The Entrance ExamsEdit
Multiver strolled through the city as dawn cracked overhead, guided by a map in his head Braniac provided him with. He strolled out past the edge of the city towards the arena where the Duel Academy entrance exams were set to be held, wasting no time or even a single step, crossing the distance from his hotel to the arena in little under half an hour. He arrived just as the Duel Academy personnel were finishing set up and sat perched on a rail at the edge of the arena parking lot, maybe two hundred feet from the door, drinking soft drink through a bendy straw with a bored expression as the staff in charge of check-in got their table set up.
He hopped off the rail and headed across the parking lot as they finished and paused just in time to not be flattened by a sleek black limo which pulled up at ridiculous speed before stopping on a dime right in front of the check in desk. Multiver, completely unflustered, casually walked around the back of the limo with a bemused expression and his straw still in the corner of his mouth, just in time to see a man in a suit open the limo's rear door and a beautiful girl with dark blonde hair and warm brown, almost gold, eyes step out, looking quite fetching in a dark gray suit coat, white silken blouse and dark grey skirt. He proceeded over towards the check in desk and paused as the girl walked over while her servants/employees unloaded her suitcases from the trunk of the limo.
Multiver paused before signing in, pen in hand and turned to look at the girl as she approached before offering her the pen with a smile, "Ladies first." The girl took the pen with a half smile, "What a gentleman." She quickly signed her name on the sheet and after having her identity checked against a photo, headed inside. Multiver raised an eyebrow, and paused to check the name on the sheet written in neat letters, "Alexis Rhodes." He grinned and signed his own name beneath hers before turning the sign-up sheet around for the check-in lady to pull up his photo, inserted into the database the night before by Braniac along with a plethora of information on Multiver's current false background.
Multiver proceeded inside and was directed to the written exam, where he quietly chose the seat next to Alexis. He closed his eyes as Braniac quickly accessed the answers to the written test and suddenly Alexis asked him, "Are you okay? You look a little green." Multiver's eyes snapped open and he looked at her, suddenly aware that his illusory skin tone had faltered momentarily while Braniac accessed the test bank, revealing the greenish tinge beneath. With a flick of thought he restored it and smiled as the proctor handed him his exam, silently resolving to work out a more solid disguise later, "Never better. You?"
She blinked in slight confusion before accepting her exam and beginning to fill it out. She paused halfway through the second question as she registered a sound she couldn't identify, almost like a pencil scratching across paper, but on fast forward. She looked over and saw Multiver filling out the exam at incredible speed, his pencil little more than a blur as it flew across the paper. She watched in awe and less than ten minutes into the exam, he flipped his paper over to signal that he was done before looking over at her with a cheerful smile and wave as the test proctor collected his exam with a wary expression.
He stood up and went to wait by the exit with a laid back but confident expression while his test was graded. The test proctor looked at the test results as the grading machine finished and looked at Multiver suspiciously, "Would you mind taking this again?" Multiver shrugged, "Sure, I can do that." The proctor issued a different test this time, and once again, Multiver finished it in less than ten minutes. Once again, the proctor got the results back, and once again he was stunned to see that they were perfect.
The proctor shook his head, "Ok, go on to the dueling floor. I'll post your results." Multiver smiled and headed out to the dueling floor, the proctor looked at the other proctors, "Well surely if he's cheating, it'll show on the duel floor." Alexis finished her test a few minutes later and was pleased to see that she had scored extremely well, not perfect, but within ten percent of it. She was waved onto the duel floor and arrived just in time to see the end of Multiver's duel. She was shocked to see that he was dueling two proctors alone.The two proctors each had two monsters apiece, and Multiver had five. Four of them looked exactly the same, and appeared to be ghosts; tokens, Alexis thought, though not like any tokens she had ever seen. The fifth monster looked like one of the ghosts, but carrying a bronze scythe and wearing a hooded red cloak. There was field spell in effect, shrouding the field in swirling dark purple mist. Multiver's turn began and he asked the proctors, "Feeling the fear yet gents?" Both proctors firmly denied being afraid, although Alexis could tell from the stands they were terrified. Multiver smiled and looked utterly evil for an instant, "You're about to. I activate Phantom Fusion!" He raised the card he had just drawn over his head dramatically before activating it, creating whirlwinds of violet energy around each of his five monsters.
