Responses to Reviews

Thank you to star eyes pendulum dragon, the dragoon of END, SkyRig, doa570047, HunterHQ, SakushiRyu, D3lph0xL0v3r, RoyalTwinFangs, KingOtakuOverYou, FlameFireZero X, Jason, Unknowedz, Dimension Se7en, Ethan Kironus, ZarcEternal, empourer, EvanderAdvent, Unnamed, xolotltolox, savagemaster1999, LazinessRules, Yugifan101, and Guests for reviewing Chapter 24.

HunterHQ: He did control Twin Triangle Dragon, but at that point it had been summoned from the Graveyard, not the Extra Deck, so Final Offguard would have worked.

xolotltolox: If I had used Borrelsword's TCG/OCG effect, then yes, that would have happened. But I used its anime effect, the effect shown in Episode 40 in Revolver's duel with Go. While some of the cards use their real world effects, others use their anime effects, and Borrelsword Dragon is the latter.

LazinessRules: I'm not sure either of those avatars really fit Sawatari or Gongenzaka. Well, Gongenzaka's might, but I feel like he'd be like Go Onizuka and use his real world appearance, if only because he's honest and honorable.

Thank you all once again, and I hope you enjoy Chapter 25! This is my longest chapter ever, at over twenty-six thousand words, so read to your heart's content!


Chapter 25: Bloom into Scrap

The boy stumbled through the rumble. Flames licked his skin as screams filled the air. Smoke filled his lungs as buildings collapsed all around him. He had no idea how long he had been walking. Until he found that he wasn't walking. At some point, he had collapsed into a pile of bricks.

"Let me die." This thought rang in his head. "Let me join them."

But fate had a different plan for the boy. He was saved, by a man who he would call father. He was given a home, a family. A father and a brother. He would be cared for, for he had been the lucky one.

Or had it been luck? Perhaps it had been a punishment. For nothing could fill the void that was left in the boy. He tried everything to fill it, but nothing worked. He never felt joy or a sense of accomplishment. They were just tasks to be done.

But he would search. He would look for something he could enjoy, just for the sake of it. He was good at dueling and hacking, but they were just tools to him. He could never laugh with the other children when they dueled. He tried to laugh with them, but it was like watching a machine. It was just going through the motions. No substance or genuine enjoyment in his actions.

By day, he was empty, just going through the motions. And when he fell asleep, he would hear them again. The voices of the dead, crying out to him. He would walk through those flames again, feel the insufferable heat on his skin. Above all, he would hear them, calling out to him with a question.

What right did he have to survive when so many had died? Why had it been him who had been fortunate enough to survive?

How could he keep walking when so many skeletons weighed him down?


Yuji opened his eyes with a blink. The ceiling of his penthouse room welcomed him, as gray and neutral as ever. Still, it was welcome over his dream. He peered out the window and sighed at the daylight.

"The fifth day of the Friendship Cup," he muttered. "And first day of the Round of 16."

After last night, Yuji was feeling very annoyed. By now, Dennis had probably returned to Academia. They would be sending people to capture Yuzu and Serena soon. And the Lancers were here, trapped in their rooms, unable to fight back should Academia come.

If Academia does invade, then Tsukikage is our best chance, Yuji thought. Unlike Gongenzaka, he had escaped the underground. He would be able to warn them if Academia came. The Lancers can't defend against Academia from our position. We'll have to leave such issues to Security. Of course, given the skill level of the officers who attacked them when they first arrived, he doubted Security would be up to the task.

Yuji sighed and cast such thoughts aside. There was no point in his worrying right now. Checking what time the first match would be, he got out of bed and took a quick shower. By the time he was done and came out of the bathroom, his television had turned itself on.

"The City is one! We are all friends!" Melissa cheered. Yuji rolled his eyes. He was getting sick of hearing that catchphrase of hers. Then he blinked. Unlike before, Melissa wasn't in the stadium. She was handing onto the outside of a helicopter and speaking into a microphone. "The fifth day of the Friendship Cup tournament! Today, we move into the second round! The Round of 16! These sixteen have passed the first round!" Sixteen holograms appeared in the stadium. "Which eight among them will emerge as the strongest and advance?! The fated first match is…"

Fourteen of the holograms blinked out, leaving… "Yuzu Hiragi! Versus! Shingo Sawatari!"

Yuji blinked. "Sawatari against Hanako's lookalike?"

"Yuzu and Sawatari are dueling first?" Yuya said in surprise.

"Yes!" Sawatari cheered. "Clearly these people have learned their lesson! As a great Entertainment Duelist, I am the obvious choice for the opener! Yes, me and Yuzu will-." He blinked in realization. "Wait, Yuzu? My opponent is Yuzu?" His eyes widened. "Why am I dueling her?! She's from Maiami City!"

Despite Sawatari's befuddlement, he was led out of his room and to the stadium. On her own way there, Yuzu frowned to herself.

Yuya knows what he should do, she thought, remembering the letter he sent her. Yuya's trying to tell everyone that this Friendship Cup is wrong. I have to warn the people of the Synchro Dimension about the interdimensional war. So I'll give it my all in this duel, and win!

"Listen to those cheers!" Melissa commented as her helicopter flew over the stadium. "Oh, and here she is! Her popularity's on the rise! First up – the cute and spectacular entertainment angel swoops down on the field! Yuzu Hiragi, 14 years old!"

Yuzu rode her Duel Runner to the starting line and looked over the stadium. Melissa couldn't help but coo. "She looks even better than in the first round! How cute, Yuzu! I-I mean, Yuzu Hiragi."

Yuzu looked over at Jack Atlas's balcony. I'll aim for Jack Atlas too, Yuya, she thought. And then I'll tell everyone our thoughts! I'll do my best, Yuya!

"And her challenger is here!" Yuzu gasped and looked over her shoulder. "In the last round, he put on a spectacular entertainment theatre! What kind of show will he have for us today? Shingo Sawatari, 14 years old!"

"I'm here!" Sawatari shouted. "The star has returned!"

Unlike last time, when everyone booed Sawatari for his arrogance, this time they cheered for him.

Yuzu couldn't help but stare as Sawatari rode up to her. He was… acting very differently then she remembered.

"I have to admit," she blinked as Sawatari spoke, "I didn't think you and I would duel here." He smirked. "But we never got a chance to duel because that guy interfered. So this will be a good chance to see which of us is stronger!"

Yuzu blinked as she remembered the warehouse. And Yuto. Now that she thought about it, Sawatari had a point; they had never got their duel, so this was a good chance. But for him to be here…

"Sawatari, you came here with Yuya, right?" she asked. "To protect this place from Academia?"

The boy blinked. "Oh, right. You don't know. Well, Reiji Akaba formed a group called the Lancers to defeat Academia, and we're here in the Synchro Dimension to recruit strong duelists as allies!"

"Recruit strong duelists?" Yuzu repeated. More than that, Reiji had created a group to oppose Academia? That must be why Gongenzaka and Yuya were here. She briefly felt annoyed that Yuya hadn't mentioned the Lancers in his letter, but decided she would just chide him later.

"But forget that for now!" Yuzu blinked as Sawatari brought her back to reality. "The interdimensional war can take a backseat right now! What matters at the moment is that you and I have a good Entertainment Duel!"

Yuzu blinked again and smiled. "On that, I can agree!" Sawatari was annoying and full of himself, but it seemed his time with Yuya had been good for him.

"Sawatari and Yuzu Hiragi are both skilled duelists in their own right," Go mused as he crossed his arms. "If nothing else, this should be a good way to start this round of duels."

"As we all know, the course was wrecked in the duel between Kurosaki and Dennis yesterday," Melissa reminded everyone. Sure enough, a good portion of the Duel Palace was covered by green tarps. "Therefore, Turbo Duels will take place outside the Duel Palace from the second round onwards!" Highways emerged from the ocean and connected, forming a network of roads across the sea and City.

"That said! Action Field, on! Crossover Acceleration!"

"Duel mode, on. Auto-pilot, standby."

Yuzu and Sawatari both leaned forward in anticipation. The countdown appeared and started. "Turbo Duel! Acceleration!" The timer hit 0 and both duelists shot forward.

"Duel!"

Yuzu Hiragi: 4000 LP

Shingo Sawatari: 4000 LP

"In this duel, the first one to pass through the Duel Palace gate gets the first move," Melissa stated.

"That's going to be me!" Sawatari declared, pressing hard on the accelerator. Yuzu grit her teeth and did the same.

The two shot out of the Duel Palace. "The one going first is Sawatari!" The boy himself laughed loudly and made Yuji sigh. "This is the first time the tournament is using City duel lanes. What's going to happen here? Let's look forward to an intense duel – more dynamic and fast-paced than ever before! It's all up to the two of you!"

"As it should be!" Sawatari declared, snapping his fingers. "I, Shingo Sawatari, will show you a grand Entertainment Duel! My turn! I activate the Field Spell Card: Abyss Playhouse – Fantastic Theater!"

Yuzu blinked. "A Field Spell?" In the era of Action Duels, Field Spells were increasingly uncommon.

"I activate Fantastic Theater's effect! Once per turn, I can reveal an 'Abyss Actor' Pendulum Monster and an 'Abyss Script' Spell Card in my hand to add a different 'Abyss Script' Spell Card from my Deck to my hand. I reveal Abyss Actor Superstar and Abyss Script – Opening Ceremony to add Abyss Script – Blackout Performance to my hand." Sawatari smirked. "I set the Scale 2 Abyss Actor – Leading Lady and the Scale 8 Abyss Actor – Comic Relief in the Pendulum Scales!" Two blue pillars appeared on Sawatari's field. One held a purple-skinned green-haired girl in a dress, and the other held a pink-skinned clown in purple overalls.

Abyss Actor – Leading Lady Scale 2

Abyss Actor – Comic Relief Scale 8

"With this, I can summon Level 3 to 7 monsters at the same time! Pendulum Summon! Appear, my servant! Abyss Actor – Superstar!" A pink-skinned fiend in an exaggerated black suit appeared in Attack Position.

Abyss Actor – Superstar ATK 2500 DEF 1800 LVL: 7 PS: 3

"Superstar's effect activates! Once per turn, I can add an 'Abyss Script' Spell Card from my Deck to my hand. I add, and then activate, the Spell Card: Abyss Script – Casting Call!" The card showed a street, with Leading Lady, Sassy Rookie, Wild Hope, and Comic Relief all standing on the edge, nervously waiting. "I can Special Summon an 'Abyss Actor' Pendulum Monster from my Deck in Attack Position. Come, Abyss Actor – Wild Hope!" A purple-skinned monster in a blue cowboy outfit wielding a toy blaster appeared.

Abyss Actor – Wild Hope ATK 1600 DEF 1200 LVL: 4 PS: 2

"The monster Special Summoned by Casting Call can't attack and is destroyed during the End Phase. I activate the Spell Card: Abyss Script – Opening Ceremony!" Sawatari snapped his fingers and fireworks went off. A display of lights appeared as Sawatari rose in his seat and spread his arms. "This card increases my Life Points by 500 for each Attack Position 'Abyss Actor' monster I control. I control two, so I gain 1000 Life Points." He and his monsters rode through the gate of light as more fireworks went off.

Shingo Sawatari: 4000→5000 LP

"I Set one card. I end my turn. As Wild Hope was Special Summoned by Casting Call, it is now destroyed." The cowboy disintegrated at Sawatari's words. "Which activates Wild Hope's effect! When it is destroyed, I can add an 'Abyss Actor' monster from my Deck to my hand. I'll add Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie to my hand."

"Clever," Yuji acknowledged. "His card would destroy his monster, so he took advantage of that to get a new card. It seems he has gotten smarter since our duel."

Yuzu narrowed her eyes. Watch me, Yuya. "My turn! Draw!" Yuzu looked at her card, then played it. "I activate the Continuous Spell Card: Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen! Once per turn, if I control no monsters, I can Special Summon a Fairy monster from my hand. Come, Mozarta the Melodious Maestra!" A doll-like woman with blue skin and eyes appeared in Attack Position. She wore a deep red dress with yellow markings, held a conductor's baton in her right hand, and had gold and white wings on her back.

Mozarta the Melodious Maestra ATK 2600 DEF 2000 LVL: 8

"Oh! Yuzu and Sawatari have each brought out their ace monsters! Will we see a clash between them?!"

"Mozarta's effect activates! Once per turn, I can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower 'Melodious' monster from my hand!"

"Oh? You wish to bring out a new performer?" Sawatari sneered. "Too bad that won't be happening! Once per turn, when you activate a monster effect while I control a Pendulum Summoned 'Abyss Actor' Pendulum Monster, that effect is changed!"

Yuzu gasped. "Changed?"

"That's right. Instead of Special Summoning a monster, Mozarta's effect now destroys a Set Spell or Trap Card that I control."

"Eh?" Melissa gasped, as confused as Yuzu. "Sawatari is changing Yuzu's monster's effect, but it's one that destroys his cards?!"

Yuzu narrowed her eyes. Sawatari wouldn't use a card like this if he didn't benefit from it. He was stupid, but not that stupid. "I'll destroy your Set card!" The card shattered and Sawatari laughed.

"The card you destroyed was Abyss Script – Blackout Performance!" he told Yuzu. "And if the Set Blackout Performance is destroyed by your card effect while I have a face-up 'Abyss Actor' Pendulum Monster in my Extra Deck, I can draw two cards!"

"So that was his plan," Yuji realized. "He manipulated Yuzu Hiragi's monster to destroy his card so he could take advantage of that card's effect and draw new cards."

"This guy's more creative than I thought he was," Crow said. Before he grimaced. "He's still a loudmouth though."

Yuzu grit her teeth. Thanks to Sawatari's card, she couldn't use Mozarta's effect. Luckily, she could still Normal Summon. "I Summon Canon the Melodious Diva!" A blue-haired blue-skinned woman in a poofy pink and purple dress with golden shoes and a golden mask appeared.

Canon the Melodious Diva ATK 1400 DEF 2000 LVL: 4

"I activate the Quick-Play Spell Card: Pianissimo!" Yuzu declared. "Until the end of the turn, one monster cannot be destroyed by battle, and its attack points become 100!" She smirked. "The monster I target is Superstar!" Shingo gasped as his monster was weakened.

Abyss Actor Superstar ATK 2500→100

"Battle! Mozarta attacks Superstar! Graceful Wave!" The woman spread her wings and swung her baton, blasting Superstar with a wave of force.

"Due to Pianissimo's effect, Superstar won't be destroyed!" Melissa reminded the audience. "But Sawatari will still take damage!" The duelist himself grunted as his Duel Runner wobbled from the strike.

Shingo Sawatari: 5000→2500 LP

"Now Canon attacks Superstar!" Canon opened her mouth and sang a note, blasting Superstar with sound. "Once again, Superstar isn't destroyed, but you take damage!" Shingo winced and struggled to keep his Duel Runner upright.

Shingo Sawatari: 2500→1200 LP

"Yuzu reduces Sawatari to 1200 Life Points in a single turn! Go, Yuzu!"

"Canon's effect activates! Once per turn, I can change her to Defense Position. I Set one card. I end my turn."

"And with the end of Yuzu's turn, Pianissimo's effect ends and Superstar's attack points return to normal."

Abyss Actor – Superstar ATK 100→2500

Sawatari smirked after Yuzu and Melissa were done speaking. "That was a good showing, Yuzu. But I am the star of this entertainment theatre! And now that the spotlight is back on me, it's time for my counterattack! My turn! Draw! I activate the effect of Fantastic Theater! I reveal Sassy Rookie and Abyss Script – Trapeze Performance in my hand to add Abyss Script – Abysstainment from my Deck to my hand."

Sawatari raised his hand. "Pendulum Summon! Come, my monsters! From my Extra Deck, Wild Hope! And from my hand, Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie!" The cowboy reappeared, along with a blue-haired fiend in overalls. Both stood next to Superstar in Attack Position.

Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie ATK 1700 DEF 1000 LVL: 4 PS: 2

Abyss Actor – Wild Hope ATK 1600 DEF 1200 LVL: 4 PS: 2

"I activate the Spell Card: Abyss Script – Trapeze Performance! As I control an 'Abyss Actor' monster, I can return a card in the Pendulum Zones to the hand. I return Leading Lady to my hand. And then, I set the Scale 1 Abyss Actor – Evil Heel in the Pendulum Scale!" A large violet fiend with a mask and a large mouth appeared in the blue pillar

Abyss Actor – Evil Heel Scale 1

"I summon Abyss Actor – Leading Lady!" The girl reappeared and winked at Yuzu.

Abyss Actor – Leading Lady ATK 1500 DEF 1000 LVL: 4 PS: 2

"Superstar's effect activates! I add a new 'Abyss Script' Spell Card from my Deck to my hand." Sawatari took his card and smirked. "Now then, Yuzu, it's time for my comeback! I activate the Spell Card: Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King! This lets me target face-up cards you control, up to the number of different Attack Position 'Abyss Actor' monsters I control, and destroy them!"

Yuzu gasped. "I control four 'Abyss Actor' monsters. So I'll destroy Canon, Mozarta, and Valhalla!" The card shot a beam of purple energy at Yuzu's field, destroying all her two monsters and her Continuous Spell Card.

"Yuzu!" Melissa cried out. "Sawatari let loose a deadly counterattack! And now Yuzu is defenseless while Sawatari controls four monsters!"

"Yuzu!" Yuya said in worry.

Yuzu rode out of the smoke caused by the explosion and glared at Sawatari. "Sorry, Yuzu, but I'm afraid this is where our show ends. Battle! Superstar attacks you directly!" The actor leapt up and then dived at Yuzu, who gestured to her field.

"Trap activate!" she declared. "Draining Shield! The attack is negated and I gain Life Points equal to your monster's attack points!" Sawatari gasped as the attack was blocked by an energy shield.

Yuzu Hiragi: 4000→6500 LP

He grit his teeth before smirking. "I suppose it would be boring if you got knocked out this quickly. In that case, Wild Hope attacks you directly!" The cowboy fired several shots at Yuzu and made her wince.

Yuzu Hiragi: 6500→4600 LP

"Sassy Rookie attacks you directly!" The overalls-wearing monster leapt up and kicked Yuzu, making her Duel Runner wobble.

Yuzu Hiragi: 4600→2900 LP

"And now our last performer's move! Leading Lady attacks you directly!" The woman leapt and punched Yuzu's Duel Runner, making her spin out.

Yuzu Hiragi: 2900→1400 LP

"Yuzu's taken heavy damage, but she's still hanging in there!" As Melissa spoke, Yuzu got her Duel Runner back under control.

