And the next chapter begins. First to the reviews, then we will start with the plot once more.


Review Responses:

-To Kyred: Well, looks like you're getting your duel conclusion this chapter. I hope you'll enjoy it!

-To Zarc Eternal: Yusaku's behavior is riding on the premise that he doesn't have social skills, so he doesn't realize that he's such a dick, and his unconscious tendency to stay in control. Since he had control taken away from him when he was kidnapped as a kid he now desperately wants to remain in control. In a physical sense that means that he doesn't want to experience defeat in duel, hence why his win record is so high. As Akira has even said to Go in Season 2, he doesn't want to lose because of his trauma, so he seeks to remain in control of his duel results. In a mental sense being in control means being superior to others though, which can either be achieved by raising yourself above your opponent, or by pushing them below yourself. That's why Yusaku is so insulting towards Yukemi, because he subconciously wants to ensure mental superiority by putting himself as the far better duelist – which has some truth in it though.

-To Insertname: Yeah, the anime would take forever to finish one of my duels. Remember though that I am a real life player where turns of that length aren't really that uncommon. In fact most turns nowadays last for ages with all the combo plays and stuff. Even Yusaku's deck can build Extra Links Turn 1 without major issues due to the support from the Shootingcode Talker Structure Deck.

-To And then the sky: Thanks again for the extensive and highly detailed review, the way you put your points really makes this amazing feedback! I won't go too much into detail with it, but know that the sword of Yukemi is more than it appears to be.

-To Seraphina: Again, those monster formations are what is nowadays not unusual. A lot of recent decks can build such boards, even during Turn 1, not Turn 3 like Yusaku. They won't be Extra Link – Full Mode boards, but usually have fewer monsters with way more powerful effects though. For instance any deck that can properly use Guardragons ends up with 2 or 3 negates on the board for their first turn, like Hot Red Dragon Archfiend Abyss or Borreload Savage Dragon for instance. About your first point, Yusaku doesn't really have to prove himself here. Yukemi only assumed that he was weaker than he really is based on what he saw during Playmaker's duel with the Knight of Hanoi, which as Yusaku stated was far from his maximum power. With the Extra Link – Full Mode Yusaku has proven that he is stronger than Atsuko, as she herself admitted that his offense against Heavenmail would have instantly crushed her. Therefore the only one who has to prove himself here is Yukemi.


With that the chapter shall commence! Prepare for some weird if not totally strange and unexpected moves!


Chapter 3: Dragonic Might

Saying that Heavenmail who faced Playmaker in a duel at the moment was in a bad situation could have definitely been considered as more than just an understatement. But even against a perfected Extra Link – Full Mode he didn't surrender, continuing his turn after drawing two cards via Dominus Draw.

"Skill activate – Legend of Destiny! I draw a card from my deck at random, and I feel like it's just going to be the one I need! Destiny Draw!" Heavenmail yelled, performing his Skill and drawing a card surrounded by golden light from his deck pile.

"He used his Skill. Be careful, Playmaker. Last time he used it White Diamond lost," the eyeball addressed him.

Playmaker nodded. "I know."

"Now it's time to activate the spell Monster Reborn, much like you before! I bring back Dianahri!" Heavenmail announced.

"Not under my watch! The effect of Tri-Gate Wizard! Once per turn, if it is co-linked to three monsters, I can negate the activation of a card or card effect and banish that card! Your Monster Reborn fails!" Playmaker shot back.

Heavenmail grinned. "And just as your Transcode Talker using its effect last turn, this was just a move to bait out your negate effect! I special summon another Heraklux from my hand as I control no monsters! Come!" he said, a familiar warrior arising on his empty field.

Heraklux, Fist of the Goddess

Light/ Level 4/ ATK 1800/ DEF 1000/ Fairy/ Effect

"Using his effect I add my second copy of Hidden Arsenal to my hand! Then I equip Heraklux with Arms of the Goddess – Aegis! This raises his ATK by 400 and allows me to revive a Link-3 or lower "Goddess"-Link-Monster when I activate it! I bring back Dianahri!" Heavenmail declared, his monster attaching the golden shield to its arm and firing a ray of light on the ground from which the female archer arose, mounting her trusted eagle.

Heraklux, Fist of the Goddess: ATK 1800 → 2200

Dianahri, Bow of the Goddess

Water/ Link 3/ ATK ?/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (←→↓)

"I activate the effect of Bicode Talker! I increase the ATK of Decode Talker by 500 and destroy one of your cards as I have at least three Link-Monsters on my field! I destroy Dianahri!" Playmaker shouted in response.

Decode Talker: ATK 4300 → 4800

"Nice move! But it won't work! I think I didn't show you the effect of Aegis yesterday, did I? Once per turn I can negate the removal of a Goddess I control!" Heavenmail shot back, his winged warrior blocking the incoming water arrow with its shield.

"Looks like he was prepared for your move, Playmaker," the eyeball said in disappointment.

"Then I activate my field spell! Via the activation effect of Hidden Arsenal I search out Excalibur and equip it to Heraklux, which in turn searches out another card! I pick Arms of the Goddess – Gae Derg, equipping it to Dianahri!" Heavenmail said, one of his monsters receiving an icy sword while the female one gained a red spear.

Dianahri, Bow of the Goddess: ATK 0 → 400

Heraklux, Fist of the Goddess: ATK 2200 → 2600

Heavenmail smirked. "I think you still remember the power of Gae Derg! This spear from Irish mythology is told to destroy any magic that touches its head! As such it can destroy your spell and trap cards, up to two of them to be exact as I equipped it to a Link-Monster! However, Dianahri will lose 1600 ATK and have the activation of her effects prohibited during this turn since I chose this option of Gae Derg's effect! I destroy Cynet Storm and Optimization!" he declared, his monster firing the red spear as an arrow, first hitting and destroying Playmaker's field spell before ricocheting sideways, taking out his continuous spell as well. It then bounced for a second time, returning to its owner.

Dianahri, Bow of the Goddess: ATK 400 → 0

"Since my field spell left, all of my monsters lose 500 ATK," Playmaker admitted begrudgingly.

Bicode Talker: ATK 2800 → 2300

Cyberse Enchanter: ATK 2900 → 2400

Decode Talker: ATK 4800 → 4300

Link Bumper: ATK 1900 → 1400

Procode Talker: ATK 2800 → 2300

Trackblack: ATK 1700 → 1200

Tri-Gate Wizard: ATK 2700 → 2200

'It's strange, though. I have already finished building an Extra Link, so where is the excruciating pain that normally comes with it? Since I established Full Mode, I expected to have already passed out by now, but for some reason I feel ... nothing,' Playmaker thought during the meantime, looking majorly perplexed.

"Now the other effect of Gae Derg! I can destroy an "Arms of the Goddess"-Card to draw a new card once per turn! I destroy Excalibur!" Heavenmail said, adding a card to his empty hand. "However, that triggered the effect of Excalibur! I draw one card for each "Arms of the Goddess"-Card I control when it leaves the field! I have Gae Derg, Aegis and my field spell Hidden Arsenal, so I draw three cards!" he announced.

Heraklux, Fist of the Goddess: ATK 2600 → 2200

"I don't think so! I chain my face-down card Cybersal Cyclone to your effect! I target one of your Link-Monsters and banish a monster with the same Link Rating from my graveyard! I target Dianahri and banish Cyberse Accelerator! Now that monster is destroyed and I can also destroy one card in your Spell & Trap Zone if my banished card happens to be a Cyberse Monster! I destroy Aegis! Therefore Aegis, as well as Dianahri and her equip spell Gae Derg will leave the field before Excalibur's effect resolves, diminishing your draw by two cards!" Playmaker countered, Heavenmail gritting his teeth as he had to settle for only one card instead of three.

Heraklux, Fist of the Goddess: ATK 2200 → 1800

"Nice move, Playmaker!" his eyeball cheered.

"Kuh! Then I'll have to make do with only two hand cards, I suppose! I activate the effect of Quetzalcam, Macahuitl of the Goddess in my hand! By discarding a Goddess from my hand I can special summon him from there! I discard Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess in order to special summon him!" Heavenmail went on, summoning a winged warrior clad in Aztec robes wielding a wooden club with splinters of obsidian on its sides, making it akin to a sword.

Quetzalcam, Macahuitl of the Goddess

Light/ Level 3/ ATK 1200/ DEF 900/ Fairy/ Effect

"Now his effect! Once per turn, if I control an "Arms of the Goddess"-Card, I can special summon a Goddess with a level from my graveyard! I bring back Basteris!" he said, a tanned female with a sickle-shaped blade appearing, clad in the robes of Ancient Egypt.

Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess

Earth/ Level 4/ ATK 1500/ DEF 1800/ Fairy/ Effect

"This triggers her effect! When special summoned I can draw a card! If it was a "Goddess"-Monster, I can discard it in order to revive one of such monsters from my graveyard! Draw!" he shouted, conducting his move and taking a look at the card. He smirked at the result. "Great, it was Tiames, Cleaver of the Goddess! I discard her and bring back Dianahri!" he announced, the female coming back.

Dianahri, Bow of the Goddess

Water/ Link 3/ ATK ?/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (←→↓)

"Now the effect of my field spell! I lower the ATK of Basteris by 1200 to use up to three of my "Goddess"-Equip Spells or Traps as link material this turn!" Heavenmail went on, activating Hidden Arsenal's effect.

Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess: ATK 1500 → 300

"Then appear at last, our ancient circuit that guides to my destiny!" the orange haired male shouted, extending his arm skywards.

"It's coming," Playmaker whispered to himself.

"Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more Effect-Monsters! I set Link-3 Dianahri, Bow of the Goddess and Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! From the holy sanctum, a new warrior shall descend to guide fortitude on its way to greatness! Behold the righteous flame from above! With a blazing sword it will purify this world from evil! Link Summon! Now descend, Link 4, MICHAEL, ARCHANGEL OF THE GODDESS!" Heavenmail shouted, his blazing angel residing in his fourth Main Monster Zone at his declaration.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess

Fire/ Link 4/ ATK 3000/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (↑↙↓↘)

"It's there. Heavenmail's Ace Monster that defeated me yesterday," Atsuko whispered, observing attentively from the real world.

"His effect! Upon being Link Summoned I can set as many "Arms of the Goddess"-Cards as I please from my graveyard to the Spell & Trap Zone, negating the effects of your face-up cards up to that number! I reset Joyeuse, Trishula, Durandal, Gae Derg and Aegis! I can therefore negate five of your face-up cards, so I select Decode, Procode and Bicode Talker, Cyberse Enchanter and Tri-Gate Wizard! Holy Disarm!" Heavenmail commanded, the flame sword of his monster doing its work as it stripped Playmaker's monsters from their powers.

"Decode Talker loses the ATK gained from its effect! The gains from Bicode Talker remain, though!" Playmaker admitted begrudgingly, his monster powering down.

Decode Talker: ATK 4300 → 3300

"Alright! The effect of Basteris is also triggered, allowing me to add back a Goddess from my graveyard except herself as I used her as link material! I recycle Achillor, Spear of the Goddess! Then I summon him!" Heavenmail stated, another winged warrior appearing, this one having dark armor resembling that of its Ancient Greek namesake.

Achillor, Lance of the Goddess

Dark/ Level 3/ ATK 1300/ DEF 700/ Fairy/ Effect

"Upon normal summoning Achillor I can recycle a "Goddess"-Card, picking my trustworthy Excalibur! Now onto my face-down equip spells! I activate Durandal, equipping it to Michael! Alongside the usual power-up effect I can now destroy one of your monsters! I destroy Decode Talker!" Heavenmail said.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 3000 → 3400

"Then I reveal my other face-down, the continuous trap Cynet Blocklayer! Upon activation it gains three Cynet Counters! This card is destroyed when it has no counters left, but cannot be destroyed by other card effects! And by removing one Cynet Counter from it I can prevent Decode Talker from being destroyed!" Playmaker countered.

Cynet Blocklayer: Cynet Counters 0 → 3 → 2

Heavenmail clicked his tongue. "Fine! Then I activate all of my other face-down equip spells! Gae Derg and Aegis have reached their effect activation limit, but Trishula and Joyeuse haven't, so now I inflict 500 damage to you with the former and draw two cards with the latter since there are two monsters in the Extra Monster Zones! And of course Michael gains 400 ATK per equip spell!" Heavenmail declared, his angel receiving more arms than he could carry, resulting in Michael bashfully holding some of the weapons with his wings, in total having a golden arm shield, a radiant trident plus a reddish spear, and finally a wind and an earth blade, alongside the fire blade Michael had by default.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 3400 → 3800 → 4200 → 4600 → 5000

PLAYMAKER: LP 6150 → 5650

"I use the effect of Achillor and hit you with 200 damage for each "Goddess"-Equip Spell I control! Once again enjoy the burn damage sponsored by our loveliest Charisma Duelist!" Heavenmail went on, his monster throwing a salvo of spears at Playmaker, much like on his last turn dealing 1000 damage – sponsored by Blue Angel as he expressed it of course.

PLAYMAKER: LP 5650 → 4650

Heavenmail's eyes widened. "Hector, now!" he addressed his Anti Ignis at once.

"On it!" Hector nodded, taking his position at the height of Heavenmail's forehead and spreading his arms alongside his partner.

"Oi, are they gonna use it now?!" Playmaker's AI yelled in realization, a gale of data swirling around the orange haired duelist.

-"PROWESS ACTIVATE! Once per duel, if our lifepoints are 3000 or lower, we can activate this ability and add a new card of our choice to our Extra Deck! A new breath resides among the winds, already within our grasp! Manifest yourself, new card created from our mutual will! Now come to us and enable our victory! PROWESS – GALE SYNTHESIS!"- Heavenmail and Hector yelled together, the former grasping a new card from the small Data Storm which now began dissolving again.

"They used it," Playmaker whispered, bracing himself.

"I activate the effect of the Tiames I discarded previously! Since I have two or more "Arms of the Goddess"-Cards I can banish her from my graveyard to summon a Goddess from my hand or graveyard! I bring back Susanova, Naginata of the Goddess!" Heavenmail spoke up, the man in green samurai armor appearing on the field.

Susanova, Naginata of the Goddess

Wind/ Level 3/ ATK 1000/ DEF 1400/ Fairy/ Effect

"I briefly use his effect to discard one "Goddess"-Card to draw a new card!" Heavenmail announced before his beige eyes widened.

"Great! Now it's time!" Hector chimed in enthusiastically before his partner continued.

"Appear, our ancient circuit that guides to my destiny! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more Effect-Monsters! I set Quetzalcam and Susanova, as well as my equip spells Trishula and Durandal into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! From the pits of hell, a new warrior shall ascend to guide malice on its way to destruction! Behold the hellish blaze from below! With a stroke of its blade it will send my opposition to their doom! Link Summon! Now ascend, Link 4, LUCIFER, FALLEN ANGEL OF THE GODDESS!" Heavenmail shouted, the ground trembling in a foreboding manner.

Following that tremor a dark haired angel with black and purple wings arose from a portal on the ground, a world of darkness and fire visible through it. A contemptuous smirk on his expression, the pale skinned demon with yellow eyes and curved horns on his forehead raised a sword with a blade as black as the night, holding it by a handle as pale as sun-dried bones. A circle with a reversed pentagram flared up on the ground around the portal he had come from, the flames growing skywards as pillars, keeping their unholy pattern. The bright blue eyes of Michael gave the newcomer a slightly hostile look which the demon responded to with a simple grin, the letters on his wings which read 'darkness' in Hebrew glowing at that.

Lucifer, Fallen Angel of the Goddess

Dark/ Link 4/ ATK 3000/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (←→↙↘)

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 5000 → 4600 → 4200

"WAAAH! It's the devil himself!" Playmaker's AI cried out hysterically.

Playmaker raised an eyebrow. "I thought you Ignis were rational beings who calculated their way to victory. Why would you care about something religious then?" he asked.

The eyeball creature huffed. "It doesn't take a believer to know that this monster is bad news! Just look at it! It's clearly evil!" the Ignis snapped.

Playmaker hummed. "Fair point."

"Lucifer's effect! By destroying a "Goddess"-Card in a zone he points to I can add up to two "Arms of the Goddess"-Spells from my graveyard back to my hand! I add back Trishula and Durandal by destroying Achillor in my first Main Monster Zone left from Lucifer! Afterlife Resurface!" Heavenmail said before raising the two cards again. "Then I equip them to Michael!" he declared, his monster recovering the lost weapons.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 4200 → 4600 → 5000

"With Trishula activated you suffer 500 damage! Furthermore Durandal destroys a monster! I target Decode Talker!" he went on.

"I remove a Cynet Counter from Cynet Blocklayer to negate its destruction!" Playmaker responded.

"Fine! But you still take the damage!" Heavenmail retorted as a certain trident came flying Playmaker's way.

PLAYMAKER: LP 4650 → 4150

Cynet Blocklayer: Cynet Counters 2 → 1

"Now the effect of Michael! I have him gain 300 ATK for each "Arms of the Goddess"-Card I control, also destroying one of your cards! I boost his ATK by 1800 and destroy your continuous spell Cynet Codec! Sword of Judgment!" Heavenmail commanded, his monster's flaming blade getting rid of another part of his opposition.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 5000 → 6800

"Battle!" Heavenmail exclaimed, raising his arm.

