Good morning. Welcome to my latest fanfic.

This fanfic is a sequel to "Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's: Shadowchasers", so the rules it follows are pretty much the same. However, it will follow the September 2009 List in regards to what cards are legal. If you have not read the first Shadowchasers fic, I suggest you take a day or two to do so before starting to read this one.

Go on… This fic will still be here when you're done.

One special note: In most cases, the fic will follow the rules of the game to the letter. But for one specific archetype of cards, special pre-established rules that differ from the real rules will be used. Without giving much away, this is necessary for the sake of story. It will be explained when these special rules are first used.

Turbo Duels in this fic will continue to use the original Speed World. We'll assume that Speed World 2 is not in use as yet.

This fic takes place three months after the end of the last fic. This means that it takes place about three months after the end of the Dark Signer arc in the anime, and three months before the current arc. In Neo Domino, the Daedalus Bridge is nearing completion, Satellite is undergoing renovations, and Jeager has assumed the temporary role of Director of Security, a job he does not like, until a new one can be assigned. (Although this actually benefits the Shadowchasers, as he is their government contact.) As of right now, the World Grand Prix is only a rumor, and Neo Domino is enjoying a brief period of quiet.

If anyone wants to write a Shadowchasers story of their own, I will still supply the Guidelines, which are now updated with more specific rules. Any existing author who wants to see the updated guidelines may request them.

One more thing:

Yu-Gi-Oh is a registered trademark of Konami. All rights to cards used in the game, pre-existing characters from the anime, and pre-existing fictitious locations are reserved by them.

Enjoy.

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Every story has its beginnings, and some things are defined by their beginnings. All cultures on Earth have their stories about how the world was created… I assume you know the story of the Garden of Eden, a story that creationists promote, and that evolutionists deny.

Shadowkind have various legends about the creations of their respective races too. They lose their memories upon coming to Earth, but old tomes and religious tracts come with them sometimes, and the stories of their mythologies survive. Dwarves proudly proclaim that they came from the stone of the earth itself, and that Moradin the Soul-Forger shaped them. Elves claim that they were born from Corellon's blood when it spilled in his great battle with the orc god Gruumsh at the dawn of time.

One story of creation that is mentioned in a spellbook of incredible evil called The Book of Vile Darkness is one that is rather shocking. It is not always believed, partially due to the farfetched nature, and partially due to the shame it implies. But it cannot be ignored entirely, for it is also found in Acererak's Tome, another evil spellbook thought to have been penned independently of The Book of Vile Darkness (an admitted assumption, because the author of the first book is not known). It is the story of the vashar.

According to this story, in the beginning, on the world of Shadow, the various gods met in what would be the mortal world. They combined their powers, and created the first mortal. A man, their first attempt at creating a sentient being.

Neither book gives any information as to what present race this mortal resembled, whether he looked like a dwarf, elf, or whatnot. No Shadowkind race is eager to claim any relation to this forerunner. You see, the gods had made a mistake, and not given the mortal any conscience or morals.

The man quickly started hunting in the wilderness while the gods watched their creation with curiosity. He pounced upon an animal, tore it apart with his bare hands, and gorged himself on the raw meat and blood. The gods were surprised by this brutality, but continued to watch.

Then the man tore away at the animal's guts until he found some large bones; he lashed these bones together with tough tendons and sinew, showing a cleverness that further surprised the deities.

Then he did the unthinkable. He broke one of the bones so that it made a sharp point, forming a crude weapon. Then he turned on his creators with the intent to kill them, snarling his first words, curses and death-oaths. Of course, the gods were in no danger, but they were disgusted by this thing that they had wrought. They struck the mortal dead for his audacity. Admitting that their first attempt was a failure, they left, saying they would try again at a later date and would learn from the mistakes they had made this time.

But no sooner had they left, a demon arrived. The two versions of the myth disagree on the identity of this demon. The version in The Book of Vile Darkness says that the demon was the one that would one day become the powerful demon prince named Graz'zt, but at this point, he was not nearly as powerful as he would one day become. The version in Acererak's Tome says it was a powerful succubus.

Some scholars who have studied this story have proposed a possible third identity, saying it may have not a demon at all, but none other than the mythical General of Gehenna, the enigmatic ruler of the yugoloths, who eons ago purged law and chaos from his race, forming them into the devils of Hell and the demons of the Abyss (or so the yugoloths claim).

Whatever the case, the demon gathered the remains of the mortal, and took them to a hidden location, an impossibly tall plateau accessible only through a series of underground catacombs filled with foul corruptions of nature. There, the demon used a powerful, blasphemous ritual to restore the man to life, and compel him to obey. Then, if one believes it was Graz'zt, the demon took part of his flesh and made a woman. (The twisted similarities between this part of the myth and the story of Adam and Eve are not overlooked by those who study this myth.) He then convinced the man and the newly created woman to mate, and a child was conceived.

The version of the myth that says the demon was a succubus says that she mated with him herself, and bore his child. Regardless, an evil seed was created.

After its work was done to its satisfaction, the demon then vanished back to the Abyss, sporting a wicked grin. From the dark union the demon had caused, a new race was created, one with no conscience or morals, who called themselves the vashar. They eventually claimed the caverns under that mountain as their home, and watched as the gods created new races of mortals, with more success than before. And it was said that they hid in the shadows, plotting the downfall of these races, motivated out of jealousy, and resentment over being rejected.

