Story 6: Kei Jinguji
Why does conflict arise?
Because emotions exist.
Because desire exists.
Because conflict itself is necessary for survival.
Yes, conflict arises because this world is not perfect.
Then what can be done to make it perfect?
It’s too late to begin to fix it now.
We have to start over.
We have to start over from the moment this world began.
In order to do that, we need immense power.
We must gather power.
We must create a singularity where all of this power gathers, and there we must become a Transcendent Deity.
◇ ◇ ◇
Time: 6:00 AM
“I think it’s time we took action ourselves.”
[Kei Jinguji] opened the window of his room and spoke the words gently, as if addressing a wild songbird. There was no sign of anyone in the room other than Kei. Under normal circumstances, there should have been no answer to his statement, and yet a disembodied voice responded.
“Hmm, is our opponent that much of a threat?”
“The person sniffing around our activities is someone who once tried to change the world, and very nearly won the game. If something happens after World Buddy Academia is established, then it could be trouble.”
“I cannot imagine that this man could possibly withstand my power.”
“Insurance. Think of it as insurance. We made all those arrangements for Vanity and he was defeated so easily, which just goes to show… you never know what will happen.”
As he spoke, Kei poured tea into a cup and carried it to the table before lowering himself into a chair.
“Then what shall our first move be?”
“Our opponent took advantage of many different people, and tricked them. There are many people who hate him still. So we’ll take advantage of that.”
“You have some leads?”
“Several, in fact. I’m thinking of paying a visit to one of them today.”
Kei finished his tea, then changed into a suitable outfit and brought out his deck case.
“Let’s go, Time Ruler. I’ll be needing your power.”
He placed his deck case in an inner pocket, and opened the door of his room. Outside, a butler was waiting for him.
“Your car is ready, sir.”
Kei smiled as he said this, and strode through his palatial mansion.
◇ ◇ ◇
Time: 14:00 (2:00 PM)
The setting: a small town surrounded by mountains.
While you couldn’t call it heavily populated, it had trains going to and from the nearest big city center, and the businesses surrounding the train station were getting by all right.
In the northern part of this town, there was a run-down shopping district. As the area around the train station became more heavily developed, people stopped going to the old shopping district, and now almost all of the stores were shuttered and closed.
In this shopping district was a doctor’s office that was barely continuing to operate. It received very few patients. A member of one of the local gangs that hung around the area would be carried in from time to time after a bad fight, and that was about it.
But on this particular day, the doctor’s office received an unusual visitor.
A young man with pale blue hair opened the doors to the doctor’s office. His pure white suit, with not a single mark upon it, stood in stark contrast to the shabby building in which he stood.
“…Young feller, you ain’t from around here, are ya?”
The elderly man sitting in the office chair looked suspiciously at the visitor. He was the only doctor at this clinic.
“Yes. This is the first time I’ve been to this town.”
“This ain’t no place for a young gent like you. There are lots of dangerous folks roamin’ around these parts. Go home before ya get hurt.”
The doctor gestured as if to chase away the young man, but the young man was completely unmoved.
“That’s a problem. I’ve come here looking for something.”
“Eh? There’s nothing for you in a dilapidated old place like this.”
“I don’t know about that.”
“You’re a stubborn one.”
“Perhaps it was misleading to say I was looking for something. The truth is, I’m looking for someone.”
The doctor’s eyebrow twitched.
“The person I’m looking for was once called the boy genius of Monster Research. But he engaged in forbidden research and became a wanted man, and was arrested by the Buddy Police. Several years later, he suddenly vanished from his prison cell. His whereabouts remain unknown to this day.”
“…Who the heck are you?!”
As the young man spoke, the relaxed confidence faded from the doctor’s face. Now he looked like a totally different person, with his hostility on full display.
“My name is [Kei Jinguji]. We share a common enemy, my dear ‘Doctor Gara’.”
The moment that name was uttered, the doctor tore off his white doctor’s coat. His disguise vanished at the same time, revealing his green hair and distinctive shadows under his eyes. In the terribly cramped examination room, at a distance that was impossible to avoid or escape, Doctor Gara grabbed at Kei.
But his outstretched hands grasped only emptiness. He staggered and fell, tearing the curtains that had been behind Kei. Kei had been in front of Gara, but somehow he was now standing behind him.
“Please listen to everything I have to say.”
“…What did you just do?”
Gara glared at Kei as he picked himself off the ground.
“That’s not important. I’d like you to lend me your power.”
“What a stupid thing to say.”
“No, I’m sure that you’ll be interested in my proposal. After all, my present enemy is the infamous [Kyoya Gaen].”
“…! Did you say Kyoya?!”
