Yuzu awoke with a start and a pounding headache. 'Ugh. What happened? Was I hit by a truck?' But then the memories of that terrible night began to come back. Watching Mozarta being mercilessly torn limb from limb by that stinking husk of a Ritual monster made her grasp her bedsheets even tighter, tears threatened
However, that made her realise something. The last thing she remembered was that she had passed out on the street just as Daiki had begun to make his way over to her. Who on earth had carried her home? She knew that it couldn't have been her dad, from the snores she was hearing he was still asleep and he would've been fraught with worry over her. It couldn't have been Yuri, he was still in the hospital. None of the kids would've had the strength to carry her and Yoko was a similar case to her dad. Who was it? A question she couldn't answer just yet.
Her reverie had been interrupted by a beeping sound on her duel disk, which had been suspiciously placed on her bedside table. The pink haired girl noticed that a singular message had been posted to her from an unknown duel disk.
"Hey there! Sorry for contacting you out of the blue but I appear to have found your duel disk by accident and by extension, I guess… You as well. I was walking past You Show duel school when I just so happened to rip on something. I'm not a very observant guy you see, and I, well… Tripped over your unconscious lifeless body on the ground. Yeah, I know, not my finest moment but that's not the point!" Yuzu had to resist the urge to roll her yes at this message, this person was being so melodramatic "I was the one who carried you back to what I assumed to be your house, I assumed it was yours because… Well, you were out in the early morning and someone idiot had forgotten to lock this house, so I assumed it was yours." Yes, because that's a perfectly reasonable and logical conclusion to come to. This guy was either a terrible liar or had only found the right place out of dumb luck "Anyway~ make sure you stay safe, I don't want to have to trip over you again!"
Yuzu shook her head 'Honestly, things keep getting weirder and weirder…' She wanted to put the message away and forgot that it had ever existed but for some odd reason she felt compelled to reply. She began to type her reply.
Yuri was getting rather impatient, this stupid hospital still wouldn't fully clear him. Apparently they were concerned about possible head trauma from the attacks, granted it was a reasonable concern given the fact that his head had likely taken the full brunt of the impact from the gate. Why on earth had someone decided that having a gate out of solid steel on an action field was a good idea? Yuri probably never would find out.
His eyes shifted over to the letter and roses that Shiki had given him. The nurses tending to him had decided to take the roses and fix them into a small vase that now resided on the table beside him. They reminded him of his garden at home, he wasn't a fan of the more stereotypical type of flowers and plants. Roses, Chrysanthemums, violets and the like were taken out in favour of more… different… types of plants. Venus Fly Traps, Belladonna and other deadly plants adorned his collection. Yuri was rather proud of it, maintained to an excellent standard, he didn't care what people thought of it because they were his and his alone.
The purple and pink haired teen then took note of the letter. He picked it up and narrowed his eyes, 'What does he want now? Is this another invitation to duel? Maybe it's something about him finally learning what personal space is…' Yuri thought, opening it up 'Who uses letters nowadays anyway? It's not the 18th century anymore.'
The letter went as followed.
"Hello, Yuri Sakai." Yuri was perplexed, that was a very formal greeting, it was very clearly Shiki's hand writing and the butterflies drawn on at the bottom further compounded this "I see you couldn't resist opening this letter before you were discharged. However! If this isn't the case then disregard this part~!" Yuri was glad that they had returned to the regularly scheduled program "Regardless, when you do get out, I have something I want to give you. No roses this time, I took too many out of my flower garden last time and I need to replenish them, instead it just may be the very thing that could help you restore your father's legacy and improve your own standing at the same time.
Till then, my Lily."
'God! There he goes again, I think I may give up in regards to that nickname, luckily no one else has picked it up.' A mortified look crossed Yuri's face and a cold sweat cascaded down his back 'Oh lord, what if Yuzu starts with that?! I don't think I could ever live that down…'
A large shadow then suddenly blocked Yuri's light, initially he thought that it had been power cut but that theory was soon throw out the window by a cursory glance over to the sides where it was evident that the power was working perfectly fine.
The cause of the shadow soon made itself, or rather himself, clear "Heh… You look so tiny… Like that." The fractured speech could only belong to one person in particular and was the only one capable of acting like an eclipse through his body alone. Yuri found Teru Shion leering over him with his usual blank expressionless look.
His clothing was different this time, however, he was in a torn purple shirt that showed off sections of his chest. He had a black spiked choker around his neck and numerous red spiked bracelets that went across both of his arms. He had black trousers with numerous chains hanging about the place, a navy blue jacket with golden trims that was fastened by the collar around his neck, a silver pendant in the shape of a paw hanged down to the centre of his chest. Finally he had knee high grey combat boots. "So pathetic…"
"What are you doing here?" Yuri replied, placing the note back in its original place. The last thing he had wanted today apart from being kept in hospital for another day was the appearance of another person from the duel that had placed him in this place in the first place.
"To say sorry…" Teru replied, fiddling with the pendant, giving Yuri his only real indication of what the giant truly felt. "We're both sorry… Kioka-nee's too stubborn to… Admit she's sorry….She's like that…"
Yuri scoffed 'Yeah, I hadn't noticed that. She seemed like such a nice person…'
There was a rather prolonged awkward silence as the time ticked by. Yuri happened to be getting progressively more agitated by the situation whilst Teru seemed like he didn't know the definition of shame or personal space, he had been leering over Yuri this whole time and it was becoming unbearable to deal with. "Anything else to say, or are you going to continue being a pervert?"