Is this myth true? Well, no Shadowkind has ever been brought to Earth who has claimed to be a vashar. But then again, it may well be that some have, and have just been unwilling to tell anyone. If you were a member of a race that was evil for evil's sake, it might be best to keep quiet about it.

And the myth has plenty of holes in it that often go unexplained. Many books by more respectable Shadowkind say that mortal beings existed long before anything even remotely resembling a humanoid ever first drew breath. Indeed, primal creatures who claim to have been around before even the gods have passed through from Shadow from time to time. Perhaps the myth of the vashar is merely an analogy to explain the dark side that lies within all sentient beings.

Again, everything has their beginnings… Some beginnings are earlier than others, and some are more hidden than others.

And some say that by knowing the secrets of beginnings, you can master their results…

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Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's

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Shadowchasers

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Power Primordial

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A fanfic by Cyber Commander

Below the streets of Neo Domino, the city's underbelly was split into several layers.

First, there were the subways. Busy underground trains full of bustling people, ever in motion.

Beneath them were the sewers. The only people here who belonged here were the workers who came down occasionally to maintain or fix them. Some vagrants lived here as well, along with Shadowkind who didn't mind living in squalor. Wererats and other creatures that lived in darkness made their home in the sewers.

And below the sewers were the places that few knew about… The caverns.

These old caves had been around before Zero Reverse. Before there had been any city to speak of, in fact. In these dark catacombs, dark things lurked, and powerful creatures hid treasures that they didn't want found.

Through these caves, a man walked. He was a strange-looking individual, dressed in a black, leather suit, with sharp spikes placed at several points, and a pair of dark sunglasses. He carried a Duel Disk on his left arm that was clearly of no design made by KaibaCorp.

Despite his intimidating appearance, these caverns even made him nervous. He didn't like coming here when he had to, mostly because he didn't like working for his new employer. But there weren't many job options for him lately.

He entered a large cavern lit by luminous crystals, with a large pool of water at the far end. As he walked in, the pool started to bubble and churn.

The man watched as a large form rose out of the pool.

"I bring bad news, my lord…" he said. "Godwin has fallen… The Dark Signers are no more."

The being in the pool paused. Then a response came, not spoken, but in the man's mind, sent telepathically.

"Disappointing," said the being, "but not unexpected. The Earthbound Gods were little more than upstarts anyway.

"What of their servants?"

"Back where they came from, my lord," said the man.

"So what now? Do we strike against the true Signers ourselves?"

The being thought for a minute.

Then it spoke again.

"With the Shadowchasers patrolling the border between the Clueless and the denizens of Shadow, it will be difficult. They must be dealt with first… Perhaps we can even use them to obtain what we desire…

"It is time to reveal ourselves to the Shadowchasers… And I know the perfect pawn to help us…"

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CHAPTER ONE

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Goblin Thief

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At Shadowchaser Headquarters, somewhere in the countryside of Yorkshire in Britain, Hebi-Na nervously fidgeted while lying on the bed in her cell in the detention complex. Her eyes were on the clock as the hand moved towards one PM.

Hebi-Na was an ophidia, a reptilian humanoid Shadowkind that combined the features of snake and human. Ophidia varied in appearance. Hebi-Na looked like a young woman with snake-like eyes, fangs, and a serpentine trunk in place of legs. Ophidia were traditionally enemies of humans, thinking of them as prey. However, the Shadowchasers were not about to let them treat the humans on this world as such, and Hebi-Na had been caught aiding a powerful being in a diabolic scheme that had threatened the world. That being's fate was unknown, and all of the other known conspirators were dead. Hebi-Na was now facing justice for the scheme alone.

It was the day of her first court appearance. The charges against her had increased substantially since they found out she was helping Sonja plan the Deluge, and not even the few sympathizers that the ophidia had seemed willing to speak to her. In fact, her part in the plan had caused the ophidia to lose a lot of their sympathizers, something they never had many of to begin with.

Her lawyer, whom she knew hated her with a passion, had told her that she would be lucky if she got the death penalty. The prosecution was considering pushing for something worse, the infamous Coffin of Stone. Dying was not always a certain end for some Shadows, and this punishment had been used a few times in the past for the worst criminals, prisoners whom the Shadowchasers could not risk ever coming back in any form. Magic was used to imprison the condemned in a tablet of granite, placing the prisoner in permanent suspended animation. It would render her out of commission, and keep her soul and spirit bound to one place in the mortal world, ensuring she'd never threaten anyone in any form. Some said it was cruel and unusual, but it was far from commonly used. Crimes of this magnitude didn't happen all the time.

She had become even more nervous when she heard that Winston Beauregard would be the judge presiding over the case. Beauregard was an old curmudgeon known for having absolutely no sense of humor and very little tolerance for foolishness. It seemed that everything was falling against her.

"Hebi-Na!" snapped a voice from outside the cell.

Hebi-Na sighed, and turned her head where the two guards, accompanied by an iron golem, were waiting.

"It's time," said the one who had spoken. "You know the routine…"

Hebi-Na sighed, and slithered up to the door. She placed her hands outside the opening, and the guard fitted specially-designed handcuffs around them.

Then he opened the door, while the other guard carefully leveled a weapon at her. She knew that it was a magical device that was designed to be specifically effective against reptiles.

"By the way," said the first guard, "your lawyer didn't want me to tell you, but I think it's only fair… Don't get on Judge Beauregard's bad side today. Rumor has it, he's trying to quit smoking again."

