Celestial Signer

Fighting a Giant


Chapter 24

Fighting a Giant

For most of the ride, everyone was silent. Era decided to whisper to Yusei but was sure no one else could hear it. She wasn't even sure what she was going to say, but it came out automatically. "Yusei?"

"Yes Era?" he responded.

She hesitated a moment before speaking again. She stammered a bit. "I… I still love you, Yusei. Just so you know… I… love you… no matter what." But her eyes widened and she blushed realizing exactly what she said.

Yusei said nothing at first and this made Era uneasy. But, she supposed it may have nothing to do with her. She turned her gaze down at the ground underneath them. 'Why did I say that? This isn't the time! Plus what if he's given up the feelings for me? Ugh… I'm such an idiot!' she yelled at herself.

But something Yusei said shocked her, "I love you too, Era."

She felt like she was going to cry again from the familiar fear when the outline of the tower became visible. She inhaled calmly and eased her urge to shed tears. She had shed enough of them for now.

As they got closer, they could see that Kalin was waiting for them. He revved the engine of his Runner and went straight for Yusei. Dust kicked up and Trudge took Leo and Luna to a section of road on higher ground nearby.

"Well, I was starting to think you weren't going to show up, Yusei!" He snickered. Yusei put on the breaks to let Era off. As she got off, she allowed her eyes to meet his. She gave him back the spare helmet.

"This is your fight now… We'll be watching you… break a leg…" Era said.

Yusei nodded and she ran to go join the others. Kalin saw Crow ride up out of the corner of his eye as he watched Era with anticipation. He stopped laughing, but his mouth was still curled into a manic smile.

"…AND you brought the pretty mouse? Roman said we still need her and I intend to take her… so we can have more fun." He started cackling again. Yusei glared at him followed by Era. Everyone looked at her confused by what he meant. "It will make this revenge all the more satisfying."

Crow stopped his Runner and went up to Era. "Era, what is he talking about?" he asked. Crow's face twisted with worry.

Era ignored his question and looked at Kalin. "Kalin, you will never hurt another soul after this," she said.

"What makes you think that, pretty mouse? Once Yusei's gone, you'll be coming with me and you'll be just like us," Kalin said with a grin.

"In your dreams," Era responded.

Crow shook his head and thought, 'What are they talking about? What did he do to her and when?'

Kalin started to laugh a little harder. "Interesting…" Kalin mused. "You still got your bite, pretty mouse."

"When are you going to learn that my name is Era?" She meekly asked, "It's not 'pretty mouse' or any other thing you call me… It's Era!"

"You're talking back. Should I be scared? Should I be shaking in my boots?" he mocked her as he let out a maniacal chuckle.

"Just know this. I'm not afraid of you!" Era yelled. She paused. "I hope that by your defeat, the Dark Signer who hurt me will die, and the person who died and gave rise to you will get a second chance." 'Though I know it will if it stays to the plotline,' Era thought.

"Ha! You talk as if I'm two separate people! Maybe I've finally made you crack…" Kalin sneered.

"Whether it's right or wrong… It's the only way I can know whether you truly are the person you should be," Era retorted. "I wasn't wrong," she muttered.

"I believe you, Era. After all, doesn't it seem like none of the Dark Signers are the same people they once were?" Crow said.

Images of all the Dark Signers and their pervious lives flashed quickly through Era's mind. Her memory of the show helping remind her of the truth.

"No, and after what happened with Greiger… I think that what we see is more of their Earthbound Immortal… or at least its influence… than it is entirely… them. I know that the twins would agree with me after that," Era responded.

She stood at the edge of the high road, watching anxiously as Kalin and Yusei started up their Runners and engaged for their duel. The purple fire that formed the mark of the giant was already forming below.

Era's head began to pulse with pain again but she fought it and tried to shove the pain deep inside her. She had to watch the duel.

"Remember, Yusei is fighting not just to save the world or the people trapped inside Ccapac Apu… He's also trying to save his friend," Era mumbled.

"Right, most of the Dark Signers are not the ones who were really fighting, it's their Earthbound Immortals," Luna said.

"Most…" Era wondered aloud. "You're right. Roman may be an exception to that. I can't explain it very well, but…"

Just then, they heard a loud thud and the roar of an engine, followed by a pair of familiar voices.

Luna's Signer mark began shining and Era's mark followed, radiating the light of the Crimson Dragon and celestial beings.

"The duel is starting," Era said and saw Kalin and Yusei down below on their Runners.

"This time, you'll pay in full for sending me to my death, Yusei! The final duel of Team Satisfaction will come to pass!" Kalin revved his engine.

The two of them went speeding off down the path created by the flames. Yusei struggled to move ahead to win the first turn, only to find Kalin ramming into him and pushing him out of the way.

"Kalin, it was never what you thought!" Yusei protested. Kalin had made it past the first turn in the path, and so he took the first move in the duel.

He swiftly drew his card. "I'll start things off by summoning my Infernity Necromancer in defense mode!" (Infernity Necromancer is a level three Dark attributed Spellcaster Type monster with 0 attack points and 2000 defense points.) The Necromancer appeared to be a masked fiend with long, bushy blue hair and an adorned in blue garments. It took a defensive stance as it floated in midair alongside Kalin's Runner. Kalin then set another card as a facedown to end his turn.

Yusei knew the minute he played an Infernity monster that he would be trying to use his handless combo against him. He didn't have much luck last time, but he knew he had to act and try to keep cards in Kalin's hand, if he could.

"Come and get me, Yusei! I want to make you suffer for betraying me!" Kalin taunted.

Yusei drew his first card, which he saw was a card called Limiter Break. At that moment, he was remembering when things began to fall apart between the members of Team Satisfaction.

