Hello everyone, this is scififan599 with a new ARC-V story called The Fifth Circuit. This fanfic is based on the premise of a fifth dimension – the Link Dimension – being added to the ARC-V canon. This fic will follow Yuya's and Yuzu's Link counterparts – Yuji and Hanako – and their interactions with the other dimensions. For more information, please see the Author's Notes section at the end of this chapter. The fanfic itself will follow the same format as my VRAINS fanfic Hidden Memories: Announcements (won't always have these) – Chapter – Duels – Invented cards – Next Chapter Preview – Responses to Reviews & Author's Notes.
That said, I hope you all enjoy the first chapter of The Fifth Circuit!
Chapter 1: The Link Dimension
"You are certain this data is right?"
"I am, Professor. The pulse we released into the void produced feedback from Standard, Synchro, and Xyz. But we also received feedback from another source. The energy is very different from the others. Too different."
"Yes, sir. The energy is not Fusion, Synchro, or Xyz. Or even this new 'Pendulum Summoning' we've heard about from Standard. We've never seen energy like this."
"…Prepare a scouting party. I want to verify this information."
"…Can it really be true? Is there truly a fifth dimension?"
Eight years ago…
The world was on fire.
An entire district of Den City was in ruins. The buildings had collapsed, leaving nothing but molten bricks and blazing wooden beams. Screams pierced the night as people burned alive. Their clothes and flesh melted like paper, leaving only bones behind. Children watched, tears in their eyes, as their parents tried to protect them. They tried to cover them with wet blankets or hide in the cellars. Nothing worked. Children watched as their parents burned alive; parents watched as their children joined them. Nothing escaped the fire. The entire district fed it, and it greedily consumed everything.
The fire and police departments had been called as soon as the fire appeared. Due to the intensity of the flames, they had no choice but to wait at the edges and do their best to keep the fire from spreading. Afterwards, many of them would be given medals of bravery for fighting the fire, as it had been the largest in Den City's history. The medals did nothing to soothe their consciences, for they felt in their hearts that they had let a thousand people die.
They did not consider themselves heroes; to those who had witnessed it, there was only one hero that day, and that had been the man who had emerged from the fire, suffering from smoke inhalation and covered in soot but alive, carrying a child. No one had seen him enter that hell, but he obviously had; how could he have survived if he had been in that place to begin with?
The officers had provided the pair blankets and water and had then sat them down in the back of an ambulance. The paramedics on site tried to remove the boy from the man's arms to take him to the hospital, but the man refused to let go. Neither the man nor the boy seemed to notice the people around them. They just stared at each other, yellow eyes set in a weathered face looking down on a set of green. Doubtlessly they had once been full of life. But now they were dull. Whoever the child had been before was gone, erased in the fire. But the man didn't care.
He just cried, tears running down his face, and repeated the same words to himself.
"He's alive… He's alive… He's alive…"
"Yuji. Yuji. Wake up."
Yuji slowly opened his eyes and looked up. He was sitting in his desk at Den Middle School, and class appeared to have ended.
He turned his head to look at the girl who was standing next to him. She had long crimson hair that went down to the middle of her back in a ponytail, with lighter bangs that framed her face and a light green hairclip in the shape of a flower. She wore the Den Middle School girl's uniform – a slate-colored jacket with a light blue trim over a light yellow jumper, white dress shirt, and blue tie, and a black skirt – and on her wrist was a silver bracelet, which had two light blue gems, one on either side, each embedded in a square with little red triangles on either side. Her crimson eyes were narrowed in concern.
"You had the dream again, didn't you, Yuji?" the girl asked.
Yuji closed his eyes, sighed and nodded. Yuji had spiky indigo hair that swept backwards with cyan fringes framing his face and small red highlights in those fringes. He wore the Den Middle School boy's uniform – the same jacket, shirt, and tie as the girl's uniform, only without the jumper and black pants instead of a skirt.
The girl next to him pursed her lips. "Yuji, I told you to get more sleep. Or did you stay up late with work again?"
"I did, Hanako," Yuji said, standing up and stretching. "Don't give me that look; you've stayed up as late as I have before."
Hanako pouted as he looked at her through half-lidded green eyes. "Still, you should take better care of yourself, Yuji. I don't want to be the one to tell your father and brother you passed out in class."
"I fell asleep, I didn't pass out; the two are very different," Yuji protested, halting his stretches as he gave a small smile. Though Hanako could tell it wasn't real. "Don't worry, I know my limits. Those two have already lectured me about it."
"…Well, so long as you're careful," Hanako allowed. "Just don't push yourself too hard, alright?"
"Fine, fine." Yuji leaned down to pick up his bag from the floor. "Though perhaps I should tell you that, Hanako. Your brother still doesn't approve of your choice, right?"
Hanako frowned. "…No, he doesn't. But he understands why I want to do so, and he said he won't stop me from taking that path."
"Good to hear." Yuji stood up, his bag over his shoulder, and cricked his neck. "See you at work?"
Hanako walked out of the room, with Yuji hanging back. Once she let, he rubbed his eyes and sighed again. He really had stayed up too late last night, and for a fourteen-year-old, sleep was critical.
Oh well. His job was more important than his rest. Even if his brother and father wanted him to relax more, they understood the value of his work. And what it meant to him.
Yuji walked down the street and looked over Den City. It was expansive, with a population of millions, numerous harbors, and more skyscrapers than he could count. It was almost impossible to imagine that it had been the site of a fire that claimed over a thousand lives.
Stop. Don't think about that. Yuji stopped walking and shook his head. Remember what father taught you: Three. Think of three things. Three things to live. Three things to fight. Three things to defeat the enemy. By thinking you can still live.
It was an old mantra, one that his adoptive father had taught Yuji and his brother; whenever they felt overwhelmed by something or needed help focusing their thoughts, he advised them to think of three things to order their thoughts.
One: You survived that fire. Father saved you from it. Two: The scars you carry are only mental. They can be fixed. They will be fixed. Three: You have a new life now, a new family.
It was funny though; he'd been telling himself that for eight years, and yet it never quite felt true…
"We interrupt today's broadcast to bring you a special bulletin."
Yuji blinked, shaken from his thoughts as he looked up. He'd reached the main plaza, which had several jumbotrons set up. The center one showed a news broadcast.
"Last night, Prometheus Industries, a company that specializes in software security, was hacked into, with multiple files stolen," the anchor said. "The company has not stated which files were taken, but a video claiming responsibility for the theft has gone viral." The image on the screen changed. It now showed a man dressed entirely in black. His head was covered by a black helmet with a red visor and a hood. "The uploader of the video claims to belong to the hacker group known as the Collective and has this to say about it."
"We are the Collective!" the man in the mask said. "For too long, SOL Technologies and companies like them have trampled over the lives of individuals in search of profit! Careers ruined, pensions lost, families torn apart, all in the name of what SOL Technologies calls 'progress!' No one has opposed them in their goals, not until now! For that is the role of the Collective! We will expose SOL's crimes and lies! We will bring their secrets out into the light. And in the end, they will answer for the lives they have ruined! Behold, we are the hammer of judgment, and we shall bring down justice on you, SOL Technologies!"
The video ended, and the television returned to the anchor. "Two hours ago, SOL Technologies issued a statement about last night's incident," he reported. "Their official representative, Akira Zaizen, SOL Technologies' security chief, advised anyone who enters LINK VRAINS to travel in groups and remain in the central areas. He also requested that any would-be heroes leave the Collective to SOL's security teams. In other news, a local celebrity's cat gave birth this week…"
Yuji started walking again. He wasn't interested in some famous person's pet. The Collective, however…
They had first appeared about six months ago, and had launched an attack on LINK VRAINS, the dueling cyberspace managed by SOL Technologies. They had caused a great amount of damage before being stopped. Since then, they had launched repeated attacks on the network, all with the declared aim of bringing down SOL Technologies.
In the wake of the attacks, SOL had announced the creation of security teams: forty-five duelists, organized into fifteen groups of three who would respond to the Collective's attacks and either hunt them down or stop the attacks before they happened. The creation of said teams had drawn a lot of attention, both from the media and the public. Thankfully, the identities of the security team members were left to the discretion of the individuals; if they wanted their identities known, they could reveal them, but SOL would not do so.
The end result had been fewer Collective attacks, but they were still happening. And along the line, the Collective had introduced a virus that infected duelists they defeated and forced them into a coma. This meant that the security teams had to be perfect every single time, while the Collective simply had to rely on numbers. It was exhausting, but it was their only option.
Looking around, Yuji found what he was looking for – a cab. His home was farther away than the other students', so he couldn't take the bus, and his brother and father were working right now. Telling the driver his address, he leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and looked inward.
It had been eight years since the fire. Eight years since he had been adopted. Eight years… of feeling empty.
Yuji opened his eyes and stared out the cab window. He watched as buildings and trees passed by, not really seeing them. Instead, he saw his reflection in the window. Green eyes bored into green eyes. Hanako had once called his eyes "vibrant." Evidently that meant striking and full of energy. He didn't see it. To him, his eyes were lifeless. They had been so for a long time.
Yuji turned away from the window and towards the front. He didn't like his eyes. Hanako's eyes were better. Crimson, pulsating with life. Her eyes smiled, laughed, cried. They reacted to the world around her. He wished his eyes did that.
That's why you are doing this, aren't you? He thought, closing his eyes. To find a purpose. To feel alive again. To reclaim what you lost. Or are those only lies you tell yourself to stave off the truth? That you died in the fire and all that is left is a corpse whose heart refused to stop beating.
Stop. Those were dangerous thoughts. Yuji shook his head and opened his eyes. He had more immediate concerns than existential crises. Such as the phone in his pocket vibrating.
He pulled it out and raised an eyebrow at the message. It was from work. There will be an attack tonight at 1900 hours, it said. Squad 13 is to respond. The following numbers were coordinates in LINK VRAINS. Yuji exited out of the message, closed his eyes, then leaned his head back. Nothing to do until he got home.
Ten minutes later, Yuji exited the cab and paid the driver. As the man drove away, Yuji looked up at his father's house. It hugged the cliffside overlooking the ocean, with almost all the windows facing said ocean. He walked up to the entrance and typed a code into the door panel, unlocking the front door. He opened it and headed inside.
When he entered the living room, he found a note. It was from his brother. Father and I will be at work until late tonight. Dinner should be in the fridge. We'll see you tomorrow morning, Yuji.
Yuji took the note down and placed it on a table. He headed to his room, set his bag on his desk, then pulled out his homework. Might as well do it now before it was time for work. As he worked on geometry, he looked out his window. Like the living room windows, it faced the ocean. Stardust Road, it was called. Every now and then, luminous plankton beneath the surface would glow and reflect the starlight, thus leading to the name. Yuji had seen it more times than he could count and yet it still took his breath away every time.
Five minutes before 1900, Yuji put his pen down and his tablet aside. He opened one of his desk's drawers and pulled out a Duel Disk and Deck. It was one of the older models that required physical cards to duel with. At its center was an orb outlined by a red circle with a green piece on the side. While the orb was blank right now, it lit up blue when Yuji put the Duel Disk on his wrist and started it up.
Sitting down on the edge of his bed, Yuji took his Deck and inserted it into the card-holder. "Deck set!" he said. "Into the VRAINS!"
Sparks flew as the control panel shut down. One hooded figure opened the door and led two more into the building. This particular building served as a datahub for this section of LINK VRAINS. One of SOL's subsidiary companies was using it to store personnel data. The Collective's objective was clear: obtain the data, find people who were either dissatisfied with their job or who could be blackmailed, and then use them to bring that company's, and hopefully SOL's, secrets to light.
"Ten minutes before the alarm kicks in," the leader of the group said. Like his compatriots, he wore black robes that covered him from head to toe and a black helmet with a red visor. On his left wrist was one of the new model Duel Disks – a wristband with a small orb facing upwards. It was black and silver with red lights on the edges, and during a duel, a red ring would form around it. His two teammates wore the exact same model, as it was easier to acquire them in bulk then modify them for their purposes. That included the removal of the support AI program, which the leaders suspected could be used to track them. The foot soldiers didn't know if that was true, but better to be safe than sorry.
The lone female of the group stepped up to the terminal in the center of the room and began typing. "This will take at least eight minutes," she said. "Keep an eye out." The two men nodded and turned to face the sides. The terminal was the only part of the room they were interested in, and from their position, they had line-of-sight on the rest of the room. No one would be getting the jump on them.
Or so they thought. While they looked around, a small hole appeared in the roof and something fell through. The three hackers, already on edge, jumped as it struck the floor behind the female hacker. Looking down, they realized it was a cannister. A cannister that started belching out smoke.
"Incapacitating gas!" the leader said. While they wore helmets, they wouldn't stop the viruses this gas contained for long. "Everyone out! Abort the mission!" The three headed for the door and managed to get out before the gas immobilized them. But once they were outside, they were suddenly struck by bright lights, temporarily blinding them. Shading his eyes, the leader looked up towards the light and picked out three figures. "You…" he growled.
"Ha!" the largest figure said. "This is a surprise; I wasn't expecting the Collective to be this bold."
"That's what you get for underestimating your opponents." Those words were said by the lone female figure.
The last one, which was between the other two and about the same height as the girl, stepped forward. "Surrender now," he said in a solemn voice. "SOL has locked this area down to prevent logouts. There's no escape for you."
