"So... this is the place, huh?"
Both Yuma and Yuya looked up at the large building in front of them. This was where the Spirit Arcadia Institute, otherwise known as SAI, was located. They had been contacted by Juudai and had been asked to visit him during Saturday morning to talk about the events that had happened to them over the last few months. Now standing outside the door, the two boys exchanged glances at each other.
"So, do we just... go in?" Yuya asked. Yuma grinned at him as he placed a hand on the door handle.
"Of course! Juudai knows we're coming after all!"
With that, Yuma opened the door and the two of them stepped into the building.
It seemed pretty quiet.
"Is anybody even here?" Yuya wondered as they looked around. Before Yuma could answer, there seemed to be a small yell from further inside the building. As the boys turned around to the direction it came from, they suddenly found an overweight tabby cat running towards them with something in it's mouth. Before either of them could react, the cat leapt up with surprising agility for it's size, and landed onto Yuma's face, only to jump straight off, scratching him in the process.
Dazed, Yuma fell straight to the floor before the cat landed on the floor behind them and ran straight out of the door.
"Gwah, Pharaoh come back here!!"
Yuya's attention was taken away from his dazed friend as a girl with green hair ran towards them, but slowed down when she saw them, giving up the chase on the more agile cat. She looked over at Yuya, who was sporting a very confused expression, then looked down at Yuma on the floor. Her eyes widened a little as she recognized the latter boy.
She laughed lightly as she offered a hand to help him up. "Sorry about that. I guess Pharaoh was too determined to make his getaway before I caught him."
Coming out of his daze, Yuma looked up, recognizing the girl in return. "Ruka?" He returned the laugh as he accepted her hand and allowed her to help him up. "Ahh, it's fine!! It's fine!"
So this was Ruka? Yuya thought to himself. Yuma had mentioned her a few times to him. She was his friend in his first year who tutored him.
"It's great to see you again, Ruka!!"
"Same! Though, wow, you've grown since I last saw you."
Yuma rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Ah-ha, yeah, I had a bit of a growth spurt since then!" Yuma's attention then moved over to Yuya as he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Oh, this is Yuya! He's my new friend and room-mate from the Academy."
"It's nice to meet you, Yuya." Ruka said, extending a hand in greeting. Yuya happily took Ruka's hand in response.
"Nice to meet you too!"
As Yuya looked down at their handshake, he noticed a strange mark on Ruka's right arm. It looked like a claw from something. A tattoo? She didn't really seem like the type to be into tattoos.
Before he had the chance to ask, Juudai came around the corner, spotting them all at the doorway.
"Ah! I was wondering what all the commotion was about!"
Letting go of Yuya's hand, Ruka placed both her hands on her hips, giving Juudai an annoyed look as she did.
"I'll tell you what all the commotion was about. Your cat just stole the sandwich I made for my lunch later!"
"Again?" Juudai sighed. "Okay, okay. How about we meet up for lunch and I'll buy you something in return for it."
Ruka looked at him for a moment, then gave him a small smile. "I'll accept that."
"I'll try and find a way to stop him getting into your office... or from following me to work at all."
Juudai's attention then turned towards the two boys, greeting them with a smile.
"Glad to see you both made it. It's also great to finally meet you in person, Yuya." Yuya smiled and nodded before Juudai continues. "If you follow me, we'll head to my office."
Juudai began walking away and the two boys followed. As they did, Yuma looked back at Ruka and gave her a wave.
"Cya around, Ruka!"
Ruka smiled and waved back at him before Juudai and the boys disappeared around the corner.
"Come in and take a seat!"
Juudai stepped aside to allow the two boys into his office, closing the door behind them once they had entered. Both of them made their way over to the desk and sat down in the chairs before it, while Juudai went to sit in the chair behind the desk.
"So, Desdemona-san visited me at the beginning of the week and filled me in a bit about your current situations, but I wanted to talk to you both myself to get your stories in full and so I can ask any questions I need to regarding it. This way we can try and fully understand what's going on with the both of you." His attention turned towards Yuma. "How about you start first, Yuma. Just tell me everything you can about the situation that lead to you gaining that power of yours."
Yuma nodded as Juudai reached for a pen and a notepad to take notes with as Yuma spoke.
