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Dan seems to hesitate. Looking at the still-out Tacey being held by Yumi, then at Michael, he folded his arms. "Why are you interested in knowing who put me in here?"

Michael raised an eyebrow as Dospe floated over to him. "Why are you interested in why I'm interested?" He asked as he walked over. "You're just a bit of energy used as an obstacle for a forbidden memory or two right?"

Dan looks back at the door. "More like a forbidden lifetime. There are reasons why this Door is a vault...and you saw one during your duel."

Michael looked back at Tacey, as if knowing what Dan was talking about. "...okay that's half my question answered so let's get back to another full one; what are you and what put you here?"

Dan lets out a sigh. "I'm part of Tacey's memory, but also a parcel of the real Dan Hikari's self. As I said before, during a duel with Tacey's legal guardian, I was defeated. My...Dan's punishment was rather much so that his own psyche was left fractured. When the Duel Monster that Tacey called Tierra tried to take her over as a means to protect itself..." Dan frowns in Yumi's direction. "...there was a three-way duel between what remained of Dan, the Duel Spirit and Tacey's guardian. During the duel, there was a malfunction with the latter's Duel Disk and her own mind became... contaminated. It took everything to liberate her mind... but then someone appeared and challenged Tacey. A person with the power to steal the life force of Duel Spirits..." Dan looks back at the Door. "The one who holds the four cards that unlock this Vault."

Michael walked over to the door, examining the four card shaped holes. "So you're part of Dan's soul that felt responsible for what happened and is trying to guard this door because you feel it's better she doesn't find out what's behind it?"

Dan raises a hand to scratch his head. "Pretty much. Dan was a member of the Darkness, but a sliver of his being did see Tacey as a possible friend. Though...I am mostly doing this because her legal guardian...placed me here."

Michael looked back at Dan for a second, proccessing his words. "Right..." Michael began to look through his deck. "You have any idea what's in this vault?"

Dan shakes his head. "No. I'm guessing it has to do with moments where Dan was not present, or not capable of properly seeing what happened."

Michael took two cards from his deck. "Well I'll find out soon enough, come Vauloka!" Michael summoned the armoured knight-like guardian in front of the door. "Valouka, I need you to see if this door has any weak spots of any kind." Valouka responded in loud screams as if swinging her sword before leaping over and feeling all around the vault door, suddenly she is assaulted by silver sparks, but quickly leaps back to avoid them. Valouka however still tries to examine the door from a distance, placing her head in her hands.

Michael turned to Dan with a frustrated look. "How are you meant to put in the four cards if the damn thing won't let you close...?"

Dan shakes his head. "It does not allow Duel Spirits close. The only possibility for the cards to be placed there would be if Tacey actually had them." he says, making a wry smile. "Clever, honestly. A vault meant to keep things locked away, and the only key is if Tacey is unlucky enough to find the four cards to open it."

Michael looks at the other card he pulled out. "...just who was her guardian anyway?"

Dan shrugs. "All Dan knows of her is that she organized the 'Cards for Cancer' tournament. She never liked giving out her real name, and simply called herself 'Miss K'."

Michael sighed. "Great, I'll have to research after this..." Valouka marches back over to Michael before speaking again in shouts. "Thanks Valouka." He then returned Valouka to his deck, but kept the other card out. "Okay, it may only be for a few seconds, but I am not leaving until I get a peak of what's behind that door."

Dan cocks an eyebrow. "And how do you expect to get past without the key?"

Michael looked back at Dan. "Heh, a spirit duelist made this door...meaning a spirit duelist can get in depending on who made it...time to attack directly, Sincet, Haiko and Spoka! Sequence summon for Guardian of the Volcano: Otarum!" The huge Golem appears, surrounded in two energy fields. "Nothing stops a direct attack from we're going to ignore the door completely!" Michael stated, jumping onto the Golem's back as the highlights in his hair glowed.

Dan looks irritated. "Just...urgh...what in all Hells?"

Otarum charges at the door, shrugging off the silver sparks before leaping at the upper area. "We can only be in there for a really short time so you make sure to kee pan eye out too Otarum." Michael requested, Otarum responding in a low rumbling noise.

The two go through the door as if it were water, even leaving behind a ripple as they exit through the other side, landing on what appears to be solid ground, Michael jumps off Otarum. "Nice job what have" Michael notices what looks like the inside of a science lab - everything either stainless steel or white. In the room are a series of very large tubes that are covered by curtains, as well as hospital beds, surgery tools and, surprisingly, Duel Disks.

