** OPENING CREDITS **

[IMAGE] Yami looks towards the horizon, over a vast island where a crystal castle lies at the end. The camera shows images of many other characters, including Takato Matsuki, Sakura Kinomoto, Ash Ketchum, and a Yami-look-alike with red bangs instead of blonde.

This bloody road remains a mystery... This sudden darkness fills the air...
What are we waiting for? Won't anybody help us? What are we waiting for?

[IMAGE] Yami leaps across a "dimensional barrier", falling into a digital world in the clothes of a Pharoah. He summons the Dark Magician and unleashes his fury on his enemy.

We can't afford to be innocent! Stand up and face the enemy!
It's a do or die situation! We will be invincible!

And with the power of conviction... There is no sacrifice
It's a do or die situation... We will be invincible!

[IMAGE] Zero summons Exodia, who is surrounded by monsters summoned by the main characters. The monsters charge together, and explode into the title screen.

--

D*D*M: Digimon and Duel Monsters

Throughout time, people have defined strength by defeating each other. In modern times, even rival corporations have sought to prove their power by crushing their opponents in mediums that also serve to increase their wealth. One such example is "Capcom vs. SNK", a series of fighting games designed to sell while creating the illusion of a fight between corporations.

Today, that illusion will become a reality. A joint partnership between Industrial Illusions' owner Maximillion Pegasus and the owner of Kaiba Corp, young Seto Kaiba, will enable the greatest collectible card games in history to duke it out in one incredible tournament to see which game has the stronger players. This tournament, called Monster Duel Extreme, will involve all the collectible card games owned and created by Industrial Illusions, including such renowned games as Duel Monsters, Digimon, Pokemon, and and a slew of others. Players from all over the world will participate in the tournament that both companies believe will be remembered as the greatest joint effort in the history of game entertainment.

Mr. Pegasus and Mr. Kaiba were both unavailable for comment, but they were both represented by official tournament liason, Zero Muto. He spoke with Tokyo 39's Sunn Arika yesterday morning.

"Both of these men have put a lot of effort into creating games that were fun, and above all, able to fit into a greater picture, like the pieces of a puzzle," says Muto. "Since these two companies were created, they have worked with the goal in mind that every game they created would be compatible with every other game, even though the rules and target audiences would be quite different. To implement this dream, all Kaiba Corp game cards use cardsteel material as opposed to cardboard, enabling our cards to withstand centuries of use and survive under extreme game conditions, such as those used in the popular Digimon game and its Card Slash battle system. Another example is the numeric code placed on every game card, which allows you to input the card into your favorite Industrial Illusions video games and use them, regardless of the story world the game is based in."

Sunn asked what the goal of this Ultimate Compatibility was. Zero simply smiled and said, "That's a secret. However, I promise that the answer will be revealed when the tournament reaches its climax."

We asked whether the events with the D-Reaper and the mysterious deaths at the Duelist Kingdom tournament have left a stain on either companies' reputations that may affect the tournament. Zero responded in the negative, saying that those events were completely unrelated to the card games, and were merely the results of sick-minded individuals attempting to throw the honor of Kaiba Corp and Industrial Illusions into disarray.

The recently announced 'Monster Duel EX' tournament will be held at an island located several miles away from the Japanese coast. The island, dubbed "Monster Island" by gaming insiders, is reputed to house entire cities designed with never-before-seen Dueling technology and state-of-the-art Virtual Reality systems as developed by Kaiba Corp. So whether you're a casual fan of the Strategy Gaming sport, or a fan of anime looking for the fight of a lifetime, then you don't want to miss this. More coming soon!

~~ Excerpt from Japanese Entertainment magazine.

--

(Shinjuku, Japan)

Takato walked from school with dejection plainly written on his face. Even after a wonderful last day of school, the boy seemed unable to cheer up. He thought that a day filled with pizza, throwing pies at teachers, and hanging out with his friends would make him forget his problem. But nothing could make him forget about Guilmon.

He passed by an old stone shelter, which until recently was Guilmon's home. After fighting the D-Reaper and changing the polarization of all the Digimon in the world, he had to move back to the Digital World where he belonged. Takato didn't like saying that he "belonged" there, because he really belonged with him! It didn't matter if he was made of data instead of DNA - he should be at home with him eating bread!

It didn't matter what he thought though. The process used to destroy the D-Reaper was irreversible, meaning that Guilmon and the others couldn't come back to the real world anymore. Similarly, the children couldn't go back to the Digital World unless they wanted to be microwaved into a million pieces. The gateway to the Digital World was still open, and it was so close... but they couldn't use it.

