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Lunar Connection

Disclaimer: I don't own Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Of all the GX fics I've written, I like this one the best. Jaden used to be my favorite character, but later on Syrus became my favorite (what is it with me liking short, spiky-haired characters?). Anyway, this takes place after "Field of Screams pt.3" and ends after "Tough Love" from Season two.

Chapter One- The Bite

Syrus rolled over and sighed. He was feeling sleepy and restless at the same time. It didn’t help that Jaden and Chumley were snoring. It wasn’t simultaneous. It was rather Chumley inhaling (snore) while Jaden exhaled, and then vice versa. The result was snoring in a continuous loop.

‘Do they practice this when I’m not around?’ he wondered. Moaning softly, Syrus climbed down from his bed, pulled on his shoes, and left the room. With all the noise his roommates were making, he wasn’t gong to be getting any sleep. At least, not without the help of some fresh air.

Syrus sighed deeply as he entered the forest to the left of the dorm. It was a lovely night. The sky was clear with shining stars and a glowing full moon that illuminated the trees and the patches of grass that the leaves didn’t conceal. Syrus loved how natured looked. He was especially fond of the full moon. Last night had been the first one of the month and he enjoyed it.

A howl ripped through the still air and caused the teenager to freeze for a moment. He shook his head. He was hearing things. He must be getting sleepy and he decided to head back. He was halfway back when another howl sounded.

Syrus whimpered as his eyes darted around. Faint panting reached his ears and he quickened his pace. Rustling leaves and more panting made him break into a run. He could now hear footsteps running after him. He chanced a glance back.

A large wolf was chasing him! It was much larger than a regular wolf and it looked hungry. Syrus ran as fast as he could. However, the wolf could move faster. Syrus had just gotten to the front of the dorm when the wolf pounced. It landed square on Syrus’s back. Syrus scrambled and squirmed to get loose. He refused to be some wolf’s dinner! He managed to wriggle his upper body free when the wolf’s head lanced forward and bit his left leg. Syrus screamed in pain and hoped someone heard him. His hopes were answered when a light came on. Startled, the wolf disengaged itself from Syrus and ran off, growling.

“Hey, what’s the big idea?” Chazz snapped as he stuck his head out of his private tent room.

“Sy, you okay?” Jaden asked, stepping outside with concern in his eyes.

“Uh, yeah. I, uh, tripped over a rock. Nothing to worry about.”

Jaden saw the torn pajama leg, the blood, and a couple of holes. It didn’t look like his pal tripped over a rock, but he didn’t comment on it. “Well, come on back to bed then.”

Syrus winced at the pain as he got to his feet once Jaden and Chazz had returned to bed. Great. He gets attacked; all because his friends’ snoring kept him up. Speaking of which, he decided to find a different way of falling asleep next time Jaden and Chumley did their snoring concert.


Syrus woke up in time for him to get to class. The memory of the attack was still fresh in his mind as was his injury. All day long, the short duelist felt restless and could hardly stay still. Dinner came around and Syrus was famished. He ate not one, not two, but four servings! Neither one of his friends thought it odd, as Jaden was prone to eat that much from time to time.

After dinner, Syrus decided to walk around the dorm. He was feeling so restless, he felt he had to keep moving and walking seemed like a good way to get rid of the extra energy. As he walked, he wished he knew why he had so much energy and why he had eaten so much, but he just couldn’t explain it.

Syrus stopped at the attack spot, noting specks of dried blood on the grass. He continued to stare as the full moon came up, bathing him in its light.

Syrus winced as an agonizing feeling shot through his abdomen and left leg. Pulling up the pant leg, he saw that the bit mark seemed to shimmer. Then, his fingernails shot out from his hands so that they resembled claws. Dropping his pant leg, he stared as his hands in shock. His stomach began to throb and it felt like his insides were burning.

Straightening up, Syrus stumbled into the woods just as his ears started to burn. He reached up to scratch, but his ears weren’t there. He searched higher and higher until his clawed nails found them near the top of his head and they felt longer than they should. The toes of his shoes ripped open as his toenails grew out. The rest of his shoes followed as his feet widened, revealing gray fur on them. His eyes began to itch and when Syrus removed his glasses to rub them, he found his vision was perfect. His hands began to tremble, causing him to drop his glasses. He looked at his hands to see pads appearing on his palms.

Syrus was horrified. ‘What is happening to me?’ he thought as his hands and feet morphed into paws, the claws still exposed. By this point, fur covered his limbs, tufts of it poking through the seams of his clothes. The heels of his legs traveled up, ripping the lower part of his pants.

Syrus’s arms lengthened slightly before he fell onto all fours. A tail ripped out of the seat of his pants, which caused the rest of the garment to fall off. His nose and mouth pushed out and merged into a muzzle as his teeth grew sharp. His blue hair became gray hair and spread across the rest of his body, his shirt and jacket shredding apart and falling to the ground.

Syrus shook his head and blinked a couple of times before his head tilted back and a howl escaped his throat. His muzzle parted in shock as it sunk in what had just happened. He had turned into a wolf! That meant that it hadn’t been a normal wolf that attacked him: It had been a werewolf!

