Disclaimer: The following piece is in no way a claim to ownership of the depicted characters. Yu-Gi-Oh, Yu-Gi-Oh R, Yu-Gi-Oh GX and Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's are owned by TV Tokyo, Konami Corporation and Kazuki Takahashi. The song with which this story shares its name is the property of Dutch Metal Band 'Within Temptation'; the name is used here solely for the poetic nature of such a reference. This story as presented is strictly for entertainment purposes, both for its owner and readers.
Author's Note: At last, my Continuity's counterpart to the Tenth Anniversary movie has been created, and it promises to deliver yet another instalment of my ever-twisting story. This will not be the last of my works, but it shall resolve the Paradox story arc once and for all, and give a satisfying duel to those disappointed by that of the movie. Now, without further delay, let the madness begin:
Chapter 1 – The Showdown Begins! Triple Duel, ChosenDuellists vs. Paradox
Standing above a building cloaked in darkness and surrounded by rubble, Paradox looked down upon the beings within through a pair of shining golden eyes, his glare soul-piercing and judgmental. Before him stood nothing more than the ruins of a city, rocks and concrete alike a bleached red from the chemicals and the harsh sunlight above. In a barren and desolate wasteland such as this one, he had once thought, no hope existed for life ever again.
Until, that is, he had seen the three Legendary Duellists. Through his trials in their own time, he had led them straight to him, leaving them clues along the way for them to follow. Like Hansel and Gretel after the bread crumbs they had followed him, never stopping to consider what they were doing; and now, they had taken his bait, and were his unwitting pawns in the abyss below…
The first of many targets for him produced itself. Wandering lost and confused in the ruins around him, Judai staggered, clutching his ribs with his left arm while his ripped and tattered riding suit clung limply to his body. Blood trickled from the former of his mouth, a long scratch traced down his left cheek past his bruised eye, and his hair was a mess, matted and tangled from the grime and blood from his wounds.
From his own vantage point, the iron-red smog of this world obscured Paradox from his view; but in front of him, everything was a clear and terrifying illustration of the grim future held for man. The streets around him were cracked, crumbling and desolate; the buildings likewise had lost all glass from their windows, leaving frames while their forms crumbled; and remnants of the artistic and breath-taking architecture stood in their own rubble, shadows of their former selves and landmarks of the chaos.
Judai's eyes and mouth went wide as he realized where he was. It was a place where he had gone to before, on his travels many years prior. What he had seen in those days was breathtaking and marvellous, a true creation of grandeur; what he glimpsed through the toxic and choking air now seemed something from a horror or science fiction film, proof of a central cataclysm. But it was all too real, and the shock of it all shook him to his core.
"Saint Mark's Square…" he whispered under his breath, having had such a trauma forced upon him that he found not the strength to speak aloud. When Riding Duels had been invented, he had been in Italy, and had seen the rise of three true greats in the sport; to think of their fates in this gruesome, tragic post-apocalypse was a thought that forced him down upon his knees, exhaustion and injury finally taking their toll.
"Do you understand now the extent of my pain, mortal?" Paradox's voice boomed from overhead, causing Judai to turn in the direction it had come from. Looking over his shoulder, he finally faintly beheld the glow of Paradox's eyes, piercing the fog like headlights. "This is everything that I've lost, everything this world has lost. Become part of this tragic tale, and let your blood seep into this scorched stone ground."
Out from the black fog, two large black burst of light occurred, forming pillars of sparking every that twisted into snaking, snarling forms. Wrapping around a building, the silhouettes of two large dragons materialized, one imbued with three heads and the other with smaller wings at its waist; through the fog, their pattern-like eyes glowed as well, fixing on Judai while their growls resounded.
"You…" Judai barely managed to spit out before the three-headed beast released three streams of black, electrical energy from its jaws, sending them straight towards Judai in a massive shower of force. Calling upon what little strength he had, Judai managed to jump out of the way to his right while the blast struck the ground, punching a hole down to the follow underground below.
While Judai stood loosely on his feet, the dark orange glow he had used many times before appeared around him, clinging to his form except for two flame-like patches at his shoulders and one over his head. As his eyes changed to those of Yubel's, the aura solidified into her ghostly form, surrounding his as a shield and mimicking his pose exactly.
"You certainly know how to put yourself into as much danger as possible," she mused critically, her unforgiving tone indicative of the hatred she felt know both for him and for Paradox – the latter for the assault, and the former for his recklessness in getting himself brought here.
"I don't have time for your backtalk right now, Yubel," Judai told her while the other dragon fired a burst of blackened, rainbow-shimmering energy at him as well. Grabbing the top of his Deck, he produced a card and yelled, "Go, Neos!" At once the white warrior figure took shape before its master, standing in a crouched position as the blast of the dragon struck it square on.
"Bothersome little rat," Paradox grumbled as the energy from the blast simply reflected, leaving Judai standing unharmed behind his monster. Both of Paradox's dragons then fired their respective bursts of energy at him; but once again, Judai's monster took on both bursts and came out standing, virtually no damage to it.
"You'll have to do better than that," Judai told Paradox smugly, though the raspiness and exhaustion of his voice betrayed him. Looking down upon the human figure, Paradox let out a growl of utter annoyance at the situation; but a second later, he simply chuckled and looked back down.