Gara raised his voice angrily at that name. Kyoya Gaen and Gara had a long, tempestuous history together.
“Wouldn’t you like to give that Kyoya Gaen a terrible surprise? I can supply you with the appropriate equipment and research facilities. Of course, this would be a ‘secret laboratory’, unknown to the world. It’s not a bad deal, is it?”
“…Assuming that your talk is on the level, do you have any chance of winning? I don’t wanna end up beaten by him and sent back into solitary confinement.”
“Regarding your concern, I think it would be faster for you to see for yourself, and come to your own conclusion.”
As Kei finished speaking, the door to the doctor’s office opened once more.
“…You’re the Dragod master.”
A woman wrapped in a long stole entered. She gazed sharply at Kei with cold, blue eyes.
“And if I say that I am?”
“I’ve received orders from Master Kyoya. You will come with me without resisting.”
“That would be a problem. I still have things that I need to do.”
“I didn’t ask if it was convenient for you.”
“Then would you have a Buddyfight with me? If you win, I’ll come along willingly, Miss [Sophia Sakharov].”
“Did you say Sophia Sakharov?!”
Even Gara had heard of her. She was Kyoya Gaen’s top executive, a cold-blooded and merciless woman who would go anywhere and carry out any command.
“…You’d better not forget that promise.”
“Of course I won’t.”
As the two brought out their deck cases, they activated the fight system. The doctor’s office suddenly changed into a Fight Stage. As V-Boards appeared near the two fighters’ hands, they luminized their decks.
“The sky slumbers, and the land freezes. Luminize, Great Fate of the Stellar Deity.”
“True time marks the end, and eternity is completed here. Let time itself stop. Luminize, The End Zero.”
“Buddy…fight! Raise the flag!”
Sophia turned her flag face up.
Next, Kei turned his flag face up.
As Kei connected four cards together, a giant clock appeared above his head. The clock hands ticked away the seconds and minutes, continually moving.
Sophia and Gara couldn’t help but let out cries of surprise at the sight of the flag.
“What is that flag…?!”
“I’ve never seen a flag like that before…It’s almost like Master Kyoya’s flag.”
Kei smiled confidently as he spread his arms wide.
“Save some of your surprise for later. My Godclock hasn’t even shown its true form yet.”
“That won’t be an issue… if I keep it from doing anything.”
“Wouldn’t that be nice for you. Now, it’s your turn, isn’t it?”
“My turn. Draw. Charge and draw. I call [Spica Virgo] to the center. Her effect lets me discard one hand card and add a Star monster from my deck to my hand. In addition, the discarded Alwidol’s effect increases my gauge by 1, and I draw one card.”
As Sophia finished drawing her card, she deployed two cards at once. “Come. I call [Colossal Deity of Phantom Star, Astraeus] to the left, and Buddy call [Stellar Deity, Astraeus] to the right!”
Sophia’s Life: 10 → 11
A stellar deity that resembled the sun appeared, along with a glowing giant.
Just like Sophia, their eyes gazed sharply and coldly, as if they saw through everything.
“Let all cards freeze and stop their movements. I pay 2 gauge to cast and set [Great Fate, Frozen Stars].”
In the next instant, a dark night sky appeared over the Fight Stage. Countless stars twinkled as Kei’s Fight Stage began to freeze over.
“Due to this card, all abilities of the cards on your field will be nullified.”
“I see. No matter how strong a card might be, it’s meaningless if it can’t use its abilities.”
“Here I go. Stellar Deity Astraeus, attack the fighter!”
Stellar Deity Astraeus fired a beam that bore down on Kei.
Right before the beam hit Kei, it ceased all movement, as if it was frozen in place, as if the pause button had been hit on a video, as if time itself had stopped.
“What just happened?!”
Even Sophia couldn’t help but shout in bewilderment at this.
“This is Godclock’s ability. Just once, it can ‘stop time’ for all attacks, and nullify them. Even your stars can’t stop the hands of my flag, Godclock.”
As Kei poked the frozen beam with his forefinger, the beam vanished, as if erased from the world.
“Don’t tell me, your flag can…!”
“That’s right. My flag is a flag that can manipulate time.”
“Curses… My turn is over.”
“My turn. Draw. Charge and draw.”
Kei finished drawing his card and pointed at Godclock above his head.
The moment that he uttered the words, Kei placed one of his hand cards at the bottom of his deck. When he did this, the top three cards of his deck floated in the air, and one went to his hand cards while the other two moved to his drop zone.
“Godclock has summoned these cards from three turns in the future. I cast [Kronos Syn Epita]. My gauge increases by 1, and I add a Dragod card that is also a Time Dragon from my deck to my hand.”