~Flashback~

They had gained a dominant hold over the Satellite and had eliminated most of the gangs, except for a few stragglers. Some of the gangs had given Team Satisfaction the nickname 'The Enforcers' because of their vigilante behavior, including the destruction of the other gang's Duel Disks when they lost against them.

Yusei, Jack, and Crow believed they had accomplished themselves and made the Satellite a safer place as they had intended when their gang was first formed.

It wasn't enough for Kalin, though. Even the few weak ones that were left were still a threat in his eyes. Anyone with a Duel Disk he called their enemies. Even though it wasn't revealed until later, he included Sector Security among those enemies.

Things got worse when they went to go take care of a few duelists remaining from a gang known as Team Insect from one of the central districts. They had defeated the gang's major members and their leader, but a few of their younger members were trying to band together and get back on their feet.

That's when Yusei learned that Kalin was changing for the worse. Yusei and Crow had quickly disarmed two of the young gang members and damaged their Disks. But, they had an uneasy feeling about what they were doing. When the boys were defeated, they urged then to take their decks and leave. Because they were afraid, the boys listened and bolted without any question.

Then, they heard a cry from a nearby alley, where Kalin had engaged the remaining one, the youngest of the group, in a duel.

He had taken him down easily and his Duel Disk had been disabled. Yusei and Crow rushed over to see Kalin also crush the Duel Disk with his foot, utterly ruining it. On that cloudy day, he leered over at the boy and chuckled perniciously.

"You shouldn't have gone into the duel world half-cocked like that. Now this is what half-hearted preparation has cost you!" he yelled.

He was about to stomp over the terrified boy when Crow leapt in and tackled him to the ground. The boy, with Crow's urging, dashed away with his deck. Kalin pushed Crow off of him and proceeded to sock him in the gut.

"What the hell do you think you're doing Crow? Why are you letting him escape?" Crow and Kalin started were about to get into it with each other, when Yusei saw the boy peak his head out from behind a corner. He shook his head and motioned to the boy to leave. The boy finally slipped out from view and disappeared.

Jack came running up, having seen everything. He grabbed Kalin's arm to prevent him from punching Crow again. Yusei had also restrained Crow, but released him upon Crow's request.

Crow glared at Kalin. "I've had enough of this! It's one thing to try and make the Satellite safe from thugs… but these were kids! How can you even think it's okay to hurt kids?!"

Kalin fell silent, but Jack still held his arm.

"What's worse is that we've been using dueling as a weapon of war… in that way we might be as dangerous as the gangs we eliminated… Dueling is something that should be enjoyed, not forced upon people. It doesn't matter who you duel or when you duel…that's what it was meant to be. NOBODY has the right to take that away from people. Not me… especially not YOU!"

Jack finally let Kalin go. He looked at Crow with uncertainty. It was if he wasn't sure what he should feel. "Crow…" Kalin hesitated. Crow turned his back to Kalin.

"Save it. I'm done with all of this insane stuff. I'm leaving Team Satisfaction for good." At that moment, Crow walked away.

"Crow! Aren't we a Team? Aren't you my friend? Answer me, Crow!"

Crow said nothing. At that moment, Jack also walked away, only he gave no explanation. Yusei saw on his face that he couldn't stomach what had happened either or what was beginning to happen to Kalin.

Kalin tried to call them back, but they didn't come. At that point, he turned to Yusei. "You…You're not going to leave me too, are you, Yusei? I'm still your friend…we're still a team, right?" he asked.

Yusei could only nod, but at that point he wasn't going to leave Kalin like Jack and Crow. Kalin needed him as a friend, and he couldn't just leave his friend behind.

~Flashback Ended~

Yusei's attention was called back to the duel when he heard Kalin's voice shattering his train of thought.

"Aren't you going to make a move, Yusei? I'm waiting…" He cackled. Yusei picked a monster from his hand.

"I'm summoning Max Warrior in attack mode!" Max Warrior appeared on the field, bearing a large, U-shaped spear. It looked like an ancient soldier fashioned from steel and stone with a string of golden orbs around its neck and a billowing green cape. (Max Warrior is a level four Wind attributed Warrior Type monster with 1800 attack points and 800 defense points.)

"My Infernity Necromancer is still stronger than that! I guess you're not that right in the head yourself, are you, Yusei?" Kalin sneered.

Yusei shook his head. "As far as I know, I'm still sane. Because I can give my Warrior a 400 point boost to its attack power via its special ability!"

With its attack power now at 2200, Max Warrior was more than capable of destroying Infernity Necromancer. With one swoop, Max Warrior smashed the Necromancer and caused it to shatter. The monster disappeared and Kalin sent the card to his graveyard. Then, Max Warrior's attack dropped to 900 and its level was reduced to two.

"The effect I activated comes at a cost and my Max Warrior becomes weaker, but I can live with that."

Kalin snickered. He was roughed up a bit from the attack but felt no pain because he didn't take any damage to his life points. "Oh, you can? I suppose you can also live with the fact its left you open to a counterattack, too."

Yusei said nothing. He thought about how he had hung on with Kalin until it was too late to make much of a difference with him. He wondered if back then he could have even if he had left sooner.

Yusei chose to end his turned by placing three cards down on his field. Hopefully that would give him a fighting chance.

It was back to Kalin now. Kalin drew his next card with a sickening glee. "I think I'll start off by activating my trap card…Impulse of Limit! With it, I can discard two cards from my hand to summon two Soul Tokens to my field."

He sent the two cards to his graveyard and two ominous, ghastly figures appeared, swirling around Kalin's Runner. He chuckled to himself. Yusei wasn't doing much better than in his last match, he thought. Perhaps this would be easier than he had hoped.

