Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's -The Neo-Domino Purge

Path Two. Originally an RPG after the airing of Episode 6. With the Signers united, dark counterparts are also gathering, plotting to escalate the ongoing war by overthrowing the living world with Earthbound Gods sealed for 5000 years. Yusei and the Signers have yet to face their demons and stand united against the enemy.
Contains violence, language, character death.


ARC 4 - Arcadia's Retaliation

From a deck of cards, five rise up, lining underneath a banner with the symbols to spell out "Card of the Week". Rua and Ruka spring up with raised fists, landing on their tiny feet and shift their way from one to the other, arms rigid and stretched out to the side. Together they chime.

"What will it be? What will it be?" Together they twirl from the five cards, opening an arm to the selected. "This is what we have for this week".

The five cards turn over revealing Freezing Fitzgerald, Infernity Beetle, Junk Warrior, Snow Blanket and Turret Warrior. The central card - Junk Warrior - is enlarged to signify its status as the Key Card. Rua and Ruka gaze at it.

"Yes, Junk Warrior! That's one of Yusei's best cards" Rua cries with joy.

"It absorbs the attack power of Level 2 monsters that exist on the field at the same time" Ruka comments.


-Neo-Domino: Security HQ-

Through the bright white, the crimson D-Wheel shot through under the guidance of the two dragons gliding majestically side-by-side. Yusei's eyes widened, registering the track around him in place of the starry night sky. Instinctively, he braked, bringing the D-Wheel to a sudden, panicked halt. Behind him, Juri's grey D-Wheel had toppled over, the blonde rider without his helmet on his knees with a hanging head, a mixture of despair and fury etched across his face.

On Yusei's right arm, the symbol shining ceased to do so, drawing his eyes. Peeling away the sleeve and glove, he found the fading glow was just that; leaving behind a dried blood dyed mark. It was a permanent fixture now; burned into his arm to stay forever. The power and emotion behind the final play - gathering two servants of the Crimson Dragon and combining their power - had been enough for fate to recognise him as a Signer with awakened power.

Above the track, the others stood on the platform by the door, dazed by the strange light that had grown from the finishing impact. Rua averted his eyes from the source - noting the fallen Juri and seemingly no activation of a defensive Trap - to the scoreboard, gasping at what he found.

YUSEI - JURI
50 -LP- 0
7 -SPC- 11

DUEL END

"Look" he cried. "Yusei won!"

Relief washed across the crowd, they had each shared a common concern that Juri had managed to counter the decisive attack; all bar Jack, Aki and Ruka, who were aware of the grim truth. Rua wrapped his arms around his sister, holding her close and grinning proudly. She smiled back, a faint shadow of what was supposed to be across her face.

On the track, Yusei's D-Wheel had turned and the dragons were no more, returned to their cards. The rider's azure eyes were set on the fallen blonde, kneeling pitifully beside his crashed D-Wheel, hunched like a lost child. Yusei manoeuvred his D-Wheel forward, rolling gently towards the defeated enemy. Juri's head remained low, too shamed to rise, his eyes narrowed with frustration hearing the crunching of the tyres approaching.

"Juri" came Yusei's cautious voice. "Do you know why you lost?"

"What is this?" Juri scowled, glaring up at the victorious man. "Is this what you do in Satellite? Gloat and deem each other weak?"

"That's not what I'm doing" Yusei protested calmly. "I'm trying to show you where you lost yourself".

"Don't feel me such bullshit" Juri spat, venom flaring in his eyes. "That's what you do; you show off in any way you can, make yourself seem superior to anyone else in Satellite".

Yusei's eyes narrowed sharply, angered by the dismal stereotype of the people who grew up around him; vying for the top place, make themselves seem more deserving of rescue from the desolate isle where survival was never guaranteed. In the back of his mind, the confrontation with Jack flashed; standing opposite one another at the docks, Rally tied down in a small wooden boat and cast out as bait to lure Yusei to the spot: Jack's plan to make his way out with Stardust and a D-Wheel. That was one incident; something that happened long ago.

"You and your father were focused more on winning for yourselves rather than anyone else" he asserted. "Were you fighting in the memory of your father or just after my blood to satisfy your negative emotions?"

Juri's eyes widened, shock injecting itself into the concoction of emotions on display. Maybe Yusei had touched upon something; maybe he had been fighting for himself while the Satellite man was fighting for the sakes of his friends with a secondary purpose of saving his own life. But he would never admit that to the man towering over him, seated in his bike, watching him curiously. The blonde clenched his jaws and fists, struggling to come to terms with the fact that he had failed to avenge his father, possibly because of his overlapping motives and which he had focused on.

Yusei looked away, revving the engine and shooting forward, the D-Wheel leaving Juri behind to contemplate the words offered to him. The machine veered through an opening in the curved barrier and twisted around in the opposite direction, aiming for the foot of the staircase that would lead him to his friends.

At his destination, the others had gathered themselves, readying to depart quickly before Security swamped their building. Rally led the twins towards Godwin, waiting for Yusei's D-Wheel to arrive, the front tyre thudding against each step it struggled to climb over. Once it rose over the final, the rest of the machine crawled onto the platform and sound died. Yusei pushed a button on the side of his helmet, sucking the visor upwards. He removed a card from the Duel Disk and pushed the arm up, greeted by the kids gazing up at him with eyes sparkling with admiration.

"Yusei, that was awesome!" Rua began, raising his clenched fists.

"You managed to summon both Stardust and Red Demons. That hasn't happened before" Rally added jovially. It had been like a long dream finally achieved to see the dragons fighting side by side once again.

Yusei smiled at the boys and Ruka, climbing out of the D-Wheel in front of them and turned elsewhere, marching through the gathering of allies and towards Jack. He came to a halt just in front of the blonde, who watched in bewilderment, stunned when Yusei raised the Red Demons card that belonged to him.

"This is yours. I can't hold onto it any longer" he stated blandly.

Jack's usually-sharp violet eyes were wide with disbelief, gazing at the card like it was a figment of his imagination. His pale hand rose, the tips of his fingers brushing the underbelly of the card as it moved forward, pausing only when the card was an inch above his palm, at which point, Yusei released it. Staring into the demonic face of the dragon, Jack was lost, returning only when Yusei spoke again.

"I understand what happened back then" he said with a smile. "You were forgiven long ago, Jack".

Another few seconds and Jack's face softened into a genuine smile. "Thank you, Yusei".

Crow appeared between the two of them, smirking with a devious face. "Now that you two are done making up, can we get out of here before we all wind up back in the Detention Centre?"

"Not yet" Jack insisted, casting a glance to his redheaded friend. Crow's bewildered look lasted only a second in Jack's eyes, his view quickly shifting to Godwin, who stood with his white hands behind his grey body, still silent and cold. "What was that light and vision about?"

"Vision?" Rua asked, looking to Ruka. "What vision?"

"Satellite… It was being destroyed" Aki breathed uncomfortably. She lifted her auburn eyes to the man suspiciously. "Is that the future of that place?"

The revelation stunned Crow, Carly, Rua and Rally; those who hadn't seen inside the light, gasping and stretching their eyes open further. The claim was difficult to picture, especially with what had already happened.


Chapter 25 – The End And Its Conclusion

[Owari Soshite Ato Kara]

KEY CARD – Junk Warrior

-Neo-Domino: Security HQ-

Godwin didn't answer to inquiry immediately, but watched the young crowd come to terms with the idea of Satellite suffering complete annihilation. Ruka shrank next to Rua, her secret out to the uninformed brother, he watched her curiously in the corner of his eye. Yusei and Jack joined Aki in centring a stern glare onto the shady Director, standing unfazed from the news.

"If you witnessed a vision that the rest have not seen, then it must be a message from the Crimson Dragon" he murmured calmly. "What it means, I can't be sure, but it sounds like a warning".

"A warning?" Yusei echoed.

"Something is lurking in Satellite. Something that threatens to destroy it" Godwin continued. "With the four of you revealed to one another, the Crimson Dragon must have decided now was the time to warn you. You have all awakened the power in you, leading to the permanent Marks imprinted on your arms".

Yusei and Jack deepened their frowns; from what the shady Director was saying, their home was in danger of complete annihilation. Jack especially felt guilt swell inside of him; having recalled the worth of lives in Satellite to those who shared their grim fate, he had damned so many to that dismal future should it come true. Not just Satellite civilians, but drawn hundreds, thousands, of Neo-Domino duellists into the battlefield about to erupt. His eyes to Yusei, who had yet to look back to him, struggling to deal with the news handed to the group.

"Yusei" he murmured.

"We need to focus on getting out of here" Yusei replied suddenly.

Jack frowned at his reaction, predicting that in the safe walls of his mind, there was unparalleled worry for their trapped friends in danger of fading from existence, buried with countless other lives.

"How do you propose we get out easily with Security on their way?" Crow asked, stepping beside his dark-haired friend.

"We'll have to split up; that way, should anything disastrous happen, only a few of us will be captured again" Yusei replied, setting his blazing eyes onto Crow. Within them, a renewed sense of duty; a fighting spirit revived. "We can come back to save anyone who is cornered - nobody is getting left behind".

Rally and Carly exchanged glances; they, too, had heard the promise before getting separated. Regardless of the incontinence, they were reunited and ready to escape together; to separate and hide until Security calmed down, ready to fight the enemy lurking in the clash's background deep in Satellite. Rally cast a look to the twins, neither returning the glance for their eyes remained fixed onto Yusei, the de-facto leader of the infiltrators.

"Yusei" the boy mumbled. Yusei set his eyes onto the child, hearing the voice he recognised from the past years underground. "Can we take Rua and Ruka with us? I don't want there to be a chance they'll get caught - they're from the Tops, after all, they can't really afford to get found out".

Yusei moved his eyes to the twins, both looking anxious and uncomfortable in their predicament; there was no quick way of getting home without a ride from one of the others; through elimination, he and Crow were the best suited candidates. A small smile formed on his face.

"Of course" he answered softly. "Crow and I will drop them off on our way out".

"What are you saying?" Rua asked with faint terror. "You can't possibly be going back to Satellite, can you?"

"It's dangerous there" Ruka pleaded.

"We have friends that are waiting, they need to be rescued before something bad happens" Yusei answered, laying a hand onto the head of each twin. "But should anything happen that affects the City, we'll be there to find you immediately. We won't be gone forever, we'll reunite again soon. We'll have to in order to fight whatever's out there threatening our friends and the people that attacked".