"Then in that case, I have just the thing." A second later, a third burst of light appeared and another monster appeared between the other two, above Paradox's eyes. This one was a different type of dragon; it had long arms and legs, even longer tail and neck, massive fan-like wings, and three horns atop its head. Through the darkness, its glowing eyes gave off the evil golden glow; but even so, Judai recognized the image and gasped in horror.
"No… it can't be. You…" These were the best of a thought Judai could produce before the burst of energy from the dragon's jaws struck his monster head on. The shockwave from the assault struck it dead-on and passed over it, producing cracks along its form before striking its master as well. Despite Yubel's power, Judai found himself flung backwards and into a crumbling stone building's wall, which gave way behind him and sent him hurtling to the floor.
While Paradox looked on at this sight, laughing darkly, he watched as the form of the white warrior simply cracked over its entire extremities. Pieces of the monster began to slough off and dissolve before the entire thing simply crumbled, leaving nothing in its wake. Yubel's aura likewise died out from around Judai; and as he lay there gasping for air, he felt himself sink into a blackness he knew all-too-well…
Those that remained of the groups of heroes simply looked around blankly, casting their eyes upon the ruined remains of their once-prosperous city. Neo Domino City resembled a mere shadow of its former self. The aftermath of the duel on the Circuit had left many of the windows shattered, broken glass littering the streets. Cracks and crevices adorned the concrete structures while holes and melted joints covered the steel ones; and many of the roads bore scorch marks where the energy had left its mark.
The Satellite had faired no better, for it too fell into the path of the chaos. After so much hard work had been put into its restoration in the aftermath the Dark Signer invasion, much of the new structure bore the same damage and decay as its counterpart; but now, the buildings which had not been restored yet, sadly enough, were almost in better shape than those that had been fixed.
At ground zero of the Old Momentum's newest eruption, buildings had been completely levelled; and the tall tower as well, which had been as grand as Neo Domino skyscrapers, was now scattered debris from Paradox's pulse. In its released state, the Old Momentum and the Final Momentum has created an effect no different from an antimatter explosion; except in this case, instead of annihilation, time itself had been shredded.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the chaotic scene, however, was not in the cities itself, but in the skies above them. Though the pathways which spiralled around it had dissolved away into nothingness, the floating body of the large Momentum body still remained, floating and inanimate above both cities. Kilometres of air space separated it from the buildings below; but in the dimly-lit sky, the shadows of the monolith seem to eclipse the ground.
Upon the surface of the huge monolith, three sudden small bursts of energy marked the appearance on its surface of Lucciano, Alessandro and Jose, one after the other. Cloaked and shadowed, their forms were almost hidden save for the glows emanating from their respective Infinity patches – blue for Lucciano, Orange for Jose and Purple for Alessandro.
Pulling back their hoods, the three of them took a long, thorough look at their new surroundings; for with the US Military occupying their central headquarters, they could not return without starting a war, and so this would have to act as their new base of operations.
"Our first order of business is to find Placido's remains," Jose instructed, assuming that even after the catastrophic explosion there would be something left of their comrade's body. "I doubt that our God would have left its strongest servant to die here, even if the battle would have caused him damage that rendered him beyond repair."
"What makes you think so, El Jefe?" Alessandro questioned, turning to his superior with a stern and solemn face marking his own personal view of the loss. "Even if he was using El Capitan as his own personal play-thing, Ylaidus has no reason to keep things that are beyond use to him. After that match, I'd say Placido is in no shape to be of any use."
"Whether or not that is true," Jose responded, speaking more sternly to exercise his authority over the human, "the fact remains that Placido is an integral part of the plan, and must be salvaged in order to complete it."
"Wake up, Jose!" the human suddenly snapped, indicating their surroundings. "The plan has already gone to shit because of those fucking Signers and that bastard Yuki Judai! Just look around you. The Arc Cradle may have been summoned, but it's been left powerless because of Paradox's blast. What good does that do us now?"
Stepping forward to Alessandro, the massive android grabbed him by the neck and hoisted him up above his head, causing the human to grab hold of Jose's arm with his own hand. "If you wish to speak back to your superiors, then I will personally see you removed from Yliaster and left for the Arcadia Movement to experiment on, Alessandro. Understood?"
"Whatever," the man sassed before Jose simply threw him back and onto his butt against the ground, where he simply stood up and dusted himself off. Turning face, Alessandro started to walk down the length of the huge structure, lost in his own head as he reflected on the events that had led him to this point.
"God damn it El Capitan… why did I have to let you drag me into his huge fucking shit-storm you've cooked up? So, what…? Your plan was to summon the Arc Cradle, the very palace of your master God Ylaidus, and then what…? Simply destroy the world around you until all that remained was a remnants of eras. Then what? What good does a barren wasteland do anybody?"
Suddenly, Alessandro's eyes roused him from his thoughts with the sign of something he never thought he'd see here. Gasping in shock, he witnessed before him the smashed, pulverized and utterly destroyed remains of what had once been Placido, his face twisted into an expression of horror. With his arms broken into pieces, his face missing on its left side, and nothing remaining below his waist but a few broken fragments and wires, he appeared to be beyond repair; but if anybody would fix him now, they could.
