THIS STORY HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE EVENTS DESCRIBED HERE SHOULD HEAD TO MY PROFILE AND TAKE A LOOK AT "CULT OF THE DRAGON KING," WHICH IS A MORE RECENT—MORE THOROUGHLY FLESHED OUT, RESEARCHED, AND BETTER PACED—VERSION. I APOLOGIZE FOR ANYONE WHO ENJOYED THIS PARTICULAR WORK. IT SIMPLY NO LONGER HOLDS TO MY STANDARDS AS A WRITER. I WILL KEEP THESE CHAPTERS ONLINE FOR ANYONE WHO ENJOYED THEM, BUT I WHOLEHEARTEDLY RECOMMEND LOOKING INTO ITS SPIRITUAL SUCCESSOR.


Hello, all.

Back again for the first time in the new year, and it's with...something you've probably never seen before.

I realize that, considering my months-long hiatus, maybe my first post shouldn't have been a new project. Many of you, if not most or all, probably would rather that I had updated one of my other works, that have suffered from neglect for so long.

But you see here the thing responsible for those months of neglect. For reasons known only to the Old Gods, I decided in January to take on the Sisyphean task of writing 250,000 words by the end of March, in exchange for a 200 dollar gift card.

You have here the first pieces of that work, the opening act of the longest story I've ever attempted. And I hope you find it entertaining. I surely did.

So, with that out of the way, let us begin.


Preface:

Sandwiches of Destiny


Some stories are inspired by the imaginations of children.

Some stories are inspired by the need to understand the unknown. Some stories are inspired by the heroes of old, by those ancient figures we of contemporary societies can hardly fathom the actuality of. Some stories are inspired by events so extraordinary that they fall into the annals of fiction's history despite the truth of their existence.

Some stories are inspired by a two-liter of Diet Dr. Pepper and a sandwich made with store-brand peanut butter and an oddball concoction some backyard rocket-scientist decided to call razzleberry jam.

Don't understand? Good; you're not alone.

Stuff isn't bad, though.

Anyway, back on track and full-focused and whatever else.

Imagine, my enraptured audience, holding in your hands a book filled with pictures. Black-and-white, right-to-left, exceedingly stylistic pictures. Pictures more often than not recreated in full color to be tossed onto the screen of that hypnosis machine you probably keep on no matter what's on, because the remote is gone and you can't be bothered to find it.

Confused yet? Yeah, me too. Let's get on with it.

We all watch anime. And if we don't, we should. Why? It's better than other television. Take your favorite live-action show and anime-ize it. Yes, smart guy, I made that word up. Roll with it.

So yes; anime-ize. Makes it better, doesn't it?

Okay, maybe it doesn't.

Never mind, then. Moving on.

You know it isn't real. It can't be real. It's entertainment, pure and simple, and there's no arguing it.

I'm about to argue it.

This wall of text staring you down right now is the beginning of a tale that will take you down the course of that argument. You think it's fake? You think it's just entertainment?

Yeah, so did he. And he was wrong.

Who is he? I'm getting to that.

But maybe you know who he is, already. You probably should. But let's introduce him just in case you don't, so there aren't any unwelcome interruptions later.

I'm a busy man.

He's a bundle of paradoxes, is what he is. He's physically attractive but socially inept. Mentally superior but emotionally crippled.

He's the child who became a parent.

He's the preppy who became a bully.

He's the atheist who became a god.


Prologue:

The Day Sanity was Murdered


It was funny, in a cosmic sort of way. Just...not the sort of funny that he found amusing. Funny in an awkward, grating, I-want-to-jump-under-a-bus sort of way.

When first they'd met, Kaiba Noa had struck his elder stepbrother as a stuffy, arrogant, bitter little troll whose only goal in life was to fray his nerves. But, that was when he had been an adult trapped in a virtual child, stuck as a perpetual preteen in a world that didn't matter. Now, he was in the real world.

And he was an outgoing, hyper, playful little idiot whose only goal in life was to fray his stepbrother's nerves.

Seto Kaiba (he called himself that because it caused fewer stupid questions; "Uh...huh-huh...your name's all backward! Har!") had no one to blame but himself, he supposed, for allowing the proverbial third wheel of the Kaiba family to start rolling again.

Through methods of science he refused to let leak into public knowledge (and a few methods of non-science, complements of a particular ex-pharaoh who'd decided to help out without asking first), Kaiba Noa was fully alive again.

By fully, of course, Seto meant annoyingly.

And apparently Noa had decided to take full advantage of that, and act out on every chance he got, embracing a personality so far from what Seto would have expected of him that it was almost dizzying.

Noa's body was twenty years old, a scant year less than his elder brother and eight more than his younger. And while he had taken physically after Seto in such a way as to force everyone they met to assume they were twins, mentally he had latched onto Mokuba to form the meta-Kaiba, a combination of both his siblings that was utterly mystifying to Seto because it was like looking into a behavioral fun-house mirror.

Noa knew this, of course, and that was probably half the reason he acted as outrageously as he possibly could on most occasions. He had also taken after Joey Wheeler in that sense because his most beloved activity on God's green earth was nettling Seto straight into a little white jacket with connected arms and several buckles.

All of these thoughts passed Seto's mind, spiraling atop his usual myriad of mental patterns like a sudden rainfall, as the doorbell rang. He watched, frowning, as Noa leaped over the edge of the couch Seto currently sat on, feet barely missing his right shoulder, bounding for the front door.

"Got it, Aniki!" he called, and Seto rolled his eyes.

"You assume answering the door is a favor to me; I was pretending not to be home."

Noa shrugged like it didn't matter (and to him, it surely didn't) and grabbed the knob.

Seto had no way of knowing, at that point, the chain of events Noa would set in motion by answering that particular summons.

If he had...well, there was no sure way of knowing what he would have done, but tackling Noa and slamming his head into the floor over and over and over again until he fell unconscious (and a few more times afterward) might have been an option.

But, sadly, that was not to be.

The door opened, and the world ended.