"In response to that I discard Pop-Up Wall! If I have Cyberse-Type monsters in my Main Monster Zones, I can prevent you from attacking those monsters during this turn, except with your monster with the lowest ATK! Furthermore I gain 300 LP for each of their Link Ratings should there be Link-Monsters among them! In my Main Monster Zones are Link-2 Trackblack, Link-2 Link Bumper, Link-3 Procode Talker, Link-3 Tri-Gate Wizard and finally Link-3 Cyberse Enchanter! Thirteen Link Ratings make for a 3900 lifepoints heal!" Playmaker declared, a brown metal wall with a pair of light blue robot eyes in their middle appearing before him to shield his monsters.

PLAYMAKER: LP 4150 → 8050

"Alright! If you protect your Main Monster Zones, I will just attack your Extra Monster Zones! Michael attacks Decode Talker! Show this robot guy that myth is better than tech and shatter that cybernetic blade alongside it! Holy Incineration!" Heavenmail screamed, his angel crossing swords with Decode Talker. After a while the flaming sword began winning, Decode Talker's on the other hand had cracks forming on it, finally breaking as Michael added the earth blade Joyeuse to his attack. Briefly throwing his flame sword upwards, Michael grabbed Durandal, inflicting a deep stab onto the metallic humanoid. The two medium range weapons Michael now swung with his wings sealed the deal, Decode Talker exploding as Gae Derg and Trishula pierced his torso. The flame sword returned via gravity and Michael reclaimed it, having stored Durandal on the belt of his robe in the meantime.

PLAYMAKER: LP 8050 → 4550

"My favorite offensive combo of Hidden Arsenal and Trishula triggers, the former giving me 1200 LP as your destroyed monster was Link-3 while Michael gains another attack from it plus 800 ATK due to the latter card!" Heavenmail told, his field and equip spell doing their respective work.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 1300 → 2500

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 6800 → 7600

"Again, Michael! Attack Bicode Talker and end this duel! Holy Incineration!" Heavenmail bellowed, commanding his monster to finish the duel.

"By discarding Rescue Interlacer I negate the battle damage!" Playmaker countered fiercely.

"But your monster still takes the damage!" Heavenmail retorted, Bicode Talker exploding. "Now Trishula kicks in once more!" he said, his monster powering up.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 7600 → 8400

"Since only my weakest monster is allowed to attack your monsters in the Main Monster Zones I use Heraklux to attack your Trackblack!" Heavenmail went on, his monster slamming its fist into the metallic bird, Playmaker taking a bit of damage as a result.

PLAYMAKER: LP 4550 → 3950

"Now the effect of Trishula! I sacrifice a monster to give Michael another attack! I destroy Heraklux!" Heavenmail declared.

"You still cannot attack my Main Monster Zones with it!" Playmaker pointed out.

Heavenmail smirked. "No, but with Heraklux gone Lucifer has become my weakest monster, so it can now attack! Lucifer attacks Link Bumper! Tides of Hell!" he cried out, his monster pointing its blade forward to unleash a flood of darkness and hellfire that quickly consumed the metallic humanoid.

PLAYMAKER: LP 3950 → 2350

"This triggers Lucifer's effect! When he destroys a monster in battle he takes along all of your other monsters that are in the same row, sending them to the GY! And for each destroyed monster I gain 900 LP! Your Link Bumper was in the Main Monster Zone, so now your monsters are wiped from all of those zones! And you cannot respond to this effect with your card effects! Unholy Requiem!" Heavenmail yelled, a wall of black flames breaking loose from the ground, consuming all monsters in Playmaker's aforementioned zones.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 2500 → 5200

"Tch. The non-response clause of Lucifer wasn't an issue since Blocklayer's protection is a static effect and doesn't activate. However, Blocklayer cannot be used to protect my monsters when they are sent to the GY via effect, rather than destroyed..." Playmaker grumbled quietly.

"This effect. It reminds me of your Topologic Bomber Dragon," Atsuko remarked.

Ryoken nodded. "But it can also affect the Extra Monster Zones, even breaking Extra Links. We have to watch out for this one," he replied.

"Since Cyberse Enchanter was destroyed I can special summon a Cyberse Wizard from my hand, deck or graveyard! Come in defense mode, Cyberse Wizard!" Playmaker spoke up in a more positive mood than during his previous monologue, a male sorcerer clad in a futuristic outfit appearing.

Cyberse Wizard

Light/ Level 4/ ATK 1800/ DEF 800/ Cyberse/ Effect

"Kuh! This simpleton monster from yesterday, huh?" Heavenmail cursed in annoyance. After a while he regained his composure and grinned. "Well, it's not going to thwart my plans! Since your Pop-Up Wall only protects monsters that were in your Main Monster Zones when its effect was activated, my Michael is free to attack! I use the second attack effect of Joyeuse and attack once more! Holy Incineration!" he yelled as the flaming blade struck Cyberse Wizard.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 8400 → 9200

"I take no damage," Playmaker told.

"I know! But now you are defenseless once more! So I will use the additional attack gained from activating the effect of Trishula previously in order to attack you directly! IT'S OVER! HOLY INCINERATION!" Heavenmail screamed, his angel executing its final attack.

Playmaker raised his hand in response. "By the effect of Cynet Blocklayer I can send it to the graveyard while it has Cynet Counters in order to negate the damage!" he announced, his trap card sacrificing itself to intercept Michael's attack.

Heavenmail's expression changed in exasperation. "Stupid trap! You really do not go down that easily! I end my turn!" he admitted begrudgingly.

"Due to its own effect Rescue Interlacer is special summoned," Playmaker said.

Rescue Interlacer

Light/ Level 3/ ATK 1000/ DEF 1200/ Cyberse/ Effect

"Damn it, he survived!" Heavenmail cursed in frustration.

"But you broke his Extra Link – Full Mode, leaving him with only one monster on the field and no cards in his hand. That's still a huge success given you were in the same predicament at the end of his last turn, isn't it?" Hector addressed him.

Heavenmail put a finger to his chin. "That's right I suppose. But I am still worried. With the double draw from the Dominus Duel Rule he might recover faster than I am comfortable with," he voiced his concern.

The Anti Ignis nodded. "You have a point, but there is no doubt that our current situation is still far better than that of one turn earlier," he remarked.

The old fashioned duelist chuckled. "Oh, that's for sure!"

"And that concludes Heavenmail's turn! He has destroyed Playmaker's entire formation in one go, taking the lead with a formation of his own! Can Playmaker overcome Heavenmail's Michael and his freshly acquired Lucifer? Or has the famous Cyberse Duelist finally met his match? The answer to that will be delivered to you all in just a few moments!" the MC announced in the real world.

"He is strong," Aoi whispered, trying to ignore the constant fanboy shouts of the green haired teen next to her.

"Well, that was a great turn. He completely turned the tables around. Now Playmaker is the one who's in a big pinch," Atsuko stated.

Ryoken hummed. "But don't forget that this is a Dominus Duel. With this form of battle and Playmaker's natural recovery abilities we might see a comeback soon,"

"I agree. I can practically see the counterattack already," Noctis chimed in from within the male's mind.

"We are in a bad situation, Playmaker. One bad draw and we are done for," the eyeball addressed its owner.

"I know," Playmaker said, placing his hand atop the deck pile. "But I won't lose, so there won't be a single bad card! Dominus Draw!" he shouted, his empty hand being filled with two cards.

"Please be garbage! Please be garbage!" Hector prayed silently. The hint of a smile on Playmaker's face caused him to cease that activity, realizing that the draw had been good.

"I activate the spell Cynet Emergency! When I control exactly one monster I can tribute that monster and banish Cyberse Link-Monsters from my graveyard! I can banish any number of them, but their Link Rating must be equal or higher than that number! As I intend to banish three monsters they must be Link-3 or higher! I banish Transcode Talker, Tri-Gate Wizard and Cyberse Enchanter! I then draw that many cards, meaning three!" Playmaker declared, bringing his hand to four cards.

"Ugh, that's meddlesome! Now he has plenty of resources again!" Hector grunted.

"I then special summon Linkslayer as I control no monsters!" Playmaker continued, a bladed Cyberse Warrior appearing.

Linkslayer

Earth/ Level 5/ ATK 2000/ DEF 600/ Cyberse/ Effect

"By its effect I discard the trap Recoded Alive to destroy one of your spells and traps! I choose Aegis!" he went on, the golden shield on Michael's arm shattering.

Michael, Archangel of the Goddess: ATK 9200 → 8800

"Now I banish Recoded Alive from my graveyard! By doing so I can bring back one of my banished Code Talkers! Revive, Transcode Talker!" Playmaker yelled, the orange humanoid appearing once more, readying its rifle.

Transcode Talker

Earth/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑→↓)

"Kuh! He even made profit of the discard cost of Linkslayer and the banish cost of Cynet Emergency! His efficiency is almost infuriating!" Heavenmail hissed.

"I now use the effect of Transcode Talker, bringing back Decode Talker to my fourth Main Monster Zone! Resurrect, Decode Talker!" the Cyberse Duelist spoke up, his second gundam joining the party.

Decode Talker

Dark/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑↙↘)

Playmaker's eyes narrowed. "And now my retaliation will commence! I activate the renewal ability of the Dominus Duel! By paying half of my lifepoints I can refresh my Skill just once per duel! Dominus Restoration!" he cried out, gritting his teeth as he took the physical toll of his move.

PLAYMAKER: LP 2350 → 1175

Heavenmail flinched. "No way! With this he has less than 2000 lifepoints! He will...!" he began in terror.

"That's right! Once per duel, if my lifepoints are 2000 or lower, I can add a new random Cyberse Link-Monster to my Extra Deck! SKILL ACTIVATE – STORM ACCESS!" he shouted, a second Data Storm being stirred up by his Ignis. With a quick movement of his hand he acquired the new card, Heavenmail taking a step back at the sensation he felt from it. He sensed that this monster was clearly on another level than Playmaker's previous ace monsters.

"Appear, the circuit that leads to the future! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more monsters!" Playmaker declared, a dark blue circuit forming above him.

"Be careful, Heavenmail! Whatever is coming should not be taken lightly!" Hector warned him.

"I set Linkslayer and Link-3 Transcode Talker into the Link Markers! Circuit combine!" Playmaker continued, completing the summoning requirements as four arrows on the circuit lit up.

"This is...!" Heavenmail stammered.

"Majestic dragon! Beat your wings to create an inferno that ravages its way to victory! This is Cyberse's newest potential! Link Summon! Appear, Link 4!" Playmaker shouted, blue particles gathering and forming a new monster, white wings with black wingspans that had dark blue lines running across them manifesting. White arms and legs, as well as a white head followed, dark blue disks scattered across the monster's body. Red eyes flashed to life, revealing the full form of the metallic white dragon.

"FIREWALL DRAGON!" Playmaker finished, his monster ascending into the sky, spinning around its axis once before letting out a roar.

Firewall Dragon

Light/ Link 4/ ATK 2500/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑←→↓)

"Damn it, Link-4! That must be his real ace then!" Heavenmail cursed, bracing himself.

"Decode Talker's effect! As it is co-linked with the Firewall Dragon in my Extra Monster Zone it gains 500 ATK! Power Integration!" Playmaker spoke up, his former ace gaining a small ATK boost.

Decode Talker: ATK 2300 → 2800

"I then special summon Degrade Buster from my hand by banishing Dotscaper and Balancer Lord from my graveyard! Now their effects trigger, Dotscaper special summoning itself and Balancer Lord allowing me to special summon a Level 4 or lower monster from my hand! Come, Flick Clown!" he cried out, the white and green pixilated Cyberse appearing alongside a colossal robot carrying a small sun, and man in a purple, turquoise and golden outfit, wielding a purple staff with a golden head.

Degrade Buster

Fire/ Level 7/ ATK 2500/ DEF 2500/ Cyberse/ Effect

.&.

Dotscaper

Earth/ Level 1/ ATK 0/ DEF 2100/ Cyberse/ Effect

.&.

Flick Clown

Dark/ Level 4/ ATK 1000/ DEF 1400/ Cyberse/ Effect

"Three monsters at once!" Heavenmail gasped in shock.

"I activate the effect of Flick Clown! If a have no cards in my hand and control at least two other Cyberse Monsters I can pay 1000 lifepoints to draw a card!" the Cyberse User went on, trading his lifepoints for a hand card.

PLAYMAKER: LP 1175 → 175

"Now the effect of Degrade Buster! Once per turn I can target a monster you control with higher ATK than Degrade Buster and banish that monster until the end of this turn! I select Michael!" Playmaker said.

"Not if I have a say about it! I banish Arms of the Goddess – Vigilant Guard from my graveyard! You remember the "Goddess"-Card I discarded last turn with the effect of my Susanova? Yeah, this trap was that card! By banishing it from my graveyard I can negate the removal of one of my monsters via your card effect!" Heavenmail shot back, his trap shielding Michael.

"Fine!" Playmaker retorted unfazed, raising his arm. "Then appear, the circuit that leads to the future! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more monsters, except Tokens! I set Degrade Buster and Link-3 Decode Talker into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear, Link 4, Rasterliger!" he yelled, a white lion-tiger hybrid armed with futuristic weaponry emerging, wearing a metallic collar with red stripes on all four sides of its boarder, resembling the directions of its Link Markers. Its body had the same shining silvery metal with the addition of light blue highlights, functioning as armor for the feline monster. Attached to its torso it had some sort of futuristic weapon on either side of its body, Heavenmail guessing that they were laser guns or something. It roared in the manner of a big feline as it settled down in the fourth Main Monster Zone.

Rasterliger

Light/ Link 4/ ATK 2000/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑←→↓)

"Another Link-4? Slowly it's getting out of hand!" Hector stated uncomfortably.

"Appear again, the circuit that leads to the future! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two Cyberse Monsters! I set Dotscaper and Flick Clown into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear, Link 2, Pendulan!" Playmaker spoke up, summoning a white monster consisting of a router with eyes that had a long silvery string attached to its bottom, hanging down with a piece of metal attached to it.

Pendulan

Wind/ Link 2/ ATK 1200/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (←→)

"Its effect! When Link Summoned Pendulan gains one Shift Counter for each Link Rating the highest Link-Monster on my field has! Firewall Dragon is Link-4, so Pendulan gains four Shift Counters! Furthermore I can draw a card if it was summoned in a Co-Link!" Playmaker said, four of the antennas on the head of his monster lighting up.

Pendulan: Shift Counters 0 → 4

"I remove counters from Pendulan! By removing a Shift Counter I can move one of my monsters to another zone and switch locations if necessary! I remove one to shift Pendulan to my first Main Monster Zone and another to move Firewall Dragon to my second Main Monster Zone!" Playmaker announced, his monster swinging leftwards before grabbing Firewall Dragon with its low point, swinging like a pendulum as it transferred Firewall Dragon to its new location.

Pendulan: Shift Counters 4 → 3 → 2

"I normal summon Clock Wyvern!" he went on, a purplish metal reptile with wings joining his monster formation.

Clock Wyvern

Wind/ Level 4/ ATK 1800/ DEF 1000/ Cyberse/ Effect

"When I summon Clock Wyvern I can halve its ATK to summon a Clock Token!" Playmaker declared, a new monster appearing.

Clock Token

Wind/ Level 1/ ATK 0/ DEF 0/ Cyberse

Clock Wyvern: ATK 1800 → 900

"I activate the effect of Rasterliger! By tributing any number of monsters it points to I can destroy that many cards on the field! I sacrifice Clock Wyvern and my Clock Token to destroy Michael and your field spell Hidden Arsenal!" he declared, his monster making use of its weaponry to get rid of Heavenmail's cards, the equip spells following Michael to the graveyard.

Heavenmail gritted his teeth. "Damn it! Then I use this opportunity to special summon Thoresus, Hammer of the Goddess from my hand! I can do that when a Goddess is sent to my graveyard!" he said, a new monster of light hair color appearing, clad in silver armor and holding a hammer in its hand.

Thoresus, Hammer of the Goddess

Light/ Level 3/ ATK 1400/ DEF 2000/ Fairy/ Effect

"Alright! Then I also activate a monster effect! When a monster in a zone Firewall Dragon points to is destroyed by battle or sent to the graveyard I can special summon a monster from my hand! I special summon Swap Cleric! Force Supplier!" Playmaker announced, a new monster replacing one of the two sacrifices for Rasterliger's effect.

Swap Cleric

Earth/ Level 2/ ATK 500/ DEF 1000/ Cyberse/ Effect

Heavenmail looked startled. "That's an incredible effect. Hector, would have a look at it and tell me if it has any restrictions?" he addressed his Anti Ignis.

Hector analyzed the card for a while before responding. "Nope, no restrictions on that effect," he said.

Heavenmail's face paled. "No hard once per turn?" he specified his former question.

"Uh-uh," Hector replied.

"No soft once per turn either?" Heavenmail went on.

"Nope." Hector said.

"No downside? Not even delayed?" Heavenmail continued desperately.

"No, nothing of that," The Anti Ignis responded.

"No activation requirement? Something that specifies that only certain kinds of leaving the field toward the graveyard can trigger it? Or that the summoned monster has to go to a specific zone?" the orange haired male went on inquiring with increasing frustration.

"No, that effect always triggers without any requirement. And it does so not matter how those monsters are sent to the graveyard. It furthermore can summon monsters to any zone without a restriction on where they have to be placed," the AI told.

