|In Search of a God
Author: YamiRuss PM
Bryan and Matt have searched, wondering how the god cards escaped their protection at Duel Academy. Holding only Uria, Lord of Searing Flames in his possession, Bryan is invited to a competition between the god cards. This is his one chance to return them to their rightful place, even if it means going up against the leader of the Hellfire Club himself.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Chapters: 14 - Words: 68,252 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 05-05-13 - Published: 07-15-12 - id: 8322541
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 6: Earth vs. Sky
"We may have underestimated Garry," Bryan suggested. Garry summoned Raviel, Lord of Phantasms on his second turn and obliterated Ashley Martin's Life Points before she even summoned her Earthbound Immortal. "Maybe he was right when he said he knew the best way to defeat a god card."
"He certainly put forth a lot of effort to prevent its summoning," Matt agreed. It seemed as if every one of Garry's Trap Cards was some sort of card to lock down the field. Clearly he put some forethought into this trip. "It seems an effective strategy. I should spend the next few minutes rebuilding my deck to include a similar strategy. It could mean the difference in my duel."
At that moment, one of the guards stepped up and told Matt he was next.
"Like I was saying, it won't do me any good to second guess my deck now. Now excuse me. I've got to go battle with the grief-stricken associate of your recent opponent." Though the exact relationship between Zeng Yeoh and Lien Yu was unknown, she was the only one who rushed to his aid after he lost to Bryan. Chances were good nothing would make her happier than to kill Bryan's best friend. The way she moved with purpose and direction, she might have been attractive for an older woman if not for the intense scowl and murderous look in her eye. Even Bryan saw that as a turnoff.
"Good luck," Bryan said sardonically. "I don't think she's going to be as easy as Blondie was."
He was correct.
Only a few turns in, Zeng Yeoh played Mausoleum of the Emperor and used 2000 Life Points to summon Earthbound Immortal Uru (10/3000/3000). Matt was never a fan of spiders, and Uru was as intimating as any spider could be. Each segment of its giant body was the size of a van, and each leg towered over the castle keep. Its presence intensified Matt's fear of spiders, but he understood the weakness of those Earthbound Immortals a little better now.
Since Bryan won Ccapac Apu and showed the card to Matt, they were now aware that Bryan inadvertently helped his opponent by playing Skyscraper and keeping it on the field. The biggest weakness of the Earthbound Immortals was they required a Field Spell in order to remain active. If Matt could at least target the Mausoleum of the Emperor and remove it from the field, he wouldn't have to worry about many more attacks by the Earthbound Immortal. Fortunately, he had Mystical Space Typhoon in his hand.
All he had to do was survive a direct attack. Just like the other Earthbound Immortals, Uru's reach extended beyond the reach of Darklord Edeh Arae (5/2300/2000). And just like the others, its reach extended beyond the bounds of the hologram projectors. Matt took cover under his arm as the giant leg dropped on top of him with the force of a falling tree. Uru was blocked at first by Matt's arm, and everyone in the room was blinded by an intense flash of light. Matt swung his other arm up to cover his eyes just enough for him to peer into the light. Uru itself was shining brightly.
Suddenly the light stopped. Matt was no longer blinded and no longer being attacked by Uru. He could hardly see the arena anymore. The entire citadel appeared like a distant mirage. He was standing on a beach of white sand with waters turbulent as in a maelstrom. The waves ebbed and flowed beneath his feet, wrapping around his ankles and leaving behind moving shapes in the sand.
When Matt raised his head from the sand, he saw the cause of the aquatic turmoil: A spider the size of creation thrashed about as waves assaulted it from all sides. This was no ordinary storm, either. Waves launched through the air and wrapped around the spider's back and legs. Dark clouds smothered the spider, retreating only momentarily under each thrash. The ocean and the sky reached toward one another with the spider caught in the middle as it struggled for freedom.
"What is this place?"
A slight draft from behind caught Matt's attention. He turned to see the embodiment of the Uncreated: the torso of a silk-covered man growing from the body of a white bird. Matt had never been able to describe the true majesty of seeing this incorporeal form of the spirit hidden inside his body. Half-man, half-bird gave no homage to the sheer warmth, power, and benevolence that emanated from actually seeing this godly spirit.
This is the Earthbound Immortal Uru, spoke the Uncreated.
"What's happening to it?"
