When Yuma wakes up she’s alone in Kite’s lair. She wraps her blanket around her shoulders and makes her way to the elevator. Kite didn’t specify which floor the others were on, but she guesses it’s the observation center. She pats her pockets as the elevator rises—she’s missing her phone and her D-gazer, and she has no idea what time it is or how long she’s been out.
When the elevator doors open, the first thing Yuma sees is Barians. Of course she remembers that Ryoga and Rio are now Barians, but it still sends a shock through her to just see them, and she almost falls over.
“Yuma!” Rio cries.
Astral floats over and puts his hands on Yuma’s shoulders. “I’m okay,” Yuma assures him. “I was just…startled.”
But it’s not just Astral, Ryoga, and Rio in the room. Kotori is there, as are Cathy, Takashi and Tokunosuke. It’s still a lot less people than they started out with, and almost everyone looks pale and emotionally drained. Yuma is instantly on edge—those aren’t good looks in battle.
“Where is everyone?” Yuma asks. “And most of all, where’s Kite? I thought he was on bed rest, too.”
“Oh, she’s up,” says a voice that sends Yuma into a blind panic.
“FUCK!” She screams, whirling around and putting her fists up. “WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?!”
Durbe narrows his eyes at her. “I see you still lack manners.”
Yuma bares her teeth and gets ready to snarl something really rude, but Rio hurries over and steps between her and Durbe.
“Easy now,” Rio tells Durbe, “Last time she saw you, you weren’t on our side.”
“He’s on our side now?!” Yuma wheezes, and this time she really does fall over.
“Drama queen,” Durbe says.
“Shut up,” Ryoga snaps, and Durbe actually flinches.
“Durbe came here not long after we arrived, actually,” Rio says. “Kite has some kind of force-field around the tower that’s keeping the Barians out, but he let it down to let Durbe in.”
Yuma looks over Rio’s shoulder at Durbe. “So what made you come here?” She asks.
“Not you,” he says. “I swore my loyalty to Nasch in both my lifetimes, and I’m not about to fight against him.”
“Okay,” Yuma says. “That’s…comforting, I guess.” She can’t say it makes her like Durbe any more than she did previously. “What about the others?”
“Gilag and Alit have all but become puppets to Vector,” Durbe says, and Yuma swears his lip would curl if he had a mouth. “Mizael only cares about Kite.”
“Oh yeah, back to that,” Yuma says, “Where is Kite?”
At that, everyone looks uncomfortable.
“What?” Yuma demands.
Kotori clears her throat. “Kite has…gone to the moon.”
Yuma stares at her. “Okay…he was fine when I last saw him. I guess the stress finally got to him?”
“Huh?” Tokunosuke asks.
“What are you talking about?” Ryoga asks.
“I mean, I don’t think you mean he’s high,” Yuma says, “That’s what I first thought of when you said ‘gone to the moon,’ so I assume you mean he’s kind of cracked under the pressure.”
Ryoga closes his eyes. “No, Yuma. We mean he’s literally gone to the moon.”
Yuma can feel her brain freeze. “No he didn’t.”
“This is your hero,” Durbe mutters.
“He doesn’t have a space ship!” Yuma cries, “What—how could he—stop messing around!”
“We’re not,” Kotori insists, “He says that there’s a temple housing a Numbers card on the moon, and it’s the key to the Numeron code!”
“That is crazy,” Yuma says. “That is legitimately the craziest thing I have ever heard. We’ve had manned explorations to the moon, there’s no temple up there!”
“There is now,” Cathy says. She grabs a tablet and taps on it for a few seconds before handing it to Yuma. “See for yourself.”
Yuma takes the tablet. There are photos of the moon, and there…does look to be some kind of structure there. “How?!”
“Like the ruins, I guess,” Astral offers. “Some of them seemed to come from nowhere, too. Like Jinlong’s ruins, and the ones where Rio and Ryoga found their memories."
“And Kite went there, to this temple on the moon?” Yuma clarifies. “Alone? Despite being injured?”
“Yeah,” Ryoga says.
“AND YOU LET HIM?!” Yuma screeches.
“We kind of didn’t have a choice,” Rio says. “The Numbers card seems to be a Dragon, like Galaxy Eyes.”
“Don’t say that too loud!” Yuma gasps, looking around, “Mizael might hear you!”
“Uh, about that,” Kotori says, “You see, to keep Mizael from noticing that Kite was leaving…Chris and Michael are dueling him.”
“What?” Yuma asks feeling like her stomach fell on to the floor.