Normally a comment like that would have someone stammering in denial, Yuri knew that, it was a pretty standard thing he had said for a few years, one or two people had tried leering at Yuzu when they thought he wasn't looking. Needless to say that initial confrontation scared them off slightly, giving him time to set up the solution to the situation. They never came back after that…
However, Teru was an entirely different beast. He simply kept that infuriatingly neutral look on his face, nothing was given away. Absolutely no sign of emotion was present, even staring into his visible eye led to it being like that of a doll, glassy and soulless. "Actually I do…"
Yuri quirked his brow, watching Teru closely as he took something out of the jacket "Let me tell you a story… To make you feel better…"
The verdict in Yuri's brain was unanimous 'Does he think I'm a child? Do I look like I'm five?!' He couldn't believe that Teru would dare pull this kind of stunt, it was demeaning! He pouted but stopped short of saying anything to the giant whom had already begun his story.
"Take a good look…" Getting over his own internal anger Yuri flicked his eyes to what lay in Teru's hand. It was a card, however, it wasn't a Duel Monsters card. It was a normal card which had the edges of it torn and the bottom of it stained yellow, suggesting that the green haired male had been holding onto this for a long time "Everyone has something… That means something to them… This is mine…"
"A humble servant who has given his all to the extolled name. Cerberus longed to fulfil his master's desires he would do anything to make sure they came true even if his body would be set aflame and burn to ashes. Put all your trust in Cerberus and devote yourself in him just like he did to his master." Yuri read the card out loud and then rolled his eyes, shaking his head. 'Of course… No one can be normal… Shiki pops up out of nowhere, that girl's too bitchy and stubborn to admit to assault and now I'm talking to someone who doesn't know personal space and is obsessed with Cerberus. Wonderful…'
"I do believe I spoke of my devotion to Cerberus before." Yuri nodded in conformation and motioned for Teru to continue "I believe you know what Cerberus is… He is the guardian… Of Gehenna's Gate. The one who controls access into Gehenna, as we stated during the duel there was a time that a human man dared appear before him."
Another card made its way out of Teru's jacket, this time it was a Duel Monster's card. One that Yuri recognised as Cerberus' Gate. Teru pointed to the purple haired man in the picture "This man was the one who appeared before Cerberus. He made a deal, in return for the dark secrets of the world, Cerberus would eventually devour that man's soul whole…"
'Devour a soul?' Yuri thought back to when he had heard someone say that and it hit him 'That's exactly what Jex said to Yuzu!'
Teru either didn't notice this revelation hitting Yuri or he didn't care as he continued on "The twist in the tale is not what became of the man but what became of Cerberus. In order to keep tabs on the man, Cerberus took a human form, the very one you see in this card standing next to the man. When the time finally came for the contract to be fulfilled, Cerberus made a key decision, he chose to spare the man's life once he saw that the man was caring for another soul, a young child. He couldn't bring himself to take the soul of a single man raising a young child. However, Cerberus left a memento of sorts. Dogs are very loyal creatures, Cerberus is perhaps the most loyal of them all once he finds a worthy master. He left a singular gift behind which the man would later gift to his child as a reminder that Cerberus would always be watching but also at the bond they now held."
Yuri hadn't been listening all that, he was too caught up in his thoughts about what Jex had said to them that night but he did pick a few things up 'Souls… That's what Jex talked to Yuzu about. Is he the Cerberus from the story?' He shook his head 'No… Stories are just that, stories. They aren't true, then again there are really four dimensions and I apparently share the face of someone that once resided in this dimension so I'm willing to believe everything at this point.'
"Bah." Teru scoffed, Yuri saw his expression change for the first time since he had first seen him, his eyes looked sharper than usual but not quite as sharp as Shiki's and a noticeable sneer was present on his lips "I come all this way and you don't even have the audacity to listen to me properly, I may be a watchdog but even watchdogs bite once in a while."
The purpled haired teen, too surprised by the other male's sudden change in expression, had failed to notice that Teru had been speaking without any form of impediment for a while now "What about it? I didn't ask you to tell me anything, if I remember, it was you who decided to come here and you that decided to tell me that story."
Yuri's smug expression pissed Teru off to no end, however, many years of having a stubborn sister had taught him how to hide that emotion very well behind an immaculate poker face "Then it would seem that my purpose here has been fulfilled. But before I go, I need to ask you something, Yuri Sakaki."
"And what would that be?" Yuri retorted without missing a beat.
"I've shown my prized possession, my emotional connection in this cruel and unrelenting world. What's yours? And what does it mean to you?" And with that cryptic display of linguistics, Teru disappeared from the scene and Yuri could finally see light once again.
However, the darkness had now crossed over into his mind in the form of deep thought. Did he have something like that? Despite how weird it was, Teru seemed to truly believe with his very being in that story and the concept of loyalty appeared to be very much central to his being. One doesn't call themselves a dog unless they want to. He supposed it made sense in a way, just as the green haired giant had said himself, dogs are very loyal animals.
