One moment Johan was standing in the desert world, alone save for Yubel, the next thing he knew he was plunged into an inescapable darkness.
What had happened? What had Yubel done? He couldn’t remember, everything was just a hazy blur, and when he tried to remember it felt like his head was full of tv static.
And it was dark, so very, very dark. Not entirely pitch black as he could make out the faintest of shapes around him, but enough that he couldn’t tell where he was.
‘My body, it feels so heavy, why...why can’t I move?'
He slumped against the wall before the darkness closed in around him again and he sunk into a dreamless sleep once again.
A voice, faint and distant, sounded out from the dark. Someone was calling out to him.
‘Is that, Judai? ’
No, it wasn’t a voice, it was many voices, all calling his name.
Slowly he opened his eyes and was greeted by a soft, faint light in the darkness, a light that hadn’t been there before. With great difficulty he looked around and found his gaze drawn to a large pillar of crystal that seemed to glow blue in the darkness. As he stared, an image began to form in the center of the crystal and he blinked a few times to clear his vision.
“Isn’t that…” A spark of excitement lit in his heart and his eyes widened, it was them! It was Judai, and the Gem Beasts, but where were they? It didn’t look like Duel Academy, or the desert world, in fact it didn’t really look like anywhere.
With a burst of surprising energy he jumped to his feet, staggering slightly and stumbling, his body stiff and tired.
“I’m here!” he called out once he got his balance. “Judai!” He wasn’t even sure if Judai could hear him, but it was worth a shot, he didn’t have much of a choice.
If only he knew where he was.
Then, the light vanished. It faded out as Johan watched as the Gem Beasts faded from around Judai one by one before Judai himself vanished and Johan was plunged back into inescapable darkness.
He dropped to his knees, feeling drained and exhausted.
But now he had hope, something to keep him from being swallowed up again. Judai was there, trying to save him, and if anyone could do it Judai could, and for a moment it seemed as if Judai had heard him, had realized where he was. All he could do now was pray and hope and wait, even if he’d had the strength to go anywhere he couldn’t. Even though it had been brief, the light from the crystal had been bright enough for him to get a decent look at his surroundings, and the crystal he was standing on seemed to be floating in some kind of void. If he jumped or fell off there was no telling what would happen.
As if on cue, everything around him began to shake and a glow formed within in the depths of the crystals.
‘What’s going on?’ he wondered as he stood up, the light growing brighter and brighter till it drowned out the darkness around him.
A rush of deafening wind swirled around him and suddenly he felt like he was falling.
Judai’s voice called out over the wind, louder and closer than it had been before and Johan groaned as he sprawled out across the ground, aching and tired. He felt like he’d run a marathon AND climbed a mountain right after it. He was sure that he was going to be fairly bruised and if nothing was broken he would be surprised.
And cold, he felt so cold, shivering as a gust of wind blew over his bare arms.
“Come forth, Rainbow Neos!”
Rainbow Neos? Johan had never heard of that monster before. With a groan he lifted his head opened his eyes, blinking a few times to clear his vision.
Across the field from him stood Judai, looking far more roughed up and tired than the last time Johan had seen him and standing with a monster that he assumed had to be Rainbow Neos.
“Judai!” His heart leapt with excitement as he struggled to pull himself to his feet, arms and legs shaking. “You...saved me.”
He panted and heaved as he pulled himself to his knees, what on earth had his body been doing while he was out of it? Above him he heard a cool, female voice taunting Judai. That had to be Yubel.
The next thing he knew, Judai was charging across the field and practically tackling him, just before something to his left exploded and sent the pair flying even further backwards.
Johan winced as they hit the ground and for a moment couldn’t hear anything, his ears ringing from the sound of the blast.
“Johan, I’m sorry,” said Judai as he wrapped his arms around him and helped him up.
“What are you apologizing for?” asked Johan as he looked up at Judai. “You saved me?”
Up close Judai looked like hell. There was a small wound under one eye and he was panting almost as hard as Johan was, his forehead was beaded with sweat and Johan wondered when the last time he’d slept was.
“I got us into this whole mess,” said Judai, expression twisting into a frown as he looked up at Yubel. He then looked towards someone else and for the first time Johan noticed Chronos-sensei and Marufuji Shou, running towards them. “Take care of him,” said Judai in an almost, commanding tone that Johan had never heard before.
“But what are you going to do?” asked the teacher, sounding quite distressed.
Judai sighed and shared a look with Johan. There was only one thing he could do, fight Yubel and stop them from doing, whatever they were doing, to save the rest of them. To save the world really.
Johan nodded knowingly, Judai could do this, if anyone could then he could.
‘ Do it Judai, I believe in you ,’ was what the silent nod said and Judai seemed to understand it too, nodding back before passing him off to Chronos and standing up to face Yubel.
Johan exhaled heavily, he really just wanted to collapse into someone’s arms and nap. Judai’s were preferable of course but he had slightly more important things to take care of.
With some help he turned around just in time to see the sky above them darken as Yubel flew up, vanishing into the thick, black clouds.
Yubel had said something about an ‘interference free field’, so that meant they probably weren’t going to be able to watch what happened next. He sure wasn’t, he couldn’t even find the strength to stand, let alone walk to go anywhere. Johan frowned, while he knew they had to duel to finish this once and for all, Judai going where no one could follow was concerning.
“Judai, wait a moment. Don’t tell me you’re really going to…” he trailed off, the rest of the words unsaid but understood as his gaze momentarily flicked towards the sky.
Judai gave a sad smile, “Yeah, sorry, but even you can’t stop me this time.”
Johan sighed, there was no changing his mind now. “Fine.” Reaching into his deck box he pulled out his deck and held it out to Judai. “I’d come and fight with you, but with the condition I’m in it’s not possible. At least take my deck.” After all he would need Rainbow Dragon if he ever wanted to summon Rainbow Neos again. And even if he didn’t, the backup from the Gem Beasts sure couldn’t hurt. If he couldn’t be by his side then he’d at least be there in spirit.
After a moment of hesitation, Judai reached out and took the deck with a nod. “Alright.”
Johan leaned back against Chronos’ hands as he watched Judai start towards where Yubel had been, Chronos fretting nervously about the situation as if that would somehow convince Judai to stop.
Judai stopped and held one hand in a thumbs up as the same orange glow that had surrounded Yubel now surrounded him. “Gotcha.” Then, wrapped in the orange glow, he too was taken into the dark clouds above and Johan could only watch helplessly from the ground.
‘Judai, please come back safely. ’