"Yo, El Jefe, La Chica!" Alessandro then yelled back over his shoulder as loudly as he could, trying to draw attention to his current location. Within a few seconds the forms of the two other Emperors of Yliaster were behind him; and he could tell from the sound of Lucciano's stunned gasp and Jose's low, concerned mutter that they shared the same opinion he did of their leader's condition.
"P…Placido…" the female android managed to say in her sorrowful voice, her face depicting the tragic heartbreak of one whose soul mate has died in their arms. As Alessandro reached forward and picked up the corpse of the android, he could sense no energy radiating from it; and with a slow, saddened shake of his head, he gave all the information the female needed to know in a single act.
Yusei felt as though the world had come crashing down in his body. Pain from the aftermath of the duel with Placido filled his being; but that was nothing compared to the pain of what he now saw before him. He and Yugi now stood beside Judai, for the latter had crashed through the building where they now stood.
"Judai, are you alright?" Yugi asked of the red-haired duellist, whose eyes had snapped shut from the pain. Having seen the direction the energy had come from, Yusei and he jumped out through the hole in the wall, only to see the same blinding fog Judai had. However, this time, they knew Paradox was here, armed, and looking for a shot.
"If you wish to suffer the same fate as your friend did," Paradox's chilling voice told them, "then allow me to send you to where he is now." From above him, the long-winged dragon again fired its burst of black energy at him; but this time, Yusei prepared himself by pulling out a card and holding it up.
"Reverberate, Stardust Dragon!" Rising up into the air, Yusei's dragon emerged from the card he had held up and let out its own white burst, connecting with the previous attack and negating both in a massive explosion of power. "Go, Stardust!" In a move too fast for Paradox to react to, the white dragon fired a second shot of energy, striking exactly where Paradox had been dead-on and blasting the building it was on to bits.
Immediately after this, the three silhouetted monsters faded away as well; and with the white dragon disappearing again, this left the three duellists alone to regroup. Judai, drawing upon Yubel's power again, snapped his eyes back open and stood back up, staggering outside to rejoin his two counterparts. Reaching for his outfit, Judai unzipped the jacket of his riding outfit, cooling him off.
Suddenly, the gaseous metals around them were caught up into a huge wind, blowing around in a chaotic fashion until they were eventually swept away. As though sent away by unknown forces, this action left the three with a clear view of the ruins of Venice; and the terrifying image they created soon changed they wish to one of blissful ignorance.
More chaos then arose when the ground beneath their feet began to shake, which also churned up water underneath the streets and created a splashing to the surface. Buildings then began to crumble into pieces, the huge chunks from their form falling into dust in the form of a huge, circular field.
Rocks at the feet of the three duellists then twisted in another way; arising, pushing up the dirt and rising into the air. Very soon they were well over 100 feet in the air, on a rocky mesa which had just sprung from the ground; but the strangest of them all, was that it twisted into a unique and crafted shape.
"This is the platform from the Battle City finals," Yugi realized, having seen these exact details on the Alcatraz duel tower before. Indeed, its shape was nearly an identical match to that structure, save for the material and colour; but now, instead of facing Malik's evil head-on, he was with two other strong duellists against a man he barely knew anything about.
"I'd tell you all to worry about catching the virus," Paradox's voice issued seemingly from everywhere, "but it died out long ago after all of its hosts did." Suddenly, a strange, crimson and black puddle formed along the ground directly in front of the three duellists, spurting upwards like a geyser until Paradox's form erupted upwards from it and took a stance.
Even with his head dipped down and buried in shadow, the three friends could see that his form had changed. The black upper section of his trench coat had changed; now it matched the red and black, seemingly fluid-like pattern, the puffed shoulders being completely covered over by the metal shoulder pads. Paradox's hair bad grown dull and almost lifeless; his skin a strange, dead-looking tan like Rudger's skin had been; and his previously solid form was now slightly thinner.
"Now do you see the full extent of our pain?" he asked, his voice sounding utterly miserable but a sickening smile on his face. "This is all that remains of a once-thriving metropolis. Ravaged by nuclear war and the virus, almost all life is long gone; and the buildings are rubble in their own footprints."
"Paradox, the time has come for you to answer us!" Yugi shouted, his steely glare coming down fully upon the blond duellist before them. "After everything you did to us and our friends in our time, and these horrors you have perpetuated, you continue to keep us in the dark and play with us like dolls!"
"Because humans like you miserable three are little more than toys to me," Paradox explained coldly, his crimson coat now swaying back and forth in the intense winds that arose seemingly from nowhere. Lifting his face to the three, he revealed to them an expression more sinister and dark than anything he had shown them before; his blank eyes, devoid of pupils and any sort of light (or life), showed them the true turmoil of his character.
"None of you are here simply because I will it so," he added, the darkness rolling off his body starting to surround the set of them in a swirling, circular pattern. "In each of your respective generations, you alone stood as heroes in a world teeming with endless chaos, a single light in that abysmal darkness. I, too, tried everything I could to save my family and my people; but it was to no avail, unlike you all."
"Get to the point," Judai demanded. "From the state of this place, I can tell that you were not lying about the catastrophe that occurred here; but that has nothing to do with us. You left our time behind and then dragged us with you; what did that accomplish?"