He clenched the sheets on his hospital bed. 'Gah! Why now of all times?!' Memories of Academia began to dredge from the darker points of his mind. Memories of people looking down on him for being the Professor's pet. It wasn't his fault that that man had suddenly decided to take him under his wing! Not like it was much of issue, the people who tried to insult him and threaten him soon got a taste of their own medicine. 'I mean… Half of Academia did run the same deck, it's not like it's hard when you see the same monsters every duel! I swear, if I ever hear the name Ancient Gear Hunting Hound again I will punch someone!'
But he had left that life behind. He was in the Standard dimension. Yusho Sakaki had adopted him and a young girl called Yuzu Hiiragi became his best friend and personal victim to all of his games. However, in the years since that fateful day when Yusho had vanished something had changed. A growing sense of apathy had consumed him. What was the point of caring? If the first person to show him kindness would abandon him so readily why should he bother trying to link with other people? To those where there is no beginning, no end and no connecting there is no point. He felt like a phantom sometimes, often times it was only because he had Yuzu that he didn't delve into the darker side of his psyche too often.
It was then that he felt something tickle his cheek, he brought a weary hand up to touch it. It was that purple crystalline earring. Was that?
He could still remember the day he received it.
Yuri had woken on the day of his 11th birthday with boundless excitement. He couldn't well remember exactly when he had been born, he could only remember suddenly appearing in Academia one day. As a result of this it had been a collective decision to make his birthday the day he had appeared in You Show for the first time.
He bounded down the stairs at a lightning pace. That fire pole which was inexplicably placed in the centre of the house seemed more like a one way ticket to the hospital than a convenient way to get down to the living room.
But that wasn't the point, he was simply looking forward to his present so much. It's only natural after all, despite his mother cooing over how mature he was for his age he was still a kid deep down and a kid is a kid and they love presents above all else.
He could still remember the feeling of the wrapping paper in his hand. How soft and silken it was. He remembers carefully tearing off the wrapping paper and staring dumbfounded down at the earring which had been lying in the velvet box.
Initially, he was extremely confused by it, he had previously started wearing nail polish only the other year. But he was pretty adamant that that would be the only thing he would be adding to his appearance. If Yuzu was anything to go by, he was already handsome by himself! Any other tacky accessory would simply take attention away from his face.
But that was when Yusho had spoken up and held his shoulders tenderly "Yuri, wear it so you can always remember us. Never forget that you have to spread smiles through your dueling, no matter what that man had told you during those years. However, we won't always be here to tell you to remember this. There will come times when you are tested and your beliefs will be tested. Now, I don't know when this will be but whenever it does happen make sure to remember the two of us through this…"
He distinctly remembers mulling it over before saying "Yes father…" His ear was then pierced and he had never taken the thing off since.
He chuckled sardonically, still holding it close to his face 'Is that it… Is this that connection? I suppose if Teru can have a story as his, then this isn't far out of the water.'
As he placed his hand down, it brushed against the pendulum around his neck and Yuri's eyes narrowed 'And this has to be his….'
"Gah, why the hell does it have to be so hot all the time?!" That rough and almost borderline psychotic voice belonged to a one Demil Kaimia whom was currently wandering around about the city aimlessly, tugging at his shirt with sweat dripping down his face. He never really understood why but it seemed like he was positively allergic to any form of heat as it always turned him into a sweating mess. That was part of the reason why he preferred the night, it felt like he belonged there.
"Because that's how the world works, Demil." A spectral voice entered his ear which made him scowl, he quickly looked away to see if any people were nearby. He didn't want to stand out any more than he already did.
"Well maybe it should calm down! It doesn't have to be this goddamn hot all the time!" The voice laughed, taking a form of sick pleasure in the yellow eyed male's temper. "And it's not like you're affected by this so if you would kindly but out then that would be swell!"
"But I'm your partner, Demil. It's my job to be concerned about you." The voice replied and Demil groaned loudly, alerting the people whom had all of a sudden materialized out of thin air. Each one of them taking note of this strange boy with bandages on his hands for whatever reason.
Demil grunted and continued walking, slouching with his head locked down to the ground. He really had no purpose in being out during this time of the day, nothing of note ever during the day, so why was he bothering? The long and short of it was that there was literally nothing better he could do, it boiled down to sitting in his room and counting how many ways he could think of for bestowing punishment on that bastard of a roommate or braving the heat and going to see if anything of note was going to happen.
Unfortunately for him, neither of those plans were holding water. He had initially plumped for the first one but that had only lasted for about ten seconds before he lost his patience with that shithead of a roommate who was busy blabbering on about something Demil didn't care about. So here he was, burning up because he couldn't stand another human's presence.
Demil was so caught up with thinking about the heat that he didn't even bother to realise that he had just made impact with someone "Hey!" He yelled "Watch where you're going!"
Jade eyes store back down at him and a melodic voice spoke "Ah, apologies, I was too busy admiring my surroundings to see what was in front of my face."
Demil took an immediate dislike to this person, it sounded like they were the type of person to remain inanely happy even if some great tragedy had befallen him "I'm not in the mood for small talk."
"I see. I see." The voice replied jovially causing Demil to grind his teeth down to the enamel. He then felt something being placed in his hands "Take this though as a souvenir from our meeting." What had been placed within his bandaged fingers was a rather fresh looking white rose "I bid you adieu, J'espère que nous nous retrouverons." And with that the person had brushed past Demil.