"It seems our Life Points are just about equal." Sawatari smirked. "Why don't we change that? I activate the Continuous Spell Card Abyss Script – Abysstainment! By Tributing an 'Abyss Actor' monster, I can Set an 'Abyss Script' Spell Card from my Graveyard. I Tribute Wild Hope to Set Abyss Script Opening Ceremony, which I'll now activate! For every Attack Position 'Abyss Actor' monster I control, I gain 500 Life Points. And I control three!"

Shingo Sawatari: 1200→2700 LP

"But there's more! Abysstainment's effect can be activated more than once per turn. I Tribute Leading Lady to Set Opening Ceremony again, and now activate it!"

Shingo Sawatari: 2700→3700 LP

Serena frowned. "That fool is making extremely good use of his cards."

"With Abysstainment's effect, he'll be able to continuously bring back his 'Abyss Script' Spell Cards," Yuji analyzed. "And with a Set Pendulum Scale, he'll be able to Pendulum Summon every monster he Tributes on his next turn." His eyes narrowed. "It's a loop that will let him continuously regain Life Points. More than that, he can bring back Rise of the Abyss King to destroy Yuzu Hiragi's face-up cards."

"An effective combination," Go admitted, rubbing his chin. "Despite how this kid acts, he's actually pretty competent when he wants to be."

"I end my turn. So, go ahead Yuzu! Bring out your act to my entertainment theatre!"

Yuzu frowned. "You may be ahead Sawatari, but I'll change that right now! My turn! Draw! I summon Cantata the Melodious Diva!" The girl that appeared had mint-colored skin and emerald eyes, with chin-length orange hair and a black hair clip in the shape of a music note. A single peach fairy wing extended from the left side of her back, and she wore a peach-colored pouf dress decorated with black music notes, as well as pointed shoes.

Cantata the Melodious Diva ATK 1200 DEF 800 LVL: 4

"Cantata's effect activates! When she is Normal Summoned, I can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower 'Melodious' monster from my Deck in Attack Position, but that monster will be destroyed during the End Phase. Come, Soprano the Melodious Songstress!" A redheaded green-skinned woman in a blue, orange, and white dress appeared.

Soprano the Melodious Songstress ATK 1400 DEF 1400 LVL: 4

"As I control a 'Melodious' monster, I can Special Summon Sonata the Melodious Diva!" A yellow-skinned woman with green hair wearing a light blue dress appeared in Attack Position.

Sonata the Melodious Diva ATK 1200 DEF 1000 LVL: 3

"Soprano's effect activates! When she's on the field, I can perform a Fusion Summon!"

Sawatari narrowed his eyes. "Fusion…"

"I fuse Cantata, Sonata, and Soprano!" The Fusion vortex appeared behind Yuzu. Her monsters turned into energy and swirled together into the vortex as Yuzu spread her arms. "Angel's song! Flowing melody! Voice of the choir! By the guidance of the baton, assemble your power!" She brought her hands together. "Fusion Summon! Now on stage, the song of passion! Level 6! Bloom Prima the Melodious Choir!" A pale blue-haired girl in a yellow dress with two flowers on her shoulders emerged from the vortex in Attack Position.

Bloom Prima the Melodious Choir ATK 1900 DEF 2000 LVL: 7

"Yuzu performed a Fusion Summon!" Melissa cheered, as did the audience. In her room, Serena couldn't resist a smile of pride.

"When Bloom Prima is Fusion Summoned," Yuzu continued, "she gains 300 attack points for each of its Fusion Materials. I fused three monsters, so she gains 900 attack points!"

Bloom Prima the Melodious Choir ATK 1900→2800

"And since Cantata was used to Fusion Summon a 'Melodious' monster, I draw two cards!"

Sawatari smirked. "Not bad. Not bad. A Fusion Summon and new cards. As expected, you're not making this easy, Yuzu."

"It's about to get harder! I activate the Equip Spell Card: Melodious Crescendo and equip it to Bloom Prima!" The card showed Aria the Melodious Diva, Score the Melodious Diva, and Shopina the Melodious Maestra all singing into a microphone on a stage. "The monster equipped with Melodious Crescendo gains 500 attack points!"

Bloom Prima the Melodious Choir ATK 2800→3300

"Battle! Bloom Prima attacks Superstar!" The flowers released waves of energy that struck Superstar, making it explode. Sawatari winced in reaction.

Shingo Sawatari: 3700→2900 LP

"The effect of Melodious Crescendo activates! When the equipped monster destroys your monster in battle, I can destroy a Spell or Trap Card you control!" Sawatari's eyes widened. "I destroy Abysstainment!" Bloom Prima let out another wave of energy. This one shattered Sawatari's Continuous Spell Card.

"With Abysstainment gone, Sawatari can't bring back his 'Abyss Script' Spell Cards anymore," Yuji noted.

"That's the way, Yuzu!" Yuya cheered.

"Furthermore, Bloom Prima can attack twice per turn! Bloom Prima attacks Sassy Rookie!"

"Your monster may be able to attack twice per turn, but Sassy Rookie can't be destroyed once per turn!" Sawatari told her. Bloom Prima's waves of energy struck Sassy Rookie, but the monster withstood the blow.

"But you will still take damage!" Yuzu reminded Sawatari. Sure enough, the shockwave moved on and struck him, making him grunt and briefly spin out before he regained control of his Duel Runner.

Shingo Sawatari: 2900→1300 LP

"Yuzu dealt huge damage! Now, the two are just about equal! How will this entertainment theatre turn out?!"

Sawatari smirked. "The answer to that is obvious! I am the star of this entertainment theatre! I can't lose here!" He narrowed his eyes. I won't lose here. I won't keep being a loser!

"I Set two cards," Yuzu said. "I end my turn."

"My turn! Draw!" Sawatari looked at his card and his eyes widened in surprise. "This one…" he muttered. Then he smiled. "Yuzu, you're good. Better than I hoped you'd be."

Yuzu blinked at the compliment. "But my place is in the finals of this tournament. Where I can duel Yuya and Yuji again." His eyes narrowed. "I'll show you, here and now, how strong I have become!"

Yuji blinked. "What is he talking about?"

"I activate Comic Relief's Pendulum effect!" Sawatari declared. "By targeting an 'Abyss Actor' Pendulum Monster I control and a monster you control, those monsters' control is switched!"

"What?" Yuzu gasped.

"I target Sassy Rookie and Bloom Prima!" The clown in the blue pillar laughed as he clapped his hands. Two spotlight shone down on Yuzu's and Sawatari's monsters. Then the spotlights turned off. And when they turned back on, Bloom Prima and Sassy Rookie had switched fields.

"Sawatari took control of Yuzu's Fusion Monster!" Melissa cried out in shock.

"Comic Relief is then destroyed by its effect," Sawatari continued. The clown in the pillar gave a panicked look as it disintegrated. Its owner smirked. "Sorry, but your monster is now one of my cast members, Yuzu!"

"She won't be staying that way for long!" Yuzu said to Sawatari's surprise. "I activate the Quick-Play Spell Card: De-Fusion! This card returns Bloom Prima to my Extra Deck!" The songstress disintegrated at Yuzu's words, but not before giving a last, heartfelt wave to the crowd. "Then, since Bloom Prima's Fusion Materials were still in my Graveyard, I can Special Summon them!" Cantata, Sonata, and Soprano all reappeared in Defense Position.

Cantata the Melodious Diva ATK 1200 DEF 800 LVL: 4

Sonata the Melodious Diva ATK 1200 DEF 1000 LVL: 3

Soprano the Melodious Songstress ATK 1400 DEF 1400 LVL: 4

Sawatari grit his teeth but then smirked. "I suppose that's fine. In fact, that works even better for me!" Yuzu's eyes widened at his comment. "With the Scale 9 Abyss Actor – Twinkle Littlestar, I reset the Pendulum Scale!" A little girl in an oversized dress and hat appeared in the pillar of light.

Abyss Actor – Twinkle Littlestar Scale 9

"With this, I can summon monsters between Levels 2 and 8! Pendulum Summon! Appear, my servants! Come from the Extra Deck! Abyss Actor – Leading Lady! Abyss Actor – Superstar! And Abyss Actor – Wild Hope!" Sawatari's three monsters appeared on his field, the former in Defense Position and the latter two in Attack Position.

Abyss Actor – Leading Lady ATK 1500 DEF 1000 LVL: 4 PS: 2

Abyss Actor – Superstar ATK 2500 DEF 1800 LVL: 7 PS: 3

Abyss Actor – Wild Hope ATK 1600 DEF 1200 LVL: 4 PS: 2

Go frowned. "He summoned Leading Lady in Defense Position, but the other two are in Attack Position. What is he planning?"

"Superstar's effect activates! I add a new 'Abyss Script' Spell Card from my Deck to my hand." Sawatari took the card and smirked. "It's time for you, and everyone else, to realize just how awesome I am! I activate the Ritual Spell Card: Abyss Script – Ritual of the Abyss!"

"What?!" Yuzu gasped.

"Ritual?!" Yuji said in surprise. A word that was repeated by Yuya, Serena, Go, Melissa, and most of the audience.

The card showed Superstar, Sassy Rookie, and Wild Hope holding hands around a blue fire in a brazier. "By Tributing monsters from my hand or field whose Levels equal that of the 'Abyss Actor' Ritual Monster in my hand, I can perform a Ritual Summon!" Sawatari continued. "I Tribute the Level 7 Superstar!" The brazier appeared on Sawatari's field. Superstar lit up with blue flames and leapt into the air. He landed on the brazier, which lit up. A pillar of light shot upwards as Sawatari chanted.

"The dark performer who ignites our dreams! Ritual Summon! Rise, Level 7! Abyss Actor – Underworld Magician!"

A black cloak emerged from the pillar of light. The cloak's wearer flung the cloak to the sides, revealing its owner. The man beneath the cloak wore a black suit over a white dress shirt and violet tie, with black gloves and pointy black shoes. The man's skin was a light violet, with a top hat covering tousled dark violet hair and a single yellow eye. The Abyss Actor crest was on its left breast pocket. The man laughed as he twirled a black cane topped with a gold gemstone and posed in Attack Position.

Abyss Actor – Underworld Magician ATK 2800 DEF 2100 LVL: 7

"Ritual Summoning?" Yuzu stared at the monster in shock.

"Since when does Sawatari have a Ritual Monster?" Yuya wondered in confusion.

"…I'll give him this," Yuji muttered. "I wasn't expecting him to know how to Ritual Summon."

"Why do you have that card, Sawatari?" Yuzu asked him. The boy in question frowned.

"I have it… because I'm tired of being left behind!"

Yuzu gasped as Sawatari looked ahead, a serious look on his face. "I've been an elite my whole life. Even before he was the mayor, my father was an influential politician. Anything I wanted, I got. I didn't want for anything."

His eyes narrowed. "Anything except that man's attention. My mother left when I was six. In response, he threw himself into politics and left raising me to our housekeeper. That woman was more of a parent than he ever was."

"Sawatari…" Yuzu muttered. She wasn't sure what shocked her more: Sawatari's story, or that she was actually feeling sorry for Sawatari.

"Dueling was something I was always confident in," Sawatari continued. "Until I met Yuya. I was in awe of his Pendulum Summoning. And so I sought to gain my own Pendulum Monsters, to become even stronger than him." He lowered his head. "But that wasn't enough. Yuya gained Fusion Summoning and Xyz Summoning. And then some socially awkward hoodlum shows up with another new summoning method. More than that, he's already mastered Pendulum Summoning, Fusion Summoning, and Ritual Summoning."

Socially awkward hoodlum? Yuzu thought in confusion.

Sawatari grit his teeth as his grip on his Duel Runner tightened. "I'm sick and tired of it," he muttered in anger. "When Yuya and I first dueled, we were about equal. The same was true in our second duel. But then I saw Yuya match Reiji Akaba, and then Yuji pushed Reiji even further than I thought possible. Those three, Kurosaki, Serena, even Gongenzaka; they're so much stronger than me, and I'm sick of it! I'm sick of being left behind! I'm sick of being weaker than them!

"That's why, before we left the Standard Dimension, I asked Reiji for a favor…"


Reiji raised an eyebrow. "You want me to make you a Ritual Monster?" he asked.

Sawatari nodded. "That's right. I took the Ritual course here at LDS, so I know how to do it. You can make one, can't you?"

"I can," Reiji confirmed. "I'm just curious behind your sudden interest in having one."

Sawatari frowned. "…When Yuya first Pendulum Summoned, I thought that would be the pinnacle of dueling," he said softly. "That if I obtained Pendulum Summoning, I could be the strongest duelist. But merely Pendulum Summoning isn't enough anymore." He clenched his fists in frustration. "Yuya's learned Fusion and Xyz Summoning. And Yuji, that hoodlum from the Link Dimension… He doesn't have Pendulum Summoning, and yet he's strong enough to go toe-to-toe with you."

He raised his head to glare at Reiji. "If I'm going to fight alongside them, if I don't want to be left in the dust, then I must become stronger. I don't know Fusion, Synchro, or Xyz Summoning. But I do know Ritual Summoning. With how my Deck works, I know I can become stronger through that!"

"…And this desire has nothing to do with how Yuji Kogami Ritual Summoned earlier?"

Sawatari blinked, not expecting the question. "What does that have to do with it?"

"…Nothing," Reiji answered, hiding his smirk. It seemed Sawatari wasn't aware. After his duels with Yuya, he had adopted some of the boy's mannerisms and traits. And it seemed he was unconsciously doing the same for Yuji. "Very well. We'll make you a Ritual Monster. It should be ready by tomorrow."


"With Ritual Summoning and Pendulum Summoning, I'm stronger than before!" Sawatari declared. "I'm going to defeat you, Yuzu. I'm going to go on and face Yuya and Yuji! I'll surpass them and show them who the stronger duelist is!"

Yuya frowned. "Sawatari…" How long had Sawatari been holding all of that in?

"Twinkle Littlestar's Pendulum effect activates!" Sawatari said, resuming his turn. "Once per turn, I can target an 'Abyss Actor' monster I control, and during each Battle Phase this turn, that monster can make three attacks against your monsters!" Yuzu's eyes widened alongside Sawatari's smirk. "Bet you're wishing you'd left your monsters in the Graveyard now, Yuzu? Evil Heel's Pendulum effect! By sending Wild Hope to my Extra Deck, the Sassy Rookie you control loses attack points equal to Wild Hope's attack points until the end of the turn!" The cowboy disappeared at Sawatari's words.

Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie ATK 1700→100

Spotting something on the road, Sawatari steered his Duel Runner towards it. He reached down and grabbed the Action Card. This might be useful for later, he thought as he added the card to his hand.

"Battle! Underworld Magician attacks Cantata!"

"Eh?" Melissa gasped. "Sawatari is attacking the Defense Position Cantata instead of the Attack Position Sassy Rookie?"

Yuzu's eyes narrowed in suspicion. "You wouldn't attack just to use up your attacks…" She gasped in realization. "Don't tell me-!"

"That's right," Sawatari confirmed. "If Underworld Magician attacks your Defense Position monster, it inflicts piercing battle damage! Go, Underworld Magician! Abyssal Act!" The magician raised his black cane and blasted Cantata with golden energy.

Yuzu grit her teeth and gestured to her field. "Trap activate! Rallentando!" The card showed Elegy and the Melodious Diva, sitting on a chair between the letters "r" and "a", and "l" and "l," all written in blue cursive. "By Tributing a 'Melodious' monster, all battle damage I take for the rest of the turn is reduced by that monster's original attack points. I Tribute Soprano and reduce the battle damage by her 1400 attack points!" The woman in the blue, orange, and white dress disintegrated.

The blast of golden energy struck Cantata and destroyed her, making Yuzu wince, but she managed to stay in the duel.

Yuzu Hiragi: 1400→800 LP

"Not bad," Sawatari commented. "But don't forget that Underworld Magician can attack three times! And that's not the only effect I can activate; Leading Lady's effect activates! As battle damage was inflicted, one monster you control loses original attack points equal to that damage! I target Sassy Rookie!"

Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie ATK 100→0

"The second attack! Underworld Magician attacks Sonata!" Another beam of golden energy shot out and disintegrated Sonata. "And like before, Underworld Magician inflicts piercing battle damage!"

"The effect of Rallentando reduces the damage by 1400!" Yuzu reminded him. Then the shockwave hit her and she cried out.

Yuzu Hiragi: 800→400 LP

"The third and final attack!" Sawatari declared. "Underworld Magician attacks Sassy Rookie! Abyssal Act!"

"The difference between Sassy Rookie's and Underworld Magician's attack points is 2800," Yuji noted. "Rallentando reduces the damage by 1400, but that still leaves 1400 points of damage, 1000 more than Yuzu Hiragi's Life Points."

"Yuzu!" Yuya cried out in worry.

"When Underworld Magician battles a Pendulum Monster, that monster's effects are negated until the end of the turn," Sawatari said. "This is my victory, Yuzu!" A beam of golden energy shot down and struck Sassy Rookie, making him explode. For a few heartbeats, the audience watched in bated silence. Until Yuzu rode out of the smoke, unharmed. At which point the audience cheered in relief.

"Yuzu's okay! She's still in the duel!" Melissa reported.

"What?" Sawatari gasped. "How did you survive?"

"By banishing Rallentando and Sonata from my Graveyard," Yuzu explained. "I reduced the battle damage to 0."

"Tch." Sawatari grimaced and then smirked. "Even though you survived, you have no cards on the field or in your hand. And only 400 Life Points left. On the next turn, I'll emerge the victor of this entertainment theatre! I end my turn."

"Yuzu is in a pinch! Hang in there, Yuzu!" Melissa urged.

"Yuzu," Yuya muttered worryingly.

Yuzu closed her eyes. "Sawatari. You really are doing your best. Just like Yuya." Her eyes opened, revealing they were filled with determination. "But I've made a promise to myself too. You, Yuya, Gongenzaka, Serena; all of you are doing your best. So I'll do my best as well, and give this turn everything I've got!" She raised her hand. "The real fun's just getting started!" Yuya gasped. "My turn! Draw!" Yuzu looked at her card and smiled.

"I activate the Spell Card: Ostinato! As I control no monsters, I can Fusion Summon a 'Melodious' Fusion Monster from my Extra Deck by using monsters from my hand or Deck as Fusion Material!"

Sawatari's eyes widened. "You're fusing monsters in the Deck?!"

"From my Deck, I fuse Allegro the Melodious Diva and Opera the Melodious Diva!" A young woman with fair skin, violet eyes, and red hair with yellow highlights that reached her mid-back appeared. An orange G-clef-shaped mask covered the right side of her face, and she wore a red and pink ball gown, elbow-length white gloves, and red high heels. Alongside her appeared a pale-skinned pink-haired girl wearing a blue dress. The Fusion vortex appeared, and the two monsters turned into energy and swirled into the vortex. "A fast tempo! Noble resonance! With the guidance of the baton, gather your power!" Yuzu chanted. "Fusion Summon! Now come here to the stage! Level 6! Sing the song of victory! Bloom Diva the Melodious Choir!" A little white-haired girl in a white and blue dress appeared in Attack Position. Pink-purple ribbons wrapped around her arms and behind her back as she stood atop pink flower petals on a golden platform.

