Celestial Signer

Gaps


Chapter 27

Gaps

After seeing a cascade of swirling color and light, Yusei found himself wrapped up in impenetrable darkness. A dampening weight seemed to press against his body as he tried to stand up and get a sense of where he was.

The air was completely still, and all he could see forever was the darkness. Was he dead? Was this the afterwards that greeted him? He could not say at first.

However, that theory was dashed when his Signer mark began to glow. Up ahead, he could see a faint red light, nearly being crushed by the darkness. He followed the light, feeling something was familiar about it. The duelist walked, and walked, and walked. It seemed like an eternity that he walked towards the light, though it grew a little brighter every so often.

Eventually, a form began to outline around the light. He drew ever closer, recognizing a human shape. He called out, only the shape slightly twitched in response. He called again, but to have little to no effect. He picked up speed, running as fast as he could with the weight bearing down on him.

He came close enough that he recognized the shape of the Celestial Signer mark, and saw the form the light was coming from was none other than Era, or something that looked like her.

"Era!" Yusei called.

She was lying sprawled out, her face turned to the side. Her Signer mark was glowing, but dimly like a light bulb that was about to go out. Her eyes were closed, but her fingers trembled. Yusei reached out, wondering if he was seeing some sort of vision. He was surprised that his gloved fingers actually touched and felt the warmth of her cheek.

"Era… can you hear me?" Yusei's voice softened.

She finally responded with movement, slowly attempting to sit up. Yusei reached behind her and gently supported, helping her get to her feet. She let out a quiet noise of disgruntlement before shaking her head.

"Y-Yusei…" she responded.

Her eyes finally opened and her head tilted so she was looking Yusei in the eyes. She smiled feebly at him and sighed with relief. "Thank goodness you're alive… I thought I had lost you."

She pulled him in for a quick kiss before gazing out at the foreboding darkness. "We're… inside Momentum?"

"For a while I thought maybe this was what beyond the grave looked like," Yusei replied, "But, you probably know as a good idea as mine. If that's where we are…" He looked around anxiously. "But, you shouldn't be here, Era."

"Neither should you. I came in after you because I intend to get you out," she responded sternly but still had its caring softness.

Yusei shook his head. "Era… you shouldn't… how are we supposed to get out, then?"

Era faltered, her expression turning grim. "Your… Your father will help. I don't know when he'll show up. But… I couldn't just stand by and watch you fall."

She felt Yusei firmly grab her by the arms, looking like he was holding back from being frustrated. Era pulled on his arms with her fingertips, looking up at him unflinchingly.

"You shouldn't have come in after me. Losing one of us is better than losing two. Especially…" Yusei said but was stopped by Era's stern gaze.

"Yusei, I refuse to lose any of the Signers. And I love you. What more reason do I need?" she said

He sighed. "And that's why I wish you would have stayed behind. Because I can't lose you." He started to sense a darker presence and Era could feel it too.

"We're not going to get anywhere arguing. Besides, I have a feeling things are about to get worse," he warned as suddenly the silence around them was broken by soft murmuring, followed by mournful, pitiful wailing.

"Come on," Yusei gently tugged on Era's hand, a gesture for the girl to follow him.

"What's going on? I can sense… this dread… this feeling of agony…" she said. Her eyes widened in realization of the episode's memory.

As Era was speaking, several white figures started to wander out of the dark, walking sluggishly and jaggedly, as though having a desire to limp. They looked like they were made of mist, with empty faces and a body that was featureless.

"What are these things?" Yusei wondered aloud. He reached out a free hand and touched one. Suddenly, his Signer mark began to shine brightly, and a vision flashed across his mind. In it, several people were falling into a chasm that was forming, down into the abyss to their deaths. Debris and a crumbling city surrounded the chasm, a city that Yusei knew all too well. "These are…" he began.

