AN: Thanks for your patience, guys! I've been having a hard time pushing any of my stories forward, to be honest. So any update will most likely be sporadic and slow (really sorry).


He stares up at the twinkling stars the skylight was showing, marveling how incredibly rendered the simple night was. He could see soft gray wisps of clouds floating by, often blocking the stars' light slightly. The moon was full, gentle silver rays illuminating the room he was in.

He stops looking at the skylight to observe the other items in this small room. A bed with plain blue sheets, a blanket, and one pillow. A rather simple bed, big enough for one person to lie in and wiggle a bit—he supposes. Facing the bed is a cabinet, where there were many boxes of different kinds of games stacked on its top. Curious, he opens the cabinet and finds different shirts hung on top and pants folded neatly on the bottom shelves. Many of them were dark in color, and a few had metal buckles or spikes studded on them. There were a few more shelves at the side that had more clothes stacked and folded neatly. Another shelf was filled with accessories of many kinds, mostly leather items with gold and silver decorated on them.

"Huh," he says, picking up a cuff-link, it had a large silver ankh. "Odd choice of clothes." He looks down on himself, noting his dark leather pants and black top. He touches his neck to feel the cool leather of his collar. He raises his hand to look at his large leather bangle-thing, and lastly, he looks at his newly acquired golden armlets. "I suppose I have no right to judge," he muses, closing the cabinet. Though does it count if he had no choice whatsoever on what was worn on his avatar?

He shrugs, going back to exploring the room.

The walls were littered with posters, ones that depicted games he was familiar with. Mokuba would often introduced him to different video games whenever he visited. There was a desk to the side of the door, with a plain setup of a PC. There are a few Duel Monster cards next to the mouse, and he picks one up to see what it is. It's blank, where there should be the card art and description is empty white space.

(there's an itch in his code, he wants to scan this glitch—figure out why the cards are blank—but nothing happens)

Adjacent to the desk was an open cabinet of video games. Many of them weren't for a computer, and he wonders if the consoles needed to play them were kept somewhere else—as he hasn't seen any other gaming tech besides the duel disk at the foot of the bed. It's likely, the skylight and the view from the other windows tell him he must be at least on a second floor, and this can't possibly be the only room in this simulated domain.

There were a few wooden shelves mounted on the wall, most were decorated with figurines and picture frames. There were only blank white spaces in the frames were pictures should be, similar to the cards.

Odd, maybe this area hasn't been completed yet?

(there is a whisper, one of his protocols perhaps, that urge him not to dismiss this, to persist in investigating this—but he doesn't hear it)

His armlets begin to emit heat.

Something glitters at the corner of his eye, and he turns to find a golden metal box resting on a wall shelf. It's a beautiful box, its intricate embossing and hieroglyphs didn't seem to match the room. But despite that, it felt that it belonged here. That it wouldn't be in any other place besides here.

He walks towards it.

His armlets gets hotter.

Nervously (why is he nervous?), he reaches up and gets the box. He holds it up, feeling its weight and warm metal (how odd, his simulated sense of touch has never been this thorough before). He traces the golden eye curiously, he's seen the design before. But for some reason, this doesn't make him start a search query. His memory doesn't feed him the information he wants—not even clues.

Even his protocols have been silent, not feeding him the usual alerts or status updates. There have been no prompts, no computing, not even a blip from his directives. The constant buzz of being connected to the Crystal Cloud and the other KC databases are gone too, as if they never existed. Where at one point he is filled with data, with queries, with deductions based on the variables he was given, now he feels—not empty, but not entirely full either.

(a part of himself feels uncomfortable with it, like his entire being has been forcefully stuffed into an outdated machine—clanky and incompatible)

He slowly opens the lid.

His armlets glow.

Something shines inside the box, light escaping from the widening gap as he lifts the lid. He opens it fully, and successfully accomplishes his first jawdrop as he stares at what's inside. He reaches down to touch them, feeling the same warmth that his armlets were emitting. He picks them up and inspects one of it, and his eyes widen in surprise.

"This is different from the ones I saw earlier," he murmurs, tilting his head. "I wonder why-"

(something reconnects)

System rebooted, updates successfully installed.

The world shatters.

(and he's pulled away from the room that silenced his code and back to-)

"I may need to check if your programming is completely functional with the solid vision room," a voice says. "It won't do any good if it takes you this long to boot."

His protocols prod at him to hurry up and become active, his directives remind him that Kaiba is not known to be patient. He hastily connects to the sensors of the room and focuses on the man staring down at him.

"Apologies," he says, resisting the urge to scratch his head. "It took a lot longer to process the-" He frowns, searching through his logs on what his latest activity was.

Analyzing logs...

The last action taken prior to a system update is constructing a deck.

That doesn't seem right.

Searching through logs of the past eleven hours... sorting list from newest to oldest...

Deck construction.

Playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past due to Mokuba's insistence of practicing his finger dexterity. (Note: That reasoning is 99.9% unlikely due to the fact that there are other games of this series that demand a higher level of finger dexterity)

Setting up and installing a solid vision Gameboy Advance emulator.

Deck construction.

Successfully accomplishing first independent attempt to feed Kaiba.

Connecting with prototype mini D-wheels to deliver Kaiba food.

Playing The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword due to Mokuba's insistence of practicing arm movements with his avatar.

Setting up and installing a solid vision Wii emulator.

Deck construction.

Refusing to install a CD-i emulator and convincing Mokuba to test Kaiba's prototype solid vision game emulators.

Downloading all the Legend of Zelda games due to noticing Mokuba's increasing pattern of him wanting to play said games.

Deck construction.

That doesn't seem right at all, he was sure he had been in... somewhere? Doing... something?

Analyzing memory files...

He's greeted with data that he honestly doesn't know if they're corrupted or not. Images that seemed to have gone through so many effect filters that it looked unrecognizable, videos that span less the five seconds and offer only low resolution scenes of him exploring a bedroom, and audio files that had too much noise to discern anything besides his own recorded mutterings.

Vague impressions, at best.

He squashes down the urge to wrap his arms around himself and clutch the golden armlets he's wearing. His logs don't say that he had been in the room, yet his files tell him he was. Incomplete and messy data, but data nonetheless.

Was this a bug? Did something go wrong when he was transferred to another system? Had he been tampered?

(did it have something to do with Atem?)

Should he tell Kaiba?

His directives are silent.

"-updated haptic input functions you've included in me," he finishes. And something else, he adds silently. Later, he thinks. The last thing Kaiba needs is another harmless bug to fix. At worse, this is related to his newly acquired accessories, and that will add fuel to the already burning inferno that is Kaiba's obsession for whatever Atem was supposed to be. At best, it's an odd glitch. Simple enough that he could fix it by himself given time (he wonders if it's normal for programs to be able to edit their own code), or too complex for him that he'd need Kaiba to look at it. In which case, that would mean fueling Kaiba's obsession for whatever he was supposed to be.

Later, he repeats to himself. When he finds something that's beyond vague implications of mysticism and the supernatural. He can figure it out later.

Too many variables, too many questions, too little data.

"Hn, it might be time to do a complete overhaul of the solid vision rooms," Kaiba says, activating his duel disk. "I'll go through the possible designs after this, initiate duel."

(later, later, later)

Initiating duel...

He brings up his arm and, with a silent command, materializes a virtual duel disk on it. He selects one of his decks in the database and feeds the data to the emulator. Cards begin to fill up the virtual deck slot.

This will be the first time he'll duel with this body, he's been looking forward to it. To speak, to express, to move while dueling. Yes, he'd rather much think about that. He can worry about the room (the armlets, the box, his existence) later.

For now, it's time to duel.