"It brought you all here," Paradox revealed, getting an appropriately shocked reaction out of them. "The only thing I needed to accomplish in your time was to find a way to bring you all here. Mutou Yugi, Yuki Judai, Fudo Yusei… you're all but means to an end; but an expensive means. By bringing you to my time, I now have everything I need to complete my ultimate project."
"That's why you harmed all of our friends, converted monsters into your twisted servants and exterminated Placido?" Yusei questioned, his hatred starting to boil over. "How exactly does that make you any better than the humans you claim to be so horrid?"
"Because I will save this place," Paradox told them. "With the energy I acquire from you three, I will complete the transmutation necessary to completely rebuild this world, vibrant and teeming with life. Minus, of course, human life… but I suppose the planet can recover from such a loss. After all, without human life, the virus would never have occurred."
"There's no point in further arguing philosophy with this guy," Judai finally decided. "There's only one way remaining to settle this." Reaching around to his belt, he pulled his Deck from the box he kept there and loaded it into the Duel Disc on his left arm. "If we win, you'll take us back to our own time and abandon this little project; or at least the part that involves sacrificing us."
"And what do I stand to gain from this?" Paradox questioned, his sneer now highlighting his amusement. "Wait, I know… should I win, I'll suck you three dry of your energy. Doing so may or may not result in your death; but a deal is a deal, am I right…?"
"We won't be bullied into backing down, Paradox!" Yusei snapped, reaching around for his own Ground Deck and loading it into the port of his Duel Disc. Again both stood silent; but as Yugi reached for his own Deck and placed it in the Duel Disc, the resonation of a voice caught everyone's attention.
"Yugi-sama..." the familiar voice issued as its owner, Maenou, came into view behind him in spirit form. "There can be no expense spared in defeating this cruel, vindictive man. Allow me to help you by giving you more power." Maenou's speech patterns had changed from before; when talking to Yugi, he was completely formal and polite, with a soft tone to reflect his respect.
"More… power…?" Yugi asked in confusion, not knowing what Maenou was referring to. Maenou then pointed to a section of Yugi's Deck box which was isolated from the rest by a divider; upon realizing this, Yugi turned to the being in shock, his face showing his bewilderment.
"I was a servant of Pharaoh Atem, your other half, in the Ancient Times," he explained. "I can clear the Summoning Conditions for his strongest servants for you, and let you use them against him; but you must let me do so if we want to win."
"A servant of… the other me…?" Yugi now questioned, looking down at the Deck box. The implications were now as strong as they could be for Yugi; he now had the chance to fight with the full power of his old spirit partner. Though he had enjoyed duelling since that ceremony, it was never the same without his partner; now, he had a way to feel that thrill again. "Yes," Yugi told him. "Yes; I would enjoy having you fight me with."
Nodding in response and bowing, Maenou's spirit form dissolved away; and a second later, a bean of golden energy shot out from Judai's Duel Disc, solidifying in front of Yugi's chest. The object materialized just long enough to reveal its form as that of Maenou's card; but after that, it returned to its energy form and changed into the familiar, pyramidal shape of the Millennium Puzzle.
Looking down upon the object around his neck, complete with the chain he had put on it so long ago, Yugi smiled; he now had a way to fight like his old self had. Reaching for the Deck box, he grabbed the three cards that remained and thrust them into the Deck, creating a surge of red, blue and yellow energy in a flame-like pattern. When this came to rest, the blades of the Duel Disc deployed, swinging around and taking their place along the side of the Disc.
"I'll not allow you to simply continue toying with human lives," Yugi told the blond duellist firmly, raising his fist for emphasis. Immediately after that, Judai's eyes changed into the form of Yubel's orange and green eyes, glowing while his own Duel Disc deployed into shape.
"For the actions which you have carried out upon our friends, I'll not forgive you," he said, Yubel's voice joining him while her spirit form appeared behind him, arms crossed. "I'll definitely defeat you and undo your chaos!"
Immediately Yusei's Duel Disc also activated the holographics displaying as he did so. After that his red Dragon's Head mark burst into a brilliant red glow, signifying the activation of his power. "I'll not allow you to simply change our future at will any longer!"
"Well then, I suppose it's only fair that I show my hand now," Paradox responded, snapping his singers. Immediately the form of his white and black D-Wheel appeared from a warp in the dimension, seemingly created on its own; and it pulled up beside Paradox, allowing him to stand up upon the object.
"Allow me to set the stage," he insisted, the D-Wheel making a strange noise underneath him. Instantly pieces of the D-Wheel began to move and reconfigure; the front wheel turned to fit underneath the front end; the two rear wheels and their mounts moved out to the side, where they became a pair of strange, spear-like objects; and the console and back rest themselves folded upwards, converting into a Duel Platform for Paradox.
Once the object had taken on this form, instead of resting on wheels, it covered a few feet above the ground. Pressing a button on the console, Paradox immediately caused the object to rise up into the air about 80 feet; the screen on the console came to display the faces of the three Duellists in split screen, and a holographic projection of Paradox's face, some 20 feet tall, came into view above the vehicle.
"Shell we begin?" he asked, his hologram echoing the question more loudly as he reached for the console. Inserting his right arm with his wrist dealer onto the bottom of the Duel Disc attachment, he removed it from that place and activated the Duel Disc's Ground Function. Immediately the Deck inside began to shuffle itself; then it spat out five cards, which Paradox took into his grasp.
