Shaman King Fan Fiction / Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Shaman Tournament ❯ Two Days Earlier... ( Chapter 12 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Chapter 12- Two Days Earlier…
The morning sunlight filtered into a small but roomy apartment through the window. Brown, shag carpeting of different shades took up the living room. Pieces of furniture included the standard: a couch, a chair, and a television. Though a desk with locked cabinet draws on the far corner of the wall where the hallway is was set up and a small table with two chairs making out as the dining room to the kitchen behind it.
After falling unconscious, Miranda managed her breath back. She winced to focus where she had been sleeping; staring up to a ceiling and lying on a couch, with several pillows supporting her head and her cloak substituting for a blanket. She turned her head to a television reporting the news on mute; and in between the couch and TV was a long table. Most of her possessions were laid neatly on the tabletop: her sword, her tablets, and Tsunami's necklace remarkably intact from the fight the night before. However Tsunami's tablet that Montoya struck in two was still damaged and needed replacement.
Miranda glanced back to the news, as it appeared to go to a Breaking News story. She looked for a remote when Yaril hit the volume button and the announcer stated all that could be investigated. “Last night before sunset, a house exploded in flames on Metsumi Street. When firefighters arrived just fifteen minutes later, the house was beyond saving and the efforts only allowed the house to be burned to ground level. Once the fire was controlled and put out, a search was conducted. Two bodies were found nearly unidentifiable. Neighbors that were evacuated say that a family lived at the house but claim they cannot identify the two people that were killed instantly inside. Cause of the fire has been under investigation for quite sometime now with `little to no luck' as police comment but refuses to disclose any further detail. More on that later on as the day progresses.”
Miranda stared at the screen in heart-stopped shock. She saw that was her home that was destroyed anonymously. “R-Rai?” Miranda whispered, still in a loss of breath from shock. “Rai? Rai!” Rai came around to her name being called from the room next to the living room.
Hey you're awake! Rai smiled and turned to the news on the TV. So you saw the Breaking News?
“We have to go now, Rai.” Miranda demanded and grabbed Tsunami's beads first, throwing the necklace around her head.
We can't. If we go, whomever did that to the house will return and finish the job. More than likely they were aiming for us rather than Kikaita's brother. Rai answered. Montoya saved us.
“Montoya saved us? How do we know he didn't have underlings to do that while we were fighting?” Miranda interrogated.
Wouldn't make any sense if he did that. Take my word for it as a demon. No evidence was found of the house as to how it happened: a stove didn't explode, air wasn't compressed and ignited, and the propane tanks were a safe distance from the house so that if they exploded the house would still be safe, scorched but safe. Rai pointed out. All we can assume is that the same shaman that attacked us before and took Tsunami.
I mean another one of this shaman's subordinates, but it's definitely not Harlan's Master or Harlan himself. Harlan doesn't look like he has the brains to keep his tracks covered. Rai continued. But back to business; Montoya said we'll stick with him and keep ourselves on a low profile.
“You've gotta be kidding…” Miranda groaned and secured the two intact memorial tablets on her right arm.
“'Fraid not. Going back out there you'll be interrogated by authorities and lose your chances for a win in the Shaman Tournament.” Montoya came around next. “Knowing this city's police, they're relentless to get their target like the one that destroyed your house…I'm just sorry about your loss, Miranda.” Miranda fell back onto the couch in shock. Montoya approached closer to Miranda and took a seat on the far end of the couch. “Pull yourself together. It's definitely the work of the same shaman that took your spirits. You still have qualifications for the tournament; don't lose it by your own misdirection.” Another moment passed in silence as Miranda gradually came back to her senses. “Get yourself calmed down. Your training will begin immediately.” Montoya said and got up from his seat. “Don't think you're jinxing yourself. I won't let myself get killed by these rookies.” He grumbled and left the living room.
Miranda took a glance to her demon as Yaril followed Montoya out of the room. “I guess we're bunking with Montoya for the tournament, Rai.”
What was your first hint? There's no way we can face public now without getting that wraith's attention. Rai answered. Though now everyone's going to be worried, that was our house and now you're MIA. Miranda nodded. Yami Marik faded to view as Miranda equipped his memorial tablet to her left arm.
“Any idea what Montoya has in store for us?” Yami Marik wondered.
“From what he told us last night, he said I'll be at the `Three Hells' as he puts it.” Miranda answered. She shrugged and brought herself to her feet, equipped Mirandragon's and Kikaita's tablets to her right forearm next to her Oracle Pager, and wrapped the cloak around her neck but kept the cape of it behind her shoulders.
