Chapter 23

Kaiba was not surprised by his good fortune of being able to summon one of his most trusted beasts to the field, despite Lumis' trap card preventing him and Yami from making any sacrifices. 'Such fools...they should have known better than to challenge me or disrespect my family! I will see to it that they suffer the most painful defeat!' "Your chances of defeating me have become non-existent!"

Lumis laughed. "You may have managed to summon one of your most prized monsters onto the field; however, it is no match for the all-powerful Masked Beast! I think you have absolutely lost it!"

Kaiba sneered. "What's the matter? Are you upset because I am about to steal your glory? You two snakes are so full of yourselves that your egos are easily bruised. "

"Kaiba…" Yami began. He was unsure of how to tell Kaiba that he oftentimes behaved the same way he was accusing the rare hunters of acting.

Kaiba's taunting made the two rare hunters grit their teeth. "We have to destroy these insolent fools," said Umbra.

"We will," Lumis reassured his friend and dueling partner. "We just have to use these next few turns wisely."

Kaiba glanced at Yami. He had a feeling he knew what was on his rival's mind. "Yugi…when you waited to play your Card Destruction card so I can resurrect my Blue Eyes, you were trying to show me the power of cooperation, weren't you? Well I hate to disappoint you, but I do not intend to help you with my Blue Eyes White Dragon unless I absolutely have to."

Yami was becoming frustrated with Kaiba. "Kaiba, if we don't come to an agreement, we will lose the duel. It's why the rare hunters have had the upper hand for most of this duel."

"Nonsense," scoffed Kaiba.


"Yugi is right!" said Lumis. "While you two fools were busy arguing, my partner and I have managed to come up with an unstoppable strategy. Say goodbye to your Blue Eyes White Dragon!"

"Kaiba! You mustn't listen to him," said Yami. "You can destroy the Masked Beast!"

The ceo looked at Yami in disbelief. It was unlike his rival to suggest attacking a monster that is clearly stronger than his. "What? I can?"

"Yes," answered Yami. "If you don't attack, the rare hunters may find a way to defeat your dragon on the next turn. Just trust me."

Kaiba had to admit that Yami was probably correct when he said Blue Eyes could possibly be destroyed. 'Why would Yugi tell me to attack when my monster is no match for that eyesore? Has he implemented a strategy I know nothing about? The only way to find out is to follow his advice, as much as I hate the thought of taking orders.' "All right. Blue Eyes White Dragon, attack with your white lightning!"

The two robed men watched in amusement. "Well, well, it looks like the pathetic duelists have given up!" said Umbra. "They are about to pay the price for making such a careless mistake! Masked Beast, attack!"

But as the monster prepared to launch its attack, Blue Eyes fired its lightning blast attack, destroying the creature. The two robed men's mouths dropped open when they saw what just happened.

Kaiba gave a smug grin. 'Good riddance.'

"But how? How could your Blue Eyes have destroyed my monster when it was no match?" asked Umbra. He was beginning to wonder if he and Lumis had underestimated their opponents.

Yami gave a small chuckle. "Allow me to explain. When I played my Card Destruction magic card on my turn, I discarded my Beast of Gilfer. By sending that monster to the graveyard, I activated its special effect. It lowers the attack strength of any monster I choose by 500 points."

"And you chose Masked Beast?" asked Lumis, clearly displeased that a dent had been put in his and Umbra's strategy.

"Very perceptive, Lumis," answered the ancient spirit. "Therefore, the Blue Eyes White Dragon was strong enough to defeat it."

Lumis gritted his teeth. "Consider yourself lucky this round."

Umbra's look of annoyance was replaced by smugness. "I commend you on defeating my Masked Beast, Kaiba. However, you will have to do better than that if you want to win against us."

Kaiba's facial expression was one between a scowl and a smirk. 'These men are fools to underestimate my abilities. Well, they will learn the hard way.' "You two goons are nauseating." 'I hate to admit it but they're right. If we're gonna win this duel, we cannot show any mercy. Not that it would be difficult. '

"It's my turn now. " Lumis drew a card. 'Seeing as how that fool Yugi only has those two weak magnet warriors guarding his life points, he is an easy target. However, I have something more ingenious in mind.' "I place two cards face down and play a monster in defense mode. It's your turn, Yugi. Remember, my trap cards Masked of the Accursed and Mask of Dispel are still in effect, so you will lose another one thousand life points." 'At this rate, Umbra and I will not need monsters to destroy you.'

