At Michael's Neptune apartment, consisting of 5 rooms; a lounge, bedroom, kitchen, closet and study. Michael has brought Olivia, Tacey and Will here to explain things. Himself and Olivia on one couch with Tacey and Will sat opposite, seperated by a coffee table.
Michael leans back and kicks his feet onto the table before looking over to Olivia, who's still covering herself in her giant red cape. "...would you kindly take that off Miss Heart?"
Olivia looks back at her cape. "Why? What's wrong with it? Oh, don't tell me Battletaur tore it up...!"
Michael sighed. "No it's just a bit rude to wear it indoors...don't you think?"
Will looks at Olivia with an uneasy expression. "Is she always like that?"
Michael looked back at Will. "Not wanting to remove her cape? No, in fact the cape and mask are rather new..."
Olivia looks down for a moment. "...do you think I can use a room to change?"
Michael raised an eyebrow. "...you ARE wearing something underneath that right...?"
Olivia nervously gets up. "O-of course I am...I just don't want to give off the wrong impression."
Michael grew a look of worry. "What do you mean...?"
Olivia starts to blush heavily. "I just...you know what? Forget it!" she lets out before leaving the room, feeling overly embarrassed.
Michael took out his flask, shaking his head before swigging a mouthfull. "Guess she isn't wearing much under it..."
Will looks at Michael, having trouble believing what he just heard. "What the...sheesh, what's the deal with her?"
Michael put his flask away. "I'm as stumped as you are. She was perfectly fine when I last saw her three years ago."
Tacey tilts her head. "Three years ago?"
Michael rolled his eyes. "Yes, three years ago...look I told you guys I'd tell you the whole thing, that's why I brought you up here. I don't like talking about people when they're not here so let's wait for her to come back, alright?"
Will and Tacey nodded, waiting several minutes before Olivia arrived, dressed in a purple t-shirt, white jeans and wearing a pair of black and white striped loafers. "Sorry for the wait." she said before walking back to the group, a heavy amount of foundation covering her marks.
A sweatdrop went down Michael's head as Olivia sat down. "Those clothes..."
Tacey doesn't know how to react. "Umm...did you just...?"
Will gets up and examines the outfit. "Those are his clothes...right?"
Olivia looks utterly embarassed, her head drooping. "Y-yeah..."
Michael sighed. "Gonna have to get you some of your own clothing later...in any case, Olivia. Do you want to tell them what happened before we met? You don't have to if you don't want to." Michael spoke sternly.
Olivia sighed. "I guess..." she says, not looking up. "Ever since I was tiny, I could see Duel Spirits. You think people would understand...but they treated me like a freak show. It got even worse when my Marks appeared."
Will looks at Olivia then at Michael. "Her what?"
"Save your questions for the end..." Michael replied as if he were a tour guide. "But allow to explain this much for now, Olivia is what's known as a 'gifted'. Unlike me or Tacey, her spirit energy kept increasing over time without any direct influence, instead of it being awoken like it was for Tacey."
Olivia puts her hands to her forehead. "They pushed me around, so I made my deck big so they'd stop it. But...that's when my monsters turned bad..."
Michael closed his eyes. "The other thing is that those who awaken get their spirit deck immediately, at least 40..." Michael opened his eyes again. "With 'gifted' such as Olivia...it's...hard to explain...mostly because even they don't remember how they got their spirit cards."
Olivia closes her eyes. "If Michael hadn't stopped them, and showed me how to control them a little, things would have gotten even uglier."
Will cringes at the thought. "That was already ugly enough...jeez, that maniac bull almost cut me in half!"
Michael looked over at Will. "When I first met Olivia, her monster was cutting a house in half..." He stated, as if to prove something. Michael looked up. "It wasn't the first time I had to teach another spirit user how to use their powers...but I had never met another spirit duelist who could flat out destroy a house with one monster. So of course I stepped in like I did earleir today, controlling the spirit energy by connecting it to my own and calming her." Michael looked back at Olivia. "To make sure she could fully control herself and her monsters, I spent a good month teaching her. I taught her dueling techniques, how spirit energy works, how to make sure her monster's attacks would be real...and other things." Michael sighed before giving Olivia a stern look. "One of those other things being, not to cover up her marks."