"Next, I will release them as offerings to summon my Dark Tuner, Nightmare Hand!" He declared. Yusei's eyes widened, having remembered that card from the last duel. Kalin was going to perform a Dark Synchro summon. Era's breath caught in her throat. This wasn't good.

A familiar fiendish creature appeared, taking the place of the two Soul Tokens. It smiled devilishly, with its oversized hands outstretched. "Now that I have summoned my Dark Tuner, I can use its special ability to summon Infernity Dwarf from my hand, leaving me without any more cards in my hand."

A small, dark-skinned dwarf with a stout build took to the field, carrying a sharp axe in both hands. Its smoldering eyes conveyed a sense of doom. Yusei anticipated his next move. (Infernity Dwarf is a level two Dark attributed Fiend type monster with 800 attack and 500 defense points.)

"Now Yusei, I will tune my Nightmare hand with my Infernity Dwarf to being forth my Dark Synchro… One-Hundred Eyed Dragon!"

Nightmare Hand disappeared and a dark shadow swept over Infernity Dwarf. It seemed as if the very life of his monster was being squeezed out of it. A pillar of black energy formed and swallowed the Dwarf and the dark shadow.

"When a shadow falls prey to a darker shadow, the eyes of the Netherworld are opened to witness a terrifying birth!" When the pillar of energy dispersed, Yusei found himself once again staring into the eyes of Kalin's fearsome dragon. It hovered above its master with its fleshy, bat-like wings. The eyes covering its sickeningly black body were all fixed on Yusei. The dragon howled as if with a mocking laughter. (One-Hundred Eyed Dragon is a level negative eight Dark attributed Dragon type Dark Synchro monster with 3000 attack and 2500 defense points.)

'It was a daunting task to destroy this dragon in my last duel,' Yusei thought. How would he destroy it for a second time? Only he knew.

"Now, my dragon will attack your weakened warrior with Infinity Sight Stream!" Kalin pointed to Max Warrior.

A ball of violet sparks gathered in the dragon's mouth. It turned its head to let loose the attack upon Yusei's monster. His monster was shattered into pieces that came flying in his direction.

Yusei cried out from the pain inflicted on him by the force of the blast. He took a severe 2100 points of damage, leaving him with only 1900 points left in the duel. He also lost his speed counters that he'd gained since the beginning.

"Yusei!" Era called to him, also feeling an agonizing surge that ran down her back. Kalin smirked at him.

"This isn't good," Crow muttered.

"Is this really so painful for you, Yusei? I would have thought you had a higher tolerance for pain!" Kalin mocked him.

Yusei responded by activating one of his Trap Cards. "Since you've destroyed my Max Warrior, I can send a card to the graveyard to activate Revival Ticket! I get back all the damage you just dealt to me and add it to my life points, and I can revive my Max Warrior as well."

Another one of his Traps cards disappeared. Yusei felt a wave of relief as he was returned up to 4000 life points. His Max Warrior returned, with all its original power intact, staring defiantly at the dragon that had just destroyed it.

"Also, the card I just sent to the graveyard was Limiter Break, which can only be activated by being sent to the graveyard. It allows me to Special Summon a Speed Warrior from my deck or graveyard."

His Speed Warrior appeared in a flash, assuming an offensive stance with its chrome-like, shimmering body. Kalin winced.

"Not bad at all, Yusei. I'm surprised. But, you're going to have to start fighting back. Then again, what can you do against my One-Hundred Eyed Dragon, you nearly-dead traitor!" Kalin yelled.

With that being said, Kalin finished his turn. The two of them turned a sharp corner as the buck was passed to Yusei. He drew his card.

He began remembering how things fell apart.

~Flashback~

Kalin eventually told Yusei of his plan to challenge Sector Security, and how he had wanted him to go find Jack and Crow and somehow convince them to come back.

Yusei refused and said that such a thing was crazy and Kalin didn't understand how dangerous it was. When Kalin accused him of being scared, he snapped. Yet, when he had him by the collar, he realized that just getting angry wasn't going to convince Kalin not to go through with it. That's when he left.

He thought that if Kalin was left to himself he wouldn't do it. Yusei didn't know then how far from the truth his assumption was. He couldn't make any now. All he could do was hope to turn things around.

Kalin recalled how the night had started. He had rigged a Duel Disk confiscated by Sector Security. He activated the explosives by setting one of his Trap Cards onto his own Duel Disk.

The explosion blew a wall wide open in the Sector Security Building. As he looked onward from a nearby rooftop, he thought to himself that they had clearly gotten the message. He had challenged Sector Security, and the final duel of Team Satisfaction had begun.

It wasn't long before Sector Security deployed and they started searching Satellite for whoever caused the explosion. As he ran to look for a hiding place, he could feel the rush of adrenaline. 'If I succeeded, I would achieve my ultimate satisfaction,' he thought.

But soon, Yusei, Jack, and Crow got wind of the chase. They came looking for him in the pouring rain, hoping to find him before Sector Security.

'And they turned on me,' he thought. 'Yusei sold me out and the others did nothing.' They stood back as Security dragged him to what was for him…a long, agonizing death sentence.

~Flashback Ended~

Yusei turned his attention back to the game and looked at the cards in his hand and out on the field. All he could do for now was keep himself alive. He was getting Speed Counters again, but it wasn't enough.

"I'm activating Desperate Treasure, the last face down on my field! Since the attack power of my Max Warrior and my Speed Warrior are lower than your monster, I can draw two cards this turn. But, I cannot summon anything or change the position of my monsters," Yusei said.

Yusei drew his two cards. Kalin let out a blood-curdling laugh. "You're so pathetic, Yusei! You can't even change your monsters to defense mode to protect yourself, and all so you can draw two cards! How unsatisfying… After your last move I thought you would do better…" he said.