Kei grasped the card newly added to his hand with his fingertips, and called the monster.
“Behold, the form of the deity who rules time and created this world. I pay 2 gauge and Buddy call [Deity of Eon, Time Ruler Dragon] to the center!”
Kei’s Life: 10 → 11
A hole appeared in the night sky, and a blinding light shone through.
A pure white dragon deity with almost angelic beauty slowly appeared from within the light.
“I am the Dragod who rules over time, Time Ruler Dragon. I am the deity who will surpass all, and return all to a perfect form.”
Time Ruler descended upon the center area.
But as soon as he did so, the stars twinkled and Time Ruler’s feet froze in place.
“Even a Dragod can do nothing before the power of my stars.”
“Hm, so you seek to seal my power.”
“I guess there’s no beating this. My hands are tied.”
Even though they seemed to be at a disadvantage, Kei and Time Ruler showed no signs of concern.
“In that case, Time Ruler, attack Spica Virgo.”
As Time Ruler swung the priest’s staff in his hand, Spica Virgo was swallowed up by a black hole that suddenly appeared, and vanished.
“And with that, my turn is over.”
“My turn. Draw, charge and draw. I activate Colossal Deity of Phantom Star, Astraeus’s ability. I draw one card and deal 1 damage to my opponent.”
Astraeus fired a ball of light, and it hit Kei.
Kei’s Life: 11 → 10
“Once again, I call Spica Virgo to the center. I use her effect to discard one hand card and add a Star monster from my deck to my hand. In addition, I use the discarded Smasma’s effect to destroy Time Ruler!”
As Sophia raised her hand, palm forward, three balls of light were unleashed. The balls of light encircled Time Ruler, then attached themselves to Time Ruler all at once and detonated.
“Oh dear, he’s done for.”
Even with Time Ruler destroyed, Kei seemed completely unconcerned.
“Go forth, the two Astraeus and Spica Virgo!”
The three monsters’ attacks struck Kei, one after the other.
Kei’s Life: 10 → 5
“And with that, my turn is ov–”
As Kei’s voice rang out, the destroyed Time Ruler Dragon revived in the center area.
“Godclock has ‘turned back time’ for Time Ruler Dragon, returning him to his status before he was destroyed.”
“But even if you return him, my stars’ effect means that Time Ruler has lost all of his abilities.”
“That’s right. I can’t do anything ‘with’ Time Ruler Dragon.”
“…What are you trying to say.”
“I said this at the very beginning, didn’t I? That I still haven’t shown you Godclock’s ‘true form’.”
Time Ruler raised his priest’s staff to the skies.
Godclock’s hands had been ticking regularly, but suddenly they sped up. The hands moved faster and faster, and when all of the hands pointed to 12, they abruptly ceased all motion.
At Kei’s quiet command, the destruction of Godclock began.
As Godclock’s pieces crumbled all around the field, a jet black dragon emerged from its center, swaying its long neck from side to side. It didn’t stop at just one dragon; one by one they emerged, increasing their numbers. The fallen pieces of Godclock were reconstructed as they became part of the newly-appeared black dragons.
Time Ruler Dragon floated up into the air, and headed for the center of this strange scene. And as he leapt onto the forehead of a larger black dragon that was the last to appear, he fused with its body.
“This is the power of Godclock and Time Ruler! Or rather, these two are nothing but temporary identities, the result of dividing the power of a deity! You see before you the true form of the Deity of Eon!”
As Kei spread out his arms, he looked like a totally different person. His gentle smiling expression was now tainted with a mad grin.
“Now! Manifest yourself!!! [Perfected Deity of Eon, The Endruler Dragon]!!!!!!!”
“The world is All. All is me. Therefore, I am the world.”
His sinister appearance was enough to put a tremble in Sophia’s voice, as well as the spectator Gara.
“This is his true form…!”
“A flag and a monster…have fused…?!”
The stars in the night sky twinkled, and began to send out frozen tendrils towards The Endruler. But the ice never reached The Endruler. As the ice approached him, it disappeared as if it had never existed at all.
“Such petty tricks won’t work on The Endruler! My turn! Draw, charge and draw! This will end things. I pay 1 life and cast [Kronos Trophe]! Spica Virgo is sent to the bottom of the deck!”
Spica Virgo returned to the bottom of Sophia’s deck, and vanished from sight.
“You may have cleared the center, but the Buddyfight isn’t over yet.”
“No, this Buddyfight is already over. You just haven’t realized it.”
The Endruler entered an attack stance.
Sophia reached out for her hand cards in an attempt to counter the attack, but…
Sophia’s Life: 11 → 7
In the next moment, Sophia was blown backwards, and her life had decreased. Neither Gara, who was watching the match, nor Sophia herself, who had received the attack, could comprehend what had happened.
