literature

Advent Of Games II: Turn 05

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Literature Text

Neferi slowly opens her drowzy eyes, groaning incoherently as she finds herself standing up.  The last thing she can remember is falling unconscious after Victoria's attack from a supercharged Gate Guardian.  As she observes what she expects to be the field of a hotly contested duel, she finds… nothing.  No holograms, no cards, and most shockingly, no opponent.  Victoria is nowhere to be seen, while the duel disk she was using now rests opposite Neferi, right where she would've been standing.

"Neferi, you're finally awake!" the Pharaoh exclaims with relief.

"…uhhhhh…" Neferi groans, still not quite at a hundred percent.  "…what happened here?" she asks weakly, just now noticing that the duel seemed to have ended since she blacked out.  "…Yami?"

"We won the duel, Neferi…" the Pharaoh reassures morosely.  "But… Victoria…"

Neferi looks across the clearing that once projected the monsters from the previous duel.  "No…  Was Victoria… sent to the Shadow Realm?"

"Hardly," the stern young girl's voice responds.  Torika paces over to right where Victoria was standing and picks up the abandoned duel disk.  "Victoria will be fine, as will her unseen spirit partner.  As far as the two of them will be able to tell, that whole duel was nothing more than a bad dream.  They probably won't even remember what happened here."  Torika then tilts her head sharply in Neferi's direction, revealing an eerie crimson glow in her otherwise childlike emerald eyes.  "If you ask me, I'd say I let them off too easy."

"You what?!" Neferi shouts back, balling up a tight fist.  "So you're the one responsible for this Shadow Game, aren't you?  What do you want?"

Not even paying attention to Neferi, Torika begins fiddling with Victoria's duel disk, unclasping the wrist clamp and fixing it onto her wrist.  However, the duel disk flops around insecurely.  "Hmph.  Leave it to Seto Kaiba to design a technological supplement for a children's card game by fitting these armbands for adults," Torika remarks.

"Answer me!" Neferi insists, her patience growing thin.

Amidst her fiddling, Torika finds a hidden knob under the bulk of the duel disk.  Turning it tightens the wrist clamp, allowing it to fit snugly on her petite wrist.  "You're in quite a hurry just to lose," Torika responds snidely.  She vigorously shuffles her deck of Duel Monsters cards before placing them in the deck holding tray in the duel disk.  As Torika's deck slides completely into the tray, the life point meter lights up, counting up to a whole 8000.  "As per the customs of your game, as well as your incredible reputation for solving puzzles and mysteries, I think you'll find all you need to know as we play through our game."

"Yami," Neferi calls to the Pharaoh through the inaudible voice of her mind, "do you have any idea what Torika might be talking about?  And what would that have to do with why she wants to face us in a Shadow Game?"

"Like everyone who knows of the Shadow Games, Torika is probably after the Millennium Puzzle's powers," the Pharaoh assumes.  "Torika must've wanted Victoria to win the Puzzle from us so that she could easily pick it off of Victoria after removing us from the equation."

"Yeah, but…" Neferi begins to counter-argue.  Looking over at her opponent, Neferi can't imagine Torika being any older than her.  She was probably even younger by a solid few years.  "What could someone Torika's age want with the Millennium Puzzle?  You think she's some kind of super-ancient spirit who's actually been around for thousands of years?"

"No," the Pharaoh answers plainly.  "In fact, that's what's been bothering me.  If she were actually a spirit, I would've been able to tell in an instant.  But despite possessing some incredible powers, it seems as if she's just a regular young girl who actually is about as old as she looks."

"Before we begin this duel, tell me what you're really after," Neferi interrogates, finding something to discuss as she removes her deck from her duel disk and shuffles it.  "Are you trying to win the Millennium Puzzle in a Shadow Game?"

"The puzzle?" Torika asks back, pointing vaguely at Neferi's golden pendant.  "You mean that magical… pyramid… thingy?  Don't get me wrong, I love ancient Egyptian stuff, but what could I possibly do with some antiquated magic jewelry?"

In utter shock, Neferi tumbles backwards, her feet sticking up in the air for a moment.  "Then what's the point of any of this if you don't want the Millennium Puzzle?!" Neferi yells back angrily, exasperated at how, for the first time in what felt like years, she finally met an opponent with no interest in winning her frequently-contested Millennium Item in a duel.

Torika sighs audibly.  "Well alright.  If it means that much to you that I take your Millennium Puzzle when I win, then fine."  The glow in her eyes flickers again, this time visibly enough for Neferi to see across the gap between the two of them.  "It's just that, compared to the magic I'm used to wielding, the added magic of your Millennium Puzzle would be utterly meaningless."