Takato stared at the spot where the portal existed, and watched as a tiny butterfly flew towards it. One usually did so every day around this time, as if it had become some kind of ritual among the bugs in the area. Takato watched sadly as the butterfly flew into the portal itself, only to burst into flames and fall to the ground as charred butterfly guts. It was really disgusting, but it was the butterflies who had inadvertently warned them that the portal was unusable. For now.

I'll find a way Guilmon, Takato thought. I promise.

"Takato!" said a girl's voice. The boy turned around just in time to see the girl jump at him. He managed to catch her, but not without falling over and landing on his back with her on top of him. He was dizzy for a moment from the sudden crash. It took him a moment to realize who it was. "Jeri?!"

"Hi!" she said, smiling brightly. After everything that happened during the D-Reaper fiasco, Jeri had opened up to Takato and his friends - especially to Takato. Now they were a couple and actually dating! Well, at least as much as twelve-year-olds dated.

Takato thought about getting up, but decided not to. He found himself enjoying this. He was at that age where anything a girl did was enjoyable. Also, he discovered a while ago that Jeri was stronger than he was in addition to being taller. So he couldn't get up even if he wanted to.

Jeri noticed the boy's sad demeanor. "What's wrong Takato? I thought you'd be happy that school's over."

Takato sighed. "I am..."

"Are you not happy to see me?" she said fearfully.

The boy smiled. "No way! I'm always happy to see you." He lightly kissed Jeri on the cheek, making the young girl blush. "Unless of course you're trying to crush the life out of me at the time."

Jeri's other hand suddenly popped up, but in the form of her puppet. "Hey, you're supposed to catch her, not fall down!" the puppet said. Jeri was getting to be very good at the ventriloquism act; her lips didn't even move when the puppet talked anymore.

Takato smirked. "Oh, I forgot that part," he said sarcastically. Jeri finally got up, and Takato did as well. The puppet went back to its home in Jeri's dress pocket, allowing the two children to hold hands as they walked quietly through the park.

"Takato, what's bothering you?" Jeri asked, breaking the silence.

The boy sighed again. "I'm just thinking about Guilmon again."

Jeri frowned sympathetically. She, more than anyone, knew how it felt to miss your Digimon. She had more control over her emotions now, but she still felt the pain of the loss of her own partner, Leomon. Even though Guilmon hadn't died like Leomon had, Takato had to be feeling a similar pain. Takato was emotional like Jeri, but in a different sense.

"We'll figure something out," Jeri said, gently squeezing the boy's hand. "I know we will."

Takato looked up at her. "I wish I could be as sure as you. I've thought of a million things we could try, but none of them would work."

"Maybe we're just not thinking hard enough," Jeri suggested. "Or maybe we just need some new ideas."

"Or maybe I should just let the smart people like Rika and Henry come up with the plan," Takato said wryly.

Jeri scooped up a daisy on the side of the road. "There's always a way, Takato. We just have to wait for the answer to pop up." She offered the daisy to him. "Right?"

Takato looked at the flower unsurely, then took it. "Right." He put the flower in his shorts pocket for safe keeping. "Thanks Jeri. You're the smartest girl I know."

Jeri smiled. "I'm not the smartest girl you know..." Suddenly she snatched his goggles and dashed down the street. "...but I'm definitely the fastest!"

"Hey!" Takato ran after the giggling girl. He laughed as he chased her through the park, forgetting his worries for at least a moment.

--

(Domino City, Japan)

Yugi Muto waited as the boy opposite him looked at the cards in his hand. "Come on, Joey. You can do it."

Joey stared at his cards, sweatdrops lining his face. "Hmm... I can't do it. It's too tough!"

"Come on Joey!" Tea cheered nearby. "You can do this! Just concentrate and think before you choose!"

"But what if I choose the wrong one?!"

"Trust in yourself Joey!" Yugi said. "You can do this!"

Joey growled for a second as he psyched himself up. "Err...okay!! I choose this one!" he shouted, slapping the card down on the table.

The cashier just sweatdropped. "Will this be all, sir?"

Joey nodded firmly as he put the other birthday cards down. "Yes! I'm definitely choosing this one!"

The cashier shrugged and slid the card across the price scanner. "That'll be 450 Yen please."

"Sheesh, I could buy a Happy Meal with that money!" Joey snapped, handing over a 500-Yen coin.

"Well, you said you wanted a nice card for Serenity," Tristan reminded him. "You've really got to dish out the dough if you want a nice card."

"Yeah, yeah," Joey muttered. "I just wish there was some money leftover from that $3 million dollar prize." Joey growled under his breath about doctor's being the spawns of evil. He took his change and left the shop, birthday card in tow.

