The Paths of Destiny

An LLS production

Prologue: Hero Signal

The legacy of the game…

There was a popular game three thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt. This old game could predict the future of mankind and the king like magical rituals that decided fate...

They were known … as the Dark Game.

With the unlocking of the Dark Door, some special individuals has inherited the Dark Game... chief amongst them three with the hearts of light and darkness, split souls who guard the Shadows as penance... the Yu-Gi-Oh.

Shadows borne of light and dark, the games have begun anew as the paths of destiny wind and wind onwards, light and darkness united once more.

The rise of the Duel Monsters game and resulting Solid Vision holograms granting entertainment value, Kaiba Corporation was the first to see the draw value of exhibition duels. Coming from the man who turned a city into a battleground, this translated to future tournaments being based on the likes of Battle City. With Schroeder Corporation and Industrial Illusions chipping in, a number of entertainment acts took flight. One such was the War of the Queens, 'Red Queen' against the 'White Queen', today's Duellist queens being the veteran Mai Kujaku against the relatively seasoned Diana Hunter.

Tonight, the War of the Queens made their European début in the American embassy in Kasnia, accompanying referee being Germany's Blaue Rosen, Siegfried von Schroeder.

"... good evening, ladies and gentlemen," a gravelly male voice sounded to the communication links held by the whole team, as if reading from a script. "Welcome to the festivities, may the contestants please introduce themselves?"

"Endymion, here." A female voice sounded over the airwaves.

"Harpie here," a female alto stated in reply.

"Horse, standby," another male voice cheerfully replied.

"Valkyrie in position," a male tenor sang over the airwaves. "Remind me why in the nine worlds did Bishop arrange this?"

"And I am Guardian, your host for today, so help me god," the gravelly voice growled. "Unless there was another influential European duellist who could be a credible emcee for this, Valkyrie, I fail to see how we could not involve you."

"Think of the Tom Cruise movie," the one called Horse joked. "Less of a threat to your masculinity."

"Horse, unless you're giving a warning, maintain radio silence," Guardian ordered. "Endymion, Harpie, it's your stage. Let's get this show on the road. I need a drink."

"Suitable," Diana Hunter muttered as she set a card into the KaibaCorp DuelDiskTM. Wary cerulean eyes rare amongst Asians scanned the ballroom of Kasnian nobles, and she stifled a shudder as eyes raked over the black fishnets, the black halter-top leotard with white suit jacket, and white top hat to match thrown over the ensemble. The eyes of spectators just missed the black jewel hung on a string of red beads around her neck. "This is like a huge target for revolutionaries, holding up a bullseye and yelling: hit me. No idiot could miss this."

"Especially given the current political climate," Mai whispered in reply. In her duelling garb of red, more spectators missed the leather belt draped over her hips. "Elegant Egotist! Harpie Lady Sisters, descend upon the game!"

Hair of pink divided into crimson, orange and midnight blue as the Harpie Lady Sisters [1950/2100] burst onto the field in a flurry of sparks, drawing oohs and aahs from the audience, even from those who weren't already stunned by the floating bright lights wandering about the field, encased in multicoloured floating roofed platforms that were signature to the Magical Citadel's Mistress.

"What did Kaiba call this? The modern battles of the Colosseum?" Mai muttered. "I end my turn." she spoke out loud for the roaring crowd.

"Don't give him ideas," Horse muttered over the airwaves. "He might just set the next one in Rome."

"Good for Jewel Beast," Diana murmured in reply.

Mai: LP 2000, Cyber Harpie Lady [2600/1600], equip cards: Rose Whip, Cyber Shield. Harpie Lady Sisters [1950/2100]

Diana: LP 1500, Breaker the Magical Warrior [1900/1000] (1 Spell Counter), Defender the Magical Knight [1600/2000] (1 Spell Counter), Magical Citadel of Endymion (Spell Counter: 3), 2 face-down.

"Draw!" Diana called, as Horse began the warning signal over the airwaves. "I play– wha?" she kept in accordance with the earlier planned scenario to draw attention away from them.

The ballroom doors burst open to reveal several masked men with semi-automatics and machine guns ready. One of them raised his gun and fired several shots to the ceiling. Several screams of panic were raised as the numerous ball attendees crouched low on the ground, leaving the two Duellists standing on the specially commissioned stage.

"You are all here as hostages for our noble cause of liberty!" their leader declared. "Do not panic or do anything rash, and you just might leave this place alive. Please get down to the ground and put your hands on your head, ladies." he addressed to the two Duellists.

"Mr Janek Sokol," Mai started, ignoring the guns. "You have a certain stolen something in your possession. You do know that the game is not meant to be used for real war, right?"

"Ah," the supposed terrorist quickly recovered himself from his surprise. "Mai Kujaku, the Red Queen. And your opponent is–?" he bowed.

"Mistress of the Magical Citadel, today's White Queen, Diana Hunter," Diana curtly replied. "We're luckily booked as today's act. I suppose you duel?"

"I need no DuelDiskTM for this feat!" he boasted. "See now my power! Arise, my Lady of Wight!"

