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Tacey shuts her eyes. "I..." she whispers before drawing her card. "Please, I hope this card helps..." Tacey slowly looks at the card. "...this won't help..." she groans before looking at the card in her hand. "I play Draw-waken. I'll send 'Awakened Psyche' to the bottom of my deck, so I can draw two other cards..."

Tacey draws her cards, letting out a worried sigh as she examines them. "Still not good...I play 'Moment of Rest'. By shuffling the three Awakened monsters in my Graveyard back into my deck, I can draw one more card..."

Suddenly Michael's voice enter's Tacey's mind again. "Tacey...stop drawing and asking...instead just believe in your deck, after all it's your soul made material...if you don't have faith in it then  you may as-well just believe in dumb luck."

Drawing again, she nervously looks at her card and cringes. "I place one monster face-down and one card face-down...and that ends my turn."

Pyler draws his next card but doesn't even look at it, instead just keeping his horrific stare on Destiny Board as it produces the Fourth letter. "Looks like you've got one turn left...heh, why not just give up?"

Tacey looks at the board. "I...I can still fight...I activate my trap: Prana Beam! Thanks to this, I can deal you half of my Queen's Attack power as damage, and since it's a monster that was special summoned from the Extra Deck, I gain just as much Life points!"

Pyler cringes in fear slightly. "Just don't make it hurt this time!"

Tacey's hand shakes as she points at Pyler. "I..."

Michael's voice returns to try and soothe Tacey. "Just relax...clear your mind...your soul is by your side, and so am I. Your monsters are also here to keep you company through thick and thin, they believe that you can get through this...and so do I." Awakened Queen turns to Tacey, giving her a confident nod.

Tacey takes a second to acknowledge her monster's movement, trying not to question what was happening, before taking a long breath, only to raise her hand skyward. "Awakened Queen, you know what to do..." she said before closing her hand. "Prana Beam!"

Placing one finger to her forehead, a silver-and-blue spark of energy forms from Awakened Queen's hand. A brisk movement of the arm forward, and the spark is launched towards Pyler, splitting into a circular formation around him before causing the sparks to erupt into a screen of light rays.

Pyler had his eyes closed as the spark launched, but opened them again in relief. "I-I'm okay...?" He patted himself all over for confirmation. "I-I didn't get hurt this time...!" 1000 LP "H-heh...so what if I lose life and you gain it?" Pyler scratched his nose. "Unless you can get pass by defenses next turn you lose...and yeah my turn's done."

Tacey closed her eyes. 'He's right... neither of my face-downs will help here... I'd need a miracle to get past that Dark Sanctuary...' she thought.

A cheerful voice is heard as Tacey draws her card. 'One miracle, coming up!'

Tacey's eyes shoot wide-open. 'Huh? Is that...' she wonders before turning the card over. 'Yumi?'

'You look a bit tense...mind if I step in, so you can relax a bit?' The girl's spirit said, even as the picture on the card seemed to wink at Tacey. 'I've got one whammy of a showstopper for ya!'

'I don't know what you have in mind...but...' Tacey tried to think-speak, only to be shushed by Yumi.

"Alright..." she said before taking a deep breath, raising her hands up. "Here's the clincher, folks! We're down to the last move, and this next move is going to knock your socks off!" Yumi spoke through Tacey's body. "But first off, let's give a warm welcome to my face-down monster... 'Awakened Guardian, Yori!'"

In the Duel Lounge, Will looks startled. "What the heck is with that 180? She looked worried sick for the last turn, and now she's acting like...like..."

The face-down creature flips over, revealing a chibi angel with an oversized hat, a tiny shield and sword, and dressed in silver, though his eyes are flashing a bright blue. 'About time you flipped me up! I was cramping up something fierce!' Yori's voice echoed in Tacey's mind, the small creature visibly fuming as it fluttered angrily on the field.

Suddenly Michael's voice once again came through. "Yumi...I know this is your first time but spirits should not take over a duelists' body..." Michael sounded frustrated.

Yumi's mental image mopes after hearing Michael's words. 'Ah come on! I wanted to give them a big show! Something that'll rock their world!'

Michael's voice sighed. "And you can do that on the field...so get out there before people realise Tacey is not doing this out of stress."

Yumi folded her arms. 'Fine...I just wanted her to calm down a bit.'

Michael's voice paused for a moment. "...you think losing control of her body would calm her down?"

