Yu-Gi-Oh! Trial of Fate (M for violence, blood, language)

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#1
These are the first 12 chapters of my Yu-Gi-Oh! fan fic. Sorry for clumping them all together, but I'd rather throw a lot out a once, that way I'll have time to get the rest of it together and continue it. As of now, it's out of production, but I'm thinking of producing it exclusively for this forum. Please comment! Favorite parts, things that need work, etc. In case you're wondering, it starts on chapter 2 because chapter 1 really had nothing to do with it and it just plain sucked. So with that said, read and enjoy!

(In case you're wondering, this is 56 pages in MSWord)
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CHAPTER 2

Yu-Gi-Oh! Trial of Fate: Chapter 2
Rating: 13+ for mild language


AUGUST 6th, 10:00 A.M.

The day turned out beautiful, as the weatherers had predicted. A swift golden sun painted the sky with a blue and white brush. The opening day of Akodia High was upon the brow of the day. The opening day was the third day of the official 219-day school year starting on August 4th.

All the students and faculty were gathered in a large courtyard outside of the cafeteria where the school ate during lunch periods. A neatly trimmed grass reception area where the principal introduced them to the new year complimented the sleek and futuristic school nicely. People were wearing their uniforms, which weren't mandatory, but for formal occasions. Among rows of very uncomfortable plastic chairs filled with discomforted students, the chatter died down as the tall and young principal took the podium. His strong and stern face suggested a German background . . . that and his name was Krauss. His oily and short black hair blew in the tasty spring breeze as he positioned the podium microphone closer to his face.

"I'd like to welcome all the students back for another wonderful year of learning and fun. Our new dueling quad has been finished, some of you already took the liberty of trying it out," The principal said as he stared at a bunch of second years.

Principal Dr. Krauss was a gentleman. He had always been very easy going and polite around anyone he spoke to. That pissed him off even more. How could Krauss be so soft on these little twerps? Where Cain came from, students were taught strict discipline, respect, and honor. None of this soft, right-winged crud. Cain stood behind everyone, not wanting to look like he was comfortable yet. Two students in the back row about five yards in front of Cain were talking, a boy and a girl. The girl was a jewel, her red and black dyed hair, skirt and uniform, and eyes that could pierce the thoughts of any man. It was as if while you were looking into her eyes, you knew everything.

"Hey, who are you?" Said the redheaded girl to Cain.

A boy who had been sitting near her whispered something to her.

"He's that new transfer student, the delinquent," The thin boy said matter-of-factly. "He looks vicious, no wonder he was transferred. I 'eard he kept getting into fights. He even punched a teacher in the face!"

"No way! He must be tough then. He looks strong Kyle," The redhead said.

"Don't go making friends with him Lisa, he'll probably kill you and bury you somewhere," Kyle said laughing.

"Actually, burying isn't my style, I prefer cremation," Cain said.

Kyle nearly jumped due to the fact he hadn't realized Cain had pulled a chair behind him while he was whispering. It was then that Kyle realized how scary Cain was. He was about average height, had a shaved head, a goatee, and a sleeveless black shirt tight to his chest, and black jeans. He had the looks of an athlete. He wasn't ripped, but Kyle knew from the look of his arms that he was buff enough to beat up any kid in the school. The eyes were the most threatening part however. His eyes spoke louder than words; they told stories of living a hard life, having to crawl to where he was now. He wasn't even wearing his uniform.

"What do you want? We don't sell drugs," Kyle said, obviously thinking he was funny.

"Sell drugs? Nah, but if your selling her . . . " Cain said with a grin. Lisa remained faceless, staring at Cain with her beautiful green eyes.

"Scumbag! This isn't Coltworth, no one buys sex down here you low-life!" Kyle said as he stood between Cain and Lisa. Cain had stepped towards Lisa while he was speaking.

"Chill the hell out you damn preppy. I'm just making friends, she seems like someone that wouldn't match you," Cain said coolly.

"What the hell does that mean? We aren't dating or anything!" Kyle said as his short blonde hair starting drifting along with the wind. The principal was still speaking.

"I mean, she's calm, unlike you. She also seems like an outgoing person, a trait you apparently lack since you're spending your time peddling gossip. Not to mention she's gorgeous and you look like a pig just shat on your face," Cain said cross-armed.

"That's it prison boy, you want some, come get it!" Kyle said.

Cain looked at Kyle, confused, and then looked to Lisa. He extended his hand to Lisa and spoke.

"I'm Cain, and you are?" He spoke softer.

"I'm Aliza, but you can call me Lisa," She said looking back at him.

"What? Lisa he's probably a convict for Christ’s sake!" Kyle.

"And for Christ's sake, why don't you shut up? She doesn't want to hear you and neither do I," Cain said.

Looking as if he was about to explode, or blow a hole in the back of his pants, Kyle huffed and sat up. He stomped angrily up the rows to another seat. Cain replaced Kyle and sat.

"That guy never leaves me alone. I swear he takes pictures of me," Lisa said.

"He certainly looks the type. What a creep," Cain said.

"So where did you transfer from?" Lisa said with a bit of interest.

"I came here from Coltworth, like your buddy said," Cain said. "It doesn't get anymore difficult than that place." Cain finished.

As if knowing they were talking, the principal raised his voice higher.

"Now if you'll please come up when your name is called to receive your duel pod cards! The official league begins today!" Krauss said as the crowd broke into applause.

Everyone stood up and remained still, waiting for their names to be called. Cain looked back at Lisa.

"So, are these duel pods like duel disks?" Cain said.

"You duel? You seem like one of those muscle head jocks to me," Lisa said.

"No, where I come from, the strong eat the weak. So it was no choice whether I was fit or not," Cain said.

"Jeez, you sound like you had it hard. Why the sudden change?" Lisa questioned.

"I can't tell you," Cain replied.

"C'mon!" Lisa said smiling. Cain's face went grim.

"No. I can't tell you. It . . . it has to do with my dad. My mom and I had no choice. Let's leave it at that," Cain said.

"Aliza Sanzetti!" Assistant principal Reigner announced. Krauss must have left somewhere, he always seemed busy.

Aliza looked at Cain and slid by him and up the rows to the front where a black box was handed to her. She's so hot, Cain thought.

An hour went by and there was one box left after the large collection had been depleted.

"And a student transfer in his 6th year, Richard Cain!"

The entire student body peered around to see the new man. Speculation and rumor seemed to have run wild about him in the two days school had been underway. As Cain walked up the isle in his informal attire, there were whispers and sometimes giggles as he walked by. He approached the makeshift stage and received the last of the weighty black boxes.

"Have a good year," Reigner covered the mike. "We are expecting good things from you,"

CHAPTER 3

Cain walked down the halls of the school. Surprisingly, they looked a lot more like the halls of a public school. The floors were a bland-colored tile with a worn down coating of shoe marks and scuffmarks that had resisted the persistent assistance of cleaners used by janitors. Similar to Coltworth, the years that he didn't want to remember. Lockers were the only aspect of the inner school that matched the image already burned into Cain's mind of a yuppie social cave. Cain's locker required an access card. Rich people, he thought. He hung his bag inside the locker and pulled out a sheet of paper. Now wearing a white button-down shirt, Cain unfolded the sheet and looked over it.

SCHOOL BEGINS AT 8:55 a.m.
ROOMS LOCK AT: 9:00 a.m.
(5 minutes or you fail, I like it)

CAIN, RICHARD
Year: 6
Homeroom - 40f


9:00 A.M. - PERIOD 1 - DUEL HISTORY
9:55 A.M. - PERIOD 2 - ENGLISH 6
10:00 A.M. - PERIOD 3 - MATH 6
11:15 A.M. - PERIOD 4 - LUNCH/FREE DUEL
1:50 P.M. - PERIOD 5 - CARD STUDIES
2:55 P.M. - PERIOD 6 - BIOLOGY 6
4:10 P.M. - PERIOD 7 - DUEL ARENA CHALLENGES

SCHOOL GROUNDS CLOSE AT 7:00 P.M. AND DUELING ARENAS ARE OPEN UNTIL 10:00 P.M.


With the long day ahead of him, Cain looked at the sheet once more and folded it back into a little square no bigger than a cracker that fit conveniently in his pocket. Cain took a pencil, notebook, and his card box with him. The card box was basically a wannabe suitcase with sleeve pages inside for cards and several compartments for other dueling necessities.

Duel History was pathetic. Even though it was only fifty minutes, their teacher, Ms. Crock, was just that. She blabbed and blabbed about some great duel between two unknown entrees in last years Duelist Kingdom, it had been the eighth annual Duelist Kingdom, which meant Battle City was this year. Ms. Crock was a rackety old grouch of a woman who had obviously been divorced by at least three different men. Her stress-worn face gave the impression that she was sixty. Probably not, Cain thought.

English 6 and Math 6 were both just what they had been advertised. English had already given them a book to read for the week and math class was just like the math teacher, repetitive and easy. The woman was hitting on two jock morons in the front row the whole time. She was young, but perhaps too young for hormone fueled teenage boys who still didn't know the world was round.

Lunchtime crept around the corner and reared it's beautiful head. Cain literally jogged out of math class to his locker to put his books away. He kept only his card box on him and proceeded down the hallway. As he was turning the corner to go down the stairs to the cafeteria, two big kids stood in his way.

"Hey chump, how about some free cards?" The slender and pompous kid said. He had slick black hair and about half a foot on Cain.

"Sure! Bend over and I'll give 'em to you," Cain said quickly.

"Ooh, we gots a smart one here Damian!" The other one said. The second student was a gorilla. He was about as tall as Cain if not a bit shorter and had to be at least twice Cain's weight.

"Listen Cain, we run the dueling scene here, so get too famous too quick and you'll be hearing from us," Damian said.

"Why don't we just eliminate the middle man and duel now? I've got Duel Quad 2 reserved," Cain said facing Damian again.

"I don't believe this Rob, this chump wants to take on the number five student in the school on his first day! You're on, moron," Damian said while walking away with the big ape, Rob, from Cain.

What a friggin' dolt.

Cain approached the Dueling Quad after a quick turkey sandwich. It was truly magnificent. There were about sixteen arenas almost all of them already running and bustling with activity. The arenas were actually newer versions of the old Kaiba Corp. Models used during Duelist Kingdom. With a simple metallic structure and state-of-the-art holographic technology, the arenas kept the rankings of all students in the school and city. The design was simple, a Holographic Image Reception Field (or HIRF) in the middle placed over a two by five row of marked squares on each player's fields. Each player also had a podium designed as a Duel Monsters field similar to the one marked on the HIRF. The podiums would scan decks to verify the legality and display statistics of both players on a screen on the right side of their playing field. There were seats on the left for spectators.

Dueling Quad 2 was one of the first in the rows of the four-by-four square formation of dueling arenas. Sliding the reservation card into the slot of the main podium, the lights and holo-graphs commenced operation. All of the arenas were separated by invisible electric fences that prevented anyone from entering without permission. Here, you dueled in style with the best technology Kaiba Corp. could offer. Duel Pods, on the other hand, were best for random locations.

Cain stood at one end of the arena and waited. He glanced around curiously, hoping to catch a glimpse of others' strategies. Is that Lisa?

"Hey! Lisa!" Cain shouted across the way.

"Hey jackass! I'm over here!" Damian's voice echoed across the arena.

"Alright moneybags, any stipulations to this duel?" Cain said as he placed his deck in a receiver on his podium, which scanned his deck.

"Stipulations? This is just a gentleman's match. We don't play dirty here," Damian said while placing his deck in his podium receiver.

"Of course you don't," Cain replied. Cain withdrew six cards from his deck. "Let's duel!"

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Aliza Sanzetti: 3200
Kyle Gate: 6800

Lisa was in danger. She only had three cards in her hand, a Needle Ceiling facedown, and a Dunames Dark Witch on the field. Her opponent, the twitchy kid that Cain had chased off, had challenged her to a duel to 'prove his love for her' or something Hallmark like that. However, he was a good duelist. His beatdown, no matter how unoriginal it was, was built masterfully and he played it just as well.

"Lisa, I will end this now for your sake, if you go on a date with me," Kyle said.

"You little freak, can't you see that you bother me?" Lisa asked.

"How come you always hung around with me last year? Now all of a sudden you're drooling over that criminal!" Kyle yelled. People from other arenas were staring.

"Please, let's just duel so I can be rid of you! I draw," Lisa said as she placed a card in her hand. Good! I could use this puppy! "I'll summon my Angel Rocker by tributing my Dunames Dark Witch!" Lisa announced.

Angel Rocker
6*
1800/1100
WARRIOR/LIGHT

Angel Rocker looked just like it sounded, a heavenly maiden with flowing blonde hair holding an electric guitar. He face was determined and graceful.

"Angel Rocker is my favorite card! It powers its attack or defense up by 300 for every light monster in my graveyard, so I'll raise her attack!" Lisa said.

Angel Rocker
3000/1100

The Archfiend Soldier on Kyle's field had a Mage Power equipped to it with nothing else on the field.

"I'll set one card facedown and attack with Angel Rocker!" Lisa said.

Angel Rocker snapped the knuckles on her right hand and played a powerful note, sending a shockwave towards the helpless soldier.

Aliza Sanzetti: 3200
Kyle Gate: 6200

"This duel is going in a whole new direction!" Lisa said cheering herself on.

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Richard Cain: 8000
Damian Gyver: 8000

"I'll begin with Insane Greed! This magic card lets me draw five cards, choose one, and discard the rest at the cost of 500 life points!" Cain said.

A little red goblin with two huge bags of gold coins appeared on the field and made a face at Damian. Cain drew his cards and discarded four.

Richard Cain: 7500
Damian Gyver: 8000

"I'll set one card facedown and summon Ghoul Guard! This zombie type monster has two abilities, one lets me summon it in face-up defense position, and the other you can learn yourself!" Cain stated.

Ghoul Guard
4*
200/1700
ZOMBIE/DARK

"An unorthodox start with a rare magic card! Honestly, I didn't know that they knew how to play cards in the ghetto!" Damian chuckled.

"Make your move," Cain demanded.

Damian drew his sixth card.

"Have you ever heard of an OTK deck?" Damian said as he stared evilly at his newly drawn card.

"I should of figured that rich persona of yours could only be complimented by a cheap deck," Cain said.

"Cheap it may seem, but it takes a brilliant mind to put together a good one. Especially one that qualified me last year for the National Championships!" Damian declared.

That's where I know him. I had a nagging feeling that I'd seen him before; he's that punk that took second place and complained that his opponent was cheated. This won't be easy at all.

CHAPTER 4

Aliza Sanzetti: 3200
Kyle Gate: 6200

Lisa had retaken command of the duel, confident that she could win now. She knew however, that she couldn't let it get to her head because cockiness just gives more incentive to your opponent.

"I'm glad to see that you're a worthy opponent, because girls don't tend to duel very well," Kyle said. His arrogance seemed to inflate along with his head.

"You'll be singing a different song and dance when you lose," Lisa said. She usually wasn't very strong when it came to insulting people. Lisa was typically quiet, but she had bite.

"I'll end my turn, draw," Lisa said.

"Thank you, I'll draw. Very nice," Kyle smirked. "I'll set one card facedown and one monster facedown as well!"

Two holographic images of the backs of Duel Monsters cards appeared on the field, one vertical and the other horizontal.

"You talk a lot of trash for someone who can't back it up," Lisa said, becoming more enraged the more she looked at Kyle.

Lisa drew a card and added it to her hand.

Well, he seemed pretty pleased with his card. He may be leading me into a trap. I'm not playing him easy this time.

"I activate Nobleman of Crossout! Your facedown monster is removed from play!" Lisa announced.

A tall armored warrior with blonde locks appeared on the field. His sword shined ethereal silver. As the nobleman raised his blade, the facedown card animated itself. An odd creature appeared. It looked like a small worm with demon wings and a single yellow eye. The blade came down and the worm vaporized.

"Crap! That was my Brain Jacker you destroyed. I'll remove my other one from my deck," Kyle said looking frustrated.

"Then, I'll attack with Angel Rocker!" Lisa said.

The Angel Rocker prepared another hard note and played with thunderous force. The shockwave rippled into a strange transparent vortex on Kyle's field.

"Activate Negate Attack!" Kyle declared.

So he was going to take my Angel Rocker, good idea, bad play.

Kyle was looking uneasy. That was his best play apparently. Now he didn't seem to have much confidence. Kyle drew his card and was still.

"For our date tonight, you can meet me at the auditorium, I've got a little show to put on for you," Kyle smiled.

