Yu-Gi-Oh! Dissidia

Joey makes his way through silent halls as he searches for the path that he believes leads to Marik.

It is finally time to settle their long struggle, which previously ended when Joey collapsed before he could deal a winning blow.

Joey is stronger this time, but will that strength be enough to surpass the power of an Egyptian God monster, let alone the strongest of them all?

Destiny Draw 13-V

Joey Wheeler was lost.

He wandered the halls of the New Domino City Duel Academy, hopelessly, hopelessly lost. He'd barged in through the doors of the main building first, and gone for the main elevator and taken it to the highest floor (the fact that it had worked being either a miracle or an indication that someone was indeed in here), but the highest floor apparently wasn't this "Academy Tower" that the others had mentioned.

Nor was the route to the Tower on the scraps of the faded school maps that were on the walls. That left guesswork, if the entrance to the lifts was on this floor.

He pried open a door, and he peeked around the dusty classroom. A massive screen was on the wall, and screens were set into the tables, all covered in dust and glowing. "Pretty sweet gadgets for a school," Joey noted. "Sure has come a long way from blackboards and whiteboards," he mused.

He withdrew his head, and walked past the other doors, coming to the corner and turning to look over the massive space in the middle, barred by shattered glass panes. Mental note; don't step on all those, he thought. He didn't want to get a closer view, so he settled for heading down the straight corridor that continued past the space. He came out into a curved hallway, and he headed along it, opening another door to see a larger room, like a university theatre. Hundreds of seats lined the curved room in bleacher-fashion, and three large screens were set into the massive wall, cracked down the middle.

"Arrrrk, come on!" Joey protested. "Why's this place gotta be this big?" He stopped and rubbed his eyes. "Come on, Joey, use yer head. Remember the room that Yugi, Kaiba, and Marik went into with ya. Four doors leading to those pods, and before that, the door to the Duel Tower…" He shrugged. "Better than nothin' I guess," he admitted.

It took a lot of searching, during which he looped through old classrooms, lecture halls, and offices, but eventually he found the door that he was looking for in a formerly opulent office on the opposite side of the floor. "Sheesh, this place would have been a good pad," Joey commented. "Musta been the principal's office," he noted as he pried the doors open with some difficulty to find the four doors waiting for him.

One of the four doors were already open.

"Marik's definitely here," Joey muttered. He pulled open another door, and he entered the pod that he found inside. The dusty screen was lit, glowing a dull blue with the words, "Duel Start" standing out in white.

He touched the screen, and then more white characters – numbers this time – popped up.

"Four-thousand life points?" Joey asked.

He flinched in shock as they began to rapidly decrease, and then his pod accelerated into the air. Joey yelped as he clung onto the sides and the walls of the tower rushed past him…

And then he was out into the red sky, his pod coming to rest nestled in one of the spires. Shaking, Joey slowly climbed out of the pod, and he heard harsh chuckles coming from in front of him.

Yami Marik was standing in the middle of that familiar duel field, holding his Millennium Rod in his right hand and running his thumb down its shaft. The veins on his face weren't as prominent as they had been when he'd dueled Yugi, but Joey could see them at the edge of his cheek, and his irises weren't contracting, nor his sclera veiny.

"Did you have fun on your way up?" he asked. "Blame the Barian; that was his idea, and I saw no reason not to let him have some fun. It's not like it prevented our duel, is it little Joey?" he asked.

"Real funny, freakazoid," Joey replied. "Let's see if you're laughin' once I've dueled the pants off you!"

"Oh? You think that you can stand up to me?" Yami Marik wondered. "I wonder, have your experiences in this dimension bolstered your pain tolerance?" He snickered. "It'll be interesting to find out, and maybe once I'm through with you and the Pharaoh beats Bakura, I'll take care of him here! And the best part is that he'll still be around when I return to the real Duel Tower in our time, and I can duel him all over again!"

"You wish, psycho boy!" Joey snapped. "That's not gonna happen; cause even if I lose, which I won't, Yugi'll cream you! And like you said, whatever happens here, you return to our time, and then Yugi can do it all over again! And you won't even know about it!"

"Please! If you think that either of you can oppose the power of the Winged Dragon of Ra, you're sorely delusional!" Yami Marik scoffed. "Not that it matters – if you'll come begging for me to duel you, then I'll happily oblige, and trap your minds in the eternal abyss of the Shadow Realm!" he observed.

He flung his cape backwards, so that his left arm could hang freely. "I'll admit; had you not collapsed during our last duel, then you would have won the match!" he said. "Believe it or not, I was retching afterwards from the exertion!" he admitted. "But every Shadow Game I fought has made me stronger, including the ones in this dimension! My dream – the dark world where all meets its end under my rule!"

Joey scowled furiously. "You're one sick puppy Marik, you know that right?"

Yami Marik laughed. "Well what do you expect when you're born out of pain, misery and hatred?!" he asked sarcastically. "Not that I minded – it fuelled Marik's anger and hate even further, especially after dear Odion collapsed! The energy I've absorbed from feeding people to the Shadow Realm has made me strong enough to overcome the lack of rage in poor Marik!"

"And what have you guys done with Marik and Bakura, and that Sartorius guy too?" Joey asked. "Are they here too – watchin' all of this helplessly?! Or did you shove their spirits away so you didn't have to listen to them yelling at you!?" he yelled.

"I'd be less worried about them, and more worried about yourself!" Yami Marik replied. "After all, we have a Shadow Game to play, don't we? Or are you just planning to bore me into the shadows?" He laughed as he raised his left arm, and purple smoke spewed from the Millennium Rod as his duel disk shifted to duelling mode. "Come on little Joey, show me what you've got!" he laughed. "Let's truly settle the score, and see just who is superior!"

"You asked for it!" Joey snapped, arming his own duel disk and drawing his hand as the purple and blue clouds surrounded them.

Marik stowed the Millennium Rod in his belt and he drew his own hand with a sneer.

"First move's mine, Marik!" Joey called, drawing his sixth card. "And I'm starting off with a classic – my Panther Warrior in attack mode!" he declared, placing the card on his duel disk. A humanoid, purple-furred panther appeared on the field in golden armour and green cape and boots, brandishing a sword and shield. (4/2000/1200)

"And one card face-down'll do it for this round!" Joey finished, slotting the card into his duel disk. The backed hologram materialized between him and Panther Warrior.

Yami Marik smiled. "You still haven't noticed again…" he commented, gesturing to Panther Warrior. "Did you forget what happened during our last duel?" he asked.

Joey squinted through the clouds of the Shadow Game and his heart sunk as he saw the pink rope of light connecting him to Panther Warrior.

"Look familiar?!" Yami Marik crowed as he drew his card and placed it horizontally on his duel disk. The backed hologram materialized, as did another cord of light connecting it to Marik.

"You're gonna have to take it as well you know, you creep!" Joey snapped, touching a button on his duel disk. "Besides, there's ways around that cord of light! Like my Scapegoat card!" he called. The spell card bearing the four coloured little sheep flipped up, and it disgorged them one after the other; red, blue, orange and pink.

Yami Marik snorted and slotted a card into his duel disk. "Clever…but you did that last time, little Joey. Don't think you can repeat this game play-by-play!" he warned as he slotted a card into his duel disk. "I'll end this turn with a card face-down!" he declared, and another backed hologram materialized.

"Then it's time ta bring the pain, Marik!" Joey grinned, drawing his card. "Nice!" he commented at the sight of a new monster. I don't know what Marik's got face-down, but it's probably gonna be nasty. Let's see how this goes!, he thought. He pointed across the field. "First, I'm gonna sacrifice a Scapegoat so that my Panther Warrior can attack!" he called, and the blue sheep vanished.

Panther Warrior snarled, and it lunged forwards, bringing its sword down and slicing through Marik's monster – a pink-skinned fiend in green trousers and black, gold-studded bracelets.

Marik hissed in pain as the rope of light snapped, and he clutched at his shoulder as he felt the injury that his monster had suffered.

"How's that feel, Marik?!" Joey asked confidently.

"Like I told you last time…good…" Marik gasped. "Thank you…you've just destroyed my Newdoria! Remember him?!" he asked.

Panther Warrior roared in pain, and it suddenly exploded along with Newdoria's remains.

