Tetsuya wandered the unfamiliar streets of the city, mostly walking past the warehouses and run-down buildings of Commons. It didn’t add up to him why, exactly, that security officer told him they were told to round up the Lancers. He knew his similar appearance to Ryuichi could lead to some confusion here in Synchro Dimension, but never did either one ever manage to meet up with any counterpart from Standard, and THANKFULLY not a counterpart from Fusion Dimension to be seen.
It was after a short while that Tetsu finally set upon a warehouse sitting with the door slightly open. He wondered if this could be the place where the Lancers were hiding out after being mistaken for enemies, likely by Serena’s fusion summoning. He slowly crept towards the door and opened it, before stepping inside.
As the duelists inside seemed to stir, Tetsu shouted, “It’s just me!”
A feminine figure suddenly stepped out of the shadows and said, “You have some nerve barging into our hideout like that, Ryuichi. Are you trying to arrest me again?”
Tetsu replied, “I’m not Ryuichi. And who are you, anyway?”
The woman duelist shouted, “You would DARE forget my name? Even after what we’ve done together!”
Tetsu shouted, “I already told you, I’m not Ryuichi. I’m not even from this dimension.”
One of the duelists laughed, “Nice try, Matsuhara. At least try something a little more convincing. Another dimension? Just who would believe something like that?”
The woman then turned and slapped her lackey in his face. She said, “WE’RE not playing along with Security’s little cover-up, REMEMBER?” She then turned to Tetsu and said, “All right, even if you’re not Ryuichi Matsuhara, I can’t just let you leave here without a duel. Just remember that you’re facing Hotaru Nakamura, Leader of the Tarantulas.”
Tetsu said, “I’m not exactly familiar with the Tarantulas. Are you some kind of rock band?”
Hotaru shouted, “NO! WE’RE THE BIGGEST, MOST NOTORIOUS CARD STEALING RING IN THE ENTIRE CITY. YOU HAVE SOME NERVE TO MESS WITH US! If you win, you can walk out with all your cards. If you lose, we’ll be keeping your entire deck.”
A few of the grunts then slammed the warehouse door closed as Hotaru activated her duel disk. Tetsu had no choice, he had to take part in this duel if he wanted to leave this place.
Hotaru said, “I’ll start. I play Ominous Buzzing! This card summons two Scarab Tokens to your side of the field. However, the tokens can’t be used as Synchro Material or Fusion Material. Then, I’ll leave a face-down card and activate Tablet of Token Souls. Whenever a Token on either side of the field is destroyed in battle, I can put a counter on this card. Then, by removing three, I can draw a card.
Tetsu glared at the two tokens on his side of the field. He neglected to mention that as a specialist in Rank 4 Xyz summoning, Tetsu was incapable of putting these tokens with 0 ATK to use. There were no high-level monsters in his deck he could simply tribute summon to do away with the tokens before him. His only hope was to find a card that would let him wipe his field of the tokens and get back to work.
Tetsu said, “My turn! DRAW! I activate Xyber-Break, sending Xyber Bladran to the graveyard. Next, I summon Xyber Brigadier. Brigadier’s first effect! I equip Bladran from my graveyard. BRIGADIER! ATTACK DIRECTLY!”
Hotaru shouted, “Activate! Plague of Locusts! I special summon four Locust Tokens to my side of the field. Unlike the ones I gave you, I can still use my tokens for bigger things.”
Tetsu replied, “Then I’ll just have to destroy one of the tokens instead.”
As one Locust Token was immediately impaled with Lanzik, a glowing orb appeared hovering over Tablet of Token Souls.
Tetsu continued, “Next, I use my Brigadier’s effect. I pay 500 life points and destroy Bladran to add Xyber Soldier Alpha to my hand. I place Xyber Soldier Alpha in the pendulum zone and use his Pendulum effect to revive Bladran in attack mode. Using my level four Xyber Brigadier and Xyber Bladran, I build the overlay network! XYZ SUMMON! Xybertech Soldier! I leave one face-down card and end my turn.”
Hotaru said, “My turn! DRAW! I summon Shadow Scythe Mantis in attack mode. Now, I tune my three level one Locust Tokens with my level four Shadow Scythe Mantis. SYNCHRO SUMMON! Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle! Rhinoceros Beetle! ATTACK! Xybertech Soldier!”
Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle then lunged at Xybertech Soldier, dropping Tetsu’s life points from 7500 to 7400.
Hotaru continued, “Each time Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle inflicts battle damage, I can draw a card.”
Tetsu shouted, “I chain Xyber Overload! Drawing one card for each unused overlay unit plus one for a total of three.”
Hotaru grinned, “I’d like to see what you can do with only one monster card zone open. GROUND COLLAPSE!”
One lackey said, “That’s the boss for you! This guy’s already caught in her web.”
