I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh! GX or anything created by Kazuki Takahashi. This work of fiction is just for fun.
"Mental talk with Duel Spirits"
. . . - flashbacks/ what if's?
Author's Note: Hey, guys! It's been a while... sorry. Had a lot of stuff going on. Passed my finals, took a much needed vacation, and then just life stuff happened. I'll be starting a new job soon with longer hours, so that probably will make it so I publish one chapter every 1.5-2 months. I'll still try for once a month, but no promises.
Anyways, this marks the halfway point of this story. We'll be delving into the Shadow Riders arc next time, and I'm super excited!
See ya at the bottom!
It was almost time. In just a few days Duel Academy will face North Academy to decide which one produces the better duelists.
And currently up in the cruel, icy north, where North Academy sat, despite the raging thunderstorm, the students' excitement and resolve could still be felt as they all gathered in front of a tall formation in the middle of their walled off school, eagerly looking upward where a boy with spiky black hair and clad in a black duster coat stood.
An old man approached him, holding a deck of Duel Monsters cards in his hands. The man wore glasses, was balding and had a five-o'clock shadow. This was North Academy's Chancellor, Foster.
"Students of North Academy!" The Chancellor raised his arms high. "I present to you our school's greatest duelist who'll face off against our rivals!" He cried as the students below began cheering. "And now, I present to him our most powerful cards!" Foster walked forward and passed the cards to the boy. "With them, you will triumph! You will… Chazz it up!"
"Chazz it up, Chazz it up, Chazz it up!" The students chanted below.
"Duel Academy is toast!" The boy lifted his arm up as a crash of lightning illuminated his smirk. 'Chazz is back!' He thought as he laughed; listening to the chanting echoing into the night.
And today was the day. The duel would begin in a few hours, all classes were canceled for the day, and everyone on Academy Island was ready to witness their star duelist take on whoever North had chosen to represent them.
"Why did Sheppard call us to his office?" Jaden wondered aloud, hands lazily behind his head. "The duel isn't until the afternoon."
"If it was just you, I'd guess it would be to discuss how the day will proceed." Erina said besides him as they walked the empty halls of the Academy. "But he called me as well, so I have no clue." She admitted. It was weird though. They didn't do anything to get them in trouble this time… as far as she could remember.
Both teens were doing their own things in their respective dorms when Chancellor Sheppard called them, stating that there was something important to be discussed, and they should come immediately.
"Well, then, I'd suggest you don't keep the man waiting." Yubel said, urging them to pick up the pace as she floated behind the teens.
"Geez, what's gotten into you today?" Jaden groaned in frustration, running his hands down his face. "You've been nagging me all morning to get a move on! What's the big deal?" He complained.
"You've gotten lazy in the last couple of weeks." She stated bluntly. "I'm just making sure you don't get even lazier."
Jaden just rolled his eyes while Erina was silently giggling next to him. She'll never get bored watching Yubel annoy Jaden with her motherly concerns.
"So, how's it feel to be the most hated guy on campus?" The bluenette asked with a hint of amusement as they rounded the corner.
"Eh, it's whatever," Jaden just shrugged indifferently. "I tell them to mind their business if they bug me, and if they don't, Yubel sends a chill down their spine that gets them runnin'."
"I still think a small shock through their brains would work better." The Spirit added her opinion, clicking with her fingers.
"Yubel…" He began.
"Yes, yes, I know," she sighed, disappointed that Jaden had denied her this small pleasure. "No fun for me at the expense of others' well-being. You're no fun."
"That's a bummer," Erina chuckled, but gave him a sympathetic look. "Why is it that most guys just can't accept it when they don't get what they want…? None of the girls are harassing Alexis about this. Even the super jealous ones have accepted it and are keeping quiet." She said in exasperation as they finally reached the Chancellor's office.
Both missed the smirk on Yubel's face as she disappeared when Jaden knocked on the door.
They heard Sheppard call them in before the doors opened, allowing them to enter. "So, Chancellor Sheppard, what's so important you-" Both he and Erina froze mid step as the doors closed behind them, staring wide-eyed in shock at what was in front of them.
Chancellor Sheppard chuckled, sitting behind his desk with a big smile on his face. "Ah, you're finally here."
But, it wasn't he that elicited this reaction from the teens. It was the other person in the room. All they could see were a few tufts of black hair with magenta tips sticking above one of the high leather chairs in front of the desk, but they were unmistakable. Only one person on the planet had hair like that.
"Wow, not even a step more." The man in the chair said, the smile heard in his voice, as he stood up and turned around. "Hey, kids." He greeted them warmly, chuckling slightly as he saw the looks on their faces.
"Dad!" Jaden exclaimed, sounding like an excited child, as he rushed and hugged his father, almost toppling him over.
"Whoa," Yugi stumbled back a step as he returned the hug. "Hey, kiddo, long time no see!"
Jaden didn't say anything, he just kept hugging him, elated by the surprise visit.
Yugi glanced to the side, noticing that Erina looked antsy. He extended one of his arms, knowing what she was waiting for. "There's room for one more, you know?" He smiled when the bluenette's eyes brightened as she jumped in, joining the hug.
"I've missed you kids so much." He said with a big smile on his face. "It's honestly not the same without you back home." He added as they separated.
Both teens smiled; they might not show it, but they were feeling a bit homesick lately, so they couldn't help but feel overjoyed by the surprise.
"Dad, what are you doing here?" Jaden asked the top question on their minds, still grinning like an idiot.
"What do you think?" Yugi raised an eyebrow and smiled. "To watch you duel today, of course!"
"You'll be watching me?" It seemed impossible, but Jaden's grin got even bigger.
His father nodded. "You didn't think I'd miss your first official match, did you?"
"No, I guess not." The teen chuckled.
"So, uncle Yugi, where's my grumpy old man at?" Erina asked. It was obvious that he's here too. Otherwise, how would Jaden's dad get to the island easily?
"Good thing he isn't here to hear you say that!" Jaden laughed. "Otherwise he'll be silently brooding for the rest of the day!"
Yugi chuckled slightly; glad that they haven't changed a bit since coming here. "Your dad's taking a walk around the island right now. He's planning on making something akin to a small town here. You know, stuff like cafés, shops, a mall… those kinds of things." He revealed, exciting the teens.
"That's awesome!" Jaden exclaimed.
"Yeah!" Erina nodded along. "I was starting to get bored out of my mind! There really isn't much you can do on an island." She complained, slight frustration in her voice.
"Ah… I'm sorry to hear that…" Sheppard looked ashamed. "We do try to make sure you kids have everything you would need here." He was sure there were other students who shared her opinion.
He's been trying to convince the superintendent for God knows how long now to build some sort of arcade or something, so the kids can unwind, but to no avail. Thankfully, Seto Kaiba will be making the changes directly this time.
"Eh, it's alright," the bluenette shrugged, throwing her arm around Jaden's shoulders. "Jaden and I have been pretty successful in making every day as exciting as possible."
"I don't know," Yugi crossed his arms, a frown on his face as he looked at the teens. "I wouldn't exactly call almost getting expelled at the beginning of the school year 'exciting'."
The teens gulped, hearing the angry tone in his voice.
"You… You know about that, huh?" Jaden laughed nervously, avoiding his father's gaze, while Erina crossed her arms behind her back, finding her shoes fascinating all of a sudden.
"You bet I do, and I don't have to say how disappointed I am, do I?"
"N-No…" both teens mumbled simultaneously.
Yugi sighed; as disappointed as he might have sounded, he understood why they were in that situation. If he were in their position, he'd do the same thing. He couldn't be mad at them. "Don't worry, I won't tell your mothers about this."
"Really?!" Erina's eyes widened in surprise.
"You won't?!" Jaden mirrored her expression.
"Your Chancellor explained what happened. Your friend was in danger, and you had to save them. So, yes, you get a pass." Both teens relaxed upon hearing that. "But," They tensed back up. "If something like this happens again, you're on your own facing them."
"Yes, sir!" Both teens nodded rapidly, terrified by the prospect of their mothers finding out about this and the wrath that will ensue. They weren't as forgiving as Yugi was.
"Good," Yugi smiled, leaning back against the chair. "Now, how about we move on to something more pleasant? How have you kids been? Is Duel Academy what you expected?" He asked, glancing at his son expectantly.
"Oh, yeah! It's been…" Jaden began before the doors suddenly slid open, revealing an angry Seto Kaiba.
"Sheppard," he began, his signature white jacket fluttering behind him as he stormed to the desk and slammed his hands on it, startling the Chancellor. "What the hell have you done with my school!" He yelled.
"I… Whatever do you mean, sir?" Sheppard stammered, confused by his superior's outburst.
"Don't play dumb with me!" He thundered. "All that money you requested for expanding, where has it gone? And why have you gone against the way I've structured the ranking system? Why are all the female students Obelisks?"
"Per the instructions given to us, we've placed all the girls in the same dorm." Sheppard nervously explained. "I don't think we've-"
Kaiba slammed his fists on the table again, silencing him. "I said the same dorm building! Duel Academy is supposed to be the top dueling school in the world! It's supposed to push you to your limits and nurture your dueling skills! You have to work hard to be at the top! Do you think I'd approve of students getting a free pass to the top dorm just because of their gender?!" He thundered.
"N-No, sir…" He gulped nervously, feeling the intimidating stare of his boss crush him.
"Now," his eyes narrowed. "Where has my money gone?" He asked in an eerily calm voice. "Where are all the facilities you requested funding for? All the projects and programs that needed it as well?"
Sheppard's jaw dropped as he stared dumbfounded. This whole situation is getting worse and worse by the second, and he has no idea how it came to this. "There has to be a mistake somewhere, sir. Our Superintendent said that the funding was denied for every single one."
"That decrepit old fossil…" Seto snarled. So, he was stealing from him? He'd deal with it later. "Alright, and lastly, and I hope you got a good explanation for it… Why is the Slifer Red Dorm a dilapidated garden shed?" He asked. "And be careful what you say, because if I don't like it, you and the rest of the staff here will have to find another workplace." He warned, his normally cold, blue eyes clouded with rage, causing Sheppard to sweat.
"I…" He wiped his brow as he took a moment to collect himself. This was all a mess. The Superintendent was the one who made the decisions, saying it came directly from Seto Kaiba. And now it is revealed that it was all lies.
"Please believe me, Mr. Kaiba, when I say that the Superintendent was the one who handled these decisions, we just followed what he said. He said that this was how the Red Dorm was supposed to look as it is the lowest dorm in the school."
"These are children you're housing, Sheppard, not prison inmates!" Kaiba sighed in frustration. "I leave it all to that geezer because I don't have the time to overlook things here, and this is what I came to find?" He ranted a bit before calming himself, formulating a plan on how to proceed with this.