"What the-?" Joey gasped. Aw nuts! That's the thing he used in that four-way duel!, he thought. When it's placed in Marik's graveyard, he gets to destroy one of my monsters! Good thing I've still got my Scapegoats – and this!, he thought as he selected the monster that he'd drawn. "I'm placing a monster face-down in defense mode!" he called, and the backed hologram appeared, another cord of light snapping into place.

"Then I'll turn it over to you, Marik!" Joey finished.

Yami Marik laughed heartily. "Why thank you!" he commented, drawing his card. He smiled, and placed another card on his duel disk. "I summon Gil Garth!" he called, and a fiend in mechanical armour over a leather undersuit appeared, with a sunken domed head and a green scimitar. (4/1800/1200) "Now attack his monster, Gil Garth!" Yami Marik yelled as the pink line snapped into place between him and his monster, and Gil Garth lunged forwards, cutting Joey's monster – a miniature Red-Eyes with 700 defense points – in two with a single slash.

Joey gasped in pain from the strike, and he staggered, but then he grinned. "Gotta thank you for destroying my Red-Eyes Baby Dragon, Marik!" he commented.

Yami Marik raised a disinterested eyebrow. "Hm?" he wondered idly.

"Since you stomped him, now I can bring out his uncle – Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning!" Joey explained. A stocky demonic figure appeared on the field. It had glowing red eyes, black draconian wings, and a black, bone-like exoskeleton over purple flesh. (6/2500/1200)

"An' that's not all – little Red-Eyes Baby Dragon here has another special ability! He'll help his uncle out in battle!" Joey explained, and Red-Eyes Baby Dragon reappeared and alighted on Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning's shoulder. The Archfiend snarled as it rose to 2800 attack points.

"Well, well, well, " Yami Marik commented. "It seems you've found a way around my last strategy for now…or at last, a part of it." He slotted a card into his duel disk. "I'll place this card face-down. Now why don't you go ahead and show me what your new monsters can do?"

"You asked for it, Marik!" Joey replied, and he drew his card. "All right, here goes!" he called. "I play the spell card, Red-Eyes Fusion!" he called. "So, I fuse Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning with Red-Eyes Black Dragon in my deck to create the Archfiend Black Skull Dragon!" he explained, and Red-Eyes Black Dragon materialized beside Archfiend, before they swirled together.

The powerful fusion monster that Joey had used against Kaiba unwound from the swirl. Bulky and barrel-chested, it was clad in black spiked armour over its red flesh, while flames spurted from the wings. The horns of Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning jutted from its massive head, which seemed to be a bizarre combination of several monsters at once, and it roared as its powerful red eyes glowed. (9/3200/2500)

And then it vanished, plummeting downwards.

"Wait, what just happened?!" Joey cried, grabbing his head in his hands. He looked down to see a yawning abyss that glowed crimson beneath his feet, where he could just see the outline of Archfiend Black Skull Dragon.

Yami Marik burst out laughing. "Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah! Oh, the sweetness when your foe falls into a trap!" he commented, gesturing to the image of the trap card on his field, one that Joey recognized.

"Bottomless Trap Hole?!" Joey gasped. "Oh no!"

"Oh yes," Marik replied. "Thanks to this card, your monster's taken a one-way trip from the game since it had at least fifteen-hundred attack points!" The card image and the hole faded. "And if I remember correctly, your Red-Eyes Fusion prevents you from summoning other monsters on the turn that it's activated!" he crowed. "Once I deal with your Scapegoats, you'll be defenceless!"

"Not quite, Marik!" Joey replied. "My Red-Eyes Baby Dragon has one final trick – when he goes to the graveyard when he's helpin' out his buddies, I get to add a one-star dragon to my hand!" He looked through his deck and held up the card. "And I'm choosing my Black Metal Dragon!" he said proudly. "But yeah…that's it for this turn," Joey admitted.

"Yes, it is!" Yami Marik mused loudly, drawing his card. He smiled and he placed it down. "Now, the first order of business is to get rid of those annoying Scapegoats," he commented. "So, I'll summon Revival Jam in attack mode in order to assist Gil Garth!" he declared, and the gelatinous monster materialized on the field, wriggling around. (4/1500/500)

"Now attack his Scapegoats!" Yami Marik laughed, and Gil Garth cleaved the red sheep in two, while Revival Jam cracked its tail like a whip, shattering the pink sheep.

"I'll place one more card face-down, and then end my turn," Marik declared, slotting another card into his disk, which materialized between him and Revival Jam.

"All right, Marik, here goes!" Joey called, drawing his next card. "I'm summoning my Marauding Captain in defense mode!" he called, and the grim, blonde swordsman in battered angular steel armour appeared, planting both swords in the ground. (3/1200/400) "Then I'm activating his special ability, allowing me ta summon Red-Eyes Wyvern from my hand as well!" Joey continued, placing the next card down. A dark grey wyvern that heavily resembled Red-Eyes Black Dragon appeared on the field with a shriek. (4/1800/1000)

"All right, Red-Eyes Wyvern, attack his Revival Jam!" Joey called, and Red-Eyes Wyvern blasted a fireball from its mouth, splattering plasma all over the field.

Marik smiled as his life points dropped to 3700. "I'm afraid that you can't hurt a creature made of plasma little Joey, so that didn't hurt me at all, and with the price of one-thousand more life points, Revival Jam will return to the field on my next turn!" he explained. His life points fell further, to 2700.

"Take your best shot!" Joey snapped.

"With pleasure," Yami Marik replied, drawing his card. "First, Revival Jam reforms in defense mode," Marik explained, and the slime droplets pooled back into Revival Jam, which wriggled around on Marik's field as the pink line reappeared between them. "Then I activate the spell card, Graceful Charity, drawing three more cards and then discarding two!" he declared. The angel-bearing spell appeared on Marik's field as he drew and discarded his cards.

He just discarded cards from his hand like he did when he dueled me and Yugi…, Joey thought. Did he just send his Winged Dragon of Ra to the graveyard?

"I now summon Granadora!" Yami Marik called, and the mottled green reptile with a massive fanged head and bladed forearms appeared on the field, snarling. (4/1900/700) "Since I did, its special ability grants me an extra one-thousand life points!" Marik explained, and his life points increased back to 3700.

"Next, Granadora will attack your Red-Eyes Wyvern!" Marik declared, and the reptile charged, biting down hard on Red-Eyes Wyvern's spine and shattering it. Joey yelped in pain and he clutched his back as his life points fell to 3900.

"On top of that I activate Coffin Seller!" Marik declared, touching a button on his duel disk.

Not this combo!, Joey moaned to himself as the trap card bearing the image of a graveyard flipped up.

"Now every time a monster goes to your card graveyard, you'll lose three-hundred of your life points!" Marik sneered, and Joey gasped as he felt the energy drain out of him. His life points dropped again, to 3600.

"I'll finish off that last Scapegoat before I forget about it," Marik noted, and Gil Garth charged and cut the little sheep in two.

Joey heaved a sigh of relief.

"I'll lay one card face-down – and that will be all!" Yami Marik declared, slotting a card into his duel disk. It materialized beside Coffin Seller.

"Fine; my move!" Joey called irritably, drawing a card. "I…play a monster in defense mode and one card face-down. I'm done." Both backed images materialized in front of him.

"Oh?" Yami Marik wondered. "Is that a decent defensive effort?" He laughed heartily. "Ah, hah-hah-hah! Good, good! It's no fun if you don't fight back!" he commented, drawing his card. "Granadora, attack his face-down monster!" he ordered, and Granadora charged forwards.

Joey braced himself as the jaws snapped shut around his monster, the little black, metallic wyvern with 600 defense points, crushing it. Joey yelled in pain as the pink rope snapped, but it trailed off into hacking laughter. "Smooth move, Marik!" he commented. "Since my Black Metal Dragon bit the dust, I get to pull out a Red-Eyes card from my deck – my other Red-Eyes Fusion!" he said proudly, holding the second copy of the card up.

"Let's see if you like this attack then!" Yami Marik sneered. "Gil Garth, destroy Marauding Captain!" he yelled, and Gil Garth charged forwards with its blade drawn.

Joey grinned. "Not this time, Marik! Goooo, Fairy Box!" he called, and the trap card flipped up, disgorging a box with holes studding it, surrounding Marauding Captain.