These entities are rife with eternal turmoil. The waves against which they struggle belong to the collective consciousness—the organism you refer to as the Shadow Realm.
"I don't understand."
The Earthbound Immortals are separate from the system. Their existences are anomalies. The Shadow Realm seeks to merge them with the collective consciousness.
Matt watched for a moment as the spider continued to struggle. As far as he could tell, the spider yielded no ground to its encroachers, yet it made no strides in freeing itself of the threat. The struggle appeared to be at a stalemate… but then, the Shadow Realm was limitless and Uru was just one entity. The balance would fade soon enough as the spider tired and was forced to relent.
"How can this kind of thing happen? I was under the impression nothing was stronger than the collective consciousness."
In the end, the collective consciousness is more powerful than all other earthly entities; however, upon death a soul with a powerful, independent will may withdraw from the collective and maintain its identity, usually for no longer than a brief time. For this entity to have reached this size… Its power in life must have been truly remarkable.
"So, is there anything we can do to help?"
Without a complete understanding of this entity, I can only say there is great risk each time a soul rejects the collective consciousness. The expansion of such souls will upset the spiritual balance of the universe and ultimately lead to a system collapse. If we quell the struggles of this entity in our duel and allow it to merge with the collective, we may avert the crisis entirely.
Matt huffed. "Win the duel, save the universe? Well, it's a slightly grander scale than my usual fare, but at least I know this semester is exactly what I've been training for so far." He darted forward, prepared to aid in the direct assault against the giant spider, but the waves flashed in front of him, startling him so he held back momentarily.
When he opened his eyes again, the spider still towered over him, but now Matt found himself inside a mausoleum. The beach was gone. Now he was inside the holographic field his opponent used to fill the stadium earlier.
Bryan knocked on the platform to get Matt's attention. "You okay, bro? You're still upright so I'd guess that thing didn't hit you too hard."
"Yeah," Matt said, rubbing his stomach to relieve the nausea associated with transcending into the spirit world and back. "I'll be fine… I'm pretty sure."
Matt 8000 – 3000 = 5000: Zeng Yeoh 8000 – 2000 = 6000.
"My move is easy enough," Matt noted. He slapped a card on the field as dark clouds billowed along the ceiling. "I'll play Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Mausoleum of the Emperor."
In his brief daze, Matt hadn't noticed when Zeng Yeoh set two cards on the field. She activated the effect of her Trap Earthbound Wave: Uru stabbed one leg into the ground and a shockwave of energy ripped through the ground just as the typhoon produced a bolt of lightning. The lightning hit the ground instead of the Mausoleum, negating the destruction effect and dispersing the typhoon clouds.
Matt was momentarily stunned. Mystical Space Typhoon was his big trump card. If he destroyed the Field Spell, he wouldn't have to suffer through another attack from the Earthbound Immortal. Those cards were more powerful than the monsters he had on hand—being immune to battle—and he lacked any other destruction effects for the moment. He could survive one more direct attack, but what if Zeng Yeoh played something even worse? He needed access to more cards, and that was an effect he did have on hand.
"I'll summon Card Trooper (3/400/400)." His card materialized as a humanoid machine with arms like cannons. "I can send three cards from my deck to the Graveyard to increase Card Trooper's (+1900) points by 1500." One of those cards he dropped popped back out of the Graveyard—a white, muscular man-wolf wielding a battle axe—and Matt placed it on the field. "When Wulf, Lightsworn Beast (4/2100/300) is sent from the deck to the Graveyard, he gets Special Summoned to my field." He couldn't help staring at the field—at the giant spider god that prevented him from attacking. And Zeng Yeoh was a strong duelist who would have more than only a god to defend her. Matt knew the next turn would be brutal. "I'll set one card and end my turn."
In fluent Mandarin, which Matt only interpreted through watching the cards on the field, Zeng Yeoh declared her turn. "The effect of Volcanic Queen (6/2500/1200) enables her summoning to your field by sending Darklord Edeh Arae to the Graveyard as a Tribute." As Matt's fallen angel disappeared, fire produced a horned dragon with scales sleek as forged iron. Its body was long and serpentine. Small fires spouted across its scales. It was not Matt's first serpentine dragon, but none before gave off such heat. And few ever left his field.