"Well, as you know, there's been some jerks at the academy that started bothering Yuya and me when the school year started! At first it was just random duelists targeting us and just trying to get under our skin. Trying to use things like personal issues to drag us down in order to make us lose our dueling spirits so we'd leave the academy!! Around that time I started getting that weird dream about the door, too. It repeated itself almost every other night for a couple of months."
"Could you describe that dream in as much detail as you can?" Yuma nodded.
"I'd be walking along this narrow, crumbling pathway, with a sheer drop into darkness on either side. Then in front of me would be the door. It had a demons face and it was all chained up. I remember an intense light coming from the other side. The door spoke to me saying how "the one who opened" it would be granted "great power" but that there was a great risk attached and that it's lead to a path of hardships or something. Each time I felt kinda uneasy so I'd kinda back-off and then fall off the pathway before waking up!
I didn't think much about the dream at first. I thought it meant nothing!! But the more I had it, the more I wondered what it meant. Then Hope told me that he thought there would come a time where I would have to choose to open the door or not."
"Hope, huh..." Juudai smiled a little, it seems giving Yuma Hope was definitely the right choice. "So this door then came to you again in that dark game, right...?"
"Yeah. Back during the holidays, I had a friend visiting me from Heartland, but this group, Desperado, went and kidnapped her then held her captive!! They gave me the choice to either leave the academy to get her back, or duel someone. I chose to duel and go to the location they told me to go to, but that's when I got dragged into that dark game thing!" Yuma paused for a moment as his thoughts went back to that duel. He'd done his best in the last month to bury the memories as much as he could, so that it didn't bother him, but dragging them up again was painful. When he continued, his voice was noticeably more quieter and hesitant than before and his eyes had trailed to the floor.
"...that duel was the most terrifying and most difficult thing I've ever had to go through. I didn't want to hurt my opponent, but I had no choice to. When the attacks hit him, they really injured him... though he apparently got a thrill from that kind of stuff...
... then he summoned that big demon thing that kept threatening to eat Kotori... and... eventually it picked me up... then slammed me to the ground... over and over and over...!" Yuma's hands, that were resting on his legs, tightened into fists as he recalled the difficult memories.
"I'd never felt pain like that before. It was the worst I'd ever felt in my life. I heard Kotori screaming and then... I think I lost conciousness..."
Yuya watched on in slight horror as Yuma recalled the dark game, before his eyes also trailed off. Yuma had told him about what had happened, though not in as much detail as that, it was horrible to think that a duel could cause someone so much pain and suffering like that.
The room went silent as Juudai gave Yuma a moment to calm down a little, noticing that the memories he was bringing up were difficult for him. All that pain, all the injuries he would of sustained from that would of been real and he knew there was a good chance Yuma, at that point, would of been either dead, or had been one step away from it.
"... and that's when the door appeared to you again?"
Yuma nodded. "Yes. The next thing I knew, I was stood in front of it again, but I knew that time it wasn't a dream.
At that point, I knew that if I didn't take what it was offering me, not only would I of died, but Kotori would of too. I figured... if it at least saved her, then it was worth whatever path it put me on and I was willing to face that, no matter what." His lifted his left hand up and held onto the Emperor's key hanging around his neck. "So I opened the door using my pendant and accepted the power. The door said it was called ZEXAL and then I was engulfed by this really bright light. The next thing I knew, I was standing in this completely new form!"
"Desdemona-san told me that you could preform something called a "Shining Draw", correct?"
"Yeah! I could sorta, create and draw a card that I needed and the one I drew in that duel was called "ZEXAL Weapon - Unicorn Spear", which I don't have in my deck at any other time. I checked!"
"I see. So you definitely only have access to cards like that while in that form."
Just then, Yuma's face lit up a little, seemingly eager to tell Juudai something.
"Oh, I was also able to bring out a new version of Hope during that duel too!"
"...Hope Ray?" Juudai questioned. Yuma seemed surprised that he knew of it.
"Yeah. How'd you...?"
Juudai smiled a little at Yuma. "Back when I had Hope originally, I was able to summon that version too. Only once, but I did. Some others I know of had also been able to do that with Numbers that they had.
It looks like you and Hope are forming quite the bond with each other. It seems I was right to give him to you."
This made Yuma grin. "Ah! He's the ace of my deck now and definitely a monster I can rely on in duels!
...Even if he does insult my dueling skills sometimes... and constantly makes weird observations..."