"You little twit, who said you were going to win? You tricked me into playing you anyways! Who says I have to go on a date with you?" Lisa said becoming enraged with Kyle's perverted game.

"Remember? I have your most precious card!" Kyle said. He pulled a card out of his pocket and waved it around.

"You little . . ." Lisa cursed.

The card Kyle held was a Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of The Beginning, it was an unbelievably hard card to come by. Only two kids in the school had one, Lisa being one of them. Kyle had stolen it from her bag when they got to the dueling quad. Lisa had figured he would be a quick and cheap pop of a duelist and a date, which is why she never took it into consideration. However, this wasn't the way she wanted it to turn out. She wouldn't forfeit just because the dork had her card. She was a very quick thinker. In the short seconds that Kyle had been taunting her, she noticed a dueling judge, one of the teachers that patrolled that field, making sure duels stayed clean.

"Disqualification! He stole a card from me!" Lisa shouted.

A female teacher with short red hair stepped towards Kyle.

"What?" Kyle said looking dumbfounded.

The teacher held out her hand to Kyle, he fierce eyes barricaded by her bottle-rimmed glasses, and interesting combination. Kyle was blushing; he had obviously never done anything this shameful. Or had just never been caught. The teacher stared him down with a glare that demanded some kind of response. The kind of look a mother gives to her child after two dollars goes missing off her dresser.

He reached into his pocket and handed the teacher the card. She looked like Kyle had just smacked her. He mouth opened in a surprised curve. Kyle was looking away now.

"You pathetic child! How could you do such a thing? Wait until your parents here about this," She said.

"Please! NOOOOO!" Kyle yelled as he followed her.

The teacher stuck a metal card in a small slot that shut down the dueling arena and handed Lisa her card.

"I'm sorry for that dear, he'll be dealt with. And for the record, keep that card close at all times, I wouldn't be surprised if even teachers tried to take that card from you," The teacher spoke in a paranoid tone.

"Thanks," Lisa replied.

Lisa stared at Kyle, who was slouching away down the pathways between dueling quads. He's gonna be in a lot of trouble.
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"So, this one-turn kill deck of yours, is this all you parents could pay for?" Cain said. He knew these rich kids could only be broken through attacks on their money. Their egos seemed to be so inflated, that they were immune to any kind of psychological attack. Sure it was kind of a cheap tactic to some, but Cain was good at messing with people's heads.

"Enough chit-chat, I play Pot of Greed!" Damian announced, as a small green pot with menacing eyes and a wide evil grin on it's front appeared on the field and spit out two cards.

Next, I'll play Monster Gate! This will help summon the first piece to your demise!" Damian said dramatically.

As a strange energy field gathered on Damian's field, a creature began to emerge from it. A strange mechanical turtle with a large catapult on it's back.

"I special summon Catapult Turtle!" Damian announced.

Cain realized at that moment that there were no less than fifty students watching from the little stands around the arena. Checking out the new guy, can't blame 'em I guess.

"Next, I'll summon Magical Scientist!" Damian said. As he declared this, the crowd of students started whispering and snickering to one another. Here it comes, Cain thought.

"I'm sure you know what comes next, don't you?" Damian laughed.

"I do know, but you won't see it coming!" Cain said almost with a growl. This kid was definitely like a little rat, picking at his last nerve.

"Hahaha! You pushover, everyone said that you had some kind of amazing deck and here you are, completely helpless against what you called, a cheap deck." Damian laughed as he fondled the cards in his hands like gold coins.

"You're playing a coward's deck. You cannot even destroy my Ghoul Guard can you? I can accept defeat if you are able to penetrate my defenses." Cain said.

"Who cares if you accept it or not! I play Poison of The Old Man! I'll gain 1200!" Damian continued.

D: 9200
C: 8000

"Too bad. I guess you're just a stereotypical rich kid. No backbone and no guts, just like Kaiba himself." Cain taunted him.

"You're even going to insult the world champion? Even after he proved victorious over Yugi Moto in the third annual Battle City? You want it? You got it, dumbass!" Damian yelled.

"Ooh, I see we've moved up from four-letter insults. What's next? Keeping your head out of your ass?" Cain laughed.

Damian was becoming even more infuriated. As Cain had assumed, Damian wasn't the kind of person who heard 'no' a lot. He was clearly frustrated with the serious lack of respect Cain was showing.

"Do you see? Even as I stand here, whether I win or lose, I will never show you respect. All the money in the world couldn't buy you a teaspoon," Cain stated.

"I don't need to buy any respect from you! I'll beat it out of you!" Damian said almost screaming.

"Yeah man, you tell him!" Rob, the ogre of a young man who had pushed Cain around earlier said from his little spot on the stands.

"You sit down and shut your face lard ass," Cain yelled to Rob.

"Oh yeah, well . . . you're dumb!" Rob yelled back.

Cain simply looked back, with one eyebrow slightly raised and then looked towards Damian, who was looking the other direction of Rob and rolling his eyes.

"That's a cool friend you got there, I wish my friends were so stupid that they didn't know I was a pathetic duelist and a waste of life as well," Cain shot at Damian venomously.

"SHUT YOUR GODDAMNED FACE, BEGGAR!" Damian shouted.

The crowd had been laughing and cheering, but both duelists were unaware as to whom they were laughing at or cheering for. Cain could less; he hated having any kind of fan club. He had a few experiences in his life.

"I special summon Dark Baltar by paying 1000 of my own life points!" Damian commanded to his Magical Scientist.

D: 8200
C: 8000

A bundle of coins, supposedly representing life points, appeared in front of the hideous little man on Damian's field. As Magical Scientist erupted in an almost cartoon fashioned whirlwind of scientific instruments and colors, a demon began to appear.

Baltar was a beast. He was a beast of the underworld that no doubt served Hades at some point in a story long forgotten. His face was almost metallic and painted with an equally terrifying grin. His tattered shadow-black cape and humanlike body appeared. The scientist finished and stood back at his spot on the field, looking very proud of himself.

DARK BALTAR
Fiend/Dark
2000/1000

"As a down side, any monster I summon with Magical Scientist can't attack directly and will return to my fusion deck at the end of my turn," Damian.

"Dark Baltar, attack Ghoul Guard!" Damian shouted.

As Baltar raised one of his clawed arms, he dashed towards the Ghoul Guard, a stout skeletal creature with a tall shield and club. The Ghoul Guard braced itself as Baltar swung his sharp hand downwards. Suddenly, a large cloud of black smoke erupted from the ground Ghoul Guard was standing on. Baltar flinched and stumbled back from the smoke with a menacing growl. Not phased, but more angry, the persistent monster charged at the smoke cloud again. What happened next, was truly disturbing.

As Baltar made it even closer to the supposed Ghoul Guard, a different shape began to emerge from the cloak of fog. It was taller than Baltar for sure. As the demon realized this, he tried to stop, but a horrible frown became Baltar's last testament to his enemy.

As if the duel had quickly become a show of who could summon the uglier monster, Cain had it won. The monster that stood were Ghoul Guard once stood was about three feet taller than Balter. It was humanlike in many ways, except it's face. It's mouth was about two feet long, and a foot wide. The mouth was laced with hundreds of jagged white teeth, each at least three inches long. One eye bulged from its skull as if it were trying to escape.

Actually, it wasn't humanlike at all. Its body was abnormally muscular and purple. Its bald head reflected the horrid look on Baltar's face. It was then, that the new monster screeched, opened its mouth, and tore into Baltar's chest as Baltar shattered into thousands of pieces. The hideous beast let out a roar, as it's crimson robes fluttered in a holographic wind.

D: 7400
C: 6500

"Wha-wha-what the hell did you do?" Damian stuttered.

"I-I-I just activated a little magic card," Cain mocked Damian's obvious fear. "The quickplay card I activated is called The Mercenary! At the cost of 1500 life points and a tributed monster, I can summon one monster to my side of the field from my deck in any position. I choose the monster, Embodiment of Insanity!" Cain announced.

EMBODIMENT OF INSANITY
6*
Zombie/Dark
2800/2800

"This card has two special abilities. One, when it is special summoned, it's attack and defense points are doubled. Two, when it destroys a monster in battle, I gain life points equal to half the attack points of the destroyed monster, so I gain 1000!" Cain stated happily. The Embodiment Of Insanity let loose a terrible high-pitched laughter that represented it's name well.

D: 7400
C: 7500

"No! That means -" Damian trailed off and was interrupted.

"You cannot win!" Cain yelled.

"I - I end my turn," Damian said.

"Good boy," Cain said slyly.

Cain drew his card and stared at Damian's field. Damian was broken and his c0cky attitude was his downfall. Too much confidence'll kill you, Cain thought. Cain looked at the card he just drew and looked once more at Damian, who was slouched on his podium, waiting to lose.

Cain's gaze had caught Damian's attention. Cain placed his right hand on his deck and shut off his podium.

"Y-y-you're quitting? Why?" Damian questioned.

"You learned your lesson. Change yourself or I'll come back to pound you again," Cain threatened while pointing at Damian. Not to mention that I don't want my real strategies to be exposed in my first match.

WINNER: DAMIAN GYVER (DP +100)
LOSER: RICHARD CAIN (DP - 100)

TOTAL:
D. GYVER DUELIST POINTS: 400
R. CAIN DUELIST POINTS: 0
The message flashed on both their podiums. The crowd had been watching quietly from when Cain's super monster had hit the field. They were all whispering to one another now, most likely questioning why Cain didn't take the victory.

Cain walked out from the dueling quad with his hands in his pockets as the crowd that was at his arena slowly dissipated.

"That was cool," A cute voice came from behind him.

"What?" Cain said as he turned towards the owner of the voice..

"That was really cool, no one has ever done that to him before. People talk big, saying they're going to pound him but never do," Lisa said. "No one would have ever passed up a win to teach someone a lesson, and that jerk needed it." Lisa said.

"Thanks. So what happened in your duel?" Cain asked.

"What duel?" Lisa blushed wondering if Cain knew that a date was on the line in her previous duel. She was still ashamed of it.

"You and that trouser stain. I saw you guys stepping into a dueling platform," Cain said.

"Yeah, he stole one of my cards and made me duel for it. And . . . well, if I didn't beat him, he said I'd have to go on a date with him," Lisa said red in the face.

"HAHA! That little bug wanted to go out with you?" Cain laughed.

"What?" Lisa said looking offended.

"No, not like that. I'm surprised he didn't ask his mother first, pathetic kid that he is," Cain laughed.

Lisa smiled a bit and stared back at Cain. Cain looked down at her and his face was straight. For brief seconds, they stared into each other's eyes. She really does have amazing eyes, Cain thought. The piercing green pupils told Cain everything he could ever want to know. From that second or two that he stared, he felt stronger, braver, better. As if these eyes were a source of ethereal power and dignity. More than that, Cain wanted to gaze longer. He wanted that feeling of warmth and beauty.

The feeling that he had lost long ago on the day that he realized that the world doesn't play fair. It was a day that he learned Murphy's Law, anything that can go wrong, would. However, the eyes of this woman revitalized him. He could literally feel wings sprouting from his back. Her black and red shaded hair gave a rebellious feel, a woman that would not accept normal. He knew now that angels did not have white wings and shining gold halos, this angel wore glasses set against a freckled face.

Please help me, was what his eyes were telling her. His hazel eyes told of a past that he wished would go away. Like a deep gash in the flesh, it would never fade. This wound would remain open and bleed on your soul and mind, reminding you of a terrible past. Please tell me what's wrong Cain. This was not a lust for flesh, it was much more deep than this.

However, she could also see the power and bravery swirling in his eyes. Years of struggle in an unknown world where nothing could be right. The grinding time that drilled through his body. His resistance to this created a hard exterior so that he could fight the demons of his past. A weapon. Cain had found his way out, as if he were a soldier returning from war. She wanted to be the pillow under his head. The soft relief that comforted a troubled mind and made everything right. The one that remained there for the rest of a weary life that needed to be reborn. A life that needed her.

Cain took a breath and spoke.

"I . . . I have to go. It's Saturday tomorrow isn't it?" Cain spoke as his he was riding a bike down a rocky hill, trying to stay steady and not trip.

". . . Yeah, yeah it is," Lisa giggled a bit, losing her train of thought.

"If you want, we could . . . hang out." Cain blubbered. Smooth one, Mr. Bond.

"I would like that," Lisa said, blushing for another reason.

Cain didn't mean to, but at that moment, he reached his hand out and touched her cheek. His hand glided down her silky skin and cured him of his stress, a feeling that was new to him. She smiled and walked away. However, she stopped about five feet away and turned around.

"They're having a small tournament and Akodia City tomorrow. We could go there and do lunch or something," She asked innocently.

"Yeah, that sounds fun," Cain replied. He waved and she waved back.

I never thought I'd look forward to going to school, but I think I'm beginning to like it here.

Lisa ran up the stairs to her dorm room, giddy as a schoolgirl you could say. She pulled out her card and slid it in the card reader on her door. The white door clicked open and she hurried in and closed the door. The rooms in the dorms were small, but had beds; color TVs, bathrooms, and even a small kitchen area. Placing her backpack on her bed, she approached the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and stopped. Does he want me as well? She asked herself. I could feel something there, is it really there though?

"Look at you, talking to yourself in the mirror," She chuckled to herself. "We're just going to hang out, duel, and have some lunch, that's all." She assured herself. Please tell me Cain.

After she had changed into her pajamas, she dove onto her bed and grabbed a pillow. She smiled and dozed off to sleep.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cain sat on his bed, deep in thought. It's over, I can forget about it. I can finally start anew. Man, I can't wait to see her again.

He rifled through his still unpacked suitcases and found his tank top and sweat pants. Can this really be happening? Mom always told me everything would be better someday. I never did believe her. Could she have been right? If she were right about that, then maybe she was right about dad? No, she wasn't. She was crazy enough not to be right about everything.

Cain then remembered the tournament that they were going to tomorrow. He knew his deck would need a bit of work. He looked at his suitcase and opened it, it was crunch time. He knew his deck needed more trap support, so he separated his deck into three piles; magic, trap, and monster.

Cain sat until about twelve in the morning before he turned in for the night. She's the one, man, so don't let her go. You thought the last one was the one, but you let her go. I know Lisa is. She just feels so . . . perfect. Listen to this, I sound like a damn soap opera.

Better just sleep on it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 5: THE LEGACY OF CAIN


*BEEP* 7:30 *BEEP*

The clock chirped.

The morning came and Richard Cain stirred in his dorm room. The sun tickled his face until he couldn't take it. Walking like a zombie, he mumbled to himself and staggered towards the window over the sink. With authority and anger, he slammed it shut, and fell back in his bed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lisa had been awake since seven and couldn't sleep. Her little rendezvous with Cain was the only idea her brain could process. There was something about him that made her feel alive and vivid, like she could conquer the world. Looking through her closet repeatedly and scanning for an outfit to wear, she grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. As if fate itself were egging her and Cain on, an ad for the Akodia Entry-Level Duelist Tournament was on TV.

Be the first champion of the Akodia City ELD Tournament! Open to all school children ages 10-18 and a young dragons tournament will be held for those ages 5-9! Expert duelists, stop by to check out the fresh and upcoming talent of the dueling world!

Looking to renew your memories of the first battle city? New this year to all of duel monsters, the new G.O.D Packs! These are special promo packs that contain powerful cards based on ancient mythology! See if fate has chosen you to receive one of the six new cards that contains powers beyond all other duel monsters!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Wow! That's awesome! I'm glad I saved up some money, maybe I'll get one of those cards!" Cain said with newfound excitement, as if he needed any more for his day ahead. It had been a long time since Cain felt this way towards anyone. Not even his mother was worthy of his devotion anymore.

Cain pulled out a pair of navy blue jeans. They were his favorite. They were cargo pants, which meant they had two huge pockets on the sides of both legs in addition to the standard pockets. These went on over his favorite pair of black work boots, which were laced with black laces to match the black boots. Cain then tossed on his white Battle City T-shirt. It was all white except for a small portion over the left chest area that read "Battle City Security." It was how he got into Duel Monsters.

Cain had been a youth security guard working for Kaiba Corp. when he was about sixteen. He got into watching the duels. He actually got fired for staring and not doing his duty patrolling the streets for illegal activity. He remembered seeing a boy playing a Summoned Skull and another counterattacking with a Dark Magician. It was so neat and new to him that he had to try it.