"No level, attribute or type restriction of what monster can be summoned?" Heavenmail asked his final question, his disbelief growing into infinity.

"No, there is nothing that restricts you from summoning practically any monster you want from your hand," Hector stated.

"Wait a second, give me a break!" Heavenmail excused himself, walking away to approach the nearest wall in order to bang his head against it repeatedly.

"This... stupid... effect... is... so... incredibly... idiotic.. that... I... cannot... even... begin... to... put.. it... into... words!" he shouted, each of his words interrupted by a loud thud. "To hell with that card! Just use monsters it points to however you like and immediately replace them! Oh yeah, that sounds not the least bit unfair! If Go Onizuka had that card, he could just loop his resources infinitely with the search effect of his Goukis that trigger upon entering the graveyard, adding new monsters to his hand as that happens which can then be special summoned with Firewall's effect, synergizing with this card so ridiculously unfairly that he could just build Extra Links left and right! Which Cyberse Abomination that created this crap thought that making something like Firewall Dragon was a good idea?! Jesus!" he yelled in exasperation, throwing up his arms while returning to his former position.

Yusaku raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me, but I am not in charge for the Cyberse card design. Anyway, I activate the effect of Pendulan to move Rasterliger to my third Main Monster Zone! Then I activate the other effect of Firewall Dragon!" he declared.

Pendulan: Shift Counters 2 → 1

"That thing has another effect?! Does something so blatantly overpowered even need one at this point?!" Heavenmail retorted in exasperation.

Playmaker decided to ignore Heavenmail, continuing with his turn. "Once while on the field, Firewall Dragon can return a number of monsters from either field or graveyard to the hand, up to the number of monsters it is co-linked with!" he said.

Heavenmail's expression intensified. "Oh, so it can remove stuff with something better than your average destruction effect AND recycle or loop cards?! Wow, that's such a weak effect, I wonder why something as generic as this card should have a lousy effect like that! Sounds like it's not the least bit problematic for degenerate loop combos at all!" he yelled sarcastically, the exasperation about the brokenness of Playmaker's new monster reaching new heights.

"I return Lucifer and Thoresus to your hand! Emergency Exit!" Playmaker continued, unfazed by his opponent. His dragon emitted a lightning vortex from the blue disk on its forehead, sending the two monsters away.

"Damn it! Our field has been breached entirely!" Hector cursed.

Heavenmail laughed in annoyance. "Yeah, due to Playmaker pulling out that absurdly broken card from the Data Storm!" he responded, not able to hide his frustration.

"Appear, the circuit that leads to the future! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more Cyberse Monsters! I set Link-2 Pendulan and Swap Cleric into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear, Link 3, Vector Scare Archfiend!" Playmaker announced, a whitish Cyberse demon with a demonic head on its chest appearing, wearing a purple cape. Its head was split into two halves, one of them white while the other was dark. It was summoned to his second Main Monster Zone where it joined the line next to Firewall Dragon.

Vector Scare Archfiend

Dark/ Link 3/ ATK 2400/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑→↙)

"I gain half of my Vector Scare Archfiend's original ATK if I use Pendulan as link material while it still has counters! I therefore gain 1200 LP! Furthermore, by lowering its ATK by 500 according to the effect of Swap Cleric, I may draw one card!" Playmaker added, receiving a small recovery to compensate for the lack of lifepoints and hand cards he currently had.

PLAYMAKER: LP 175 → 1375

Vector Scare Archfiend: ATK 2400 → 1900

"Another monster, I see! Now that your Pendulan has left the field while it was in a zone Firewall points to, maybe you wanna summon another monster from your hand with your stupid unrestricted effect?!" Heavenmail snapped.

Playmaker raised his sole hand card. "If I control two or more Link-Monsters, I can special summon Cross Debug from my hand!" he said, wanting to do Heavenmail a favor by not using the effect of Firewall Dragon to summon his monster. And because he was getting tired of his constant yelling. He briefly cursed the fact that this new card was just that strong, even if strength was all he needed against the Hanoi, so he shouldn't complain about receiving it.

Cross Debug

Dark/ Level 2/ ATK 900/ DEF 600/ Cyberse/ Effect

"Now appear for the final time, the circuit that leads to the future! Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more Cyberse Monsters! I set Vector Scare Archfiend and Cross Debug into the Link Markers! Circuit combine! Appear, Link 4, Obezel Basilisk!" Playmaker proclaimed, a large snake with white metal plates above its black scales appearing before him. It had a pair of cybernetic silver horns with dark blue lines running over them, its menacing green eyes flaring to life and turning some of the nearby plants to stone upon making eye contact, light blue steam coming from its jaws, Heavenmail coughing heavily upon inhaling it.

Obezel Basilisk

Dark/ Link 4/ ATK 2600/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑↙↓↘)

"And with that Playmaker has shown us our third Link-4 monster this turn! Will Heavenmail be able to withstand the force of their attacks?!" the MC announced in the real world.

Playmaker's eyes narrowed. "He won't! I activate the effect of Rasterliger to target one Link-Monster in either graveyard! I target Michael, so now Rasterliger will gain its ATK until the end of this turn! Hyper Arming!" he declared, his monster receiving a massive boost, reaching the halfway checkpoint towards the five decimal ATK values.

Rasterliger: ATK 2000 → 5000

"Battle!" Playmaker cried out, extending his hand towards his defenseless opponent. "Obezel Basilisk attacks you directly! Lethality Vapor!" he yelled, his monster unleashing another of its harmful breaths, veiling Heavenmail in a light blue cloud of poison that nearly made him suffocate.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 5200 → 2600

"Now Rasterliger attacks you directly! Brute Force Takedown!" the Cyberse Duelist went on, his monster pouncing on Heavenmail.

"I banish Tellur, Crossbow of the Goddess from my graveyard to halve the damage! Last turn I couldn't use it because of your Cynet Optimization suppressing cards and card effects, but now he is free to do his work!" Heavenmail retorted, the incoming monster being halted by an arrow from the afterlife, Heavenmail surviving the attack.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 2600 → 100

"I was aware of you still having that monster! It won't matter though! I activate the effect of Obezel Basilisk! Since it resides in my Extra Monster Zone and Rasterliger which happens to point to said monster just inflicted battle damage to you, I can now target a monster and have it gain 1000 ATK! I also recover lifepoints equal to that monster's original ATK! I target Firewall Dragon! Domination Flux!" Playmaker yelled, his monster emitting its poisonous breath again, contrary to Heavenmail benefiting him and his monsters as Firewall was strengthened while he recovered lifepoints.

PLAYMAKER: LP 1375 → 3875

Firewall Dragon: ATK 2500 → 3500

"NOW IT'S OVER! FIREWALL DRAGON ATTACKS HEAVENMAIL DIRECTLY! TEMPEST ATTACK!" Playmaker shouted at the top of his lungs, his monster turning red, joining its wings together to charge up and then release a reddish energy ray at the armored duelist.

"Heavenmail, watch out!" Hector warned his partner hysterically, observing the incoming attack in terror.

"Don't worry, Hector! I still have the effect of Thoresus! During the turn he leaves the field I can negate one instance of damage! Thanks for the bounce, Firewall!" he yelled, a thunderous hammer that came out of nowhere hitting the white dragon's energy ray full force and bringing the attack to an end.

Playmaker gritted his teeth. "Why won't he go down?! I am throwing everything I've got at him and he still survives!" he hissed angrily before speaking up again. "I end my turn! The ATK boosts from Obezel Basilisk and Rasterliger expire!" he admitted begrudgingly, handing over to Heavenmail.

Firewall Dragon: ATK 3500 → 2500

Rasterliger: ATK 5000 → 2000

"Oh man, that was so close," his Ignis moaned, feeling a sense of frustration too.

"Well done, Heavenmail! We live to see another day! On our following turn we can reverse the situation!" Hector shouted enthusiastically.

Heavenmail nodded. "I hope so," he said, shifting his hand to his deck pile.

"That concludes another turn! Playmaker unlocked a new amazing monster that drove even the mighty Heavenmail to nigh insanity with its great strength! But despite this Heavenmail withstood Playmaker's assault! How is he going to respond to Playmaker now?! Will his turn bring the reversal?! Or will Playmaker face no noteworthy counterattack and wrap things up on his next turn?! Only time will answer these questions!" the MC cried out to the spectators in the real world.

"That was a nice defense of Heavenmail. And an even greater offense of Playmaker. He started out with pretty much nothing but still managed to clear Heavenmail's entire field while building a powerful formation of his own. Both of them are remarkable duelists," Ryoken stated, his sister and their Anti Ignis humming in agreement.

"Wow, this duel is going back and forth like crazy! You think that you know who's gonna win at one moment, but only a single moment later the tables turn entirely! This is by far the best duel that has ever been broadcasted about the VRAINS!" Naoki cheered enthusiastically.

Aoi allowed for a brief sigh. 'That was close,' she thought in relief. After a moment she realized what she had just done. 'Wait, am I actually concerned about him? We only met once, and he didn't leave a good impression at that,' she wondered in confusion.

"My turn! The ruling of the Dominus Duel kicks in, allowing me to draw two cards instead of one! Dominus Draw!" Heavenmail declared, his hand growing to five.

"I wonder how he is going to respond," Playmaker mused.

"Probably fairly well. Anyway, what do you think, Yusaku? Is he good enough for you now? He survived both your Extra Link board and your triple Link-4 formation. That qualifies him as competent enough, doesn't it?" Kusanagi inquired from the real world.

Playmaker shook his head. "No, that's not enough for me," he replied.

Kusanagi let out a gasp of disbelief. "What? But why not? He clearly is an amazing duelist!" he protested.

"But I don't want him to join us. If he is weaker than me, he may eventually fall during the fight against the Hanoi. And I cannot bear the guilt of being responsible for that. It's not right to give him hope just to have it crushed later on. I would feel like I didn't do enough to save him if he is defeated because he joined us and helped executing one of our plans, only to be challenged and defeated by the Knights of Hanoi. If he is at least equally powerful as me, I wouldn't have those feelings of guilt. With both of us on the same level there would be nothing I could have done that he didn't already try prior to his defeat. I would feel salvation until I would lose against the knights myself. So I will only accept him if he at least ties with me," Playmaker said.

"So you'd rather go down with the ship than surviving and watching it sink whilst thinking about how you could have prevented it from going down?" Shoichi asked, starting to comprehend his friend's thoughts.

"Exactly," Playmaker simply retorted.

"I see," Kusanagi muttered, then recalling something. "Anyway, what about you? I totally forgot because you didn't show any signs of pain so far, but how did go get through the time when you had the Extra Link? Seeing that you went as far as to use the maximized version of it, that must have hurt a lot, didn't it? I didn't expect that you would still be standing now, much less do so well. What's the deal about that?" he asked his friend.

"Strangely enough, I didn't feel anything of the usual extent. Not even an ounce of pain, for some reason. It could be because of my strong resolve, but that's not it, I was already in similar situations as this one and I still was incredibly close to losing conciousness from the pain at the end of those duels, even though I only had the Extra Link for a very brief time back then. Maybe it's because I'm dueling him of all duelists...," Playmaker debated with himself in response, resuming to look at his opponent who had outlined his move in the meantime.

"First I activate the effect of Amateret from my graveyard! By banishing her and discarding two cards I special summon a Goddess from my graveyard and add one "Arms of the Goddess"-Card from my graveyard to the hand! I add Trishula to my hand and special summon Mercurias!" Heavenmail announced, his fast-running monster resurrecting.

Mercurias, Emissary of the Goddess

Light/ Link 2/ ATK 2000/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (←→)

"Then I equip her with Excalibur! With this her ATK rises by 400 and I add a "Goddess"-Card from the deck to my hand! As I lack Hidden Arsenals in my deck I add Susanova, Naginata of the Goddess to my hand! Then I normal summon Romulivi, Pilum of the Goddess! When this monster is normal or special summoned I can boost the ATK of my Goddesses by 300 for each equip spell I control! With one that makes 300 ATK!" he declared, a male clad in blue armor appearing, wielding one of the spears that had been used by the Ancient Romans as this monster embodied their very founder.

Mercurias, Emissary of the Goddess: ATK 2000 → 2400 → 2700

Romulivi, Pilum of the Goddess

Water/ Level 4/ ATK 1500 → 1800/ DEF 1300/ Fairy/ Effect

"Heavenmail, our resources are expiring," Hector addressed his partner worriedly.

Heavenmail reciprocated his expression. "I know. But I can still special summon Susanova!" he yelled, summoning a third monster.

Susanova, Naginata of the Goddess

Wind/ Level 3/ ATK 1000/ DEF 1400/ Fairy/ Effect

"Playmaker returned Lucifer to my hand with Firewall's effect! Which means I can once more Link Summon it from my Extra Deck and win this duel with him!" Heavenmail declared in a hopeful tone.

"Not happening! The effect of Obezel Basilisk protects my co-linked monsters against destruction by card effects! So your Lucifer won't be able to destroy them!" Playmaker yelled in response.

"But Obezel Basilisk has only 2600 ATK! Lucifer can destroy him and then apply his effect later on!" Heavenmail shot back.

"That's impossible! I have already made precautions against a battle as well! Your Lucifer has been rendered useless!" Playmaker countered in a loud voice.

Heavenmail's shoulders slumped downwards. "This is it. Now I have lost for good," he admitted in defeat.

"Don't be like that, Heavenmail! We can still win this duel!" Hector objected encouragingly.

Heavenmail looked around to him. "You forget one vital point. Our Prowess has already been used. And only Skills can be refreshed by Dominus Restoration, not Prowesses," he told the Ignis, who gave a similar reaction as he had before, losing his fighting spirit as well.

"No way! Has Heavenmail given up on the duel?!" the MC yelled in disbelief.

"Hey, Playmaker-sama, that was mean of you!" the eyeball addressed its master.

Playmaker raised an eyebrow. "How so?"

"You told them that on purpose! They would have tried winning at least, but now they are so desperate that they cannot fight on! That was underhanded of you!" the AI accused him.

"It's not underhanded to just tell them the facts. The result of the duel won't change," Playmaker retorted calmly.

"It's over. I end my...," Heavenmail began.

'What the hell?! Stop right there, you pitiful loser! Your ancestors would be ashamed of you if they saw you like that!' a sudden voice echoed within Heavenmail's mind.

Heavenmail looked around confused. "Hector, was that you who just spoke?" he addressed the white humanoid.

Hector turned around to him with a confused expression. "Spoke what?"

Heavenmail furrowed his eyebrows. "The one who just spoke in my mind! That was you, right?" he asked with a hint of anger in his voice.

Hector shook his head, much to his annoyance. "No, I wasn't speaking," he replied firmly.

Heavenmail's frown intensified. "Don't mess with me! Clearly someone spoke within my mind, so it must have been you!" he snapped loudly.

'Hey, idiot! Stop yelling at that Ignis already! I'm not some artificial being in white and green color! I am someone entirely else! And now stop trying to surrender and listen to me, maggot!' the voice from before spoke up, Heavenmail looking shocked as he saw his Ignis saying words he neglected for the most part that were entirely different from those he was just hearing.

'Who the hell are you?!' Heavenmail addressed the voice in disbelief, only receiving an amused chuckle as an answer before the voice spoke up once more.

'Who I am matters not as of now! What matters is you continuing this duel!' it said.

'But how? No monster in my Extra Deck can break his formation! It's hopeless!' Heavenmail retorted.

Another chuckle became audible in his mind. 'So easy to give up, as usually. Anyway, you are right to an extend, as currently you have nothing that surpasses his monsters! However, I can offer you the power to do so! You just have to follow my instructions!' the voice replied.

Heavenmail raised an eyebrow. 'And what instructions, may I ask?' he inquired.

The voice gave him the instructions.

'And you are sure that this will work?' Heavenmail asked in a doubtful voice.

'Absolutely sure! Just do what I said and speak the chant! Then everything will change in your favor, I promise!' the voice reassured him.

Heavenmail nodded nervously. "Okay then. Here goes nothing. I'm going to look so stupid if this doesn't work," he whispered, drawing the blade from his back.

"What are you doing?" Playmaker exclaimed in surprise, majorly startled by this unusual course of action.

"Veil me in a primordial iris! Rise to the ether and beyond! Manifest and alter me, Tenkire Yoakruri!" Heavenmail yelled, his blade beginning to emit a light that forced Playmaker, Hector and the other Ignis to shield their eyes. A series of differently colored lights lit up at the edge of the katana guard, twenty-two different colors shining in unison.


SOL Technologies, Section of the Higher-Ups...

A light haired male observed the ongoing events within the network with interest. A few minutes ago a duel between Heavenmail and Playmaker had started to which he had turned his attention to entirely. His main interest had been the Ignis and Anti Ignis, but then...

"Veil me in a primordial iris! Rise to the ether and beyond! Manifest and alter me, Tenkire Yoakruri!" he heard the orange haired duelist say, his expression changing drastically as he perceived the images and sounds.

"A shining blade and a chant?!" he shouted in outrage, his facial muscles going wild. "That sword is a damn Shinseiken! How can a brat like that have one of them?! Is he perhaps...?!" he screamed, just barely restraining himself from throwing the chess board on his desk through the nearest window.


LINK VRAINS...

"What is happening?" Playmaker's Ignis yelled, the blinding light slowly beginning to fade.

"Heavenmail, what did you just do?" Hector spoke up, equally confused as his fellow Ignis.