Rai circled the table once, trotting on the floor, and nearly tripped over a small wrinkle in the wide runner carpet on the floor. What the? Rai wondered and tried to straighten the wrinkle out with her paws, no luck as she realized the wrinkle ran straight across the runner like a small step; something was hidden underneath it. Rai tried to digger under the rug without ruining the carpet. A slab of stone is under here. Miranda cocked her head in some confusion and kneeled to the oriental runner, feeling where the rock and carpet separated under the rug.
“I'm assuming you're ready?” Montoya snapped their attention to him as he came back into the living room. “You two seem eager enough, waiting by the door.”
Door? Rai thought. What door? Montoya smiled and shook his head.
“That stone slab is the doorway to the demon world. Can't you feel the aura of old friends?” Montoya shrugged, “OK, so not exactly the demon world. That stone is on the border of two demon worlds. That is where Miranda will begin her training.” He corrected himself and threw one end of the runner off the large, gray slate. Rai and Miranda looked briefly amazed before Montoya proceeded and pulled out a piece of chalk in which he began to mark the stone with a large pentagram. Afterwards he tucked the chalk away as Yaril went around closing the window shudders. Montoya began another verse of his chanting as the stone began to fall through the carpet slowly. A cold draft forced Miranda to pull her cloak around her and Rai to throw her tails over her small body to look like a pile of fluff.
The slab sunk in further into the dark tunnel that seemed endless through the earth until it finally was lost in the void, Montoya ended his chanting and glanced to Miranda. “Ladies first,” he invited, ignoring Miranda's drama of the icy wind. Miranda sighed and threw her legs into the void first, trying to get used to what could be temperature perfect for frostbite. After a moment of hesitation, Rai clinging to her shoulder for reassurance, and her ghost retreating into his mortuary tablet, she took a deep breath and fell into the void, quickly vanishing from Montoya's sight in the mortal world; shortly Montoya sent himself through. He grabbed the edge of the slab's doorway to cover it up with the runner and plummet after Miranda.
After a minute that seemed forever falling in the darkness, Miranda found a level of ground beneath her feet. She couldn't help but to fall to her knees to hope that she really did feel the solid earth again. Soon after, Montoya landed on his feet next to her. “We're here.” He said and gave the cue for Miranda to realize in detail where they found themselves. Her eyes opened up first to an overcast-sky that lit up the atmosphere in a dim glow. From all horizons the land was scorched with century-old ashes. Trees, if someone could call them that, were non-existent.
In front of them, and appearing to be the only thing that can stand over three feet, was a cave with a suspicious formation that made it seem to go deeper into the ground. Montoya entered it first with Miranda just paces behind. “I hope I can remember how to do this….” Montoya murmured and pulled out a pair of keys and a folded piece of paper.
“Remember how to do what?” Miranda wondered once they stopped at the end of the cave. Under a dim torchlight were three locks lined-up in a line, the middle lock appearing to have two catches for keys instead of one. Montoya sighed before going to his explanation.
“I have to open this door in a correct sequence, otherwise I get a fire demon that can make quick work of the lesser-experience.” He answered and tried to read the note at hand in the low light.
Miranda raised a brow in some shock but went on to ask. “So…how many fire demons have you gone through?”
“Four.” Montoya answered reluctantly without removing his eyes from the carved notes, “It was after the last that I started writing instructions down before I left.” Miranda's expression froze momentarily after Montoya answered, only to be freaked out more with Montoya's next gesture before he attempted to mess with the locks. He pointed off to one corner by the door: a heap of black fabrics was neatly folded on a small table. “Your present attire won't do for your first test. You'll need to change your clothes.”
“WHAT?!” Miranda's shriek echoed of the cave walls, but attracted no outside attention nor cause the cave to crumble, “Where am I supposed to change in this ashen desert?! I do not see a fitting room anywhere!”
“Would you calm down, Miranda? It's just the four of us in this part of the demon world.” Montoya tried to reassure. “And you can be sure I won't peep.”
“Peep?” Miranda repeated, still ticked at what she was resorted to. “You say you won't peep, what about Yaril?” Montoya took a quick glance to Yaril and grabbed his demon off his shoulder, hiding Yaril under a flap of his cape too far in for Yaril to claw a hem open. Miranda still cringed at what she has to go through and gestured to Rai.
Rai leaped off her shoulder and gained size in a show of blue lightning. Now Raikounan was big enough to act like a barrier. “Good idea.” Montoya commented as Miranda came to the table with Raikounan following behind and turning so that her intimidating eyes glared Montoya and her tails added censorship.
After a few minutes, Miranda's old attire was folded up on the table in place of the black fabrics from before, though she still had the cloak wrapped tightly around her. “Montoya? This fits me perfectly how did you know my size?”