Hebi-Na made a face.

Well, there's one good side to this… she thought. I'm sure the Coffin of Stone will give me some peace and quiet…

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When it was one PM in Great Britain, it was ten PM in Japan.

In the upscale part of Neo Domino, there was the Neo Domino Museum of Natural History. It was closed right now of course, and the only people wandering through it were the security guards.

One guard strode through the African exhibit, lighting his way with a flashlight.

"All clear…" he said, shining it around.

He shone the light on the security box.

"System working…" he said.

"Check…"

As he left, a shadowy figure appeared in the skylight above him.

Carefully, the figure opened the skylight. A nylon rope lowered down.

The burglar slid down the rope. He was a slim figure, dressed entirely in black, a black hood covering his face.

He knew that the guard wouldn't come to this room again for another half hour, but he still had to be fast. He quickly moved to the security box.

Most burglars at this point would use wire cutters or knives to disable a device like this. But this burglar had other ways. His kind weren't the most powerful users of fey magic, but they knew a few tricks. He simply placed his hand over the box, and it shut off with a hum.

Then he looked at what he had come for.

Hanging on the wall was a painted, wooden shaman's mask, inlaid with precious metals and jewels, shaped like a horned demon's head. It was small, though, almost as if it had been made for a child.

The burglar took off his own mask and looked at it. He was a strange-looking creature. His face looked featureless, like it was made of wet clay, with two blank, white eyes, a small mouth, and a nose that consisted of nothing more than two small nostrils. His hair was neatly trimmed, and platinum blonde, almost white. His ears were of special note. They were long and pointed.

Not all fey were delicate sprites that danced and sang, and were friendly to humans. Some had at one time been notorious for kidnapping human children on dark nights, and leaving changelings behind. This thief was one of those changelings, long past the age where he would have posed as a human child. Of course, his kind didn't kidnap children any more; modern society frowned on such things, and the fey lords didn't want their relations with humans, and the Shadowchasers especially, to be hostile. Changelings nowadays would much rather use their shapeshifting abilities with more temporary disguises, used to con humans out of their money.

But this one had just found a much easier way to get it.

He quickly lifted the mask off the wall, and stashed it in a satchel slung around his shoulder. Then he ran back to the rope, and shimmied up it.

Once on the roof, he collected the rope, and started to coil it.

"Piece of cake," he said.

"Ah-hem!" said a voice behind him.

The Shadow spun around.

Standing there was a tall man, who seemed to be about twenty or so (he was actually nineteen). His face looked rough and rugged, and his hair had the natural "rolled out of bed look". (Many folks his age, male and female, would have loved to know how he got such beautiful hair, but the truth was, he didn't know. When asked what kind of shampoo he used, the best response he could give was "yellow".) His clothes consisted of a leather jacket and a battered pair of jeans.

A sword was strapped to his back, and a standard-issue Duel Disk was on his left arm.

Osaka Shichiro looked at the creature. He could see him for what he was, as he was a human gifted with the proper type of sight.

More importantly, he was a Shadowchaser.

"Good thing I saw you come in here," said Shichiro, crossing his arms. "The museum would hate to lose that Mbuti shaman's mask."

"I don't blame them…" muttered the creature. "It's worth a fortune."

"You disappoint me, Fudagawa," said the Shadowchaser. "Since when do changelings sneak into places and steal like burglars? Isn't it more your style to use your shapeshifting powers to mimic people and use the disguise to con them out of their money?"

"It's been harder to do it since you folks started watching us, Osaka," replied Fudagawa, somewhat annoyed. "I've got bills to pay. I need the money, and I don't care much for tradition at this point. I'd rather be a well-off burglar than a poor con artist."

"Yeah, well…" said Shichiro.

"No accounting for taste… So… Breaking and entering… Grand larceny… Illegal possession of a firearm… And by the way, get rid of it."

Fudagawa growled. He took a Colt .22 out of the concealed holster in his shirt and tossed it aside. (He knew that if he had tried to use it, Shichiro would have pinned him to the ground before he could aim it, and he'd be facing more charges.)

"So…" said Shichiro. "Are you gonna give up, or are we gonna do this the hard way?"

He lifted the Duel Disk.

Fudagawa put on a Disk of his own, and activated it.

"They always want to do it the hard way…" sighed Shichiro.

His own Disk activated.

(Shichiro: 8,000) - - - - - - - - - - (Fudagawa: 8,000)

"Duel!" they both shouted.

"I'll make the first move…" said Shichiro.

He drew a card.

"I'll defend with this…" he said.

He placed a card on his Disk, and a reversed Monster appeared.

"…and I'll end my turn there."

"My move," said Fudagawa, drawing a card.

"I summon Shining Abyss!" he exclaimed.

A bright light appeared on his side of the field, and an odd creature materialized. It was hard to tell whether it was a Fairy or a Machine. It had a pear-shaped, blue, metallic torso with no legs, mechanical arms, no face, and golden, metal wings. (1,600 ATK)

"Shining Abyss?" asked Shichiro. "I'd say you really do need money if you're using cards like that."

"Aw, stuff it," said Fudagawa. "Attack his Monster!"

Shining Abyss shot a beam of pure light at the reversed Monster…

A young woman appeared crouching on the card, wearing orange ceremonial armor, a cape, and a beret, holding a sword and a shield. (1,900 DEF)

"Your Monster can try," said Shichiro, "but it's going to find Command Knight too tough to handle."

