#1: The Girl With Three Faces
VRAINS. Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Network System. It's a rather interesting acronym, she thinks, representing the world that they live in nowadays. It's a piece of technology that everyone has access to. In simple terms? It is a world of artificial reality, connected to a single piece of technology, filled with different artificial intelligence programs that act as helpers and interactive beings.
The school bell rings. As Shiroshi Mitsuba packs up her bag, she glances at the question on her paper with a slight frown, before placing it in her bag as well. She walks out of the door, heading home.
[Do you believe that the implementation of virtual reality has led to a better quality of life?]
What is a 'better quality of life', anyway?
The street lights are bright as she walks home, turning on as the sky turns purple slowly. It is almost twilight, and Mitsuba finds herself unnaturally tired.
[According to SOL Corporation, Link VRAINS is a network that acts as a natural extension of the internet, which turns the internet into an endless world around us while we're there. We can be anything, we can do anything. I agree that it has led to a better quality of life.]
She carries on walking, even as she types the essay on her phone.
[I am not someone who has any experience with the time before VRAINS. VRAINS was built and implemented when I was a child, and hence, I have grown up with it all around me.] A car zooms by, and she stops to push her hair back into the appropriate position. [You could say that I know nothing about the world before. However, in a world such as ours, where society has been perfected, where most are employed in positions that entwine themselves further and further with technology, many people toil away at dull jobs in a dull life. There are many people who constantly wish for something more. People can survive, of course, but as Maslow's hierarchy of needs has shown us, it is fundamentally not enough for humans to simply survive. VRAINS is a system that shows how far human society has come from the bottom of the pyramid, how far we have come from being animals. It meets every higher-level need and yet absolutely none of the ones below.]
There is a traffic light, and Mitsuba pauses to cross it for a moment before she goes back to typing, passing by many other people who are doing the same. It is rare to make eye contact with strangers in public nowadays.
[It's a piece of technology that could not have been invented had we not already fulfilled every other need we could have. However, it does not lack its risks. VRAINS is as immersive as it is because our minds are converted into data, and physical damage in VR translates into mental damage in real life. Furthermore, we create a double-edged blade. Problems haunting the internet that we could once escape from now become tangible nightmares. We create a platform where we can be hurt by the monsters that hide behind anonymity. But—I believe that it has also created an easier way to destroy these problems. By giving something form, you give it mortality.]
Her fingers dance quickly, making tapping sounds across the screen.
[So, this leads to a world where 'strength' is even more powerful than ever. The strong, the perseverant, they can solve their problems easily. It encourages people to stand up and fight for themselves and for what they believe in, even giving them the tools and platform to do so. So, isn't that a 'better quality of life'? We improve ourselves. And we can always be the best version of ourselves, the person that we wish to be.]
Mitsuba looks upwards.
The sky is so polluted here.
It never was, back in the world I lived in.
She was never strong, not even before she came to this world. She was weak, she conformed, she let herself break down so that she could be accepted in society.
Mitsuba places a hand over her heart for a moment, soothing herself for a moment before she carries on walking forward.
[But I worry. There have been rumours lately, about a cyber-terrorist group that has been attacking people in VRAINS. I worry that the unknown dangers have truly taken a tangible form. But I hope that everyone can be kept safe—as childish as it may be, I hope that there is a hero that will rise up to protect us all in VRAINS, no matter what.]
Some days, I forget that I was not always Shiroshi Mitsuba.
There is, Mitsuba reflects as she unlocks her door, exactly one moment that changed her life forever. The people close to her know that this is the case, but what they don't know is that they are wrong about exactly which moment it was.
The whole world was shaken ten years ago when the Lost Incident was uncovered, and six traumatised children were saved from the facility they were in. Eleven scientists were arrested with many still on the loose. Most people said that it served as a cautionary tale for scientists to not experiment unethically, though when Mitsuba searched that up, she thought that it was a bit of an unfeeling thing for them to say.
After all, the real lesson should probably have been that one should not torture children. Mitsuba personally thinks that it's a very obvious lesson that should not have needed to be taught.
Four years after the Lost Incident, the Mark-II project took place. Its name was never publicised and no one knows what the purpose of it was. Again, six children were kidnapped.