Enough memory lane, I got to go meet Lisa! Cain thought this to himself as he pulled out a black, flexi-fit hat that he liked to wear backwards. Lastly, he grabbed his suitcase with his cards and his wallet. Double-checking himself several times to make sure he had everything, he walked into the dormitory hallway and closed the door. As soon as he took one step, he laughed at himself and shook his head. He used his card to open the door and grabbed his deck off the counter in its small blue case.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lisa stood at a fountain outside of the Card Center. The card center had to be one of the most unique structures in the entire country. It contained information on every card ever printed and galleries of cards to be observed and studied. There was also a theater that played famous duels like Yugi Moto versus Kaiba in the Battle City Semifinals of the first Battle City. It also contained countless books on dueling strategies, legendary duelists, and other random information. Anyone who played Duel Monsters made it a point to visit the place at least once a year. Not to mention, they sold a lot of cards, some of the rarest packs, too. It was the academy's easiest way to make money.

Lisa heard footsteps and saw Cain about fifty feet down the paved path, coming from the young men's dorms. He was in jeans and a t-shirt, a casual wear. Lisa had gone with a similar fashion. She wore light blue bell-bottoms and black midriff shirt and sneakers.

"Hey Lisa! What's up?" Cain asked. He was carrying a silver suitcase with him.

"Ready to go? I got us train tickets. Are those your cards?" She said pointing to his suitcase.

"Yeah, the more security, the better," Cain winked.

Lisa returned a smile and handed him a ticket for station 4, which was about a twenty minute walk from the school. She put on her backpack and motioned him to follow her.

They walked together, awkwardly silent for about ten minutes. They were outside school grounds now and were walking down a road lined with trees; the station was at the end of the road.

"So, have you lived in Akodia your whole life?" Cain said, breaking the silence.

"Yeah. I'm a local." Lisa responded. "Did you live in Coltworth up until now?' She asked.

"Well, it's a long story, but for the most part, yes." Cain said.

"Anything you can tell me? I want to hear," Lisa said.

"I appreciate it, but it's something I have to deal with," Cain responded coolly.

"Are you sure? It's feels like your holding something back that you need to say," Lisa commented.

"I am. And I'm going to keep it held back until the time is right," Cain said.

Lisa looked away and smiled.

The station was quiet for a Saturday, especially since there was a tournament to go to. Cain and Lisa punched their tickets in the machine and approached the waiting dock. The train arrived only two minutes after they checked in. They got on the train and looked around. Surprisingly, a few younger kids and the usual traveling businessmen only joined them.

"You ready for the dueling?" Cain questioned her as they both sat in a seat.

"Yeah, you?" Lisa replied.

"Of course," Cain answered.

*Awkward silence*

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"A gathering like this is what we need. If we are to recruit anyone worth training, they'll be here," A voice came from the darkness of a dim room.

The man in the long red robe sighed.

"This will be fun. I cannot wait to rebuild what we lost. If we had only thought of this before, things would have been different," The man said. 'We won't fail this time. We will bring the light to the people. The Prophet will come, you'll see. This time, your master will come," The man stated.

"Yes, Captain Cloud," The shadowy voice said. “ We believe in you,†The voice reassured.

"Let the dueling begin, have our men report any strong duelists, we need names and cards for recruiting,†Cloud said. “The prophet may even be a child, so look for anything strange,†Cloud said to the cloaked man.

“I will sir.†The man responded.

“Why are you wearing that cloak again? You look like some kind of rare hunter wannabe,†Cloud questioned. The man was silent as the darkness hid his facial expression. No doubt the man was confused.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cain sat in silence for a few minutes before he took out his deck and rifled through it. He seemed a bit nervous for someone who claimed he wasn’t.

“What kind of deck are you playing?†Lisa asked innocently.

“Heh, I’m not even sure. It’s really just a jumble of my favorite cards. It’s worked for me, so I haven’t changed it. Not to mention it makes it easier to confuse an opponent looking for a strategy,†Cain explained.

“Neat, I remember my first deck was like that. I threw together a bunch of my favorite cards. But it sucked, a lot,†Lisa said, laughing a bit.

“So what are you playing today?†Cain returned the question.

“Well, I always liked light monsters, so I have a light/warrior hybrid. I was ranked 31st out of 900 ranked students, so I’d say it works pretty well,†Lisa said pulling her deck out of her pocket book.

It was interesting to see the differences and similarities between the two. Lisa had done an amazing job creating an unbelievably beautiful design of a warrior cradling what seemed to be an injured angel on her silver deck box. The two characters looked at each other with a longing desire, as if they were lovers who were forced to be apart.

The city was in sight through the left window now and Cain couldn't help but stare with fiery ambition. He wanted another tournament. It had been a long time since he could do much serious dueling. The city looked almost like a larger version of the school. It was sleek, white, and very futuristic. All it needed was flying cars and George Lucas to make it perfect.

"So just Cain? I can't call you Richard or even Rich?" Lisa asked flirtatiously.

"Heh, I like Rick or Cain. Whatever you want, just not Richard. That was my father's name," Cain responded.

At the mention of his father, Cain felt a little switch turn on in his head, as if he had tripped a mental wire. He saw a small boy in the corner of a cluttered house. Grime and dust gripped the young child's shirt and brow. He held onto a small doll as he stared into the kitchen with a look of true horror. His eyes trembled. He was a deer in headlights, stunned with the scene before him. Within a few moments, a woman screamed as she fired a gun. Blood dripped down her face and she cursed as loud as she could. The gun slid out of her hand as she fell to her knees. As if someone had heard the boy praying for solace, a tall and menacing figure in a long cloak approached from the shadows of the dim kitchen to where the woman had been shooting. The man lifted his hood as the little boy's eyes widened -

"Cain? Are you okay?" Lisa said.

Cain stumbled out of his mental stupor and looked around and then at his watch. It had been about five minutes. Perspiration grazed his face as Cain struggled to regain feeling in his upper body. He was paralyzed with fear.

"Did I fall asleep?" Cain questioned Lisa, the city behind Lisa was closer than ever.

"Yeah, but you kind of spazzed for a second and then you woke up," Lisa said.

"Well, I feel fine now," Cain said as he sat up, making sure he still had his card box.

"Cain, whose Mora?" Lisa asked. Her face was like when a young girl finally asks her parents where grandma went. It was solemn and unsure.

"I don't know, why?" Cain lied.

"You muttered her name once or twice," Lisa explained.

"I'm not totally sure, I saw a woman screaming. Just a bad dream I guess. I've had 'em before," Cain said.

"Well, please tell me if you want to talk. I don't care if it sounds corny, but you've got something hidden and I just want you to know you can talk to me," Lisa reassured.

Cain turned a light shade of red and nodded.

"Excuse me young man, can you help me?" A man in a suit said from behind Cain and Lisa.

"What do you want gramps?" Cain said coldly.

"I'm sorry to bother you, can you help me with my deck?" The gentleman said.

"Why would you ask me?" Cain said.

"Because you're Richard Cain. You've gained quite a bit of rumor since people heard you joined the Akodia Dueling Academy," He spoke.

"Do you have some kind of history I never heard of?" Lisa asked Cain.

"Long story, but yeah, sort of," Cain said. "Listen man, I don't help people who don't need it," Cain responded.

"What do you mean?" He replied confused.

"You're Hank Murray, one of the top ranked duelists in the veteran league," Cain said.

He sighed and turned red.

"Well, I didn't think you'd know me, but it was worth a try," Murray said.

"You wanted to see my deck. Damned cheater," Cain said standing.

"How dare you!" The man fumed. "Let's see if that deck actually packs some punch! I challenge you to a duel, Richard Cain!" The main shouted as he stood and strapped on his duel disk.

"Bring it on you old fart, I'll smack you around the way your mother should have," Cain said as he inserted his deck.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 6:

"HEY! HEY!" Lisa screamed. "Chill out Cain!" Lisa said as she stepped between Mr. Murray and the heavy breathing Cain. "Save it for the tournament!"

"This pile of wrinkled skin won't be there! I'd rather whoop him now," Cain said now standing still.

"You need some help son, but I enjoy your competitiveness. I'll wager this box of G.O.D packs if you defeat me!" The man said as he opened his suitcase.

Right there, in the midst of papers and cards, was an unopened box of the newest set of Duel Monsters cards, the ones that Cain and Lisa both saw on TV. It was a small brown box with the Duel Monsters logo and several duel monsters designed on the box. There were at least 30 packs in the box.

"How did you get those?" Cain said, lighting up a bit at the thought of new cards.

"They're real, that's all you need to know," The man said.

"That's good enough for me," Cain said as he turned his duel pod on.

"This doesn't seem like a good idea Cain," Lisa said.

Cain looked down at her; she was still standing between them. He locked with her eyes and adrenaline filled his veins. Once again, he felt stronger. The aura she gave off was radiant enough to light even Cain's shallow heart. He smiled at her and spoke.

"Lisa, this is the perfect opportunity to get a jump on everyone at the tournament. With new cards, our decks would be unstoppable!" Cain said. He sounded like a little child who had just found money on the ground, talking about all the great things he'd get with it.

Lisa turned to look at the man in his business suit and turned back to Cain. She nodded and stood behind him. His competitiveness was a definite plus to her.

"To make things interesting, I have two boxes, one with 36 packs, another with 24. We'll split this box and the winners will get the 36 count box," The middle-ager smiled.

"Sweet deal, I'll take it. Is there any catch?" Cain said.

"Nope, just restoring a bit of my youth."

Cain stared suspiciously for a moment or two. I've never had a positive experience with anyone older than 30. What makes you think this could be any better? He's offering you free cards. He’s probably a pedophile. Does the phrase, "Don't take candy from strangers" pop into mind?

Cain waited for Hank to pop open the box and split the packs into two piles. He let Hank take one stack and then he took the rest.

Hank opened up all his packs and put them into a stack and sorted through them. His eyes lit up once or twice, possibly signifying his discovery of a new card.

Turning away from him, Cain sat in a seat and put the packs on the table. He preferred a slower method. Tearing the thin foil wrapping, he pulled out the little stack of five cards. A few of the cards were reprints, two were not. One was a common, the other was an ultra rare, or a card with engraved gold lettering for the title instead of the regular black or white ink. Holy crap, this card could do some serious damage! I even got one of the pieces for it already!

Now giddy with excitement, Lisa watched Cain tear open the remaining packs with glee as she laughed to herself over his childish stupor. She caught a glimpse of a holographic card that he got, but couldn't clearly see it.

Cain slipped a few cards into his deck and removed a few and placed them in his suitcase.

"Alright grandpa, let's dance!" Cain said activating his Duel Pod.

Richard Cain: 8000
Hank Murray: 8000

"You can call me Hank, rookie," Hank returned venomously.

"Well, at least you got some fight in you. Better than dueling a corpse I suppose," Cain joked darkly.

The train isles were about five people wide, perfect for the duel. Another Kaiba Corps. Invention was the train, a locomotive that could support dueling.

"Since I challenged and gave you some free cards, I seem no problem in me going first!" Hank spoke as he withdrew six cards from his deck.

He pondered his cards for a few moments. He was apparently developing a strategy. His tiny brown mustache and balding head twitched slightly as he chuckled to himself.

"I'll summon Solar Flare Dragon and set one card facedown. You may go." Hank finished.

Solar Flare Dragon wasn't menacingly large, but his flame-engulfed body was enough to bother anyone. The dragon/snake hybrid let loose a roar and settled on the field in front of Hank. Holographic flames glittered brightly as Solar Flare Dragon gazed at Cain.

As Cain was about to draw a card, Solar Flare Dragon arched back, and belched a holographic flame shot aimed at Cain.

The minute fireball exploded in front of Cain with amazing realism. If it had been any more realistic, Cain may have been lacking eyebrows.

C: 7500
M: 8000

"What the hell are you up to?" Cain demanded.

"Don't you remember Solar Flare Dragon? He does 500 points of damage to your life points at the end of each of my turns," Hank said.

Man I'm rusty. I gotta get back into form here.

"I'll draw. I activate Insane Greed! By paying 500 life points, I draw five cards, choose one, and discard the rest!" Cain announced.

C: 7000
M: 8000

A familiar little red demon appeared on the field carrying two large bags of cash. He made a little grunt towards Hank and nodded towards Cain. As soon as Cain placed the four cards in the graveyard, two monsters appeared on the field. Two zombie-like soldiers manifested onto the field. Both had on elegant red ceremonial armor with eastern design and decorations.

"Ahh, the Forgotten Samurai! I remember that card!" Hank spoke.

FORGOTTEN SAMURAI
****
1400/1600
Undead/Light/Effect

"Then I'm sure you know it summons itself automatically when I discard it. Good, at least I don't have to explain half of my cards to you," Cain said.

"Next, I shall tribute one of my samurai to summon the Red Paladin!" Cain declared.

A tall muscular man wearing knight's armor and carrying a large, decorative sword rose from the train floor in front of Cain. His glossy red armor showed rank and superiority.

RED PALADIN
*****
2100/1300
Warrior/Fire

"Paladin, destroy the Solar Flare Dragon!" Cain yelled.

“I’m afraid not! Activate Gravity Bind!†Hank declared, as his trap card manifested a blue grid on the field. The grid seemed to hold Red Paladin from moving. The remaining samurai also looked trapped.

“Damnit! Now my good monsters can’t attack! Well, since my level four and higher monsters are restricted; I’ll play one card face down and end. Go ahead," Cain motioned.

Hank drew.

"I'll activate Poison of The Old Man to inflict 800 points of damage to your life points!" Hank proclaimed.

C: 6200
M: 8000

"I'll activate the magic card, Demon Scorn! It adds an additional 400 points of damage every time a monster inflicts effect damage!" Hank declared.

He's off to a roaring start. Some of those new cards may become useful here.

"Next, I shall summon Raging Flame Sprite!" Hank said as he slipped a card into his Duel Pod.

A little warlock boy appeared on the field. He held a small stick and wore a bright red set of clothes. His fiery cloak and wizard cap made him look intimidating. However, it was still a small child.

"Attack his life points directly!" Hank shouted.

"Oh no!" Cain said in a sarcastic tone.

The little mage molded a fireball out of nothingness with his hand and staff and hurled it at Cain. The fireball, which was much smaller than the dragon's, floated carelessly before popping in front of Cain with a miniature noise.

C: 6100
M: 8000

"How did he attack you directly?" Lisa asked. She had been standing behind Cain, watching with curiosity.

"Raging Flame Sprite can attack directly and each time it successfully deals damage, it's attack increases by 1000. This is a typical burn combo," Cain said motioning towards the sprite and dragon. "It's so typical, that it shouldn't be too hard to topple," Cain said to Lisa.

"You say it will be easy, yet I see the life point difference is expanding," Hank pointed out.

"You are one quick thinking for an old fart knocker," Cain spoke.

"Insult me all you want, you're enemies cannot be defeated with empty remarks, you must triumph over them!" Hank said, slightly irritated. "I end my turn. Go on with your turn," Hank spoke.

The dragon reared his head and let loose a hellish fireball at Cain once again.

C: 5600
M: 8000

Cain winced but gathered himself quickly. "Ok, I've got a nice treat for you. The card I drew is Mystical Space Typhoon! I'll activate it to destroy Gravity Bind!"

A tiny cloud hovered over the blue orb, laced with restricting lasers, and lying vertical on Hank's side of the field. A vicious typhoon roared from under the card. The helpless trap card was beginning to tear apart as the orb started quivering. As if it was resisting, the orb struggled as it was being pulled down into the typhoon. That was until a bolt of lightning cracked the orb into a thousand pieces, which quickly broke it into a thousand pieces.

"Next, I'll summon Green Paladin!" Cain said he dropped a card on the reader.

Another warrior, almost the same as the Red Paladin, appeared on the field. He was exactly the same, except he held a long spear and had green armor.

GREEN PALADIN
****
1300/1300
Warrior/Earth

"Green Paladin, destroy the flame sprite!" Cain commanded.

The paladin ran full speed and pierced the small sorcerer through the chest, shattering the hologram.

C: 5600
M: 7800

"Next, Red Paladin, attack Solar Flare Dragon!" Cain commanded once more.

The Red Paladin strode in his heavy armor towards the dragon, which was showing it's snake-like side by hissing menacingly. The paladin seemed unphased as he proceeded to liberate the dragon's head from it's neck.

C: 5600
M: 7200

"And lastly, samurai, attack him directly!" Cain finished.

The small armored soldier ran with purpose as it raised it's sword, possibly reliving battles once gone by. The sword came down swiftly upon Hank's shoulder.

C: 5600
M: 5800

"That's a much more even score," Cain said with a smug look.

Hank seemed frustrated, yet somehow calm. It was an odd stare he had.

"I end my turn after I play one more card facedown," Cain said as he slipped one last card into the pod.