“What was that…?!”
As Sophia stood up, Kei gave his next order.
“This time, for sure…”
Sophia attempted to use her hand card to block the attack, but…
Sophia’s Life: 7 → 3
Once again, by the time Sophia had realized it, she had already taken the attack.
Or rather, neither Sophia nor Gara could tell if the attack had hit her. Neither of them had been able to see the instant that The Endruler fired his attack.
The instant that The Endruler began to move, the attack was already ‘over’.
An unpleasant thought flashed through Sophia’s mind.
“Don’t tell me that The Endruler’s power is…!”
“Yes, it’s exactly as you imagined. The Endruler Dragon has the ability to ‘stop time’ for the opponent.”
“I told you, didn’t I? That this Buddyfight was already over. When you’re in stopped time, you can’t use abilities or use your cards. It’s obvious, after all. Humans… monsters… all things in this world are prisoners of time! Now, do it! The Endruler Dragon, Triple Attack!!!!!!”
“I decree. Pitiful life forms with your ceaseless conflicts, who are captives of time. End your lives within the prison of time. This is the ‘Eternal Eon’…”
Sophia’s Life: 3 → 0
The moment that The Endruler finished his words, Sophia’s life was reduced to 0, and the fight was over.
Sophia sat up, and glared at Kei.
“Hahh… Hahh… I’ve lost. But, The Endruler, now I’ve witnessed your ability with my own eyes!”
“No, that is merely an illusion.”
◇ ◇ ◇
When Gara opened his eyes, he was back in his office.
The sun was shining through the window, and outside there were birds singing.
It was so peaceful that the terrifying scene from just a moment ago seemed like a dream.
“Now do you feel like cooperating with me?”
Gara turned around, startled by the voice, and saw Kei Jinguji standing there with a gentle smile on his face.
It was truly as if the scene from a moment ago had never happened.
“Where did Sophia Sakharov go…?”
“Oh, her? She hasn’t arrived ‘yet’.”
Hearing those words, Gara felt cold sweat drip down his cheek.
“Hey, does that mean…”
“Why don’t you confirm the time for yourself?”
Gara checked the clock.
Time: 14:00 (2:00 PM)
So many things had happened, and yet time had not progressed at all. In fact, the hands of the clock were pointing to the time right before Kei Jinguji had appeared.
“How are the curtains?”
Upon hearing this, Gara looked at the curtains. The curtains that had torn when he tried to grab Kei were whole again, as if nothing had happened.
“Hey, whoa, are you serious… Are you telling me you ‘rewound time’?”
It was unbelievable, but the Buddyfight he had just seen, and the current circumstances, led Gara to one inescapable conclusion.
“But some things don’t make sense. My disguise is still gone, and I still have my memories of the Buddyfight… It’s as if my ‘time’ is the only one that hasn’t been rewound.”
“That’s a special bonus gift from me to you.”
As he spoke these words, Kei handed Gara a medical mask and doctor’s coat, neatly folded. They were part of the disguise that Gara had been using until Kei’s arrival.
“…Tch. So you were in control of everything the whole time.”
“You asked if I had a ‘chance of winning’ earlier. This is it.”
Gara held his head in his hands.
“H…Haha… Heh heh heh…”
His faint voice grew louder by the minute, as he burst out into laughter.
“Hahaha, hahahahaha!!!!! Amazing! This is so amazing! All right, I’ll lend you a hand! I, the greatest genius of this era, the great Doctor Gara!!!!!!!!”
◇ ◇ ◇
There was an anonymous tip about the existence of a Dragod master.
Of course there was no way that an unsourced rumor could be trusted, but because there might be some useful information, Sophia followed Kyoya’s orders and went to the location.
A doctor’s office, on the outskirts of town.
Sophia opened the doors.
There was nobody inside.
She searched the building, just in case, but she wasn’t able to find anything of interest.
“As I suspected, a false rumor.”
Once Sophia finished her investigation, she left the doctor’s office.
She had to pursue the next clue.
◇ ◇ ◇
Time: 19:00 (7:00 PM)
When Kei returned to the mansion, an email was waiting for him.
There was a data file attached to the email, with names and information on children from around the world.
…Yuga Mikado, Hikaru Ichibanboshi, Meiru Amagasa, Alexander Ankh, Krieger Bernhard…
“It looks like all the pieces are finally in place.”
Kei couldn’t help but smile.
“Are we finally going to begin?”
“Yes. Now we can proceed with World Buddy Academia… or rather, our ‘plan’.”
“For this world to become perfect.”
“That’s right, a perfect world. After all, this world has to ‘start over’.”
Text by Shun Menjo