literature

Advent of Games II: Turn 07

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Literature Text

The spirit of the Millennium Ring had abandoned his previous vantage point, now taking to traversing the warped architecture of the Millennium Puzzle.  Still, he had overheard enough.

"Piercing the barriers between worlds is a dangerous game, Torika.  If the boundaries of our realities collapse, we would be exposed to the tampering hands of mortals.  They walk the void, thinking themselves gods, despite being little more than fragile, flawed, perverse creatures!  My dignity could not withstand such a sleight as what they might do to me...  I once tried piercing the barriers, and I was not amused by what I saw.  Neferi and the Pharaoh had best win this duel.  I am the incarnate shadows!  I am the eternal and everlasting darkness!  I am the reason man cowers in fear of the unseen!  I will not be corrupted into the caricature of an impotent… imbecilic… METROSEXUAL!"

*-*-*

"How do you know that we're comic characters?" Neferi asks, breaking the silence.

Torika grins.  "Because all my power gives me a sense of prescience that can pierce through the metaphysical barriers between the worlds," she explains.  "Everything would've gone just as normal… only our creator made a slight… error in judgment when she made me.  I was created to be the most powerful character in my universe… before it was revealed just how powerful other characters from my universe actually were.  Because of this unmitigated oversight, my powers suddenly grew exponentially, far beyond my creator's original intent.  With that massive retroactive jump in the scale of my powers, I realized the truth.  In a sense, you might say I was… reborn.  I could suddenly sense things that mere characters like us were not meant to know.  I can sense my own identity as a created character.  I can sense those who were formed by the same creator.  I can even use this knowledge to alter the very rules of the realities which my creator formed, including your world, Neferi!  This is the true nature of my power!  This is the power you contend against in futility!" Torika boasts, pointing dramatically at Neferi.  "But you don't just have to take my word for it.  …Just ask your friend, the Pharaoh.  He hasn't told you this, but he's been sensing an irregularity in your universe for quite some time."

Neferi hushes her questions for Torika, turning to the Pharaoh for answers.  "Yami?  …Is that true?"

For the first time in this duel, the Pharaoh's spirit leaves Neferi, splitting off and becoming equally-corporeal.  He turns his back to Neferi, cowering in shame.  "Yugi…" he mutters.  "When I heard Victoria mention that name before our last duel, it confirmed a suspicion I've held for a long time.  We weren't meant for each other.  On the day you solved the Millennium Puzzle and I first merged with you, I felt something amiss.  I didn't know much about my ancient past, but to inhabit the body of a teenage girl felt as if fate was playing a trick on me, or that the whole ordeal was some bizarre, awkward dream that I might awaken from at any moment.  That I exist in a fan-written comic book… it explains a great deal of my hidden doubts.  …I am deeply sorry Neferi, but I can no longer aid you in this duel."

"But Yami!" Neferi turns to the Pharaoh.  "I can't do this without you!  I need your help!"

The Pharaoh, unconcerned with Neferi's pleas, paces off down a tunnel, wandering off into the labyrinth of the Millennium Puzzle's corridors.  "If you truly need my help, Neferi, your reality is as doomed as Torika says we are.  I am deeply sorry, but this is not my fight, but yours.  I now know the truth, Neferi.  This Shadow Game never targeted me.  It targeted you, and because of it, my aegis over you is meaningless…"

"YAMI!" Neferi shouts back, reaching out to him, but the Pharaoh had already vanished into the Puzzle's vast infinitum of mystery.  Neferi holds out her arm for a few short moments longer, with fading hope that the Pharaoh might reconsider and return to help her.  With her hope depleted, Neferi's heart sinks, as does her extended arm.

Torika turns up her nose in derision to her opponent.  "Looks like even the Pharaoh has lost hope in you.  He knows that I'm more powerful than he is in this world."

Neferi sharply turns her head back.  "Even without Yami's help, this is still a duel, and I'm no pushover.  I can beat you without him," she states confidently, though with mere bravado masquerading as confidence until it could be replaced with something more solid.  "I know I can."

"You hope you can," Torika corrects.  "Let's continue this duel and see who comes out on top.  I had just destroyed your mighty god card with my attack.  Furthermore, I activate the effect of my D.D. Crow monster in my hand.  By discarding this card from my hand to the Graveyard, I can remove one monster in your Graveyard from play.  I select Osiris the Heavenly Dragon, making two of your so-called god cards removed from play."