Heavenmail looked down on his hand, allowing for a faint smile. "I think... that I just made our comeback possible," he said with returning hope in his voice. Then the orange haired male raised his arm, emitting a burst of energy.

"Oi, is he going to...?" the eyeball AI exclaimed.

"Appear, the circuit of heavenly force!" Heavenmail proclaimed, a dark blue circuit being constructed in the sky above him.

"A Link Summon? Way to go, Heavenmail!" Hector shouted with his trademark enthusiasm.

"Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are three or more Effect-Monsters! I set Romulivi, Susanova, as well as my Link-2 Mercurias into the Link Markers! Circuit combine!" the armored duelist stated, his three monsters flocking together.

"This monster! What is that pressure?!" Playmaker whispered in shock at the inexplicable sensation he felt from its arrival.

"When the gems of heaven combine, a new creature is born from their union, crystal clear as the truth! Its power becomes a force to bring justice to the world! Witness the birth of a miracle! Come forth, radiant dragon with the wings of an iris! Even among the strongest dragons one of the most powerful!" Heavenmail declared, rays of light that covered the whole spectrum gathering to form a new creature.

The light became a dragon, a bit taller than Firewall Dragon, but with similar build. It looked much more organic though, possessing dark green scales, its claws and teeth of a venom-like purple. Its chest was adorned by a circle of gems, each of them having a different color, making for a number of twenty-two in total. On its shoulders, arms, hips and lower legs it was especially well protected, its scales thicker in said places, almost looking like some of the pieces of armor that Heavenmail wore. It unfolded its wings, the wingspans consisting exclusively of something that looked like energy that had taken the form of stained glass. As two curved horns of silver with dark blue and green lines running over them grew from its head and two golden eyes flapped open with the typical dragon pupils that were turned into slits, Heavenmail concluded his summoning chant in a loud and resolute voice.

"LINK SUMMON! APPEAR, LINK 4! DESCENDANT OF THE STRONGEST, FABLED NEOSTORM DIVINITY DRAGON!" he yelled as a bolt of green lightning struck down, the dragon letting out a roar that resounded in unison with the thunder that followed the lightning as the creature manifested in his Extra Monster Zone

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon

Heaven/ Link 4/ ATK 3000/ Tenryuu/ Link/ Effect (↑←→↓)

"A dragon?" Playmaker spoke up in surprise before his attention turned towards another matter. "Wait a second, what is that aura your monster emits?! It doesn't feel normal at all!" he cried out in shock.

Heavenmail scoffed. "Of course it doesn't! This dragon is like your Cyberses in a way, as it has a rare type you or anyone watching this duel for that matter has never seen! It's a Tenryuu-Type monster!" he declared, another roar coming from his monster stressing his point.

"Tenryuu you say?!" Playmaker repeated in disbelief.

"And that's not all! Its attribute is also special! Feast your eyes on the first Heaven Monster you have ever seen!" Heavenmail added.

"Eh?! It's attribute as well?! What are those things?!" the eyeball cried out in surprise.

"Well, they are subtypes," Heavenmail responded. "Tenryuu is a subtype of Dragon while Heaven is a subattribute of Divine. All cards that can affect Dragon Monsters also work on Tenryuus. And the same goes for Heaven Attribute monsters and Divine Monsters of course," he explained.

Playmaker's eyes widened in shock. "Subtypes?! Something like that exists?!" he exclaimed in disbelief.

Heavenmail shrugged his shoulders. "Apparently. But don't ask me, I just got the knowledge about that card and its characteristics a second ago, so I don't know much more about it than you do," he addressed the other male.


Den City, Central Plaza...

"What the hell is that monster? Noctis, do you have any idea about it?" Ryoken addressed his A.I., still in disbelief of what he was just seeing.

"What the hell am I supposed to know?! I know nearly everything about Cyberse, but Tenryuus?! I have no clue in hell about those things!" the Anti Ignis snapped back.

"You, Emerald?" Atsuko asked her Anti Ignis.

"Sorry, I don't know anything about them either. Today has been the first time I've heard about them," the green AI retorted from with her mind.

"This is concerning. I'm not fond of the idea to fight something we don't know anything about," Ryoken debated with himself.

"Amazing! A new type of monsters, just like the Cyberse Monsters of Playmaker!" Naoki exclaimed in awe.

"Plus a new attribute as well. And both of these characteristics belong to already existing types and attributes as a subcategory. That really is unique," Aoi chimed in quietly, the announcer reflecting her thoughts with similar, though much more enthusiastic shouts.


SOL Technologies, Section of the Higher-Ups...

The light haired man from before looked at the screen in his bureau in disbelief. Then his temper took an elevator to the sky, grabbing the chess board on his desk.

"These stupid, stupid TENRYUUS!" he screamed, his voice cracking as it assumed a high-pitched tone. "WHY WON'T YOU EVER LET ME ALONE?! WHY MUST YOU FOLLOW ME EVERYWHERE I GO?! AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!" the man shrieked, throwing the chess board through the nearest window, a female letting out a cry of surprise as the object entered her room abruptly.

"King-sama, please calm down!" the female pleaded, looking at the man through the hole in the glass wall between their rooms, her voice halfway in between begging and sounding frightful.

"Shut up, Queen! You have no idea about what these things are capable of! Maybe you should have yourself nearly get killed too, then you'd understand me! NOW LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!" the man snapped back.

"As you wish, King-sama," the woman nodded obediently, keen on avoiding further conflict and leaving at that.


LINK VRAINS...

"Since Mercurias left the field as material for my Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon, Excalibur is destroyed," Heavenmail announced, his equip spell shattering.

"Great! Now we also have a Link-4 Monster on the field! What can it do though?" Hector asked his partner.

"I'll tell you!" Heavenmail retorted, stretching out his arm towards his dragon. "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon's effect! Once per turn, by discarding one card, I can equip my dragon with equip spells from my graveyard until it is equipped with three of such cards! I discard Thoresus and equip it with Durandal, Joyeuse and Aegis! Relic Recurrence!" he shouted, the cards appearing on the colorful wings of his monster as the latter glowed and emitted colorful energy particles that gathered to form the cards.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon: ATK 3000 → 3400 → 3800 → 4200

"Now the effects of my equip spells when they activate! Joyeuse lets me draw one card for each monster in the Extra Monster Zones! I draw two with your Obezel Basilisk and my Fabled Neostorm! Then the effect of Durandal! I destroy one of your monsters! I target Obezel Basilisk!" he declared.

"Obezel Basilisk protects my co-linked monsters from effect destruction, did you already forget that?" Playmaker shot back, the wind sword's effect failing.

"Fine! But Aegis' effect is there too! I can revive a Link-3 or lower Goddess! I special summon Mercurias from my graveyard!" Heavenmail retorted, his monster resurrecting.

Mercurias, Emissary of the Goddess

Light/ Link 2/ ATK 2000/ Fairy/ Link/ Effect (←→)

"I pay half of my lifepoints to refresh my Skill! Dominus Restoration!" the orange haired male continued, paying the cost.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 100 → 50

"And now... SKILL – LEGEND OF DESTINY ACTIVATE! I draw a random card from my deck! DESTINY DRAW!" Heavenmail shouted, using the second instance of his Skill, thereby consuming all of his charges for this duel.

"Be careful, Playmaker. He has three cards in his hand now," the Ignis addressed the Cyberse Duelist, once again pointlessly as Playmaker was paying close attention anyway.

"I activate an equip spell you are already familiar with by now, Trishula! Furthermore I activate another equip spell, Arms of the Goddess – Gae Bulg! When activated I can shuffle a card from my hand into the deck and gain 1200 lifepoints! I return Arthuribos, giving me said value while Trishula cuts down your lifepoints by 500 when I activate it!" Heavenmail said, two more weapons appearing on the stained glass-like wings of his dragon.

PLAYMAKER: LP 3875 → 3375

HEAVENMAIL: LP 50 → 1250

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon: ATK 4200 → 4600 → 5000

"His monster has gotten pretty powerful...," Playmaker whispered with a trace of worry in his voice.

"And now the effect of my Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon!" Heavenmail proclaimed, extending his right arm towards the monster that hovered above him.

"Eh? It has another effect?" Playmaker's AI asked.

"Of course it has! Your partner's stupid Firewall Dragon has multiple effects as well after all!" Heavenmail shot back.

"He isn't my partner. He's just a hostage," Playmaker clarified, causing discomfort among both of the Ignis with his coldheartedness.

"If you say so, very well! But even if he was your partner, he couldn't help you now! I can destroy any number of equip spells I control to apply a number of effects! I destroy all five of them, Aegis, Durandal, Joyeuse, Trishula and Gae Bulg! Legend Equivalency!" Heavenmail announced, the images on his dragon's wings dissolving into colorful orbs of energy that gathered around the dragon.

"What?! All five of them?!" the eyeball repeated in disbelief.

"Exactly! By doing that I apply the following effects, one for each card! First effect: If I destroy at least one equip spell, I destroy one card you control! I choose Obezel Basilisk! Millennium Corrosion!" he cried out, a green orb hitting the black and white basilisk at his declaration.

"Obezel Basilisk's effect protects my monsters against effect destruction as long as they are co-linked!" Playmaker objected.

"I'll get to that! But first I continue with the next ability! Second effect: If I destroy at least two equip spells, I negate the effects of one card on the field! I pick Firewall Dragon! Skill Crystallization!" Heavenmail retorted, a white orb coming from his dragon freezing Firewall Dragon over, coating its body with a mysterious rainbow fluid as the ice melted.

"Why not Obezel Basilisk? When its protection effect is gone it becomes vulnerable," the eyeball Ignis asked in confusion.

"Because his monster says that the effects are applied in a sequence, numskull!" Hector addressed the other AI, earning a series of upset shouts as a response.

"Third effect: If I destroy at least three equip spells, I can have a "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon"-Monster attack for a second time this turn! Twin Catharsis!" Heavenmail spoke up, his dragon gaining a colorful aura at his words as a yellow orb dissolved to form said aura.

"He's preparing for an all-out attack," Playmaker debated with himself.

"Fourth effect: If I destroy at least four equip spells, the first effect ignores the effects of the card that would be destroyed! Furthermore you take 1000 damage! Legend Crusher!" Heavenmail continued, his dragon hurling a blue orb at Obezel Basilisk, assisting the green orb to crush the monster, Playmaker also taking some collateral damage.

PLAYMAKER: LP 3375 → 2375

"And finally the fifth effect! If I destroy five equip spells, the former four effects cannot be responded to by you and I can have a "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon"-Monster deal doubled battle damage on one instance this turn! Iris Strike!" Heavenmail finished, his monster sending the final orb it had – a red one – skywards where it exploded into a rain of particles, some of them enveloping his dragon to form another aura.

"That monster can destroy anything regardless of effects and even prevent the opponent from responding?" Playmaker spoke up with gritted teeth.

"Exactly! I guess your Firewall Dragon is not the only monster with a powerful effect! Now my dragon has its final effect triggered! When its equip spells are destroyed it gains half of the ATK those cards gave to my Fabled Neostorm while they were still on the field! I-," Heavenmail began.

'Stop! Screw this effect, it doesn't matter right now! What matters is that you use this opportunity to bring out an even greater force!' the mysterious force from before interrupted him again.

'You again? What do you mean by that?' Heavenmail addressed the voice in confusion.

'Just do what I say again, okay?' the voice retorted, giving him another set of instructions.

"Alright!" Heavenmail nodded in understanding, deciding to trust the voice as it had been truthful to him up until now. He raised his arm at that. "At this moment I make use of an effect from my Extra Deck!" he declared, starting to hover upwards, much to Playmaker's shock.

"From your Extra Deck?!" Playmaker's Ignis repeated in disbelief.

"Exactly! If a Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon destroyed five equip spells with its own effect, I can bring out this new monster by returning that Fabled Neostorm to my Extra Deck according to the summoning condition stated in its effect!" Heavenmail explained, ascending even further into the sky, bewildering both his partner Hector, Playmaker and the latter's Ignis, as well as the spectators in the real world and the frog and pigeon who filmed the duel.

Heavenmail looked at his body in confusion, the aura around him that had formed from nowhere mirroring that of his dragon exactly. He didn't speak a word, too confused of what was happening to him. Upon reaching the height of his monster Heavenmail's eyes glowed, the young man losing some of his mental clarity and even more of his ability to act, as if something else took control of him, speaking through him as the aura around his body grew, simultaneously raising the blade he had been holding before.

"In the light of twenty-two forces I shall reveal my true form and power to you! Assemble and flock together within the iris! This is the full extent of a Tenryuu! Rebirth Link Summon!" the voice cried out via Heavenmail, him and the dragon vanishing as they were veiled in a great multicolored radiance.

"What did you just say?! Rebirth Link Shummon?!" Playmaker repeated in disbelief.

"Uh! Did I stutter?" a new, yet similar to Yukemi sounding voice growled as the rainbowish mist began to clear, revealing the same great dragon from before, but one that wielded a katana of matching size, also having a greenish cape on its shoulders and golden and silver armor on its body. A pair of now much more lively golden eyes that were framed by winglike golden protrusions on the sides of the head widened as the beast continued, the jaws of the dragon moving in a perfectly human fashion whilst speaking.

"Rebirth Link Summon! Behold in awe before myself! The descendant of the strongest in his fully progressed form! Link 4! FABLED NEOSTORM DIVINITY DRAGON – PALADIN MODE!" the dark green dragon in golden and silver armor spoke up, pointing a massive version of the sword Tenkire Yoakruri at his opponent.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode

Heaven/ Link 4/ ATK 3000/ Tenryuu/ Link/ Effect (↑←→↓)

Playmaker's eyes were shaking. "You... forcibly merged yourself with that dragon?!" he stammered in terror.

The massive dragon shook his head. "No, I just followed an invitation of it. There is nothing unnatural about this union, in fact I feel more natural than I have ever been while I am like this," Heavenmail responded, twisting and moving his members a bit to get a better feeling for this enhanced body. "Anyway, I suppose I just eclipsed your field, didn't I?" he asked, gesturing to the opposing monsters.

In the real world the chaos was perfect, everybody among the spectators excitedly and with surprise conversing about this highly unusual development while the MC shouted around frantically. At SOL Technologies a certain King got even madder at this, continuing to devastate his bureau. Meanwhile Ryoken slumped back whilst keeping his eyes glued to the monitors, quite aghast by what Heavenmail had turned into and nearly hitting the ground, if it wasn't for his sister catching him.

"He merged with his monster! How is such thing even possible?!" he whispered in shock.

"I have no clue either. But it sure must be some powerful ability. Possibly there's even more to it," Atsuko spoke up, equally distraught as her brother.

"From my intuition I'd say that this is some Tenryuu ability," Noctis chimed in.

Emerald hummed. "Certainly. It must be connected to this unusual monster he summoned. Maybe all of these monsters can merge with their duelists like that," she theorized.

"OH MY GOD! DID HE AND HIS DRAGON SERIOUSLY COMBINE JUST NOW?! THIS IS THE BEST DUEL EVER!" a nearly passing out from amazement Naoki cried out, hyperventilating.

"This is... wow," Aoi said, finding no words to properly express her current thoughts.

In the network, a dark green dragon rose his blade, speaking up again.

"Well then, I suppose it's time to battle now," Heavenmail spoke up, turning his blade which caused it to make a chiming sound. "And I will make sure that you are going down from it this time! By doing it myself of course!" he yelled, slightly bending his knees as he went down to prepare his attack.

"I don't know how the hell you became one with that dragon, but go and slice his monsters up, Heavenmail!" Hector shouted encouragingly, regaining his composure at last.

"I will! I attack Playmaker's Rasterliger with myself! Paladin Dragon Lance!" Heavenmail growled aggressively, thrusting his sword forward and piercing into the white mechanically enhanced feline, dark green lightning crackling around his blade as he did so.

"But that will only cause 1000 points of damage! And your monster can only attack once! I survive your Battle Phase!" Playmaker shouted whilst shielding his eyes.

"No, you don't! Did you already forget that the bonus effects of my prestage were tied to any "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon"-Monster, not just the basic monster alone?! As such this evolved form can work with these effects as well! And one of them was to amplify one instance of battle damage caused by a "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon"-Monster this turn, doubling it! Iris Strike!" Heavenmail protested, his blade gaining an even greater rainbow-like aura that sent out a shockwave, hurling Playmaker even further backwards.

PLAYMAKER: LP 2375 → 375

"What?! But that means that you can...!" the Cyberse Duelist exclaimed in realization, coming to a halt after skidding back for a while.

"That's right! I can attack twice because of the third bonus effect of my prestage! And with only 2500 ATK on your Firewall Dragon and 3000 on myself it will be enough to finish you off! Using the power of Twin Catharsis I attack your Firewall Dragon! PALADIN DRAGON LANCE!" Heavenmail screamed, lunging forward with another thrust of a lightning-enveloped Tenkire Yoakruri.

"Great! If that attack connects, we win!" Hector shouted victoriously as he observed his partner.

Playmaker faced the assaulting dragon with relative calmness. "I was prepared for this! When two Link-Monsters battle I can banish Cross Debug from my graveyard and target a Link-Monster in there! I target Obezel Basilisk! Now my Firewall Dragon gains ATK equal to that of Obezel Basilisk, meaning 2600!" he declared, his monster powering up.