The leader growled again. "Scatter!" he shouted. Thankfully, they were at a crossroads, so he ran forward while his compatriots took off to either side.
The large man sighed. "They never seem to learn, do they? Oh well, maybe they'll provide a good show for everyone!"
"Security Team 13 move out!" At the leader's words, the three leaped down and pursued one hacker each. As he ran after his target, the leader spoke into his Duel Disk. "Security center, this is Kingmaker. The targets are on the move. Activate the Data Storm!" he said.
"Acknowledged," one of the operators replied.
As the Collective hacker ran down the street, he suddenly felt a powerful breeze. "Ha ha!" he laughed. "They called a Data Storm here? That'll just make it easier for us!" The hacker pressed a button on his Duel Disk. A red board with black edges board materialized next to him, which he hopped on. He rode it upward onto the mass of purple data that had gathered above the road.
"Did you really think it would be so easy?"
The hacker turned and gasped. "You're-!"
Behind him, riding a maroon board with black and gold edges, was the SOL agent chasing him. He was tanned and tall with a very muscular build, and brown and blonde hair fashioned into a flattop underneath a gold hat. He wore a black coat that exposed his chest, a golden six-pack, black and blue pants with golden boots, gold gauntlets, and a gold belt with a "G" emblazoned in the center.
"Go Onizuka!" the hacker growled. "The famous Charisma Duelist!"
Go laughed. "I'm glad you've heard of me. Though I've taken a leave of absence from the Charisma Duelists. I can't just stand by and let villains like you ruin people's lives!"
"Villains?" the hacker repeated. "We are not the bad guys in this! We are simply doing what must be done to expose SOL for what it is! If you only realized that-."
"I don't care!" Go said, drowning out the Collective hacker. "The actions you take endanger too many people. As a hero of LINK VRAINS, I'll stop you right now!"
The hacker growled, but he knew he didn't have a choice. This was how SOL played its game; it locked the Collective and its security teams in an area and wouldn't let either side leave until one was victorious. If he wanted to leave, he would have to defeat Go in a duel.
"You are blind and a fool," the hacker spat. "But I don't have much choice, do I? If I want to fulfill my mission, I have to defeat you!"
"Ha!" Go laughed. "Glad to know you've seen reason." He activated his Duel Disk – a new model integrated into his left gauntlet with a blue hexagonal screen.
"Speed Duel!" they shouted.
Go Onizuka: 4000 LP
Collective Hacker: 4000 LP
The female hacker rode the data stream and glared behind her. "So, it really is you," she said. "I thought I recognized your voice. I suppose I should be honored the Queen of LINK VRAINS is after me."
"I'm glad to know I have fans among the Collective," her pursuer said. She was a teenage girl and dressed in a light purple-blue jacket-miniskirt combination with long white sleeves. Her legs were covered by white leggings with purple stripes above and below her knees, with her feet covered by similarly colored shoes. Her maroon and dark red hair was tied in the back with hairclips as two strands covered her forehead. Her violet eyes were hidden by white goggles with pink lenses.
"Of course you do," her opponent said mockingly. "Who hasn't heard of the great Nature Queen, one of the youngest and brightest of the security teams? Supposedly, there are only two among SOL who are your betters."
"I don't know about that," Nature Queen replied. "I'd say there are many in the teams who are better than me, and certainly more experienced. But that is not important. You know what happens when SOL's lockdown is active, yes?"
"I do," the hacker replied. "Neither of us can log out, and if you win, you obtain my account information to hand in to SOL. But if I win, you get infected with one of my viruses. You sure you want to risk that?"
"If it is necessary for the mission, then yes, I'll risk it." Nature Queen activated her Duel Disk – a new model shaped like a butterfly's wings colored light purple and pink with a light blue oblong touch screen.
"Speed Duel!" they shouted.
Nature Queen: 4000 LP
Collective Hacker: 4000 LP
The lead hacker growled at his pursuer. "I must admit, I wasn't expecting you of all people to show up," he said. "I would have thought the legendary Kingmaker would have better things to do than go after us."
"You were attempting to access classified information," the young man behind him said. His avatar was a fourteen-year-old boy with spiky silver hair and light green highlights whose yellow eyes were covered by light green goggles with black frames. He wore a blue and white jacket with orange borders over a black undershirt, thick red-brownish gloves, black pants with brown chaps, faded gold knee pads, dark-blue suspenders hanging from a brown belt with two large holsters on the sides, a faded gold belt buckle, and brown shoes with dark-blue straps. Unlike his teammates, he used the old-style Duel Disk, and it was white with a red circle around a blue orb and a green side. "That's reason enough for me to bring you in."
The Collective hacker growled again. He'd heard of Security Team 13 and its leader Kingmaker. To have the top Charisma Duelist on their team was bad enough, but their leader was undefeated and said to be the pinnacle of duelists. There was only one other duelist in the security teams who was recognized as superior to Kingmaker, and that was the leader of Team 1.
"I know how this works," the leader said. "I have to defeat you if I want to leave, right?"
"Of course. And when you lose, I'll obtain your account information," Kingmaker said calmly. His face was mostly expressionless, but there was a calm certainty about him. As if he already knew the outcome of the duel.
"Don't get cocky!" the hacker shouted. "I'll be the one to put an end to your reign!" Kingmaker activated his Duel Disk, causing a light green blade to emerge from the side.
"I'd like to see you try."
"Speed Duel!" they shouted.
Kingmaker: 4000 LP
Collective Hacker: 4000 LP
"Security Team 13 has engaged the Collective!"
This was shouted by one of the operators in SOL Technologies' security center. Benches with workers surrounded a platform which projected a blue screen. Right now, the screen showed the three Speed Duels that had just started.
A man sitting at a desk some distance from the screen frowned to himself. He had blue and teal hair, pink eyes, and wore a blue three-piece-suit over a white shirt and black tie. "Maintain the lockdown over the area," he instructed. "Send footage of the duels directly to the public viewing plaza."
"Yes, Chief Zaizen!"
Akira Zaizen heard the door behind him open and someone walk into the room. Glancing over his shoulder, he narrowed his eyes at the young man who walked up to stand behind him before he returned his view to the screen.
"The duels are now broadcasting to the public viewing plaza!" one of the operators reported. Akira nodded in acknowledgment while scowling internally. In order to maintain the public's support and assure them the Collective was no real threat, his bosses had decided to broadcast any duels between the Collective and security teams to the public. The fact that multiple members of the teams were former Charisma Duelists only made the tactic more effective.
"Everybody, are you ready?" an MC shouted. He wore an orange suit and glasses and gestured to the television behind him in the central viewing plaza. "Once again, an epic battle between SOL Technologies and the Collective has begun! On SOL's side are three of their best duelists: Go Onizuka, Nature Queen, and the legendary Kingmaker!"
"Go Onizuka!?" "Kingmaker!?" "I love Nature Queen! She's so cool!"
The crowd of fans and passerby gathered to watch the duels on the screens. At the very back, inside a food truck, a man grilling hotdogs looked up and smiled.
Back in LINK VRAINS, Go smirked as he rode behind his opponent. "I'll let you take the first turn," he said. "Set the stage for our duel!"
His opponent growled but complied. "My turn!" He waved his hand in front of him, revealing four cards. He tapped one of them, activating it. "I play the Field Spell Card: World Legacy in Shadow! While this card is active, all 'Krawler' monsters gain 300 attack and defense points!"
Krawler, huh? Go thought, smiling to himself. This should make a good show.
"I activate World Legacy in Shadow's effect!" the hacker continued. "Once per turn, I can Special Summon one Level 2 or lower Insect monster from my hand in face-up or face-down Defense Position. I Special Summon Krawler Glial in face-up Defense Position!" A dark yellow insect with wings appeared.
Krawler Glial ATK 700 DEF 1500 LVL: 2
"And due to World Legacy in Shadow's effect, Glial gains 300 attack and defense points!"
Krawler Glial ATK 700→1000 DEF 1500→1800
"I summon Krawler Spine!" A four-legged gold insect with red pieces on it appeared alongside Glial.
Krawler Spine ATK 300→600 DEF 2100→2400 LVL: 2
Go narrowed his eyes. "Here it comes," he muttered.
"Appear!" the hacker declared, gesturing above his head. "My hidden circuit!" His hand glowed blue as a blue square with a white center and eight gray arrows appeared above him. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two Insect monsters. I set Glial and Spine in the Link Markers!" His monsters became whirlwinds of gold energy and entered the portal's left and right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-2! X-Krawler Neurogos!" A large red, blue, and gold insect that resembled a scorpion emerged from the portal, summoned to the right Extra Monster Zone.
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 1900 LINK-2 ←→
"And just like before, Neurogos gains 300 attack points thanks to World Legacy in Shadow!"
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 1900→2200
"I end my turn," the hacker concluded.
Go narrowed his eyes again. That monster's Link Markers point to the sides, so he can't summon anything from the Extra Deck with it there, he thought. That leaves only one possible conclusion: He wants me to destroy his monster.
Go smirked. "Well, who am I to disappoint? My turn! Draw!" Go placed his hand above his Duel Disk, causing a red ring to materialize around it and a card to appear. Go pulled the card out, looked at it, then at the other cards in his hand.
"I summon Gouki Riscorpio!" A giant red warrior with scorpion claws and a tail appeared on Go's field.
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 2300 DEF 0 LVL: 5
"Riscorpio can be Normal Summoned without Tributing when I control no monsters," Go explained. "Next, I activate the effect of Gouki Headbatt in my hand! By sending another 'Gouki' monster in my hand to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon Headbatt and increase the attack points of a 'Gouki' monster on my field by 800! I discard Twistcobra and increase Riscorpio's attack points!" A smaller purple warrior with claws and a mask appeared, summoned in Defense Position.
Gouki Headbatt ATK 800 DEF 0 LVL: 2
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 2300→3100
"Headbatt's effect lasts until the end of the turn," Go continued. "I activate the Continuous Spell Card: Gouki Shout!" Go then gestured to his field. "Battle! Riscorpio, attack Neurogos!"
"Gouki Shout's effect activates." This was said by the AI in Go's Duel Disk, which caused the screen to flash. "When a 'Gouki' monster attacks, it gains 300 attack points for each 'Gouki' monster you control until the end of the Damage Step."
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 3100→3700
Riscorpio struck Neurogos with its tail, destroying it. The hacker winced as he took damage.
Collective Hacker: 4000→2500 LP
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 3700→3100
"Neurogos's monster effect!" the Collective agent declared, surprising Go. "If it is destroyed in battle, or leaves the field because of your card effect, I can Special Summon two 'Krawler' monsters from my Graveyard in face-down Defense Position. Resurrect, Glial and Spine!" Two Set cards appeared next to each other on the hacker's field.
Go only smiled and said, "I end my turn, and during my End Phase, Headbatt's effect ends and Riscorpio's attack points return to normal."
Riscorpio ATK 3100→2300
"Bring it, Collective!" Go taunted. "I'm not entertained yet! And neither is the audience!"
"Entertained?" his opponent repeated. "Alright then- I'll entertain you!" He gestured in front of him as the edges of his cloak glowed red. "I activate my Skill!" Go narrowed his eyes. Skills were special abilities that could be used in Speed Duels once per Duel. Many times, they were game changers. "Double Draw! During my Draw Phase, I draw two cards instead of one!" Or not.
"Ha!" Go laughed. "You'll need more than extra cards to defeat me!"
His opponent growled as he gestured to his field again. "I Flip Summon Krawler Spine! And like before, it gains 300 attack and defense points from World Legacy in Shadow's effect!"
Krawler Spine ATK 300→600 DEF 2100→2400 LVL: 2
"Spine's Flip Effect activates! One monster on the field is destroyed! I destroy Gouki Headbatt!" Go raised an eyebrow as his purple monster disintegrated. Considering its attack points, Riscorpio was obviously the bigger threat, but he'd destroyed Headbatt instead. That could only mean his opponent wanted to destroy Riscorpio through battle and inflict damage.
Oh well. It wouldn't change the outcome. And in any event… "By going from the field to the Graveyard, Headbatt's effect activates!" Go declared. "I can add a different 'Gouki' card from my Deck to my hand. I add Gouki Twistcobra to my hand."
"That doesn't matter," his opponent muttered. "I Flip Summon Krawler Glial!"
Krawler Glial ATK 700→1000 DEF 1500→1800 LVL: 2
"Glial's Flip Effect activates! I Special Summon a 'Krawler' monster from my hand or Graveyard. Resurrect, Neurogos!"
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 1900→2200 LINK-2 ←→
"Neurogos's effect activates! 'Krawler' monsters it points to cannot be destroyed by battle and gain 300 attack and defense points."
Krawler Spine ATK 600→900 DEF 2400→2700 LVL: 2
"Appear, my hidden circuit!" The Link portal appeared above him again. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two 'Krawler' monsters. I set Glial and Spine in the Link Markers!" His monsters became whirlwinds of gold energy and entered the bottom-left and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-2! X-Krawler Qualiark!" A blue and red insect with wings and a rotor on its back appeared, summoned to the right Extra Monster Zone.
X-Krawler Qualiark ATK 2000→2300 LINK-2 ↙↘
"Qualiark's effect activates! When I control two or more 'Krawler' monsters, all monsters I control gain 300 attack and defense points!"
