Story 10: Masato Rikuo
Even in this dimension, he has started to take action.
He seeks to deny the existence of this world, which countless lives have worked to create.
This time for sure, we must end things.
That is the last deed that I can do, as a fellow Dragod.
But I no longer have time.
I, who have had most of my power devoured by that villain, will soon cease to exist.
Before that happens, I must pass on our power to another.
I must find the most deserving warrior.
◇ ◇ ◇
“265… 266… 267…”
[Masato Rikuo] and his Buddy [Agito] were working out obsessively in Masato’s room.
The facts were that several days ago, the two of them had a Buddyfight with [Kei Jinguji], student president of the World Buddy Academia, and had been thoroughly defeated.
Ever since then the two of them had sought to gain greater strength through training and self-discipline.
“299… 300… Agito! Do you feel up to doing another 100 reps?”
“I can keep going, no sweat!”
“For share! We’re going to get stronger! Let’s put some spirit into it!”
The two synchronized their movements with perfectly coordinated breathing.
The best way of improving the powerful mental fortitude, concentration, and decision-making ability that was crucial to Buddyfight was to strengthen the body that was the core support for all of these components. That was Masato’s pet theory.
Late that night…
Suddenly, a voice echoed in both their minds, speaking directly to them.
[Do you seek new strength?]
Masato and Agito stopped moving at the same time.
“Agito, did you hear that?”
“I heard that loud and clear!”
[If you seek strength, then open the gate.]
“There it is again.”
“Masato! I can feel a powerful energy from outside the house!”
“Let’s go, Agito!”
Masato grabbed his deck case and burst out of his room.
He opened the front door, and ran outside.
“…?! What is this place?”
“There’s nothing here.”
It was a landscape that they had never seen before
A wasteland, with not a blade of grass or single tree, never mind houses.
The empty landscape stretched out as far as the eye could see.
And now Masato noticed that the door behind him had disappeared as well.
“What’s going on…?”
As Masato stood there helplessly, unable to grasp the situation, he suddenly heard a voice behind him.
“Masato Rikuo. I hear you wanna get stronger.”
“Who are you?!”
When Masato turned around, there was a person completely covered by a ragged black cloak. Their face was hidden in a hood, so that he couldn’t see it clearly.
“Me? You can call me… [Daichi], for now.”
“Are you the one who called us here?”
“No, that wasn’t me. It wasn’t me, but I know the situation.”
“You know the situation?”
“Yeah, that’s right. You want to get stronger than you are right now. So I’m here to put you through a trial.”
“Did you say… a trial…?”
“This dimension is overflowing with a certain Dragod’s power. If you can overcome my trial, you can gain that power. That’s easy enough to understand, isn’t it?”
The mysterious figure calling himself Daichi brought out a deck case from the folds of his cloak, and thrust it at Masato. Masato and Agito immediately knew what this meant.
“For share! Agito and I will accept your trial!”
“No matter how difficult things may get, I can overcome them as long as I’m with Masato!”
Masato brought out his deck case as well.
The moment he did so, the empty wasteland suddenly transformed into a Fight Stage. V-Boards appeared before the two fighters, and they both placed their decks there.
“The linked spiral is the chain of bonds! Luminize! Spiral Linkdragon Order!”
“The power of bonds cries out like thunder! Luminize! Lightning Linkdragon Order!”
“Buddy…fight! Raise the flag!”
Masato turned his flag face up.
Next, Daichi turned his flag face up.
Their Buddyfight began.
Daichi had the first move.
“My turn! Draw! Charge and draw! Masato, and the Linkdragon Order too. I’ll tell you what your weakness is.”
“Yeah. The power of your bond is immense. If you join forces, you can overcome any difficulty… But on the other hand, strength that is reliant on your comrades can become fragile.”
Hearing Daichi’s words, Agito raised his voice in anger.
“We don’t have any weaknesses! Each of us covers and supports each other’s weak points as we battle! That’s why the Linkdragon Order is strong!”
“Then what will you do when your comrades aren’t there?”
“When they aren’t there? I’ve never thought about such a thing…”
“Don’t tell me you seriously think that your comrades will always be by your side, no matter what and no matter when? That’s simply impossible. If you rely too much on the abilities of your comrades, you’ll be left helpless when they go away.”
“Masato and the Linkdragon Order… none of them are ever going to go away!”
“Is that really true?”
“Then during this first turn, are you going to be able to save Masato?”
“That’s right. During this first turn, the fighter who has the second turn can’t rely on his monsters. He can’t use any spells that are conditional on a monster being on the field. …Agito, you’ll just have to stand there helplessly and watch as Masato falls!”