Tacey's voice is heard between the two. 'Michael...she just wanted me to calm down for a few seconds...I'll be okay, alright?'

Michael once again sighed. "Alright, just summon yourself before you make Tacey look even more crazy by just standing there."

Yumi looks mildly embarrassed. "Okay... next stop, I summon an old favorite, 'Awakened Magician, Yumi!'" The creature that appears looks like a near-perfect copy of Yumi, though her rag-tag outfit is swapped for an ensemble befitting Silent Magician: a wide-rimmed hat, silver-and-blue robes (though the colors are clearly reversed), and pointed sleeves. The main difference is the lack of a magician's wand.

Michael's voice once again echoed, though it was very faint for some reason. "...she's so pretty...almost identic-" His voice faded out before he could finish.

Tacey took a moment to catch her breath before looking around. "This one's for all my friends. Everyone who stood up for me, even when I lost all confidence..." Placing her hands to her chest in an X, she looked at her monsters. "It's time to awaken a whole new level of dueling! Thanks to Yumi's special ability, I can Fusion Summon a monster from my Extra deck as long as I use the Awakened monsters on my field..."

Pyler took a step back. "F-Fusion Summon!?"

Tacey spreads her arms out. "With the wisdom of an angel, the grace of a queen, and the heart of a pure magician...I...'Sequence Fusion'! From Chosen to Ascent, awaken and grow beyond...Awakened Goddess!"

As the fusion vortex swallows the three monsters, a radiant form of energy appears on the field, which splits into ribbons that solidify. Six wings spread from the back of a radiantly-dressed woman, a mask covering her face as a cascade of glittering hair flows down. The being spreads her arms in a rainbow, a triad of swords floating from each hand. Even with the light dimming down, the creature is so bright that it stands out even in 'Dark Sanctuary's gloom. 2000 Attack.

Olivia almost falls off her seat at the Juice Bar. "What in the...S-Sequence...Fusion? How did...what the heck?"

Jun smirks. "Guess she really is Silver's student..."

Tacey looked at Pyler for a moment. "Let me be honest with you: as much as you scared the lights out of me, you really pushed me to my limit...and I'm going to thank you by showing you what my Goddess can do, so get ready!"

Pyler tries to regain his composure. "H-heh, no matter what crazy effect it has there's no way you can get past my perfect defense!"

"Effect?" Tacey says before shaking her head. "Not singular. Plural. My Goddess gains new effects for each Fusion monster I used beyond the first. Her first effect: she gains 300 Attack and Defense points for each Fusion Material Monster I used to call her out... and the best part? If I use a Sequence Monster, it counts for the number of monsters I used to Sequence Summon it! So, with Yumi, Yori and my Queen - which counts as three - that makes a total of five!" Five of the Goddess' swords begin to glow. 3500 Attack.

Will stares at his screen, almost transfixed. "Thirty-five hundred...damn...if that's her first effect, then what's next?"

Pyler isn't impressed. "Oh no, what huge attack, whatever will my Marshmallon do?" He asks sarcastically.

Tacey smirks, feeling the nervousness break off. "Next comes her second ability: by banishing an 'Awakened' monster in my Graveyard when she attacks a defense position monster, she deals piercing damage. Impressed now?"

Pyler gulps. "Yeah well, with my Dark sanctuary you still only have a fifty-fifty chance of winning the duel...you willing to take that chance?"

Tacey raises a finger. "Are you sure about that? I did say my Awakened monster had a lot of effects. And here's another: since the number of Fusion Materials I used to bring her out is four and over, she is unaffected by all of your card effects for the rest of the turn. That means, your Dark Sanctuary is about as scary as a bad dream now...and it's time I turn the night lights on."

Awakened Goddess' arms outstretch as the five glowing blades spin around before stopping her, forming a star-shaped formation. "Before I attack, I have another monster who wants to show off. Yori's special ability kicks in! Whenever I use him as a Fusion Material to summon an Awakened monster, I can draw one card, and if it's a monster, I can draw one more!"

Tacey draws the card, only to feel as though her arm was being compressed by a lead cast. "Draw...I reveal...'Awakened Arcanist...so I can draw another..." she slowly draws her next card and looks at it. "I was going to finish this with a bang...but not today...I banish 'Awakened Guardian, Yori' to activate my Goddess' effect...then have her attack!'

Pyler's arms drop to both sides in defeat. "...no fair..." Shielding himself from the blast of Awakened Godess' attack, but still gets blasted off his feet. 0LP.