"From now on, you'll be the one overseeing everything related to this school. You need anything, you contact me directly, not that fossil, got it?" Sheppard nodded silently. "Good. You'll also be sending me weekly reports. Next, I want all the female students to take an exam to determine which Dorm they truly belong in. They'll still live in the same building as per my original plan." He added. "And lastly, I want you to make a list of all programs, facilities and projects you need funding for by the end of the day and give it to me, understood?"
"Understood, sir." Sheppard nodded, getting up from his chair. "I'll get to it right away!" He promised as he went and left the office.
Kaiba let out a deep sigh, finally starting to calm down. All he wanted was to get a lay of the land, so he knew exactly how to design the town, but he came to find so many glaring issues that it made his head hurt. 'How could they even think it's okay to put children in that shack…' Speaking of children; he realized that they were here, and that they saw the whole ordeal.
"Hey, look at that, he finally noticed we're in the room." Erina giggled, half-whispering to Jaden as her father turned to look at them.
"Yeah, and it was quicker than last time." The HERO duelist laughed. "And things didn't go flying in our general direction for him to notice."
"You shouldn't have seen that." Kaiba grumbled, ignoring the remarks the teens threw at him.
"Well, if you took two seconds to look around the room and not charge in like a bull, you would've noticed us sooner." Erina teased playfully as she took a few steps forward, standing in front of him. "Hey, dad!" She smiled, spreading her arms.
Seto smiled slightly and gave her the hug she wanted. "Hello, princess…" he whispered, causing the girl to giggle.
"I was gonna ask how you've been, but you know…" she teased as they separated.
"Let's not talk about that." Kaiba insisted as he turned to Jaden. "Are you ready, kid?" He asked as they shook hands.
"Of course," Jaden smirked confidently. "When have I not been ready to throw down?"
"Good." Seto nodded, crossing his arms over his chest. "Because I'll take it as a personal insult if someone who forced a tie against me lost to a nobody."
"Don't you think you're doing a bit too much?" Yugi chuckled awkwardly. "It's not a title match or anything…"
"No," Kaiba said bluntly. "And while we're on topic, why are you in Slifer?" He asked, narrowing his eyes as he noticed the color he was wearing. "Someone with your skills should be an Obelisk right off the bat."
A normal person would stumble and be intimidated by the look, but not Jaden. He just grabbed and puffed up his jacket. "Because the jackets are neat!" He grinned cheekily.
"Of course that's the reason…" Seto's eye twitched in annoyance.
"Don't worry, uncle Seto, I still plan to climb to the top eventually." He reassured both him and his father. While he wasn't too concerned with it at the moment, he still has plenty of time to do it.
"Good." Kaiba walked around and sat in Sheppard's chair. "Now, mind telling me why you two almost got expelled?" He asked, causing the teens to gulp heavily.
After the stressing interrogation by Erina's dad, and catching up some more with their parents, Jaden was at the Obelisk Arena. He was feeling even more psyched up than ever, knowing that his father and uncle will be watching him duel. So what was he doing here now? Well, he wanted to cool off at least a little.
"Alright, roll call!" Jaden said, slamming card after card on his Duel Disk until five monsters appeared before him.
Flame Wingman, Koga, Blast, Goka and Great Tornado all appeared on the field before they turned to look at him.
"Feeling nervous?" Yubel asked as she appeared next to him. "You know you can always count on us, right?" She said, turning to the HEROES to reaffirm her.
Jaden smiled as he saw all of them nod their heads. "Thanks, guys. Guess I might be a bit nervous…" He chuckled sheepishly.
"I'm not surprised," Yubel chuckled with him. "You always get anxious when your father watches you duel." She smiled fondly at the memories. Always trying to impress him in some way as he grew up, even though there's no need.
Jaden just grinned and rubbed the back of his head when he heard someone call his name. He turned to the entrance to see Syrus lightly jogging his way. "Hey, Sy, what's up?"
Syrus slowed to a stop, catching his breath. "There… you are! C'mon, everyone is waiting for you!"
"What for?" Jaden asked, getting an exasperated look from his small friend.
"Uh… the Meet 'n Greet, Jaden," Syrus said. "Did you forget you're supposed to meet North Academy with Chancellor Sheppard?"
"Shoot! They're here already?" Jaden's eyes widened in surprise before leaping off the platform, his monsters disappearing. "Why didn't you say so! Come on!"
"Oh wait up!" Syrus whined, dashing after the excited Slifer.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Sheppard, Crowler and many of the students were at the docks, waiting as North Academy's Chancellor stepped off of the bridge of the submarine they arrived in.
"Foster," Sheppard beamed, shaking the man's hand. "It has been far too long! You seem to be doing well."
"Yes, well, I have had plenty of time to recover from the defeat you handed us during last year's School Duel." Foster chuckled.
"Oh that was a long time ago," Sheppard waved his hand dismissively. "Besides, it was a close match."
Foster just chuckled. "Not really. However, I have a feeling that this year's match will be."
"Careful, Foster, overconfidence like that could bite you in the ass in the end." Seto Kaiba said, approaching them.
Foster smiled and shook Kaiba's hand. "I know that much, sir. It's a pleasant surprise that you'll be joining us this year." He said, happy that their founder would be spectating today.
"I figured I should join in this time given I missed the last few." Seto said, a slight smirk on his face. Like he'd ever miss one of the kids' matches.
"Yeah, yeah," Jaden finally appeared, pushing past the students. "Now, come on! Where's my opponent?"
"Yes, Jaden, we were just getting to that." Sheppard scolded lightly, while Seto smirked, amused with how straight to the point Jaden was.
Foster turned to Jaden, looking him over curiously. "Jaden Yuki, so you're Duel Academy's phenom…?"
"Phenom?" Jaden grinned. "That's one of the coolest things I have ever been called!" He paused before looking at his Chancellor. "What's it mean?" He asked.
Sheppard leaned towards him, while Foster fell over. "It means be quiet, Jaden!" He hissed.
Jaden shrugged, showing his indifference. It's duel time after all. "Yeah, whatever… Now, c'mon!" He urged impatiently. "When do I get to meet my opponent?"
"Right now… Slacker."
Jaden blinked, his eyes widening as he recognized the voice that said that.
"Oh, you gotta be kidding me…" Erina groaned, eyes fixated on the top of the submarine where some of North's students were standing patiently, where an "old friend" of theirs stood at the forefront.
"Am I seeing things, or is that really Chazz?" The HERO duelist asked in surprise.
Chazz smirked, crossing his arms over his chest. "You got it right, Slacker!"
"How are you North Academy's rep?" Jaden questioned. "Since when did you transfer?"
"When people stopped giving me the respect I deserve!" Chazz replied, narrowing his eyes.
"Respect?" Jaden shot him a glare. "You don't deserve a drop of it with the way you've treated people here."
"Cry me a river…" Chazz replied monotonously.
"And that's why you didn't get any!" Syrus added.
"That'll change now," A student named Czar said in a heavy russian accent. "Because now is payback time! You won't give him respect? Then he'll just take it!"
"Yeah, he'll then 'Chazz you up', Slifer!" Another one of Chazz's goons said.
"Big time!" Chazz nodded.
Both duelists were staring each other down, thinking that they'll finally settle this in the arena. However, their staring contest was cut short when they were hit by a powerful gust of wind accompanied by a loud whirring sound of an engine.
"Now what?!" Jaden turned to see two helicopters coming down from the sky behind the crowd. One of them had their doors open, where two men in business suits stood. One of them had long hair and a goatee, and the other was clean-shaven with shorter, styled hair.
"Hey, Chazz!" The beardless one called out.
"How's it going, little brother?" The other one added. "Mind if we join in?"
Chazz's eyes widened upon seeing them. "Slade? Jagger? What the hell are you two doing here?!" He yelled, shocked that his brothers were here.
"Why else?" Jagger yelled back as the helicopters landed and the engines began to die down. "We're here to witness your big dueling victory!"
Slade nodded as he and his brother exited the chopper, both glaring at their little brother. "You are going to win, aren't you, Chazz?"
"Wow, Chazz has brothers?" Syrus muttered. "And I thought nothing strange was gonna happen today…"
"That's it! Beautiful! Just act natural…"
If Chazz's brothers were a strange thing, then the sudden appearance of what looked like a camera crew was just bizarre. They were unloading cables, cameras and crane cars like they were about to shoot a movie.
"Set on Camera 1!"
"Okay, we're all set here with Camera 2 and 3!"
Foster turned to one of the men with cameras. "What's going on here?"
"What's going on? I think you mean when are you going on? And the answer is primetime, baby!" A man who looked like a director answered. "This duel will be broadcast worldwide!"
"What?!" Jaden tensed up, feeling his heartbeat quicken. He was gonna be on TV? No, it's too early. He's not ready to show himself yet.
He turned to Erina's dad, pleading with his eyes for him to do something.
Seto spared him a glance before approaching the two Princetons, glaring at them. "I don't remember you maggots asking for my permission to broadcast here."
Both of them jumped in their skin, turning around to look at him. "S-Seto Kaiba?" Slade stammered nervously. "W-we didn't know you were here!"
"This is my damn school. Where else I'd be?" Seto countered coldly. "Now give me a reason why you should stay here, or else you'll be swimming back to shore." He said intensely, causing the brothers to shrink under his gaze.
"Well, Mr. Kaiba, think of this as… free publicity!" Jagger began attempting to fix the situation. There's no way they'd go back after spending all this money. "You're creating the next generation of duelists here, and this will attract even more people who'll want to attend your schools! Plus, we'll give you fifty percent of our profits from this." He added generously, hoping it was enough to convince him.
There was a brief silence that followed, causing the brothers to think that they've won him over. That was until the most mocking laugh escaped Kaiba's lips.
"I'm sorry, was that a serious offer?" Seto mocked. "If it was, it just won't cut it. I make more in less than a day. Still… I'm not one to turn down a chance to show off my schools, or charity work. Donate seventy percent to a charity of your choosing, and you can freely film here." He said, shocking Jaden. "I'll also be sure to enjoy watching you fail miserably at whatever it is you're planning here." He said before he turned and left.
Jaden just stared in disbelief as he watched Seto walk back towards the Academy. He felt nauseous as it all began to sink in. This had to be a bad dream. There was no way his uncle would really allow this, right?
He was startled slightly when he felt someone grab his hand. Turning around to see who it belonged to, he was met with Erina's concerned eyes. "Don't worry, we'll see what's going on in a bit. Okay?" She squeezed his hand, trying to reassure him. There had to be a reason her father let them film freely.
Jaden and Erina burst into the Chancellor's office where both of their fathers looked like they were just done arguing about something judging by Yugi's look.
"Uncle Seto, What the hell?!" Jaden cried. "Why did you allow them to film the duel?" He asked, visibly upset.
Kaiba glanced at Yugi, silently telling him to deal with it before he walked around the desk, opening the briefcase that was atop it and began looking for something inside.
"How long do you think we can still keep this up, Jaden?" His father asked, leaning back against the desk.