"Hey guys, have you heard about that?" Tristan said as they passed a billboard talking about the 'Monster Duel EX' tournament.

"Yeah," Tea said. "I can't believe Kaiba Corp and Industrial Illusions are sponsoring another tournament together!"

"I guess those guys have to work together to keep the money rolling," said Joey. "It's impossible for Kaiba and Pegasus to work together again, now that he's gone."

Yugi walked over to a card shop to buy some more Duel Monsters cards with his allowance. "Yeah, but now that I own all Pegasus' shares, I have to deal with Kaiba on a daily basis," Yugi reminded them. Part of Yugi's prize at Duelist Kingdom for defeating Pegasus was to win 60% of the company's shares, effectively making Yugi the owner of the company. Since he was only a shareholder though, Yugi didn't have much to do with the daily workings of the company, but he had to be present for certain meetings to vote on major decisions the company made. It was a tedious job, but it gave Yugi an allowance of sorts.

"Yeah, but still," Joey cut in. "After everything that Kaiba and Mokuba went through because of Pegasus and his company, I didn't think he'd want anything to do with Industrial Illusions again."

"Well, the tournament looks legit," said Tristan. "Kaiba Corp and Industrial Illusions are putting a lot of weight in this."

"If Kaiba's involved, it's probably some scheme to take over the world, or turn everybody into his slaves," Tea said sowerly. It was no secret that she hated Kaiba, almost as much as Kaiba hated Yugi. After what Kaiba did to Yugi at the Duelist Kingdom, she was never able to forgive him.

Yugi grabbed his two booster packs and thanked the cashier. "I guess we'll never know."

Tristan stuttered. "What? You mean you're not going to the tournament, Yugi?"

Yugi smiled. "Of course not Tristan. The only reason I went to the Duelist Kingdom was because Pegasus stole my grandpa's soul. I don't care about playing in another tournament."

"But Yugi, you're a champion now!" Joey said. "You've gotta protect your position, you know? And if I'm going, then you have to go! I got invited!"

Yugi blinked. "But... why? You'd do fine on your own."

"Joey, just forget it," Tea warned him. "Yugi's right; there's no point in going to the tournament, especially if it's one sponsored by Kaiba."

Joey sighed. "I feel like I'm talking to the wrong person." The young man bent down and knocked on Yugi's Millennium Puzzle. "Hello? Anyone awake in there?"

Yugi pulled the Millennium Puzzle away and cradled it. (Joey, not here!) the boy whispered. (We're in the middle of a store!)

"Oh come on, nobody'll notice," Joey assured him. "The only reason we notice is because of the way you act when 'he' comes out."

"Yeah," Tristan said, backing up his friend. "And besides, Joey's actually got a point. What does 'he' think about all this?"

"Guys!" Tea snapped. The other two shrunk back.

Yugi sighed. "All right. Just a second." He closed his eyes, and waited. The others held their breaths, not sure what was going to happen next.

*ping*

Yami opened his eyes. "..."

Joey cleared his throat. "Uh... Yugi?"

Yami crossed his arms slowly. "What do you want, Joey."

Joey started to get nervous. He didn't like the way Yami was looking at him. "Eh heh... um... I was wondering what you thought of... of..."

"Of what," he said, growing impatient.

Tea sighed. "Come here." She half-dragged the King of Games by his arm until they were in front of the billboard advertizing the tournament. "Joey and Tristan, for some odd reason, think you'd want to go to this lame-brain excuse for a contest."

Yami looked at the poster quietly. "Monster Duel EX... These monsters look unfamiliar, and the children in this picture look like their Mokuba's age rather than Yugi's age."

Tea looked at the other two boys. "See? I told you he wouldn't go!"

Yami held his hand up. "Actually, Tea... this tournament intrigues me."

"See! I- what?!" Tea gasped.

Yami looked at the billboard more closely, as if looking for something hidden in the picture. As he did, an image flashed in his head. It was an image from his memories, long ago - memories that were forbidden to him. The image was of a girl, dressed in the garb of a Hebrew.

"Yes, I'm definitely going to be at the tournament."

Tea looked at him incredulously. "B-b-but, why?!"

Yami smiled wryly. "Someone there is waiting for me." Suddenly he changed, becoming the 'normal' Yugi. The boy blinked a few times, clearing his perceptions.

"So there you have it," Tristan said, shocked. "He's going."

Yugi looked concerned. "Why would 'he' want to go? It doesn't make any sense; it felt like he was remembering something... or rather, some-one."

"Someone? What did they look like, Yugi?" Tea asked.