Surprisingly quiet, Hank drew a card and thought. A minute or two went by as he stared at the card he held.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#2
"C'mon, speed up! Please don't tell me you left your reading glasses at home," Cain said cruelly.

"This game is 90% strategy, and 100% luck!" Hank stated.

Cain looked puzzled, probably trying to figure out the numbers. He flashed back to a math class he had in his old school, remembering how terrible he was. On that note, he quit while he was ahead.

"I play the card Incineration Canon! It will inflict 700 points of damage to you per turn!" Hank said.

INCINERATION CANON
****
0/2100
Machine/Dark

"So I think I'll take this chance to burn away some more of your life points, plus the bonus 400 from Demon Scorn!" Hank said as he pointed to the hi-tech canon that had appeared on the field. It responded by firing a pulse of green energy at Cain, who did his best to resist the little shocks given by the duel pod.

C: 4500
M: 5800

"Lastly, I'll play one card facedown and end my turn," Hank finished.

Cain drew a card as he stared down Hank's field. A facedown trap, no doubt one that will stop any attack. That canon is going to be a pain in the ass if I don't get rid of it. Cain looked down at the card he drew and came up with a plan. It was a simple situation of guessing, and hoping that the guess was correct.

"I'll summon Halberdadier to the field, in attack mode!" Cain said as the card dropped onto the card pod. A little electric whirring and soon enough, the card's image was manifested to the field. The Halberdadier was a short, pudgy man. However, his bulging arms and legs told everyone that he had the strength of a bull and the solidity of a deity. He lifted the hefty halberd in a fighting notion accompanied by a battle cry.

HALBERDADIER
****
1700/1500
Warrior/Earth

"How could that little ball of fat damage me? By eating so much that a bolt bursts from his armor and hits me in the forehead? HA!" Hank laughed.

"You laugh now, but I'll win by next turn, mark my words!" Cain shouted.

"Ooh, we're getting feisty now! Here's the competition I want!" Hank spoke excitedly.

"Since you summoned your machine so graciously in attack mode, Green Paladin, shred that canon into paper clips!" Cain yelled.

The paladin rushed forward, spear at the ready, towards the metallic weapon. As soon as the warrior was to stab the machine, it contorted and morphed into a metal cube.

"Ha! Thanks to my magic card, I was able to switch my monster into defense mode!" Hank explained.

C: 3700
M: 5800

"I knew it. There was no way you'd leave your monster out so vulnerable, so Halberdadier, go to work!" Cain ordered, pointing at the stout man. He ran gracefully for such a large man, caressing the weapon in his hands like a rod of glass. With a mighty stab to the metallic cube that the canon had transformed into, the halberd impaled it.

C: 3300
M: 5800

"You call me an idiot! Someone needs to pay more attention is school, because, clearly -" Hank stopped mid sentence as the Halberdadier continued to do something unexpected.

He lifted the halberd, which was wedged into the cube, with amazing ease. He then spun in a circle several times before the cube was released and shattered in front of Hank.

The card itself, on Hank's field, flashed yellow. This mean he had to return the card to his hand.

"You maggot! You knew I'd change it's position, didn't you?" Hank spoke angrily.

"Please old man, your strategy was so obvious. It's hard to avoid exploiting your mistakes when you play like a third rate newbie!" Cain spoke. "Or perhaps, it's that you think I wouldn't see it coming. That trick lost it's effectiveness in elementary school," Cain finished.

"Now, Red Paladin, Forgotten Samurai, and Green Paladin, attack him directly!" Cain shouted.

The three warriors ran in unison towards Hank with force and delivered blows with their respective weapons. Hank held his ground the best he could, trying to withstand the succession of electronic shocks.

C: 3300
M: 1000

Cain ended his turn and Hank quickly drew his card. As if staring at the ace of spades itself, he smiled.

"I have to say, you put up much more of a fight than I could have expected. You surpassed and broke many assumptions I made of you. However, I still plan to win. I shall remove Raging Flame Sprite, Solar Flare Dragon, and Incineration canon from play to special summon . . . HIRO, SAVIOR OF THE WEAK!" Hank stated and shouted.

HIRO - SAVIOR OF THE WEAK
*******
1900/1700
Warrior/Light

Hiro was a tall, slender, middle-aged warrior with long and drooping black hair. His eyes showed compassion while his scars showed pain. Hiro was no doubt a soldier who had seen his fair share of battles. He wore a bloody, tattered, white shirt with stains of sweat and blood. The black samurai skirt he wore touched the tops of his feet. Hiro stared at Cain and unsheathed a katana with a hilt of gold. The sword countered the look about the samurai for it was clean and pure. The owner of the sword was a war-worn warrior with a taste for justice for the people who couldn't fight.

"Now what in the blue hell do you plan to do with that? It cannot match my Red Paladin!" Cain questioned.

"Fool, it is a powerful ally and an even more dangerous adversary. I can only special summon Hiro by removing three monsters whose attack powers total less than 1800. My three monsters only totaled 1600, so my offering was accepted. Hiro can obtain the skills of any of the creatures I removed from play at the cost of half of my life points. So I shall pay in order to obtain the abilities of Incineration canon!" Hank pronounced.

"If it is supposed to be so fearful, why summon it in defense mode?" Cain asked.

"Because it's second ability protects from being destroyed by any monster with more attack than it!" Hank explained.

Hiro held his sword up to the sky and chanted a prayer unfamiliar to Cain. What appeared to be a ghostly apparition of the Incineration Canon was absorbed into the sword. Hiro screamed, as he seemed to be withstanding some kind of tremendous pain. Soon enough, Hiro lowered the sword back into attack position. He swung the sword and aimed it like a gun towards Cain. A magnificent burst of red energy slammed into Cain.

C: 2200
M: 500

"So you see, Mr. Richard Cain, with an impregnable defense that is also slowly draining you of 1100 life points, you'll lose in 2 turns!" Hank said proudly.

For the first time, Cain turned away from the duel to see Lisa. She looked worried but nodded as if to say 'Don't sweat it'. Cain, becoming reassured, drew his card and began his turn.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Akodia city had been bustling with activity all day. In addition to the entry-level tournament for all the schoolchildren, the mayor and City Dueling Council were meeting to make preparations for a tournament similar to that of Battle City.

"All the talent in the dueling community may be here in the matter of hours. We will have plenty of new followers and we can start fresh. A new world order is at hand," Said a short man in a green tux and top hat.

"We were denied before, this time, all shall hail lord Morku. His vengeance shall be felt like a swift plague!" Said the green man's tall, cloaked associate.

"Yes, Morku will emerge to take his rightful throne . . . next to me!" The green man said laughing maniacally.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

“If there's anything you haven't learned yet, it's that your plan is flawed and amateur at best. I summon Blue Paladin to the field!" Cain announced as he placed one last card on his field, totaling five monsters, the three paladins, the samurai, and Halberdadier.

Completely similar to the other paladins, with the exception of the weapon, a blue knight manifested onto the field. His weapon was a massive vougle, a spear-like weapon with a long machete blade at the top. Blue ribbons and gold filligreed accented the brilliant silver blade.

"My paladins have this neat little trick they can do when on the field at the same time. Now I shall you that power! Activate Triple Element Fusion! This magic card tributes all of my monsters on the field in order to summon a great warrior, the warrior of Gaia, GAIOGA!" Cain said.

A set of four large pillars erupted from the ground. In the middle rose a pedestal. The three paladins all knelt towards the pedestal and dissolved into millions of little pieces. All the pieces fluttered and hovered over the pedestal. They quickly assembled themselves into the form of a massive man. As he came into being, his thunderous form took shape. Within a matter of seconds, a beastly man, about eight feel tall, stood on the pedestal. He stepped down and the pillars and pedestal shattered and faded. The armor seemed to be made of diamond laced with emeralds. The face of the warrior seemed to have been sculpted in the image of a god. Perfect structure and physique made this man divine, a warrior of the ethereal plane. No, this man was not a godly warrior. He was a defender of the planet itself, a holographic representation of nature's fury.

Hank stared in amazement and wonder. Ahh, I can't lose! How could this teenage punk defeat a veteran like me?

"Gaioga, I tribute my other two monsters as offerings to you. Unleash your weapon, the blade of Gaia!" Cain said as he removed the two creatures from the field. Halberdadier and The Forgotten Samurai both bowed to the holy knight. The knight nodded to them, accepting their sacrifice. The two creatures dropped to their knees and were destroyed.

A muscular hand tore through the ground in front of Gaioga, grasping a luminous blade about six feet long and two feet wide. The blade was gargantuan and shaped like a rectangle with it's sides sharpened. As if in agreement already, the hand released it's iron grip on the blade, leaving it in the knight's equally bulky hands. Gaioga held the blade to his face and indulged himself in its hypnotic radiance.

"Gaian Blade gives Gaioga 1000 extra attack points and the ability to negate effects of monsters he destroys!" Cain said with wide smile.

Behind Cain, Lisa gazed in pure astonishment. She trembled with the thought of obtaining the power of the card she had watched Cain summon. Lisa found herself wondering how she could get one before she shook the thought from her head.

"There's one problem, sonny. You won't be able to destroy my monster! It can only negate the effects of a monster it destroys!" Hank proclaimed matter-of-factly.

"I activate my facedown card, Windstorm of Etaqua!" Cain yelled.

A trap card appeared on the field, manifesting a giant black bird that flapped it's wings with unbelievable strength. It's power forced Hiro to stand and hold his ground.

"With your monster in attack mode, you stand no chance!" Cain laughed.

CAIN: 2200
MURRAY: 500

"Slash that unworthy excuse for a warrior with your blade! End this duel!" Cain commanded like a warlord.

Gaioga positioned himself in an attack position ad swung the sword. Hiro was only about five feet tall with a two foot long blade. Gaioga's six foot blade reached Hiro without Gaioga having to move a foot. With one clean swipe, Hiro placed his hand over his midsection and fell to the ground, shattering.

RICHARD CAIN: 2200 - WINNER! (+200 DP)
HANK MURRAY: 0

The holograms faded as both duelists retracted their pods. Cain stepped forward to shake Hank's hand. They shook, even though Hank looked disappointed.

"So, fork over the box, as per your offer," Cain said.

Hank looked at Cain regrettingly. "You don't deserve them. You disrespected me and chose to not honor a simple moral like being polite. I've changed my mind. I cannot allow someone with such little regard for others become more powerful. You can only become better with experience." Hank spoke as he put his duel pod into a suitcase and picked up the box.

"You wind bag, we had a deal? How about honoring a promise between two men?" Cain said, red with anger. "I hate people who promise oranges and give you grapes. They're the people who cause all the anger and discord in the world. You want to play this pathetic game? Fine. I'm coming for you again old man and you better still have my cards waiting." Cain erupted, full of frustration.

Hank then made his way to the train door. They had arrived at Akodia City.

CHAPTER 7: A WALK IN THE PARK

Cain was still fuming over his recent win. That piece of crap told me I'd get a box for beating him, I didn't even have to accept his challenge.

"Chill out Cain, you still won," Lisa said, trying to cheer him up.

"I hate people who break their promises," Cain said, picking up his bag and suitcase.

The two stepped out of the train and stepped onto the platform. They continued to bask in the city's modern beauty as they walked down the stairs of the station towards the streets of the city.

Cain was new to the city scene. He had lived in the urban wastelands of the eastern US since he was born. The low-cost housing developments and smog clogged neighborhoods were not something he wanted to return to. He was actually more afraid of going back than his stone cold demeanor told. Looking down at his watch, they had about ten hours to curfew, so they had plenty of time to check out the local dueling scene and catch up on cards.

He felt like a little kid, staring up at the trains that hovered above on their high-rise tracks that seemed to follow all major roads of Akodia City. Owned by Kaiba Corp., as usual.

"So, how does someone as beautiful as you get into duel monsters?" Cain asked with a sly grin as the two walked down the city sidewalks.

Lisa looked up at Cain and gave him an, 'oh really?' look. He walked with his silver suitcase at his right and his left hand in his pocket.

"Why? Do ugly people play better? Is that the secret behind your reputation of success?" Lisa said with a biting smile.

"Ouch, babe. It was just a question. Most guys would probably assume you as the type of girl who hangs out with a huge crowd of other beautiful girls. You'd shop, get lunch, check out some hot guys," Cain explained.

"Are you stereotyping me, Mr. Cain?" Lisa replied, hands at her hips.

"Rick, please call me Rick," Cain said.

"Any reason why?" Lisa asked.

"Makes me sound macho," Cain joked as he pumped his arm in the air.

Lisa laughed and responded. Cain couldn't help but noticed two of her locks of red hair fluttering in the wind.

"So, Rick, you want to know how I got into duel monsters?" She replied with a foxy tone.

"Well, if you insist," Rick said.

They turned and continued down Burring Street, which was about ten minutes from Tipple's Card and Game Shop, where the tournament would take place.

"I saw my brother playing when I was ten. He's much older than me, by about thirteen years. Anyways, he and his friend had just popped open a fresh pack of starter decks and began to duel. They used a little H-Plate, one of those 1"x2" panels that displays mini pictures of the monsters, he had gotten one as a going away gift for college. It was so neat to see the little monsters fighting each other." Lisa looked down at her feet, seeming embarrassed. "It kind of reminded me of how he used to protect me when I was young. Before we found mom," Lisa said in a lower tone.

"Did you and your brother grow up in an orphanage?" Rick asked. He braced himself in case he was wrong. Questions like that were prying and hard to deal with and if he was wrong, he would certainly look like an ass.

"Yeah . . . our mother couldn't take care of me and my brother, so she left us at a shelter. There weren't a lot of nice people there, but I had my brother," Lisa spoke softly. "But, when I saw him playing, he used this card called 'My Body As A Shield', which saved his Dunames Dark Witch, ultimately clinching the game for him. It's silly," Lisa said.

"No, no it's not. You're lucky, I didn't even have cards. The best I ever got was a baseball bat. I think I ended up hitting more people than balls with it." Rick said with a bit of a dark smile. "Well, let's not dwell on the past. We can talk more later if you want, but I wanna duel!" Rick said with renewed giddiness. He put a little spring into his step as the store came into site over the road.

Lisa smiled knowing that she had someone to talk to. It had been a long time since she had anyone. In the past, thanks to her brother, she was pretty much transparent to anyone who came near her. Now that her brother was away, she could open up a bit more. Giggling to herself at Rick's childish flare, she too increased her pace.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
The store was usually so quiet in the morning, yet Mr. Tipple had not stopped moving since eight. With the release of the new 'Tempest of The G.O.D.S' pack, he had been seeing nothing but profit.

Thank god I bought that box of singles, too. I thought I'd be wasting my money selling just single cards, Tipple thought to himself.

Still pacing in his storage room looking for the box of booster boxes, he worried that he might have replaced them. Spotting a box, he pulled it down and placed it on a table. Whipping out a knife, he cut the box open and lifted out five fresh packages of 36 packs each. Boiling with excitement, he was just about to open the door back into his shop when he heard a strange humming. Standing perfectly still, he looked around like a deer about to get thrashed by wolves.

They may be robbers, I can't let them steal my fortune away! Tipple thought as he walked back into the cluttered room.

Dropping the five booster boxes onto the table next to the box he had just opened, Tipple walked farther back into the room. As he approached the loading dock door, he noticed a strange odor. As he leaned in closer, blackness overcame him.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rick and Lisa were stunned. There must have been at least two hundred people in the place. The shop was decorated playfully with balloons, red and yellow paint, and all kinds of Duel Monsters merchandise. Blown away by the space in the store (it was huge) and all the people, he thought he felt a bit of nervousness coming on. Even with all those attending the tourney, there was still a lot of space.

The buzz surrounding the new set was a thick fog, you couldn't walk anywhere without someone opening another pack or talking about the set. It was the first set released in several years.

The tourney rules were easy to follow. Like Kaiba's dialogue, the rules were short and uncomplicated.

One: Own a duel pod
Two: Duel someone

You gained points for winning and lost them for losing. The twelve with the most points moved on to the final bracket.

Rick and Lisa managed to squeeze towards the registration desk. After checking that they both had Duel Pods, the clerk pulled a small paper card off of a stack and questioned them.

"Name?" He asked in an uninterested manner.

"Aliza Sanzetti" She spoke clearly and daintily.

The clerk filled out a little note card before feeding it into a computer next to him. With a beep, boop, and pop, a little plastic card slid out of the computer. He handed it to Lisa as she stared at it.

"Wow, I didn't know they had a picture of me on file," Lisa said with a look of surprise and amazement.

"We can obtain school pictures. And you? Name?" The man said, now seeming uptight.

"Richard Cain," Rick said almost in a whisper.