Shiroshi Mitsuba was one of those children. Three months after being kidnapped, she was found and the world breathed a sigh of relief that the children looked relatively unharmed, after the arrested scientist in charge of the Mark-II project had claimed that the children had all been failures and disposed of. Not even they were cruel enough to straight-up murder children, the public had said. At least that is a line not crossed.
Mitsuba doesn't know about what might have happened to the other children, but she at least knows the truth.
Shiroshi Mitsuba died in that facility. And then some god, some being above that she knows nothing about placed her in Shiroshi Mitsuba's body, to let her live on.
She is not Shiroshi Mitsuba, even if she is in the girl's body.
If it weren't for the intervention of whatever god exists in this universe, she would have died in her own world and a dead body would have been found in the facility. The world would have continued on as it was.
She wonders why, sometimes.
"You're home late," her mother says. "Your dinner is in the fridge."
"Thank you," she says. She sees the care, the worry, the love. She wonders if her mother would still care this much if she knew that her daughter was long dead and that Mitsuba's slight detachment wasn't because she was traumatised by the Mark-II project (no, her trauma comes from somewhere else, somewhere dark in her past that she fears to reach) but because she didn't know how to talk to her.
She is nothing but a fraud.
She constantly gets hit by memories of her life before she came to this world, a new world and a new life.
No matter the purpose, she doesn't want to waste this chance.
"Have you heard about the Knights of Hanoi?"
The school is buzzing, the rumour spreading like wildfire. Cyber terrorists. Hackers. Player killers. Putting people in the hospital. Hanoi, Hanoi, Hanoi. The word continues being repeated.
She turns to her best friend. Aonami Kaiyō is nothing like her. If Mitsuba is pale and light-haired and full of light colours that don't stand out, Kaiyō is striking, tanned dark with midnight blue hair and lovely cobalt eyes. The other girl is extroverted where Mitsuba sticks to herself, loud when Kaiyō is quiet. But she has a good heart.
"All day," she says. "They say people are being attacked online more now."
"That's not going to stop you from going online though, is it?"
Mitsuba smiles, and Kaiyō laughs. No, it's not.
They love being online far too much for that.
She bumps into a boy with blue and pink hair, and both of them fall to the ground. His cards spill across the ground, and she winces. "Sorry." She helps the boy pick up his cards, before passing them back to him. "I should have watched where I was going."
He simply nods, before he carries on walking. Kaiyō pokes her in the side. "Yeah, you totally should have." It's a very familiar action. "You didn't recognise him?"
"Should I have?"
"He's the loner from Zaizen-san's class. Fujiki Yusaku, I think."
"You know everyone," she says.
"Only some people," her best friend says. "And my whole thing is that I like to know everything, anyway." She raises an eyebrow. "Are you going into VRAINS tonight?"
"I am," she says. "Watch out for me, will you?"
"I always watch you."
She is the girl with three faces.
The girl who died in her own world.
The girl who she has become.
But most importantly…
She is also the girl who chose to become an idol, who dances in VRAINS and brings smiles to people's faces.
What can be better than that?
"Into the VRAINS!"
Her mind is transported into virtual reality before she opens her eyes. Everything about her VRAINS avatar is just a bit darker, more noticeable. Her (usually) white hair is honey gold and tied in a pair of pigtails. Her eyes have turned from silver to blue. She's in a pretty white dress with dark grey highlights and feathers decorating it.
In a way, she's honouring someone very precious to her with this. Someone that is gone forever.
Shiroshi Mitsuba becomes Sable Luna.
Sable Luna is the Number 4 Charisma Duelist in Link VRAINS. She has to admit that she never once thought that she would be an idol, but…
That was just how things had turned out.
The virtual reality world is extremely blue, and Sable Luna has no clue who on the graphics team was smoking weed when they decided on this aesthetic. But there's nothing much she can do about it, obviously.
She sees Blue Angel and Go in the distance, but despite Blue Angel glancing over at her for a moment, she decides not to fly over and join them. Instead, she sits on the side of the building, looking over the horizon.
She hears the sound of something skidding and turns to see Blue Angel smiling at her as she gets off the Duel Board. "You're being quite antisocial today, Luna."
"That's everyday," she says quietly. "It's why people like me." The idol chuckles.
"True, but… is something bothering you?"