Yami had a grim look on his face as he watched his life points drop to 1500. 'All right. Kaiba and I have started the comeback, but we have to work hard to maintain the streak and be prepared for anything.' He also hoped Kaiba would listen to reason and understand the true power of cooperation. 'His hatred for teamwork can be used against us in this duel.' "All right. I summon Alpha the Magnet Warrior in attack mode!" (1400 attk) The gray colored magnet warrior materialized. "Alpha, attack his face down monster now!" Alpha lunged toward the defensive monster and slashed it. The monster was revealed to be Melchid the Four Faced Beast.

Lumis had a nonchalant expression on his face. He knew very well he could have easily blocked the attack with one of his face down cards, but decided that the loss of his defensive monster was not dire. 'After all, what fun would it be to destroy him quickly when I can continue to overwhelm him with the power of my deck?'

Yami smiled slightly, for he had come up with a possible strategy, one that could win the duel for him as well as stop the depletion of his life points before they reached zero. 'All three of my magnet warriors are on the field, so as long as neither of them are destroyed, they can be combined to form a very powerful monster. I can only hope it would be strong enough to defeat whichever creature the rare hunters summon next.'

After awhile, the dull ache in Vicki's hips had subsided to the point where it was almost completely non-existent. Vicki gave a happy sigh as she removed her beret, scratched her head and then placed it back on her head. 'Now to think of a good way to get out of here…have to help the others escape as well. I have a gut feeling they haven't, and things will only get worse from this point on.'

Vicki looked around for possible exits out of the musky room. Of course, there was obviously the main one, but she knew choosing that way would be out of the question. 'For all I know, those ruffians could be guarding that door.' She also considered climbing out the window, but decided that wasn't a very good idea, either. After all, she had to be careful where her condition was concerned.

'The only possible way is to make an exit…where I could go right outside…but how?' There was nothing to break the wall with. The brunette removed the deck of cards from her duel disk. She was slowly getting an idea. 'Hmmm…maybe I can use one of these Duel Monsters cards to help…but which one?' She flipped through the cards. There were so many possibilities of monsters she could use that it could take forever to pick one. The next card she came to was Maha Vailo. 'Voila! This is it!' The spellcaster's lightning attack was definitely a good way to create an exit. 'Of course I will also be in big trouble for vandalism, but that's the risk I'm gonna have to take if I'm to escape!'

Vicki set the card on her duel disk in attack mode. The magician monster appeared. She wore a long robe-like navy blue dress and a blue cone shaped hat with gold metal decorations hanging from each end on it. Two of the gold ornaments had red jewels hanging as well.

"Okay, Maha Vailo, do your thing!" belted out Vicki. The spellcaster raised her arms and held open her hands so that both palms were facing each other. Lightning poured into her hands from the sky. She thrust open her hands and launched the lightning at the wall, creating a huge explosion. The young teen waited for the explosion to ensue. Once the smoke cleared, there was an enormous hole in the wall.

'Yes! It worked! That tattooed faced guy thought he had me…but he couldn't have counted on this!' "Good job, Maha Vailo." The female spellcaster nodded, and disappeared. Vicki picked up the rope Odion was going to use to bind her with and quickly ran out of the building. 'Gotta check on the others.' She went around to the other side of the warehouse to see where her friends were. She peeked through the glass window on the door. She could see Tèa helping Mokuba climb on some stacked boxes.

'Oh no, the goons got to the lad Mokuba as well.' Vicki clenched her fist and shook it. She had no respect for bullies. 'I have to get those two out of there.' She climbed on top of the roof so she was near the open window, not caring about her arthritic hips this time. She stooped on her knees a bit. "Hey! Are you guys all right?"

Tèa looked up to where she heard the voice. She smiled, happy to see her friend. "Yes, we're as fine as we can be under the circumstances. How about you?"