Olivia clenched her fists, tears dampening her jeans. "I wish I never had those...I wish people left me alone!"
Tacey looks at Olivia. "Believe me, I know how that feels."
Olivia shakes her head. "No, you don't! You don't have any Mark on you!"
Michael licked his forefinger and middle finger. "Speaking of..." Without warning Michael began to rub away the foundation on Olivia's face where her marks are.
Olivia tries to keep Michael's hands away, only to reveal a series of star-shaped marks on her skin, going from her left cheek to her right, and over the ridge of her nose.
Michael tried to calm Olivia down by slowly stroking her right cheek. "I told you before...the marks are a part of who you are...a mirror of your soul...and honestly, they make you look beautiful."
Olivia shakes her head. "They made everyone think I was a freak!" she lets out, getting on her feet.
Michael pulls her back, making her sit down. "...as I said, a mirror of the soul." HE spoke, sadness echoing in his voice.
Tacey looks at Michael. "I don't understand...why do you two have that?"
Michael folded his arms. "Marks of Faith, just as mysterious as the power of spirit itself, they manifest more as you gain more spirit potential...think of it like leveling up in a video game, gaining 'SP' Spirit points, and for the sake of explanation, a new mark appears every hundred SP or so...but, only three will appear, no spirit user has ever gotten more than three marks."
Olivia tries to cover her face, as Will looks at her, then at Michael. "Yeah, but normally, aren't players supposed to start at level 1 in games? How do you know you've got that kind of...um...whatever that is?"
Michael places a card on his duel disk. "Dospe, bonk him on the nose." Guardian of Dreams Dospe appeared, and on command, floated over to Will and lightly 'bonked' him on the nose.
"Ow! What was that about?" Will asked, rubbing his nose.
Michael sighed. "You asked..."
"Ugh..." Will rubbed his nose. "Great, so you can actually hurt people with cards."
Dospe began dancing on the table as Michael continued. "At first you don't have to concentrate much to make sure the cards don't physcially affect anything...but, as you continue to use cards, your spirit level will rise." Michael then tugged at one of the highlights in his hair. "And more marks will appear, like milestones." Michael looked over at Tacey. "Your first mark hasn't appeared yet...since it hasn't appeared on it's own..." Michael got up. "We'll have to force it out.."
"Force it out?" Tacey looks startled. "How?"
Dospe floated over to Tacey and began punching the air.
Tacey examines Dospe. "What's he doing?"
Michael raised his duel disk. "Without your first mark you won't be able to understand any duel monster language...so he's trying his best at body language." Dospe floated over to Michael's shoulder. "He was trying to say; 'by dueling'."
Tacey looks down to her deck. "A duel? Now...?"
Michael narrowed his eyes. "If you don't get it out of the way now, it might come at the worst possible point, in an actual duel, and I might not be there to help you control your energy if it gets out of control. So yes, now."
Tacey lets out a sigh. "Then I guess I don't have a choice...who should I face?"
Michael sighed in frustration. "Gee, who here can take your attacks full on?"
Tacey gets up. "Alright, then." she said, pulling her deck out of her pocket - each card now wrapped in a silvery-white card protector.
Michael started walking towards the door. "Are you two gonna watch?" He asked Will and Olivia.
Olivia slowly gets up, not hiding her smeared make-up. "Y-yeah."
Will gets up. "Sure. Haven't seen Tacey duel in too long."
A few minutes later, in the Neptune Tower parking lot, Michael and Tacey face opposite each-other with duel disk raised. Olivia and Will stand far to the side.
Tacey activates her deck. "I wanted this deck to be used in my first official duel for my return to the competition, but I guess I'll have to make due."
Michael took Dospe off his disk. "Remember, this won't be an actual duel...if things go as they usually do for spirit dueling, you might lose conciousness shortly after your first mark appears...if not then definitely your first attack with it revealed. Got it?"
Tacey nods nervously. "Got it..."
Michael draws his opening hand. "I'll set one monster and two cards, ending my turn."