"Huh?" The teen tilted his head to the side. "Keep up what?"
"Keeping you hidden." He replied. "Your whole world got turned upside down, and you needed as much 'normal' as possible, so hiding you the way we did was needed so you could heal. And look at you now," he smiled. "I believe," Yugi bit the inside of his cheek, knowing that what was about to come out of his mouth wasn't going to be received well. "I believe it's finally time for you to stop hiding."
"What?! No!" Jaden cried, brows furrowed. "You said it was my choice!"
"That's right, but-"
"You are never going to do it." Kaiba butted in as he placed a small metal sphere on the desk.
"You don't know that!" Jaden argued.
"Yes, I do." He countered. "You've gotten too comfortable with this. You like it too much, you don't want to know what will happen when I lift it, and that is holding you back more than you think." He said, pulling out what looked like an earpiece from the inside of his jacket. "Let me show you something that you aren't aware of." He attached the device behind his ear, and it sparked to life, the LEDs shining a deep blue.
"Computer, open 'The Net'." Kaiba gave the command and the ball that was on the desk began to shine.
Then as if by magic, a golden ball appeared in the air, extending hundreds of strings in all directions at a steady pace, until it finally stopped. It was covering almost the entire room.
"It kinda looks like a nervous system." Erina commented in awe, looking around the room.
"What is this?" Jaden asked.
"This," Seto gestured around him with one hand. "Is a visual map of the AI that has been keeping you hidden for a decade."
"Its this big?" The teen said, seeing that on each sting there were hundreds of dots.
"Each dot is a site it blocked, an article it deleted, a photo or video it corrupted…" Kaiba revealed. "And this," He brought his hand up, doing a slicing motion with his fingers. It highlighted a part of it before it slowly lowered to his hand. "Is how much it's blocked over the past two years." He revealed, holding what amassed to a little over a third of the whole web.
"Looks like you're becoming a hot topic again, Jaden." He smirked. "And today when the duel begins, this AI will shut down, releasing data it has sorted out and stored back into the internet." He revealed, shocking Jaden.
"Dad, come on, please!" Jaden turned and pleaded.
"Sorry, son," Yugi shook his head. "He has a point. While you still have the choice of doing it or not, you will always pick not to. And look at it this way," he quickly said, seeing Jaden ready to argue. "You plan on going pro, and no matter what, you'll have to push the button at some point. The reaction from the world will always be the same, but here, on this island, you can control the amount of people that can approach you. You have three years here where the novelty of it will wear off, and people will mostly leave you be."
Jaden kept silent for a few moments. Yugi thought that he managed to convince him that this was indeed for the better.
"I gotta go prepare." Jaden mumbled before turning and leaving the office.
"Jaden!" Erina was about to follow him, but was stopped by Yugi putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Let him be alone for a bit," he smiled slightly. "He needs to sort out his thoughts." He sighed mentally. This wasn't even remotely close to how he wanted to do this.
"Okay… I still don't get why you are so adamant about this." The bluenette frowned.
"Because you're too young to get it." Her father said as he watched the AI's data move around. "While you are very smart and mature for your age, you're still a child and don't see it like we do. This thing," he pointed at the hologram. "Is holding him back from realizing his potential." He said, crossing his arms over his chest. "He might not understand it now, but he will eventually…"
"Sometimes… what's best for you isn't what you think it is." Yugi added and let silence envelope the office.
About thirty minutes later, Jaden was in one of the locker rooms, splashing some water on his face. He finally managed to get his anxiety in check and get his head in the game after the confrontation he had with his and Erina's dad.
He also had the opportunity to think things through a bit and… his dad and Kaiba had a point. The more he thought about it the more he agreed with them. If it weren't for his dream of pursuing a career in dueling, then he'd more than likely never disable the AI.
'I have an omnipotent cosmic force flowing through me, and I'm afraid of a bit of social interaction…' He thought bitterly at how ridiculous it sounded.
Although, there was this possibility that worried him… How would his friends react to this? Would everything be the same once they found out, or would it be completely different?
He sighed, sitting down on the floor and leaning back against the lockers. "Welp, whatever happens, happens." he muttered, staring absently at the wall. "I'll just have to accept it."
"No reason to look at things that bleakly."
He looked to the side, seeing his dad at the doorway. "Got a minute?"
"Yeah," Jaden nodded before raising an eyebrow. "How come no one saw you in the hallways on your way here?" He asked curiously. There's no way he made it here without the entire school freaking out.
"Well, everyone is in the arena, so the rest of the school is like a ghost town." Yugi stated the obvious as he joined him on the floor.
"Right," Jaden nodded, an awkward silence filling the air.
Was he supposed to start off? 'Should I say something? Maybe I should apologize-
"I'm sorry," Yugi beat him to it, surprising Jaden.
"I'm sorry for the situation we forced on you," The elder Muto elaborated, looking at his son. "It wasn't supposed to happen like this. I had a completely different plan."
"How so?" Jaden asked, straightening himself.
"Well, along with Kaiba surveying the island and watching your duel today, I wanted for us to approach the idea of lifting the AI." He said. "The game's new Summoning Method is complete, and in a few months we're going to unveil it. And by 'we', I mean you and Erina."
"Really?" Jaden's eyes widened, a slight grin appearing.
"Yeah, it's exciting, right?" His father smiled. "It just felt right when we discussed it. The next generation of duelists ushering in the new age of Duel Monsters."
"That's actually pretty awesome!" He exclaimed, his eyes sparkling.
"Glad you approve," Yugi chuckled. "The idea was to lay out the plan for you, so you can get comfortable with it at your own pace. Of course, if you said that you weren't ready and didn't want to do it. Fine. No problem." He let out a frustrated sigh. "But, Kaiba just had to go and make things difficult…"
"Yeah," Jaden laughed lightly. "You know how he is… He just can't help it sometimes." He said, both of them sharing a laugh.
"But, yeah, forcing this was probably the only way for me to do it." He admitted, looking down in shame. "Sorry for the way I reacted."
"Don't," Yugi held his hand up, smiling. "We've had this talk before, haven't we? There's no need to apologize to us for the way you feel. It's a normal response, and an acceptable one given what we did."
"Now, how's it been here? We kinda got distracted earlier…"
"Ah, it's been really fun!" Jaden grinned, returning to his cheerful self. "Lots of dueling, interesting people, and made a few cool friends as well. Also," he blushed a little, causing his father to raise an eyebrow as he watched him play with his fingers awkwardly. "I… want to introduce you to someone later."
"Really?" His father let out an amused chuckle. This was probably the first time seeing his son be shy like this, much less because of a girl.
"Oh, come on! Why'd you have to say it like that?" He said, a hint of offense in his tone.
"No, no! I didn't mean it like that!" Yugi shook his head, laughing slightly. "It's just that your mother's convinced that you have a girlfriend, but were too embarrassed to tell her." He explained. "That's why I wasn't exactly surprised."
"Oh, brother…" Jaden groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I told her I didn't have one when we spoke around Christmas!" He threw his arms in exasperation… and remembered that it wasn't long after that, that he and Alexis got together. "And then I went and got one…" He deadpanned. His mom really did have a sixth sense about this kind of stuff, huh?
His father just chuckled next to him. "Well, whatever the case, I'd like to meet her. I'm very curious to find out what she's like."
"Attention! The School Duel will begin in 15 minutes! Both participants, ready your decks and return to the Obelisk Arena!"
The Chancellor's voice boomed through the speakers.
"It's showtime!" Jaden grinned, swiftly jumping to his feet in one swift motion.
"Well, good luck out there." Yugi smiled as he stood up and gave him a pat on the back. "I'll hang back a little here before coming."
His son nodded before sprinting out the door, eager to finally get this duel started.
While everyone in the arena was abuzz with excitement, Chazz was sitting in one of the locker rooms, with his brothers standing across from him.
"Why'd you two decide to broadcast this duel?" Chazz asked.
"Why else?" Slade crossed his arms. "We need to show the world that you're on your way to be Duel Monsters best, Chazz. It's all in the plan-"
"Yeah, yeah," Chazz looked to the side. "I know!" He had been told this about a million times before.
"World Domination is in our grasp, little brother," his brother went on. "Politics, finance and Duel Monsters! If we take them all, we can take the world! Jagger and I have done our parts, it's time that you came through with yours!"
"To conquer the world of Duel Monsters," Jagger finally joined the conversation. "To be the very best! To not give up!" Both glared at their little brother. "Did you really think you could abandon your duties by dropping out of Duel Academy?"
Chazz lowered his head. "I… I…"
"Don't deny it!" Jagger snapped. "You've always been the slacker in this family!"
Chazz's head lowered even more. There was no pleasing his brothers; even if they knew what he had done over at North Academy.
"It doesn't matter," Slade said. "Because you will make it up to us, right, Chazz? You'll show everyone that we reign supreme, won't you?!"
"That's right," Jagger smirked, reaching over and picking up a briefcase that was set beside him. "And these cards will help you do just that! We spent a lot of money on them, so you have no excuse to lose!" He dropped the briefcase in front of his brother's feet. "Don't let us down, Chazz! Don't let the Princeton family down! It's all on you now, so you better win!"
With that, they left Chazz alone in the locker room.
He stared at them for a whole before he stood up and walked over to the nearest sink. He stared at his own reflection in silence, his brothers' words fresh in his mind.
"Man up, Chazz! Man up…"
He pounded on the mirror. "Man up and show them that you're no slacker! That you're worthy of the Princeton name!" He sank to his knees. "Show them that you can win… and that you can keep on winning…"
"You gotta do your part, Chazz," tears fell from his eyes. "Show that you're supreme… show them you can still win…" he punched the floor. "It's the plan… Now, go and win! Go and win!"
While Chazz was having a meltdown, he didn't notice the red jacket that slightly stuck out from behind the door frame.
Jaden frowned slightly as he eased his way out of the locker room, assumptions forming in his head about Chazz and his brothers' relationship.
It was finally time for the School Duel to begin!
The arena was filled up by students from both schools, with some standing around the stairs due to how packed it was. Everyone was screaming and cheering for their respective duelist as the camera crew made their rounds, capturing every bit of fanfare and energy in the arena.
Foster and Sheppard sat side by side, right where the seats split between their schools. The balding man glanced at his colleague with a smile. "Same bet as usual, eh, Sheppard? You do remember, right?"
"Absolutely," Sheppard nodded. "After all, old friend, it's what makes this so special."
Jaden stood at one of the arena's entryways with his friends, who were giving him a pep talk.
"Alright, Jay, here we go. The duel against your rival." Syrus said. "You're arch-nemesis!"
"I'm offended by what you just said, Sy." Erina crossed her arms. "I'm Jaden's one and only rival." She stated firmly.
"R-right! Sorry, just too excited, ya know?" The small Slifer chuckled nervously.
"How ya feelin'?" Chumley asked, ignoring the two's antics.