Rua nodded, wrapping his hands around his sister's nearest arm; that which bore the ancient Birthmark. She looked to him with vague confusion, unsure why he had suddenly moved closer and ensnared her arm as he had. Crow smirked and stepped beside Yusei, fists pressed against his hips.

"Alright, kids, get yourselves ready" he commanded smugly. "Cause we're out of here any minute".

The identical Tops children nodded with a smile on their faces. Yusei moved upwards, focusing on Jack, Carly and Aki standing over the youngsters.

"Jack…" he sounded.

"I can't leave with my Wheel of Fortune" the blonde replied. "You and Crow go on ahead to Satellite. It's risky for me to come immediately, but I will join you again once I have that D-Wheel back; it holds my soul as a D-Wheeler".

"And my car" Carly squealed suddenly. "If Juri was able to find Yusei's car, then they'll know my car is with it".

"Juri told me that he had the car impounded, Carly" Yusei intervened. "I'm sorry, but it might be best to leave it for now. Getting everyone to safety should be what we're focused on right now".

Carly sighed, disheartened with the news that her mobile home had been taken from her; the only consolation was an apartment high in the suburbs of the City. She turned to Jack, smiling half-heartedly at him, hoping to buy him with the bright look.

"Jack, I have somewhere safe for you to stay to avoid everything" she chirped.

Jack cast a glance at the girl, smiling gratefully at her offer. Aki stepped towards Carly's back, reminding the others of her presence, her right fist clenched loosely and pressed against her pale chest.

"I will return to the Arcadia Movement and ensure Divine is alright" she insisted. "I will be there until I am needed to take on whoever I need".

Yusei nodded in response to Aki's declaration. He then retreated to his D-Wheel, pulling open the curved seat and fishing a helmet identical to his own out, clutching it tightly between the two palms. He carried the helm to Ruka, presenting it to her with a reassuring smile, she returned the look and slipped the large helmet over her jade hair. Godwin strode towards the open doorway, pausing only once he stood in the centre, peering over his shoulder at the Signers and their allies.

"This is where you part for now, however, fate will return everyone by your sides" he murmured solemnly. "We shall all meet at some point before the war truly begins".

With that, he strode away, working immediately on putting some distance between the infiltrators and himself; all a ploy to steer attention away from him once the inevitable questions came. Yusei returned to Ruka and Rally, standing either side of him.

"We should get going" he commanded.

Jack, Carly and Aki made their break through the gaping doorway, darting one after another in a slower bid for freedom. Yusei clambered into the crimson D-Wheel, Rally leaping behind him, nestled between his idol's back and the plush curve, Ruka put herself onto his lap and the other arm fell. She was safe in his arms. Rua jumped in between Crow's legs, no sign of a spare helmet for him, but he readied himself in spite of the glaring fact. Crow tapped the acceleration pedal, manoeuvring through the doorway and turning after the trio already gone.

The engine spat and threw BlackBird forward, Yusei following quickly afterwards. Neither machine travelled at its potential for the sake of the kids. Rua's eyes were sealed shut by the bitter gale that smacked his cold face regardless, he missed the passing of his comrades, blind to everything and entrusting his life to Crow, whose arms were still wrapped around him without touching. Crow, meanwhile, flashed a cocky smirk at Jack as he roared by. Ordinarily, it would have been the trigger to a spat between the two once they met again.

Jack ignored the look, taking it only as a signal that he and the others would be fine, pressing on with what he had to work with. What mattered was getting out to meet up with his friends again.

He, Aki and Carly reached a fork shortly after Yusei passed them; two directions offering nothing more than frustrating confusion; either one could lead to a trap, with no way of hinting to the trio. Aki took a step towards the left path and turned to the pair watching her.

"I shall take a different path" she insisted. "That way, I can find Divine and we won't have to burden you".

"But Izayoi-" Carly pleaded.

"Be careful" Jack interjected.

The dark-haired girl whipped around to catch his blazing face, taken back by his sudden agreement with the Psychic Duellist. There was no doubt in his eyes; he trusted her to get out safely, not to betray them further down the line. Carly frowned, wishing to protest his trust in the mysterious girl, but fearful of the backlash that would follow, how he would bark at her like an animal for speaking against him after everything they had been through. She had the ultimate card in having rescued him, she simply lacked the courage to fight back. Aki nodded and turned her back on the pair, charging down the left-hand path. Carly opened her mouth to wish her luck, interrupted by Jack's confident tone again.

"Come on, let's get out before it's too late" he commanded. "Izayoi can take care of herself, we should be focusing on ourselves".

Carly nodded feebly, jumping after the blonde Duel King and charged down the alternative route, hoping what lied ahead was freedom.


Yusei's D-Wheel quickened to match Crow's once straight corridors were what the pair found. With a limited amount of time, they had chosen to risk using one of the elevators rather than the treacherous descent down numerous staircases. With the rigid descent over, there was nothing more than a maze of hallways standing between the D-Wheels and the City streets.

In front of Yusei, Ruka's hand was pressed over the concealed Birthmark, watching the map on the monitor before her anxiously; she wanted nothing more than knowing everyone was safe. She glanced over to Crow's D-Wheel, seeing Rua with his eyes closed and clenched jaws, looking terrified as he soared through the building blindly, aware only through the elevator descent of how far they had come and how much further their target was.

The two machines skidded, rounding another sharp corner. They came close enough that had Yusei reached over, he could have touched her brother and assure him that everything would be fine. When the road became straight again, the engines whirred stronger.

"Hey, Yusei, we're almost there" Rally called enthusiastically.

"Yep" Crow answered, casting his eyes down to Rua. "It's alright, kid, we'll be home-free soon".

"I- I trust you're not lying, Crow" Rua yelled.

Crow smirked at the boy's fearful tone and looked ahead, scowling when he identified a shadow in the way of the next turning. He growled, looking to Yusei, who had been checking the monitor at that particular second.

"Oi, Yusei" he called, dragging his friend from the map. "We've got company".

Ruka and Rally both peered over their barriers and blinked again to verify Crow's claim. Yusei narrowed his eyes and braked. Sparks showered the floor behind the back tyre, the entire D-Wheel twisted to stop with its left side to the man. Crow copied the manoeuvre, landing stationary with his right side to the figure. Rua opened his watering eyes to find the group still inside the Security Headquarters, puzzled by their break. His eyes darted from Crow's arm to the D-Wheel in front of them and then to the mysterious blockade.

"Who's that?" he asked.

Yusei leaned forward, keeping his arm in front of Ruka should the figure try anything strange. "Who are you?" he asked with a growl.

The man chuckled; there was no way of identifying him. He wore a large black robe with a hood over his head, concealing the upper half of his head, leaving only a dark smirk and stubble on his chin exposed.

"Fudo Yusei" he chortled darkly, unnerving the group. "You believe that we will allow you to escape fate so easily?"

"'Fate'?" Yusei echoed. "What are you on about?"

"Come on, Yusei, let's just run him down and be on our way" Crow called.

"Give me a minute, Crow" Yusei replied without taking his eyes from the man. "Something doesn't feel right".

Ruka shrank in front of Yusei, dreading what could follow. The man lifted his right arm, the limb encased in white fabric no different from any other man. That was until the pattern of a spider began to glow from underneath. Yusei and Ruka gasped sharply, recognising the shape from the vision over Satellite. Yusei recovered quicker, snarling at the man for his part in that disaster.

"So you're the one responsible for the destruction that the Crimson Dragon showed us" he growled.

"It seems you've been shown a glimpse of the unchangeable future" the man chuckled.

"Don't screw with me" Yusei snarled.

He pushed up the arm of his D-Wheel, climbing out of the machine and leaving Ruka and Rally. The two watched in shock, saying nothing while Yusei removed his helmet and held it in front of him.

"If you want to destroy Satellite, you'll have to go through me first" he declared.

The man's dark smirk widened, a chortle joining with it. "That's what we intend to do, Fudo Yusei".

"Yusei" Ruka called. "You're not going to duel him, are you?"

Yusei turned to the girl, leaning forward and depositing the helmet into her hand, tapping the keys beside his Duel Disk nimbly and connecting the device onto his wrist's deck holder. He flashed a brief smile at Ruka and Rally, neither looking impressed with his decision to go ahead with a battle against the figure with a purple Birthmark.

"I'll be fine" he insisted. "You two just stay here, you'll be safer here".

Ruka frowned, keeping the helmet in front of her chest, Rally bit his tongue reluctantly. As Yusei stood, Crow straightened his back to get a better view of his friend over the front of the D-Wheel hindering the sight of his lower half.

"Yusei, you can't be serious, can you?" he moaned. "We have to get out of here".

"I'm aware of that, Crow" Yusei replied. "If you want, take Ruka and Rally, get them out of here".

"And leave you behind?" Crow spat. "No way".

"I'm not leaving either, Yusei" Rally protested.

"After what you've done for us, it wouldn't be right to run home while you keep fighting" Rua added. "Ruka and I will stay to see just what we're up against".

Yusei nodded, marching towards the man, who waited patiently, grinning incessantly with twisted delight. Once a decent distance from the others, Yusei raised his Duel Disk in front of his chest, glaring at the opponent, whose Duel Disk looked like none other he had seen before.

"Alright, let's get this over with" he called. "I've got more important things to do than mess around. We're duelling so I can learn who you are and why you want to destroy Satellite".

The man chuckled again, quivering with amusement at Yusei's stern approach to the situation; it seemed more like amusement to him, to watch the opposing side struck so hard by their intentions and forsaking all spirit outside raw fighting spirit.

"Well, then, we shall not delay" he laughed.

Flames erupted from the floor, growing in two directions, eventually joining to complete a ring around the two duellists. Cut off from their comrade; Ruka, Rua, Rally and Crow all gasped in disbelief. Rally grabbed the arm of Yusei's D-Wheel standing between himself, Ruka and the flames.

"Yusei!" he cried.

Keeping his feet rooted to the ground, Yusei twisted the upper half of his body and captured the boy's escape attempt before it could begin.

"Stay there" he barked.