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 2200→2500
X-Krawler Qualiark ATK 2300→2600
"Ha! Two Link Monsters at once," Go commented. "Not bad."
"I can go much further!" His opponent insisted. "I activate World Legacy in Shadow's effect to Special Summon Krawler Receptor in face-down Defense Position!" A Set card appeared on his field, summoned to his right Main Monster Zone.
"Next, I activate the Spell Card: Book of Taiyou! This card lets me change a Set Defense Position monster to face-up Attack Position!" The Set card flipped up, revealing an eight-winged gold insect with a red eye.
Krawler Receptor ATK 900 DEF 1200 LVL: 2
"And of course, Receptor gains 300 attack and defense points from World Legacy in Shadow's effect, and then 300 more from Qualiark's effect!"
Krawler Receptor ATK 900→1500 DEF 1200→1800
"Receptor's Flip Effect activates! I can add one 'Krawler' monster from my Deck to my hand. I add, and then summon Krawler Axon!" A two-legged insect with claws appeared, summoned to Qualiark's bottom-left and Neurogos's right Link Markers, thereby gaining boosts from both monsters.
Krawler Axon ATK 500→1400 DEF 1800→2700 LVL: 2
"Appear for a third time! My hidden circuit!" The hacker's hand glowed blue as the Link portal appeared above him. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two Earth monsters. I set Axon and Receptor in the Link Markers!" Said monsters became whirlwinds of gold energy and entered the left and right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-2! X-Krawler Synaphysis!" A blue and gold insect with six legs and red innards emerged from the portal, summoned to Qualiark's bottom-left and Neurogos's right Link Markers.
X-Krawler Synaphysis ATK 1800→2700 LINK-2 ←→
"Synaphysis's monster effect! 'Krawler' monsters it points to cannot be destroyed by battle and gain 300 attack and defense points!"
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 2500→2800
"Oh no!" the MC commentated. "Go Onizuka's opponent has three powerful Link Monsters, with 2600, 2700, and 2800 attack points among them! Can he get out of this pinch he's in?"
Go only smirked in response.
Synaphysis also allows monsters it points at to make two attacks on monsters during the Battle Phase, the hacker thought. But he only controls one monster. And Neurogos's effect is far more beneficial right now.
"I Set one card," the Collective agent said. He then gestured to his field. "Battle! Synaphysis, attack Riscorpio!" Said monster gathered red energy in front of it, which it blasted at Riscorpio. "Neurogos's monster effect! When a 'Krawler' monster it points to battles, all battle damage you take is doubled!"
"What?" Go said, surprised.
"Synaphysis's attack points are 2700," his AI said. "Riscorpio's attack points are 2300. Doubled, the damage will be 800." The blast hit and destroyed Riscorpio, making Go cry out as he braced himself.
Go Onizuka: 4000→3200 LP
The hacker laughed as Go regained his balance. "It looks like you lose, Onizuka!"
Go smiled. "Not yet!" he declared. "When Riscorpio is sent to the Graveyard, its effect activates, and I add a new 'Gouki' card from my Deck to my hand. I add Gouki Suprex to my hand."
"Add all the cards you want, they won't change the outcome of this duel!"
Go's smile didn't leave his face. "Yeah, you're right about that. But… my spirit won't let quit this duel! I will never give up!" Go gestured to his field as the edges of his coat glowed yellow. "I activate my Skill! Fighting Spirit!"
"A Skill!?" his opponent said in shock.
"That's right, and this Skill will protect me!" Go declared. "Once per duel, I can Special Summon all 'Gouki' monsters that were destroyed by battle this turn! Resurrect, Riscorpio!" The red scorpion man reappeared, brought back in Defense Position.
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 2300 DEF 0 LVL: 5
The hacker growled low in his throat. Damn it! he thought. If only I had known about his Skill! Then I would have attacked with Neurogos instead and won!
Out loud, he said, "Qualiark, attack Riscorpio!" The flying insect gathered red energy in the tips of its feet, which it blasted at Riscorpio, destroying it. "Your turn, Neurogos! Attack Onizuka directly!" The scorpion gathered red energy in front of it, which it then blasted at Go. The Charisma Duelist cried out in pain from the attack, and when the energy faded, he fell to one knee.
Go Onizuka: 3200→400 LP
"I end my turn," the hacker said. "Give up, Onizuka! Even if you survived the turn, you are out-matched! I have three powerful Link Monsters, and you have nothing! It's over!"
"Is this it?" the MC commented. "Go Onizuka has been pushed into a corner, overwhelmed by his opponent! Will he surrender to this overpowering force!"
"No way!" "Go Onizuka never gives up!" "But can he win?"
As his head was lowered, Go started to laugh. His laughter grew as he stood up straight. "Give up?" he asked. "Go Onizuka never gives up! So long as my fans cheer for me – so long as the children cheer for me – I will always continue to fight!"
"Hmm. So be it. On my next turn, I will end you."
"No! I will end this duel this turn! My turn! Draw!" Go drew, then played a different card. "I summon Gouki Suprex!" A blue warrior with a long tail and wrist claws appeared.
Gouki Suprex ATK 1800 DEF 0 LVL: 4
"Suprex's effect activates! When it is Normal Summoned, I can Special Summon a 'Gouki' monster from my hand."
"I won't let you!" Go's opponent proclaimed, surprising him. "Trap activate! World Legacy's Mind Meld!"
"A Trap Card?" Go said, surprised.
"Yes! When you activate a monster effect and I control a 'Krawler' monster, that effect becomes 'return one face-up monster your opponent controls to the hand.'"
Go narrowed his eyes. "Meaning that instead of summoning a 'Gouki' monster, I have to return one of your monsters to your hand?"
"It does, and because I only control Link Monsters, you have to return one to the Extra Deck. So which one will it be?"
Go looked at his Duel Disk as a screen popped up, showing the texts of the Collective agent's three monsters. Go smirked. So that was the plan.
"I return Qualiark to your Extra Deck!" Go declared. The flying insect disappeared as the Collective agent laughed.
"And since Qualiark left the field because of your card effect, I can activate its effect and Special Summon up to two 'Krawler' monsters from my Graveyard!" The hacker gestured to his field. "Return to me, Spine!" Nothing happened, confusing the hacker. "What? Why wasn't Spine Special Summoned?"
"You need to read your own cards more carefully," Go told the hacker.
"Your Link Monsters' effects don't say 'up to two monsters,'" Go explained. "They say exactly two. And since you only have space for one, you can't Special Summon anything!"
The hacker growled. "Even so, I still have the advantage. Even if Qualiark's absence means Neurogos and Synaphysis become weaker, I'll still win!"
X-Krawler Neurogos ATK 2800→2500
X-Krawler Synaphysis ATK 2700→2400
"Well, it's true you impeded my moves," Go conceded. "But only for a moment! I activate the Spell Card: Gouki Re-Match! This card Special Summon two 'Gouki' monsters with different Levels from my Graveyard in Defense Position. Resurrect, Gouki Riscorpio and Gouki Twistcobra!" The red scorpion man reappeared alongside a green warrior with serpent tails.
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 2300 DEF 0 LVL: 5
Gouki Twistcobra ATK 1600 DEF 0 LVL: 3
Go's opponent gasped. "Three monsters…"
"Appear, my circuit!" Go declared, pointing upwards. A bolt of lightning shot upwards, creating the Link portal. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more 'Gouki' monsters! I set Riscorpio, Suprex, and Twistcobra in the Link Markers!" His monsters became whirlwinds of red, blue, and green energy respectively, and entered the top, bottom-left, and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Link-3! Gouki Thunder Ogre!" A large ogre in red and blue costume with two electrical blasters on its wrists and a cape attached to its back appeared and roared from the Extra Monster Zone.
Gouki Thunder Ogre ATK 2200 LINK-3 ↙↑↘
"Amazing!" the MC shouted over the cheering crowd. "Go Onizuka Link Summoned!"
"The climax begins now!" Go shouted. "Because they were sent to the Graveyard, the effects of Riscorpio, Suprex, and Twistcobra all activate, letting me add three new 'Gouki' cards from my Deck to my hand." Three new cards appeared in front of Go as he smiled. "Thunder Ogre's monster effect! During the Main Phase, the turn player can Normal Summon an additional time to Thunder Ogre's Link Markers. And because all monsters I control are 'Gouki' monsters, I can summon Gouki Riscorpio!" A 2nd copy of the red scorpion man appeared, summoned to Thunder Ogre's bottom-left Link Marker.
Gouki Riscorpio ATK 2300 DEF 0 LVL: 5
"Next, I activate the Spell Card: Gouki Face Turn! By destroying one 'Gouki' card I control, I can Special Summon a 'Gouki' monster from the Graveyard. I destroy Riscorpio to Special Summon Twistcobra!" The red scorpion man disintegrated as the green serpent man reappeared in Attack Position.
Gouki Twistcobra ATK 1600 DEF 0 LVL: 3
"Thunder Ogre's effect activates!" Go declared, gesturing to his Link Monster. "If a monster it points to is destroyed by battle or card effect, it gains 400 attack points!"
Gouki Thunder Ogre ATK 2200→2600
"I activate the effect of Gouki Headbatt in my hand! I discard Gouki Octostretch and Special Summon Headbatt in Defense Position to increase Thunder Ogre's attack points by 800!" A second copy of the purple ogre appeared on Onizuka's field as Thunder Ogre became stronger.
Gouki Headbatt ATK 800 DEF 0 LVL: 2
Gouki Thunder Ogre ATK 2600→3400
"Twistcobra's effect activates! Once per turn, I can Tribute a 'Gouki' monster to increase the attack points of another 'Gouki' monster I control by that monster's original attack points. I Tribute Twistcobra itself and grant its 1600 attack points to Thunder Ogre!" The green snake man disintegrated as Thunder Ogre roared.
Gouki Thunder Ogre ATK 3400→5000
"5000 attack points!?" the hacker shouted.
"This is the true climax!" Go shouted. "Battle! Thunder Ogre, attack Synaphysis!" Thunder Ogre charged the six-legged insect.
"Gouki Shout's effect activates," Go's AI said. "Thunder Ogre gains 300 attack points for each 'Gouki' monster on its side of the field."
Gouki Thunder Ogre ATK 5000→5600
"Go! Ogre Lightning!" Gold lightning gathered in the blasters on Thunder Ogre's arms, which it blasted at Synaphysis. Said monster was destroyed in a massive explosion, and the Collective duelist was sent flying and screaming sent from his D-Board.
Collective Hacker: 2500→0 LP
"Yes! Victory goes to Go Onizuka!" The crowd cheered for their champion's victory.
Back in SOL Technologies, the operators cheered. "Duel #1 has finished. The winner is Go Onizuka!"
As they cheered, the young man walked up to Akira's side and pressed a button on a tablet. It opened up a profile page, which was also displayed on a screen in front of Akira.
"Go Onizuka," the young man said. "19 years old. Grew up in a downtown orphanage, where he was left as a baby. Three years ago, when LINK VRAINS was opened to the public, he rose to become #1 among the Charisma Duelists, celebrity duelists who put on shows for their audiences. His style is known as Entertainment Style: he initially lets his opponents gain the upper hand and then crushes them with overwhelming force. Despite being #1, he lives in a warehouse in the shipping district, donating most of his earnings to the orphanage he grew up in."
"And six months ago, he left the Charisma Duelists," Akira said, reading from the profile. "He joined the SOL Security Project and was assigned to Team 13. His stated reason was that he wanted to protect LINK VRAINS so that people can duel happily in peace." He turned his head. "He is idealistic, but at the same time he is also very proud of his skills and is prone to pick fights."
"So long as he picks fights with the right people, that isn't an issue," the young man assured Akira. The two looked up towards the main screen, which now showed the second duel.
"I'll take the first turn, your Majesty," the hacker said sarcastically. "I summon The Thing in the Crater!" A pool of lava appeared on her field, out of which a dark blue-eyed shadow emerged.
The Thing in the Crater ATK 1000 DEF 1200 LVL: 4
"As I control a Fire monster, I can Special Summon Goka, the Pyre of Malice!" A large metal can with a flaming spirit bursting out of the top appeared in Attack Position.
Goka, the Pyre of Malice ATK 2200 DEF 1900 LVL: 6
"When Goka is Special Summoned by its effect, I have to destroy one Fire monster I control," she continued. "I destroy The Thing in the Crater!" The shadow disintegrated at her words. "The Thing in the Crater's effect activates! When it is destroyed and sent from the field to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon one Pyro monster from my hand. I summon Solar Flare Dragon!" A dragon made of magma and wreathed by flames appeared, summoned in Attack Position.
Solar Flare Dragon ATK 1500 DEF 1000 LVL: 4
Nature Queen narrowed her eyes as her opponent played the last card in her hand. "I activate the Spell Card: Cup of Ace! With this card, I flip a coin, and depending on the result, one of us draws two cards." A coin materialized in her glove, which she tossed into the air. When it landed in her palm, she slammed it on the back of her other hand. Removing her hand, she said, "The result is heads, which means that I draw two cards. I Set one card and end my turn." The hacker then gestured to her field. "Solar Flare Dragon's effect activates! During my End Phase, this card inflicts 500 points of damage to you! Take this!" Solar Flare Dragon launched a fireball at Nature Queen, who winced from being hit with it.
