Chapter 3: The Tournament Begins
The morning came, and despite the weird dream that he had the previous night, Jaden felt refreshed. He got dressed in his usual outfit, put on his duel disk, and opened the door. Before he left the room, Jaden glanced down and noticed a small box that must have been left in front of the door to his room the previous night. Jaden picked up the box and opened it. The first thing he saw in the box was a card with the message, “Put this on and be in front of Spica at 10:00.”
The item that Jaden was supposed to put on was some sort of digital watch, but the face was dark. Jaden shrugged and put the watch on his right wrist. Out waiting in the main room of the guesthouse were Jessie, Striker, and Clive. Jaden noticed that they too were wearing the same digital watch like devises.
“You’re finally up.” Striker said to Jaden. “We’ve been waiting for you.”
“Sorry, I had a rough night.” Jaden replied. “Are these watch things part of the tournament?”
“Seeing how we all have one, I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet Fusion Master.” Clive answered. “Now it’s almost 10:00, so let’s get going to Spica.”
“I’ll lead the way.” Jaden replied, and with that, the four set off.
A few minutes later, the four duelists were out in front of Spica, and they weren’t alone. Not only was every other visiting pro duelist there, but also several students from Miator and Spica. There were a few Lilum students mixed in too, but not very many. A small wooden stage was set up in front of the school. All in all, it was a good sized crowed. As everyone was chatting with each other, a young girl with long pink hair, wearing a yellow sweater over her Spica uniform, walked up on stage. Jaden recognized the girl as Tsubomi Okuwaka, one of the friends he had made on the island the last time he was there.
“Attention competitors!” Tsubomi said into a microphone. “Welcome to the first day of the Astraea Star Cup tournament! Before the competition begins, our island’s two Etoile shall explain the rules!”
Hikari and Amane walked onto the stage. Tsubomi handed the microphone to Amane as she walked off stage.
“Welcome once again duelists to the Astraea Star Cup tournament.” Amane said into the microphone. “Now, all of you who are participating in the tournament, including those of you who are pro duelists, have received a device that looks like digital watch. That device is a point recorder, which will activate now.”
On cue, the watch devices on every competitor’s wrist lit up, showing a five.
“Those point recorders are all linked to a computer here on the island, and also receive signals from your duel disks.” Amane continued. “Every competitor starts out with five points. At the end of each duel, the winner receives the difference between his or her own amount of points, and the points of the opponent. At the same time, the loser will lose the same amount of points. If both duelists have the same number of points, the winner gains the amount of points equal to that of their opponent’s while the loser loses the same amount. When a duelist’s points reach zero, he or she is out of the game. The first round of the tournament will be fought battle royale style across the island over the course of ten days. When a duelist has one-hundred points, that duelist will automatically be entered in the finals, and will also be off limits to the other competitors.”
“Dueling won’t begin for an hour, so take this time to scatter through the island and prepare.” Hikari added, speaking into her own microphone. “Just so all of you know, Amane and I won’t be competing. Our duty is to preside over the competition. Also, there’s only room for eight people in the finals, so may the best duelists win! Now get out there and get ready to duel!”
With that, Hikari and Amane walked off the stage. Several of the competitors began leaving the crowed to go find a spot on the island. Jaden and his three friends took a moment to talk.
“The way I see it, there are probably around eighty people or more competing in this tournament right now.” Striker theorized. “That means that at least half will be eliminated by the end of the day.”
“In other words, the weak players will be weeded out before the day is over.” Clive replied.
“I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but you’re right.” Striker agreed. “Now I think that if we all want to make it to the finals, we should all avoid dueling each other until than.”
“I’ve got no problem with that.” Clive replied.
“I’m okay with that too.” Jessie agreed.
“I guess I’m in too.” Jaden nodded.
“Okay, than I guess we’ll all see each other in the finals!” Striker proclaimed. Jaden and the other two nodded, and the group went their separate ways.
