They reentered the arena just as the cheers settled down and searched the arena floor for cause of them. "Who were they cheering for?" Zane asked. Suddenly Alexis shrieked in terrified surprise. Zane and Multiver whirled and Multiver's blood ran cold at the sight of what was curled around the rail, "Boreas." The automated mechanical serpent wiggled its sensory spikes in greeting and in a mechanical voice, "recognized, Multiver Saljump." It then transmitted its coordinates to its master on a frequency even Braniac had trouble decrypting. Zane and Alexis looked over Multiver's shoulder, "You know that thing?" Zane asked.
A feminine voice said from behind them, "He'd better remember us!" If Multiver's blood had been running cold before, now it was ice. He turned to look over his shoulder at the gorgeous young woman with the pale purple eyes and white blonde hair that had the faintest pink tinge to it as she looked over her red tinted sunglasses at him, "Hi Lilia. How ya been?" Lilia extended a hand, which the deadly Endorian automaton quickly leapt to wrap around before slithering up to drape across her shoulders, turning its mechanical red eyes on Multiver, "I've been wonderful," Lilia replied, "And look at you in Obelisk Blue!"
Multiver nodded, "Yes and I imagine you've scored sufficiently well to be in Obelisk Blue as well?" She smiled and shrugged, "I expect so, I scored so perfectly on the written exam they made me retake it and I mopped the floor with two duel proctors at once. A bit of a shame though," she said as she gestured to her deep red top, "you know blue's never really been my color." Multiver nodded, "Yes, but I doubt you'll turn down the finest dorm available simply in the interest of a fashion choice." Lilia shrugged with a smile, "Of course not. I look good in anything. Wouldn't you agree?" "You know I do," Multiver replied.
Lilia smiled at him, "Good, now can you show me to registration? I'm afraid nobody's given me very good directions." Multiver smiled, "Sure. I'd love a chance to catch up. Zane, Alexis, if you will excuse me. I'll be back in a few minutes." "Sure," Zane said. Multiver turned and proffered his arm to Lilia. She quickly looped hers through his and they set off without a backwards glance, "I'm surprised to see you so soon," Lilia whispered, "I usually don't see you again for at least a week."
"It's been a month," Multiver replied, "And I'm afraid to ask what a horrid mess he made of dimension 99200011 if you're just now searching for a fresh target." "Complete scorched earth," she replied with a slight smile, "No survivors. You know how daddy likes his fun." Multiver groaned and made a face, "I put so much work into that one!"
Lilia stopped him with a smile, reached up, turned his face to hers and stroked his cheek, "Look on the bright side, I've already scanned this dimension in its entirety, daddy wouldn't get the slightest challenge here, you can put in all the effort you want in this dimension, I promise I won't bring him here." "That doesn't make me feel any better about what's been lost," he replied sadly with a tinge of grumpyness. "Does this?" Lilia asked as she leaned in close and kissed him. After a minute she let him breathe, "A little bit," he admitted with a slight smile, "Do you plan to stay long?"
Lilia wrapped his arms around his neck, "I was thinking I might take a little vacation here with you. After all Daddy's got the others to cover for me, I can afford to take a few years off." Multiver smiled, "I think I'd like that." "You know you would," she replied with a smile before kissing him again.
They returned to the duel arena perhaps twenty minutes later, Lilia now clad in the white and blue of the Obelisk uniform although she had kept her crimson sunglasses, she still wore a sleeveless red top under her unifrom, and her hair still had the faint pink tinge resultant from too many dimensional jumps, although unlike Multiver's clearly forest green hair, hers hadn't progressed so far that it appeared as blatantly unnatural as it was, and she could still pass it off as a fashion statement.
Boreas had changed its lights to an electric blue to mark her status and was now draped across her shoulders, looking about inquisitively, quietly absorbing data from every computer source its sensory beams landed on. It had long since given up trying to hack the AI fused with Multiver's biological systems known as Braniac. Even Endorian technology wasn't a match for the combined intellect of Braniac and the dimension jumping Multiver.
That was the only thing it couldn't hack though, and as its invisible sensory beams played across its surroundings, it hacked dozens of duel disks, analyzing dozens of decks and downloading dozens of strategies, all of which it would be able to upload to Lilia's mind instantly from anywhere, including when her future opponents were unaware they were being watched. Of course, this was only a back-up plan. Lilia the Herald, or her pseudonym in this dimension, Lilia Harolds, was a telepath powerful enough to bend entire worlds to her will, hearing her opponents strategies and thoughts, even those that churned in the subconscious, in a game as slowly paced as Duel Monsters was a cinch for her.
It took them only an instant to find Zane and Alexis again, right where they had left them more or less, leaned against the railing watching the applicants duel. Multiver announced their presence by hopping onto the rail and dangling his feet into the twenty foot drop on the other side for a moment before hooking them around the railing, "Hi there."
"Hi," Alexis said with a smile. Lilia reached across Multiver, "By the way, I'm Lilia. Sorry I forgot to introduce myself earlier, I was very excited to see Multiver. We haven't seen each other in a month." Alexis shook the hand, "Alexis Rhodes. Are you and Multiver...?" "Attached?" Lilia smiled, "you could say that. We've been on and off for I don't want to think about how long."