Rally flinched, relaxing his hands and peering over the arm to the Signer beyond the blaze. He arched his eyebrows anxiously, despising his helpless position, but dared not disobey the man whom he looked up to like a brother. He remained in the D-Wheel beside Ruka, who looked down at her arm, glowing with the crimson aura of the Birthmark imprinted on her. The same occurred on Yusei's arm, lighting his Tail Birthmark once more, no doubt copied on Jack and Aki's arms. The girl raised her eyes, setting them onto the Satellite Signer standing ahead of them, trapped within the ominous ring.

The two combatants activated their Duel Disks, keeping a focus on their opponent rather than the devices on their arms, drawing five cards each and scanning their hands briefly.

"Duel!" they announced together.

DUEL START
YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
4000 -LP- 4000

FIRST TURN DARK SIGNER

"I'll begin this" the robed duellist announced, drawing an additional card to add to his arsenal. "I summon Giant Germ [ATK 1000] to the field".

A sickly-looking sphere bounced from nothing and into existence, floating inches above the ground, a pale pink-ish shade with green plague-spreading spots pulsing against what resembled the thing's skin. Yusei grimaced at the sight of the parasite, Ruka tucked her chin behind her hands, watching with dread swirling around inside of her; an endless loop of pessimism that she had yet to fight convincingly.

"I'll set a card face-down and end my turn" the Dark Signer added, sliding the additional card into the Duel Disk.

SECOND TURN YUSEI

"It's my turn" Yusei called, pulling away the top card of his deck sharply. "I activate Tuning, so I can draw Junk Synchron and then discard cards equal to its level. As Junk Synchron is a Level 3, I have to send three cards to the Graveyard".

With three flicks of his wrist, Yusei removed the cards from his deck and pushed them into the mouth of the Cemetery, unfazed by their descent into the dark world. Rally twisted his brow, confused by his friend's sudden strategy to eliminate cards that could have proven to play a vital role later in the duel.

"I don't understand" he murmured. "Yusei's not the type to throw cards away; he cares about all of his cards".

"He's got something brewing" Crow commented loud enough for the boy to pick up.

"I summon Junk Synchron [ATK 1300]" Yusei called, oblivious to the conversation taking place behind him.

The small orange Tuner stretched its arms to the sides, shaking off the glimmers of light clinging to its dwarf-like form. The Dark Signer scowled, sensing exactly what Yusei's plan was - somehow, he was aiming to pull off a Synchro Summon.

"Junk Synchron's Monster effect - I can revive a Level 2 monster from the Graveyard when it's summoned" the Signer called, snatching the sole card that the darkness spat out again. "Be revived, Shield Wing!"

The unnaturally slim creature soared through an opening from the underworld, dropping down beside Junk Synchron and tucking its wings around its torso.

"Yes, now Yusei's got what he needs for a Synchro Summon!" Rally cried with glee.

"Get him, Yusei!" Rua yelled with a raised fist.

Junk Synchron tugged on the cord hanging from its breastplate revving the engines fixed onto its back and leapt up above its partner. Three stars ejected themselves from its body, dancing higher and higher, like a ritual to transform themselves into the green rings of a gateway. The dance succeeded in its purpose, stretching the stars into the barriers of the special summoning. The trio dropped over the immobile Shield Wing, the second creature putting up no resistance and accepting its purpose.

"I'm tuning my Level 3 Junk Synchron to my Level 2 Shield Wing" Yusei called, raising his hand above his head. Shield Wing vanished, leaving behind only two stars that played in the centre of the tunnel. "Tsudoishi hoshi ga, aratana chikara wo yobiokosu! Hikari sasu michi tonare! Shinkuro Shoukan! Ideyo, Jyanku Woriā! [ATK 2300]" [1]

A narrow stream of light emerged, striking both stars and exploding across the width of the rings, shining intensely to conceal the purple warrior's appearance from wherever it originated, its glowing red eyes the first part of its to emerge from the brightness, punching away at the air and brightness with its knuckles. The hooded man scowled, seething at the appearance of the Synchro warrior. Its white card against his blackened heart.

"Junk Warrior, attack Giant Germ" Yusei called, moving his hand in the direction of the lone creature. "Scrap Fist!"

Junk Warrior launched itself at the vulnerable being, throwing its metallic fist forward and ploughing it into its enemy. The germ seemed to squeal, its spherical shape distorted from the impact and exploded, showering Junk Warrior with the slime inside of it. The cloaked figure groaned, raising an arm to keep the resulting gusts from tearing away the hood over his head and revealing his identity. Over the winds, he shouted.

"Giant Germ's effect; it deals 500 points of damage when it's destroyed!"

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
3500 -LP- 2700

Yusei flinched, feeling something inside him twist; something was wrong. His body shuddered, keeping his eyes fixed on the man in spite of the burning pain inside of him; knotted tight enough to make him wince.

'What the-?' he asked mutely. 'Could this be real damage? How… could he deal damage like this?'

The focus of his sight transcended the enemy and hit the flaming ring - it had to be something to do with the flames; they prevented either duellist from leaving, but it seemed they possessed a secondary power at the same time. Across the centre of the field, Yusei noticed a tear in the floor, a handful of tiles damaged by the exchanged blows. The attacks he launched were just as real - he equally held the power of destruction in him. Dread washed through Yusei when he realised just how dangerous the duel was; the Dark Signer had been aware of the power all along and had lured him in; no good could come from the battle of Signer and Dark Signer.

Beyond the ring, Crow lifted an eyebrow as he watched his friend's transfixed state, surprised that he was hesitating after having taken the lead in spite of taking damage himself. There was still no guarantee they would escape the Security tower before its forces arrived; every second wasted in the catatonic state was another that the army charged closer.

"Hey, guys" Crow murmured. "Something's not right".

"Yeah… it looks like something's wrong with Yusei" Rua agreed uneasily.

"Yusei…" Ruka whispered, keeping her eyes locked onto the back of the older Signer's head. "What is it about this enemy that's worried you?"

Yusei kept himself still, glaring at the man opposite, who grinned deviously. Two cards slid out of his deck, standing alone from the stack for him to take.

"Giant Germ has a second effect" he chuckled. "When it's destroyed, its plague spreads and I can summon any others that are waiting in my deck".

Two Giant Germs appeared on the fields; duplicates of the original. It was as the Dark Signer said; the plague was spreading, making victory more difficult, Yusei's retaliation had backfired and worsened the situation. The Signer clenched his jaws, glaring at the twin monsters while a drop of sweat built itself upon his forehead.

"It won't end there, I activate Call of the Haunted" the cloaked demon added with a wicked grin. "Now I can revive the Giant Germ that you destroyed".

"What?" Yusei gasped.

"Oh no, it doesn't end" Rally cried.

In between the two germs, the original appeared, wiggling mockingly. Crow clenched his fist, raising it in front of his face as his aggressive instincts inched closer to control. He would have loved nothing more than to knock out the mysterious enemy with his own fists to save invaluable time.

"This isn't good" he growled. "That guy's getting the best of Yusei".

"Yeah, with three Giant Germs, he can deal 1500 points of damage to Yusei just by having them face Junk Warrior" Rua added.

"But that would cost him far too many lifepoints" Crow scowled. "Unless he plays defensively. Could his deck just be set to whittle down Yusei's lifepoints to nothing with monsters like these?"

"Hang in there, Yusei" Ruka whispered.

"I'll place a card face down. Turn end" Yusei growled.

THIRD TURN – DARK SIGNER

"Heh, so, your precious Crimson Dragon has abandoned you, has it?" the cloaked man laughed. "It's left you without any hope and any ideas. Don't worry then, this will be over quickly. My turn!"

Yusei glared at the trio of Giant Germs, Crow was right - combined, the parasites could reduce his lifepoints down to half his original strength. A laugh rippled through the air, tearing across the silent flames and sweeping past the quartet still fixed into the two D-Wheels despite how unhappy they were with the arrangement. Ruka peered over the arm of Yusei's D-Wheel, sliding her hands further around the helmet entrusted to her, fear shimmered in her young eyes.

"If you believe my strategy relies on these Giant Germs, you're as dense as your friends" the man laughed. "Don't worry, I'll give them a preview of what's lying ahead; I'll show you all the truth power that the Dark Signers possess".

"Dark Signers?" Crow yelled. "What the hell is that supposed to be?"

"Are they saying they're evil versions of the Signers?" Rua asked.

"Evil… Signers?" Ruka whispered, her eyes locked onto the glowing spider that the figure wore. "Could it be…"

It seemed they had stumbled onto the Crimson Dragon's warning; Yusei's prediction was confirmed as truth. By her ride, Rally clenched his fists and pressed them against the top of the steel arm in front of them, stretching his back and threw himself up, a lively blaze lighting his eyes.

"Yusei, don't lose to him!" he yelled. "If he's a Dark Signer, then you must have seen what he's planning to do in that vision you mentioned".

Yusei peered over his shoulder at the kids hiding within the safety of his D-Wheel; he could see the anxiety in Ruka, she feared that she would have to face this battle later on, as a Signer carrying out her duty. Rally, on the other hand, was naïve to what lay ahead, was determined to get out, escape together. Godwin said nothing before of Dark Signers, he claimed the vision was a warning by the Crimson Dragon with no answers about who was responsible. The Signers were on their own in this battle, standing with innocent people in need of protection.

"I release two of my Giant Germs to summon Dark Tuner Catastrophe! [ATK 0]" the cloaked anti-Signer yelled, throwing the card onto the central place of his front line.

"Dark Tuner?" Yusei and Crow repeated in bewildered unison.

The twins either side of the original Giant Germ shrank, losing its sickly shades and adopting bright rainbow colours. The two swirled around, dancing in a ring around the survivor and crashed in front of it, opening a blue vortex where a large twisted beast appeared; its skin ice-blue with protruding arms and wings of pure black. Dark hair stood out from the skull through an opening in a golden mask pressed over the misshapen face, the other side encased in a horn leaving only the blood red eye glaring out from underneath the hair. The collar and robe wrapped around its waist dyed the colour of dried blood, contrasting the gleaming white fangs that poked out from the narrow lips.

"Tuners and Synchro Monsters are associated with light" the Dark Signer stated. "But every source of light creates a shadow - that's what this is; the darkness to your existence".

Ruka was stunned by the choice of words that the Dark Signer used, a chill crept down her spine, horrified that he had essentially condemned their very existences.

"I'm dark-tuning my Level 8 Dark Tuner Catastrophe to my Level 3 Giant Germ".