"What's this?!" Yami Marik asked in surprise as Marauding Captain began popping in and out of the boxes.

"Come on, Marik, can your Gil Garth keep track of my Captain?" Joey teased. "If he can't, my monster gets to counterattack! Fifty-fifty chance!"

Yami Marik scowled as Gil Garth finally dived into the box, slashing at one of the holes – but nothing.

"Hah-hah!" Joey crowed. "Since he missed, his attack points get reduced to zero! So, my Captain can strike back!" Marauding Captain's swords emerged from two holes, pincering Gil Garth and reducing Marik to 3300 life points. Marik felt the stab wounds and he grimaced, but he kept his cool. "It's not a complete loss," he noted. "Such a shame – my Card of Last Will now activates since you robbed Gil Garth of his strength!" he explained. "Now I draw until I hold five cards!" He drew his cards, and then he slotted one into his duel disk. "Then I place one card face-down, and end my turn," he declared.

"Okay, time to kick some butt!" Joey cheered as he drew his next card. "First off, I gotta pay five-hundred life point to my Fairy Box in the game, but I reckon it's a price worth payin'," he explained. His life points fell to 3100 as he added his card to his hand.

Yami Marik smirked. Here it comes…, he thought.

"All right Marik, here goes! Red-Eyes Fusion, work ya magic!" Joey called as he slotted the spell card into his duel disk. "I'm fusin' Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon and Meteor Dragon Red-Eyes Impact from my deck to create Meteor Black Comet Dragon!"

Two dragons appeared from Joey's deck; a glossy, spindly Red-Eyes Black Dragon with red wing membranes, including an extra smaller set on the forelimbs, and an extra set of red eyes on its lower jaw; and a dark red and magenta-skinned squat-bodied dragon, with a triangular head, stubby limbs, bladed wings, and what appeared to be lava coursing through cracks in its skin. They swirled together, unwinding into another bulky dragon. In form, it greatly resembled the normal Red-Eyes, but it was far larger, with scorpion-like claw protruding from the neck. Its skin was that of Meteor Dragon Red-Eyes Impact; dark red, with lava-like veins twisting under the plates. It roared at Yami Marik, and the madman felt the intense heat wafting across the field. (8/3500/2000)

"Quite the impressive beast, little Joey, but it comes at a price," Marik noted. "You forget – since you sent a monster to the graveyard, you lose three-hundred of your life points due to the effect of my Coffin Seller!" he reminded Joey.

Joey groaned and clutched his heart as he fell to 2800 life points. "Ah, that didn't hurt that much," he commented flippantly. "An' I'll prove it by activating Meteor Black Comet Dragon's special ability!" he explained. "Ya see, when my dragon hits the playin' field, I can ditch another Red-Eyes monster in my deck to slam ya with half its attack points!"

He plucked another copy of Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon from his deck and sent it to his graveyard, and a spectre of the monster appeared above Meteor Black Comet Dragon, before transforming into fire, surrounding the large dragon in a flaming shroud.

"Let 'em have it!" Joey yelled, and Meteor Black Comet Dragon blasted the fire at Marik.

"I activate my Energy-Absorbing Monolith trap card," Yami Marik commented casually.

Joey flinched back in shock as the trap, bearing a glowing blue tablet, flipped up and absorbed the fire, before channelling it into Marik.

"Thanks to this trap, I now gain life points instead of losing them!" Marik laughed, and his life points increased to 4900. "And, since as you said, you did indeed send another monster to your graveyard, Coffin Seller will strip you of three-hundred more life points!" Yami Marik noted.

Joey groaned as he fell to 2500 life points. "Fine, so what?" he asked. "I know you set that trap to try and cover ya butt when I take out ya Granadora!" He grinned. "Once my dragon destroys your monster, you're gonna lose most of ya life points now!" he crowed. "Now take out his Granadora, Meteor Black Comet Dragon! Inferno Meteor Flare!"

Meteor Black Comet Dragon drew itself up, ascending into the sky and surrounding itself in fire. It tucked its wings in and it began to plummet towards Marik's field.

Yami Marik looked up at the incoming dragon with a look of shock etched in every line on his face, which had begun to vein.

"Oh yeah!" Joey cheered – and Revival Jam zipped in between Granadora and Meteor Black Comet Dragon, splattering all over the field.

"What?! Come on!" Joey cried.

"Hah-hah-hah!" Yami Marik laughed, gesturing to the trap card on his field that depicted Revival Jam protecting a goblin monster. "As you can see, thanks to my Jam Defender, my Revival Jam can intercept every attack you make! And all it costs me is one-thousand life points to bring it back next turn!" he explained as his life points decreased to 3900.

Joey looked over his hand. Aw, nuts!, he thought. That's gonna make it hard to deal with this…and those trap cards aren't going anywhere quickly. Lest I've still got Fairy Box on the field.

"I take it from your silence that your turn is over?" Yami Marik asked, and when there was no response he sniggered. "Keh-heh-heh…good," he commented, drawing his card. "First, Revival Jam will finish regenerating," he explained, and the wriggling slime monster reformed from the droplets. "Then, I summon my Viser Des!" he called, and the vice-like monster appeared on the field, its lifeless eyes staring at Joey. (3/500/0)

Viser Des?! Aw no, not that thing!, Joey moaned to himself.

"Now that my Viser Des is here, this duel is about to get a lot more painful for you, little Joey!" Marik laughed. "Since it was summoned, it attaches to your monster, and now during each of my turns, it will strike, until it finally destroys your monster!" he explained. "Attack, Viser Des!" he called, and the torture monster charged, binding to the head of Meteor Black Comet Dragon.

Electricity emitted from the spikes as they tightened, and Joey felt a blinding pain in his temples. He screamed in pain and fell to his knees; he'd been prepared for the pain, but preparation didn't make it any easier. "I'm…not gonna give up, Marik!" he snapped.

"I'd hope not!" Marik laughed. "You didn't give up when this happened in our last duel; I expect a replicate performance from you!" He slotted two cards into his duel disk, and the images appeared one after the other. "I play two cards face-down and end my turn!" he declared.

"All right, my move!" Joey called, getting to his feet. He scanned his hand. Okay, I gotta figure out a way to get rid of his Revival Jam, he thought. Yeah…that's easier said than done. Fairy Box can buy me some time, but I can only leave it on the field for so long before it brings my life points too low, and then I'm really gonna have ta worry about his Coffin Seller! Best thing I can do is play my strengths. Meteor Black Comet Dragon is still the strongest thing on the field by far, so he'll have ta wait for Viser Des to destroy it, and that's three turns away. So that gives me a few more shots at his Revival Jam to bring his life points down! Course, he's also got those two face-down cards to worry about, but…ack, forget it! Let's just draw first and ask questions later!

"Are you going to make a move, or aren't you?" Yami Marik asked.

"I'm workin' on it!" Joey snapped, drawing his card, and he laughed gleefully and grinned as he saw Jinzo in his hand.

"Sorry Marik, but you're finished this turn!" Joey crowed. "First things first, I'm gonna send Fairy Box to my graveyard, instead of payin' its cost!" The trap card exploded, as did the box with holes.

"And now I'm sacrificing my Marauding Captain to bring out this guy – Jinzo!" Joey called.

Marauding Captain burned away, and the green-clad psychic appeared on Joey's field. Dressed in a dark green robe and a lighter green mantle and gloves, Jinzo had its arms crossed and his expression hidden behind his monstrous mask, the veins in his bald head standing out and his goggles glowing red. (6/2400/1500)

Not Jinzo!, Marik scowled.

"Now that Jinzo's here, trap cards can say goodbye, cause his trap sense cancels out all of their effects!" Joey laughed. "So that Coffin Seller isn't gonna be pickin' any more life points outta me, and your Jam Defender can't protect Granadora!"

He threw out his arm with a grin. "All right, first I'll take out Gil Garth with Meteor Black Comet Dragon!" he called, and Meteor Black Comet Dragon roared, bringing its arms down into a fighting stance as it surrounded itself in fire again and ascended into the air, before descending towards the steel fiend, which lifted its blade in a futile effort to protect itself. The attack struck, and Gil Garth was surrounded in fire before shattering.

The pink rope of light snapped, and Marik howled in pain as his life points fell to 2200.

