I originally wrote this in June 2018. This was a The Adventure Zone au of GX, based on the Balance arc. I wasn't really going anywhere with this, I just wanted to write out these scenes, but this was fun and I enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy it as well!
A large eye blinked open in the air, staring down at them. And from that eye, a voice projected. The eye itself didn't seem to speak; rather, it seemed to project its voice into their minds.
"Are you afraid?" it asked, it's the pitch of its voice high, almost child-like.
"Like, in general?" Jaden asked, shrugging. "Or…"
"No," Axel answered immediately.
"Well, I mean, isn't everyone afraid sometimes?" Chazz asked with a sneer. "Like, afraid of forgetting your deck at home, or losing a duel…"
The eye blinked slowly. "You do not know how to be afraid," it declared.
"Probably not," Jaden agreed.
"Well, if you're going to just decide that for us," Chazz muttered, rolling his eyes.
Images, memories of people projected into their minds. And with each person, the eye spoke their name. "Viper. Marcel." With each name, the voice was coated in static, and with each name the static grew, leaving the names indecipherable after only a couple. The images in their minds resembled a television with no signal more and more, leaving the faces unrecognizable. Axel went to cover his ears, only to realize it did nothing to escape from the static. And then the images were gone, the eye stopped talking, and the static was gone.
"This is the true nature of man," the eye declared. "The want, the hunger, it consumes everything it touches. It cannot be stopped. It's the end of everything."
And the eye blinked and faded into the darkness around them.
When Jaden woke and looked himself in the mirror, he didn't recognize the person staring back at him. The dark, sharp armor wasn't a good look for him, he he took it off pretty quickly. But more than that, it was the anger in his eyes, the guilt settling in his gut, and an overwhelming fear of himself, of the damage he'd caused and his failure to protect thr people he cared about
But…there was no damage, and no one was hurt, not that he could remember.
He was in a castle surrounded by strangers, and it all only made him feel worse, so he left, hoping to see if he could find any of his friends and figure out where they are.
Chazz found himself leaning against a dead tree, next to the biggest duck he had ever seen. The first feeling that came to him was anger, rage over being tossed aside for someone else, furious that he apparently wasn't good enough to save.
He had no idea where it came from.
No one else he recognized was anywhere to be seen. Did he get dumped off while everyone else went somewhere else? On some lame hike or something. It wouldn't surprise him. No wonder he didn't go with them. The Chazz didn't hike, he rode in style. Not that he'd call this duck 'style', but, better than nothing. Sometimes it wasn't about how something appeared on the surface.
Chazz clambered onto the duck's back and set off on his search.
Axel blinked a few times, to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Then, calmly, he assessed the situation.
Wherever he was, it was dark and desolated. He had 't spent much time at Duel Academy, but didn't remember it being like this. He had to be somewhere else, then. Wasn't he supposed to meet with Professor Viper soon? But the professor was nowhere to be seen. He was on his own, just him and his cards.
He couldn't be completely alone, though. If he went far enough, he was bound to run into someone who knew more than he did. From there, he could put the pieces together and plan accordingly.
It didn't take long for Jaden, Chazz, and Axel to run into each other, which was an interesting trio to be certain. But it was clear after that that Jaden wasn't well. He was clearly fatigued and his face was warm. He needed rest. And, in a stroke of luck, the group found Bastion soon after. Bastion had already found some of their other friends, who were gathered at a safe spot where Jaden could take some time to rest.
"When we're all back on our feet, and we've found Atticus and Syrus, we can start forming a plan," Bastion told them. "There's just one problem at the moment."
Bastion lead the trio towards the edge of their camp, where a familiar face was waiting. Jaden started to lift a hand in greeting, but he was interrupted.
"Hello, there!" Jim called out. "It's nice to meet you all. You can call me Jim. And this here's Shirley!" Jim turned around just enough to show off the crocodile strapped to his back.
Jaden, Chazz, and Axel each exchanged looks, before silently begging Bastion for some explanation as to why their good friend was treating them like strangers.
Bastion shrugged, his face downcast. "It seems some of us are missing more memories than others."
Yubel hissed in pain, Jesse's face staring back at her in the water's reflection as she wrapped her hands around her head.
What was she doing? Where was she? What was…going on here? Her head throbbed as memories began to escape her. The face she currently wore, still staring back at her, belonged to a stranger. Her banishment in the satellite became forgotten. And her very best friend, the one she loved…
"Jaden," Yubel whispered, because if she didn't say it aloud, well, she was worried she would forget that, too. She couldn't…she couldn't forget Jaden. She couldn't forget the person she gave her heart to, she gave her life for. But…his face, she couldn't remember his face. She couldn't remember what he looked like. That was impossible, how could she forget that? But…even Jaden was beginning to escape her mind. Soon, she would have nothing. There would be nothing.
Except her possession of this boy, some stranger she knew nothing about. Yet something about him just…irritated her. Why had she taken his body in the first place? She couldn't stand it anymore. She expelled herself from him, allowing his soul to return to his body from the dragon that had been safeguarding it. And as she did so, something released its hold on her.