Sable Luna shakes her head. "I'm fine." Go comes over as well. "I wanted to duel today, but I'm also a bit tired."
"Hah!" Go slaps her on the back, probably as a form of encouragement. It ends up nearly knocking her over the edge, though she holds on as much as she can. "You're always tired, Sable Luna. It's no wonder that they call you the Sleeping Seraphim of Link VRAINS."
That's not a very flattering name…
"Anyway," she says, "I just came here to chill, honestly—"
Something explodes in the distance.
She stares at it, slightly dumbfounded. Then, she sees a group of duelists with the same avatar zooming out, with people screaming and running away. She recognises them from the pictures that she's seen on the internet.
Knights of Hanoi.
She makes her decision, and steps forward.
"You can't be planning on flying down there!" Blue Angel says.
Sable Luna holds out her hand. A Duel Board appears.
There are people being hurt down there, people who have been hurt. Innocents. Just like her back in her world. Just like Shiroshi Mitsuba was before she died.
She can't stand by and do nothing.
"You don't know my past, Blue Angel," she says. The words ring hollow to her, full of multiple unsaid meanings that go misunderstood.
She dives down.
Why are there so many Knights here though?
As though to answer her, a figure zooms by.
"Come back here, Playmaker!" Another Knight of Hanoi gives chase with a furious shout.
Oh, alright then.
(She's learned to suspend her sense of disbelief.)
She sees a few more coming over, and she zooms in the way of one, flicking out her hand. One of the additions that Kaiyō gave to her avatar activates, a burst of light knocking the Knight of Hanoi off balance, causing him to flail like a chicken on fire for a while, breaking away from the pack of other Knights, who look shocked at her presence. The knight, after a few moments, calms down, now resembling a slightly more composed chicken. (She doesn't like chickens, she never has. Wait, right, she should be saying—)
"Let's duel," she says with a wink.
"Get out of my way! Playmaker is our only target!"
"I don't think so," Sable Luna says, still as calm as she can currently be. (Not fully. She still can't be fully calm when it comes to situations like this.) "If you want to get to whoever your target is, defeat me first."
"Whoever my target—" The Knight of Hanoi lets out a snarl. "You know nothing!"
"Ok," she says. "I'm still not letting you through."
"Fine!" He faces off against her, and they both say the same thing at the same time—though his words are a loud shout, and hers are serene tiredness.
Let's get this over with.
I don't like doing things like this.
Come on, sleeping seraphims. Let's get down to business.
Sable Luna: 4000LP
Knight of Hanoi: 4000LP
"I'm starting," Sable Luna says, scanning her hand. Hmm… decent. "I'm going to Normal Summon Spirit of the Fall Wind (4*/1800/900/WIND/Fairy/Effect) from my hand!" In front of her, a fairy about half her height appears, darting around her as it gives an impish smile, green hair spreading out in the wind. Her hair is honestly improbably straight, but whatever. It's a fairy. Magic. That's the answer to everything.
"I've never heard of that card."
"So I see," Sable Luna says, in the most accepting and calm tone possible, in a way that did not sound sarcastic in the least. (Ok, it kind of did, but saying those words without a trace of sarcasm was impossible.) "When Spirit of the Fall Wind is Normal Summoned, I can add a Flip Monster to my hand. So I'll add Synthetic Seraphim - Winged Boots (3*/1700/1000/LIGHT/Machine/Flip/Effect) to my hand." She placed it between two of the cards in her hand.
Synthetic Seraphim - Winged Boots
FLIP: Special Summon 1 "Synthetic Seraphim" monster from the Deck in facedown Defence Position. Once per turn, you can activate this effect: This card becomes a Fairy monster until the End Phase.
"I'll set three cards facedown," she says. "Turn end. Over to you."
"Draw!" The Knight of Hanoi declares. "I'll activate the Spell, Unexpected Dai! Since I control no monsters, I can Special Summon a Normal Monster from the deck! Come, Mystery Shell Dragon!" (4*/2000/0/DARK/Wyrm) A dark dragon appears, with green and blue light shining in the places where its eyes should be. Where they definitely are not. Also, apparently it's a wyrm and not a dragon. What exactly is the difference here? "Next, I will activate Foolish Burial to send Cracking Dragon (8*/3000/0/DARK/Dragon/Effect) to the graveyard!"