Firewall Dragon: ATK 2500 → 5100

"No! He reversed the fight! Now Heavenmail will lose!" Hector cried out in panic as he stared ahead towards his partner.

"That's right! And since Cross Debug is a Damage Calculation rather than Damage Step effect, most of your partner's ATK-increasing effects cannot be used anymore!" Playmaker's Ignis added victoriously.

"Not like this! I activate my effect! Once per turn, if my monster form Paladin Mode battles your monster, immediately after your card or effect resolves that strengthens your monster's ATK or DEF, I can assimilate my ATK with that of the opposing monster whilst preventing my battle destruction! The ATK boost lasts until the end of the Damage Step and works even in Damage Calculation! Insurmountable Heaven!" Heavenmail in his dragon form cried out, his armor and sword shimmering brightly as he reflected the Tempest Attack launched by Firewall Dragon.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode: ATK 3000 → 5100

"By the effect of Cross Debug my monster cannot be destroyed by battle either!" Playmaker responded, the returning red beam leaving no mark on the white body of Firewall Dragon.

Heavenmail clicked his now dragonic tongue. "Tch! Mercurias can't attack a monster as strong as that Firewall Dragon! But I managed to regain pole position, and that's all that counts! I can go even with any of your monsters once per turn and can also not be removed by your card effects once per turn! That gives you no way of defeating me, given you have no cards on your field or hand besides Firewall Dragon with permanently negated effects, no charge of your Skill either and only 375 LP! You better draw something good for your next Dominus Draw, or else you are finished already! I end my turn! The ATK of our monsters return to normal!" Heavenmail said, his own ATK as well as that of Firewall Dragon reaching their former value once more.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode: ATK 5100 → 3000

Firewall Dragon: ATK 5100 → 2500

"We're in a huge pinch, Playmaker-sama," the Ignis eyeball addressed the Cyberse User worriedly.

Playmaker nodded. "I know. But I won't give up already! Dominus Draw!" he yelled determinedly, using the ruling of the dueling format they were in to draw two cards. He then frowned. "Not the greatest cards, but I will have to make do with them for now! I activate the continuous spell Cynet Mobilization! When this card is activated I can bring back any number of "Code Talker"-Monsters from my graveyard! Resurrect, Decode Talker, Transcode Talker, Procode Talker, Bicode Talker!" he said, one monster after another appearing on his field.

Bicode Talker

Water/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑→↓)

.&.

Decode Talker

Dark/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑↙↘)

.&.

Procode Talker

Fire/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↗←→)

.&.

Transcode Talker

Earth/ Link 3/ ATK 2300/ Cyberse/ Link/ Effect (↑→↓)

"What?! Four of them at once?!" Heavenmail stammered in disbelief.

"Exactly! But unfortunately they come in with hefty restrictions! They have their effects negated and cannot be used as link material! Furthermore they cannot attack during this turn! However, if a Code Talker attacks, I can make it gain 500 ATK for each Code Talker with different names I control! If I do that though, my monster is destroyed after that battle! And lastly you cannot attack my Code Talkers while I control other Cyberse Monsters!" Playmaker elaborated.

Heavenmail smirked, his dragonic teeth blitzing. "I see! So you plan on holding me off with that Firewall Dragon until your monsters can attack next turn! With their numbers even the one time protection of myself won't work as the next Code Talker will then be able to overpower me! However, there is a fatal flaw in this strategy! You expect me to let you live another of my turns, which I most certainly won't!" he retorted victoriously.

"If you say so! I set the other card in my hand face-down and attack your Mercurias with Firewall Dragon! Tempest Attack!" Playmaker shouted, his dragon disintegrating the Goddess, Heavenmail taking some damage as a result.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 1250 → 750

Heavenmail grinned menacingly. "I'll get back at you for what you did to my poor Mercurias! Draw!" he yelled, one card shooting out from his deck pile whose corresponding disk now floated freely in the air as the dragonic duelist was not inclined to wear it in this gigantic form anymore. With a glare at his pile the draw was conducted, the card responding to his will as it removed itself from the top of the deck, now hovering before him.

"That looked amazing, how did you do that?" Hector addressed him, sitting on the levitating duel disk.

The dragon shrugged his shoulders. "I just thought it and it became reality. Just some Tenryuu things apparently," he responded before speaking up to his opponent once more. "I activate the spell I just drew, Dian Keto the Cure Master! It gives me 1000 lifepoints, just to be safe!" he said, receiving a slight heal.

HEAVENMAIL: LP 750 → 1750

Two slitted dragon eyes narrowed. "Battle!" Heavenmail declared, readying his blade once more.

"Watch out, Playmaker! He is about to launch his final attack!" the eyeball shouted hysterically.

"I know," Playmaker responded, bracing himself.

"Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode aka I attacks Firewall Dragon! This settles it, Playmaker! Paladin...!" Heavenmail began, winding up his right dragon arm.

"He's about to strike!" Playmaker's AI stated.

"...DRAGON...!" Heavenmail went on, raising his left foot as a surge of dark green lightning surrounded his blade.

"This is it! We have won!" Hector said, awaiting their imminent triumph.

"...LANCE!" Heavenmail screamed, lunging forward with his blade thrusting ahead with the impact of a lance, glowing with the iris light that his dragon form was usually enveloped with, along with .

Playmaker smirked. "Just as planned," he whispered victoriously.

"What?!" Heavenmail cried out in shock, Playmaker meanwhile raising his hand.

"Trap activate! Cynet Phalanx! When this card is activated I gain 800 LP for each Link-Monster I control! With five that's 4000! Furthermore it can once per turn boost the ATK of one of my battling Cyberse Monsters by 1000, lasting for the remainder of this turn! I strengthen Firewall Dragon!" Playmaker declared, the formation of his monsters resulting in a gathering of energy that was then transmitted to him as life force, his dragon meanwhile receiving a boost from similar sources.

PLAYMAKER: LP 375 → 4375

Firewall Dragon: ATK 2500 → 3500

The dragonic Heavenmail gritted his elongated predatory teeth. "Damn it! Now I can't finish you off this turn! Not only that, but I must use my effect to even out the power between me and Firewall Dragon and become indestructible! If I lose this monster and revert back to my normal form, I will have nothing to protect myself with on your next turn!" he cursed silently. "Fine, you got me! I activate my effect since you raised Firewall's ATK, making me indestructible by this battle and raising my ATK to the point where they go even with Firewall Dragon! Therefore, only your monster will be destroyed! Insurmountable Heaven!" he cried out, his armor and blade glowing brightly again as he reflected the attack of the counterattacking monster back to Firewall Dragon.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode: ATK 3000 → 3500

Playmaker didn't cease his grin, on the contrary, it grew a bit wider. "I knew that you would do that! And now that you used that effect I have an opening to finish this!" he stated with a hint of triumph in his voice.

"What do you mean by that?!" Heavenmail snapped back, his dragon form amplifying his anger's audibility as his voice always had a certain growling in it.

"It's very simple. Once while Cynet Phalanx is on the field I can have a Link-Monster gain 500 ATK for each of those monsters I control! I have five Link-Monsters, so the amount of ATK my Firewall Dragon will gain is...!" Playmaker explained, leaving it for his opponent to finish the sentence.

"2500," Heavenmail stated in disbelief, slumping back in defeat.

Firewall Dragon: ATK 3500 → 6000

"That's right! Now end this, Firewall Dragon! TEMPEST ATTACK!" Playmaker yelled, his monster transforming into its attack mode, firing a red energy laser at the other dragon that pushed back Heavenmail foot by foot, the Code Talkers giving it backup fire that strengthened the impact of the attack.

"NO, HEAVENMAIL!" Hector shouted frantically, observing his partner skidding towards the end of the square.

"If memory serves me right, that building behind you should be one of the warehouses where the Chinese stored their gunpowder in – in the real version of the Forbidden City and this network replica alike. Once Firewall Dragon pushes you into it you can go down with a big boom. It was a nice duel. See you!" Playmaker said, turning his back to Heavenmail as he began leaving.

"No way. Do I seriously lose here?" Heavenmail said, continuing to slide towards the edge of the square. He scoffed in resignation. "Oh well, I suppose losing against someone as powerful as Playmaker isn't a shame," he admitted his defeat, closing his eyes in acceptance.

'Isn't a shame?! Dude, that guy is a freaking human! How will they ever let me into the Heavenly Vanguard if I lose against a stupid human this early on?! Think about your ancestors, idiot! They would be ashamed to see you like this!' the voice from before spoke up to him again.

"Eh? What do you mean?" Heavenmail asked in surprise, continuing to skid back as Firewall Dragon kept up its attack.

'Think for one second please! That's like what, your second serious duel against someone who isn't a total casual?! A now you think you can just lose like that, exploding with a loud bang like a weakling?! If you let that happen, I could honestly understand why your parents thought that you were worthless!' the voice retorted.

Heavenmail's dragonic face twisted in anger. "Shut up! Don't you dare bringing up my parents, you fucking idiot!" he growled furiously.

The voice chuckled. 'Oh, I am merely reminding you of what they would think about you! You give into defeat because you think it's already determined! But let me tell you something: Nothing is determined, nothing at all! The only way that becomes possible is for someone to set the course of destiny! If you but wish it, you can create an entirely new destiny for yourself, but that won't be happening if you continue to behave like a total loser!' it told him.

"Then how do I do that, oh so great all-knowing voice?" Heavenmail asked sarcastically.

'I'll give you a hint,' it replied, a tremor going through Heavenmail's huge body at that.

"That... really is possible?" Heavenmail asked in disbelief.

'About anything is possible in this world! Now then, still wanting to give up after seeing what I've just shown you?' the voice addressed him.

Heavenmail scoffed. "Hell no! I will go down fighting or triumph, nothing in between!" he declared resolutely, the voice letting out a brief chuckle of satisfaction.

"PLAYMAKER!" A dragonic voice boomed, echoing over the square.

The yellow haired male halted his movements and looked around. "What?" he asked, not knowing what his opponent still had to say, expecting some last words maybe.

"Don't you dare just leaving before the final blow has been struck! Stay and see the conclusion of this duel through!" Heavenmail snapped at him.

Playmaker raised an eyebrow. "And what for, may I ask? This game looks pretty over and I don't feel like watching your demise. It's barbaric to enjoy the view of people suffering," he responded.

"Oh come on, drop your "cool guys don't look at explosions, they blow things up and then walk away"-attitude! This duel is far from over!" Heavenmail shouted indignantly.

"I don't see you winning to be honest," Playmaker retorted calmly.

"Then look again, Playmaker! I'll open your eyes for you if you can't see it!" Heavenmail yelled back resolutely, his opponent flinching in surprise of the certainty he said this with. Heavenmail then began to chant, quietly reciting a few lines.

"Help me in this time of need!

Change my fate, avert defeat!

Everything changes in one heartbeat!

Creating miracles is this power's feat!"

"What is he doing?" Playmaker's A.I. asked, visibly confused.

"Great power resides within me!

Shields me from despair and misery!

It consolidates, becomes visible for all to see!

MY WILL CAN CHANGE EVEN DESTINY!" Heavenmail chanted, bellowing the last part as a flash of light enveloped him.

"What the...?! What is happening?!" Playmaker shouted, startled by this sudden change.

"I won't lose like that! Never!" Heavenmail snapped, a silver gem appearing on the armor he wore on his chest, shrouding him in an aura of the same color.

"What are you doing, Heavenmail?!" Hector addressed him, equally confused as the others.

"Something I should have done years ago! Not giving up at every major obstacle! I will fight until the very end and not look back to anything!" the male continued, a trim appearing on the top border of his dragon wings, looking like a line of silvery winglike protrusions that pointed left and rightwards alternately.

"Is he changing into something again?" the eyeball wondered with concern.

"I won't give in so pathetically! I am a Tenryuu – and Tenryuus fight until the bitter end!" Heavenmail declared, a row of silver spikes growing on his head in a circular pattern, forming a crown. He rose his sword on which only a silver circle was glowing now, enveloping the center of its guard. Furthermore a thick silvery aura had formed around the entirety of him.

"Cardinal Link Change! Celestial Might – DES!" he cried out, the armor on his dragon body modifying, taking a more elegant and stylized form, his katana becoming less curved and a bit longer, with a slightly broader blade too.

"What did you just do?!" Playmaker asked him in terror.

Hector looked at the duel disk he was still riding on, his eyes widening in disbelief. "He changed his form and summoned a new monster!" he said.

Heavenmail didn't react to this statement of his partner, but just began yelling instead.

"FABLED NEOSTORM DIVINITY DRAGON – HEAVENLY MODE!" he roared with his head directed skywards, revealing the name of the new form he had taken to his opponent and partner alike as his dragon cry echoed across the network.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Heavenly Mode

Heaven/ Link 4/ ATK 3000/ Tenryuu/ Link/ Effect (↑←→↓)

"A new form?! Again?!" Playmaker repeated in disbelief.

"What can it do?" Playmaker's Ignis asked, the Tempest Attack of Firewall Dragon meanwhile connecting to the freshly summoned monster, pushing it back a little.

Hector looked at the card on the disk and read it. "Apparently this monster can only be Link Summoned by returning a "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon"-Monster that was destroyed by battle to the Extra Deck. It nullifies the damage from that battle and then Fabled Neostorm – Heavenly Mode continues the battle of the former monster," he read. His voice gained a happy undertone of enthusiasm as he read the next few bits. "And if it battles a monster because of that, the ATK of Fabled Neostorm – Heavenly Mode becomes equal to that of the monster that battled its predecessor plus the difference in ATK between the former monster and the opponent's one! And if it destroys a monster by battle, it sends all other opposing monsters to the graveyard and inflicts 300 damage for each!" he shouted in enthusiasm.

"What?! But that means...!" Playmaker stammered in disbelief.

"Firewall Dragon surpassed Fabled Neostorm – Paladin Mode by 2500 ATK! Firewall Dragon has 6000 ATK! That means Fabled Neostorm – Heavenly Mode...!" Hector shouted hopefully.

"I can take this!" Heavenmail grunted in pain of the attack that was directed at him, skidding back towards the end of the square.

"I can take all of this!" he hissed, slowly decelerating.

"But...!" he growled, his movements finally coming to a nigh sluggish level.

"Will you be able to do the same?!" Heavenmail asked his opponent while coming to a halt as he became fully able to resist the force of Firewall Dragon's attack.

Playmaker just gulped anxiously.

Heavenmail growled angrily as the scorching attack continued enveloping him, hitting his dragon body full force and searing the entirety of it.

"HEAVENLY...!" he grunted, the red beam splitting up- and downwards before him, an energy impulse dispersing the attack at once, lifting the anguish from him as the Tempest Attack ceased to reach him.

"Can he really...?!" Playmaker whispered in disbelief.

"...DRAGON...!" Heavenmail shouted, the silver aura around his body intensifying as he wound up his sword.

Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Heavenly Mode: ATK 3000 → 8500

"Is this for real?!" Hector asked, sharing a similar feeling of surprise, though a much happier one.

"Playmaker, brace for the impact!" the eyeball jelled, panicking at this.

"...LANCE!" Heavenmail roared at the top of his lungs, lunging forward with Tenkire Yoakruri. Splitting Tempest Attack, his blade quickly reached the maw of Firewall Dragon, tearing a hole through it as he buried Tenkire Yoakruri it its skull and upper chest, making his way through the opposing monster which exploded as soon as he had crossed it. Less than an eye blink later the Code Talkers followed suit in a loud explosion, falling as their backup fire got reflected onto them. Playmaker felt the air leaving his lungs abruptly as the attack suddenly reached him, the numb side of Heavenmail's blade colliding with his stomach full force, sending him across the square in an uncontrollable flight path.

'What is this power?!' he wondered inwardly whilst spinning around his own axis like crazy, his thoughts getting cut short as he felt a stinging pain in his back upon colliding with the wall on the opposing end of the square. He dropped to the ground, remaining there for a while, unable to stand up from both the exhaustion and stunned state of his body.

PLAYMAKER: LP 4375 → 1875 → 675

In his van, Shoichi heard a thud coming from the neighboring room. He swiftly stood up, taking a look into it. His eyes widened.

"That's ... impossible...!" he whispered, aghast from the view.

"He destroyed all of Playmaker's monsters...," Atsuko spoke up in disbelief, looking at the monitors in the real world.

"With a single attack...," her brother added, equally astonished.

"Urgh, what was that attack? It felt so sharp and real!" Playmaker groaned, standing up again.

Heavenmail smirked. "Oh, that's because a portion of the damage I deal to my opponents while I am in this form gets transferred into the real world! Once you log out you should feel an aching sensation in your back and stomach!" he explained with a trace of triumph in his voice.

"What?! This monster can deal real damage?!" Playmaker repeated in disbelief.

"Well, yes. Paladin Mode was already able to do that, but as the damage was relatively small you didn't notice it back then, unlike with the attack from just now," Heavenmail responded, much to his opponent's shock.

Ryoken slumped back, once more taken by surprise. "That person! Just what is he? Merging with a dragon in the network is one thing, but dealing real damage that transfers to this world?" he spoke up, appalled by this revelation.

"That's concerning indeed. There's no telling what he could use or abuse this ability for. We better be careful regarding him," Atsuko said, the two Anti Ignis giving a hum of approval from within the siblings' minds.

"Real damage? That's possible?" Aoi whispered in disbelief.