The group of armed men parted as wood creaked and a skeletal spectre dressed in a ball-gown, seated in a dark throne-like chair rolled forward, empty sockets directed at the two duellists. Teeth started chattering, plaintive sounds causing some of the soldiers to wince.

"With the Lady of Wight by my side, no human can touch me!" he laughed.

Mai and Diana shared looks that agreed: He's insane.

"Now, if you please," the terrorist leader bowed. "Sadly for you, Miss Kujaku, I cannot afford for my name to get out, so..."

The barrels of machine guns turned to the blonde and fired.

"Trap Card open!" Diana called. "Magic Cylinder!"

Two ruby cylinders materialised, one receiving all the rounds of bullets spat at the blonde Duellist and protecting her. Upon the stop of gunfire, the same rounds poured out of the other cylinder and peppered the group in lead and steel-jacketed rounds Blood sprayed as the soldiers were mercilessly gunned down by their own bullets.

"Boy, am I glad for magic," Mai commented though she winced. A veteran of Shadow Games, she as well as most present were inured to the sight of violent death. "Harpie Lady Sisters, attack the Lady of Wight!"

Happy shrieks sounded as the spectre tore apart in taloned hands by the three, the leader having scarpered at the sight of the cylinders. Hitting the ground at a run, both the female Duellists recalled the portable hologram projectors of their DuelDisksTM . Behind them trailed the three Harpie sisters, Breaker the Magical Warrior and Defender, the Magical Knight.

Soon enough, they confronted the terrorist, who levelled a sub-machine gun at them.

"No one can touch you. Except for another Duellist," Mai severely said. "To abuse the Heart of the Cards like this... how dare you."

"Time to pay the penalty," Diana nastily continued. "For betraying your cards, for violating this truce, we play the game of judgement."

"Like hell," he spat before his finger tightened. "What heart? Cards are the pawns we use to fulfil our own destinies!"

A white-gloved fist holding a butterfly-hilt dagger came from behind and knocked him out.

"Can't take you anywhere," Rafael, formerly of DOMA and now under Seto Kaiba's employ along with his previous acquaintances, grumbled, Guardian Elma floating beside him. "How the hell did he escape?"

"He scarpered when we set a Magic Cylinder on him," Mai coldly replied. "Security, Guardian?"

"Horse is handling it while Valkyrie secures transport," he grumbled under his breath as he hefted the unconscious target on his shoulder. "Let's go."

"Aren't we just supposed to get the card?" Diana blinked as both Duellists followed Rafael through the hallways. "And what happened to the rest?"

"Boss said to get the guy responsible if possible, after the mess with Cú Chulainn in Belfast last time," the Guardian Duellist grumbled. "I hate wild cards. Besides, after his speech, I want to see him say that to my face, so that when I ask Eatos to blast him it'll be all the sweeter."

"Yo," A man in a brown zoot suit, complete with fedora, appeared, face tilting up to reveal roguish features hampered only by a scar diagonally down his left cheek. "How's it going?" Sven Lowe asked.

"You take him," Rafael dumped the body onto the waiting Duellist. "Endymion, secure the place. Harpie, Horse, with me. We're leaving."

"Yes!" Both Duellists followed the thickset blonde through the darkened hallways.

"Wouldn't the organisers remember us?" Mai asked.

"That's why I lobbed a can of smoke in when you left," Sven cheerfully replied. "Between that and adrenaline, it'll be a bad dream. Maybe they can invent another Justice League member up, heard the organisation's expanding. Valkyrie also hacked all the cameras and altered the files too, and it's impossible, short of a full forensic search, to reveal that you were ever there at all."

They exited the building to thankfully empty grounds, warily scanning for their ride.

A large Cadillac drove up to them as they reached the entrance stairs. The window rolled down to reveal Siegfried von Schroeder. "Get in."

"Endymion?" Rafael stated as the three Duellists plus one bundled into the car, the monsters disappearing in their wake.

"Here," the chauffeur turned around to reveal the grinning female Duellist. "Place is secured. Short of a fourth-tier magic user, they won't find any trace. And Shadow magic is old enough to be foreign to most already."

"So what do we do with him?" Mai tilted her head towards the unconscious Duellist.

"Pharaoh might have an idea," Rafael acknowledged, shaking his head. "Never thought I'd see the guy again..."

"Bishop sent a text message," Diana mused as she fiddled with a BlackBerry while driving. "'The six are in Vegas. More funds are coming in.'"

Stunned silence met this declaration.

"Yami, in Vegas?" It was Mai who broke the silence and the unspoken rule to speak only in code-names for the duration. "Call the National Guard."

The planet Earth shone like a giant blue and green glass marble. Against this backdrop glimmered a single spark. This was the Watchtower, the space station headquarters of the Justice League, Earth's greatest alliance of superheroes.

"Reports of an 'angry red pillowcase-thing' in Central City last week," the Dark Knight of Gotham muttered angrily as windows flashed up onto the computer screen. Around him, the other heroes on Watchtower duty warily kept their distance from the sleep-deprived Dark Knight. "Immediately followed by attacks from 'sea creatures' even though the descriptions don't match any known. Although reports say that they were wiped out by a giant tidal wave... I don't believe this. And the UN is making noise that Atlantis is trying for another war."