"Not too bad," answered Vicki. She decided not to tell Tèa about how she had been kidnapped as well. Not then, anyway. She threw down the rope in the form of a ladder. "I have come to get you out of there."

"Oh, thanks." The cheerleader made sure Mokuba was sturdy on the boxes—well as sturdy as he could be.

All of a sudden, the door opened and some rare hunters entered the room. One of them laughed. "Make sure these twits don't escape."

"Oh no, those creeps are here!" Tèa helped Mokuba climb some more, until he was on the very top box. He pulled himself up. Unfortunately, the stack of boxes started to wobble again.

"Mokuba, get out of here while you can! Don't worry about me!" Tèa yelled. She was so frantic at the thought of Mokuba being used in whichever way the rare hunters planned.

Mokuba hesitated. "But…are you sure you'll be all right?" 'There is no telling with those jerks will do.'

"Yes! I'll find a way out of here," answered the young girl. "Now go!"

Although Mokuba had doubts about this because he was worried for the older girl's safety, he cautiously nodded. He grabbed onto the rope Vicki had thrown down for him to climb, and the chocolate haired girl pulled him up. 'I imagine I will have a bad back after this…but it needed to be done.' Just as she did that, the stack of boxes Tèa was on collapsed, and once again she fell. This time she landed on her back.

'Oh no! Tèa.' Vicki slowly got off the roof and reached out a hand to Mokuba. The younger Kaiba looked a bit surprised, but took her hand as she helped him to stand up.

"Thank you for saving me, Vicki," said Mokuba, slightly out of breath.

Vicki gave the little boy a warm smile. "The pleasure is all mine, lad." One thing she noticed about Mokuba was that he was nothing like his older brother. She was sure he would help with whatever he could, even though she didn't know him very well yet.

"Anyway, we'd better get out of here," said Mokuba. "Those robed creeps could come back." He radioed for a pilot of one of the Kaiba Corp helicopters.

"You're right." Vicki thought about Tèa and Joey and felt a bit guilty about leaving them behind. 'Oh, maybe I am overreacting. I know they can take care of themselves and have what it takes to hold their own if the rare hunters try anything funny.' There was something she thought it would be nice to have, that would come in handy during the tournament finals, but she didn't want to walk home and risk getting captured again. "I need a small favor."

"What is it?" asked the young boy.

"Would it be possible for me to stop at my apartment? I need to pick up something."

Mokuba furrowed his brow. "Oh sure. Just give the directions."

"Thank you."

"Don't mention it." 'I just hope the copter comes soon. I think I can hear those creeps looking for us.'

Joey was in one of the rooms, bound to a chair. Not only was he faint with hunger, but his shoulders were also stiff and sore from being tied up with no way of breaking free. He had tried to snap the ropes but to no avail.

'Man this sucks! I wish I had a knife or something to help me untie these ropes. When I get my hands on those robed freaks, they're gonna be dead meat!' Joey wondered how his friends Tèa and Vicki were doing. 'I hope those two were able to escape. Those thugs had better not have laid a finger on them or else they'll be sorry. If only I wasn't confined to this blasted chair!' All before this episode happened, he was looking forward to meeting up with Serenity and having her see how far he came in his duels. 'I've got to find a way out of here or else that may never happen.'

Just then, Odion entered the room to check up on the prisoner. He had just come from checking up on Vicki, only to discover she had escaped, much to his horror. 'I should have bound her like my instincts told me to. Master Marik will be furious.' The tattooed face rare hunter held back a shudder at the thought of facing his master's wrath. He hoped the fact that Joey and Tèa were still there would count for something. 'How will I break such news to Master Marik?'

Joey snarled deep within his throat. 'Just great. Another robed freak.'

"I trust you have made yourself at home in here," taunted Odion, looking down at the blonde. "It's time to rise and shine."

Joey glared at the older man before him. He was already in a bad mood because of the situation and the last thing he needed was to be face to face with one of the people who was probably behind the scheme. 'This guy looks like a tough one but I won't let him scare me. He'd better not test me if he knows what's good for him.' "What's the deal with all of this, you caped clown?"