Tacey draws her opening hand. "My turn...and I'll start by summoning 'Awakened Rookie' in attack mode!" The creature that appears is a young girl with silver hair, dressed in desert clothes, and holding a dagger. 600 Attack.
Tacey looks at her hand. "Next, I play the spell 'Back-Row Summon'! Since I have 'Awakened Rookie' in my field, I can reveal one monster from my hand whose level is different from it, and special summon it this turn! So, I'm bringing out 'Awakened Paladin' in attack mode!" The monster that appears is a man wearing a silver armor, holding an immense lance and a large, round shield. 2000 Attack. Tacey looks at Michael's field. "Here goes...Awakened Paladin, attack Michael's monster!"
The Palladin charges forth, Michael's monster flips up, revealing a golem that was squatting but the same height and almost twice the width of the Palladin, the golem was wearing the usual guardian mask. 2200 Defense. "You attacked Guardian of the Valley: Rogot!" Rogot stays perfectly still as the Palladin's sword breaks upon hitting the strange creature. 3800 LP
Tacey lets out a sigh. "I place one card face-down and end my turn."
Will looks at the duel. "Rough start. That big rock's definitely in the way."
Olivia shrugs. "She's not doing that great. If Michael was really going all out, she'd be in a lot more trouble."
Michael draws his fourth card. "I summon Guardian of the Temple: Vauloka!" 1800 Attack, a strange warrior with long blond hair flowing out the back, clad in white plate aromour with strange golden markings all over it, branding a giant silver sword and of course, the warrior's face hidden by the guardian mask. The warrior grunts as it enters the field, revealing it's gender to be female. "Next I play a face-down magic card; Tiralicia's Trident! And equip it to Vauloka!" 2800 Attack. A giant Trident almost as big as the warrior's sword was placed in her hands, looking to be made of Sapphire. "You'll find out who Tiralicia is another time, for now, battle-phase. Vauloka attack her Palladin!"
Tacey shakes her head. "Not this time! I activate my trap 'Awakened Storm'! Since I have two 'Awakened' monsters on my side of the field, I can destroy two spells or traps on your side of the field, so I'm getting rid of your Trident, and your other face-down!"
Suddenly Valouka's armor shined before she attracted the storm's lightning like an outlet, 'awakened storm' is then destroyed. "Sorry, Valouka's effect, my trap and spell cards can't be destroyed whilst she's face up on the field."
Tacey looks shocked as her monster ends up skewered. 3000 LP
Michael looks over to see Olivia jumping up and down with excitement. "No Olivia, I'm not gonna activate her second effect. I end my turn here."
Tacey looks at her field, then at her hand. "Gotta keep it together...I draw!"
Will seems confused. "What did he mean by second effect?"
Olivia locks onto Michael. "Vauloka's big effect is that it can attack another again if it destroyed another monster. If he used it, he would've swept the duel! Come on, Mikey! Show her the ropes!"
Michael had a sweatdrop go down his face. "P-Please don't call me Mikey..."
Tacey examines her cards. "This will have to do. I play the spell card 'True Awakening'! This allows me to bring back 'Awakened Paladin' to my field, and increase his level by 1, and then I equip the spell to my Paladin!" As the Paladin appears, a golden crest - shaped like a half-opened eye - appears on his shield. "Next, I summon the Tuner monster, 'Awakened Pixie' in attack mode!" The creature that appears is a miniscule fairy, dressed in pint-sized armor. 0 Attack. "Thanks to Pixie's special ability, when I summon her, I can choose a number between 1 and 8, and its level becomes that number." Tacey explains. "So, I choose level 5!"
Will looks at the field. "Huh...so she's going for an Exceed Summon..."
"Now, I tune my level 2 'Awakened Rookie' with my level 5 'Awakened Pixie' to synchro summon...Awakened Dragon!" The creature that appears is a silver-scaled dragon, covered head-to-toe in different runes and crests. 2400 Attack. Suddenly a strange light appeared on the back of Tacey's right hand. "Thanks to my Rookie's special effect, Awakened Dragon...huh?" Tacey tries to say before noticing the light from her hand. "What now?"
Will looks startled. "Is that-?"