As the five whirlwinds whirled together, Multiver called over the wind, "In case you didn't know, Phantom Fusion allows Nightmare Soldier: Phantom General to compile his troops into one monster zone, retaining most of their attack points, and all their attacks!" Alexis's eyes widened at the implication of that as the whirlwinds, now one, spiraled higher and higher, but her surprise was nowhere near that of the proctors as the purple whirlwind flew apart to reveal an immense behemoth of a monster nearly twenty feet high with Nightmare Soldier: Phantom General's cloak and head, arms and legs that looked like they were made of pale purple flames, an attack meter reading 3000, and according to Multiver, unless she had misunderstood, five attacks.Multiver grinned, "Now for one more card, because even with Phantom General's five attacks, one of you would retain some life points. You remember my "Menacing Approach" spell right boys? Well I'm activating its effect!" The aforementioned card rose from the mist and glowed with crimson energy before breaking apart as something exploded out of it. Multiver raised his hand in a grand gesture, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Master of Darkness: The Fiend Ringmaster!"
The Fiend Ringmaster had 3500 attack points and while it looked nothing like a "ringmaster" in the traditional sense, it certainly had the "fiend" part down pat. It was a terrifying cacophony of color and menace as it stood there in the mist, a twisted manic grin on its black and white face. Multiver pointed at the proctors, "Phantom General, attack!" One of the proctors yelled, "Not so fast! I activate a trap!" "And I negate that activation with Phantom General's effect!" A glowing purple scythe flew out of Phantom General's back, whirled around the arena like a boomerang and cut the trap card in half as Phantom General's immense fist slammed into the first monster.
The proctor growled as Phantom General's fist smashed his first monster, and then his second. Then the Phantom General raised a foot and stomped first one and then the other of the other proctors monsters out of existence, blowing away hundreds of the proctors life points in the process since his monsters had both been in attack mode. Then Phantom General's scythe reappeared in his hand and he slashed the proctor with it, reducing his life points the rest of the way to zero. The proctor fell to his knees shaking as Multiver pointed at the other proctor, "Fiend Ringmaster, attack his life points directly with Trump Sword!" A volley of blades rocketed forward from The Fiend Ringmasters outstretched hands and carved away the rest of the proctors life points.
Everyone in the arena stared in shock as the duel arena powered down. Then suddenly someone started clapping, Alexis turned and saw it to be a man in a red suit with long white hair sitting in the stands between two imposing looking men in suits. "No way," she whispered, "Maximillion Pegasus?"
Then a staff member asked her if she was ready for her test, she nodded, still half in a state of shock and proceeded to the nearest arena. Multiver passed her on his way out and smiled at her, "Good luck Alexis." Alexis stopped and turned to look at his swiftly retreating back, trying to remember when she had told him her name, a nagging voice in her head telling her quite insistently that she hadn't and asking how he had known.
Multiver didn't make it to registration before Pegasus intercepted him, "Multiver boy! What impressive dueling! And what magnificent cards!" Multiver paused with a smile and bowed slightly, "Thank you sir, that means quite a lot coming from you. I apologize for my impoliteness in borrowing your press, and for not properly introducing myself." He extended a hand, "Multiver Saljump." Pegasus took the hand and shook it enthusiastically, "And a dimension jumper you said in your letter?" Multiver nodded, "Yes sir, that is correct. Such being the case, I am afraid I cannot take you up on that hugely generous offer you were about to make me, at least, not directly."
Pegasus blinked, "How did you...?" Multiver smiled, and for just an instant allowed his true form to show, "Millennium items aren't the only way to read minds Mr. Pegasus." Then he smiled as his human form returned as Pegasus looked at him in shock, the Millennium Eye had been one of Pegasus's best kept secrets. Then Multiver smiled, "At least, I can't take you up on it directly, you see I don't intend to be staying in this dimension for more than a few years at the most. However, I have created a double of myself with all my knowledge and abilities to stay here even after I'm gone, and he can certainly take you up on it. I have his phone number here if you would like it." He pulled a small slip of paper from a breast pocket of his coat and offered it to Pegasus who accepted it enthusiastically, "Brilliant! I'll get in contact with him immediately! Is he going by Multiver as well?"