Odion studied Joey. He smirked at how feisty the blonde young man seemed in spite of the fear in his eyes. Admittedly, he admired Joey's spunk. "Your impudence will be the end of you. You will know what's in store for you soon enough. For now, I suggest you hold your tongue and do what you're told without question. "

'Fat chance! This goon isn't scaring anyone.' "Listen, you think you guys are so tough, don't you, running around in your dark hoods! Untie me now and I will show you what being a tough guy is all about, you tattooed faced freak of nature! So what's it gonna be? If you let me go now, I promise I'll go easy on you!"

'That does it. It is time to show this insolent fool the meaning of respect,' thought Odion, reaching down towards Joey.

"Hey, keep your grubby paws off me! If you touch me, you'll be sorry!" Joey was about to place out a foot with the intention of kicking the rare hunter in the shin, but all of a sudden, he was partially frozen. "What? What's going on? I can't move!"

"Now that Joey is under my control, the pharaoh's destruction is inevitable!" gloated Marik, emitting some energy from his millennium rod. Joey screamed as he succumbed to its power and felt a sharp pain in his head. It was as if everything was fading into pitch blackness. He glanced up with cold, emotionless eyes and a harsh look on his face.

Tristan and Serenity were at the station, waiting to board the train. On the entire journey there, it was all Tristan could do not to be remotely flirtatious with Serenity, for he knew Joey would have his head.

'Man, Joey is no fun at all. Why does he hate the thought of me dating his sister? I mean, she is a great catch and I will do my best to protect her.' The pointy haired teen gave a sigh of despair. All he wanted was to prove that he was worthy of having Serenity as a soulmate. All of a sudden, he felt tightness in his chest, one he would usually get when he had the feeling Joey was in some type of danger. 'I wonder what type of mess Joey has gotten himself into this time…I always have to bail him out. Well whatever it is, Serenity and I will be there for you, bud. Until then, sit tight. If Serenity never gets to see you duel, I will never forgive you.'

At that moment, a train came speeding on the tracks. 'This must be it. We have to get to Joey quickly.' The train came to a stop and the automatic doors opened. "Serenity, it's here. Come on, let's go."


Tristan took the young teen girl by the hand and they stepped onto the train. The doors closed, and Tristan led Serenity to an empty seat, helping her to sit down. He took the seat that was facing her. He thought of a good way to make conversation with Serenity. He didn't want to spend the entire journey being in silence, and he hoped he wouldn't say the wrong thing, either. 'No need to be so nervous, man,' said a voice inside his head. 'Just be yourself.'

The young man relaxed. "So I bet you are excited to meet up with Joey once again, huh?" he asked.

"Yes I am," answered Serenity in her quiet voice. "I can't wait to see him duel. However, I am also a little bit nervous."

"Oh?" Tristan cocked an eyebrow. "What about?"

"About taking off my bandages, somewhat. I'm afraid the operation didn't work." Serenity felt ridiculous for not having more faith, but she heard a lot of horror stories about medical malpractice.

"Oh, I am sure it did," Tristan reassured the girl cheerfully. "The doctor said the operation was a success, remember?"

Serenity nodded. "I hope they were right. This time around, I really want to be there for Joey, just as he has always been there for me."

"Yes," agreed Tristan. In some ways, the young man was jealous that he didn't have a sibling to care for, so he made up for it by looking out for his friends. "I am sure Joey will give you the strength you need to take your bandages off. And you can be there for him when he begins his duels in the finals."

Serenity looked a bit happier. It felt nice knowing she could give courage to her brother as well. "You're right!"

Tèa went to see if she could find Joey. She had been glad Mokuba and Vicki were able to escape, but she got to the point where she had enough of the abandoned warehouse. 'And Joey had better be all right, or else there will be hell to pay! Those rare hunters are way out of line.'

The brunette came to the room Joey was being held captive. Aside from the fact that the blonde was tied to a chair, she let out a sigh of relief when she saw he appeared to be unharmed.

"Joey! Thank goodness you're all right!" she said, running over to him.

Joey didn't respond, or even acknowledge Tèa's presence, which she found strange.