One card from Torika's hand morphs itself into a small translucent crow with bionic augmentation, particularly over one of its eyes.  The creature flies over to Neferi, cawing and harassing her.  Neferi waves away at the disease-ridden vermin with her duel disk, but the monster responds by jinking through Neferi's random flailing before deftly reaching into Neferi's graveyard and snatching a card up in its talons.  As it finally departs, Neferi notices the red-outlined card in the crow's claws as it flies into a curved cross-shaped portal, into a dimension of what appears like outer space with its starry background.

"Because my D.D. Crow removed your Osiris from the game, my Soul Absorption activates, giving me 500 more life points, for a total of 10,000," Torika announces.

(Torika:  9500LP -> 10000LP)

"Now I'll set two cards face-down on the field to end my turn." Torika concludes.  "So, let's see what the famed Queen of Games is made of when she doesn't have her spirit partner to help her."

Neferi looks into her hand of cards.  Though these cards were once mere power-ups for Osiris, now she must use them on their own merits.  "The Obnoxious Celtic Guardian," Neferi observes.  "This monster can't be destroyed in battle by a monster whose attack power is 1900 or stronger.  This could shield me from Torika's stronger monsters while I look for some way to take out her Doriado monster.  But with two more face-down cards, I bet Torika will try to use them to protect her Doriado monster further.  They're probably traps, but I have no choice.  If I don't set them off now, they'll cause serious problems later."  Neferi then stares at the top card of her deck, hovering her hand over it as she prepares to add it to her hand.  "Come on, Yami…  Believe in me..."

Neferi draws her card and looks at it with intrigue.  "Let's see your Doriado protect you from this onslaught," Neferi challenges.  "I summon Obnoxious Celtic Guardian in attack mode!"

Once summoned, the battle-hardened elvish swordsman grunts in a low tone.  He brandishes his long European sword with pride.

(Obnoxious Celtic Guardian:  1400ATK / 1200DEF / Lv4 / Warrior / EARTH)

"My Osiris may be gone," Neferi begins, "but the legacy it left behind is the special ability it used to cripple Doriado's defense power, reducing it to 0."

Torika grits her teeth defiantly, sensing that Neferi was onto a combo play of some sort.  "That's pointless!  Doriado can't be destroyed by battle due to Heart of Clear Water."

"And that's where my strategy comes in," Neferi explains.  "Once I equip my Celtic Guardian with  Big Bang Shot, not only will my monster get stronger by 400 attack points, but I can chip away 1800 of your life points in a single attack, regardless of your monster being in defense mode.  And because I can't destroy your monster, I can do this turn after turn after turn until your life points are completely depleted."  Neferi points confidently at her opponent, secure in the efficacy of her card combo.  "You're trapped!"

The Obnoxious Celtic Guardian begins to glow with a bright white aura, giving the elf swordsman even more power and confidence in its abilities.  However, to the swordsman's shock, the white aura drains away from it and instead encompasses Elemental Mistress Doriado, the Obnoxious Celtic Guardian's would-be target for the next several rounds.

Torika leers at Neferi.  "Has the Pharaoh deserting you made you forgetful?  My Metalsilver Armor forces your Big Bang Shot to target my monster, the Elemental Mistress Doriado.  Looks like you won't be chipping away at my life points after all."

(Doriado:  1200ATK -> 1600ATK)

With the Celtic Guardian's magical augmentation completely removed and irrevocably fixed on Doriado, Neferi cracks a smirk.  "I was waiting for you to activate Metalsilver Armor!  Your Heart of Clear Water can only be equipped to monsters whose attack power is less than 1300.  Now, thanks to my equip spell, Doriado's attack is considerably higher than what your defensive equip spell allows, destroying Heart of Clear Water.  Unfortunately for you, Doriado is in her crippled defense mode, where those extra attack points don't matter."

As the white and blue auras emanating from Doriado fluctuate back and forth between one another, the blue aura shatters away completely.  Torika takes a step back as she stares in shock, while the only card protecting her Doriado from destruction had failed.

"Without Heart of Clear Water, Doriado can be destroyed in battle!" Neferi reminds her opponent.  "Go, Obnoxious Celtic Guardian, destroy Elemental Mistress Doriado!"