Bloom Diva the Melodious Choir ATK 1000 DEF 2000 LVL: 6

"Yuzu's brought out her ace monster!" Melissa cheered. In their rooms, Serena and Yuya smiled with pride and relief.

"She Fusion Summoned using only one card," Yuji muttered. "And that Fusion Monster has a rather powerful effect."

Sawatari grit his teeth. "I remember this card in your duel with Chojiro Tokumatsu," he muttered. Indeed, it was a good card to counter his Ritual Monster.

"Battle!" Yuzu declared. "Bloom Diva attacks Underworld Magician!" The girl's mouth opened and green waves shot towards the Ritual Monster. "At this point, Bloom Diva's effect activates! When she battles your Special Summoned monster, Bloom Diva isn't destroyed, but your monster is, and you take the battle damage I would have taken! Reflect Shout!"

"The difference in their attack points is 1800," Serena noted.

"Sawatari only has 1300 Life Points," Go said.

"Yuzu wins!" Yuya cheered.

"Not yet!" Sawatari declared. "Haven't you forgotten? I'm the star of this entertainment theatre! And my star performer, Underworld Magician, won't lose so easily! Underworld Magician's effect activates! If it would be destroyed, I can Tribute another 'Abyss Actor' monster instead. I Tribute Leading Lady!" The young girl disappeared with a yelp.

"But you'll still take the damage!" Yuzu reminded him.

Sawatari smirked. "No true magician would fall to something like that! I activate the Action Spell Card: Damage Banish! This reduces the battle damage to 0!" The green waves struck Underworld Magician, but the monster stood firm, and none of the shockwaves hit Sawatari.

"Sawatari's magician dodged Yuzu's attack!"

"I told you that I would defeat you and go on to face Yuya again!" Sawatari reminded his opponent. "You're not defeating me like that!"

"No, I am," Yuzu reaffirmed. "Since I used Allegro the Melodious Diva to Fusion Summon Bloom Diva, Bloom Diva can attack twice!" Sawatari's eyes widened. "Go, Bloom Diva! Reflect Shout!" The girl opened her mouth again and blasted Underworld Magician with green waves. The magician cried out as it exploded. Sawatari followed soon after as the shockwave hit him.

Shingo Sawatari: 1300→0 LP

Sawatari's Duel Runner vented steam and slowed to a stop as Yuzu's continued onwards. "The first duel of the Round of 16 is over!" Melissa reported. "The winner is Yuzu Hiragi!"

Serena smirked. "The result was as expected. Though that fool put up a better fight than I thought he would."

Roger smiled to himself. "This 'Entertainment Angel' has built herself quite a large fanbase. Crushing her with Sergey next round will all the more effective now."

Yuzu rode into the stadium amidst the cheers and stopped at the pits. Sawatari followed in after her. As he got his Duel Runner, he grit his teeth and took his helmet off before throwing it on the ground.

"Damn it!" he growled. "Even after implementing Ritual Summoning, I lost?!"

"Way to go, Sawatari!"

The boy blinked and turned to the audience. Several people were shouting cheers at for him and congratulations for doing well. Sawatari found himself smiling.

"Well, I guess since the audience liked it, losing is okay for now."

"Sawatari." He turned to see Yuzu walk up to him. "I'm sorry. I had to win, and because of that, you'll be going underground."

He blinked at her and then smiled. "Are you worried about me, Yuzu?" he asked mockingly. The girl glared at him and he couldn't help but laugh. "Have you forgotten who I am already? I am Shingo Sawatari! I'll be just fine!"

"…And now I feel stupid for worrying," Yuzu said flatly.

"Hey, kid." The two turned as two men in green suits approached them.

Yuji leaned back and watched as Sawatari was taken away and Yuzu headed back to the penthouse. "Sawatari did very well, but Yuzu Hiragi was stronger than him," he muttered. "And now he's gone to the underground with Gongenzaka and Mr. Tokumatsu." He narrowed his eyes. "Tsukikage said they'll be fine, and I no reason to disbelieve him. Still, Yuya will doubtlessly worry about them."

"What a great opener!" Melissa said, drawing his attention back. "And now it's time for the second match! This time, our duelists are… Serena and Sherry LeBlanc!"

Serena smirked. "Time to get this over with."

"So I'm going up against a Fusion duelist?" Sherry wondered aloud as she stood up in her room. "Very well. It doesn't matter who I face; their fate is the same."

"So Serena's dueling next," Yuji said, crossing his arms. "In Sherry LeBlanc's last duel, she used a strategy that revolved around negating her opponent's card effects and strengthening her monsters. A strategy like that will be challenging for Serena to overcome."

"Here they are, everyone! The participants in the second duel! Serena and Sherry LeBlanc!" Everyone watched as the two women rode in on their Duel Runners.

When they stopped at the starting line, Serena turned to Sherry. "Don't go easy on me; I'm looking forward to a challenging duel."

Sherry smirked. "The same to you, Serena. I expect you to make me work for my victory." Serena couldn't help but smile. Oh, she liked this woman.

In her room, Aki smiled. "Do your best, Sherry."

"Both of our competitors are getting fired up!" Melissa commentated. "As a woman, it is so nice to see so many female competitors in this tournament! Let's kick it off! Action Field, on! Field Spell: Crossover Acceleration!"

"Duel mode, on. Auto-pilot, standby."

The countdown appeared. "Turbo Duel! Acceleration!" The two women shot off as the countdown hit 0.

"Duel!"

Serena: 4000 LP

Sherry LeBlanc: 4000 LP

"The two are neck and neck as they exit the Duel Palace!" Melissa commentated from her helicopter as the two drove off. "Who will come out first?"

A few seconds later, one of them shot out the entrance, the other close behind. "The first to leave is Sherry LeBlanc, so she'll go first!"

Serena narrowed her eyes. I dislike losing a contest like this, she thought. But taking the second turn works better for me.

"My turn!" Sherry declared. "I summon Horse of the Floral Knights!" A horse in ornate white, gold, and red armor appeared.

Horse of the Floral Knights ATK 400 DEF 800 LVL: 3

"Horse of the Floral Knights' effect activates! When it is Normal Summoned, I can draw a card!" Sherry drew and smirked at her card. "Since I control a Level 3 or lower monster, I Special Summon Fleur Resonator!" A little fiend with red eyes and a bright smile appeared in Attack Position. It wore light blue robes with a darker blue centerpiece, emblazoned with a fleur-de-lis. Pink flower petals ringed its gray head, and it wielded a tuning fork and mallet.

Fleur Resonator ATK 500 DEF 300 LVL: 3

"I tune Level 3 Fleur Resonator to Level 3 Horse of the Floral Knights!" Sherry declared. "Shield of the revolution, protect your comrades! Bring victory into my hands! Synchro Summon! Shine, Level 6! Bouclier de Fleur!" A woman in silver armor gilded with gold emerged from the light in Defense Position. She wore a helmet with a raised visor, showing her face and golden bangs. A longsword was sheathed at her hip and in her right hand, she held a rectangular shield that was as tall as she was. The shield was silver and gilded with gold, and in the center sat a fleur-de-lis.

Bouclier de Fleur ATK 800 DEF 2800 LVL: 6

"A first turn Synchro Summon!" Melissa cheered. "While it is Defense Position, it boasts a massive 2800 defense points!"

Aki smiled. "That's how Sherry works," she said. "For her openings, she has Chatelain de Fleur for offense and Bouclier de Fleur for defense. A sold repertoire."

"I Set one card. I end my turn."

"My turn!" Serena declared. "Draw!" She looked at her cards. I don't want to waste any time on this duel, so I'll go all out from the start! "I summon Lunalight White Rabbit!" A green-skinned girl with a golden crescent covering her eyes appeared, wearing a green and white jumpsuit and cloak and carrying a thin white hammer.

Lunalight White Rabbit ATK 800 DEF 800 LVL: 2

"White Rabbit's effect activates! Once per turn, I can return a Spell or Trap Card to the hand! I return your Set card to your hand!" Sherry frowned as her face-down disappeared. "I activate the Spell Card: Polymerization! With this, I fuse White Rabbit on my field with Lunalight Blue Cat in my hand!" A blue-skinned girl in yellow and purple clothes appeared, along with the Fusion vortex. The two monsters swirled into the portal.

"Blue cat that prowls through the darkness! Lively white rabbit illuminated by moonlight! Spiral into the moon's gravity and create a new power! Fusion Summon! Come to me! Beautiful beast that dances in the moonlight! Lunalight Cat Dancer!" A pink-skinned woman in a long dress wielding twin silver daggers appeared in Attack Position.

Lunalight Cat Dancer ATK 2400 DEF 2000 LVL: 7

"It's here! Serena's ace monster!"

"I activate the Spell Card: Lunalight Perfume!" Serena continued. "This card Special Summons a 'Lunalight' monster from my Graveyard. I Special Summon Blue Cat in Attack Position!" The blue-haired girl reappeared.

Lunalight Blue Cat ATK 1600 DEF 1200 LVL: 4

"Blue Cat's effect activates! When she is Special Summoned, the attack points of one 'Lunalight' monster I control are doubled until the end of the turn. I double Cat Dancer's attack points!"

Lunalight Cat Dancer ATK 2400→4800

"I activate the Spell Card: Stop Defense! This changes a Defense Position monster to Attack Position. I change Bouclier de Fleur to Attack Position!"

Yuji narrowed his eyes. "Bouclier de Fleur has 800 attack points. Serena's aiming for a one-turn kill?"

"She doesn't waste time," Aki commented. Then she smirked. "A pity her opponent is Sherry."

Said opponent smirked. "A rather simple but effective strategy," she commented. "But useless. Bouclier de Fleur's effect activates! Once per turn, when it is targeted by your card effect, the activation of that effect is negated!"

Serena gasped. "Sorry girl, but you're not ending this duel so quickly."

"Serena aimed for a one-turn kill, but Sherry outwit her!" Melissa said.

"In that case," Serena said, gritting her teeth, "I'll just deal what damage I can. Battle! Cat Dancer attacks Bouclier de Fleur! Full Moon Cresta!" The woman charged forward, daggers gleaming.

"She's going to destroy the Synchro Monster with Cat Dancer, then attack directly with Blue Cat," Go analyzed. "That won't defeat Sherry, but it will damage her."

Sherry smirked again. "That won't work either. The first time each turn that Bouclier de Fleur would be destroyed by battle, it isn't destroyed!" Serena gasped. Cat Dancer struck Bouclier de Fleur's shield with her daggers, but the woman pushed back and knocked the Fusion Monster aside.

Yuji frowned. "Cat Dancer can attack twice if Serena Tributes a monster. If she had used Cat Dancer's effect, then she would have been able to destroy Bouclier de Fleur. But she didn't because she was focusing on dealing damage."

Serena grit her teeth. That's twice now she's countered my moves, she thought. It's like dueling Yuji again. "I end my turn. During the End Phase, Blue Cat's effect ends, and Cat Dancer's attack points return to normal."

Lunalight Cat Dancer ATK 4800→2400

Sherry looked over her shoulder at Serena. "You have a very straightforward way of dueling. That's not bad, but against someone like me, you're going to be punished for it." Serena narrowed her eyes. "My turn! Draw! I summon Fleur Synchron!" A brown flower bulb with hands, feet, and a face appeared.

Fleur Synchron ATK 400 DEF 200 LVL: 2

"I tune Level 2 Fleur Synchron to Level 6 Bouclier de Fleur! Body born from speed, the time for revolution has come! Bring victory into my hands! Synchro Summon! Shine, Level 8! Chevalier de Fleur!" A pink and silver female knight appeared in Attack Position, her cape billowing behind her as she drew her sword.

Chevalier de Fleur ATK 2700 DEF 2300 LVL: 8

"It's here! Sherry's ace monster has made its appearance!" The audience cheered alongside Melissa.

"Since Fleur Synchron was sent to the Graveyard for a Synchro Summon, I can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Normal Monster from my hand," Sherry continued. "Come, Noble Knight Artorigus!" A blonde man in gilded silver armor appeared in Attack Position and swung a massive broadsword.

Noble Knight Artorigus ATK 1800 DEF 1800 LVL: 4

"I activate the Continuous Spell Card: The A. Forces!" Sherry said. "While this card is on the field, my Warrior monsters gain 200 attack points for each Warrior or Spellcaster monster I control. Artorigus and Chevalier de Fleur are both Warriors, so they each gain 400 attack points!"

Chevalier de Fleur ATK 2700→3100

Noble Knight Artorigus ATK 1800→2200

Serena grit her teeth. "Battle! Chevalier de Fleur attacks Cat Dancer!" Lightning danced around the knight's sword as she charged Serena's Fusion Monster.

Serena frowned. But then she noticed something ahead and gasped. She revved the engine of her Duel Runner and moved past Sherry, who raised an eyebrow at Serena's actions.

"An Action Card!" Melissa declared, spotting what Serena had already seen. The girl grit her teeth and leaned over, grabbing the card.

"Action Spell Card!" she declared. "Evasion! Your attack is negated!"

"I'm afraid not," Sherry denied. "Chevalier de Fleur's effect activates! Once per turn, the activation of your Spell or Trap Card is negated and that card is destroyed!" Serena gasped as the Action Card shattered. "The attack continues! Fleur de Orage!" Chevalier de Fleur brought its lightning-imbued sword down on Cat Dancer, slicing it in half. Serena winced as her ace monster was destroyed.

Serena: 4000→3300 LP

Yuji frowned. "Chevalier de Fleur's effect is practically tailor-made to counter Action Cards," he muttered.

"Now, Artorigus attacks Blue Cat!" The knight hefted his broadsword and then swung it down, cutting Blue Cat in half and making Serena's Duel Runner wobble from the shockwave.

Serena: 3300→2700 LP

"I Set one card. I end my turn."

"Serena attempted to end this duel in a single turn, but now Sherry's taken the lead!"

"She hasn't taken the lead," Kiryu said, crossing his arms. "She's had it since the duel started."

"Sherry predicted Serena's moves and took steps to counter each of them," Aki said. "So long as she can keep doing that, Sherry has this duel won."

Serena grit her teeth. I'm losing just as badly as I did against Yuji. But how? How is she countering me so easily?

"Your moves are straightforward, honest. There's no deception, no improvisation. Your tactics are, for lack of a better word, simplistic."

Serena blinked and then scowled as she remembered Yuji's words to her. "You rely too much on a single strategy and make no effort to try and predict or counter my own moves. This makes it easier for me to predict your tactics and come up with a counter-strategy. In other words, your strategy is transparent."

At the time, she had mostly ignored Yuji's words. Her dueling had served her well up to that point. But against an opponent like this, who was reading her moves so easily…

It seems that if I want to win this duel, I'll have to improvise, Serena thought. The thought amused her a little; improvisation was something she had never bothered with. But it seemed she had no choice now.

"My turn! Draw!" Serena looked at her card, then at the single card in her hand. "I Set one monster. I Set one card. I end my turn."

Yuzu, Yuya, and Yuji all perked up. "That move isn't like Serena," the latter noted. "Playing defensively like that isn't her style. Then again, I suppose she doesn't have much of a choice now."

Sherry narrowed her eyes. A trap? Most likely. That Set card is probably it. So I'll just have to spring it. "My turn! Draw! I summon Sacred Knight Joan!" A woman with light brown hair wearing silver armor gilded with gold appeared. "And since I have another Warrior monster, my other monsters all gain 200 more attack points!"

Sacred Knight Joan ATK 1900→2500 DEF 1300 LVL: 4

Chevalier de Fleur ATK 3100→3300

Noble Knight Artorigus ATK 2200→2400

Aki smirked. "With this line-up, Sherry can win if all of her attacks go through."

"Battle! Artorigus attacks your Set monster!" The knight hefted his broadsword and leapt into the air. Serena, gritting her teeth, sped up and leaned over, grabbing an Action Card.

"Action Spell Card: Evasion!" she declared.

"That won't work!" Sherry reminded her. "Chevalier de Fleur's effect activates! The activation of your Spell or Trap Card is negated!" Serena's Action Card shattered. Sherry smirked. "I know what you're thinking; now that Chevalier de Fleur has used her effect, you can activate your Trap Card. But that won't be happening!"

Sherry gestured to her field. "Counter Trap activate! Chain Close! As a card on the field was destroyed, you cannot activate any Spell or Trap Cards until the End Phase!" Serena's eyes widened.

"In other words, her Trap Card and any more Action Cards she tries to use can't be activated this turn," Yuji said.

"Serena," Yuzu said with worry.

"The attack continues! Artorigus destroys your Set monster!" The knight charged, making the Set monster flip face-up and reveal itself. The monster was a young girl with light silver skin and darker silver spots over her, and blue eyes. Dark silver hair fell to her waist in a braid, and the dress she wore over a leotard was several shades of silver. A long thin silver tail with darker silver spots trailed behind her, and a golden crescent moon covered her right eye.

"The monster you are attacking is my Lunalight Silver Jaguar!" Serena revealed.

Lunalight Silver Jaguar ATK 1200 DEF 1400 LVL: 4

"Your monster isn't strong enough!" Artorigus brought his sword down and cleaved the girl in half. Silver Jaguar cried out as she was destroyed.

"And with her gone, Chevalier de Fleur can-."

"She cannot." Sherry gasped as she noticed the smirk on Serena's face. "You thought that my Set card was the trap I set, but in truth, it was Silver Jaguar!"

"What?" Sherry's eyes widened.

"When Silver Jaguar is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard, its effect activates!" Serena declared. "I can send one monster you control to the Graveyard! I send Chevalier de Fleur to the Graveyard!" Sherry, Melissa, and half the audience gasped in shock as the Synchro Monster disappeared and Sherry's other two monsters were weakened.

Noble Knight Artorigus ATK 2400→2200

Sacred Knight Joan ATK 2500→2300

"She got rid of Chevalier de Fleur with an effect?!" Aki said in surprise.

Crow smirked. "That's girl's smarter than I thought she was. She made it look like she was depending on her Set card, but instead it was her monster."

"Yes!" Shinji cheered. "Show that Tops what their arrogance gets them!"

"Serena misdirected Sherry's attention," Yuji said. "A smart tactical move." A small smile crossed his lips. "Perhaps there's hope for her after all."

"In a grand reversal, Serena has sent Sherry's ace monster to the Graveyard!" Melissa said gleefully.

"Sending your monster to the Graveyard isn't Silver Jaguar's only effect," Serena said. "I can now add two 'Lunalight' monsters whose combined attack points are less than or equal to Chevalier de Fleur's original attack points from my Deck to my hand. I add the Lunalight Kaleido Chick with 1400 attack points and the Lunalight Yellow Marten with 800 attack points to my hand."