Michael keeps his arms folded. "Her first Mark of Faith."
Olivia pouts. "It's on her hands...lucky. At least she can cover it easy."
Michael gives Olivia a glare. "You should never cover them up..."
Tacey examines her hand, seeing the same crest that was on 'True Awakening' appear on the back of her hand. "Okay...like I was saying, with Rookie's effect, since it was used to bring out my Dragon from the Extra Deck, she gives it 600 extra Attack and Defense. So...Awakened Dragon, attack Vauloka!" 3000 Attack
Michael raised one arm. "Sorry but can't let your first spirit attack be 3000, trap activate: Kyumei's Howl!" Suddenly a hologram-like image of Kyumei apeared and howled at the huge dragon, halting it's attack. "When a 'guardian' monster I control is targeted for an attack, that attack is negated, and the attacking monster must target another guardian monster I control, the attacking monster also loses 800 attack." 2200.
Will folds his arms. "He's not giving her one minute of reprieve..."
Michael looks over at Will. "I suppose you'd like to take that 3000 Attack dragon breath?"
Tacey looks at the field. "No choice...looks like Awakened Dragon has to attack Rogot, but the attack will end up in a tie..." Awakened Dragon breathes a strange fire upon Rogot, but with the hologram of Kyumei standing in the way, Rogot can stand the heat. Tacey looks at the last card in her hand. "I place one card face-down and end my turn."
Michael draws his foruth card. "Like your rookie's effect, Kyumei's howl's effect doesn't go away at the end of the turn." 2200 Attack. "Let's hope that face-down card is worth it, Vauloka, take down her dragon." On command the guardian charges forth at the giant dragon.
"I activate 'Stand Strong'!" Tacey lets out. "Thanks to this, I can switch my Paladin to defense mode, and increase my Dragon's attack by half of my Paladin's defense points!" 2200 + 600 = 2800 Attack
Will looks at the dragon with a strong, confident smile. "Yeah! That's how you push through!"
Olivia lets out a sigh. "You do realize they both have the same attack power? They'll just kill each other."
Michael keeps his eyes on Tacey. "But will she be able to handle it...?"
As Vauloka slowly braves through the dragon's fire she raises her trident, letting out a battle cry before charging at the creature and throwing the Trident straight at it's jaw before collapsing in exhaustion, the dragon also falls at the strike of the trident piercing through it's hide.
Tacey braces herself as both monsters clash, the backlash of the combat pushing her back, causing her vision to blur. "Ugh...I end..." she struggles to say before dropping to her knees.
Michael presses a button on his duel disk, ending the duel. "You end your turn? Heh, it was my turn still..." He comments as he walks over to Tacey.
Will walks over to Tacey, soon followed by Olivia. "Whoa...Tace, you okay?"
Michael shook his head. "Not the best idea to summon a huge monster like that when you're testing out your spirit energy for the first time."
"Feeling...dizzy..." Tacey mutters before dropping against Will, who tried his best to keep her from falling on her face.
Olivia looks on. "Not impressive. Most of my monsters could take that dragon out easy-peezy!"
Michael starts taking the cards from his disk and putting them back into his deck. "Will, go get her an energy drink or something with a lot of sugar and caffeine in it."
Will lies Tacey down on the ground. "Got it. One energy drink and a chocolate bar, coming up!" he says before rushing to his backpack.
Olivia looks at Tacey. "One thing I don't get...if her monsters are 'Awakened', then why is her mark showing an eye that's only half-open?"
"Stay with her until she fully wakes up, then take her to a cafe or somewhere she can sit down." Michael turned towards Olivia, giving her a stare so icy she felt her entire body go numb from it. "Now...you..." He began.
Olivia starts to panic. "Uh oh..."
Michael slowly walked over, his cold and demanding presence grew as he got closer to Olivia. "First, we're getting you some new clothes...and then, you and I are going to have a small chat..."
Olivia's head drooped. 'I'm in for a major ear-pull' she thinks before letting out a long sigh.
Meanwhile, at one of the Jupiter villas, shadowy figures talk, one of them being Crystal, the girl who recognized Michael as 'Glacier' before.