Jaden glanced at them before looking ahead. "I'm fine." He shrugged.
This caught them by surprise. Jaden's been excited about this duel ever since it was announced, and now he's just 'fine'?
"Fine? Don't you mean sweet or something, Jay?" Chumley asked, concerned.
"No, I feel fine, it's just…" Jaden sighed, the state he saw Chazz in still on his mind. "I overheard Chazz talking earlier and well… I kinda get where he's coming from now. It just sucks that one of us has to lose today…"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Erina frowned. "Did you catch a fever in half an hour or something?" She asked, placing the back of her hand on his forehead. "I don't care what you heard. The guy's been nothing but a dick since the moment we met him! So you better crush him, or I'm gonna kick your ass later!" She promised harshly before her face and tone softened.
"Anyway, this is your first official match," She smiled. "So you better give everyone a taste of what's to come once you go pro!"
"You got it," Jaden nodded.
"Good luck." Alexis smiled as she gave him a peck on the cheek.
"Thanks." The teen grinned as they all left him to find a free spot at the top by the railing to watch. 'I hope you guys will understand…' He thought as he stared at the arena.
"Attention students!" Sheppard said and all of their attention was brought upon the two Chancellors who now stood up from their seats. "Welcome to the School Duel and now…"
"Let this year's competition begin!" They then both cried in unison.
Crowler walked up stage, a big grin on his face. "Welcome students, before we begin, our founder, Seto Kaiba has a small announcement to make!" He said, causing the crowd to cheer.
The man in question walked up on stage, his headpiece from earlier behind his ear. "Students," He said, silencing the audience. "I've noticed that all of you are quite excited that I've come to watch today's duel," he smirked. "But, what if I told you that I have a surprise for you all?"
He glanced at Crowler, who took the queue and brought the mic to his lips. "I'm proud to welcome on behalf of our school… the King of Games himself, Yugi Muto!" He cried into the microphone and the crowd exploded.
Everyone watched in awe, as the current Champion of Duel Monsters walked up and joined Kaiba on stage, sporting the same earpiece as Seto did, only that it glowed red instead of blue.
"Hello, everyone," He waved at the crowd, who began to cheer even louder. "I'm very honored to be here today, and watch the next generation of duelists. I'm sure they'll give us an exciting match that keeps us on the edge of our seats." He smiled, glancing to the left entryway where his son stood.
Everyone's attention was brought back to the arena as Seto Kaiba's authoritative voice boomed over the speakers.
"Listen up, because I'm only going to say this once! The School Duel is not just a friendly match, but a way to show off how we shape our future duelists!" He thundered. "In our schools we push our students to the absolute physical and mental limit, often pushing to their breaking point!" He said to the cameras before turning towards the students. "As for you, students, this is the level of skill and drive you should strive for! So prepare yourselves for a duel unlike any other you've seen!"
The crowd cheered once again.
"And now," Yugi began after waiting a few moments for the crowd to calm down. " First off, from the icy North, I present North Academy's best, Chazz Princeton!"
Chazz walked up on stage, every student from North cheering and chanting. "Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!"
"That's right, say it again!" The raven-haired boy smirked.
"Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up! No mercy, Chazz!"
"Got that right, boys! With me at the top of North Academy, we won't lose!" Chazz yelled.
"Is… Is it just me, or does it seem like they actually… like Chazz?" Erina asked, dumbfounded from the sight before her.
"Yeah, it seems like it." Alexis nodded.
"They must if they're unironically chanting that lame catchphrase…" Syrus sweatdropped.
"And from Duel Academy…" Yugi gestured before stopping. "Actually… Before that, I'd like to take advantage of the fact that this is broadcast worldwide to say something." He said, intriguing everyone as to what the King of Games had to say.
"Over the last couple of years I have been asked a series of questions that all amass to: Why am I still hiding my son?" He smiled slightly. "No, it isn't because we're ashamed of him. My wife and I couldn't be prouder of the young man he's become. We hid him so he could heal from the terrible events he'd suffered through."
Yugi then glanced at Kaiba, who nodded and pulled out his phone, tapping away for a moment. "But, now, a decade later? I believe it's time for you to meet him… even though some of you here already have." He grinned slightly, gesturing to his left. "I'd like to reintroduce you all to my son, Jaiden Yuki-Muto!"
The crowd's reaction was a mix of surprise and utter shock as Jaden confidently walked up on stage. Some were confused while others were excited that the King of Games' son had apparently been their classmate all this time. But nonetheless they were cheering for him.
Although, one person in particular was having a rough time processing this news. 'The Slacker… is…!? No, it can't be! It can't be!' Crowler's mind couldn't process it and caused the good doctor to faint and fall off the stage.
And up in the audience, the gang, save for two, were taking in this information as well. "Guys, did I hear that right?" Syrus asked, a look of surprise on his face.
"You certainly did," Bastion said, also surprised. "I had my suspicions. Back when Yugi's deck was on tour, Jaden knew far too well how to combat it. But, it is still surprising to have it confirmed."
"Yeah… You don't look surprised, Alexis." Chumley stated, seeing that the blonde was just calmly observing their reactions.
"I've known for a while now… Plus, this isn't something you hide from the person you're in a relationship with, you know?"
"Yeah, makes sense…" the portly boy nodded in agreement.
"But, why didn't he tell us all this time?" Syrus asked aloud, feeling slightly hurt that Jaden didn't trust him with something like this.
"Huh… I thought you out of everyone would understand, Syrus." Zane said, appearing behind the group.
"Geez, don't sneak up on people like that!" Erina hissed, a hand over her heart.
Zane looked down at his little brother. "Do you remember why I never approved of your old 'friends'?" He asked, causing Syrus' eyes to widen.
"Because everyone that wanted to be friends with me… did it just so they could get closer to you!"
"Exactly," the elder Truesdale nodded. "It's the same thing here. Even if Jaden trusted you with his secret he'd never know if you would still look at your friendship the same way after the fact."
"Surprisingly insightful from you, Zane." Erina teased lightly.
"I don't know about you guys," Chumley began. "But he's still the same Jaden to me." He smiled.
"Same here," Syrus and Bastion nodded, causing the bluenette to sigh in relief. She was glad their friends weren't the type of people whose views would be affected by something like this.
Kaiba looked around, gauging the different reactions. "This what you were expecting?" He asked Yugi, who smiled in response.
"Spot on actually." He chuckled.
"Alright, duelists," Seto continued, it was enough time for everyone to soak in the news. "Today's duel isn't like the ones you're used to. This duel will use a new rule that will be implemented at a later date. Both players will begin the duel with 8000 Life Points rather than the usual 4000!" He revealed with a smirk, shocking the teens. "The mark of a true duelist is their ability to adapt, so if any of you were using strategies that relied on your opponent having 4000 Life Points, you better think fast!"
Both teens nodded and walked to the middle to shuffle their decks.
"Just so you know, Slacker, I don't care who you are." Chazz scowled as she shuffled Jaden's deck. "You're going down no matter what!"
"Sure thing, Chazz!" Jaden laughed slightly. "Good thing it didn't give you the jitters!"
The young Princeton growled as he took his deck back and both teens went to their spots.
"Let the duel begin!" Kaiba declared and the crowd cheered.
"Let's see what you got, Slacker!"
"With pleasure, Chazz!" Jaden smirked as his Duel Disk sparked to life.
"You're mistaken, the pleasure's all mine! Cuz' you're going down!" Chazz shot back.
"Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Bring him down, Chazz!"
"Ask and you shall receive!" Chazz began the duel, drawing his first card. "For my first move, I'm summoning a monster with some bite! Masked Dragon, appear!" A white dragon with a red underbelly appeared on the field, curled defensively. And as its name suggests, its face looked like it was covered by a mask. (ATK: 1400/ DEF: 1100)
"That'll do for now…"
"That's all?" Erina snorted, leaning forward on the railing as she rested her head on her palm. "For talking so much crap, he sure made a lackluster start." She mocked.
"I don't know, remember that he could be full of surprises." Zane noted.
"I'm up!" Jaden drew his card, smiling after seeing it. "I summon my Elemental HERO Clayman!" In a burst of light, the clay HERO appeared, flexing his arms in a showboaty way. (ATK: 800/ DEF: 2000)
"Attack mode?" Chumley wondered. "Why'd he do that?"
"Why else?" Alexis smirked. "Jaden's about to put a mask on him!"
And the blonde was proven right when her boyfriend inserted the familiar card. "And it's time to transform, Clayman!" He was covered in light as he began to morph. "Appear, Masked HERO Dian!" The HERO knight appeared on the field, brandishing her rapier. (AT: 2800/ DEF: 3000)
"A good start," Bastion nodded. "Now he can even reach for Chazz's Life Points."
"Alright, Dian, time to become a dragon slayer!" Jaden grinned. "Diamond Flurry Strike!" The HERO disappeared in a flash of brilliant light before appearing between Chazz and his monster, startling him. Light began to leak out of holes from the dragon before it exploded.
"And now Dian's effect activates!" Her sword began to shine like a beacon. "When she destroys a monster by battle, I get to summon a HERO from my deck!" Jaden explained as he slapped a card on his Disk. "Come out, Elemental HERO Ocean!" The merman appeared on the field. (ATK: 1500/ DEF: 1200)
Chazz grit his teeth in anger. "My Masked Dragon's effect also activates!" He declared. "When it's destroyed in battle, I get to summon a Dragon-Type monster with 1500 or fewer attack points from my deck! C'mon out, Armed Dragon Thunder LV3!" A small orange dragon with gray scaly armor, tiny wings, yellow eyes and spikes over its body appeared. (ATK: 1200/ DEF: 900)
"Thunder?!" Erina gasped. This meant trouble.
"A Level monster?" Syrus asked, looking at his friends for an answer.
"Yeah," Alexis nodded. "Level monsters grow when certain conditions are met. This could get out of hand fast if Jaden isn't careful."
"Agreed, the higher the level, the deadlier the effect becomes." Zane added.
"Not good…" Chumley muttered.
"Indeed, but I can't help but wonder where Chazz could've gotten a monster like that." Bastion mused. Chazz never had those monsters, so where'd he get them?
Sheppard gasped seeing the small dragon. "That's not…!?"
"I told you, Sheppard," Foster chuckled, a smug smirk on his face. "I want that prize! Your representative is done for!"
"No he isn't!" Sheppard rose to his feet, hands cupped around his mouth. "Let's go, Jaden! Jaden it up! Jaden it up! Jaden it up!"
Jaden scratched his cheek awkwardly, watching his Headmaster's attempt at cheering him on." Uhm… yeah… sure…" He then grinned. "Sweet card, Chazz! I never expected you to use a Level deck! I can't wait to see what you can do with it!"
Chazz smirked hearing that. "Oh, don't worry, you'll have a front row seat."