Tetsu said, “I leave one face-down monster and place Xyber Lady Epsilon in the scales. As long as you can’t damage me, I should be fine. Turn end!”
Hotaru said, “Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle can inflict piercing damage when it attacks a token. For now, I’ll play Cricket Chorus, summoning three Chirping Cricket Tokens to my side of the field.”
Tetsu realized that all three of the tokens were level 2 monsters. Considering how she Synchro Summoned her Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle, it was safe to say she was planning to do something with those tokens later.
Hotaru continued, “Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle! Attack a Scarab Token!”
Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle charged ahead, destroying a Scarab Token and reducing Tetsu’s life points to 4900. Suddenly, another glowing orb appeared over Tablet of Token Souls
Hotaru added, “Whenever Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle inflicts battle damage, I can draw a card. Now, I’ll have one Chirping Cricket Token attack the other Scarab Token.”
The token responded to the order by leaping forward to destroy a scarab token, causing a third glowing orb to appear over Tablet of Token Souls.
Hotaru concluded, “By removing three counters from Tablet of Token Souls, I can draw! Now, I leave a face-down card and end my turn.”
Tetsu looked at his field. Then he looked to Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle. He knew he needed to get rid of that particular bug, and he knew it would also be a priority to get rid of Ground Collapse so he could have some room once again. Thankfully, he had enough space to work with for this turn.
Tetsu declared, “My turn! DRAW! I summon Xyber Tri-pike in attack mode. Then, I flip summon Xyber Lanzik. Using my level four Xyber Tri-pike and Xyber Lanzik, I build the overlay network. XYZ SUMMON! Xybertech Lady! By using one overlay unit, I equip Xyber Bladran to Xyber Lady from my graveyard. Xybertech Lady, attack Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle!”
Hotaru didn’t even bat an eye when Xybertech Lady sliced through Spiral-Horned Rhinoceros Beetle so easily, nor did she even bother to flinch when her life points fell to 7500.
Tetsu continued, “When Xybertech Lady destroys an opponent’s monster while equipped with a Xyber union monster, I can choose one card you control to destroy. I choose Ground Collapse!”
Hotaru shrugged, “I suppose that leaves enough room on your side for me to do this. OJAMA TRIO!”
Tetsu shouted, “WHAT?”
Before Tetsu could fully grasp what was going on, three Ojama tokens now appeared beside Xybertech Lady, meaning he was once again reduced to only one open monster card zone.
Tetsu said, “I end my turn.”
Hotaru said, “My turn, DRAW! I suppose this card will help me destroy your Xyz Monster. I summon Strider of the Tranquil Pond. Next I tune my three level two Chirping Cricket Tokens with my level two Strider of the Tranquil Pond. Now, it’s time to bring out the queen, so she can show her deadly force. SYNCHRO SUMMON! Queen of the Desert Swarm!”
Queen of the Desert Swarm suddenly emerged glaring down Tetsu, who merely grinned in return.
Tetsu said, “Xybertech Lady is still stronger than your monster.”
Xybertech Lady (Xyber Bladran equipped): 3000 ATK
Queen of the Desert Swarm: 2800 ATK
Hotaru said, “In that case, I’ll have to cancel out the power boost from that union monster. MYSTICAL SPACE TYPHOON! DESTROY XYBER BLADRAN!”
Xybertech Lady: 2300 ATK
Hotaru declared, “Queen of the Desert Swarm, ATTACK XYBERTECH LADY!”
The large, sandy colored insect struck at Xybertech Lady with an incredible force, reducing Tetsu’s life points to 4400.
Hotaru added, “Whenever Queen of the Desert Swarm destroys a monster, I can summon one Larva Token to your side of the field in defense mode. It can’t be used for a Synchro or Fusion summon. I also leave one face-down card and end my turn.
Tetsu said, “My turn, DRAW! I’ll pass, for now.”
Hotaru laughed, “You still have some hope of winning? Then I’ll have to crush that hope and you along with it. I summon Token-Eating Antlion. Using Once per turn, Token-Eating Antlion can destroy any number of tokens on the field to increase its own level by the number of tokens destroyed. I think I’ll just destroy one Ojama Token.
As the Ojama Token was destroyed, Tetsu’s life points dropped to 4100. All the while, Tetsu seemed to be smiling that he finally had two open monster card zones.
Hotaru added, “And now that there’s room, I activate Revival Gift to bring back my Strider.”
Tetsu was shocked to see five tokens on his side of the field. Even though a few of them matched level, tokens couldn’t be used for Xyz Summoning at all, even the unrestricted Gift Fiend Tokens.
Hotaru laughed, “Now, it’s time we begin. Using my level eight Queen of the Desert Swarm with my level two Token-eating Antlion and my level two Strider of the Tranquil Pond. DOUBLE TUNING!”