Juudai laughed. It seems that Hope was also regaining a sense of himself while being with Yuma, resulting in his true personality beginning to shine through.
After this, Juudai's attention turned to Yuya.
"Er, yes..!" Yuya's head snapped up when his name was mentioned, he'd still been lost in his own thoughts over Yuma's earlier statement about the dark game.
"Desdemona-san told me that you learned fusion summoning out of the blue in your recent duel. Like Yuma, I'd like you to explain what happened leading up to that and any other odd events that may of occurred before or after this event."
Yuya nodded hesitantly before he began. "Like Yuma, I was dragged into a duel planned by this Desperado group. They used the fact that I was ill to purposely put me in a disadvantageous duel against someone who's safeties on their duel disk had been turned off, by the end, I couldn't even stand up and there was no way I would of been able to continue.
That is, until I had a dragon call to me."
"And that was 'Rune-Eyes Pendulum Dragon', correct?"
"Yes. It just kept calling to me. It somehow gave me the strength to carry on with the duel and it was like I suddenly knew exactly what I needed to do to summon it. I was able to draw an Entermate Pendulum card I didn't have in my deck previously, Trump Witch, and use it's pendulum effect to fusion summon Rune-Eyes.
Yuma actually gave me a name for it. 'Pendulum Fusion'."
"Pendulum fusion...?" Juudai questioned.
"Yeah!" Yuma jumped in. "Cos not only was it done by a pendulum effect, but it was done through fusing two pendulum summoned monsters!"
"Rune-Eyes also gets an additional effect if it's fusion materials were pendulum summoned." Yuya added on.
"So, a fusion most fitting for a pendulum based deck. A Pendulum Fusion." Juudai wondered out loud, before adding this to his notes. "Desdemona-san also mentioned something about an odd occurrence when you first ever pendulum summoned. Can you explain that to me and the situation that lead to it?"
"Yeah. I was the one who created pendulum summoning, just completely out of the blue.
My father, Sakaki Yushou, had been due to duel against another pro-duelist called Strong Ishijima, but ... my dad disappeared and he never turned up for the match. About three months later, I was given the chance to duel Strong Ishijima in place of my father, but in the duel, I ended up getting pretty cornered. That's when I did the pendulum summon. The only thing is, I don't really remember doing it. All I remember is feeling cornered, remembering some advice my dad gave me once then... the next thing, I'd won and people were going crazy over this new summoning method I did, I had no idea what they were talking about.
I had to re-watch a video of the duel and learn about pendulum summoning from that. It took me a whole night dueling my friends to grasp it."
So Yuya was not only the creator of pendulum summoning, but was also showing he could make pendulum based cards on the spot. Everything was revolving around that summoning method. It also sounded like something had either taken control of him, or influenced him in his duel against this Strong Ishijima to the point that he wasn't aware of what he was doing.
"Since Yuma's pendant opened the door to his powers, has your pendant that you wear ever done anything odd, Yuya?"
"Hm, Desdemona-sensei asked the same question and I told her that it shines sometimes when I do pendulum summoning, but I originally thought it was just the light from the summoning bouncing off it. Though..." he took off his pendant and held it up before him. "... my dad always used to call this pendant a 'pendulum'. He told me if I ever felt like I was lost, that the pendulum would show me the way to go."
Yuya swung his pendant slightly, so that it swung softly from side to side.
So his pendant was also called a 'Pendulum'. This couldn't of been a coincidence... but it sounded like Yuya had no other information on it than that. Juudai wrote down a few more notes as Yuya placed the pendant back around his neck.
"So, this group at the Academy that have been targeting you, it's because they believe in some kind of prophecy that you're both kings that are gonna end the world or something through discovering your powers?"
Both the boys nodded. Juudai looked between the two of them, then gave out a sigh.
"I know how it feels to be told that your power has the possibility of doing something damaging and how much that can weigh on you if you let it."
"You do?" Yuya questioned.
"Yes. The power I have doesn't have a great reputation within the 12 dimensions. Those who have carried it previously weren't able to control it and ultimately they went crazy with it and became something called the "Supreme King", a powerful tyrant figure that has killed many. The power is dangerous if used like that.
When I first gained the power, it did take me over, but thanks to my friends, they were able to bring me out of it.
