literature

Advent of Games II: ENDGAME

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Literature Text

Wingweaver ascends high into the air as her wings fold across her body.  Her two highest wings fold to veil her face while the lowest wings interlace to shield her feet.  With her last two wings, Wingweaver unleashes a brutal stream of light, not at Torika, but at Athena.  Athena then absorbs this attack into her mirror shield, causing it to pulsate with power as Wingweaver continually feeds it energy.  As Athena's shield's fluctuating glow reaches a critical mass of rapid blinking, Athena grips the ground with a sturdy footing and unleashes the power stored in her shield.  The attack barrels unstoppably towards Torika like a holy laser cannon, though Torika stands apathetically in the beam's path.  The kinetic force of Athena's and Wingweaver's combined powers sends Torika hurtling backwards, throwing the possessed girl into the stone wall behind her with a dull thud.

(Torika: 4900LP -> 0LP)

"Game over!" Neferi declares triumphantly.  "Now release Torika from your evil control, now!" she orders, pointing forcefully at her fallen opponent.  As she stares on, her unbreakable stare is interrupted as Neferi blinks in confusion, swearing that she could just barely hear Torika... laughing.

"...Heheheheheheheh...  Evil control, you say?!" Torika cackles, peeling herself off the ground with all the haste of a living-dead cadaver.  "You've got a lot to learn about kaos, stain.  It's not a different spirit.  It's not an evil possession.  It's not a brainwashing dark side.  My kaos is the true will of my own heart.  Though simpler, weaker wills have a more finite kaos, I am the Daughter of Two Great Powers!  I am UNSTOPPPABLE!  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

As Torika's twisted, haughty laughter echoes through the twisted chambers of the Millennium Puzzle, the life point reader on Torika's duel disk dials up larger and larger amounts at increasingly phenomenal rates.

(Torika:  0LP -> 1LP -> 2LP -> 4LP ...)

Before long, Neferi notices Torika's mysteriously increasing life points.  "Yami?  How is she doing that?!" Neferi asks uncertainly.

Projecting himself translucently, the Pharaoh grits his teeth.  "Keep attacking!" he advises urgently.  "Quickly, before her life points climb too high to assail!"

(Torika:  ... -> 128LP -> 256LP -> ...)

Neferi turns back to the monsters on her field, wise Athena and her trusty Wingweaver.  "Wingweaver!  Athena!  Attack Torika's kaos again!  Bring her back down to zero!"

Neferi's fairies comply and lunge at Torika.  Wingweaver points her palms at Torika as she exudes a scathing force of light from her hands, disrupting Torika's maniacal laughter and sending her reeling.  Athena adds her effort by pointing her spear forward, launching a projectile lance of solar energy, piercing Torika right through the heart, cutting her rapidly increasing life points off at the pass.

(Torika:  ... -> 2048LP -> 4096LP -> 1346LP -> 0LP)

With Torika's life points zeroed out once again, both Torika and Neferi stand motionlessly, with Neferi apprehensively waiting as Torika simply stands around as a smoldering, motionless husk.  Until...

(Torika:  ...0LP -> 4LP -> 32LP -> ...)

"Wingweaver!" Neferi calls out desperately, noticing Torika's life points increasing again.

(Torika:  ... -> 256LP -> 2048LP -> ...)

Neferi's Wingweaver unleashes yet another flash of holy light, but it flows past Torika as harmlessly as mundane sunlight.  The normally-ferocious attack finally dissipates as Neferi's formidable angel finally gives way to an inevitable attrition.  Torika, on the other hand, shows no such limitations.

(Torika:  ... -> 8192LP -> 5442LP... -> 32768LP -> ...)

"Your attacks can't harm me, even in a Shadow Game!" Torika snarls back, her life points increasing faster and faster in spite of Neferi's monsters' best efforts.  "The rules of your game assume that our powers start equally, but in a Shadow Game, your powers don't even come close to mine!  You can't win this Shadow Game, so long as I have a spare breath!  You should recognize when you're defeated by a superior character!"

"Athena!" Neferi beckons urgently to her fairy warrior.

(Torika:  ... -> 65536LP -> 4294967296LP  -> ...)