Neferi watches eagerly as the Celtic Guardian dashes forward, preparing for an over-handed strike at Torika's helpless mage.  Doriado looks across the field, watching in fear as the bulky swordsman dashes aggressively at her, seemingly unshaken in her faith in her master to protect her.  The Celtic Guardian approaches closer and closer, only to finally slash through the mage from shoulder to waist, shattering Torika's monster at long last.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Torika screams out, as if feeling the very same pain as her monster.  She lumbers about for a moment, holding her shoulder in pain, approximately right around where the Celtic Guardian had struck her monster.  She mutters curses under her breath as she reaches for her duel disk, preparing something.

"…You…  HOW DARE YOU!" Torika roars with blood-curdling fury as the crimson glint in her eyes flares up once more.  "You think that your combo is enough to kill Doriado?!  Think again!  I activate my trap card, Rope of Life!"

From high above the duel, a line of heavy rope descends quickly and powerfully, sinking into a dark portal that suddenly appears on the ground.  The rope sinks into the portal and, after some length of the rope sinks into the portal, it snaps taught.  It then begins to retract itself out of the portal and, much to Neferi's shock, Doriado desperately clutches onto the rope line.  However, far from her pristine and ornate appearance, even mere moments in the Graveyard had not been kind to her.  This time Doriado appears battered, her skin scraped and scarred, her robes tattered, her hair a ruffled mess, and her headdress cracked at numerous points.  Doriado immediately stares a vengeful glare at Neferi, past even the Celtic Guardian who sent her to the Graveyard in the first place.

(Elemental Mistress Doriado:  1200ATK / 1400DEF / Lv3 / Fairy / LIGHT)

"Doriado isn't so easily slain," Torika bellows.  "My Rope of Life can revive my monster when it gets destroyed by battle.  Rope of Life then forces me to discard my hand, forcing me to send my D.D. Scout Plane to the Graveyard.  Furthermore, Rope of Life increases Doriado's attack power by 800 points.  With a boost like that, Doriado is strong enough to make you and your monsters pay for separating us."

(Doriado:  1200ATK -> 2000ATK)

"And there's more!"  Torika shouts.  "I activate another face-down trap card:  Disappear.  This lets me remove any card from either of our Graveyards from play.  I choose… D.D. Scout Plane, the monster I discarded to activate Rope of Life.  And because of Soul Absorption, I gain another 500 life points when a card is removed from play.  I'm unstoppable!"

(Torika:  10000LP -> 10500LP)

Neferi watches as Torika's moves unfold.  "With that many life points, Torika might as well be unstoppable.  I can hold her off for a turn or two longer, but I can't even touch her life points while she keeps buffering them again and again…  Oh Yami, if you can hear me out there, please, I need your help."


"I end my turn," Neferi concludes, sounding defeated.

"More of what I was waiting for!" Torika announces.  "When my D.D. Scout Plane is removed from play, I can Special Summon it in attack mode at the end of the turn."

Piercing a hidden veil, a spherical space warp peels away, revealing an eye-looking mechanical sphere with a lens where the iris would be.  The mechanical apparatus cranks about as it focuses its lens.

(D.D. Scout Plane:  800ATK / 1200DEF / Lv3 / Machine / DARK)

"It's time for you to suffer!" Torika vows as she draws her next card.  "I activate Pot of Greed, giving me two more draws.  And because I'm the Daughter of Two Great Powers, they'll be exactly what I need," she declares with the certainty of clairvoyance, drawing her two new cards.  "I set one card face-down and special summon another of my Chaos monsters.  Like my Chaos Soldier, I have to remove a Light-attribute monster and a Dark-attribute monster from my Graveyard from play.  Then again, with Soul Absorption still active, that's hardly a bad thing.  By removing from play my Chaos Soldier and D.D. Crow, I get to summon my Chaos Sorcerer!"

A lanky, deathly-pale, leather-clad mage emerges as space itself seems to warp and contort itself into a gateway.  The monster reaches one hand through the portal, pulling itself out and onto the field.

(Chaos Sorcerer:  2300ATK / 2000DEF / Lv6 / Spellcaster / DARK)
(Torika:  10500LP -> 11500LP)

"Chaos Sorcerer has a special ability that allows me to remove one face-up monster on the field from play, but the Chaos Sorcerer won't be able to attack afterwards," Torika explains.  "But when I remove a monster from play, my life points increase even further thanks to my Spell Absorption.  Plus, I know full well that your Obnoxious Celtic Guardian can't be destroyed in battle by a monster with 1900 or more attack points, so I'll just remove your monster from play instead."