He turned to Era. "These are spirits of people who died during the initial explosion. The one that happened from your father's project… They're… they're here… trapped… just like the souls of the Satellite being used to fuel the Earthbound Immortals," Era said.

Era thought for a moment. When she reached out and touched one herself, feeling the memories flooding into her mind.

"Is this place… where some of the souls have been trapped?" Yusei worried. Era nodded.

Before either one could come to a conclusion, Era's mark started to shine brightly as well. The white figures halted, their featureless faces turning towards Yusei and Era. A few of them started to walk towards them, the sounds turning into howls of anger.

"They… they can sense us through the power of the Crimson Dragon… or perhaps they touched our memories? I don't know what's happening," Era said. This was different.

One of them suddenly grabbed Yusei, pulling him away from Era. "No! Let him go!" However, a spirit grabbed her as well.

"Era!" Yusei called. Yusei saw another vision, one of several people getting caught in the blast of Zero Reverse. "They're angry… because of what happened with the project… with what happened with my father and the Goodwins…"

"Yeah? And they see I know everything and my relationship to you. But, just because you're related doesn't mean it's your fault. It wasn't even your father's fault… it was Roman," Era said.

"Yeah, well I don't think it makes a bit of difference to them," he huffed pushing as hard as he could away from them to get to Era. He held out his hand, and Era tried to grab on, only to have the spirits rip him away again.

"Leave him alone!" Era yelled. She tried to use her abilities, but other than a bright glow from her mark, nothing seemed to happen. "I… have no power here… I can do nothing… but... How?" she said. She focused harder. Her body began to be pulled out with an eerie multicolored glow surrounding it.

Suddenly, the darkness began pulling Yusei in, and the spirits were pushing his body down further into the abyss.

"Yusei!" she yelled.

She tried to rush against the forces acting on her, as did Yusei. But, it seemed as though their efforts were futile. Her power kept the spirits from doing anything to her but Yusei didn't seem so lucky.

However, as the darkness was at his shoulders, there was a sudden silence. A bright light shined in the darkness, causing the spirits to stand back. A deep voice called out, shunning the spirits and shooing them away.

"These people do not bear the sin you seek to release. Hurting them will not earn you your final rest. By doing them in, you take away the chance entirely. Now, be gone!" the voice yelled.

The spirits vanished, leaving the two engulfed by the blinding light, the darkness melting away. Yusei's body was pulled back out by an unseen force and they found themselves standing on a plane of pure white. The two of them turned to each other, each wondering what had just happened. However, Yusei could swear the voice was familiar from somewhere, but who was it? Era knew though.

A silhouette of a man stepped out of the white approaching them as a figure of pure black. However, as it got closer, more features became visible, such as the flowing of a coat, the outline of shows, and spiked hair.

"What are you two doing here?" the voice spoke again. They realized that whoever was approaching them was the one who was speaking.

"Thank you for saving us," Era thanked him. "We got here by accident. We need to find our way back but neither of us knows the way."

The figure came even closer, and Era saw a pair of striking blue eyes and tan skin. Yusei realized the form much resembled someone from the past, but he scarcely believed what he was seeing in front of him. "…Father?!"

Dressed in a white lab coat was the figure of Yusei's deceased father, Professor Jason Fudo.

"I am glad I got here in time, or the earth may very well have swallowed you up," the professor sighed. "But yes, I am here to guide you from this place. You should not be here. NEITHER of you."

Yusei started to approach him, his face showing pure awestruck bewilderment. "How… can you be here? Are you alive? Are you a spirit trapped her as well?"

Yusei's father nodded slowly. "I am no longer alive. I haven't been for some time, Yusei. But I have remained here, to look over those who have suffered because of the mistakes of my team. I will depart as they will when the threat of the darkness we unleashed is averted."

"So…" Yusei said.

"I can lead you out, but I cannot go with you. Trust me, my son; this is not your place. There is much left for you to do, more people in your life to meet, and more experiences for you to have," Professor Fudo stated. He turned to Era. "I can say the same of you, Miss Windser."

