more than try. I banish Odd-Eyes Dragon from my deck.” Yuuji waited a moment, then remembered the arena had no auto shuffler, and so fished the card out himself and manually shuffled his cards. Hopefully, it would improve his luck. “You done?”
“Almost. Because I Tribute Summoned a DARK Machine monster, System Core lets me draw up to 2 cards depending on how many monsters I tributed. Now, because I tributed 2…” Yoko drew two more cards from her deck. “Now then, you thought you had a plan?”
“Of course I’ve got a plan. But first, tell me something. What do you get out of playing someone who you clearly don’t see as an equal? Too scared to play in the actual big leagues?”
“I enjoy the hunt, Sakata. Those tournaments only happen so often. Besides, all these new players get big ideas now that they’ve hit the big leagues. I’m here to show them the top, and how far below it they stand.”
“Man, you really are as full of yourself as I’ve heard. And here I was thinking you might actually have been a decent human being under that bad attitude of yours. Damn shame, too. You’d almost be my type.”
“You won’t make it anywhere if you’re afraid to step on toes, Sakata. Now make your move.”
“Sure. Draw!” Yuuji had a bit of a grin on his face again. Even though Yoko was making him angry, he was enjoying the challenge. The card he drew only made it widen. “Well whaddya know, just what I wanted. First lets unequip Brawler Buffalo from Zombyra, shall we?” Zombrya looked a little sad as Buffalo detached from his arm and transformed again.
Zombyra the Dark
ATK: 2500 -> 1700
“Sorry bud, I need you to take one for the team this turn. Now, lets banish Eclipse Wyvern from my graveyard so I can add Odd-Eyes to my hand, and special summon Black Dragon Collapserpent.” A black hole appeared over Yuuji’s third monster zone, out of which another, serpentine dragon with a similar anomaly embedded in its chest slithered. “Next, I tribute Collapserpent and Zombyra, and when I do, Collapserpent lets me add A White Dragon Wyverburster to my hand.” Yuuji quickly fished the card out from his deck and shuffled.
“With a dragon’s drive, I’ll tear down every wall in front of me! Summon! My blazing red soul!! Odd-Eyes Dragon!”
Yuuji’s tributes disappeared dark magical vortexes, and above where Zombyra stood, a bright red flare appeared, crashing into the ground like a meteor. A moment later, Odd-Eyes appeared from within the flames, letting out a roar that shook the arena, and most certainly drew more onlookers.
“My ace. Hope you’re ready for him, Yoko.”
Yoko laughed as the monster appeared. “Well there he is, and what with such a theatrical entrance! Please Sakata, please tell me you learned how to duel at a proper duel school and not fuckin’ theatre camp!” Odd-Eyes let out a second, defiant roar, clearly as amused as Yuuji.
“If you think Odd-Eyes is just for show, then you’re in for a rude awakening. But first, let’s banish Collapserpent so that I can Summon the Wyverburser I just added to my hand. And then we’ll rinse and repeat by tributing it, so I can special summon Apex Arsenal- Samurai Smilodon!” A blue and white robotic lion leapt onto the field, clad in armor plates shaped like samurai gear, and holding a katana in its mouth.
Apex Arsenal- Samurai Smilodon
“Now lets give Odd-Eyes his battle gear! I equip both Brawler Buffalo and Samurai Smilodon to Odd-eyes dragon!” Both monsters transformed, with Buffalo’s gauntlet form attaching itself to Odd-Eyes’s tail and Smilodon breaking apart and becoming several pieces of armor plating, which attached themselves to Odd-eyes in various places, giving the dragon a silhouette similar to a fully armored samurai, albeit one with a tail and a giant fist attached to it. Smilodon’s katana also landed in front of the dragon, who stepped forward and picked the weapon up in its right hand.