A self-deprecating smirk crossed Sherry's face. "Not bad; I wasn't expecting to be misdirected like that. Even so, Joan can still attack!" Serena frowned at Sherry's reminder. "When Joan attacks, she loses 300 attack points during the Damage Step. But this will still hurt!"

Sacred Knight Joan ATK 2300→2000

"Go! Sacred Decision!" A massive sword formed in Joan's hand as she charged Serena. She brought her sword down and struck Serena's Duel Runner, sending her spinning out of control.

Serena: 2700→700 LP

Sacred Knight Joan ATK 2000→2300

"Serena!" Yuya cried out in worry.

The girl grit her teeth as she struggled with her Runner before getting it under control, but not before Sherry had passed her.

"You may have defeated my Chevalier de Fleur, but I still have two powerful monsters," Sherry said. "I Set one card. I end my turn."

Serena smirked. "You may have two monsters, but for how I duel, two monsters helps me more than you. My turn! Draw!" Her smirk widened at what she saw. "I summon Lunalight Kaleido Chick!" A yellow-skinned girl with cloth wings on her back appeared.

Lunalight Kaleido Chick ATK 1400 DEF 800 LVL: 4

"Kaleido Chick's effect activates! By sending a 'Lunalight' monster from my Deck or Extra Deck to the Graveyard, I can treat Kaleido Chick's name as that monster's name if I use it for a Fusion Summon. I send a second Lunalight Cat Dancer from my Extra Deck to the Graveyard." An image of Cat Dancer interposed itself over Kaleido Chick.

"I activate the Spell Card: Fusion Sage! This lets me add Polymerization from my Deck to my hand. I activate the Spell Card: Polymerization, and fuse Lunalight Yellow Marten in my hand with Kaleido Chick treated as Cat Dancer! The beautiful beast dancing in the moonlight! The yellow beast that hunts by the moonlight! Spiral into the moon's gravity and become a new power! Fusion Summon! Come forth! Elegant beast dancing in the moonlit wilderness! Lunalight Panther Dancer!" A black-haired woman with dark red skin wearing a purple corset and pink skirt emerged from the Fusion vortex in Attack Position.

Lunalight Panther Dancer ATK 2800 DEF 2500 LVL: 8

"The effects of Kaleido Chick and Yellow Marten now activate! When they are sent to the Graveyard by a card effect, I can add Polymerization from my Graveyard to my hand and add a 'Lunalight' Spell or Trap Card from my Deck to my hand respectively." Serena took the cards from her Graveyard and Deck, then said, "I activate the Equip Spell Card: Lunalight Saber and equip it to Panther Dancer!" A long silver sword shaped like a crescent moon appeared. The hilt of the sword had a golden guard that was similarly shaped. Panther Dancer gripped the sword in her right hand. "The equipped Panther Dancer gains 600 attack points and cannot be targeted by your card effects!"

Lunalight Panther Dancer ATK 2800→3400

"Battle!" Serena declared. "Panther Dancer can attack your monsters twice, but they won't be destroyed by the first attack!" Sherry's eyes widened. "Panther Dancer attacks Artorigus!" Panther Dancer twirled in the air and brought her new sword against Artorigus's blade. The knight survived the attack, but Sherry's Duel Runner swerved from the shockwave.

Sherry LeBlanc: 4000→2800 LP

"Panther Dancer attacks Artorigus again!" The Fusion Monster leapt into the air and spun, bringing her sword down. Sherry grit her teeth and gestured to her field.

"Trap activate! For Our Dreams!" she declared. "If my monster would be destroyed by battle, I can Tribute another monster I control instead! I Tribute Joan!"

Serena narrowed her eyes as the female knight leapt in front of Panther Dancer's sword. Her own blade intercepted the attack, but the Fusion Monster was only held back for a few seconds before her blade broke through Joan's sword, destroying her and making Sherry wince.

Sherry LeBlanc: 2800→1600 LP

Noble Knight Artorigus ATK 2200→2000

"Sherry narrowly avoids defeat! Though her Life Points are lower, Serena now holds the advantage!" Melissa said into her microphone.

"I end my turn." Serena couldn't help but smile. "I have to admit; this duel is more exciting than I anticipated. I thought there would only be a few people here that could challenge me. It's clear I was mistaken."

Sherry smiled herself. "I feel the same way; it's clear I underestimated you. But I made a promise to meet my friend in the finals. While I may respect you as an opponent, I cannot let you win!"

"Then prove it!" Serena declared. "Prove to me your own strength!"

"I shall!" Sherry declared. "My turn! Draw!" She looked at her card and smirked. "Perfect! I activate the Spell Card: Synchro de Fleur!" The card showed Chevalier de Fleur encased in four green rings. "By Tributing Artorigus, I can Special Summon two 'Fleur' monsters – a Tuner and a non-Tuner – from my Graveyard with their effects negated!" The knight shattered at her words. "Resurrect, Fleur Synchron and Chevalier de Fleur!" The plant bulb with a face reappeared, alongside the knight in silver and pink. Both monsters were summoned in Attack Position.

Chevalier de Fleur ATK 2700→2900 DEF 2300 LVL: 8

Fleur Synchron ATK 400 DEF 200 LVL: 2

"Synchro de Fleur's effect now lets me perform a Synchro Summon!" Sherry said.

Serena gasped. "A Synchro Summon by a Spell Card?!"

"I tune Level 2 Fleur Synchron to Level 8 Chevalier de Fleur! Queen of the revolution, let your imperial power come to light! Bring victory into my hands! Synchro Summon! Shine, Level 10! The empress of light! Imperatrice de Fleur!"

A tall woman with curly pink hair that fell to her mid-back emerged from the light and opened her eyes, revealing their radiant green light. She wore a dress with a white top and pink skirts that trailed down to her ankles, and above that dress she wore a silver cuirass, edged with gold. Similarly made gauntlets covered her feet, lower legs, hands, and arms. In her right hand, she held a silver rapier with an elegant golden hilt, the sheath of said blade resting on her left hip, and a golden crown sat atop her head as a red cape flowed from her back. The woman posed and slashed her sword as she was summoned in Attack Position.

Imperatrice de Fleur ATK 3300→3500 DEF 2800 LVL: 10

"Amazing!" Melissa screamed, the audience following her lead. "Sherry has brought out a Level 10 Synchro Monster with 3500 attack points!"

Aki raised an eyebrow. "Sherry must really want to defeat her opponent; the only other person's she's used Imperatrice de Fleur against is me."

Serena narrowed her eyes. "I wasn't expecting a monster like this."

"Imperatrice de Fleur is my most powerful monster," Sherry told her. "And not just because of its base stats. Imperatrice de Fleur's effect activates! When it is Synchro Summoned, I can target a Synchro Monster in my Graveyard and increase its attack points by that monster's Level times 200 until the end of the turn. I target the Level 8 Chevalier de Fleur!"

Imperatrice de Fleur ATK 3500→5100

Serena grit her teeth. "Battle! Imperatrice de Fleur attacks Panther Dancer!"

"The difference in attack points between Imperatrice de Fleur and Panther Dancer is 1700!" Melissa reported, eyes wide. "Serena's Life Points are 700! If this attack goes through, Serena will lose!"

"I'm not losing here!" Serena declared. "Trap activate! Fusion Break!" The card showed a white Duel Disk with Elemental HERO Flame Wingman on it, and three cards glowing next to the Deck slot. "When my Fusion Monster battles, I send the top three cards of my Deck to the Graveyard, and for each Monster Card among them, my monster gains 800 attack points until the end of the turn!" Serena took her three cards and smirked. "The cards I'm sending to the Graveyard are Lunalight Black Sheep, Lunalight Blue Cat, and Lunalight Purple Butterfly! All three are monster cards, so Panther Dancer gains 2400 attack points!"

Sherry smirked. "A dangerous card. A pity it's useless." Serena's eyes widened. "Imperatrice de Fleur's effect activates! Once per turn, when you activate a card or effect, I can negate the activation of that card and destroy it!" Serena gasped as Fusion Break shattered. "You still sent your monsters to the Graveyard for the cost, but now your Panther Dancer is defenseless! Continue your attack, Imperatrice de Fleur! Fleur de Joyeuse!" The woman leapt into the air, then charged straight for Panther Dancer. The dark-skinned woman tried to fight back with her own sword, but Imperatrice de Fleur was much faster. Before Serena could blink, she sliced through Panther Dancer four times. The woman calmly stood and sheathed her sword as Lunalight Panther Dancer exploded.

"Serena!" Yuya and Yuzu cried out in worry as smoke filled the screen. Yuji narrowed his eyes but watched in silence.

"The attack struck! Is this the end for Serena?!"

A second passed before a violet Duel Runner shot out of the smoke. Its rider was frowning, 700 Life Points remaining.

"She survived! Serena is still in the duel!"

Sherry gasped as the audience roared. "What? How did you prevent the damage? You didn't have any face-down cards, so-."

"If the monster equipped with Lunalight Saber is destroyed," Serena explained, "I can banish Lunalight Saber to reduce the battle damage to 0."

Sherry narrowed her eyes. "I see. An unexpected play. I end my turn. During the End Phase, Imperatrice de Fleur's attack points return to normal."

Imperatrice de Fleur ATK 5100→3500

"Still, you only have 700 Life Points and no cards on your field. And the only card in your hand is one you can't use without monsters. You're going to have to trust to luck to see you through."

Serena stared at the woman and smiled. "I see. You and I are very similar."

"Oh?" Sherry raised an eyebrow in interest.

"I dislike relying on chance and luck," Serena said. "I prefer a straightforward approach, with moves that I know will work. You're the same, aren't you? Every one of your moves in this duel has been calculated and thorough. You plan and prepare, and stick to the moves you know best."

Sherry looked at the girl over her shoulder and then smiled. "I suppose that is true. I prefer logic and tested tactics to improvisation and gambles. I made use of Action Cards in my last duel because I considered them an acceptable risk. But since you have no plans available, you're going to have to improvise, aren't you?"

"I am," Serena confirmed. "I have no idea what I'll draw or whether it will work. But that is a risk I must take. After all, if I cannot defeat you here, how can I face him again?"

Him? Sherry wondered with a raised eyebrow.

Serena placed her hand on her Deck. "I am not one to gamble or hope. But I believe I will make an exception this time. My turn! Draw!"

She drew… and then looked at her card.

And smiled.

"It seems my gamble has paid off!" she declared, surprising Sherry. "I activate the Spell Card: New Moon Fusion!" The card showed a new moon in a stary sky, with Lunalights Kaleido Chick and Emerald Bird glowing blue and green respectively swirling around it, trailing streams of energy. "By banishing monsters from my Graveyard, I can Fusion Summon a 'Lunalight' Fusion Monster!"

Sherry smirked. "That is indeed a game changer card. But it is wasted. Imperatrice de Fleur's effect activates! Once per turn, the activation of your card is negated and it is destroyed!" The Fusion card shattered into pieces. "And now you have no moves left to make."

"You're wrong." Sherry blinked on seeing the smile on Serena's face. "You fell for my trap."

"Your trap?"

"Trap?" Yuji wondered aloud.

"Once per Duel, if New Moon Fusion is in my Graveyard and I control no monsters," Serena explained, "I can banish a 'Lunalight' monster from my Graveyard and add it to my hand!" Sherry's eyes widened. "I banish Kaleido Chick!" Serena took the two cards from her Graveyard and placed one in her hand. "Imperatrice de Fleur can only negate one effect per turn. So you can't stop me from activating it this time!"

Sherry grit her teeth while Yuji smirked. "Very clever, Serena."

"I activate the Spell Card: New Moon Fusion! I banish Cat Dancer, Panther Dancer, and Blue Cat from my Graveyard to Fusion Summon!" Serena's three monsters appeared and swirled into the Fusion vortex. "Blue cat that prowls through the darkness! The beautiful beast dancing in the moonlight! Elegant beast dancing on the moonlit wilderness! Swarm in the vortex of the moon's gravity and become a new power! Fusion Summon! Come forth! The queen of beasts dancing in the moonlit wilderness! Lunalight Sabre Dancer!"

The woman that emerged from the vortex had violet skin and wore a gold dress and armor with a pink skirt. She wielded two talwars in her hands, and long golden blonde hair flowed down her back. The woman spun around before posing in Attack Position.

Lunalight Sabre Dancer ATK 3000 DEF 2600 Level: 9

"Serena brings out a new ace monster!" Melissa cheered.

"Sabre Dancer gains 200 attack points for each Beast-Warrior monster that is banished or in our Graveyards!" Serena revealed, making Sherry gasp. "Right now, there are four banished Beast-Warriors and seven in the Graveyard. So Sabre Dancer gains 2200 attack points!"

Lunalight Sabre Dancer ATK 3000→5200

"Battle!" Serena declared. "Sabre Dancer attacks Imperatrice de Fleur! Crescent Moon Slash!" The woman spun her talwars and charged Imperatrice de Fleur. The woman raised her rapier and blocked one sword, but Sabre Dancer moved in with the other blade and cut across the woman's flank. Imperatrice de Fleur cried out in pain and instinctively flinched back, her rapier falling from her hand. Sabre Dancer brought her other talwar down and cut the woman from head to toe, making her explode. Sherry cried out as the shockwave struck her. Her Duel Runner shut down, releasing steam and slowing to a stop.

Sherry LeBlanc: 1600→0 LP

"It is decided!" Melissa shouted. "The winner of the second duel of the day is Serena!"

The corner of Yuji's mouth lifted. "Serena's learning to adapt. She's only be getting stronger from here."

Yuzu sighed in relief. "I'm so glad Serena isn't going underground. But now Sherry will…"

Serena rode into the stadium and took her helmet off. She looked up at the stands as people chanted her name or tried to call out to her.

She frowned. Dueling like this, for someone's entertainment; it should be pointless. And yet, if my opponents are more like Sherry, then…

"That was a good match." Serena turned to watch Sherry walk up to her. "I thought the battle plan I came up with would secure me victory. But I underestimated your resourcefulness." She held out her hand.

Serena looked at the hand, then back up at Sherry and shook it. "I'm the same way as you. My battle plans have always been enough for victory before. But now…"

"I see." Sherry let her hand drop and smiled. "If you see Aki in the next round, tell her I said hello." She turned and walked over to two men in green jumpsuits."

"Sherry," Aki muttered with a frown. "I didn't expect you to lose. But don't worry; I'll win the Friendship Cup for both of us."


Serena left the stadium as Melissa said, "And now with the second duel over, it's time for the third duel! Our participants are… Yugo! And… Toru!"

The two boys gasped in their rooms. "No way!" Yugo said in surprise. "I'm dueling Toru next?"

The other teen smirked to himself. "Alright! I was thinking I'd have to wait till the finals to duel Yugo. But now's just as good a time as any."

"Toru was the duelist who used Scrap monsters," Yuji remembered. "They destroy themselves to bring other monsters out; a powerful strategy if played right."

"So the guy who looks like Yuji and Yuya is up again?" Go wondered. "Well, this should be interesting, if nothing else."

"And entering the stadium, give it up for Yugo!" Yugo shot in on his white Duel Runner and waved to the audience. "And now we have his challenger… Toru!" The blonde been entered on his black-and-red Duel Runner, whooping with joy.

"Yes! This is what I'm here for!" The duo rode up to the starting line. Toru smirked at Yugo. "Just like old times, eh Yugo? Only this time we got an audience of more than just Rin."

Yugo smirked back. "Yeah, I didn't see this coming. But just 'cause we're friends doesn't mean I'm going easy on you; I'm going to come at you with everything I've got!"

"Ha! Same here! I'm going to kick your stupid ass all the way back to the Commons!"

"Stupid?" Yugo repeated, offended. "I'm not the stupid one here! It's you with that thing you call a haircut!"

"Hey! You can't talk to me about hair, Banana Head!"

"I told you not to call me that, Junk-for-brains!"

Melissa and the audience watched with growing bemusement as the petty argument started to escalate. In his room, Yuji sighed and rubbed his forehead.

"I swear, that brilliant idiot can be worse than Sawatari…"

Eventually, Melissa had had enough. "Oi, you two! It's time to start the duel!"

"STAY OUT OF THIS!" Melissa flinched back at the combined shout from the two hot-blooded teens before a tick mark appeared on her forehead.

"Quit that!" she shouted back, making Yugo and Toru flinch themselves. "You're in the Friendship Cup! Right now, you're being looked at as models to the Commons and Tops! Get it together, you two!"

"Y-Yes, ma'am," the two boys said sheepishly. For a brief moment there, it had seemed like Rin was the one yelling at them, and their instincts regarding shouting women came to the fore.

In his room, Go broke out laughing. "Those two must have been friends for a long time to do that so naturally."

Crow couldn't help but smirk. "And here I thought we wouldn't be getting any more comedy with Sawatari gone."

A fond smile crossed Kiryu's face; he remembered scenes like this between Crow and Shinji.

Melissa cleared her throat, embarrassed at her own outburst. "A-Apologies for that, everyone. Now, let's get back to it! Action Field, on! Field Spell Card: Crossover Acceleration!"

"Duel mode, on. Auto-pilot, standby."

The countdown appeared and started. "Hey, Yugo."

The boy looked at his opponent. "What?"

Toru smiled. "Good luck."

Yugo smiled back. "You too."

"Turvbo Duel! Acceleration!" The two shot forward as the counter hit 0.

"Duel!"

Toru: 4000 LP

Yugo: 4000 LP

"I'm going first, Toru!"

"That's what you think, Yugo!"

The two disappeared as they drove through the stadium's entrance. And when they exited…

"Toru exits first!" Melissa reported. Said boy gave Yugo a smug grin, which Yugo scowled in response to.

"My turn!" Toru declared. "I summon Scrap Shark!" A large dark brown mechanical fish appeared.

Scrap Shark ATK 2100 DEF 0 LVL: 4

"I activate the Field Spell Card: Scrap Factory! While this card is on the field, all 'Scrap' monsters gain 200 attack and defense points!"

Scrap Shark ATK 2100→2300 DEF 0→200

"Scrap Shark's effect activates! Since a Spell Card was activated, Scrap Shark is destroyed!" The mechanical fish disintegrated.

"Just like in his duel with Uryu, Toru's monster self-destructed!"

"As Scrap Shark was destroyed by the effect of a 'Scrap' card and sent to the Graveyard, I can send a 'Scrap' monster from my Deck to the Graveyard. I send Scrap Worm to the Graveyard. And since a 'Scrap' monster was destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard, Scrap Factory's effect activates! I can now Special Summon a 'Scrap' monster from my Deck. Come, Scrap Golem!" A large mechanical monster with a refrigerator for a body, a microwave for a head, and a fan for a right hand appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Golem ATK 2300→2500 DEF 1400→1600 LVL: 5

"Scrap Golem's effect activates! Once per turn, I can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard to either of our fields. I Special Summon Scrap Worm to my field!" A small mechanical worm made of gray cables appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Worm ATK 500→700 DEF 100→300 LVL: 2

Yugo narrowed his eyes. "You brought out a Tuner monster."