Michael runs over to the tubes covered by curtains. "No time to be cautious or scared of what might be hiding around here-" Michael pulls back one of the curtains.

Inside the tube is a human child, with golden hair. Her eyes are closed shut, but from the shape of her face, this isn't Tacey. What's stranger is that her skin is chalk white.

Michael raised an eyebrow. "What in the...?"

The child's eyes quickly flicker open, revealing emerald irises that quickly turn blood-red.

Michael put his hands in his pockets. "You've got to be kidding me..."

The child's eyes close, just as Otarum starts to groan.

Michael looks back at Otarum. "Otarum what's wrong?"

Otarum groaned again, causing Michael to run back. "Okay let's get out of here." Otarum leaped back through the door, landing outside.

Outside, Yumi is helping Tacey to her feet, though the girl - while conscious - is still reeling. Michael slowly walks over to Yumi and Tacey. "How is she?" He asks.

Yumi looks worriedly at Michael. "Not good...I don't know what happened, but she's in really bad shape."

Dan folds his arms. "She's mentally exhausted. That duel pushed her psyche beyond its limits...that's why 'it' happened."

Yumi looks confused. "'It'? What do you mean by 'it'?"

Dan looks at Michael. "Best you don't know. I suggest you all leave before this place comes apart."

Michael nods before placing his hand on Tacey's forehead, a  light blinds the whole room...Tacey wakes up in Michael's room on the couch.

Tacey reels before falling against the couch. "Ugh...what...happened back there...?" she asks, her voice barely more than a whisper.

Michael is sat on the other couch, leaned back and looking up. "...there's a door in your head...Dan said there's someone your guardian Miss K faced and he has four cards that will open it...but I saw part of what's hidden in your mind..."

Tacey looked confused. "Dan? Wait...did we win the duel?"

Michael shook his head slowly. "We didn't need to."

Tacey looked down. "All I remember real that attack felt. I must have passed out after that..."

A minute passed before Tacey turned to look at Michael. "You said you saw something...?"

Michael nodded. "Don't know what to make of it honestly...but your 'Miss K' got a whole lot more suspicious."

Tacey tried to get up, only to cling on to the couch. "She hasn't done anything...wrong..." she replied, only to kneel down. "Urgh...I'm...aching all over..."

Michael got up and walked over, almost throwing Tacey onto the couch as he forced her back onto it. "That card you used, 'Awakened Psyche', never use it until you are in full control of your spirit energy."

"Huh...?" Tacey said before looking at her duel disk. "But...if I don't, then I won't have a complete deck..."
Michael closed his eyes for a moment, before sighing in defeat. "Here..." Michael went into his pocket, taking out a card and giving it to Tacey.

The card had the name 'Awakened Guardian', it looked like a small round knight, with the guaridan mask but with the Awakened sign Tacey's monsters had painted on it, but the paint was almost running off the mask and the guardian mask wasn't glowing, instead two round blue eyes were behind it, the small knight also had a small sword and shield made of wood.

Tacey looks curiously at the card. "What's...?" she says before looking at the card's effect. "Discard this card from your hand: all 'Awakened' monsters cannot be destroyed this turn. If this card is in your graveyard, you may banish it, if you do, target one 'Awakened' monster you control: that monster cannot be destroyed this turn." Tacey looks back at Michael. "Where did you get that card?"

Michael sat on the arm of the sofa. "It appeared in the same way all cards appear for a spirit duelist...I have three more like it...pretty much it forms when you feel a certain connection between you and that person..." Michael was trying to hide a faint blush.
Tacey looks at the card, then looks at her deck before slowly pulling it out. After looking through her deck, she pulls out 'Awakened Psyche' and hands it to Michael. "Here..."

Michael shook his head. "I trust you, keep it...just keep it out of your main deck for now."

Tacey puts her deck back in her Duel Disk, adding 'Awakened Guardian' to it. " it okay if I...sleep here a bit? Just until I can walk back to my place?"

Michael nodded, before getting up. " the way I'm only giving you that card because you don't have enough cards yet to swap don't tell anyone...especially not Olivia, she'll pester me to no end to find out what my card made from her that's hard to make into words."

Tacey makes a slow nod. "Sure..."

Michael began to walk back to his bedroom. "Just need to head to the Tower and see who knows a 'Miss K'..."

At one of the Jupiter Villas, Samuel is shuffling his deck, looking pensively at the monitor. "The show's about to start. I should be antsy, but that one duel... urgh..."

Simon walks into the room. "Pardon me sir have a guest."