Nature Queen: 4000→3500 LP
Seeing her sleeve was on fire, Nature Queen quickly patted it out. "Geez," she said. "How unnecessary." Nature Queen narrowed her eyes. It would seem she uses a Fire burn Deck, but it doesn't focus on any particular archetype. Talk about irony.
Smiling to herself, Nature Queen placed her hand above her Duel Disk, where a card materialized from a maroon ring. "My turn! Draw!" She drew, and looking at her card, played it. "I activate the Field Spell Card: Trickstar Light Stage! When this card is activated, I can add one 'Trickstar' monster from my Deck to my hand. I add Trickstar Candina to my hand, and then I summon Candina!" A girl in an orange dress carrying a megaphone appeared.
Trickstar Candina ATK 1800 DEF 400 LVL: 4
"Candina's monster effect! When she is Normal Summoned, I can add a 'Trickstar' card from my Deck to my hand. I add the Spell Card: Trickstar Vision to my hand, which I now activate! This card lets me Special Summon a 'Trickstar' monster from my hand, but its effects are negated, and its attack points are halved. I summon Trickstar Lilybell!" A little girl in a red and white dress carrying a bell appeared in Attack Position.
Trickstar Lilybell ATK 800→400 DEF 2000 LVL: 2
"After Lilybell is summoned, Trickstar Vision then lets both of us draw a card." As Nature Queen and her opponent drew, the Collective hacker grit her teeth beneath her mask. Trickstars. While they weren't the strongest Deck in terms of attack power, their constant burn tactics made them quite dangerous.
"I activate Light Stage's effect!" Nature Queen continued. "Once per turn, I can target one of your Set Spell or Trap Cards, and you cannot activate that card until the End Phase, at which point you must either activate it or send it to the Graveyard!"
"Then I'll activate it right now!" her opponent declared. "Continuous Trap activate! Backfire! When a Fire monster I control is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, you take 500 points of damage!"
Nature Queen's smile widened. "Nice Trap Card, but it will hurt you too," she said, surprising her opponent. "Candina's monster effect! Each time you activate a Spell or Trap Card, you take 200 points of damage!" Candina shouted at the hacker through her megaphone, making her wince.
Collective Hacker: 4000→3800 LP
"When a 'Trickstar' monster inflicts battle or effect damage," Nature Queen's AI spoke up. "Trickstar Light Stage inflicts 200 points of damage."
Collective Hacker: 3800→3600 LP
"Pins and needles…" the hacker muttered. "How irritating."
"I activate the effect of Trickstar Lycoris in my hand!" Nature Queen continued. "By returning a 'Trickstar' monster I control to my hand, I can Special Summon Lycoris. I return Lilybell to my hand." The little girl disintegrated as a young lady in a pink dress wielding a sword appeared in Attack Position.
Trickstar Lycoris ATK 1600 DEF 1200 LVL: 3
"Lilybell's effect activates!" Nature Queen declared. "When she is added to my hand outside of drawing her, I can Special Summon her!" The little girl in a red and white dress reappeared in Attack Position.
Trickstar Lilybell ATK 800 DEF 2000 LVL: 2
"Three monsters…" the hacker muttered. "She's going to-."
"Shine! The circuit of courage and determination!" Nature Queen declared as her hand glowed blue, causing the Link portal to appear above her. "The summoning conditions are two 'Trickstar' monsters. I set Candina and Lilybell in the Link Markers!" Said monsters became whirlwinds of yellow and red energy and entered the bottom-left and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-2! Trickstar Holly Angel!" A woman with long blonde hair and a dress in multiple shades of blue appeared, summoned to the right Extra Monster Zone and wielding a mace.
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2000 LINK-2 ↙↘
"She Link Summoned already. This isn't going to get any easier."
"I activate the Equip Spell Card: Trickstar Magicorolla!" Nature Queen declared. "This card Special Summons a 'Trickstar' monster from my Graveyard and then equips itself to that monster. Resurrect, Lilybell!" The little girl with a bell reappeared again, this time summoned to Holly Angel's bottom-left Link Marker in Attack Position.
Trickstar Lilybell ATK 800 DEF 2000 LVL: 2
"Holly Angel's effect activates! When a 'Trickstar' monster is Summoned to one of its Link Markers, she inflicts 200 points of damage!"
Collective Hacker: 3600→3400 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 3400→3200 LP
"Holly Angel's additional effect activates! Whenever you take damage from a 'Trickstar' monster's effect, Holly Angel gains attack points equal to that damage until the end of the turn. Holly Blessing!"
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2000→2200
"I Set one card." Nature Queen gestured to her field. "Battle! Lilybell's effect allows her to attack you directly!"
"What?" her opponent said in shock.
"Go, Lilybell!" Her monster pointed her bell at the hacker and released yellow waves, making her wince.
Collective Hacker: 3200→2400 LP
"And since a 'Trickstar' monster dealt you damage, Light Stage inflicts another 200 points of damage!"
Collective Hacker: 2400→2200 LP
"And when Lilybell inflicts battle damage, I can add one 'Trickstar' monster from my Graveyard to my hand," Nature Queen continued, taking a card from her Graveyard. But it won't stay in my hand for long; if the monster equipped with Magicorolla inflicts battle damage, I can Special Summon a 'Trickstar' monster from my hand!" The hacker growled in frustration. "Come out, Trickstar Candina!" The girl in an orange dress reappeared, summoned in Defense Position this time.
Trickstar Candina ATK 1800 DEF 400 LVL: 4
"The battle continues! Holly Angel attacks Solar Flare Dragon!" Holly Angel swung its mace and struck the dragon, destroying it and making the hacker wince again.
Collective Hacker: 2200→1500 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 1500→1300 LP
"You aren't the only one who can deal damage this turn!" the hacker suddenly declared. "Since you destroyed a Fire monster, Backfire deals you 500 points of damage!" The card blasted Nature Queen with fire, making her wince.
Nature Queen: 3500→3000 LP
The hacker then gestured to her field as the edges of her cloak glowed red. "I activate my Skill! Blazing Reincarnation!"
"A Skill?" Nature Queen said, surprised.
"When my Fire monster is destroyed by battle, I can Special Summon it from the Graveyard!" the hacker revealed. "And then I gain Life Points equal to that monster's attack points. Resurrect, Solar Flare Dragon!" The dragon reappeared and roared in Attack Position.
Solar Flare Dragon ATK 1500 DEF 1000 LVL: 4
Collective Hacker: 1300→2800 LP
"Blazing Reincarnation also prevents you from attacking Solar Flare Dragon until the end of the turn," the hacker finished.
Nature Queen narrowed her eyes. Lycoris is the only monster I have that can still attack, and Goka, the Pyre of Malice is too strong. Out loud, she said, "I end my turn, and Holly Angel's effect returns her attack points to normal."
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2200→2000
"Now, show me what you can do!" Back at SOL, the young man turned his head and noticed Akira's steepled hands were tense and his eyes were narrowed at the screen.
"With great pleasure! My turn! Draw!"
"As you drew a card, Lycoris's effect activates!" Nature Queen interrupted. "You take 200 points of damage!" Lycoris blasted the hacker with energy from her sword.
Collective Hacker: 2800→2600 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 2600→2400 LP
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2000→2200
The hacker growled then gestured to her field. "Goka's effect activates! During my Standby Phase, I Special Summon a Fireball Token!" A ball of fire emerged from the cannister in Defense Position.
Fireball Token ATK 100 DEF 100 LVL: 1
"Appear, my burning circuit!" the hacker's hand glowed blue as the Link portal appeared above her. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two Fire monsters. I set Fireball Token and Goka in the Link Markers!" Said monsters became streams of fire and entered the bottom-left and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-2! Duelittle Chimera!" A fat gray cat with wings and a blue tail emerged from the portal and yawned from the Extra Monster Zone.
Duelittle Chimera ATK 1400 LINK-2 ↙↘
"So now you've summoned your own Link Monster," Nature Queen noted. "Since its attack points are less than mine, I assume you summoned it for its effect."
The hacker ignored Nature Queen's words and gestured to her field. "Duelittle Chimera's monster effect! All Fire monsters gain 500 attack and defense points while all Water monsters lose 400 attack and defense points!"
Duelittle Chimera ATK 1400→1900
Solar Flare Dragon ATK 1500→2000 DEF 1000→1500
"And now I activate the Field Spell Card: Molten Destruction! While this card is active, all Fire monsters gain 500 attack points and lose 400 defense points."
Duelittle Chimera ATK 1900→2400
Solar Flare Dragon ATK 2000→2500 DEF 1500→1100
Nature Queen gestured to her own field. "Since you activated a Spell Card, Candina deals you 200 points of damage!"
Collective Hacker: 2400→2200 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 2200→2000 LP
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2200→2400
"I summon a second Solar Flare Dragon!" Another dragon made of fire and rocks appeared and roared.
Solar Flare Dragon ATK 1500→2500 DEF 1000→1100 LVL: 4
"And now I activate the Continuous Spell Card: Dark Room of Nightmare! Now each time you take effect damage, Dark Room of Nightmare inflicts an additional 300 points of damage!"
"But since you activated a Spell Card, Candina's effect deals you 200 points of damage right now!"
Collective Hacker: 2000→1800 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 1800→1600 LP
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2400→2600
"This damage doesn't matter," the hacker growled. "Holly Angel might be the strongest monster on the field, but your other monsters are much weaker. Battle! Solar Flare Dragon, attack Lilybell!" Her first dragon launched a fireball at the girl in a red and white dress, but Nature Queen only smiled.
"Trap activate!" she declared. "Trickstar Cascade! Since you declared an attack, I can return a 'Trickstar' card I control to my hand and negate your attack! I return Magicorolla to my hand!" The fireball dissipated as the hacker grit her teeth. This was infuriating.
"Since Magicorolla left the field, Lilybell is destroyed!" Nature Queen continued as her monster shattered. She then gestured to her field as her goggles glowed pink, as did the lines of her shirt. "I activate my Skill! Trickstar Fraud! I discard a 'Trickstar' card and then you draw until you have three cards in your hand." The hacker drew as Nature Queen sent Magicorolla to the Graveyard. "And of course, since you drew cards, Lycoris inflicts 200 points of damage for each card!"
Collective Hacker: 1600→1000 LP
"Light Stage's effect activates!"
Collective Hacker: 1000→800 LP
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 2600→3200
"You may have reduced my Life Points, but I still have an advantage!" Nature Queen's opponent declared. "My Battle Phase isn't over! My second Solar Flare Dragon attacks Lycoris!" Her dragon blasted Lycoris with fire, destroying it and making Nature Queen wince.
Nature Queen: 3000→2100 LP
"Your turn, Duelittle Chimera! Destroy Candina!" The cat scratched Candina into pieces. Fortunately, Candina was in Defense Position, so Nature Queen didn't take damage.
"I end my turn," the hacker said. "And during my End Phase, my two Solar Flare Dragons' effects activate, and you take 500 points of damage for each one!" Her dragons launched fireballs at Nature Queen simultaneously, making her cry out in pain.
Nature Queen: 2100→1600→1100 LP
"Dark Room of Nightmare's effect activates! Since you took effect damage it inflicts 300 points of damage to you for each instance. In other words, you take 600 more points of damage!"
Nature Queen: 1100→500 LP
Nature Queen frowned but remained calm. "During the End Phase, Holly Angel's attack points return to normal, and since I used Trickstar Fraud, you have to banish a card in your hand for each 'Trickstar' monster in my Graveyard." Holly Angel glowed as the hacker banished her entire hand.
Trickstar Holly Angel ATK 3200→2000
"I don't think I have to explain why you've lost, do I?" the Collective agent asked. "You have 500 Life Points left; you will either lose do to Backfire's effect, or Solar Flare Dragon's effect on my next turn. Even if you increase your Life Points, Solar Flare Dragon cannot be attacked while I control another Pyro monster, and since I have two Solar Flare Dragons, that means you can't attack either one! You've lost!"
You just said you don't have to explain why I'm losing, and then you do it? Nature Queen thought. Watching the duel, Akira grit his teeth in worry.
"Well then, the solution for me is obvious, isn't it?" Nature Queen asked. I'll just have to defeat you right now! My turn! Draw!" Looking at her card, Nature Queen grinned. "I summon Trickstar Nightshade!" A girl in a red dress with a green skirt holding a baton appeared.
Trickstar Nightshade ATK 100 DEF 0 LVL: 1
"Shine once more! The circuit of courage and determination!" Nature Queen declared as her hand glowed blue, causing the Link portal to appear. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more 'Trickstar' monsters. When I use a Link Monster to Link Summon, its Link Markers count as Link Materials. I set Nightshade and the Link-2 Holly Angel in the Link Markers!" Her monsters became whirlwinds of yellow and light blue energy, with the latter splitting into two, and entered the top, bottom-left, and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-3! Trickstar Delfiendium!" A woman in a blue vest with long coattails emerged from the portal. She had short light blue hair covered a top hat, held a cane in her right hand, and had six wings on her back. Delfiendium winked as she was summoned to the Extra Monster Zone.
Trickstar Delfiendium ATK 2200 LINK-3 ↙↑↘
"A new 'Trickstar' Link Monster…" Nature Queen's opponent said.
"Nightshade's effect activates!" Nature Queen continued. "If she is used to Link Summon, I can Special Summon her! Resurrect, Nightshade!" The girl holding a baton reappeared in Attack Position, summoned to Delfiendium's bottom-left Link Marker.