However, said individual's jaw had presently unhinged itself like a serpent and was hanging down at his feet. "Did you feel that too, Demil?" Demil nodded limply, still shocked by the feeling that he had obtained when he came into contact with the rose "That man there. There's something off about him."
Demil snapped out of his trance and spoke lowly "I know, even now I can still feel that there's some kind of lingering darkness around this area." He then shook his head "Regardless, that's not what's important here."
"Oh? And what is?" The voice quipped back, clearly unimpressed by how Demil had pivoted from what they deemed the more crucial event.
The yellow eyed male then pulled out a white notebook from his jacket pocket, the front of the book covered over by the word "Ideal". The penmanship was quite frankly horrible and it didn't get any better as he turned to the page in question "This. I have to get more ice cream."
"W-What?!" The voice shrieked after a while "You can't be serious!"
Demil looked over his shoulder with a blank face and spoke with a flat tone "Deadly serious. It's a matter of life and death…"
He walked on, ignoring the constant cries of despair in his ears from the mysterious voice.
"Shiki Sogami, to what do I owe the pleasure of having you visit me?" Reiji asked the man 11 years his elder whilst he reclined back in his chair.
"Am I not allowed a friendly visit?" Shiki smiled, twirling his rose and taking far more interest in that than actually paying attention to Reiji's person "If we looked for hidden ulterior motives for every meeting we've had together, you'd need at least 5 separate files and maybe a new cabinet just to hold it."
"But then again, it's not every day of the week that the owner of one of the most prestigious duel schools in the country calls and says that he has something important to discuss."
"I suppose you're right, Reiji-kun. I did say that didn't I?" Something within Shiki's already naturally sharp eyes and face made it even sharper, his pupils threatening to turn into slits "And I have this to say to you, Yuri-kun isn't exactly who you believe him to be but it would appear that by focusing your attention on him, you've lost track of someone else just as important."
"Oh? Pray tell, Shiki, who is this?"
"She's so pathetic and helpless, she's like a bunny rabbit controlled by Providence. Those eyes of hers reflect a life so pitiful and melancholic." Shiki drawled, taking a long sniff of the rose shortly afterwards "Like a flightless butterfly, she tries so hard to flap her wings, alas, the world pushes her back down."
Reiji paused in thought, of course it was natural for Shiki to be so needlessly cryptic in his word, obsession with butterflies notwithstanding. Luckily, the gender had been revealed and gave him a fair indication of who it likely was when the circumstances of the meeting was taken into account "I see, a flightless butterfly who is tossed about by Providence, thank you for that Shiki. Now I wanted to discuss something else with you."
"Oh? What would that be?" Something predatory slipped into Shiki's tone as he took his fedora off, he could foresee this going on for far longer than he expected.
Reiji pulled up something on his computer and showed it to the elder male, it was a picture taken from a security camera. On it was a picture of a blond haired male and his monster, a robotic blond haired female which had two pinkish red orbs floating around it. "Recently, we've discovered massive bursts of XYZ energy here in the city, you and I know that no one who originates from this city has the capability to produce such bursts of energy, meaning that this person here is not from this dimension." Reiji then pulled out an envelope in which resided two cards, however, instead of being standard monster cards the picture showed the tortured and pained expressions of real people "Furthermore, I'm assuming that it is this person who sent me these two cards, each one a member of LDS in some form. Evidently, this person is not a benevolent individual."
Shiki brought his hand under his chin and smirked "And what business do you have in telling me this? As far as I can see this person is of no concern to me, if they're attacking your people then it's your problem and not mine. Why don't you use your elite core that you're so proud off? Or are they not as elite as you'd like me to believe? And if you're so concerned about it, I was always taught when younger that if you want something done properly you have to do it yourself."
The CEO narrowed his eyes, this man. This man was something else entirely. "Are you threatening me, Sogami?"
"Why on earth would you think that?!" Shiki said in mock pain, holding his rose to his chest "I would never do something as slimy as that, I'm no manipulator and I'm no puppet master like you are, Akaba." Somehow, Shiki's features seemed to get even sharper "But as a word of warning, boy. I don't like people who speak ill of me, I hardly tolerate when Bitch-chan has the audacity to open that god forsaken yap of hers so I won't tolerate your trap opening any further." He placed his fedora back on and stood up glaring down at Reiji "I've learned this lesson during my many years on this earth, perhaps in a very violent way." He pulled down his shirt, revealing a massive gash right above where his heart would've been, but what was strange about it was the odd shape it had, as if someone had punctured it with one swift blow
"Never threaten those who are more powerful than you." Shiki snarled like a feral animal at the still relatively composed Reiji.
"Then why don't you follow your own advice?" Reiji said behind a dangerous glint in his eyes. His glasses reflecting the bright light into the room. "In case you've forgotten, Sogami, if you dare step out of line I will have no choice but to let certain bits of information leak to the police…"
For a while Shiki store hatefully at the CEO but then he suddenly burst out in laughter "Bwahahahah! You sound exactly like my Grandfather, by the by that's not a compliment." He then calmed down and picked his fedora back up. "Alright then, Reiji-kun, I'll concede this one to you. What do you wish me to do?"