Command Knight blocked the blast with her shield.

"Alright, fine…" muttered Fudagawa. "I'll set a card, and that will be all…"

A facedown card appeared behind Shining Abyss.

(S: 8,000) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 7,700)

Shichiro drew a card.

"I summon Chthonian Soldier," he said.

He played the card, and a dark shadow appeared on his side of the field. A fiendish-looking Warrior in black armor with a helmet, holding a serrated sword, with an ugly scowl on his face revealing sharp teeth, appeared next to Command Knight. (1,200 ATK)

"And thanks to Command Knight, all Warriors on my side of the field gain 400 more Attack Points."

(1,600 ATK)

"Plus, Command Knight can't be attacked so long as I have at least one other Monster.

"Next, Command Knight moves to Attack Mode…"

Command Knight stood up, and brandished her sword. (1,200 ATK) –) (1,600 ATK)

"Then, I play a Continuous Spell Card…"

He played a card, and it appeared on his side of the field.

"The A. Forces. Now, all my Warriors gain 200 Attack Points for each Warrior present."

Both Warriors' Attack Scores increased to 2,000.

"Not bad…" said Fudagawa.

"Chthonian Soldier, attack Shining Abyss!" shouted Shichiro.

The infernal footsoldier swung his blade, and the weird Fairy exploded into shards. Fudagawa shielded himself.

"Command Knight, you're up! Attack him directly!"

Command Knight rushed at the changeling…

"Not so fast!" shouted Fudagawa. "I have a Trap…"

His facedown card shot up.

"Soul Resurrection! This lets me bring Shining Abyss back from the Graveyard to defend me!"

Shining Abyss appeared, crouching and shielding itself with its arms. (1,800 DEF)

Command Knight swung her sword, and Shining Abyss burst again.

"Good save, I guess," said Shichiro. "I end my turn…"

(S: 8,000) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 7,400)

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Courtroom 10B at Shadowchaser Headquarters was crowded, as courtrooms tended to be for high-profile cases. No-one had been allowed inside without a thorough search, but not even that had kept away the Shadow-exclusive press and others who were eager to see the proceedings. No television or video cameras were allowed, however – the reporters were only allowed to take still photographs.

Hebi-Na was seated where the defendant usually sat in such proceedings, her lawyer next to her and a guard at either side. Her hands were still cuffed. The prosecution had wanted her restrained by a straightjacket, but the judge didn't think that was necessary. After all, with the security measures in place, she would be subdued the second she got even one hand free. And she knew it.

"Settle down everybody," said Judge Beauregard, as he adjusted his glasses.

"Ahem…

"If the defendant would step forward, please…"

Hebi-Na got up, and slowly moved in front of the bench. The two guards kept their sights on her.

"Hebi-Na…" said Beauregard. "The charges against you include multiple counts of murder, attempted murder, aiding a terrorist group, and the gravest charge, conspiring with a being with apocalyptic and genocidal goals.

"Do you understand the seriousness of these charges?"

Hebi-Na nodded.

"I would appreciate a verbal response," said Beauregard. "The court reporter cannot record gestures."

"Yes, I understand them…" said Hebi-Na, with a hint of bile.

"Do you have anything to say at this point?" asked Beauregard.

"Actually, I do…" said Hebi-Na.

She turned around, and looked at everyone watching her.

"Look at me," she said. "Take a good look. In case you didn't notice yet, I'm a snake. Snakes have been getting a bad rap since as far back as any Shadow can remember. Since any human history can remember.

"Maybe even since the dawn of time. The Bible says that it was a serpent that convinced Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Of course, that part of the story always confuses me. The Garden of Eden was supposed to be paradise. Why would the God you worship, in His supposed infinite wisdom, allow an evil tempter to sneak in? No-one ever seems to question that part.

"I tend to believe that the 'Good Lord' let it in, because He wanted His two creations to eat the fruit."

Everyone was giving her dirty looks right now.

"Makes sense, you know…" she continued. "Your doctrine says that Original Sin can only be removed by the grace of God… Maybe He wanted it there so that humanity would be dependent on Him."

Some angry murmurs started coming from the spectators.

"What?" asked Hebi-Na. "Don't believe the almighty creator is capable of such things? Read the Book of Job, and you'll see just how cruel He could be sometimes."

The angry murmurs got much louder and more understandable. Judge Beauregard rapped his gavel on his bench.

"Let her finish," he said, somewhat irked himself.

"But I digress…" continued Hebi-Na. "You folks have always hated us… Can you blame us for hating you in return? Are we supposed to take this abuse and like it? Snakes hate humans because you hated us first. It's as simple as that."

Beauregard sighed, and looked at his clipboard.

"Be that as it may, Hebi-Na," he said, adjusting his glasses again, "controversial philosophies aside… Given the recommendations of the two psychiatrists who did your evaluation, it is my ruling that you are mentally competent enough to stand trial for these charges.

"Proceedings will resume exactly five days from today. Court adjourned."

He rapped his gavel on the bench again.

"Get her out of here."

"Blaming God for the fall of Man," said one of the guards. "Good one. The judge is right. You aren't crazy. You're just plain stupid."

Hebi-Na didn't answer. Truthfully, she didn't care. She knew that at this point, she had lost almost everything.

But she was determined to keep the one thing she had left – her pride.

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"My move…" said Fudagawa.

The changeling drew a card.

Then he fit a card into his Disk.

"I activate Mask of Dispel!"