"Now Granadora's history!" Joey snapped. "Jinzo, take it out with Cyber Energy Shock!" he yelled, and Jinzo collected an energy ball of black lightning in its hands.

Yami Marik plucked a card from his hand and dangled it in front of himself. "I activate the special ability of the Juragedo in my hand!" he called. "Since you've attacked, I can summon it to the field and gain one-thousand life points!" he explained, slapping the card into the far zone of his duel disk. A grotesque purple fiend appeared, with eyes at the side of its twin-horned head and sharp claws. (4/1700/1300)

"So what?" Joey asked as Marik's life points increased to 3200. "Okay, sure, maybe I can't win this turn, but I can still get most of ya life points!"

"I'm afraid not, little Joey," Marik replied. "By sacrificing Juragedo, Granadora gains one-thousand attack points!"

Juragedo burned away, and Granadora screeched as it rose to 2900 attack points.

"No, Jinzo!" Joey cried, as Granadora leapt over Jinzo's Cyber Energy Shock and snapped its jaws shut around its waist, breaking the pink rope. For the third time that duel, Joey felt the pain around his midsection as his life points fell to 2000.

"And since you lost your Jinzo, Coffin Seller will rip out three-hundred more points…" Yami Marik commented slowly.

Joey groaned as his life points dropped to 1700. "Nuts…" he groaned. "Guess I got no choice but to play one card face down," he admitted, slotting it into his duel disk. "And that's gonna end my turn."

Yami Marik drew his card and laughed. "It's my turn again, little Joey! And you know what that means…" he said with a cruel smile.

Viser Des tightened on Meteor Black Comet Dragon's head, and electrical impulses emitted from its clamps. Meteor Black Comet Dragon roared as it was assaulted by the shocks, and Joey cried out in pain as well as he cradled his head in his hands.

Yami Marik slotted the card that he'd drawn into his duel disk. "While you recover from that, I activate the spell card, Pot of Greed!" he declared. "Now with two extra cards, I'll have the options I need to prolong your suffering," he commented.

"Just draw ya two cards, it's not like you've drawn your Egyptian God card," Joey snapped.

"Who knows? I just might," Marik laughed. He drew his two cards and he smiled. "With Jinzo down, I'll be able to defend this just fine," he commented. "So, I summon a monster known as Ra's Disciple!" he declared.

An Egyptian man in a blue tunic, red sash, and white mantle appeared, dominated by the golden armour he wore, with a cape-like section shaped like a feathered wing, and a helmet that appeared similar to the head of a bird, complete with red eyestones. (4/1100/600)

"Wait, Ra's Disciple?" Joey asked in surprise.

"That's correct," Marik replied. "I received these helpful cards from Sartorius a while back, and I must say they're quite exceptional. You see, when a Ra's Disciple is summoned, I'm allowed to call out as many other copies as I want as well!" he explained.

Another Ra's Disciple materialized on Marik's field in a crouching position.

No way!,Joey thought. Now he's got five monsters out on his field! He doesn't need to ditch Ra into the graveyard, he can just summon it like that if he draws it!

"All right, that's enough stress for you," Marik commented. "Why don't you take a turn again, Wheeler?"

"All right, fine!" Joey snapped, drawing his card. "Guess I might as well take a shot at your life points, so attack, Meteor Black Comet Dragon!" Joey called, and the massive dragon ignited its flaming aura again, ascended into the sky, and dived towards Granadora.

On cue, Revival Jam slipped in between them, and soon the arena was splattered with plasma droplets.

Yami Marik smirked as his life points fell to 2200. "Isn't it a shame that a life point cost doesn't harm you in this Shadow Game?" he commented. "You could have kept your Fairy Box on the field, and lost no energy. Or maybe it might have accelerated your demise!"

"Keep laughing, Marik!" Joey snapped, placing a card into his duel disk. "I'm placin' this card face-down! So just go!"

"If you insist," Yami Marik replied, drawing his card. He smiled without even looking at the card, and fear rushed through Joey's body. Uh-oh, he hasn't…oh man, he so has!, he thought.

"My Revival Jam reforms on the field!" Yami Marik declared, and the slime droplets coalesced once again into the wriggling monster. "Then Viser Des will torment your dragon!" he added, and Viser Des tightened its grip on Meteor Black Comet Dragon, shocking it with electricity.

Joey screamed in pain as he was likewise assaulted, clutching his temples and struggling to stay on his feet.

"Now it's time to end this," Marik commented. "And even if you have by some miracle the inner strength to resist this attack, your life points don't! You're done!"

"So go ahead and make ya move already, Marik!" Joey snapped again.

"With pleasure!" Yami Marik declared. "I sacrifice Granadora and my two Ra's Disciples!" he called. "Now prepare to witness the greatest power in all of Duel Monsters!"

Yami Marik's three monsters burned away, and Yami Marik sneered as he laid the yellow card down on his duel disk. A bright light ignited above the Academy Tower, swelling into an orb, and the light faded into a sphere of gleaming golden metal.

Yami Marik began to chant, a language that Joey couldn't understand, but he knew full well what it was. Rays of light began to shine from the lines running down the sphere, and the parts began to move.

"Great beast of the sky, please hear my cry," Yami Marik chanted.

The central crack opened, revealing the coiled form of the beast within.

"Transform thyself from orb of light, and bring me victory in this fight!" Marik declared.

Joey could see the limbs within the orb beginning to stir.

"Envelop the desert with your glow, and cast your rage upon my foe!" Marik intoned.

The limbs began to unfold, deploying the feather-like structures.

"Unlock your powers from deep within, so that together we may win!" Marik declared.

The giant, curved wings were fully spread now, the limbs splayed out, and the glow beginning to fade.

"Appear in this Shadow Game, as I call your name…Winged Dragon of Ra!" Yami Marik yelled, and with a roar, the glow faded from the most powerful Egyptian God monster. Gleaming gold and saurian in posture, it towered over the Academy Tower, with no room to stand on the tower itself, it settled onto the curved roof of Duel Academy, where it could eyeball Joey with deep red eyes. The golden feathery wings filled the background of the darkened Shadow Game, and the forelimbs gripped the edge of the tower with sharp claws. It breathed, and Joey felt the heat, like the sun on a hot day rather than a fire, and he backed away in terror. (10/?/?)

"As I'm sure you remember, Ra takes on the attack and defense points of the monsters that were sacrificed to summon it!" Yami Marik reminded Joey. "Now that I've sacrificed both of my Disciples and Granadora, it has forty-one hundred attack points, and nineteen-hundred defense points!"

Ra roared behind Marik as its stats flashed on a readout.

"But there's more!" Marik noted. "Next, I sacrifice my Revival Jam and Viser Des to add their attack points to Ra!" he declared, and both monsters burned away. The Winged Dragon of Ra roared again, as it increased to 6100 attack points, and 2400 defense points.

"Now, Ra is easily strong enough to deplete your remaining life points with a single blow, Joey!" Yami Marik observed. "Your feeble struggles have grown tiresome, not at all what I expected." He raised the Millennium Rod and pointed it at Joey. "Winged Dragon of Ra, attack his Meteor Black Comet Dragon! Show it why the spirits sing your name!" he yelled.

Flames ignited under the ring that connected the Winged Dragon's shoulder pads, feeding into the cheek feathers and coalescing into a ball in Ra's mouth.

"Blaze Cannon!" Yami Marik ordered, and the flames erupted from Ra's mouth in a colossal blast, incinerating Meteor Black Comet Dragon in seconds.

Joey screamed in agony as the rope of light connecting them was charred to cinders. He slapped his hand onto his disk as he twisted, feeling the burns all over his body and feeling especially grateful that he couldn't see the injuries.

"Yes! Yes, that's it Joey!" Yami Marik crowed. "Feel the pain, sink into it! Condemn me in your last moments before the Shadow Game claims you!"

"I'm…not goin' anywhere!" Joey yelled as he began to glow.

Yami Marik stopped laughing, and then he saw the trap card active on Joey's field. "What? Your trap can't possibly stop Ra!" he snapped.

"It didn't…" Joey groaned as the pain faded slowly. "When I'm about to lose at least two-thousand life points, Nutrient Z gives me four-thousand extra life points!" he explained. "So, your Winged Dragon mighta hit me hard, but I'm not stayin' down!" His life points decreased from 5700 to 3100, and then Marik's Coffin Seller trap card went into effect, reducing him further to 2800 life points.