Alexis smiled, "Oh, that's nice. Um, this is Zane, he's an old friend." Lilia looked Zane up and down as he looked at her out the corner of his eye, "Is he always this scowly?" "Pretty much," Alexis said, "Although earlier Multiver hit him with a happy gun and he couldn't stop smiling." "Multiver!" Lilia exclaimed, "Did you mess with his scowly face?" "He looked like needed a smile," Multiver replied with a shrug. Then he pointed down to the dueling arena, "Now who wants to bet this guy's a Ra if he gets in?" Zane looked at him, "Which one?" "The one mimicking Bandit Keith's deck."
Zane and Alexis both looked at him, "Who?" Multiver looked at them, "Bandit Keith. He was a Duel Monsters Champion in the US, real jerk and a cheater to boot, but a successful jerk. He would've come in fourth at Duelist Kingdom, swinging a machine deck, but Pegasus caught him cheating and had him disqualified. I can tell this guys not cheating though, he'd be winning by a lot more if he were. Ooh, there's Barrel Dragon." Sure enough the immense monster rose to the field and then fired on the duel proctor, "Ooh, that's gotta sting."
Alexis looked at him, "Wow you really know your duel history!" Multiver shrugged, "It pays to know these things. So, who wants to bet Ra?" "If all he can do is copy someone else," Zane said, "Then he certainly won't be in Obelisk." "Ok, we've got one down for the copycat going to Ra. Now how about this fellow over here...
A few hours later, "And the little guy with the blue hair and vehicroid deck goes to Slifer but advances one dorm every year." Zane sighed through his nose, "You really think he'll do that well?" Alexis looked closer, "Wait a minute, Zane, isn't that Syrus?" "Yes," Zane sighed. Multiver and Lilia looked at each other then back at Alexis and Zane, "Who's Syrus?" "My little brother," Zane replied dryly. Multiver's eyes widened, "Oh. Hmm...he doesn't seem very confident does he?"
"He's not," Zane replied, "He has no confidence in himself at all." Lilia looked across at him, "Why not?" Zane looked at her, "He doesn't have much to be confident about. He has no idea how to use his deck." Lilia raised an eyebrow, "And you, the best duelist at the Academy, can't teach him?" Zane blinked, "Um..." Alexis frowned and turned to Zane, "Haven't you been teaching him? Zane! He can't get better if nobody teaches him how!" "He gets depressed when he loses!" Zane protested. "So teach him how to win!" Alexis snapped, "He's at the Academy now, you can find time to help him. I don't have my big broth-" she stopped suddenly and nearly burst into tears.
Lilia and Multiver looked at each other, "What just happened?" Multiver shrugged, and subtly tapped the side of his head, indicating he wanted to talk to her telepathically. Lilia frowned and opened the link, he quickly picked up, I just ran through the records looking for any other students named Rhodes. Her brother went missing from the Academy without a trace a few years ago. One of several. I may investigate when we get there. Lilia nodded and closed the link before stepping around Multiver, "Hey, it's okay. Multiver and I are good at finding things. We'll help you." Alexis turned to look at them and blinked tears from her eyes, "How did you...?" Lilia smiled and stroked Boreas, "Let's just say we have our sources. Don't worry, if anybody can find him we can. Now cheer up."
Alexis wiped the last of the tears from her eyes and smiled, "Thanks." Suddenly Multiver exclaimed, "Hoo boy this guy's gotta duel Crowler!" All present suddenly turned to the ring and were shocked to see he was right, an applicant was indeed about to duel Crowler! "Whoa," Alexis said in surprise, "Hey Zane, do you think we'll get to see that legendary rare monster of Crowler's?" Multiver fished a pair of binoculars out of his hand, "You mean Ancient Gear Golem?" Alexis and Zane turned to look at him as he continued, "I bet we see it on his first turn! He's got two Statue of the Wicked and a Heavy Storm plus the Golem. He can drop that golem almost immediately, and I bet, oh yeah there he goes."
Multiver promptly ran around the perimeter of the arena at a very impressive speed, stopping for an instant on the other side to look at the applicant's hand through his binoculars, and zipping back around to the others in the time it took Crowler to summon his Golem, "If that guy can pull Sky Scraper he's got this in the bag if he plays it right." Alexis and Zane looked at him in shock as Ancient Gear Golem smashed the applicant's first monster into oblivion, "How?!" Lilia smiled, "He's got the material for Elemental Hero Flame Wingman doesn't he?"
Multiver nodded, "Yup. And he's got a Winged Kuriboh to buy him some time." Sure enough, Winged Kuriboh hit the field, and bought the applicant one more turn. Zane and Alexis looked at Multiver, "You weren't kidding when you said you had memorized every card ever made were you?" Zane said. Multiver smiled with a shrug and looked at the arena as the applicant summoned Flame Wingman, "He's got it."
Zane and Alexis turned back to the arena and sure enough, the applicant activated Skyscraper, just as Multiver had predicted. "What's that do?" Alexis asked. "It increases the attack of Hero monsters like Flame Wingman by 1000 when they're fighting something stronger than they are," Lilia answered, "So Wingman's attack just jumped to 3100." Alexis turned to the arena in surprise as the Wingman smashed apart the Ancient Gear Golem.
The applicant said something to Crowler and Multiver echoed the sentiment, "And any attack by the Flame Wingman on a monster in attack mode essentially becomes a direct attack thanks to the Wingman's effect." Suddenly the Ancient Gear Golem collapsed on top of Crowler and brought his life points the rest of the way to zero. "It's going to be such a fun year," Multiver said with a wry grin.