Catastrophe seemed to snigger, eight white stars glimmered from inside its body. The cluster surrounded Giant Germ, piercing through its exterior and diving to find the three stars lurking inside. Three stars surrounded two of those, two around the final one. The eight charged at once, colliding with the immobile stars, all eleven dissolving into nothing. The Giant Germ exploded, spitting out five blackened stars dancing in a circle, Yusei's eyes widened at the sight, wondering if he was seeing things clearly - black stars were never a part of tuning.

"What's going on?" he cried.

"Much like a normal Synchro Summon, a Dark Synchro Summon takes the levels of both monsters and uses them to determine the power of the monster that's summoned" the Dark Signer chuckled. "But it doesn't add them together; it takes away the level of the Dark Tuner from the normal monster".

Crow ran the calculations in his head quickly, rising up from his D-Wheel furiously when he had it figured out, Rua watched him silently.

"Hey, that's can't be right" the redhead yelled. "That means that your Synchro Monster is a Level Minus 5".

"Minus?" Yusei gasped. "Can there really be a Minus Level monster?"

The Dark Signer chuckled coldly again, holding up a grey card in the place of a white Synchro Monster. "There can be".

"No way" Yusei breathed, taken back by the revelation. "Crow, keep everyone back".

Crow nodded, unable to smile but managed to cast a glance over the three youngsters watching with him, each with terror engraved over their faces.

"Yami to yami kasanarishitoki, meifu no tobira ha hirakareru. Hikarinaki seki he! Dakku Shinkuro Shoukan! Ideyo, Hyouketsu no Fittsujerarudo! [ATK 2500]" [2]

The dark stars moved closer, crashing into one another. A gust of wind swept along the corridor as a result, howling mournfully, ominously. A flash came from the centre of the darkness spread, an icicle that grew into a full body; large pointed shoulders and winds sprouting from a narrow corpse, brittle arms hanging either side. There were no legs, the body simply hung with a tip at the base, red eyes glinting from the white mask placed over where a face would be. Yusei felt a chill run down his back, the temperature plummeted with the arrival of the beast. But fear was mixed with that dramatic decline.

What he stood before was a Dark Synchro Monster - the ace of their enemy, the tool of the Dark Signers to obliterate Satellite in a flaming rage against humanity. Rua straightened his back, gazing at the beast in horrified awe, his sister was far more reluctant to get a decent view. Yusei set his eyes onto the white mask, his jaws clenched and sweat clinging to his brow.

"It seems my monster's left you speechless" the Dark Signer mocked with a sly grin.

"Whatever you're planning to do with that thing, I won't allow it" Yusei barked.

"We'll see just how long you're around to stand in the way then, shall we?" the hooded man laughed.

"You cocky bastard" Crow snapped. "Just because you have some fancy Dark Synchro you think you're unstoppable? The one who's getting his ass kicked around here will be you".

"Crow, you're so vulgar in front of the twins" Rally murmured humbly. "They would never hear that kind of stuff in the Tops".

Crow froze, grinning uncomfortably; Rally had pointed out just what trouble his getting carried away could lead to. He looked back to Rally and Ruka, both watching him with calm looks, then dropped down to Rua, who seemed puzzled by the new words that Crow had yelled. Sweat trickled down the redhead's face.

"Just forget all of that, okay?" he laughed. "The last thing I need is your parents hunting me down like a dog".

The Dark Signer smirked. "Your friend certainly makes a good clown. He could do well to lift the spirits of those children once you're laid to rest".

"I won't die" Yusei snapped.

"How long with those words hold true?" the man asked cockily. "Catastrophe's effect activates".

In front of Yusei, Junk Warrior exploded abruptly, dragging the Signer's wide eyes to where his faithful creature had been. A laugh from the grim end of the field attracted a glare from him.

"When Catastrophe is used for a Dark Synchro Summon, it can destroy a card on the field" he announced, his smirk darkening. "Meaning you've nothing against my monster. Freezing Fitzgerald, attack Fudo Yusei directly! Blizzard Strike!"

The slim arms opened, scattering glistening icicles over Yusei's side of the field; all aimed at him. Yusei pulled back, stretching his glowing right arm over his only defence.

"Trap card open!" he yelled. An electric pulse seemed to freeze the card partway through its rise. Yusei looked down at it in horror, unsure what had happened, but aware of the consequences. "What?"

"Magic and Trap cards can't be activated until the End Phase whenever Freezing Fitzgerald attacks" the Dark Signer confessed.

Yusei clenched his teeth, glaring helplessly up at the shower. Rally, Rua and Ruka jumped up, horrified by the twist; another disadvantage that had been discovered caused by the power of the Dark Signers and their underworld servants.

"Yusei!" the trio cried.

The icy bullets dug into Yusei's body, a few slicing through the fabric of his jacket and trousers, producing small tears. When the force became too much, his body was launched backwards with a cry. His battered body hit the flames, but he didn't pass through; they were a barrier to keep him from fleeing the duel, flames without heat or power. Once the barrage ended, Yusei slid down, his body shivering from the power that had infected him with its ice daggers.

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
1000 -LP- 2700

"Yusei, get up!" Crow yelled.

Yusei shuddered, peeling his head from the floor and lifting his chest; a fraction of the rise Crow was hoping to see, to ensure his friend was still alright. The Dark Signer pressed on ruthlessly.

"I activate my Magic card - Snow Blanket" he called, throwing the card into the Duel Disk. "With this activate, any Magic and Trap cards the opposite has on the field are destroyed during my End Phase".

Yusei stayed down, his body trying its best to recover from the direct attack as quickly as possible, struggling to do so in time. The Dark Signer smirked wickedly as he registered the Signer's exhausted state after just one true attack.

"How pathetic, is this truly as strong as the Signers get?" he laughed tauntingly. "It almost makes us wonder why the Crimson Dragon chose someone like you; was it because of that victory over Jack Atlus?"

"You… how do you know about that?" Yusei asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

"Wait… what did he say?" Rua cried out. "Yusei and Jack duelled? And Yusei won?"

"When could that have happened?" Ruka asked more subtly.

"The night Yusei left Satellite" Rally answered without taking his eyes from his friend. The twins turned to the red-haired boy. "Yusei went to duel Jack because he took Yusei's first D-Wheel and Stardust Dragon. It was something Yusei was working on for two years, we expected they'd duel to see where Stardust went. I knew that Yusei had the stretch to take Jack down, but I still call him a friend".

"What are you saying?" Rua asked.

"Jack's from Satellite" Crow interjected.

The twins looked to the older redhead, gaping in astonishment; Jack Atlus, their Duel King, had roots in Satellite, where no-one was supposed to escape? Yusei picked himself up from the ground, pain gripped his left shoulder, drawing Yusei's right hand to the pained limb. Although his body wavered from the sudden loss of strength, his eyes blazed all the same, driven by his resolve to get the others out of Security before the army of officers arrived; losing to this black-hearted man would do nothing to help them, but only make the situation worse.

"It seems you're not done with your punishment" the man laughed. "You're ready to die, are you? Good, I'll escort you to Hell; the descent begins now. I set a card face-down. Turn end".

Yusei narrowed his eyes at the new card, dropping them to his deck where the next chance waited to be revealed. His fingers were an inch from touching the top card when the half-faced man spoke again.

"With the end of my turn, Snow Blanket wipes your Magic and Trap card territory clean".

A stream of snowflake poured out of the card, like a tame tidal wave that crashed over the card and buried it. Yusei sighed, slipping the card into his Graveyard and resumed his draw, succeeding in removing the top card before another surprise could be sprung.

"It's my turn!"

FOURTH TURN – YUSEI

"Hang in there, Yusei" Rua called from the other side of the flames.

When he caught a glimpse of the card that he had drawn, Yusei smiled briefly, then set his eyes on his opponent once again. "I summons Synchron Explorer [ATK 0]".

The creature that appeared in front of him resembled a crimson spherical machine, a large cavity in place of a chest, looking like a giant mouth with two oval eyes pressed into the armour above to act as eyes. Arms and legs were bolted onto the body with an equal distance between them all and atop it all, a head fixed above a collar of silver.

"Feh, another damned Synchro-related card" the Dark Signer hissed, sounding as though the use of another was grating him.

"Synchron Explorer's monster effect - it allows me to summon a monster from the Graveyard that has 'Synchron' in its name" Yusei called, ignoring the tone of his opponent. The only card that applied slid out of the Cemetery mouth, snatched in a swift movement by Yusei's right hand and held up for the enemy to see. "I revive Junk Synchron".

The orange-armoured Tuner appeared on the field again, hovering beside the monster responsible for its rebirth, its large white eyes fixed on the enemy. Yusei held up another monster card.

"Doppel Warrior's effect means it can be summoned when another monster is Special Summoned" Yusei added, holding up the third component of his arsenal.

Between the two Synchron monsters, a man dressed in uniform appeared, clutching a peculiar blue weapon. A flaxen scarf wrapped around his neck and eyes concealed by the shadow of his hood, adding to his mysterious air.

"Now we'll fight Dark Synchro with Synchro" Yusei yelled. "I tune my Level 3 Junk Synchron with Level 2 Synchron Explorer and Level 2 Doppel Warrior".

Junk Synchron tugged on the cord hanging from its body again, repeating the process of transfiguring into three green rings that descended over the two monsters, encasing them both and revealing two stars in each of its allies.

"Tsudoishi ikari ga bōga senshi ni kishin wo yadosu. Hikari sasu michi tonare! Shinkuro Shoukan! Hoero, Janku Bāsākā! [ATK 2700]" [3]

A colossal black-skinned monster in blood-red armour emerged, each plate of its suit lined with gold, only its midsection was left exposed between the pieces. A black wing sprouted from its back, a second replaced by a large sword planted against the shoulder, coated in armour, a golden spike curling from the curve, another jagged horn was fixed into the centre of the helmet over its head.

"Doppel Warrior has another ability - when it's used for the Synchro Summon of a Warrior monster, two Doppel Tokens are summoned [ATK 400 x2]" Yusei snapped.

Twins identical to the sacrifices original materialised on the field, mimicking the trio-tactic that the Dark Signer himself had used a turn before. Recognising the similarities between their current strategies, the Dark Signer scowled irritably. There was, however, one consolation in the identical arrivals.

"You've doomed yourself, Fudo Yusei" he declared proudly. "Freezing Fitzgerald is capable of Piercing Damage; your Doppel Tokens are sitting ducks and you're opening yourself up to a world of pain and death".