“And just what were you four planning?” a voice suddenly asked as Jaden walked away.
“Chikaru!” Jaden exclaimed in a pleasantly surprised tone as he turned to see who the speaker was. “Are you in this tournament too?”
“As a matter of fact I am.” Chikaru replied. “So what were you and your three friends talking about?”
“We all agreed not to duel each other until we made it to the finals.” Jaden answered.
“I see.” Chikaru replied. “Mind if you and I make a similar pact? I fully intend to make it to the finals too.”
“Not at all!” Jaden responded happily. “It’d be great to face you in the finals. Plus it’d make up for the last duel we had.”
“Oh yeah.” Chikaru replied with a chuckle. “I was quite a terror wasn’t I?”
“Yeah, but that was that Wicked God you had.” Jaden laughed back. “It’s good that you can laugh about that now.”
“Yeah, I’ve gotten over it.” Chikaru replied. “Well, I’ll see you in the finals.”
With that, Chikaru walked off, and Jaden continued off towards where he was going. As Jaden walked though, he was unaware that Shion was following him, and she didn’t look happy.
* * *
During the hour before the start of the tournament, Jaden waited by the small lake on the island. It was perhaps his favorite place on Astraea Island. It was a peaceful spot, and it was also the place where he witnessed the beginning of a love story. It was by the lake where he first met Shizuma Hanazono and Nagisa Aoi. He had no idea that their meeting would turn into an epic love that was powerful enough to destroy a demon. They had a few obstacles to overcome along the way, but in the end it turned out well. The point recorder that Jaden was wearing suddenly beeped, signaling the end of the hour before the dueling had come to an end. Jaden began walking off to find his first opponent.
“Stop right there Jaden Yuki!” a voice suddenly commanded. Jaden turned to see that it was Shion, and she looked mad.
“Uh, hi Shion.” Jaden greeted as a feeling of nervousness creped over him. “Are you in this tournament too?”
“Yes I am. All of the student council presidents are participating.” Shion answered. “Enough about that though. I saw you with Chikaru an hour ago!”
“Yeah, what about it?” Jaden asked.
“As I recall, you two got pretty close during the last time you were here.” Shion replied.
“We became friends and she helped me out if that’s what you mean.” Jaden responded with a raised eyebrow. “What are you getting at?”
“What I’m getting at is that I don’t want you on this island!” Shion answered. “Which is why I must knock you out of this tournament!”
It dawned on Jaden that Shion thought that he and Chikaru were in a romantic relationship, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Still, Jaden could see that there was no way to convince Shion of that. Besides, there was no way that Jaden could turn down a challenge. The two of them activated their duel disks, and the duel began.
“I’m going first!” Shion announced as she drew her first card. “I set one monster on the field and end my turn!”
Jaden drew his first card, wondering what Shion was planning. She had prepared a flimsy defense, or at least that’s how it seemed. The fact that Shion played her monster facedown without anything to protect it suggested that it had some sort of devastating effect that would be triggered when flipped face up. There was only one way to find out what it was though.
“First I summon Elemental Hero Stratos in Attack Mode!” Jaden announced. A warrior in blue armor, a white helmet with a tinted visor, and a pair of mechanical wings appeared on the field. “When Stratos is summoned, I can add one Hero monster from my deck to my hand! So I add to my hand Elemental Hero Clayman! Next I play Polymerization and fuse Clayman with Elemental Hero Sparkman in my hand to summon Elemental Hero Thunder Giant!”
A gigantic warrior in a purple costume with white and brown armor descended from the sky onto the field.
“Stratos, attack Shion’s monster!” Jaden commanded. “Hero Typhoon!”
The propellers on Stratos’ mechanical wings spun and shot a pair of twisters at Shion’s monster, which was revealed to be a small purple penguin wearing orange armor. The penguin shattered into triangles of golden light upon being struck.
“You just activated the effect of my Penguin Soldier!” Shion announced with a confident grin. “When it’s flipped face up, I can return two monsters on the field to their owner’s hand. So your two heroes vanish from the field!”