"Any luck?" J'onn J'onzz murmured as he appeared. "Mr Terrific will be covering for the next shift."

"I'm fine," the Batman growled. "What I can't get is why monsters are attacking."

"Hey Bats," the Fastest Man AliveTM sighed as he collapsed into a nearby chair. Red spandex was torn and cuts appeared in some places, but overall he was not missing anything. "Got my butt bit by a Milus Radiant. Didn't know they could bite that hard. Thank gods for Lantern."

"What?" Batman lifted his head from the computer screen to stare at Flash. "What d'you just say?"

"Er..." the speedster scratched his head. "Thank gods for Lantern?"

"Before that."

"Didn't know they could bite that hard?" he hazarded.

"Before that." Batman cracked his knuckles.

"Got my butt bit by a Milus Radiant?" Flash blinked. "I thought you knew, given how you reacted to my cards and all. It's a Duel Monster. Increases the attack of all Earth-types, decreases the attack of all Wind-types as long as it's on the field."

"Duel Monster?" J'onn blinked. "I'm sorry, I do not understand."

"It's a Earth card game," Flash happily replied. "People summon monsters to fight and help them with magic and traps cards. There's more to it, but that's the basic idea."

"Anything that looks like a giant angry red-pillowcase thing?" Batman dully asked, slumping.

Flash considered. "Hang on a tick." He ran off and returned in the same second, rifling through a box. "Knew it's somewhere... ah! Mokey Mokey Smackdown!"

Batman was confronted with a picture of the exact same 'red pillowcase-thing' throwing a tantrum, unable to fight the recoil down in time.

"It's a spell card," the speedster continued unabashed. "You need Mokey Mokey first for this to work."

"Sea creatures of the following descriptions," Batman demanded, calling up the windows with the pictures on the mainframe. "This is the first breakthrough in weeks..."

"Er... Jellyfish, Metabo-Shark, Skystarray, a few more I don't know, where the hell did you get these anyway?" Flash peered at the photos, smudging the computer screen though Batman was too absorbed in his thoughts to care. "I thought the Solid Vision holograms haven't come to Jump City yet... they look real enough."

"They are real enough," the Great Bat snapped. "I got these from Jump City, it's close enough to the sea to be a threat."

"Robin foisting off the real work on you?" Flash laughed.

"Maybe," Batman nodded. "Or he was covering up that the Jump City Teen Titans were hospitalised with the severity of the attack. The only reason the survived was because one monster came and wiped the rest out before disappearing into the sea." He held up another photo.

Flash peered closer. "Too many heads to be Levia Dragon. Definitely Ocean Dragon Lord, Neo Daedalus. You think … he's doing this?"

Batman tried not to wince at the memory of blood-coloured eyes, thankful that the cowl hid his face from piercing red eyes of shadows and the desert prince of darkness. The great Bat of Gotham got up immediately, typing feverishly into the computer. "That's what I want to know. And how did we miss so many monsters over the weeks?" he groaned as more reports came in.

"Such beings are not usually so prolific in their actions," J'onn pointed out. "Furthermore, if, and only if, the Pharaoh was doing this, why would he try such an overt manner?"

"There are two possibilities," Batman counted off. "That someone is trying to frame him is the first one. Unfortunately, I can think of two beings off the top of my head who are more likely to try this and succeed. You know who I'm talking about. Even then, they wouldn't try something as overt as this. They've kept to Domino for a long time, why move now?"

Hair as white as snow, build as lithe as a tiger and eyes russet like old blood, as well as messy blonde hair, a wide manic smile thin and cruel as the long knife from which shadows danced, and gleaming rubies of cruelty came to mind, not that any of the heroes present acknowledged them.

"The second," Batman gravely continued. "Is that someone else with much less scruples can also summon monsters. And they're using it to attack cities around the world. Unfortunately, we require proof."

"I will call Zatanna," J'onn offered.

"No need," Batman shook his head wearily. "Transport me to Las Vegas. It's time for Bruce Wayne to make an appearance in Sin City."

"The fact that Zatanna is performing there as well is convenient," J'onn nodded, ignoring Flash yelling "WHAT?". "I will at least send her advance notice, if only to prevent her from turning you into a frog for shocking her with your less than perfect appearance. Flash, you should seek medical attention for your wounds."

Batman blinked uncomprehending until he saw in the reflection from the screen that his cowl was placed haphazardly on his face. Scowling, he set it right, before glaring at the staring heroes.

The other heroes quickly got back to work.

In America, they say, there is a sign in the desert that lies to the west, where you can't tell the night from the sunrise. Within this city, lights shine so much that the glare was visible even from the Watchtower. The lights were so bright, yet it was a false protection all the same; true night could never be chased away by mere neon and electric, the glamour of night entranced the unwary and unlucky and did not discriminate. Many had tried and failed to stop themselves from coming to its game tables, but the game never ends when your whole world depends on the turn of a friendly card.

Here was America's City of Sin, the city of casinos, Las Vegas, Nevada, and within this city of entertainment of the desert sands, the first paths cross.

Someone put this up on Tv Tropes...please...

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