“There’s more,” Rio says sadly. “Yuma…we’ve lost Tetsuo and Thomas.”
Yuma sways on her feet. “What do you mean lost?!” She demands.
“We started moving people into the tower,” Kotori says, tears springing to her eyes. “Vector, Gilag, and Alit tried to attack. Thomas challenged Vector to a duel, and Tetsuo and Roku challenged Gilag and Alit. We got everyone who hadn’t already been affected by Barian world into the tower, including your sister and grandma, but…the three of them lost the duels. Their souls were—”
“NO!” Yuma screams, clapping her hands over ears. “No, no, NO! Don’t you dare tell me that!”
It can’t be, it just can’t be! She may not have liked Thomas but she didn’t want him dead, and certainly not for him to go against Vector! Roku, he was grandma’s friend, he was a great duelist, he was a good person! And Tetsuo…he was one of her best friends. He was always pushing her to go further, he egged on her craziest ideas, he laughed at her rude jokes, and he did his best to look out for her.
You’re fire and brimstone for sure, so no one’s really surprised you grew fangs, but you could come up to me with two mouths full of fangs and nails like hawk talons and I’d still be like, ‘We riding our boards to school tomorrow or what?’ He’d said that to her after she told him about what happened in Sargasso. It was just like him, and it was exactly what she’d needed to hear. Did she ever tell him how much that meant to her? Did she ever thank him for being such a great friend?
Yuma thinks she blacks out for a few seconds. Maybe she forgot to breathe, maybe her whole body just shut down. When she comes back to her senses she’s on the floor, curled in the fetal position, and she’s got her hands over her face with her nails digging hard into the skin.
“Easy,” Astral tells her. He’s bent over her and whispering in her ear, “They did this for you, so that you could have the Numeron code and use it to make everything right. You will see them again, their sacrifice will not be in vain.”
Yume unhooks her nails from her skin. She sits up. She’s shivering, she’s lost her blanket, and she feels lightheaded, but she’s got one thought in her mind.
“This ends today,” she says. “One way or another, I will end this. I’m going to Barian world.”
“Whoa,” Tokunosuke gasps. “Yuma…”
“No,” Ryoga says, “You’re not ready, and that place isn’t for humans—”
“I,” Yuma snarls, getting to her feet, “Do not give a single fuck. I am going for Don Thousand. If I get to him maybe I can stop all of this.”
“Then we’re coming with you,” Rio says. “All three of us,” she adds, looking at Durbe and Ryoga.
“It’s a suicide mission,” Durbe says. “It’s, Don Thousand is a god, he has powers beyond anything you can understand. We don’t even know where he is!”
“My will is strong and my Kingdom is great,” Yuma says. “He has no power over me.”
“This isn’t a movie!” Kotori screams, “This is your life!”
“And if I don’t face Don Thousand then what was all of this for?!” Yuma screams right back. “All of it, from meeting Astral to battling Tron and Faker and all those other people in the WDC, all the Numbers I’ve collected, all the times I dueled a Barian! I have been to Sargasso, I have gone to Astral world, I matched wits with Eliphas and he was a god, and I won against him! I have gone through too much to, to allow myself to believe that Don Thousand is no match for me! I can do this!”
There’s a moment of silence. No one dares to so much as move.
“But first,” Yuma adds, “I want to call Kite. Somebody patch me through to him.”
Tokunosuke all but trips over himself to do just that. He hands Yuma and earpiece and a microphone, which Yuma calmly accepts and attaches to her body. There’s the sound of ringing, then Kite’s voice asks, “What do you want?”
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING YOU SONUVABITCH?!” Yuma shrieks into the microphone. “YOU LEFT FOR THE MOON?! AFTER I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO ANYTHING STUPID?! YOU TURN YOUR ASS AROUND RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND LEAVE THE NUMBERS TO ME, YOU UNDERSTAND?”
Her throat hurts from how shrill her voice got. Takashi is actually covering his ears, and Ryoga looks to be considering following his lead.
“I’m not turning around,” Kite says. “I have to do this.”
“WHY?!” Yuma demands. “Is this about your stupid dragon contest with Mizael?! Is it worth your life?”
“No but it’s worth yours,” Kite snaps.
“Take that back!” Yuma shouts. “You take that back right now! It’s my life, I get to decide what it’s worth, and I don’t want it to be worth this…!” She breaks off sobbing. She falls to her knees. “Please, you have Hart! What about him and your dad? Mizael is going to follow you, he’s going to challenge you for the Number, he’s going to kill Michael and Chris to do it! If you tell me that’s all for me, I’ll…” she has no idea what she’ll do.