"I'll activate Monster Reborn to bring it back!"
A gigantic green and black dragon appears in front of her, and Sable Luna folds her arms.
"Everyone calls you the Sleeping Seraphim, right? Well then, you should have stayed at rest, because now I'm going to be putting you back to sleep myself!"
If this was an anime, Sable Luna thinks, this would be the moment when cricket chirps filled the silence. Seeing as obviously, that's not possible here, it's just an awkward silence. Finally, she says, "you want a replay on that?"
"Can't think of a better line," the Knight admits, breaking character, before he goes back to giving her a threatening look again. "I'm having Cracking Dragon attack your monster!"
"I will activate my set cards, Synthetic Seraphim, and chain the Counter Trap, Negate Attack! I'll end your Battle Phase!" She pauses. "Oh, and I guess I negate your attack too, but that part is pretty self-explanatory, I think?" She sighs. "Oh, and since I activated a Counter Trap, Synthetic Seraphim will give me a Synthetic Seraphim Token!" (1*/300/300/LIGHT/Fairy) A small white orb appears in front of her, flying around her.
The Knight of Hanoi speaks up, though it's more of a shout at this point. He seems kind of agitated. "Cracking Dragon will reduce your monster's attack points by two hundred for each of its Levels and deal you damage equal to the amount reduced!"
She shrugs. "Alright."
It's not a lot of damage anyway. (Synthetic Seraphim Token: 300 - 200 = 100ATK)
Sable Luna: 4000 - 200 = 3800LP
"I'll end my turn!"
"Draw," she says. "I will Normal Summon Synthetic Seraphim Halo!" (3*/600/1200/ LIGHT/Fairy/Effect) On the field, a silvery ring appears, white wings emerging from its sides, though the wings are filled with metallic blades rather than feathers. In the centre of the ring, a silver orb of light glows dimly, and the ring itself has many swirls crossing across it and glowing with a slightly pastel blue light.
Synthetic Seraphim Halo
Once per turn, you can activate this effect: This card becomes a Machine monster until the End Phase. If this card is Normal Summoned: You can Set a "Synthetic Seraphim" card from your Deck.
"I'll then activate Halo's effect. When Normal Summoned, I can set a "Synthetic Seraphim" card from my deck to my field!"
"I will chain Cracking Dragon's effect!"
Sable Luna sighs. (Synthetic Seraphim Halo: 600 - 200 x 3 = 0ATK)
That's getting kind of annoying at this point…
Sable Luna: 3800 - 200 x 3 = 3200LP
"I'll set a monster to my field. Next, I will activate my set Synthetic Seraphim Worktable."
Synthetic Seraphim Worktable
You can flip this card facedown: Target 1 Set card on the field, flip it face-up. (If it is a monster, change it to face-up Attack Position. Flip Effects are applied. If the flipped card is a Spell/Trap that meets its activation conditions, activate it. Otherwise, send it to the GY.) You can only activate this effect of "Synthetic Seraphim Worktable" once per turn. If you control at least 1 Fairy "Synthetic Seraphim" monster and 1 Machine "Synthetic Seraphim" monster: You can send this card to the GY; Special Summon 1 Level 7 or higher Fairy or Machine monster from your Deck.
"And now, with its effect, I will flip it facedown to flip up another Set card on the field, like my set monster! So appear now, Synthetic Seraphim Wings!"
Synthetic Seraphim Wings
Once per turn, you can activate this effect: this card becomes a Machine monster until the End Phase. If a card on your field is flipped face-up: You can Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn: You can flip 1 card on the field facedown, or tribute 1 "Synthetic Seraphim" monster you control; Set 1 "Synthetic Seraphim" card from your Deck, except "Synthetic Seraphim Wings".
A strange white harness appears before it gives off a sharp burst of light. When the light clears, metal shaped in feathers has appeared, connected to the sides of the harness, forming the appearance of large wings.
She always liked these cards, when she found them in her room after she came back from the incident. She doesn't know if the real Shiroshi Mitsuba ever used these cards, or if the same divine intervention that saved 'her' life placed them there specifically for the girl who would replace her. She remembers nothing.
Synthetic Seraphim. Angels that are made, angels of machine and metal that still carry their own holy glow.
