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Walking Throne WIP 2 by C-Puff
by C-Puff

I must say, this is extremely good. It really catches the scene during "Tools of Destruction" well. Tachyon looked positively livid at ...

Be truthful: What do you think of my Psychic Duelist Django series? 

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Sibling Smackdown

The four-way Duel between Leo, Fiona, Roger, and Vanessa was getting intense. On Leo’s field were Abyss Dweller (2200/1400) in Attack Mode, no face-down cards, and 2400 Life Points left. On Fiona’s field were Splendid Rose (2200/2000), Sylvan Hermitree (2700/1800), both in Attack Mode, two Fluff Tokens (0/0) in Defense Mode, two face-down cards, and 4000 Life Points left. On Vanessa’s field were CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur (3000/2400), Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus (2200/2200), both in Attack Mode, no face-down cards, and 2200 Life Points left. On Roger’s field were a monster face-down in Defense Mode, two face-down cards, and 3100 Life Points left. It was still Vanessa’s turn.

Vanessa grinned, “Just give it up, you two; there’s no point in struggling. We’ve got you beat. So make this easy on yourselves and just surrender.”

Leo stated strongly, “Never! We’ll fight until our very last Life Point! Right, sis?”

Fiona nodded, “Agreed, Leo. If Django taught us anything it’s that we must never give up, no matter how grim things look. So don’t be counting your Star Pieces just yet, you two, as Leo and I are still in this!”

“Take them down, you two!” Jack cheered.

“Show these two nitwits your combined power!” Cody added.

On the rooftop, Django and Tempest were watching from afar. Both had serious looks on their faces.

Tempest said, “You can do it. We know you can. Show Roger and Vanessa the price they pay for their childish desire of revenge.”

Django said nothing, observing the Duel from his perch, but inside he felt confident.

Back at the Duel, Vanessa huffed, “Fine, if you two want to go out in a blaze of glory, we’d be more than happy to light the fire. So be it. It’s still my turn. So, just as a precaution, I’ll switch my Sacred Artorigus to Defense Mode, place one card face-down on the field, and end my turn. Let’s see if you have any bite to your bark.”

Fiona touched her deck, “Then I’ll take things from here! I Draw!” but was cut off.

“I’ve got a bit of Trap action for you, you runt!” Vanessa smirked. “Here’s a new one for you. It’s my Secret Blast Trap Card! This card deals you 300 points of damage for each monster you control! You control four monsters, including those Fluff Tokens, so you take 1200 points of damage! Time to go kaboom, kid!”

A blast erupted from underneath Fiona, sending her flying before crashing to the ground, her Life Points dropping by 1200 to 2800. She got back up, dusted herself off, and returned to her original position.

“Sis, are you okay?” Leo asked, concerned.

She replied, “Yeah, I’m okay, don’t worry. I’m still in this.” She turned her attention back to the Duel, “If you don’t mind, it’s still my turn. So now I activate Fallen Angel of Roses’ ability from my hand! I can Special Summon this monster by returning one Plant monster I control to my hand. However, I can cheat a little bit here by returning one of my Fluff Tokens instead, as they’re Plant monsters, which allows me to summon her to the field. However, if she leaves the field, she’ll be banished. But that’s no biggie. So I return one of my Fluff Tokens in order to summon Fallen Angel of Roses to the field in Attack Mode!”

One of the Fluff Tokens vanished, but was replaced by a new monster.

Fallen Angel of Roses was an elegant, yet dark-looking, angelic female. Her slim yet curvy body was equipped with a dark armored off-the-shoulders dress with matching detached sleeves, knee-high, high heeled boots, and was holding a thorny whip. Her skin was fair, with gleaming eyes, long black hair, and wings made from purple rose petals. She was a Level Seven monster with stats of 2400/1300.

“But I’m not done yet! I activate Sylvan Hermitree’s ability! Once a turn, I can excavate the top card of my deck and reveal it. If it’s a Plant monster, I send it to the Graveyard, and then I can draw one card from my deck. If not, I place it at the bottom of my deck. So let’s see what’s in the cards for me.” She drew a card and revealed it, “It’s my Revival Rose. Since it’s a Plant monster, I can send it to the Graveyard. Then I can draw one more card from my deck.”

She sent Revival Rose to the Graveyard. She then touched her deck and drew a card, looked at it, and added it to her hand.

The younger twin continued, “Now, I Tribute my last Fluff Token in order to summon an old friend of mine: Sylvan Guardioak, in Attack Mode!”

The last Fluff Token vanished, but was replaced by Sylvan Guardioak (2400/1500), who gave his club a swing.

“Now I activate Splendid Rose’s ability! I can banish a Plant monster from my Graveyard in order to slash the Attack of one of your monsters in half. So I banish Acorno in order to slice Legend Arthur’s power right down the middle! So your Chaos Xyz Monster won’t be so tough anymore!”

Acorno vanished from the Graveyard, but this allowed Splendid Rose to lash out her thorny whips at Legend Arthur, ensnaring and stabbing him. He roared in pain as his power dropped by half to 1500 before the thorny vines retracted.

Vanessa looked alarmed, “No way! I just put him on the field! Now he’s the weakest monster on the field!”

Fiona grinned, “Yep. Do you think after all the Duels you’ve bothered us with we wouldn’t know how to get rid of your Chaos Xyz Monsters by now? And I’m going to do just that! Splendid Rose, attack Legend Arthur with Aerial Twist!”

Splendid Rose started to spin like a top, her thorny vines becoming dangerous whips. She then spun closer to Legend Arthur, mercilessly slashing and striking the Chaos Xyz Monster.

Vanessa stated, “My Legend Arthur won’t go down without a fight! Once a turn, if he would be destroyed in battle, he can’t be destroyed!”

“That still won’t stop me! And that still won’t stop you from taking damage!”

While Legend Arthur endured the attack, the shockwaves from the attack, struck Vanessa herself, causing her to skid back slightly as her Life Points dropped by 700 to 1500.

“Now, Fallen Angel of Roses, attack Legend Arthur! Give him a taste of your power!”

Fallen Angel of Roses gave her thick whip a swing before slamming it down upon Legend Arthur. The attack struck hard, causing Legend Arthur to cry out as he vanished from the field. Vanessa looked horrified as her Life Points dropped by 900 to a mere 400.

Cody cheered, “Way to play, Fiona! You just junked that Chaos Xyz Monster!”

Jack added, “Keep it up, girl! You can knock her out of this Duel in no time!”

Fiona gave them a thumbs up, “I intend to do that.” She turned back to the Duel, “My powerful Plants aren’t quite finished with you yet, Vanessa. Sylvan Hermitree, take out Sacred Artorigus!”

Sylvan Hermitree shook its massive head, sending leaves all over the place. The leaves then became sharp projectiles which were launched at Sacred Artorigus. He was shredded mercilessly by the attack, vanishing from the field, leaving a horrified Vanessa.

The obnoxious girl sputtered, “This can’t be! One more attack and I’m done for!”

“And that’s what I intend to do, Vanessa!” Fiona stated strongly. “Sylvan Guardioak, attack Vanessa directly! Knock her out of this Duel with your club!”

Sylvan Guardioak charged in, club held high, ready to slam it down upon the defenseless Vanessa.

Roger stated, “I won’t let you take out my partner like that, you twerp! I activate the Trap: Metal Reflect Slime! As you know, this Trap is also a monster with 3000 Defense Points, all of which are going to defend my partner from defeat!”

The Metal Reflect Slime (0/3000) appeared on the field. It jumped in front of Guardioak’s attack, blocking it, saving Vanessa. At the same time, the impact of the attack backfired on Fiona, pushing her back slightly as her Life Points dropped by 600 to 2200. Vanessa gave a sigh of relief.

She turned to Roger, “Whew… nice save, Roger. I owe you one.”

He gave her a thumbs-up, “No sweat. That’s what partners do, after all. So that gives you another chance to fight back.”

Fiona sighed, “I guess I should’ve figured that you’d have a Metal Reflect Slime on the field, as you always do. So be it. I place one card face-down to end my turn.”

Roger touched his deck, “Then I’ll take things from here! I Draw! And since I drew a card during my Draw Phase, my Shard of Greed gains one more Greed Counter, giving it two!”

The counter above Shard of Greed increased from one to two.

“Now I send my Shard of Greed to the Graveyard in order to draw two more cards from my deck.”

Shard of Greed vanished, but this caused his deck to glow, allowing him to draw two more cards. He looked at them, his eyes widening.

“You’re in for it now, kids. But first, I activate another Metal Reflect Slime Trap! Like the last one, this Trap becomes a powerful monster for me to use!”

The second Metal Reflect Slime (0/3000) appeared on the field.

Roger grinned, “I think you know what happens next, don’t you, kiddies? If not, I’ll tell you. I Overlay my two Level Ten Metal Reflect Slimes! With these two monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon Skypalace Gangaridai in Attack Mode!”

Both Metal Reflect Slimes became blue orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged Skypalace Gangaridai (3400/3000), just as powerful-looking as always.

“Now I activate Gangaridai’s ability! Once a turn, I can use one Overlay Unit to destroy one monster and hit that player with 1000 points of damage! The catch is that Gangaridai can’t attack in the turn it used this ability. But I have a way around that. So I’ll take out Splendid Rose! Torrent Torpedo!”

Gangaridai absorbed an Overlay Unit before firing its large ship-like torpedo. It slammed into Splendid Rose, destroying her instantly, sending Fiona flying in the process. The younger twin crashed to the ground as her Life Points dropped by 1000 to 1200. She, however, wasn’t done.

“I’ll return the favor in full, Roger!” she started strongly. “I activate the Trap: Doppelganger! Whenever I’m damaged by a monster effect, I can deal you the same amount of damage! So you’re about to take the same hit that I did!”

The Trap fired a beam at Roger, slamming into him, knocking him back, his Life Points dropping by 1000 to 2100.

“But wait, there’s more! I activate Revival Rose’s ability from the Graveyard! If a Level Five or higher Plant monster I control is destroyed, I can Special Summon my Revival Rose to the field! So I think I’ll summon this new monster to the field in Defense Mode!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing a new monster to emerge.

Revival Rose was a very simple-looking monster consisting of three large, connected roses, each with a single eye in the middle, a thorn-covered body, and small roots. It was a Level Four monster with stats of 1300/1300.

Roger growled, “Not bad, but not good enough! Now I activate the Spell: Mystical Space Typhoon! I shall blow away one Spell or Trap on the field! So I choose to blow away the card on the right! Say goodbye to whatever it may be!”

A mighty typhoon formed on the field. It slammed into one of Fiona’s face-down card, revealing it to be Wall of Thorns, before destroying it.

“That Wall of Thorns would’ve been useful, but now it’s gone. So that means I’m free to wipe you out, girl!” He then took a card from his hand, “And this is the perfect card to do that! I activate the Spell: Rank-Up-Magic Barian’s Force! I can Rank-Up my Xyz Monster into a Chaos Xyz Monster! So I rebuild the Overlay Network with Rank Ten Skypalace Gangaridai! Go, Chaos Xyz Evolution! I Xyz Summon CXyz Skypalace Babylon in Attack Mode!”

Gangaridai became a bolt of energy and entered the newly opened Overlay Network. It erupted with power. Deep within the Overlay Network, the chained Barian Gate burst open, releasing a flood of energy that bathed Gangaridai, encasing it in a green orb. Before long, out emerged CXyz Skypalace Babylon (3800/4000), armed and ready for battle.

He gained a sinister grin, “You’re in for it now, kiddies. Babylon, attack Sylvan Hermitree! Turn it into chopped lumber! Destiny Demolisher!”

Skypalace Babylon started to charge up energy, took aim, and fired the massive beam. Fiona, however, was smiling.

“I knew you couldn’t resist attacking, so here’s another Trap for you!” she stated. “I activate the Trap: Negate Attack! And like its name states, it negates your attack and ends the Battle Phase! So Babylon won’t be striking anyone down this turn!”

A spiraling vortex appeared, swallowing up Babylon’s attack, protecting Hermitree. Roger couldn’t help but growl in annoyance.

He said, “You got out of that one. But you can’t escape my attacks forever. I place one card face-down to end my turn.”

Leo touched his deck, “Then I’ll take over from here! I Draw! First I’ll activate the Spell: Pot of Greed! I can draw two more cards from my deck.” He drew two cards, looked at them, his eyes widening, before deciding what to do, “Time to really make a splash! I activate the Ritual Spell: Fortress Whale’s Oath! By Tributing monsters whose total Levels equal seven or more, I can Ritual Summon a powerful beast to the field! So I Tribute my Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls in my hand in order to Ritual Summon Fortress Whale in Attack Mode!”

Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls appeared briefly on the field before being swallowed up by a waterspout. The waterspout was then lifted off the ground, revealing an altar underneath it. Out of the waterspout emerged a massive creature.

Fortress Whale was a giant monster. It resembled a cross between a sperm whale and a narwhal, with a dark blue body, a long spear on its snout, a gaping mouth full of sharp teeth, and large fins. On its back was a fortress with several gun turrets. It was a Level Seven monster with stats of 2350/2150.

“But I’m not done yet! I activate Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls’ ability from the Graveyard! I can Special Summon it by banishing two WATER and/or Dragon monsters from my hand or Graveyard. I have to return it to my hand during your next End Phase, however. But that doesn’t worry me one bit. So I choose to banish two of my Big Jaws in order to summon my mighty dragon in Attack Mode!”

Two Big Jaws vanished from the Graveyard, but this allowed Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls (2600/2000) to emerge from the Graveyard Portal and onto the field.