“Listen to me,” Kite says, “You’re the only one who can be trusted with the Numeron code. You’ve fought your way through the Labyrinth, you have a Kingdom to build. This Number is the key to that code, you need it to make that Kingdom a reality. So even though it’s you who has to make this happen, it’s not just for you, it’s for the lives of everyone who’s fighting for this.”
“Stop making sense,” Yuma sobs. “You’re hurt, you’re going to the fucking moon and you’re going to fight someone. You accuse me of having no sense of self-preservation! Aren’t you scared?”
“Of course,” Kite says.
Well, she didn’t expect him to admit it that easily.
“I went back to Jinlong’s ruin and I found the legend of the Numeron code,” Kite says. “It’s not like the religions of Earth at all. According to the legend, in the beginning there was one dragon, a great beast who used all its power to create the universe. And I mean all of its power, so it would never be able to see the universe it created. As it died, it shed a single tear. The tear contained the essence of the dragon, all of its knowledge, all of its emotion, all of what it had used to create the universe. After many eons the tear collided with a planet. That planet was earth, and in the collision a piece of the earth broke off and became the moon.”
“So the Numeron code…it’s on the moon?” Yuma asks.
“Not quite,” Kite says. “But certainly some clue to it is. I know it, Jinlong knew it, and my Galaxy Eyes knows it. After all, Galaxy Eyes is a dragon, it must feel some kind of connection to this original dragon.”
Yuma closes her eyes and rubs her temples. “I hope that dragon kicks your ass for the days you are shaving off of my life.”
“Oh?” Kite asks, and he has the nerve to sound amused, “And what about the days you’re shaving off my life as you go looking for Don Thousand?”
“How did you know about that?!” Yuma asks.
“You’re in my house, and there are Barians in it,” Kite says, “I’ve been listening in on everything that has gone down since I left.”
“Creep,” Yuma and Ryoga accuse at the same time.
Kite laughs. “You know it. Now go kick some ass, you guys.”
“As if I need your encouragement,” Yuma mutters, tears coming to her once more. “You better come back in one piece.”
“You too,” Kite says.
Yuma hangs up, sniffles, and gets to her feet. “Right then, all aboard the airship. Not you,” She says to her human friends, “You all need to hold down the fort here, keep the people calm. Take care of Hart, and my family.”
Cathy, Takashi, and Tokunosuke all look to Kotori. She stares Yuma down. “I’m going with you.”
Yuma looks at Rio, who shrugs. “You can’t really stop her.”
So Yuma holds out her hand for Kotori to take. “Let’s go then.”
The ship encounters turbulence as soon as they enter range of the moon’s surface. Orbital unstraps from his seat and manages to wrap Kite up in an astrosuit just before the ship crashes into some kind of monolith and explodes. Kite lands on his feet, immediately bounds off the moon’s surface, and floats gently up a few feet. He squints at the monument—it’s still kind of hard to see—and can just make out the winding shape of a dragon’s body. The dragon covers the monolith, its body looping around several times. It must have been an enormous creature.
The monolith is at the north edge of a crater, and smaller, though no less impressive, obelisks rise at regular intervals all around the crater. Each is inscribed with a different kind of symbol. Kite sees water, fire, wind, plant life, and more. This is certainly the place he’s been searching for.
“Orbital, my deck,” Kite says.
The robot mutters and Kite feels it shifting to accommodate his request. His deck slides out of a slot in the arm of the suit, and he separates Galaxy Eyes from it. The dragon is extremely agitated, and Kite has a feeling he knows why.
“I sense an energy approaching us,” Orbital says.
The key to unlocking the Numeron code has been written on the very soul of every dragon to have ever been born, or so Jinlong had said. The dragons of light and time must battle at the place of the creator’s birth. Photon and Tachyon—light and time. So in the end, it had to be Kite. Galaxy Eyes photon dragon would obey no other duelist, so Yuma could never have fought this battle. Of course, he couldn’t tell her that. Kite smiles to himself, thinking of how Yuma would respond. ‘Just tell Galaxy Eyes to listen to me! It’s a card, I just have to battle with it!’
Kite looks down at the so-called card. Maybe she wouldn’t have said it like that, especially not after she felt the power of the Numbers. Kite has known since he came to command the dragon that it was nothing as simple as a mere card. Every time he touched it he felt the power of the dragon within it. If Galaxy Eyes wanted to fight, he had to let it.
A bolt of light shoots down into the crater, and from the light Mizael emerges.
Kite feels sick—Chris and Michael must have given their lives.
“So, here you are,” Kite says.