A wave of energy shot forward, and a ghostly, ominous mask appeared on Shichiro's A. Forces card.

"Eh?" said Shichiro.

"We'll get to that later," continued Fudagawa. "For now, I summon Grand Tiki Elder."

A ghostly laughter echoed over the field, and a demonic witch doctor wearing a fright mask appeared in front of Fudagawa. (1,500 ATK)

"Another weak non-Effect Monster," sighed Shichiro. "Is this strategy of yours gonna go anywhere?"

"It will," replied Fudagawa, "once I Equip it with Mask of Brutality!"

He played another card, and an even uglier mask with a fanged mouth and claws where the eyes would be appeared over Grand Tiki Elder's face.

"This increases its Attack Score by 1,000 points."

(2,500 ATK)

"News flash, genius," said Shichiro. "You have to pay a thousand Life Points per round to use that. Axe of Despair would have been better."

"But I have a new way to use it," replied Fudagawa. "In the meantime… Attack his Chthonian Soldier! Tiki curse!"

Grand Tiki Elder chanted an evil spell, and a wave of dark energy shot at the Dark Warrior. He grunted, and then burst into pixels.

"You just activated Chthonian Soldier's effect," said Shichiro. "When he's destroyed, battle damage is inflicted on both players."

Fudagawa grunted a little.

"I'll set a new card facedown," he said, as a reversed card appeared, "and end my turn…"

(S: 7,500) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 6,900)

Shichiro made a draw, and looked at the five cards in his hand.

"I'll set a Monster, and then move Command Knight to Defense Mode," he said.

A reversed Monster appeared, and then Command Knight crouched and held up her shield. (1,900 DEF)

"That's all…"

Fudagawa made a draw.

"Now that it's my Standby Phase," he said, "I pay 1,000 Life Points to keep Mask of Brutality, as you said. But you lose 500 Life Points from Mask of Dispel."

Shichiro groaned a little.

"Now I summon… Melchid the Four-Face Beast!"

In an aura of dark energy, a new Fiend appeared. It looked more-or-less like a big head, with four masks spaced around its circumference. (1,500 ATK)

"Now, I activate… Meteorain," he said, as his facedown card lifted. "This means that for this round, all my Monsters can inflict damage even by attacking Monsters in Defense Mode.

"Grand Tiki Elder, attack his facedown Monster!"

The Tiki cast its evil spell again. Blade Knight appeared on the card, and was blown to pieces.

"ERGH!" grunted Shichiro.

"Now, I play the Quickplay Spell, Tailor of the Fickle," said Fudagawa, as a Spell Card appeared. "This lets me take Mask of Brutality off of one Monster, and put it on another.

"So I'll move it from my Monster to yours."

The Mask vanished from Grand Tiki Elder's face, and appeared on Command Knight's.

"Why did he do that, you may ask? Because Mask of Brutality lowers a Monster's Defense Points as much as it raises its Attack Points."

Shichiro looked at Command Knight… (900 DEF)

"Melchid…" ordered Fudagawa, "attack Command Knight!"

The Four-Face Beast flew at Command Knight, and slammed into her, smashing her to bits. Shichiro groaned.

"It's your move…" said Fudagawa.

(S: 4,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 5,900)

Okay… thought Shichiro, drawing a card. So this guy is better than I thought he was…

He looked at the card.

"I summon Little-Winguard," he said.

He played the card, and a little guy in blue armor, a cape, and a pointed helmet that only revealed its eyes, holding a sword and a shield appeared. (1,400 ATK)

"Little-Winguard??" laughed Fudagawa. "And you say my Monsters are obsolete? No-one has used that guy since Katsuya Jonouchi had it in his deck, and it was hardly his best Monster."

"It has its uses," replied Shichiro. "And it gains 200 more Attack Points from The A. Forces."

(1,600 ATK)

"Destroy his Four-Face Beast!" he shouted. "Wing slash!"

Little-Winguard flew at the Fiend, and made a downward swipe with its sword, cutting it clean in half.

"Now, I play Emergency Provisions," he continued, as he played a card, "getting rid of The A. Forces and destroying your Mask, gaining 1,000 Life Points in the process."

The A. Forces vanished, and the Mask of Dispel card shattered. Little-Winguard fell back to an Attack Score of 1,400.

"I move to my End Phase, which means I can use Little-Winguard's effect, and move it to Defense Mode, even thought I summoned it in Attack Mode."

Little-Winguard knelt and covered itself with its shield. (1,800 DEF)

(S: 5,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 5,800)

"Then it's my move…" said Fudagawa, drawing a card.

He looked at the one card.

He set it on his Disk and a reversed Monster appeared. Then Grand Tiki Elder shielded itself in Defense Mode. (800 DEF)

"Mmm!" he said.

Shichiro drew a card.

"I throw a card facedown," he said, as a reversed card appeared.

"Then I play The Warrior Returning Alive."

A Spell Card appeared on his side of the field.

"Now I can get Command Knight back…"

The card slipped out of his discard slot.

"Then I'll summon her!"

Command Knight appeared again. (1,200 ATK) –) (1,600 ATK)

"I'll move Little-Winguard back to Attack Mode…"

Little Winguard stood up. (1,400 ATK) –) (1,800 ATK)

"Go! Take out his Monsters!"

Little-Winguard flew at the fiendish Tiki, and made a slash with its sword. Grand Tiki Elder shattered.