But after that, I learned more about the power and it's history and the more I learned and the more I was told I was going to go crazy and kill everyone I loved, the more uneasy with the power I became. I struggled to control it because of my fear of it, because I wouldn't accept it as a part of who I was.
I will admit, I consider that one of the most darkest parts of my life, because I really struggled balancing not only my worries with that, but other events at the academy and my schoolwork. I kept holding myself up on my own in my dorm, I was pushing my friends away because I felt like they would be safer not being around me and basically kept running myself into the ground.
It took me... about a year and a half roughly to feel like I had come to terms with it and was able to control it, if not a bit longer."
Both Yuya and Yuma were speechless. They had hung on Juudai's every word and their expressions were a mix of surprise and concern.
"BUT if I was to give you once piece of advice, it would be this:
There are some things about fate you can't change. Me getting my power, you both getting yours, that's a fate you can't change. But it's what happens with that power that is yours to carve. There is no set fate with that, no matter who says otherwise. I was able to carve a different future for my own power and you can both do the same for yours. If that prophecy is about the two of you, you can change that.
But there is still the possibility it's just one big coincidence."
Somehow, after that, both the boys seemed a little more relaxed with that advice. It was reassuring to believe that they could possibly change the paths that were before them.
"Anyway, I think that's all I really needed to ask you both. I'll be putting you both on SAI's confidential records and if there is any change in your power's abilities, let me or Desdemona-san know. You can also contact either of us if you have any questions or any worries you need to talk about.
SAI will be here to guide the both of you, but ultimately there maybe lessons you will have to learn on your own and difficult things you might have to go through. I'm not going to sugar-coat that for you, but you will have our support.
Also, accept the trust and support of your friends, don't push them away. If they want to help, let them. Also use the support and trust you have in each other.
Do that and you'll get through whatever the future may throw at you."
"Right! We'll kattobing through this with everyone's support!" Yuma exclaimed, punching the air with his fist energetically. "Right, Yuya!?"
"Right!" Yuya agreed.
"Oh! One more thing!" Both boys' attention turned back to Juudai as he opened a drawer in his desk and took out four cards. He took two of them and held them out to Yuma.
"Firstly, Yuma. When talking to Desdemona-san, she pointed out that your shining Draw ability reminded her of something she once saw Number 96 - Dark Mist be able to do."
Yuma's eyes widened, recognizing the name. "Dark Mist...?"
"Yes. I can't ignore the fact that it did take an interest in you in that dream you had ages ago and I'm not sure if the similarity in that ability means your power has some kind of connection with it, but just in case, I want you to take these."
Yuma took the cards and looked down at them. Both of them were Numbers cards - Number 50: Blackship of Corn and Number 16: Shock Master.
"You've proven that you've been able to create a bond with Number 39, so I wanted to try and give you a few more Numbers that would fit with your deck. They're both rank 4, like Hope is, so you should find they will fit in your deck good enough. I have confidence that you'll be able to handle these Numbers as well."
"That's really okay!?" Yuma exclaimed, a massive grin appearing on his face, before he jumped up and excitedly! "Alright! I promise I won't let you down!!"
Juudai smiled at Yuma, before turning his attention towards Yuya and holding another two cards out to him.
"You only just recently learned fusion summoning so I am going to assume that you don't currently have any fusion spell cards in your deck."
"Er, that's right. I don't." Yuya replied. He took the cards from Juudai. Both were the spell card - fusion.
"Take those. I read over Rune-Eyes effect when Desdemona-san gave me a picture of it to look at, and there is nothing stopping you using a fusion card to get it out, you just don't get the protection effect if the monsters weren't pendulum summoned, but this will at least give you the option to fuse from your hand if you need too. The multi-attack effect is quite handy, just on it's own."
Yuya looked at the two cards in his hand, then looked at Juudai with a grateful smile.
"Thank you so much!"
"And I think that's about it!"
Both the boys stood up as Juudai walked around the desk too them and put a hand on each of their shoulders.
"Just remember what I've told you both, and keep in touch. Yuma already has my contact details if you need to contact me, alright?"
Both boys nodded, both with renewed confidence on their faces.
As they left Juudai's office, Yubel appeared beside Juudai, giving him a smug smile.
"Maybe you're not so bad at this after all."
Juudai gave her a light laugh.
"Still, those boys have a long path ahead of them." Yubel added on.
"I agree." Juudai replied. "But I have confidence in them."