"Cool, but before that," Jaden pointed at the tiny dragon. "Do your thing, Ocean!" The merman leapt forward, skewering the dragon with his bident.
"I'll throw down this facedown and call it a turn…"
"Would you look at that? All those duels against your silly Level monsters will finally pay off." Kaiba mused.
"Oh?" Yugi grinned cheekily. "You say that, but those same monsters did something yours couldn't." He shot back.
Kaiba decided to ignore the jab, but the low growl coming out of him was audible enough for the King of Games to hear.
"Now, I can finally begin crushing you!" Chazz drew his card. "I start off with this! Monster Reborn!" He inserted the card. "I bring back my Armed Dragon Thunder LV3!" The tiny dragon reappeared in a flash of light. (ATK: 1200/ DEF: 900)
"And I think it's time for him to grow! By discarding a monster from my hand and sending my dragon to the Graveyard, I get to summon his next form!" Chazz discarded his card and his dragon was covered in a bright light. "Now, rise, Armed Dragon LV5!" He cried as the light died down, revealing a much larger dragon. It had black and red scales, bigger claws and spikes on its body. (ATK: 2400/ DEF: 1700)
"It's not the Thunder version." Alexis noticed.
"Yeah, Chazz probably wants to use the destruction effect of the original LV5." Erina guessed.
"Destruction effect?!" The two Slifers gasped.
"Time to say bye-bye to your HERO, Jaden!" Chazz laughed. "I activate Armed Dragon LV5's effect! By discarding Armed Dragon Thunder LV7 from my hand, I get to destroy one monster with equal or less attack points to it!"
"That's one nasty effect." Zane frowned.
"Armed Dragon Thunder LV7 has 2800 attack points!" Erina's eyes widened.
"Your Dian is toast," Chazz smirked smugly. "Go, Armed Dragon LV5! Shrapnel Blast!"
Everyone watched as the spikes on the dragon's back shot outward like a volley of missiles, raining down on Dian, blowing her to pieces.
"And that's not all," Chazz cackled. "Since I used Armed Dragon Thunder LV7 to activate the effect of a dragon I control, I get to add one Armed Dragon card from my deck to my hand!" He explained as he took the card out of his deck and played it.
"Rise, Armed Dragon, the Armored Dragon!" A humanoid, brown dragon clad in red armor appeared on the field. (ATK: 1900/ DEF: 1400)
"Armed Dragon, the Armored Dragon, destroy Ocean!" The dragon hissed, flying forward and slashing the HERO with its claws.
"Things are gonna get worse for you, Slacker!" He laughed. "Because when my dragon destroys a monster in battle, I get to summon a Level five or lower Armed Dragon from my deck!"
"What?!" Jaden gasped.
"You heard me! Now, rise, Armed Dragon Thunder LV5!" In a flash of light… a slightly different dragon than the original LV5 appeared. The difference being that this once had yellow thunderbolts on its body. (ATK: 2400/ DEF: 1700)
"Sadly, it can't attack you directly this turn, but the other one can!" Chazz pointed at Jaden. "Armed Dragon LV5, attack Jaden directly! Inferno Roar!"
The Dragon let out a roar that shook the walls as spinning blades shot out of its body that slammed into Jaden, knocking him to the ground. Jaden winced as he rolled a few times before coming to a stop.
Chazz scoffed as he looked down on Jaden. "This is supposed to be Duel Academy's best?"
"No!" Sheppard cried out. "Get up, please!"
"That was a large chunk of Life Points!" Bastion gasped.
"Good thing they're playing with double the normal LP." Erina mused. She wasn't concerned like the others. Because Jaden wasn't going to lose. He had too many people watching that he wanted to impress with this duel.
Jaden, in one swift motion, jumped back on his feet, dusting himself off. "Nice shot, Chazz," he smirked. "But, now you're gonna feel it back!"
"Whatever," Chazz rolled his eyes as he inserted a card in his Disk. "I'll end this turn with a facedown."
Slade smiled as he watched. "Finally! He's acting like a Princeton!"
"True," Jagger laughed. "He's mopping the floor with this kid!"
"That'll show Kaiba what happens when he hijacks our broadcast!"
"Here I go!" Jaden drew his card, nodding as a plan formed in his head. "I start off with Elemental HERO Blazeman!" The flame-haired HERO appeared, the beads on his back clattering around. (ATK: 1200/ DEF: 1800)
"And when he's summoned, I get to search my deck for a Polymerization!" The card popped out of his deck and he took it, playing it immediately. "And I'll be fusing him along with Elemental HERO Liquid Soldier from my hand!"
A HERO clad in black and blue armor, and what looked like two water tanks around his forearms appeared on the field before he and Blazeman were sucked into a vortex.
"A new HERO?" Syrus asked.
"It seems so." Bastion rubbed his chin in curiosity.
"Things are about to heat up! Appear, Elemental HERO Nova Master!" In a wave of blaze, the tall HERO appeared. (ATK: 2600/ DEF: 2100)
Jaden's Disk began to glow. "Since Liquid Soldier was used as Fusion Material, he allows me to draw two cards and then discard one!" He explained, drawing his cards before taking one and sending it to the Graveyard.
"Nova Master! Destroy Armed Dragon Thunder LV5 with Scorching Napalm!" The HERO lifted one hand above his head, instantly forming a giant fireball and hurling at the dragon, burning it to a crisp.
"He got his first hit in!" Alexis smiled.
"It's a start, I guess…" Erina giggled.
"Now, his effect activates! I get to draw a card every time he destroys a monster in battle!" Jaden grinned as he added his card. "I'll throw down this facedown and call it a turn!"
"You think this'll slow me down?!" Chazz drew his card. "I'm gonna mop the floor with you, Slacker!"
"Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!" His fans screamed from behind. "Show no mercy, Chazz!"
"I activate Shrink!" Chazz declared. "With this, your Nova Master's attack gets cut in half!" Jaden's HERO dropped to a knee as his power was crippled. (ATK: 2600-1300)
"Say goodbye to your little matchstick! Armed Dragon, go, Infernal Roar!" Once again, spinning blades shot out of the dragon, slicing Jaden's HERO to pieces.
"You activated my trap card, Chazz!" Jaden grinned as his first facedown flipped over. "Change of Hero - Reflector Ray! When one of my Elemental HERO Fusion's gets destroyed by battle, I get to inflict damage to you equal to my HERO's level times 300!" He explained, causing Chazz to step back in shock.
"That's 2400 points of damage!" Syrus exclaimed.
A fiery image of Nova Master appeared before Chazz before turning into a raging flame that burned him.
"Whatever," Chazz scowled as he lowered his arm. "You're wide open right now! Attack!" The armored dragon charged forward, ready to strike at Jaden.
"I don't think so, Chazz!" Jaden smirked. "I activate A Hero Emerges! Now, you gotta choose a card from my hand, and if it's a monster card, I get to summon it!" He explained as he held up his three cards. "Take your pick, Chazz!"
Chazz grit his teeth. Jaden was just delaying the inevitable. "The middle one!" He pointed.
"Thanks," Jaden grinned. "You're up pal! Elemental HERO Bladedge!" The golden HERO flew down on the field, flexing his arms. (ATK: 2600/ DEF: 1800)
"Stop the attack!" Chazz cried , stopping his monster before it would get destroyed. "You got lucky, Slacker!" He scowled before smirking. "But, it's time I took this duel to the next level!"
"Oh boy…" A bead of sweat rolled down Jaden's forehead. He knew what was about to happen.
"During the End Phase when Armed Dragon LV5 destroyed a monster in battle, I can upgrade him from Level 5 to Level 7! Won't you join me in welcoming the ultimate and all powerful!" Chazz threw his arms in the air. "The almighty Armed Dragon LV7!"
A new dragon appeared on the field behind Chazz, it shared similarities with the previous two versions. The colors were the same, but this one had longer, sharper blades and incredibly large fangs. Its neck was longer and it had small metal wings on its back. (ATK: 2800/ DEF: 1000)
Jaden looked up at the monster, while Chazz's fanclub chanted their favorite phrase over and over. 'This isn't getting any easier…'
Jagger frowned slightly, realizing something as he stared at the dragon. "That's strange… that monster wasn't in the suitcase I gave Chazz."
"What?!" Slade's head snapped in his direction. "Are you sure?!"
"I'm positive." Jagger nodded.
Sheppard glared at Foster, who had the most smug smile on his face, causing him to get on his feet again. "Come on, Jaden! We're all with you! Jaden it up! Jaden it up!"
Chazz smirked. "Show him how it's done, boys!"
"Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!"
Chazz began to laugh as he soaked in the praise and admiration. He loved this so much. He finally got the respect he deserved. "Aw, what's wrong?" He taunted the Slifer who was just silently watching. "You're not so talkative anymore, are you? Don't have anything to say, Jaden?"
Jaden just grinned slightly as he crossed his arms over his chest. "This is our best duel, yet. You've definitely gotten better at the game since last time."
"You're so pathetic it makes me sick, Jaden," Chazz shook his head. "Always making jokes and jumping around like an idiot, never taking anything seriously! That's why you'll never be a champion! You see, it takes discipline to win! You have to have a sense of duty! You have to have some kind of plan! I have a sense of duty, I have a plan, and that's why I'm going to beat you, Jaden! That's why I'll beat anyone in my way! I can conquer anyone, you hear me?! I CAN CONQUER THE WHOLE WORLD!" He screamed.
"He's lost it…" Zane muttered, getting nods from most of the group.
"Like he hadn't lost it before," Erina sneered.
"He looks desperate…" Yugi assessed, a sad look on his face.
"I can tell you where it comes from," Kaiba said, nudging his head towards where the Princeton brothers were seated. "It all stems from them and their idiotic plots." He said, causing Yugi to frown. This was just a game. It was made to be enjoyed and to have fun. Why would they need to pressure a child to win so much?
"Uhm… okay?" Jaden stared at him awkwardly. "Mind if I take my turn now?"
"Make it quick!"
"Damn, take a chill pill," He drew his card and played it. "I activate Legacy of a HERO! Since I have at least two HEROES in my Graveyard, I get to draw three cards!" He picked up his extra cards and his eyes brightened slightly.
"Uh-oh," Yugi chuckled lightly as Kaiba smirked alongside him. "I know that look."
"Just the card I need!" Jaden plucked a card from his hand. "I activate the Equip Spell Favorite Hero!" A sparkly white aura surrounded Bladedge briefly. "And as for what it does," He smirked. "I'll show you right now, because our monsters are about to battle it out!" As soon as he said that, the ground shook and buildings started to rise around them.
"What the-?!" Chazz exclaimed in shock.
"Wait, that's his Skyscraper Field Spell!" Bastion realized.
"But, I didn't see him activate it?" Syrus said, staring puzzled at the field as the giant skyscraper behind Jaden rose.
"The Equip Spell," Erina smiled, deciding to clue them in. "It allows him to activate any Field Spell from his deck when he enters the Battle Phase."