Trickstar Nightshade ATK 100 DEF 0 LVL: 1
"I activate the Spell Card: Soul Release!" Nature Queen said, confusing her opponent. "This card lets me banish up to five cards from either of our Graveyards. I banish Candina, Holly Angel, Lilybell, Lycoris, and Trickstar Vision from my Graveyard!"
"What?" the hacker said, surprised. "Why would you banish your own cards?"
"To win," Nature Queen answered with a confident smile. "Battle! Delfiendium, attack Duelittle Chimera!"
"What!?" her opponent said, her surprise increasing. "But Duelittle Chimera has more attack points!"
"Not for long. Delfiendium's effect activates! If it attacks when it points to a 'Trickstar' monster, I can add banished 'Trickstar' cards to my hand, up to the number of Link Monsters you control! And for every card added to my hand, Delfiendium gains 1000 attack points!"
"You have one Link Monster, so I return the banished Lycoris to my hand!"
Trickstar Delfiendium ATK 2200→3200
Nature Queen's smile widened. "The duel ends here! Go, Delfiendium!" Delfiendium's cane lit up with purple lightning as she struck Duelittle Chimera with it. The cat monster cried out in pain before it exploded. Its owner also cried out in pain as she was flung from her D-Board.
Collective Hacker: 800→0 LP
Nature Queen closed her eyes. I hope you're alright, Yuji.
"Duel #2 has finished! The victor is Nature Queen!"
As the operators cheered on their side's victory, the young man loaded a new profile on his tablet and Akira's computer.
"Nature Queen," the man read. "Real name… Hanako Zaizen. 14 years old. Personal past…" He glanced at Akira, whose face was expressionless. "Irrelevant. Six months ago, she volunteered for the SOL Security Project and passed the assessment with flying colors, at which point she was assigned to Security Team 13 with Go Onizuka and Kingmaker. Her win record is among the highest of the security teams, being equal to Go Onizuka's and only behind a few others, including her team leader Kingmaker.
"Her Trickstar Deck focuses on dealing effect damage while also disrupting the enemy's moves. Her dueling is in many ways the opposite of Go Onizuka's; whereas he allows the opponent to gain an early lead and then overwhelms them, she focuses on controlling the field from the onset of the duel and maintaining said control." He paused, then continued, "When she was asked why she joined the security teams she said that she wanted to prove herself and become more confident."
Akira gave a small nod in response. That was what Hanako had told him when he confronted her for her actions: that she wanted to prove she could take care of herself and gain confidence as a person. Akira had been against it initially, but he'd had no choice but to accept her application after she passed the admission duel. The most he could do to protect her was put her on a team of heavyweights like Go Onizuka and Kingmaker; though as it turned out, she didn't need their protection. And it had warmed his heart to see Hanako make friends.
Out loud, Akira said, "Hanako isn't as idealistic as Go, but she still believes in people. And I cannot deny her skills. If you believe she is perfect for the mission, I will not counter your decision." The young man next to him nodded, then turned to the screens as they showed the third – and last – duel.
"I'll take the first turn, Kingmaker!" the leader of the Collective squad said. "I activate the Spell Card: Trade-In! This card lets me discard a Level 8 monster to draw two cards. I discard Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse."
Kingmaker narrowed his eyes as his opponent drew. Mekk-Knights? he thought. This may be trickier than I thought.
"I summon Mekk-Knight Avram!" A young blonde man in gold armor wielding two curved swords appeared.
Mekk-Knight Avram ATK 2000 DEF 0 LVL: 4
"I Set one card," the leader said. "I end my turn." Behind the mask, he frowned in thought. I've only ever heard of Kingmaker's reputation, but nothing of what kind of Deck he uses. Still, I'll learn soon enough.
"My turn! Draw!" Kingmaker looked at his card, narrowed his eyes, then played it. "I summon Cyberse Wizard!" A pale-skinned man with green hair in white and black robes carrying a short staff appeared.
Cyberse Wizard ATK 1800 DEF 800 LVL: 4
'What?" the hacker said, surprised. "Cyberse? You have those cards?"
Akira narrowed his eyes. Cyberse, he thought. Cyberse was the newest and rarest Monster type in the world, created only three years ago. As far as Akira knew, only two people ran solid Cyberse Decks, one of whom was Kingmaker, and he knew another who used Cyberse monsters to supplement his other cards. Any other Cyberse cards he saw tended to only be fragments of other archetypes.
You shouldn't be so surprised, Kingmaker thought as he took another card from his hand. If you're running Mekk-Knights, then you should have one too.
Out loud, Kingmaker said, "I Set one card." He then gestured to his field. "Cyberse Wizard's monster effect activates! Once per turn, I can change your Attack Position monster to Defense Position! Cyberse Algorithm!" Light shone from the end of Cyberse Wizard's staff as Avram glowed, changing battle positions.
"The turn Cyberse Wizard uses its effect, Cyberse monsters I control inflict piercing damage!"
"What? the hacker said again.
"Battle! Cyberse Wizard attacks Mekk-Knight Avram. Illusion Spike!" Blue lightning forked out from Cyberse Wizard's staff and struck Avram. The Collective agent cried out in pain from the damage.
Collective Hacker: 4000→2200 LP
The hacker growled. "I just almost half my Life Points," he muttered. "That was probably just luck though. Nevertheless…" He gestured to his field. "Continuous Trap activate! World Legacy's Secret! This card lets me Special Summon a Level 5 or higher monster from my Graveyard!" Kingmaker narrowed his eyes, remembering his opponent's opening move. "Resurrect, Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse!" A large white monster with blue crystals embedded in its armor appeared, summoned in Attack Position.
Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse ATK 2400 DEF 2400 LVL: 8
Kingmaker glanced at the opponent's field, then returned his gaze to the front. "I end my turn," he said.
"My turn! Draw!" the hacker drew and smirked beneath his mask. "I Set one card. And since your Set card is in the same column as World Legacy's Secret, I can Special Summon Mekk-Knight Blue Sky to that column!" An armored warrior wielding two curved swords appeared, summoned in Attack Position.
Mekk-Knight Blue Sky ATK 2000 DEF 2500 LVL: 5
That's the true strategy of the Mekk-Knights, Kingmaker thought with a blank face. Most of them can be Special Summoned to the field if there are two cards in the same column.
"Blue Sky's effect activates! When this card is Summoned from my hand, I can add 'Mekk-Knight' monsters from my Deck to my hand, equal to the number of your cards in Blue Sky's column. You have one card, so I'll add Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall to my hand." The hacker then gestured to his other monster. "Indigo Eclipse's effect activates! Once per turn, I can move a 'Mekk-Knight' monster to another Main Monster Zone. I move Blue Sky to my center zone, and then Special Summon Purple Nightfall via its own effect!" An armored warrior with a purple cape and wielding a spear appeared, summoned in Attack Position.
Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall ATK 2500 DEF 2000 LVL: 8
"Battle!" the hacker declared. "Purple Nightfall, attack Cyberse Wizard!" His monster twirled its spear before impaling the Cyberse monster on it, causing it to explode and Kingmaker to wince.
Kingmaker: 4000→3300 LP
"Trap activate!" Kingmaker declared. "Cyberse Beacon! When I take damage, I can add a Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster from my Deck to my hand. I add Lockout Gardna to my hand."
"It doesn't matter what you add," the leader sneered. "This ends now, along with you overblown reputation! Blue Sky, attack Kingmaker directly!" The monster with two swords charged Kingmaker, but the duelist wasn't worried.
"I activate the effect of Lockout Gardna in my hand!" he declared, producing said card. "If you attack me directly, I can Special Summon this monster in Attack Position!" A red, yellow, and black humanoid machine appeared.
Lockout Gardna ATK 1000 DEF 1000 LVL: 3
The Collective agent growled. "Fine then. Blue Sky, destroy Lockout Gardna!" The monster swung its swords at Lockout Gardna, but when they connected, Kingmaker's monster stood its ground.
"The turn Lockout Gardna is Special Summoned by its effect, it cannot be destroyed by battle," Kingmaker revealed, barely reacting to the damage.
Kingmaker: 3300→2300 LP
"Then I'll just damage you as much as possible! Indigo Eclipse, attack Lockout Gardna!" His monster blasted Lockout Gardna with blue energy fired from its chest. Kingmaker's monster withstood the attack, but the duelist himself winced from the attack.
Kingmaker: 2300→900 LP
"I end my turn," the agent said. Kingmaker frowned, confused. Wasn't he going to…?
Never mind that. As he leaned to the side to guide his D-Board around a building, Kingmaker placed a hand on his Deck. "My turn! Draw!" Kingmaker looked at his card, added it to his hand, then selected a different one. "I summon Stack Reviver!" A small white monster with data disks installed in it appeared alongside Lockout Gardna.
Stack Reviver ATK 100 DEF 600 LVL: 2
"And as I control a Cyberse monster, I can Special Summon this monster from my hand. Come, Backup Secretary!" A purple-haired woman in silver armor and purple robes appeared in Attack Position.
Backup Secretary ATK 1200 DEF 800 LVL: 3
"None of his monsters are strong enough to defeat any of mine," Kingmaker's opponent said, contemplating. He then gasped in realization. "Wait, is he-?"
Kingmaker pointed to the sky. "Appear, the circuit that leads to the future!" A bolt of blue lightning shot out of his finger and hit the sky, creating the Link portal. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more Effect Monsters. I set Backup Secretary, Lockout Gardna, and Stack Reviver in the Link Markers!" His monsters became whirlwinds of purple, red, and white energy respectively and entered the top, bottom-left, and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-3! Decode Talker!" A warrior in dark blue and purple armor emerged from the portal. It roared as it swung its sword from the right Extra Monster Zone.
Decode Talker ATK 2300 LINK-3 ↙↑↘
"A Link Monster?" the Collective agent growled. "Well, that's perfect…"
"Stack Reviver's effect activates!" Kingmaker continued. "If it used to Link Summon I can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster that was also used to Link Summon in Defense Position. Resurrect, Lockout Gardna!" The humanoid machine reappeared as it was summoned to Decode Talker's bottom-left Link Marker.
Lockout Gardna ATK 1000 DEF 1000 LVL: 3
"Decode Talker's effect activates! It gains 500 attack points for each monster it points to!"
"What?" his opponent said, surprised. "But from that position-!"
"Decode Talker points to both Lockout Gardna and your Purple Nightfall!" Kingmaker interrupted. "That means my monster gains 1000 attack points! Power Integration!"
Decode Talker ATK 2300→3300
"I Set one card," Kingmaker said. Then he gestured to his field. "Battle! Decode Talker, attack Blue Sky!" As Decode Talker charged the Collective agent's monster, Kingmaker thought, Go on, use it. If you won't, then that will confirm my theory.
The hacker gestured to his field. "Continuous Trap activate!" he declared. "World Legacy Whispers! This card increases attack and defense points of a Level 5 or higher monster I control by 1000! I increase Blue Sky's attack and defense points!"
Mekk-Knight Blue Sky ATK 2000→3000 DEF 2500→3500
"That still isn't enough!" Kingmaker reminded the hacker, feeling a little disappointed. "Go, Decode Talker! Decode End!" Decode Talker struck Blue Sky with its sword, cutting it in half and causing an explosion. The Collective agent winced as he took damage.
Collective Hacker: 2200→1900 LP
"I end my turn," Kingmaker said before pulling up alongside his opponent. "You're not dueling with your original Deck, are you?" he asked.
"What?" the hacker said, surprised. "How did you-? I mean, what makes you think that?"
"Your moves," Kingmaker answered simply, his gaze analytical behind his goggles. "You do know what Purple Nightfall's effect is, right?"
"Of course I know!" his opponent growled. "I can banish a 'Mekk-Knight' monster from my field until my Standby Phase to add a new 'Mekk-Knight' from my Deck to my hand."
"That is Purple Nightfall's effect," Kingmaker nodded. "But it is also a Quick Effect. That means you can activate it during the Battle Phase and during my turn."
His opponent didn't respond, so Kingmaker continued. "You could have banished one of your monsters at the end of your Battle Phase to get a new monster. Alternatively, you could have banished Blue Sky to force Decode Talker to attack a different monster or banished Purple Nightfall to make Decode Talker lose 500 attack points. If you had done that and added in World Legacy Whispers, my monster would have been destroyed."
Kingmaker's eyes narrowed. "The fact you didn't tells me three possibilities. One: you're holding back against me on purpose. Two: you're a terrible duelist. Three: you're dueling with a Deck that you don't have a lot of experience with. Considering your reaction to my identity, I doubt you're holding back, and you need a degree of strategical acumen to use a 'Mekk-Knight' Deck in the first place, so the third option is the most likely answer. And the best reason you wouldn't have much experience with it is because you just recently received it and started using it."
Back in SOL's control room, the young man standing next to Akira felt a proud smirk cross his face.
The hacker started chuckling. "Impressive. I wasn't expecting you to figure all that out simply by watching my moves. But you're right, I did start using 'Mekk-Knight' monsters recently. After all, when your boss gives you a weapon, it would be rude not to use it, wouldn't it?"
"Your boss?" Kingmaker repeated. "So the Collective leader gave you those cards?"