"I summon Hardened Armed Dragon and then send it away to take control of Volcanic Queen," Zeng Yeoh pronounced in her native tongue. Uru slammed a thin leg to crush the skeletal dragon, and the force pushed black flames across the field to engulf Volcanic Queen and pull her back to Zeng Yeoh's field. "Volcanic Queen (2500) attacks Card Trooper (-400)."
The fires grew wild along the dragon's body as she reared and spewed a heavy fireball that appeared to slam into Matt's robotic fighter, but when the smoke cleared, the field showed Matt's monster safe and sound behind a bare-bones scarecrow that had jumped in the way just in time. "Scrap-Iron Scarecrow negates one attack," Matt explained.
His opponent wasn't fazed much, even as the scarecrow set itself for a second use. She simply sent Earthbound Immortal Uru (3000) to land a second direct attack, bypassing Card Trooper and Wulf entirely. Matt braced himself through the painful assault. It felt like being skewered through the abdomen, but the pain dulled as Matt was overcome with a sense of emotional turmoil. For just a moment, he could hear the cries of the tortured god. It was in pain.
"I'll end this," Matt vowed under his breath. Zeng Yeoh set one card and ended her turn with a glare. She wanted to destroy Matt. Uru was her vessel to exact revenge on those who would attack her husband. The Earthbound Immortal was only a slave to her, struggling to save itself while it obeyed her commands.
Matt 5000 – 3000 = 2000: Zeng Yeoh 8000.
Matt touched his deck but did not draw immediately. He felt the power flow from his fingers to the cards and search out the card he needed. As he slowly lifted the card from the pile, he knew without looking the card was Trade-In. "By dropping a level eight monster in the Graveyard, I can draw two new cards." Again, he lay his fingers on the deck as he sent his power into the cards, seeking two specific plays.
"To begin my assault, I'll offer Card Trooper as a Tribute to activate Volcanic Queen's effect and inflict 1000 points of damage to you." The flames on the body of the flaming dragon exploded into infernos. She reared back and whipped her body forward as she spewed a heavy stream of fire that bathed Zeng Yeoh and her entire field in flame.
And immediately, she activated Doppelganger. A duplicate of Volcanic Queen appeared in the corner of the field behind Matt. To revenge Zeng Yeoh, the Doppelganger bathed Matt in the same field of fire. Though this card lacked the devastating power of the Earthbound Immortal, godly influence increased the intensity as he withstood the assault.
"Your opponent deals damage, deal it right back to him," Matt recalled the effect of the card. He painfully held his ribs and his eyes met Uru's. He remembered the pain he felt for the moment they were connected. "I don't know how to save you yet. But maybe I can ease your burden.
"I'll activate Super Polymerization!" A bright light appeared in the middle of the field and drew in Volcanic Queen, Wulf, and Uru. In the heat of a brilliant flash, the bodies fused together. They emerged in the form of a heavy mist that fell gently on both sides of the field. The weight could be felt even though no entity could be seen. "I fuse any three monsters of different attributes to summon Zurvan (10/3500/3000)," Matt explained.
In Mandarin, Zeng Yeoh asked, "Where is your monster?" The Ten of Spades translated her question for Matt's understanding.
"Zurvan is the god of alchemy. He is every element. He is time and space. He draws power from each and every living thing. And you will not see him until he attacks. But first…" He placed a card on the field and produced a tall, white griffin, with clawed feet and a feathered torso. "I'll summon Judgment Dragon (8/3000/2600) to cover the spread." Shining brilliantly as it moved through the mist, the Judgment Dragon emitted the powerful silver light of judgment that seemed to burn with such intensity as to eliminate Zeng Yeoh's own shadow.
She shrieked in agony, but the pain was of a different sort from the kind to which she was accustomed. In her life, she and Lien Yu had coordinated an effort to smuggle members of a Chinese gang out of the country. Through intimidation and threats, they pressured a restaurant owner who ran a smuggling racket, bringing poor families from China to the United States and giving them for falsified papers in exchange for indentured service until their "debt was repaid." When confronted by agents of the state department, Zeng Yeoh and Lien Yu killed them. Along with the agents' badges, Zeng Yeoh found in the wreckage Earthbound Immortal Uru.
She obtained god's power through murder, and the light of the Judgment Dragon repaid her for it.
"Finally, Zurvan (+4000) gains an additional 500 points if one of the monsters on my field is of the same element as his Fusion Materials. Now feel his attack!"