Command Knight rushed at the facedown Monster. A clay jar appeared on the card, and a cackling, one-eyed, shadowy creature appeared out of it before she slashed it to ribbons.

"That was a Morphing Jar," said Fudagawa. "Now we have to discard all our cards and draw five more."

Shichiro discarded his two cards, and made five draws. Fudagawa simply made five draws.

Shichiro looked at the five new cards.

"I move to my End Phase, and move Little-Winguard to Defense Mode again," he said.

The little Warrior shielded itself again. (1,800 DEF)

"My move!" said Fudagawa, drawing a card.

"I play the Equip Spell, Mask of the Accursed! And I Equip it to Command Knight!"

He played the card. Command Knight screamed, right before another ugly mask latched to her face.

"Good lord…" muttered Shichiro.

"That will keep her out of commission," said Fudagawa. "Next, I throw two cards facedown, and summon Rogue Doll."

Two reversed cards appeared, and then an odd Monster appeared. It looked vaguely feminine, its head and torso combined, clothed in a purple cloak, with two arms that held a staff and no legs. (1,600 ATK)

"It's your move…" he said.

"I draw one card…" said Shichiro.

He made a draw. He looked at it.

Hmm, Gilford the Lightning, he thought.

He looked at Command Knight and Little-Winguard.

I'd need three Monsters to use his effect… But I could summon him with only two… And that will let me burn off that Mask before it does me any more grief…

"I sacrifice…" he started.

"Hold up!" shouted Fudagawa.

One of his facedown cards lifted.

"Mask of Restrict?" said Shichiro. "Eh, I should have known. Well, I'll improvise…"

Little-Winguard moved to Attack Mode again. (1,800 ATK)

"Attack Rogue Doll!" he shouted.

Little-Winguard flew at the Spellcaster…

"Did you forget I had another Trap Card?" asked Fudagawa as his other facedown card shot up. "Go, Mask of Weakness!"

Another ugly mask latched to Little-Winguard's face, and its Attack Score fell to 1,100. Rogue Doll blasted a beam of pure light, and the Warrior was incinerated.

I'm getting a little tired of this twisted masquerade party… thought Shichiro.

He turned a card on his Disk, and Command Knight crouched in Defense Mode. (1,900 DEF) Then he set a card, and a reversed Monster appeared.

"Your move…" he said.

(S: 5,400) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 5,800)

"I draw," said Fudagawa, making a draw.

"And that means you lose 500 Life Points from Mask of the Accursed."

Shichiro groaned a little as Fudagawa looked at the card.

"Perfect…" he said. "Time to bring out one of my big guns…"

He flipped the card around.

"The Masked Beast?" asked Shichiro. "And just how are you gonna summon that? You need to sacrifice Monsters to make a Ritual Summon, and your own Mask of Restrict keeps you from doing that."

"Not if I use this," said Fudagawa, as he played a Spell Card. "It's called Advanced Ritual Art.

"This card can be used in place of the normal Ritual Spell, and rather than sacrificing Monsters, I have to send Normal Monsters from my deck to my Graveyard whose combined Levels equal the Level of the Ritual Monster."

He quickly discarded two more Grand Tiki Elders.

"Now, arise!"

A cloud of dark smoke appeared on his side of the field, followed by a low growl.

The Fiend that appeared was some eight feet tall. It looked basically centaurian in shape, even though it's lower body only had two legs. It was overall muscular and covered with bony plating, and a mask covered its face that seemed to be nailed on. It carried a nasty-looking club. (3,200 ATK)

Shichiro frowned.

"Attack his Monster!" shouted Fudagawa.

The Masked Beast roared, and charged at the facedown Monster.

An elf in armor and a cape holding a sword appeared on the card. He blocked the Fiend's blow with his blade, and pushed it back. (1,200 DEF)

"Eh?" said Fudagawa.

"Obnoxious Celtic Guardian can't be destroyed by Monsters with 1,900 Attack Points or more," said Shichiro. "That thing has over 3,000!"

Fudagawa put his hand on his hip and frowned.

"Oh, is that so?" he asked. "Rogue Doll, you take care of him! Rogue phantom blast!"

The Doll fired its blast of light, and the elf Warrior was incinerated.

"So…" said Fudagawa. "What are you gonna do now?"

(S: 4,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 5,800)

Shichiro drew a card.

"Oh, I thought I'd play my Pot of Avarice…" he said, playing the card.

He quickly took Chthonian Soldier, Little-Winguard, Mystic Swordsman LV2, Obnoxious Celtic Guardian, and Blade Knight from his Graveyard, and added them to his deck. He reshuffled, and then made two draws.

"Now I'll activate my facedown card," he said.

The reversed card he had set a few turns ago lifted up.

"It's called Level Retuning. It lets me lower the Level of my Monster by up to two. So I'll lower Command Knight's Level from four to two."

"Why would you do that?" asked Fudagawa.

"Isn't it obvious?" asked Shichiro, playing a new card. "I summon Junk Synchron!"

In a flash of light, a cute-looking robot dressed like a mechanic, apparently made of scrap metal and spare parts, appeared next to Command Knight. (1,300 ATK)

"That guy's a Tuner!" shouted Fudagawa.

"It sure is!" replied Shichiro. "And since Monsters Tuned for a Synchro Summon are not considered sacrifices, it's time to take this duel to the next level!"

Junk Synchron yanked a ripcord on its waist, and the motor on its back started to hum. Command Knight stood up, and the mask on her face shattered.