"He did. But that's all I'll tell you," the hacker said. "Let's get back to the duel. My turn! Draw!" Looking at his card, he said, "Since Lockout Gardna and World Legacy Whisper are in the same column, I can Special Summon Mekk-Knight Orange Sunset!" A silver warrior carrying two large shields appeared in Attack Position.
Mekk-Knight Orange Sunset ATK 800 DEF 3000 LVL: 6
"Appear, the circuit of illumination!" The hacker's hand glowed blue as the Link portal appeared above him. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more 'Mekk-Knight' monsters. I set Indigo Eclipse, Orange Sunset, and Purple Nightfall in the Link Markers!" His monsters became whirlwinds of blue, orange, and purple energy before entering the bottom-left, bottom, and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-3! Mekk-Knight Spectrum Supreme!" A monster that appeared to be made of numerous weapons with a cloak attached to its shoulders emerged from the portal, summoned to the other Extra Monster Zone.
Mekk-Knight Spectrum Supreme ATK 3000 LINK-3 ↙↓↘
Kingmaker's eyes widened then narrowed. "So it appears…" he muttered.
"Determined the summoning of a Cyberse monster!" an operator announced in SOL headquarters, causing mutterings to erupt before Akira called for silence.
"Another one…" Akira's partner muttered. Over the past few months, SOL had noted several members of the Collective using Cyberse monsters. No solid Cyberse archetypes, only fragments, like Spectrum Supreme. Considering Cyberse monsters were both rare and powerful, the SOL leadership was naturally concerned about this.
Back at the duel, Kingmaker said, "Since Decode Talker no longer points to Purple Nightfall, it loses 500 attack points."
Decode Talker ATK 3300→2800
After saying that, Kingmaker called up the data on Spectrum Supreme to avoid surprises. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed his opponent doing the same thing.
"Spectrum Supreme's effect activates!" the hacker said, dismissing the screen from above his Duel Disk. "Once per turn, I can send my card from Spectrum Supreme's column to the Graveyard and Special Summon a 'Mekk-Knight' monster from my Deck in Defense Position. I send World Legacy's Secret to the Graveyard and Special Summon Mekk-Knight Red Moon!" A red and silver armored monster carrying a large axe appeared, summoned to Decode Talker's top Link Marker.
Mekk-Knight Red Moon ATK 2300 DEF 2600 LVL: 7
"Because Red Moon was summoned to Decode Talker's Link Marker, Decode Talker gains 500 attack points!" Kingmaker reminded his opponent. "Power Integration!"
Decode Talker ATK 2800→3300
"That won't matter," the hacker sneered. "Red Moon's effect activates! By banishing a 'Mekk-Knight' monster from my Graveyard, it can destroy a face-up monster in Red Moon's column. I banish Purple Nightfall to destroy Decode Talker!" Red Moon hefted its axe and struck the air above the data stream, creating a blast of fire that traveled to Decode Talker.
Kingmaker gestured to his field. "Decode Talker's effect activates!" he declared. "If you activate a card or effect that targets a card I control, I can Tribute a monster Decode Talker points at to negate that effect and destroy that card!"
"I Tribute Lockout Gardna and destroy Red Moon!" Lockout Gardna disintegrated into energy which traveled into Decode Talker's sword, making it glow. Decode Talker swung its sword, redirecting Red Moon's blast back at it and destroying it. "And since Decode Talker points to two less monsters, its attack points return to normal."
Decode Talker ATK 3300→2300
The Collective agent growled and then chuckled. "I suppose I'll have to settle for winning this duel over destroying your Link Monster. That being said, I activate the Continuous Spell Card: World Legacy Key! This card lets me add a banished 'Mekk-Knight' monster or 'World Legacy' card to my hand. I return Purple Nightfall to my hand."
After doing so, the hacker gestured to his field. "Battle! Since there are no other cards in its column, Spectrum Supreme can attack you directly! This ends here, Kingmaker! Ultimate Rainbow Burst!" Spectrum Supreme fired a multi-colored blast of energy at Kingmaker, who only narrowed his eyes.
"It's not that easy," he said. He then gestured to his field as the edges of his coat glowed green. "I activate my Skill! King's Selection!"
"What?" the hacker said, surprised. "A Skill? Now?"
"That's right," Kingmaker said. "When I control a Link Monster, and you attack a target other than that monster, I can choose the target of your monster's attack! I force Spectrum Supreme to attack Decode Talker!" The light bended as Decode Talker tried to slash it with its sword, but the energy slowly overpowered Decode Talker.
"Trap activate!" Kingmaker then declared. "Link Ration! Since our Link Monsters are battling and have a combined Link Rating of five or higher, I gain 1000 Life Points!"
Kingmaker: 900→1900 LP
"But Decode Talker is weaker than Spectrum Supreme!" Kingmaker's opponent reminded him. "You'll lose your monster and take damage!" The energy finally overpowered Decode Talker and destroyed it while Kingmaker winced.
Kingmaker: 1900→1200 LP
"Link Ration's secondary effect activates! Since my Link Monster was destroyed by battle, I Special Summon a Ration Token in Defense Position." A little red machine with six extended arms and six propellers appeared on his field, summoned to Spectrum Supreme's column.
Ration Token ATK 0 DEF 0 LVL: 1
"So that's how you want to play it?" the hacker muttered. "Then fine! I activate my Skill! Hacked Summon!" The edges of the Collective agent's cloak glowed red as he said, "When my Link Monster destroys yours by battle, I can Special Summon a monster from my hand in Defense Position! Come, Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall!" The monster in purple armor with a spear reappeared, summoned to the hacker's one zone Spectrum Supreme didn't point to.
Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall ATK 2500 DEF 2000 LVL: 8
"Hacked Summon isn't finished! It also inflicts damage to you equal to Purple Nightfall's Level times 100!" Purple Nightfall threw its spear at Kingmaker, who gasped and clutched his stomach in pain before the spear disappeared.
Kingmaker: 1200→400 LP
"I end my turn," the hacker said. "I'll finish you next turn. With the power our leader has given me, I cannot lose!" Akira and his companion didn't say anything as they calmly watched the duel.
For his part, Kingmaker only looked at the single card in his hand – a Normal Monster. I can summon my most powerful monster with this, he thought. But I need more to win. This draw will decide things.
Placing his hand on his Deck, Kingmaker said, "My turn! Draw!" Looking at his new card, Kingmaker thought, Not ideal, but this will help.
"Appear, the circuit that leads to the future!" A bolt of blue lightning sent from Kingmaker's hand created a new Link portal in the sky. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning condition is one Level 2 or lower Cyberse monster. I set Ration Token in the Link Marker!" Said monster became a stream of blue energy and entered the bottom arrow, turning it red.
"Circuit combine! Link Summon! Appear! Link-1! Talkback Lancer!" A short humanoid in blue and green armor wielding a pole in its right hand emerged from the portal and was summoned to the Extra Monster Zone.
Talkback Lancer ATK 1200 LINK-1 ↓
"I summon Leotron!" A gray mechanical lion with an orange mane appeared and roared.
Leotron ATK 2000 DEF 0 LVL: 4
"What are planning with that?" the hacker asked. "Are you going to summon a Link-2?"
"No," Kingmaker answered before gesturing to his field. "Talkback Lancer's effect activates! By Tributing a Cyberse monster I control, I can Special Summon a 'Code Talker' monster from my Graveyard to Talkback Lancer's Link Marker!"
"I Tribute Leotron and Special Summon Decode Talker!" A banner unfurled from Talkback Lancer's pole as Leotron disintegrated. Talkback Lancer struck the ground, creating a portal that Decode Talker emerged from. The purple armored warrior roared from Talkback Lancer's Link Marker.
Decode Talker ATK 2300 LINK-3 ↙↑↘
"Decode Talker's effect activates! It gains 500 attack points for every monster it points to. Power Integration!"
Decode Talker ATK 2300→2800
"I activate the Spell Card: Cyberse Cache!" Kingmaker continued. "Since I control a Cyberse monster whose attack points are different from their original attack points, I draw two cards."
Kingmaker placed his hand on his Deck and closed his eyes. There are three reasons I must win this duel, he thought. One: to protect LINK VRAINS from hackers and criminals like him. Two: to show that I have become stronger than before. Three: to reclaim the self I lost that day, so I can finally move forward.
Opening his eyes, Kingmaker drew. Looking at his cards, he gave his first real smile of the day. Perfect, he thought. Out loud, he said, "Appear for a final time, the circuit that leads to the future!"
The bolt of lightning Kingmaker sent from his hand opened the Link portal in the sky above him. "Arrowheads confirmed! The summoning conditions are two or more monsters. When I use a Link Monster to Link Summon, its Link Markers count as Link Materials. I set Talkback Lancer and Link-3 Decode Talker in the Link Markers!" His monsters became blue-green and purple whirlwinds of energy respectively, and then entered the left, right, bottom-left, and bottom-right arrows, turning them red.
"Circuit combine! The malicious dragon whose claws defend the world! Link Summon! Appear! Link-4! Viral Dawn Link Dragon!"
The dragon that emerged from the portal was primarily light blue in color with four limbs and a set of wings. Dark blue armor plating covered its torso, upper legs, upper arms, and the top part of its tail. Its wings were as wide as it was, with dark blue spines and light blue membranes connecting the wings. Small red orbs were at the tips of its wings and also at its shoulders and knees, with two larger red orbs embedded in its chest armor. The claws on its hands and feet were beige in color, with small red lines connecting them to the centers of its hands and feet. Its light blue head was at the end of a long neck, and it had two short dark blue tusks on either side of its mouth curving inwards and two short dark blue horns on the back of its head jutting backwards. The dragon's red eyes glowed as it released a powerful roar from the Extra Monster Zone.
Viral Dawn Link Dragon ATK 2500 LINK-4 ←↙↘→
"What?" the Collective hacker said in surprise. He had found himself saying that a lot. "A dragon? Your Cyberse Deck's ace monster is a dragon?"
"You run a Deck of Psychic monsters, yet your ace monster is Cyberse," Kingmaker countered. "You really aren't one to criticize."
The hacker growled at Kingmaker's logic. "Even so, your monster isn't strong enough to defeat Spectrum Supreme!"
"I don't need to defeat Spectrum Supreme," Kingmaker said before gestured to his field. "Viral Dawn's effect activates! If it is Link Summoned using a Link-3 monster as material, the effects of all your Level 5 or higher monsters are negated!" The Collective agent gasped at that. "Go! Infection Code!" The orbs on Viral Dawn's body lit up and began releasing pulses of red energy.
"In that case, I'll activate Purple Nightfall's effect!" the hacker declared, gesturing to his monster. "I banish Purple Nightfall to-!"
"That's pointless!" Kingmaker interrupted, silencing his opponent. "When Viral Dawn activates its effect, you cannot activate any cards or effects in response!"
"What!?" Purple Nightfall slumped over and lost some of its color.
The hacker growled again but said, "So what? Purple Nightfall is in Defense Position, and even if your dragon inflicted piercing damage, it wouldn't be enough to win!"
"Viral Dawn doesn't inflict piercing damage, but that won't matter soon," Kingmaker said, taking one of the two cards from his hand. "I activate the Spell Card: Stop Defense! This changes Purple Nightfall to Attack Position!"
"B-But their attack points are equal! If you attack, they'll destroy each other!"
"Be patient. I activate the Spell Card: One-Time Passcode! This card lets me Special Summon a Security Token in Defense Position!" A small black and gray machine with a single blue orb in its center appeared, summoned to Viral Dawn's bottom-left Link Marker.
Security Token ATK 2000 DEF 2000 LVL: 4
"Viral Dawn's additional effect activates! Once per turn, I can Tribute a monster it points to and then make your Level 5 or higher monster lose attack points equal to the Tributed monster's!"
"I Tribute Security Token to lower Purple Nighfall's attack points. Go, Corruption Drain!" Security Token disintegrated into energy and traveled to the orbs on Viral Dawn's wings, which lit up with swirling red energy. The orbs released tendrils of said energy, which ensnared Purple Nightfall.
Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall ATK 2500→500
"Battle! Viral Dawn, attack Purple Nightfall! Daybreak Tempest!" All the orbs on Viral Dawn's body lit as red energy traveled across its skin. The energy then gathered in its mouth, which it released in a massive burst. The energy struck Purple Nightfall, destroying it in an explosion and hurling the Collective team leader from his D-Board, screaming on his way down.
Collective Hacker: 1900→0 LP
Kingmaker gazed dispassionately down at his fallen enemy. "You don't deserve to call yourself a duelist!" he declared.
"Duel #3 has finished! The victor is Kingmaker!"
The operators cheered louder than before as Akira's companion loaded a new profile.
"Kingmaker," he read. "Real name Yuji Kogami. 14 years old. He was one of the first applicants for the Security Project and passed the admission test with the second highest score. He was immediately made the leader of Security Team 13 and has remained so for the last six months. His win record against the Collective is also the second highest within SOL."
"Second only to yours, Ryoken," Akira said, finally looking at his companion. The young man was tall with fair skin, light-blue eyes, and white hair that spiked backwards at the sides with purple-blue highlights. He wore a pink V-neck shirt underneath a light grey suit jacket with black trousers and white shoes. "As expected of your younger brother."
