The air was quiet. The titanic dragon and the young human woman stared one another in the eyes, vaguely tense.
This had been inevitable, reflected Zarc. With everything they'd shared over the years, there was something almost poetic about Ray coming to him now. If the situation had been reversed, he would have.
He wondered for a moment what she would've been, if it was her who was the monster - a lady of the Fair Folk, a demon queen? It didn't matter, he dismissed that thought with, not here and now.
"So," Zarc's voice echoed through the air, tinged by a guttural rumble, "it's come to this? What secret weapon do you have to unleash, Ray?"
"They're called the Natural Energy cards," disclosed the red-head, sternly. "Supposedly they should together nullify your Fusion, Synchro and Xyz aspects, then destroy you. All they need is a bit of mana to realize their effects."
Zarc understood. More reason to send her. His eyes flashed with yellow light and subdued rage. "So, you really have come to try and destroy me?"
"Hell no," said Ray, a smirk adorning her face. Confusion showed in his bright eyes. "I want to join you, Zarc, become a Duel Monster, but first I want you to do me a favor. Don't do anything to my father, okay?"
He looked quizzically at her, hoping that he didn't look undignified. Damn it all, he was a god, and gods didn't get surprised. Still… it wasn't really surprising, even with all he knew of her, that she would do this for her father.
"Trading your humanity for his safety, are we?" Zarc almost sounded just amused by the offer.
"No," assured Ray. A moment's silence passed. "I'm doing this either way, I just want Father to be safe no matter what, hence the favor. Do that for me, and I'd gladly destroy humanity with you."
The great drake tilted his head. Ray Akaba had never been a saint, that Zarc knew. Still, he was only glad to avoid them being enemies. The price was one he was ready to pay, but one question presented.
Ray sighed, posture stiffening a tiny bit. The question had been anticipated. With Zarc, it was inevitable.
"Just look at everything humanity's done in our history. Cruelty, savagery, crime, sins, wars and genocides, hatred for so many reasons. You should know that," she drew a breath, then continued. "The people who admit it are especially annoying, because they way too often think that just admitting to their flaws and imperfections is the same thing as doing something that makes up for it," she made a frantic swing of her arm. "I've had enough, of everything, and if the alternative means that we can stand together again," a smile rose on her face, "that's perfect."
The dragon returned the smile, or as best he was able to.
"Plus," added Ray with a grin, "becoming a Duel Monster would be so awesome," falling silent, she moved to place three cards on her disk.
Around her, three demons manifested. Overhead, a blue and winged thing that in places were covered in spikes and red outgrowths. To Ray's right, a vaguely-insectoid reptilian beast now stood upon the rock, supporting itself on six legs. To Ray's left, a three-headed dragon with jet-black scales and sky-blue eyes that glowed.
Zarc leaned his head back, to his own surprise wondering if he wanted this.
"I activate Polymerization," declared Ray, feeling the magic energies race from her fingertips, "and fuse myself with Infernal Incinerator, Archfiend of Gilfer and Chthonian Duke Bune!"
Space warped around them, as Zarc watched, and obsidian light flared, steadily growing to engulf them. Then, there were sounds, like the striking of thunder.
Soon, he saw it die down, and what he saw stand there surprised and worried him. There wasn't anything - not a red demon with horns and a tail, not anything that resembled a Duel Monsters demon that he knew about, not a Lovecraft monster that was beyond words - where Ray had just been.
"Are you here?" the dragon said, casting a glance around. Her voice rang, not in his ears but in his mind, asking why he asked.
"What have I turned into?" wondered the disembodied voice, sounding not much worried to his ear. He wished to Heaven that he knew.
A light shined from nowhere atop the rock, and red-violet motes there began to swirl about, solidifying in the shape of a creature that Zarc somewhat recognized - a creature half-way Ray and half-way a demon. Wings from her back, horns among her hair, claws on her hands, a great lumpy mass of a tail behind her, body entirely bare.
The woman studied her arms, raising them mildly and flexing her claws, visibly amazed by herself. Zarc glanced away, past her. Ray reached up to her head, examining the front-left horn with a curious touch.
"Would you look at me, Zarc?" said Ray, openly excited, looking up at him.
The dragon quietly turned his head to her again. "Well, sure thing, but you know you're naked, right?"
Ray grinned. "Do you really mind? Really?"
He supposed she was right. "Well, it's not the best occasion, is all."
Ray smiled, and gestured out towards the horizon on her left. "Shall we?"