Yugi blushed a little. "A girl... a pretty one. She was dressed like a slave or something."

Tea's eyes widened. "A WHAT!!?" She grabbed Yugi by the collar, almost picking him up off the floor. "What half-naked girl are you looking at!!?"

Joey laughed, breaking the moment. "Whatever the reason, I'm okay with it! We're going to the tournament!" he cheered, slapping Yugi on the back and consequentially knocking him over. "And I'm going to kick me some butt and become rich! RICH I tells ya!" Joey laughed maniacally as Tea resumed her interrogation of Yugi.

Tristan facevaulted. "This is bad; I know it."

--

(Kaiba Corporation || Laboratory)

Kaiba watched with subdued glee as one of the opponents on the field burst into millions of tiny data particles as his life points went to zero. The other opponent stood there quietly, not moving or even responding to the sight of his opponent disappearing before his very eyes. The surviving player disappeared from view as the lights dimmed on that side of the field.

Kaiba removed his headset as Mokuba and two company engineers deactivated the Duel. "I think we're ready for testing with live subjects."

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Seto?" the younger Kaiba asked. "The Duel Ark may be functioning properly, but up until now we've been using holographic duelists for the testing. The Mini Cyber program is still acting up."

"...It's what Zero wants," Kaiba said icily. "Every competitor's Duel Ark must carry the program. Otherwise, all our planning is for naught." Kaiba turned and picked up his personalized Duel Ark. It was a black glove with a card reader built around the wrist and back of the gauntlet, as well as several slots used for gameplay. Kaiba slid the glove into place, and made sure his deck was in his pocket. "I'm going down there. See that the duelBot is prepared by the time I arrive."

"Seto, please!!" Mokuba cried. His brother stopped in his tracks. "I don't want you to do this! This program is dangerous! You could disappear into one of the digital worlds and never come back!"

Kaiba smirked at his brother. "I have faith in your abilities as an engineer, Mokuba. You'll make sure I'm safe. I know you will." The elder Kaiba left the room, and the automated door slid shut behind him. Mokuba could do nothing but stare silently at the door. He hoped that he was as skilled as his brother thought.

Kaiba reached the floor area in a minute's time. He entered the duel field, which was simply a cargo room built out of steel and flexiglass, with white lines drawn on the floor to indicate the areas each player should stand. Engineers were working on repairing the damage caused by the last duel by the holographic force generators. Kaiba quickly grew impatient with their presence. "Everyone clear the area." Without question, the engineers raced out of the room.

One of the engineers in the command center with Mokuba spoke into the loudspeaker. "Mr. Kaiba sir. We have a duelBot on Standby. This robot has been outfitted with a Level 9 dueling AI, as well as a Slash Rate of 0.39 seconds. That puts it at the human limit of slashing speed."

"What deck will it be using?" Kaiba asked as he made a casual check of his Duel Ark.

"It is using a beatdown deck composed of Card Captor cards," the engineer said. "The Deck's power level is 1890, the same as your current Duel Monsters deck."

Mokuba again became worried. "Seto, the program doesn't hold up well when there are powerful cards in a duel. If your deck fights this deck, you're definitely going to experience a malfunction. You could get hurt, or..."

"We have to make these usable for the tournament by tomorrow morning," Kaiba said simply. "That means we have seven hours to make sure the Duel Arks, the holograph projectors, and the Mini Cyber program are all at optimum efficiency. I don't have time to worry about safety." Kaiba slid his deck into the appropriate slot of his gauntlet, and a life point total of 4000 appeared in the display reader. "Let's go."

The engineer looked at Mokuba, who didn't say or do nothing in reply. He just gazed at his big brother down below. The engineer promised himself that he wouldn't let Mokuba or Mr. Kaiba down, and turned his attention to the controls. "Activating duelBot."

One of the Type III duelBots ascended from the floor of the dueling arena. This brand of robot used advanced animatronic techniques and synthetics to look completely human, and had an AI to support that illusion. This particular robot looked like a young girl with brown hair, roughly 10 years of age. She was dressed in a flowery pink uniform like the kind you'd see in a girl's anime. Her eyes were trembling fearfully, as if she were on stage at a school play for the first time.

"...Who's this?" Kaiba asked.

"That's Sakura Kinomoto," the engineer answered. Kaiba looked up at the command center, expecting more of an explanation. He knew who Kinomoto was; he was an archaeologist who worked with Industrial Illusions to search for ancient Egyptian ruins and other areas that could be used for game production. Kinomoto was a nice man, who took care of Mokuba for Kaiba on occasion when he took over his foster father's company. "She's designed to look like his daughter. We were intending to surprise him, but we thought it would be more painful than pleasurable. She's been living with Akman for a while now."