"An' finally, my Meteor Black Comet Dragon has one final special ability!" Joey explained. "When he's destroyed, I get ta summon the original Red-Eyes Black Dragon from my graveyard!" he called, plucking the card out of his duel disk and placing it down.

With a screech, the black-armoured dragon arose from the flames and glared across the field at Marik. (7/2400/2000)

"Let's win this one together, Red-Eyes!" Joey cheered.

"Your Red-Eyes might be a useful monster, but I'm afraid that useful doesn't quite cut it against the power of an Egyptian God!" Yami Marik warned Joey. "So go! Take your turn!"

"All right!" Joey declared, drawing his card. Internally, he wasn't nearly as confident.

Okay, even with all these new cards, am I gonna be able to take down an Egyptian God?, he wondered. Sure, Yug' and Yusei have both managed it, but Ra's got way higher attack points than anything I can put out, he thought. He looked at the card he'd drawn and his eyes widened. No way! Could this work?, he wondered. He scanned his hand, and looked at his face-down card. Maybe it can work! I just need to keep Red-Eyes on the field for another turn. Let's see, what else have I got… He checked his hand and cursed. Aw, nuts. I don't have any defensive cards that can sort that problem out, and Marik's already put a bunch of my monsters in the graveyard…in my graveyard! His eyes widened. That's it!

"I'm waiting!" Yami Marik commented. "The sooner I put our score to rest, the sooner I can focus on the Pharaoh!"

"You gotta focus on me first pal!" Joey retorted. "An' your Winged Dragon don't scare me, no matter how many attack points it has!" He turned the card on his duel disk, and Red-Eyes crouched down and crossed its arms. "Red-Eyes goes into defense mode!" he called, before slotting two cards into his duel disk. "Then I play these two cards face-down!" he declared. "An' finally, at the end of my turn since I didn't summon somethin' else, I can use my Red-Eyes Wyvern's special ability from my graveyard!"" he explained. "An' it can bring my Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon back to the field!"

The spindly, red-winged, four-eyed dragon rematerialized beside the original Red-Eyes, a cord of pink light snapping into place between it and Joey. (7/2400/2000)

"Go ahead, Marik!" Joey called. "If you're so proud of that Winged Dragon, then bring it on!"

"If you're going to invite the fires of Ra, I'd be happy to oblige!" Yami Marik replied. "Remember well, even if you don't lose life points – which you will, thanks to my Coffin Seller trap card – you'll suffer the pain from the fires of Ra!" he warned. He drew his card carelessly. "Winged Dragon of Ra, attack Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon! Go, Blaze Cannon!"

Ra leaned forwards, and fire coalesced between its ring, streaming into its mouth through its cheek structures. Its jaws opened just that little bit more, and the fireball blasted out of its maw, slamming into Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon. The four-eyed dragon keened as it was incinerated, and as the cord of light was eaten away Joey felt every searing burn. The smoke faded, and he collapsed onto the ground, struggling to prop himself up on hands and knees.

"Now Coffin Seller claims three-hundred more points!" Yami Marik sneered, and Joey's life points slowly fell to 2500. "How long will you be able to hold out?" he wondered. "Every turn, Ra will incinerate another monster, and Coffin Seller will inflict damage. And thus, the cycle of torment will repeat, until your mind either shuts down or breaks under the pressure!" Marik laughed. He smiled fiendishly. "Which will it be?" he asked. "Hurry up and make your move so that we can find out!"

"You…want my move, Marik?" Joey asked. "I'll give you more than that…your Winged Dragon of Ra is history this turn!"

"WHAT?!" Yami Marik asked in shock. "Impossible! There's no way that someone like you will be able to defeat an Egyptian God card! Not without one of your own!"

"Wanna bet?" Joey asked, drawing his card. "Red-Eyes Black Dragon goes into attack mode!" he called, and Red-Eyes straightened up and screeched as its eyes flashed.

"Next I'm gonna reveal my trap card – Metalmorph!" Joey called, and the trap depicting a metallic, legless shell flipped up, causing silver armour to encase Red-Eyes.

"This trap turns my Red-Eyes into the Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon, givin' him an extra three-hundred attack and defense points!" Joey explained as the Red-Eyes rose to 2700 attack points and 2300 defense points. "But that's not its only trick – when he attacks, he gets half of your monster's attack points!"

"It's an impressive ability, I'll grant," Yami Marik replied. "But you've been using that combo to win most of your duels here; did you think that I wouldn't know about it? Why do you think I sacrificed Revival Jam? Not just to ensure a potential single finishing blow, but also to put the Winged Dragon of Ra out of reach of your Red-Eyes!"

"Too bad for you, I've got this!" Joey called, slotting a spell card into his duel disk. "Go, Graceful Dice!" he yelled, and the spell flipped up and disgorged the little fairy holding the blue dice. "Now I roll, and the result times one-hundred gets added to my Red-Eyes!" Joey explained. The little fairy dropped the dice, and it landed, bounced, bounced again…and it landed on a three.

Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon screeched as it rose to 3000 attack points.

Yami Marik burst out laughing. "Ah-hah-hah-hah-hah! So close, little Joey, but not close enough!" he commented. "Now when your Red-Eyes attacks it will only have six-thousand and fifty attack points!"

"Quit your laughing, Marik!" Joey snapped, and Marik stopped and glared at Joey. "I never said I was done!" He touched a button on his duel disk, and his face-down trap card flipped up.

"Go, Skull Dice!" Joey cried as the little devil holding a red dice appeared. "This trap can suck away one-hundred attack points from your monster for each number I roll!"

"And in turn, that will weaken the power that your Red-Eyes gains!" Marik snapped.

"I know. Math's not my strong suit, so it's time to trust in fate," Joey replied. "Red-Eyes, do your thing! Flash Flare Blast!"

Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon breathed a ball of black and red electricity at the Winged Dragon of Ra, which retaliated by igniting the fire beneath its ring.

The little devil cackled and threw its red dice.

Both Yami Marik and Joey watched it with fear on their faces as it twisted through the air. It landed on a one and bounced, it landed on a five and bounced, then a four…and finally a three.

Ra fell to 5800 attack points, and Red-Eyes rose to 5900.

"NO! That's not possible!" Yami Marik gasped.

"It's totally possible, Marik!" Joey snapped. "An' the end result is that your Winged Dragon of Ra is history!"

The Flash Flare Blast struck, impacting Ra in the chest. The electrical shock caused it to begin cracking from the point of impact, and Yami Marik clutched his chest, feeling the cracks as if they were widening in his own body. Golden fragments began to fall from the mighty Egyptian God monster, and its radiance grew brighter – and then it was gone. Ra shattered, and Marik gasped in pain falling backwards and landing on his back as his life points fell to 2100.

Joey panted heavily. "I did it…I did it!" he cheered. "I actually took down an Egyptian God!"

Then he heard a gurgling chuckle from across the other side of the field. Yami Marik got to his feet, swaying as the Eye of Wdjat on his forehead continued to glow.

"Yes…yes you did," he commented. "I suppose that congratulations are in order…" He burst out laughing. "You suffered, and you reacted, breaking free instead of lying down! Yes, Joey! More! Struggle more! And at the end of it all, we shall see who really won!" He drew his card. "My move!" he declared. He placed the card that he'd drawn down on his duel disk. "I'll place one monster in defense mode!" he declared, before slotting another into his duel disk. "Next I'll lay one card face-down and end my turn!"

"All right, Marik, let's do this!" Joey called, grinning as he drew his card. "All right, I activate Pot of Greed!" he called, slotting it into his duel disk, and then drawing two more cards. "Okay, those two new cards gave me some good options! Say goodbye, Marik!" he called. "First up I'm summoning Gearfried the Red-Eyes Iron Knight!" he called, and he laid the card on his duel disk. A warrior in dark magenta armour appeared, with bright pink joints and gleaming red eyes that were visible through the visor. Both arms ended in shields; one more traditional on the left and a stabbing, silver shield on the right. (4/1800/1600)

"And then, it's time for this!" Joey yelled. "Goooo, Giant Trunade!" he called. "Say goodbye to all your trap cards!"

A massive hurricane emerged from the card, whipping at the field, and all of Marik's trap cards were lifted off the field, vanishing into the sky. Yami Marik plucked the ejected cards out of each slot with a scowl, placing them into his hand.