“Here I am,” Mizael agrees. “Now, we find out which one of us is the true dragon master.”
When Alit collides with the airship, Yuma fights back the urge to take the steering wheel and turn the whole damn machine upside down, sending the bastard plummeting to the depths of…whatever the depths of a wormhole are.
“What do you want?” She asks through gritted teeth.
“A duel,” Alit says, “With you.”
Yuma stares him down. “I’ll duel you, but Alit, I want to ask you something.”
Alit scoffs. “I hope it’s halfway intelligent.”
“What would your Prince think if he could see you now?” Yuma thinks. “Surely you must know that the memories you saw at the ruins are true. You were human, and the Prince of your kingdom was in love with you. You were equals in strength, and I imagine that your Prince wanted to make you equals in status as well. You used to battle fairly, only for sport and the pure joy of it. Now you use your wit and strength to do what? Destroy entire worlds? What happened to the honorable warrior I read about in the walls of that coliseum?”
“LIES!” Alit shrieks, “My past was wretched! I was executed in that coliseum! My so-called ‘lover’ watched it happen!”
Yuma frowns. “He did? That makes no sense.”
“Shut up!” Alit screams. “Shut up and fight me!”
Kite’s vision is barely cooperating with him. He hisses at Orbital to run diagnostics on his head. in the meantime, he’s able to summon his Galaxy Eyes on his first turn. The dragon’s power radiates through the space around him, briefly granting him just a little more strength.
“You are still suffering from your earlier concussion,” Orbital reports. “It was only made worse by the space travel. Your body has not yet recovered from the damage dealt to you when you dueled Heartland. I fear that if this duel lasts too long, it will be your last.”
Kite closes his eyes, but not for long. He didn’t tell Yuma just how terrible that duel had been, not only psychologically, but physically. Between the heaviness of his body and the shocks that Heartland sent at him…he’s amazed he’s still standing at all, even if it is with great difficulty.
“Kite-sama, please,” Orbital begs.
“Don’t you dare breathe a word of this to Yuma,” Kite snaps.
He will see this duel through.
Yuma stares at Numbers 105. “Wow, bringing out the big guns so early?” She asks.
Alit laughs. “I can feel it now, the merging of Earth and Barian world. I can feel it in this Number, Don Thousand is growing ever stronger.”
“How do you know that?” Yuma blurts.
“Because this card’s power comes from Don Thousand, of course,” Alit says. “I can feel him through it.”
Yuma’s jaw drops. “Wait…Don Thousand created the over 100 Numbers?!”
“Boy are you slow,” Alit scoffs. “Durbe, Ryoga, and Rio are doomed for siding with you.”
Ryoga yells something, but Yuma can’t hear it—her ears are ringing and she’s got tunnel vision. Don Thousand created this card, Numbers 105, the card that symbolizes Alit as a Barian. Don Thousand is the God of Barian world, the God of Chaos, essentially.
“Did Don Thousand make you reincarnate as an Emperor of Barian world?” Yuma asks.
Yes, of course,” Alit says. “He saw my suffering and gave me a chance at new life, in a world where I held power.”
“No!” Yuma shouts, “Oh my god, I get it now! He manipulated you, he manipulated all of you! Somehow, he threw off every—it all makes sense! The Knights who suddenly turned on Durbe, Gilag turning on Ponta, the villagers who turned on the dragons, the Prince turning on you! I bet he made Vector attack Ryoga, Rio, and Durbe’s kingdom! Don Thousand literally engineered the deaths of all the Emperors in the worst way possible so they would be reborn full of rage and chaos!” She points at Alit. “I BET HE INFECTED YOUR PRINCE!”
Alit seems to waver, he even lowers the arm with his duel disk, but suddenly he clutches his head and screams. “No! I won’t let you trick me!”
“He’s doing it again!” Yuma cries, “Oh it is so on, I am going to beat Don Thousand right out of your head!”
Kite allows Orbital to become his eyes and assist his movements. The robot doesn’t comment on how dire the situation must be for Kite to accept his help, but he doesn’t need to.
When Ryoga recovered from the blast between his and Yuma’s pendants, he reported that he had seen what Yuma did on Astral world. He had turned to Astral and asked if it was true, that Yuma was going to build her own heaven.
“Not heaven,” Astral corrected, “A Kingdom.”
Ryoga had laughed, and Kite had seen tears in his eyes—it was a sight he would never forget, a Barian shedding tears. “Her Kingdom as great,” he had said, laughing and crying at the same time. “She got that from a fanfiction!”