"Earth to Joey! Joey, are you in there?" Tèa waved her arms in front of the blonde's face. He didn't respond to that, either. 'All right, this is weird. Sure, he is known to act as if he is in a daze, but this is much worse than usual. I wonder what's going on.' She grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. "Joey, what's wrong with you?! Can't you hear me?"

Joey looked up and sneered at the girl standing over him. 'Impudent little girl.' "I'm not Joey you fool!" he answered nastily.

Tèa looked taken aback. Not just by what he said, but also his tone of voice. 'What's wrong with him?' "Ha ha, very funny."

Odion entered the room and stood behind Joey. Judging from the look on the man's face, Tèa got the suspicion he was behind her friend's personality change. "What have you done with him?" she demanded to know.

"It is none of your concern," the tattooed face rare hunter answered. "There will be plans for you as well."

Using the power of the millennium rod, Marik telepathically called on his best henchman.

"What is it, sir?" asked Odion. Something told him that his master was at least mildly displeased with him.

"Where has the girl called Vicki gone off to?"

Odion began to sweat nervously. He was afraid Marik would ask that. He wished there was a way to avoid answering, since he knew he would be in for an earful if he told Marik she escaped and that he hadn't bothered binding her to prevent it, because of her arthritis. Yet he knew he couldn't lie to his master. "I regret having to tell you this, Master Marik, but I am afraid she has escaped. I noticed that one of the walls was also destroyed."

There was a slight pause. "YOU FOOL! CAN'T YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT?!"

Odion gulped. It was just as he was afraid of. And he didn't even tell his master about how he thought about what Keren would think if she witnessed certain actions of his. "I'm...I'm sorry sir," he stammered.

"You will be if you fail me again!" warned Marik. "Now go make yourself useful and win some locator cards!"

That was no problem for Odion because he had been participating in duels when he was not carrying out orders or meeting with Marik. He almost had enough locator cards for both himself and Marik to enter the finals. He was sure his master would want to be in the finals just in case all else failed. "Yes Master Marik." He left the room, locking the door.

Marik gave an evil grin as he used his rod on Tèa as well. "AHHHH! What is happening to me?" the brunette girl screamed as the power overwhelmed her.

A young teen girl named Mimi wandered around Battle City, looking for another potential opponent to test her skills against. She had just won her second duel and was now the proud owner of 3 locator cards.

"Whew…I'm on a roll here…maybe I will make it to the finals after all. I just have to keep believing in myself.' She began to daydream about the possible prizes for someone who made it to the finals and won. She proceeded to nibble on her fingernails a bit. Soon, she heard footsteps coming in her direction and it was so sudden that she nearly jumped a mile.

Mimi stopped biting her nails and looked up to see who was walking towards her. Much to her horror, it was a rare hunter. She heard lots of things about how rare hunters stole powerful cards and that oftentimes they used force to do so.

'Oh no...he's coming this way.' Her best instincts were telling her to run away and find an opponent elsewhere, but her feet wouldn't move.

Odion stopped about five feet away from Mimi. 'So this girl is a duelist. Interesting.' "It is unbecoming of you to appear frightened, young girl. Such an emotion can be a hindrance during a duel."

'Dang! He thinks I'm scared of him!' Slowly but surely, she started to thaw out. Once she did, she looked him over. He certainly did look intimidating, given his height and muscular build. The tattoo on his face sent chills down her spine. And it certainly didn't help that he was a big enough guy to snap her in half like a twig if he ever sat on her. "If you've come to steal my rare cards, you can forget it!"

Odion was beginning to see the reason behind Mimi's timid exterior. He realized this was his chance to show how different he was from his colleagues. "Well there is no need to be alarmed. I do not intend to harm you. I simply wish to participate in an honorable duel with you."

For a moment, Mimi stood there, agape. 'Duel with him? Is this dude kidding? If his dueling skills are anything like his big buff looks, I'll get my butt kicked.' But then she considered the proposition. 'Then again, this could be an opportunity to test how much my skills have truly grown as well as prove that I am not afraid, at least not enough to back down from this challenge.' "All right. I'll be glad to duel with you. I'll wager 2 locator cards."

"Wise choice. I will wager two locator cards as well."

"It's time to duel!" Both Mimi and Odion took their places on the field and activated their duel disks.