"I'm doin' this for Mai, I'm doin' this for Bakura, I'm doin' this for Yug', and for everyone I've met here!" Joey called. "Gearfried, attack his face-down monster!" he yelled, and Gearfried lunged forwards with a harsh cry.

Marik's face-down monster switched to face-up position, revealing a black-skinned, cyclopean warrior in purple armour with the Eye of Wdjat on his face and three claws strapped to his wrists, which were crossed in front of his face. (4/1600/1200)

"Wait, what's that monster?!" Joey gasped as Gearfried landed a powerful blow to the stomach, shattering the monster.

Yami Marik burst out laughing. "AH-HAH-HAH-HAH! What a shame, Joey!" he commented. "Since you sent Makyura the Destructor to the card graveyard, I can now activate any trap cards in my hand!" he explained.

"Any traps?!" Joey asked in horror.

"Behold, as the nightmare that your Giant Trunade just dispelled returns!" Yami Marik crowed, slotting four cards into his duel disk. "Coffin Seller! Jam Defender!" he yelled, and the two traps reappeared. "The trap monster, Metal Reflect Slime!" he added, and a silver plasma mace appeared on his field.

"Now Metal Reflect Slime will take the form of your Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon!" Marik explained.

"Aw, come on!" Joey protested as the spikes on Metal Reflect Slime began to grow and extend. Plasma twisted around the Academy Tower, and the bulk of the slime swelled. Eventually it coalesced into a shining, silver replica of the Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon, lighter than the iron of the Red-Eyes and without the red eyes. (10/0/3000)

"Even if you could break through my Red-Eyes Slime's defenses, I won't allow that!" Yami Marik declared as his final trap card flipped up. "My Nightmare Wheel trap card will chain your Red-Eyes down, preventing it from attacking or switching into defense mode!"

A massive wheel appeared behind the Red-Eyes, and straps snaked around its neck, binding it to the spiked wheel.

"Aw…dangit, I was so close!" Joey groaned in frustration.

"Close, but not close enough!" Marik commented. "And now it's my move!" he called, drawing his card. His eyes widened at the sight of the crest-emblazoned spell card, and he smiled. "Just what I need…but first there's something else that needs to be taken care of," he observed. "Namely, the effect of my Nightmare Wheel trap card!" he declared.

The wheel spun, grating against the back of Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon's neck, and Joey cried out in pain as his life points deceased to 2000.

"Then I'll activate this spell card!" Yami Marik laughed. "Monster Reborn!"

"No, not that!" Joey cried in shock.

Yami Marik began to chant in Hieratic Text, and a plume of fire erupted from his duel disk's graveyard. With an unearthly screech, a fiery form settled into existence; a giant bird with spirals at the cheeks and a fanged maw of fire.

"Egyptian God Phoenix…rise, and destroy my enemy!" Yami Marik called. "At the cost of one-thousand life points, incinerate his Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon! Show this fool what happens when mortals raise their hands against the gods!"

Yami Marik's life points fell to 1100 as the fiery bird flapped its wings, and scalding air buffeted Joey and his monsters. It ascended into the air, twisting above Academy Tower.

"Let's see if you've improved since our last duel, Joey Wheeler!" Yami Marik laughed. "This time I'll destroy that soul card of yours, and you with it! Attack, my great beast of the sky!"

Ra tucked its flaming wings and it dived, still emitting that cruel cry.

Joey watched it descend in terror, and he braced himself for the impact and the pain.

Then the Egyptian God Phoenix struck, and flames surrounded Joey's side of the field. Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon writhed and roared as the fires of Ra assaulted it, and Joey mirrored its movements as the pink line of light between them was charred into nothingness. Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon dissolved into ash, and Joey gasped, hunching over and swaying on his feet.

Yami Marik smiled at the sight. "So, you have improved after all!" he commented in pleasure. "That will make your ultimate fall all the sweeter!" he chuckled. "And of course, don't forget that you just lost a monster! You might be free of the curse of Nightmare Wheel, but Coffin Seller will be more than ready to drain your life points!" he reminded Joey.

Joey let out a gasp as his life points trickled to 1700.

"I'll place this card face-down, to replace Nightmare Wheel," Marik noted casually, slotting a card into his duel disk. "And now, at the end of the turn, Monster Reborn's effect will end, and Ra will return to the graveyard!" he explained.

Ra gave one more screech before the fires died down, surging into Marik's graveyard chamber.

"How much did it hurt, Joey?" Yami Marik asked. "The loss of your Red-Eyes to the fires of Ra…did the pain seep into your soul? And will you bring it back for more? Heh-heh-heh…I look forward to your answer!"

"It's my move…Marik," Joey gasped, drawing his card. He grinned, and he straightened up.

Yami Marik raised his eyebrow. Hmm? What did he draw to attain such strength?, he wondered.

Joey grinned, and Marik's heart actually skipped a beat. "Heh! Sorry ta tell ya, but your Coffin Seller is history, Marik!" Joey yelled. He slotted the card that he'd drawn into his duel disk, under the card of Gearfried the Red-Eyes Iron Knight. "I activate Lightning Blade!" he called. "And I'm powering up my Gearfried!" he explained.

Yami Marik snorted. "I see," he commented as the stabbing shield of Gearfried began crackling with electricity, and the monster increased to 2600 attack points. "You're planning on taking on my Red-Eyes Slime with a lightning attack, aren't you?" he asked. "Unfortunately for you, my Slime is in defense mode, and your little Lightning Blade only affects the attack points of water monsters!"

"Are ya deaf?" Joey asked. "Sorry ta burst your bubble…or not, as the case may be…" he noted. "But what I'm really doin' is activating Gearfried's special ability!" he explained. "Since I equipped a card to him, I can send it to the graveyard, and take out one of your spell or trap cards! And I'm gettin' Coffin Seller outta the way!"

Gearfried raised its electrified shield, and it lunged forwards, impaling the Coffin Seller card, which shattered in a burst of electricity.

"Sure, his attack points go down, but now I've stopped your Coffin Seller!" Joey grinned. "Like they say, third time's the charm!" He slotted a card into his duel disk. "I play one card face-down and end my turn!" he called.

Yami Marik drew his card with a smirk. If he thinks that he can wait this out with small steps, then he's gravely mistaken, he thought in satisfaction. "I activate the Monster Reincarnation spell card!" he declared. "By discarding one monster from my hand, I can retrieve another from the graveyard!" He slotted his third Ra's Disciple card into his graveyard, and Revival Jam slid out.

"Next I activate Polymerization!" Yami Marik declared. "And I'll fuse Revival Jam with my Red-Eyes Slime!"

"Aw no, not this!" Joey cried. Great! Now I'm never gonna get at his life points!, he groaned inwardly.

Revival Jam appeared on Marik's field, and the blue plasma streamed from its body, merging into the silver plasma of the Red-Eyes Slime. (10/3000/3000)

"Thanks to this move, my Red-Eyes Slime now takes on the regenerative abilities of my Revival Jam, but they become even stronger!" Marik explained. "Not only that, it gains three-thousand attack points to match its defense points!" he added. "Of course, my Immortal Red-Eyes Slime cannot attack, but that doesn't mean that it won't come in handy!"

Yeah, that's an understatement, Joey thought. He won't be usin' that thing to attack, he'll keep his life points up so that he can sacrifice them and that Red-Eyes Slime to increase the attack points of his Winged Dragon of Ra! I gotta build up a defense!

He drew his card and looked at it in surprise. Okay, not what I expected, but it's welcome, he thought. He slotted it into his duel disk. "I'm activatin' the spell card, Roll of Fate!" he called. "This card lets me roll a die, and I get ta draw the number of cards that comes up on the die, but then I gotta remove the same number from the top of my deck!" A man in a suit appeared on the field, tossing a six-sided dice. It landed and bounced, coming up on a four.

"Not too shabby, huh Marik?" Joey asked, drawing his four cards, before pocketing the next four from the top of his deck. He was starting to run low on cards, he reflected.

"Next, I'm activating my Legendary Sword!" Joey called, touching the button on his disk. "And I'm equippin' it ta Gearfried, boostin' his attack strength by three-hundred points!" Gearfried's stabbing shield extended into a gleaming blade, and Gearfried growled as he powered up again, this time to 2100 attack points.