She guesses that as someone who has died and come back to life, as a girl living in a body that seems to have been made for her but belongs to someone else…
It feels fitting that she should use these cards.
"Hey," she says mildly. "Read your own card. My monster was set and flipped face-up. It loses nothing. Wings will activate its effect. By either flipping facedown or tributing a "Synthetic Seraphim" monster that I control, I can Set another "Synthetic Seraphim" monster from my deck. I'll tribute my Token." Another set card appears in front of her.
"So, what is your plan now? Link Summoning? Obviously, you can't bring out any high Level monsters or I'll take them down along with your life points!"
She thinks about it, before she shrugs. "Then I'll bring out a monster without a Level," she says.
"Knew it! So you're Link Summoning?"
"This is just insulting," she says, voice still just as mild. The Knight frowns.
"I know that some people have never seen me duel, but even so, I'm surprised that you don't know who my main go-to monster is," she says. "I guess it's not what most would think of first though. Using the Level 3 Synthetic Seraphim Halo and the Level 3 Synthetic Seraphim Wings, I will build the Overlay Network!" The duo of monsters turn into silvery light, vanishing into a portal that opens into the sky.
"Huh? Xyz Summoning?"
"Thanks for finally getting it," she says, smiling. "Fast as the speed of light, descend! Xyz Summon! Rank 3! Synthetic Seraphim Speed Saint - Leitnin!" (R3/1800/100/LIGHT/Fairy/Xyz/Effect) (OU:2)
Synthetic Seraphim Speed Saint - Leitnin
2 Level 3 LIGHT monsters
If a monster you control attacks or is attacked by an opponent's monster: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; that attack becomes a direct attack, and after damage calculation, the monster your opponent controls which originally attacked or was attacked is destroyed. If a direct attack is declared while this card is on the field: After damage calculation, this card's ATK doubles until the End Phase of the turn after this effect is activated. You can only activate each effect of "Synthetic Seraphim Speed Saint - Leitnin" once per turn.
On the area that they are riding in, a bolt of lightning strikes, before a mechanical angel appears, wearing the harness with the long wings that made up… well, Wings earlier, and with electricity running around its mechanical shell. Its legs are covered by winged mechanical boots, and it runs around her, letting out a buzzing sound, bolts shooting out around it.
"Next," she says, "I will have Leitnin attack your monster!" She declares.
"When a monster I control attacks or is attacked by an opponent's monster, I can detach an Overlay Unit from Leitnin to turn the attack into a direct attack!" (Synthetic Seraphim Speed Saint - Leitnin: OU:2 - 1 = OU:1) A bolt of lightning shoots out, striking the wall as the Knight of Hanoi lets out a yelp. "Lightning Bypass!"
Knight of Hanoi: 4000 - 1800 = 2200LP
"And then," she says, "after damage calculation, Leitnin's attack is doubled until the End Phase of the next turn, and the monster it would originally have battled is destroyed!" Cracking Dragon disintegrates right in front of them, and the Knight of Hanoi lets out a surprised gasp. (Synthetic Seraphim Speed Saint - Leitnin: 1800 x 2 = 3600ATK)
Sable Luna holds up a finger. "And since your monster was wiped out, you're wide open. Spirit of the Fall Wind attacks you directly."
The wind blows the man back again, and she smiles.
Knight of Hanoi: 2200 - 1800 = 400LP
Honestly speaking, this next Spell is not a good one. It's just one that she runs because it's an easy finish for her, if Leitnin breaks through her opponent's shields.
"Poison of the Old Man!" (Spell/Quickplay) She declares. "I can choose between two effects." She smiles. "I'll deal you eight hundred damage!"
Knight of Hanoi: 400 - 800 = 0LP
She sighs, taking a step back.
That was a short duel, and quite easy for her, but…
Even if she defeats him, this won't stop.
She gets on her Duel Board and rides upwards, flying towards the sounds of explosions in the distance. She sees the boy from earlier riding on the currents. Playmaker, right? She sees Blue Angel and Go still watching.
Who is he?
Why are the Knights of Hanoi after him?
[Sable Luna!] She hears Kaiyō call in her ear. [Get out of there! Playmaker is handling things well enough, and SOL has its bounty hunters on their way too. We don't want to be involved with that.]