"Glad you've come to your senses after all." Reiji let out a small smirk, it would appear that controlling people was a natural family skill after all "The issue is with these XYZ duelists…"
Shiki looked perplexed "Wait, duelists? Plural? Your image only showed one of them."
"Perhaps it would do you good not to interrupt people while they're speaking, Sogami." Shiki smirked but Reiji simply ignored the elder Principal "Anyway, as I was about to say, the induvial that was spotted is the only one whose been caught on camera, however, our readings have detected many more bursts of XYZ energy which are unlikely to have all come from the one person." He then leaned in on the desk, locking his royal purple eyes with Shiki's jade green ones. "I want you to assist me in luring them out."
"Luring them out?" Shiki scratched his chin "Very well then. But I'm afraid I can't use one of my own pupils, I don't think I need the reputation of my school to fall any further. I think that since I'm doing this for you, you need to do something for me."
"And what would that be?"
"Use one of your own brass for this. In the meantime, I know how much you would like to get your hands on little Lily's pendulum cards." Reiji hid his shock at Shiki mentioning that but then he remembered who he was talking to. Shiki Sogami was as crafty as he was eccentric "I'll give you an idea for that. I believe that you have plenty of self-absorbed students in LDS? It's only natural to assume that. So why don't you give them the chance to finally fulfil that monstrous ego of theirs? Have them duel Lily for his pendulum cards." Then Shiki suddenly stood up and began to walk away "You can decide on the details, I'll see you around, Reiji-kun."
Reiji watched on in silence as Shiki vanished from the room. When he was certain that he was long gone, he sighed 'I'll never understand that man. But at least I've got my candidate in mind already, all that's needed is his co-operation.'
(Meanwhile) (Synchro Dimension)
"Rin! Rin! RINNNNNNNNN!" Yugo had been flying through the streets for days on his D-Wheel. He had sworn to himself that he wouldn't rest until he had recovered and rescued Rin from where that bastard had taken her!
Yet he had found so such luck. Days upon days he had neglected his own well-being for the well-being of a girl that had meant so such much to him over all of those terrible years. Which is why when he groaned loudly, slamming down on the brake of his D-Wheel, that he couldn't help but launch his helmet to the ground again. That broken visor wasn't really helping matters anyway, stupid wind kept getting in face now, forcing him to close his eyes due to the strong current.
It was ironic really. Only a few short weeks ago both he and Rin would feel liberated by the wind, having the air flow over them made them feel a burst of freedom. Going fast made them alive and the D-wheel was a symbol of their bond, something they had forged by themselves, something no one else but them could own and call it their own work.
And that was why he hated the sight of the accursed thing now, every time he laid eyes upon it he was reminded of the utter failure he was in protecting Rin. No one else was to blame but himself.
One of the worst parts of it all was informing Sakura. Sakura had gone her separate way and was unaware that anything had gone down. She had always been supportive of the two of them even to annoying degrees with her constant bubbliness and cutesy nicknames but there had also been a serious side, perhaps repressed, but nevertheless existent. And Yugo saw that when he had told her.
"Get her back." She had declared with an unflinching determination and a dark, deathly, aura clinging to her being "You hear me? Do it. I won't accept you lazing about on this one!" Jesus, that girl could be the devil incarnate if she wanted to be.
Then… There was him. To say that Yugo never wanted to see that four eyed bastard's face again was an understatement. If they ever met again Yugo had made a promise to knock some sense into him. Ever since that man had turned up at the orphanage and took him away from Yugo and Rin when they were younger he had grown distant and cold. They had always tried to establish some communication but they never received a reply. Rin had always gone for the opinion that maybe he just didn't have enough time in his new life to speak to them, but Yugo knew the truth of why he would never reply.
"Leave me alone!" He had cried, his glasses had been cracked by a particularly forceful punch which had also resulted in blood seeping from a gash on his cheek "You're an idiot, Yugo! Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! This is all your fault!"
Before he had been able to reply to this accusation, the man whom had been the root cause of their fight turned up. His sleek purple pinstripe suit and equally purple hair only served more to contrast his blood orange eyes "Stop it you two!" His hands felt so cold and unnatural when they pressed against young Yugo's body "You're both in the wrong here and I won't tolerate this any longer!" That was the last time him and four eyes had seen each other in a physical state.
And he didn't much care. Especially now that his search for Rin had taken priority.
"This sucks…" He mumbled, collapsing tired against a nearby wall "Rin… Rin…Rin…" One could call him obsessed by this but when someone's life purpose goes missing they will do everything to get it back. It didn't help that in this place his nose was being assaulted by smells of wine and smoke.
Groggily, he lifted his head and observed his surroundings and his eyes widened. In his haste and blind desire he had landed in the one place that he didn't want to be. Screw the facility, at least with that place you could hope that the guards, despite their biases and other flaws, could help you if you were being treated like shit. However, this place near the edge of the city held an entirely different reputation.
Feared by both Tops and Commons, this place could only be described as hell on earth, missing persons' last known location was often found to be here and the people who investigate this matter regularly vanished alongside them. Even Sector Security and its director refused to enter this place.
Shoddily thrown together shacks littered the road with rust assaulting the corrugated iron. Warehouses stood tall and proud and Yugo was slapping himself for not realising this. Rumour had it that those were the places where the people were taken too when they were kidnapped and Yugo really didn't want to find out if they were indeed true.