"Apparently. I thought losing your consciousness data was the biggest harm one could meet in the VRAINS, but it looks like this guy can do even more. You better not get on the bad side of Heavenmail then," Naoki responded, even he surprised enough to put down his constant yelling for a more collected tone.

"So do you think he is dangerous for us network commoners, Zaizen?" the green haired male asked after a while.

Aoi contemplated for a moment before shaking her head. "He doesn't sound like he intended to hurt Playmaker on a serious level, his injuries in the real world are probably only minor if he really does only a portion of the damage he caused within the VRAINS. Furthermore he could have used the sharp side of his blade to hit Playmaker, which he didn't. So that attack was probably just to make a point in their rivaling contest between each other. Therefore no, I don't think he's dangerous for the people in LINK VRAINS," she responded calmly.

"I see. I guess that makes sense," Naoki murmured.

"Anyway, how about closing out this duel now? I'd like to get my reward after all!" Heavenmail asked, approaching his opponent with the gigantic steps of his dragon form.

"And how do you plan on achieving that? I still have lifepoints and your Heavenly Mode seems to be limited in its time, seeing that its card states that it reverts back into Paladin Mode during your End Phase!" Playmaker grunted back, standing in a hunched manner due to the effects of the prior attack.

"Well, the effect that sends all of your monsters to the graveyard once I destroy a monster in battle also allows me to attack again in a row! I therefore use Iris Shatter and attack you again!" Heavenmail said.

Playmaker took a step back in shock. "You can... what?! Attack again?!" he repeated in disbelief.

"That's right! And this attack will be the one to finish you off! Say your prayers!" Heavenmail retorted, lifting his blade.

"Hey, Playmaker! You can't lose like this, can you? You have some card in your graveyard to banish in order to protect you, right?" the eyeball addressed the Cyberse User frantically.

"Even if he has that Cynet Emergency in his graveyard that can cancel out a direct attack, he can't use it," the greenish dragon told the Ignis.

"Say what?" The AI asked Heavenmail with lack of understanding in its voice.

"Now, you see that when I declare an attack in this form, a die is rolled. The result determines the ability that then takes effect: A one means that my opponent cannot activate monster effects until the end of the damage step while also taking 1000 damage. A two means the same, only with spells and spell effects instead of monster effects. A three does the same trick with traps and their effects. A four disallows for the activation of cards until the end of the damage step, but only does 500 damage. A five does the same, only with card effects instead of cards. And lastly a six does no effect damage, but disables the opponent from using any card or card effect until the battle is over. And this effect in general cannot be responded to by your cards or card effects," Heavenmail explained.

"So you have a certain chance to prevent us from using our effect! That still doesn't mean that you have won, only three of your effects can prevent us from activating it, so it's a fifty-fifty chance!" the Ignis yelled back indignantly.

The golden eyes of the dragon narrowed. "Well, there is one more major effect on this form of mine. Namely the strongest of them all!" he declared, before his eyes glowed while his voice assumed an ethereal tone, almost if he was possessed by a higher entity. "The Cardinal Force of Destiny!" he proclaimed, the supernatural possession wearing off after he had spoken these five words.

-"The Cardinal Force of Destiny?"- the two Ignis repeated in confused unison.

"Exactly! It wields the power to alter any circumstance in my favor, to erase every possibility of me getting the short end of the stick! In a duel that means the following: Whenever an effect that includes any action based on luck is conducted – be it a dice roll or a coin toss – I can simply choose whatever result I want by applying the effect of Heavenly Mode to pick one of them! That can be my card or your card, it matters not! As such I can choose whatever of my effects I want to apply!" Heavenmail proclaimed before his dragonic eyes narrowed. "And I pick six! Cardinal Force – DES!" he yelled as a colorful die was hurled into the sky, the silvery symbol on his chest plate blinking as the flight of the airborne dice was altered, landing on the six shortly afterwards.

"Impossible! That was just a fluke!" Playmaker's AI yelled.

"Not quite! You see, my will turns thoughts into physical happenings! That is what this power is all about! Now then...," Heavenmail said, looking over to his opponent who faced him with wide open eyes, "I believe it's time to end this! It's over, Playmaker!" he began, raising his sword and preparing for a strike onto Playmaker who stood still just a few feet before him.

Playmaker stared ahead, frozen in fear of the incoming attack. While the greenish dragon wound up his blade, towering above him with a height that was something just within the double digits regarding his size in meters, he suddenly felt a familiar feeling. Yes, he did indeed remember this! It felt like a surge of electricity, shocking his numb body in periodic intervals. The phantom pain grew as Heavenmail continued, the heavy breathing and horror in Playmaker's eyes increasing.

"Heavenly...!" the greenish dragon said, raising the gigantic blade to the maximum height, the tip pointing skywards, reflecting a ray of sunlight.

"Leave me alone!" Playmaker muttered barely audible, the area around them changing into a narrow white room with a lack of any form of decor before it turned into some sort of dueling arena. His hallucinations progressed as the dragonic Heavenmail before him turned into a black creature with an expression devoid of heart or compassion. His breaths became heavier and his eyes widened further, reaching unhealthy levels of size, starting to rival dinner plates.

"...Dragon...!" Heavenmail went on, a silvery aura flashing to life around him and his sword, enveloping him with the mystical energy from before.

"Please...! Please stop...!" Playmaker whispered in horror, a feeling of dread he had buried deep down in his mind resurfacing as the arrival of Heavenmail's attack drew nearer. With a sense of helplessness in his thoughts a sudden voice began echoing within Playmaker. A wild canon of "You lose!" erupted within his mind, his terror increasing manifold. His wide open eyes full of horror fixated at Tenkire Yoakruri, Playmaker observed Heavenmail initiating the final stage of his attack.

"...La-!" Heavenmail yelled, bringing his blade downwards before halting his movements at an abrupt scream.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Playmaker cried out in terror, losing his composure entirely, even bursting into tears of fright.

Heavenmail stopped his attack with a mix of shock and confusion. 'What? Why is he reacting like that? This is definitely not normal!' he contemplated, lowering his blade at once.

"Oh no, Yusaku...!" Kusanagi murmured with deep concern, watching his friend worriedly whose real life body he had meanwhile taken to the other chair in his van after he had noticed the impact he had taken from Heavenmail's previous attack, seeing Yusaku's body tremble in the real world as well where his panic and fear was also present.

"What's going on there? Why is Playmaker behaving like that?" Naoki yelled with lack of understanding.

"I don't know. But he seems very frightened," Aoi responded apprehensively.

"That was... unexpected," Ryoken stated, startled by the most recent development.

"Definitely. What did just cause this anxiety-freakout? The fear of losing?" Atsuko asked, evenly confused by this.

"Maybe. It would be a plausible explanation," Emerald chimed in. Meanwhile Noctis had a grin on his internal face, speaking up within the other Anti Ignis owner's mind.

"It would appear so! That means he has a weakness! One that we should definitely make use of in the incoming battle!" the Dark Anti Ignis said maliciously.

"Playmaker, what's wrong?! Are you alright?!" Heavenmail asked rhetorically, though with a great deal of concern in his voice, reverting back to his human form, the card remaining on his disk though. He placed a hand on the other male's shoulder to comfort him, yet he still didn't receive an answer, causing him to assume that Playmaker was too distraught to respond to him.

"Hey, what's going on there?" the pigeon asked as he and the frog approached the two duelists while filming them from the sky.

"I don't know! I just declared my final attack and he got horrified and had an anxiety breakdown, so I canceled my attack!" Heavenmail responded to them.

"Then what about the duel? We need a winner for our great scoop!" the frog yelled indignantly, keen on not missing out on his bonus.

"The hell you media idiots need! Playmaker is clearly in a state where continuing this duel by resuming to attack him would cause some permanent mental damage! I am not an expert at psychology, but I recognize a PTSD outburst when I see one! This duel is fucking canceled!" he snapped, angrily deactivating his duel disk.

DUEL ENDS WITHOUT CONCLUSION!

-"WHAT?! BUT YOU CANNOT DO THIS!"- the frog and pigeon cried out in disbelief.

"I can and I will! Do you paparazzi jerks have no heart at all?! Just look at him, you stupid idiots!" He bellowed at them, the reporter couple flinching as Heavenmail gestured to the clearly disturbed duelist next to him. He took a deep breath before speaking up to Playmaker, giving him a caring look. "Let's log out, okay Playmaker? I don't think we should continue to be in the network," he addressed him in a friendly, compassionate tone.

Playmaker nodded weakly, pressing the log out button in unison with Heavenmail.

"Thank you," he whispered as their virtual bodies dissolved.


Den City, inside of Café Nagi...

The consciousness returning to them, Yukemi looked around, worriedly gazing at Yusaku. Kusanagi rushed to his friend, trying to comfort him as he was still in dismay of what had happened.

"I don't know why you just reacted like that, but you seemed really horrified just now. Would anyone care to explain, please? I really don't like seeing people like this without having any clue about how to help them," Yukemi spoke up, still facing the other male with concern.

Shoichi nodded. "I think you deserve to hear it after you have prevented it from getting any worse by canceling the duel," he said before looking over to his friend. "Only if that's okay for you of course."

Yusaku took a breath before nodding. After a while of quiet, the distraught male calming down again, he started speaking. Yukemi listened patiently, sometimes nodding, but not daring to interrupt the other male. After Yusaku had finished giving him a rough version of his backstory, leaving out the details for reasons, Yukemi spoke up again.

"So you basically got kidnapped alongside five other children that include Kusanagi's younger brother ten years ago, were forced to duel, and every time you lost you received an electroshock and had your meals cut down? You found out that the name of that project alluded to the Knights of Hanoi, so you teamed up to fight them in order to have revenge, is that it?" Yukemi asked, summing up the tale he had heard from Playmaker.

"Yeah, that's pretty much it. We want to find out about the past and have the culprit of that incident pay for what he did to my brother and Yusaku," Shoichi responded.

"Is that why you were so adamant in not letting me join your team? Because you didn't want to pull me into this?" Yukemi asked Yusaku, getting an idea about his previous behavior now.

Yusaku nodded, more relaxed now, but traces of his previous horror still faintly visible on his face. "Yes. I didn't want to involve you in our personal war against the Hanoi. This is a fight that has serious consequences if you lose it. I didn't want to offer you the hope of protecting your Anti Ignis to have you lose far more than just Hector later on, should you be defeated by the Knights of Hanoi. I apologize for sounding so rude and arrogant before," he admitted a bit bashfully.

"Don't worry, I'm not holding any grudges because of it. Actually I must apologize too, namely for the threat I made before. It was only a bluff, but with how you had taken control away from you ten years ago, the thought about being helpless with the Hanoi knowing your real identity must have terrified you. Just like losing control over our previous duel led to you panicking," Heavenmail said.

"I think you're right," Yusaku said, breathing evenly again. "Normally I always have a way out of pinches like that, be it by discarding something from my hand or banishing a card from my graveyard. But your Heavenly Mode, it disabled all of that. I had nothing to defend myself with. I felt as helpless as back then. And I guess that's when I started losing it. I'm sorry, that wasn't an honorable move for a duel like that," he apologized, trying to forget the feeling he had just described.

"Don't worry, the duel doesn't matter in comparison to the duelists, so I don't really care as long as you're doing well again," Yukemi responded, the blue haired male flashing a brief, faint smile. "Anyway, what about our deal now? The duel had no conclusion after all," he asked, clueless.

"I'd say with how he would have won, had he continued his attack, plus his compassionate course of action to end the duel, we should let him and his Anti Ignis join, right?" Kusanagi asked his friend. "He has proven himself as strong after all. And the ability to merge with a dragon of unique type and attribute to inflict real damage by attacking someone in the network isn't too bad either, is it?" he added.

"So we're in?" Hector asked.

Yusaku nodded. "I think so," he said, his eyeball AI erupting in cheers of celebrations.

"Anyway Yusaku, how did you go from there? From what happened all those years ago I mean? You received counseling, right? Didn't it help you to get over it and move on somehow?" Yukemi addressed the blue haired teenager, returning to the previous topic.

"I did. They tried to help me – and I really tried to overcome it. But...!" Yusaku said, clenching his right hand to a fist in frustration. "Nothing helped! I just couldn't move on! It was like time had been stopped, with only one way to let it resume! I needed to get back at those who did this to me! Sometimes I wake up at night, dreaming about the events from back then! And after calming down, each time I have such a nightmare, I can only think of one thing: Revenge! Only if I get it and have the culprit of that incident ten years ago atone for their crimes I'll be satisfied! The worst thing is that I cannot think of anything else, so while other teenagers make plans for their future, I can only think of revenge while I'm stuck in the past! I really try to think differently, but it's like running against a mental wall!" Yusaku cursed, the hopelessness of the situation infuriating him.

"That sounds awful. I'm sorry to hear that it impacted you like this and hope that we can defeat those Knights of Hanoi quickly while finding out what really happened back then," Yukemi said before sitting up from the chair. "Anyway, may I please request something?" He asked Yusaku.

The other student raised an eyebrow. "Request something?" he repeated in confusion before shrugging his shoulders. "Sure, go ahead."

"I want to have a look at the place where you live," Yukemi responded bluntly.

Yusaku repeated his previous mimic. "Why that?" he asked, dumbfounded by this request.

"Well, first it's obviously practical if one knows something about their allies, so me knowing where you live is surely helpful for our future as a team. But more importantly I want to have a look at your environment, as it plays no insignificant role for the progression of your trauma," Yukemi responded.

Yusaku nodded, though with a slight feeling of discomfort. "I see. Kusanagi-san, can you drive us there please? It would make things much quicker," he addressed the purple haired man.

"Sure. I'll take you there immediately," Shoichi said, sitting down on the driver's seat and starting the engine.


Den City, inside Yusaku's House...

Yukemi had not expected much as he and Yusaku had exited the car to have a look at his place. But this was just ridiculous.

When they had arrived at the scene, he already had widened his eyes slightly, looking at a white house at the street corner with walls already worn-off, showing the bricks beneath the surface. While this wasn't that concerning at first, it had progressively gotten worse. The part of the house Yusaku inhabited started after a stairway that didn't go upwards like usually with apartments in this part of Den City, but downwards instead. The apartment wasn't very spacial either, the walls in the same state as on the outside of the building, maybe even worse as Yukemi could spot several worn-off parts in the wall. There was some furniture in his apartment, but Yukemi could tell that there was no form of emotional link between the owner and it, making it all the more dreary. He guessed that it might have even came in with the room as Yusaku had rented in. The only saving grace was a ridiculously exaggerated side room that served the sole purpose of allowing Yusaku to log into the VRAINS, something that could be done anywhere without the need of a specific room for it, though it likely increased the performance of Yusaku's internet connection and thus ability to act within the VRAINS – something that saddened Yukemi, being a reflection of Yusaku's obsession for revenge and showing the green haired teen just how emotionally damaged his peer was. The lighting was okay, but nothing beautiful either that could compensate for the lack of a pleasant atmosphere in the room.

"So you live in this apartment alone? Without any parents?" Yukemi addressed the owner of the place.

Yusaku nodded. "Yes, I do. And I don't have any parents."

Yukemi sighed. "And friends? Do you have anyone who comes here frequently? Kusanagi-san maybe?" he asked.

Yusaku shook his head. "No, he doesn't come here very often."

Yukemi's exasperation rose. "Do you have any neighbors you like to talk to?" he inquired, already having an idea about the answer.

Yusaku shook his head again. "No, I don't talk to my neighbors."

Yukemi pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance before speaking up. "Okay, that's it! You're moving out of this flat at once! Pack your stuff, we're going to my house!" he commanded the other male in exasperation.

"What?" Yusaku asked, startled by this sudden declaration.

"You heard me! You're moving out of here!" Yukemi repeated in an absolute tone.

"But why? And where should I go then?" Yusaku asked him in confusion.

"As I said, you're going to my house! It's spacial, has good lighting, clean walls and nice furniture! Or in other words, it's a much better environment for you than this place! Just look at it! It's dreary, run-down, and does absolutely nothing good to you at all! You say that you're trying to move on from your past, but with how you live in isolation at a place like this, you're a blatant liar! You should live at a welcoming place that makes you feel like being alive again, not at one like this that reflects just how dead inside you really are! What you're doing by living here is like pouring vinegar and salt onto an open wound, you further your already existing problems, tumbling down into numbness and solitude more and more with each passing day! And as your new ally – and friend if you will – I cannot allow you to continue with that! So you're moving into my place! Period!" Yukemi declared, giving the other male a steadfast expression, surprising him.

"Eh? But that...," Yusaku stuttered.

"What is there against it?" Yukemi interrupted him determinedly, choking Yusaku's protest immediately. "My place is nearer to the central plaza and the school than yours, so we save time and effort if you live at my place. Furthermore it offers you a number of advantages, including more space, free food, nice furniture, and pretty much anything else you could expect from a fancy house. It's far more convenient for you and anyone else in your team. You can take your belongings and bring them over to my place and if you're worried about personal space, don't, there is a great deal of space in my house, so if you want you can avoid me while still moving around in the house normally. And if you feel a bit more social I'm always there if you need something. So there is no reason for you to live here instead," Yukemi insisted.

"But...," Yusaku began anew, only to be cut off again.

"But what?! Do you have any sentimental attachment to this apartment?!" Yukemi snapped at him.

"No. But...," Yusaku said meekly.