"It's no use trying to defeat me!" Torika replies arrogantly, shrugging off the spear-thrust of Neferi's war-fairy with supernatural ease.  "The power you contend against is a kaos that knows no limit!  With it, I AM IMMORTAAAAAL!"

With a loud shout and a wave of raw air-rippling magic, Torika throws both Wingweaver and Athena away, launching them both into a wall behind Neferi.  Having exceeded their limitations, Neferi's monsters finally collapse, unable to assail such a foe as Torika any longer.  Neferi's monsters shatter, while Torika's life points spiral hopelessly out of control.

(Torika:  ... -> 18446744073709551616LP -> 3.403e38LP -> ...)

Neferi finally falls to her knees in despair as Torika's life points rise so high that traditional notation can no longer adequately represent them.  "Can't be...  It's not fair...  We won the duel... but why...?  Why can't we free Torika's heart...?"

"Because you still aren't using the Pharaoh's infinite power!" a gruff, angered voice calls out to Neferi.

Neferi slowly turns her head around, greeting the source of the voice and meeting his sinister gaze.  "...Bakura?" Neferi asks, unsure of what to make of the spirit of the ring.

The Pharaoh merges his ethereal projection with Neferi's body as the Millennium Puzzle's eye symbol glows on Neferi's forehead for a brief moment.

"Evil Spirit!" the Pharaoh shouts through Neferi.  "We fight the battles you can't win.  We face the foes you fear!  We finally defeat Torika's kaos against all odds.  What do you want with us now?!"

"That girl's kaos doesn't look so defeated to me," the spirit of the Millennium Ring chides as he holds up a duel disk strapped to his arm.  "It seems you can't be trusted to handle this simple duel on your own, Pharaoh.  You might as well remain nameless forever if you can't figure out how to use your name to unleash the only force you possess that can stand against Torika's kaos!"

Neferi and the Pharaoh turn back towards the duel.

Torika basks comfortably in a burning crimson aura that seems to soothe her, even hoisting her aloft with a mighty updraft.  Torika doesn't even seem to notice the spirit of the Millennium Ring's latest intervention into this Shadow Game, instead ambivalently content with her own limitless powers.

(Torika:  ... -> 1.158e77LP -> 1.341e154LP -> 1.798e308LP -> ...)

"What power could possibly  stand up to that?" the Pharaoh asks, somewhat rhetorically.

The spirit closes his eyes.  "The girl's kaos may be formidable... but she is merely human.  No human can wield infinite power... not even you, Pharaoh."  The spirit opens his eyes to give Torika a spiteful glare.

The Pharaoh keeps his eyes skeptically fixated on the spirit of the Millennium Ring, expecting the fiend to pull some kind of trick to steal the Millennium Puzzle or something equally petty and underhanded.  Rather, the evil spirit simply unfolds the duel disk on his arm, as if preparing to duel.

"TORIKA!  DAUGHTER OF TWO GREAT POWERS!" the evil spirit bellows across the field, doing his best to gain the aloof girl's attention.  "I challenge you to face a true opponent, one </i>without fear of your power!</i>  Let me into this Shadow Game, and I'll put your kaos to the ultimate test with just one move!  Unless, of course, you fear me!"

In the bliss of bathing in a veritable fountain of power flowing eternally, Torika cracks her eyes open at the call of another challenger.  "You fool..." Torika calls to the spirit with a deeper, demonic voice.  "I have no quarrel with you, Necrophades.  Do you wish to be destroyed along with your world?" she adds.

The spirit holds up his duel disk confidently.  "Much to even my own surprise, it seems the Pharaoh and I are not too different:  we are both duelists to the bitter end!  I would sooner be destroyed in a Shadow Game than to lose without a fight!"  He then reaches for his cards from his duel disk, plucking nearly his entire deck from the disk.  "And to prove it, I don't need any more than one move!"  Boldly, the spirit places the very hefty remainder of his deck straight into the duel disk's Graveyard zone, where the device seemingly devours the entire stack one card at a time with a lengthy mechanical whir.

The Pharaoh's eyes shoot wide open.  "Evil Spirit!" the Pharaoh calls to his unlikely ally in perplexed shock.  "Don't attempt to defend me, only to sabotage yourself and lose this duel for the both of us!" the Pharaoh yells with a clenched fist.