"I don't plan on losing or dying" Yusei hissed sternly. "For Junk Berserker's ability, I remove Junk Synchron from the game; now Junk Berserker can reduce the power of your Freezing Fitzgerald by the 1300 attack points that Junk Synchron has".

The card slid out of the Graveyard, triggering the blue aura around the Dark Synchro Monster [ATK 1200]. A droplet of sweat slipped down the robed man's face, crawling out from the shadows and into view. Behind Yusei, Rua punched the air with a large grin.

"Yeah! Now Freezing Fitzgerald is only half as strong as normal" he called gleefully. "Yusei can really give back what that Dark Signer's been dishing out now".

"Get him, Yusei!" Rally bellowed, following Rua in punching upwards.

Beside him, Ruka was smiling for the first time since the duel's start, her hands around Yusei's helmet pressed harder against the red skin.

'Yusei…' she thought with an optimistic mind. 'You can do this. We believe in you, I know you can win this and get everyone out before it's too late'.

"Go, Yusei!" Crow hollered. "Take him out and let's go home".

"Junk Berserker, attack Freezing Fitzgerald" Yusei called. "Scrap Cleaver!"

The massive Synchro Monster unsheathed the sword over it shoulder without moving its face from the target. With a forceful slash through the air, it created a glowing curve of blue energy that sliced the air over the field, crashing into the weakened Dark Synchro counterpart, snapping icicles from its large chest. The beast resisted only seconds, unable to keep itself from destruction and then exploded. The force of the explosion threw the Dark Signer from the ground, knocking him onto his back.

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
1000 -LP- 2700

"Hey, he's still behind" Crow murmured.

"Junk Berserker didn't have enough power to take out that guy" Ruka commented, unsurprised. Crow and Rua looked to her from BlackBird, Rally also peered downwards to the girl. "Yusei knew that, but he's still fighting. If Freezing Fitzgerald attacks one of his Doppel Tokens, he'll lose, but he's fighting to deal as much damage to possible before that happens. I don't think he's trying to get the duel over before that attack, it's not possible now that his Battle Phase is over; he hasn't given up though, he's got a strategy".

A blue vortex opened in the ground ahead, granting passage back to the game for the Dark Synchro Monster, its icy body glinted against the sharp light of the flames. The hooded Dark Signer growled as he picked himself up behind the monster, scowling at his opponent standing comfortably having obliterated what had been an impressive lead.

"Because Freezing Fitzgerald is revived, it destroys Junk Berserker" he snapped. "It's only a matter of time before you die now".

The towering Synchro Warrior exploded, scattering golden shards of light around, dissolving into nothingness. Yusei stood, unfazed by the death of his strongest monster, keeping a sharp gaze locked onto his blackened opponent. Rather than react to the sinister threat, he plucked a card from his hand, turning it to show its identity.

"I activate One For One" he announced. "I discard Grind Warrior to summon a Level 1 monster from my hand. I choose Mystic Piper [ATK 0]".

Yusei slipped the card of his green-armoured warrior monster into the Graveyard, laying down a second card onto the field. The creature resembled a man dressed in a robe of crimson and orange with a shirt of pink and white trousers underneath. The man pressed the flute in his hands to his lips, the instrument squeaked out harsh notes painfully.

"I release Mystic Pipe to activate its effect" Yusei added, removing the card from his Duel Disk, resulting in the disappearance of the man. "I draw a card from my deck; if it's a Level 1 monster, I can draw again".

The four behind watched in silence as Yusei closed his eyes and dropped his hand to the deck, pressing the tips of his fingers against the top card - the one he would draw and which would determine the success of whatever plan he was relying on. Raw fighting spirit poured into him and instinctively, he ripped the card from the rest, keeping at the full length of his arm, opening his eyes sharply to capture the artwork in the corner of his vision. Once he identified it, he held it up for his shady enemy to see.

"Level 1 Monster, One-Shot Booster" he announced. "Therefore, I can draw another card". He did as the aforementioned card predicted, then carrying out nothing more slotting both into his hand. "Turn end".

FIFTH TURN – DARK SIGNER

"Alright then, leave yourself wide open" the dark man sniggered. "It's my turn!"

"Yusei's left himself wide open" Rua cried. "Once Freezing Fitzgerald attacks Doppel Token, its Piercing Damage will finish him off".

Crow didn't seem as worried as the boy, but uncomfortable nonetheless. "He wouldn't make a stupid mistake like that, he's got to have something planned".

"Freezing Fitzgerald, attack one of those Doppel Tokens and rid this world of Fudo Yusei!" the man yelled passionately.

The frozen behemoth removed its arms from the front of its chest, stretching its brittle limbs to their limits and unleashing a shower of icy daggers. The replica flinched and exploded, kicking up dust that swept past Yusei, obscuring him from view.

"Yusei!" Rally, Rua and Ruka cried unanimously.

The Dark Signer threw his head back, cackling madly as he revelled in his apparent victory over the first Signer with ease. Bitter tears stung Rally's eyes as he struggled to contemplate that Yusei may have lost within the cloud of black smoke, Ruka watched the scene with despair flashing within her golden eyes. The smog began to disperse, revealing the truth and a silhouette still standing inside.

"Look" she called, drawing the others to emerging shape.

Realising what had happened, the Dark Signer calmed himself, a drop of sweat slid into view as the smoke cleared to show Yusei standing with the same determined look upon his face, his lifepoints untouched.

"W- what?" he cried out in astonishment. "How could you possibly survive that?"

Yusei held up a single card, twisting it reveal a monster resembling a butler. "Devotion Gardna" he stated bluntly. "By discarding it, the damage I receive from a battle is reduced to zero".

"You little…" the Dark Signer hissed venomously. "Regardless of your tactics, I'll take you down before lone. I activate Depth Charge - when a Water monster is Special Summoned from the Graveyard, this card will deal 700 points of damage. It won't be long now before you but a bitter memory".

"I won't die" Yusei protested sternly.

The Dark Signer seemed to scowl, his frown implied a glare underneath the hood that shrouded the upper half of his face. "And why shouldn't you? Why do you live?"

"Because I have something worth living for" Yusei growled. He threw his arm back, twisting slightly so the shady man could view Crow, Rua, Ruka and Rally waiting on the other side of the mysterious flames. "I have my friends to live for. These people who need protecting from mistakes like your twisted cult of frauds calling yourself a sub-species of Signers".

The nameless shadow growled viciously, Yusei, on the other hand, returned his arm and tore the top card from his deck fiercely, ready to fight.

"It's my turn!"

SIXTH TURN – YUSEI

With the card separated from the rest, Yusei flicked his wrist, revealing the card he had drawn - Nitro Synchron, a glint flashed in his eyes.

"This is my final turn, but I won't end with this duel" he yelled, throwing the card down onto the Duel Disk. "I summon Nitro Synchron [ATK 300]".

Beside the remaining Doppel Token, the small cylindrical Tuner emerged, its body consisting of white with pink splashes. Steel arms hung from the sides, ending with hands tucked into yellow gloves. At the top of its being, a circular meter was fixed, a black needle resting at the lowest measurement.

"By its effect, I can Special Summon One-Shot Booster [ATK 0] because a monster has already been Normal Summoned".

Rally beamed as his yellow machine appeared on the field, blasting through the portal that opened and positioned itself on the other side of Nitro Synchron. Crow smiled at the boy, aware of his secret and flashed a thumbs-up, the twins oblivious to the silent exchange of pride.

"Bolt Hedgehog's ability also allows it to be Special Summoned, due to the presence of a Tuner" Yusei added firmly, his voice growing stronger with each addition to his arsenal. "Return from the Graveyard, Bolt Hedgehog [ATK 800]". The small orange fuzzy rodent with bolts implanted in its back squealed furiously, glaring at the enemy with its large green eyes. Behind it, Yusei held a fifth Monster card. "Finally, when the opponent has a Synchro Monster and I don't, Reed Butterfly [ATK 300] can be Special Summoned. Freezing Fitzgerald counts, even if it's a Synchro imitation".

On the edge of the field, the small butterfly appeared, flapping its wings delicately, tentacle-like string hung from its slender form. With its arrival, Yusei's field was complete with five low-level monsters. Ruka smiled as she assessed his arsenal, able to connect with the field of young and vulnerable monsters should they fight individually. Rua grinned proudly, thrusting his left fist forward.

"Alright, show him what a Signer can do, Yusei!" he called enthusiastically.

"No matter what tactics you use, you can't kill what lives eternally" the Dark Signer snarled. "My Dark Synchro monster and the shadows from which it was born can never be extinguished. Light, however, can disappear and leave darkness to reign".

"Darkness will never prevail" Yusei retorted sharply. "This is the proof of that. I tune my Level 2 Nitro Synchron with Level 1, Doppel Token, Level 1 One-Shot Booster, Level 2 Bolt Hedgehog and Level 1 Reed Butterfly".

"Impossible, you're combining all of your monsters?" the Dark Signer gasped in horror.

"Combining all his monsters together means Yusei can summon a Level 7 Synchro Monster" Crow reported.

"Yeah, show him, Yusei!" Rally yelled.

Nitro Synchro vanished, leaving behind a pair of stars that raced around in a circular orbit, drawing out two green rings. They descended over the four monsters; one of Reed Butterfly and One-Shot Booster, the other around Bolt Hedgehog and the Doppel Token. Each relinquished the stars equal to their level; all giving up one with the exception of Bolt Hedgehog, who offered a second. The five glimmers danced around, lining themselves up for the ritual to progress, a narrow strip of light piercing each of them, connecting them in one force.

"Tsudoishi omoi ga, kokoni aratana chikara tonaru! Hikari sasu michi tonare! Shinkuro Shoukan! Moeagare, Nitoro Woriā! [ATK 2800]" [4]

Massive green hands ripped through the light, followed by the equally brawny body. Red eyes glowed in the creature's head and its large grey jaws separated, unleashing a deep growling roar.

"Such a powerful monster…" the Dark Signer hissed. "It's strong enough to take out Freezing Fitzgerald".

"And that's how things will stay" Yusei snapped. "Nitro Synchron lets me draw again when it's used for the Synchro Summon of a monster with 'Nitro' in its name". He swiftly removed the card resting on top of his deck, taking a second to assess the draw and then threw it onto the Duel Disk beside his Nitro Warrior's card. "I summon Support Warrior [ATK 400]".