Yusei ignored Kalin mocking him and set two face down cards on the field to finish his turn. "It's your move, Kalin."

"Don't give up on him, things are just getting started," Era said noticing the twins worried looks. Crow and Trudge nodded in agreement.

"Yeah." Leo agreed, "What she said." He was obviously trying to look like he was fine. Era decided to let him act as it might help him.

Crow sat quietly on his Runner. He was the first one to hear the news that rainy night, and he was the one who told Jack and Yusei about Kalin being hunted by Sector Security. He quickly turned his attention back to the duel.

Kalin drew his card. "Now, I'll use the effect of my dragon to consume the power of Infernity Necromancer and use it to summon Infernity Fiend from my graveyard in attack mode!"

Without any cards in his hands, Kalin was able to complete his resurrection of the monster he'd earlier sent to the graveyard by Impulse of Limit. Infernity Fiend rose into the air, its red eyes rolling inside of its twisted skull and its dark-colored robes fluttering in the wake of the rushing wind. (Infernity Fiend is a level four Dark attributed Fiend Type monster with 1800 attack and 1200 defense points.)

"I activate a trap card known as Slip Summon. When you summon a monster to the field, I can summon a monster that's level four or less in defense position for the remainder of the turn. I choose to summon Ghost Gaurdna!" A White, Mechanical figure floated in front of Yusei's monsters. Its body was tinged in blue as it took a protective stance. Its green eyes stared at Kalin and his monster blankly, as if without fear. (Ghost Gaurdna is a level four Dark attributed Warrior type monster with no attack and 1900 defense points.)

"You're still struggling to protect yourself! My handless combo will rip you apart like it did last time!" Kalin exclaimed with a cackle.

Kalin then immediately called for his dragon to attack Speed Warrior, Yusei's weakest monster. Thinking quickly, Yusei called for his Ghost Guardna to defend Speed Warrior. "Now I can switch your attack to my Ghost Guardna and protect myself."

"Not a chance Yusei. I can use the effect of my Infernity Dwarf and use it on my One-Hundred Eyed Dragon! I'll deal damage to you even if your monster is in defense mode…" Kalin informed.

The blast from his dragon blew Yusei's monster back and shattered parts of its metal armor, costing him 1100 points in damage, leaving him now with 2900 to spare. The force of the attack pushed his Runner back, causing him to just barely hit the wall of flames.

"Don't give up, now Yusei. I haven't had enough yet! I want to see you squirm even more before you die…" Kalin chuckled.

Yusei managed to pull away from the wall and get back on track. He trailed behind Kalin. Without enough speed, he couldn't keep up. But he could keep going.

"I'm not done yet, Kalin. When my Ghost Guardna is destroyed, I can decrease the attack power of one of your monsters by 1000 points until the end of the turn."

Kalin was surprised to see his Infernity Fiend dragging sluggishly along. With only 800 attack points now, it would be pointless to make another attack. Max Warrior would easily defeat his weakened monster. Feeling annoyed, Kalin finished his turn.

Yusei drew his next card. "I'll start by summoning Junk Synchron in attack mode!" His orange-painted mechanical soldier took to the field, its white scarf flapping in the breeze like a banner. It leered at Kalin's monsters as if disgusted. "I think you know what's coming next…I'm going to Sychro Summon Junk Warrior by tuning by Junk Synchron and Speed Warrior together!"

The two monsters were consumed by a column of white light. When it disappeared, the tall, blue-chrome fighter appeared, skating through the air. Its red goggles glowed bright red and it clenched its fists, ready to fight. (Junk Warrior is a level five Dark attributed Warrior type Synchro monster with 2300 attack and 1300 defense points.)

Then, Yusei activated another one of his Trap Cards. It was a card called Synchro Striker Unit. A giant, silvery missile was now gripped tightly in Junk Warrior's hands. "This card will give my Junk Warrior a 1000 attack point boost, in return for a reduction every turn after this one."

Junk Warrior's attack points jumped to 3300. Everyone watching hoped that this attempt to destroy Kalin's dragon would work. Yusei first declared an attack with his Max Warrior against Infernity Fiend, applying the 400 point boost to Max Warrior thanks to its own special ability.

It was necessary, since Infernity Fiend had regained all of its attack points. However, Kalin was waiting for him to attack. "I think you're underestimating the power of my handless combo, Yusei. I'll defend my Fiend with my trap card, Infernity Force!"

A black barrier blocked Infernity Fiend and the second Max Warrior came into contact with it, it began to tremble. A surge of dark energy pulsated from the barrier and struck it down. It plummeted with a loud thud; Max Warrior disintegrated into dust and was destroyed.

"As long as no cards are in my hand, I can use this card when you declare an attack on me. It destroys the monster you attacked with and allows me to summon an Infernity monster of level four or less from my graveyard," Kalin informed. The black barrier bended into a ball of matter that formed into the shadowy figure of a monster. The blackness fell away, revealing Kalin's Infernity Necromancer, returned from the grave.

"As you can see, I've chosen to bring my Infernity Necromancer back in defense mode." Kalin snickered. He paused. "You're not done yet, are you?"

"No. I'm not, Kalin. My Junk Warrior will now attack your One-Hundred Eyed Dragon and there's nothing you can do to stop it!"

Junk Warrior spun around and flung the missile at the dragon. On impact, the missile exploded, incinerating the creature. Specks of debris fell in Kalin's direction, causing a few minor scratches in his jacket. One drew a trickle of blood from his upper arm and caused him to grimace.

Yet, the attack only dealt him 300 points of damage, and he still had a hefty 3700 remaining. He was still ahead of Yusei. In fact, Yusei did exactly what he wanted him to do.