Leo grinned, “Now for the really fun part! I Overlay my Level Seven Fortress Whale and Tidal! With these two monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon Mermail Abyssgaios in Attack Mode!”

Both Fortress Whale and Tidal became blue orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged a new monster.

Mermail Abyssgaios was a mighty-looking monster. Its upper half was that of a muscular male warrior in strong light blue armor that covered his chest, shoulders, and lower arms, with a matching crown on top of his head. His skin was tan, his face was sharp, with long grey hair and matching beard, and was holding a large trident. His lower half was that of a blue scaled sea dragon, making it similar to a centaur, with four legs ending in sharp claws, spikes on the back, a long whip-like tail, and was equipped with strong armor. Orbiting him were two blue orbs of light. He was a Rank Seven monster with stats of 2800/1600.

Cody looked surprised, “I didn’t know Leo had that monster in his arsenal! That brute looks like he could flood the entire world!”

Jack nodded, “Yeah, you can say that again, Cody!”

Leo grinned, “If you think my Mermail Abyssgaios is tough now, just wait until you see the extra addition I’m putting on him. I activate the Spell: Aqua Jet! This Spell boosts the power of any Fish, Aqua, or Sea Serpent monster by 1000 points. Plus the power boost is permanent. So that means my Mermail Abyssgaios is now on par with Babylon!”

Two water jets formed on Mermail Abyssgaios’ back, making him cry out in triumph as his power increased by 1000 to 3800.

“Now, Abyss Dweller, attack Vanessa directly!”

Abyss Dweller charged up energy in its mouth, took aim, and fired it at the defenseless Vanessa.

Roger stated, “I won’t let that happen! I activate the Trap: Negate Attack! Just like when you used it, this Trap negates your attack and ends your Battle Phase! So you won’t be striking down my partner anytime soon!”

The same spiraling vortex appeared, swallowing up Abyss Dweller’s attack, preventing it from reaching Vanessa. The obnoxious girl gave another sigh of relief.

She said, “Thanks, Roger, nice save.”

Leo shrugged, “Whatever. At least I got Roger to use up his face-down card. So I place one card face-down on the field to end my turn. That’s all for now.”

Vanessa touched her deck, “Then I’m not wasting any time! I Draw!” She looked at her new card, grinning, “This’ll put a crimp in your day. I activate the Spell: Monster Reborn! I revive my CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur in Attack Mode!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur (3000/2400) to emerge from it.

“Now, attack Fiona’s Sylvan Guardioak! Chop it down like a tree!”

Legend Arthur raised his sword up and slammed it down upon Guardioak, bisecting the bulky monster. Guardioak vanished in a flurry of sparkles, causing Fiona to flinch as her Life Points dropped by half to just 600.

“That’s all for now.”

The younger twin touched her deck, “Then it’s my turn, I Draw! I activate Pot of Greed! Now I can draw two more cards from my deck.” She drew two cards, looked at them, and picked on of them, “I summon my Twilight Rose Knight to the field in Attack Mode!”

A new monster appeared. Twilight Rose Knight was a female knight with pale skin, light blue hair, and strong eyes. She was wearing dark armor that revealed her midriff and legs, knee-high boots, a white cape, a trident-like headpiece, and was holding a sword. She was a Level Three monster with stats of 1000/1000.

Vanessa observed, “That’s a Tuner Monster. Are you going to Synchro Summon again?”

Fiona nodded, “Yep, that’s what I’m going to do. I tune my Twilight Rose Knight to my Revival Rose! I Synchro Summon Black Rose Dragon in Attack Mode!”

Twilight Rose Knight became three green rings, which Revival Rose entered. It became an outline of itself before transforming into for orbs of light, followed by a burst of light, and out emerged Black Rose Dragon (2400/1800).

Roger looked alarmed, “You’re not going to nuke the field, are you!?”

Fiona shook her head, “No, I have other plans in mind. But first, I activate the Spell: Enemy Controller! I can either change the Battle Mode of one monster on your field or Tribute a monster in order to take control of one of your monsters. I think I’ll go with the first choice and switch Legend Arthur to Defense Mode.”

The game controller appeared before several buttons were pressed, which caused Legend Arthur to shift to a defensive position.

“Now I activate Black Rose Dragon’s other ability! I can banish a Plant monster from my Graveyard in order to force a monster you control into Attack Mode! And it gets worse, as that monster’s Attack Power drops to zero. So I banish Revival Rose in order to switch Legend Arthur back into Attack Mode, but this time he’ll have zero Attack Points.”

Revival Rose vanished from the Graveyard, but this allowed Black Rose Dragon to release several thorny vines that ensnared Legend Arthur. These vines forced Legend Arthur back into Attack Mode, but also drained him of his power, leaving him with zero Attack Points. Vanessa looked horrified.

“T-This can’t be!” she sputtered. “If my Legend Arthur is attacked now, then I’m out of the Duel!”

Fiona smiled, “And that’s exactly what I intend to do! Black Rose Dragon, attack Legend Arthur! While Legend Arthur will survive the attack, you won’t be as fortunate, Vanessa!”

Black Rose Dragon summoned up flames in its mouth, took aim, and fired them at Legend Arthur. Legend Arthur managed to weather the attack, but the flames knocked Vanessa back, screaming. She landed in a heap on the ground, her Life Points dropping down to zero.

Fiona then stated, “I’m not done yet! Hermitree, attack Roger’s hidden monster!”

Hermitree shook its massive head, releasing several leaves, which then became sharp projectiles. They were launched at the hidden monster, which was revealed shortly before hand. It looked like a cluster of circuit boards with some sort of creature nestled in between them. It was a Level Three monster with stats of 200/1400. It was destroyed instantly, but Roger was smiling.

“Thanks,” the punk grinned. “I was wondering when one of you would attack my Electromagnetic Bagworm. Now I can activate its ability! When it’s destroyed in battle, the monster responsible looses 500 Attack and Defense Points. So that means your Hermitree is about to be cut down to size!”

Hermitree was struck with several electrical energy bolts, causing it to groan in pain, its power dropping by 500 to 2200/1300.

Fiona grimaced, “Okay, not good. I place one card face-down and switch my Fallen Angel of Roses to Defense Mode. That’s all for now.”

Vanessa turned to Roger, “You have to win this Duel, Roger! Otherwise we’re both out of the tournament!”

Roger nodded, “Right! Leave it to me!” He touched his deck, “I’m gonna get this Duel back on track! I Draw! Now, Skypalace Babylon, attack Black Rose Dragon! Destiny Demolisher!”

Babylon started to charge up energy in its main cannon, took aim, and fired.

Fiona stated, “I won’t go down without a fight! I activate the Trap: Shift! This Trap redirects your attack to another monster! So I think I’ll…” but was cut off.

“Fiona!” Leo called out. “Redirect the attack to my Abyss Dweller!”

She turned to him, alarmed, “But that’ll put you at risk! I can’t do that, Leo!”

“Trust me, I have a plan! So please, use your Shift Trap to redirect the attack to my Abyss Dweller! I’ll be fine, just please do this!”

Fiona closed her eyes, gritting her teeth, trying to talk herself out of it. She opened her eyes and nodded.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, big brother…” she said. “Okay, I redirect the attack to Leo’s Abyss Dweller!”

The attack shifted away from Black Rose Dragon. It instead struck Abyss Dweller, causing it to be engulfed in a fiery blast. Leo was thrown off his feet before landing in a heap on the ground, his Life Points dropped by 1600 to 800.

Roger sneered, “Trying to be the big hero, kid? Well it’ll cost you! I activate Babylon’s…” but was cut off.

Leo grinned, “I was hoping you’d do that! So I activate my Trap: Oh F!sh! Whenever my opponent would activate a monster effect, I can return one banish Fish, Aqua, or Sea Serpent monster to my deck to negate the ability and destroy the monster! So I return one of my Big Jaws in order to negate and destroy Babylon! So say goodbye to your Chaos Xyz Monster!”

Big Jaws was returned to Leo’s deck, but this caused Babylon to short circuit. It then erupted in a fiery blast, causing Roger to go flying, landing in a heap on the ground. After the smoke cleared, showing that Babylon was gone, Roger got back up and returned to his original position.

He said through gritted teeth, “That… was impressive. You took the hit for your sister just so you can turn around and use your Trap. Now I’m really mad. So, for now, I place two cards face-down on the field to end my turn.” He, however, said mentally, “Heheheh, when that runt tries to attack me directly next turn, I’ll spring my newest Trap: Blazing Mirror Force, on him. I won this little beauty during this tournament. Whenever the opponent declares an attack, this Trap activates, destroying all monsters he and his sister have that are in Attack Mode. While it would mean that I take damage equal to half their combined Attack Points, they would, too. Plus my other face-down card is Barrel Behind the Door, which will instead redirect all the damage I would’ve taken to them, essentially hitting them twice. And since both of them have less than 1000 Life Points left, it’ll wipe them both out. So come and get me, kid.”

Leo touched his deck, thinking, “I know one of those face-down cards is a Trap, so if I attack, I could be walking right into it. Please, deck, give me something that’ll help end this Duel. Please…” He then said aloud, “I Draw!” He looked at his new card before giving a cheer, “Yeah! That’s the stuff! You’re in for it now, Roger! I activate the Spell: Heavy Storm! This mighty storm blows away all Spells and Traps on the field! Which means your face-down cards are about to be blown out of the water, leaving you defenseless!”

Roger could only watch in horror as a mighty storm formed on the field. It caused both of his face-down cards and Fiona’s Doppelganger to be destroyed.

“I… I’m wide open!” Roger choked.

Leo grinned, “That’s right. Any last requests? Too bad. Mermail Abyssgaios, attack Roger directly! End this Duel now!”

Mermail Abyssgaios charged in, the Aqua Jet making him faster, before he got into Roger’s face. Roger could only watch as Abyssgaios raised up his trident and slammed it into the punk, sending him flying. He crashed in a heap on the ground, his Life Points dropping down to zero. A “Win” screen appeared, showing Leo and Fiona, before the Augmented Reality vanished. Cody and Jack exchanged a high-five, while Leo gave Fiona a thumbs-up, which she returned. On the rooftop, Tempest did a little victory dance while Django merely smiled approvingly. Cody and the others then approached Roger and Vanessa, who scornfully looked up at them.

The redhead stated, “Okay, a deal’s a deal. Cough up your Star Pieces and Chaos Xyz Monsters.”

Vanessa wailed, “This can’t be happening! First we lost to Django and Tempest, and now the twerp twins!? We’re out of the tournament now!”

Jack cracked his knuckles threateningly, “Tough luck, you two. Now hand over what you promised to Leo and Fiona, or we’ll make you do it the hard way.”

The two defeated Duelists reluctantly tossed a card and their last Star Pieces to Leo and Fiona. They got up and started to walk away. It was at that moment Leo noticed something.

“Hey! Wait a minute!” he exclaimed. “This isn’t Babylon! It’s Barrel Dragon!”

Fiona looked at her card, her eyes widening, “And this isn’t Legend Arthur, but Lady of the Lake! Since when did Vanessa have this card?”

They all looked ahead angrily, but they noticed that the two lowlifes had long since bolted, running away at top speed.

Cody roared, “Those underhanded cheaters! I should’ve known they’d try somethin’ like this! Why when I get my hands on them, they’ll be sorry!”

Jack nodded, “That goes double for me! Those slippery, double-crossing rattlesnakes! They will pay for this deception!”

Leo sighed in defeat, “Forget it, you two. We should’ve known they wouldn’t honor their end of the deal. I bet they pulled the same stunt on Django and Tempest, since they mentioned that they lost to them previously. But I should’ve known they’d end up weaseling their way out of paying up.”

Fiona sighed, “We all should’ve seen this coming. They may Duel fairly, but they certainly don’t have any decent sportsmanship in defeat. But what’s really important is that we got two more Star Pieces. They’re more important than the cards, as we need them to reach the finals. So I guess we’ll just have to take what we can get.”

Cody growled, “Yeah, but the next time we tangle with them, they’ll be sorry.”

Leo and Fiona merely shrugged, placing their newest Star Piece in with their other ones, giving them a total of four. Meanwhile, on the rooftop, Tempest was fuming at what just happened.

“Those cheating rats!” she roared. “I should’ve known they’d do the same thing to Leo and Fiona like when we Dueled them! When I get my hands on Vanessa, I’ll ring her neck! Those two deserve no mercy!”

Django merely brushed it off, “Don’t blow a gasket over it, Tempest. That’s just how those two nitwits function, so it’s not worth the expended oxygen. Sure, that means they’re still a threat to us, but we’ve managed to defeat them time and time again, so it’s not like we’re unfamiliar with what they’ll do to escape punishment. Besides, I’m satisfied with the results regardless. Leo and Fiona knocked those two out of the tournament, so we don’t have to worry about those two for the rest of the tournament. Plus Leo and Fiona have grown quite a bit since we first met, and that alone is enough.”

Tempest nodded, “Yeah, you’ve got a point there, Django. But I’m still gonna give Vanessa what for. But, like you said, at least we don’t have to worry about them butting in anymore for a while.”

“Right, so let’s go. We have more Duels to win.”

Django opened up a Warp Gate, allowing both of them to leave the area, but not before taking one last look at the gang.

Next Chapter: Checkmate
42) Sibling Smackdown
The Tag Duel between Leo/Fiona and Roger/Vanessa reaches a conclusion. Who will prevail? And will those two ever learn?
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Twin Times the Fun

Cody, Jack, Leo, and Fiona were taking a break, having some lunch. They were sitting at a stone table near where several food vendors had set up shop. They each had something different to eat: Cody was having a double cheeseburger with fries, Jack was having two hot dogs with onion rings, Leo was having fried chicken strips with chili fries, and Fiona was having fried shrimp with cole slaw. All four were drinking sodas. They were discussing their progress so far.