The leather-clad sorcerer directs a gaze from his burning white eyes at Neferi's lone monster.  The Celtic Guardian responds by standing fast, but he is helpless against the powers of Torika's monster.  The space around the Celtic Guardian warps and contorts, swallowing up the Celtic Guardian without any meaningful resistance.

(Torika:  11500LP -> 12000LP)

Torika stares sadistically at Neferi.  "Now I have nearly twice as many life points as you do, and you have nothing to protect yourself!  Now my Doriado can attack your life points directly.  Doriado, pay Neferi back for your suffering!"

Doriado hangs onto the Rope of Life with one hand as she holds her palm out towards Neferi.  Doriado's palm glows with multi-colored magical energy before she releases a lightning-like bolt of rainbow power at Torika's opponent.

"Not so fast!" Neferi insists, sending a card from her hand to the Graveyard.

Suddenly, a brown ball of hair with large, goofy eyes appears with a coo to intercept Doriado's uncharacteristically ferocious attack.  Taking the brunt of the attack, Neferi's monster explodes violently, having absorbed all of the damage from the elemental mage's attack while leaving its master unharmed.

"By discarding Kuriboh from my hand directly to the Graveyard, I can reduce the damage that one of your monsters causes to me to 0," Neferi explains.  "You won't be taking such a large lead that easily."

Torika snarls in disappointment.  "Fine!  I'll end my turn by switching my D.D. Scout Plane to defense mode.  Go on and enjoy what little time you have where I'm not destroying you!"

Neferi slowly reaches for the top card of her deck, losing more and more hope with each passing turn.  "Can I actually do this?  When even Yami believes things are hopeless, it seems all I can do is delay the inevitable.  I can't scratch Torika's ever-increasing score, while she keeps chipping away at mine.  I need a big play… right now!"  After much internal agonizing, Neferi draws her card.  "This is certainly a start.  Even without Yami's guidance and confidence, so long as I trust in our cards, there will always be hope!" she thinks to herself, strategizing a combo between her only two cards.  

"Looks like the cavalry has arrived," Neferi boasts.  "I set one card face-down.  This leaves me with only one card in my hand:  Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight!  When it's the only card in my hand, I can summon him without the need for tributes."

As Neferi places her card on the duel disk, she is greeted immediately by the sound of a powerful and triumphant neigh.  The dynamic horseman leaps onto the field from out of nowhere.  The horse then drags one of its fore-hooves across the grounds as it snorts ferociously.  The knight atop the horse prepares for a charge, aiming its dual lances at Torika's Doriado monster.

(Swift Gaia the Fierce Knight:  2300ATK / 2100DEF / Lv7 / Warrior / DARK)

"Swift Gaia, attack Elemental Mistress Doriado!" Neferi commands triumphantly, sending her knight on his way.

Torika's eyes burn with fury and ethereal light.  "You'll never harm my Doriado again, even if it costs me my very life!" she declares.  "I activate the trap card Astral Barrier!"

As Gaia gallops on towards Torika's Doriado, herself almost literally clinging to the field by a thread, an emerald aura envelops Torika's monster.  Regardless, Gaia thrusts forward with a pair of lances, thrusting so fast and powerful that the air forms into small tornadoes around them.  These lances finally connect with Doriado, but the force is entirely absorbed into the aura emanating from Torika's monster.

Though Doriado is completely and entirely unaffected, her master Torika screams out in pain, hunching over and dropping to her knees.  Eventually, her frantic and stressed breathing grows into a crazed cackle before Torika gazes back at Neferi with a positively insane stare.  "No cost, not even my own life points, can ever be a factor when it comes to protecting Doriado.  That's why I activated my trap, and it's a dangerous one.  Astral Barrier allows me to convert any attack you make against a monster into a direct attack on my life points.  Do you see it now, Neferi?  Even the Daughter of Two Great Powers is expendable for such a glorious purpose!" she boasts, but soon afterwards she begins coughing profusely, spitting out a small spurt of blood in the process.

(Torika:  12000LP -> 9700LP)

Neferi holds her ground, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge having put a sizable dent in Torika's score.  "I wish it didn't have to come to this, Torika.  I really do.  But you leave me no choice.  I have to win this duel."

Torika grins back with a toothy, bloodstained grin.  "You have to win?  You foolish blot of ink, you can't even comprehend the true stakes of this duel!  If you did, you would've given up when the Pharaoh did."

"The stakes?" Neferi asks quizzically.  "Well?  Do you care to tell me what you plan to win in this duel?"

