NOTICE: After uploading this particular chapter, I decided I still don't like how it turned out, so it will be revised and replaced in the near future. Apologies if you, for some reason, liked this version.

Chapter 7: A Frail Light

Soren glimpsed the short figure by the edge of the lake, its previous call still echoing in his ears. The voice of the figure came once again, its voice now clearer and more childish sounding than before, as its head turned from the waters surface, carrying an unexpected question. "Can you see me?" The voice asked, hints of timidity and uncertainty in its tone. What kind of question was that? Of course he could see her, but Soren didn't seem to fully understand the significance that was carried with being able to perceive her. He slowed his stride so that he stood across from the figure and lowered his gaze so that it met a head of short, white hair and a pair of ivory eyes- eyes that seemed to plead for help.

When he looked back to the path he had been walking he saw that he was now alone by the waters edge. Further down the path were the girls he had been walking with since the end of class earlier, seemingly unaware that he was no longer behind them. Soren let out a resigned sigh and looked back to the small girl, her eyes still full of worry. Something about her appearance seemed familiar as he examined her more closely. The realization of who she was came as suddenly as the realization of what she was. Lyna, a spell caster type monster card that Soren had seen numerous times when he first started playing the game, alongside the others of her ilk.

A spirit? Why is she here? Soren thought as he approached her. He knew that, while slightly unusual, it wasn't uncommon to see card spirits without a duelist. However when he did, it usually led him to draw one of two conclusions as to why they were alone. Either they were dropped or lost by people who couldn't keep track of their belongings, which was the most common of the two, or they were purposefully discarded, usually by an inept duelist who blamed their cards for their mistakes. He sat beside her, watching as the doubt left her eyes. In its absence he could see a small, hopeful smile begin to take form.

"So, care to tell me what's on your mind?" He asked, as he casually lay on his back. Lyna seemed relieved when he finally spoke.

"Well..." she began and gestured to her transparent foot where three cards lay. "...would you believe me if I said I've been here since yesterday." She said as her demeanor grew despondent once again.

"Maybe." he replied as he took the cards into his hands and wiped the small amount of dirt away from them. "Seems to me like you weren't wanted." He said, giving the text of each card a quick read.

"I guess not..." Her gaze turned downcast. Soren waited for her to continue her story, but it seemed as though she didn't want to. He sat up and pulled out his cards, selecting three to swap for the three he just picked up. "What are you doing?" She asked.

"Making space, I want to see if I can make you work in this deck." He stated plainly.

"Are you sure about that? Wouldn't that throw off the balance?" She asked as if she were trying to talk him out of doing such a thing.

"Not really, a lot of the cards I have can be used with a variety of other monsters, so you should work fairly well with them. Besides, I wouldn't feel right if I just left you here alone." He said as he shuffled his deck. Her smile returned, slightly brighter than before.

"Do you think I'll be any good?" She asked, still feeling anxious about her own potential.

"We'll have to find out on our own, right? It's not like I have anything to lose if you're not compatible with my hero deck. If you don't work here, I can just build a spell caster deck and put you in there." He said as he rose from the ground. "Sorry if that wasn't what you wanted to hear, but I don't wanna give you any false hope. Whether or not this change ends up working will depend on my aptitude as duelist. Either way, I look forward to working with you, Lyna." He extended his hand and gave her confident look. When she tried to return the gesture her hand simply passed through his.

"Oh right, forgot about that for a second." He said, eliciting a light chuckle from the Ivory Maiden.

And so they walked to the Dorm...

Soren lay on his bed, waiting patiently for night to arrive."I hope Lyna is getting along with everyone." He said as he rolled onto his side.

"I wouldn't worry about that." A cold, monotone voice said as his transparent form appeared at the edge of Soren's bed. Soren sat up slowly, making contact with the piercing, emerald eyes of Absolute Zero.

"Oh Zero, I was wondering where you had gone. I mean, I know I told you guys to leave me alone on the exam day, but I was worried you all actually left. " Soren said as he planted his feet on the floor and reached toward his box of things, pulling out the crimson blazer.

"You know we have no where else to be." Zero stoically reminded Soren as he watched him stride towards the window.

"Of course I know that. I was just joking with you." Soren said as he began to examine himself closely in the reflection of the glass, running his fingers through his scarlet hair. "So, any particular reason I shouldn't worry about our new companion?" Soren asked.

Zero softened his gaze."Well, you'll be happy to know that Koga and Shining are trying to make her feel welcome."

"Trying?" Soren asked as he readjusted his hair.

"She doesn't seem very confident in herself, so it's been a bit difficult to get her to open up. We are getting there though, slowly." Zero explained.

Soren slipped on the Slifer jacket and adjusted his treasured scarf to match his new style. He turned to Zero with a confident grin. "What do you think, Zero? Personally, I feel black and red compliment each other nicely." He said with a satisfied smile.

"I think you're avoiding the issue" He replied coldly. "How do you plan on rectifying this problem?" Zero asked, a hint of annoyance in his tone.

Soren let out a sigh. "I don't think this is a problem I can simply fix." Soren explained as he holstered his deck and grabbed his disk.

Zero let out an exasperated sigh. "Then what are you going to do?" He asked.

"I'm not even sure if there's anything I can do. I'll need a bit of time to think on it." And with that Zero retreated back to the deck and Soren made for the door.

The halls of the blue dorm were mostly quiet, save for the echo of Sorens footsteps. Now that he was mostly alone with his thoughts, he began to think of what he could do for Lyna. Zero doesn't seem to see that the issue is more complex than her simply being uncomfortable around us. She was left out there for a reason. He thought as he rounded a corner. The event has likely instilled in her mind that she simply isn't wanted because she thinks she's incapable as a monster card. He thought as he opened the door leading outside.

It's likely her previous duelist didn't know how to use her properly and got rid of her out of frustration. That or she was dropped and they either didn't care enough to look for her or haven't noticed she's missing yet. Soren stopped his thoughts for a second, to make sure he wasn't getting worked up over nothing. I can't make assumptions like this without having all of the necessary information. The best thing I can do for her is prove that she can be a valuable asset.

There was still a large amount of time before curfew, as indicated by the still visible setting sun. And I think I know just how to do that.

CHAPTER 7 END

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