Cody stated, after taking a bite from his burger, “We’ve done pretty good so far. The preliminaries aren’t even half over and we’re just a few pieces away from makin’ it to the Top 16 matches.”

Leo nodded, “Yeah, even after our slow start, since we had to spend some time recruiting the Psykinox Lords to our cause. Guess we’ve just been lucky so far.”

“I wonder how Django and Tempest are doing,” Fiona pondered. “We haven’t heard from them in a little bit, so I hope nothing has happened.”

Jack replied, “I’m sure they’re fine. If something had happened, we probably would’ve heard from them, or at least from Tempest. But both are as tough as steel, so I’m more worried about watching our backs versus worrying about theirs. Not saying we’re not tough, but we’re a bit more vulnerable than Django and Tempest are, even though Django is the biggest target in Lucifer’s eyes.”

“Relax, Jack, we’ll be fine,” Cody said, waving his hand. “We’ve gotten out of lots of Lucifer’s traps and tricks, and we’ve still got all our pieces intact. So we’ll be ready for him when he decides to rear his ugly mug.”

Fiona stated, “Still, we need to stay alert. Both Lucifer and Number 96 have a nasty habit of surprising us; even after all our experience in dealing with them. So we can’t truly relax until we know we’ve got the upper hand. And even then we have to play our cards right to ensure we keep it that way.”

“Fiona’s right, we can’t get too cocky,” Leo nodded. “Who knows what else is in store for us, so we best not get ahead of ourselves, otherwise it’ll be that much worse when we fail.”

“Guess you got a point…” Cody said, a bit crestfallen. “But still, we’ve managed to overcome every obstacle Lucifer has thrown at us, so we do deserve a little pat on the back. But I guess we better be like D-Man and not let accomplishments stroke our egos.”

Nodding, they resumed eating. However, unknown to them, two familiar faces were watching them.

Roger and Vanessa were lurking in a nearby alleyway, eyeing the group. They were plotting their next move.

Vanessa stated, “Okay, this time we’ll get them for sure. We may be down to our last Star Piece, but we can still do this. I say we go after the two runts, Leo and Fiona, first. They’re the weakest of the group, especially Fiona, so we stand a much better chance at strong-arming them and taking them down.”

“I hope this works… especially after our last defeat at the hands of Django’s newest technique…” Roger grumbled. “What was it again? Pendulum-Fusion? How does he keep doing that? How can he keep evolving his strategies almost on a whim? Because of that, no one can ever gain an advantage against him. Even Kain, who is a world-renowned Duelist can only gain the upperhand for a few minutes before Django swoops in with a new ability and wipes Kain out.”

“Well at least the rest of the loser patrol can’t Pendulum Summon,” Vanessa said. “So that means their tactics are still the same, more or less. And after all the Duels we’ve had with them, we know most of their cards by now. So let’s wait until they’re done eating and pounce on them when they least expect it.”

The duo waited for about five more minutes before Cody and the others had finished eating. After discarding the food trays, they started to leave, but that’s what the duo wanted. They suddenly charged in, getting right in front of the Legendary Number Hunters. As soon as they did, the group of four gained sour looks.

“Not you two dimwits again…” Jack groaned.

Fiona sighed, “Don’t you two ever give up on your childish desire for revenge?”

Vanessa laughed, “We’ll never quit until we get our way! So prepare to lose! We challenge you, Leo and Fiona, to a Tag Duel! Let’s see if you two twerps can keep up with us!”

Leo turned to his sister, an annoyed look on his face, “Shall we mop the floor with them, sis?”

She replied, “Yes, I do believe we should. Besides, according to Kain’s rules, we have to accept all challenges until we gather a completed Star Piece. So even if we don’t want to Duel them, which we don’t, we have to accept their challenge.”

The older twin turned to the duo, “So what’s the wager?”

Roger sneered, “We wager a Star Piece each and our Chaos Xyz Monsters! That oughta motivate ya! And you?”

“I’ll wager a Star Piece and my Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls,” Leo stated.

Fiona added, “And I’ll wager a Star Piece and my Black Rose Dragon.”

Vanessa grinned, “Fine with us. Those cards will make lovely additions to our decks. So let’s get this Tag Duel underway! The sooner we flatten you, the sooner we can get our revenge!”

The two sides put a bit of distance between each other, arming themselves with their respective Dueling equipment. Cody and Jack were watching from the sidelines.

“Augmented Reality Visual link established.”

All four drew their starting hands, Life Points set to 4000.

“Let’s Duel!”

Jack called out, “Come on, you two! Crush these two nitwits!”

Cody added, “You can do it! Show Roger and Vanessa the price they’ll pay for revenge!”

Vanessa touched her deck, “We’ll see who gets crushed! I’m going first! I Draw!” She looked at her new card before playing it, “I summon my new friend Merlin in Attack Mode!”

A new monster appeared. Merlin was a wizard-like man with a long white beard with matching long hair, fierce eyes, and was wearing purple wizard robes with a magical staff to complete the look. He was a Level Three monster with stats of 1400/500.

“But he won’t be around for long, as I activate his special ability! I can Tribute him in order to summon any Noble Knight monster I want from my deck. The catch is I cannot Special Summon any other monsters, except Noble Knights, for the rest of the turn. So I Tribute Merlin in order to summon my Noble Knight Eachtar from my deck in Attack Mode!”
Merlin waved his staff, releasing a large amount of energy from it, causing him to vanish. A card was ejected from Vanessa’s D-Pad, which she played, replacing the wizard with a new monster.

Noble Knight Eachtar was a heroic-looking warrior with short brown hair, strong eyes, a powerful body, and was donning gold and silver armor with a cape and sharp double-edged sword. He was a Level Five monster with stats of 1600/2000.

“But the fun is just getting started!” the obnoxious girl grinned. “I activate Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms' effect from my hand! I can equip this monster onto a Noble Knight monster I control. It gains 300 extra Attack Points! But that’s not the only ability she has, but you’ll find that out later. So I equip her to my Noble Knight Eachtar!”

A new monster appeared briefly on the field. Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms was an elegant queen or royal figure, with long brown hair in twin braids, fair skin, shining, bright eyes, and a slim but curvy body. She was garbed in an off the shoulders white gown with matching detached sleeves, a pinkish red shawl draped over her arms and her back, and elegant shoes. She was a Level Two monster with stats of 300/300. She embraced Eachtar from behind, seemingly infusing him with power, his strength increasing by 300 to 1900, before she vanished from the field.

Vanessa took another card from her hand, “If you think that’s good, then wait ‘till you see my next move! I activate the Equip Spell: Noble Arms – Caliburn! You’re probably familiar with this card, but in case you’ve forgotten, this Equip Spell boosts the power of one Warrior monster by 500 points! Plus, once a turn, I can use it to gain 500 extra Life Points! So I equip it to my Eachtar, making him quite the powerhouse!”

The Caliburn sword appeared on the field. Eachtar grabbed it, giving it a swing, his strength increasing by 500 to 2400.

“I think I’ll use Caliburn’s ability right now! So I increase my Life Points by 500, making me unbeatable!”

Caliburn released several sparkles that rained down upon Vanessa, making her smirk as her Life Points increased by 500 to 4500.

“I wrap up my turn by activating the Spell: Shard of Greed. That’s enough for now.”

Fiona touched her deck, “You may have a monster with over 2000 points on the field, but that doesn’t scare us! I Draw!” She took a different card from her hand, “By sending Pinecono to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon Acorno to the field in Attack Mode!”

She discarded Pinecono from her hand, allowing Acorno (200/400) to appear on the field.

“Now, because I sent Pinecono to the Graveyard in order to activate Acorno’s ability, I can revive Pinecono and summon it to the field in Attack Mode!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing Pinecono (400/200) to appear, standing next to Acorno.

Fiona took a card from her hand, “But don’t blink, you may just miss them. For I Tribute both in order to summon my Sylvan Hermitree to the field in Attack Mode!”

Both Acorno and Pinecono vanished from the field, but were replaced by the mighty Sylvan Hermitree (2700/1800), who looked down upon Eachtar with mild disappointment.

“Next up, I activate my Hermitree’s ability! Once a turn, I can excavate the top card of my deck. If it’s a Plant monster, I can send it to the Graveyard, then draw one card. If not, I place it at the bottom of my deck. So let’s see what in the cards for me.” She touched her deck, drew a card, and revealed it, “It’s my Sylvan Bladefender. So I send it to the Graveyard. And I can draw one more card.”

She sent Sylvan Bladefender to the Graveyard, but this allowed her to draw one more card.

“But I’m not done yet. Because my Bladefender was sent from the deck to the Graveyard due to a card effect, I can add it to my hand. So I’m going to do just that.”

Her Infinity Disk’s Graveyard slot ejected Sylvan Bladefender, which she revealed before adding it to her hand. She then took two other cards from her hand.

“I end my turn with two cards face-down on the field. That’s all for now.”

Roger touched his deck, “If you think that’s good, I’ll show you something wickedly awesome! I Draw!” He took a different card from his hand, “I activate the Spell: Ancient Rules! This mighty Spell allows me to Special Summon any Level Five or higher Normal Monster from my hand. So I choose the mighty Zoa in Attack Mode!”

Zoa (2600/1900) appeared on the field, just as mean and ugly as usual.

“Next, I place one monster face-down on the field. And to wrap up my turn, I activate my own Shard of Greed. That’s all…” but was cut off.

Fiona stated, “I have a little Trap action for you! I activate Dust Tornado! This storm blows away one Spell or Trap on the field! So I choose to blast Gwenhwyfar, Queen of Noble Arms, as she counts as a Spell while equipped to your monster! So say goodbye to Gwenhwyfar, and 300 Attack Points, Vanessa!”

A mighty tornado formed on the field. It slammed into Vanessa’s side of the field, shattering her Gwenhwyfar card, causing the regal monster to cry out as she vanished. This caused Noble Knight Eachtar to lose 300 points, leaving it with 2100 points. Vanessa gained a scowl.

“You’ll pay for that, brat!” she snarled.

Roger merely said, “Whatever, I end my turn. Let’s see what you’ve got, twerp.”

Leo touched his deck, “Oh, I’ve got plenty to show! It’s my turn, I Draw!” He took a different card from his hand, “I summon the Unshaven Angler to the field in Attack Mode!”

Unshaven Angler (1500/1600) appeared on the field.

“Next up, I activate the Spell: Double Summon! This allows me to Normal Summon twice this turn. So I’ll go right ahead and Tribute my Unshaven Angler in order to summon my Big Whale to the field in Attack Mode!”

Unshaven Angler vanished, but was replaced by Big Whale (1000/3000) that emerged from a rippling portal. It gave a deep cry as it splashed onto the field.

“But it won’t be around for long, for I activate Big Whale’s ability! I can Tribute it in order to summon three Level Three WATER monsters from my deck with their abilities negated. So I Tribute Big Whale in order to summon three Big Jaws to the field in Attack Mode!”

Big Whale dove into another rippling portal, but this caused Leo’s Infinity Disk to eject three cards, which he played, summoning a trio of Big Jaws (1800/300) to the field. They all released several sparkles from their bodies, indicating that their abilities were negated.

“So you’re now going to Overlay those three monsters to summon an Xyz Monster?” Vanessa huffed. “Typical.”

Leo grinned, “Not quite, Vanessa. In fact, you’re way off. I have bigger plans than that. So I’ll end my turn with two cards face-down and activate Mirage of Nightmare. That’s all for now.”

Jack wondered, “Why did Leo not Overlay at least two of his Big Jaws? He could’ve easily summoned a monster like Black Ray Lancer, but he instead left himself open, as those Big Jaws are the weakest monsters on the field.”

“I think Leo’s got a plan,” Cody stated. “The kid’s got good instincts, and he’s pretty sharp. So I bet he’s got a plan to use those three Big Jaws to his advantage. Maybe even bait those two dimwits into attackin’ so they’ll walk into a Trap.”

Vanessa huffed, “You should’ve used your monsters for an Xyz Summon, kid. But I guess you’ll just have to learn the hard way. I Draw…” but was cut off.

Leo stated, “My Mirage of Nightmare kicks in! I can draw until I’m holding four cards in my hand!” He drew four cards, looked at them, before continuing, “Now I activate Emergency Provisions! So I send Mirage of Nightmare to the Graveyard and gain 1000 extra Life Points! So you’re not the only one who has fortified one’s Life Points!”

Mirage of Nightmare vanished from the field, but sparkles rained down upon Leo, increasing his Life Points by 1000 to 5000.

Vanessa huffed, “Whatever. It’ll take more than a few extra Life Points to beat us, kid. So let’s move on, shall we? Since I drew a card during my Draw Phase, my Shard of Greed gains one Greed Counter.”

The counter above Shard of Greed increased from zero to one.

“Now I activate the Spell: Pot of Greed. I can draw two more cards from my deck.” She drew two cards, looked at them, then continued, “Next up, I activate Caliburn’s effect. I gain an additional 500 Life Points.”

Caliburn started to glow, releasing several sparkles that rained down upon Vanessa. Her Life Points increased by 500 to 5000.

She then smirked, “You thought you got rid of my Gwenhwyfar with your Dust Tornado, didn’t you, Fiona? Well, you’re wrong. I activate Gwenhwyfar’s ability from the Graveyard! I can equip her to any Noble Knight monster I choose, even when she’s in the Graveyard! So it doesn’t matter that she was destroyed earlier, because she can keep coming back! So I equip her to Eachtar once again!”