ATK: 2500 -> 3900
“And next, it's action time! Odd-Eyes, lets cut Floodnet Carrier down to size!” Odd-Eyes roared in response, then slammed the fist on its tail into the ground, using the sheer force of the blow to propel itself forward and into the air, katana at its hip ready to strike. In a flash, it was over, with the armored dragon sheathing the blade behind floodnet carrier, which broke into two clean cut pieces, as if on cue.
For a brief moment, Yoko’s expression darkened, but it wasn’t long until it was back to her typical smirk. Her lifepoints went down to 4900 from the attack alone. The duel wasn’t over, and this just meant she had to bring out the big guns.
“And now Odd-Eyes’s effect kicks in. When he destroys a monster, you take damage equal to half its original attack.” Odd-Eyes roared, then blasted a fireball toward Yoko. Her life points dropped to 3500 as it impacted. “Your turn.”
“I draw,” Yoko said, and smiled as she looked at the card she drew.
“I activate Dark Conversion Core. This lets me banish a DARK monster from my Graveyard, then add a DARK Machine monster from my Deck to my hand whose Level is equal to the banished monsters. I banish Floodgate Carrier.” Yoko picked up her deck and rifled through the cards before finding what she wanted. “So I can add Cracking Dragon. Now, I activate Slash Trooper’s effect in my Grave. While I control a DARK Machine, I can Special Summon him, but he’ll be banished when he leaves the field.”
Another summoning circle appeared and Slash Trooper rose from it once more. “Now then, I tribute my Bomb Spider and Slash Trooper.” Both machines began to spark with neon-green lightning before being sucked into a black-and-green vortex in the middle.
“Play time’s over, Sakata. Time you said hello to my ace, Cracking Dragon.”
Erupting from the vortex with a loud roar, the multi-spined black-and-green serpentine body of Cracking Dragon burst into the air, circling around the field once more. “But let’s not forget the cards I have on the field to give him a little boost with."
ATK: 3000 -> 3200 -> 3500
“Now, Cracking Dragon, you want to cut Odd-Eyes down to size?” Cracking Dragon let out another roar as its eyes seemed fixated on the other dragon. “Awww I thought you’d never ask! Now then, Cracking Dragon? Attack that third-rate excuse for an ace!”
Cracking Dragon turned and a light began to glow in its mouth brighter and brighter.
“Forget how to count, Yoko? Cracking Dragon doesn’t have enough attack points to take down Odd-eyes.”
Yoko feigned shock. “Oh my goodness! You’re right! I’ll have to do something about that! I activate, from my hand, the quickplay spell Limiter Removal.” Yoko placed the card on her field, and the lights that ran along Cracking Dragon’s body began to glow even brighter. “Now please tell me you’re not so out of the loop to know what this card does.”
ATK: 3500 -> 7000
“I know it doesn’t give you enough juice to win, and that you’ll lose Cracking Dragon to limiter removal at the end of the turn. Willing to bet I won’t bounce back?”
“Oh I’m more than willing. Cracking Dragon? Hit him with a Limitless Traffic Blast.” Cracking Dragon released from its mouth a torrent of fire on Odd-Eyes that seemed to fill the entire field. Before it impacted, however, Brawler Buffalo detached from Odd-Eye’s tail, diving in front of the red dragon and taking the brunt of the firestorm, which enveloped them both. When the smoke cleared, Odd-Eyes was still standing, but Yuuji’s life points had gone down to 2200.
ATK: 3900 > 3100
“I’m not done yet, Yoko, and Neither is Odd-Eyes. You’re gonna have to blast off all of his armor before you can take him down. Guess your big move didn’t work out.”
“Oh no, guess I’ll just have to set this card face-down and end my turn.” At the end of her turn, Cracking Dragon’s lights seemed to glow even brighter, until… they fizzled out into their normal brightness.
ATK: 7000 -> 3500
“Oh, and I forgot to mention; System Core means my Tribute Summoned monsters can’t be destroyed by card effects. Sorry! And because I Tributed two monsters, I draw two more cards. Your move, Sakata.”