"As this will be a three-on-one duel, I make this stipulation," Paradox told them. "You will each get one turn, followed by mine. Only I can attack on my first turn, and I receive 12000 Life Points to start instead of the usual 4000. Should one of you lose, your cards remain in play as long as another one of you does, meaning all of us will have access to them."
Looking up at the floating Duellist, each and every one of the three combatants responded with a steely glare and a nod. Paradox seemed to be making the rules fair, but everyone could tell he had an agenda by doing this. Even so, they would be certain to put up a fight that Paradox could not overcome.
"DUEL!" all 4 players then yelled, the three ground-standing players each pulling five-card hands while Paradox simply stared back at them, eagerly awaiting their moves. On Paradox's monitor, the image switched to that of an empty field; namely, the field of the first opponent.
"I'll make the first move!" Yugi insisted, reaching for his Deck as he did so. "Draw!" Once he looked at all 6 of the cards now in his hand, he reached for one in his hand, the card he'd drawn folded against the crease, and he put it into play. "I Summon Magnet Warrior Alpha (ATK: 1400, LV: 4)!"
The tray of Yugi's Duel Disc let off a rainbow shimmer as it read the card; after doing so, it produced the form of a tall and thin, light grey, metallic-looking figure, with U-magnets forming its shoulders and the top of its head. "Next," he issued, sliding the card he had drawn into a slot, "I activate Ties of Brethren. By paying 1000 Life Points, I Special Summon from my Deck: Magnet Warriors Beta (DEF: 1600, LV: 4) and Gamma (DEF: 1800, LV: 4)!"
Two horizontal cards each appeared on either side of the standing warrior, reach producing a metallic-looking figure in a crouching pose. The first one was yellow and had a small, rounded build, with short arms and legs. The other was pink, with wings and an even pudgier build; and both of them bore similar magnet markings to the original monster.
Yugi: LP 3000
Judai: LP 4000
Yusei: LP 4000
Paradox: LP 12000
"Now I send my Magnet Warriors Alpha, Beta and Gamma to the Cemetery," Yugi issued, causing all three figures to break into their individual components while he threw another card onto the tray. "In doing so, I Summon Magnetic Soldier – Magnet Valkyrion (ATK: 3500, LV: 8)!"
With this action completed, Yugi's three monsters assembled their pieces into the form of the tallest, strongest-looking creature yet. With the wings of the third creatures, most of the body (albeit enhanced) of the first monster, and the face of the second, this new monster's form gave it a unique look matched by its power.
"Next, I set 2 cards and end my turn," he issued, creating the form of two set cards behind his existing monster. Having just seen this action, Judai reached for his own Deck; and Paradox's screen created another blank field for him.
"I'll take the next turn," Judai declared as he reached for his Deck. "Draw!" Snapping up the card and flinging his arm all the way out to the side, he caught enough of a glimpse to bring the card back in front of him. "I activate the Magic Card, Emergency Call, and add 1 E-HERO from my Deck to my hand!" Instantly a glowing green 'E' appeared from the card and moved forward; at the same time, a card within Judai's Deck glowed and shot out, in time for him to catch it.
"Come on, Bubbleman (ATK: 800, LV: 4)!" from a cloud of bubbles that appeared on front of Judai, the form of his blue-clad warrior arose, arms crossed and white cape fluttering in the wind. As Judai placed his used Magic Card in the Cemetery, his Deck began to shuffle itself and he added, "I activate Bubbleman's effect, and further draw 2 cards."
Once his Deck had stopped shuffling itself, he reached for the top of it and produced two cards, one of which he spun around instantly. "I activate Double Fusion! I pay 500 Life Points, and I declare 2 Fusion Summons this turn. So first, I fuse Featherman and Burst Lady in my hand into… Elemental Hero Flame Wingman (ATK: 2100, LV: 6)!"
Yugi: LP 3000
Judai: LP 3500
Yusei: LP 4000
Paradox: LP 12000
Taking the Magic Card and placing it into a slot on the tray, Judai then revealed the other of the two cards he drew as well as one from the far left of his hand. Instantly the forms of his green feathered warrior and his red-clad female warrior arose and spiralled together over his head; then, descending down in front of him, the green monster with single wings and dragon's head form right hand emerged, battle-ready.
"Next, I'll combine my new monster, Flame Wingman, with Sparkman from my hand to Summon Elemental Hero… Shining Flare Wingman (ATK: 2500, LV: 8)!" Taking another card from his hand to reveal, Judai summoned up his gold and navy-clad fighter beside the green monster; these two then spiralled together as the last two had, producing the silver-clad, green-skinned monster with bird-like legs, bladed wings and a strange head-like structure on its right arm.
"Shining Flare Wingman's monster effect includes that it gains 300 ATK for every single Elemental Hero Monster in my Cemetery. Due to my Double Fusion Summoning, I now have 4 E-HERO monsters in my Cemetery; therefore, it gains 1200 points (ATK: 3700). How's that Paradox?"
"Good work Judai," Yugi praised, impressed at the skills involved in summoning a monster stronger sill than his own. In response, Judai turned to Yugi long enough to give him a smile and his signature 'gotcha' pose; then, his face turned back to Paradox and he reached into his hand again.