Multiver smiled and shook his head, "No sir, my double is ostensibly my brother Oliver, and may I just remark that you are taking all of this remarkably well." Pegasus smiled and shrugged, "I've dealt with magic and other worlds a few times before, so I have perhaps a slightly easier time than most would accepting that you're from a different dimension. And I thank you for the cards, your brother will certainly be welcome to a job at Industrial Illusions. I'll contact him as soon as I leave here." Multiver smiled, "Thank you sir, he will be overjoyed, and now I must beg your pardon, registration is probably wondering where I am. You know where I'll be if you wish to chat."
"Of course," Pegasus replied cheerfully, "and good luck to you at the Academy, although I dare say you won't need it the way you were dueling earlier." "Thank you sir, perhaps someday you and I can duel. I understand your toon monsters are extremely formidable." Pegasus laughed, "Perhaps we will young Multiver! Perhaps we will!"
Multiver was issued a blue coat at the registration desk and informed that he was to be in Obelisk Blue, the best dorm on campus. He smiled cheerfully as he was issued a schedule and all the other information that went with move-in. He stepped into a changing room and quickly re-assimilated the multitude of nano-fibers that his coat was composed of, as were all his clothes, and donned the blue coat he had been issued instead, not bothering to button it as he stocked it with the half dozen decks he had assembled from the cards he had made at the card factory.
Then he looked in the mirror and grinned slightly as he felt the prickly sensation a wave of microfibers flow across his flesh, weaving amongst his skin cells automatically and instantly assuming the pale skin tone he had been projecting over himself and forming a perfect and virtually undetectable mask. The only way anyone would ever detect it would be if they literally ripped his face off, and Multiver knew nobody would be foolish enough to try that, or successful even if they were.
With slightly more effort, still barely a mental twinge, he ordered the nanobots throughout his system to deconstruct the thin yellow lenses that enveloped his eyes and hissed in annoyance as air hit his bare eyes for the first time in at least weeks, at most decades. He twitched that mental muscle again and the nanobots flowed through his hair, worming their way into the cells of his hair and generating a dark brown holographic coating around every hair. It was quicker than dye, intangible and impossible to detect with the naked eye, and subject to change at a moment's notice.
He placed a forearm and fist on the mirror and smiled at himself, looking once again completely human. He straightened up and stepped out, just in time to nearly bump into Alexis as she headed to the changing rooms, a bundle of white and blue clothes in hand. He smiled, "Hello again Alexis." She frowned at him and narrowed her eyes slightly, "Do we know each other?" Multiver smiled and shook his head, "No, I read your name on the sign in sheet. I would like to know you though. I take it your duel went well?"
Alexis nodded, "Yes, I won." "Awesome," Multiver replied and pointed at the bundle of clothes, "Obelisk Blue?" She half-smiled, "Of course, and I see you are too." Multiver smiled down at the blue coat, "Complete surprise. I didn't see it coming at all." "I don't believe that for a minute. You blew through the written exam twice in twenty minutes, scored perfectly both times and took on two duel proctors at the same time."
Multiver shrugged with a grin, "Ok maybe I saw it coming a little bit." Alexis raised an eyebrow at him and his grin turned bashful, "Ok ok, top of my class at Duel Prep School with a 4.0 GPA and I've memorized pretty much every card ever made. I would have been shocked if I got anything other than Obelisk." Alexis smiled slightly, "There's an honest answer."
Multiver shrugged, "I try not to toot my own horn. I've got my cards for that." Alexis smiled, and he smiled back, and neither said anything for a moment that grew into two and then Multiver smiled, "Yeah...so you were about to change?" He stepped to the side and motioned toward the changing rooms, "I can't wait to see how good you look in blue." Alexis smiled, "Well, you won't have to wait long." She promptly stepped past him and headed for the changing rooms.
Multiver grinned and went to the rail that overlooked the duel floor as more students started to enter, still only the very earliest of what he knew would be a flood of applicants, but still, the duel arenas were filling up. Multiver took out his cards and idly shuffled them for a moment before tucking them back into his pocket. His far beyond human hearing registered footsteps behind him and he turned to see Alexis strolling towards him. She stopped when he turned, put one hand on her hip and smiled at him, "So? How do I look?" Multiver grinned crookedly, "Like the girl every girl would be jealous of and every guy wants."
Alexis blinked and smiled at the unorthodox compliment, "That good huh?" "And then some," Multiver replied before casting a glance down into the arena, "Ooh, that looked painful." Alexis walked over to the rail and looked, "What... oh you mean that guy on his knees who just lost his duel?" Multiver looked where she was pointing, "Oh no not him, he actually won. I don't know what he's doing, I meant that guy just fell down the stairs." Suddenly the guy Alexis had pointed to jumped up and started dancing with joy, "Oh he's relieved!" Alexis nodded, "He sure is, do you think we should go help that guy that fell down?"