On cue, Jaden’s two monsters vanished from the battlefield, leaving Jaden wide open to an attack.
“The best part of this though is that your Thunder Giant goes back to the Fusion Deck instead of to your hand!” Shion added.
“I’ll lay down a facedown and end my turn!” Jaden announced. Shion began her turn.
“First I play the Field Spell, A Legendary Ocean!” Shion announced. The instant Shion played her card, the small lake surrounded by forest transformed into an underwater city. The scene somehow reminded Jaden of the strange dream that he had the previous night. “Next I summon the Sea-Serpent Warrior of Darkness in Attack Mode!”
A mysterious fish-like warrior with dark-blue scales appeared on the field. In its right hand it carried a long golden harpoon.
“My Field Spell not only lowers the levels of all Water monsters on the field and in my hand by one, but it also increases their ATK by 200 points.” Shion explained. “Which means my Warrior’s ATK is now 2000! Warrior, attack Jaden directly with Harpoon of the Deep!”
The aquatic warrior threw his harpoon at Jaden, causing the wandering duelist to react.
“I activate my facedown, Negate Attack!” Jaden announced. “This stops your attack cold!”
The warrior’s harpoon vanished into the small vortex that momentarily appeared in front of Jaden, blocking the attack. A moment later, the harpoon reappeared in the warrior’s hand.
“I end my turn!” Shion announced angrily. Jaden drew his next card.
“First I activate Pot of Greed and draw two more cards!” Jaden announced. “Next I activate Polymerization to fuse Stratos with Elemental Hero Avian in my hand to summon Elemental Hero Great Tornado!”
A warrior wearing light green and tan armor along with a tattered dark brown cape appeared on the field. Suddenly a huge gust of wind knocked Shion’s monster to the ground.
“When Great Tornado is summoned to the field, it cuts the ATK points of my opponent’s monsters in half!” Jaden explained. “Great Tornado, attack the Sea Serpent Warrior of Darkness with Super Cell!”
The wind hero launched a huge tornado at the aquatic warrior. The force of the twister completely destroyed Shion’s monster and reduced her life points to 2200.
“I end my turn!” Jaden announced. Shion drew her next card with an expression of fury on her face.
“One way or another, I’m knocking you out of this tournament Jaden Yuki! First I remove Sea Serpent Warrior of Darkness from my Graveyard to summon Aqua Spirit!” Shion declared. A girl with light green skin, aqua green hair, and wearing a flowing white dress appeared on the field. “Now I sacrifice my Aqua Spirit to summon Levia-Dragon-Deadalus!”
The Aqua Spirit shattered, and in her place appeared a gigantic light blue sea serpent with four red eyes. Jaden was unsettled by the creature’s appearance, as it also reminded him of the strange dream he had the previous night.
“Now I evolve Levia-Dragon-Deadalus into Ocean Dragon Lord-Neo-Deadalus!” Shion announced. The sea serpent before Jaden suddenly grew an extra head. The second head was a lighter shade of blue and only had two eyes. Two red fins grew on the sides of the creature’s first head, along with a taller fin along the serpent’s back. “Now I activate Deadalus’ effect and sacrifice A Legendary Ocean to destroy all other cards on the field and every card in our hands!”
Deadalus roared and suddenly the underwater city around the two duelists crumbled and Jaden was hit with an enormous tidal wave. When the wave passed, Jaden and Shion were back next to the lake on Astraea Island, and the only thing left on the battlefield was Deadalus.
“Deadalus, attack Jaden directly!” Shion commanded. “Ocean’s Fury!”
Deadalus fired a torrent of water from both of his heads, which hit Jaden for about a minute. By the time it was over, Jaden’s life points were reduced to 1100.
“It’s over Jaden!” Shion declared with a confident smirk. “You have no cards in your hand, and no matter what you draw, it can’t defend against Deadalus! I’ll end my turn!”
