The Darkness Within

The Fable, Part III - Act III

"I figured you'd be back," I said, remembering the horrible defeat Lance had suffered at my hands when I gave in to the Darkstar. I hit him again and again until he was nothing but a mangled mess of blood and meat.

And here he was again, in the flesh. His eyes gleamed in the darkness and a subtle smile adorned his face, unlike the usual maniacal grin that he usually sported.

"I'm not that easy to kill," Lance replied off-handedly. "Nor are you. I killed you once, and you just came back for more. We're alike in that, and so many other ways," Lance said with abandon, as if he was speaking his mind and not even holding back.

"What do you mean?" I questioned, interest tainting my voice. Lance flashed his teeth for a moment as his black robes began to drift slightly in the wind. "Why do you think I chose to face you here, Jay? I want to hear your honest answer."

It took me only a moment to answer. "Because you want to have the biggest psychological advantage possible." Lance pouted for a second, before replying; "You know me so well. Do you remember our duel here?" Lance said as he let his hand slide across a ruined wall absentmindedly. "I was really disappointed in you back then, Alkain. You was just as weak as you had been every time before."

"Wait, before? We dueled before that?" I questioned quickly, and Lance seemed surprised for a moment.

"Can't you remember? You really must have been out for a while. You and I dueled so many times back in the Satellite, and I would always beat you. I was the strongest, and yet for some reason, Kroe chose you for Tier 15 rather than me."

"He did?" I wondered out loud, scratching my chin with my right hand, as my left was ready to flip out my Duel Disk at a moment's notice, like a cowboy kept his hand close to his pistol. "Why? Why did he-"

"Doesn't really matter, does it?" Lance said, interrupting me. "You must have had something I hadn't, something that made you stand out, even with your weakness and ignorance. Now, let's see that power! Let's see that strength!" Lance boomed, and lifted his right arm up towards the sky, and his Dark Signer Mark lit up with a purple glow.

The earth shook as the purple flames burst out from the ground, tearing buildings and streets up as it spread across the ruined New Domino, and unlike last time, I could see a rough shape of a dragon in the sky, mirroring the sigil that had carved itself unto the ground in fire.

My mark was pulsating like crazy, power flowing into my veins as my crimson wings immediately came forth, and when I looked down towards my Duel Disk, both my Deck and I were surrounded by a faint crimson aura, telling of my power.

"DUEL!"

"I'll begin!" I declared, placing my hand onto my Duel Disk. "Draw!" I said, swiping the card out of the holder in one fluid move. "I Summon Nova Strategist in Defense Position!" I declared, slapping the card onto my Duel Disk, and forth came Strategist, in his flowing, red robes, and crouched down, his staff standing tall above him as it radiated a faint crimson barrier.

Nova Strategist Lv: 4 Spellcaster/Effect ATK: 600 DEF: 1800 (DEF)

"I Set a card face-down," I declared, sliding the single face-down into my Duel Disk, intending to conserve my hand advantage for now in order to take advantage of anything that Lance might play next turn, while ensuring that he won't OTK me. "Turn end."

"Dissapointing," Lance chuckled lightly as he put his hand on his Deck. "Draw!" He declared, as a line of purple energy traced along his hand as he drew his card. He gave an all-too smug smirk when he looked momentarily at the card, before putting into his hand.

"Since you control a monster and I do not, I can Special Summon Vice Dragon from my hand!" Lance declared as he slapped the card onto his Duel Disk, and a strange, chunky dragon with disproportionate limbs, and an almost dinosaur-like head with small wings burst forth onto his field. "However, when he is Special Summoned this way, it halves his Attack and Defense points."

Vice Dragon Lv: 5 Dragon/Effect ATK: 2000 DEF: 2400 (ATK)

Vice Dragon (ATK): 2000 -) 1000

Vice Dragon (DEF): 2400 -) 1200

"And now, I Summon the Tuner Monster, Dread Dragon!" Lance declared as he placed another card onto his Duel Disk, and yet another strange dragon took to the field, this one looking strangely like Vice Dragon, only smaller, and seemingly wearing some kind of hat.

Dread Dragon Lv: 2 Dragon/Tuner ATK: 1100 DEF: 300 (ATK)

"A Level 7 Synchro Monster… haven't seen him use that before. Maybe it's something new. I better be on my toes." The moment Lance then glanced back down at his hand, his mouth creased into a very large grin. I admit; I felt a little nervous then. He most likely had something devilish up his sleeve.

Oh yes, he did.