"I set 1 card and end my turn." With the single card down into his slots, he looked at the situation tensely. "Bubbleman seems an obvious target, given his low points and being in attack position; but should be take the bait, my set card will make short work of his attacking monster." "Come, Yusei! Take things up a notch!"
"With pleasure!" Yusei told him, reaching for his own Deck as his Signer mark came into full, brilliant glow. "It's my… TURN!" Snapping up the card from his Deck in a full 180 degree arc, he looked at it for all of half a second before throwing it into the Cemetery. "I send one monster from my hand to the Cemetery, and activate the Magic Card One for One from my hand!"
With the card out of his hand, he placed the single Magic Card into a slot on his field, where it spun itself into existence before him. "Due to this effect, I Special Summon 1 Level 1 Monster from my hand or Deck. Come to me, Salvation Dragon – Saviour Dragon (ATK: 0, LV: 1)!"
The top card of Yusei's Deck then burst into a strong golden glow, from which a bean of light shot up and solidified over his head into the form of the red, teardrop-shaped dragon with bladed wings and large green eyes. "Next, I Summon Debris Dragon (ATK: 1000, LV: 4)!" Slapping the next card of his hand onto the tray, he called up his small white and green dragon with orange orbs on its body and green eyes, which snarled at the man before it.
"Since I successfully Normal Summoned Debris Dragon, I Special Summon 1 Monster with 500 or less ATK from my Cemetery. Come back, Tuning Supporter (ATK: 100, LV: 1)!" As the card slid out from his Cemetery, Yusei grabbed it and slapped it onto the tray, producing his little yellow robot beside his existing dragons.
"Furthermore, I activate the Magic Card, Machine Reproduction Technique, and I Special Summon 2 more Tuning Supporters from my Deck! Come on [(ATK: 100, LV: 1) x2]!" Sliding from his Deck together, Yusei took the two cards and added them to the open spots on the tray, producing an entire field of monsters.
"I activate Tuning Supporter's effect," he added. "When using it as a Synchro Material Monster, I can make it Level 2. Thus, I tune my Level 4 Debris Dragon to 2 of my now Level 2 Tuning Supporters!" Rising up into the air, Yusei's dragon transformed into 4 green rings; the two small robots flew up into these and became two white orbs each, which merged into a column of light.
"The clustering forces will become a new shining star," he chanted as the column burst into white, sparkling matter. "Become the path its light shines upon! Synchro Summon! Take flight, Stardust Dragon (ATK: 2500, LV: 8)!" Unfurling from the field of debris around it, Yusei's white dragon came down upon the field in its full form, screaming at Paradox and giving Yugi a look of awe.
"I've seen many monsters in my time," he commented, "but I have yet to see one so brilliant as that one."
"You haven't seen anything yet, Yugi-san," Judai told him, the smile of confidence on his face. "If I've read this right, Yusei's about to literally take things to the next level."
"How right you are Judai," Yusei told him. "I further tune my Level 1 Saviour Dragon to my Level 8 Stardust Dragon and Level 1 Tuning Supporter!" As the small red dragon arose into the air, its form became transparent and massive; and as Yusei's other two monsters entered into its body, they became a total of 9 white orbs and centred at a green ring within, causing the body of the dragon to burst into light.
"The shine of the clustering stars will illuminate a new miracle," Yusei then chanted, the dragon's body burst into a vertical column of powder-blue light. "Become the path its light shines upon! Synchro Summon! Descend down in light, Saviour Star Dragon (ATK: 3800, LV: 10)!" Scattering the light around itself, the gigantic four-winged dragon came into form, its pointed legs and tail overhanging the platform and its wings stretching out over 100 feet in either direction.
"The effect of the Tuning Supporters I used now activates," Yusei pointed out. "When used as a Synchro Material and sent to the Cemetery, they allow me to draw one card. Thus, I now pick up three cards!" Reaching for his Deck, Yusei snapped up the cards and placed them into his hand, reaching for one already there. "I equip Saviour Star with Saviour Force, and prevent it returning to the Extra Deck in the End Phase!"
As the card appeared below the dragon, it released a beam of green energy that became an aura form the dragon, replacing its own light blue glow. "I set three cards and end my turn!" Once Yusei's move had finished, Paradox's screen returned from the respective field views to the faces of the three duellists; and looking at what they had done, he began to chuckle darkly, and his hologram did the same.
"What's so funny?" Yugi questioned, looking up at the image of the blond man's face with his steely gaze. "Either you're insane, or we've missed something severe; because no sane man stares down a field full of monsters over 3000 ATK and laughs. So what exactly is the joke, Paradox?"
"You three are the joke," Paradox told him condescendingly, staring down upon them with his glare of hubris. "After everything I've shown you that I'm capable of, after the damage I inflicted upon Kaiba, Fubuki, Crow, Kyojo and Endymion; after all this, you're so arrogant to believe that throwing a few reasonably-powerful monsters at me will deter me?" As Paradox finished these words, black fog began to form in an aura around his body and pour down onto his vehicle, the over the sides.
"Allow me to show you the punch line," he finally stated, grabbing the top card on his Deck with his left hand. Instantly he snapped up the card and shot his arm forwards, 90 degrees to his body, hand angled down and card positioned with index finger below and middle finger above. Looking at the card, he lifted his card upwards and revealed it, stating in a chilling voice, "I activate the Field Magic, Sin World."