"So what? You got yourself a change of scenery! Good job!" Chazz mocked before he saw Bladedge's power rise. "What?!" (ATK: 2600-4400)
"The HERO equipped with Favorite Hero gains attack equal to its defense while I control a Field Spell." Jaden explained, grinning all the while. "And that's not all it can do! Bladedge, attack the smaller Armed Dragon! Power Edge Attack!"
The golden warrior flew up in the air before diving down, slicing the lizard in two with his arm blades.
"Jaden's in the lead!" Alexis and Erina cheered.
"And we're not done, Chazz!" Jaden smirked. "By sending Favorite Hero to the Graveyard, Bladedge can attack a second time!" Chazz took a step back as the aura around Bladedge disappeared and he was invigorated. (ATK: 4400-2600)
The HERO leapt into the air once more. "And thanks to Skyscraper, since your Armed Dragon is stronger, Bladedge gains an extra 1000 attack points!" The HERO's attack rose as he began descending. (ATK: 2600-3600)
Duel Academy's side of the crowd began to cheer Jaden's name as his HERO collided with the dragon, causing an explosion that knocked the young Princeton to the ground.
"That quick enough for ya, Chazz?" Jaden grinned cheekily.
"Ha!" Sheppard turned to Foster, grinning from ear to ear. "The prize is mine! Looks like your boy's getting tossed around now!" He taunted.
Foster growled and turned back to the duel. "Oh, no he's not!" He shot out of his seat. "Chazz, get up!" He screamed.
"Chazz, get up! Chazz, get up! Chazz, get up!"
Slade's eye twitched in anger as Chazz's fans started chanting again.
"Jagger, what the hell does Chazz think he's doing?!" He growled. "We've given him the best dueling cards in the world, but he's not using them!"
"It's… my turn…" Chazz grit his teeth as he picked himself up from the ground, then drawing his card. "I activate Armed Dragon Flash! This card allows me to summon a Level 3 Armed Dragon from my deck in defense position! And I summon Armed Dragon Thunder LV3!" The tiny dragon appeared in a flash of light. (ATK 1200/ DEF: 900)
"Next up is the Spell Card, Armed Dragon Blitz!" He inserted the card. "By targeting my Armed Dragon Thunder LV3, I can add back the one from my Graveyard to my hand!" He explained, adding the card.
"And now, I'll activate my Armed Dragon Thunder LV3's effect! By discarding a monster from my hand," he discarded the same card, "I can summon Armed Dragon LV5!" The dragon grew in an instant. (ATK: 2400/ DEF: 1700)
"We're not done yet!" Chazz smirked. "Since I send Armed Dragon Thunder LV3 to activate a Dragon's effect, I get to draw a card!" He picked up his card. "And what a draw it is! Card of Sanctity!" Both players drew cards until they held six in their hands.
"I activate Armed Dragon Thunder LV5's effect!" He declared once again. "By discarding a monster from my hand, he gets to evolve!" The dragon was enveloped in light once again. "Say hello to Armed Dragon Thunder LV7!"
The light subsided, revealing the dragon. It looked much like its original counterpart with the only difference being that some of the metal blades were in the shape of thunderbolts. (ATK: 2800/ DEF: 1000)
"I've wanted to tell you this for a long time, Jaden, so listen up!" Chazz curled his fist. "I got my game on, and I'm about to turn your's off!"
"That's it, keep it up, baby! The camera loves ya!"
Chazz glanced at the cameraman who was filming him. "Then keep it rolling, because you haven't seen anything yet!" He turned back to Jaden. "Time to take my dragon to the highest level!"
"Oh, no!" Jaden gasped.
"It can get even stronger?" Alexis gasped.
"Isn't seven the highest?" Zane added.
"I activate Armed Dragon Thunder LV7's effect! By discarding a monster from my hand I can bring out my ultimate beast!" Chazz discarded the card from his hand and his dragon began to grow until it almost hit the ceiling. The scales it had almost made it look like the dragon was wearing black and red armor with sharp blades coming out of it. The dragon spread its glowing yellow wings that had electricity running through them and roared, shaking the arena as sparks flew everywhere. "Armed Dragon Thunder LV10!" (ATK: 3000/ DEF: 2000)
"Level 10?!" Syrus gasped.
"This is bad…" Jaden muttered.
"You got that right!" Chazz cackled madly. "And it gets even worse, Slacker! Because Armed Dragon Thunder LV10 can't be destroyed by battle, and now with this," he inserted a card, displaying a spell on the field that depicted Armed Dragon Thunder LV7 shooting lightning out of his claws, "the Continuous Spell Armed Dragon Lightning! Now, if my dragon were to be destroyed by a card effect, I can send this card to the Graveyard instead!"
"That makes his Armed Dragon practically invincible!" Alexis gasped, worry visible in her eyes.
"Things aren't looking good for Jaden now." Zane muttered.
"Oh, but don't think that's all my Spell does," Chazz began, shocking the Slifer. "I can target one Armed Dragon on my field and make it gain attack points equal to its level times 100!" He revealed as his dragon roared, surging with more power. (ATK: 3000-4000)
"Say goodbye to your HERO, because I'm about to turn him to dust!" He pointed. "Armed Dragon Thunder LV10, destroy Bladedge with Thunderbolt Shot!" The red dragon brought its hands together and began to gather electricity between them before throwing the unstable ball of energy at Jaden's HERO, destroying him in an instant and knocking Jaden to the ground.
"Oh, no!" Sheppard cried.
"Oh, yes!" Foster cheered.
"Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!"
"Finally, Chazz is bringing glory to the Princeton name!" Slade grinned proudly.
"And think of all the money we'll make now that world domination is just one turn away!" Jagger added.
"Get up, Jaden!" Alexis cheered.
"Yeah, it's not over yet!" Syrus added.
"Get up and squash him, Jay!" Erina yelled.
The HERO duelist slowly picked himself up from the floor. "Don't worry, Chazz isn't gonna win…"
"Come on, Slacker, it's over for you!" Chazz retorted. "I'll tell you what, if you surrender now, I promise I won't embarrass you on global TV!" He pointed at the cameras. "Oh wait, I've been doing it this entire time!"
"Dick…" Erina spat.
"Yeah, it's not that funny…" Syrus frowned as they watched Chazz continue to laugh.
"I.. draw!" Jaden picked up his card. 'Boy, am I in trouble…' He needed to find a way to get rid of that Continuous Spell as soon as possible. He had an idea how to take the dragon down, he just needed time to draw the combo pieces needed. "I summon Elemental HERO Sparkman, in defense position!" The lightning HERO appeared on the field, crouching. (ATK: 1600/ DEF: 1400)
"Hiding, Jaden?" Chazz taunted. "Never pegged you as a coward!"
"That just shows how awesome you are, Boss!" Said a weird looking… snail thing above Chazz's shoulder, known as Ojama Yellow.
"Get lost!" Chazz shot back. "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you. You got that!"
"I got it, Boss," the Ojama answered dejectedly. "Sorry."
Jaden blinked in surprise as Winged Kuriboh appeared and cooed. "What was that, buddy? Chazz has a Duel Spirit?"
"Yes, Jaden," Yubel appeared as well, "take a look right behind his left shoulder."
He did just that and indeed, there was a small yellow creature hovering behind Chazz. Why'd any Duel Spirit choose someone with a personality like his, he would probably never know. 'Eh, there's all kinds of Spirits, so I guess it shouldn't be that surprising?' He shrugged. "Soo, Chazz, who's your little friend there?"
"It's nothing!" Chazz responded, frantically trying to grab the Spirit. "Just a figment of your imagination. Nothing to see here. No Duel Spirits at all. Leave me alone!" He finally caught it between his hands and it disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"Now, are you done with your turn or not?!"
"Dude, just relax… okay?" Jaden sweatdropped as he plucked a card from his hand and inserted it. "I set a card facedown and-"
"Before you do that," Chazz interrupted. "I activate My Armed Dragon's effect! Once during your turn, I can discard one card from my hand and destroy one card on the field!" He revealed. "Oh, and my dragon gains 1000 attack points too!"
He sent one card to the Graveyard as the Armed Dragon spun around, destroying Sparkman with a tail whip. (ATK: 4000-5000)
"That- That leaves Jaden wide open!" Alexis gasped.
"This is it, Slacker!" Chazz laughed, drawing his card. "I finally put you in the place you belong! Armed Dragon Thunder LV10, end Jaden now! Thunderbolt Shot!"
"Oh no!" Sheppard cried as the unstable ball of energy flew towards Jaden.
Jaden just smiled slightly as his trusty guardian appeared between him and lightning orb, blocking the attack.
"What the-?!" Chazz exclaimed.
"By banishing Necro Gardna from my Graveyard, I can negate your Armed Dragon's attack." The HERO duelist explained as he pocketed his card.
"I swear Jaden is gonna give me a heart attack soon…" Chumley complained as he clutched his chest.
"And I swear that monster is always in his hand when he has to discard cards." Bastion chuckled.
"You're not wrong about that." Erina laughed.
"So, you bought yourself a turn, big deal!" Chazz taunted, activating Armed Dragon Lightning to raise his monster's attack by another 1000. (ATK: 5000-6000) "You can set up all the defenses you want, once my Armed Dragon's attack reaches 10 000 there won't be anything that can stop me then!"
"W-what's that supposed to mean?" Syrus asked.
"Armed Dragon Thunder LV10's effects are locked behind the amount of attack points it has." Erina revealed. "Its final effect is unlocked once it reaches 10 000; it can destroy every single card on the field, except itself."
"Leaving Jaden completely defenseless!" Alexis gasped. If that happens, there won't be anything Jaden could do.
"That's one horrifying effect…" Zane muttered, surprised that the monster possessed such an ability.
Even though he was taunting his opponent, Chazz's mind was set on only winning this duel.
He grit his teeth in frustration, he was so close, but Jaden just had to stop him once again. 'Dammit, dammit, dammit! I was so close! One attack, and I would've finally earned their respect!' He thought as images of his brothers filled his mind.
"World domination is in our grasp!"
"You have to be Duel Monsters' best!"
Chazz turned to the audience where his brothers sat, both staring at him intently.
"I'm trying!" He yelled.
"Uhm… trying what?" Jaden asked, confused by the sudden change in Chazz. He looked desperate? "Trying to weird me out? Earth to Chazz…" He got no response.
He followed Chazz's line of sight to see the two men staring at him. "Oh yeah… his brothers…" He muttered, Chazz's meltdown suddenly coming back to mind. 'So they're the ones' putting all this pressure on him… That's why he had that meltdown… poor guy.' Jaden thought, feeling sad about Chazz. They might not be friends or anything, but it hurts seeing someone who should be enjoying the game struggle like this.
"Come on, Jay!" Syrus called out to him.
"You gotta turn this duel around, Jay!" Chumley added. "We believe you can do it!"