Gwenhwyfar emerged from the Graveyard Portal, embraced Eachtar from behind, infusing him with more power, before she vanished. Eachtar’s power increased by 300 to 2400.

“Next I summon Noble Knight Medraut to the field in Attack Mode!”

Noble Knight Medraut (1700/1000) appeared on the field.

Vanessa then pointed at Leo, “Okay Eachtar! Attack one of the Big Jaws! Turn it into fish sticks!”

Eachtar raised up his sword and charged in. However, Leo was smiling.

“You fell for my Trap!” he smirked. “I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist attacking my Big Jaws, so I laid a Trap for you! I activate Poseidon Wave! Whenever you attack me, I can negate the attack, and then deal you 800 points of damage for each WATER monster on my field!”

Cody smirked, “Nice thinkin’, little buddy! Since there are three Big Jaws, all of which are WATER monsters, you purposely left them that way so your Poseidon Wave could do that much more damage!”

“Yep, that’s right, Cody. That means I can deal a total of 2400 points of damage this turn! And since this is a Tag Duel, I can spread out the damage any way I want. So I choose to have 1600 points go to Vanessa and 800 points go to Roger! Time for a super soaking!”

A shadowy figure appeared on top of a wave. The figure raised up a trident, which caused a massive blast of water and wind. This blast forced Eachtar to stop dead in his tracks. The blast then slammed into Roger and Vanessa, both shielding themselves from the counterattack, barely able to stay on their feet. Roger’s Life Points dropped by 800 to 3200 while Vanessa’s dropped by 1600 to 3400.

Vanessa growled, “You got lucky, kid, so don’t get too excited. I place two cards face-down on the field to end my turn. That’s all for now.”

Fiona touched her deck, “I’ll take things from here! I Draw!” She took a different card from her hand, “I summon my old favorite Sylvan Flowerknight to the field in Attack Mode!”

Sylvan Flowerknight (1800/1000) appeared on the field, giving her sword a swing.

“Now I activate her special ability! Whenever my Flowerknight is Normal Summoned, I can excavate the top card from my deck. If it’s a Plant monster, I send it to the Graveyard. If not, I place it at the bottom of my deck. So let’s see what I get.” She drew a card and revealed it, “I excavated my Dandylion, so I’ll send it to the Graveyard. But this, in turn, activates his special ability! Whenever Dandylion is sent to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon two Fluff Tokens to my side of the field. While they can be used for anything, I cannot use them for a Tribute Summon on the same turn Dandylion was sent to the Graveyard. So I summon both Fluff Tokens to the field in Defense Mode!”

Two fluffy puffs resembling dandelions with cute faces appeared on the field. Each was a Level One monster with stats of 0/0.

She then stated, “Now I activate Sylvan Hermitree’s ability! Just like all my Sylvan monsters, I can excavate the top card of my deck, and if it’s a Plant monster, it goes to the Graveyard. Then I can draw one card from my deck. And if it’s not a Plant monster, it goes to the bottom of my deck. So here goes nothing.” She drew a card and revealed it, “I excavated Spore. So it goes to the Graveyard. Then I draw one more card from my deck.”

She sent Spore to the Graveyard, but this allowed her to draw one more card from her deck.

“But wait, there’s more. I activate Spore’s ability from the Graveyard! I can banish any other Plant monster from my Graveyard to Special Summon it to the field. Plus, my Spore gains Levels equal to the banished monster’s Level. So I’ll banish my Pinecono to summon Spore in Defense Mode! And my Spore becomes a Level Two monster as it gains Pinecono’s Level, which is Level One.”

Pinecono vanished from the Graveyard, but this allowed the Graveyard Portal to open up, with a new monster emerging. Spore looked simply like a blue, puffy spore with large eyes and a cute face, similar to Watapon. It was a Level One monster with stats of 400/800, however, its Level increased by one to Level Two.

“She’s got a Tuner Monster on her field…” Roger observed. “Is that runt gonna Synchro Summon now?”

Fiona grinned, “Guess there’s hope for you yet. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I tune my Spore to my Sylvan Flower Knight! I Synchro Summon a new friend to the field! Say hello to my Splendid Rose, and I’ll put her in Attack Mode!”

Spore became two green rings, which Sylvan Flower Knight entered. She became an outline of herself, then transformed into four glowing orbs, before a burst of light erupted, and a new monster was standing before them.

Splendid Rose was an elegant female monster. She was dressed in dual-colored green and black body armor with a skirt that was split down the middle: green on the left and black on the right, with each sleeve possessing the opposite side’s color. Around her ankles was half of a red rose, so when she put her legs together it created a full rose. Her skin was fair and her hair was a light blonde with green tint, and four thorny vines were attached to her body. She was a Level Six monster with stats of 2200/2000.

“Not too shabby, Fiona. That’s certainly a new monster for ya,” Cody smiled.

Fiona smiled, “She’s more than just a pretty face, for every rose as its thorns. And these thorns are gonna hurt. I activate her special ability! Once a turn, I can banish a Plant monster from my Graveyard to halve one monster’s Attack until the end of the turn. So I banish Spore from my Graveyard in order to slice Eachtar’s Attack right down the middle!”

Spore vanished from the Graveyard, but this caused Splendid Rose’s thorny vines to start glowing. She then lashed them out at Eachtar, ensnaring and piercing his body. He roared in pain as his power was cut in half to 1200 before the thorny vines retracted.

“Now Splendid Rose, attack Eachtar! Aerial Twist!”

Splendid Rose jumped up into the air and started to spin like a top. As she did, her thorny vines became vicious, razor-sharp whips. She then spun directly toward Eachtar. The whips repeatedly struck and slashed Eachtar, slicing him to ribbons before he vanished from the field. The shockwave from the whips struck Vanessa, causing her to skid back, her Life Points dropping by 1000 to 2400.

“I’m far from done, brat!” Vanessa spat. “I activate Noble Arms – Caliburn’s ability from the Graveyard! Whenever it’s destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, I can recover it and equip it to another Noble Knight I control! So I’ll equip it to my Noble Knight Medraut, giving him a 500 point boost!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing the Caliburn sword to emerge. Medraut then grabbed it, infusing him with more power, his strength increasing by 500 to 2200.

“But that’s not all it’ll do to him! Now because my Medraut is equipped with a Noble Arms card, his Level increases by one and his Attribute changes from LIGHT to DARK.”

The stars representing Medraut’s Level changed from four to five, while his Attribute changed from LIGHT to DARK.

Vanessa stated, “But don’t count me out just yet! I activate the Trap: Call of the Haunted, to revive my Noble Knight Eachtar in Attack Mode!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing Noble Knight Eachtar (1600/2000) to reappear on the field.

Vanessa smirked, “Now you’re in for it. I activate Merlin’s ability from the Graveyard! During either turn, I can banish it to do one of two things. I can either immediately Synchro Summon a Noble Knight monster or Xyz Summon a Noble Knight monster, using monsters I currently control. Since I control two Level Five monsters, I’m going to Xyz Summon! So I banish Merlin in order to Overlay my Level Five Eachtar and Medraut! With these two monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus in Attack Mode!”

Both Eachtar and Medraut became purple orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged Sacred Noble Knight of King Artorigus (2200/2200), ready for battle.

Jack looked surprised, “I can’t believe it! Vanessa Xyz Summoned during Fiona’s turn! I didn’t know that was possible or allowed!”

The obnoxious girl grinned darkly, “Well it is, muscle head, thanks to my Merlin.” She redirected her attention back to the Duel, “That’s not all. Sacred Artorigus’ ability now activates! When this monster is Xyz Summoned, I can target any three Noble Arms cards in my Graveyard and equip them to him. So I choose to equip Noble Arms – Caliburn to him!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up, allowing the Caliburn sword to emerge from it. Sacred Artorigus grabbed the sword, which infused him with more power, his strength increasing by 500 to 2700.

“That Caliburn sword just keeps comin’ back fer more!” Cody growled. “No matter how many times it ends up in the Graveyard, it just keeps restorin’ itself.”

“That’s why Caliburn is my favorite Equip Spell, you empty-headed redhead,” Vanessa grinned almost evilly. “It’s the Equip Spell that just won’t quit. So get used to it, as it’s not going anywhere.”

Fiona gave a small growl, “You do realize it’s still my turn. So I’ll go back on the offensive by having Sylvan Hermitree attack Zoa!”

Hermitree shook its massive top, causing several leaves to flutter out of it. They then turned into sharp projectiles and shot at lightning speed toward Zoa. Zoa was mercilessly slashed to ribbons, giving a roar as it vanished from the field. Roger flinched slightly as his Life Points dropped by 100 to 3100.

“I’ll end my turn with one card face-down on the field. That’s enough for one turn.”

Roger touched his deck, “Then let me take things from here! I Draw! And since I drew a card during my Draw Phase, my Shard of Greed goes up by one!”

The counter over Shard of Greed increased from zero to one.

“I’ll make this a quick turn. I place two cards face-down on the field. That’s all for now.”

Leo touched his deck, “That’s it? Then it’s time for me to make a splash! I Draw! First I summon Needle Sunfish to the field in Attack Mode!”

Needle Sunfish (1500/100) appeared on the field.

“And since I summoned a Fish monster, I can Special Summon Shark Stickers to the field in Attack Mode!”

Shark Stickers (200/1000) splashed onto the field.

The older twin smirked, “You’re not the only one with a powerful Xyz Strategy. Time for a double dose of it! I Overlay two of my Big Jaws! With these two monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon Submersible Carrier Aero-Shark in Attack Mode!”

Two of the Big Jaws became blue orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged Submersible Carrier Aero-Shark (1900/1000), just as vicious as always.

“But I’m not done yet! I Overlay my Level Three Big Jaws and Shark Stickers! With these two monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon a brand new friend: Abyss Dweller, in Attack Mode!”

Both Big Jaws and Shark Stickers became blue orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged a new monster.

Abyss Dweller was a dark dragonic creature. Its body was almost completely black, save for glowing neon blue parts such as its horns, claws, and spikes, with glowing yellow eyes, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and strong wings. Orbiting it were two blue orbs of light. It was a Rank Three monster with stats of 1700/1400.

Vanessa huffed, “You just went through a whole lot of trouble for a whole lot of nothing, kid. Both your Xyz Monsters pale in comparison to my Sacred Artorigus.”

Leo grinned, “Don’t be so sure, Vanessa. I now activate Abyss Dweller’s ability! If it was Xyz Summoned using a WATER monster, I can boost the power of all WATER monsters on my side of the field by 500 points!”

As he said that, his three monsters started to glow, their power increasing by 500. Shortly afterward, Aero-Shark was now at 2400, Abyss Dweller at 2200, and Needle Sunfish at 2000.

“That’s still not enough to defeat Sacred Artorigus, twerp!” Roger pointed out. “Looks like you failed at math class.”

The older twin smirked, “That’s what you think, but I have a plan to shut down Artorigus. And I’ll start with this! Needle Sunfish, attack Sacred Artorigus!”

Jack sputtered, “But why would Leo do that!? His Needle Sunfish is weaker than Sacred Artorigus! It’ll just get destroyed!”

Cody, however, was smiling, “Trust me, Jack. I know what Leo’s up to. You seem to be forgettin’ about Needle Sunfish’s ability, which is what Leo wants to use. This’ll hurt a bit, but it won’t hurt as much as you think.”

Needle Sunfish charged it, but was effortless blocked and slashed in half by Sacred Artorigus. Leo flinched slightly as his Life Points dropped by 700 to 4300. However, he was grinning quite broadly.

“I wanted you to destroy Needle Sunfish, Vanessa…” he said slyly. “Because now you’ve activated its ability! Whenever it’s sent to the Graveyard I can decrease the Attack Power of one monster on the field by 500 points. So I choose to weaken Sacred Artorigus!”

In the Graveyard, Needle Sunfish opened up its body, revealing several spikes. It then fired them, which quickly shot out of the newly opened Graveyard Portal. They struck Sacred Artorigus with a vengeance, exploding on contact, weakening him by 500 points to 2200.

Vanessa sputtered, “So that’s what you were angling for!? A suicide attack to weaken my monster!”

Leo smiled, “It was a somewhat risky move, but it works well. As now your Artorigus is vulnerable! Aero-Shark, attack Sacred Artorigus!”

Aero-Shark flew up into the air before charging downward. It slammed its frontal section into Sacred Artorigus, sending him flying. When he crashed to the ground, he vanished in a flurry of sparkles. Vanessa flinched as her Life Points dropped by 200 to 2200.

She stated, “I activate Sacred Artorigus’ ability…” but was cut off.

“Not if I can help it! I activate Abyss Dweller’s other ability! I can use an Overlay Unit to prevent the activation of all card effects that activate in the Graveyard! So Artorigus won’t be using any ability to help you!”

Abyss Dweller ate an Overlay Unit, but this allowed it to fire a beam into the Graveyard Portal, seemingly shackling anything inside of it, preventing Sacred Artorigus from using his ability. Vanessa grimaced at this.

“Awesome! All Leo has to do is attack directly with Abyss Dweller and Vanessa is out of the Duel!” Jack cheered.

Leo smiled, “And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Abyss Dweller, attack Vanessa directly!”

Abyss Dweller reared up, opened its mouth, and prepared to fire.

Vanessa stated, “I won’t go down that easily! I activate the Trap: Miracle’s Wake! If one or more monsters I control were destroyed in battle this turn, I can target one of them and revive it! So I bring back my Sacred Artorigus in Attack Mode!”

The Graveyard Portal opened up again, allowing Sacred Artorigus (2200/2200) to emerge onto the field.

Leo gave a growl, “Drat. Abyss Dweller, cancel your attack!”

Abyss Dweller closed its mouth, ending its attack before it could start.