“I didn't it. It's a one-size fits-all deal. You might want to leave your logic that you know would be on Earth in the dust.” He answered, still blocked by the grizzly-sized demon.
“OK because I have another complaint.” Miranda groaned and leaned her back against Raikounan's shoulder. “This is going to sound stupid because I can't feel what I'm wearing.”
“That doesn't sound stupid at all.” He said, assuming that Miranda was done and let Yaril free again. Raikounan left her position as barrier to show Miranda wrapped in her cloak. “This is your first test, Miranda, The Hell of Silence.” Montoya began picking at the locks. He succeeded, cued by the door creaking open in front of him. He went in first; Miranda following while keeping herself confined in her cloak. “Rai? You'll stay with me while Miranda begins her training.” Montoya instructed. Raikounan nodded and shifted back to her small self in another blast of lightning. Even then her light could not reach any end of the room.
They stopped about a yard from the door. Darkness prevailed every corner of the room if there were any corners at all. Montoya took a deep breath before beginning his explanation. "Once I leave, there will be no light. The room is so sound-dampened that you won't even hear yourself talk. Your clothes and the walls are made of a special fabric that has neither texture... nor a smell. All you will get is water, specially filtered to remove all tastes. You will be in here for one week... you must experience physical 'death' to grow stronger..." He described which all was true. There were no shoes in the wardrobe Montoya provided and Miranda tried to feel the fabric she was standing on. There was no texture - it was as if she was standing on a level of air.
“`Experience physical “death”?' What do you mean by that?” Miranda asked before handed a bottle of water in a case of the same material and stripped of her cloak, revealing a snug fit of a thin, long-sleeve shirt and stretch-pants. She flinched but couldn't disclose anything to Montoya.
“Good luck Miranda, you'll be in here for a week.” Montoya wished before closing the door.
Eyes open or closed, Miranda couldn't tell. She couldn't even tell if she had her bottle of water Montoya gave her or the mortuary tablet wrapped around her arm with the same fabric as her clothes. She tested if she could call out to her Guardian Ghost but heard nothing. Instead the only thing she felt was Yami Marik entering possession.
Miranda, can you hear me? Yami Marik used telepathy, but only his presence was noticeable. That was the only thing Miranda could sense. She retreated to her own thoughts.
Is this the physical “death” Montoya said? She thought, It's nothing to my expectations. And how is this going to make me stronger? Miranda felt like she merely floated in the abyss.
Miranda! Yami Marik finally caught her attention but couldn't see his image. She could only feel his presence close by. Good you can hear me.
Miranda glanced around but soon succumbed to the darkness and thought of her Guardian Ghost from where she was. Yeah, of course. Hell of Silence is outside, not within.
I just need something answered from you while we're in here. The reason we lost to Montoya was because we didn't use The Winged Dragon of Ra to its full potential. Said Yami Marik. Earlier you thought I could manipulate your deck as an Over Soul. But why change your mind?
Miranda tried to recall the weeks ago before the Shaman Tournament began for her. Instead she could remember Yami Marik's memories, how explained to his opponent that Ra can only be controlled by certain individuals. …I didn't think I'd be able to use Ra to my advantage as a card. My specialty is using spirits in its true essence. But it was you that summoned Ra to protect me. I doubt I can summon Ra on my own when you mention that only certain individuals can summon Ra, specifically the ancient scriptures and those who follow.
How did you know? Yami Marik interrogated, getting an answer fast and cringed. Damn possession telepathy link…
There's more to it. Miranda continued. Once before…when I was dueling Kevin, borrowing Mai's Duel Disk, I tried to make my mom as an Over Soul into Command Knight. It was successful. But when I tried to summon another monster, my Over Soul had to transfer mana to that monster to avoid an imbalance. As the duel went on I became weaker, my Over Soul breaking with each monster summoned until finally Command Knight was sent to the graveyard by a Lightning Vortex. Miranda explained. I was out in a coma for a day after that duel.
Yami Marik raised a brow in recall. I think I remember that now… Local tournament a few weeks back. How many more times do you plan to put yourself in the news on separate and unusual occasions?
Hopefully I won't attract anymore attention. She thought. A moment of awkward silence rested before thoughts roamed again.
I said before that only those of the ancient scriptures could decipher the text that The Winged Dragon of Ra has on its card. Yami Marik began. I feel we've only been in here for at least an hour but time is non-existent in death. I can teach you the scriptures and how to recite the chant to summon Ra; then you will be able to use him on your command.
So it's more than an incantation, huh? Alright, teach me. There's no distraction here. Miranda agreed.