Upon Matt's command for attack, the entire citadel went quiet. All eyes bore intensely upon the mist that represented this unknown god, and all were eager to see what kind of attack would land. Silence filled the air—silence that might have driven even Zeng Yeoh's hardened heart mad had it lasted any longer. With a sudden and mighty roar, an invisible figure moved through the mist and struck Zeng Yeoh. Though it was brief, she caught a glimpse of the shape formed by the shifting mist: It was of a lion-headed man, tall and muscular and quicker than a lion itself!
Calmly, Matt smiled and collected his cards. "I'll be taking your Earthbound Immortal now."
Matt 2000 – 1000 = 1000: Zeng Yeoh 8000 – 1000 – 3000 – 4000 = 0.
Matt walked calmly to Zeng Yeoh's lifeless body, stepped around her gently, and acquired Earthbound Immortal Uru. He could almost feel some relief from the card as he slipped it in his deck. And then he quickly pulled his heavy gloves on so his fingers wouldn't freeze.
Finally, he softly bumped his fist against Zeng Yeoh's chest. She promptly inhaled a sharp wheeze and, after a short moment of choking on her own breath, sat up. With a grin on his face, Matt whispered in her ear, "Everyone deserves a second chance. Use it well."
Matt was sure he left her dazed, but her judgment had been passed. With the power of the Uncreated, Zeng Yeoh had the opportunity to change her life. Her crimes were behind her if she chose to embrace a new life. Maybe a cleansed palette would even rub off on Lien Yu. Odds were against that, sure, but even saving one of them was a miracle.
But drawing the Uncreated's power during the duel wore Matt down. Bryan had to help him to a seat while the next duel began.
"Are you okay, bro?"
"Just a little dizzy," Matt confessed.
Bryan wrapped one of his scarves around Matt's face to keep him warm. "Did you do that thing again?" He was referring to the ability Matt had of using power from the Uncreated to ensure he draws a specific card. Matt had always used the ability unconsciously, but since he learned how to use the power intentionally, he found himself much more drained than usual after a duel.
"Yeah. I saw Uru's spirit."
"You know you sometimes speak in riddles, right?"
"Sorry. When Uru touched me, I saw someplace—maybe a spirit world. The Earthbound Immortals are entities that rejected the Shadow Realm when they died, and now they struggle every day to maintain their independence while the Shadows seek to assimilate them. Zeng Yeoh's efforts brought further turmoil to Uru's spirit." He covered his deck where he placed the spirit's vessel. "I'm not sure how to save them yet, but they can't be used like this. This tournament is abusive to them."
"Alright," Bryan agreed. "We'll collect them without using them."
Garry stepped over and batted Matt's arm with the back of his hand. "Hey, Matt. You didn't tell me your brother was going to be here."
"I don't have a brother."
"Really? So, who's that guy?"
He directed Matt's attention to the duel platform. One of the duelists had wavy brown hair, dark-colored eyes, and a t-shaped face. In short, it looked like a second Matt had entered the dueling tournament.
Bryan and Matt were both dumbfounded. "Dude?"
"I know. I don't know who that is."
"He looks like you."
"I see it. It's like when Dr. Apple created those clones of me."
"But he's not a clone. They were exact duplicates. That guy just looks a lot like you."
Garry agreed, "Yeah. Are you sure he's not your brother?"
"My brother's supposed to be dead," Matt replied. "It would seem I was misled. Perhaps a clerical mix-up at the hospital."
Bryan suggested, "Maybe you were triplets and Cary only found records of two of you."
"Certainly plausible," Matt acknowledged, "but probably less likely. I'll just have to talk to this guy after the duel." With Matt finally able to stand again, all three approached the duel platform to get a better look at both the duel and the participants.
Garry said, "I wonder what god card he has."
"One thing's sure," Bryan said, "it's clear who got the dueling prowess in the family."
He was right. Matt's brother somehow allowed his opponent to summon The Wicked Avatar (10/?/?), a monster that transformed into a dark version of the strongest monster on the field, ensuring it was always stronger. No matter what cards Matt's brother played, The Wicked Avatar always knocked him back down.
"This is worse than when Garry beat that Ashley Martin woman," Bryan laughed. "The only thing worthwhile he's done is play that monster with the high defense points so Avatar still can't beat it."