“I’ll admit that was a swift move. But don’t count us out yet. I place one card face-down to end my turn.”

Roger gave Vanessa a thumbs-up, “Quick thinking, girl, that Trap sure came in handy.”

She replied with a confident smile, “What do you expect from someone as brilliant and beautiful as me?”

“Tempest’s beauty can easily run circles around you without trying…” Fiona responded scornfully. “Not to mention her intelligence is even greater than that, especially compared to yours…”

Vanessa roared, eyes flaring dangerously, “Watch your tongue, you little brat! Or I’ll rip it out! That tramp is NOTHING compared to me!”

“Then how come you always lose to her?” Cody asked sarcastically.

Vanessa, though obviously angry, stated, “Luck! That’s all it is! And I’ll prove it right now! It’s my turn, I Draw! And since I drew a card during my Draw Phase, my Shard of Greed gains another Greed Counter, giving it two!”

The counter above Shard of Greed increased from one to two.

“Now I send my Shard of Greed to the Graveyard in order to draw two more cards from my deck!”

Shard of Greed vanished, but this caused Vanessa’s deck to glow, allowing her to draw two more cards. She looked at them and gained a sinister grin.

“You’re in for it now, you brats. But before I unleash my most devastating creature, I have to set things up, first. So I summon Noble Knight Artorigus to the field in Attack Mode!”

Noble Knight Artorigus (1800/1800) appeared on the field, giving his sword a swing.

“And since I have a LIGHT Attribute Normal Monster on my field, I can Special Summon Noble Knight Gawayn to the field in Defense Mode!”

Noble Knight Gawayn (1900/500) appeared on the field, taking a defensive position.

“Now I Overlay my Noble Knight Artorigus and Gawayn! With these to monsters I build the Overlay Network! I Xyz Summon Comics Hero King Arthur in Attack Mode!”

Both Artorigus and Gawayn became yellow orbs of light, shot up into the air, and entered the red spiral Overlay Network. Out emerged Comics Hero King Arthur (2400/1200), ready for battle.

Jack looked worried, “She’s not about to do what I think she is!”

Vanessa gained another sinister grin, “Yep, you’d be right. I activate the Spell: Rank-Up-Magic Barian’s Force! I can Rank Up and Xyz monster into a Chaos Xyz Monster! So I rebuild the Overlay Network with my Rank Four Comics Hero Legend Arthur! Go, Chaos Xyz Evolution! Arise CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur in Attack Mode!”

King Arthur became a bolt of energy and entered the newly opened Overlay Network. It erupted with power. Deep inside the Overlay Network, the chained Barian Gate suddenly burst open, releasing a flood of energy. The energy bathed King Arthur as it became encircled in the telltale green orb. Out emerged CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur (3000/2400), ready for battle.

Cody grimaced, “I was afraid she’d do that. Now Leo and Fiona have to deal with a Chaos Xyz Monster.”

Vanessa grinned, “It’s only going to get worse! I activate Barian Force’s other ability! I can steal one Overlay Unit from any other Xyz Monster on the field! So I think I’ll snag Abyss Dweller’s last Overlay Unit! That way it can’t stop any effects that activate in the Graveyard!”

Legend Arthur’s Chaos Overlay Units released pinkish electrical tendrils. They struck Abyss Dweller before snagging its last Overlay Unit, transformed it into a Chaos Overlay Unit, and positioned itself next to the other Chaos Overlay Units.

Roger grinned, “You two are in for it now. Do it, Vanessa! Trounce these twerps!”

Vanessa nodded, “With pleasure.” She turned back to the Duel, “And I know just which monster I’m going to crush. Since Fiona’s obviously the weaker of the two, I’ll go after her ‘big’ brother first. That way he can’t help her, since he won’t be able to help himself! CXyz Comics Hero Legend Arthur, attack Submersible Carrier Aero-Shark! Filet that fish into a blue plate special!”

Legend Arthur raised up his sword and slammed it down upon Aero-Shark, bisecting the monster. It then exploded in a fiery blast, engulfing Leo’s side of the field.

Leo stated, “I won’t go down that easily! I activate the Trap: Defense Draw! This card negates the damage I take from battle to zero and I can draw an extra card!”

He drew a card, looked at it, and added it to his hand, before turning his attention back to the Duel.

Vanessa smirked, “That won’t save you, kid. I activate Legend Arthur’s ability! Whenever he destroys a monster in battle, I can use one Chaos Overlay Unit to banish that monster and hit you with damage equal to that monster’s Attack Points. So say goodbye to 1900 Life Points, kid!”

Legend Arthur slammed his blade into a Chaos Overlay Unit before firing a beam at the ground. It caused the Graveyard Portal to open up, allowing Aero-Shark to fly out of it. It then rammed into Leo kamikaze-style, exploding on contact, sending the older twin flying. He crashed in a heap on the ground, dazed, his Life Points dropping by 1900 to 2400.

“Leo! Are you alright!?” Fiona called out.

He replied, “Yeah, I’m okay, just a bit frazzled. But I can still fight, so don’t worry.” He got back up, dusted himself off, and returned to his original position, stating, “It’ll take a lot more than that to keep me down!”

Roger smirked, “Give it up, kid. We’ve got you beat. And when I summon my Chaos Xyz Monster, you two are finished.”

Vanessa nodded, “Agreed. So make this easy on yourselves and give up now.”

“Never!” the twins said in unison. “Just like Django never gives up, we won’t either!”

Leo stated strongly, “You may have our backs to the wall, but this fight is not over! So don’t be getting your victory speeches ready, as we still have Life Points left!”

Fiona added, “We won’t quit, no matter what! If Django taught us anything it’s that you have to believe in yourself and never give up! And that’s exactly what we intend to do!”

Cody smiled approvingly, “Those two have really grown up a lot since we met them. D-Man has taught them well.”

Jack nodded, “You can say that again, dude. Leo and Fiona have come a long way. Even with the threat of two possible Chaos Xyz Monsters, they won’t give up. If only Django could see them now.”

Little did they know that Django and Tempest were watching from a rooftop, smiling broadly.

“Oh, we are watching, Jack…” Django mused. “And we’re proud, that’s for sure. Now show them whose boss, you two. And know that we’re always behind you.”

Next Chapter: Sibling Smackdown
41) Twin Times the Fun
Been a while since we've seen Django and co, hasn't it? Doesn't mean I've forgotten, it's just the Breath of Fire chapters are easier to write. Plus I had to do a total overall of this one, as the idea just wasn't flowing right. Anyway, moving on.

Roger and Vanessa, still hellbent on revenge, challenge Leo and Fiona to a Tag Duel (seems to be the only way they can do any sort of damage, doesn't it?). The twins accept the challenge. How will they fair against the dimwit duo?

EDIT: Changed the title of the next chapter.
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The Contest of Champions

It didn’t take long before Ryu and his companions exited the Dump with the newest addition in tow. Peco happily bounced and hopped behind them, seemingly enjoying being around his new friends. Just then, however, he turned slightly southeast and sped off, as if something was calling him.

Momo stated, “Peco! Come back! Where are you going?”

Ryu, Nina, and Momo bolted after him. It wasn’t long before they managed to catch up to him. He had found a small grove-like forest just south of the Plant. It was beautiful and lush, filled with wildlife. In the center of the small forest was a mighty-looking tree. Peco was looking up at it, awe in his eyes, and seemed to be trying to communicate with it.

Momo panted, “Peco, don’t be charging off like that. You could get hurt.”

Ryu asked, “Where are we? Why did Peco come to this particular place?”

Nina looked around, then up at the tree, thinking hard.

“I know this… this tree is something special…” she said. It then dawned on her, “Oh, right! Now I remember! This tree is known as Yggdrasil, the Tree of Wisdom. It’s said to embody the wisdom of an ancient sage or something along those lines. It’s also known as the protector of the forest. I wonder why Peco would come here?”

Peco continued to gaze up at Yggdrasil, as if trying to communicate with it. It was then a wheezy voice drifted into Ryu’s head.

“Can you hear me?”

Ryu looked around, surprised, thinking, “Did I hear someone just now?”

The voice replied, “So you can hear me. I am Yggdrasil. My head… it’s so fuzzy… I cannot think straight… Do you have anything that might help?”

Ryu instinctively reached into his pockets, trying to find anything. He pulled out a strange golden-orange fruit. Momo noticed this.

“Hey… isn’t that a Wisdom Fruit?” she asked.

“Where’d you get that?” Nina questioned.

Ryu replied, “I found it before I met Nina, when I was making my way through the mountain to Wyndia, just before Balio and Sunder discovered my ‘little secret’. I’m surprised it still seems fresh even after all this time.”

Yggdrasil’s voice floated into Ryu’s mind, “Would you be willing to part with that Wisdom Fruit to help me?”

Peco turned to Ryu, as if asking him the same question, his eyes fixated on the Wisdom Fruit. Ryu, unsure of what would happen, placed the Wisdom Fruit at Yggdrasil’s roots. To everyone’s amazement, the fruit was levitated off the ground before vanishing in a small flurry of sparkles. This seemed to make the small forest glimmer, the leaves rustling, as if thanking them.

“Ahh… much better… my head is clear now. Thank you.”

Ryu looked up at the mighty tree, replying mentally, “How do you know me?”

“All in due time, Ryu. For now, dedicate your time to friends, laughter, and joy, as you are still too young to know what lies ahead. Now go and enjoy your life. When you are older, I will part with the information you need.”

The princess asked, “Ryu? Is everything okay? What happened to that Wisdom Fruit?”

Ryu shook his head, “I’m not entirely sure myself, but it was like Yggdrasil was… talking to me. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I guess I’ll know soon enough.” He gave a deep sigh, “I guess we should head back to the Plant for now.”

Momo smacked her forehead, “You’re right! I almost forgot! We have to tell Palet that we dealt with his little ‘problem’! So let’s go!”

The group started to make their way out of the small grove forest, but both Ryu and Peco took one last look at the mighty Yggdrasil tree before following their friends. It didn’t take them long to return to the Plant.

Palet, who was waiting for them at the front, smiled, “Ah, Momo! Did you take care of our little problem?”

Momo nodded, “Yeah, but I wouldn’t call it little!”

“How can we ever thank you, Momo?” Palet smiled.

“No need, as it was caused by my father’s reactors, so I had to do something to fix it. Okay, let’s get going, guys.”

But just as they were about to leave, Palet sputtered, “W-Where are you going? The road is still blocked.”

Nina protested, “But we have to get to Wyndia.”

Palet’s eyes widened, “You need to get to Wyndia?” He then gave a low laugh, making Ryu tense, “No problem, leave that to me. I have a plan. So why don’t you stay for the night while I prepare. I know how to get you to Wyndia, so just leave it to me.”

Momo replied, “I guess it’s our best bet. Okay, thank you, Palet.”

He guided them to a building. Inside held a small inn and a food stand where they sold some of the enhanced crops. As Ryu and Nina passed some of the crops, they couldn’t help but feel uneasy about them. Likewise, some of the people inside the building gave Peco an odd look, unsure of the bouncing onion. Ryu and Peco were given a room while Nina and Momo were given another. The rooms were fairly small and somewhat cramped, with two beds, a small bedside table between them, lamps, and surrounded by metal walls and floors, giving it a rather cold appearance. As Nina sat on her bed, she couldn’t help but feel uneasy with Ryu not next to her.

“I hope Palet comes up with a good plan…” Momo said, sitting on her bed. “If those guys are watching the road, it won’t be easy to smuggle us across. But we have to have faith.”

“I hope so… Balio and Sunder have been pretty determined to get us…” Nina sighed sadly. “I just worry what they might do to Ryu, as he’s been their biggest headache ever since they crossed paths. They know his hidden power, and they know he’s my protector, so I worry that they might try to kill him the moment they get their hands on him again.”

“Don’t worry, Nina,” Momo said cheerfully. “He’s a dragon. It’ll take a lot for those lowlifes to knock him down for good. Ryu’s really something, I have to say. Who would’ve guessed that, packed inside that little body of his, a legendary power surges through him.”

Nina smiled, “I’m glad you’re not afraid of him, Momo. And I’m glad you’re not going to tell anyone about his little secret.”

The engineer smiled again, “Don’t worry; his secret is safe with me. I’m just excited to have the opportunity to actually study a real dragon. I mean, they’re legendary creatures, but are also extinct, so this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Nina nodded, “In history lessons back at the castle, I was always taught that dragons were vile, evil creatures. Despite that, I always found them fascinating. But after meeting Ryu and spending time with him, I’m beginning to think that dragons were never evil. That history might be coloring them the wrong way.”

“Dad always told me that the dragons are just like every day people…” Momo replied. “Some are good while others are bad, just like any of the people of this world. He said I shouldn’t believe everything I’m told. Instead, I should experience it for myself and then make the final judgment on whatever the subject may be. He had a lot of wisdom like that.”

“Do you at all miss him, Momo?”

“Yes, quite often…” she smiled. “But I know he’s watching over me. And I have every intention of following his footsteps and becoming a great engineer one day.”

Nina then said silently, “I wonder if Ryu’s family is watching over him as well…”

After a good night’s rest, the group felt energized and ready to go. Breakfast consisted of a stew made from the enhanced crops. However, Ryu and Nina eyed it warily, as if expecting the vegetables to suddenly start moving. Momo, on the other hand, ate it without a second thought, surprising them. Peco also seemed uncertain of breakfast, so he merely pushed it away with his foot in rejection. Afterward they went outside. Palet was waiting for them. He was standing next to a large horse-drawn cart full of various vegetables and hay. A man wearing a cloak was standing next to the horse.