She didn't have the energy to regain her true form like this. She could move around freely, but all she could show to the world around her was a single eye. The rest of her remained incorporeal. As if she weren't there.
Like this, the memories hit her again all at once. She could remember it all again. And, for the first time in far too long, she could think clearly again.
After some discussion, it was clear where most of the group's memories ended.
Their third year at Duel Academy had started. The top duelists from each of Duel Academy's other branches had come to the main branch, and Professor Viper had started the Survival Duels. After that, things started to get foggy, and no one could remember anything clearly.
Though, of course, not everyone's memories matched up completely. Zane, of course, didn't remember that since he hadn't been in Duel Academy at the time, but after going over Zane's memories and making comparisons, everyone concluded that what Zane could remember ended more recently than anyone else. Jim couldn't even remember the school year starting. Last he knew, he'd been in Australia, digging for fossils with Shirley. As for Jaden…
"I remember all that, too," Jaden said. "But all of last is just a blur. All I can remember…I think Zane showed up for awhile, but that's about it."
"Well, that part's right," Syrus confirmed. "Zane did come back to Duel Academy."
"That's it?" Aster leaned forward, frowning. "You don't even remember dueling me? We dueled, like, three times, dude!"
"Sorry, man." Jaden shook his head. "I'll be honest, I barely remember you at all."
Aster snorted, rolling his eyes. "Good to see I made a lasting impression."
"We should see if we can find a way out," Alexis decided. "I don't know why we're here, but I'd rather go back to school. This place gives me the creeps."
"I'll second that," Jaden agreed. "Ever since we got here, I keep getting these throbbing headaches. I don't know why, but I really don't want to be here."
Now, separated from any vessel, and free from any other influence, Yubel could see the past for what it really had been.
She'd gone too far, and Jaden only wanted her to help, in the same way he was helping his other cards. She'd been weak. She'd allowed the Light of Destruction to warp her perception and take control. Now, for some reason, the Light had voluntarily released its hold on her.
In front of her, Jesse Anderson slowly opened his eyes, gaining the use of his body again. He looked down. When Yubel expelled herself, it looked like she'd forced him to drop some of his cards. He reached out to pick them up. The Light that had released Yubel hovered in the air above him.
Jesse reached to touch the card on top of the dropped cards, which had landed faced up: Rainbow Dragon.
The Light acted fast, before Yubel could react.
Light flowed into Rainbow Dragon's card, engulfing it in brightness as Jesse's fingers brushed against it. Jesse got a hold on his dropped cards and picked them up. He shuffled them back Into his deck and turned to face Yubel. Yubel stiffened when she saw it.
His soul, his entire being, was filled with light, purging the darkness she had latched onto before. The Light of Destruction had taken control, possessed Jesse Anderson, through Rainbow Dragon.
As he looked at her, the look on his face was far more cruel than any expression that belonged there.
"Your usefulness has ended," Jesse declared. He barely sounded like himself anymore; his southern accent was gone, and his words were quiet and slow. All that was left of him were his cards and his ability to see duel spirits; it's what allowed the light to see Yubel, even while she held no physical form. "For a time, your actions aided the destruction of this world. But your will to strengthen Darkness was too strong. It won't do for the wielder of Gentle Darkness to gain power and control. So your services are no longer required."
"I don't need you, either," Yubel hissed. "Jaden and I will stop you together, and we'll fix all the damage I caused."
Jesse laughed. "Have you already forgotten the last thing you were forced to do before you were released? Your power over memories are quite useful. No one can remember you or this boy. No one can remember where they are or why they're here. The wielder may be immune to Light, but never to his guardian. With how strongly entwined you are to his destiny, he may have forgotten even more than that."
Yubel stared down at her hands. Jaden couldn't remember her. But, then, that meant he couldn't hate her now, either. As she was, she wasn't strong enough to restore everyone's memories. She was far too weak. But now, she might be able to get Jaden on her side again, if only for long enough to fix this mess.
"That won't stop me," Yubel said. "I won't give up."
"I didn't get any of that," Axel said, staring where the eye had once been. Professor Viper? What had happened to Professor Viper?
"It was really spooky, though," Jaden admitted.
"Yeah, it was a little spooky," Axel agreed.
"For like, a second, I didn't know what was going on," Chazz said, "but yeah, that was pretty good. That was pretty spooky."
Soon after that, they met up with the rest of the gang. They'd split off into groups- Zane, Atticus, and Aster had stuck together, while Bastion, Alexis, Syrus, and Jim made a second group. Chazz, Axel, and Jaden were the third.
"Please tell me someone got a lead," Zane muttered as everyone sat down to rest.
"Yeah, because small spoiler, we got nothing," Atticus added.
"Well…" Jaden shrugged. "Unless a big ol' spooky eye telling us to be afraid of something counts as a lead, we didn't really find anything either."
"A big-" Bastion cut himself off, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I think that counts as a lead, yes, Jaden. Please, you three, tell us everything that happened."