Yami Marik spoke up. We just have the problem of the fact we're blind here.
Just let me full access into your mind. I will find what I need. In seconds, scorch marks burned before her eyes in forms of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, though produced no light or heat. She became too entranced by the image that she didn't realize she fell back to a wall of the darkened room. As anything, she couldn't feel it, she couldn't hear it, nor could she see it; but she could sense the scriptures and read them.
Yami stared down Aegis's dagger from the ground, sandwiched between the shield and concrete. In another battle, Yoichi the archer finally struck Chimera's weak point and the two-headed beast shattered. Yugi flinched and took a step back, clutching his heart in pain of mana loss. Tea, Tristan, and Joey watched from the sideline, seeing the flames on Yugi's Duel Disk beginning to flicker.
It's no use! Luck is not on my side! If I don't help Yami now, I'll lose the match! Yugi thought in panic but thoughts intercepted from Anna's training. Mana cost from monsters varies on the power of the monster. A certain monster is a defender; therefore, it required no mana to summon. And with a spell, the defender could keep the defense in numbers powerful enough for offense.
Yugi pulled his deck from the Duel Disk and searched frantically. He pulled two cards and threw them onto the Duel Disk in their respective spots.
“Kuri! Kuri! Kuri! Kuri! Kuri! Kuri! Kuri! Kuri!” High-pitched chirping grew in numbers and it came in fast. All three puppets looked up the split-second before they were bombarded by brown hairballs left and right. Aegis was thrown clear of Yami by the blast of fur and tiny claws. Yoichi tried to take out as many as it could with a volley of arrows. It came to no avail as he was second to be swallowed by the cloud of fluff. Finally, Gran tried to muster its broadsword to swing at the group that came to it. Futile as Gran was the last line of defense before the army of Kuribohs overwhelmed Gideon.
Everyone, including the Patch Tribe officiants stood in shock. For someone who was new to the Shaman styles and low on mana, knew how to take something so small and create a massive explosion.
“Yeah Yuge!” Joey cheered.
“Incredible!” Téa followed.
“But how did he do it?” Tristan wondered over the two's excitement.
“It's a strategy that usually trained shaman would know.” Ironac stated. “Yugi played Kuriboh, which I've heard is a weak monster but with a strong effect. When combined with Multiply, Yugi increased the number of Kuribohs from one to tens of thousands. Now the unique part is that each Kuriboh is made up of a tiny fraction of a point of Yugi's mana. An army of forty thousand Kuribohs may only cost four mana points, barely affecting Yugi of summoning weakness.”
“Wow, that's amazing!” Téa seemed to understand it while Joey and Tristan stood clueless. Once the wave of Kuribohs was clear, the group stood fast around Yugi and even shielded Yami as he got back to his feet. On the opposite end, pieces of the three puppets were scattered about on the ground. The pieces vibrated while trying to reassemble the bodies, many of them stopped moving as only one was able to recover with much struggle: Gran. The puppet weakly raised its broadsword only to fall apart in a heap. Gideon went limp in a standing slump, his marionette lifeless of spiritual energy, and his head lowered to hide his gaze of defeat.
“Looks like…Gideon lost this one…” Ironac said under-breath. To Yugi's relief, he could turn off his Over Soul. Yami was relieved of his Dark Magician possession, and the Kuriboh army vanished. His ring of friends cheered in victory while Gideon stood alone to take in all of the loss.
Stelet glanced over to Gideon who began to pick up the pieces of his puppets and lay them carefully into his trunk. “Needn't worry, Gideon, if you win your next two preliminaries, you may come into the tournament.” Stelet said in an attempt to ease the defeat. After a brief celebration of Yugi's first win, he turned around to Gideon.
“Hey, Gideon? Do you need help?” Yugi asked in generosity. Gideon looked up, trying to keep a mask of optimism.
“It would help greatly, thank you.” He answered and Yugi began to collect the pieces starting with Yoichi's bow.
Miranda reflexes kicked in like a spring when she felt it necessary. In all of what seemed like an eternity, she recognized the solid form of a human hand firmly on her wrist. When nothing was there, she studied what Yami Marik gave her to distract the insanity of physical death. Now something else made a distraction; Yami Marik broke from possession to examine himself what intruded since this was outside Miranda's extreme senses instead of her mind crumbling to the silence. It's Montoya. He informed; Miranda relaxed with grip still on her wrist but loose constriction.
Another hand reached for her shoulder after circling from behind and gently pushed Miranda in a wayward direction, guiding her through the Hell of Silence steps at a time. The next to enter Miranda's sense was an air circulation. Soon, her hearing sensed the soft, slow melody of a piano as her eyes found light beginning to glow: all in the reassurance established by Montoya.