Kaiba smirked at Mokuba, who was darting glances at the girl. The duelist returned his attention to his opponent, who hadn't moved since she appeared. "So, Sakura, do you know how to talk, or hasn't that ability been programmed into you?"

Sakura slowly took two steps forward, and the platform behind her lowered into the recesses below. It startled her, but she quickly recovered. She stumbled to the white box that represented her location for the duel. "I-I'm sorry, Mr. Kaiba sir. I-I'm ready when you are." Her cheeks were bright red. Kaiba guessed that was supposed to be cute.

"Turn on your Duel Ark, and let's get started." Sakura obeyed. She pressed a button on her gauntlet, and the holographic projectors built into the gauntlet activated. Her life point count was set to 4000.

"Uh...Uhm.... where did I put those cards that Mokuba gave me." Sakura padded her frilly costume, until finally she looked up with an embarassed smile. "I guess I forgot to bring them with me." Half of the operators in the area fell over.

A vein in Kaiba's head started to bulge. "Mo...ku...ba..."

Mokuba sweatdropped and turned on his headset. "Sakura, you put them in your purse last night, remember?"

"Oh yeah!" she said. "I forgot... sorry Mokuba." She held her hands behind her back. "I didn't mean to ruin your duel."

"It's not ruined. Stepdad knew you would forget, so he's been on standby just in case. He's probably bringing them right now." Kaiba guessed that "Stepdad" was Akman, the engineer taking care of this machine. What a waste of technology she was. This idiot had a Level 9 AI?

An engineer ran into the room, and cheerful Sakura greeted him as he rushed past Kaiba. The old man spoke to Sakura quickly as he gave her the deck she would be using. Sakura nodded as she listened. Finally, Akman wished her luck and cleared the room. Kaiba gave him a cold stare as he vacated.

"...Are we ready now?" Kaiba said, his annoyance VERY apparent.

"We're ready, Big Brother," Mokuba replied. "Sakura, I know you don't like this, but we need you to activate your Duel Mode."

Sakura smiled sweetly. "...Anything you want, Mokuba." The boy blushed, but only the engineers with him saw it. They chuckled warmly.

Kaiba gasped as his opponent's personality did a 180-degree shift. Sakura's childish eyes suddenly became cold and determined. Her cute demeaner was replaced by that of a powerful warrior - one ready to battle to the death if need be. Kaiba felt like he was staring at... Yugi. One moment, he was looking at an innocent child. The next... he was facing a monster.

DUEL MODE ACTIVATED, Sakura's robotic voice said. LIFE POINTS SET TO MAXIMUM. Crossover Battle RULES LOADED AND ANALYZED. THIS UNIT IS READY TO DUEL.

Kaiba smiled. "Finally. Then let's go!!" Kaiba drew five cards with one draw, while the robot drew the same number of cards. As part of the rules, Kaiba chose a monster to serve as his starting fighter. Sakura would do the same. "And my first monster is the Koumori Dragon!" The violet-scaled dragon appeared on the field, poised beside its summoner as it waited for an opponent. **1500/1200 ** Kaiba didn't choose whether it was in Attack or Defense mode, since the crossover rules didn't use modes of that kind.

Sakura chose a monster as well, and placed it in the Active Slot of her gauntlet. THIS UNIT CHOOSES Spirit of Dash. A tiny, green-furred fox creature appeared on the field beside Sakura. On its forehead was a purple crystal that sparkled in the dim light of the duel field. Like the Koumori Dragon, it was an average-level monster.

Kaiba wished he knew more about the Card Captors game, but he never bothered with kiddy stuff like that. Now he regretted it. You had to study the opposition, regardless of what that opposition was. His Duel Ark said that the Spirit of Dash had the same power level as Koumori Dragon - Level 4. But its offensive and defensive abilities weren't mentioned with the data. Kaiba liked being absolutely sure of what his opponent was planning, but in this case he had to fight blind. "Koumori Dragon, go!!" The dragon responded immediately, flying into battle quickly.

ATTACK, Sakura said coldly. Dash charged into the fray, leaping at the much-larger dragon monster. Dash easily avoided the Koumori Dragon's attacks, as it was much faster. Meanwhile, the tiny creature was clawing, scratching, and biting the dragon every chance it got. Each attack weakened the dragon, and unless Kaiba did something it would mean the end for his dragon.

I have to slash a card, Kaiba said. As per the rules, he could have five cards at any given time, including his monster on the field, so he had to make do with the four cards in his hand. Luckily, one of those cards was a decent monster card. He couldn't summon it, since he could only have one monster in play at a time, but he could add its power to his dragon. He just hoped it was enough. Well, here goes...