'Shit! Shit! Shit!' He cursed inwardly, searching for his discarded helmet before he could speed off and out of this place.
"Well, well, well, ain't this just a sight worth a ten billion dollar masterpiece?" Damnit! He was too late. "Never thought someone would be stupid enough to willingly step on the boss' turf!" The stench of smoke overwhelmed him.
The male who had spoken looked like the prototypical criminal. Piercings, tattoos, yellow tattoos showing his time in the facility and finally, the last thing Yugo saw before he felt someone cover his face in a cloth was a mocking sneer.
"What business do you have coming to me at this hour?" Yugo stirred at the sound of a very irritated male voice and given how he spoke down to his assaulters this guy was probably the head honcho.
"This." The goon jerked him out as if he was some sordid hunting prize "We found this lurking around our turf screaming his head off. Naturally we had to take care…"
"Really?" Yugo felt someone starting to poke his forehead "Gah, looks like you picked up a real piece of work. What did I tell you about picking up trash?"
"Trash?!" The Speedroid duelist squawked indignantly, his eyes flying open "Take that back!"
Waiting for the reply, Yugo took in the supposed boss. He was remarkably short, only about 5'1, but there was this intense presence about him that forced Yugo to take notice of everything he had to offer. He had longish red hair that framed his dark red eyes and curled around the right side of his face whilst the rest of it flowed down his back. His outfit consisted of a white button up shirt under a dark red vest, a black choker, a black ribbon bolo tie held together with a small silver buckle, an open black cropped jacket with the sleeves rolled up at the elbows, black slacks, a black belt hanging off his right hip and black low-arch shoes. Finally there was a set of black half gloves.
After what seemed like forever, especially with the goon breathing down his neck, the short male spoke "Me? Take something back? Do you even know who you're talking to, kid?"
"Kid? You're shorter than I am!" A vein bulged on the red haired male's forehead at that comment, not that Yugo was any the wiser since he was busy scanning his surroundings. A beaten down and dank warehouse where rusted chains hanged from the ceiling and cages took residence not too far away from where they were now. He wanted to see more…
But that was stopped by a deafening crack. With his jaw rearranged, Yugo swallowed a scream that threatened to escape his lips. The other male cracked his knuckles "My name is Junichiro Hanyu and you'd do very well not to anger me like that." Junichiro sneered as his expression turned rather nasty "That's no way for you to speak to your owner!"
Unfortunately for Yugo he didn't quite know when he should keep his mouth shut "Owner?! Just who the hell do you think you are? I ain't nobody's but my own!"
Junichiro grinned, showing off some very sharp teeth that looked like they belonged more at home in a shark "I believe you know what happens to people who end up in this location, right?" Yugo nodded and watched Junichiro point at each individual cage "Well, I think you should've figured out by now that the one behind all the disappearances was yours truly."
"How'd shrimp like you do all this?" At the snap of Junichiro's fingers and a gash to the back of his head, Yugo had his answer for that question. Once that pain had subsided however, the blue eyed teen realised just the question he should be asking "Rin… Do you know where she is?! Was that one of your goons that took her?! Where are you keeping her?!"
The red haired male blinked owlishly, who the hell did her think he was making demands of HIM? No, this kind of disrespect would not be tolerated "I suggest that unless you want to end up like the rest of the people who disrespected me, you shut your trap before I cut your tongue out of your mouth. I know nothing of this Rin person, I don't own someone of that name and no one left here without being ordered too." He watched curiously at how dejected his new pet looked when he brought up that person. Someone important to him? Junichiro sure hoped that was the case.
Yugo knew for sure he could trust this asshole's words and what was worse for his senses was that his breath absolutely stank of days old wine, not helping the already shitty air that inhabited the warehouse. There was only one way he knew he could get legitimate answers out of the short stack "Duel me…"
"And why would I want to do that, shitty kid?" Junichiro sneered, his patience growing very thin by this point "I don't recall the last time one of my pets was as rabid as you are, but it's lucky that I have just the thing to keep you in line…" He store up to his underling "Bring it to me, I have someone I need to discipline."
With a crash, Yugo was thrown to the ground, landing badly on his leg causing him to cringe in pain. Junichiro turned around and then pushed something covered by a red cloth into the space. "The human heart is an interesting little thing." He began "It harbours two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortune. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come to harbour some degree of hostility toward them." He ran his finger across the body of whatever was under the cloth, the same smirk he had earlier was plastered on his face.
"What's with the poetic waxing all of a sudden?" Yugo scoffed, still nursing the pain on his leg. Looked like he had been purposefully dropped on the area that would cause the most damage. When he looked up he didn't like the look of the glint in Junichiro's eyes and that mass looked suspiciously familiar.
"Just sharing what an acquaintance of mine once told me about this bratty kid, you just reminded me of him that's all. But I have this sneaking suspicion about you, you see." He picked up the cloth "I feel like you're much more than you let on, call it an innate ability but I can see the air around a person and how it moves upon their arrival to a scene."
"Huh?" Yugo sweatdropped, he much preferred it when this guy was threatening him instead of be a cryptic little shitbag.