Intrigued by the ancient spirit's sheer audacity, Torika tilts her head curiously.  "So... you truly wish to be destroyed before your time, don't you?"  Torika and the spirit of the Millennium Ring trade ominous glares in a moment of silence, until Torika speaks once more.  "...Very well.  If you truly can't bear to see your series end, then I will put you down like the dog you are.  Make your one and only move, and then be gone from my sight forever," Torika invites forebodingly.

(Yami Bakura:  8000LP)

With unshakeable confidence, or quite possibly brazen arrogance, the spirit of the Millennium Ring draws the very last card he had left in his deck.  "I'm going to make you regret the day you first saw light, mortal!" he threatens.  "I activate Deja-Vu!  This card forces all players to summon all monsters they had on the field on their previous turn, in the battle positions they were in when they were destroyed.  Since I had no previous turn, this card doesn't affect me.  However, you will be forced to summon your D.D. Scout Plane and your Elemental Mistress Doriado, while the Pharaoh will then have one last opportunity to unleash the true power of the three Egyptian gods!"

As if fading into reality, a series of mirages flicker into existence across the field.  Most prominently, Neferi's three god monsters appear behind her.  Despite appearing as the ferocious double-mouthed serpent, the mechanical golden gryphon, and the ancient blue titan, the three god monsters float about in eerie silence, as if not truly there.  Similarly on Torika's side of the field, her mechanical device monster and female spellcaster similarly appear as ghastly phantasms.

Torika watches the images of previously slain monsters as they linger on the field, if only as a memory.  She tilts her head in otherwise-emotionless peculiarity, though more at the evil spirit's obscure and anticlimactic choice of moves than the mediocre results it produced.  In what feels like a previous life at this point, Torika imagines herself running away in terror like a frightened lunatic at the very thought of ghosts.  Such a trite existence plagued by insignificant mortal concerns and impulses towards self-preservation seem like another life away, given her veritable apotheosis at this point.

(Torika:  ... -> 3.232e616LP -> 1.044e1233LP -> ...)

The Pharaoh stares up in confusion at the bizarrely translucent god monsters.  "What did you just do, Evil Spirit?" the Pharaoh interrogates boldly, staring blankly at the flickering memories of the god monsters before him.  "I can't attack with the god monsters when they're like this, let alone during your turn."

The spirit of the Millennium Ring drapes his hand over his face as he stumbles to a knee.  "You idiot!  I didn't revive your gods so you could stare at them!  You only have one more chance to defeat Torika!  Crush her now, before my turn ends!" the spirit pleas frantically.  Rapidly tiring of the Pharaoh's inability to grasp what the spirit sees as obvious, the spirit ventures a guess that the Pharaoh could defeat Torika with ease if only the god monsters could channel his infinite foolishness into attack power.  Thinking more seriously for a moment, the spirit realizes that the only way for the amnesiac king to understand some things is for them to be spelled out.

"Quickly, before they vanish completely... call upon the gods with the Name of the Pharaoh!" the spirit of the Millennium Ring bellows at the Pharaoh like a dire order.

Torika's confident stupor is momentarily shaken.  She had heard rumors of the kind of power that the spirit of the Millennium Ring was referring to.  She struggles to maintain her confidence, though the evil spirit and Neferi are none the wiser.  Such a power could only be a legend, after all.  No one is stronger than the Daughter of Two Great Powers... right...?

Despite the spirit of the Millennium Ring's desperate plea, the Pharaoh stands as still as a statue, letting the very duel, and Neferi's only chance, pass him by.

*-*-*

In the dark and formless landscape of Neferi's mind, the Pharaoh stands sternly before a raised stone plaque.  The plaque, a vertical oval, bears a few ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, though the Pharaoh recognizes these scribbles as far more than just random characters.  In a spontaneous fit of rage, the Pharaoh smashes the stone plaque into pieces with a crushing backhand before falling to his knees.

"I... I can't do it..." he mutters.  "What happened...?  And... why?"

As the Pharaoh kneels down, Neferi approaches him at a slow pace.  Looking around at the only definitively formed shapes in her mind, the Pharaoh and the broken stone plaque, smashed like pottery against pavement.  Neferi timidly holds her tongue, trying to piece together the context of the scene.  She contemplates asking the Pharaoh if he needs help assembling the plaque again.  Neferi does pride herself on her skill with puzzles, after all.