"I tune Level 2 Scrap Worm to Level 5 Scrap Golem!" Toru declared. "Old and broken machines, form an ancient fiend and give birth to a new power! Synchro Summon! Come forth! Level 7! Scrap Archfiend!" A black humanoid fiend with wings emerged from the light in Attack Position. Its entire body was made of metal and steam poured out from numerous valves on its body.

Scrap Archfiend ATK 2700→2900 DEF 1800→2000 LVL: 7

"Toru Synchro Summons on his first turn!" Melissa said.

"Scrap Archfiend doesn't have any effects, but what it lacks in effects, it makes up for with raw power. I activate the Continuous Spell Card: Scrap Lube! This card Special Summons a 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard with its effects negated. Resurrect, Scrap Shark!" The mechanical fish reappeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Shark ATK 2100→2300 DEF 0→200 LVL: 4

"The downside to Scrap Lube is that I can't conduct my Battle Phase the turn I activate it, so it's a good thing it's the first turn. I Set two cards. I end my turn."

"A strong opening move," Go commented. "He used all of the cards in his hand, but the formation he has will be hard for Yugo to break."

"You're going all out from the start, Toru," Yugo said with a confident smirk. "So I'll do the same! My turn! Draw!"

"Hate to break it to you, but that'll be impossible for you!" Toru declared. "Trap activate! Dragon Chains!" The card showed Dragon Capture Jar with numerous black chains erupting from the jar's opening.

Yugo gasped. "That card-!"

"So long as Dragon Chains is on the field, your Dragon monsters cannot attack or change their battle positions, and their effects are negated!"

Yuji's eyes widened. "That means Yugo's Clear Wing Synchro Dragon is useless."

"Toru's locked down Yugo's ace monster!" Melissa cried out in shock.

A halfhearted smirk formed on Yugo's face. "I remember all the times you've used that card on me. It sucked back then and it sucks now too. Still, I don't need Clear Wing to win this! I activate the Spell Card: Speedraw! Since I control no monsters, I can draw two cards so long as I discard a 'Speedroid' monster." Yugo drew, then discarded Speedroid Den-Den Daiko Duke. "I summon Speedroid Ohajikid!" A small robotic kid in a cowboy's outfit with a blue cape and hat appeared.

Speedroid Ohajikid ATK 1000 DEF 200 LVL: 3

Toru blinked in surprise before smirking. "I'll admit, I didn't see that coming."

"The turn Ohajikid is Normal Summoned, I can perform a Synchro Summon using Ohajikid and a Tuner monster in your Graveyard!" Yugo said. "I tune the Level 2 Scrap Worm in your Graveyard to the Level 3 Ohajikid!" Scrap Worm reappeared and turned into two rings that encircled Ohajikid. "Overflowing with the throb of life, soul of the sword's dance! Synchro Summon! Come out, Level 5! Hi-Speedroid Chanbara!" A humanoid monster sitting on a massive blade emerged from the light in Attack Position.

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 2000 DEF 1000 LVL: 5

Toru's smirk grew. "I never get over how awesome that move is." Then his smirk disappeared. "But it's still annoying when it's being used against me."

"I activate the Spell Card: Hi-Speed Accel!" The card showed Chanbara with streams of green wind trailing around it. "One 'Speedroid' monster I control gains attack points equal to the attack points of a 'Speedroid' monster in my Graveyard until the end of the turn. I give Den-Den Daiko Duke's 1200 attack points to Chanbara!"

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 2000→3200

"Battle! Chanbara attacks Scrap Shark!" The monster charged forward, only for Toru to hold out his hand.

"Trap activate!" he declared. "Scrap-Iron Scarecrow!" A scarecrow made of metal junk appeared in front of Scrap Shark. Chanbara's blade hit it, but the scarecrow didn't budge. "When you declare an attack, that attack is negated!" Chanbara eventually gave up and flew back to Yugo's side. "And then, instead of being sent to the Graveyard, Scrap-Iron Scarecrow is Set again!"

Kiryu blinked as the audience cheered Toru's move. "That card… how does he have it?"

Yugo smirked. "I figured you'd have a card like that. Which is why I summoned Chanbara. After all, it can attack twice during the Battle Phase! Once again, Chanbara attacks Scrap Shark!" Chanbara charged again. "Chanbara's effect activates! When it battles, it gains 100 attack points during damage calculation!"

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 3200→3300

Chanbara pierced Scrap Shark with its blade, destroying it. Toru winced as a shockwave hit him and briefly sent him careening out of control.

Toru: 4000→3000 LP

"Since Scrap Shark was removed from the field, Scrap Lube's effect destroys itself." The Continuous Spell Card shattered at Toru's words.

"I Set two cards. I end my turn. During the End Phase, Hi-Speed Accel's effect ends."

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 3300→2100

Toru laughed. "Not bad; even without Clear Wing, you're not giving up."

"If I gave up, Rin would let me have it," Yugo said with a smile. "Even if she isn't here, I can't let her down."

Toru smiled as well. "She would be. Just as she'd be disappointed in me if I didn't make you work for your victory! My turn! Draw!"

Toru drew and frowned. Then he looked up and his eyes widened. He leaned to the side, drifting his Duel Runner to the right as he reached up and grabbed an Action Card. He looked at it and smirked.

"Alright, time to take this duel up a notch! I Set one card and summon Scrap Kong!" A mechanical gorilla with a barrel for a stomach appeared.

Scrap Kong ATK 2000→2200 DEF 1000→1200 LVL: 4

"Scrap Kong's effect activates! When it is Normal Summoned, it is destroyed!" The gorilla exploded and briefly left a trail of smoke. "Since Scrap Kong was destroyed by the effect of a 'Scrap' card and sent to the Graveyard, I can add a 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard to my hand. I return Scrap Shark to my hand." Toru smirked again. "And since Scrap Kong was destroyed by a card effect, Scrap Factory lets me Special Summon a new 'Scrap' monster! I summon the Tuner monster Scrap Mind Reader!" A hair heater using wires to hold a blow dryer and a shower head appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Mind Reader ATK 0→200 DEF 0→200 LVL: 1

Yuji frowned. "He has a Level 1 Tuner monster and a Level 7 monster. Meaning…"

"Another Synchro Summon is coming," Kiryu said.

"I tune Level 1 Mind Reader to Level 7 Scrap Archfiend! Old and broken machines, gather together and give birth to a new power! Synchro Summon! Come forth! Level 8! Scrap Dragon!" The mechanical dragon with plated wings and red eyes emerged from the light and roared in Attack Position, steam shooting out from pipes on its body.

Scrap Dragon ATK 2800→3000 DEF 2000→2200 LVL: 8

"Toru brings out his ace monster!" Melissa said over the audience's cheers.

"He's lucky that Dragon Chains card only affects Yugo's monsters," Go commented. "Otherwise his Scrap Dragon would be affected too."

Yugo smirked. "For being made of junk, that dragon has a nasty effect."

"You're damn right it does! Scrap Dragon's effect activates! I can target and destroy a card I control and a card you control. I destroy my Set card and your Chanbara! Steam Release!" The two pipes shot superheated steam out at Chanbara and Toru's face-down card, vaporizing both of them.

"So that's why he grabbed that Action Card," Yuji realized. "It didn't matter what it was, he just needed to Set it."

"Battle!" Toru declared. "Scrap Dragon attacks you directly! Steam Burst!" The dragon opened its mouth and fired superheated steam at Yugo, who grimaced and gestured to his field.

"Continuous Trap activate! Call of the Haunted! This Special Summons a monster from my Graveyard in Attack Position! Resurrect, Chanbara!" The humanoid monster attached to a blade reappeared.

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 2000 DEF 1000 LVL: 5

Toru laughed, not upset at this development. "I figured you'd do something like that! Scrap Dragon attacks Chanbara!"

"Chanbara's effect activates! When it battles, it gains 100 attack points!"

Hi-Speedroid Chanbara ATK 2000→2100

"Steam Burst!" The superheated steam struck Chanbara, destroying it again. This time, Yugo swerved in reaction to the shockwave of his monster's destruction.

Yugo: 4000→3100 LP

"I end my turn." Toru turned to look back at Yugo. "Come on, Yugo! Don't tell me that's all you've got! Rin would be disappointed if you gave up now!"

Yugo grinned widely. "Oh, you shouldn't goad me like that, Toru! It makes me want to go all out! My turn! Draw! I summon Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice!" A square yellow die appeared, circled by six electrodes.

Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice ATK 100 DEF 100 LVL: 1

"Since I control a Wind monster, I can Special Summon Speedroid Taketomborg!" A blue, red, and yellow humanoid monster with very thin arms and legs appeared in Attack Position.

Speedroid Taketomborg ATK 600 DEF 1200 LVL: 3

"I tune Level 1 Red-Eyed Dice to Level 3 Taketomborg! Thousand-face possessing shadow of the labyrinth. With that sharp blade, render chaotic darkness! Synchro Summon! Come, Level 4! Hi-Speedroid Puzzle!" A humanoid machine monster in blue and green, with a blade for a left hand and a cannon for a right hand, and a red scarf appeared around its neck, emerged from the light in Attack Position.

Hi-Speedroid Puzzle ATK 1300 DEF 1600 LVL: 4

"A new Synchro Monster," Yuji muttered.

"I activate the Spell Card: Synchro Treasure! For each Synchro Monster on the field, I draw a card, but I can't add cards from my Deck to my hand for the rest of the turn. There are two, so I draw two cards!"

Yugo drew, then drove his Duel Runner towards the edge of the road. With a great heave, he sent his Duel Runner into the air, reached out, and grabbed an Action Card. On landing, he looked at the card and smirked.

"Yes! I activate the Action Spell Card: Illusion Force! This increases Puzzle's attack points by 600 until the end of the Battle Phase!"

Hi-Speedroid Puzzle ATK 1300→1900

"Battle! Hi-Speedroid Puzzle attacks Scrap Dragon!"

"Eh?!" Melissa gasped in surprise. "He's attacking even though his monster is weaker?!"

Though Melissa and the audience were confused, Toru wasn't. He knew exactly what Yugo was doing. Which was why he gestured to his field.

"Trap activate!" he declared. "Scrap-Iron Scarecrow! Your attack is negated!" The metal scarecrow reappeared, but Yugo only smirked.

"I knew you'd bring that back out! Which is why I have this! Counter Trap activate! Trap Jammer!" This time, Toru gasped in surprise. "When you activate a Trap Card during the Battle Phase, that card is negated and it is destroyed!" Toru flinched as his scarecrow shattered. "And with that out of the way, Puzzle's attack continues! At this point, Puzzle's effect activates! Once per turn, when it battles your Special Summoned monster, its attack points become double its current attack points!"

Hi-Speedroid Puzzle ATK 1900→3800

Puzzle fired several shots at Scrap Dragon, destroying it and making Toru cry out.

Toru: 3000→2200 LP

Hi-Speedroid Puzzle ATK 3800→1900

Toru smirked. "Nice attack, Yugo. But destroying my monster's going to cost you! When Scrap Dragon is destroyed by your card and sent to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon a non-Synchro 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard! Resurrect, Scrap Golem!" The giant refrigerator monster reappeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Golem ATK 2300→2500 DEF 1400→1600 LVL: 5

Yugo smiled. "I remember that effect of Scrap Dragon's. Still, it was worth it to damage you and get rid of it. At the end of my Battle Phase, Illusion Force's effect ends and Puzzle's attack points return to normal."

Hi-Speedroid Puzzle ATK 1900→1300

"I Set one card. I end my turn."

"Yugo takes back the lead from Toru! But Toru has set himself up for a counterattack!"

"You got that right!" Toru said. "My turn! Draw! I summon Scrap Shark!" The mechanical fish reappeared.

Scrap Shark ATK 2100→2300 DEF 0→200 LVL: 4

"Scrap Golem's effect activates! I Special Summon Scrap Mind Reader from the Graveyard!" The tiny machine reappeared in Defense Position.

Scrap Mind Reader ATK 0 DEF 0 LVL: 1

"Scrap Shark's effect activates! When a card effect is activated, it is destroyed!" The mechanical fish exploded. "Since Scrap Shark was destroyed by the effect of a 'Scrap' card and sent to the Graveyard, I can send a 'Scrap' monster from my Deck to the Graveyard. I send Scrap Searcher to the Graveyard. And since my 'Scrap' monster was destroyed by a card effect, Scrap Factory's effect activates and I Special Summon Scrap Recycler!" A machine that resembled a trash can on wheels with claws on the sides appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Recycler ATK 900 DEF 1200 LVL: 3

"Scrap Recycler's effect activates! When it is Normal or Special Summoned, I can send a 'Scrap' monster form my Deck to the Graveyard. I send Scrap Goblin to the Graveyard!"

(Note: Yes, I am aware that Scrap Recycler's effect says it sends Machine monsters to the GY, not "Scrap" monsters. See the Created Cards section for an explanation.)

"Scrap Recycler's additional effect activates! Once per turn, I can shuffle two Level 4 'Scrap' monsters from my Graveyard into my Deck and draw a card. I shuffle Scrap Kong and Scrap Shark into my Deck and draw!"

(Note: Again, this isn't Scrap Recycler's real world effect. Once again, I refer you to the Created Cards section.)

"I tune Level 1 Scrap Mind Reader to Level 3 Scrap Recycler and Level 5 Scrap Golem!" Toru declared. "Broken and abandoned machines, revive a great beast and unite to form a new power! Synchro Summon! Appear, Level 9! Scrap Twin Dragon!" A two-headed mechanical dragon emerged from the light and roared in Attack Position.

Scrap Twin Dragon ATK 3000→3200 DEF 2200→2400 LVL: 9

"Toru brings out his second ace monster!"

"I activate the Spell Card: Monster Reborn! This lets me Special Summon a monster from the Graveyard. I Special Summon Scrap Goblin!" A small, bipedal mechanical monster appeared in Defense Position.

Scrap Goblin ATK 0→200 DEF 500→700 LVL: 3

"Scrap Twin Dragon's effect activates! By destroying a card I control, I can return two of your cards to your hand! I destroy Scrap Goblin to return Puzzle to your Extra Deck and your face-down card to your hand!" Yugo frowned as his two cards disappeared. "Since Scrap Goblin was destroyed by the effect of a 'Scrap' card and sent to the Graveyard, I can add a 'Scrap' monster in my Graveyard to my hand. I'll add Scrap Recycler to my hand."

Toru gestured to his field. "Battle! Scrap Twin Dragon attacks you directly! Twin Steam Burst!" The two-headed dragon fired two streams of superheated steam at Yugo.

"Yugo's Life Points are 3100! Scrap Twin Dragon's attack points are 3200! If this attack hits, Yugo loses!" Melissa cried out.

"Not happening!" Yugo declared. "I activate the effect of Speedroid Menko in my hand! When your monster declares an attack, I can Special Summon Menko and change all of your monsters to Defense Position!" A gearbox with four flares at its corners appeared in Defense Position as Scrap Twin Dragon changed to Defense Position, making the steam disappear.

Speedroid Menko ATK 100 DEF 2000 LVL: 4

Rather than be disappointed, Toru just laughed. "I should have known you'd pull a trick like that! That's just like you, Yugo! I Set one card. I end my turn."

"Yugo has more Life Points, but Toru has a stronger field," Crow said. "This is a really close match."

"The two are able to counter and predict each other's moves almost perfectly," Serena observed.

"They've clearly been friends for a long time," Go said, "for them to know how the other duels so well."

"My turn! Draw! I summon Speedroid Tri-Eyed Dice!" A violet die shaped like a pyramind and orbited by three electrodes appeared.

Speedroid Tri-Eyed Dice ATK 300 DEF 1500 LVL: 3

Yuji frowned. "Tri-Eyed Dice is a Level 3 Tuner monster and Menko is Level 4," he said. "Normally, I would assume he planned on summoning Clear Wing Synchro Dragon. But…"

"Thanks to Dragon Chains, Clear Wing Synchro Dragon will be powerless if Yugo brings it out," Yuya said, having the same thoughts as Yuji. "So what is Yugo planning to do?"

"I activate the Spell Card: Hi-Speed Re-Level!" Yugo declared, much to Toru's surprise.

"What? But that was the card you Set! Why would-?" Toru's eyes widened as the realization hit him. Then he laughed out. "Yugo! You tricky bastard! You Set your Spell Card on purpose so I would bring out Scrap Twin Dragon and use up its effect!"

"We really know each other too well," Yugo said with a smile. "We both continuously Synchro Summon our more powerful monsters. That makes us each our most dangerous opponents." Toru chuckled in agreement. "Hi-Speed Re-Level lets me banish a 'Speedroid' or 'Hi-Speedroid' monster from my Graveyard to change the Levels of all monsters on the field to that monster's Level until the end of the turn. I banish the Level 3 Ohajikid to make each monster on the field Level 3!"

Scrap Twin Dragon LVL: 9→3

Speedroid Menko LVL: 4→3

"I tune Level 3 Tri-Eyed Dice to Level 3 Menko! Magical sword with the form of a cross. Use your power to rend all enemies! Synchro Summon! Appear now! Level 6! Hi-Speedroid Kendama!" A dark blue machine that looked like a sword attached to a cross emerged from the light in Attack Position.

Hi-Speedroid Kendama ATK 2200 DEF 1600 LVL: 6

"That's the monster he used in the Battle Royale," Yuji remembered.

"Kendama's effect activates! Once per turn, I can banish a 'Speedroid' monster from my Graveyard to inflict 500 points of damage! I banish Menko!" Kendama fired a bolt of blue energy at Toru, making him wince.

Toru: 2200→1700 LP

"Even if Kendama can inflict damage, its attack points are lower than Scrap Twin Dragon's defense points," Yuzu said.

"I activate the effect of Hi-Speed Accel in my Graveyard!" Yugo declared. "By banishing it, a Level 5 or higher monster gains 1000 attack points until the end of the turn! I target Kendama for this effect!"

Hi-Speedroid Kendama ATK 2200→3200

Yuzu blinked and a self-deprecatory smile crossed her face. "I spoke too soon."

"Battle! Kendama attacks Scrap Twin Dragon! And when Kendama attacks a Defense Position monster, it inflicts piercing battle damage!" Kendama ran through the twin-headed dragon, destroying it and making Toru cry out in pain.

Toru: 1700→900 LP

"Yugo takes the lead once again!" Melissa commented. This time, as Toru regained his control of his Duel Runner, Yugo shot past him, taking the lead in more than one way.