Tacey lets out a heavy sigh, feeling like gravity was forcing her down, her legs unable to hold her up.

"This is history in the making, folks!" the announcer let out. "A duelist who was one foot out the door just...hold on a second...it looks like she's hurt or something!"

Michael runs out onto the stage and helps Tacey stand up. "How you holding up...?" He asks.

Tacey's only answer is her collapsing into his arms. "...barely..." she whispered.

Will gets up from his chair. "Oh crap..." he mutters to himself before running out the door.

Michael carries Tacey into the locker room before trying to sit her up-right on one of the benches. "Just try and stay concious..." He says before reaching into his bag and pulling out what looks like an energy drink.

Olivia looks at the screen for a moment as the image shows Michael carrying her out of the Duel Arena. "She must've...I hope she's alright..." she says before grabbing her drink and taking a mad dash towards the locker room.

Tacey makes a weak smile. "At least...I won..."

Jun steps away from the juice bar. "So Paige, you staying here and ignoring your duties as usual? Because if so you're gonna need to find your own way back to Chess City." Jun says playfully.

"Ah, Jun! It was just getting to the good part!" Paige whined as she took a second to look at the screen, a mix of envy and jealousy in her tone. "Just...who was that girl that Michael caught?...Oh, don't me that's his girlfriend or something! If it is, then I just found a new rival! But...I really wish it was me down there, getting picked up by his strong arms!"

Jun grew a look of shock. "...wow...I thought you just liked him as a duelist..."

Paige froze in shock before rushing over to Jun. "You wouldn't know how a girl's heart works!"

Jun made a wry smile. "And hopefully I never will." Jun's expression turned solemn. "...so you staying here?"

Paige looks pumped for a moment. "I don't want to miss the fun..." she says before thinking it over. "...but...I don't have any place to stay here..." Realizing the implications, she slumps down. "...and I can't just sleep on the street...aww..."

Jun began to walk off, the playful tone in his voice returning. "I couuuld help you out there but, I don't know...I mean I'm sure a cool duelist like 'Glacier' would be a much cooler guy to hang with than me."

Paige shakes her head as she walks off in Jun's direction. "Ah man...you can be SO cruel sometimes..."


Back in the locker room, Tacey finishes downing the fourth can Michael gave her.

Michael is slumped back against one of the lockers. "...feeling better?"

Tacey takes a moment to breathe. "Yeah...I thought I was gonna fall on my face back there..."

Michael rolled his eyes. "Well considering you sequence summoned, summoned your main spirit monster AND fusion summoned with both...I'm surprised you finished the duel...by the way if you want to talk to...Yumi, you can at anytime through the card. However if you want other spirit duelists to hear her you need to summon her."

Tacey wasn't sure how to react. "I don't know how it happened...I mean...it feels kinda surreal."

"Mind if I answer that?" came Yumi's voice from Tacey's disk. "Just pull me out of the Graveyard and slap me on the disk so we can talk."

Tacey pulled out the card and slid it onto her disk. Moments later, Yumi's holographic form appeared. "Well, not the way I wanted the duel to go down, but you really rocked it, Tace!" Yumi says before looking at herself. "Huh...feels kinda weird to wear those clothes again...but the colors don't look right."

"It's because you've taken on a new form, just like Knospe did when he became Dospe..." Michael answered, but now for some reason had his back to Yumi and Tacey.

"Anyways... You know what I think?" Yumi said. "Since I spent so much time with Tacey...I mean, it's been what...since she was nine or something? Anyways, we've been so close since her first treatment at the hospital that I'm kinda sure I rubbed off on her..."

"Rubbed off on her?" Michael asked.

"I'm sure you figured by this get-up that I was a different Duel Spirit, right?" Yumi continued, even as she sat next to Tacey. "I was Silent Magician...with the emphasis on 'Silent'. When we first met, I couldn't talk to her at all. She taught me sign-language, and when that didn't work...we linked. Just enough so I could learn how to speak. Back then, there was only a few people that could see me: Tacey, her legal guardian, and-"

"Tacey!" Will's voice resonated loudly as the young man dashed into the room, followed by Olivia. "Good grief, you scared the...the..." he stopped himself as he saw Yumi.

Yumi slowly raised her arm, waving with an embarrassed smile. "Uh...hey Will!"