Ryoken Kogami smiled. "My father and I are very proud of Yuji's accomplishments. Now if only he could find some pride in himself…" He returned his gaze to his tablet. "In addition to his dueling skills, Yuji is a superb hacker and analytical thinker. While he has some difficulties connecting to people, Hanako's mediation skills make up for that, and Go has a strong tendency to make friends. The three of them are perfect for this mission."
"Is that actually your opinion, or just the beliefs of our bosses?" Akira asked him. He knew what the mission would entail. Even if Go was a year older than Ryoken, Hanako and Yuji were still children. Not to mention his and Ryoken's younger siblings.
Ryoken frowned. "It is both, actually," he said. "I will not deny I am concerned, but they are very capable for their ages. I trust Yuji to do his best, just as you trust Hanako." He turned to leave, but before he exited the room, Akira spoke up again.
"Ryoken," he said. "Your brother… he's a survivor of the fire eight years ago, isn't he?"
Ryoken stopped but didn't turn around. "…Yes, he is," he finally said. He then resumed his walk. "We'll call Team 13 here tomorrow to brief them over the mission. Please do not tell your sister any of the mission details before then." Akira nodded as Ryoken left.
Go Onizuka vs. Collective Hacker
This Duel is conducted as a Speed Duel.
Turn 1: Collective Hacker
CH activates the Field Spell World Legacy in Shadow, which increases the ATK/DEF of "Krawler" monsters by 300. CH activates the effect of World Legacy in Shadow to Special Summon 1 Level 2 or lower Insect monster from its hand in face-up or face-down Defense Position. He Special Summons Krawler Glial (700→1000/1500→1800/2) in face-up Defense Position. CH Normal Summons Krawler Spine (300→600/2100→2400/2).CH uses Glial and Spine to Link Summon X-Krawler Neurogos (1900→2200/2/←→) to the Extra Monster Zone. He ends his turn.
Turn 2: Go Onizuka
Go draws. He Normal Summons Gouki Riscorpio (2300/0/5) without Tributing as he controls no monsters. Go activates the effect of the Gouki Headbatt in his hand, letting him send another "Gouki" monster from his hand to the GY, Special Summon Headbatt and target another "Gouki" monster he controls, increasing its ATK by 800. He sends Gouki Twistcobra to the GY, Special Summons Headbatt (800/0/2) in Defense Position and targets Riscorpio (Riscorpio: 2300→3100). Go activates the Continuous Spell Card Gouki Shout, which increases the ATK of an attacking "Gouki" monster by 300 for each "Gouki" monster Go controls during the Damage Step.
Riscorpio attacks Neurogos. The effect of Gouki Shout activates (Riscorpio: 3100→3700). Neurogos is destroyed (Collective Hacker: 4000→2500 LP) (Riscorpio: 3700→3100). Since the face-up Neurogos was destroyed by battle, CH can target 2 different named "Krawler" monsters in his GY, then Special Summon them in face-down Defense Position. He targets and Special Summons Glial and Spine in face-down Defense Position. Go ends his turn, and Headbatt's effect ends (Riscorpio: 3100→2300).
Turn 3: Collective Hacker
CH activates a Skill, Double Draw, letting him draw 2 cards during his Draw Phase instead of one. CH Flip Summons Krawler Spine (300→600/2100→2400/2). Since Spine was Flip Summoned, CH can target and destroy 1 monster on the field. He targets and destroys Headbatt. As Headbatt was sent to the GY, its effect activates, letting Go add a "Gouki" card from his Deck to his hand. He adds Gouki Twistcobra from his Deck to his hand. CH Flip Summons Krawler Glial (700→1000/1500→1800/2). Since Glial was Flip Summoned, CH can Special Summon 1 "Krawler" monsters from his hand or GY in face-up Attack Position or face-down Defense Position. CH Special Summons X-Krawler Neurogos (1900→2200/2/←→) from the GY. "Krawler" monsters that Neurogos points to cannot be destroyed by battle and gain 300 ATK/DEF (Spine: 600→900/2400→2700). CH uses Glial and Spine to Link Summon X-Krawler Qualiark (2000→2300/2/↙↘) to the Extra Monster Zone. As CH controls 2 or more "Krawler" monsters, Qualiark increases the ATK/DEF of CH's monsters by 300 (Neurogos: 2200→2500) (Qualiark: 2300→2600).
CH activates the effect of World Legacy in Shadow to Special Summon Krawler Receptor in face-down Defense Position. He activates the Spell Card Book of Taiyou, changing Receptor to face-up Attack Position (900→1500/1200→1800/2). Since Receptor was Flip Summoned, CH can add 1 "Krawler" monster from his Deck to his hand. He adds and then Normal Summons Krawler Axon to Qualiark's bottom-left Link Marker and Neurogos's right Link Marker (500→1400/1800→2700). CH uses Axon and Receptor to Link Summon X-Krawler Synaphysis (1800→2700/2/←→) to Qualiark's bottom-left Link Marker and Neurogos's right Link Marker. "Krawler" monsters that Synaphysis points to cannot be destroyed by battle and gain 300 ATK/DEF (Neurogos: 2500→2800). CH Sets 1 card.
Synaphysis attacks Riscorpio. Since Neurogos points to Synaphysis, all battle damage from Synaphysis battling Go's monsters is doubled. Riscorpio is destroyed (Go: 4000→3200 LP). As Riscorpio was sent to the GY, its effect activates, letting Go add a "Gouki" card from his Deck to his hand. He adds Gouki Suprex. Go activates his Skill, Fighting Spirit, letting him Special Summon all "Gouki" monsters that were destroyed by battle this turn to his field. He Special Summons Riscorpio (2300/0/5) in Defense Position. Qualiark attacks and destroys Riscorpio. Neurogos attacks Go directly (Go: 3200→400 LP). CH ends his turn.
Turn 4: Go Onizuka
Go draws. He Normal Summons Gouki Suprex (1800/0/4). As Suprex was Normal Summoned, Go can Special Summon 1 "Gouki" monster from his hand. Since Go activated a monster effect while he controls a "Krawler" monster, CH activates his face-down Trap Card World Legacy's Mind Meld, which changes the effect to "Return 1 face-up monster your opponent controls to the hand." Go chooses to return Qualiark to CH's Extra Deck (Neurogos: 2800→2500) (Synaphysis: 2700→2400).
Go activates the Spell Card Gouki Re-Match, allowing him to Special Summon 2 "Gouki" monsters with different Levels from his GY in Defense Position. Go Special Summons Riscorpio (800/0/2) and Twistcobra (1600/0/3). Go uses Riscorpio, Suprex, and Twistcobra to Link Summon Gouki Thunder Ogre (2200/3/↙↑↘) to the Extra Monster Zone. As Riscorpio, Suprex, and Twistcobra were sent to the GY, their effects activate, which each allow Go to add a "Gouki" card from his Deck to his hand. He adds Headbatt, Riscorpio, and Gouki Face Turn from his Deck to his hand. The effect of Thunder Ogre allows the turn player to Normal Summon a monster to a zone it points to in addition to their Normal Summon/Set. Since the only monsters he controls are "Gouki" monsters, Go Normal Summons Riscorpio (2300/0/5) without Tributing. Go activates the Spell Card Gouki Face Turn, targeting Riscorpio on his field. Riscorpio is destroyed and Go Special Summons 1 "Gouki" monster from his GY. He Special Summons Twistcobra (1600/0/3) from the GY in Attack Position. As a monster it points to was destroyed, Go activates the effect of Thunder Ogre, increasing its ATK by 400 (Thunder Ogre: 2200→2600). Go activates the effect of Gouki Headbatt in his hand, sending Gouki Octostretch in his hand to the GY and targeting Thunder Ogre. Headbatt is Special Summoned (800/0/2) in Defense Position (Thunder Ogre: 2600→3400). Go activates the effect of Twistcobra, Tributing a "Gouki" monster to increase the ATK of a "Gouki" monster he controls by the Tributed monster's ATK until the End Phase. He Tributes Twistcobra and targets Thunder Ogre (Thunder Ogre: 3400→5000).
Thunder Ogre attacks Synaphysis, with the effect of Gouki Shout activating (Thunder Ogre: 5000→5600). Synaphysis is destroyed (CH: 2500→0 LP). Go Onizuka wins.
Nature Queen vs. Collective Hacker
This Duel is conducted as a Speed Duel.
Turn 1: Collective Hacker
CH Normal Summons The Thing in the Crater (1000/1200/4). As she controls a Fire monster, CH Special Summons Goka, the Pyre of Malice (2200/1900/6) in Attack Position. Because Goka was Special Summoned by its effect, CH must target and destroy 1 Fire monster she controls. She targets and destroys The Thing in the Crater. Because The Thing in the Crater was destroyed and sent to the GY, CH can Special Summon 1 Pyro monster from her hand. She Special Summons Solar Flare Dragon (1500/1000/4) in Attack Position. CH activates the Spell Card Cup of Ace, which lets her toss a coin. If the result is Heads, then she draws 2 cards. If the result is Tails, then Nature Queen draws 2 cards. She tosses the coin. The result is Heads. CH draws 2 cards. CH Sets 1 card. She ends her turn. During CH's End Phase, the effect of Solar Flare Dragon inflicts 500 damage to Nature Queen (Nature Queen: 4000→3500 LP).
Turn 2: Nature Queen
Nature Queen draws. She activates the Field Spell Card Trickstar Light Stage. Since Light Stage was activated, she can add 1 "Trickstar" monster from her Deck to her hand. She adds Trickstar Candina. Nature Queen Normal Summons Candina (1800/400/4). Since Candina was Normal Summoned, Nature Queen can add 1 "Trickstar" card from her Deck to her hand. She adds Trickstar Vision from her Deck to her hand. Nature Queen activates the Spell Card Trickstar Vision, letting her Special Summon 1 "Trickstar" monster from her hand with halved ATK and its effects negated. She Special Summons Trickstar Lilybell (800→400/2000/2) in Attack Position. The second effect of Trickstar Vision lets each player draw 1 card. Nature Queen activates the effect of Light Stage, targeting CH's Set card. That card cannot be activated until the End Phase, at which point CH must activate it or send it to the GY. CH activates her face-down Continuous Trap Card Backfire, chaining it to Light Stage. Now when a Fire monster CH controls is destroyed and sent to the GY, Nature Queen takes 500 damage. As CH activated a Spell/Trap Card, the effect of Candina inflicts 200 damage to her (CH: 4000→3800 LP). As a "Trickstar" monster inflicted damage to CH, Light Stage's effect inflicts 200 damage (CH: 3800→3600 LP). Nature Queen activates the effect of Trickstar Lycoris in her hand, returning Lilybell to her hand to Special Summon Lycoris (1600/1200/3) in Attack Position. Because Lilybell was added to Nature Queen's hand outside of drawing it, Lilybell is Special Summoned (800/2000/2) in Attack Position. Nature Queen uses Candina and Lilybell to Link Summon Trickstar Holly Angel (2000/2/↙↘) to the Extra Monster Zone. Nature Queen activates the Equip Spell Card Trickstar Magicorolla, targeting the Lilybell in her GY to do so. Lilybell is Special Summoned (800/2000/2) in Attack Position to Holly Angel's bottom-left Link Marker and Magicorolla is equipped to it. Because a "Trickstar" monster was Summoned to its Link Marker, Holly Angel inflicts 200 damage to CH (CH: 3600→3400 LP). Light Stage's effect activates (CH: 3400→3200 LP). Since CH took damage from a "Trickstar" monster's effect, Holly Angel gains ATK equal to that damage until the End Phase (Holly Angel: 2000→2200). Nature Queen Sets 1 card.
Lilybell attacks CH directly via its effect (CH: 3200→2400 LP). Light Stage's effect activates (CH: 2400→2200 LP). Since Lilybell inflicted battle damage, Nature Queen can add 1 "Trickstar" monster from her GY to her hand. She adds Candina to her hand. Since the monster equipped with Magicorolla inflicted damage to CH, the effect of Magicorolla activates, letting Nature Queen Special Summon 1 "Trickstar" monster from her hand. She Special Summons Candina (1800/400/4) in Defense Position. Holly Angel attacks and destroys Solar Flare Dragon (CH: 2200→1500 LP). The effect of Light Stage activates (CH: 1500→1300 LP). Since a Fire monster CH controls was destroyed and sent to the GY, the effect of Backfire activates (Nature Queen: 3500→3000 LP). CH activates her Skill, Blazing Reincarnation, to Special Summon a Fire monster that was destroyed by battle and gain LP equal to its ATK. Solar Flare Dragon (1500/1000/4) is Special Summoned in Attack Position (CH: 1300→2800 LP). Blazing Reincarnation also prevents Nature Queen from targeting the Special Summoned monster for attacks until the end of the turn. Nature Queen ends her turn, and the ATK of Holly Angel returns to normal (Holly Angel: 2200→2000).