"Who do you think you are?!" Neferi yells back, though she seems to channel the offended fury of the Pharaoh far more than any petty anger over her slighted personal pride.

"Who, me?" Torika asks innocently.  "Duel me, and find out…" she offers, completely abandoning her innocent tone as she glares at Neferi.

Neferi just about slams her deck into her duel disk, starting up her life point counter.  She immediately follows up by drawing a wad of five cards, pulling them all off the top of her deck in one swift draw, then fanning them out.

"Let's show this upstart little mouse who she's messing with, Yami," Neferi tells her partner.

"I'm ready when you are," the Pharaoh complies.

"LET'S DUEL!" Torika and Neferi shout simultaneously, kicking off their competition.

(Neferi:  8000LP  /  Torika:  8000LP)

"One, two, three, four, five," Torika counts off, drawing her opening hand one card at a time, but keeping her cards down, not even looking at them.  "I'll give you first turn, Neferi.  I don't want anyone to say you had an excuse for losing."

"Tough talk for a little twerp who doesn't even want to confirm her opening hand," Neferi fires back, drawing a sixth card.  "I summon Queen's Knight in attack mode."

The royal swordswoman takes her place on Neferi's side of the field.  She aggressively points her heart-embossed sword across the field at Torika.

(Queen's Knight:  1500ATK / 1600DEF / Lv4 / Warrior / EARTH)

Neferi smirks as she looks over her hand, particularly at one card.  "For now, that'll be enough," she concludes.

Torika grits her teeth as she makes her first turn draw.  "I'm not intimidated by you!" she responds.  "I summon Manju of Ten Thousand Hands to the field in attack mode," she declares, placing her newly-drawn card on the duel disk without as much as adding it to her hand… or even looking at it!

The multi-armed twisted deity creature stretches the mind with its menacing appearance, as an army of hands seem to sprout out from some hidden void behind its back.

(Manju of Ten Thousand Hands:  1400ATK / 1000DEF / Lv4 / Fairy / LIGHT)

"When summoned, Manju's special ability activates," Torika explains.  "With it, I can search my deck for a ritual monster to add to my hand."  Torika draws her entire deck from her duel disk and fans it out.  Again, without even looking, she plucks out a single card and reveals it to Neferi.  Even without having confirmed it, the monster is indeed a Ritual monster.  "The monster I choose to retrieve is my Elemental Mistress Doriado," she announces before adding her newly-seized card to her hand.

Neferi raises an eyebrow.  "Something fishy is going on here…  First she summoned Manju without even looking at it.  Then she managed to pull a Ritual monster from her deck, again without even looking.  Yami, is she cheating? "

"I almost wish she was…" the Pharaoh answers with a deep-seated concern.

"Ah, don't sound so worried.  Lucky card guesses or not, Torika's monsters have a serious flaw to them," Neferi reassures him.

"Your lucky guessing might be a nice party trick," Neferi demeans, "but your Manju is no match for my Queen's Knight.  Maybe if you wanted to get a Ritual monster from your deck, you should've picked something a little less worthless than Doriado."

"SHUT UP!" Torika suddenly yells back, the glare in her eyes seeming to swell along with her personally-offended tone.  "Doriado might not be the strongest card in the world, but she means the most to me.  This very card once belonged to my mother.  When I was just a baby, she fell into a coma, and I hardly knew her growing up.  Back then, my father was so grief-stricken that he wouldn't even talk to me.  I grew up all by myself.  No mother, no father, no siblings, and no friends.  Doriado and the rest of my cards were all the family I ever had," she explains, fighting a losing battle against the tears rolling down her cheeks at the thought of such a dark time in her life.  "Not even the most abusively powerful card in the game could ever replace Doriado in my deck!" she roars insistently.

Neferi gasps, almost put to shame by the account.  "Yami?  Did you catch that?"

"Yes, I did," the Pharaoh answers, almost in awe.

"It almost makes you feel sorry for her…" Neferi continues despondently.  "I always had my parents to turn to.  Even my little brother loves me in his own twerpy little way.  I can't imagine what it would've been like to grow up without anyone there for me."

"That bond she formed with her deck…" the Pharaoh comments.  "To treat them as her only family, her sole source of companionship … with such a powerful love between her and her cards, it is as if they are eager to stand by her side whenever she needs their help.  Especially that Doriado monster."

"It makes you wonder…" Neferi ponders.  "Did losing her mother and being deserted by her father make her this way?  Is this whole Shadow Game just some ploy for attention?"