"Is..." Neferi begins cautiously.  "...is something the matter, Yami?"

The Pharaoh grits his teeth and clenches his fists.  "That's not my name, Neferi..." he answers with a gruff sternness.  His hands then wander over to the plaque's broken shards, where he picks up one of them.  "...This is my name."

Rather than looking upon the countless shards with gloom, Neferi's eyes light up with optimism.  "So this is what you've been looking for all these millennia?" she asks eagerly, kneeling down and thumbing through the dull stone shards, trying to set one shard against another like a puzzle.  "So all we have to do is fix it and we'll know your true name!  We're so close to uncovering the secrets of your past-"

"Stop!" the Pharaoh yells.

Neferi immediately stares wide-eyed and motionlessly at the Pharaoh, knowing full well that he has the power to make good on just about any threat he wishes when he gets angry.  She slowly sets down the two plaque shards in her hand, placing them as close to where she picked them up as she can recall.

The Pharaoh finally slouches.  "I apologize, Neferi," he answers, noticing his partner's glazed, doe-eyed expression.  "It's strange.  I've been waiting for this moment for millennia, but now that I finally have the key to unlock the secrets of my past, I..."

Neferi relaxes.  As the Pharaoh fumbles for his words, Neferi finds herself a spectator to the ancient game-king's fragile humanity.  The very image strikes her speechless.

"...not like this..." the Pharaoh whispers, almost begging.  "I didn't want to uncover the secrets of my ancient past like this.  I wanted to find out the truth, but on my own terms.  If a Shadow Game were to play any part in revealing the secrets of my past at all, no one else should have to pay the price if I fail.  I barely have a spare moment to even think about it.  If I had such great power, how could I have forgotten my past?  No one could've defeated me if I wielded infinite power... but then... the only logical answer to why I lost my memory is that... I did it to myself.  Why?!  Was I a wicked Pharaoh in my life?  Did I lock my own powers away as some kind of penance?  What reason could I have had to lock away not just my power, but my memories?!   Is this why the spirit of the Millennium Ring is so unconcerned with me unleashing my true power?!  Is he counting on it?!  I have so many questions, yet there's barely time to even ask!  After millennia of searching, the key to the truth is finally in my very grasp, but even after waiting for this moment for so long, I find myself in doubt of what to do!  If I don't unveil the truth, Torika's kaos will destroy your world, Neferi.  But if I do unveil the truth... and I unlock some ancient, devious evil... I'll have doomed your world either way."  The Pharaoh lets his arms drop to his side, also dropping the piece of pottery in his hand.  "...What am I to do?"

Neferi prepares to answer the Pharaoh, but she hushes herself before even making a sound.  A decade-and-a-half of living experience and a half-complete high school education hardly gives her the credentials to critique a 3000-year-old Pharaoh contemplating opening a veritable Pandora's Box of ancient powers and memories.  How could Neferi possibly encourage the Pharaoh of the right course of action?  For that matter, what is the right course of action?  

"You have to press on..." a young girl's voice finally answers the Pharaoh.

Neferi and the Pharaoh raise their heads, finding a short young girl, dressed in the garb of Torika's Elemental Mistress Doriado monster, thumbing through the shards and trying to make sense of it all.  She keeps her head down as she works, hiding her face with her large headdress.

"Torika?" Neferi asks, kneeling lower and trying to catch a glimpse of the girl's face.  "What are you doing in our mind?"

The girl lifts her head at last, finally revealing the familiar face of Neferi's opponent, only without the scowl that her kaos had made herself known by.  "Pharaoh, Neferi, when your ally activated his Deja-Vu card, he brought me back into this Shadow Game as Doriado, the one card in my deck that my kaos could never corrupt.  His last brave move gave you one final chance to defeat my kaos.  If you let that chance pass you by, my kaos will win this Shadow Game and send your entire world into the inert cold.  You have to seize upon it, no matter the cost."

Neferi turns back to the Pharaoh.  Appreciative of Torika's support, she admits to herself that even Torika's encouragement couldn't help the Pharaoh deal with such a hard decision.

The Pharaoh turns his gaze to the shards of the plaque that once held his name before he shattered it.  "Such a thing is easy to say..." the Pharaoh responds, utterly unenthused at Torika's attempt at a rousing speech.