"If it's about that ridiculously overdone room to log into the VRAINS, forget it! You can log into the network at any other place, you don't need a special room like this! But if you hold some emotional value with it, fine, I can have this room taken out and transported to my house, if you are so desperate to keep it!" Yukemi interjected.

"You can do that?" Yusaku asked in disbelief.

Yukemi nodded. "Of course! There are spedition companies after all! Now then, grab the stuff you wanna bring along, and if you want, I'll make the arrangements for taking that special room of yours to my house! And hurry up, we don't have all day!" he commanded the other male.

"Yes," Yusaku muttered, not fully comfortable with this decision, but realizing that he had lost this battle, being drowned underneath an overwhelming flood of reasonable arguments supporting Yukemi's suggestion.


Den City, Shimizu Residence...

"And here we are! You may enter, but please get rid of your shoes before you walk too much into the central parts of my house, alright?" Yukemi said, swinging the door open and beckoning Yusaku and Kusanagi who accompanied the former to enter.

"Alright," Yusaku said, his mind occupied with expectations of how living at this place would be like. He and Shoichi looked around curiously, Yukemi meanwhile closing the door, joining them after he had gotten rid of his shoes too.

"There isn't any reaction. Normally people notice when someone enters their house. Are your parents at work or something?" Kusanagi asked.

Yukemi shook his head. "Unfortunately I have no such thing as parents. At least not anymore," he said with a trace of sadness in his voice.

Yusaku's ears perked up. "Not anymore? What happened to them?" He addressed the green haired male, though with an idea about the response already.

Yukemi sighed. "Well, originally this house was inhabited by me, my parents, and my sisters, Yukire, the first who was one year older than me, and the second, Yukari, one year younger than me. Nine years ago my parents went on a business trip, taking along my sisters. They boarded an airplane that had been equipped with a new computer system regulating energy supply. At first everything went well," he narrated, moving his hand along an even level to depict a regular flying motion, "but then that new system malfunctioned, leading to a power shortage that caused one of the turbines to fail. The second followed soon after. And then...," Yukemi said, his hand tumbling to the ground.

"I'm sorry to hear that," Yusaku said with downcast eyes, Shoichi showing a similar reaction.

"Don't be. I have gotten over it by now. Though I still miss them a lot," Yukemi replied, his tone indicating that the second sentence was a lie.

"Is that why you hate technology?" Yusaku then asked.

Yukemi hummed absent-mindedly, thinking about his relatives. "Yeah, exactly. Because the plane my family boarded had a new prototype system that failed despite careful tests, they are now dead. Because of technological advancements I am now all alone. I always had a preference for interhuman contact rather than interactions with machines, but this accident gave me a decisive push," Yukemi told before his tone changed, getting furious as he gritted his teeth and clenched his hands into fists. "That's why I will never like technology, it is cold and rational and uncaring of people's feelings! Rather than establishing connections it destroys them or replaces them with pseudo friendships that are only real as long as they are within the network! Outside of it those so called "friends" couldn't care less about each other!" he said with venom in his voice.

"So that's it about your attitude towards technology. But that still doesn't explain your inferiority complex," Hector said, appearing from Yukemi's duel disk.

Yukemi chuckled spitefully, seemingly angry at himself and someone else at once. "Oh right, I totally forgot that! Then let me tell you the story about the worthlessness that is Shimizu Yukemi!" he said, the way he viewed himself as despicable letting the Ignis gulp in anticipation of the following tale.

"Once there was nothing I had to worry about. I had two caring parents and two loving sisters and was important to them. But eventually, when my sisters and I had grown up a bit, my parents realized the difference between me and them. They were smart, gifted and skilled, whereas my talents were limited to nonexistent. From there onward my parents never saw me the same way again. They didn't completely shun me, but it would be a lie to say that they didn't neglect me. The worst thing was that I couldn't even hate them for that as I am mentally incapable of it. So they went on favoring my sisters as the years passed. Eventually, when that fateful day came and they left for the business trip, I begged them to take me with them as well. But they didn't listen and told me to stay at home. I wasn't deserving to come along because I was the worthless son! They left me here because I was a disgrace to them! I would have even went with them if I knew about what was going to happen, so I could be together with them in the afterlife! But no, I wasn't even worthy of dying alongside them! And now I – a person who despairs in solitude – am stranded here all alone! Just because I am that worthless! I'm a waste of flesh, and that will lever change!" he told in a monologue, Yusaku and Shoichi looking distraught from his self-destructive way of thinking.

Hector looked at him, agape, had he a mouth. "Yukemi... I'm sorry for you. But you shouldn't think like that. I will always be there for you, I promise. I will never leave you, no matter if you are deserving of my company or not. You shouldn't have to earn the attention of me in the first place after all," he reassured his partner in a compassionate tone.

Yukemi flashed a brief smile. "Thank you, Hector. That means a lot to me," he said, wiping his eye before turning his focus back to Yusaku, clearing his throat. "Anyway, as you can see both of us are mentally messed up in one way or another, so that makes us the perfect roommates, I suppose. Now then, there are three empty bedrooms in this house, those of my sisters and that of my parents. The latter has a double bed. Which one would you like to take?" he asked the blue haired male.

"The latter preferably. I don't think I would feel comfortable in a room that formerly belonged to a girl. And it also has more sleeping space," Yusaku responded.

Yukemi nodded. "Alright. Then you can move into my parents' room. Before that though just drop your stuff on the kitchen table over there. We're getting dinner first, the whole stuff with the room can come later," he said before looking out of the window. "It's pretty late though, so I don't think I have the enthusiasm to cook something today, especially after that duel from before. We're getting some food elsewhere," he stated.

"How about at my van? It's a food truck after all," Kusanagi suggested.

Yukemi shook his head. "No, I think it's better for Yusaku to leave his comfort zone a little, so we're visiting another fast food place."

"Fine by me! It's a fine excuse to check out the competition and collect some ideas on how to improve Café Nagi after all," Kusanagi chuckled, willing to take a look at one of his fellow rivals in the gastronomic industry of Den City.

Yusaku raised an eyebrow. "And what place, may I ask?" he inquired.

Yukemi smirked. "Oh, you'll see," he said knowingly.


Den City, Burger World...

A brown haired female blinked, turning towards the entrance of the building as she heard the door opening. She smiled as she realized who the new customer was, though with a confused expression about those who accompanied said person.

"Oh hey, it's you Yukemi! Glad that you're here today!" Anzu said, smiling at the green haired male before turning her attention to the other persons. "And they are?" She inquired.

"They're new friends of mine. This is Fujiki Yusaku and that is Kusanagi Shoichi," Yukemi said, gesturing to the other males.

"Nice to meet you!" the waitress told with a genuine smile.

"Good evening," Shoichi said friendly, his comrade only mustering up a muttered greeting.

"Take a seat somewhere. I'll be sure to come to your table very soon," Anzu assured them before heading somewhere else.

Yukemi sat down on a table for four persons, Yusaku and Shoichi taking the seats on the opposing end of the table.

"You seem to know that girl quite well. Who is she?" Kusanagi inquired, intrigued about Yukemi's connections to the waitress.

"Her name is Mazaki Anzu. She wants to be a professional dancer and aims to go to America to learn it there. She needs the money for it though, so she works here until she can afford the flight and the dancing school. I offered her the money, but she wouldn't accept it. Said that she wanted to get there without help. Such a hard-working girl," Yukemi narrated.

"You offered her the money? Are you that wealthy?" Yusaku asked, mildly surprised.

Yukemi shrugged his shoulders. "Well, before my parents died they were making a lot of money with how hard they were working, so there is quite the fortune left for me," he told.

"And you get to administrate all that money yourself?" Kusanagi wondered.

Yukemi nodded. "Yeah, I have full control over it. There is nobody who regulates my life even though I'm orphaned, just a caretaker who comes every month and checks on me, so nothing much," he said.

"Which makes you the practical owner of your family's house and their wealth, right?" Yusaku addressed him.

"Yeah. That's why I have a lot of freedom and it's not problematic to just invite someone to live in my house, there is plenty of space after all," Yukemi stated.

"Makes sense," Yusaku said.

Yukemi cleared his throat. "Anyway, what burger do you want? I recommend the cheese burger with extra spice," he asked, switching the topic.

"I don't know," Yusaku said, looking at the menu. "I'd rather have something cheap, as I'm not in possession of the greatest budget," he conceded.

Yukemi chuckled, making a dismissive gesture with his hand. "Oh please, get yourself whatever you want! I've invited you here, so I'll be paying!" he reassured the blue haired male.

"Well, looks like you now get to enjoy one of the benefits of living with him, Yusaku! He compensates for you being nearly broke on a constant basis!" Kusanagi chuckled, Yusaku lightly blushing in embarrassment.

"Anyway, what was that with your dragon? How did you merge with it?" Yusaku addressed Yukemi, wanting to switch the topic as soon as possible.

Yukemi looked surprised before shrugging his shoulders. "No idea honestly. I just listened to a voice in my mind and then everything kinda happened by itself. Quite frankly I have not much more of a clue than you do," he admitted.

"Strange. But if you say so, I'll believe you," Shoichi said, Yukemi sighing in relief as he didn't inquire further since he really had no clue about the whole thing with Fabled Neostorm.

"So you know nothing about it? What a pity." Yusaku said before grimacing, rubbing his back. "But my stomach and back still hurt from the attack of that form of yours! Geez, couldn't you have hit me a bit more softly?" he complained.

"Sorry..." Yukemi blushed, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment. "Oh, I just remembered something! Say Kusanagi-san, how did Yusaku get in possession of that Ignis?" he continued after a while.

"It was running from SOL Technologies and the Knights of Hanoi, so we made an escape route for it," Kusanagi narrated.

"Which was really a trap, wasn't it?" Hector inquired, arising from Yukemi's duel disk with his head.

"Exactly. And now he is my hostage," Yusaku said bluntly, the eyeball residing in his duel disk pouting in annoyance.

"I see. Did you give it a name already? It would be much more convenient than addressing it as eyeball or Ignis or whatever," Yukemi asked.

Yusaku rubbed his chin, deliberating about a possible name. "I think we should call it Ai," he said after a while.

"What? Seriously? Because I'm an AI and an eyeball at the moment?" the Ignis deadpanned in disbelief.

"It's simple but accurate. I like it," Yukemi said, much to the AI's surprise.

"Eh?! But...!" it tried protesting.

"I agree. It sounds like a good name for that AI," Kusanagi told.

"No no no no no! That name is terrible!" the eyeball complained frantically, its protest being overheard by the others.

"Yeah, it surely fits him," Hector chimed in, nodding in agreement as he and the others continued outvoting the Ignis.

"Et tu, Hector?!" The Ignis yelled melodramatically at the betrayal of its brethren.

"Then it's decided. From now on your name will be Ai," Yusaku concluded, sealing the deal.

"NOOOOOOOOOO!" the freshly named Ignis yelled, causing a chuckle among the others.


Den City, Shimizu Residence...

After a nice meal Kusanagi drove Yusaku and Yukemi back to the latter's house, departing soon after that. Yusaku then brought his belongings to the designated room. After little complications about the bathroom the two males were now standing upstairs in the second floor of Yukemi's house, facing each other in their pajamas.

"Well then, good night, Yusaku! Sleep well!" Yukemi addressed the other male.

"I'm not too certain if I will," Yusaku said, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment. "I might have a nightmare and scream," he added bashfully.

Yukemi gave him a hand wave of dismissal. "Don't worry, it will be okay. I'll be checking on you if you need it, okay?" he reassured the other male.

Yusaku gave him an expression between embarrassment and gratefulness. "Thank you, I appreciate it. Have a good night," he said, opening the door to his room.

"Have a good night as well," Yukemi said, opening the door to one of the neighboring rooms as well as he went to his own room, the two of them closing their respective door in unison.


Later that Night...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Yusaku screamed, sitting up with a hysteric shout and horror in his eyes. While he was breathing heavily, trying to calm down again, the door opened with Yukemi entering, looking a bit tired.

"I see you had a nightmare. Are you okay again?" Yukemi asked with a slightly groggy voice, taking a seat on the side of the double bed that wasn't occupied by Yusaku.

Yusaku nodded weakly. "Yes. Sorry for waking you up," he apologized.

Yukemi shook his head. "You don't have to be. I accepted your presence here in my house knowing fully well that you would have these kinds of issues," he reassured the other male before giving him a firmer look. "Maybe right after having a traumatic nightmare like this is the right time to deal with your past. Do you want to talk about what happened back then?" Yukemi asked, trying his shot at counseling the other male.

Surprisingly Yusaku gave him a small nod after a while, beginning to slowly narrate about his experiences in captivity. Yukemi listened carefully, occasionally asking a brief question or giving Yusaku a gentle verbal push when he was about to cease talking. As Yusaku had finished Yukemi spoke up again.

"I see. So the words and presence of that mysterious person with the three things mantra gave you a glimmer of hope and comfort, right?" he asked.

"Yeah. When I was on the brink of giving up I remembered his words and regained the strength to fight on. He was the one who saved me," Yusaku retorted.

"Hmm, I see," Yukemi said thoughtfully. "Then I guess it's better if you are not left alone at night. If the presence of someone else gave you comfort back then, it might be the same today. So I think it's better if I sleep here in this bed as well. It is intended for two persons and has enough space anyway. Or would you mind that?" he asked with concern.

The blue haired male shook his head. "You're my host anyway, so you can do whatever you want in your house," he responded.

Yukemi nodded. "Okay. Then I'll be talking this half of the double bed. Good night," he said, sliding underneath the blankets and switching off the lights.

The two males lied on the respective halves of the double bed, staring at the ceiling in the dark. After a while Yukemi spoke up again.

"And Yusaku?"

"Yes?" the reply came from the other side of the bed.

"Don't ever mention this to anyone. I don't want our fellow students at school to start questioning my sexual orientation," Yukemi said.

"Why? Because that what you're currently doing is gay as hell?" Ai spoke up from the nightstand Yusaku had placed his duel disk on.

"AAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIII!" Yukemi bellowed in outrage, his Anti Ignis chuckling in amusement.


Unknown Place...

In a great hall with neatly polished wooden floor, a lone figure was seated on a throne-like chair, a great almost cleaver-like blade with shark teeth-like jags on its odachi-sized cutting edge leaning against the wooden chair. The man looked as if he was in his forties, having dark blue and silver hair. Dozing in a seemingly asleep state, a smile crawled onto the male's face.

"So it happened at last. In Universe 76 a new Tenryuu awakened." His smile widened slightly. "And one with such great potential as well. Keep improving Yukemi, and one day you might be part of the Heavenly Vanguard as well, standing in this hall as one of our captains."

He ceased his monologue as a female figure looking about the same age as the man approached, addressing him now.

"Head-Captain Zomiel, I need your help in District 5. Captain Theumiel and Captain Theuniel have gotten into another fight and nobody of the other Tenryuus currently here can stop them with how powerful they are," the dark purple haired woman addressed him.

The Head-Captain pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance, letting out a sigh. "Thank you for the notification, Captain Zadkiela. I will make sure to have them cease their fighting immediately," he said before adding something in a whisper. "Damn you, Yugo and Yuri! Will you ever stop with your annoying quarreling? I can't even have one moment of silence, can I?" he hissed in frustration, remaining seated on his chair. "Oh, and you don't have to be so formal when no one else is around, Ruri! Using our human names is perfectly fine when we are among ourselves!" he addressed the woman.

The female smiled. "Of course Yuga. I'm just too used to being in public, and the lower-ranked Tenryuus wouldn't respect you properly if the captains were talking to you casually while in their presence," she replied to him.

The male shrugged his shoulders. "Right, you have a point there. Anyway, has Alexandra returned from her mission yet? She wanted to deal with that group of planet-raiding Gryhelians in Universe 53, right?" he asked.

"Yeah, she wanted. But I don't know whether she's back already or not," the purple haired female responded.

The dark blue and silver haired male nodded. "I see. Go and check for me while I deal with the two idiots, will you?" he requested.

"Of course, Head-Captain," the female assured him with a dutiful expression.

"Well, I cannot say that I find this sudden turmoil surprising. Their former enmity has almost entirely vanished over the years, but I suppose they rekindled it for a moment because they got worked up by the imminent demise of their originator, since as we both know, the Twilight Dragon King's final night has arrived at last," Yuga stated, a cruel smile of gratification creeping onto his face, taking hold of his sword that leaned to his chair.

"Yes, that is most likely the case. Apparently they are way more fond of him than you are," Ruri replied with a nod.

"And that for good reason! Do you honestly expect me to care about this piece of shit?! For what he caused me to experience, he deserves to die at last, and as promised I will be the one to put him out of his misery, and then unfortunately I have to continue experiencing a misery of my own because the damage he caused is pretty much irreversible at this point! The least he can do is perish by my hand and give me everything that he has accumulated!" Yuga shouted, his lineaments twisting in outrage as he abruptly rose from his chair. After a few seconds he realized his mistake and spoke up anew. "I'm sorry Ruri, I shouldn't have raised my voice towards you, even if the recipient of my wrath was someone else. It was improper to vent my frustration about the deterioration he caused me in front of you," he apologized.

The female shook her head. "No, I understand your feelings, so you don't have to apologize. I do wish that the two of you were on better terms, but I see your anger as justified." Ruri then broke eye contact as she looked downwards, her tone matching this slightly depressed gesture as she continued to speak. "It is a horrible side effect that you have to endure for his sake. His ascension led to your downfall, and now that his own ultimate downfall is at hand, I can understand why you would rejoice at it. Still, I just wish that this situation could have been resolved to everyone's happiness, rather than always involving one having to suffer for the benefit of the other," she expressed her sorrow.