Miranda's eyes adjusted to the low light in the room she was led into. A large table sat at one wall with several chairs surrounding it. Montoya seated her at one of them and ended his guidance. His voice was as soft as the piano, “Congratulations you survived the first test. After your senses readjust in here, we'll move on.” The lights gradually grew brighter and the piano rising to a tolerable tone. Briefly Montoya left her side while she was mesmerized to see the light again, and returned with a warm brew of tea. “It's a weak herbal tea, like the water I gave you last week but with some flavor to it.”
Miranda whispered, “Thank you,” flinching at the sheer volume of her own voice after being deaf and mute. Montoya sparked a smile and seated himself next to her while the dimmer lights made the room pale.
“I knew you had potential, this is exactly how I was the first time I went through it. Normal humans would have gone insane by now.” He complimented while Miranda sipped her new drink.
“I….” Miranda began, still in a soft voice, “I had something that redirected my thoughts…for the time being.” Montoya nodded in reason.
“I'm sure you've gained a stronger bond with your Guardian Spirit, no doubt.” He presumed while enjoying a cup of his own. “I'll give you two hours at the most to prepare yourself for your next session of training. Fortunately it won't take as long as the Hell of Silence.”
“What is my next test?” Miranda wondered while fidgeting with the cup in her fingers.
“I'll let you know in due time. You can change back into your regular clothes now.” Montoya suggested. By now the room was as radiant as the high-noon sun and the piano was playing as if it was a dance hall, and Montoya's silver cape threw off ripples of light in reflection.
Raikounan took her position as censor as Miranda slowly got to her feet and went to exchange attire again. Montoya grasped Yaril and hid him under the cape again. After a few moments, Miranda was equipping her accessories and paused when she slipped Tsunami's necklace around her neck. Memories flooded as to what happened in a course of a few weeks: she felt she lost everything from her home to her family, and was thrown in a heap of confusion to the Shaman Tournament, losing her first fight to a demon summoner far beyond her own skills at fault of the Patch Tribe. She leaned against Raikounan's shoulder after she had her other two mortuary tablets on her right arm and her Sword on her left hip.
Is something wrong, Miranda? Raikounan concerned herself.
“No, it's nothing.” Miranda answered, finding it easier to talk in her normal tone of voice and gestured that she was done. “OK, I think I'm ready for my next test.” She turned to Montoya just when Yaril fluttered out from under his cape.
“Are you sure about that? The next test is not as easy to go through as the Hell of Silence.” Montoya advised and advanced to the opposite door, fumbling with his keys and began tumbling the locks. Even just a crack of the door, a blare of crumbling music escaped briefly before closing it again. He turned to see Miranda holding her head and Rai's ears folded over, even Yami Marik cringed at the explosion of erratic sounds. “Told you.” Montoya commented.
“OK, I'll take that hour…” Miranda sighed and took her seat again at the table. For moments at a time, small chat sessions kept the silence at bay until the room and music were at moderate levels, hinting that Miranda was ready for the next test.
Miranda took a deep breath and rose from her chair at the table. All the while Montoya waited patiently for her to progress her training. He again undid the locks once more and opened the door, the clamor still at the max of volumes, and Miranda winced before following Montoya through, he didn't seem at all bothered by the ear-splitting noise.
“Miranda, welcome to the Hell of Noise, your second trial.” Montoya voice seemed to boom to a level over the sound but it was so he could only be heard over it. “Much different from where you were last week isn't it? The walls are specially made to be as eye-jarring as they can be. The music never stops, nor does it ever quiet. There are random flashes of light, in colors and patterns that clash with the walls. Feel that wall...” Montoya pointed to a nearby wall that shifted colors simultaneously but appeared to keep the texture of cotton. Miranda approached the wall, winces at the light flashes that blinded her in every shade. Her hand reached a rugged surface; gritty as sandpaper yet evident she was pressing against softer fabrics. “A texture that you weren't expecting, given its appearance, right? Note the smell... it changes every minute, but it's never pleasant. This room is all forms of noise, and the only way to cross is to shut off your senses, and let your spirit guide you. Good luck, see you on the other side of the room.” With that, Montoya slammed the door shut behind him.
In the break room, Montoya looked down on a concerned Rai. I've never heard of Hell of Silence or the Hell of Noise. And yet I'm in familiar territory as a demon. Rai commented.
“That's because I made the Hells myself for my own training.” Montoya answered, making Rai spark in shock. “A demon such as yourself, you should find this reasonable. Miranda has potential, more so than what I've expected. Mind telling me what the Zodiacs are truly capable of?” He requested.