She sighs. "Heard and acknowledged," she says. "Getting out of here."
She zooms away.
I guess it's true.
VRAINS really did make the monsters of our world real.
[So, are you planning on figuring out who Playmaker is?]
[Already on it.] Kaiyō's message reads. [Guy's got firewalls stronger than any I've ever seen though.]
[I'm sure you'll break through them soon. You're the best programmer I know, after all.]
It's true. Kaiyō's always been unnaturally good at coding and programming. Not so much for hacking—she can build code well, but breaking it down, especially VRAINS code, is something that she's less apt at, to say the least.
[Teehee, you flatter me! ;3 Good to know that you hold me so highly in your esteem though.]
She laughs as she lies back in her bed.
God, I'm tired.
At least she got that duel that she wanted, right?
Everything's fine. And as long as she doesn't involve herself further, she'll be fine.
"Maybe I should ask Kaiyō about what else I can do tomorrow," she says aloud.
"Yup! I agree!" The tiny bird sitting on her duel disk says.
"Ok, that's fine then."
"Wait, who are you?" Mitsuba yelps, and tosses a shoe at the bird. The shoe goes through the bird, who is beaming at her mischievously.
"Nice to meet you, Sable Luna!" The bird chirps. "We have quite a bit to talk about, but to sum it up? I'm here because SOL wants to use me, and I don't wanna let them! So let me stay here a bit longer, alright?"
Mitsuba blinks slowly. "Ok," she says slowly. "Explain the long version to me."
So, hi everyone! Guess who got a ton of writer's block while wrangling Chapter 15 of their other story and decided to indulge one of their other plot bunnies while they were doing so? So yes, this is a "VRAINS OC Fic", though I hope that it was a good read for you guys anyway.
So, for the short form of it? This story combines both the 'OC from our world' and the 'OC being connected to some nebulous incident' shtick that so many stories use. It may seem a bit confusing now, but I swear that I know what I'm doing, and that this isn't just going to be a rehash of VRAINS' plot. I fully intend for them to diverge at a very specific point. *loud laughter*
Shiroshi Mitsuba is a girl that died in our world and reincarnated in the body of the character called 'Shiroshi Mitsuba'. In other words, that is not her real name, but it is her name in that world. The original Shiroshi Mitsuba died in a project called the Mark-II Project when she was 12 (Yusaku being 11 at the time.)
The Synthetic Seraphims are an OC Archetype built around manipulating the face-up/facedown nature of cards, and are primarily LIGHT, with half as Fairies and half as Machines. Most of their non-monster support are Counter Traps that work with the original card "Synthetic Seraphim".
So, some notes: Firstly, most of the OCs will be using original decks, whose effects will be listed out in text so that you don't have to be like "what is this thing" all the way until the end of the fic. Secondly, the names are listed in Japanese order (last name, first name), but characters refer to themselves and other characters with first names in narration, even if they use last names in dialogue. Thirdly, I'm going to say this now: The Mark-II Project is a very different thing from the Lost Incident.
For now, our main OC characters will be Shiroshi Mitsuba (白使•光羽) and Aonami Kaiyō (青波•海洋), though there will be a few more in the future. Well, assuming that I can break through my block on Dragons' Awakening first, because I want to catch that one up to a certain chapter before I continue working on any of the other stories I want to make.
Also: the cover images I used for the story are meant to show both Mitsuba and Sable Luna, but they are not mine, they come from certain websites that can't be displayed for some reason, so uh delete the spaces/underscores between the website link to find it. Also, for Mitsuba, I had to get it from the image file because this website likes to mess up links. If you all want the original website, just leave me a PM or review I guess.
(For Mitsuba) htt_ps:/i._pinimg.c_om/orig_inals/5c/32/7e/5c327ee36e90281b6803409bada29150._pn_g
(For Sable Luna, albeit with less flowers and more feathers, but this was the best I could find) www. pinterest. ca/pin/435864070161956777/
Edit: Thanks to Romadrox8975 for telling me about the image problem. I'll see if I can do anything about it, but I think the links are fixed, at least.
Still though, if you read this far, thanks for doing that! :D Hope you enjoyed. I'd appreciate feedback, but honestly, just you all taking the time to read it is already really great. Have a good day :D
- Blaise :3