Samuel puts his deck down and looks at Simon. "Who is it this time?"

An eerie but sothing young female voice came from behind Simon. "Oh Sammy, do you really have so many visitors you have to ask 'who is it this time'?" The voice asked in a mocking tone.

Samuel rolls his eyes, then shakes his head. "I'll take it from here." Simon leaves before Samuel gets up. "Well, if it isn't Reika. Duel Academy isn't next door, you know."

Reika walks into the room, with her green hair in a tight ponytail, striking red lipstick, wearing a brown leatehr jacket, red tube top, tight black trousers and red high heels. Her eyes narrow but her grin shows it's not out of annoyance. "Oh you know that's far behind me now...I was just there to...get a good first person view on a certain someone..."

Samuel tilts his head. "Are you talking about the main event?"

Reika slowly strutted over to Samuel. "Well we both have our jobs, your job is to make sure our boys stand a chance against the spirit duelists' power and the light duelists' new equipment..." Reika leaned onto the back of the chair Samuel was sitting in. "And my job is to help...the main event go as planned..."

Samuel folds his arms. "I wish I could say things are going well, but I'd be lying through my teeth. Ever since Silver showed up, our numbers have been dropping. Seems like he's only dueling our boys. Not to mention that he's got some lackeys to back him up now."

Reika smiled. "And I hear your own personal doll came back to life...I'm getting deja vu from the Dahak incident." She commented playfully.
Samuel frowned. "Don't remind me..." he said, grabbing his deck and placing it in a black-leather deck box strapped to his ripped jeans. "She's probably worse a threat than Silver and he doesn't know it. Not only did she take out one of our boys that Simon hand-picked for the job, but she did it by inventing a new dueling mechanic to boot... Sequence Fusion...urgh. I should have just wrung her neck instead of burning her cards!"

Reika sighed. "See that's just what Dahak did Sammy...he lost his temper...and things got out of control." Reika struts over to Samuel. "You need to keep your calm...grow that amazing smile of yours...because if I'm up to date on all this, your doll still needs to go through that 'test' duel?"

Samuel takes a moment to breathe. "Fine...and yes. None of them have their tests started. Most of them are already set up, but I'm trying to find someone to fill in that last spot." he says, trying to think of options. "We'd  need someone who knows her from the inside out...but not one of 'them'."

Reika took a more serious tone. "As you may have guessed, I didn't come all the way here just to give you a silly pep talk..."

Samuel sits back down. "Surprise me."

Reika walked to the wall opposite Samuel. "Myself and Kasejima have been given the same instructions; put together a concotion or tonic...or otherwise, that will develop the darkness inside little Naruki...of course I saw Kasejima gathering the same ingredients she would for a normal job...and thinking that adding a splash of this or doubling that will be enough..." Reika leaned back against the wall, a look of glee overcoming her. "But I was there...even with view from camera at times...the power in him...the pure power that could be so easily tainted..." Reika closed her eyes. "Such simple remedies and ideas will not be enough...after all he was handpicked by the Master himself..."

Samuel raised a hand and spun it around. "Yeah, yeah...get to the point."

Reika brushed back her hair, then looked down at Samuel with a knowing smile. "...and I saw how well your work turned out." Reika walked over to Samuel, circling around him. "That power...that level of dark energy...I've only seen it on that level in two places...Naruki Kou and...the master himself." Reika stopped behind Samuel, before leaning in close to whisper in his ear. "You must tell me your secret..."

Samuel cocks an eyebrow. "He's that powerful, huh? Well...I can bite, if you have something tasty on the plate."

Reika leaned in further so she could rest her elbow on the arm of the chair and look at Samuel's face from the side. "I need that little piece of your work to add to mine...and I'll let you have one of my work."

Samuel looks at her with a predatory smile. "I can manage something..." he said before narrowing his eyes. "Just make sure he doesn't fail...I want results, no matter the methods."

Reika stood up straight, walked around and folded her arms in front of Samuel. "Don't take me for granted, just like how my work might might your work in the plan I have for it. We exchange, that's the end of it Samuel, I'm not one of your silly Jupiter club."

Samuel took on a straight face. "Speaking of Jupiter...I've been getting a suspicious feeling about them lately. Like one of them is hiding something..."

Reika sighed. "Fine I'll help you out with an extra matter if it will seal the deal without any further annoyance...but only to help the Master and his plan...what would you say if I could help you get rid of Michael Silver?"
Time to take a peak of what's hiding in the depths of Tacey's mind...
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Submitted on
June 7, 2017


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