"So before we begin, may I ask a question?" asked Mimi.

"Hmmm? Go on."

"What is your name? Sorry if I seem impolite or nosy, but we haven't been properly introduced."

"You are correct." Odion looked embarrassed. "My name is Odion."

'Rather unusual name. I hope he wasn't teased too badly about it when he was in school…some are jerky enough to try.' "I am pleased to meet you. I'm Mimi."

"All right. Let us begin."

"Yes, and may the best duelist win. If you don't mind being a gentleman, I'd like to go first." Mimi drew her card. It was Ancient Sorcerer. Not what she was hoping to get on the first draw at all. 'Even though its attack power is low, it can prove useful, especially since I don't know what the guy has planned.' "I place one card face down and summon Ancient Sorcerer in defense mode!" (1300 def). A magician dressed in a blue vest over a white robe appeared, wielding magic wands in both hands. He also wore a white cap and a mask covering his nose and mouth, so that only his eyes were showing. "Let's see what you can do, big guy."

"I can do quite a bit, given your mediocre opening move." Odion drew a card. 'Hmm…Temple of the Kings…excellent card, but I see no need to use it in this duel.' He looked at the other cards in his hand. 'Hmm. I have a feeling Magic Jammer will prove to be quite useful very soon. Until then, I will hold onto it.' "I'll set two cards face down and end my turn."

'That's weird. Why didn't he summon a monster strong enough to attack me? Surely it wouldn't be difficult for him to do so.' Mimi brushed her bangs over to the side. 'On the other hand, who knows what those face down cards are? I need to get rid of them somehow.' I play Shadow Tamer in defensive mode!" (700 def) A warrior with long blue hair wearing an off white dress that showed off her legs appeared. The monster was also holding a brown leather whip."Next, I activate my face down magic card, Heavy Storm! Say goodbye to your face down cards!" The cyclone swirled toward the cards on Odion's side of the field, preparing to sweep them away. 'If all goes well, I can get at his life points, seeing that he hasn't summoned a monster.'

Odion gave a small smirk. "Not quite!"

"What?!" yelped Mimi, stunned. 'What is it with him? It seems like he is many steps ahead of me.'

"I play my trap card, Magic Jammer! It will cancel the effect of your magic card!" The typhoon dissipated, leaving the set cards untouched.

Mimi groaned. "I should have known." 'I can't believe he just ruined my strategy.' "I end my turn. Go."

"As you wish." Odion drew another card. 'Perfect. The ticket to my victory. Little girl, you are finished.' "I shall place two more cards face down. That ends my turn."

'Yawn. This duel is so boring. You'd think he would at least have some action.' "That's the best you can come up with? Pathetic. You really need to work on coming up with some excitement. If I have to be the one to do that, then so be it." Mimi drew a card. "I switch my Ancient Sorcerer into attack mode!" (1000 attk) "Ancient Sorcerer, attack his life points directly!" The magician held out its magic wands, emitting a spell from them.

"I activate my trap card, Eye of Wdjat!" A purple eye appeared on the forehead of Ancient Sorcerer's cap, hypnotizing him and dragging him to Odion's side of the field.

Mimi covered her mouth in shock. "What is that eye doing to my monster? What is the point of this?"

"My Eye of Wdjat trap card controls your monster for one turn," explained the tattooed face rare hunter.

"Oh no!" Mimi had a bad feeling about what Odion would use her monster for.

"That's right! Ancient Sorcerer, annihilate her Shadow Tamer!" The spellcaster launched its spell at the female warrior, destroying her. Since the creature was in defensive mode, Mimi's life points remained untouched. "I summon Vorse Raider in attack mode!" (1900 attk) "That ends my turn."

'Finally. A monster. I was wondering if all he has are rare trap cards.' "Well, the effects of your trap card are over now, which means Ancient Sorcerer belongs to me again!" The purple colored eye disappeared and the magician returned to Mimi's side. "I switch my Ancient Sorcerer back into defensive mode." 'I know that doesn't seem like much but the best I can do is sit tight and hope for the best.'

"It appears you are out of options," said Odion.