"Not as easy as you might think," Torika responds grimly, folding her hands over her lap.  "Believe it or not, I know what it's like to uncover a truly world-shaking memory or two..." she continues.  Torika shivers briefly, fearing that the haunting sound of screeching tires might never leave her behind.  "But you can't hide from your memories," Torika continues, in spite of her trembling hands.  "Just because you can't remember your past doesn't mean it didn't happen.  If it turns out you were an evil Pharaoh after all, you would've had to confront that truth eventually anyway.  Unfortunately, because I couldn't control my kaos, that eventuality is right now, and for that I'm truly sorry."  She bows her head shamefully.

The Pharaoh remains unmoved by Torika's admission.  "I haven't lost faith in my abilities, young one," the Pharaoh answers.  "I can't take the risk that my power won't consume Neferi's world unstoppably."

Neferi, on the other hand, tightens her fists and prepares her words, knowing full well she won't be able to take them back.  "Yes you can," she replies boldly.  Neferi turns towards the Pharaoh, and both the Pharaoh and Torika turn their gazes towards Neferi.  "Yami-  I mean... Pharaoh... you don't have to worry about your powers going out of control.  Not if I'm here to keep you grounded.  Even if you lose control of your powers, you won't harm my world in the process... because if it comes to that, I'll defeat you myself!" Neferi announces boldly.

"That's a very brave gesture, Neferi," the Pharaoh responds.  "But if you can't defeat the near-infinite powers of Torika's kaos with my help, how do you plan to handle my own perfectly-infinite power all on your own?"

"You want to know how?" Neferi swiftly replies, though not immediately knowing how to respond.  She then glances down at the Millennium Puzzle on the lanyard around her neck, where she finds her answer.  She wraps her fingers tightly around the Millennium Puzzle and holds it up.  "If I can't control you, I'll smash this Millennium Puzzle to pieces!  That ought to trap your spirit in the Puzzle's shards forever!"

The Pharaoh's pupils shrink in shock.  "And yours!" he adds direly.  "If you shattered the Millennium Puzzle while our spirits are merged, your soul would be trapped as well!  You'd lose everything!  Your family!  Your friends!  Your life!  I remember when you made the wish on the Millennium Puzzle, and you never asked for a burden like that!  I won't allow it!"

Neferi stares at the Millennium Puzzle, harboring a remote fear in the back of her mind that she might just have to do what she told the Pharaoh.  "I wished on the Millennium Puzzle that I would be brave," she clarifies with a crackling, woeful voice.  She lowers the Puzzle, letting it hang loose on its lanyard.  "...and with your help, that wish came true!"  Neferi stares unflinching at the Pharaoh, masterfully concealing whatever latent fears she holds.  "But it won't come to that.  I believe in you, Pharaoh!  You're stronger than any darkness, even your own!  No matter what you find in your past, you know who you are in your heart, and nothing will change that!  I won't allow it!"

The Pharaoh's mouth hangs open as he stares at Neferi, who stares back without even blinking.  Though he didn't believe Neferi's assertion that unleashing the power of his name was a good idea, he had to admit that Neferi's insistence to bet everything on him was truly inspiring.  Rather than just being a scared young girl ignorantly begging for her own world's doom, the fact that she is willing to give up her long and unfulfilled life at such a tender age puts the Pharaoh to shame.  And at that thought, the Pharaoh realizes something that he missed.  There is one reason why the Pharaoh may have given up his own memories, a reason that had nothing to do with having an evil past...  Perhaps Neferi had more room to trust in the Pharaoh's heart than the Pharaoh himself may have realized.

"...We have a Shadow Game to win..." the Pharaoh breaks the silence with his confidence as he stands up.

"That's more like it!" Neferi encourages the Pharaoh before returning to the sundered plaque at her feet, once again trying to fit pieces to pieces.  "All we need to do now is put this tablet back together and-"

"That won't be necessary," the Pharaoh interrupts.  "I already know my name.  All I have to do now is use it..."

*-*-*

"PHARAOH! " the spirit of the Millennium Ring bellows at the Pharaoh via Nefer's vessel.

(Torika:  ... -> 1.901e2466LP -> ...)