Once he had finished his saying this, a sixth zone on his Duel Disc extended open, revealing a Field Zone. Instantly be placed the card onto this tray, causing the neon rainbow effect on his tray while it closed. A strong wind then kicked up that caused Paradox's hair to shift and his aura to whip around in circles. After that, the aura shot into the two sideways-facing spikes in two tendrils, until nothing remained of it.
Orbs of sparking black energy then formed around the spikes, staying stationary until it released the energy in two long, lightning-like bursts that struck the ground on either side of the platform. Once it did, the forms of two spots of the purple, starry background began to form, expanding and overlapping until it consumed the entire world around them. The field resembled an empty, far-off cosmos, no planets but plenty of stars which stared down upon them.
"This world was forged from the very depths of my cold, barren soul and heart," Paradox stated, bowing his head and reverting to a sombre tone. "After I lost everyone around me, and was reduced to stewing in my own hatred and despair; from that and my power as a Signer, a new ability was born. I was given the tools to succeed where all others had before failed."
"What exactly are you yammering about now?" Judai questioned, his hateful tone contrasting darkly with the tone of Paradox's words.
"Using my power as a Signer, I could make for myself new familiars, new servants whom I could use as a means to an end. These beasts had no ancient forms, and were never the vessels for a God as the Signer Dragons or Earthbound Gods were; rather, they are my own creations, carrying pieces of the sins within my own heart. And this world is the amalgamation of my misery."
Opening his eyes again and staring down upon them, Paradox grabbed a card from his own hand and pulled it out to his far left side, part his body, in the same manner as he had drawn. "Allow me to show you the being derived from Pride. From my Deck, I exclude Blue-Eyes White Dragon, servant of Seto Kaiba…" With this done, more of the black energy arose and took on the form of the white-scaled, bulky, blue-eyed dragon, which growled as more energy surrounded it.
"By doing so, I Special Summon my first servant: Sin Blue-Eyes White Dragon (ATK: 3000, LV: 8)!" Once the blackness surrounded the dragon, it targeted its wings, which changed into grey and black metal ones with a pattern of lines on them; and its face, where a mask formed that covered the entire left side in white and wrapped around the mouth horn, as well as the right side in black save for the right eye.
"Kaiba's favourite monster…" Yugi looked up upon the snarling monster, eyes wide in disbelief. "How can you have… changed it into such a twisted shape as that thing? Is your heart truly so black that even the monster of a great man like him is made into such an abomination?"
Chuckling at Yugi's despair, Paradox ignored the question entirely and told them, "Sin Monsters can only be Special Summoned by excluding the original monster from the Deck or Extra Deck. Normally, I can only control one Sin Monsters, which will prevent my other monsters from attacking and will be destroyed if no Field Magic exists. However, Sin World's effect negates the first two drawbacks, allowing me to control any number of Sins and allowing all of them to attack."
"What?" all three of them asked in shock, each one taking a step back as the face of the man glared down upon them.
"This is the power of darkness in the human heart," Paradox explained. "Kaiba's prideful and vain soul gave an outlet for the first of my sins to be released, and now I shall show you its form." Reaching into his hand for yet another card, he placed a card into one of the slots and issued, I activate the Equip Magic Sin Binding!"
"That's what you think!" Yusei issued, raising his fist as he indicated his monster. "I activate Saviour Star Dragon's effect; and by releasing this monster, I negate your activation and destroy all of your cards!" When his dragon screeched out and went to release its power, Yusei was shocked to see that the dragon took no action; instead, the monster simply remained motionless while the form of a card appeared underneath it.
"Your monster is useless," Paradox told Yusei, addressing his obvious question. "Sin Binding's activation cannot be negated if I control a Sin World; and furthermore, its effect is to prevent the equipped monster from being able to activate its effect. Your Saviour's abilities are now sealed."
"What?" Yusei questioned as the card below his dragon shot up a spiralling beam of energy. This wrapped around the monster, folding its wings against its body as its face, wings and leg armour changed into white, grey and back metal patters resembling those of Paradox's dragon, the beam of energy forming a chain around the dragon.
"With your effect sealed, I set two cards," Paradox told him, taking two of his three cards and slotting them down, "and then I activate my Sin Enchant Equip Magic. Thanks to this card, the Sin Blue-Eyes I control gains 500 ATK for every Magic or Trap Card I control, which is currently 5 (ATK: 5500)!" While all 3 of his opponents stared on in awe, they saw the form of the dragon become covered in a green stripe pattern similar to its mask, the lines on the latter glowing to match.
"Your monster has absolutely no bearing in my presence," Paradox told Yusei, pointing at the beast. "I attack Saviour Star Dragon with Sin Blue-Eyes! Burst Stream of Darkness!" Opening its mouth to a wide angle, Paradox's dragon started to form an orb of black, electricity-like energy, amassing it into a powerful burst before launching the assault towards the chest of the dragon.
"I won't allow this attack through!" Judai yelled. "I activate…!" Judai's line was cut off when sparks of electricity shot off his Duel Disc, preventing him from reaching the triggers for his set card; as a result, the blast from the dragon shot straight through its targets chest, exploding it into a massive burst of energy.