This confused Lisa until she saw the look on the clerk's face. His pudgy face looked up from the note card and scanned Rick's face as if two little laser beams could manifest themselves from the clerk's eyes.

"Cain? Candy Cain?" The man said as his scowl turned into a sheepish grin.

Rick took a deep breath and fortified his gaze. The man was about to tap a buddy on the shoulder next to him when Cain lashed out. He grabbed the guy by the shoulders and spoke.

"Listen Jell-O mold, I'd like it if you didn't repeat that. It's something that happened long ago. If I hear it from you again, I'll break off your arm," Rick said with a furious rage in his eyes.

Whatever that means, it's really driving him nuts, Lisa thought.

The man looked shocked as Rick let go. The clerk finished the card and gave Rick the same kind of ID card that Lisa received. With one more venomous stare, Rick turned away.

"What the hell was that all about?" Lisa said, a bit upset.

"Don't ask," Rick replied coldly.

As if it couldn't get any worse, the clerk he had just threatened grabbed the microphone on his desk, as if making an announcement. In a loud, mocking voice, the man spoke.

"Excuse me, is there a Richard Cain here? Richard Cain?" He continued.

Judging by the giggles and curious gazes now infecting the store, Lisa knew that his name carried some kind of reputation. Lisa looked around at all the people and heard a few whispers.

"He was that noob kid that used that stupid Neo deck, claiming he would win the world tourney with it,"

"He was on national television and whining about how he got cheated!"

"Why Candy Cane?"

"Because he got licked by everyone he faced!"


Lisa felt bad for Rick with all the negative comments he got from everyone. However, it was doubtful that anyone could point him out.

"Rick, I think it's best to just laugh. Just pretend-" Lisa was cut off when she noticed Rick had turned a hundred and eighty degrees, facing the hysterical clerk. "RICK DON'T!" She yelled.

Rick started a firm walk towards the counter as people started to notice him.

"There he is!"

"Look! It's him!"

"Hey, how’s that deck coming along?"

"Have you won in the last four years?"


With all the comments phased out, Rick focused on the clerk. Lisa was right behind him, trying to convince him to turn around. People cleared a line towards the counter as the people began to realize he was 'Candy Cane'.

"Rick, cut it out. You're going to get us kicked out!" She whispered louder and louder into his ears.

She reached out and grabbed his hand, which caused Rick to stop abruptly.

"Look, he got a body guard!" A boy to the left of Rick said. There was an immediate uproar of laughter from everyone in the store. Rick looked down into his suitcase where he was fidgeting with something.

Rick looked at Lisa, feeling her warm hand in his. As if she was a cure for rage, he felt calmer just by her touch. A feeling of warmth and comfort overcame him. Pulling her hand away, Lisa blushed. Rick glanced one more time into the case, smiling.

"You're going to get us kicked out. Who cares what that dork said?" She spoke softly to Rick. "You've been ice cold since I first met you and now you're going to let some kid get to you?" Lisa said reassuringly.

"I get it," Rick said smiling slyly. It was a smile that didn't help quell the feeling in Lisa that Rick would strangle the boy. Rick took another look at the contents of his suitcase and beamed.

"Alright zit farm, let's duel!" Rick said as he held out his duel pod.

The pimple-faced teen gave him an arrogant 'I'm-too-good-for-the-likes-of-you' face.

"You're joking right? Only if you use that deck! I can't wait to see it in action!" The kid said as his friends gave him fives in approval.

"Okay," Rick responded as he opened his suitcase.

Taken aback, the kid said, "I was only kidding, I don't want to be you that quickly. I don't want to hurt your self-esteem that you commit suicide or something," The kid responded.

Rick took a moment to study his opponent. The kid was about an inch taller than Rick, but skinnier. He had a thin, pale, freckled, pimply face with sandy brown hair, a big black t-shirt, and Hot Topic-style "straps-everywhere-and-anywhere" pants.

"So zit farm, you got a name?" Rick said as he rifled through a few cards in his suitcase. By now, everyone was watching the two. Lisa was a bit red-faced, but she was sturdy.

"I'm Brad, Mr. Candy Cane," Brad said with a smirk as another small burst of laughter came from the crowed of onlookers.

"So, let me get this straight, I duel you with my Neo deck? How about Battle City Rules? I'd love to take that smirk on your face and staple it to your ass where everyone can appreciate it.†Rick said tauntingly.

With a collective "Ooh!" from the audience as the challenge was made, Brad seemed to become angry about the upcoming duel.

"What's the matter, Brad? It's just a crappy Neo deck! You can take it, right?" Rick said, mocking him.

"Fine, let's go!" Brad shouted.

RICHARD CAIN Vs. BRAD BERT
R:5000
B:5000

Rick activated the Duel Pod by inserting his new ID card. When he saw the '5000' blinking on the screen, he became confused.

Kaiba must be changing the rules around.

The store quickly erupted into cheers, shouts, and insults (most towards Rick). The crowd had spread to give the two adequate space for dueling.

"Since you're going to lose, you can go first," Rick said confidently.

After a brief period of whirring, outlines of the holographic field appeared for a moment and then faded, signaling they were working.

Brad seemed unaltered at Rick's comments.

"I'll keep it simple by setting one monster face down and setting another in my magic and trap zone. I end," Brad said sternly.

Well, he's not taking to insults quite like the kids at the academy, so I'll have to be on my game to break him, Rick thought.

"I'll activate a little magic card I like to call Reinforcement of The Army! It lets me withdraw a level four or lower warrior from my deck and add it to my hand. I'll take and summon Marauding Captain!" Rick stated. "And through his special effect, I can special summon another level four or lower monster from my hand, so I'll special summon Neo The Magic Swordsman!" Rick declared.

As he placed his cards on the duel pod tray, a short man in iron armor appeared about three feet over the field, brandishing two short swords. He landed elegantly and yelled a battle cry. His short blonde hair danced in the holographic wind with his cape. As Rick declared the special ability, Marauding Captain turned towards Rick and whistled. Like he was motioning to someone outside of the dueling area, he waved his sword.

MARAUDING CAPTAIN
***
1200/400

Falling from the sky and landing next to the brave captain, was another warrior of slightly different stature. He was about a foot taller than the captain and had long blonde hair down to his shoulders. Wearing similar armor, Neo had a longer sword that seemed to be engulfed in a magical fog. The very presence of the man named Neo made Rick feel confident and sure.

NEO THE MAGIC SWORDSMAN
****
1700/1000

"HAHA! You really are playing with that piece of crap! This will be a snap!" Brad laughed as he clapped his hands in approval. Many laughs and stares followed Brad's ignorant remark.

-------------------
Lisa stood a few feet from Rick on the very inside of the circle of people that had formed around the duel. She held his suitcase, eagerly waiting the duel to catch fire in full-swing action. Feeling sneaky however, she peaked into his suitcase and saw several card wrappers from the new GOD set.

How did he get those? There's still a few more. He must of bought them while I was looking over my ID, Lisa thought. I wonder if he got anything good?

-------------------
"I'll also play two cards face down and end my turn," Rick finished.

The laughing settled down as Brad drew his card, making five. The restlessness of the crowd was infectious as Rick felt a need to amaze everyone.

Who says I need to entertain anyone?

"I think I'll get this rampage going by flipping my Giant Rat into face up attack mode. Next, I'll set a card face down and attack your Marauding Captain!" Brad commanded.

If you took a simple New York sewer rat, and inflated it to the size of a Sedan, you would see Giant Rat. It was a snarling rodent with empty, red eyes. It probably would smell like diapers and rotted flesh if it could.

It ran at Marauding Captain with animal fury; it was intent on tearing the captain to ribbons. It would have succeeded, if Neo didn't kill it first. In the middle of its attack, Neo jumped in front of the marauder in an attack stance. The rat tried to slow itself down, but it was too late. The mystical swordsman dove at it and drove his sword straight across and through the rat's neck, shattering it.

"I activated the card, Plan B! It allows me to defend one of my monsters with another I have on the field!" Rick explained as the crowd oo'ed and awed.

"No matter, through my Giant Rat, I can summon another earth-type monster with lower than 1500 ATK points, so I choose Pyramid Turtle!" Brad said.

A strange gray turtle with a pyramid for a shell rose to the field. It had to be at least five times bigger than any turtle Rick had ever seen.

PYRAMID TURTLE
****
1200/1400

Whatever that thing is, I don't think I should underestimate it, Rick thought.

"I'll attack your Marauding Captain again! Pyramid Turtle, Undead Blast!" Brad yelled.

What?!

The turtle fired a small green fireball at the Captain, who deflected it, but shattered. The fireball returned it's fury on the turtle and blew it up as well.

"And now you get a zombie type monster with 2000 DEF or less on your field, correct?" Rick said as he recalled the card he'd seen in the possession of an old friend.

"Yup and I choose my ultimate zombie, VAMPIRE LORD!" Brad shouted as he took the card out of his deck and shuffled it.

Hundreds of bats shot out of the ground as a tall coffin rose out of it and fell flat on it's back. The bats continued to hover over it as the cover to the coffin burst off and disintegrated. A tall, pale blue-skinned man levitated out of it. Covered in a heavy black cape, he opened it with majesty and let his short green hair flapped around his face. Vampire Lord floated to the ground and landed on one knee, bowing to Brad.

"I'll also activate one of my face down trap cards, Surge of Black Energy! It powers up one of my DARK-attribute monsters by 900 for one turn. So Vampire Lord, humiliate that wimp!" Brad said as his creature surged in a black aura.

VAMPIRE LORD
2900/1500

"Why power it up further?" Rick said, confused.

"Mainly for humiliating you," Brad said.

Man, he's really testing the water right now. However, idiotic plays like this one may open new doors, Rick thought.

"I activate my quick play magic card, Stone Heart!" Rick said.

"Crap!" Brad returned.

Vampire Lord flew towards Neo with amazing swiftness before Neo switched from an offensive stance to an odd defensive one. Neo now stood as tall as he could, relaxed his sword hand, and clenched his fist. The undead warrior lifted its' hands over it's head, ready to drop it's claws down on the swordsman. Neo, however, had other plans. It took only a split second, but it was potent. Vampire Lord was about three feet from Neo when the swordsman drew his clenched fist and slammed it straight into the face of his attacker. The zombie was knocked back and rolled towards Brad.

"That was quite amusing. Care to try again?" Rick taunted.

----------------------
"Hey, what the hell was that card?" Came a voice near Lisa

"It's this card called 'Stone Heart'. It's a quick play spell that protects one monster on the field from being destroyed and taking any damage for one turn. It also reduces the attack of any monster that attacks the powered-up monster by 600. It's pretty rare," Another responded.

Lisa sat waiting for Rick to play the card he got. After recalling Rick's face when she had grabbed his hand, she noticed that he had been grinning quite blatantly.

He must have gotten something really good. Perhaps . . . maybe? Lisa thought.

-----------------------
"Quit your stupid insults, they don't work," Brad announced. "I'll set one more facedown and end my turn." Brad finished.

"Very well," Rick said as he withdrew his card. With a glance at it, he grinned a grin like a man who had found a stash of cash in the dashboard of a new Corvette, too good to be true.

"I hate it when anything is over hyped. Books, movies, music, TV, games, even cards get over-gossiped. Especially when the chaos monsters emerged. Everyone flipped out thinking that they were the most amazingly powerful cards in the world. I came here today hoping that there was nothing in the new set with too much hype. I however learned that no one knows anything about the contents of the new set other than all the cards are new," Rick stated.

"That's all great and good, but why should I care?" Brad questioned.

"Remind me, what's the name of the pack, fruitcake?" Rick said menacingly.

"It's-" Brad stopped himself as he realized what Rick held in his hand. "You're a dumb lying dolt. No one has one yet, we would know Brad said as he held out his arms, signifying everyone in the store.

"Well, they're going to be deeply disappointed when they see this, because their odds of winning just minimized!" Rick yelled with laughter.

Revenge is the sweetest tasting poison after all, Rick thought.

Brad's face went white with horror as Neo The Magic Swordsman held his sword up as an offer and became engulfed in a white light. Two large, Greek-era pillars rose from the dueling floor. The whole room was growing more silent by the minute as even the clicks and beeps of those buying packs dissipated.

A ring of orange fire descended from the roof as Neo fragmented. Heavy footsteps were heard as the holograms on the field shook in realistic fury.

"HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?" Rick yelled threateningly.

Brad stood still, frozen with amazement and adrenaline.

"I sacrifice my Neo The Magic Swordsman, to summon . . .


ARES, THE GOD OF WAR!"


CHAPTER 8: THE AKODIA E.L.D. TOURNAMENT

There were little words needed to describe it. Ares, The God of War, was just that. He was at least thirty feet tall, reaching the ceiling. Engulfed in flames of war and anger, his physique was perfect. He had a chest that seemed to be chiseled from marble and bulging arms that could easy break the bones of any animal on the planet. A rustic yet decorated bronze breast plate accented the Greek myths perfectly with it's designs and look. Ares's hair was another interesting trait. Long flowing locks of pure gold hair.

It wasn't until Rick himself picked his mouth up off the floor that he realized the man was so big that only the waist up was on his field. His magestic hair and cape floated in a nonexistent breeze.

Ares then turned to face Rick, who was still a bit stunned with the power he had unleashed. Ares seemed to study Rick, as if he was surgically cutting into his soul, making sure everything was working. Rick's eyes were locked with the hologram of Ares.

This is no hologram, I feel so cold . . . so cruel . . ., Rick thought as he continued the staring contest with Ares.

The crowd itself had died down. Most were completely awestruck, while a few were flat-out petrified. As if the deity had thrown a brick at him, Rick realized what Ares was waiting for. With a little hesitation, Rick dropped to one knee and slowly lowered his head in a bow.

--------------------------
"Αυτός είναι αρκετά καλός για με" Ares responded in an ethereal, deep, and dignified voice.

"What?" Lisa said quietly.

"What did he say?" Came another low voice.

"Oh, I don't know, I'm just as confused as you," Lisa retorted.
---------------------------

"That is enough for me," Ares spoke to Rick. Ares then shifted back towards his target, Brad.

So I once I convey respect, the beatdown begins. Sounds good to me, Rick thought.

"Ok, Brad. There's a few effects I'd like to explain to you. First off, Ares gives all monsters in attack mode 1000 extra ATK points, including himself!" Rick declared.

Ares shouted a Greek warcry as the fire on him grew in intensity and size.

ARES
5000/4000

"He also cannot be destroyed by card effects," Rick stated.

"That makes him invincible then!" Brad said angrily.

"Not necessarily. GODs can only stay on the field for as many turns as there were monsters tributed for it. Thus, I have Ares's services for one turn," Rick explained.

"You plan to make a full-powered assault with the window of one turn? Ares is powerful, but even he cannot reduce my life points fully with one shot." Brad said, reassured of himself.

"GOD cards also have no star level," Rick said.

"Big deal, just do something productive, would you please?" Brad said anxiously.

"If you wish," Rick said cooly. "I play Monster Reincarnation!" Rick said as he laid his magic card down. "For the cost of one discard, I can return a monster to my hand. So I'll discard my Forgotten Samurai and resurrect Neo The Magic Swordsman to my hand!" Rick spoke.

A strange, almost voodoo doctor-ish, charm appeared on the field. It was a strange icon with decorative jewelry. It glowed brighly and shattered as Rick's graveyard glew a faint yellow, indicating he could remove a card. However, as soon as he placed his Forgotten Samurai in the grave, it automatically manifested itself onto the field.

"What!? That GOD card is bad enough, now you cheat?" Brad yelled.

"Can't you shut up for more than two seconds? When Forgotten Samurai is discarded to the graveyard through one of my own card effects, he's automatically special summoned," Rick said matter-of-factly.

FORGOTTEN SAMURAI
****
1400/1600

"Next I'll summon Neo The Magic Swordsman through Ares's effect which lets me summon one extra monster each turn!" Rick said as he placed the brown-backed cards onto the duel pod tray.

The familiar blonde-haired warrior appeared on the field next to the skeletal samurai and Ares.

"Now Ares, use your effect, Fury of Battle!" Rick shouted.

FORGOTTEN SAMURAI
2400/1600

NEO THE MAGIC SWORDSMAN
2700/1000

ARES - GOD OF WAR
5000/4000

"NNGYAAAAAAHHHHHH!" Ares screamed as the fire on his body spread and lit both of Rick's other monsters on fire. Neo and the samurai looked frightened at first, but soon realized the power they had recieved.

"ARES! Obliterate his weakened Vampire Lord!" Rick shouted to the divine man.