"Modify!!" Kaiba shouted as he slashed the card through the Duel Ark as fast as he could. The faster the slash, the more power the card generated, so he had to give it everything he had. "La Djinn, empower Koumori Dragon!" The spiritual essence of the genie flew through the air before bonding with the dragon. Koumori Dragon's scales changed from violet to green as the genie fused with the other monster. ** == ATK 1900/ DEF 1600. **

THAT IS FUTILE, AS YOUR MONSTER'S Speed IS INSUFFICIENT. To prove Sakura's point, the Dash card started to attack at an even faster pace, picking at the bigger monster's defensive power until the creature couldn't take it anymore. Koumori Dragon fell to the ground before bursting into particles of holographic pixels. Kaiba's life points dropped as a result of the monster's destruction. ** Kaiba's LP: 3200. **

Kaiba growled. My monster was more powerful, but it wasn't fast enough to defend itself. That creature's Speed will destroy me unless I slow it down somehow. Kaiba drew two cards to replace his La Jinn and Koumori Dragon cards. He smiled at what he drew. It doesn't matter how fast that thing is; nothing is faster than White Lightning...

Kaiba slid one of his new cards into the appropriate slot. "Blue Eyes White Dragon!! I summon you!" The massive dragon appeared, and in an instant it launched its White Lightning attack. Dash zoomed across the field, but Kaiba's monster scored a hit. However, it wasn't on the intended target.

"What!?" Kaiba saw his Koumori Dragon floating there, taking the blast! He was easily destroyed, and Dash was saved from destruction. "What happened!?"

Sakura remained cold and emotionless as her Dash monster paced on the field. Spirit of Dash IS A CLOW MONSTER. ANY CARD DEFEATED BY A CLOW CARD IS CAPTURED AND ADDED TO MY HAND. I USED YOUR CARD TO DEFEND MINE.

"Damn..." Kaiba muttered. "I should have expected that. Your game is called Card Captors for a reason."

INDEED. Sakura slashed a card with such force that white sparks flew in all directions. THIS UNIT SLASHES Spirit of Big TO INCREASE THE SIZE AND STRENGTH OF Spirit of Dash. As promised, the tiny green fox grew into a VERY large fox that made the Blue Eyes White Dragon look like a puppy dog. Only the room's limited space prevented the monster from getting any bigger. The Dash card then sat on Blue Eyes, pinning it under its weight.

Her monster will simply bite my Blue Eyes until it's destroyed! Kaiba looked at his hand, and noticed a Magic card in his hand that would even the odds. But she's not the only one who can make her monster bigger.

Kaiba's trenchcoat whipped as he slashed another card, even faster than before. "Modify!! Megamorph, activate!! Double the power of my Blue Eyes White Dragon!!"

Mokuba gasped at this, and knew that now was the time to be careful. "The Mini Cyber program triggers a dimensional shift anytime the power output of the Duel Arks exceeds the safety limit. The program'll try to transport them to the other world now. But the Red Shift put into place by Hypnos will attempt to negate and destroy any dimensionally-shifted life forms." Mokuba looked up at the waiting eyes of his assistants. "Make sure Sakura and my brother maintain nominal life signs. And don't lose track of their signals, no matter what.

"Yes sir!" the two engineers answered. As the Blue Eyes started to increase in size, the duelist arena glowed with light from all directions. The white light encompassed the entire field, and refused to die down. Soon, there was a globe of light surrounding the field that Mokuba and the engineers could not see into.

"Status of the duelists!" Mokuba shouted.

"Sensors detect their lifesigns on the twenty-seventh layer of Zero's server!" an engineer shouted back. "They're alive, and their duel is continuing unabated!"

"On screen!" the boy ordered. Soon a massive viewscreen appeared, allowing Mokuba and all the engineers to view the spectacle. Kaiba and Sakura were no longer in the dueling arena from the looks of it. According to the viewscreen, they were dueling in the street of town identified as Readington, at night time.

Kaiba smiled as his Blue Eyes White Dragon reached its new size, making it equal in size to the Big Dash card. However, their strengths were dramatically different. ** ATK 6000 **

"Blue Eyes, obliterate!!" The dragon launched its mightiest attack, the White Lightning. The attack soared through the town, wiping out buildings and trees and uprooting cement streets before slamming into its target. Sakura's monster was incinerated by the power of the Megamorphed Dragon, and the pain she felt made that lethally obvious. ** Sakura's LP: 2800. **

"Had enough yet, small fry?" Kaiba asked, teasing the girl. "Or does your brain circuitry not understand the meaning of Hopelessness?" The gigantic Blue Eyes stared down at the tiny humans, and roared triumphantly. The shattered city shook with its fury.