"I now activate my Spell Card, Double Ripple!" Lance declared as he took the Spell Card, and placed it onto his Duel Disk. I was confused; I had never heard of such a card before.

"I imagine you're confused. Let me explain what Double Ripple does; by sending one Tuner and one non-Tuner monsters from my side of the field to the Graveyard, whose levels equal seven, it allows me to Special Summon two specific Synchro Monsters from my Extra Deck; namely Ancient Fairy Dragon and Power Tool Dragon!"

"WHAT?!"

LEO AND LUNA'S CARDS?!

As Lance's two monsters faded from the field, they were absorbed into a strange orange crystal, which then grew in size and emitted a bright light. When the light faded, they were there.

Ancient Fairy Dragon, the regal and gentle dragon who had unusual wings and a gentle demeanor, a voice that could soothe all. Power Tool Dragon, the armored warrior dragon who could equip itself with a manner of different weapons, and very quickly become very strong.

Ancient Fairy Dragon Lv: 7 Dragon/Synchro ATK: 2100 DEF: 3000 (ATK)

Power Tool Dragon Lv: 7 Machine/Synchro ATK: 2300 DEF: 2500 (ATK)

There they were. The images of my surrogate children; the ace cards of my children; those who I loved so much, those who had died… those who Lance killed… and now he was disgracing their cards?! "Why you-" I snarled at Lance, who was smiling that smile he always was.

"Why are you still alive?" A voice that sounded strangely familiar called out from beside Lance, and I looked around, trying to see whoever had just spoken, though I saw no one there. No one except for-

Ancient Fairy Dragon. "Why are you still alive while we're all dead?"

"You betrayed us, Jay!" Another voice then shouted, this one much more forceful than the previous one, just like-

Power Tool Dragon.

They were talking, or rather, Leo and Luna were talking to me. I was shocked to the very core as they began talking again.

"I don't get it. Why do you get to live, while we had to die? Did we mean that little to you?" Luna's voice was gentle, but the hints of disgust and contempt were there, but she kept her cool and spoke in a rather calm manner.

"You left us to die, Jay! You could have saved us, but you chose to let us die!" Leo was far more vocal. He was shouting at the top of his lungs, his anger and rage clear in his voice as he screamed out his frustrations.

"I tried to save you both!" I exclaimed in reply, but my only response was the eyes of Ancient Fairy Dragon and Power Tool Dragon turning fully red. "I activate the effect of Power Tool Dragon," Lance said calmly. "Once per turn; I can add one random Equip Spell Card from my Deck to my hand," Lance said, as a card was ejected out from his Deck, and he picked it out and added it to his hand. His deck then shuffled itself. "And now I activate the card I added; Big Bang Shot, equipping it to Power Tool Dragon!"

"This gives Power Tool Dragon an additional 400 Attack Points, and gives it piercing damage!"

Power Tool Dragon (ATK): 2300 -) 2700

"Power Tool Dragon attacks Nova Strategist! Crafty Break!" Lance declared as Power Tool Dragon's eyes flared momentarily, before it raised up, and began to bring down its blue digger down onto Strategist.

"Trap Card, Damage Diet!" I declared, as my Trap Card flipped face-up. "This will halve all damage I take this turn!" I exclaimed, before Power Tool Dragon crushed Nova Strategist, and a massive shockwave shook the entire building.

Jay: 4000 -) 3550

"When Strategist is destroyed, I can add 1 "Nova" monster from my Deck to my hand," I declared as a single card slid out of my Deck, which I swiftly added to my hand.

"Ancient Fairy Dragon attacks you directly! Eternal Sunshine!" Lance declared as Ancient Fairy Dragon spread its wings, and let out a wave of light that with its tremendous force sent me flying several meters back, screaming as I flew. The pain was intense; it felt like I was on fire before the light faded again.

Jay: 3550 -) 2500

"You're pathetic, Alkain! Where is that zest that made Kroe choose you? Where is that hidden power? What made you into what you are?!" Lance exclaimed. "I'm not some tool of Kroe's, no matter what!" I argued back, but Lance only laughed. "No tool… you've been Kroe's lab rat since day one, just like me! He turned us into what we are, Alkain. He turned us into monsters, monsters who can only destroy and kill, never create."

"What?"

"Did you really think that you were going to get a normal life, Alkain? People like us don't get that. We can never have such a thing. We can never go home.

All we can try to get is peace. Peace from this world, peace from this existence.

I… I don't want to keep living…"

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