Tetsu said, “This can’t be good.”
Hotaru declared, “Rising forth from a great burst of lava, the queen takes on her strongest form. SYNCHRO SUMMON! QUEEN OF THE VOLCANO SWARM! In this form, she gains 500 attack for each token on the field. Now, I think I’ll attack one Ojama Token.
As Queen of the Volcano Swarm burned the second Ojama Token, Tetsu’s life points fell to 3800 from the lingering effect. A glowing orb appeared over Tablet of Token Souls
Hotaru held up a card, showing it to Tetsu, “This card in my hand is the one I’ll use to finish you off. I hope you like it.”
The card she was showing was none other than Battle Mania. With it, Hotaru could force all of the tokens on Tetsu’s side of the field into attack mode and force them to attack. However, as it stood, Tetsu didn’t have the life points to make it through even one failed attack on Queen of the Volcano Swarm, much less five.
One of Hotaru’s lackeys declared, “Like a bug caught in a web, he’ll struggle until he realizes it’s hopeless, then just accept that he’s being devoured.”
Hotaru said, “I’ll leave one card face-down and end my turn.”
The pressure was on. Tetsu needed a card that could wipe his side of the field to set him up for a Pendulum Summon, then double equip Over-Xybertech Soldier with two copies of Bladran and hope for the best.
Tetsu declared, “My turn! DRAW!”
Hotaru shouted, “Activate! BATTLE MANIA!”
Tetsu stared at the card he had just drawn, Xyber Revolt. This card was designed to wipe the opponent’s side of the field and not his side. He then fell to his knees and said, “I surrender!”
Hotaru mused, “Normally, I would be quick to try selling your cards to the highest bidders, but since you’re also fighting against Academia, I think I’ll just hang onto them for a while. Tell Ryuichi to meet me at the Trishula Bridge tomorrow night... alone.
Ryuichi stepped into Jean-Michael Roger’s office, clearly angry. He said, “I need to see the footage of that invader vanishing. I was sure to confiscate his duel disk and lock it away, setting the clearance level so high, only you could get it out of there.”
Jean responded, “He didn’t use his own duel disk. It looks more like some cohort showed up to retrieve him. Funny, he looks exactly like Yugo and this Yuya Sakaki who uses Pendulum.”
Ryuichi said, “So, are you finally beginning to understand the situation better? That cohort is one of several elite duel soldiers who will be trying to take over any day now.”
Jean said, “You’re still going on about that. I believe this similar appearance implies some form of relation, and that therefore implies all three to be working together.”
Ryuichi said, “I’ve been to Xyz Dimension. I’ve seen the damage these duel soldiers caused with my own eyes. I’d rather not see that kind of damage happening here. The Pendulum users are trying to gather allies so they could stand a better chance against the invasion force.”
Jean waved Ryuichi out of the room and turned around. He didn’t want to say something that could imply that he was actually a part of Academia’s plans, acting as a spy, and trying to soften Synchro Dimension from within.
It was sunset when Tetsu finally managed to stumble upon Reiji and the Lancers.
Tetsu said, “Have any of you seen Ryuichi around here?”
Reiji answered, “I had a brief conversation with him about his new chief. Why?”
Tetsu said, “Some Hotaru Nakamura of the Tarantulas managed to beat me in a duel and steal my deck.”
Reiji suddenly seemed surprised.
Tetsu added, “She wants Ryuichi to meet her under some Trishula Bridge tomorrow night or else she’s selling my deck to the highest bidder the way she sells other stolen cards.”
A D-wheel then pulled up behind Tetsu.
Reiji asked, “Just what kind of strategy did she use?”
Tetsu explained, “She flooded my side of the field with tokens, then she used a level twelve Synchro monster and Battle Mania. I didn’t have life points to get through one attack, much less five.”
Ryuichi took off his helmet and said, “Did she use Double Tuning?”
Tetsu asked, “You remember her?”
Ryuichi said, “Hard to forget someone like that. She probably could have been a model, but she seems to enjoy her life of crime too much to throw it away.”
Tetsu asked, “Just what did you and her do together that made her so mad when I said I didn’t know her?”
Ryuichi looked at Reira momentarily and said, “I’d rather not talk about it in front of a child.”
Dennis then whistled, as if congratulating Ryuichi for what he accomplished.
Ryuichi shouted, “I let the ringleader behind a dangerous card stealing ring get away because I was too weak to refuse her womanly wiles. Even though I won the duel, she still managed to give me the slip.”
Tetsu said, “She wants to meet you under the Trishula Bridge tomorrow night, alone.”
Reiji commented, “It sounds like a trap.”
Dennis couldn’t help but blurt out, “Sounds like she’s after something else if you know what I mean.”
Reiji scolded, “Dennis! Are you forgetting that Reira is right beside me?”