Palet smiled, “Ah, good, you’re here.” He then pointed to the cart, “This cart is taking some of the enhanced crops to Wyndia. You can smuggle yourselves inside.”

Momo asked, “But won’t they check the goods?”

Ryu nodded in agreement, a feeling of foreboding building up inside of him.

Palet gave a low laugh, “Heheheheh, don’t you worry about that. Just hide yourselves real good in there and everything will be fine.”

"I dunno…" Ryu said.

“I feel it might work, Ryu, so don’t worry about it!” Nina smiled.

Momo nodded, “Agreed. You do want to get to Wyndia, right Ryu?”

Ryu replied, “Well, yeah, I do, but I…” but was cut off.

“Then that settles it! Let’s give it a go. It’s our best chance.”

“Pukyukyu!” Peco stated, bouncing up and down.

Ryu heaved a sigh as he and his companions managed to nestle themselves into the cart, hiding as best as possible in the hay. When they were settled, they could feel the cart being pulled by the horse and onto the main road. However, as they left, Palet gave a low, sinister laugh.

“Hehehe… whew, I was lucky that the ones Balio and Sunder are after turned out to be Momo and her friends.” He gave his beard a stroke, grinning sinisterly, “Those two will take care of them for me… then no one will ever need to learn about the mutant plant.”

He then gave another low laugh.

It didn’t take long before the cart with the goods reached Eygnock Road. It came to a stop. Ryu and the others tensed up.

“I don’t think this is going to work…” Ryu said in a hushed voice.

Nina, who was obviously nervous, replied, “Well, Mr. Palet went to all the trouble to get us this cart. So I think we’ll be fine.”

Momo nodded, “Yeah, it’ll work. Just try to have faith, Ryu.”

Ryu said silently, “I still don’t trust Palet. I feel like we’ve been used.”

“Here they come…” the man outside whispered to the party.

Everyone quieted down, not even daring to breathe, waiting for the moment of truth.

“Hooooold it!” Sunder’s loud voice could be heard. “No one gets by here now!”

The hooded man replied nervously, “This… uh… is a shipment from the Plant to Wyndia…”

“Shipment, huh? Well you can go on home; I’ll take it from here!” Sunder neighed. “Now scram!”

The hooded man hastily ran off, making the party very tense.

“Don’t worry!” Sunder called out to him, “I’ll take good care of it.”

He then gave the cart a mighty kick so powerful that it completely turned the cart onto its side, even knocking the horse down with it. Crates of fruit, vegetables, and other contents spilled over, along with the group of four friends. Sunder signaled his men to surround them before roughly grabbing Ryu and Nina by the scruffs of their necks.

“You’re in for it now, you brat!” he grinned sinisterly, eyeing Ryu with hatred in his eyes. “You won’t get away this time.”

Ryu returned the hateful glare in full, thinking, “I could turn into a dragon and give them a taste of my flames, but I might hurt Nina, Momo, and Peco in doing so. Drat, they’ve got us pinned.”

Nina whimpered, “Oh no… Ryu…”

Momo was roughly grabbed, bemoaning, “I guess it didn’t work…”

The azure-haired boy sighed, “I knew it wouldn’t… it seemed too easy…”

It took another day for Sunder and his men to haul Ryu and the others back to Genmel. He marched them into the fortress-like building, all of them tied up. Over the front a sign read “The Contest of Champions”. Sunder had a strong sense of triumph as he led the party into the building.

“Just you wait, you brat. You’re in trouble now!” he sneered. “I’ve had it up to here with you!” He then shoved them into an office, “I’ve got them, bro!”

Balio was sitting at a desk, smiling, “Good work, I knew you could handle it.” He then gave a triumphant smirk, “So, kids… I hope this showed you how the world works.”

Ryu could feel the flame inside of him burning heavily, like a ranging inferno, seeking to annihilate anything that got in its way. His hatred for the horse brothers was reaching its peak, and he was itching to give them a taste of their own medicine.

He said mentally, “People like them deserve to be punished. Ever since we’ve cross paths, they’ve made me… and most importantly my friends, miserable, just for their own selfish gain. I wish I could just release the dragon inside of me and burn them to cinders for what they’ve done. But I can’t risk the safety of Nina and the others, as even I don’t know the full extent of my own power, so I could hurt my friends in the process.”

Sunder grinned, “It’s people like us who get what we want, right bro?”

Balio nodded, “The strong get what they want, and the weak can’t do anything about it… just like in the Contest of Champions.”

This caused a spark to flicker in Nina’s eyes as an idea bloomed. She gained a grin.

“So, if we enter and win, then we’ll be strong,” she stated. “And we can get what we want: to be set free!”

“What!?” Ryu and Momo sputtered, but their shock was nothing compared to Sunder’s.

He took a step closer to her, snarling, “WHAT? You want to enter the contest? Look here, we’ve been nice so far ‘cause you’re worth a lot ‘o money to us, but there’s a limit to how far we can be pushed!”

Ryu stepped in between him and Nina, his blue eyes showing fierce determination and anger. He didn’t care if he was tied up, he would protect Nina with everything he had.

“Look, just give up and stop struggling,” Sunder snarled at Ryu. “I’ve just about had it with you, brat. I would love to get rid of all of you once and for all. But don’t worry, Princess, I won’t touch you.”

“No way!” Nina stated boldly, “I won’t let you hurt anyone! Let us enter the Contest!”

Sunder looked livid, “They’re gettin’ all uppity, bro. I say we get rid of them now!”

However, to his surprise, Balio was thinking, a sinister smirk forming on his face.

“Wait, hold on a second, bro…” the white horse brother said. “It’s actually not a bad idea.”

“What!?” Sunder exclaimed. “You want them to enter the Contest! But no one will think they can win… huh? Wait a sec…”

Balio nodded, “Exactly, Sunder. No one will bet on them, which means if they do win, then we’ll make that much more money.” He turned to Nina, “Alright, princess, we’ll let you enter the Contest. I’ll even let you loose until it starts tomorrow.”

Ryu was dumbfounded at the sudden change of plans.

“You can train, buy stuff, do whatever you want,” Balio continued. His voice then lowered to a more menacing tone, “But don’t even think of trying to escape. We’ve got our men blocking the road, and we’ll keep one of you here as a hostage.”

At that note, he roughly grabbed Peco, making him cry out in shock, before tossing him into a large cage that was nearby, locking it up.

“Puiiiiiiiiii!” the onion cried.

“Peco!” Nina cried, but Momo held her back.

She said, “It’s okay, Nina. Peco will be okay. We can do this.”

Sunder neighed, “Great idea, bro! I would’ve never come up with this.”

Balio twirled the key around his finger, “You better put on a good show, as you’ve given us enough trouble. But if you lose…” his eyes narrowing, “It’s curtains for you, lizard lips.”

Ryu could feel his anger burning, but said nothing in response.

Ryu, Nina, and Momo were released from the office. This allowed them to explore the arena to get a better idea of what they were getting into. There were three halls for combat: the Hall of Fire, the Null Magic Hall, and the Hall of Kings, each one was different. The Hall of Fire consisted of two platforms over boiling lava. The Null Magic Hall was plainer compared to the Hall of Fire, but it had what looked like a sealing circle in the middle. Ryu and Nina felt drained just standing in the room. The Hall of Kings was the simplest in design, only consisting of a wide walkway over a dark pit.

As they explored, they saw several people checking out the different teams, arguing who to make bets on, and debating who had the best chance of winning. There were also several women in bunny girl outfits stationed in various places. Ryu felt slightly flustered whenever he’d see one, while Nina frowned disapprovingly at those women. As they heard the various men arguing about who to bet on, Ryu could feel his anger growing again.

“They’re all the same…” he said silently. “They’re all here, fueled by greed, to watch other people suffer. All for the sake of lining their pockets with zenny quickly.”

Nina noticed this, “Ryu? Are you okay? You’re awfully quiet. Well, quieter than usual, anyway.”

“Huh?” he said with a start. “Oh, sorry. I’m just thinking about tomorrow, that’s all.”

Nina had a look of uncertainty on her face, “Do you think we can win? Can we really win our freedom? I mean, poor Peco, who was just born, is now a hostage, just so Balio and Sunder can fill their pockets with zenny, using us as their cash cows. Do you think we can win?”

“Yeah, we can win!” Momo said, returning to her cheery self. “We have a dragon on our side, so these guys don’t stand a chance.”

“Actually, Momo, we don’t…” Ryu said, shifting his eyes to the ground. “I don’t want to scare off everyone by turning into a dragon. And it might complicate our situation even more.”

Realization washed over her face, “Oh, yeah, that’s a good point…”

Nina placed a hand on his shoulder, “Even without your dragon powers, we still have a chance to win this. You’re strong, no matter what. We’ll just have to take it as it comes, I guess. It’s the only option we have right now. But dragon form or not, I know you’ll pull us through this mess, Ryu.”

Ryu nodded, “Thanks, Nina. Well, let’s get a bit of practice in. It won’t ensure our victory, but it’s better than sitting around doing nothing.”

The next day seemed to arrive quickly. The Contest of Champions was already underway. After a quick breakfast at the inn, the trio visited Peco. Momo volunteered to be the temporary hostage so the onion could have his own breakfast. After that, Ryu, Nina, and Momo were examining a large chart by the entrance to the Hall of Kings.

Momo observed, “Let’s see… Our first fight will be in the Hall of Fire against Team Patrio. It won’t start right away, as there are a few other fights before us, so that gives us some time to plan and gather a battle strategy.”

“Hey, I just noticed something… why does our team say Team Ryu?” Ryu asked. “I’m not the leader…”

Nina beamed, “Yes, you are! You’re the strongest out of us!”

“B-But I had help from you guys!”

“Even so, Ryu, you’re our best bet,” Momo stated. “Even without your dragon form, you’re still the strongest of the three of us. So just accept the position, Ryu. Without you, we’re as good as finished.”

Ryu blushed, “Okay, okay, but I still think I’m not the leader. But whatever works, I guess.”

They waited patiently for their turn. They could only watch in horror as several teams were brutally beaten. The crowd’s cheering and booing at each result made the young boy’s blood boil. It wasn’t long before they were called up for their match.

A bunny girl was standing in their waiting room, making Ryu turn away, flustered, while Nina still had a frown of disapproval.

The bunny girl said, “Okay, here are the rules for the Hall of Fire. It’ll be a one-on-one, single elimination battle. When all members of one team are defeated, the battle is over. Now, who’s going first?”

Before Ryu could say anything, Momo stepped up, “I’ll go first.”

Nina looked at her, “Are you sure, Momo?”

Ryu added, “Shouldn’t I go first?”

The engineer turned to them, “Ryu is our best bet right now, so he needs to be the anchor of our team. He has to be the one we can fall back on in case things go sour. So I’ll go first, gauge the situation, and report back if I’m defeated… hopefully I can end this match before we need to do that. But that’s what we should do.”

Nina nodded nervously, “R-Right. Good luck, Momo.”

“And be careful…” Ryu added.

“I’ll do my best. Just don’t expect any miracles from me…” Momo replied, a hint of nervousness in her voice.

With a deep breath, Momo left the waiting room and entered the Hall of Fire. Ryu and Nina waited, tension and worry in their minds, praying for Momo’s success.

At first the crowd could be heard. But then it went silent, suggesting that the fight had begun. However, within a few moments, there was a loud KABOOM, startling the two kids. Ryu quickly took a peek out the door to the battlefield. His eyes widened at what he saw.

Momo was still standing, seemingly unhurt, while her opponent, a female cat burglar-like warrior, had been thrown and flattened over the door to her side, her face blackened. She coughed up a small amount of black smoke before collapsing to the ground, out cold.

The announcer, another bunny girl, stated, “And the winner of this round is Momo!”

As they heard this, Ryu and Nina gave a sigh of relief.

“One down…” Nina said.

They waited patiently for the next fight. As soon as the crowd’s cheering ended, they knew the battle had begun yet again. Shortly afterward, they heard another loud KABOOM. Ryu peeked out again. Like last time, Momo seemed unharmed, while her opponent, a fat magician, had been blasted above the door to his side, just like the previous opponent, his face black. He coughed up a puff of smoke before falling flat on his fat face, out cold.

“And the winner of this round is Momo!” the announcer stated.

Ryu and Nina gave another sigh of relief.

“Two down, one more to go…” Ryu said.

The final round began. Ryu and Nina waited patiently for the results. They heard another loud KABOOM, but this time neither bothered to look out, as they knew the results. Sure enough, Momo walked back into the room. She seemed relieved, but was also sweating, her trusty bazooka in hand.

“Whew…” she said, wiping her brow, “That Hall of Fire really is quite hot. But we won. For once my bazooka hit its mark. Three times in a row, no less, a new record.”

Nina cheered, “Great work, Momo!”

Ryu nodded, “Looks like I wasn’t needed for this round after all. But I knew we could count on you to kick things off with a bang.”

The engineer blushed, rubbing the back of her head, “Aw, you guys, you’re making me blush. But even if I had failed, I knew you two would pick up the slack and turn things around. But we’ve cleared the first hurdle. Now let’s keep the momentum going and win our freedom!”

A short time later, after the first round of combat had been completed, the trio decided to do some more training. However, when they passed a certain hall, Ryu noticed a purple-haired girl, younger than he was, clinging onto her mother’s clothes. Both of them were wearing clean clothes, but they seemed very old regardless, having been patched up several times.

The girl coughed, “Mommy? Daddy is going to win, right?” She then gave a violent cough.

The mother replied, “Yes, Lyla, he’ll win, that’s for sure. Then he can get the money needed for your operation.”

Ryu thought to himself, “Someone else is fighting for a loved one? I guess not everyone here is fueled by greed.”