Turn 3: Collective Hacker
CH draws. As a card was added to her hand, Lycoris inflicts 200 damage for each card (CH: 2800→2600 LP). Light Stage's effect activates (CH: 2600→2400 LP). Holly Angel's effect activates (Holly Angel: 2000→2200). During CH's Standby Phase, the effect of Goka Special Summons a Fireball Token (100/100/1) to CH's field in Defense Position. CH uses Fireball Token and Goka to Link Summon Duelittle Chimera (1400/2/↙↘) to the Extra Monster Zone. While Duelittle Chimera is on the field, all Fire monsters gain 500 ATK/DEF and all Water monsters lose 400 ATK/DEF (Duelittle Chimera: 1400→1900) (Solar Flare Dragon: 1500→2000/1000→1500). CH activates the Field Spell Card Molten Destruction, which increases the ATK of all Fire monsters by 500 and decreases their DEF by 400 (Duelittle Chimera: 1900→2400) (Solar Flare Dragon: 2000→2500/1500→1100). As CH activated a Spell/Trap Card, Candina's effect activates (CH: 2400→2200 LP). Light Stage's effect activates (CH: 2200→2000 LP). Holly Angel's effect activates (Holly Angel: 2200→2400). CH Normal Summons a second Solar Flare Dragon (1500→2500/1000→1100/4). She activates the Continuous Spell Card Dark Room of Nightmare. Now each time Nature Queen takes effect damage, she takes an additional 300 damage. Candina's effect activates, followed by Light Stage's and Holly Angel's (CH: 2000→1800→1600 LP) (Holly Angel: 2400→2600).
The first Solar Flare Dragon attacks Lilybell, but Nature Queen activates her face-down Trap Card Trickstar Cascade, which lets her return a "Trickstar" card she controls to her hand to negate the attack. She returns Magicorolla to her hand and negates Solar Flare Dragon's attack. Since Magicorolla left the field, Lilybell is destroyed. Nature Queen activates her Skill, Trickstar Fraud, by discarding Magicorolla. CH must draw until she has 3 cards in her hand, and during the End Phase, she must banish a card for each "Trickstar" monster in Nature Queen's GY. CH draws 3 cards. The effect of Lycoris activates, followed by the effects of Light Stage and Holly Angel (CH: 1600→1000→800 LP) (Holly Angel: 2600→3200). The second Solar Flare Dragon attacks Lycoris, destroying it (Nature Queen: 3000→2100 LP). Duelittle Chimera attacks and destroys Candina. CH ends her turn. During her End Phase, the effect of each Solar Flare Dragon activates (Nature Queen: 2100→1600→1100 LP). Since Nature Queen took effect damage, the effect of Dark Room of Nightmare inflicts an additional 300 damage to her for each instance (Nature Queen: 1100→800→500 LP). During the End Phase, Holly Angel's ATK returns to normal (Holly Angel: 3200→2000), and CH banishes all the cards in her hand.
Turn 4: Nature Queen
Nature Queen draws. She Normal Summons Trickstar Nightshade (100/0/1). Nature Queen uses the Link-2 Holly Angel and Nightshade to Link Summon Trickstar Delfiendium (2200/3/↙↑↘) to the Extra Monster Zone. Since Nightshade was used as material to Link Summon a "Trickstar" monster, it is Special Summoned to Delfiendium's bottom-left Link Marker (100/0/1) in Attack Position. Nature Queen activates the Spell Card Soul Release, which banishes up to 5 cards from the GY. She banishes Candina, Holly Angel, Lilybell, Lycoris, and Trickstar Vision from her GY.
Delfiendium attacks Duelittle Chimera. Nature Queen activates Delfiendium's effect. Since it declared an attack while it points to a "Trickstar" monster, Nature Queen can target banished "Trickstar" cards, up to the number of Link Monsters CH controls, and add them to her hand. Delfiendium then gains 1000 ATK for each card returned until the End Phase. Nature Queen returns Lycoris to her hand (Delfiendium: 2200→3200). Delfiendium destroys Duelittle Chimera (CH: 800→0 LP). Nature Queen wins.
Kingmaker vs. Collective Hacker
This Duel is conducted as a Speed Duel.
Turn 1: Collective Hacker
CH activates the Spell Card Trade-In, which lets him discard 1 Level 8 monster to draw 2 cards. He discards Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse. CH Normal Summons Mekk-Knight Avram (2000/0/4). He Sets 1 card. He ends his turn.
Turn 2: Kingmaker
Kingmaker draws. He Normal Summons Cyberse Wizard (1800/800/4). He Sets 1 card. Kingmaker activates Cyberse Wizard's effect, targeting Avram. Avram is changed to Defense Position, Kingmaker's monsters can only attack Avram this turn, and if his Cyberse monster attacks, it inflicts piercing battle damage.
Cyberse Wizard attacks and destroys Avram (CH: 4000→2200 LP). Ch activates his Set Continuous Trap Card World Legacy's Secret, which lets him Special Summon 1 Level 5 or higher monster from his GY. He Special Summons Mekk-Knight Indigo Eclipse (2400/2400/8) in Attack Position. Kingmaker ends his turn.
Turn 3: Collective Hacker
CH draws. He Sets 1 card. As there are 2 cards in the same column (World Legacy's Secret and Kingmaker's Set card), he can Special Summon Mekk-Knight Blue Sky (2000/2500/5) in Attack Position. As Blue Sky was Summoned from CH's hand, its effect activates, letting him add "Mekk-Knight" monsters from his Deck to his hand, equal to the number of Kingmaker's cards in its column. CH adds Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall to his hand. CH activates Indigo Eclipse's effect, moving Blue Sky to his center Main Monster Zone. CH Special Summons Mekk-Knight Purple Nightfall (2500/2000/8) in Attack Position via its effect.
Purple Nightfall attacks and destroys Cyberse Wizard (Kingmaker: 4000→3300 LP). As he took damage, Kingmaker activates his Set Trap Card Cyberse Beacon, letting him add 1 Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster from his Deck to his hand. He adds Lockout Gardna to his hand. Blue Sky attacks Kingmaker directly, but Kingmaker activates the effect of Lockout Gardna in his hand, Special Summoning it in Attack Position (1000/1000/3). A replay occurs, and Blue Sky attacks Lockout Gardna. Lockout Gardna cannot be destroyed by battle the turn it is Summoned by its effect (Kingmaker: 3300→2300 LP). Indigo Eclipse attacks Lockout Gardna, but Lockout Gardna is not destroyed (Kingmaker: 2300→900 LP). CH ends his turn.
Turn 4: Kingmaker
Kingmaker draws. He Normal Summons Stack Reviver (100/600/2). As he controls a Cyberse monster, Kingmaker Special Summons Backup Secretary (1200/800/3) in Attack Position. Kingmaker uses Backup Secretary, Lockout Gardna, and Stack Reviver to Link Summon Decode Talker (2300/3/↙↑↘) to the right Extra Monster Zone. Since Stack Reviver was used as Link Material, Kingmaker can Special Summon 1 other Level 4 or lower Cyberse monster that was also used as Link Material in Defense Position. He Special Summons Lockout Gardna (1000/1000/3) to Decode Talker's bottom-left Link Marker. Decode Talker gains 500 ATK for each monster it points to (Decode Talker: 2300→3300). Kingmaker Sets 1 card.
Decode Talker attacks Blue Sky, but CH activates his Set Continuous Trap Card World Legacy Whispers, which lets him increase the ATK/DEF of 1 Level 5 or higher monster by 1000 until the end of the turn. He targets Blue Sky (Blue Sky: 2000→3000/2500→3500). The attack continues and Blue Sky is destroyed (CH: 2200→1900 LP). Kingmaker ends his turn.
Turn 5: Collective Hacker
CH draws. As there are 2 cards in the same column (Lockout Gardna and World Legacy Whisper), CH Special Summons Mekk-Knight Orange Sunset (800/3000/6) in Attack Position. CH uses Indigo Eclipse, Orange Sunset, and Purple Nightfall to Link Summon Mekk-Knight Spectrum Supreme (3000/3/↙↓↘) to the Extra Monster Zone (Decode Talker: 3300→2800). CH activates Spectrum Supreme's effect, sending World Legacy's Secret in the same column to the GY to Special Summon 1 "Mekk-Knight" monster from his Deck in Defense Position. He Special Summons Mekk-Knight Red Moon (2300/2600/7) to Decode Talker's top Link Marker (Decode Talker: 2800→3300). CH activates Red Moon's effect, banishing Purple Nightfall from his GY to target and destroy 1 face-up monster in Red Moon's column. He targets Decode Talker. As CH activated a card that targeted a card he controls, Kingmaker activates Decode Talker's effect, Tributing the Lockout Gardna it points at to negate that effect and destroy Red Moon (Decode Talker: 3300→2300). CH activates the Continuous Spell Card World Legacy Key, which lets him add 1 of his banished "Mekk-Knight" monsters or "World Legacy" cards to his hand. He adds Purple Nightfall to his hand.
As there are no other cards in its column, Spectrum Supreme can attack directly. It does so, but Kingmaker activates his Skill, King's Selection, which lets him choose Spectrum Supreme's attack target. He forces Spectrum Supreme to attack Decode Talker. As two Link Monsters are battling and their combined Link Ratings are 5 or more, Kingmaker activates his Set Trap Card Link Ration, which lets gain 1000 LP (Kingmaker: 900→1900 LP). Decode Talker is destroyed (Kingmaker: 1900→1200 LP). As his Link Monster was destroyed, Kingmaker can Special Summon 1 Ration Token (0/0/1) in Defense Position. As his Link Monster destroyed an opponent's monster by battle, CH activates his Skill, Hacked Summon, which lets him Special Summon a monster from his hand in Defense Position and then inflict damage to Kingmaker equal to that monster's Level x 100. He Special Summons Purple Nightfall (2500/2000/8) (Kingmaker: 1200→400 LP). CH ends his turn.
Turn 6: Kingmaker
Kingmaker draws. He uses his Ration Token to Link Summon Talkback Lancer (1200/1/↓) to the Extra Monster Zone. Kingmaker Normal Summons Leotron (2000/0/4). Kingmaker activates Talkback Lancer's effect, Tributing Leotron to Special Summon Decode Talker (2300/3/↙↑↘) to Talkback Lancer's Link Marker. Decode Talker gains 500 ATK for each monster it points to (Decode Talker: 2300→2800). As he controls a Cyberse monster whose current ATK is different from its original ATK, Kingmaker activates the Spell Card Cyberse Cache, which lets him draw 2 cards. Kingmaker uses Talkback Lancer and Link-3 Decode Talker to Link Summon Viral Dawn Link Dragon (2500/4/←↙↘→) to the Extra Monster Zone. Since Viral Dawn was Link Summoned using a Link-3 monster as material, the effects of all CH's Level 5 or higher monsters are negated, and he cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect. Kingmaker activates the Spell Card Stop Defense, letting him change Blue Sky to Attack Position. He then activates the Spell Card One-Time Passcode, which lets him Special Summon 1 Security Token (2000/2000/4) to Viral Dawn's bottom-left Link Marker in Defense Position. Kingmaker activates Viral Dawn's effect to Tribute 1 monster it points to and then lower the ATK of 1 Level 5 or higher monster by that monster's ATK. He Tributes Security Token and targets Purple Nightfall (Purple Nightfall: 2500→500).
Viral Dawn attacks and destroys Purple Nightfall (CH: 1900→0 LP). Kingmaker wins.
Viral Dawn Link Dragon
Attribute: DARK Type: [Dragon/Link/Effect] ATK 2500 LINK-4 ←↙→↘
If this card is Link Summoned using at least one Link-3 monster(s): Negate the effects of all face-up Level 5 or higher monsters your opponent controls. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. Once per turn: You can Tribute 1 monster this card points to, then target 1 Level 5 or higher monster your opponent controls; lower its ATK by the Tributed monster's ATK until the end of the turn.
Next time on Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: The Fifth Circuit. Chapter 2 – Crossing Worlds.
As I said, this was the first chapter of The Fifth Circuit. This took a long time for me to complete, partly because I had to write three duels and even rewrite Yuji's a few times, and I received help from numerous individuals.
Credit to sanedimentio for Viral Dawn Link Dragon's name, and a big thank you to him for providing feedback in relation to Viral Dawn's effects, attack and effect names, and duels in general. I also wish to thank bladeWriter3 for his advice on writing a Link Dimension and thank SakushiRyu for his help in making Yuji's design.
Speaking of designs, I based both Nature Queen's and Kingmaker's avatars off of Ray and Zarc, while the Collective agents are based off the Herald of Zildrog armor from the video game Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Link Dimension itself is based on Den City and the VRAINS-verse in general, but there are changes. There are no Knights of Hanoi here and there was no Hanoi Project. There was a tragedy many years ago, but that was a fire, which I drew inspiration for from fate/stay night (which is one of the best VNs and animes ever). Yuji was adopted by the Kogami family after the fire, and now works for SOL to combat a hacker group called the Collective, who serve as the major antagonists in the Link Dimension at this point. Alongside him are Hanako Zaizen, Yuzu's Link counterpart who also takes Aoi Zaizen's place as Akira's stepsister, and Go Onizuka, who has left the Charisma Duelists to protect LINK VRAINS from the Collective. I want to take this moment to stress that the Go in The Fifth Circuit will NOT follow the path of season 2 Go. He will retain his season 1 personality for this fanfic and he will not use Dinowrestlers at all.
Other VRAINS characters like Revolver, his father, and Akira are also part of the Link Dimension. If I can, I would prefer to use VRAINS characters instead of OCs, as it is frankly much easier to use them. That said, their personalities and backstories will likely be slightly changed or very different from their anime counterparts to either make them more interesting or provide some twists for readers.
Thank you for reading the first chapter of The Fifth Circuit. Please tell me what your first impressions – of the characters, settings, and plot so far – are and what you would like to see in the future.