"Hmph. Too little too late, little Joey," Yami Marik snorted. "Metal Reflect Slime is no longer a trap monster, and even if you destroy Jam Defender, you've still got to deal with my Red-Eyes Slime!"

"And there ya go, assumin' that I don't have a different trick up my sleeve," Joey commented. "Well, think again, Marik!" He slid Legendary Sword out of his duel disk, and into the graveyard. "By sendin' an equip card to the graveyard, Gearfried can call up another Red-Eyes from my graveyard!" he explained.

Gearfried crushed the blade beneath its foot, falling back to 1800 attack points, and the Legendary Sword burst into a chain of energy, causing a graveyard portal to open beneath it. The energy chain snaked into the ground, and then it withdrew, coiled around the neck of Red-Eyes Black Dragon.

"Then what?" Marik asked. "There's no point in bringing him back!"

"There's more points than ya realize, Marik!" Joey replied. "You remember this card, don't you?!" he asked, holding up a Polymerization card. "I'm gonna be combining my Red-Eyes with Gearfried, in order to create the Red-Eyes Slash Dragon!"

Gearfried and Red-Eyes swirled together, and the resulting fusion rose behind Joey with a roar. It was as if Red-Eyes was armoured in Gearfried's armour, with wing membranes the same dark magenta shade as the armour. (7/2800/2400)

"All right, attack, Slash Dragon!" Joey called. "Flash Flare Slash!"

Slash Dragon drew its head back, building up magenta energy that sparked with red lightning in its maw.

Yami Marik chuckled. "Heh-heh-heh…go ahead, attack my Red-Eyes Slime," he commented. "You'll just take extra damage."

"Not today, Marik!" Joey replied. "When Red-Eyes Slash Dragon attacks, he chooses a warrior from the grave to ride him, givin' him an extra two-hundred attack points!" He pointed into the sky. "So, Gearfried, rise from the grave!"

Gearfried appeared from the shining ground, and he leapt into the air, backflipping to land on Red-Eyes Slash Dragon's back. Red-Eyes Slash Dragon keened, powering up to 3000 attack points and blasting the magenta and red energy arc from its maw at the Red-Eyes Slime. The Slime took the energy arc full in the chest, denting its malleable exterior, which slowly reformed.

"This way, I can just attack every turn to boost the attack points of Red-Eyes Slash Dragon!" Joey explained with a grin. "An' if you try ta target him with any abilities, then one of his riders can put a stop to it!" He slotted two cards into his duel disk. "I'll place these two cards face-down, and end my turn!" he declared.

Yami Marik didn't seem impressed, and he drew his own card. He must know that his efforts are futile, he thought, before glancing at the card that he'd drawn. Especially with this card…, he thought in satisfaction. He slotted the card into his duel disk. "I'll place this card face-down, and end my turn," he declared.

"Then it's my turn again!" Joey replied, drawing another card, and he blanched when he saw it. Eh? What the heck, when'd this card get into my deck?, he wondered.

He thought for a bit, and then he remembered the tablet where he and Nightshroud had obtained their cards. Guess it must've been when I got those cards from that tablet in the ruins, he decided. I'm sure that Yugi didn't pull a fast one on me…right? Ah, forget it, let's do somethin' else!

"I'm waiting, Joey!" Yami Marik called.

"I know, I know!" Joey protested, touching a button on his duel disk. "I'm gonna play this trap card – Red-Eyes Spirit!" he called, and a trap bearing Red-Eyes emerging from golden light appeared on his field. "Red-Eyes isn't goin' anywhere just cause he's got a fusion monster pullin' weight on my field!" he snapped as Red-Eyes Black Dragon emerged from the graveyard in a shower of golden light. "So come get him!"

"Excellent decision!" Yami Marik replied as the pink rope of light flexed between Joey and his monster. "Bring it back so that I can destroy it again! Suffer the pain of your soul card being destroyed again and again!"

"Not happenin'!" Joey snapped. "But I'm keepin' this goin', with Monster Reborn!" he called. "I'll bring back Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon as well!" The spindly, four-eyed, red-winged Red-Eyes appeared beside Red-Eyes Black Dragon and keened.

"Okay, Marik, I'm takin' us into the future!" Joey called, and Marik smiled viciously. "I'm overlayin' the seven-star Red-Eyes Black Dragon and Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon!" he called, and the two dragons transformed into purple swirls of energy and they spiralled into the air. "By usin' these two monsters' ta build the overlay network…that's what they said, anyway, I can xyz summon the Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon!" Joey explained.

The twin swirls entered a black overlay network at Joey's feet, and an explosion of blue energy erupted from the portal. With a harsh screech, a silver and black armoured dragon emerged from the light, flames spluttering from the four red-wings and the tail, and the red-eyes shining like gems. (7/2800/2400)

"Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon has a few neat tricks you might wanna pay attention to!" Joey commented. "First off, see those little purple spheres?" he asked. "They're-"

"I'm well aware about how xyz monsters work, thank you," Yami Marik replied with a scowl.

"Oh? So I guess you know that as long as Flare Metal Dragon has overlay units, it can't be destroyed by your effects, and you'll take five-hundred points of damage every time you play a card or use one of your special abilities!" Joey commented. "So, there's no way you'll be able ta use your Winged Dragon of Ra's Phoenix mode again!"

Yami Marik flinched back with an angry growl as Joey removed a card from under that of Flare Metal Dragon.

"Now I'm activatin' Flare Metal Dragon's special ability!" Joey called. "By usin' one overlay unit, he can bring back a Red-Eyes normal monster from the graveyard!" he explained. "And the one I'm bringin' back is Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon!"

Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon devoured one of its overlay units, and it released a ring-shaped blast of flames that charred a hole in the ground. A pink line emerged from Joey's body and disappeared into the hole, and once again, the red-winged, four-eyed dragon emerged from the hole with a keening screech, the pink line connected to its chest.

"All right, now I'm gonna re-summon Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon!" Joey called.

"Re-summon it? What are you talking about?!" Marik asked in confusion.

Joey grinned and he held up his hand. "You see, Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon is what you call a gemini monster!" he explained. "Normally, it doesn't have any special abilities, but I can re-summon it in order to unlock its special ability!" he explained. He slapped the card on his duel disk, and Black Flare Dragon screeched as flames erupted over its wings.

"Now after the battle's over and Black Flare Dragon successfully attacks, you'll take damage equal to its attack points!" Joey explained. "So here I come, Marik! Even your Red-Eyes Slime can't protect you from this attack!" he called, pointing across the field. "Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon, attack the Red-Eyes Slime with Inferno Flare Blast!"

With a screech, Black Flare Dragon powered up a fireball in its jaws, casting a flickering light in its four eyes.

"I'm afraid not, little Joey!" Marik commented with a sneer, touching a button on his duel disk. "Behold Dark Spell Regeneration!" he called, and his face-down card flipped up. "Since you've attacked, this card brings back a spell card from my graveyard – and I believe you know which one!"

Yami Marik smirked as he held up the crest-emblazoned spell card, and he slid it into his duel disk. He began to chant in Hieratic Text as Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon let off a fireball, but he didn't seem to notice as his life points fell to 600. Golden light erupted from his duel disk's graveyard as he held it up to the sky, bathing the area behind him in a blinding radiance.

The golden form of the Winged Dragon of Ra rose from behind the Academy Tower, screeching loudly.

"Now I activate the Winged Dragon of Ra's second special ability!" Yami Marik declared, crossing his arms. "Your Flare Metal Dragon will take five-hundred of my life points…" he observed, and a flaming blast emerged from the silver dragon's mouth, slamming into his stomach and reducing his life points to 100. "…but the rest will go to Ra, as will my Red-Eyes Slime and all of its power!"

Purple smoke ate away at Yami Marik's body and the Red-Eyes Slime, and as Marik's life points trickled to just a single point, the attack and defense points of the Winged Dragon of Ra skyrocketed to 3099.

"The Winged Dragon of Ra's power of instant attack allows it to attack even on my opponent's turn when it's summoned!" Yami Marik laughed as his body materialized, minus an eye, trapped from the waist up in the massive blue sapphire that was embedded in the Winged Dragon of Ra's forehead. "It won't be able to attack directly, but it will be able to incinerate all of your monsters!" he crowed.