As he watched the debris scatter, Crow felt a wretched lurch in his gut. "No… he might have destroyed that dragon. But now that it's happened… Kalin can add a card from his deck to his hand, just like last time."

Kalin selected the card from his deck. After he added it to his hand, Yusei felt he couldn't do much else. He set two more cards down on the field to end his turn.

Yusei knew exactly which card Kalin had picked. He took a look at his Junk Warrior, who was suffering from the after effect of his trap. Its attack points dropped to 2500. It wouldn't matter, since the card Kalin's card could bypass his warrior anyway.

Kalin started laughing again. He flipped the card around to show Yusei. "Yusei…I was worried I wouldn't even get to use this card." He smirked. "Thank you for allowing me to call my Earthbound Immortal to my hand."

Era whimpered as the pain began to increase as the summoning was going to begin shortly. "It's the Giant…" she muttered softly.

"Ccapac Apu…" Yusei muttered. Even though he had focused on destroying Kalin's One-Hundred Eyed Dragon, he had expected this in the back of his mind since the duel began.

He wouldn't give up now. His last mistake would not be repeated, he thought. Not just in the last duel, but the mistake he made that night when they took Kalin away.

Era stood quietly. She felt her mind going numb. "Don't lose, Yusei. Bury his Immortal for the sorrow and destruction it has sown…In you, in Kalin… In me," she said.

Kalin held the card for his Earthbound Immortal firmly in his hand with a musing expression. As Crow watched the duel with anxious anticipation, a thought occurred to him.

"This is just like the night Kalin was arrested," he thought allowed. "Even then, when he thought we had turned our backs on him. We were really trying to save him."

It grabbed Era's interest. She turned away for a moment, her attention still partially focused in the duel.

"Crow, what happened that night?" Luna asked.

Crow's eyes turned back to Kalin and Yusei. "If you're thinking what I'm thinking, then you're right. It was a misunderstanding," Era said.

Crow began to remember when he heard the news about Sector Security's hunt for Kalin. Rain was coming down in cascades, and Security vehicles were everywhere. He managed to get a hold of Jack and Yusei. The three of them split up to go find Kalin.

They found the old building where Security had surrounded the front entrance. The three of them crept in the back way and found Kalin in a room a couple of floors up.

"When Kalin saw we each had our Duel Disks with us…he initially thought we had decided to come together as Team Satisfaction one last time after all. But, that was far from the truth. We had come hoping to get him out of the mess he had made. As a gesture of protest, we put our Duel Disks down on the table set up in the middle of the room. Kalin questioned our actions, and Jack told him straight up that it was all over. Whether it was the four of us or Kalin alone, it was an impossible task to bring down security. Yusei told him that he should get out of there and try to escape while he still could. Kalin said running away now wouldn't satisfy anything in him. How could anyone in Satellite be satisfied under Sector Security? He was still trying to convince us that he was right and we should help him."

"But none of you were persuaded," Era concluded.

"No, and when he realized that, he wanted to argue about it. But, by then Sector Security was tired of waiting and decided to move in. Something exploded and the building shook. We heard the leader outside telling the officers to arrest Kalin. We all fled and wound up becoming separated. I later learned that Kalin had been cornered by a Security officer on a Duel Runner in a dead end ally. Yusei managed to find Kalin when he had the officer in a headlock on his Runner. The Runner crashed; the officer was fatally injured… Kalin was okay but he was covered in blood. When Jack and I got there, Yusei had managed to get a hold of Kalin and pin him down. But by then, he wouldn't listen to anyone anymore. All he wanted was to crush Sector Security, and he said he'd do it alone."

Crow looked up and saw Era wasn't listening very intently, though her focus was still partially on the duel. "Era?"

"And then, Sector Security find the four of you," she said softly.

"We hid in a nearby building… but yes, they found us eventually. Yusei left Kalin with me and Jack while he went outside to confront them. He was going to give himself up, telling them he was the leader of Team Satisfaction. He told them that he was the one who attacked Sector Security. He said the rest of us weren't involved and he told the officers to arrest him. But the leader of the group of officers had seen Kalin before and knew that it wasn't him, I found out. While Yusei was talking two officers had come and they took Kalin away from us. The leader said it was true that the leader of Team Satisfaction was the only one that they wanted and that it had nothing to do with the others. Yusei saw Kalin being retained by two officers as they escorted him to a prisoner vehicle. He tried to tell the commanding officer that it was the wrong person. The officer told him they had found the injured officer and there was no point in trying to lie. Attacking a member of Sector Security was a severe offense, he said. He was probably the only one who knew then that we wouldn't see Kalin again alive. He tried to show Yusei sympathy before being on his way. When Kalin looked around and saw him patting Yusei on the shoulder, I assume he took it to mean something else. He thought Yusei had sold him out to the officers and he was being thanked."

"So, you're telling us that this is all because of a HUGE misunderstanding?" Leo chimed, having heard everything.

"There's no other explanation. Yusei tried to tell him that back then, but Kalin was so messed up that he really believed that Yusei betrayed him," Crow said.

"He'll find his way, Crow. He'll come back to the person he used to be… eventually," Era comforted.

"How do you know that?" Crow asked.

Before Era could respond, Leo said, "Because Era's from a whole other world!"

Crow looked at Leo and turned back to his friend confused. "Another world? What like an alien or something?" he asked.

"Something like that. My home is on a different Earth. There are many differences and many similarities here compared to my home. I'm human just from a different Earth," Era said. "I'll explain the rest later but for now, we need to make sure Yusei stays on top."

Crow looked down at the duel. Kalin was smirking at Yusei as he drew his next card and began his turn.

"Kalin, I was trying to save you that night! I told them it was me and that they should arrest me!" Yusei said.