"Do you really want to know what I'm after?  What I want is… bragging rights," Torika answers simply, despite a tense and dramatic build-up.

Neferi falls forward squarely on her face, stunned by the triviality.  "You're causing all this mayhem and chaos for bragging rights?!  Why would you agree to play a Shadow Game for something so trivial?"

"Ridicule me if you wish, fool," Torika warns.  "You just can't see it.  I wanted to duel you so I can remind our creator who really matters," Torika responds menacingly.  "You see, unlike you and Victoria, my comic series has sadly come to a close on a cliffhanger ending, despite having an enormous following and plenty of potential for future story arcs.  Nowadays, with my story supposedly finished, no one respects me anymore.  No one even remembers me.  Our creator doesn't even dignify my existence anymore!  She may have drawn me, but I made her!  She would be a nobody if it wasn't for me!  I figured she could use a little reminder of this.  That's why I challenged you to this shadow game:  to prove my superiority to both you and Victoria, her contemporary creations.  Once I beat you at your own game, I'll prove what a terrible, sloppy duelist you really are.  I'll make everyone remember the name Torika Showron!  I will remind our creator's loyal readers that I am the most powerful character she has ever made, or ever will make again!  My series will be renewed.  Our creator will be so busy with the demand for more works done of my series that your pathetic fanfiction comic will fall to the wayside.  I will have more and more work produced for my own series, while you and your hollow little universe can rot forever in obscurity!  When I'm through with you, your series will be cancelled, never again to see the light of day!"

Neferi takes a cautiously calculated step backwards, directly away from the raving lunatic across from her.  "You can't do that!" she insists.  "Yami and I have come too far on our journey to quit now!  We've beaten Pegasus and seized the title of Queen of Games.  We then won the Battle City tournament, secured the three Egyptian God Cards, and saved Marik Ishtar from a growing darkness in his heart.  We're just about to embark on our ultimate quest to finally unlock his lost memoires!  You can't stop us now, not when I'm so close to fulfilling my promise to Yami to help him solve the mystery of his ancient past!"

"Your ultimate quest?" Torika derisively repeats.  "I'll see your ultimate quest and raise you… Jeri Moon," she adds despondently.  "The boy I love.  The boy who was forced to leave me at the end of our series.  The boy I'll never see again.  The boy who will be forever kept from me… because our creator was too busy… writing you!" she continues, dejected and meek at first, but violent and sadistic near the end.

Finally ready for her upcoming turn, Torika moves to draw her next card.  "Let's finish this duel already.  You have no other cards left to play, and no other attacks to make, so you have nothing left to do but end your turn.  It's time I give you a taste of the pain I've endured!"

(Neferi:  6500LP  /  Torika:  9700LP)
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?

*-*-*

Before even posting this fragment, I can already see the comment that you'll all probably pick up on. You might think that Yami Yugi just walking off in the middle of a duel would be a death sentence to his partner. I would actually contest that. The way I figure it, Neferi (and by extension Yugi, whom she is based off of) knows the rules of the game and is a fairly skilled duelist on her own. What Yami Yugi brings to the table (aside from a morale boost and some topdeck "luck" every now and then) is his unorthodox, might I even say "n00by" thought processes that let him think outside the box and come up with inventive card combinations that advanced and experienced players (like Kaiba) might not consider, catching them off-guard.

This chapter starts to get into the motives behind the entire Shadow Game. Nasdreks mentioned in the last part how it was as if she was the villain, given that the general plot is about all of her characters beating one another up in some battle royale with cheese. Is that the case? Eh... not exactly. At least not on purpose, anyway. The whole truth will be revealed in due time. In the next fragment. That will be posted whenever I get my next break in between massive homework assignments.

*sigh* This is getting so ridiculous that this fic might persist unfinished until my birthday! (October 2nd, to those keeping track.) It still shouldn't take quite that long, even at this rate. Though it might not be done in four parts. It'll probably take more like five, and I've been toying around with the idea of making a short sixth part as a really short epilogue to the whole thing. To be honest, I wasn't expecting the exposition in this duel to take up quite as much space.
Published:
© 2011 - 2021 DrakeTheDuelist
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Nasdreks's avatar
awww, poor Torika. Now I genuinely feel guilty. Still, you should consider yourself lucky. In terms of characters who get royally screwed over, she doesn't even make the top ten. I have characters with waaaaay worse times than Torika. Hell, for really screwed up lives, the character my username is based off of, Nasdreks is pretty much top three.