Ryoga had told them more of what he’d seen of Yuma’s vision, and wherever her inspiration had come from, it was a beautiful dream. A place of understanding, where all were welcome as long as they made that effort. It was a vision that Kite believed in with his whole heart, and he would gladly die for it.
Hopefully though, he wouldn’t have to.
“Come forth, Numbers 62!” He screams.
Upon Alit’s defeat, he lies unconscious, in his human form, on the deck of the airship. Yuma runs to him. “You back?” She asks his limp body.
Alit groans and opens his eyes. “You were right,” he says weakly. “I saw it, I saw everything. It was Don Thousand, he did all of this.”
“I am so smart,” Yuma mutters.
Alit sits up. He sees Ryoga and his eyes widen, and he kneels. “My Emperor,” he gasps, “I’m…I’m so…”
“Don’t,” Ryoga says quietly. “It’s not your fault.”
The Barian Emperors share a reunion, and Yuma runs to Astral. “We have to find out what exactly Don Thousand did to Vector,” she says. “I still say something about his legend was extremely off.”
But before the ship can even get moving again, they’re visited once more.
“WHOMST?!” Yuma shouts as light collides with the deck and the ship shakes.
“Gilag!” Alit, Ryoga, Rio, and Durbe scream.
Yuma throws up her hands. “Of course.”
“This battle is mine,” Alit says, stepping forward. “I’ll knock some sense back into my friend.”
“And I’ll help,” shouts Yuma’s pocket. She shrieks and flings her deck out of her pocket, and Ponta leaps from his card. Yuma scrambles to hand the card to Alit and then retreats to clean up the rest of her deck.
“Ten days,” she mutters to herself. “Fucking ten days off my life.”
“Kite-sama,” Orbital wheezes, “Will you tell my darling Lillybot that I fought as best I could?”
“No,” Kite says through gritted teeth, “You’ll tell her yourself and I’ll build the two of you little robot babies.”
This is most likely his last turn. He’s withstood Tachyon dragon’s attack, and now he brings Numbers 62 back to his field.
“Tell me,” Kite says to Mizael, “Why do you tame dragons?”
“They saved me,” Mizael says. “My village burned, and Tachyon dragon saved me.”
“But why tame them?” Kite asks. He looks up at Galaxy Eyes. “I understand now,” he says. “Such a creature as this one could never be tamed, and I don’t want to tame it. Earn its’ trust? Absolutely. But I could never tame this…this great beast, nor would I want to.” He closes his eyes. “Old friend, I once used you, and that was the biggest mistake of my life. I beg you, help me—not for my personal gain, but so I can somehow be the kind of person Yuma thinks I am.”
The dragon roars, and strength surges through Kite’s body. Truly, this is the last turn.
“My friend, remember your life!” Ponta cries at Gilag.
“Direct attack!” Alit screams.
Gilag screams as he’s blown back and his life points drop to zero.
Yuma holds her breath. Gilag sits up, tears in his eyes. “My friends,” he sobs.
Ponta lets out a shout of joy. Alit smiles and takes off at a run to Gilag…
A shadowy tendril shoots out of Gilag’s chest and continues right across the deck, spearing through Alit.
Yuma screams. Kotori screams. Alit and Gilag make no sound, but their faces show pure agony. Ponta screams and latches onto Gilag.
A dark laugh comes from the very air around them. “Useless to the end,” a deep voice says. “I gave you life in the first place, and now I reclaim it.” A shadow emerges from the wormhole, the shadow of Don Thousand, and the tendril that passes through Gilag and Alit is connected to him.
Yuma runs to the pair, reaching, what she can possibly do for them she doesn’t know, but she has to try…
Don Thousand sucks Gilag, Ponta, and Alit’s bodies into his own, and he disappears. Yuma slams into the edge of the deck. She leans over the edge and vomits into the wormhole’s depths.
Kite raises Numbers 62’s attack to 8000. In the ensuing explosion, Mizael reverts to his human form and goes flying backwards as his life points fall to zero. Kite falls to his knees.
A card flies from Mizael's chest. A card flies from Kite's chest. Numbers 107, 46, and 62 float above Kite and Mizael. The five cards begin to spin, casting a bright golden light, and from that light comes a bolt of lightning which strikes the moon's surface.
Numbers 100 is beautiful, majestic, and truly enormous. Kite can barely stand to look at the great beast, and it’s not just because his vision is blurring and his chest hurts.
The dragon coils around Kite, and he leans into it. “Please,” he whispers.
“Child of Dragons,” a voice rumbles, “What is it you wish?”
Kite can only think of one thing—one person.