He couldn’t think about it for too long, as Nina and Momo were way ahead of him, forcing him to run after them.

After some training, they visited Peco, who swapped places with Nina briefly so he could get some fresh air and food. Ryu stood patiently outside of Balio’s office, ready to spring into action if he heard even the faintest of noises from the princess. He was so focused that he didn’t notice someone approach him. When the person was just shy of the boy, Ryu turned his head so quickly it made a small crack, startled.

“Huh!? Oh, hello…” Ryu said.

The man was a tall and slender, with messy purple hair, tan skin, and was wearing heavily patched up, but clean clothes.

He asked, “Hello. Are you Ryu?”

“Yes, I’m Ryu. And who are you?”

“I’m Emitai. I’ll be your opponent tomorrow.” He then gained a sad expression, “I hate to ask you this, but I need a favor from you.”

“W-What kind of favor?” Ryu asked, now slightly nervous.

“Well, you see… my daughter is really sick, so I need to win the prize money in order to pay for an operation for her. If I don’t, then she’ll die…” Emitai said sorrowfully.

A lump formed in Ryu’s throat as he replied, “I… I’m sorry to hear that. Are you asking me the throw the match tomorrow?”

Emitai bowed his head down, “I know it’s hard to ask, but I need to get the money or she won’t survive. Will you please do that?” His hands started to glow, summoning two small boys, “I can easily win any of the other matches, but we’ll be fighting in the Null Magic Hall, where my magical powers are useless. Only my two golem boys here can fight in there.”

The golem boys said in unison, “Let Emitai win. Let Emitai win.”

Ryu turned his head away, a single tear leaking out of his eye, “I’m sorry… but I can’t do that… You see, a friend of mine is being held hostage, so we’re fighting for his, and our, freedom. So I can’t throw the match. I’m sorry…”

Emitai looked surprised, “Oh… I see… I’m sorry to hear that…” He started to walk away, saying to himself, “I’m sorry, Lyla… please forgive your old father…”

As he and the boys left Ryu alone, he couldn’t help but feel upset.

“I can’t throw the match, but I want to help his daughter… why is fate so cruel?”

Next Chapter: Championship Clash
Chapter 10) The Contest of Champions
Ryu, Nina, Momo, and their newest addition Peco, have completed Palet's "request". After a brief visit with Yggdrasil, Palet agrees to help them get to Wyndia. But can he be trusted? Now Ryu, Nina, and Momo have to fight in the Contest of Champions for their freedom from the evil horse brothers: Balio and Sunder. Can they succeed?
Loading...
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Breath of Fire III OST
  • Playing: Megaman X Maverick Hunter
  • Eating: White Castle
  • Drinking: strawberry limeade
Hi, just another boring blog from me, but this time with a question for anyone watching.

As you may or may not know, I got an old-ish PSP for Christmas, which has become my favorite handheld. However, I only have a handful of games for it atm, so I'm looking into other games. The thing is, because my exposure to many types of games has been limited at best due to few resources available, such as a nearby Gamestop, for multiple years, I'm not always sure what games are good and what are not. And there's nothing worse then buying a bad game. I have experienced some of the more common titles, but they don't always suit my tastes. The games I currently own are: Megaman X Maverick Hunter, Daxter, Ape Escape On the Loose, and (time for the most obvious one) Breath of Fire III. I will say upfront what I don't like, so that way we can get those possible options out of the equation right away, but if anyone has a recommendation I would like to hear it. But first, here is the list of what I don't like in games:

* War or "realistic" games, like Call of Duty or Tomb Raider
* Sports
* Final Fantasy (tried many of the games, couldn't really get into them)
* Kingdom Hearts (hate anything related to Disney for all its worth, even though this series is decent, but couldn't get into it either way)
* Extremely gory or overly violent games (I don't have the stomach for gore... I know, it makes me a softie, but it's just not my thing)
* Sims (extremely annoying to me)
* Star Wars
* Lego
* Harry Potter (got very repetitive over time)

I know, I have a lot of dislikes, but it's not only the limited exposure bit, but even with exposure to some of them (like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts) I can't really enjoy them as much as others, even in the same genre. Some feel repetitive to me and some I just can't really get interested in. Moving on, the fields I tend to do best in are: RPGs, Sci-Fi, Adventure, and Fantasy. Those general areas tend to have the best luck in capturing my interest. So if anyone has a recommendation, fire away, but be mindful of the above list, and don't bash my tastes, either. I get very touchy about what I like, so be respectful to my opinion and I'll return the favor in full. Thanks in advance.

Oh, and one more note, Psychic Duelist Django will continue as planned, but I just need a little break from writing. I need to plan things out a bit more, as I keep messing up certain details, give my fingers a rest from all the rapid-fire chapters I've written lately, and I won't be able to write much for a few days anyway. The reason behind that last reason is that dad's home for a while due to being sick, and, as stated a while back, he likes to watch A LOT of TV, so the background noise keeps me from writing effectively anyway. So it'll do me some good to power down for a little bit anyway. But you will be seeing the next chapter in a short while, I just need some downtime (and as much distance as possible from any black-and-white movies or police dramas). That's all for now.

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Down in the Dumps

Ryu, Nina, and Momo were making their way down the road. They had long since left Momo’s tower and hoped that their pursuers were also very far behind. After a three-hour walk, they came to a sign. It was pointing up a winding slope. It read “Coffee Shop”, much to Ryu’s confusion.

“Coffee Shop?” he asked, perplexed. “What’s coffee?”

Momo explained, “It’s a hot beverage that most adults drink. It’s made from ground-up coffee beans. It’s similar to tea, only it has a stronger taste and more caffeine in it. Most people drink it in the morning as it is a nice pick-me-up drink.”

Nina said, “Why don’t we go there for a little break? I could use a drink.”

Nodding, the trio made their way up the winding slope to the top. It only took a few minutes to reach the building. It was a large building, almost like an inn, with several tables outside, and a very nice view of the area. The three adventures sat down at one of the tables. A waitress walked up to them.

“My, my, what darling children!” she said, making Ryu blush. “What can I get for you?” she asked.

Momo replied, “I’ll take some herbal tea, please.”

Nina smiled, “I’ll have an orange juice, please.”

Ryu seemed confused at what to get, having never heard of any drinks outside of water. Finally, he made up his mind.

“I-I’ll have an orange juice, too, miss.”

The waitress nodded, “Sure thing. Be right back.”

It didn’t take long for their drinks to arrive. Ryu was stunned; orange juice tasted good. Nina seemed to be enjoying hers, while Momo happily sipped her tea.

The waitress walked up to them, “Are you young folk stuck here as well?”

“Stuck?” Nina echoed, puzzled.

“No? Well I asked because there are some strange fellows blocking the road to Wyndia. No one can get through.” She merely smiled, “But that means more customers for us.”

As the waitress left, Momo observed, “Those must be the men who are looking for you.”

Ryu groaned, “Balio and Sunder… they’re always causing us trouble. Can’t they just give it a rest and leave us alone?”

“Well, I’m sure that they’ll give up sooner or later,” the engineer smiled.

Ryu and Nina were unconvinced, but didn’t say anything.

At a nearby table, a man noticed Momo, got up, and walked over to them. He was an older man, with a bald head, a white mustache and beard, and a white coat, indicating his was a researcher.

He said in a somewhat hoarse voice, “Excuse me, but… are you Momo? Long time no see. It’s me, Palet!”

Momo turned to him, “I’m Momo, but I don’t know who you are.”

As she returned to her drink, Palet looked a bit discouraged.

“It’s… it’s me, Palet. I’m the director of the plant you father built!”

At the word “plant”, Ryu became extremely confused, immediately envisioning trees and shrubs.

He asked himself, “Why would plants need a director?”

Momo noticed his confusion, “Before my father died, he came up with the idea of using chrysm to breed stronger crops. But he died before the plant was completed…”

“Yes, exactly!” Palet stated before heaving a heavy sigh “Ever since your father Repsol passed away, we’ve had nothing but trouble with the machines…”

“I’ll bet!” Momo grinned, “Only my father would be able to make and use a complex machine like that!”

Palet looked like he had been hit, flinching slightly, as if his pride had been damaged, before replying, “I won’t… or rather I can’t deny that…” He gazed at her, “That’s why I was wondering if you could help us? You’re familiar with your father’s work, aren’t you?”

Momo placed her hands on her hips, smiling proudly, “Yes, of course. I’m glad to help! So, can I have access to the machines, then?”

For a moment Palet looked triumphant, but he quickly covered it up, “Oh, thank you, Momo! I’ll see you at the plant!”

As he started to walk away, Ryu got a bad feeling from him. The same kind of feeling that made him distrust Loki back in McNeil Village.

He said mentally, “I don’t like this guy… something doesn’t seem right… but I better keep it to myself, so not to worry Nina or Momo. But something tells me that this Palet guy isn’t to be trusted.”

Nina turned to Momo, “Um, Momo, I’m not sure if I got all that.”

The engineer replied sheepishly, “Sorry, I guess I should’ve talked it out with you two first.” But she gained a smile, “But since they’re my father’s machines, I thought I’d lend a hand. It’s not like we’ll be going anywhere on the road for a while, right?”

“Yeah, that’s a good point,” Nina smiled sadly, but she quickly cheered up. “And who knows, maybe we’ll find a way past Balio and Sunder if we help out.”

After finishing their drinks and paying the waitress, the group of three left the coffee shop and headed slightly southwest. It wasn’t long before they saw the plant.

To Ryu’s and Nina’s surprise, it looked more like a farm than anything else, filled with fields of various vegetables, greenhouses, and people working, picking and tending to the crops. The only real difference was that there were several large machines near various greenhouses, all of which seemed to have a glowing chunk of chrysm partly within them. There were also large conveyer belts that lead deeper into the plant. Using them, the trio made their way to the heart of the plant.

“Now… where’s Palet?” Momo asked no one in particular.

On cue, a voice called, “Ah, Momo! We’ve been expecting you.”

They turned to see Palet standing before a small field of crops. The trio approached him, though the bad vibes Ryu felt from earlier were getting stronger.

Palet stated, “I tell you, it was pure luck to meet you there, Momo.” He then gestured to the machines, “As you know, I was your father’s assistant when he built these reactors, and…” but was cut off.

Momo shrugged, seemingly bored, “Whatever… now what machine needs fixing?”

Palet looked a little annoyed at being interrupted, but gave a low laugh, making Ryu feel even more uneasy.

“That laugh reminds me of Loki’s…” he muttered to himself, low enough so that neither Nina nor Momo heard him.

Palet replied, “Heheheh, well, I’ve been meaning to tell you that… we managed to fix the machines ourselves…”

“What?” Nina exclaimed, “They why did you need us here?”

He gestured behind him, a slightly sinister grin on his face, “Well, take a look at this…”

Near one of the vegetable patches was a massive onion. It was bigger than their heads, with a perfectly round brown body nestled inside leaves and a green sprout on top.

Momo took a look at it, “How cute! What is it?”

Palet looked stunned, “C-C-C-Cute? How can you say that?” Momo turned to him as he continued, “We can’t sell stuff like that. So we take it to the disposal area nearby. But several days ago, when we collected the crops to be processed and disposed of at the dump… well, um… how should I say it…”

Momo got the picture pretty quickly, “You found a mutant one like this?”

“Exactly! Now everyone’s afraid of it and won’t go near the dump anymore!”

“Hmm… what exactly happened?” The older girl rubbed her chin, “A plant got mixed in with the chrysm ore and became a monster?”

The director nodded in agreement, “We have no idea what we should do with it…”

Momo placed her hands on her hips, her ears twitching, “All right, we’ll take care of it! After all, this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my father’s reactors, right?”

“Hey! Don’t we get a say in this!?” Ryu protested.

“Thank you so much!” Palet cried. “The dump is to the west of here. I know you’ll take care of the problem properly.”

As the trio started to make their way out of the plant, Momo noticed the looks Ryu and Nina were giving her. She gained a sheepish expression.

“Sorry, I guess we should’ve talked it out first…” she said, blushing slightly. “But since we can’t go anywhere right now, and this is my father’s plant, I had to help. I mean, if my father’s brilliance is causing unwanted life to be born, then it’s my responsibility to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand. Isn’t that right?”

Nina shrugged, “I guess so. But I never knew chrysm could do something like that. So let’s get this over with and see if we can find an alternate route back to Wyndia afterward.”

Ryu still seemed unsure of all this, but he complied regardless. But he couldn’t help but still feel that Palet wasn’t trustworthy, but he kept it to himself.

It took less than ten minutes to reach the dump. It was deep within a large mountain, but unlike the winding caves of Mt. Glaus, this place was rather straightforward, so it wasn’t difficult to navigate. New creatures awaited them within its depths. One breed looked like flying spotted eggs with ugly faces, another two looked like weird plant-like finger puppets, but had slightly different colors to tell them apart, while another looked like a single eye wrapped in a small, scuttling body with thin, dreadlock-like leaves. As they got deeper into the mountain, they came to a pool of magma with a conveyer belt positioned in front of it.

Momo observed, “So it looks like they dispose of any failures in the magma by placing them on the conveyer belt, flipping the switch, and letting the magma take it from there. Pretty good setup, I must say. Now where’s this mutant Palet wanted us to deal with?”

Nina looked around before she spotted something, “I think over there! There’s a small cave just a little ways from the magma pool. There are a ton of vines coming out of it, so let’s check if that’s the place.”

Nodding, the trio approached the small cave. The peeked in before cautiously entering it. Inside was quite the sight.