"Ever heard of auras? They're these pesky things that cling to a person no matter where they are, the air tends to change dependant on who the aura in question belongs to, think of what I'm about to show you as test of sorts." Dramatically, he threw off the cloth and revealed what lay underneath.
Yugo's eyes widened and then narrowed with pure fury as the recognition struck him "Where did you get that!" He snarled much to Junichiro's amusement.
Lying in front of him was their D-Wheel. How dare they take it from him! Dark thoughts began to swirl in Yugo's mind as Junichiro started to stroke the metal "Nice bit of craftsmanship there if I do say so myself. I was never really much of a mechanic myself, could never figure out what piece went where so I got some of my partners to do the work for me." His smirk widened when he saw how Yugo's eyes were practically glowing with rage, his actual eyes slowly becoming submerged by a glowing teal.
The short red haired male felt the need to fan the flames further "I don't know awful lot about how to put these things together…" He placed the heel of his foot against the side of the D-Wheel "But I do know how to destroy things. A delicate work of art? Nah, this is more of a shoddy counterfeit!" With all the force he could muster, which despite his size was actually very strong, he sent the D-Wheel crashing to the ground as he continued to strike it much to Yugo's growing ire.
"YOU BASTARD!" He couldn't take it anymore! Yugo lunged towards the shorter male, his eyes ablaze in a sea of teal.
Junichiro dodged out of the way coolly as if it were a gentle breeze rather than a raging tempest. But he wouldn't deny the felling he had. The air around the place had certainly changed. It felt heavier. Like the gravity was crushing him. His feelings were further compounded when he turned his gaze at Yugo. A malevolent aura clung to him, engulfing him further in darkness with each step he took. The aura then took the form of a large dragon with glowing red eyes "Is this… What malice looks like…?"
"Pitiful runt! You dare to call me your "pet", yet you truly have no idea what you're talking about!" The way Yugo's mouth had stayed surprisingly shut through that sentence sent shivers down Junichiro's spine, this wasn't like anything he had ever seen before, he had had several people before with strange auras. Ones that may fetch quite the high price if he marketed it correctly. However, nothing was right about this one.
"If you think you can intimidate me then you're dead wrong. Some of the things I've seen are far worse than your little shadow show. Tell me, Spirit-san, do you know what the inside of a cage feels like?" He received no reply, not like he was really expecting one "They're cold, dark and full of despair, much like what I sense coming from your person. The world is very much like a bird cage, fade in colour and no matter how much we lament, we cannot escape from this prison."
"I'm not interested in hearing your pathetic metaphors for why you're a sad wretch, I only seek one thing. To show you my strength!" The darkness grew even stronger, a wave of it striking into Junichiro's body, flinging him onto his back as Yugo marched forward in a zombie like state.
"A man sometimes devotes himself to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life." Junichiro stood back up, holding up his right hand that had the glove on it removed "So as you can imagine, those who have fallen far have been so worn down by their other tortures that they no longer have the strength to cry out."
"What are you insinuating?" The spirit snarled having had enough of this puny human's cryptic waxing.
"I've seen many a spirit, a gift from childhood, usually the spirit will take the form of an aura and will be dormant which is why no one can see them. However…" He slowly removed his other glove as he made his point "I found something out about three years ago. People's auras change upon their emotions, seems like the most basic thing in the world but wait till I finish. As I said, auras are essentially the manifestation of a person's spirit but when an extreme emotion takes hold the spirit itself takes an incorporeal form. For example, I placed your vessel into a state of despair and extreme anger leading to you taking hold of him."
The spirit holding Yugo chuckled darkly "HAHA! Quite the interesting story you've worked up! Quite the accurate one too! My vessels have an annoying amount of willpower, they have this erroneous belief that they are their own person, luckily people like you exist to drive them further into despair and grant me the power to take them over! KEHEHEHE!"
"Fufufu…" Junichiro's almost silent laugh brought a large change in the atmosphere as he crossed both his hands in front of him "There's something I neglected to mention though, I also know how to seal these spirits back into their vessel!" Before the spirit possessing Yugo could do anything Junichiro had already acted "Oh, grantors of dark disgrace! Do not wake me again!"
"Ha? You think that those putrid things will work?! You're usel-" However, the Dragonic spirit was stopped midway through the rant by a shock that went through its very core and he soon found his strength fading back into the black "Impossible! How are you doing this?!"
"A magician never reveals his secrets." Junichiro grunted "But I will say that birds of a feather flock together. Don't worry, this won't be forever, I'll be sure to resurrect you soon." He said with a toothy grin as the dragon fell back into Yugo who proceeded to collapse onto the floor.
Junichiro followed him shortly after, albeit far more conscious and on his knees, eyes trembling and locked on his hands "Why… Why, of all people… Is the key in that person's hand?!"
"Boss." The voice startled him but he calmed down upon seeing it was other underling he had sent out earlier. "I have what you asked for." He tossed the object in question to Junichiro.
"G-good…" That was odd to the henchman, he had never heard his boss stutter in his life or look as perturbed as he was now. Scanning his eyes over the petite male, his eyes widened when they landed on Junichiro's hands. He was about to open his mouth "Don't speak! This isn't your business! Now get out of here!" He didn't want to risk angering his boss any further and he quickly departed the warehouse.