Toru smiled. "It seems I'm losing. But I still have moves. When Scrap Twin Dragon is destroyed by your card and sent to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon a non-Synchro 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard! Resurrect, Scrap Golem!" The giant monster reappeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Golem ATK 2300→2500 DEF 1400→1600 LVL: 5

Yugo grimaced. "I knew that was going to happen, but I figured it was worth it. I end my turn. During the End Phase, Hi-Speed Accel's effect ends, and Kendama's attack points return to normal."

Hi-Speedroid Kendama ATK 3200→2200

Toru smiled as he watched his friend drive in front of him. Yugo. As impulsive and stupid as you can be, you've also always been clever and dependable. Ever since we first met…

He remembered that day fondly. Up until then, he had lived in a junkyard, helping himself to what the Tops and Commons threw away. His only real interactions with others were chasing scavengers away. Until Yugo and Rin showed up, looking for parts to help build their Duel Runner. Toru had tried to drive them away like he had all the other scavengers, but Yugo had been as stubborn as him. Eventually, their fight had knocked over a pile of scrap metal, nearly burying Toru. He had expected them to abandon him; after all, he had attacked them first. But to his surprise, and Yugo's at the time, Rin had insisted on digging him out. That single act of kindness had led to him going to their orphanage, doing his part to keep Yugo out of too much trouble, and occasionally get into ridiculous arguments with him until Rin scolded both of them.

Ah, those had been the happiest years of his life. But they had come to an end when Rin was kidnapped. Yugo had briefly disappeared, only to return and claim he had gone to another dimension. Toru hadn't believed him, thinking it was a prank. It wasn't until he met Yuzu that he realized Yugo was telling the truth. And that the people who kidnapped Rin would likely bring war to the City. As much as Toru didn't care about the Tops, he couldn't let some interdimensional conquerors have their way. Not if they had taken Rin. So he decided; he would help Yugo and Yuzu as best as he could.

And right now, at this moment, the best he could do was make Yugo work for his victory! "My turn! Draw! I summon Scrap Recycler!"

Scrap Recycler ATK 900→1100 DEF 1200→1400 LVL: 3

"Scrap Recycler's effect activates! I send Scrap Beast from my Deck to the Graveyard. Scrap Golem's effect activates! I Special Summon Scrap Worm!" The small machine made of tubes appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Worm ATK 500→700 DEF 100→300 LVL: 2

"Let's rev it up! I tune Level 2 Scrap Worm to Level 3 Scrap Recycler and Level 5 Scrap Golem!"

Yuji's eyes widened. "This is-."

"A Level 10 Synchro Monster?" Crow gasped.

"Broken and abandoned machines, combine into a new trinity that surpasses all other creations! Synchro Summon! Take flight, Level 10! Atomic Scrap Dragon!" A three-headed mechanical dragon with red skin and glowing green eyes emerged from the light and roared in Attack Position.

Atomic Scrap Dragon ATK 3200→3400 DEF 2400→2600 LVL: 10

Melissa gasped. "A-Amazing! Toru's dragon has evolved once more! He's brought out his ultimate ace monster!"

Yugo grimaced. "That's his strongest monster right there," he muttered. "I've never been able to defeat it without Clear Wing. Slowly, a smirk formed on his face. "Well, better late than never!"

"Trap activate!" Toru declared. "Back to the Front! This lets me Special Summon a monster from my Graveyard in Defense Position. Resurrect, Scrap Beast!" A gray and yellow mechanical hound appeared and barked.

Scrap Beast ATK 1600→1800 DEF 1300→1500 LVL: 4

"Atomic Scrap Dragon's effect activates! By destroying a card I control, I can return up to three cards in your Graveyard to your Deck!" Yugo's eyes widened. "I destroy Scrap Beast and shuffle Tri-Eyed Dice, Den-Den Daiko Duke, and Red-Eyed Dice into your Deck!" Yugo grit his teeth as Scrap Beast exploded.

"That means Yugo can't use Tri-Eyed Dice's effect to prevent Atomic Scrap Dragon's attack," Yuji realized.

"Since Scrap Beast was destroyed by a 'Scrap' card's effect, I can add a 'Scrap' monster from my Graveyard to my hand. I'll add Scrap Recycler to my hand. And since Scrap Beast was destroyed by a card effect, Scrap Factory's effect activates! I Special Summon Scrap Breaker!" A large floating machine with no legs and two cannons for arms appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Breaker ATK 2100→2300 DEF 700→900 LVL: 6

"And since my 'Scrap' monster was destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon this card from my Graveyard! Come, Scrap Searcher!" A gray mechanical bird with search lights on its back appeared in Attack Position.

Scrap Searcher ATK 100→300 DEF 300→500 LVL: 1

"When Scrap Searcher is Special Summoned, all non-'Scrap' monsters I control are destroyed. But since I only control 'Scrap' monsters, I don't lose anything." Toru smirked. "I activate the Quick-Play Spell Card: Scrap Sheen! By destroying my Scrap Searcher, all 'Scrap' monsters I control gain 1000 attack points until the End Phase!" Yugo gasped as the bird exploded and Atomic Scrap Dragon and Scrap Breaker glowed.

Atomic Scrap Dragon ATK 3400→4400

Scrap Breaker ATK 2300→3300

"Yugo," Yuzu breathed, her worry evident.

"Battle! Atomic Scrap Dragon attacks Kendama! Ultimate Steam Burst!" The three heads all shot superheated steam at Kendama. When the steam struck, the machine rusted over before exploding. Yugo cried out as the shockwave and smoke sent him spinning.

Yugo: 3100→900 LP

"Yugo has been reduced to 900 Life Points!" Melissa reported. "He and Toru are neck-and-neck!"

"It's time for this duel to end, Yugo!" Toru declared. "Scrap Breaker attacks you directly!" As Yugo got his machine back under control, the machine fired lasers at him. He grit his teeth and revealed a card he held.

"I activate the Action Spell Card: Evasion!" he declared, surprising Toru. "Your attack is negated!" The lasers went past Yugo and struck the ground behind him, causing an explosion. Fortunately, it was too far away to hit Yugo.

"When did you-?" Toru's eyes widened in realization. "I see. You grabbed that when Atomic Scrap Dragon destroyed Kendama! You used the smoke as a smokescreen."

"That's right," Yugo confirmed.

Toru laughed. "Well, I can't do anything else. I end my turn. And during the End Phase, Atomic Scrap Dragon's and Scrap Breaker's attack points return to normal."

Atomic Scrap Dragon ATK 4400→3400

Scrap Breaker ATK 3300→2300

Toru smiled. "Come on, Yugo! You have no cards in your hand or field! Come at me with all you got! Put everything into your last draw!"

I will!" Yugo smiled in response. "Rin wouldn't want me to give up, so I won't! My turn! Draw!"

"Yugo has only one card in his hand, while Toru controls two powerful monsters!" Melissa reported. "Can he overcome this?!"

Yugo looked at his card and smiled. "Yes! It's here!" Toru blinked. "I activate the Spell Card: Hi-Speed Ignition!" The card showed Hi-Speedroid Puzzle in two Synchro rings, with the shadow of Hi-Speedroid Kendama in the background. "As I control no cards, I can banish a 'Hi-Speedroid' monster from my Graveyard. Then, I can Special Summon a 'Hi-Speedroid' Synchro Monster from my Extra Deck that is 1 or 2 Levels higher and treat it as a Synchro Summon!" Toru's eyes widened. "I banish Hi-Speedroid Kendama!"

Kendama reappeared and was encircled by two rings. It turned transparent and disappeared, leaving six stars. Light surged through the wings as Yugo chanted, "Wings of radiance and light, spread in magnificence and strike down our foes! Synchro Summon! Appear, Level 8! Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake!" The monster that emerged from the rings was draconian in appearance, with a serpentine body made of white disks connected by blue sections, and a blue and white head. Green panels on its back and tail formed wings as the mechanical dragon roared in Attack Position.

Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake ATK 3000 DEF 2800 LVL: 8

Yuji blinked in surprise as the crowd went wild. "A Level 8 'Hi-Speedroid' monster with 3000 attack points?"

"He had a monster like this the whole time?" Serena wondered aloud in surprise.

Toru stared at the monster. "Okay. I got to admit, that's a new one. I've never seen this one before."

Yugo smirked. "Kitedrake is a new addition to my Deck. And it's one that's going to win! Kitedrake's effect activates! When it is Synchro Summoned, I can activate one of two effects. I can either destroy all other cards on the field, or I can negate the effects of all face-up cards you control!" Toru's eyes widened. "I choose to negate the effects of your cards! Trichroic Mirror!" The panels on Kitedrake's back lit up with blue, red, and green light that spread out to Toru's cards. Toru watched in horror as his monsters all moaned and his Field Spell and Continuous Trap grayed out.

Atomic Scrap Dragon ATK 3400→3200 DEF 2600→2400

Scrap Breaker ATK 2300→2100 DEF 900→700

"Smart move," Yuji commented. "Atomic Scrap Dragon can likely Special Summon a monster when destroyed, just like its predecessors could. And if Toru summoned that monster in Defense Position, then Yugo wouldn't have been able to damage him."

"The monster that was Synchro Summoned by Hi-Speed Ignition can't attack directly," Yugo said. "And during the End Phase, it will be sent to the Graveyard." His eyes narrowed. "But that won't matter right now. Battle! Kitedrake attacks Scrap Breaker!"

"The difference in attack points is 900," Go said.

"If this goes through, Yugo will win," Crow said.

Toru grit his teeth as the panels on Kitedrake's body lit up again. But as he looked forward, he gasped. "Hey, Yugo!"

The other boy blinked and turned to where Toru was looking, and he saw it too: two Action Cards.

Toru sped up so that he was right next to Yugo. He grinned at his friend. "One last gamble?"

Yugo smirked. "You're on!" The two sped up but stayed neck-and-neck until they reached the cards. They each swooped down and grabbed one.

Toru looked at his card and his grin widened. "Perfect! I activate the Action Spell Card: Battle Change! This lets me change your monster's attack target to a monster I control! I change Kitedrake's attack to Atomic Scrap Dragon!"

"Yugo was about to win, but now Toru has forced his monster to attack Toru's Synchro Monster!" Melissa reported. Atomic Scrap Dragon began building up steam in its maws.

Yugo smiled. "Not bad. You grabbed the exact Action Card you needed. But… so did I. I activate the Action Spell Card: Double Attack! During each Battle Phase this turn, Kitedrake's attack points are doubled!" Toru gasped in shock.

Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake ATK 3000→6000

"Attack Atomic Scrap Dragon Kitedrake!" Yugo declared. "High Speed Whirlwind Slasher!" The mechanical dragon's panels glowed with light as it roared. It spun around, creating a powerful whirlwind as it drilled through Atomic Scrap Dragon. The three-headed monster cried out as it exploded. Toru similarly cried out as he was truck by the whirlwind, making his Duel Runner stop and release steam.

Toru: 900→0 LP

"After a long back-and-forth duel, the winner of the third match of today is Yugo!" Melissa cheered.

"That duel was very close," Go said as he crossed his arms. "A clear sign of just how close Yugo and Toru are; they wouldn't have been able to anticipate and counter each other's moves so effectively if they didn't."

"So Yuzu Hiragi, Serena, and Yugo are advancing to the next round," Yuji said, frowning to himself. "That leaves me, Go, Kurosaki, Kiryu, Crow, Aki Izayoi, Lotten, Yuya, Shinji, and Sergey Volkov for the last five duels."

Yugo rode into the stadium and raised his arm, waving to the cheering crowd. "Yeah! I did it! I'm going on to the next round!" As she stopped by the pits however, a small frown crossed his face. "But, that means…"

"Good game."

Yugo turned to look at Toru approaching him. "That duel was our closest yet. Rin would have been proud of both of us."

"…Yeah, she would have."

Toru blinked on seeing the morose look on Yugo's face. "Hey, what's wrong Yugo? It's not like you to look so down."

"Well… you're going underground now. And I'm the one who sent you there."

Toru stared at Yugo but then smiled encouragingly. "Hey, don't worry about me. You know me; you honestly think I'm going to let something like that keep me down? I'll be back. Better and stronger than ever! And we'll have another match!"

"Toru…" Tears gathered at the corners of Yugo's eyes before he started crying in earnest and hugged his friend tightly, much to his surprise.

"H-Hey, Yugo!" Toru complained. "Don't cry! You know if you do, I-I'll-!" That was as far as he got before he also burst into tears and hugged his friends back.

"Uh…" Melissa said, watching the waterworks with increasing bemusement. "I-It's time for you two to leave the stad-."

"SHUT IT!" the two shouted, surprising Melissa. "WE'RE HAVING A MOMENT HERE!"

"Uh, right."

Yuji sighed. "Why do I keep meeting brilliant idiots?" he wondered morosely.


Yuzu Hiragi vs. Shingo Sawatari

At the start of the Duel, the Field Spell Card Crossover Acceleration is activated, as per the rules of an Action Duel and a Turbo Duel. It will allow the players to use Action Cards, but they may only have one in their hand at a time.

Turn 1: Shingo

Shingo activates the Field Spell Card Abyss Playhouse – Fantastic Theater. He activates Fantastic Theater's effect, revealing Abyss Actor – Superstar and Abyss Script – Opening Ceremony in his hand. Shingo can then add 1 "Abyss "Script" Spell Card from his Deck to his hand. He adds Abyss Script – Blackout Performance from his Deck to his hand. Shingo activates Abyss Actor – Leading Lady (PS: 2) and Abyss Actor – Comic Relief (PS: 8) in his Pendulum Zones. Shingo Pendulum Summons Abyss Actor – Superstar (2500/1800/7/3) in Attack Position. Shingo activates Superstar's effect to add 1 "Abyss Script" Spell Card from his Deck to his hand, but that card will be sent to his GY during the End Phase. He adds Abyss Script – Casting Call from his Deck to his hand. Shingo activates the Spell Card Abyss Script – Casting Call, which lets him Special Summon 1 "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster from his Deck to his field in Attack Position, but it cannot attack and is destroyed during the End Phase. Shingo Special Summons Abyss Actor – Wild Hope (1600/1200/4/2). Shingo activates the Spell Card Abyss Script – Opening Ceremony, which increases his LP by 500 for each Attack Position "Abyss Actor" monster he controls (Shingo: 4000→5000 LP). Shingo Sets 1 card. He ends his turn. During the End Phase, Wild Hope is destroyed by Casting Call's effect. As Wild Hope was destroyed, Shingo can add 1 "Abyss Actor" monster from his Deck to his hand. He adds Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie to his hand.

Turn 2: Yuzu

Yuzu draws. She activates the Continuous Spell Card Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen. As she controls no monsters, she activates Valhalla's effect to Special Summon 1 Fairy monster from her hand. She Special Summons Mozarta the Melodious Maestra (2600/2000/8) in Attack Position. Yuzu activates Mozarta's effect to Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower "Melodious" monster from her hand. As Yuzu activated a monster effect while Shingo controls a Pendulum Summoned "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster, he activates the effect of Fantastic Theater to change the effect of Mozarta to "Destroy 1 Set Spell/Trap Card your opponent controls." Yuzu targets and destroys the Set Abyss Script – Blackout Performance. As the Set Blackout Performance was destroyed by Yuzu's card effect and Shingo has a face-up "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster in his Extra Deck, Shingo draws 2 cards. Yuzu Normal Summons Canon the Melodious Diva (1400/2000/4). Yuzu activates the Quick-Play Spell Card Pianissimo, targeting Superstar and making its ATK 100 until the end of the turn, but it cannot be destroyed by battle (Superstar: 2500→100).

Mozarta attacks Superstar, but Superstar isn't destroyed (Shingo: 5000→2500 LP). Canon attacks Superstar, but Superstar isn't destroyed (Shingo: 2500→1200 LP). Yuzu activates Canon's effect, changing its battle position to Defense Position. Yuzu Sets 1 card. She ends her turn. During the End Phase, Pianissimo's effect ends (Superstar: 100→2500).

Turn 3: Shingo

Shingo draws. He activates the effect of Fantastic Theater, revealing Sassy Rookie and Abyss Script – Trapeze Performance in his hand to add Abyss Script – Abysstainment from his Deck to his hand. Shingo Pendulum Summons Wild Hope (1600/1200/4/2) from his Extra Deck and Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie (1700/1000/4/2) from his hand, both in Attack Position. As he controls a face-up "Abyss Actor" monster, he activates the Spell Card Abyss Script – Trapeze Performance, which lets him return 1 card in his Pendulum Zones to the owner's hand. He returns Leading Lady to his hand. Shingo activates Abyss Actor – Evil Heel (PS: 1) in his Pendulum Zone. He Normal Summons Leading Lady (1500/1000/4/2). Shingo activates Superstar's effect, adding Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King from his Deck to his hand. Shingo activates the Spell Card Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King, which lets him target and destroy face-up cards on the field up to the number of Attack Position "Abyss Actor" monsters he controls. He destroys Canon, Mozarta, and Valhalla.

Superstar attacks Yuzu directly, but Yuzu activates her Set Trap Card Draining Shield, negating the attack and gaining LP equal to Superstar's ATK (Yuzu: 4000→6500 LP). Wild Hope attacks Yuzu directly (Yuzu: 6500→4600 LP). Sassy Rookie attacks Yuzu directly (Yuzu: 4600→2900 LP). Leading Lady attacks Yuzu directly (Yuzu: 2900→1400 LP). Shingo activates the Continuous Spell Card Abyss Script – Abysstainment. He activates its effect, Tributing 1 "Abyss Actor" monster to Set 1 "Abyss Script" Spell Card from his GY. He Tributes Wild Hope to Set Opening Ceremony. Shingo activates the Spell Card Opening Ceremony, gaining 500 LP for each Attack Position "Abyss Actor" monster he controls (Shingo: 1200→2700 LP). Shingo activates the effect of Abysstainment, Tributing Leading Lady to Set Opening Ceremony. Shingo activates the Spell Card Opening Ceremony (Shingo: 2700→3700 LP). Shingo ends his turn.

Turn 4: Yuzu

Yuzu draws. She Normal Summons Cantata the Melodious Diva (1200/800/4). As Cantata was Normal Summoned, Yuzu can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower "Melodious" monster from her Deck in Attack Position, but it will be destroyed during the End Phase. She Special Summons Soprano the Melodious Songstress (1400/1400/4). As she controls a "Melodious" monster, Yuzu Special Summons Sonata the Melodious Diva (1200/1000/3) in Attack Position. Yuzu activates the effect of Soprano, which lets her Fusion Summon 1 Fusion Monster using monsters from her hand or her field as Fusion Materials. She fuses Cantata, Sonata, and Soprano on her field to Fusion Summon Bloom Prima the Melodious Choir (1900/2000/7) in Attack Position. Bloom Prima gains 300 ATK for each Fusion Material used for its Fusion Summon (Bloom Prima: 1900→2800). As Cantata was used to Fusion Summon a "Melodious" monster, Yuzu can draw 2 cards. Yuzu activates the Equip Spell Card Melodious Crescendo, equipping it to Bloom Prima and increasing its ATK by 500 (Bloom Prima: 2800→3300).