Torika smiles confidently, sure in the fact that the spirit's intervention in this Shadow Game will do nothing more than compound the glory she will surely win.  "You waste your breath, Necrophades," Torika states flatly.  "The Pharaoh and his stain of a vessel are too stunned to move.  This duel is over for them."  Amidst basking aloft in the fiery aura around her, she makes a move to draw the next card from her duel disk.  "And so is your universe.  Goodbye, Necrophades... Pharaoh... and especially that worthless stain, Neferi Nash..."

"Hold it!" Neferi interrupts, turning around smugly.  "Your life points may rise over and over again, but this is still a duel, and as long as we're still dueling, we follow the rules of Duel Monsters!"

Torika remains unfazed.  "What rules?" she mocks.

"This one!" Neferi points forward.  "Because you summoned two monsters with Osiris the Heavenly Dragon on the field, my god card's special ability activates, reducing your monsters to dust!"

The fading, immobile specter of Neferi's heavenly dragon stirs, opening its higher row of jaws to generate a pair of violet fireballs.  With a windy shockwave, Osiris launches these spheres of flaming power at Torika's own spectral monsters.  Upon impact, Osiris's attacks tear through Torika's monsters like fire through fog, smashing into the ground with a mighty explosion.  Torika, on the other hand, is utterly unfazed.

"Just what was the point of that, stain?" Torika asks Neferi indignantly.

Neferi holds up her arm to shield her eyes from the smoke of Osiris's explosive attack.  "That just cleared your field.  Now... your life points are exposed!"

(Torika:  ... -> 1.190e4932LP -> ...)

Despite her virtual godhood, Torika can't help but chuckle in mortal amusement.  "My life points?!   Are you insane, or just stupid?  No matter what you throw at my life points, they're so high at this point that you can't even scratch me!"

"We'll see about that!" Neferi responds assertively.  "I control the three god monsters, and even if that control is momentary, that moment is all we need to unveil their unlimited strength!  And all we need to unleash that power is... the name of the Pharaoh!  And without your good half on the field anymore, you have nothing left to shield you from the god monsters' infinite power!"

Torika's pulse begins to quicken.  "Infinite... power...?  ...Big deal, my power is also infinite!  You can't beat it!"

"Wrong!" Neferi and the Pharaoh respond in overlaid unison.  "Torika's power might be infinite, but I'm willing to bet that your power isn't!  You're a being of kaos, a simple leech!  You drain power from your good half, like a parasite... but no matter how strong your host is, you can't turn her entire power against us if Torika's true heart stands against you!"

Torika grits her teeth and clenches her fists.  "Oh yeah?" she yells back.  "Try counting this power!"  Tensing up, Torika screams loudly as her life points increase even higher and faster.  Her hair whips about in the aura surrounding her.  The very earth trembles below her as her life points rise so high that no number system known to man can weigh them.

(Torika:  ... -> 1.415e9864LP -> OVERFLOW)

Neferi shuts her eyes as she grins confidently.  "You still don't get it, do you?  Your power is drained from Torika point-by-point, and even if that stolen power is incalculably large, you still have a limit!  The god monsters, on the other hand, control a power that has no limit!  And all I need to do to show you that power is to tell the god monsters the name of their Pharaoh!"

"Ready, Yami?" Neferi asks telepathically.

The Pharaoh, soon to discard his nameless moniker forever, chuckles in amusement.  "You'll hear my real name soon enough..."

"Ancient Ones!" the Pharaoh calls out, overlapping his voice with Neferi's once more.  "Hear the name of your Pharaoh!"

As the Pharaoh calls to the god monsters, the three translucent spirits glow with bright, colored lights that flow into one another.  As the spectrum of lights merge into one another, the radiant rainbow-colored blur eventually shines out a bright white.

"The name of your Pharaoh is..." the Pharaoh continues to speak through Neferi as the glowing white light of the god monsters behind them shines out with a palpable force.

Torika holds up her arms to blot out the light, but to a force as strong as the god monsters merging together, even her eyelids appear transparent before the piercing light of Neferi's newest monster.  The blinding light prevents Torika from even getting a good look at it, while the light keeps getting stronger and stronger.  Torika herself basks harmlessly in the pure, cleansing luminosity... while her kaos screams in terror and agony.  Without remorse or any signs of relenting, the radiant power continues to flow.