With his gloves now back on his hands, Junichiro picked up the object in question and waltzed over to Yugo's prone form. "You've caused me a lot of trouble, shitty kid." Even now that dark aura was still around Yugo albeit far more subdued "But at least you'll get your wish, you'll duel me soon."
He fastened it around Yugo's open neck "My pet…"
"I've already told you before, please, don't cry, Ruri-chan." Yali placed his hand on Ruri's scarred face, occasionally running his long fingers in between the jagged edges "It pains my heart so much to see someone I know, and someone who used to consider me a friend, treat me in such a cold hearted way." He took hold of a clump of her purple hair and sniffed it "Your hair is beautiful, I can't wait to dye into all into crimson red." He looked positively in rapture when he pulled back "You're a unique case, there's not many like you in this world. In fact, there are only three just like you."
Ruri mustered enough strength to gaze upon the blissful Yali, she couldn't believe who she was seeing before her. He was so… Different… Manic… Cruel. The Yali she knew was none of these things, he may have had a short fuse that was only rivalled by Shun's legendary temper but he was definitely wasn't the monster that she looked upon now with such horror.
The grey haired male meandered to the window of the room and let the cool air blow across his features whilst he closed his eyes. "You know something, Ruri-chan? Those times I spent in XYZ are truly times I treasure, however, all good things must come to an end and I guess that happens when we invaded." He turned back to Ruri, smirking as he did so "Poor little you. Such a defenceless young girl, when I think of all the terrible things I'm going to do to you it makes me shiver with pleasure. A little bit of pain never hurt anyone, unless it kills you, but even then I'll enjoy watching you suffer. I love suffering. They say that the suffering of others tastes like honey, and I'll say that they're absolutely correct."
He started to wander back but suddenly stopped when something shook his soul to his very core. He looked down at the ground with his eyes shaking "Impossible…" A hand covered his right eye as he grunted in pain "She shouldn't be able to realise that much of it yet…Unless…" Ruri watched as out of the blue he ran out of the room.
Yali appeared in the room of the one person who would understand what he was feeling.
Reisuke was in the middle of another portrait, a singular portrait of a man setting on a flaming throne and reaching out of the portrait "I don't know what you're talking about, Reisuke, I hate it. Everything about it." He said out loud.
"Rei." At the sound of Yali's voice, the Commandant swivelled around and looked Yali dead in the eye "It's been activated."
"And what do you want me to do about it?" Reisuke replied dully, turning back to the portrait when he finished. "If I remember correctly, that was your jurisdiction, not mine. You laid claim to them so it's your responsibility. I don't have any obligation to assist you in this, I don't feel like it anyway."
Yali scowled and pounded the wall "You're impossible like this! If you're going to be like that then I'll cut you out of this whole thing all together!"
"Destroy… Destroy… Destroy. Ah, it will all be destroyed." Reisuke marched over to one of the now many portraits of the XYZ dimension that he had painted during the recovery from his injury. The bandage by this time had been replaced by a singular square plaster but it was clear that he had gone into some form of shock when he returned and thus he had been banned from going out for at least another week. He picked up one of the many portraits and showed it to his friend "I'll annihilate it. I hate it. Everything about it. And nothing will stop me. I'll destroy it. The four of them. Shall die!" He threw the portrait on the ground, crushing and grinding under his jackboot.
Yali flipped his hand up in a pissed off manner "Fine then. I'll go talk to Yuya, maybe he'd be interested in how his precious little play thing has grown as an individual." He moved to leave the room but before fully walking out he stopped in the doorway "Oh, if you act like that again I'll lop off those stupid things you were so proud of." He wasn't interested in hearing the Commandant's reply and left instantaneously after his sentence.
Reisuke cast a cursory glance over his shoulder, his left eye closed as he pursed his lips. Sometimes he wondered what went on in the grey haired teen's mind, he really was an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Nothing about Yali seemed to make sense, the obsessive observation habit he had only further compounded this enigmatic personality. The Commandant could never truly understand him even if he tried, despite the fact that they had been friends for as long as he could remember. "Lop them off? Why would you ever do such a mean thing, Li-Li?" He rubbed his shoulders feeling a shiver run down his back and particularly the area between his shoulder blades.
He stood up from his seat and picked up another one of the portraits, a heavenly scene that depicted two angels but contained a hellish situation. One of them with pure white hair and an illustrious set of white wings was standing over the top of another one with blond hair, the one on the ground seemed to be begging the white haired one for something. The portrait showed the white haired angel wearing a confused expression but seemingly understanding what was being asked of him. Something sharp was present in his hands.
Reisuke scowled before he suddenly snapped the canvas in half with his bare hands.
"I think it's time I paid the little birdie a visit…"
As Reisuke departed he failed to notice the presence of another person who had been listening in to everything that had been said. Her indigo hair had been tied back into a ponytail by a large yellow bow, she was wearing a red jacket with a yellow stripe and a green-and-yellow star emblem on each sleeve, which was worn over a black shirt with a purple-brown collar. She also wore a red skirt held up by a brown belt with a silver buckle and ring connecting to two straps going over her torso while her thighs were covered by biker shorts. She wore brown boots and on her right wrist was a metal bracelet, not all that dissimilar from the ones that resided on Yuzu, Rin and Ruri. The only noticeable difference being the indigo gem in the middle.
She narrowed her eyes as the Commandant vanished into the darkness of the corridor.