Ares nodded and rose his hand up in the air. As he did so, a large, frozen axe fell into his hands. Ares then glided toward Vampire Lord with the swiftness of the shadows, and swung the great ice axe.

VAMPIRE LORD
1400/1500

"VAMPIRE LORD!" Brad yelled.

B: 1400
R: 5000

"Activate face down card, Burial Ground! This card allows me to summon any zombie card from my deck when I take more than 2000 points of damage and by deduction 1000 life points! And I choose Despair From The Dark!" Brad
shouted.

B: 400
R: 5000

A series of small white gravestones broke through the ground and began eminating a gray fog. A tall menacing shadow in the shape of a demon rose from the center of the graves and let loose a spine breaking laugh.

"You see? I'll survive to watch that 'GOD' of yours ascend back to heavens, leaving you defenseless!" Brad laughed.

A few of the spectators realized that Brad was right. He would survive for at least one more turn.

"Ares, teach him your power! I offer you the soul of a mighty warrior, Forgotten Samurai!" Rick said to Ares.

Forgotten Samurai became limp and rose in front of Ares. After a brief pause, Ares reached out and grabbed the samurai with a hand that covered it's whole body. Next came a blood-curdling CRACK that resonated througout the room. It was as if every bone the skeletal warrior had been made out of was ground into a fine powder in a mere second.

Ares soon opened his hand which now held a glowing crimson orb. Vibrating with some kind of foreign energy, it's pulsed with the samurai's spirit. Ares seemed to charge it with his own anger and rage before hurling it at the shadowy creature.

The shadow creature, Despair From The Dark, braced itself in obvious anticipation. However, it was too little to resist the force of a God. The red orb exploded into a cloud of fine dust in front of Despair. Confused, the monster began to open it's eyes, which had been closed in fear after the orb was thrown.

Brad himself looked slightly confused as the fine red dust hovered quietly and expeditiously around his remaining zombie.

The result would have been a really horrible sight if there was any blood or realism to the actions of the Duel Monsters, because the fine particles started to form several small objects. Soon, about fifty small katanas were hovering around the shadow demon. With one last howl, the katanas unleashed a fury of strikes and slashes to the shadow being which twisted and contorted until it ceased to be.

"What the hell just happened?" Brad demanded.

"Simple, by offering a monster to Ares, I can either get Ares to stay one turn longer, or destroy one of your monsters. If the offering is accepted, that is." Rick told Brad as the crowd oo'ed once more.

Where am I getting all this from? Rick thought. How do I know how to play it?

[Because I told you how]

What! Who are you and what are you doing in my head? Hello? Rick spoke in his mind.

Shaking off the strange noise for the moment, Rick smiled as he knew victory was his. It will tight in his grip and he loved it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. Tipple's head hurt a little bit, but he was ok.

I hope that idiot Marcus didn't screw up too bad with the register, Tipple thought.

His brother had been helping him out every since Tipple had his first heart attack. Walking back into the store, he noticed a duel had been taking place.

Holy cow! That thing is huge! Tipple thought as he saw a mammoth man-like duel monster.

[SILENCE, VESSEL!]

AAACK! Tipple gurgled a glob of thought before he felt himself being pulled inward.

[YOUR BODY IS MINE NOW!]

A surge of strange energy and Tipple's thoughts ended.

[Good, now on to the show!] A voice came from the body of the possessed shopkeeper.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Neo! End him! Enchanted sword slash!" Rick shouted. He shouted with all the embarassment and harassing he had been dealing with and unleashed. He would strike his opponent with the 'weak', 'stupid', 'newbish' warrior he loved as a child.

The warrior launched himself like a missle, running at break-neck speed.

"NO!" Brad yelled. Without thinking Brad stood still, frozen with fear and anticipating shame.

Neo thrust his enchanted sword straight into Brad's chest as the teen was knocked back.

B:0
R:5000

WINNER: RICHARD CAIN, flashed on the duel pod on Rick's arm.

The crowd was silent. The return of a former chump, his finding of a GOD card, and defeat at the hands of his favorite card, which he had long been criticized and laughed at for. A simple silent applause was all the audience could work up.

Rick had fury, rage, and pride swelling up inside of him.

So, what the hell was that all about? Rick thought, thinking of the voice that spoke to him during the duel.

[It was me.] Said a familiar, divine voice.

The Ares card on Rick's duel pod tray was glowing.

[I told you how to use my powers.] Ares spoke.

This is insane, it's just a duel monsters card, you can't actually exist!

[Believe what you want, I helped you. I'll continue to help-]

Oh no you won't! I think I can manage just fine on my own, Rick finished thinking as he removed the card and placed it back into his deck.

Looking up, the people were still staring at him with an odd mixture of confusion, surprise, and curiosity.

"SO WHO'S NEXT?" Rick burst out.

Backing away suddenly, several people shrieked and gasped.

"Go ahead, someone say 'Candy Cane' again," Rick said mockingly. "I'll knock the teeth out of your crap-eating mouths!" Rick yelled.

"Hey, take it easy, stop it already!" Lisa whispered rather loudly into his ear. "It won't be fun if you scare everyone half to death," Lisa spoke to him.

Rick looked at Lisa, who was a few inches shorter than him, fixated on her eyes. Please, for me, take it easy, they said.

Calming down and deactivating his pod, Rick returned to a placid state. People slowly dispersed and continue snickering and whispering.

Time passed and soon a tall, thin man stood from the registration desk with a chair. Standing on the chair, he had to be nine feet off the ground. His neat suit and clean-shaven face told that he had to be at least thirty.

"The actual-" he glared at Rick, "- tournament will begin momentarily. On the plasma TV above, pairings will be announced for the first round. In the store and the dueling pad behind the building, about nine duels will be happening at once. There are going to be many judges and dueling officials keeping a close eye on all duels. Be warned that all of your dueling pods are equipped with the latest in anti-hacking and cheating technology. So do not try anything funny or we’ll know. Anyone caught cheating will have their deck confiscated and promptly auctioned.â€Â

Heheh, that'd be a riot to see, Rick thought.

Rick and Lisa sat patiently on one of a few benches that had been set up on the inside walls of the store for the tourney.

The large plasma screen hanging in the center of the store flashed on and names and numbers began flashing rapidly. Several people were paired every minute (their faces were side by side in a bracket formation).

"Richard Cain" appeared on the screen. Rick steadied himself. He glanced around the room with a feeling that he already won. People responded to his stares with mixed looks of fear and curiosity.

Richard Cain - Kyle Gate

"Hey! It's that creepy kid who stole my chaos soldier!" Lisa said rather loudly. With a tint of red in her cheeks she edged closer to Rick.

"His deck-"

"Don't tell me!" Rick interrupted Lisa harshly.

Taken aback, Lisa looked confused.

"Sorry, I just don't want to know what deck he runs. I don't scout, I like the heat of a duel, I don't need to know what he has to beat him." Rick finished.

"I see," Lisa said a little relieved that Rick wasn't angry.

"If you can only win duels by knowing what to expect, you can be defeated easily by another cheater," Rick said.

"How? Hypothetically, if you know what to expect, how do you lose?" Lisa said, puzzled by Cain's words.

"Easy, if the other person knows the game your playing. I could know your deck back to front and still lose if you knew that I knew all the cards in your deck, because then you could just change it," Rick explained.

"I guess that makes sense," Lisa spoke.

Aliza Sanzetti - Damian Gyver

"Oh great, I get to face the school champion. I guess I'll see you after you win," Lisa said looking as if the death of a family member had been announced.

"Hey, take it easy, he's a chump. Just pay attention to the cards and ignore him. A blind and paralyzed gopher could be that fruit fart," Rick reassured her.

Lisa was silent but smiled a little bit.

"Are you okay? You've looked a little pale," Rick said.

"Yeah, yeah, just tired I guess," Lisa said, brightening a bit.

She hugged Rick and skipped off to the other side of the store, where her duel would begin soon. A little surprised by the show of affection, Rick inhaled deeply. He let the crisp air, adrenaline, and confidence fill him to the rim.

"Alright, where's the pervert at?" Rick said to himself. He activated the duel pod and started his search for a frightened schoolboy who no doubt had gone to find a hole to crawl into.


CHAPTER 9: A RIVAL?

Pumped from recent events, Rick was itching to duel. He had meant to teach that punk a lesson earlier, but was now being given an open shot. So either way he looked at it, he was going to have some fun.

I'm kind of curious as to what kind of deck that stalker would use.

However, the one thing that stuck on his mind was the Ares card. It had seriously spoken to him. The voice had rung clear in his head and was the same tone that boomed over the pale-faced chump Rick had beaten previously.

Shaking off the thought like it were sucking blood, Rick decided to buy more packs of cards to keep himself entertained. Thanks to the school, Rick was given a 1000 Duelist's Points, an amount to be used for buying his cards. By Akodia standards, this was fairly low, but 1000 could buy ten boxes of fresh, new cards. Rick could also duel for points, but that would be slow.

He approached the counter once more and eyed some single cards, deciding if he needed anything to boost his deck. There was a ten minute grace period for deck reconstruction and refreshments, Rick decided it would be the best time to upgrade. He glanced at some of the new cards and his heart skipped a beat.

No way. There's no way I'm seeing this!

With schoolboy-ish excitement, he pulled out his school ID and said to the clerk at the counter, "I'll take that one . . . yeah, the Neo one."
------------------------------------------------------------

Lisa sat by herself, waiting for Rick to come back with drinks. She was the type of person who sometimes thought too much on things. She would find herself lost in her own mind, as if the so-called "train of thought" crashed and burned.

That card was amazing. How could he lose with it?

Lisa sat quietly, gazing around the massive store and eying some of the competition. She recognized a few people from school, mostly new players though. It seemed the higher ranked players never came to any kind of local tournament. They always held out for Kaiba's Regional Tournaments.

Ever since the school imposed its ranking system a few years ago, the school appeared divided. The rankings were: Lion, Falcon, Viper, Bear, Wolverine, in order from highest to lowest. Simply, the higher ranked you were the better you are and the more points you're worth if beaten.

Lisa and Cain were both Falcon Classes, but still came to enjoy the tournament. Mostly people in the Lion class stayed at school, studying and being important mostly by existing.

"Rick, what took you so long?" Lisa questioned.

"Err, I couldn't find the right soda I wanted. You wanted the orange one, right?" Rick said shakily.

"Yeah, thanks . . . are you okay?" Lisa said as she took the can of orange tonic from Rick. She noticed a change in condition, like he was twitching or something.

"Yeah, why?" Rick said in a surprised voice.

"I don't know, you seem . . . excited about something," She said smiling a bit.

"No, I just can't wait to pound that dork's face in, that's all," Rick said taking a sip of his cola.

Well, I don't know why you're hiding anything from me Cain. Lisa thought.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Lisa's sudden questioning surprised Rick a bit, but not to the point of shock.

"Well, we better get going because the rounds are starting. I'll see you in the finals!" Rick said reassuringly, placing his hand on her shoulder.

"You too," She said cutely before going in the opposite direction towards another duel arena.

The awkward moment passed and the tension in Rick's muscles doubled. He was really fired up for dueling. Rick walked for a moment before reaching the dueling area he was designated to. Apparently, a duel had begun when the pairings were announced.

"I activate Twin Swords of Flashing Light on my Rocket Warrior!" One boy said. "I'll use him to attack your Jinzo twice!" He commanded.

A creature resembling a child's doll in rocket-shaped armor was on the field holding two small glowing daggers. It dashed forward and attacked the large mechanical man named Jinzo with ferocity. Not destroyed, but looking significantly weaker, Jinzo staggered and fell to one knee as Rocket Warrior returned to the other field.

"Thanks to the weakening power of my warrior, my Warrior Dai Grepher can now destroy your Jinzo! Warrior, attack Jinzo with your mighty blade!" The boy yelled.

His opponent, an older looking girl, seemed terrified and blocked her eyes. The tall warrior ran with the intent on liberating Jinzo's head from its body.

"I win!" The boy yelled.

Suddenly, as if it had all been an act, the girl removed her hands from her face and laughed. By the look of her face, she had to be from somewhere in Asia. Her lightly made-up face and dark hair gave her a seductive aura.

"You idiot, of course I'm not going to let my monster die so easily! I play the magic card, Shrink! It'll drop your warrior to 850 attack points while my Jinzo is still at 1400!" She shouted.

The running warrior soon realized that either Jinzo had grown ten feet, or he had shrunk half his size. If the hologram could have screamed, it would been know as Jinzo ruthlessly and brutally annihilated the tiny man with it's crimson laser beam.

Rikku: 300 - WINNER
Hideki: 0

"Correction, I win!" She pronounced.

Rikku, the young Asian woman who had just won, was a real flame. She had the look of someone who lost very little and cared just as much. She had shiny, jet-black hair down to her chest. Her face was made up heavily to the point where seduction seemed to be one of her tactics.

She looks like a formidable opponent, better keep an eye out.

"Rikku Misaki is the victor!" A referee declared.

Hmph, for now.

Rikku stared at Rick for a brief moment, examining him.
--------------------------------------------

Lisa stood across the way from Damian Gyver. He was a smug looking punk who she had faced many times before. However, she couldn't help but notice he looked nervous.

Rick's match against him must have really shaken him.

"Alright Aliza, let's duel!"

Not surprisingly, a small crowd had gathered to watch the local legend, Damian, duel.

D: 5000
L: 5000

"Ladies first," Damian said calmly.

A bit unnerved by this new, quiet, and henchmen-less Damian, Lisa drew her hand to six and prepared a strategy.

His scientist deck has always been a quick loss for me. I better act quickly.

"I'll set two cards and before I end my turn, I'll summon Moki Moki (500/300)! In attack mode!" Lisa declared as two holographic cards appeared face down.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#3
Next, a little marshmallow shaped creature appeared with a cute 'pop' on the field. It had a minute question mark floating over it as its eyes were closed and its mouth a gleeful grin.

Damian smiled and waited for Lisa to end her turn.

"Go ahead, Damian," Lisa said.

Damian nodded and drew.

"What a cute, innocent, little creature, I think I'll kill it." Damian said evilly. "I'll summon D.D. Warrior Lady! Attack that pathetic creature!"

A beautiful female warrior in black spandex with a glimmering white sword that seemed almost transparent appeared. She rushed with her sword drawn with purposes that undoubtedly included erasing Moki Moki from existence.

What?! A D.D. Warrior Lady? In a scientist deck?

"I activate face down, A Thousand Angry Mokis!" Lisa announced as she activated the appropriate card on her disk.

Suddenly, a thousand little replicas of the misfit angel surrounded the larger one. Moki Moki trembled with power as it collided with the feminine attacker.

"I'm sure you know that that trap card increases Moki's attack power by 1000, thus they were both destroyed," Damian said pompously.

"I know what my cards do," Lisa said with a tint of anger.

Well, he's still an ass, so no obvious changes.

"I'll end with one face down then, go ahead," Damian spoke.

The way the two communicated made it clear that they had dueled before

Lisa drew, realizing that this was not his usual deck, Damian was obviously shaken enough by Rick that he had changed his deck. She drew her card and acted.

"I activate Gift to the Tortured! It allows me to draw a card for each monster I lost in battle last turn, which in this case is one," Lisa spoke as a green skinned angel hovered in front of her with a small gift-wrapped package.

Hmm . . . Not exactly what I was looking for, but maybe it'll be useful later.

"First, I'll summon Gleeful Cherub, in attack mode!"

A small angel with a round face and curly red locks appeared on the field with an inevitably gleeful grin. It withdrew a small crossbow decorated with stars and awaited it's orders, fluttering slightly with it's minute silver wings.

Gleeful Cherub
* * *
1200/1200

"As long as our life points are even or in my favor, my cherub can't be defeated in battle. Next, I'll place a card face down. Cherub, attack Damian's life points directly!" Lisa commanded.

The little female angel darted upwards and stopped in mid-air. It fed it's crossbow a golden bolt and fired down at Damian.

"Very cute. I activate Draining Shield!" Damian announced as a trap card flipped up on his side of the field.

A ghostly warrior with a magnificent silver shield intercepted the bolt headed for Damian, shattering it on contact.

D: 6200
L: 5000

"Well, that was short lived. Please finish your turn," Damian said.

Frustration mounted as Lisa realized her creature's special effect would be ineffective as the life points had just unbalanced themselves.

"I'll be good for now, I end my turn," Lisa said as the cherub returned to its hovering position, fiddling with its weapon like a child.

Damian withdrew a card. His expression took a couple of changes as he was obviously thinking through a strategy he could implement. A minute or two passed as Lisa stayed fairly calm.