Bloom Prima attacks and destroys Superstar (Shingo: 3700→2900 LP). As the monster equipped with Melodious Crescendo destroyed Shingo's monster by battle, Yuzu can destroy 1 Spell/Trap Card Shingo controls. She targets and destroys Abysstainment. Bloom Prima can make a second attack during each Battle Phase. Bloom Prima attacks Sassy Rookie, but Sassy Rookie cannot be destroyed once per turn (Shingo: 2900→1300 LP). Yuzu Sets 2 cards. She ends her turn.

Turn 5: Shingo

Shingo draws. He activates the Pendulum effect of Comic Relief, targeting Sassy Rookie and Bloom Prima. He switches control of Bloom Prima and Sassy Rookie and destroys Comic Relief. Yuzu activates her Set Quick-Play Spell Card De-Fusion, which lets her return 1 Fusion Monster on the field to the owner's Extra Deck, then Special Summon all of the Fusion Materials if they are in the GY. She returns Bloom Prima to her Extra Deck and Special Summons Cantata (1200/800/4), Sonata (1200/1000/3), and Soprano (1400/1400/4) from her GY, all in Defense Position. Shingo activates Abyss Actor – Twinkle Littlestar (PS: 9) in his Pendulum Zone. Shingo Pendulum Summons Leading Lady (1500/1000/4/2) in Defense Position, Superstar (2500/1800/7/3) in Attack Position, and Wild Hope (1600/1200/4/2) in Attack Position from his Extra Deck. Shingo activates Superstar's effect to add Abyss Script – Ritual of the Abyss to his hand. Shingo activates the Ritual Spell Card Abyss Script – Ritual of the Abyss, which lets him Ritual Summon 1 "Abyss Actor" Ritual Monster from his hand by Tributing monsters whose combined Levels equal or exceed the Ritual Monster's. Shingo Tributes the Level 7 Superstar to Ritual Summon Abyss Actor – Underworld Magician (2800/2100/7) in Attack Position. Shingo activates the Pendulum effect of Twinkle Littlestar, targeting Underworld Magician. During each Battle Phase this turn, Underworld Magician can make up to 3 attacks on Yuzu's monsters, and Shingo's other monsters cannot attack. He activates the Pendulum effect of Evil Heel, adding Wild Hope to his Extra Deck and targeting Sassy Rookie, lowering its ATK by Wild Hope's ATK (Sassy Rookie: 1700→100). Shingo finds an Action Card.

Underworld Magician attacks Cantata. Yuzu activates her Set Trap Card Rallentando, which lets her Tribute 1 "Melodious" monster she controls, and for the rest of the turn, all battle damage she takes is reduced by that monster's original ATK. She Tributes Soprano. The attack continues and Cantata is destroyed, with Underworld Magician inflicting piercing battle damage via its effect (Yuzu: 1400→800 LP). As battle damage was inflicted, Shingo activates Leading Lady's effect, targeting Sassy Rookie and lowering its original ATK by the battle damage (Sassy Rookie: 100→0). Underworld Magician attacks and destroys Sonata, inflicting piercing battle damage (Yuzu: 800→400 LP). Underworld Magician attacks Sassy Rookie. As it is battling a Pendulum Monster, Sassy Rookie's effects are negated until the end of the turn. As Yuzu would take battle damage, she activates the effect of Rallentando in her GY, banishing it and Sonata from her GY to reduce the battle damage to 0. Sassy Rookie is destroyed. Shingo ends his turn.

Turn 6: Yuzu

Yuzu draws. As she controls no monsters, she activates the Spell Card Ostinato, which lets her Fusion Summon 1 "Melodious" Fusion Monster using 2 monsters from her hand and/or Deck as Fusion Material. She fuses Allegro the Melodious Diva and Opera the Melodious Diva in her Deck to Fusion Summon Bloom Diva the Melodious Choir (1000/2000/6) in Attack Position. As Allegro was used to Fusion Summon Bloom Diva, Bloom Diva can make a second attack during each Battle Phase.

Bloom Diva attacks Underworld Magician. As Bloom Diva is battling Shingo's Special Summoned monster, its effect activates. Bloom Diva isn't destroyed by this battle, Underworld Magician is destroyed, and Shingo takes any battle damage Yuzu would take. As Underworld Magician would be destroyed, Shingo activates its effect to Tribute 1 other "Abyss Actor" monster he controls instead. He Tributes Leading Lady. As he would take battle damage, Shingo activates the Action Spell Card Damage Banish, reducing the damage to 0. Bloom Diva attacks Underworld Magician. Its effect activates, and Underworld Magician is destroyed and Shingo takes the battle damage Yuzu would have taken (Shingo: 1300→0 LP). Yuzu wins.


Serena vs. Sherry LeBlanc

At the start of the Duel, the Field Spell Card Crossover Acceleration is activated, as per the rules of an Action Duel and a Turbo Duel. It will allow the players to use Action Cards, but they may only have one in their hand at a time.

Turn 1: Sherry LeBlanc

Sherry Normal Summons Horse of the Floral Knights (400/800/3). As Horse of the Floral Knights was Normal Summoned, Sherry can draw 1 card. As Sherry controls a Level 3 or lower monster, Sherry Special Summons Fleur Resonator (500/300/3) from her hand in Attack Position. Sherry tunes Level 3 Fleur Resonator to Level 3 Horse of the Floral Knights to Synchro Summon Bouclier de Fleur (800/2800/6) in Defense Position. Sherry Sets 1 card. She ends her turn.

Turn 2: Serena

Serena draws. She Normal Summons Lunalight White Rabbit (800/800/2). She activates White Rabbit's effect to target and return 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field to the hand. She targets and returns Sherry's Set card to her hand. Serena activates the Spell Card Polymerization, fusing White Rabbit on her field with Lunalight Blue Cat in her hand to Fusion Summon Lunalight Cat Dancer (2400/2000/7) in Attack Position. Serena activates the Spell Card Lunalight Perfume, which lets her Special Summon 1 "Lunalight" monster from her GY. She Special Summons Blue Cat (1600/1200/4) in Attack Position. As Blue Cat was Special Summoned, Serena can double the ATK of 1 "Lunalight" monster she controls until the end of the turn. She targets Cat Dancer (Cat Dancer: 2400→4800). Serena activates the Spell Card Stop Defense, targeting Bouclier de Fleur and attempting to change it to Attack Position. As Bouclier de Fleur was targeted by Serena's card effect, that effect is negated.

Cat Dancer attacks Bouclier de Fleur, but Bouclier de Fleur cannot be destroyed by battle once per turn. Serena ends her turn, and Blue Cat's effect ends (Cat Dancer: 4800→2400).

Turn 3: Sherry

Sherry draws. She Normal Summons Fleur Synchron (400/200/2). Sherry tunes Level 2 Fleur Synchron to Level 6 Bouclier de Fleur to Synchro Summon Chevalier de Fleur (2700/2300/8) in Attack Position. As Fleur Synchron was sent to the GY for a Synchro Summon, Sherry can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Normal Monster from her hand. She Special Summons Noble Knight Artorigus (1800/1800/4) in Attack Position. Sherry activates the Continuous Spell Card The A. Forces, which increases the ATK of her Warrior monsters by 200 for each Warrior or Spellcaster monster she controls (Chevalier de Fleur: 2700→3100) (Artorigus: 1800→2200).

Chevalier de Fleur attacks Cat Dancer. Serena finds and activates the Action Spell Card Evasion, but as Serena activated a Spell or Trap Card, Sherry activates the effect of Chevalier de Fleur, negating the activation of Evasion and destroying it. The attack continues and Cat Dancer is destroyed (Serena: 4000→3300 LP). Artorigus attacks and destroys Blue Cat (Serena: 3300→2700 LP). Sherry Sets 1 card. She ends her turn.

Turn 4: Serena

Serena draws. She Sets 1 monster. She Sets 1 card. She ends her turn.

Turn 5: Sherry

Sherry draws. She Normal Summons Sacred Knight Joan (1900→2500/1300/4) (Chevalier de Fleur: 3100→3300) (Artorigus: 2200→2400).

Artorigus attacks Serena's Set monster. Serena finds and activates the Action Spell Card Evasion, but Sherry activates the effect of Chevalier de Fleur, negating Evasion's activation and destroying it. As a card on the field was destroyed, Sherry activates her Set Counter Trap Card Chain Close, which prevents Serena from activating Spell or Trap Cards until the End Phase. The attack continues and Serena's Set Lunalight Silver Jaguar (1200/1400/4) is destroyed. As Silver Jaguar was sent to the GY by battle, Serena can send 1 monster Sherry controls to the GY, then add 2 "Lunalight" monsters whose combined ATK is less than or equal to that monster's original ATK from her Deck to her hand. She sends Chevalier de Fleur to the GY and adds Lunalight Kaleido Chick and Lunalight Yellow Marten to her hand (Artorigus: 2400→2200) (Joan: 2500→2300). Joan attacks Serena directly. As Joan attacked, it loses 300 ATK during the Damage Step (Joan: 2300→2000). The attack continues (Serena: 2700→700 LP) (Joan: 2000→2300). Sherry Sets 1 card. She ends her turn.

Turn 6: Serena

Serena draws. She Normal Summons Lunalight Kaleido Chick (1400/800/3). She activates Kaleido Chick's effect to send 1 "Lunalight" monster from her Deck or Extra Deck to the GY, and if Kaleido Chick is used as Fusion Material this turn, its name is treated as that monster's. She sends Lunalight Cat Dancer from her Extra Deck to the GY. Serena activates the Spell Card Fusion Sage, which lets her add Polymerization from her Deck to her hand. Serena activates Polymerization, fusing the Kaleido Chick treated as Cat Dancer on her field with Lunalight Yellow Marten in her hand to Fusion Summon Lunalight Panther Dancer (2800/2500/8) in Attack Position. As Kaleido Chick and Yellow Marten were sent to the GY by a card effect, their effects activate, and Serena adds Polymerization from her GY to her hand, then she can add 1 "Lunalight" Spell/Trap Card from her Deck to her hand. She adds Lunalight Saber from her Deck to her hand. Serena equips the Equip Spell Card Lunalight Saber to Panther Dancer, which increases its ATK by 600 and prevents Sherry from targeting it with card effects (Panther Dancer: 2800→3400).

Panther Dancer can attack every monster Sherry controls twice, but her monsters won't be destroyed by the first battle. Panther Dancer attacks Artorigus, but it isn't destroyed via Panther Dancer's effect (Sherry: 4000→2800 LP). Panther Dancer attacks Artorigus, but Sherry activates her Set Trap Card For Our Dreams. As her monster would be destroyed by battle, Sherry can Tribute 1 other monster she controls instead. She Tributes Joan (Sherry: 2800→1600 LP) (Artorigus: 2200→2000). Serena ends her turn.

Turn 7: Sherry

Sherry draws. She activates the Spell Card Synchro de Fleur, which lets her Tribute 1 monster she controls to Special Summon 2 "Fleur" monsters from her GY with their effects negated. She Tributes Artorigus and Special Summons Fleur Synchron (400→600/200/2) and Chevalier de Fleur (2700→2900/2300/8), both in Attack Position. Synchro de Fleur then lets her immediately use those monsters to perform a Synchro Summon. Sherry tunes Level 2 Fleur Synchron to Level 8 Chevalier de Fleur to Synchro Summon Imperatrice de Fleur (3300→3500/2800/10) in Attack Position. As Imperatrice de Fleur was Synchro Summoned, Sherry can target 1 Synchro Monster in her GY and increase Imperatrice de Fleur's ATK by that monster's Level x 200 until the end of the turn. She targets Chevalier de Fleur (Imperatrice de Fleur: 3500→5100).

Imperatrice de Fleur attacks Panther Dancer. As her Fusion Monster is battling, Serena activates her Set Trap Card Fusion Break, which lets her send the top 3 cards of her Deck to the GY, and for each Monster Card among them, Panther Dancer gains 800 ATK until the end of the turn. Serena sends Lunalight Black Sheep, Lunalight Blue Cat, and Lunalight Purple Butterfly to the GY. As Serena activated a card or effect, Sherry activates the effect of Imperatrice de Fleur, negating the activation of Fusion Break and destroying it. The attack continues and Panther Dancer is destroyed. As the monster equipped with Lunalight Saber was destroyed, Serena activates Lunalight Saber's effect, banishing it to reduce the battle damage to 0. Sherry ends her turn, and Imperatrice de Fleur's effect ends (Imperatrice de Fleur: 5100→3500).

Turn 8: Serena

Serena draws. She activates the Spell Card New Moon Fusion, which lets her Fusion Summon 1 "Lunalight" Fusion Monster by banishing Fusion Material monsters from the GY. Sherry activates the effect of Imperatrice de Fleur, negating the activation of New Moon Fusion and destroying it. As she controls no monsters, Serena activates the effect of New Moon Fusion in her GY, banishing Kaleido Chick from her GY to add it to her hand. Serena activates the Spell Card New Moon Fusion and banishes Cat Dancer, Panther Dancer, and Blue Cat from her GY to Fusion Summon Lunalight Sabre Dancer (3000/2600/9) in Attack Position. Sabre Dancer gains 200 ATK for each Beast-Warrior monster that is banished or in the GYs (Sabre Dancer: 3000→5200).

Sabre Dancer attacks and destroys Imperatrice de Fleur (Sherry: 1600→0 LP). Serena wins.


Yugo vs. Toru

At the start of the Duel, the Field Spell Card Crossover Acceleration is activated, as per the rules of an Action Duel and a Turbo Duel. It will allow the players to use Action Cards, but they may only have one in their hand at a time.

Turn 1: Toru

Toru Normal Summons Scrap Shark (2100/0/4). Toru activates the Field Spell Card Scrap Factory, which increases the ATK/DEF of "Scrap" monsters by 200 (Scrap Shark: 2100→2300/0→200). As a Spell Card was activated, Scrap Shark is destroyed via its effect. As Scrap Shark was destroyed by the effect of a "Scrap" card and sent to the GY, Toru can send 1 "Scrap" monster from his Deck to the GY. He sends Scrap Worm to the GY. As a face-up "Scrap" monster was destroyed by a card effect and sent to the GY, Scrap Factory's effect activates, and Toru can Special Summon 1 "Scrap" monster from his Deck. He Special Summons Scrap Golem (2300→2500/1400→1600/5) in Attack Position. Toru activates Scrap Golem's effect to Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower "Scrap" monster from the GY to either player's field. He Special Summons Scrap Worm (500→700/100→300/2) to his field in Attack Position. Toru tunes Level 2 Scrap Worm to Level 5 Scrap Golem to Synchro Summon Scrap Archfiend (2700→2900/1800→2000/7) in Attack Position. Toru activates the Continuous Spell Card Scrap Lube, which lets him Special Summon 1 "Scrap" monster from his GY with its effects negated. He Special Summons Scrap Shark (2100→2300/0→200/4) in Attack Position. Toru Sets 2 cards. Toru ends his turn. -0,5

Turn 2: Yugo

Yugo draws. Toru activates his Set Continuous Trap Card Dragon Chains. While Dragon Chains is on the field, Yugo's Dragon monsters cannot attack or change their battle positions, and their effects are negated. As he controls no cards, Yugo activates the Spell Card Speedraw, which lets him draw 2 cards, then send 1 "Speedroid" monster from his hand to the GY. He draws, then sends Speedroid Den-Den Daiko Duke to the GY. Yugo Normal Summons Speedroid Ohajikid (1000/200/3). As Ohajikid was Normal Summoned, Yugo can target 1 Tuner monster in Toru's GY, then Synchro Summon using that monster and Ohajikid. Yugo targets Scrap Worm, then tunes the Level 2 Scrap Worm to the Level 3 Ohajikid to Synchro Summon Hi-Speedroid Chanbara (2000/1000/5) in Attack Position. Yugo activates the Spell Card Hi-Speed Accel, which lets him target 1 "Speedroid" monster in his GY and 1 "Speedroid" monster he controls, then increase the ATK of his monster by the monster in his GY's ATK until the end of the turn. He targets Den-Den Daiko Duke and Chanbara (Chanbara: 2000→3200).

Chanbara attacks Scrap Shark. Toru activates his Set Trap Card Scrap-Iron Scarecrow, which negates Chanbara's attack. Scrap-Iron Scarecrow is Set by its own effect instead of being sent to the GY. Chanbara can attack twice during each Battle Phase. Chanbara attacks Scrap Shark. As Chanbara is battling, it gains 100 ATK (Chanbara: 3200→3300). Scrap Shark is destroyed (Toru: 4000→3000 LP). As the monster Special Summoned by Scrap Lube left the field, Scrap Lube is destroyed. Yugo Sets 2 cards. He ends his turn, and Hi-Speed Accel's effect ends (Chanbara: 3300→2100). -0,2

Turn 3: Toru

Toru draws. He finds an Action Card. Toru Sets 1 card. He Normal Summons Scrap Kong (2000→2200/1000→1200/4). As Scrap Kong was Normal Summoned, its effect activates, and it is destroyed. As Scrap Kong was destroyed by the effect of a "Scrap" card and sent to the GY, Toru can add 1 "Scrap" monster from his GY to his hand. He adds Scrap Shark to his hand. As a "Scrap" monster was destroyed by a card effect, Scrap Factory's effect activates, letting Toru Special Summon 1 "Scrap" monster from his Deck. He Special Summons Scrap Mind Reader (0→200/0→200/1) in Attack Position. Toru tunes Level 1 Scrap Mind Reader to Level 7 Scrap Archfiend to Synchro Summon Scrap Dragon (2800→3000/2000→2200/8) in Attack Position. Toru activates Scrap Dragon's effect, targeting his Set card and Chanbara, destroying both of them.

Scrap Dragon attacks Yugo directly, but Yugo activates his Set Continuous Trap Card Call of the Haunted, letting him Special Summon 1 monster from his GY in Attack Position. He Special Summons Chanbara (2000/1000/5). A replay occurs and Scrap Dragon attacks Chanbara. Chanbara's effect activates (Chanbara: 2000→2100). Chanbara is destroyed (Yugo: 4000→3100 LP). Toru ends his turn. -1,2

Turn 4: Yugo

Yugo draws. He Normal Summons Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice (100/100/1). As he controls a Wind monster, Yugo Special Summons Speedroid Taketomborg (600/1200/3) in Attack Position. Yugo tunes Level 1 Red-Eyed Dice to Level 3 Taketomborg to Synchro Summon Hi-Speedroid Puzzle (1300/1600/4) in Attack Position. Yugo activates the Spell Card Synchro Treasure, which lets him draw 1 card for each face-up Synchro Monster on the field, but he cannot add cards from his Deck to his hand for the rest of the turn. Yugo draws 2 cards. Yugo finds and activates the Action Spell Card Illusion Force, targeting Puzzle and increasing its ATK by 600 until the end of the Battle Phase (Puzzle: 1300→1900).