Matt remembered when Bryan faced The Wicked Avatar. Even if Bryan remembered it as "a piece of cake," in reality, he only managed to overcome Avatar's constant power increases by using Neo-Spacian Dark Panther to copy the effect and cause a direct collision between equal-strength monsters. Few other monsters existed with that same capability, and Daniel Williams was a master at protecting his monster from Spells and Traps.
"This duel seems as good as done," Matt admitted.
But suddenly there was a big shift in the atmosphere. The flow of energy was noticeable to anyone familiar with the touch of a god. Suddenly Matt's brother had two additional monsters on the field, and he began tuning all three of them into a level-twelve monster. A masculine body emerged on the field—unclothed but with skin hardened and red like armor. Four, blood-red wings spread from his shoulders like a segmented cloak. Spines ran from the base of his skull down into a thin tail. Flaming horns erupted from his forehead over his thick, yellow eyes and stern visage.
"This is Angra Mainyu (12/4000/4000)," the duelist spoke.
Though reminiscent of a bull and looking just as powerful, Angra Mainyu wasn't the strongest monster on the field. The Wicked Avatar (+4100) slowly morphed into a large, black bull spouting black fire. No matter how powerful a monster grew, Avatar grew stronger. But still… Was Angra Mainyu a god, or just an unseen card? Garry wasn't sure, but Bryan and Matt felt the similarity with Spenta Mainyu. To them, there was no doubt of this card's godly power.
The duelist explained, "Once per turn, Angra Mainyu can target himself and one of my opponent's monsters for destruction. You then lose Life Points equal to your monster's attack points." Angra Mainyu turned his palms up and they immediately burst into flame. The flames grew larger as they seemed to draw all heat from the room in order to produce greater power. Finally he waved his arms and the flames left his hands. For a moment, everything was still, but slowly the ground turned orange as the platform heated up. The fire exploded from the ground, spraying both sides of the field with ash and debris. And then a second explosion centered on The Wicker Avatar! And a third centered on Angra Mainyu! Explosions continued bombarding both sides of the field until it seemed unlikely even the duelists would emerge alive.
Spectators waited for three whole minutes after the last explosion for the dust to settle and the field to be visible again. The Wicked Avatar was gone, but Angra Mainyu was still standing. "Because I summoned Angra Mainyu with two tuners, once per turn he withstands destruction. Now, you may be asking yourself how a monster gets to activate an effect destroying itself, negate that destruction, and still activate the rest of the effect. Well, it's quite simple, really. The only cost for the destruction effect is targeting two monsters. The destruction comes after. And Angra Mainyu doesn't negate destruction; he simply isn't destroyed."
Bryan told Matt after that soliloquy, "Yeah, he's definitely related to you."
Matt's brother summed up, "So if I am correct, and I always am, you just took 4100 points of damage from The Wicked Avatar's destruction, and you now have an empty field for Angra Mainyu (4000) to attack." Angra Mainyu rose into the air and hovered for a moment. Suddenly he dashed across the field and slammed his fist into Daniel Williams, bringing up a cloud of dust and shaking the duel platform. Daniel fell from the platform and hit the ground with a nerve-wracking crunch.
While Bryan and Matt wanted to help, what could they offer that the medical personnel allowed into the citadel couldn't? But by the time Matt looked back to the platform, the duelist who could be his brother had vanished.
"Where'd that guy go?" he asked.
Garry looked around. "That's weird. You'd think Zeke would want to introduce himself, especially seeing as you two look so much alike and you've never met."
"Wait. Zeke?" Matt repeated.
"Yeah?" said Garry, confounded by Matt's surprised reaction to the name more than to Zeke's disappearance. "The guard guy said his name before the duel started. You didn't hear him?"
Bryan explained, "He was probably feeling too dizzy at the time. Still… Uh, remind me why his name matters?"
"Hospital records," Matt replied. "Cary found out I had a twin brother who died at birth. She said his name was Andrew and mine was Zeke."
"But that guy looks like he could be your twin," Bryan said, slowly piecing together the same conclusion as Matt.
"Right. So if he's Zeke, then I'm Andrew. And I'm supposed to be dead. I, uh, wonder how that happened."
Apologies to my readers for how long it took me to continue this story. That was an unusually long hiatus for me. I think for a while I was struggling to write because you can only retell "duelist fights gods" so many times before you run out of ways to make it original. To help with what I see as missing so far in this piece, I'm going to dial back the dueling for a few chapters and work on establishing a solid story. But the duels will return with more god card vs. god card action soon enough.