"Are we going to duel or what?" Lisa spoke up.

"Sir, if you could please make a move," A judge on the sidelines said to Damian.

"People are so impatient. I play Marauding Captain and use his special ability to special summon Gearfried the Iron Knight!" Damian said as he placed two cards onto his duel disk.

A short but sturdy looking blonde-haired warrior with twin swords and a cape manifested onto the field. He looked around and then waved his arm as if to call forth another creature. Then a man clad in armor black as night landed with a loud series of clanks.

Marauding Captain
1200/400

Gearfried the Iron Knight
1800/1600

"Gearfried, slash that monkey with wings to pieces!" Damian shouted.

Gearfried reacted immediately as it broke into a dash. One of the warrior's arms was adorned with a blade that spanned the whole length of it's arm. As the warrior made it's approach however, the cherub giggled and held up it's hands in a protective fashion.

A light cast down from the sky surrounded the tiny angel. It created a mirror-like barrier with the light's help that deflected Gearfried with little trouble.

D: 6200
L: 6400

"What the hell happened?" Damian yelled angrily. The prospect of destroying another overly-cute creature was a great one, apparently.

"I activated Debt to The Heavens, a quick-play magic that gives me 2000 life points and deducts 1000 at the end of the turn it's activated. My life points were higher, thus, Gleeful Cherub was unharmed. I did take damage, but not enough to be noticeable," Lisa stated, quite pleased with herself.

"Fine, have it your way. I'll place a card face down and end my turn. I've been taking it easy so far, but don't expect much more leniency," Damian said grimly.

Lisa didn't know why, but what Damian said really bothered her. It struck some nerve of anxiety in her, something she hadn't felt in a long time.
----------------------------------------

Rick sat in silence at a table, shuffling his deck. He had been told that his opponent, Aliza's twitchy stalker Kyle Gate had gone to the lavatory. Thus, Rick was stuck waiting.

"You must be Richard Cain, the 'magical swordsman' duelist," Rikku Misake spoke as her slender form approached Rick.

"I don't remember ordering any take out, Miss Misaki. Perhaps you can tell the cook I don't prefer Chinese anymore, I've cut back on greasy food and people," Rick returned cruelly.

"No need for insults Cain, I'm here to challenge you," Rikku said firmly as she remained standing in front of the table Rick was seated at.

"Buzz off, autograph sessions aren't until later. In case you hadn't noticed, there's a tournament going on here." Rick said, still shuffling his cards.

Undeterred, Rikku brushed a dark lock from her face, drawing attention to her unusually dark green eyes. They were similar to Lisa's, yet, darker somehow, as if there were secrets to be told. Although Rick couldn't tell what kinds of hidden thoughts lied behind those eyes, he felt untrusting of her already. She sat down in a chair across from Rick and spoke again.

"So is this where you want to stay? Beating up little children? Kaiba Corp. gave you a scholarship for a reason. We see the talent you have-" Rikku said before Rick interrupted.

"There's no way a tramp like you works for Kaiba Corp."

"Well, I do and I'd appreciate it if you'd shut up for a moment so I can continue. Anyways," Rikku said as she reached for some papers inside of what Rick thought was a card case. "Kaiba Corp saw the potential in you and that's why you were offered a scholarship. We are looking to recruit duelists for our United States Dueling Team. There will be several teams from many countries that will be competing in a great tournament a few months from now. Kaiba himself will be representing Japan with many top-ranked duelists. It's a friendly competition, but a good way to draw crowds to America, where the dueling market could use some fresh talent." Rikku explained.

"And I'm supposed to draw a crowd? Tell me that I'm going to have to sign a contract that says I'm supposed to use my Neo deck and I'll gladly smack you in the face," Rick continued harshly.

"Such hate for Kaiba you have. You should be a little more gracious to him for what he's done for you," Rikku replied.

"Well, it was Kaiba Corp. US that sent me to school, not the arrogant jerk himself," Rick spat venomously.

"If you decide to accept, we are holding Regionals to put together out team starting a week from now in East Addleton, just a few hours from here. I suggest you man-up and show what you're made of. The winners of the Regionals will head to the Semi-Finals and then the US Championships. The winner will be leader of Team USA and the four runner-ups will be the team," Rikku continued as she passed a packet of forms towards Rick. "Think of the pride and glory you can achieve, something you will never get here."

Rick flipped through the papers rather quickly and glanced back at Rikku.

"I'll consider it," Rick said quickly.

"You look strong and smart enough to compete at such a high level, so I strongly urge you to join us at the regionals. I'll be watching you, Mr. Cain, with both of my eyes. One on you, the other on your deck," She said seductively as she stood and walked away.

Wow, Rick thought as he shook his head. With one eye on the papers and the other on Rikku's smoothly moving figure as she walked away, he smiled.

CHAPTER 10: CONSIDER IT DONE

D: 6200
L: 6400/-/-/-/5400

Lisa's magic card took it's toll of 1000 damage as she pondered her strategies. The new deck Damian was playing seemed to be warrior as Marauding Captain and Gearfried stood tall and proud on his side of the field, unchallenged.

With my Cherub's effect useless now, I'll have to draw a suitable monster to defend me.

Lisa inhaled as if the oxygen would produce some sort of luck as she drew her card.

Oh well, it'll help, but only for a short while.

"I'll place one card face down and switch my cherub to defense mode!" Lisa announced as the little giggling angel curled up in mid air, still hovering with it's silk-like wings. "That's all for me."

In his usual swagger, Damian acted as if he had just woken from a brief nap, yawning arrogantly with his hand waving over his mouth.

"Truly enthralling, this deck ranked you in the top 40 of our school? Pathetic," Damian taunted as he drew his card.

"Not as pathetic as seeing you break down and almost cry because Cain made you look like an ass," She blurted out, engulfed in anger.

Damian had always been a jerk to her as long as she could remember, even during their high school days. Actually, he was a jerk to everyone, yet, seemed to find Lisa on her worst days when he ridiculed her. Putting him down just felt so right.

"Trailing his coattail now are you? I suffer one defeat and you think I'm done?" Damian twitched, the fury growing within him as well, like a great black boiler. He didn't like being put down, no one insulted him ever, Cain was the first.

"Well, prove it then. Show the world that you're not some cheap souless shell of a duelist," She spat venomously.

Where is this coming from? Calm down, Aliza, she thought to herself.

"I tribute my Marauding Captain to summon Mefist, the Infernal General in attack mode!" Damian spoke as he swapped a card on the field for a card in his hand.

A warrior rode onto the field on a heavily armored horse. The man himself was truly immense. His figure was thick and impedimenting, the black spiney suit he wore glimmered in a nonexistent light. He swung his battle axe in a threatening manner, ready to tear the cherub into pieces.

"With 1800 attack power, it'll easily slice through your lame creature, Mefist, deviant axe slash! Destroy her monster!" Damian said with a vicious pleasure.

Mefist approached very swiftly and before she could react, Lisa's monster was split in two. A last shriek of immeasureable pain was all that remained of Gleeful Cherub.

D: 6200
L: 5400/-/-/-/4800

"As per it's effect, my Infernal General can do damage even to creatures in defense mode! It also discards one card in your hand each time it does life point damage!" Damian said.

Lisa shrugged and placed her randomly selected card into the graveyard.

"You may go," Damian said with false courtesy.
---------------------------------------------

Rick's impatience started to bleed through him as he tapped his fingers and feet angrily in anticipation for his match.

"Mr. Richard Cain and Mr. Kyle Gate to duel arena 2 please, your match will now begin," A booming said over the intercom speakers.

Well, if he ain't there, then too bad. I was really looking forward to mashing him.

Standing up, several stagnant bones cracked as Rick yawned with relief. Gathering his suitcase, he began to make his way through the isles of the store towards the dueling square. As he was about to turn a corner, a man in a dark suit and black ski mask jumped him, kicking him hard in the chest.

Rick fell backwards and tripped, crashing through a door to the janitor's closet. Rick had been sitting near the back of the store, thus no one paid much attention to the noises of a few buckets falling. Struggling to stand, he realized two more hooded men were behind the first attacker.

Standing up and showing a fighting stance, he swore he heard a muffled laugh or two. His stomach ached heavily from the blow.

"You think it's funny? C'mere and I'll slap that grin clear across your face. Bad enough you can't even show your faces, damn cowards," Rick said in as harsh a tone he could muster.

The initial attacker began stepping towards Rick, who was now cornered in a closet. Quietly, the hand that was behind Rick grasped a metal pipe.

Go ahead, step a little closer, I got some dental work for you.

The attacker was about four feet away when Rick swung mightily. The lead pipe connected sharply with the covered face of the attacker, who fell immediately with a thud.

"MMMMMMMMMMMAAAHHH!" A muffled scream erupted from the now squirming man.

"C'mon, help your buddy, he's in trouble!" Rick laughed as he spoke to the other two shadowy figures, who no doubt were planning on getting in with whatever plan the crying man on the floor had in mind.

One looked to the other and began to back away. In a few seconds, they turned heel and ran out of sight and probably the store as well.

"Well, your friends suck. They just ditched you in a closet with an armed man. What do you have to say about that?" Rick demanded cruelly as he crouched over the man.

"Screw off, Cain," came a gurgling voice.

"Aww, you sound like you're bleeding. Let me take a look," Rick said as he lifted the mask off the assailant. A young man no older than him with short blonde hair looked back up at him, mouth stained with fresh blood. A tooth was missing as well. "The zombie kid? What the hell is the matter with you?"

"I'm representing those who want you out of Akodia. We're the ones who are going to take you down." He responded.

"Ho, ho, I'm scared now. My body quivers with fear! Have you people seriously resorted to violence to beat me now? Shameful, really," Rick said.

"Go ahead and leave, we'll get you sooner or later," Brad threatened.

"Hmm, you've got a smudge on your face, Brad," Rick said pointing at Brad and touching his own face, signifying where the mark was.

"Where-"

SMACK!

Rick's right hand struck Brad clean across the face as blood splattered onto the floor.

"OWWWW!" Brad yelped and curled into the fetal position, both hands clasped over his mouth.

"Let that be a message to all your little hooded friends, freak," Rick said rather calmly.

Rick stood up and walked out of the closet and slammed it shut, drowning out the cries of the beaten and bruised duelist inside.
---------------------------------------------

Lisa drew her card and stared for almost a minute. At first, she was confused, then after reading it, she nearly collapsed.

How in the blue hell did this get here?

She laughed to herself out loud with her newfound luck.

"Great, now what? Want me to call the men in white for you?" Damian said, frustrated with her antics.

"First I'll play Graceful Charity! I'll draw three and discard two. Now, I think I'll just end this here," Lisa said confidently.

"You know Ms. Sanzetti, confidence and arrogance are separated by a fine line, one that you're walking right now," Damian stated.

"I'll play Monster Reborn to bring back my Gleeful Cherub in attack mode!" Lisa spoke as a familiar green icon rose and shattered almost instantly and was replaced by the also familiar angel. "Next, I'll tribute it to special summon Deathlord of Hell . . . HADES!" She screamed, placing the card on the disk.

Damian could only stare blankly as darkness slowly enveloped the field.


CHAPTER 11: The Deathlord of Hell: Hades

Every head in the massive store looked towards the duel between Aliza Sanzetti and Damian Gyver. A frigid dome of shadows descended upon the field as many stood and ran to catch a glimpse of this intriguing duel in progress.

"Wow, what is it?" Came a male voice.

"It looks like rain clouds," a female voice chimed in.

"Nah, it's smoke," explained another.

People chattered quietly, as if this haze was a deadly creature in slumber. Conversations ended as the field became less visible through the mysterious fog.

"What the hell kind of cheating is this, Sanzetti?" Damian said, acting tough.

At that very moment, a blood-curdling scream pierced the silence as a figure drew in all of the black smoke. Hades became more and more visible as he continued breathing in the smog.

The Deathlord of Hell was one of the more disturbing things Lisa had ever seen. It's looked as if it was a skeleton with pale skin grown over the bones. It's emerald-eyed skull was adorned with two bull-like horns and it wore a ghoulish yet elegant robe of black and gold. It's arms and legs were spiney and several large spines portruded from it's back. A massive scythe undoubtedly made of bones and flesh was tightly gripped in one hand. The crimson flesh on the stem of the scythe squirmed as if it were breathing, a site that almost made Lisa sick.

"I am the dark lord of the afterlife, bringing of pestillence and despair. I am yours for now," It spoke in a cackling voice to Lisa.

"What the hell was that?" Damian said. "It sounds like it's throat is on fire, is it screaming or something?"

Lisa was about to respond to him, claiming that she understood it perfectly. However, the thought quickly lost priority when she noticed that others around the dueling area looked confused too. She heard it clearly. Hades spoke to her. She decided to keep it to herself, seeing as hearing voices wasn't necessarily a good thing, especially from holographic monsters.

As Hades stared Lisa down, she felt knowledge flowing into her. It was an odd sensation, a calm feeling in her mind. It was as if she was floating to the end of the universe, ready to break the barrier and head to a higher place no one else knew. It was as if she was inches from reaching an infinite knowledge, but just couldn't get there. Similar to the dreams she had been this feeling of hopeless desire. She'd be running down the street towards her home in Akodia when she would turn to see why she was running. Lisa could never figure out what the shape was pursuing her, but for some reason it was terrifying. Her feet would be like cement and she'd struggle to run faster, her home now visible a little ways up the road. The faceless specter would get close enough that she'd wake up drenched in sweat, as if she'd actually been running.

After a few seconds, the surreal feeling was gone and she had obtained knowledge, but not to the magnitude she felt radiating from the trance-like state. She knew how to command Hades. She knew all the rules and abilities of this deity in front of her. Deathlord nodded, a way of signifying that the duel should continue now.

This has officially been the creepiest day ever, Lisa thought to herself.

"What the hell is the holdup? Let's get going!" Damian said.

Uneasily, Lisa acted, she knew what to do.

HADES
3400/3800

"Alright, you want to lose? Here goes nothing! Hades has a very potent and game breaking effect that I think I'll take full advantage of! I can special summon up to 4 monster from my graveyard." Lisa stated.

"WHAT? That's completely unfair!" Damian roared.

"Unfair? Care to define that, wise ass?" Lisa spat sharply. Damian is known around the school as an all around cheating scum, so to have him declare something dishonest was hippocrisy at its finest.

"I've decided on my creatures, so here they come! I special summon Guardian Angel Joan, Gilford the Lightning and Dunames Dark Witch!" Lisa commanded as she withdrew cards from the graveyard and placed them on the field.

GUARDIAN ANGEL JOAN
2800/2000

GILFORD THE LIGHTNING
2800/1400

DUNAMES DARK WITCH
1800/600

The crowd ooh'ed and aww'ed as Lisa instantly conjured up the impressive army of creatures. It seemed almost unlikely that she'd lose.

"Not so fast! I anticipated some form of special summon, so I activate the card Surprise Attack! It's a magic card that can be activated from my hand when a monster is special summoned! It lets me special summon monsters as many monsters from my graveyard up to the number that you special summoned, so I can special summon up to three monsters! I summon D.D. Warrior Lady and Marauding Captain in defense mode!" Damian yelled triumphantly.

I don't think so, came a familar dark voice. Hades laughed a terrible laugh and prepared to swing his massive weapon. As soon as D.D. Warrior Lady and Marauding Captain appeared, Hades slashed them to ribbons, cackling evilly once again.

"Now what? Are you seriously cheating?" Damian questioned angrily.

"Moron, you're the cheater here, not me. Hades negates effects of cards that target creatures in the graveyard, it is his domain anyways," Lisa said matter-of-factly.
---------------------------

That was when it hit him. Damian was going to lose again. He was going to be humiliated by some little girl with fairy cards. As if losing to a delinquent who disrespected him wasn't bad enough, he was going to get his ass handed to him again by a lower ranked duelist.

All the years he had spent in private schools were nothing anymore. His father had been one of the great duelists in the past years. All of Damian's private tutors and teachers did nothing for him. To be a great duelist, he had taken all the necessary steps. He had an amazing record of schooling and training; successfully defeated many pros, and had a class-A duelist for a father. However, some street trash in with dyed hair was going to stop him, just as the thug did earlier.

How could I have sunk this low? What have I become?
-----------------------------------------------------

Savoring the moment of victory, Lisa gave her commands. "Guardian Angel Joan, destroy Mefist!"

The elegant short-haired woman descended gracefully to the field in a flowing white gown as she prepared an energy shot. After a second or two of drawing energy, Joan released a powerful beam of what seemed to be pure light that shattered the Infernal General.