Sakura's glare remained emotionless and cold. THIS UNIT IS NOT CONCERNED. YOUR DRAGON'S POWER IS TEMPORARY, AND EASILY COUNTERED. Sakura drew two cards to replace her defeated cards, and slashed two other ones. Spirit of Fight, AND Spirit of Little!

One of the cards appeared on the field to protect Sakura - that was the Fight card, styled as a blue-skinned girl dressed in a martial arts outfit and sporting a bad attitude. The other card, the Little card, was targetted at the Blue Eyes White Dragon. The Megamorph effect was obliterated, and the Blue Eyes White Dragon shrunk to the size of a kitten. Even its eyes became cute and cuddly like a cat's. Kaiba was disgusted.

But he wasn't defeated yet. Just as Fight attacked, Kaiba slashed a card. "Destruction Ring!! A Trap Card!!" Kaiba laughed as Sakura's card was surrounding by the lethal, halo-like ring. "The instant this card zones in on your monster, it will be destroyed and deal damage to you based on the attack power of your monster! You're finished!"

Sakura calmly slashed another card. Spirit of Mirror. REFLECT THE TRAP! The Fight card phased out of sight, and switched positions with the shrunken Blue Eyes White Dragon. Kaiba could only watch helplessly as his monster was destroyed by his own Trap. ** LP: 100** The pain was excrutiating, but Kaiba held on to consciousness... just barely.

Meanwhile, Mokuba in the command center was monitoring Kaiba's lifesigns. When they plummeted due to the reflected trap, he was shaken. But to his utter amazement, his brother was still alive even after such a horrible shock to his system. Mokuba was sure his brother was a modern day Hercules, and now he had the proof. "What's the status of the duelists' mind data?"

"Sakura's data is operating at optimal levels, and her onboard gyrocomputer is automatically adjusting to the super-reactive environment of the digital world." The engineer looked grimly at Kaiba's data. "But just as we thought, Kaiba's data is having more difficulty holding on. The Red Shift is causing his mind to lose stability rapidly. His life signs are within exceptable limits now, but just barely. He will falter if the battle intensity remains this high."

"Seto...." Mokuba clenched his fists, and pushed the engineer out of the way. "I'll take over! You get the medics ready for my brother's return. I'll keep his mind together until the duel is done!" The engineer nodded and hastily wished him good luck before running to the medics station.

Kaiba's Blue Eyes White Dragon was captured and sealed by Sakura. He was in trouble, and he knew it. I have to play a monster, or else I'll be wiped out. But if the monster can't survive the Fight card's attack, I'll be defeated anyway. I have to play a combo that will wipe out that monster and be ready to defend against my Blue Eyes at the same time.

Kaiba drew his replacement cards, and got a decent draw. He had a plan, but it would be difficult to implement against a Level 9 duelist with the mind of a supercomputer. Let's go.

Kaiba slashed a Magic card known as Dragon Seal, which meant that only Dragon-type monsters could attack or defend themselves. He then summoned his next monster, the Diamond Dragon. "Let's see you counter this monster, robot!"

Sakura did not seem surprised, even though it was an odd play considering what she just captured. Nonetheless, she switched her Fight card for a dragon that could battle. BLUE EYES WHITE DRAGON. Sakura's clow card was replaced by a duel monster in a flash of light.

That's when Kaiba acted. He slashed a Trap card as the Blue Eyes charged the Diamond Dragon. "Exclusion Virus!! Destroy all Dragons in both player's decks!!" A wave of purple viral agents swept over the field and washed over both players. The dragons roared in pain as they were infected and wiped out, along with the monsters in both player's decks. Sakura's deck wasn't affected in the slightest, while Kaiba's deck was reduced to a handful of cards.

THIS STRATEGY DOES NOT COMPUTE, Sakura said, showing the programmed curiousity of her Duel Mode's mind. She replayed her Fight card. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, SETO KAIBA?

Kaiba smirked, playing one of the monsters in his hand. "This. Cyber Stein, appear and use your power!!" A frankenstein wannabe appeared, and howled like an animal as its half-dead, half-living body began to metamorphosize.

Then, Sakura understood. CYBER STEIN. MACHINE MONSTER. SPECIAL EFFECT - SACRIFICE THIS MONSTER TO CREATE THE FUSION FORM OF ANY MONSTERS IN YOUR GRAVEYARD.