"Don't be deceived, Neferi," the Pharaoh warns.  "Torika must still be held accountable for her actions.  Because of her Shadow Game, you were knocked unconscious and Victoria is gone.  No one who loves their cards as much as Torika claims to should be using her bond with them to cause such havoc."

As touching as Torika's story was, Neferi nods in agreement with the Pharaoh.  "Yeah, I guess you're right.  I don't think she's all that bad, though.  Maybe we can use this duel to get through to her."

"Well, Torika?"  Neferi asks.  "Are you going to sit around telling sob stories, or are you going to move?"

Torika turns over and stares at one of the cards in her hand, the Elemental Mistress Doriado she had just picked.  This marks the first time in the duel she had actually looked at her cards, or even sincerely smiled for that matter.  "So long as I have Doriado, I'm not bothered by anything you can throw at me.  I end my turn."

"We'll see about that," Neferi responds, accepting Torika's challenge.  "I summon King's Knight from my hand.  Also, when I summon King's Knight while Queen's Knight is on the field, I can summon my Jack's Knight from my deck."

(King's Knight:  1600ATK / 1400DEF / Lv4 / Warrior / EARTH)
(Jack's Knight:  1900ATK / 1500DEF / Lv5 / Warrior / EARTH)

King's Knight, Queen's Knight, and Jack's Knight appear on Neferi's field as she makes her move.  The three monsters stand together in unity, preparing to charge at Torika's Manju.

Neferi points forward confidently.  "You don't have a single face-down card to stop this all-out blitzkrieg.  Jack's Knight, attack!"

The tallest, youngest, and strongest of the Neferi's three warriors steps forward and lunges at Manju, tearing the monster in half with his broadsword.

(Torika:  8000LP -> 7500LP)

"King's Knight!  Queen's Knight!  Follow up and attack Torika's life points directly!" Neferi commands.

"I don't think so!" Torika insists, throwing a card from her hand onto her duel disk.  "Whenever you declare a direct attack on me, I can special summon my Battle Fader from my hand to the field.  And when Battle Fader is summoned, your monsters can't attack me for the rest of the turn."

(Battle Fader:  0ATK / 0DEF / Lv1 / Fiend / DARK)

A small, insignificant looking clockwork monster appears on Torika's side of the field.  Swinging a golden pendulum back and forth, Neferi's King's Knight and Queen's Knight cease their charge and stare forward, transfixed by the newly appeared monster.

Neferi grits her teeth at the momentary setback.  "Torika may have stopped that attack… but there's one monster in our hand I know she can't stop…" she reassures herself, glancing at her hand.

"I have no choice but to end my turn," Neferi declares.

"Somebody's awfully confident," Torika notices, drawing her card.  "I suppose it's time I showed you who it is you're up against.  I activate the permanent spell card Soul Absorption.  When this card is active and a card is removed from play, I gain 500 life points.  This card will trigger as soon as my Battle Fader's final special ability kicks in.  Whenever my monster is removed from the field, it is removed from play, never to be seen again.  I'll then activate Battle Fader when I use it for a tribute to activate my Doriado's Blessing ritual spell.  I'll send a level-two Witch Doctor of Chaos from my hand to the Graveyard, and I'll also remove my Battle Fader from play.  This activates my Soul Absorption."

Torika's one lone monster on the field dissipates, not being destroyed like a regular monster would be.  It simply vanishes into thin air.

(Torika:  7500LP -> 8000LP)

Torika continues her turn after her life points are restored.  "I can now summon my Elemental Mistress Doriado to the field in attack mode."  As she pulls her Ritual monster from her hand, Torika looks at the card with an endearing smile.  "I'll do you proud," she tells it before setting it on the duel disk.

Torika's monster appears as a majestic woman with long ginger hair, a fancy headdress and loose sky blue robes.  She stands forward with open arms, as if completely aloof to any thought of her own destruction at the hands of Neferi's monsters.  In a particularly obscure gesture, especially considering her status as a holographic projection, Doriado turns to face Torika and gives the girl a warm smile.  Seeming to ignore the duel entirely, Torika basks in the very moment, having finally summoned her most treasured monster to the field.  She looks up at Doriado, as if seeing another face instead of the one her monster bears…

"I'm here.  I'll protect you, I promise…" Torika serenely assures her monster.  "…mommy…"

Neferi, on the other hand, tries desperately to repress her gag reflex, with the entire thing being too sugary for her tastes.  "Are you gonna' move or not?" Neferi shouts, doing her best to deliberately break up the moment.  She eagerly thumbs at a card in her hand, nervously awaiting the chance to play it, repaying Torika for her sins with a heaping helping of torment.