I believe I have their big picture from living with them for 5000 years. I can let you in on what I know… Rai answered. I would just like to know how long this has to last before we begin to worry.
“With Miranda and how well she was able to come out of the Hell of Silence, I'll give her five hours' tops.”
Miranda clapped her ears closed and clenched her eyes shut, but the turmoil pierced through her attempts to blockade it. Miranda, remember, Montoya said you have to shut off your senses to get through here. Despite the confusion, Miranda could hear her Guardian Ghost.
How am I supposed to do that?! Miranda asked while trying to keep the chaos of Noise out of her head.
Simply closing your eyes and covering your ears won't do it. He answered. You have to believe you're deaf and blind. You have to tell yourself you cannot hear or see anything. Putting it bluntly, you have to put yourself back in the Hell of Silence.
“And how in the Hell am I supposed to do that with all this racket!!” Miranda shrieked above everything. She only heard laborious breathing of intolerance afterwards. Her eyes opened to darkness. Startled at first, “Am…I back in the Hell of Silence?”
You wouldn't be able to hear yourself if you did. I've heard Tsunami talk about this trait in the Water Zodiacs, and it looks like I'm the only one that remembers it. Yami Marik phased into view next to her.
“What trait?” Miranda asked before the chaos fled into her senses again and forced her into withdrawal.
What you just did. Miranda, try to listen to me. Yami Marik tried to enter possession again, succeeded but with struggle. That trait is especially known to be active in Pisces, like yourself, and the symbol, twin fish looking in opposite directions, is self-explanatory. A Pisces in the clan of Zodiacs can project what is seen behind them before the eyes of the present. You'll have to do this again to make it through.
Miranda tried to concentrate hard on what she previously did, Yami Marik's possession was her only reassurance and the fact Rai waited with Montoya on the other side drove her determination. Gradually the noise died down and the flashes dimmed to darkness. “This is what you meant, right?” She asked as the volumes tried to blast again.
You have to keep focus. He reminded. After the moment that Miranda could maintain her perception, she eased her tension enough to stand on her own two feet in balance.
OK, I'm in my past vision of the Hell of Silence. Now what? Miranda asked, skeptical of an answer. Soon before her was a blue glow, a distant torch that led the way out. Miranda began running towards it; as she came closer, she saw that it was the astrological sign of Pisces.
After several minutes of a sprint that turned to a jog, Miranda found a wall in her darkness. At that point, the Pisces was as big as a basketball in front of her and produced a blue shade of light at her face. I think I'm at the other side of the Hell. Miranda thought and let the Hell of Noise behind her gradually intrude on her senses. She pounded on the door hard enough to hear over the noise.
The door fell open as Montoya greeted. “You know…this door wasn't locked…” He said over the Noise and let Miranda through to close the door behind them. “At least you made it in one piece.”
“Yeah…just barely.” She sighed while leaning against the door, completely soundproof to the next room over. The second break room was like the first: table, chairs, soft piano music, and herbal tea brewing on a hot iron. The only difference was a set of heavy winter protection wardrobe hanging next to the opposite door.
“All the while you'll have another hour to yourself before you must advance to the next and final trial, the Hell of Ice.” Montoya said casually, kind of making Miranda uncomfortable.
“So that explains the coat and boots.” Miranda commented after Rai bounced into her hands. “…and where's my gear?” She asked, trying to be in the same casual manner.
“I only have one set, mine. Sorry.” Montoya shrugged while exchanging his everyday shoes for the boots. Miranda's bottom jaw hung open for a moment before her head rolled forward in misfortune. “Well look on the bright side. That Egyptian God Card should provide plenty of heat for you. The Winged Dragon of Ra, if Rai told me correctly.” He commented while he strapped his boots tightly. “Believe me, Miranda, this is the final trial that pulls all you've learned and achieved from your first two. If you can pass this, you might actually put up a fight against me.”
Can I at least go with Miranda this time? Rai asked out of concern.
“No. This is a test for the shaman, not the demon.” Montoya answered while throwing a coat over his shoulders, Yaril dived into a pocket that was lined on the inside of the coat. “Though from what you told me you can Over Soul just as easily, but Yami Marik is her assigned Guardian Ghost. I've got a pocket for you too.” Rai sighed and climbed in to the pocket that was thickly lined. “Help yourself to some tea but I wouldn't advance to the final trial right after a cup. The human body produces the most heat when it feels the coldest temperature.”
“You mean kinda like no swimming until an hour after you eat?” Miranda tried to understand.