"You've gotta be kiddin' me!" Joey cried.

"Winged Dragon of Ra, attack!" Yami Marik yelled, raising the Millennium Rod. "Blaze Cannon!"

The fire ignited under the Winged Dragon of Ra's ring, and it streamed past Yami Marik into the cheek feathers, building in its maw. Then it leaned forward and breathed the massive fire blast at Joey's monsters. All of them were swept away in an instant; Flare Metal Dragon, Black Flare Dragon, and Slash Dragon all shattered in the flames.

Joey howled in agony as all three lines charred away and his life points fell to 603. He fell to his knees; the pain of a single monster destroyed by Ra in its battle mode wasn't as bad as one in Phoenix mode, but three at once threatened to overwhelm him. He fell to his knees, and then slowly slumped flat on his face.

"AH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!" Yami Marik laughed. "Now come on, Joey, I know that's not enough to end you yet! Stand! Get back up!"

Joey struggled to his hands and knees, and he got up on one foot, panting heavily as his vision clouded.

"Heh-heh-heh…" Yami Marik chuckled. "You'd better do something soon…after all, it is still your turn. Once it ends, you'll be defenceless. Come on…or will it end here? Come to think of it, that's fine …this is dragging on, isn't it?"

"I'm…not goin' anywhere, Marik!" Joey gasped. "You hear me?"

He raised his hand. "Red-Eyes Slash Dragon has another ability!" he called. "I can bring the monsters that were equipped to him back from the graveyard!"

Gearfried the Red-Eyes Iron Knight landed in front of Joey as he got to his feet, his body visibly trembling.

"That's it for me…" Joey replied breathlessly. "…and that's it for Ra too! Since you used Monster Reborn to bring him back, he goes to the graveyard!" he reminded Yami Marik.

Yami Marik snorted. "That would be true were I not merged with my great beast!" he declared. "I serve as the anchor binding Ra to this world, and you cannot destroy it without first destroying me!" He drew a card with a sneer, the twists of his face vanishing into the gaping black hole where his eye had been. "I'll place this card face-down," he declared, slotting it into his duel disk. "Then Ra and I shall attack, first your Gearfried, and then your life points!" he declared.

Once again, Ra built up the fires beneath its ring, and they streamed into its gaping maw. Then it let them loose as Joey stood hunched over, the flames reaching for Gearfried…

And a chain snaked through the air, wrapping around Marik and Ra.

"WHAT?!" Yami Marik yelled as he saw the boomerang buried in Ra's beak.

"Kunai with Chain!" Joey cried as Gearfried leapt into the air, the chain snaking from his stabbing shield. "I switched your Winged Dragon into defense mode, so he never even attacked!" he explained. "An' that's not all – I can send Kunai with Chain to the graveyard to take out that face-down card that you just put on the field!"

Gearfried withdrew the boomerang section of the Kunai with Chain, and it threw it again, this time piercing Yami Marik's Mirror Force trap card. The card image dissolved into glowing shards as Marik scowled for the umpteenth time that match.

"Too little too late," Marik replied. "You have nothing left that can take on the Winged Dragon of Ra, and the effect of your trap will wear off at the end of this turn, forcing Ra back into attack mode, so your little trick with Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon won't work either!"

Joey looked at his hand. Yeah…he's right. Only card I've got in my hand is this – Summoned Skull, he thought, looking down at the six-star monster in his hand. It's strong…but his Egyptian God card is even stronger!

He looked at his duel disk. But I'm not givin' up! I can't see what I'm gonna draw, or how this duel's gonna end…but I'm gonna keep on fightin' until the end!

"Let's finish this, Marik!" Joey yelled. "You wanna settle the score? Well here goes!" he called, drawing his card.

Yami Marik's faced veined and his eyes contracted. "Yes!" he hissed. "Come on, Joey! One last feeble struggle!"

Joey looked at the spell card in his hand. I don't recognize this card either…, he thought. If that tablet put it in my deck as well, then I'll go with it!, he decided. He slotted the card into his duel disk. "I activate the spell card, Fusion Recovery!" he called, and the card image, depicting the flaming, fiendish figure on Polymerization, materialized in front of him. "Thanks ta this card, I can bring Polymerization and Red-Eyes Black Dragon back to my hand!" he explained. "And now I'll activate Polymerization!" he declared, slotting it into his duel disk. "I'm fusin' Red-Eyes with Summoned Skull, and from them I'll create Black Skull Dragon!"

Red-Eyes and a white and purple demonic figure similar in appearance to Red-Eyes Archfiend of Lightning appeared above Joey, and then they swirled together. The resulting fusion was a large dragon with grey bone-like armour covering purple flesh, massive wings with blue membranes, and twin demonic horns protruding from the temples. Massive, stocky hands and feet were tipped with razor-sharp claws, and the dragon snarled viciously. (9/3200/2500)

It's got more attack points than my Winged Dragon of Ra!, Yami Marik thought in horror, flinching backwards. And since he's destroyed Mirror Force, I'm defenceless!

"Unless Ra's got another little trick up its sleeve, you can't dodge this one," Joey warned Marik. "This is for everyone you've hurt, both here, and back in our world, and for everyone that you've put in danger by takin' part in this twisted battle!" he yelled.

Yami Marik wasn't going to admit it, but he knew that Joey was right. He had nothing else on his field to protect him. "NO!" he yelled. "Not again!"

"Black Skull Dragon, attack Marik!" Joey yelled. "Molten Fireball! Finish him off once and for all!"

Black Skull Dragon blasted a flaming ball of magma from its mouth, which slammed into the Winged Dragon of Ra. Up above Ra, Marik bent double, feeling the impact in his stomach as his single life point vanished. His hair fell from its spikes, and the glowing eye of Wdjat on his forehead vanished.

Ra's body cracked from the impact crater on its chest, and it began to fragment. As the pieces fell from its body, they glowed and disintegrated into golden particles.

Joey grinned as he fell to his knees. "Man…after all that…I could really go for a pizza," he gasped. His vision blurred as tears filled his eyes, and he toppled forwards, landing on his side. The last thing he saw before losing consciousness was the door to Academy Tower sliding open.

Yug'…I finally beat him…

Okay, this bloody duel took forever! And this was without the writing! Whew. What's next up…YES! YES! I've already finished writing the duel for the next chapter, you can all expect it FAR sooner! Especially since I pulled a fast one and started writing it before I finished the duel…

By sooner I mean by the end of the week.

And yes, I may have taken some extreme creative liberties with the Winged Dragon of Ra. In my defense, I'm fairly certain that it can do that in some capacity in canon.

I'm calm. To the reviewers:

D3lph0xL0v3r: I'm doing my best. As for the Lost Files, I'm not sure. I'm sure that you'd all prefer so me to get a move on with this iteration of the fanfic.

Zeladious: Thank you. Sadly, I repeated the blasted trend, least I won't next time.

Superior-Creativity: Pleased to see that I've caught someone else's attention. Hope you enjoy.

Jay Hayden: I take long enough to put these out, so it's all good on your part. We're all busy bees. But thank you.

Pendulum Wizard: Holy cow, a short review! And thank you mate! Dark Highlander was just perfect for the Meklords…I wonder if Hikukubo did that on purpose…I'm pleased that I injected emotion into the climax.

chenji251: Woah, walls of text! Yep, I'm doing my best to keep a consistent timeline. And yes, villains and heroes can use other cards than they have, but I try to keep it in-theme. …yeah, I still need to get off my butt and sort out Vector's final turn. (If anyone else wants to know answers to what chenji asks, just PM me.)

Guest: People, take inspiration from this guy, and tell me this more often. It's the equivalent of a simultaneous guilt-trip and kick in the pants.

jalen johnson: Cheers mate, I enjoyed writing it. Sadly, Jesse is still a wee bit away, especially with those new card reveals…

Okay, in all fairness, I'll slice the time down one month cause of Australia…I was digging up a dinosaur, can you blame me? Then there was the decision to not have Immortal Slime be capable of attacking, which meant that I had to rewrite a good portion of the duel, but ended up working out well for me.

I had to resist the temptation to word the descriptions like the Dark Side of Dimensions – brilliant move too – but I'll do that for the rewrite. More bombastic, and possibly less wordy. Now, how to inject CG into writing…

Whew! I need a breather.