Crow then pushed on a button that turned on a special hidden microphone in his helmet.

Kalin looked back at Yusei with disgust. "I saw you! You did betray me! You sold me out!" Kalin yelled.

"No Kalin, it's the truth. Yusei tried to take your place," Crow spoke into the microphone.

Yusei's eyes widened. "Crow…"

Kalin's smirk disappeared; his expression turned serious. "If that's true, why didn't any of you stay and fight with me to the end?"

"We knew better, Kalin," Crow muttered.

Kalin looked away with his gaze fixated on the card in his hand, his Earthbound Immortal. Yusei sighed.

"Yusei, Crow? Do you know what happens to a person that resists Sector Security? If you don't, then let me tell you that sudden death would have been a more welcome option," Kalin said.

Crow's stomach turned. Suddenly, Yusei was beginning to understand Kalin a little bit better and why his wrath had become so ingrained.

"We tried to visit you several times but they never allowed us to see you. Eventually, we received a message saying you had died," Yusei said.

"It's not that simple," Kalin explained. "As you know, all who go into the Facility are marked. You should know, since both you and Crow have them. In prison, I was the favorite victim of violence by the guards. But, for a long time I simply endured their abuse. It was when my deck was taken from me that I lost my will to live. My deck was more important than my life to me… my deck was my soul and an extension of myself. Without it, I sat in a private cell and waited for death. Then, one day, I heard a voice calling to me saying, 'You who are about to give up your life, answer me a question! Is there any thought that keeps you here? If you have a death wish, become a Dark Signer and you're wish can be fulfilled!' It was the voice of Roman Goodwin, the first of the Dark Signers. He sends out this message, and only the dying can hear it. I didn't know whether the voice was real, but I responded to it, saying there was someone I wished vengeance upon. Those were my last words before I woke up again. I was lying on my back in a shallow hole carved into the ground. That was when I saw Roman for the first time, and he offered me his hand and helped me up. As he did so, I saw a strange mark had appeared on my right arm, the mark of the giant." Kalin paused. "He told me that the Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu was willing to help me grant my wish and that I had been reborn as a Dark Signer, I became a Dark Signer so I could make you pay. I will use the power of my Earthbound Immortal to instill in you a terror like nothing you've ever experienced!"

"Roman…" Yusei took a deep breath. "I'm still standing by the truth. I did what I said no matter what you may believe. But, I have one question."

Kalin chuckled. "What's that, Yusei?"

"Why did you take out your anger on Era? I want to know the truth," Yusei questioned him heatedly.

Kalin smiled sardonically. "Do you really want to know, Yusei? Does it matter to you that much?"

Yusei frowned. "I think it might to Era… But yes, it matters to me. It matters because you were my friend… and the Kalin I knew didn't hurt anyone who didn't even have a Duel Disk to fight with. Even when you were falling off the edge, you didn't go after someone who you KNEW wasn't a threat to YOU in any way…" Yusei said. "Era didn't know how to duel until we battled Roman."

"After my associates brought her to us and imprisoned her, Roman said that the Celestial Signer wouldn't just come quietly and said we needed to make her on our said. Do what we wanted her to do and tell us about the past and the future. He said her spirit needed to be broken, and he turned to me when we couldn't break it together."

Yusei's eyes widened. Could Roman somehow have persuaded Kalin to do this? Why would it matter? He could have said no. Or could he?

"I asked why he wanted me to do it and why he would just do whatever it was himself," Kalin said. Yusei winced. "He said to think of it as returning the favor for extending the invitation to me to become a Dark Signer."

Kalin went forward with his turn. "I'm going to release my Infernity Demon and Infernity Necromancer as offerings to summon my Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu!"

A rocky heart-shaped object appeared in the sky and absorbed the two monsters. It beat slowly, emitting an eerie light. "I wasn't sure how to carry out the task that I had been asked… to break her spirit… until my Earthbound Immortal guided my actions… and I was filled with desire… a desire to make someone else feel as much misery and despair as I had once had …"

A dark hole formed underneath the object, and the massive arm of the Earthbound Immortal stretched forth from it. It pulled itself out onto the ground. The blue, intricate lines running across its body emitted a nauseating glow. The giant turned in Yusei's direction.

"After that, I realize that's how I wanted to make YOU feel, Yusei. With my Earthbound Immortal, I will fill you with the terror and anguish that consumed me …from the moment I knew you betrayed me until my last pitiful moment in my cell at the Facility!"

"Kalin…" Yusei began.

"Earthbound Immortal! Strike him down with a direct attack!" Kalin exclaimed.

Yusei could feel the same fear from when he faced the Earthbound Immortal before. But, if this was connected to the terror Kalin felt, then he couldn't run away. He wouldn't. He would bury the Immortal and face that fear.

"I'm activating a trap known as God of War's Baton! So, this turn I can select the attack targets of your monsters," Yusei said. Yusei's Junk Warrior flew at the Immortal with all its might. "Your attack target is now my Junk Warrior!"

Junk Warrior was crushed by the giant's enormous palm; bits of debris scattered flew past Yusei, stinging him when they struck him. The attack reduced him to 2400 points.

"Ha! Yusei, you might have prevented a direct attack, but my Immortal has a secondary effect. When it destroys a monster, you take damage equal to that monster's current attack points. And if I'm correct, that's 2500 points of damage!"

"Yusei!" Leo yelped. Luna held his hand to try and comfort him.

"That will wipe him out…" Trudge muttered.

"Wait! Doesn't he have another card to play?" Crow asked aloud. Era nodded. "One of his cards can save him! I'm sure of it!"

"I'll counter that with my trap, Burst Synchro Summon! Now, all your damage is reduced to zero…and…I can now summon a Synchro monster with an attack equal to the damage that would have been dealt to me, ignoring the normal summoning conditions!"