Daichi held up one of his hand cards.
“I cast [Dragon Emperor Legend]! My gauge and life increase by 1, and I draw a card! Now, here I go! I pay 1 gauge and Buddy call [Thundercry and Thunderflash, Agito] to the center!”
Daichi’s Life: 10 → 12
Lightning crashed down on Daichi’s center area.
“I am Agito. Or rather… I am [Thunder Agito]!”
There was no mistaking it. A second Agito stood there.
“There’s two of me?!”
Agito couldn’t hide his shock, while Masato sounded as if he had just come to a conclusion.
“Next, I call [Heavystriker, Kaina] to the right and left!”
“We’re gonna do this, right!”
“We’ll strike hard, right!”
“I pay 1 gauge and equip! [Linkdragon Sledge, Agitocrush]! Dragonnnn Shaaaaarrre!!”
A mallet with thorns covering its end appeared in Daichi’s hands. Daichi thrust the mallet into the ground and gave orders to Thunder Agito.
“Time for attack phase! Due to Thunder Agito’s effect and Kaina’s Dragon Share, Thunder Agito has a critical of 5! Go for it, Thunder Agito!!”
“I’m gonna do it!”
“And! Due to Agitocrush’s Dragon Share, I place the top card of my deck in the drop zone!”
The top card in Daichi’s deck was placed in the drop zone. The card was [Bloated, Harahara].
“If the card that I placed has Dragon Share, then I deal 1 damage to my opponent!”
Masato’s Life: 10 → 9
The lightning bolt that erupted from the mallet leapt to Thunder Agito’s horn, and became an even bigger bolt of lightning that struck Masato. In addition, the axe on Thunder Agito’s tail swung down on Masato.
Masato’s Life: 9 → 4
“I’ve got a card with Dragon Share on my field, and my opponent’s life is 4 or lower… You guys know what that means, right?”
Daichi took one of his hand cards and raised it to the sky.
“Final Phase! I cast! Thunder Dragon Tornado!”
Multiple bolts of lightning fell around Thunder Agito. A tornado appeared, sweeping up the bolts of lightning and blowing gale force wind around the Fight Stage.
“Impact! Thunder Dragon Tornado!!!”
Daichi released an axe made of lightning from his hand, which dispersed in the tornado and sent countless blows hurtling towards Masato.
“Any Buddyfight that relies solely on your comrades will reach its limit! Take this loss, and re-think the way that you guys battle!”
Daichi’s shout rang out in the storm.
Agito gave an agonized cry as he could do nothing but watch.
Masato’s eyes were clear and unclouded by fear.
“The bond between Linkdragon Order members joins us with the spiral chain, even when we’re not physically by each other’s side! I cast! [Linkdragon Order’s Links]!!”
Masato’s Life: 4 → 5
An instant before the impact struck him, Masato regained 1 life. Afterwards, the countless blows of the attack rained down on him.
Masato’s Life: 5 → 1
The tornado subsided, and calm returned to the Fight Stage.
Masato still stood on the stage.
“…Looks like that wasn’t enough to break our bonds.”
“…Not bad. My turn is over.”
Masato had the second turn.
“Now it’s our turn, Agito!”
“Masato… I’m sorry that I couldn’t protect you…”
“What are you talking about?! Agito, did you think your only role was to protect me?”
“Well… That is…”
“I believe in you guys! I believe in you, and that’s why I was able to stand my ground! I believed that if I chained that life and hung on to the next turn, we’d definitely be able to turn this fight around together!”
“Now, let’s do it, Agito!”
“…I understand! We’re going to be victorious for sure!”
“Yeah, that’s the spirit! Draw! Charge and draw! I pay two gauge and Buddy call [Thunderpeak Linkaxe, Agito] to the center!”
Masato’s Life: 1 → 2
“Let’s do this!”
“And I pay 1 life to equip [Links Glove, “Bond Glove”]! I call [Quickwit, Tsumasaki] to the left, and [Swift Claw, Wings] to the right! Their effects increase my gauge by 1, and I draw 1 card!”
Masato’s Life: 2 → 1
“Let’s turn this fight around!”
“We’ll show them the power of the Linkdragon Order’s bonds!”
Tsumasaki and Wings, who had just appeared, looked at Masato, as did Agito. Masato raised his voice, as if in response to their gazes.
“Joy, sadness, and strength! Now is the time to share all of these with our comrades! Dragonnnn shaaaaare!!!”
The Linkdragon Order and Masato were linked by the glowing bond of their friendship as they shared their abilities.
“All Linkdragon Order monsters on my field gain Double Attack and Penetrate, and they can’t be destroyed by the effects of my opponent’s cards. And when they destroy an enemy monster, they deal 1 damage to my opponent! Here we go! Agito, attack Thunder Agito!”