A mechanical warrior dwarfed in size by Nitro Warrior's intense built leapt onto the field, coated in armour plates of ash grey, four levels built over its chest and single-layered accessories like gloves and boots over its forearms and calves. The skin underneath was of a crimson shade, stripes of dark grey pressed over its hips. Over its shoulders, dark grey vices gripped to the joints, small crimson wings standing from each side.

"You and your bothersome monsters" the hooded man hissed bitterly.

"Support Warrior's effect means it can be Special Summoned when a Warrior Synchro Monster is on the field" Yusei announced. "It also adds 300 attack points onto that very kind of monster when it attacks. Nitro Warrior, inherit Support Warrior's power and take out Freezing Fitzgerald! Dynamite Impact!"

The enormous green fists of the creature began to glow, blue flames burning around them, painted by the power given by Support Warrior; the stronger warrior launched itself forward [ATK 3100]. As quickly as its fists slammed into the fragile chest of the icy Dark Synchro beast, it shattered, unable to resist long after the damage inflicted by Junk Berserker before.

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
1000 -LP- 600

"It's almost over" Rally cried jovially.

"Yes, it is" the Dark Signer snapped. "But not in your favour; Freezing Fitzgerald will return to the field and when it does, Depth Charge will bring you to your knees".

The crystal shadow Synchro beast appeared from the ground [DEF 2500], its glaring red eyes coated in blue. Beside it, the Magic card unleashed a torrent of energy, charging through the air and crashing into Yusei, who stood with his Duel Disk raised, the device seemingly taking the blow. The ground shook and the walls rattled, Ruka closed her eyes through the tremor, Rally fell from his semi-stand and clutched the large curve of the D-Wheel in terror. When it was over, all four spectators looked ahead to see Yusei standing, largely unfazed by the countermeasure.

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
300 -LP- 600

The hooded enemy smirked darkly, his white teeth resembling fangs with his worsening state; losing his humanity (had he any before joining the mysterious cult) and allowing the Devil to pump him full of malice and blacken his heart.

"Your life is over next turn, Fudo Yusei" he commented victoriously. "Nitro Warrior will be destroyed by Freezing Fitzgerald at the end of your Battle Phase, Support Warrior is useless by this point. Give it up, your fate is sealed. Let's not keep Death waiting.".

"Death won't claim me either now or any time soon" Yusei growled defiantly. "Freezing Fitzgerald's ability takes place at the end of the Battle Phase, but I'm not finished yet".

"What?" the man asked assertively. "You must have lost your mind, Support Warrior attacking would wipe you out".

"I'm attacking with Nitro Warrior" Yusei stated.

"You can't!" the Dark Signer snapped furiously. "You've used its attack up, it won't obey a second order".

"Nitro Warrior has another effect" Yusei announced. "When it destroys a monster, it can then switch another that's in Defence mode to Attack mode and then attack once more".

"W- What?"

"Nitro Warrior, return Freezing Fitzgerald to attack mode. Dynamite Impact!"

The behemoth slashed its arm through the air, producing a scythe of blue energy that threw itself across the field and collided with the target, draining the blue aura from it and leaving the creature exposed [ATK 2500].

"Nitro Warrior, extinguish this darkness and open up the path out of here!" Yusei bellowed, throwing his hand forward. "Dynamite Knuckle!"

As it had done before, a stream of blue energy transferred itself from Support Warrior to Nitro Warrior, fuelling its charge [ATK 3100]. The cannon positioned at the base of its spine ignited with sudden power and threw the creature forward, lifting its fists in front. The Dark Synchro creature remained trapped in place, simply waiting for its inevitable final death. The monstrous knuckles of the green-skinned creature smashed into its chest, tearing its torso apart, resulting an explosion as well as shockwaves rumbling through the ground and walls.

YUSEI - DARK SIGNER
300 -LP- 0

DUEL END

Once the chaos settled, Yusei set his eyes back onto the man who stood as though lifeless, swaying limply before falling back. He crashed onto the ground, making no effort to avoid the pain or pick himself up, he only groaned. The ring of fire died down, leaving only the destruction left by the attacks made real as evidence that the duel had even taken place. Without the adrenaline pulsing through him rapidly, a brief wave of dizziness washed over him, passing quickly as he struggled to keep his mind on what needed to be done. Once he recovered, he charged across the field, falling onto one knee and pulling the dark man from the ground, grabbing fistfuls of his black robe.

"What are you guys planning to do with Satellite?" he asked furiously. "Tell me what your sick plans are".

The man didn't answer. With his patience at an end, Yusei tugged on the hood and threw it from the man's face, revealing closed eyes and matted brunette hair; something wasn't right, this man didn't seem like a villain now that the duel was over. His eyes dropped to where the Spider Birthmark had been glowing, finding nothing there, his own had vanished on top of that. He tore the deck from the Duel Disk, flicking through the cards, but failing to find proof of the Dark Tuner and Dark Synchro Monsters that he had just fought. Then it dawned on him: this man wasn't working with the Dark Signers, they had used him as some kind of pawn.

Crow's shadow crept closer and fell over the pair, drawing Yusei's eyes to the redhead. "So who is he?"

"I don't know" Yusei sighed. "It seems he wasn't consciously duelling me; someone else was in control of this man".

"'Someone else'?" Crow echoed, puzzled by the idea.

"We don't have time to deal with this here, we have to leave" Yusei murmured. "And you're going to have to take him with you".

"What? Why me?" Crow yelled, pointing to himself whilst pulling an unimpressed and shocked face.

"I have Ruka and Rally already, you've got Rua. There's more room for a body on your BlackBird than there is in my D-Wheel" Yusei stated.

"Can't we just swap?" Crow complained. "I take one of the kids, you take the creepy guy that tried to kill you?"

"You don't put up a very convincing argument" Yusei commented with a smile. "No; you're taking him".

Crow moaned again, grabbing one of the arms and throwing it over his shoulder, helping Yusei to lift the nameless man from the ground and drag him over to the dark D-Wheel, slumping him over behind where Crow would sit. The disgruntled redhead climbed back into the machine, placing himself between the body and Rua, who smirked up at his carrier. Yusei returned to his own D-Wheel, he smiled at Ruka, who handed him the helmet she had been holding, identical to the one still balanced on her head. He slipped his spiked hair into the helmet and followed Crow in nestling himself between them; Ruka seated in between his legs and Rally with his arms around him from behind. He was first to rev his engine and shoot down the open hallway, Crow following quickly behind.


Jack led Carly through the maze of corridors, never once responding to her inquiries over how close they were to the storage yard where his D-Wheel remained, locked inside one of the vans. The two had used an elevator to descend through the tower; their only real hope of escaping in time and were running around on the bottom level.

The two rounded a corner, neither exchanging a word, but halting when they found themselves confronted. The back of a man in his twenties greeted them, his oxblood hair curled into a large quiff. He glanced over his shoulder, narrowing his eyes once they registered the couple behind him. He leapt back, twisting in the air to widen the gap between them, activating his Duel Disk and pulling a card from the deck inserted.

"I won't be held back by you any longer!" he snapped.

A flaming orb materialised above him; strange, as he was outside a duel. The meteor lunged forward to Carly's horror as she quickly identified the target as Jack. She cried out, crashing into him and knocking the blonde aside, designating herself as the new target. The hinotama collided with her petite body, throwing her back and onto the ground with a tremendous thud.

"Carly!" Jack cried.

He dove to her side, falling onto one knee and help lift her upper half delicately, keeping an arm stretched behind her back, cradling her fearfully. She face was screwed up with pain, the left lens of her glasses cracked. He growled, snapping his neck back to the man with a fearsome glare.

"What the hell are you doing?" he barked.

The man relaxed himself, but repressed any sympathy, rather watched them calmly. "I see, I thought you were with Security".

"You bastard, we're trying to escape" Jack snarled.

The man said nothing in response, but watched as Jack shook the girl, whose eyes opened shortly after his campaign to bring her back began. She smiled at him.

"Carly, why did you do such a reckless thing?" he asked, moved by her risky defensive measures.

"I just didn't want to see you get hurt" she whispered hoarsely, still smiling.

"Don't worry, I'll get you help" Jack whispered.

At the other end of the corridor, Aki emerged, having rounded a corner parallel to Jack and Carly's. Her eyes darted down the hallway, recognising the man stood over Jack and Carly, oblivious to the kneeling pair.

"Divine!" she cried, dashing towards him.

Divine turned his head, eyeing Aki curiously, quickly adding a smile and a shine of gratitude in his eyes. He turned to her, his arms open as though he were inviting her into his embrace, she stopped short, smiling brightly with relief.

"Divine, thank goodness" she cried joyfully. "I was worried".

"It's okay, Aki. I was waiting for you, I knew you would come" Divine whispered gently to the girl. "Let's go home, okay?"

Aki nodded, still ignorant of Jack and Carly watching their reunion. Divine laid a hand onto her shoulder and directed her down the nearest hallway further along the route the blonde King and dark-haired girl had been taking. Jack looked back to his injured companion, still she seemed content with Aki's happiness.

"I'm getting you out of here" he demanded.

Without much effort, he lifted Carly from the ground, holding one arm over his shoulder and the other pressed against her waist, helping her aching body with his height. They slowly stepped forward together, moving as one.


-Neo-Domino: Tops-

Yusei braked in front of the wide gateway leading to the Tops, the entrance sealed by a towering chain-link fence. As Crow skidded in nearby, Yusei lifted the arm of the D-Wheel, allowing Ruka to climb out, the girl smiling, relieved to finally be home. She removed the helmet, handing it back to Yusei, revealing the face far more cheerful that it had been for hours.

"Thank you for everything, Yusei" she said chirpily.

"Just keep safe now, okay?" he replied softly.

Yusei handed the helmet to Rally, who slipped it over his head, beaming at the two in front of him. At the same moment, Crow skidded to a halt beside the crimson D-Wheel, Crow dropped his arms, smirking at Rua, who slowly climbed off, his hair slightly matted from a lack of protection during the high-speed race. He jogged from the D-Wheels and around to Ruka's side, a little less comfortable.

"So you guys are going home?" he asked.

"Yes, we've got people waiting for us" Yusei replied. "If that vision's got any chance of happening, then we have to do whatever we can to protect the people".

"But you could be killed!" Ruka cried.