"Sure. Rub it in," the young girl spat. 'However, he does have a point. I am out of ideas. He is way too many steps ahead and with those other face down cards there is no way I'm going to risk another attack now.' "Go ahead and give it your best shot, Odion."

"I intend to." Odion drew a card. 'Hmm…Trap Jammer…I may need this card.' "As a matter of fact, you have activated the remainder of my face down cards when you targeted my life points."

"Say what?! Not another one!" The girl wondered if Odion was just bluffing in order to scare her.

"I activate my face down cards that are known as trap monsters. Say hello to Embodiments of Apophis!" (1600 attk x3)A huge billow of a purple smoke like substance swirled around to form three large cobras. These cobras were black on the surface and their stomachs were purple. They were also holding swords, indicating they were semi-warriors. "Fortunately for you I must end my turn. You are staring into the face of defeat, Mimi! Use your last turn well."

"Whatever." It was all she could do not to spew chunks all over her shoes. 'Man, those snakes are so disgusting. And there are three of them!' Mimi drew a card. It was Gravity Bind. 'Hmm, let's see here. This card is not bad at all. This can help me buy some time while I figure out a way to get rid of those nasty snakes. He thinks he has got me cornered, but he is in for a surprise.' "I lay one card face down and that's it." 'Come and get me if you dare,' thought Mimi, smirking.

Odion ignored the smirk on the girl's face. As far as he was concerned, she was just a beginner so she couldn't possibly have anything sneaky planned. "You have played well. However, you are still no match for me."

Mimi was becoming tired of her opponent's gloating."Bring it on!"

"I'll do so with great pleasure!" Odion drew his card. "Vorse Raider, attack her Ancient Sorcerer!" The beast warrior raised its blades, prepared to chop the spellcaster into pieces.

Mimi smiled. "Nice try."

Odion arched an eyebrow. "What?!"

"I activate my trap card, Gravity Bind! Now the attacks from your monsters that are level four and above are useless!" Some distortion waves were emitted from the card, preparing to stop the attack of Vorse Raider.

"Clever move. Unfortunately, it is not good enough!" said Odion.

"What?" gasped the raven haired girl. She was afraid to see what he had planned to counter her trap.

"I activate my Trap Jammer card!"

Mimi looked on helplessly as she watched her last hope get destroyed. 'Oh no, I'm finished.'

"Now, Vorse Raider, continue your attack!" The monster lunged towards the sorcerer, slicing it with the blades.

Mimi cringed in fear. "Yikes, all my defenses are gone!" 'So much for hoping I would be able to take down those creepy things.'

"You know what that means," said Odion. "Apophis, triple attack on her life points!" The snake swordsmen slithered towards the young girl.

Mimi started to shake so much she had to smack herself to keep from dropping her cards. 'Snap out of it. Who says you even have to look?' She closed her eyes. 'Oh dear me please let this be over soon.' The serpents slashed her in the shoulder. She let out a cry of pain, and her life points dropped to zero.

The young girl slowly opened her eyes, now that the ordeal was over. She rubbed her sore shoulder and glanced at her opponent's facial expression. She expected to see him smiling, for he had achieved a relatively simple victory. She was surprised to see him wearing a rather serious expression. 'I did my best, so I am not too disappointed.' She slowly approached him. "Well Odion, you were right."

The older man looked up at Mimi, a shocked expression at what she just said. "I do have a long way to go when it comes to dueling. You defeated me fair and square. In the process you have also taught me a few things. I am sincerely honored to have had you as an opponent."

"Likewise, Mimi." Odion had to admit, he enjoyed the duel as well, even though she was not much of a challenge for him. She had taken her defeat with more stride than his previous opponents did and actually had potential. "I am sure that with more experience, you will become a skilled duelist."

Mimi was quite impressed with how humble Odion seemed to be. 'I think I misjudged him.' "Thank you so much. That means a lot." She reached into her dueling deck and pulled out two locator cards, handing them to him. "I'm sorry I don't have a rare card powerful enough for you."

"It's not a problem." Odion placed the two locator cards with the other ten he had previously won. He left to make his way back to the rare hunters' hideout. 'Master Marik will be very pleased to know I have succeeded in securing enough locator cards for both of us to participate in the finals.'