D: 6200/-/-/-/5200
L: 4800/+/+/+/6600

"Next, Gilford, flash-burn that iron pile of scrap!" Lisa yelled with increasing intensity.

Gilford, the humungously muscled warrior fired a concentrated bolt of lightning from his sword with such force that his decorative armor flailed in the wind. Gearfried could only stand tall as the lightning blast shattered the warrior into a million shards of iron and steel.

D: 5200/-/-/-/4200
L: 6600

"With the combined attack totals of Hades and Dunames Dark Witch, I'll win! Attack my Dark Witch!" Lisa yelled once more.

The elegantly dressed brunette witch readied her staff and fired several small orbs of fire at Damian, who took the full force of the attack.

D: 4200/-/-/-/2400
L: 6600

"And finally, Hades, annihilate Damian, make him feel the pain that he deserves! Obliviation Scythe Slash now!" Lisa screamed.

Hades laughed more viciously than ever in the same blood-curdling tone as it lifted it weapon once more, awaiting the taste of battle. The massive creature moved swiftly and quick as it stopped in front of Damian. It raised its scythe and whipped it with such force that Damian was thrown off balance.

As Damian staggered, Lisa noticed something that drew the warmth from her body. The scythe actually hit Damian. However, there was no blood; Lisa had caught a glimpse of something wisp-like and silvery being drawn from his body. As soon as the attack ended, Damian fell right off the podium and landed with a disgusting thud outside the arena, a few feet to the floor.

What the hell happened? Lisa asked herself.

D: 2400/-/-/-/0 |:|:|:| LOSER
L: 6600 |:|:|:| WINNER

She didn't know what to expect, but the sight of a few security guards fondling their batons and handcuffs gave her bad vibes. She felt as if she was running down the street once more, trying to escape a nameless foe. However, this time, her house was no where to be seen.
-------------------------------------------------

Rick stood at the front of the podium, staring at Kyle Gate on the other side. As he began to place the deck into the slot to begin the duel, something caught his attention. A large crowd was chatting away as two security guards approached a woman at another dueling podium.

Oh my God, Lisa! What the heck did she do? Rick thought.

He continued to stare until something else happened. His insides broiled with intense flames as he witnessed one of the officers strike Lisa in the stomach with a baton.

Rick barely hesitated as he forfeited the match and darted through the crowd, bowling over people as he ran at full speed.

"GET THE F*** AWAY FROM HER!" Rick yelled as he stopped at the edge of the circle of onlookers watching the officers handcuff Aliza.

"Hey! Shut up kid, unless you want to be kindly escorted out of here as well!" One officer snapped at him.

"What the hell did she do that merited a beating? She's a young woman! Where did you learn your morals? A damn sewer?" Rick continued furiously.

"HEY! I said zip it! She injured another duelist, thus, she's dangerous and being brought in for assault!" The same officer spoke.

"Lisa, what the hell happened?" Rick said, now uninterested in the cops pushing her towards the doors.

"I don't know! Please Rick, help me! I didn't do anything!" She cried. Lisa was still hunched over in pain from the baton strike as tears cascaded down her pretty face.

Rick knew he couldn't do anything. If he approached the cops now, they'd mace him and drag him downtown as well. Rick's mind rushed with thoughts and ideas as he watched Lisa get forcefully shoved into a squad car outside. She pressed her face against the window, gazing upon Rick.

I . . . I don't know what to do Lisa. What happened here? Rick thought, now panicking.

He stared back to the crowd that was snickering back and forth, some looking concerned and some even laughing.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU ALL STARING AT?" Rick exploded.

The group of rubberneckers dispersed immediately at the outburst from Rick. They all scattered and went back to dueling as Rick left the store, intent on finding out what just happened and where the officer who struck Lisa lived.
---------------------------------------------

"He's perfect. It's the one he's been looking for. Send me a car, I'm following him, I may be here a little longer than expected," A sly and seductive voice spoke into a fancy cell phone outside the card shop. The slender woman stepped into the street and into a car that pulled up.

Her mission had been initiated and it would be completed. She stepped into the car and flipped open the phone once more and dialed.

"Yes . . . yes, target acquired, his name is Richard Cain . . . It's him, trust me, since when have I been wrong?" She spoke into the phone.

"Well Misaki, you were wrong last time and it cost us valuable time. You better be correct or you'll wake up in a river tomorrow," came a cold voice on the other line that quickly hung up.

She smiled and closed the phone.

"Driver, offer that young man over there a ride, we have to chat," Rikku said.





CHAPTER 12: HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

*This is probably the darkest and longest section I've posted of any fan fiction I've done. Beware, there is violence and some language, but it is necessary to the story. Enjoy and comment!

Remember, a view without a reply is like David Spade without Chris Farley, it's not funny, it's downright pathetic and wrong.*
---------------------------


"Wuss, that's what you've always been. You haven't changed," said a young voice.

Three young boys, around age twelve, stood like wolves around another boy in a back alley of a scummy town. Their stained clothes and dirty faces told of hardship of living in the streets. The one who had spoken up had very short dark brown hair and a mightily intimidating face. Something that would match his wolf life demeanor. He was the alpha in this group.

"Yeah, so beat it," came another with sandy hair standing behind the alpha.

"Shut the heck up Tom. Just because I don't wanna beat someone up doesn't mean I can't, Jackson," said a short scrawny boy with a buzz cut as he stared threateningly at the alpha male known as Jackson.

"Ricky, we've told you plenty of times. Unless you do what we need you to do, you can't be part of the gang anymore," said Jackson.

"Who cares about the Coltworth Wolves, you're small timers. I don't get it anyways, why do I have to beat someone up? Couldn't I do something else? It's not very fair," Ricky said.

"Look loser, either you do it or you can be on your own . . . and no one survives out here alone," Jackson said.

Ricky looked around at his opposition, sizing them up as if planning to assault them. Ricky wasn't a very angry child; it was his surroundings that brought out the beast within. On the streets of Coltworth, everyone had an inner animal. If you weren't beastly or frightening, then you died. You faded away quicker than the trails of smoke that wound down the maze-like alleys of the city.

BAM! Ricky had punched Tom, the sandy haired boy in the face. Very hard and very accurately in the face. The other two boys tried to converge upon Ricky, but he was a fast little kid. He swung again and connected with the face of the other boy, with long black hair. Ricky gained his footing and turned to face Jackson.

"Fine! Then I'm going alone. I don't need you idiots!" Ricky said, panting with rage. "Besides, who beats up girls? That's mean," Ricky said.

"Her brother needs to be taught a lesson; we were going to teach him that. But, if you couldn't even beat up a girl, then I'm surprised you knocked out these guys," Jackson said as he looked at his two cronies on the soggy ground of the 3rd street alleyway, weeping with blood-stained faces.

"That's just wrong! Why don't you cowards just do something to the brother? Why does Lilah have to be involved?" Ricky shouted now.

Jackson seemed to have stumbled upon a realization as his eyes narrowed and he looked at Ricky with his penetrating gaze.

"You like her don't you. You want out because you don't want to hurt her," Jackson accused.

Ricky stood proudly, still breathing heavily. He hadn't attacked anyone in a few years, so it was quite a rush for him.

"I knew it. Lilah your girlfriend or something?" Jackson said with a sly grin.

"Go kill yourself Jackson. I'm out," Ricky said with all the cruelty welled up in his minute heart.

Ricky walked away from Jackson, not bothering to look over his shoulder.

"She won't be safe anymore, you realize that?" Jackson threatened. "Just because you're her little bodyguard, doesn't mean we won't come after you!"

Ricky stopped in his tracks, analyzing the problems he had just created, the weight he had burdened himself with. With suave, he turned to face Jackson, about ten feet away.

"Go ahead. I'll be waiting for you."
--------------------------------

Coltworth was a metallic and soulless city of massive factories and smog. It was something of a large vacuum. Anyone who came near was sucked in and never seen again. Very few made it out of the city, none unscathed. It was a place of unwanted memories. Those who had once called this wasteland home never returned. It wasn't a matter of hating the city; it was a matter of not remembering the horrible things they had witnessed. Children dead in alleyways, bums on the street in tattered clothes and banging pans and pots against the knees of those who had money. The prostitutes that hung around every corner like cattle, waiting to be herded away by rich travelers, flew like hawks surveying their prey. They were empty shells know. That's what Coltworth does. Like a spider, it melts away your insides and sucks you dry, spirit, mind, security, and soul.

Ricky had looked over his shoulder several hundred times by the time he had reached the dingy old apartment building where he lived. His mother had left years ago and only his father remained, a deadbeat who had wandered from any path he may have had. Climbing the three flights of stair and kicking rubble from the rotted ceiling out of his way, he opened the blackened wooden door with a small silver key in his pocket.

He crept into the living room like a mouse, careful not to awaken his father who would surely be in some kind of drunken stupor by now. The TV was full of static and the lazy boy chair was empty, which meant that his dad was probably out. It was only around eight thirty when Ricky had stepped into the smelly abode that he called home.

Ricky found his way to the fridge and opened it, liberating a mouse from its chilling prison. It scurried away from Rick and into a whole in the adjacent wall.

"Damn mice," he muttered to himself.

He was surprised to find that there was some lemonade left over from the other day, which had been very hot for spring time in Coltworth. Taking a deep swig from the pitcher of clear yellow liquid, he choked and spit out the lemonade all over the floor.

"Ugh, gross . . ." Ricky said as he spit the alcoholic liquid out onto the broken tile floor. "Dad must be mixing his drinks again, great, now I'll just die of thirst." Ricky angrily threw the pitcher out the back window, listening to it hit the ground with a loud crack.

Hours passed and Ricky now lay in bed, listening to the moans of some woman coming from his father's room. Once again, he would lay awake all night with no sleep, chained to the bed by disgusting sounds of lust.

"To hell with this," Ricky said as he pushed the covers off of himself and put his blue jeans back on. He gathered a few things and prepared to leave. Whenever he had problems, he would go to Lilah's house, just a few blocks away. He had gone there before when his father and he had gotten in a fist fight. Grabbing twelve dollars from a hidden compartment in his shelf, he sighed. It was sad that he had to hide his money from his father, who would quickly exchange it for some kind of strong liquor.

Onto the streets he ran, awaiting the comfort of Lilah's warm home. Her mother was a business woman in town, one of the few with money to spare. Lilah and Ricky had been friends since they met in kindergarten.

As he approached Lilah's house on Adam's street, he could see her smooth face and brown hair to her neck, those sapphire eyes and cherry red lips. The beautiful white house came into view as Ricky entered one of the richest sections in town. However, something was wrong. Lilah's light in her room was off and she never turned it off before 12 A.M. because she watched a late night show religiously.

Ricky tensed up.

She won't be safe anymore, you realize that? A voice spoke in his head.

He walked up to the door and knocked. The door opened as soon as he applied a little force to it. Ricky realized that her mother's car wasn't there either. He stepped into the house and a foreboding sense of danger and doom overcame him. He felt like he had taken steps into a lion's den, where he could be pounced upon and killed at any moment. Lilah's house had never felt so dark and uninviting before.

Please no, he thought.

The worst thoughts and images came over him. Ricky remembered a day when he was out with Jackson and their little posse and he told Ricky to wait outside and watch for cops. Ricky did just that but had always wondered what it was that Jackson had done. He only was in their gang because Jackson would share any money he got with his friends. However, the friendship between Jackson and Ricky had been degrading for a while now. Rick walked into the house he was supposed to be guarding while Jackson did his 'job'. Ricky turned a corner and saw Jackson with a 2x4, beating a man who was crying in pain, begging him to stop. The other two gang members had beaten him down and Jackson was now hitting him in the face.

Ricky had never felt the same about Jackson since. He never asked questions, he had just needed the money. But the man's cries, his throat choking on blood, pierced his brain and cemented themselves there, a constant reminder of what people like Jackson were capable of.

Running up the stairs, he saw Lilah's door was open and could sense trouble. Her room was in a bit of disarray as a few books had been knocked off shelves. However, she was no where.

This isn't good. Lilah where are you? He thought frantically.

He ran back down the wooden staircase and peeked out towards the back entrance. A cool breeze told him that the door was wide open. Running faster now, he stepped out into the cold night once more and froze.

Jackson stood in front of him, metal pipe in hand. Ricky could see Tom and another boy behind him, holding someone face down to the ground. Short brown hair of the captive fluttered in the breeze. The lamps in the backyard of the house showed a beautiful shade of green across the lawn and garden.

"LILAH!" Ricky yelled.

"DON'T MOVE!" Jackson retorted.

There was a tense moment, a standoff between the two boys. It was the calm before the storm as thunder shook the sky ominously.

"How perfect, the rain is coming," Jackson spoke softly. For a rather disturbed child, Jackson had the odd habit of becoming poetic when it came to violent situations. It was a very unsettling quality of him.

"Why the hell are you doing this? It's her brother you're after? Why does someone else always have to suffer?" Ricky said angrily.

As if Ricky had never spoken, Jackson continued in his poetic tone of voice.

"The music of nature, its thunderous song, it's coming Ricky. The roar of the skies is a sign of impending doom, it is nature's horseman. I told you that you wouldn't be safe for what you did. You betrayed us and turned your cowardly face around. How else would you be punished? You know that no one leaves this city unscarred, why should you be exempt?" Jackson said with increasing malice.

"If it's me you want, then come after me! Leave her out of this!" Ricky said once more.

"Hey Jack, I think he needs a tissue!" Said Tom, a portly boy with a crooked grin.

"No, he needs to be taught. He needs to learn that you can't just walk away from problems. If this is how the lesson is learned, then we'll do it this way," Jackson said in all seriousness.

Ricky knew it was coming but reacted too slowly. Jackson had turned his back on Ricky and swung around with amazing speed, cracking the pipe across Ricky's face. He hit the green grass back first with a soft thud, clutching his undoubtedly broken cheek bone and his freshly torn skin.

Thunderclouds bellowed once more, signifying a storm. Lightning joined into the atmospheric orchestra as Ricky looked up from the ground.

Jackson stepped over Ricky and picked him up forcefully, only to restrain him by placing the pipe across his neck in a type of strangle hold.

"Now you'll get to see what happens when you cross that fine red line Ricky. This is what you recieve for your heroic departure from our gang," Jackson said evilly.

Tom lifted up Lilah, whose face was stained with earth and bits of grass. She was unharmed, but gagged. She tried to release a cry, but was unsuccessful as the gag imprisoned her mournful pleads. The other boy, whom Ricky did not know, now came into the dim light of the garden lamps. The light was enough to allow Ricky a glance at the boy's face.

This young man was the same average height as Jackson. However, while Jackson was the alpha wolf of the Coltworth Wolves, this one was different. This boy was an entirely different animal. A snake came to mind when Ricky noticed his silky skin, thin frame, matted black hair, and menacing green eyes.

"Who the hell are you?" Ricky spat to the snake boy.

He returned a glare to Ricky, only to reach into his pocket and pull out a pair of brass knuckles. Ricky's insides tightened instantly. He tried with all his might to break free from Jackson's grip, but couldn't muster the strength. Ricky's screams pierced the night as sounds of metal cracking flesh and bone rang throughout the night.
----------------------------

Rain patted lightly at Ricky's face as he woke. He was still in the backyard and it was approaching dawn. In a second, he remembered why he was there and what had happened. Images of Lilah's bleeding face flashed through his head. The snake like boy who struck her down relentlessly. Ricky remembered crying, his tears flooding his mouth as the rain had begun to pour after Lilah was dropped to the ground, silent. At that thought, Ricky turned immediately to where he remembered Lilah being held.

If you've ever witness a something fall and shatter, like a glass or a vase, then you know that uncomfortable feeling of sadness and hopelessness. Ricky's shock held him down tight as he stared at the lifeless body of Lilah Gardner, his closest friend since he was a toddler.

Her beautiful face was distorted with bruises and gashes. A messy stain upon a fine silk, her expression painful. All at once, Ricky wanted to scream, to die, to kill. His emotions exploded and drove through his body with quickness and agility as he felt every inch of his body crawl with sorrow and rage. Guilt, fury, sadness, despair, and cruel hatred filled his being. It was too much; he had to release his feelings, his emotions, his experience.

The morning came, a bloody sun to a gruesome day brought on by the horrifying screams of a twelve year old boy. He yelled for what seemed like hours and the rays of the sun purged the darkness, failing to cleanse the specters of the night.
 

Merc

Certified Shitlord
V.I.P.
#4
Please can someone read over this? I know it's a Yu-Gi-Oh! fic, but I have been told that for Yu-Gi-Oh!, it's rather good. I'd like some feedback.