“That's it. Good luck.” Said Montoya and he quickly slipped through the opposite door. A blistering draft made its way in, forcing Miranda to withdraw into her cloak again.
“He's got to be kidding. I have to go out there in a thin, silk top and black stretch pants?” Miranda grumbled her complaints.
“I just think he was just being sarcastic of The Winged Dragon of Ra.” Yami Marik shared the same mood. “We just better get this over with.” He sighed, but caught glimpse of Miranda's blank stare as if she saw through the door. “What's wrong?”
“I'm sensing an extremely large manifest of mana….” Miranda concentrated through, but it didn't take much to feel it. “It's at least as powerful as Montoya's mana when I first fought him.”
“At least?!” the spirit repeated in disbelief. Miranda simply ignored him and headed for the door with the God Card and sword at hand. She cracked it open and felt the same draft that entered into the break room. After the door slammed behind her it clicked shut.
The temperature was at least thirty degrees below zero. All the surfaces were covered in thick layers of ice, stalagmites and stalactites were scatter all over the next room that was as long as a football field and twice as wide. In spite the harsh climate control Miranda tried to shut off her senses again with the Hell of Silence.
Even in her new powers, she still saw blue aura instead of the darkness she felt before. The mana in the room covered every corner, only slightly varying shades could tell what area had more mana focused. “So this is getting across this room without frostbite? Might be a challenge….” Miranda trailed off while making her paces in, trying to ignore the cold wave gnawing at her ears. Before she could go further than two yards, a flash of teal in her sights came from underneath her. She jumped back before the quick burst of mana broke the surface of the ice.
She struggled to keep her sights in place. A large fist of ice slammed the ground, throwing shards everywhere. What in the world, I can't see what tried to hit us! Miranda cried and lost her sights to get a clearer picture. A large creature of ice stood before them, with a shape like a skeleton. Its claw made the impression of first-strike just feet in front of her. From the shock of the new enemy, she lost her concern for how cold she'd complain about.
Yami Marik came into view. “We need some room to pull it off!” He cried as the subzero demon lifted its fist for another attack, guaranteed not another miss. Miranda barely dodged another blow but lost balance and slid on the floor for several feet; the cold, hard floor scraped her arm in a burning sensation.
She tried to recover and unsheathed her sword. “Yami Marik, spirit form! Into the Sword!” She mustered up her guardian ghost and forced his spirit flame into the sword. Miranda barely dodged a hail of ice as it fell everywhere as Yami Marik's black flame engulfed the sword, producing little to no heat at all. “Dang it, this thing's not going to give me even a minute.” Miranda cursed under her breath. She examined the demon's body closely in the time limit she had before it was going to attack again.
The demon stood three stories high while the room was twice as tall. Its claws has already proven their strength, though the legs seem to break at the shins while it was storming the room, though when it landed a step the ice converged once more. A broad chest seemed to house something valuable under the thick case of ice. And it only adds up to an intimidating head, spikes covered the back to make its head stand out over the rest of its chilling epidermis. Adding to it was the gaping mouth, the jaw swinging every time it jerked its head to locate its target.
It got momentum back and launched another punch. There didn't seem like there was a successful evasion when it nailed the wall and floor at an angle.
Miranda was as pale as the ice around her while lying straight against the wall. She felt the impact of nearly getting hit by the demon, and thoughts raced her mind panicking over what would happen if that hit did connect. “Suppose now would be a good time as any…” Miranda murmured and tried not to get the demon's attention that she was still alive. She slipped Ra from under Yami Marik's mortuary tablet and began chanting under the demon's fist.
The aura around her began to gradually heat up and forced the ice demon to jump back. Miranda got to her feet as a puddle formed below her. The room lifted its own mana and fell colder as fast as Miranda heated up her possession. The ice demon attempted to fight back and fired a hail of ice from punching a wall overhead of Miranda.
Miranda's aura reacted fast and melted the hail just as it reached her three-feet-radius heat barrier. She raised The Winged Dragon of Ra in her fingers, “Great beast of the sky, please hear my cry. Transform thyself from orb of light and bring me victory in this fight.” Miranda began, her aura shifting above her body into a sphere that slowly materialized to a golden orb half the size of the ice demon. The opponent stood back, waiting for what was becoming in the shaman, none of the likes that it has fought before against its creator. “Envelop the desert with your glow and cast your rage upon my foe. Unlock your powers from deep within so that together we may win.” She chanted. Yami Marik's aura flared up on her sword and began tracing itself to the sphere while it unveiled the powers locked inside.