Both Monsters leapt into the sky, and glowed with light. They formed into five glowing stars.

Shichiro raised his arms.

"Treasure from trash," he chanted. "Relics from refuse. A powerful fighter formed from the debris neglected and thrown away! Clustering stars call a new force… Synchro Summon… Junk Warrior!"

With a roar, the powerful form of Junk Warrior, Yusei Fudo's signature card (after his Dragon) flew down, casting an angry glare at the changeling. (2,300 ATK)

"Yeah, yeah, great Monster," said Fudagawa, sarcastically. "But it's still not strong enough to beat The Masked Beast…"

"Then I'll make it stronger," replied Shichiro, playing a Spell Card, "with Battle-Tuned! Now, by removing a Tuner Monster in my Graveyard from play, I can increase the Attack Score of Junk Warrior by its Attack Score."

Junk Synchron slipped out of his discard slot, and he placed it inside his jacket. Junk Warrior roared louder. (3,600 ATK)

"Hey, wait a minute!" shouted Fudagawa.

"Attack The Masked Beast!" ordered Shichiro. "Scrap Fist!"

Junk Warrior's jetpack ignited, and it flew at the huge Fiend. It socked the abomination full in the face, and the Beast toppled over before shattering into pixels.

"Ergh…" groaned Fudagawa. "Okay, you win that round…"

"I end my turn," said Shichiro.

Junk Warrior's Attack Score returned to 2,300.

(S: 4,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 5,400)

Fudagawa made a draw.

"I'll set a facedown, and then move Rogue Doll into Defense Mode," he said.

A reversed card appeared, and then the Spellcaster shielded itself with its arms. (1,000 DEF)

"That's all I can do…"

Shichiro made a draw.

"I summon Goblin Attack Force," he said.

He played the card, and a gang of five goblins carrying clubs appeared next to Junk Warrior. (2,300 ATK)

"Get that Rogue Doll!" he shouted.

The goblins rushed forward, and pummeled the Doll with their clubs. It shattered under the onslaught.

"Junk Warrior, attack him directly!"

Fudagawa grunted as the Synchro socked him in the chest hard. He fell on his seat.

"Goblin Attack Force now moves to Defense Mode…" he said.

The Goblins sat down, and held their clubs in their laps. (0 DEF)

"I set one card facedown, and end my turn," said Shichiro, as a reversed card appeared.

(S: 4,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 3,100)

"My move…" growled Fudagawa.

He made a draw.

"And I'm going to use my Pot of Avarice."

He played the card, and took all three Grand Tiki Elders, Rogue Doll, and Shining Abyss from his Graveyard. He put them into his deck, the Disk auto-shuffled it, and he made two draws.

Shichiro sighed. This new model of Duel Disk had recently come out, with auto-shuffling and many other new features, and it seemed everyone in town except the Shadowchasers had them. The boss had told them they were going to be standard issue for the organization, and had told everyone not to waste money on them. Seeing as the boss provided their spending money, they didn't go against his orders when he told them not to buy something. But Shichiro wasn't the only Shadowchaser who was getting tired of waiting for the red tape to be cleared so he'd get his new Disk.

"I activate the Spell Card, Spiritualism," he said, as he played a Spell Card. "This lets me return one Spell or Trap Card to the owner's hand.

"And I'm going to do that to my own Mask of Restrict."

The Trap Card vanished.

I don't like where this is going, thought Shichiro.

"Next, my facedown card," he continued, as his facedown card lifted. "Birthright. Now, I can Special Summon Melchid back from my Graveyard."

The Four-Face Beast appeared again. (1,500 ATK)

"Then I'll summon Masked Sorcerer."

He played the card, and a weird-looking Spellcaster with a full-face mask and a violet cloak with no lower body, holding a golden pocket watch appeared. (900 ATK)

"Then, I sacrifice both Monsters…"

Both Monsters were shrouded in an ominous black flame…

Here it comes… thought Shichiro.

With a roar of pure bloodlust a hulking, frightening form loomed over Fudagawa's side of the field. It was even taller than The Masked Beast, but more humanoid, combining the worst aspects of demon, reptile, and bear, with bony horns on its head and shoulders. It had three masks, one on its face and one of each shoulder.

Shichiro looked upon Masked Beast Des Gardius… (3,300 ATK)

"Well that's a surprise…" muttered Shichiro, sarcastically.

"I'm through fooling around!" shouted Fudagawa. "Attack Junk Warrior! Savage claw!"

Des Gardius roared, and made a monstrous swipe at Junk Warrior. Shichiro braced himself as his Monster exploded.

(S: 3,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 3,100)

"I set a card facedown," said Fudagawa, as a reversed card appeared. "Uh… I'm guessing you know what it is, right?"

He grinned.

"So… What do you think?"

"I think it's my move…" said Shichiro.

He drew a card.

He quickly played a Spell Card.

"I play Magical Stone Excavation," he said. "Now, I toss two cards…"

He discarded two cards, one of which was Gilford the Lightning.

"…to get back a Spell Card from my Graveyard."

A card slipped out of his discard slot, and he took it.

"Next, I summon Marauding Captain…"

In a burst of energy, one of the most popular Warriors in the game appeared, the battle-worn veteran in armor and a cape, with a scar on his face, holding two swords. (1,200 ATK)

"Finally!" exclaimed Fudagawa. "I didn't think you'd ever summon a Warrior who didn't look weird!"