Kaiba laughed. "Exactly! And with Cyber Stein, I can fuse all my Blue Eyes into the ultimate White Dragon!" The souls of the three white dragons rose into the sky before rushing into the pulsating body of the mechanical Cyber Stein. The machine exploded to reveal the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon, ready for battle. "Neutron Blast!!"

Fight, ATTACK! The Fight card charged as the Ultimate Dragon unleashed its attack. The Fight card managed to dodge the first assault, which obliterated half of Readington in a flash. The Fight card leapt into the air and landed behind one of the Blue Eyes' heads, and proceeded to pummel the creature's neck with all her might. The other two heads fired their White Lightning attacks at the intruder, who deftly dodged and leapt to the field. The battle proceeded like this, with the Fight card running for her life and trying to find the weakpoint of the Ultimate Dragon. There was none to be seen.

Sakura decided to go for broke. She had to launch a head-on assault. MODIFY!! Spirit of Power, COMBINE WITH Fight!! The sugar-pink energy of the Power card rushed into the Fight card, granting her unbelievable strength that only added to the Fight card's already supernatural power. Sakura had other cards she could use in combination with Fight, but using more than one card on a monster as powerful as Fight would only exhaust its energy, and leave it vulnerable. Every ounce of energy counted in this battle. END THE BATTLE WITH THIS ATTACK.

Kaiba smirked. "Ultimate Dragon, you do the same. One way or another, this battle ends NOW!!" The Ultimate Dragon reared back, its three mouths glowing with the power of the Neutron Blast. The Fight card charged ahead, not afraid to die for her master. The monsters unleashed their full power on each other, and the explosive power of the Neutron Blast swept over the battlefield, obscuring both player's sight.

It was over.

--

Yugi awoke with a start. His other self was in control of the body, surprisingly. It was night time, so Yami had no reason to be "out". Why was he awake? And why was he so... frightened?

Yami? Yugi asked gingerly. Are you okay?

Yami breathed heavily before gulping down a lump in his throat. I... I had a frightening dream. Yami fell back into the bed, wiping the sweat off his regal brow. I did not mean to alarm you.

You had a nightmare? Yugi's spirit materialized beside his other self. The boy put a reassuring hand on his other self's forehead. That's never happened before.

Yami regained control of his breath, and slowly sat up again. "I dreamed... that I was a monster. Like a Duel Monster... only different. I was an orange lizard, like a small dinosaur."

Yugi blinked in surprise. That sounds like an Agumon. He's on a TV show I watch sometimes. The boy didn't think Yami knew about Digimon, so it was impossible for him to dream about one. Wasn't it? What happened?

"...Kaiba, and a girl, were dueling in a city street. I was inside one of the homes, with a family of smaller monsters. I sensed that I was a loved one to them... like a father." Yami seemed troubled by the memory of the nightmare, but he continued. "Kaiba's Ultimate Dragon attacked another monster... a Mystical Elf, I think. The explosion rocked the city, and in the last moments of the dream, I remember holding another monster and proclaiming my love to it." Yami's head sagged, as tears threatened to fall. "I felt the pain of death and loss in that dream. It felt so real..."

Yugi hugged his other self, like a doting mother would hug her child. You're okay now. Just relax and try to go back to sleep. It's over now.

Yami found his other self's hug to be comforting, in a way. Nonetheless, he couldn't rest. His mind was filled with the images he'd just seen. He lay back and pondered the dream. That dream... does it have something to do with that advertisement that Tea showed me? That picture of... Juri? Yami closed his eyes, and felt his consciousness sinking into the inky blackness that was the Millennium Puzzle. I don't know yet... but I know my answers lie far away, at the new tournament. Yugi and I have a new challenge to face.

Yami fell into a deep slumber, with Yugi watching over him well into the night.

--

[ENDING CREDITS]

[IMAGE] Jeri is cradling Takato in a forest glen, with the sun peeking through the trees. Eventually fades into a picture of Rika, head in the lap of Ash Ketchum. Is any of this real? Or not?

Do you still remember, how we used to be,
Feeling together, believe in whatever, My love has said to me,
Both of us were dreamers, Young love in the sun,
Felt like my savior, my spirit I gave you, We'd only just begun.

[IMAGE] Sakura and Yugi, standing on the beach and looking out into the sunset, like an ephemeral fantasy on the verge of fading into time. The final image is of two cards, lying side by side in the sand. One is a picture of Yami. The other is a picture of Yugi.

But we're all alone now, was it just a dream,
Feelings unfold, they will never be sold, And the secret's safe with me.

Hasta Manana, Always be mine.

Viva Forever, I'll be waiting, Everlasting, like the sun,
Live Forever, for the moment, Ever searching for the one...