"We won't, Ruka" Yusei whispered, laying a hand onto the girl's head. "I promise you we won't".

"Alright then, if you guys won't, then let's have a duel when you get back" Rua asserted, smiling cockily at the dark-haired D-Wheeler.

Yusei, Crow and Rally all eyed the Tops boy curiously, the Tail Signer first to break away with a smirk of his own. He nodded briskly, lifting the boy's spirits, igniting the passionate flames behind his face.

"Alright then, I'll be waiting" he called. "Ruka and I will look forward to it".

Ruka cast a sharp glance at her brother; she hated it when he spoke for her, but then retained the bright face. "Yeah, we will".

The two D-Wheels shot off, heading back towards the highway and leaving the kids in their dust, watching them vanish down the same route they had come from to deliver them home. The two beamed optimistically, neither speaking nor moving as they contemplated their new bonds spanning across the City and beyond the shore.


-Neo-Domino: Highway-

Yusei's D-Wheel launched itself from the ascent leading onto the double-lane road, crashing back onto the concrete, back tyre first. Either side of him were detached duplicates, both with two lanes of their own. Rally's eyes jumped between the two, waiting for Crow to show up. The redhead shot out onto the right-most road, to smirking over his left shoulder at the pair nearby.

"Pretty good plan, I'd say" he yelled over the roaring breeze. "Now if anything happens, at least one of us will be in a position to help out".

Yusei nodded with a smile before setting his eyes ahead; the sky was getting brighter, blue creeping out where other colours were losing their grip, dissolving in the overriding wave. Rally leaned forward, propping his chin onto Yusei's shoulder, his back stretching to reach the top of his friend's arm.

"Hey, Yusei, we're going to get back soon, right?" he asked. "Then we can find out how Jack's doing".

Yusei nodded again. "Once we get to a safe place in Satellite, we'll try to establish contact with him. Even if we can't do that, the media would have a field day with his escape, we'll find out easily if he's been captured again".

"He better not" Crow growled, his face appeared in a small window on the D-Wheel monitor beside the map of the highway they raced along, two flashing dots acting as markers to identify each other. "I'm not going through all this again just to get his sorry ass out of the same jam".

Yusei smirked at the irritated face of his childhood friend, dropping it when he registered a blue dot resting on the road ahead; another D-Wheel.

"Crow, we might have trouble" he called.

Crow examined his own screen, frowning when he, too, picked up the stationary third party. Yusei lifted his glare from the screen to the dark machine ahead; a black D-Wheel with blue markings across the body, a rider dressed in a dark attire to match it. Yusei braked harshly, twisting the D-Wheel so its side faced the horizontal D-Wheel opposite. Crow skidded to a halt on the parallel road. Steam hissed from the tyres, Rally watched over Yusei's shoulder as he lifted his head and glared at the rider ahead.

"Who are you?" he asked coldly.

"It doesn't matter who he is, get out of the way" Crow snapped. "We're in a hurry. If' you're with Security, so help me, I'll-"

"Security? Heh, I would never side with them" the man hissed bitterly.

Crow lifted an eyebrow; that voice sounded familiar. The problem was he couldn't pinpoint it. The Birthmark on Yusei's arm flashed briefly, alerting him to the strange feeling emitted from the man; something was wrong. A wide grin flashed onto the face of the man, his eyes hiding underneath the tips of his ice-blue fringe and visor shrugging off the light. A red Marker could be seen running down the right side of his face, stretching from the shadows to his jaw line.

"You really don't remember, do you?" he laughed.

"All I know if you're with the Dark Signers" Yusei scowled, looking down to the robed around the man's body. They resembled those worn by the man slumped over the back of Crow's D-Wheel, modified slightly to replace white with blue. "Tell us who you are",

The man sniggered. "You already know who I am".

He lifted his head, revealing blackened eyes with golden iris underneath the glass of the visor; the clumps of fringe hanging between as well as over his eyes. Yusei and Crow gasped in horror, their eyes wide as they gazed in astonishment at the man's face.

"K- Kiryu?" Yusei managed to breathe.

"What the hell are you doing with the Dark Signers?" Crow asked.

Kiryu lifted his right arm, unveiling a Birthmark of his own; the shape of a man marked out in purple just as the Crimson Dragon left its mark on the Signers. The fact that it was a different pattern from the Spider that the trio had seen earlier spoke louder than the mere fact that he had one.

"I want revenge" Kiryu chuckled darkly. "What you fought earlier was a drone; a man brainwashed by one of the head Dark Signer's spiders. I, however, am the real deal; a true Dark Signer".

Purple flames erupted from the City streets below, spitting vertically enough so their waving tips brushed the edges of the elevated highway. Yusei clenched his teeth, watching both side as the flames spread further away, recreating a copy of the mark on Kiryu's arm, mirrored in the dimming sky. Rally clung onto Yusei's jacket, pressing his face against the Signer's back.

"Yusei, I'm scared" he whimpered.

"Don't worry, I'll protect you" Yusei growled, narrowing his eyes fixed onto Kiryu.

"So you've understood that you can't escape, huh?" Kiryu laughed. "Good, I've been waiting for this a long time. I was waiting for you to get back to Satellite, when you did show up, you ran away as quickly as you possibly could. Typical of a coward like you".

"I had business in the City to deal with" Yusei snapped.

"You mean you wanted to kill more people" Kiryu hissed.

Immediately, Yusei froze, stunned by Kiryu's choice of words; was it possible that he knew about Judge? A chill ran down his spine, his head lowered. No matter what he did, Judge would continue to haunt him, he couldn't escape the brutal man. His fingers tightened around the handgrips at the end of his D-Wheel's arms.

"Don't listen to him, Yusei" Crow barked. Yusei lifted his head, turning back to Crow, who smiled at him. "You did nothing wrong, you saved more lives by stopping him.. I know you well enough to know you never meant for him to die".

Yusei's eyes flickered, his fighting spirit reignited when he considered the people waiting for them in Satellite; Nerve, Taka, Blitz, Yanagi, Himuro, Martha. There were so many people relying on him and the other Signers to end the attack on Satellite, to stop the Dark Signers form threatening their very way of life. There was something wrong with Kiryu, based on his Birthmark, the only way to deal with it was as a Signer rather than a friend.

"I won't run away, not from this fight" he growled. "I don't know why you've lost yourself so much, but I'll stop you, Kiryu. I'll stop you and help bring you back".

At that point, Kiryu's smirk opened up into a full-blown cackle. He leaned back into the seat of his D-Wheel, his head thrown back as he laughed on mindlessly. Crow dropped his eyebrows against the tops of his eyes; Kiryu may have been a friend, but he could see clearly what had happened: corruption. Kiryu smirked, pressing down on his D-Wheel, on both D-Wheel monitors, a virtual copy of Speed World flipped itself over, altering the playing field dramatically. Still terrified and unfamiliar with what was happening, Rally tensed his arms wrapped around Yusei's waist.

"Yusei…" he whined timidly.

"Don't worry, Rally" Yusei replied calmly. "Nothing will happen to you, I promise".

Rally nodded uneasily, still unconvinced; Yusei meant well, but there was no guarantee they would escape unscathed. Both Yusei and Kiryu twisted their D-Wheels, facing down the road ahead, Crow revved his engine, ready to follow.

"Duel!"

DUEL START
YUSEI - KIRYU
4000 -LP- 4000

FIRST TURN KIRYU

"As the superior player, I'll move first" Kiryu chuckled, drawing six cards. "I'll begin my revenge with this; Infernity Beast [ATK 1600]"

A portal opened on Kiryu's field and through it, a dark brown dog leapt through, galloping beside the D-Wheel with small sacs of green positioned either side of its neck. There was no nose on the beast's face, but plates pressed over its face, opening only for its toothless mouth and glaring red eyes.

"Infernity?" Crow murmured. "That's something new, Kiryu never had one of those before".

"A lot can happen in two years" Kiryu laughed. "Let's see how Yusei's upgraded in that time. I set two cards face-down. Turn end".

"My deck may not have advanced itself as much as yours, but I'll still show you the power I've gained since we last met" Yusei called. "It's my turn!"

SECOND TURN YUSEI

YUSEI - KIRYU
4000 -LP- 4000
1 -SPC- 1

"Show him, Yusei" Crow called into his monitor, relaying the message to his friend through their continuing connection, his face compacted into a small window positioned in the bottom-left corner.

Yusei responded only with a nod; he still feared the consequences of the duel should they be the same as the ones that the unconscious man slumped behind Crow claimed would take place. "I summon Max Warrior [ATK 1800]

The brown warrior with a slim figure threw itself into the battlefield beside the crimson D-Wheel, its head encased in the oversized helm, challenging the size of the silver pads fixed to its moss green shoulders. The effect produced was that of looking as though the skin was being stretched to its limits, thinning as the arm plunged into grey and brown metallic gloves. Golden spheres sparkled as they hung around its neck, dropping over its chest plate. The midsection was left bare above the steel belt, below were brown legs that grew wider, the tips of its cape flapped behind them.

"Max Warrior, attack Infernity Beast".

"Heh, you plan to make the smallest of dents in my lifepoints?" Kiryu sniggered. "You must be desperate if you're aiming to chip away so slowly".

"Max Warrior gains 400 attack points when it attacks; the damage you take will be more than you think" Yusei reported forcefully. "Swift Rush!"

The warrior thrust its staff forward several times in quick succession, pounding the dog creature with its two-pronged weapon, the beast howled and exploded with ease, launching a torrent of dust over Kiryu's side of the field. .

YUSEI - KIRYU
4000 -LP- 3400

A scowl across Kiryu's face immediately inverted, producing another cocky and venomous smirk. "Thank you, Yusei. Who knew you'd be such an asset to my plan?"

"What are you talking about?" Yusei asked bitterly.

"When you destroy Infernity Beat, I activate Rope of Life" Kiryu replied with a booming voice. "By tossing out my entire hand, I can revive Infernity Beast and, as a bonus, it gets 800 extra attack points".

The demonic dog appeared in a blaze of orange and red flames [ATK 2400], Kiryu depositing the three remaining Monster cards that made his hand. Yusei eyed the icy-blue haired suspiciously; why would he surrender three cards for the sake of one beast? Kiryu's smirk continued to dog him, but he shrugged it off, determined not to let the fact he was fighting a former friend get to him.

"Max Warrior's effect means that it loses half of its levels and attack points [ATK 900]" he announced. "I set a card face-down. Turn end".