Right in the center was a gigantic, partly humanoid creature. It had a pink hood-like head with shadows where its eyes would be, connected to a round pink and purple body, pink and red shoulder pad-like structures attached to its arms, ending in root-like hands. Its lower body was composed of several small pink and purple round segments in a chain-like structure, attached to the floor of the cavern. To their surprise, it was moving.

Ryu and Nina stared at the mutant with wide eyes, stunned that something like this could exist. Momo, on the other hand, was extremely excited, her eyes gleaming brightly.

“Wow!” was her reaction. “Look at thing! That thing is… moving! Who would’ve believed that chrysm energy could mutate a life form like this?”

Ryu and Nina had no comment, still unsure of what they were looking at.

“If my father was here to see this, what would he say? Too bad you never met him…” She then gained a sad smile, “Oh well, it’s a shame to get rid of it… but I suppose we should chop it up and toss it in the magma.”

Nothing could’ve prepared them for what happened next.

A voice slowly drifted from the mutant, small yellow headlight eyes appearing under its hood, “Who’s there?”

This stunned the three of them. Momo looked both shocked and amazed.

“It… it talked…” Ryu gasped.

Momo looked elated, “A mutant plant that moves and talks! What an incredible discovery!”

The mutant slowly said, “Mutant? Am I a ‘mutant’?”

“No! Well, actually…” Momo replied, “Some might say that, but I think you’re wonderful! It’s a shame that we have to dispose…” but she realized she said the wrong thing.

“…‘Dispose’? You mean you’re going to kill me?” Its body started to move violently, “No! Please don’t… please stop… I don’t want to die!”

The battle begun.

The mutant tried to lash out at them causing them to scatter slightly. It then started to release a purple haze that headed toward Nina and Momo.

Ryu said, “I have to defend them with my flame! If I don’t, I could never forgive myself!”

Inside his body something started to react.

Flame…  Defender…

Ryu was engulfed in a bright light, his cry echoing throughout the dump. Before long a new dragon was standing before them.

Unlike the whelp, it was a large, magnificent dragon, at least three times the size of Ryu. Its reddish-orange scales gleamed even in the limited light of the cavern, with strong legs ending in sharp talons that could crush anything, smaller arms with equally sharp claws, a long, slender neck with a green frilled-like fin going down it, and a thick tail that could rend steel. Its large bat-like wings, each equipped with a sharp claw, easily showed strength and speed. Its head was more developed than the whelp, being sharper and slender, with two large rear-facing horns, glowing eyes with cat-like pupils, a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, and a snout that released steam.

The dragon gave a roar and with lightning speed managed to put itself in between the girls and the purple haze, defending them. Momo’s eyes were wide with shock, while Nina looked amazed.

Nina exclaimed, “That’s so cool, Ryu! You’re a totally new dragon now!”

Momo stammered, “D-Dragon!? Ryu’s a dragon!?”

The dragon inhaled deeply. Though doing so caused it to inhale the purple haze, making it give a small cry in pain, but it opened its mouth regardless, summoning up a large flame. It then launched a massive tongue of fire, even larger than what the whelp could produce, that nearly blanketed most of the cavern in white-hot flames. The flames engulfed the mutant, causing it to shriek in agony.

However, the purple haze from before was starting to rampage inside Ryu’s body, causing the dragon to give a cry of pain, quivering slightly, its breathing ragged.

Nina stated, “That purple stuff… it must’ve been Venom Breath! Ryu’s been poisoned! We have to do something!”

Momo started to chant, her bazooka having been transformed into magical energy, before she released it.

“Purify!” she stated.

Cleansing energy started to surge through the dragon. The poison was removed from its body, allowing it to relax and breathe normally. It gave its head a quick shake before directing its attention to the mutant. Most of the ivy and vines that littered the cavern had been burned to cinders, leaving only the mutant behind. Its lower body had been completely incinerated, but it still appeared to be alive. However, it also seemed calmer now, as it wasn’t striking back or spraying another Venom Breath at them. The dragon waited patiently for the mutant to make another move, but it didn’t. Seemingly satisfied, the dragon vanished in a bright light and was replaced by Ryu. He gave his head a shake, as if trying to clear it after the Venom Breath’s effects on his body.

Nina smiled, “That was so amazing, Ryu! I’ve never seen that dragon form before! Last time you were this little dragon, now you can become a bigger one! That’s amazing!”

Ryu realized what he just did, “I… I transformed!?” He turned to Momo, eyes wide, “I… Momo… I… Well…”

To his surprise, Momo beamed at him, “That was pretty sweet, Ryu. Who knew you could turn into a dragon like that. I’m very impressed. Guess there’s more to you than meets the eye.”

Ryu looked stunned, “Y-You mean… you’re not afraid? Even after what I just did?”

The engineer grinned, “No, not really. After all, you protected us from that Venom Breath, didn’t you? So that proves that you’re not to be feared.”

“R-Really? But please don’t tell anyone, Momo! Balio and Sunder already know and they’ve been out to get me since!”

Momo giggled, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone… if you allow me to study you.”

“S-Study?” Ryu asked, perplexed.

“Well, yeah, why not?” she shrugged. “Dragons are legendary creatures of ancient times. They’re powerful, too, and are the only creatures that can change forms rapidly without any drawbacks, needed spells, or dangerous chemicals. But they’re extinct, right? So the fact that we know a dragon is quite the discovery! But don’t worry, I won’t tell a soul about it.”

She then gave him a playful wink, confirming her promise.

Ryu gave a small smile, “Fair enough.”

Just then they heard a groan. They turned sharply to see the mutant groaning, its eyes flickering, as if it was blinking. The trio prepared for battle, but the mutant didn’t seem like it wanted to fight again.

The mutant said, “I’m sorry… my body moved on its own… I couldn’t control myself…”

“It’s… okay… we’re sorry, too…” Nina said woefully.

Ryu felt a surge of regret go through him.

“I used too much of my power on it…” he said silently.

“No worries!” Momo replied, her usual cheery self. “Besides, a mutant that can talk and move, it’s such an amazing discovery! If only my father could see this…”

Slowly the mutant replied, “…‘Discovery’? No… you cannot tell them about me!” It then hesitated before continuing, “Please, I have something to ask of you…”

A short time later, Ryu, Nina, and Momo had carried the mutant, with great difficulty, onto the conveyer belt. Sorrow and regret filled their eyes as they knew what was coming next. Ryu felt particularly bad about it, just like when he, Rei, and Teepo had to kill the Nue.

“Are you sure… you want to do this?” Momo asked uncertainly.

The mutant replied, “You came here to ‘dispose’ of the ‘mutant’, haven’t you…?”

“But… we didn’t know you were alive…” Nina replied sadly, tears threatening to escape her eyes.

“No, I should be destroyed… I was never meant to be born…” it turned its gazed to Ryu, “Please, turn on the conveyer belt…”

Ryu could feel sorrow and despair well up inside of him. At first he wanted to refuse, not wanting to end another life, but he managed to swallow it down and walked over to the blue switch. He pulled it down, causing the conveyer belt to move.

“Thank you… and farewell…” the mutant said sadly, but it seemed to be satisfied with what was about to happen.

The conveyer belt started to transport its passenger to the magma.

Momo them blurted out, “Wait! You don’t have to do this!” She started to move alongside the conveyer belt, “I promise I won’t tell anyone about you! Just let me study you!”

It shook its head slightly, “The desire to know is not necessarily wrong, but…” its voice trailed off briefly, as if struggling to say what was on its mind. “Remember that if you’re not careful… one mistake… and you’ll create… monsters… far worse… than I…”

This seemed to strike Momo harshly, causing her to stop dead in her tracks. They could only watch as the conveyer belt pushed the mutant into the lava pit, its body quickly being incinerated. Ryu stopped the conveyer belt, tears brimming in his blue eyes. Nina turned away, also ready to cry, while Momo looked like she’d had lost a loved one.

Ryu thought sadly, “Another innocent life… gone forever… Why can’t I do anything to change it…?”

“PukyuKYUUUUUUUU!!!”

This sudden strange noise snapped them all out of their sorrow. They looked around, trying to find the source of the noise. Just then, from the charred remains of the mutant, something sprung out of the magma. It landed with a heavy thud in between the trio. They all looked at it in shock.

It was just like the giant onion from before, only it had two large leaves in the shape of jester shoes acting as feet, a red sprout on its head, green leaves wrapped around its tan body, and a face with bright eyes and a curved, somewhat cat-like mouth.

And it was alive, shaking its onion head in confusion.

Momo sputtered, “It’s a cute little…”

“…Onion…” Nina finished.

“Pukiiiiii!” the onion stated angrily, jumping up and down and stamping its feet like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

Ryu gave it an odd look, which only seemed to make it more upset. It then tried to tackle him, causing Ryu to jump back and prepare his weapon.

The engineer, however, got in between them, “W-Wait, Ryu! I’m sure the mutant entrusted us with this…” she took a minute to think of the right word, “…this… baby to us!”

Ryu seem dumbfounded, “Huh?”

“I think I understand now…” she knelt down to the onion’s level. “He left you as a reminder to never make a monster like him, didn’t he?”

The onion seemed to understand, for it lowered its gaze to the ground, sadly saying, “Pukyu, kyu…”

“He can’t talk, can he?” Nina observed, kneeling down next to the onion.

“Doesn’t look like it…” Ryu said, removing his hand from his sword hilt, still unsure of all this.

“Why don’t we take him with us?” Momo proposed, “I’m sure the mutant would want that.”

Nina smiled, “That’s a good idea!”

“Um… okay, I guess…” Ryu replied.

Momo beamed, clapping her hands together, “Then that settles it!”

“He needs a name…” the princess mused. She took a moment before jumping up, “I know! Let’s call him Peco! I mean, he does look like an onion, right?”

“Great name, Nina!” Momo exclaimed happily. She turned to the onion, “Do you like the name Peco?”

The newly named Peco started to jump up and down happily, “Pukiiii!”

Ryu could only look at his companions.

He said to himself, “I’m with a child princess, an absent-minded engineer, and a mutant onion… Who would’ve guessed that just by leaving Cedar Woods all this would’ve happened?”

So with Peco in tow, the group of four started to make their way out of the dump.

Next Chapter: The Contest of Champions
Chapter 9) Down in the Dumps
Ryu, Nina, and their new companion Momo, stop at a coffee shop after escaping Balio's and Sunder's men. They encounter Palet, the director of the plant that Momo's father built. She agrees to help him with a "problem", in this case a mutant. Ryu unveils his newest dragon form in the process. And out of the sorrow comes a new life! Will this new little friend help our heroes?

And just as a note for anyone wondering if I'll continued Psychic Duelist Django, don't worry. I'm in the process of writing the next chapter. It's just this series takes less effort to write as mostly all the info is already presented in front of me, while PDD requires everything started from scratch. But you will be seeing the next chapter soon, so just hang tight.
Loading...
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Breath of Fire III OST
  • Playing: Megaman X Maverick Hunter
  • Eating: White Castle
  • Drinking: strawberry limeade
Hi, just another boring blog from me, but this time with a question for anyone watching.

As you may or may not know, I got an old-ish PSP for Christmas, which has become my favorite handheld. However, I only have a handful of games for it atm, so I'm looking into other games. The thing is, because my exposure to many types of games has been limited at best due to few resources available, such as a nearby Gamestop, for multiple years, I'm not always sure what games are good and what are not. And there's nothing worse then buying a bad game. I have experienced some of the more common titles, but they don't always suit my tastes. The games I currently own are: Megaman X Maverick Hunter, Daxter, Ape Escape On the Loose, and (time for the most obvious one) Breath of Fire III. I will say upfront what I don't like, so that way we can get those possible options out of the equation right away, but if anyone has a recommendation I would like to hear it. But first, here is the list of what I don't like in games:

* War or "realistic" games, like Call of Duty or Tomb Raider
* Sports
* Final Fantasy (tried many of the games, couldn't really get into them)
* Kingdom Hearts (hate anything related to Disney for all its worth, even though this series is decent, but couldn't get into it either way)
* Extremely gory or overly violent games (I don't have the stomach for gore... I know, it makes me a softie, but it's just not my thing)
* Sims (extremely annoying to me)
* Star Wars
* Lego
* Harry Potter (got very repetitive over time)

I know, I have a lot of dislikes, but it's not only the limited exposure bit, but even with exposure to some of them (like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts) I can't really enjoy them as much as others, even in the same genre. Some feel repetitive to me and some I just can't really get interested in. Moving on, the fields I tend to do best in are: RPGs, Sci-Fi, Adventure, and Fantasy. Those general areas tend to have the best luck in capturing my interest. So if anyone has a recommendation, fire away, but be mindful of the above list, and don't bash my tastes, either. I get very touchy about what I like, so be respectful to my opinion and I'll return the favor in full. Thanks in advance.

Oh, and one more note, Psychic Duelist Django will continue as planned, but I just need a little break from writing. I need to plan things out a bit more, as I keep messing up certain details, give my fingers a rest from all the rapid-fire chapters I've written lately, and I won't be able to write much for a few days anyway. The reason behind that last reason is that dad's home for a while due to being sick, and, as stated a while back, he likes to watch A LOT of TV, so the background noise keeps me from writing effectively anyway. So it'll do me some good to power down for a little bit anyway. But you will be seeing the next chapter in a short while, I just need some downtime (and as much distance as possible from any black-and-white movies or police dramas). That's all for now.

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Kevin Jordan
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Louisetheanimator Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Filmographer
Thanks for the :iconfav3dplz: BTW I've given you a :iconllama3dplz: I hope you like it. ^^
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thanks for the fav :D (Big Grin) 
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Thanks a lot for your fav on my BOF 2 Logo (valijka.deviantart.com/art/Log…) I really appreciate !! 
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