“It’s not over until the last card is drawn!” Jaden declared as he drew his next card. Jaden looked at the card and smiled. “Since I have no cards on the field, I can Special Summon Elemental Hero Bubbleman!”
Appearing on the field was a short warrior in light blue armor equipped with a blue cape and light blue water tanks on his back.
“When Bubbleman is Special Summoned while I have no cards in my hand or on the field, I can draw two more cards!” Jaden announced.
“Like it matters.” Shion said confidently. “Nothing you draw will help.”
“Nothing except this, I activate Super Polymerization!” Jaden announced. “I discard my last card to fuse Bubbleman with Deadalus to summon Elemental Hero Absolute Zero!”
Shion’s confident expression was replaced with one of utter shock as both monsters were sucked into the massive fusion vortex that appeared in the sky. The vortex disappeared in a flash of light, and a new hero in ice armor and a white cape dropped onto the field. Shion knew that Absolute Zero’s ATK was 2500, more than enough to finish her off.
“Zero, attack Shion directly!” Jaden commanded. “Instant Freeze!”
Absolute Zero fired a massive blizzard at Shion, reducing her life points to zero. The moment the duel ended, the number on Jaden’s point counter changed from five to ten. At the same time, the number on Shion’s point counter changed from five to zero, and a red light began to flash on the device, indicating that she was out of the tournament.
“Well, that’s game.” Jaden said as he did his trademark victory pose. Though he was a little reluctant to do it.
“What’s going on here?” a voice suddenly asked. Jaden and Shion both turned to see who was speaking and saw that it was Chikaru.
“C-Chikaru!” a startled Shion exclaimed. “H-how much of…?”
“How much of that duel did I see? Practically all of it.” Chikaru replied before Shion could finish her question. “Shion, why were you trying to knock Jaden out of the tournament?”
“W-well I…” Shion stammered nervously. “Is Jaden your boyfriend?”
Chikaru looked at Shion as if she had just swallowed a live goldfish, as did Jaden.
“B-boyfriend?” Chikaru asked sounding a bit startled. “What on earth gave you that idea?”
“Well, you spent so much time together last time he was here, and hardly any with me.” Shion said looking a little ashamed. “Plus you’re so friendly with him.”
“Shion, the reason I spent so much time with Jaden last year was because I was helping him look for the Wicked God cards.” Shion responded. “He’s just a friend, nothing more. Besides, he’s not my type. No offence Jaden.”
“Um, none taken.” Jaden replied, sounding a little uncomfortable.
“C’mon, let’s go some place where you can lay down for a little while. You look a little on edge.” Chikaru suggested to Shion.
“That sounds good.” Shion agreed, and the two walked off. Both girls gave a little wave to Jaden as they walked off, and Jaden waved back.
“It’s a shame to see poor Shion knocked out of the tournament so soon.” A voice suddenly said. Jaden turned and saw that it was Tamao. “Still, it’s probably for the best. The poor girl has been under so much pressure lately. The last thing she needs is to worry about winning some tournament.”
“Hi Tamao.” Jaden greeted somewhat wearily. He found himself feeling a little uneasy in Tamao’s presence. Jaden then noticed that Tamao was also wearing a point counter. Not to mention the ring with the odd green stone. “Are you in the tournament too?”
“Why yes I am.” Tamao answered with a cheerful smile. “Don’t worry though, I’m not going to challenge you to a duel. It’s foolish to go after someone so powerful this early in the tournament. I’m sure we’ll face each other soon enough though.”
“Yeah.” Jaden replied, giving Tamao a look of distrust.
“Well, I should get going. Good luck in the tournament!” Tamao said. With that, Tamao walked off.
“I don’t trust Tamao.” Yubel said as she appeared next to Jaden with her arms crossed. “There’s something different about her, something dark.”
“You’re right.” Jaden agreed. “I don’t think that this tournament is going to be as fun as we thought.”