(Torika:  OVERFLOW -> ... -> ... -> ... -> ... -> ... -> ... -> ... ->... -> )  

The spirit of the Millennium Ring leans back and folds his arms in satisfaction.  Though it strains his eyes to stare into the light, he endures for the sole purpose of watching the Pharaoh crush Torika's arrogant kaos.  The suffering of mortals always makes for a soothing tonic.  "Go on, Pharaoh," he thinks to himself.  "Enjoy your infinite power while you can.  That name will do you no good after this Shadow Game.  This game is special, unlike any other you've played before.  Because it breaks the fourth wall, the powers that maintain this universe will wipe your memory of this duel once you win.  I knew all along that you wouldn't remember your true name if I told you, so I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You'll be swallowed by the shadows long before you have another chance to call upon the gods' limitless power again... once we begin our game...  Mheheheheheheheh...  Muahahahahahahahahahaha!"

*-*-*

The mind of a so-called god monster is surprisingly simple.  The lesser beasts borne of the shadows of human souls, the Ka of yonder days, tend to emulate the short-lived ant-like creatures and their mannerisms.  The ancient Ka are naturally in tuned with the magic of their master, or whatever master might claim them.  Such creatures are not far removed from the humans they served.  Such bliss in ignorant confinement, the Ancient Ones pondered.

The Ancient Ones, on the other hand, are made from the stuff of something far greater, born of creation primordial.  Humans kneel and prostrate themselves before the ancient beings, something the transcendent beings' minds had equated with reverence.  Certainly such adulation could be understood.  Small creatures tend to flock to and depend on the larger creatures for protection.  Though the Ancient Ones fail to grasp exactly what the mortals mean by "gods", the gestalt consciousness reasons that the mortals are drawn to fear and revere that which is greater than themselves.  Even the foolish humans are not without some form of wisdom, it would seem.

Such mortal creatures remain largely unimpressive, compared to the gestalt.  The vast majority of human mannerisms seem altogether random and alien to the Ancient Ones.  Why are some bold?  Why are some timid?  Why do some stand, while others cower?  What rhyme or reason compels one creature to act one way whereas another creature acts another way?  The Ancient Ones had been resting inert for thousands of years since the last one who could understand them.  Such an individual taught their gestalt consciousness the nature of humans and their conflicts with one another.  Though they scoffed at such petty reasons for war like resources or pride, the Ancient Ones had to learn such concepts as offense and defense, as well as unveiling a small taste of their infinite power upon certain conditions.  A less enlightened human might confuse one of the Ancient Ones' sheaths for a large ka, but such a one would be gravely mistaken.

One human from days long past was able to understand the Ancient Ones' power to a level that the primeval incarnations of power had no choice but to acknowledge and respect.  Such clarity of mind and purity of heart only appears once every several eons, and the Ancient Ones resolved that they would only listen to those with the purpose of truth in their hearts.  To follow the whims of a weaker Ba could only lead to lawless disarray.  The gestalt would not tolerate such chaos.  The mortals thought the Ancient Ones to be Ka?  Let them.  Behave as the Ka do.  Take upon themselves distinct titles, as the Ka do.  (The mortals are wont to name the very stars of the cosmos themselves, much to the gestalt's peculiar befuddlement.)  Fight as the Ka do.  Even die as the Ka do, should the Ba be found wanting.  Only to the one with clarity of heart would the Ancient Ones reveal their true power.  Only to that one name would the Ancient Ones answer in full force.

After what seems to the Ancient Ones like moments after the terminal attrition of their ambassador, the name of their true master now calls to them once more.  It is time to lay aside the harnesses and precautions, the gestalt acknowledges.  The clear-hearted one beckons that the Ancient Ones might cast off the forms of lesser Ka and show the mortal the power of light.  Show the clear-hearted one's foes the power of the gestalt... the one the mortals call 'Harakhti.'

Another moment and a shrill, frail scream later, the power returns to its sheath, awaiting another long slumber.  The gestalt wonders what human would call upon them next, and how many more eons they would remain confined before another worthy soul would call upon them again.