Jaden smirked due to the support of his friends. 'That's it! I gotta win this and show Chazz what dueling's about!' "Hey, Chazz! Come on, we got a duel to finish!"
"Don't tell me what to do!" Chazz growled as he inserted a card in his Disk. "I set two cards and end my turn."
"Here goes something!" Jaden drew. Well this is the best he could do for now. "I summon Elemental HERO Solid Soldier in defense mode!" The silver HERO appeared on the field, kneeling. (ATK: 1300/ DEF: 1100) "And when he's Normal Summoned, I get to Special Summon Stratos from my hand!" The sky HERO appeared next to his comrade, also kneeling. (ATK: 1800/ DEF: 300)
"Now he can use Stratos' effect to destroy that Spell!" Alexis smiled.
"And I'll use Stratos' effect to destroy your Armed Dragon Lightning!" Jaden's smile dropped when he saw the look Chazz had.
"I don't think so, Jaden! I activate my facedown Ultimate Providence!" Chazz revealed. "This trap allows me to negate and destroy one monster, spell, or trap card by discarding the same type of card from my hand!" He explained, shocking Jaden. "And now by discarding Armed Dragon Thunder LV7 from my hand, your HERO's effect is negated!"
The wind HERO's attack stopped and he disappeared. "Now, I activate my Armed Dragon's effect!" He discarded his last card. "You're HERO is a goner!" He grinned as his dragon delivered another tail whip. (ATK: 6000-7000)
"I activate my trap!" Jaden lowered his arm. "New Recruit!" The card flipped over, displaying a young boy powering up against a Battle Ox. "When a monster I control is sent to the Graveyard, this Trap allows me to Special Summon a level 3 or lower Elemental HERO from my deck!" He explained as a card popped out of his Disk. "And I choose Elemental HERO Burstinatrix, in defense mode!" The flame heroine appeared, kneeling. (ATK: 1200/ DEF: 800)
"He's hanging on effortlessly." Kaiba commented. It was impressive watching Jaden duel. It seemed like he's improved in the short time he's been here.
"Yeah, it's rather impressive." Yugi chuckled. Jaden was stalling the duel perfectly. He knew that his son was digging for something in that deck of his to turn this duel around. But, what could the winning card be?
"My turn!" Chazz snarled as he drew. "Armed Dragon Thunder LV10! Destroy Burstinatrix with Thunderbolt Shot!" The dragon roared, throwing its electric blast, destroying Jaden's HERO.
"Now, I activate Armed Dragon Lightning!" He declared as his dragon roared. (ATK: 7000-8000) "This is it, Slacker! Next turn my Armed Dragon will reach 10 000 attack points and you're done for! I've been waiting for this moment for so long now!"
"Is Jaden really gonna lose?" Chumley deflated.
"Of course not!" Erina scoffed. "This is Jaden we're talking about! Every time when things look bleak he pulls through!"
"She's right," Alexis smirked, "all we need to do is believe like he does."
"Come on, Jaden," Sheppard waved his arms frantically. "Don't give up, please!"
"Who's giving up?" Jaden asked in surprise. "I'm having the time of my life here! After all," he turned to Chazz, smirking. "That's what dueling's all about! Win or lose, it doesn't matter if you're having fun!"
"Oh, gag me!" Chazz scoffed.
"But, it's true!" Jaden grinned goofily. "If I can have fun losing, shouldn't you have fun winning? It's not that hard, Chazz… despite whatever your brothers might say."
"What the hell do you know about my brothers?!" Chazz snapped at him.
"Well, for starters, I know they're the ones you're dueling for." Jaden said. "I know how much pressure they've put on you to win this duel. It's not how siblings are supposed to act."
Chazz only growled, but Jaden heard him nonetheless.
"Come on, Chazz," He sighed. "Don't you remember a time when you used to duel for fun and for the excitement of it?"
"I only duel to win, Slacker!"
"Well, we're about to see where that gets ya…" Jaden sighed in disappointment as he placed his fingers on his deck.
Kaiba blinked in surprise before smirking. "You feel that?" He asked.
"Yeah," Yugi smiled. "His dueling spirit is rising. This is the final turn of the duel."
"I… draw!" The HERO duelist drew, grinning; he didn't look at the card, but knew exactly what it was. "I'm sorry, Chazz, but this is the end of our duel. I wish it lasted longer, because it was a lot of fun!"
"Give me a break!" Chazz chuckled arrogantly. "That's the biggest bluff I've ever heard!"
"If you say so," Jaden slammed the card in his Disk. "I activate Monster Reborn! With it I bring back my Blazeman!" In a flash of light, the HERO reappeared. (ATK: 1200/ DEF: 1800) "And when he's summoned, I get to add a Poly from my deck!" The card popped out of his deck and he took it.
"Good for you, but I'm sending your monster back where it came from!" Chazz said, discarding his final card. "Armed Dragon, destroy him!"
The dragon spun, sending its tail in Blazeman's direction.
"Not so fast!" Jaden responded quickly. "I activate Mask Change!" The HERO grabbed a red helmet that appeared in his hands and placed it on his head, enveloping him in red light as the Armed Dragon's tail missed.
"Say hello to Masked HERO Goka!" The HERO emerged from the light. (ATK: 2200-3300/ DEF: 1800) "I activate Goka's effect! Once per turn, I can destroy one monster on your field and deal damage to you equal to half of that monster's original attack!" He explained. "Go! Inferno Javelin!"
"I'll use Armed Dragon Lightning's effect!" Chazz said, "By sending it to the Graveyard, my Armed Dragon isn't destroyed, so I don't take the damage!" He removed the card from the field.
"Gotcha!" Jaden grinned. "I activate Polymerization! Fusing Goka with Bubbleman from my hand! Appear, HERO of dawn! Elemental HERO Sunrise!" A new HERO graced the field. One wearing bright red armor with golden accents and a golden sun on its abdomen, a red helmet with long horns on it, and a blue cloak fluttering behind him. (ATK: 2500/ DEF: 1200)
"Another new HERO?" Syrus exclaimed with stars in his eyes.
"Yeah, and this one looks very impressive." Alexis nodded with a smile.
Erina smirked as she watched. 'So that's your game-ending play!'
"And when he's summoned, I get to add a Miracle Fusion from my deck!" Jaden revealed, adding the card to his hand. "Oh! And, for every different element I control, Sunrise raises the attack of my monsters by 200 points!" (ATK: 2500-2700)
"That's not enough for him to stand up to my dragon!" Chazz pointed out the obvious.
"Yeah, you're right, but he is!" Jaden smirked, playing Miracle Fusion. "I fuse Elemental HERO Blazeman and Clayman to summon Elemental HERO Gaia!" The two cards popped out of the Graveyard as the colossal HERO appeared on the field, rivaling the dragon's size. (ATK: 2200-2600/ DEF: 2600) (ATK:2700-2900)
"When Elemental HERO Gaia is summoned, he halves your dragon's attack and adds it to his own!" He explained.
"What?!" Chazz gasped as he watched his dragon's power fall. (ATK:8000-4000) (ATK: 2600-6600)
"6600 attack points?!" Syrus's eyes widened. "That's enough for Jaden to win!"
"Let's go, Gaia, time to end this duel!" Jaden said as the titan HERO prepared himself for battle.
"That's not happening! I activate Armed Dragon Thunderbolt!" Chazz declared, revealing his Trap. "This allows my Armed Dragon to gain 1000 attack for every 'Armed Dragon' in my Graveyard with a different name, but sadly you don't take battle for the rest of the turn." The Dragon roared as its power kept rising and rising. (ATK: 4000-10000)
"No, Jaden's HERO isn't strong enough!" Syrus cried as he watched Gaia pull back his hand to attack.
"You can't win, Jaden! And next turn I'll use Armed Dragon Thunder LV10's ultimate effect and end you!" Chazz laughed, but stopped once he saw Jaden's smirk.
"Sorry, Chazz, but I meant it when I said this is the end of our duel! I activate Sunrise's effect!" The young Muto declared, smirking. "When an attack is declared involving another HERO, Sunrise gets to destroy one card on the field, and your dragon no longer has its protection from effects!"
"Sunrise, destroy Armed Dragon Thunder LV10! Split Finger Shot!" Golden balls of energy formed on the tips of the HERO's fingers and he threw them. The orbs flew like missiles, penetrating the Dragon's thick hide and destroying it in a spectacular explosion.
"My dragon!" Chazz cried as he covered his face with his arms. But, that was not all coming Chazz's way; he lowered his arms only to see a massive hand coming down to crush him. "Noooo!"
"Chazz's gonna lose!" The director cried, seeing the hand coming down on Chazz. "Cut the feed, cut the transmission! Now!"
"W-we can't, sir! The system isn't responding!" One of the tech crew said.
Kaiba smirked as he pocketed his phone and turned just in time to see the attack connect, ending the duel.
"And that's game!" Jaden grinned, doing his signature pose as Duel Academy's students erupted in cheers. Whooping and hollering his name.
Chazz sank down to his knees in defeat. He was about to look up when he noticed the two pairs of black dress shoes. He looked away, knowing exactly who they belonged to.
"You loser! You dog!" Slade snarled. "You've disgraced yourself, and you've disgraced the Princeton family!"
"You're no brother of ours anymore!" Jagger sneered.
"Please…" Chazz looked at them. "Give me another chance."
"Another chance?!" Jagger repeated. "You know how much we've spent on this duel?!"
"The cameras, the cards, none of which you used might I add!" Slade barked.
"I'm sorry…" Chazz lowered his head. "I thought I could win this duel by myself…"
Jagger growled, reaching down, grabbing his brother's coat and lifting him clear of the ground. "Yourself?!"
"When could you do anything by yourself?!" Slade screamed, about to raise a fist on Chazz.
"Hey! Let him go!" Jaden's voice boomed over the arena as his friends and family joined him. "Yeah, sure, he lost the duel against me, but how could he not with you two assholes breathing down his neck the whole time?"
"Assholes?" Jagger glared at him. "Do you know who we are, you brat? We could have you cr-" He stopped himself when Yugi pushed past all the kids and stood next to his son.
"No, please continue. I'm very curious to hear the rest of it." He said scarily calm, but his eyes were giving away the anger he hid.
"Why would you even defend Chazz anyway?" Slade asked. "He's a nobody! Disowned by us and by the whole world!" He gestured to the crews circling the arena. "The cameras got everything on tape! He was schooled! He got mopped up!"
"And worst of all he got beaten down like a dog!" Jagger growled.
Jaden shook with anger. Oh, how lovely it would probably feel to give these two some "intense nightmare therapy" as Yubel likes to call it. "You're wrong. He won a fight today! The fight against you two! He played by his condition, and with his cards! That's what matters!" He snapped at them.
"Right on, Jaden…" Crowler muttered through teary eyes from the spot he collapsed next to the arena. "Uh, I mean…" He had recovered just in time to witness the end of the duel.