Doraido sharply turns around, returning to her battle-ready stance, only now she glares across the field at Neferi, bewildered that anyone would dare talk to her and her master like that.

"I would've thought you'd want me to give you a few more moments before I crush your hopes and dreams to dust," Torika threatens Neferi.  "If you really want me to move that badly, all you had to do was ask.  I set a card face-down and activate D.D. Designator.  This card lets me declare any card name I want, and if the card exists in your hand, it will be removed from play.  If I guess wrong, a random card will be removed from my own hand."

"Smart," Neferi notes.  "She played out the entirety of her hand before activating the D.D. Designator.  The worst that can happen to her now is that her card does nothing."

"There seems to be more to it than that…" the Pharaoh comments.

"The card I declare to remove is…" Torika begins.  "…Giant God Soldier of Obelisk!"

Neferi's jaw drops in shock.  The card she was so eager to summon next turn was indeed the Giant God Soldier of Obelisk.  A turn later and it would have been on the field, wreaking ancient Egyptian havoc as only a god card can can.  "How… how did she know?!  Even if she knew I was going to pull a god card, how did she know which one I would use?  There's something seriously wrong with this duel…"  Neferi picks the god card from her hand, only to watch in horror as it vanishes into thin air before her eyes.

"OBELISK!" Neferi cries out.

"That was no lucky guess," the Pharaoh concludes.  "It takes a very unique power to sense a card's identity without even looking at it… but this isn't just simple prescience.  Torika is actively altering fate with her will!"

"That's insane!" Neferi replies.  "How are we supposed to beat a duelist who can pull whatever card she wants whenever she wants to?!"

"Her connection to her cards seems to be the strongest with her Elemental Mistress Doriado," the Pharaoh replies.  "As long as Doriado is on the field, Torika can control the very flow of destiny, both of her cards and of our own.  But if you were to destroy Doriado, her power should weaken."

"Sounds simple enough," Neferi surmises.  "Her monster is still weaker than any of the monsters we have, god card or no god card…"

(Neferi:  8000LP  /  Torika:  8000LP)
Sequel Synopsis: After defeating Victoria in the first duel, Neferi and the Pharaoh must now face the architect of the Shadow Game: Torika Showron! What is the connection between the three duelists involved in this game? Will Neferi be able to triumph against stacked odds to win the Shadow Game? And why is Torika doing all of this?

*-*-*

It's duel number two in this two-part fanfiction extravaganza that still manages to be for Nasdreks' birthday, somehow. How? Because I couldn't very well leave off at a cliffhanger like I did. It's at this point where the plot starts to get a lot darker and more serious. Like Part I, I'll probably split this into about four fragments. This time I started the duel in the first fragment because there's less setup when the basic premise has already been laid out. Also this duel is quite a bit longer, and that doesn't even include all the extra exposition that breaks this duel up far more than Neferi vs Victoria.

Sorry I couldn't post this any sooner though. First off, I wanted to make sure it was accurate. As I was writing, I caught about three non-god-card-related rules mistakes and one card miscount. Fortunately, Pot of Greed fixed the miscount and I was able to fudge the incorrect rules with just a handwave of "that's how they'd probably work in the show anyway". I also had a lot of homework to do, especially last weekend, which sucked as that really was Nasdreks' birthday weekend. At any rate, I'm still posting this far faster than that other fanfic I'm allegedly still working on.

Fun factoid: the connection between Torika and the Elemental Mistress Doriado is a mythology gag to Science and Sorcery. Back when the plot was still Yugioh-related, "Sakura" (who was actually Proteus at the time) used to use a deck that combined Elemental Mistress Doriado with other monsters of various attributes, all combining together to activate Elemental Burst for a field nuke. It's supposed to represent how an elemental mage (a cardcaptor) can harness the powers of the elements (the Clow Cards) to unlock an unstoppable power (her "invincible spell"). Torika's attachment to Doriado is more aesthetic than tactical, but her deck has other strategies to it, which will be revealed in later chapters.

With all these card-game-based plot points, I sure hope Nasdreks is at least passingly familiar with the real game. Otherwise, she might miss a lot of the subtle nuances. Then again, given she's doing her own Yugioh doujinshi, I would certainly hope she's familiar enough with the card game. Battle City is coming up, and I'm wondering if she'll plan to do something clever and creative with the god cards.
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© 2011 - 2021 DrakeTheDuelist
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Nasdreks's avatar
Wow, no pressure on Queen of Games: Battle City now /sarcasm XD

Anyway, this is really interesting and I can't wait to find out how this all works out. I actually showed this fic (at least Duel I) to someone else and they liked it as well.