Michael walked over to Will. "What's wrong? You knew that Yumi was a duel spirit."

Will sat down, not sure how to react. "Y-yeah... it's just..." he tries to say, having trouble finding the proper words as he looks at Yumi, then at Michael. "Michael...what were you three talking about?"

Michael looked over at Yumi for a second, but then immediately turned away with a sad expression. "Past events...Tacey once you're back on your feet call me, we need to talk about that second mark."

"Sounds to me like we all gotta talk." Will said as he looked at Michael, then glared at Tacey seriously.

Michael turned his head slightly in Will's direction. "No Will, you can't get involved with spirits...you've already gotten too far in already."

Olivia took a moment to look at the four, growing ever more confused. "Someone clue me in, here! What is going on?!?"

Michael's voice echoed in Tacey's head. "You want to find out how to do this right? There's also a second power the new mark gave you...where you can dive into your own mind."

Tacey nodded, only for Will to notice and get up, visibly upset and angry. "Fine...if you can't trust me enough to let me in on it, then I'm out! I'm sick of being the odd man out..."

Tacey looked hesitantly towards Michael before noticing Will walk out. "Huh? Hey, Will! Hold on!" she said, walking out of the locker room, still too sore to run.

Yumi let out a sigh as she was pulled away. "Well, it's been real! Talk to ya later, I hope!" she hurriedly said, forced to float behind Tacey as she left.

Olivia watched them leave, then looked at Michael. "What just happened? I mean...aside from the whole 'walking-out-of-the-locker-room' part..."

Michael was silent for a moment, then spoke up quickly as if he oonly just realised Olivia was talking to him. "Oh, uh...well in short; that magician girl...is Tacey's duel spirit and for a while Tacey and Will believed she was a real person."

Olivia sat down in front of Michael. "That's...kinda weird. But Michael, that...that thing she did. Sequence Fusion? Did you...did you even know that was possible?"

Michael took another moment before sitting down next to Olivia. "Well yeah anything's possible, I mean there's synchro fusion...wouldn't be surprised if a spirit duelist had...synchro-exceed-fusion or...something..." Michael kept trailing off, something obviously on his mind.

Olivia tilted her head. "Um...are you okay? You look...out of it."

Michael involuntary leaned closer to Olivia. "...when I first met Yumi, I felt wierd...almost nostalgic, it was only when I found out she was a duel spirit that I realised...she reminds me a lot of someone..."

Olivia blushes mildly. "Uhmm...someone like who?"

Michael's head tilted so that it was rather close to Olivia's. "...someone close...someone...I lost some time ago..."

Olivia tilted her own to balance Michael's head, though she could not find the words to express herself. Her own feelings were...conflicted. "I...um...if there's...any way I can help..."

Michael gently wrapped his arms around Olivia, though there were no tears falling down his usual sour face...Olivia could tell Michael was in pain.

Olivia tried her best to wrap her arms around him. "You can tell me. I...I promise no one else will know."

Michael was again silent. "...I can't...talking about it will only hurt...can...we just stay like this for a while?"

A faint blush appears on Olivia's face. "Y-yeah...as long as you like..."

Tacey tried her best to follow Will, even though her legs still felt heavy. "Will, stop! This is crazy!"

Will roughly turns around. "No! What's crazy is you risking your life when I'm not even allowed to watch your back! You almost died back there!"

Yumi folds her arms. "Hey! I was taking good care of her..."

Will clenched a fist, only to extend a finger and point it at Yumi. "Like hell you were! How do you expect me to trust you with the whole thing with that...'Inanis' freakshow?" he shouts before taking a step away. "You think I want to lose someone else...again?"

Tacey looked worried. "What do you-"

"Tace...do you even remember what happened after the 'Cards for Cancer' tournament? When they had to put you on a wheelchair and I had to push you to surgery?" Will said, no longer with anger but with deep-seated worry.

Tacey hesitated for a long moment. "Will, I don't get-"

"Or when you volunteered to test that virtual duel world? And when you tried again, even after the first time around, you..." Will said before walking up to Tacey. "You have to stop taking all those risks. I want to help, sure, but I can't... and that's making me sick! You're like my little sister, but you just can't seem to stay away from Duel Worlds or Duel Spirits... I just wish I could do something, y'know?"

Tacey looked even more confused. "Will, I...how come you remember those things, but I don't?"
The duel between Tacey and Pyler comes to a conclusion!
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January 20
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