It has been weeks since Playmaker has gone off to the deep corners of the network, and everybody has slowly gone back to their daily lives ever since his departure. SOL Technologies continued their business as usual, and the Knights Of Hanoi have devoted themselves to monitoring the virtual network for any crimes in order to make up for their actions. Takeru Homura went back to his hometown to take a break, and Shoichi continued working on his hotdog business, being as busy as usual. Akira Zaizen got work at SOL Technologies again, and Emma Besho spent more time with her half-brother, who was still improving his distrust with AIs. Overall, everyone was having a better life after all the incidents they've been dealing with recently.

All except for one person.

...

Aoi Zaizen was found alone once more in her bedroom, Saturday noon, a little after 1:00 PM. Her brother, Akira Zaizen, was gone to work at SOL Technologies again now that he was given a second chance to work there. School also ended recently, so she was left to enjoy her summer vacation for the next 3 months to come.

Of course, it's not like she wanted to do anything.

She had lost interest in not just dueling, but in life itself ever since she fought against AI. She tried to protect her brother and everyone in Link VRAINS from danger multiple times, but she still failed. In the end, she felt like the worst person, especially sister, to ever exist. She still suffered the aftereffects even after the Hanoi attacks, Bohman, and AI vanished. Of course, she hid what she truly felt, putting up a smile in front of others in order to hide her real feelings.

"..."

She decided to make use of her time to visit Soichi's hotdog truck once more, especially since she felt hungry. After cleaning her room for a few minutes and changing into her school uniform, she left the apartment and headed out to visit Shoichi Kusanagi, one of the few people she felt content with. He was the closest thing she had to Playmaker. And he was a good person, so that was extra points.


Outside Akira's apartment, Den City:

On the way to Shoichi's hotdog truck, Aoi saw a large screen on a building, currently broadcasting news. Along with the unusual amount of glitches that VRAINS has been experiencing recently, the news also showed Blue Angel's fans waiting for her return. It has been a while since Blue Angel disappeared from the stage mysteriously, and to be honest, Aoi was not planning to come back. After the tremendous amount of losses and letdowns she has experienced lately, she ended up despising dueling entirely.

She didn't want to disappoint her fans; she just didn't want to duel again.

She clenched her fist in her jacket pocket for a second before turning around and ignoring the screen.

A few minutes later, she finally arrived at the hotdog truck. Shoichi was currently making hotdogs, while his brother was helping out cleaning the tables outside.

"Hello guys", Aoi said, walking closer to them.

"Oh, hello Aoi. How's your day been?", Shoichi said with a heartfelt smile. Ever since his brother was recovering from the Lost Incident, Shoichi has been the happiest man on the planet. If only Yusaku was here to see him, though.

"I'm doing good", Aoi lied.

"...You still feel the same, right?", Shoichi saw right through her lies.

"...Yeah. I still feel a little horrible", the brunette confessed. Shoichi was a natural in stuff like listening to others, that was for sure.

"Don't worry. It'll turn around soon, I'm sure of it!", Shoichi said. He then added with concern, "Just don't do anything too drastic until then, ok?"

"Don't worry, I won't do anything like that", Aoi said with a small smile. To be honest, though, she wasn't sure she could keep that promise.

"That's good to hear!", Shoichi said with a thumbs up. After cleaning the truck, he decided to give Aoi a free hotdog, which she accepted. She thanked him and began to eat the hotdog, talking to Shoichi's brother while she was at it. She left afterwards, feeling slightly better than before.

After a few minutes, Aoi arrived at her apartment again. She looked at the clock; it was 2:15 PM. Her brother was still working, so she had more free time to make use of.

...Just what should I do, anyways?

"..."

Aoi went to her bedroom, not bothering to change into a more comfortable outfit. She went back to feeling her usual gloom, and at this point, she was getting sick of it.

I have to do something for once, Aoi thought. She eyed her Marincess Deck for a moment, remembering all the horrible things that came along with using it. After a while, though, she grabbed her deck and connected it to her duel disk, sitting down at the chair connected to the network.

"...Into the VRAINS."

Blue digital streams of data surrounded the brunette after saying those words. After a while, she changed into her blue-haired avatar, Blue Maiden. She still had her original Blue Angel avatar, she just didn't want to use it. She didn't feel like ever using it again.

Blue Maiden landed in her d-board, surfing the internet for anything interesting. At this point, she didn't even know what she was looking for.

Yusaku must have felt something like this, too, the blue-haired duelist thought. As someone who also felt hopelessness before, Aoi felt like she could relate to Yusaku more than ever. She just didn't wish she could relate to him in a despairing way such as this.

After a while of not finding anything interesting, Blue Maiden decided to give up her search; she just wanted to log out and lay in her bed and not do anything at all. There was no point in continuing.

I've had enough of this, Blue Maiden began. I'm gonna-

Before Blue Maiden could finish her thought, though, a series of blue and red streams surrounded her, error messages popping up in unison. After several seconds of glitching and errors, a blue portal materialized behind the duelist, sucking her in along with the surrounding data.

"Wha- H-Help!"

After sucking the duelist completely, the blue portal closed as fast as it materialized, leaving the area as if nothing happened.

...

The blue portal reopened in a remote dessert, dropping Blue Maiden without any warning and closing afterwards, leaving the duelist by herself. When she stood up, she dusted herself off and looked at her surroundings.

"...Where am I?"

Blue Maiden also wondered how she was still in her VRAINS avatar form despite not being in VRAINS anymore. It was very confusing for her, this shouldn't be happening.

Suddenly, she heard a voice behind her.

"Hey, you there! Are you okay?"

Blue Maiden turned around and saw a young person walking towards her. He had a backpack and a red jacket, along with a black shirt and pants. He looked around the same age as her, possibly a little older.

"I'm fine, thanks", Blue Maiden said with hesitation. She didn't expect anyone to be in a desert, especially someone who looked young.

"That's good to hear!", the young man said. He then raised a thumb towards him and said with a smile:

"It's nice to meet ya! My name is Jaden Yuki!"

Author's Note: Chapter One done! I decided to write a story that explored Aoi a little more, especially since the show didn't treat her very well (all dem losses, tho). Also, this is my first time writing YuGiOh fanfiction, so I hope it ends up going well! I'm still working in A Gambler's Stand (Now named Stands and Gambles, 11/21/20), it's just that I wanted to work in something different for now to keep some variety! I'll see everyone at the next entry!

This chapter was edited for the second time in 2/2/21.