Yugi: LP 3000
Judai: LP 3500
Yusei: LP 2300
Paradox: LP 12000
Yusei, at ground zero for the impact, was struck with a massive shockwave of energy; he covered his face with his arms, shielding his eyes from the massive impact. So much force was exerted that he began to slide backwards along the mesa-like platform; then, he was forced off his feet and backwards all the way, until he lunged out and found himself hanging over the edge by a single hand.
"Yusei!" Judai yelled, running straight towards Yusei at the edge of the platform. Once he reached the edge, he looked down to see Yusei's condition; and when he did, he saw a look that made his blood run cold. On Yusei's face was an expression of extreme terror. Judai had seen how much Placido's powered hampered his spirit, but he had still kept calm; Yusei's current face was one of true horror, shock and fear.
Reaching down, Judai's eyes changed into Yubel's again as he grabbed Yusei by the arm. Using every bit of strength that he had, he managed to pull Yusei back up and over the cliff-like edge, holding him a bit above the floor of the platform. Looking on at this, Paradox again chuckled darkly as he said, "What a good look for Yusei; his indomitable, restless soul is finally quenched."
"You bastard!" Judai yelled, putting Yusei onto his feet and turning to face the aggressor. "What the fuck did you do? Tell me what you did to stop me from acting now!"
"The effect of Sin Binding prevents any card effects from being chained when the equipped monster is targeted, for either an attack or a card effect," Paradox told him, watching as both men staggered back to the places where they had been standing. "With Saviour Star gone, you now see what I have to show you. No Saviour can rescue you from me. Only darkness awaits all 3 of you…"
In the darkness underneath the Old Momentum, Kyojo had heard the sound of a strange, low moaning unlike anything else he had heard before. Even though he had received a huge amount of physical injury in the blast, and though his ears rang enough to unbalance him, he knew that he could hear something or someone down the hallway.
Propping himself up against the wall of the old building site, the man slowly staggered along the length of the wall, moving at a sluggish but constant pace. He could hear the sound somewhat clearer with each step he took, and slowly be began to register what it was; It was the low, shallow breathing of an injured human being.
The man immediately feared the worst when this realization struck him; so pronounced was its impact that he stopped in his tracks, falling forward and into his knees as the shock hit him. He, Yusuriha and Taiyou had been the only three people down here then the blast had gone off. Presumably Taiyou had gone off to check with the others, and Yusiriha had woken up and then collapsed again from strain.
Eventually, Kyojo's will and resolve trumped the pain from his body and he pushed himself up to his feet again, staggering forwards with more passion and more speed this time. After a few more steps be found himself at the edge of the room, following the sound into the dark tunnel that led off from the Old Momentum room.
"This must be the hallway the Dark Signers used when they called this place a headquarters," Kyojo realized, noticing the markings along the walls from where negative Momentum had previously radiated outwards in a circuit board pattern and scorched the earth, like radiation from Chernobyl poisoning the land. "At some point in time, this place must have been perfect for them."
But as Kyojo ventured farther into the tunnel, the vision of something ahead of him came into view; something very strange, and not at all what he had expected to see. At first, he reached for his sunglasses to try and remove them, to see if maybe he was just seeing a fogged-up image; but feeling his face, they were gone. "Smashed by that explosion, no doubt."
Then, Kyojo felt a strange sensation at his feet; one of old, moist air, like one feels from dry ice letting off fog and chilling the moisture in the air. Looking down at his feet, he saw a trail of white, fog-like material trailing across his feet from down the tunnel, flowing like plasma. Whatever it was, it was coming from up ahead.
Eventually, Kyojo's proximity to the sound and sight began to close; and when he realized what he was looking at, his heart skipped a beat. Disregarding his own physical state, he picked up and ran all the way down the tunnel, finding himself at the end of it in the middle of an old room, the only fixture in it being a rotten wood table with six burnt-out candles on the table.
What Kyojo saw here made his very blood run cold. The white, flowing material emanated from a purple-clad, human form, breaking off from the body and flowing like blood. The being in question had frayed and uneven edges from how his body had begun to break apart, to the point where his long black hair was changing into the white ectoplasm on its ends.
By now, Kyojo recognized the moans, and knew the figure before him. Sensing his presence at last, the being slowly and painfully turned, a black mask on his face falling away as he did so. Underneath, the man had a left eye which was yellow, with a red iris and a slit-like pupil; but the right side of his face was almost completely gone, an empty void and ectoplasmic edge where his right eye and cheek would be. "Ky…o…jo…" the being said slowly, extending its left arm out to reach him; only for that arm to be eaten through and fall off, the edges where they had been attached breaking down as well.
"No…" Kyojo gasped out, fighting back the tears. "It can't be… Taiyou…"
Card of the Chapter – Paradox
ANIME: Once per turn, during your Draw Phase, activate by skipping your normal draw. Add 1 random "Sin" Monster from your Deck to your hand. The Deck is then shuffled.
CHAPTER: The controller of this card is not limited by the effect of "Sin" Monsters and may control more than one. Also, all "Sin" Monsters you control can declare attacks regardless of each others' effects. Once per turn, during your Draw Phase, activate by skipping your normal draw. Add 1 random "Sin" Monster from your Deck to your hand. The Deck is then shuffled.
*The duel has started, and so has the end. Only time will tell where everything goes from here… Review if you wish.*