"Oh, be quiet," said Shichiro. "I'm sure you know that when I summon him, I get to Special Summon someone else from my hand. Like Tuningware."

In a small burst of energy, a little robot wearing a scarf around its neck and a saucepan on its head appeared. (100 ATK)

"Now I activate… Call of the Haunted!"

His facedown card lifted up.

"Now I'm going to summon a guy I tossed to play Magical Stone Excavation… Meet Road Synchron!"

Another robot appeared, and this one looked far more intimidating than Tuningware. It had golden armor, arms that suggested muscles, exhaust pipes on its back, and long rollers instead of legs. (1,600 ATK)

"Whoa…" said Fudagawa. "Never saw that guy before…"

"Now he'll give my other two Monsters a Tune-up!" exclaimed Shichiro.

Road Synchron's eyes glowed, and smoke shot out of its exhaust pipes. Then it, Tuningware, and Marauding Captain flew into the sky, and faded into light, turning into eight glowing stars…

Shichiro chanted again:

"Clustering stars form a highway where the king of the road can rule. Form a path that can guide the way to victory on the horizon! Dash onward! Synchro Summon… Road Warrior!"

In a blast of powerful energy, a new Monster appeared with a roar. It was just as big as Des Gardius, clad entirely in golden armor, with bladed gauntlets and a series of exhaust pipes on its back.

It glared at the huge Fiend. (3,000 ATK)

"Okay, that's… pretty good…" said Fudagawa. "But my Monster is still better…"

"We'll see…" said Shichiro. "First, I use Tuningware's effect. Since it was used in a Synchro Summon, I get to draw one card…"

He looked at his deck. He paused.

He made a draw.

He smirked a little.

"Next, I use Road Warrior's effect," he said. "Once per turn, I get to Special Summon a Level 1 or 2 Warrior or Machine from my deck."

Mystic Swordsman LV2 appeared next to the much bigger Warrior, and knelt down, shielding himself with his sword. (0 DEF)

"Now, I play the card I recovered with Magical Stone Excavation," he said. "The A. Forces!"

The Spell Card appeared.

"With Mystic Swordsman and Goblin Attack Force on the field, Road Warrior gains 600 more points!"

(3,600 ATK)

"Destroy Des Gardius! Lightning claw!"

Road Warrior rushed at the huge Fiend, its claw sparking with electricity and exhaust billowing from its pipes. One swipe of its claw, and Des Gardius roared in pain before exploding into slag.

"Ergh…" groaned Fudagawa.

(S: 3,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 2,800)

Then he smiled an evil smile.

"You may have destroyed Des Gardius," he laughed, "but I'll have the last laugh! Now I get to use The Mask of Remnants!"

The ugliest mask yet, looking like stitched-together skins and sinews, flew at Road Warrior and bonded to its face. Road Warrior was pulled over to Fudagawa's side of the field.

"Well…" said the changeling. "Any other move you'd like to make?"

Shichiro looked at the last card in his hand.

"No…" he said, casually. "Your move…"

Fudagawa drew a card.

He looked at it. It was his second Mask of the Accursed.

I'll save this, he thought.

"Road Warrior," he ordered, "destroy Goblin Attack Force! Lightning claw!"

Road Warrior charged, and the five goblins screamed as they were electrocuted.

"So…" chuckled Fudagawa. "What are you gonna do now?"

"Easy," said Shichiro. "I'm going to beat you."

"Beat me?" asked Fudagawa. "You wish! I've stolen a lot of Monsters from my opponents with The Mask of Remnants because they didn't know about Des Gardius's effect, but this is the best one yet!"

"But I did know about Des Gardius's effect," replied Shichiro. "I was quite familiar with it."

Fudagawa stopped short.

"Then why the heck did you…" he started.

"My move…" said Shichiro, with a grin.

He drew a card. Then he quickly played the one he already had.

"I play De-Synchro!" he shouted. "Now, Road Warrior goes back to my Extra Deck…"

The Mask of Remnants shattered, and Road Warrior itself vanished.

"…AND, I get to Special Summon the Monsters I Tuned to summon it!"

Road Synchron (1,600 ATK), Tuningware (100 ATK), and Marauding Captain (1,200 ATK) appeared on Shichiro's side of the field again.

"And that means I can Tune them together again!"

The three Monsters faded into eight glowing stars a second time…

With a roar, Road Warrior appeared again, and this time, when it looked at Fudagawa, it was mad. (3,000 ATK)

"You were playing me for a fool all along!" shouted Fudagawa.

"Well, not all along," replied Shichiro. "But most of the time, yeah.

"Road Warrior… Attack directly!"

Fudagawa screamed as Road Warrior slashed at him with its lightning claw…

(S: 3,900) - - - - - - - - - - (F: 0)

Shichiro sighed. He walked up to the changeling, who was out cold.

"They never learn…" he said, as he picked up the stolen shaman's mask.

He looked at the moon.

Such a beautiful night, he thought. Too bad we have to work… Eh… A Shadowchaser's work is never done…

Wonder how Gears, Jinx, and Ember are doing?

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Next:

Gears: The duergar are a degenerate race, descended from the same ancestry as the noble dwarves. But where the dwarves are honorable and proud, the duergar are tyrannical and cruel. Their society is one where slavery is common, and the strong bully the weak. Now, I've discovered that one of them is part of a car theft ring and running a "chop shop".

Come out and face me! My Allies of Justice are ready to do what they do best…

"Metal Shooter" is coming next!