Crystal holds her plush of Brionac close. "...so what is it this time?" She asks. "I hate it when we get dragged together like this..."
Another shadowy figure - a burly man dressed in camo pants and a half-torn shirt - walks up, holding a 'Machina Fortress' mini-figurine in hand. "Looks like someone just earned her first Marks."
Another man in the corner grits his teeth at the comment. "Marks...? Don't go on about those stupid 'spirit duelists' again..."
Samuel walks over, dressed black on black, saved for a few red diagonal stripes on his shirt. Around him are a trio of Necrofaces. "Oh, they aren't so stupid...and believe me, she'll make it personal soon enough."
The man in the corner grunts. "By stupid...I meant the idea, he's been talking about them all freaking month...duelists that can make their attacks real?" The man spits at the floor. "What a load..."
A woman, who in the darkness the only thing that can be made out is long blonde hair and what looks like a scarf giggle to herself. "Well what about that kid from the Duel Academy? We all saw on the news he flew on his actual dragon...what lovely prey he'd make..."
The man turns to the woman. "Yeah on TV...do I even NEED to finish that sentence?"
The last person shows up, dressed in a deep-green tunic, her hair held in a half-do of dark-brown hair. "Can you two just pipe down? This is a meeting, not a bar fight!"
Crystal looks over at Samuel. "...WHY were we called here...?"
Samuel has a wide grin on his face. "What if I told you that that guy with the dragon won't be the only one who'll be flying monsters around?"
The man in the corner stepped forward, revealing a large scar on one eye. "...so the disks finally arrived eh...?"
"That's cool." the burly guy said, revealing his pudgy face and his lazily-kept red hair. "Was wondering when I'd get to dish out some real damage with my Machina mechs."
"Pietro, those decks aren't toys!" the tunic-wearing woman said before grabbing her glasses and putting them on. "And someone as lazy as you shouldn't be throwing your weight around..."
The scarred man looks at the two. "You guys seriously still think these disks can make your cards real...?"
Samuel grabs a card from his deck and slaps it on. "Mad Doll of Demise...smash that table in half!"
An eerie, boy-sized wooden puppet appears, a macabre look on its face, as it lifts a large axe over its head and slams it down against the table that separates the group, smashing it into pieces.
"Need another demonstration?" Samuel asks with a mocking tone.
The blonde woman licks her lips. "My...now that's very interesting..."
Pietro looks at the split table. "So cool...bet you never thought of that before, huh Judy?"
The tunic-wearing girl bites her lower lip. "Oh, shut your fat mouth!"
Crystal pets her Brionac. "...I could actually freeze Glacier...and keep him forever..."
Samuel looks over to Crystal. "Yeah...bet you could. How about you give him a nice, cold show of power?"
The scarred man shakes his head. "If you ask me, it's not a real duel if you can actually harm them...I mean with your opponent fatigued, scarred, maybe even drawing blood...just ain't the usual playing field..."
The Blonde haired woman chuckles with delight. "Drawing blood..." She licks her lips. "Then it WOULD be like a real hunt..."
Samuel shrugs. "Your call. I've got better things to do then listen to you whine. Got places to go, people to torment..."
Pietro looks impatient. "Just hand me one of those disks so I can bring on the boom!"
Crystal gets up. "What does HE want in return...?"
The scarred man looks toward Crystal. "...she's right, I doubt he's just gonna give us these for free. What's the catch?"
Samuel rubs his hands. "We test them, do some damage, kill some Spirits. Nothing too difficult, really."
The blonde woman steps forward. "So he just wants a test run of these weapons is that it?" She asks with delight. "Mmmm, then I have the perfect prey in mind..."
Judy looks hesitant, while Pietro doesn't seem to care about the price. "As long as I can watch the fireworks, I'm in!" he says, while the former stays silent.
The scarred man looks toward Judy. "...you're not gonna jump on the bandwagon too?"
Judy lets out a sigh. "Fine, I'll accept...but I'll only use it on duelists who are worth my time."
Samuel pulls out a sheet of paper, written red on black. "Just sign at the X..." He says, looking at Mad Doll of Demise with the same eerie grin as the duel monster.