"Why is it that you can lead us out? And not one of the other spirits?" Era asked. "And how do you know me?"

"I have heard of you from the voices that circulate throughout this place. When one enters, their memories are shown to others. As for your other questions, as I said, I am looking after these poor people until their turmoil is put to rest. The details are unimportant. What is important is that you both return to the Satellite and write the wrongs of the evil that seeks to destroy everything," he explained.

"Not important? But…" Era began but realized she should stop.

"Father…" Yusei hesitated.

"This is what must be done. I wish things were different, but this is something that cannot change. What has been done cannot be undone. But the future is still there for you. And the world is counting on you that all may have whatever the future may bring," Yusei's father said. The light intensified, blinding the two of them once again. The professor began to disappear, and the whole of reality began to shift.

"Father!" Yusei exclaimed.

"Take care, especially you, Yusei," his father said.

. . .

Back at the old site of Momentum, a few allies and friends of Yusei and Era were gathered around, fearing that they had lost both of them. Crow, the twins, and Trudge were huddled around the edge where the bridge had collapsed.

"Hey, look!" Everyone heard Leo's voice pipe up with astonishment.

Luna was the first to see particles of light begin to gather at the center of their small group. The particles began to shape into humanoid forms, and everyone suddenly realized what might be happening.

"Is that…?" Luna gasped.

"I think Yusei and Era are back!" Crow exclaimed.

"No way!" Trudge objected.

However, the light outlined their forms in mid-air, and soon it seemed to burst like shattered glass, revealing the forms of the group's lost companions.

Yusei hit the ground first, with Era landing on top of him. He grunted from the sudden impact of the rocky surface. He noticed that his Signer mark was no longer glowing, and Era's had also stopped as well. He looked down noticing Era was shivering and her eyes were closed.

"Era. It's okay. We're back. Everyone's here," Yusei said.

She opened her eyes and looked around. "…Guys?" Before she could look down and comment on the awkward position she and Yusei landed in, she was toppled on by the twins in one of the tightest hugs she ever had in her life.

"Don't EVER do that again. We thought you two might've been gone!" Luna cried.

Era could hear her best friends restraining sobs. "It's okay Luna. I have no intention of that happening."

She laughed. Crow extended his hand to Yusei and helped him to his feet. "Glad to see you're in one piece, Yusei."

Trudge was utterly dumbstruck by the whole thing. "Is everyone okay?" Era asked.

"You're the one to talk," Crow said with a grin that said yes.

He looked down at the old Momentum, spinning with its multicolored light.

"We're all in this together. And somehow, someway, things are going to be put right," Yusei said.

As Era was still being hugged by the twins, Yusei tapped them on the shoulder. "May I borrow Era for a second?"

Luna softly giggled and released her friend followed by Leo. "She's all yours, Yusei."

He then took Era's hands in his. "Yusei…" Before she could finish her sentence, Yusei leaned in and pressed his lips to her cheek. Her face turned bright red, not expecting that particular reaction at that moment. She looked away, until he took one of his hands and cupped her cheek, turning her gaze back.

"We're almost through this. And… we're both okay," Yusei said.

She smiled. "I… I hope everyone will okay in the end." 'Even if it means I won't be one of them,' she thought.

"That's my hope as well," Yusei nodded.

He released her then started to head down the tunnels back to where he parked his Duel Runner. Everyone began to follow, knowing the group was probably heading to wherever the next match was, and hopefully, the towers would be sealed before the sun set.

Otherwise, the fight for the world might be the fight to their deaths. And even though some thought they may not come out of this alive, all had a secret desire to see things through to the end. Era sensed that in their absence another Dark Signer had been defeated, meaning that only one remained and she knew which one. But, time was still the essence. And so, their fight for the future of the world would come to a close soon, one way or the other.

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