Jagger didn't respond, he just let go of Chazz to stand on his two feet.
"You're just saying that…" Chazz muttered, getting their attention. "I wanted to beat you, Jaden, but I couldn't do it."
"So what?" The Slifer shrugged. "We could always duel again once your head is clear. All that matters now is that we've both won today."
"Come on, nobody else believes that…"
"We do Chazz!" Came from the crowd.
"Yeah! Chazz it up! Chazz it up! Chazz it up!"
Jaden smiled as both sides of the crowd began chanting for him, causing Chazz to look around in shock. They were all moved by the display in front of them.
"Come on, let's get out of here." Slade said as he and his brother turned to leave, only to bump into Seto Kaiba, who was looking down on them with what could only be described as malevolence in his eyes.
"Good." He said in a deadly calm voice. "Leave my island before I make you regret it. And if you so much as look at my kids the wrong way… I'll make sure the world forgets you ever existed." He threatened and the two scurried off with their tails between their legs.
Kaiba took a deep breath and tuned the mic on his head with the speaker system. "The winner of this year's School Duel is Jaden Yuki-Muto, representing Duel Academy!" His voice boomed, causing the arena to cheer.
Jaden grinned as he looked around, taking it in. Everything is out in the open now, so he should get ready for his fellow classmates to start bugging him now that they know he's the son of celebrities. 'Well, at least I don't have to worry about any girls harassing me-'
He only saw a few golden locks before Alexis jumped him, crushing her lips against his.
"Congrats!" She giggled slightly at the dazed look he had.
"Why thank you~" he said playfully as he wrapped his arms around her waist. He was pleasantly surprised by the public display of affection given how many people were probably watching them right now.
He hummed delightfully. "So… is just one all I get? I did win the duel for our school, y'know?" He teased, inching closer to her lips as Alexis was about to place a finger on his own to stop him when a flash stopped them both.
Turning to see where it came from, they saw Yugi smiling as he occupied himself with his phone. "Dad?" Jaden got his attention. "What are you doing?" He asked accusingly.
His father grinned slightly. "Oh, you know… you two looked too cute, so I couldn't resist. Your mom's gonna be excited when she sees this." He explained, chuckling as the teens realized the position they were in when the picture was taken.
Alexis in particular turned beat red. She had been dreading meeting Jaden's dad all day and making a good first impression and this is how it happens?! She disentangled herself from him and faced his father. "H-Hello, Mr. Muto… I'm Alexis Rhodes. I'm Jaden's girlfriend!" She introduced herself stiffly and extended her hand.
Yugi tried his hardest to restrain himself from laughing right now. She looked like she was about to die from embarrassment. "It's very nice to meet you." He chuckled in amusement as he shook her hand.
Later that evening, Chazz was standing on the hill overlooking the port, staring at the setting sun. He was mulling over the day's events. It was eye opening. The one person who showed him care and compassion, that defended him from his brothers, was someone who he'd acted horrible towards since the day they met.
'There's one last matter to settle…' He thought as he began heading towards the docks where the North Academy students were getting ready to leave.
"Well, Chazz, I guess this is goodbye." Jaden smiled, slightly nudging him on the shoulder. "And don't forget to write."
Chazz looked at his feet. "I'm not going back to North Academy, Jaden."
A collection of horrified gasps made Chazz look over his shoulder to look at his North Academy comrades. "Look, guys, I don't belong with you."
"But," Czar blinked, "where do you belong then?"
"Right here." Chazz turned to face them. "Duel Academy was always my home."
"But, you're our best duelist, Chazz," Czar reminded him. "Are you sure about this?"
"Yeah, I'm sure." He looked over his shoulder to the Headmaster. "If Chancellor Sheppard will have me back, that is."
"Well, you were one of our best students." Sheppard smiled warmly. "How could I possibly refuse? If that is alright with you, Mr. Kaiba?" He turned to the CEO, who only nodded in affirmation.
Foster nodded and patted his former champion on the shoulder. "I understand. I guess it's time for us to get going, then. Good luck, Chazz."
"Alright, everyone!" Crowler came on the stage that was set up on the docks. "Now it's time to present the prize of this year's School Duel… Miss Senior Duel Academy!"
At those words, almost all of the boys rushed the stage minus Jaden, who was gently rubbing the back of Alexis' hand with his thumb as he held it.
"Didn't know there was another Miss Duel Academy." Erina voiced what was on the three's minds.
"Miss Senior Duel Academy? She must be hot!" Chumley grinned.
"Chum, be my wingman, okay?" Syrus edged near the portly boy.
"Here she is!" Crowler announced.
Everyone's anticipation was turned into disappointment and slight horror as Dorothy rose from the stage, wearing a dress and makeup.
"Dorothy's Miss Senior Duel Academy?!" All the boys exclaimed in shock.
"This is gold!" Erian burst out laughing when it turned out that the big prize that Foster and Sheppard kept raving about all day was just a simple kiss from the woman.
Sheppard got his kiss on the cheek, which caused Foster to dash to the submarine, sobbing.
After a rather tearful goodbye and a final chant of 'Chazz it up!' from North Academy as their submarine drifted away.
Sheppard smiled, with all this out of the way, he can get to business. "Chazz, about you coming back… there's something we have to discuss about it."
Banner nodded and came closer to the boy. "Well, Chazz, since you dropped out of Duel Academy and are now returning, you are technically a new student here. Therefore you have to start from the bottom at Slifer Red."
"What?!" Chazz looked shocked and horrified. "Slifer?!"
Banner nodded. "Yes, welcome! We'll get you fitted for a blazer once we get back to the dorm, then we'll get you settled in with a roommate."
"The Chazz bunks alone! Got that?!"
"Really?" Syrus grinned slightly. "Do cockroaches count as roommates?"
"Cockroaches?!" Chazz's head snapped in the boy's direction.
"Yeah, there's a few of those." Chumley chuckled. "It's mainly the rats you gotta worry about."
"Rats?!" Chazz turned back to the sea. "I changed my mind! Turn the sub around! I wanna come back!"
Jaden laughed, turning to the others. "Guys, how about we give him the Slifer Cheer?"
"I don't want it!" Chazz snapped, glaring at them.
"Can't we stick with 'Chazz it up'?!" He begged.
"Or Slifer it up!" Everyone yelled before closing in for a huge group hug.
Chazz groaned and sunk to the ground, tugging at his hair. "This stinks! My new family is already dysfunctional!"
The group laughed lightheartedly at his misfortune.
A few hours later, after the sun had completely set and the moon was high in the sky. The two families were outside where the Blue-Eyes Jet was located, saying their goodbyes separately.
"Soo… today was a day." Erina said with a giggle, causing her father to chuckle. It was a phrase she used everytime her father had a less than good day. "Thankfully everything worked out fine, otherwise aunt Tea would've brought hellfire upon you once you got back."
She giggled again when her father's face paled slightly.
"If that's what I'd get for making sure Jaden doesn't ruin his future, then so be it." Seto shrugged.
"You'd sound more convincing if you weren't petrified for a moment from the thought of facing aunt Tea." Erina teased with a grin while her father sighed.
"Anyway," She straightened herself. "Since we're on the topic of futures… Can I ask something?" Seto nodded, letting her know to continue. "Do you… have any expectations of me?"
Seto blinked in surprise. "Where is this coming from?" He asked in concern.
"Well," Erina began, a bit less anxious after seeing her father's reaction. "Our name carries a lot of weight and I was wondering if you were expecting me to take interest in joining KaibaCorp?" There. She said it, and now she just had to wait for the answer.
"Absolutely not." Seto replied instantly.
"Yes, and I'll have a word with whoever it was that put that in your head. Who was it?"
"I…" Erina rubbed her forehead; either she tells him, or her father goes on a manhunt. "A couple of your advisors at the company." She tried being vague.
"That's all I need… they won't be working for me for long then."
"Dad! You can't fire them over something like this!"
"Can't I?" Seto raised an eyebrow. "I don't need simple-minded idiots working for me. But, don't concern yourself with that." He said and placed both his hands on her shoulders.
"What your mother and I want from you is to follow your dreams. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as it makes you happy. But, I have one condition." He held up his index finger in front of her.
"And what's that?" Erina tilted her head.
"That the career path you choose is meaningful."
"That's all?" She giggled.
Erina couldn't hold it anymore and went to hug him. "Thanks, dad… I feel silly worrying about this now." She laughed sheepishly as she squeezed harder.
"Don't be…" Seto wrapped one arm around her in a hug. "Unlike me, you have all the opportunities in the world. Whatever path you decide to take, I know you'll keep making me proud." He said, causing the bluenette to grin from the praise.
"It's getting late," he said as they separated. "You and Jaden have classes tomorrow." He turned to where the Mutos were, a bit down the hill. "Yugi, it's time to go!" He shouted.
"Alright!" He shouted back and turned to Jaden. "Well, it's time to go." He smiled. "It was nice seeing you, son."
Jaden smiled and hugged him. "You too, dad."
"It was also nice meeting Alexis, as well. She's lovely… I can see what you like in her." He chuckled as he noticed his son blush a little. " Oh! Don't forget to tell her she nailed the first impression." He said teasingly as they separated.
Jaden chuckled. "I'm not sure if that'll make her relax or embarrass her more."
After a final goodbye from both kids the two adults finally took off, leaving the island. Yugi couldn't help but smile as he stared at the moving stars as the jet flew over the sea. His son is growing up, maturing at a steady pace. 'Tea's gonna feel sad when she realizes that our little boy is becoming a man.' He mused, chuckling to himself.
"Yugi," he heard Seto's voice through the headset, snapping him out of it.
"Yeah?" He asked and after a moment of silence, Kaiba spoke up again.
"This… pit forming in my gut that's making me queasy… was it the same for you and Tea knowing what awaits Jaden in the future?"
'Ah, that's what this is,' a sad smile graced Yugi's lips. "More or less, yeah."
"Does it ever go away?"
"No. You just get used to living with it." He replied, knowing it wasn't the answer Seto was looking for. "We both agreed that this was the best way."
"That doesn't make me worry less!" Kaiba shot back, a hint of anger heard through the headphones.
"I'm not saying you should." Yugi said sympathetically. This was the first time Seto was dealing with something like this, and he knew exactly how he felt right now. "I don't like it any more than you do, but… We just have to believe in them, and hope they come out unharmed."
And that's a wrap!
Boy was this long. Always planned it like this, and I'm happy with the results. And yes, I named the attack after Vegito's move.
Besides that, all of Jaden's secrets are out... except one. How is this one gonna come to light, and how will his friends react? Well, you just gotta keep reading till I get there.
So yeah, Synchros are coming next season, and the normal 8000 lp. 4k feels way to little, especially with what some of the decks do nowadays.
But that's for the far away future! Next time we're gonna encounter danger! Grave Danger to be exact!
See you all next time! Stay safe!