Multiver shook his head, "Nah, he looks like he's trying to pretend it didn't happen." Alexis looked around, "Who did you say it was again? I didn't see him." Multiver pointed to a tall man in a blue coat with a long blonde ponytail, "That guy. The one sitting there looking like he's got a rotten fish under his nose?" Alexis followed his finger and her eyes widened as she reached over and lowered his finger, "I wouldn't point, that's Dr. Crowler, Department Head of Techniques and the head of Obelisk Blue. He's not known for his good temper."
Multiver quickly retracted his finger and then re-extended it towards the duel arena, "So who's this guy? Just played Chthonian Soldier, and ooh Chthonian Alliance, nasty." Alexis looked and immediately identified the boy in the black coat with the odd spiky haircut, "Chazz Princeton. I know him from Duel Prep school, he's totally full of himself. He thinks just because he's rich and a good duelist he's better than everybody." Multiver hmmed, "Maybe someone will take him down a peg this year." Then he pointed to something on the other side of Alexis, "Is this your boyfriend coming along here giving me the cold snake-eye glare of dismissal? He looks rather annoyed."
Alexis turned, "No, he's just an old friend. Don't worry, he always looks like that. Hey Zane. How was your break?" Zane replied with a complete lack of emotion, "Long." Multiver said to Brainiac in his head, and I thought you were the robot. "Who's your friend?" Zane asked. Alexis opened her mouth to reply and then realized she didn't know, Multiver grinned crookedly and extended a hand, "Multiver Saljump, sorry if I forgot to introduce myself earlier Alexis." Zane shook the hand, "Zane Truesdale. Nice to meet you." "And you as well."
Zane's frown deepened marginally, "Do you always smile like that?" Multiver's smile widened, "Only when I'm in a good mood. I can see I'm going to be the humor in this group." Zane frowned, "Please don't." Multiver's grin grew to its widest, "No guarantees." Zane hmmed in a way that bordered on a growl. Alexis stepped between them, "So Multiver, was it? What were those cards you were using earlier? I've never seen them before."
Multiver's grin turned to an honest smile, "That's because they are very new. My brother's up for a job at Industrial Illusions today you see. He sent in his portfolio with a stack of cards the two of us had made and a tiny portable duel arena he had put together from scratch to sell to people who can't afford duel disks, and Industrial Illusions sent him back official versions of the cards he had sent in, said they wanted to interview him and they wanted to put the cards into mass production. He knew I was coming to the Academy today, so he gave me the cards I made to use at the Academy. That's why you've never heard of them."
Alexis thought for a moment, "Can I see them?" "Sure," Multiver quickly extracted his deck and handed it to her. She took them with the reverence she would treat anyone's deck and began looking through them her eyes growing wider and wider as she took in the power of the cards in her hand, "Whoa...These cards are insane, no wonder you were able to take on two duel proctors at once!" Zane looked at her out the corner of his eye as Alexis handed Multiver his deck back, "He did what?"
Multiver grinned, "They thought I had cheated on the written exam because I finished in ten minutes and made a perfect score. Dr. Crowler said if I was really that good then, oh how did he put?" Suddenly in a perfect mimicry of Crowler, "you can take on two opponents with standard test decks. For one of your talents that should be no trouble at all." Alexis and Zane looked at him, Zane's eyebrow raised and Alexis tried hard not to laugh. Multiver continued, pretending to lean over and whisper in someone's ear, "Use the advanced level decks and give it everything you've got. I will not have a cheater in my academy!" Alexis placed a hand over her mouth, "He said that?!"
Multiver shrugged with an innocent smile, "Perhaps I just have an untrustworthy face?" He didn't. Zane looked at him, "Did you cheat?" Multiver shrugged, "Depends, does having an eidetic memory and foreknowledge of every rule and card ever made count as cheating? I don't think so, but I could be wrong." Zane hmmed, "Suppose I think you cheated?" Multiver smiled as Alexis turned to Zane wide eyed at the bluntness of his statement, and then Multiver replied, "Suppose I take that as a challenge to a duel?" "Then I would ask if you accept." "Of course. Shall we duel here or would you like to step outside?"