Puzzle attacks Scrap Dragon. Toru attempts to activate his Set Trap Card Scrap-Iron Scarecrow, but Yugo activates his Set Counter Trap Card Trap Jammer, which negates the activation of Toru's Trap Card and destroys it. The attack continues, and as Puzzle is battling Toru's Special Summoned monster, its ATK becomes double its current ATK during damage calculation only (Puzzle: 1900→3800). Scrap Dragon is destroyed (Toru: 3000→2200 LP) (Puzzle: 3800→1900). As Scrap Dragon was destroyed by Yugo's card, Toru can Special Summon 1 non-Synchro "Scrap" monster from his GY. He Special Summons Scrap Golem (2300→2500/1400→1600/5) in Attack Position. Yugo ends his Battle Phase, and Illusion Force's effect ends (Puzzle: 1900→1300). Yugo Sets 1 card. He ends his turn. -1,1

Turn 5: Toru

Toru draws. He Normal Summons Scrap Shark (2100→2300/0→200/4). Toru activates Scrap Golem's effect to Special Summon Scrap Mind Reader (0→200/0→200/1) in Defense Position. As a monster's effect was activated, Scrap Shark is destroyed via its effect. As Scrap Shark was destroyed by the effect of a "Scrap" card, Toru can send 1 "Scrap" monster from his Deck to the GY. He sends Scrap Searcher to the GY. Scrap Factory's effect activates, and Toru Special Summons Scrap Recycler (900→1100/1200→1400/3) in Attack Position. As Scrap Recycler was Normal or Special Summoned, Toru can send 1 "Scrap" monster from his Deck to the GY. He sends Scrap Goblin to the GY. Toru activates Scrap Recycler's effect to shuffle 2 Level 4 "Scrap" monsters from his GY back into his Deck, then draw 1 card. He shuffles Scrap Kong and Scrap Shark into his Deck and draws. Toru tunes Level 1 Scrap Mind Reader to Level 3 Scrap Recycler and Level 5 Scrap Golem to Synchro Summon Scrap Twin Dragon (3000→3200/2200→2400/9) in Attack Position. Toru activates the Spell Card Monster Reborn, which lets him Special Summon 1 monster from the GY. He Special Summons Scrap Goblin (0→200/500→700/3) in Defense Position. Toru activates Scrap Twin Dragon's effect, targeting his Scrap Goblin and Yugo's Puzzle and Set card. Scrap Goblin is destroyed, and Puzzle and Yugo's Set card return to his Extra Deck and hand respectively. As Scrap Goblin was destroyed by the effect of a "Scrap" card and sent to the GY, Toru can add 1 "Scrap" monster in his GY to his hand. He adds Scrap Recycler to his hand.

Scrap Twin Dragon attacks Yugo directly. As Toru's monster declared an attack, Yugo activates the effect of Speedroid Menko in his hand, Special Summoning it (100/2000) in Defense Position and changing all of Toru's monsters to Defense Position. Toru Sets 1 card. He ends his turn. -1,1

Turn 6: Yugo

Yugo draws. He Normal Summons Speedroid Tri-Eyed Dice (300/1500/3). He activates the Spell Card Hi-Speed Re-Level, which lets him banish 1 "Speedroid" or "Hi-Speedroid" monster from his GY to change the Levels of all monsters on the field to that monster's Level until the end of the turn. Yugo banishes the Level 3 Ohajikid (Menko: 4→3) (Scrap Twin Dragon: 9→3). Yugo tunes Level 3 Tri-Eyed Dice to Level 3 Menko to Synchro Summon Hi-Speedroid Kendama (2200/1600/6) in Attack Position. Yugo activates Kendama's effect to banish 1 "Speedroid" monster from his GY to inflict 500 damage to Toru. He banishes Menko (Toru: 2200→1700 LP). Yugo activates the effect of Hi-Speed Accel in his GY, banishing it and targeting Kendama to increase its ATK by 1000 until the end of the turn (Kendama: 2200→3200).

Kendama attacks and destroys Scrap Twin Dragon (Toru: 1700→900 LP). As Scrap Twin Dragon was destroyed by Yugo's card and sent to the GY, Toru can Special Summon 1 non-Synchro "Scrap" monster from his GY. He Special Summons Scrap Golem (2300→2500/1400→1600/5) in Attack Position. Yugo ends his turn, and Hi-Speed Accel's effect ends (Kendama: 3200→2200). -1,0

Turn 7: Toru

Toru draws. He Normal Summons Scrap Recycler (900→1100/1200→1400/3). As Scrap Recycler was Normal Summoned, its effect activates, and Toru sends Scrap Beast to the GY. Toru activates Scrap Golem's effect to Special Summon Scrap Worm (500→700/100→300/2) from the GY in Attack Position. Toru tunes Level 2 Scrap Worm to Level 3 Scrap Recycler and Level 5 Scrap Golem to Synchro Summon Atomic Scrap Dragon (3200→3400/2400→2600/10) in Attack Position. Toru activates his Set Trap Card Back to the Front, which lets him Special Summon 1 monster from his GY in Defense Position. He Special Summons Scrap Beast (1600→1800/1300→1500/4). Toru activates Atomic Scrap Dragon's effect to destroy 1 card he controls and return up to 3 cards in Yugo's GY to his Deck. He destroys Scrap Beast and returns Tri-Eyed Dice, Den-Den Daiko Duke, and Red-Eyed Dice to Yugo's Deck. As Scrap Beast was destroyed by the effect of a "Scrap" card and sent to the GY, Toru can add 1 "Scrap" monster from his GY to his hand. He adds Scrap Recycler to his hand. Scrap Factory's effect activates, and Toru Special Summons Scrap Breaker (2100→2300/700→900/6) from his Deck in Attack Position. As Toru's "Scrap" monster was destroyed and sent to the GY, he activates the effect of Scrap Searcher in his GY, Special Summoning it (100→300/300→500/1) in Attack Position and destroying all non-"Scrap" monsters he controls. Toru activates the Quick-Play Spell Card Scrap Sheen, which lets him destroy 1 "Scrap" monster he controls to increase the ATK of all "Scrap" monsters he controls by 1000 until the End Phase. Toru destroys Scrap Searcher (Atomic Scrap Dragon: 3400→4400) (Scrap Breaker: 2300→3300).

Atomic Scrap Dragon attacks and destroys Kendama (Yugo: 3100→900 LP). Yugo finds an Action Card. Scrap Breaker attacks Yugo directly. Yugo activates the Action Spell Card Evasion, negating the attack. Toru ends his turn, and the effect of Scrap Sheen ends (Atomic Scrap Dragon: 4400→3400) (Scrap Breaker: 3300→2300). -1,0

Turn 8: Yugo

Yugo draws. He activates the Spell Card Hi-Speed Ignition. As he controls no other cards, Yugo can banish 1 "Hi-Speedroid" monster from his GY to Special Summon 1 "Hi-Speedroid" Synchro Monster from his Extra Deck that is 1 or 2 Levels higher and treat it as a Synchro Summon, but it cannot attack directly, and it is sent to the GY during the End Phase. Yugo banishes the Level 6 Kendama and Synchro Summons Hi-Speedroid Kitedrake (3000/2800/8) in Attack Position. As Kitedrake was Synchro Summoned, Yugo can activate 1 of 2 effects. He chooses to activate the 2nd effect and negate the effects of all face-up cards Toru controls (Atomic Scrap Dragon: 3400→3200) (Scrap Breaker: 2300→2100).

Kitedrake attacks Scrap Breaker. Toru and Yugo each find an Action Card. Toru activates the Action Spell Card Battle Change, which lets him change the attack target to 1 monster he controls. He changes Kitedrake's attack to Atomic Scrap Dragon. Yugo activates the Action Spell Card Double Attack, targeting Kitedrake and doubling its ATK during the Battle Phase (Kitedrake: 3000→6000). Atomic Scrap Dragon is destroyed (Toru: 900→0 LP). Yugo wins. -1,0


Shingo Sawatari:

Abyss Actor – Underworld Magician
Attribute: DARK Type: [Fiend/Ritual/Effect] ATK 2800 DEF 2100 Level: 7
You can Ritual Summon this card with "Abyss Script – Ritual of the Abyss". If this monster attacks your opponent's Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage to your opponent. If this card battles an opponent's Pendulum Monster: You can negate that monster's effects until the end of the Damage Step. If this card would be destroyed by battle or a card effect (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 other "Abyss Actor" monster you control instead. You can only activate this effect of "Abyss Actor – Underworld Magician" once per turn.

Abyss Script – Casting Call Normal Spell Card
Special Summon 1 "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster from your Deck to your field in Attack Position. The Special Summoned monster cannot declare an attack, also destroy it during the End Phase. If this Set card in its owner's control is destroyed by an opponent's card effect, and you have a face-up "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster in your Extra Deck: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; return it to the owner's hand.

Abyss Script – Ritual of the Abyss Ritual Spell Card
This card can be used to Ritual Summon any "Abyss Actor" Ritual Monster. You must also Tribute monsters from your hand or field whose total Levels equal or exceed the Level of the Ritual Monster you Ritual Summon. If you control 2 "Abyss Actor" cards in your Pendulum Zones, you can also use "Abyss Actor" Pendulum Monster(s) face-up in your Extra Deck, by shuffling them into the Deck.

Yuzu Hiragi:

Cantata the Melodious Diva (name credit to Haoh Ryu Z-ARC)
Attribute: LIGHT Type: [Fairy/Effect] ATK 1200 DEF 800 Level: 4
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower "Melodious" monster from your Deck in Attack Position. During the End Phase, destroy the monster Special Summoned by this effect. If this card is used as Fusion Material for the Fusion Summon of a "Melodious" monster: You can draw 2 cards. You can only activate each effect of "Cantata the Melodious Diva" once per turn.

Allegro the Melodious Diva (name credit to Haoh Ryu Z-ARC)
Attribute: LIGHT Type: [Fairy/Effect] ATK 1600 DEF 600 Level: 4
You can banish this card from your GY; Special Summon 1 "Melodious" monster from your hand. A "Melodious" Fusion Monster that was Fusion Summoned using this card as Fusion Material gains the following effect.
-This card can make an additional attack during each Battle Phase.

Melodious Crescendo Equip Spell Card
Equip only to a "Melodious" monster. The equipped monster gains 500 ATK. If the equipped monster destroys an opponent's monster by battle: You can target 1 Spell/Trap Card the opponent controls; destroy it.

Rallentando Normal Trap Card
During the Battle Phase: Tribute 1 "Melodious" monster you control; until the end of the turn, all instances of battle damage you take this turn are reduced by the Tributed monster's original ATK. If you would take battle damage: You can banish this card and 1 "Melodious" monster in your GY; reduce the battle damage to 0.

Sherry LeBlanc:

Fleur Resonator
Attribute: EARTH Type: [Fiend/Tuner/Effect] ATK 500 DEF 300 Level: 3
This card's name becomes "Fleur Synchron" while it is on the field or in the GY. If you control a Level 3 or lower monster: You can Special Summon this card (from your hand), also you cannot Special Summon monsters for the rest of the turn, except Synchro Monsters.

Bouclier de Fleur
Attribute: LIGHT Type: [Warrior/Synchro/Effect] ATK 800 DEF 2800 Level: 6
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
The first time this card would be destroyed by battle each turn, it is not destroyed. If this card is targeted by your opponent's card effect (Quick Effect): You can negate the activation of that effect. You can only activate this effect of "Bouclier de Fleur" once per turn.

Impératrice de Fleur
Attribute: LIGHT Type: [Warrior/Synchro/Effect] ATK 3300 DEF 2800 Level: 10
1 Tuner + "Chevalier de Fleur"
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can target 1 Synchro Monster in your GY; until the end of the turn, this card gains ATK equal to that monster's Level x 200. Once per turn, if your opponent activates a card or effect (Quick Effect): You can negate the activation of that effect and destroy that card.

Synchro de Fleur Normal Spell Card
Tribute 1 monster you control and target 2 "Fleur" monsters in your GY (1 Tuner monster and 1 non-Tuner monster); Special Summon them with their effects negated, and if you do, immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon 1 Synchro Monster using those monsters you control. The monster Synchro Summoned by this effect cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent's card effects. You cannot Normal Summon/Set the turn you activate this card.

Serena:

Lunalight Silver Jaguar
Attribute: DARK Type: [Beast-Warrior/Effect] ATK 1200 DEF 1400 Level: 4
If this card is sent to the GY because it was destroyed by battle: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; send it to the GY and add up to 2 "Lunalight" monsters from your Deck to your hand whose combined ATK is less than or equal to that monster's original ATK. You can only use this effect of "Lunalight Silver Jaguar" once per turn.

Lunalight Saber Equip Spell Card
Equip only to a "Lunalight" monster. The equipped monster gains 600 ATK and cannot be targeted by your opponent's card effects. If the equipped monster is destroyed by battle: You can banish this card; reduce the damage you would take from that battle to 0.

Fusion Break Normal Trap Card
When your Fusion Monster battles: Send the top 3 cards of your Deck to the GY; for each Monster Card among the sent cards, your monster gains 800 ATK until the end of the turn.

New Moon Fusion Normal Spell Card
(This card is always treated as a "Lunalight" card.)
Fusion Summon 1 "Lunalight" Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, by banishing Fusion Materials listed on it from your GY. If you control no monsters and this card is in your GY: You can banish 1 "Lunalight" monster from your GY; add this card from your GY to your hand. You can only activate this effect of "New Moon Fusion" once per Duel.

Toru:

Scrap Recycler
Attribute: EARTH Type: [Machine/Effect] ATK 900 DEF 1200 Level: 3
When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can send 1 "Scrap" monster from your Deck to the GY. Once per turn: You can shuffle 2 Level 4 "Scrap" monsters from your GY into the Deck; draw 1 card.

Note: Like with Psychic Tuning, this is a real card, but during the duel, I made a few mistakes with what it's effect can do. Rather than go back and rewrite the duel or come up with new Action Cards to justify its effects, I decided to make an anime version of this card, where I replaced the generic descriptions of monsters with Scrap monsters.

Dragon Chains Continuous Trap Card
While this card is face-up on the field: Dragon monsters your opponent controls cannot attack or change their battle positions, also their effects are negated.

Yugo:

Hi-Speed Accel Normal Spell Card
Target 1 "Speedroid" monster you control and 1 "Speedroid" monster in your GY; until the end of the turn, increase the targeted monster's ATK by the ATK of the monster in the GY. You can banish this card from your GY and target 1 Level 5 or higher monster you control; it gains 1000 ATK until the end of the turn. You can only activate 1 effect of "Hi-Speed Accel" per turn, and only once per turn.

Hi-Speed Ignition Normal Spell Card
If you control no other cards: Banish 1 "Hi-Speedroid" monster from your GY; Special Summon 1 "Hi-Speedroid" Synchro Monster from your Extra Deck that is 1 or 2 Levels higher. (This Special Summon is treated as a Synchro Summon.) The monster Special Summoned by this effect cannot attack directly and is sent to the GY during the End Phase.


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Next time on Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: The Fifth Circuit. Chapter 26 – Enlightenment


Question of the Chapter

For my Persona 5/VRAINS fic, each of the Phantom Thieves will have two Decks: one they use in the real world, and one they use in the Metaverse. The Metaverse Decks will all be original cards, while their real world Decks will consist of real world archetypes. Which Decks do you think they should use in the real world?


Author's Notes

A big thank you to Haoh Ryu Z-ARC and SakushiRyu for proofreading the duels in this chapter, and in the former's case, offering me names for Yuzu's new Melodious monsters.

I'm sorry this has come out so late, but this was a really long chapter to write, and on top of real-life events, I haven't had the time I've wanted to write this. That aside, I'll split the notes into three sections, one for each duel.

I'll start with Yuzu vs. Sawatari. I originally planned on Yuzu dueling Aki, but then I realized something; I needed Yuzu to win, and there is no conceivable way I can have Yuzu defeat Aki. At least not without copious use of Action Cards, and I wanted to write a duel for Yuzu where she didn't use Action Cards at all, as she used them heavily in her duels with Chojiro and Masumi, which were her major wins in the anime. So instead, Yuzu duels against Sawatari, and although she wins, Sawatari gives a good fight. Like I've said before, I feel Sawatari's potential was wasted in the anime, so he'll be stronger here, starting with him using Ritual Summoning. He uses a Ritual Monster for two reasons. The first is a nod to the anime, where one of the cards Sawatari offers Yuya in exchange for his Pendulum Monsters is a Hungry Burger, and the second is because of a character trait I've noticed. Sawatari has a habit of taking on behaviors of duelists he admires, like how he became an entertainer after losing to Yuya. This is also reflected in his Abyss Actors, Fiend Pendulum Monsters with an entertainment theme, showing his admiration for Yuya and Reiji. Thus, him using a Ritual Monster is his way of showing his admiration for Yuji, who is currently the only other Lancer that uses Ritual Summoning. Of course, Sawatari will never admit that he admires a "socially awkward hoodlum."

The second Duel is Serena vs. Sherry. I'll admit Sherry is one the characters I have the least handle on, but her character here is a very analytical duelist who fights with consistent strategies that she knows work. In many ways, her dueling is a combination of Yuji's and Serena's: an analytical fighter who can predict and adapt to the opponent's moves while also maintaining a certain strategy throughout her duels. The point of her duel with Serena is to force Serena to learn to adapt to her opponents and improvise, something she has difficulty with as a result of her inexperience and mindset.

And the final duel is Yugo vs. Toru. Some suggested having Toru duel Sergey, but I already have plans for Sergey. Plus, one of the things I wanted from Yugo was for him to win a duel without using Clear Wing, as he used it in every duel he had in the anime. I know it's his ace monster, but I wanted to show that even if Yugo has a handicap where he can't use Clear Wing, he could still fight effectively. Plus, writing scenes between him and Toru was a lot of fun.

Thank you for reading Chapter 25 of Fifth Circuit! I already said this in Chapter 55 of Hidden Memories, but my writing schedule may be changing soon; I have a surgery coming up on the first Monday of October. It's nothing serious; just a hernia. But I've never had surgery before so I don't know how it will affect my schedule. Hopefully it won't affect it too much, but I've learned to be careful about these things.