The Earthbound Immortal withdrew its hand as a burst of light shot up from the ground. Out of the burst came Stardust Dragon, its wings sparkling and its eyes aglow. It looked up at the Immortal and roared fearlessly at the massive giant.

"It looks like Yusei is making it!" Crow sighed with relief. Leo and Luna cheered for Yusei. Era nodded.

"I think that boy was planning to summon that card from the beginning," Trudge said. He noticed Era was only nodding and was barely talking. "You okay, Era?"

"Huh? Yes, I'm fine! I'm just worried… even Stardust Dragon can't touch Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu… Unless…No, it can't be…" Era stuttered.

Crow raised an eyebrow. "Ok, what is it? What are you not telling us?" he asked her.

"Back at home there was one known dragon that took down his Immortal," Era said.

"What is it?" Luna asked.

"The dragon is the reincarnation of the Crimson Dragon. It begins with a tuner monster known as Majestic Dragon and when it is tuned with a Signer dragon like Stardust Dragon, something happens. There are only two known. One for Jack's Red Dragon Archfiend, one for Yusei's Stardust Dragon. Jack's is upgraded to Majestic Red Dragon and Yusei's creates the Majestic Star Dragon. Both are mighty beings," Era explained.

Luna gasped shocked by the information. "Where did you learn this information again?" Crow asked shocked.

"I've…never heard of a monster called Majestic Dragon," Trudge asked.

"That's because the only time it can be used is when all the Signers are one," Era explained.

Crow took a look back at the duel. Kalin finished his turn with no cards in his hand again. It was Yusei's turn again. As soon as Yusei drew his next card, Kalin activated another trap, one he announced to be Glowing Image of the Guardian God.

"Now, Yusei, with this card on the field, the only thing you can attack is my Earthbound Immortal. Think of it as a precautionary measures against any kind of dirty trick you might pull on me… like trying to bypass my monster for a direct attack!" Kalin said.

"Well then, it looks like I'll have to put my trust in my deck. I'll activate the Speed Spell, Angel Baton. When I have two speed counters or more on my field, I can discard a card from my hand so I can draw two cards from my deck."

He quickly discarded a card and drew his two cards. "Next, I will activate the effect of the card I just discarded, which was Stardust Xiaolong! When I have a Stardust Dragon on my field, I can special summon it from the Graveyard!" (Stardust Xiaolong is a level one Light attributed Dragon type monster with 100 attack and defense points.) A long, sinuous teal dragon appeared alongside of Stardust Dragon. Its long mane resembled that of a lion and its whisker were longer than its body. Yusei had no choice but to end his turn with a face down.

Kalin drew his card to begin his turn. As Kalin thought about his next move, Yusei took the opportunity to activate a trap card.

His Stardust Dragon became cloaked in a heavenly white light. "I'm activating the effect of Isolated Protector! If you battle any of my other monsters, all the battle damage will be negated. But, if you try to destroy my Stardust Dragon, I can sacrifice Isolated Protector in its place."

"Is that so? Well, that won't stop me from attack Stardust Dragon anyway!" The Earthbound Immortal batted the Dragon off to the side, creating a great whirlwind. Yusei sent Isolated Protector to the Graveyard to protect his dragon. But, Kalin had his own trap to play. "I think I'll activate Demonic Devastation, which doubles any battle damage you take save for a direct attack."

Yusei was hit with 1000 points of damage, leaving him with only 1400 left. He muffled a scream from the pain as he felt the ground shaking under his Runner.

Suddenly, the force of the impact caused Kalin to lose control over his Runner. It almost fell sideways, just inches away from the wall of violet flames.

"Kalin!" Yusei rode in closer. He outstretched his hand to him. "Kalin! Grab my hand!"

Kalin's eyes widened in surprise. His voice became hesitant. "You… Yusei? I don't understand… Are you trying to save me? Like the time I saved your life… when we were still a team?"

Yusei smiled. "Kalin… you were wrong. I was willing to hand myself in for you… to face security alone. But, I think I was wrong, too. A person shouldn't always have to stand alone. In the darkest moments, they should always have their friends by their side… As a light to guide one another…"

Suddenly, Era was surprised to feel her mark pulse on her body. Luna gasped. "My marks gone!"

"After all that…Yusei wants to save his friend…and now Kalin understands that…But Yusei needs the help of his friends, too," Era said.

"What does that mean?" Crow asked.

"For a second, I could feel what Yusei was feeling… and I could sense… all the others Signers could feel it, too. We all wanted to help," Era said vaguely.

Crow turned his head. Leo was staring at Luna's arm.

"Your mark is gone… Maybe that happened to Jack and Akiza…" Leo said.

"Our wills have become one… and that is what will bring Majestic Dragon to help in this fight…" Era informed.

The full body of the Crimson Dragon appeared like a glowing circle on Yusei's back. Yusei was beginning to understand.

"This really isn't about fighting you… It's about saving you and the other Dark Signers from the Earthbound Immortals!"

Crow sighed. "I want him to save Kalin, too. It should never have been the way it was… but maybe now things can be made right."

"Why are you saying this now, Yusei?" Kalin was still inclined to disbelief. His Runner dipped deeper and his helmet was barely touching the wall.

"Because you're my friend, Kalin! You always were!" Yusei exclaimed.

Yusei saw that the top card of his deck was shining. Kalin saw the card and closed his eyes. "Draw your card," he said.

"Kalin…" Yusei said.

"Just do it, okay? If you're really so bent on helping me, then draw that card…" Kalin said.

Yusei pulled the card from his deck. "This card is… Majestic Dragon!"