"Your pacifistic principles honor you. They are one of the reasons as for why you are one of my favorites here in the Heavenly Vanguard," Yuga responded with a smile as his mood improved, prompting a smile on Ruri's behalf as well. "Anyway, I better get going now," he then said, heading towards the exit.

"The king is dead, long live the king," Ruri stated as he was just about to leave the room.

Yuga smirked. "A tad bit early for that, but in a few hours that will surely be true. Thank you for the congratulations you gave me in advance!" the male gave his thanks, leaving the hall at that.


Card Corner:

Heavenmail's Cards:


Quetzalcam, Macahuitl of the Goddess

Attribute: Light

Level: 3

Type: Fairy/Effect

ATK/DEF: 1200/900

Effect:

You can discard 1 "Goddess" monster; Special Summon this card from your hand. If you control an "Arms of the Goddess" card: You can target 1 "Goddess" monster in your GY that has a Level; Special Summon it. You can only use each effect of "Quetzalcam, Macahuitl of the Goddess" one per turn.


Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess

Attribute: Earth

Level: 4

Type: Fairy/Effect

ATK/DEF: 1500/1800

Effect:

If this card is Special Summoned: You can draw 1 card, and if it was a "Goddess" monster, you can discard it, then Special Summon 1 "Goddess" monster from your GY. If this card is used as material for a Link Summon: You can add 1 "Goddess" monster from your GY to your hand, except "Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess". You can only use each effect of "Basteris, Khopesh of the Goddess" one per turn.


Thoresus, Hammer of the Goddess

Attribute: Light

Level: 3

Type: Fairy/Effect

ATK/DEF: 1400/2000

Effect:

If a "Goddess" monster(s) is sent to your GY: You can Special Summon this card from your hand. During the turn in which this card left the field (even if it was returned to your Deck), you can negate 1 instance of damage. You can only use each effect of "Thoresus, Hammer of the Goddess" once per turn.


Romulivi, Pilum of the Goddess

Attribute: Water

Level: 4

Type: Fairy/Effect

ATK/DEF: 1500/1300

Effect:

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can make all "Goddess" monsters you control gain 300 ATK for each Equip Spell you control, then, if they gained at least 900 ATK, you can draw 1 card. If a "Goddess" monster(s) you control would leave the field by a card effect, you can banish this card from your GY instead. You can only use this effect of "Romulivi, Pilum of the Goddess" once per turn.


Arms of the Goddess – Gae Bulg

Card Type: Spell/Equip

Effect:

Equip only to a "Goddess" monster. If this card is activated: You can shuffle 1 card from your hand into your Deck, and if you do, gain 1200 LP. A monster equipped with this card gains 400 ATK. During the Damage Step, if the equipped monster battles an opponent's monster (Quick Effect): You can banish that opponent's monster. You can only use this effect of "Arms of the Goddess – Gae Bulg" once per turn. If the equipped monster would be destroyed by your opponent's card, you can destroy 1 "Goddess" card you control instead.


Arms of the Goddess – Vigilant Guard

Card Type: Trap/Normal

Effect:

Target 1 "Goddess" monster you control; until the end of this turn it becomes unaffected by your opponent's card effects. If a monster(s) you control would be removed from the field by your opponent's card effect, except during the turn this card was sent to the GY, you can banish this card from your GY instead. You can only use each effect of "Arms of the Goddess – Vigilant Guard" once per turn.


Lucifer, Fallen Angel of the Goddess

Attribute: Dark

Link Rating: 4 (←→↙↘)

Type: Fairy/Link/Effect

ATK: 3000

Effect:

2+ Effect Monsters

During the Main Phase: You can destroy 1 "Goddess" card in a zone this card points to, and if you do, add 2 "Goddess" Spells from your GY to your hand. If this card destroys an opponent's monster by battle: You can send to the GY all monsters your opponent controls in the same row as that destroyed monster, and if you do, gain 900 LP for each. Your opponent cannot activate card effects in response to this effect's activation. You can only use each effect of "Lucifer, Fallen Angel of the Goddess" once per turn.


Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon

Attribute: Heaven

Link Rating: 4 (↑←→↓)

Type: Tenryuu/Link/Effect

ATK: 3000

Effect:

3+ Effect Monsters

(This card is always treated as a "Goddess" card.)

You can discard 1 card; equip this card with Equip Spells from your GY until it is equipped with 3 of them. If Equip Spells that equip this card are destroyed: This card gains half as many ATK as those Equip Spells granted to this card while they were on the field, until the end of this turn. During your Main Phase: You can destroy any number of Equip Spells you control; apply the following effects in sequence, based on that number.

● 1+: Destroy 1 card your opponent controls.

● 2+: Negate the effects of 1 face-up card on the field.

● 3+: During this turn a "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" monster can make a second attack.

● 4+: The first effect ignores the effects of the card that would be destroyed, also inflict 1000 damage to your opponent.

● 5: Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to the activation of this effect, also you can double 1 instance of battle damage your opponent takes from a battle involving your "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" monster this turn.

You can only use each effect of "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" once per turn.


Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Paladin Mode

Attribute: Heaven

Link Rating: 4 (↑←→↓)

Type: Tenryuu/Link/Effect

ATK: 3000

Effect:

(This card's Attribute is always treated as DARK in addition to HEAVEN, also it is always treated as a "Goddess" card.)

Cannot be Special Summoned from your Extra Deck, except by returning 1 "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" to your Extra Deck which destroys 5 Equip Spells with its own effect OR by a card effect that specifically lists this card. (This is treated as a Link Summon.) Once per turn, this card cannot be removed from the field by your opponent's card effects. Once per turn, if this card battles an opponent's monster, after your opponent's card or effect resolves that increases the ATK/DEF of a monster(s) they control (even during damage calculation): You can make its ATK become equal to the current ATK of your opponent's battling monster, until the end of the Damage Step, also this card cannot be destroyed by that battle. During your Main Phase: You can return this card to your Extra Deck, and if you do, Special Summon 1 "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" from your Extra Deck.


Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Heavenly Mode

Attribute: Heaven

Link Rating: 4 (↑←→↓)

Type: Tenryuu/Link/Effect

ATK: 3000

Effect:

(This card is always treated as a "Goddess" card.)

Cannot be Special Summoned from your Extra Deck, except by returning 1 "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" monster to your Extra Deck which would be destroyed by battle. (This is treated as a Link Summon.) If this card is Special Summoned this way: Continue the battle your "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" monster was involved in using this card (you take no battle damage from that previous battle), and if you do, this card's ATK becomes equal to the ATK of your opponent's battling monster + the difference in ATK between your opponent's battling monster and your "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon" monster that previously battled. If this card destroys an opponent's monster by battle: Send all monsters your opponent controls to the GY, and if you do, inflict 300 damage to your opponent for each, then this card can attack again in a row. During your End Phase: Shuffle this card into your Extra Deck, and if you do, you can Special Summon 1 "Fabled Neostorm Dragon – Paladin Mode" from your Extra Deck. You can only use each of the preceding effects of "Fabled Neostorm Divinity Dragon – Heavenly Mode" once per turn. If a player would roll a die or toss a coin, you can pick any result instead of conducting the die roll or coin toss. If this card declares an attack, roll a six-sided die and apply the following effects based on the result, also your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation:

● 1: Your opponent cannot activate monster effects until the end of the Damage Step. Inflict 1000 damage to your opponent.

● 2: Your opponent cannot activate Spells or Spell effects until the end of the Damage Step. Inflict 1000 damage to your opponent.

● 3. Your opponent cannot activate Traps or Trap effects until the end of the Damage Step. Inflict 1000 damage to your opponent.

● 4: Your opponent cannot activate cards until the end of the Damage Step. Inflict 500 damage to your opponent.

● 5: Your opponent cannot activate card effects until the end of the Damage Step. Inflict 500 damage to your opponent.

● 6: Your opponent cannot activate cards or card effects until the end of the Damage Step.


Playmaker's Cards:


Pop-Up Wall

Attribute: Earth

Level: 3

Type: Cyberse/Effect

ATK/DEF: 500/1900

Effect:

During the Battle Phase, if you have Cyberse monsters in your Main Monster Zones (Quick Effect): You can discard this card; this turn, those monsters cannot battle your opponent's monsters, except that with the lowest ATK on their field (end any battle your affected monsters are currently involved in when this card is activated), and if there are Link Monsters among them, gain 300 LP x their combined Link Rating. You can only use this effect of "Pop-Up Wall" once per turn.


Cynet Emergency

Card Type: Spell/Normal

Effect:

If you control exactly 1 monster: Tribute that monster and banish any number of Cyberse Link Monsters from your GY, but their Link Rating must be equal or higher than the number of monsters that you banish, and if you do, draw 1 card for each card that you banished with this effect. If your opponent declares a direct attack: You can banish this card from your GY; negate that attack. You can only use each effect of "Cynet Emergency" once per turn.


Cynet Mobilization

Card Type: Spell/Continuous

Effect:

When this card is activated: Special Summon any number of "Code Talker" monsters from your GY. Their effects are negated and they cannot be used as Link Material, also they cannot attack during this turn. While you control other Cyberse monsters, your opponent cannot target "Code Talker" monsters you control for attacks. If a "Code Talker" monster attacks: You can have it gain 500 ATK for each "Code Talker" monster with different names on your field, but if you do, destroy that monster at the end of the Damage Step. You can only control 1 "Cynet Mobilization".


Cynet Blocklayer

Card Type: Trap/Continuous

Effect:

When this card is activated: It gains 3 Cynet Counters. If a Cyberse monster would be destroyed by your opponent's card effect, you can instead remove 1 Cynet Counter from this card. If this card has no Cynet Counters on it: Destroy it. This card cannot be destroyed by card effects, except its own. If you would take battle or effect damage while this card has Cynet Counters, you can banish this card from your field instead.


Cynet Phalanx

Card Type: Trap/Continuous

Effect:

When this card is activated: Gain 800 LP for each Link Monster you control. Once per turn, if a Cyberse monster you control battles: You can have that monster gain 1000 ATK, until the end of this turn (even if this card leaves the field). Once while this card is on the field: You can target 1 Link Monster you control; it gains 500 ATK for each Link Monster you control, until the end of this turn (even if this card leaves the field). You can only control 1 "Cynet Phalanx".


Pendulan

Attribute: Wind

Link Rating: 2 (←→)

Type: Cyberse/Link/Effect

ATK: 1200

Effect:

2 Cyberse monsters

If this card is Link Summoned: Place 1 Shift Counter on this card for each Link Rating the Link Monster with the highest Link Rating you control has, also, if this card was co-linked, draw 1 card. You can remove 1 Shift Counter from this card; move 1 monster you control to another of your Monster Zones (switch the locations of 2 monsters if the Zone you would move your monster to is already occupied). If this card is used as material for a Link Summon while it had a Shift Counter(s): Gain LP equal to half of the original ATK of the Link Summoned monster.


Obezel Basilisk

Attribute: Dark

Link Rating: 4 (↑↙↓↘)

Type: Cyberse/Link/Effect

ATK: 2600

Effect:

2+ Cyberse monsters

Co-linked monsters you control cannot be destroyed by card effects. Once per turn, if a monster this card points to inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can have 1 Cyberse monster you control gain 1000 ATK until the end of this turn, also gain LP equal to that monster's original ATK. During your Main Phase, except during the turn it was Link Summoned: You can target 1 monster this card points to; Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster from your hand or GY to another Monster Zone this card points to. You can only use this effect of "Obezel Basilisk" once per turn.

Trivia:

This card's name is a portmanteau of the programming language Oberon, and bezel, the plastic casing of computers. Its thick white armor plates reference the latter. It looks like its mythological origin and is made from a black-purplish metal that is underneath the white plating. Lastly the first part of its name is similarly written as Beelze, the demonic element backing up its attribute a bit more.)


A/N:

And that concludes another chapter. Originally I planned on making this longer, but then I remembered my intent of keeping the chapters in this story short and decided to leave the rest for the next chapter. We still got to see a few things though, for instance what that blade of Yukemi was really holding. As for the Tenryuu-Type and its backstory you will have to wait a bit, but that is compensated by the reveal of why Yukemi hates technology, so that's a fair trade I suppose. Plus there is another, for some of my readers quite surprising element.

About the duel, I felt like giving it this outcome. Another "the OC must lose against the original protagonist" seemed to make little sense with all the hidden power Yukemi mobilized, but him beating Yusaku would have also been bad as he would be too OP then. So Yusaku retains his record, though he received a technical loss. I know it conflicts with his anime persona, but I think he could definitely need something other than wins. In general I want to give every major character a loss somewhere, as I don't like entirely flawless records. I get that the writers intended Yusaku to be like Yusei regarding that, but that doesn't excuse his invincibility. There is also some meta humor in here as well as I aim to make Firewall Dragon the ace Yusaku never let it be. There are strong similarities to Yusei with their treatment regarding that, but while Yusei has his Warriors like Junk, Nitro, Turbo and so on which are basically his Code Talkers, there is still no doubt that Stardust Dragon is his real ace as he kept using it on a regular basis ever since he got it back from Jack. Yusaku on the other hand seems to not give a crap about Firewall, which is kinda stupid with how overpowered it is. The anime once more fails to reflect the real game accurately, as the degenerate effect of Firewall doesn't even have a name, while the bounce effect has one. Which is totally stupid with how much trouble it caused, keywords being "Gouki with Knightmares and Firewall extra linking for an invincible board with a banish negate via Tri-Gate Wizard". Speaking about similarities to Yusei, did any of you guys notice the repetitive protagonist patterns for the different series of Yu-Gi-Oh? They repeat every three spin-offs it seems. Here, I'll show you what I mean:

First series (Duel Monsters) and fourth series (Zexal):

- Has a spectral companion who does most of the work and has their name starting with A (Atem/Astral)

- Has a magician with a female partner (Dark Magician; Dark Magician Girl/Gagaga Magician; Gagaga Girl)

- Wears some form of golden necklace (Millennium Puzzle/Emperor's Key)

- Duels their partner for the final duel of the series while their partner uses their former aces (Ceremonial Duel with Atem using Dark Magician and the Egyptian Gods/Yuma fighting Astral so he doesn't destroy the Barian World with the latter using the Utopias)

- Has a friend who is really a villain (Bakura; Yami Bakura; Zorc/Shingetsu; Vector)

- Some sort of special card group exists in their world that seemingly everyone wants to have (Egyptian Gods/Numbers)

Second series (GX) and fifth series (ARC-V):

- Was a Supreme King (Hao Judai/Zarc)

- Has to deal with Duel Academia (Judai being a student there/Yuya fighting it in the Interdimensional War)

- Has a rival with gray hair (Edo/Reiji)

- Dueled Edo Phoenix (Judai the real one/Yuya an alternate version of him)

- Interacted with characters from a past series (Judai with all the Duel Monsters cameos/Yuya with the alternate versions of previous characters in other dimensions)

- An evil guy in the series uses Super Polymerization (Hao Judai/Yuri)

- Are the only protagonists with actual big archetypes they use throughout the entirety of the story (HERO/Performapal)

- Dislikes school (Judai the academy lessons/Yuya the normal school)

- Traveled throughout dimensions (Judai during the third season with all those other worlds Yubel wanted to merge/Yuya because of Interdimensional War)

- Had another entity residing within them that at some point gave them different eyes (Yubel/Yuto when he took control during Xyz, or the Awakening)

- Can communicate with Duel Monsters

Third series (5D's) and sixth series (VRAINS):

- Mature protagonist

- Calm and level-headed protagonist

- Duels on some sort of vehicle (card games on motorcycles/card games on hoverboards)

- Never lost unless it was a flashback (Yusei for sure/Yusaku so far)

- Has one series of ace monsters that are mechanical warriors (Warriors/Code Talkers) and another that is a white dragon (Stardust Dragon/Firewall Dragon)

- Had a harsh past (Living in Satellite after losing his father to the Zero Reverse/Lost Incident)

- Has technological skills (Engineering/Hacking)

- In addition to normal duels there is some form of alternate format that changes the mechanics of dueling (Riding Duel with only Speed Spells/Speed Duel with fewer zones)

- Female lead uses a plant-based deck (Aki having nothing but plants/Aoi's Trickstars being named after various plants)

- Rival has a Dark Dragon as their ace (Jack with Red Dragon Archfiend/Ryoken with Borreload Dragon)

- Originally lived in buildings looking not too pleasant (general Satellite infrastructure/Yusaku's run-down house)

- Their worlds are very modern and futuristic (Neo Domino City/Den City and LINK VRAINS)

- At one time someone spoke with the Z-One voice (Z-One/Yusaku using a voice changer when he met up with Akira to warn him about the Ignis War)

- Specialize on swarming a lot of weak monsters to use them for their big aces, most often by spamming their signature summoning mechanic

Feel free to add anything else if I forgot something, but there really is a pattern emerging here, so according to it our next spin-off will once more have a protagonist with a spectral companion and some sort of golden necklace, with probably another pair of Dark Magicians.

Anyway, that's it for this chapter! The next one might be coming later as I may continue with my other story and have exams ahead of me. Please read, review, favorite, follow!

Until next time,

Haoh Ryu Z-ARC out!