THIRD TURN – KIRYU

"You're leaving yourself open to an attack, huh?" Kiryu laughed. "A measly monster with only 900 attack points and a pathetic face-down card that will get you no longer than one extra turn. You're making it difficult to drag this duel out and prolong your suffering".

Yusei grunted, narrowing his glare on the man; it was still so difficult to believe his face was one that he had looked into hundreds of times during their lives in Satellite and called friend. The face he hadn't seen in two years that had become poisoned by darkness.

"It's my turn".

YUSEI - KIRYU
4000 -LP- 3400
2 -SPC- 2

"I summon Infernity Mirage" the authentic Dark Signer yelled, throwing the only card in his possession onto the Duel Disk in front of him.

A white beast with wild burgundy hair standing like enlarged leaves above the mask over its face emerged on the field, dressed in a blue robe with purple feathers hanging from the bottom edges; one line across the detached upper half and the other at the base of the skirt. Yellow markings decorated the central stripe, matching the golden bangles hanging around the creature's bony wrists.

"Another one of those creepy monsters" Crow commented. "What on Earth did Kiryu go through to want such a hideous focus for his deck?"

"By releasing Infernity Mirage, I can revive two Infernity monsters in my Graveyard, just because I have no cards in my hand" Kiryu announced proudly.

"That's why he surrendered his hand" Yusei gasped.

"I revive Infernity Beetle [ATK 1200] and Infernity Necromancer! [DEF 2000]" Kiryu yelled, removing the two from the Graveyard and placing them either side of his Infernity Beast.

The former creature to appear resembled an enlarge stag beetle, its back open with buzzing wings, and two large pincers hanging off the head between its glassy green eyes, the upper much larger with curved spikes hanging on. Six brittle legs hung underneath the creature. Infernity Necromancer followed, a skeletal figure with a ragged purple robe draped over it, forest green hairs hanging from the bony face and hands of a corpse hanging out the ends of the robe, all dyed blue as it sank slightly.

"He's got us outnumbered" Rally yelped.

"I know you like to fill up your field with weak monsters for a Synchro Summon" Kiryu chuckled coldly. "But let me show you what happens when you fill a field with monsters capable of dealing damage. I release Infernity Beetle to trigger its effect".

The small buzzing insect vanished in a shower of light, the brightness ripped in half and dimmed to reveal twins of the original [ATK 1200 x2]; almost like a replay of the drone's tactics before his Dark Synchro Summon. Yusei scowled, was it possible Kiryu was building up to release his own demonic Dark Synchro?

"It looks good, doesn't it, Yusei? An army of monsters with power ready to rip my opponent apart" Kiryu chortled. "It gets better; Infernity Necromancer's effect means because I have no cards in my hand, I can revive a monster from the Graveyard. I think I'll go with the third monster that I gave up for Infernity Beast; Infernity Demon! [ATK 1800]"

The demon that appeared was skinned purple, gaunt arms and hands hanging from grey sleeves. Planted on its chest, an X-shaped symbol of green and a deformed ring of indigo, several short arms expanding from it. Orange hair stood on its end, as though it were on fire, an oval jade planted into its forehead and nestled into the front of the style, either side of its head, pale crooked horns expanded.

"Because Infernity Demon was Special Summoned, I can now add an Infernity monster to my hand" Kiryu announced, removing a card that slid out from the stack. "I choose Infernity Dwarf".

"His strategy… it's solid; by discarding cards, he's been able to not only empty his hand, but summon a powerful arsenal of monsters that gain their power when his hand is empty" Yusei whispered. "He's been able to utilise each of his monsters to their full potential on his first turn".

"Yusei…" Rally whimpered.

From the next land over, Crow tore his eyes from the monitor and looked back to Yusei, frowning as he registered his friend's dire position; Kiryu could easily wipe him out on the first turn should his face-down card fail. They had yet to see an Infernity creature pull off such an effect, and with Kiryu's Infernity Dwarf in his hand, it seemed their abilities were frozen, but he refused to hold his breath - Yusei could still easily lose and perish before his eyes.

'Hang in there' he thought, sweat slipping down his face. 'Think of the twins and everyone in Satellite, don't give up on them'.

"Infernity Beast!" Kiryu yelled, throwing his D-Wheel into a half-spin, facing Yusei who trailed slightly. "Attack Max Warrior. Hell Howling!"

The green puss-looking sacks either end of the dog's jaws expanded dramatically, acidic saliva poured out of its mouth, gushing towards the weakened Max Warrior whose staff was lowered as though it had become too heavy for the creature.

"Trap card open - Scarp-Iron Scarecrow!" Yusei yelled in protest.

Rally's eyes widened in horror behind Yusei's back, keeping his head low; with that Trap, Yusei could only negate one attack, they were still vulnerable to the other three. With those combined attack powers, Kiryu had more than enough power to wipe them out. The plume of liquid crashed against the simple steel scarecrow that appeared, spitting over the edges of the highway and leaving Max Warrior untouched.

"Scrap-Iron Scarecrow resets itself on the field once it's used" Yusei stated. The Trap in front of him fell, disappearing and leaving him vulnerable.

"Infernity Demon, now that you can't be stopped, take out Max Warrior" Kiryu commanded excitedly. "Hell Pressure!"

The creature's four blood-red eyes rolled around madly and then its arms stretched in front, creating a circular symbol with an emblem similar to that on its chest; a spiked V with a circle in the centre, sprouting three spikes - one standing vertically, the other two diagonal and lower. Before the attack proceeded, it twisted to face the weakened target. A demonic pink hand consisting entirely of dark energy erupted from the circle looking as though it belonged as part of a séance, roaring across the field and smashing into the warrior, grabbing it with the spiked fingers and tightening its grip. Yusei watched in horror as his monster was squeezed viciously, its body cracking and breaking, unable to deal with the pressure until it exploded, scattering shards of light and dust towards him. A strange power that rushed towards the D-Wheel like a tidal wave.

YUSEI - KIRYU
3100 -LP- 3400

Yusei yelled out, closing his eyes as the attack rocked his D-Wheel violently. A wave of pink light rushed past, the road around him seemed to tremble with terrifying force. The machine began to spin wildly, pushing towards the edge of the highway.

"Yusei!" Crow yelled in terror.

Yusei tightened his fingers around the handgrips, Rally's cries flooded into his ears. The D-Wheel scratched the edge of the highway; a cue for him to pull back, the spinning subsided as they touched the barrier and straightened them for the road ahead, Yusei quickly pulled with all his strength, managing to pry the D-Wheel from the edge and race on after Kiryu, who laughed in amusement through it all.

"Yusei, you okay?" Crow called.

Rather than look to his friend, Yusei dropped his eyes to the monitor where Crow's face waited in the corner, he nodded, but sweat sliding down his head suggested the reply wasn't entirely true. He glanced over his shoulder to Rally, who clung on as tightly as he could, his eyes closed firmly, sweat and tears trickling down his face.

"It's alright, Rally" Yusei whispered to him. "We're okay now".

"But Kiryu can attack three more times" Rally sobbed. "I don't like this Yusei, let's just run away".

"We can't…." Yusei sighed, gazing out at the City. "Those flames prevent us from leaving; it's the Dark Signers' way to keeping their prey trapped until they get their way. Rally, for you, I'll win this as quickly as I can".

"You'll win nothing" Kiryu laughed. "Except a one-way ticket to Hell when I'm through with you. Infernity Beetle, attack Yusei directly!"

The beetle launched itself forward, leaving its twin and allies behind, ducking its head to thrust the two glinting horns forward. Rally buried his face into Yusei's back, the Signer's face tightening with frustration, sweat slipping down his face; it wasn't just his life on the line. There were potentially so many depending on him winning the duel. Crow peeled his eyes from the monitor and directly onto his struggling friend.

"Yusei!" he cried.

Yusei growled, his field bare and exposed; he promised Rally he would win, but it seemed as though that vow was growing dimmer and more impossible. The beetle was diving towards them, ready to rip into him and extinguish hope.


PREVIEW

Yusei: Kiryu, stop this!

Kiryu: Ahahaha! You think you can stop me by demanding it? You gave up that right a long time ago, Yusei.

Yusei: Kiryu…

Crow: This isn't right, Kiryu's our friend. Why has he become a Dark Signer?

Jack: Yusei, someone's going to die as a result of this duel, don't let it be you!

Yusei: I have to… kill Kiryu? Next time: "Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's: The Neo-Domino Purge, Chapter 26 – Dark Synchro Summon and the Earthbound God". Riding Duel, Acceleration!

NEXT KEY CARD – Earthbound God Ccapac Apu


[1] "Clustering stars will call upon a new force! Become the light it shines upon! Synchro Summon! Show yourself, Junk Warrior!"

[2] "When dark overlaps with dark, the doors of the underworld will be opened. To the world without light. Dark Synchro! Show yourself, Freezing Fitzgerald!"

[3] "Clustering anger becomes an entranced warrior born from a brutal god. Become the path its light shines upon! Synchro Summon! Howl, Junk Berserker!"

[4] "Clustering minds will now become a new force! Become the path its light shines upon! Synchro Summon! Blaze on, Nitro Warrior!"


Two months after I was hoping to get it done, but it exists; the second route for The Neo-Domino Purge. The plan had been to upload this alternative route, sprouting from the end of Season 1 on the sixth anniversary of my joining. The problem came when the original got wiped and I lost heart to rewrite so much across a range of fics that have been in the works.

The premise behind a rewrite is that the brains behind this decided he wasn't impressed with the original version, especially events that come much later in the story, claiming it to be of "Yoshida standard", I on the other hand, enjoyed the contents of the original and we did plan it between the episodes of Yusei and Sherry's duel, so there wasn't much information to go on. He wanted to create a new version with the new information coming out each week and abandon the original. I had other plans and am still writing the original version, wanting to carry out both versions (which I've dubbed the '2009 route/Path One' and '2010 route/Path Two', which will work as a title until I have a real one for this version). Right now, I'd like again to thank everyone who's read the fic so far (especially those who have reviewed and offered opinions/advice and pointed out errors) and hope this revamp will live up to its predecessor and hopefully together, they can make a great addition to the fanon world of 5D's. It will be sorely missed when it ends next week, it's been such a large part of my life for the past three years and opened up a whole new world for me.

- CuteYami, 24th March 2011