The ice demon began its own counter summoning. As the ice melted off the wall that Miranda stood in front of, one layer at a time, it gathered the liquid and refreeze it on its hide to further shield its skeletal shape and increase in size. The heavy arms and chest forced it to hunch over but was necessary to the impact that was coming, all the while decreasing the temperature rapidly.
“Appear in the Shadow Game as I call your name. Winged Dragon of Ra!” Miranda finished the incantation and the room flashed brilliantly for a moment, but emitted no heat to fend off the demon. After the light, the infamous Egyptian God Monster stood before Miranda in her defense, gold plates shining brilliantly all around and a heat barrier just as wide.
However the ice demon was too armored to feel the heat of the God, as of now it has consumed half the ice to defend itself. Though impossible to move, it still had heavy arms to swing viciously and plenty of spikes to fire at random and adds to the armor.
I knew Miranda could summon Ra on her own terms… Yami Marik thought in confidence in the sword. Miranda's concentration intensified as Ra went further and embodied itself in flames and surrounded her, sending her two stories up. The flames when out quickly to new equipment on Miranda.
Ra's arch sat over the gold shoulder plates and the wings expanded from her back to keep her in flight. What was once Miranda's sword with Yami Marik's possession was now Ra's head that was bound to her right hand, and the layers of the dragon's body lined her entire arm.
The ice demon completed itself. Only inches of ice remained on the walls around it, the floor dropped down at least fifteen feet from its initial level, and its visibility was from the waist up.
It didn't stop Miranda and her mana increased to new heights, she posed her cannon and charge for its first attack. The ice demon decided to strike first and impale Miranda with another wave of shards, even going as far as launching several lard spikes from its armor.
In return, a wide stream of fire broke through the demon's defenses and cut the left arm clear off. No water melted from the shoulder, all of it lifted to steam. The hand that fell to the ground reattached itself as a part of the defenses.
The weak spot is not easy to miss. Its focus must be in the chest. Yami Marik pointed out from within the cannon.
“It will be easy to miss.” Miranda corrected after incinerating the limb. “If we can't make a successful first hit, that ice will just reform itself. I'll just be wasting mana.” She advised and blasted the right claw that came to her. Again only vapor lifted from the attack but sent her spiraling into the air behind the demon.
It only turned its head and fired a barrage of spikes from its back. Miranda shielded herself with the wings but allowed the water to melt and reform onto the demon, cycling its barrage.
Miranda, we only have one shot, we have to call Egyptian God Phoenix! Yami Marik suggested urgently in the arm cannon. Both of them focused as the wings came ablaze once more, soon Miranda was again engulfed in flames. The remaining ice melted and replaced the demon's armor; there wasn't much luck as the dragon of fire melted everything in the room. The ice demon lost its cold barrier and slowly melted with effort to regroup.
Miranda saw her opening: a black stone inside the demon came into view while the layers melted like a candle. She dived to strike it with full force, the demon weakly tried to defend itself with its limb but evaporated quickly. The fires shot through the chest clean, removing the black stone entirely and shattered it. The ice demon let out a screech before collapsing into the pool of water. Steam lifted when the splashes landed on Phoenix.
The Over Soul nearly overwhelmed Miranda to the point of faint and drifted to the opposite wall, the flames died out once she reached it. She panted heavily for a few moments before proceeding to the door, steams still rising from her clothes that were surprisingly still intact from the inferno. She slipped to the door and turned the knob, sliding it open to a room that felt like it had air-conditioning for a moment.
Rai and Montoya both stared blankly for several moments, watching the steam clouds in extreme contrast to the room Miranda had just came out of. Montoya tipped himself to see behind Miranda to the room that was once the Hell of Ice, “I see I'll have to refreeze that room later…” He trailed off in astonishment. After a moment of awkward silence and a chance for Miranda to dry off in the heating room, Montoya led Miranda into one more room. Books filed the walls in five shelves and sketches of various demons pinned up on the walls. Unidentifiable trinkets were scattered on a main table with more books stacked on top of each other. “Well, congratulations, Miranda. You've completed the Three Hells, with more than I've expected might I add.” He complimented. “This is my laboratory, Pandemonium. Here I've researched the psychological and physical effects of the Three Hells. Surprisingly you've defied what I've logged for my Hell of Silence entry.”
Before Miranda could explain herself, both Oracle Pagers sounded off like sirens. Montoya and Miranda scanned their displays. “My next opponent…at the outskirts of Domino in one week, I'm fighting someone named…Raquiez?” Miranda looked up to Montoya, who fell pale. His dark eyes staring in shock and disbelief, and his aura colder than the Hell of Ice while the Oracle Pager was on his forearm.
Montoya? What is wrong? Rai tried to ask but got no answer from the demon summoner.