Yusei immediately played it. An otherworldly rose colored dragon appeared on the field by Stardust Dragon. It had no eyes, and the golden orbs on its wings emitted a blinding bright light. It made a soft noise as Stardust Dragon sailed above it, with Yusei's other dragon just behind. (Majestic Dragon is a level one Light attributed Dragon type Tuner Monster with 0 attack points and 0 defense points.)

"I will now tune Majestic Dragon, Stardust Dragon, and Stardust Xiaolong to Synchro Summon a monster created from our combined power…"

Majestic Dragon enveloped the other two dragons and transformed into a shapeless mass of light. The light faded and slowly revealed a beautiful ivory dragon. It appeared much like Stardust Dragon, but it had no arms or legs, and four massive wings with blue orbs at the end of each one. Its long tail lashed out like a streak of sunlight.

"This is the miracle of clustering minds! Descend, Majestic Star Dragon!" Yusei exclaimed. (Majestic Star Dragon is a level ten Wind attributed Dragon type Synchro monster with 3800 attack and 3000 defense points.)

"That thing's amazing! It's like an angel or something!" Crow exclaimed.

"My dragon has the ability to negate the effect of one of your cards and acquires it until the end of the turn. I will negate the effect of Ccapac Apu and Majestic Star Dragon will destroy it with its own power!"

The blue light began dimming as it was being drained away from the Immortal and absorbed by Majestic Star Dragon. The immortal shivered and writhed.

As Yusei tried to reach for Kalin once more, he declared his final attack. "Majestic Star Dragon, attack Earthbound Immortal Ccapac Apu and end this!"

Yusei was barely able to grasp Kalin's hand. As he pulled Kalin from his Runner, Majestic Star Dragon pierced the Earthbound Immortal like the blade of a sword. It went right through it, soaring into the sky as Ccapac Apu feel to the ground, disappearing in an explosion of blue energy.

Everyone was blinded for a moment or two. Other than Era. The light didn't bother Era to her disbelief.

"Yusei!" Era started running down the hill.

When the light cleared, Majestic Star Dragon was hovering above Yusei. Kalin lay in his arms, the black had disappeared from the whites of his eyes and the mark of the giant had vanished from his arm. He was bruised in several places.

"Yusei…" Kalin's voice was slightly hollow and ragged.

"Kalin… I drove you to this," Yusei said.

"No, Yusei. Listen… I couldn't stay mad at you… I wished to have the last duel of Team Satisfaction… at least that wish has come true… Even if my anger is what got me here… if I didn't let it consume me… I would have let it go… It has brought nothing but suffering for me…" Kalin said. Kalin's body slowly started to disintegrate.

"Kalin!" Yusei exclaimed.

"I guess I can't be satisfied at all…at least not like this," he said. He saw Era coming out of the corner of his eye. "I'm sorry for what I did. I hurt my friends, and I have left a scar on someone's life… Can you forgive me?"

"I have never held it against you. I knew you weren't yourself and what would happen at this end," Era said.

He gave a slight, thankful grin. At that moment, his body was dust in the wind. His Duel Runner was gone as well. The fire dispersed. "Kalin…" Era muttered in unison with Yusei.

Yusei stood up. Majestic Star Dragon flew up into the air over Satellite, and all the others could see its body fade into the darkness. Luna was surprised to see her mark return to her arm. Leo breathed a heavy sigh. Trudge sat quietly in the car, saying nothing.

Yusei's shoulders began shaking. "Kalin… you are still my friend… and I forgive you too. I…" Tears trickled down his face. "I promise we will save you and the others from this nightmare of the Earthbound Immortals, Kalin…"

Era stopped, seeing the last of Majestic Star Dragon's light dim and fall away from the sky. "Kalin!" Yusei cried in a soft voice. He remembered at that moment that he had also cried the night Kalin was taken away.

Era walked up and placed comforting hands on both his shoulders. Though she stood strong and comforting, she was struggling to keep the tears in her eyes. She wished it didn't have to come to this. 'It wasn't his fault,' she thought. 'It was the Earthbound Immortals fault.'

"Yusei…" she called. "It wasn't your fault. And it wasn't Kalin's either. It was the Earthbound Immortals. They used him and his anger. We'll stop them Yusei… together."

He wiped his tears away. 'She's right. I need to stop sulking and fulfill my promise to Greiger and Kalin. And I intend to do so,' Yusei thought. He turned to Era. "Thanks Era. You're right," he said.

"I only spoke the truth, Yusei. The truth is right and I only put it into words," she responded.

"Let's go," Yusei said. They were about to leave when Trudge tensed. "What's wrong, Trudge?"

"He's about to give you an invitation," Era said.

"Invitation? To what? How?" Yusei said. She pointed to the mark of the spider on his arm.

"So, I see the Celestial Signer really knows everything to expect. So she must know this is coming as well. Yusei Fudo, I think it's time we finish this. Don't you?" Roman said through Trudge.

"Roman," Yusei growled.

"We that unfinished business. Come to the old reactor and be ready to battle," Roman said. "I will see you there."

A spider jumped off Trudge's neck and Trudge looked at everyone. "Why is everyone looking at me?" he asked.

"He's normal again. One of Roman's spiders must've attached itself to Trudge and used Trudge as a messenger for Roman," Era said.

"Wait, what?!" Trudge exclaimed.

"We need to get going now," Era said ignoring Trudge.

"Then let's go," Yusei agreed.

Trudge still had a slightly confused expression but went to the car nonetheless. They immediately took off from there.

As they rode off, one this still bothered Era. 'If they saw the duels, why haven't they changed the plot and what they were supposed to do? Why was it all as it was supposed to be? Why hasn't it changed like I would've expected it to be?' Era thought. 'Whatever's going on here, it can't be good. And I've got to figure out what that is.'

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