(Torika:  ... -> 0LP)

*-*-*

With Neferi back in her own soul room and Torika returned to her own world, the Pharaoh sits content in the silent labyrinth of the Millennium Puzzle.  After such a ferocious Shadow Game, even the Pharaoh would admit to fearing that all was lost.  If Neferi's creator and readers hadn't come through, who knows what would've happened?  And as for the evil spirit of the Millennium Ring... who can say what such a wicked and enigmatic spirit could be planning?  Someone was watching over Neferi today, and even in his ignorance, the Pharaoh wishes that he might express his gratitude to whomever or whatever responsible.

With the Shadow Game over, the Pharaoh can feel his very memory of the scene evaporating from his mind.  No stranger to crippling amnesia, he wished that he might have had the wherewithal to write down what the spirit of the Millennium Ring had told him about his past.  At the time, it felt as if the clouds had been rolled back, as if everything suddenly made perfect sense... only for the clouds to roll back into place to obscure the truth once again.  

Still, even without his memories, the Pharaoh regards that forgetting the Shadow Game is probably for the best.  If the Pharaoh would forget, he reasons that the spirit of the Millennium Ring might also forget about the existence of other worlds.  If the Pharaoh let the spirit of the Millennium Ring escape to another world, the evil spirit's dark powers could wreak immeasurable havoc.  The spirit might finally accomplish its sinister desires, without the Pharaoh to stop him.  It is the Pharaoh's duty to stop such a darkness in its very path, and to even entertain the possibility that the spirit might escape makes such a quest seem impossible to complete for certain.  Perhaps this bout of amnesia is another blessing.

All that remains to indicate that such a grueling Shadow Game ever took place is the power Torika left behind.  The Pharaoh holds the frail vessel gently in his hands, baffled to think that something so simple could've caused such havoc.  Unsure of what to do with it, and with his memory of the Shadow Game growing dimmer and dimmer by the very moment, he can think of no better fate for such a magical tumor than to simply release it to its fate, fluttering in the Puzzle's catacombs for all eternity.  Maybe someday, someone from somewhere will find this power and deal with it properly.  Until then, the Millennium Puzzle would have to bear another hidden force, concealing it from the eyes of those who selfishly seek power, within the winding and inscrutable mysteries of the Millennium Puzzle.  The spirit of the Millennium Ring clearly wanted nothing to do with it, so the Pharaoh doubted that the spirit would make a move to harness its power.  Even if Neferi were to stumble onto the power on sheer accident, the Pharaoh doubted that Neferi would even know what to do with it, let alone how to unleash its evil.

The Pharaoh finally heaves the power into the puzzle's warped hallways before turning his back on it, content in allowing the power to languish away in the depths of the puzzle.  Perhaps in another three thousand years, another hero (or heroine) would arise to confront it at last.  But for now, the Pharaoh leaves the memories of the Shadow Game and the power that orchestrated it to the ages...

...floating away into the tomb-like labyrinth...

...fluttering forever...

...like a feather in the wind...

...never to harm another soul again.













"...MEKYO!"

GAME OVER
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?

*-*-*

Alright, I know exactly what kind of comment I'm going to get from this chapter. That line at the end was actually going to be the big reveal at the end of Chaos Card Captor Torika. Key word being "was". I didn't think I was going to get all the way through C3T anyway, especially given how long C3S has taken to get so close, only to fizzle out. The plot of this fic is set in a universe where C3T never happens. Thus, since Torika's kaos was never dealt with properly, Neferi and the Pharaoh had to breach the fourth wall and defeat it themselves. The rest is history.

I don't know why I do these drama bomb finales to myself. For all intents and purposes, the duel ended with that Athena stunt Neferi pulled in the last fragment. Moreover, I don't know why it is that, whenever I write a fanfic, all the normally stalwart characters are shaken to their core. Maybe it's just my style, but I'm just a hair away from making infectious despair a canonical effect of kaos magic. It might as well be.

Also, for those keeping score at home, this is the first non-oneshot fanfic I've ever actually completed. Ever. Now that's a birthday present!
Published:
© 2011 - 2021 DrakeTheDuelist
Comments1
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Nasdreks's avatar
I really did like how this ended. I'm more a fan of those bittersweet-well-not-everything-is-okay-but-there-is-still-a-chance-they-could-be endings as opposed to the galactic-empire-is-defeated-let's-party-with-teddy-bears-happily-ever-after endings. They're more realistic.

PS: your birthday present will be finished this weekend. Hell or high water.