“We’re definitely going to win, for Masato’s sake!”
Agito’s tail charged up with electricity as it split Thunder Agito in half.
“Daichi… The rest is up to you…!”
Daichi’s Life: 12 → 9
Thunder Agito was destroyed, leaving Daichi’s center open.
“Agito, Double Attack!”
This time, Agito’s tail struck Daichi.
Daichi’s Life: 9 → 7
“Wings, attack the two Kaina!”
Wings advanced on the left Kaina with rapid movements and destroyed him with his claws. Immediately, he twisted his body around and jumped to destroy the Kaina on the right.
“Now you’re going to taste my effect damage!”
“Urgh… I’m not done for yet!”
Daichi’s Life: 7 → 5
“Next, Tsumasaki, attack the fighter!”
“Please leave it to me!”
Tsumasaki leapt out of the left area and threw himself against Daichi.
Daichi’s Life: 5 → 4
Daichi’s Life: 4 → 3
“I’ll attack too!”
Masato used his famous athleticism to get close to Daichi, then used the Bond Glove equipped on his arm to attack.
Daichi’s Life: 3 → 1
“Argh… I still have 1 life left!”
“Our attack isn’t over yet!”
“Then come at me!”
“All right! I pay 2 gauge and call [Thunderpeak Spiral Linkaxe, King Agito] to the center by placing this card on top of Agito!”
A bolt of lightning crashed down on Agito, and his body swelled as it was enveloped in light. Agito had been in a four-legged stance, but as he grew larger and larger, he transformed into a giant dragon that stood on two hind legs.
“This will clinch it! King Agito, attack the fighter!”
“Masato always believes in the Linkdragon Order, and chains his life to get us to the next turn! That’s why we work as hard as we can when we’re called to the battle! That’s the link that bonds us Linkdragon Order members together!”
King Agito charged forward. Every time his massive feet stomped down on the ground, the entire stage shook.
“Heh… That’s some impressive talk.”
As the attack approached, Daichi whispered this softly.
A trace of pride and happiness could be heard in his voice.
Daichi’s Life: 1 → 0
King Agito’s charge brought Daichi’s life down to 0.
◇ ◇ ◇
When the Buddyfight was over, Masato and Agito found themselves in front of Masato’s home.
The two looked around, but all they could see was the familiar sight of Cho-Tokyo. The area was quiet, as if the Buddyfight they had just had was all in their heads.
The card that Masato found in his hand suddenly began glowing brightly.
“Whoa, I feel kinda weird too!”
At the same time, Agito’s body was enveloped in light.
“It feels like power is overflowing…!”
Agito moved his body slowly, as if testing it out.
The card had changed form within the glowing light.
“[Deity of Enthusiasm and Bonds, Godagito]… This must be the power of the Dragod that he was talking about.”
“Does that mean we passed his trial?”
“Yeah! All of us together overcame his challenge!”
“We did it! …But we never did find out who he was.”
“Well, that’s okay too. I’m sure he was just some well-meaning busybody who was worried about our future.”
Masato stared up at the distant sky, and smiled faintly.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Ah, we lost, we lost! But that was so satisfying! So, what did you think of ‘our’ bond?”
[Indeed, they were great warriors. Worthy of having my power bestowed upon them.]
“Glad to hear it! …Even though we were just supposed to test their strength, they got us so pumped up that we got a little carried away.”
“That’s too true. I didn’t think you’d fire off an impact in your first turn.”
“Haha, sorry, sorry.”
“And even if it was a temporary name, I don’t know about ‘Daichi’.”
“‘Rikuo’ means ‘King of the Land’, and ‘Daichi’ means ‘land’. There’s nothing weird about that.”
“It’s a little too obvious…”
“Well, in any case, all’s well that ends well.”
[Yes. Thanks to you, I was able to draw out their power even further. They may become the final blow of the axe that fells The Endruler Dragon. I am grateful.]
“Don’t worry about it. We owe you a debt, too.”
[A debt… All I am trying to do is put an end to the mistakes that we made.”
“Either way, that doesn’t change the fact that our world was saved thanks to you.”
[What a conscientious man you are… Now, it is time that I returned you two to your original world. What happens next is my problem to solve.]
“For share! No matter what dimension we’re in, the bond that’s chained by the linked spiral can never be destroyed! Isn’t that right, Agito?”
“It’s just as you say, Masato!”
“In that case, shall we do our usual thing?”
“Order’s anthem! All together now!”
“The linked spiral is the chain of bonds–”
Text by Shun Menjo