Another howl sounded through the woods, albeit a little faint. Syrus’s sensitive nose picked up the scent of a wolf. It was his attacker! It had to be! Syrus remembered reading somewhere that if you kill the one who bit you, the curse would be broken. ‘But I’ve never killed anyone in my life. There’s no other choice, though. I don’t want to be a werewolf.’

A bush rustling caught Syrus’s attention. He turned to see another large wolf emerge from the bush. His menacing gold eyes glared at the younger werewolf who could see his own gold eyes reflecting in the other’s.

“We meet again,” the stranger growled. At least that’s what it sounded like to Syrus. To a human, it would just be growling.

“Who are you?” Syrus asked.

“I have no need of a name, just as I have no need for human speech in order to talk. Even if I had a name, I wouldn’t need to tell you because I’m going to finish what I started last night.”

Syrus wondered for a moment what he meant by that before the other leaped toward him. Syrus leaped back. A paw full of claws flashed forward and Syrus ducked. Each dodge made the older one angrier and angrier. He wanted to put this young one down and continue his lone wolf life.

Syrus dodged his attacker’s attacks while trying to design an escape plan. He didn’t want to kill him, just render him out cold. He came to the conclusion that while he didn’t want to be a werewolf, he didn’t want a death on his conscience. Syrus whipped around to run and felt teeth comb through his tail’s fur.

This simple sensation caused something in Syrus to kick in. Growling, Syrus whirled around and pounced on the other werewolf. Claws already extended, he slashed at the fur in front of him and delighted in the howls of pain he heard. His teeth grabbed onto skin and fur and pulled it away from the rest. He continued to claw and bit for another minute or two before he came to his senses.

There was blood on Syrus’s muzzle as well as on the ground. Blood was still pouring from the other werewolf’s jugular. Syrus backed away, whimpering. ‘Oh my God! I didn’t mean to kill him! It was like some kind of survival instinct kicked in!

‘But, killing him means the curse is broken. Or I guess it will be at dawn.’ Syrus noticed he was still in wolf form. As his eyes trailed down, he noticed his left hindleg. It was fur-covered like the rest of him except for the bite mark. There was no fur over it or around it. He glanced at the corpse and noticed a bare patch on one ear. Syrus flinched at the thought of being bitten on the ear. He didn’t even want to think about how that happened.

Yawning, Syrus retrieved his glasses (which had survived the fight), stumbled behind a bush, and fell asleep. He didn’t wake again until he felt early sunlight on his face. Blinking, he rubbed his face, put his glasses on, and sat up. He looked down and blushed. He was naked! His clothes from last night were shredded and would cover nothing. He approached the forest’s edge and glanced around. No one in sight. As quickly as he could, he dashed across the clearing, up the stairs, and quietly into his room. He grabbed a set of clothes and pulled them on before going down for an early breakfast.

Chapter Two- Still Cursed?

Syrus was happy. It had been a few days since the curse had been broken and he was convinced it was gone. Why shouldn’t it? He killed his curser. His appetite had returned to normal, his energy level was normal, and another Shadow Rider had been defeated. That made three by his count.

Prof. Banner had just finished a lecture on an unstoppable pharaoh duelist and he, Jaden, and Chumley were heading back to the dorm, discussing the lecture. “I would have loved to take that pharaoh on,” Jaden commented. “I could have beaten him.”

“Heh,” a voice said behind them. “As if you could.”

The trio turned to see Chazz standing there, smirking. Syrus felt like defending his friend. “He could have.”

“You think so shrimp?”

Syrus felt a flash of anger at Chazz’s barb, but ignored it as he replied, “Yeah, I do.”

“Oh, well if the shrimp says so.”

This time, Syrus didn’t control his temper. Chazz had teased him about his height too often and this was the last straw. Glaring at the boy, Syrus yelled, “Don’t call me that!”

Chazz recoiled at the boy’s sharp tone. “Uh, sure Syrus,” he answered before taking off, leaving his classmates behind.

Syrus stared after Chazz before looking at his friends. “Did I just yell at Chazz?”

“Yeah,” Chumley said. “It was totally ‘licious.”

“It sure was,” Jaden added. He gave Syrus a thump on the back. “You’re getting a bit more confident, Sy. I guess I’m starting to rub off on you.”

“Yeah, I guess so.” Jaden was right. Jaden’s own confidence was probably rubbing off on him. He rather liked that idea. But, if that was the case, then why was that confidence seeping away?


Two days later, another oddity occurred. Jaden and Syrus were heading up the hall to class when a scent reached Syrus’s nose. He frowned as he took in the smell. It was a nice scent and one that hinted of flowers and friendship. For some strange reason he knew who it belonged to and that someone was heading their way.

“Ja, Alexis is coming,” he said.

Jaden glanced back. “I don’t see her.”

“Trust me. She’s coming.”

A minute later, the boys heard Alexis’s voice call, “Jaden! Wait!” Then, she came around the corner and up to them. “Jaden, I need to talk to you.”

“Sure. How’s Atticus, by the way?”

Syrus hung back as his friends talked. He found it odd that he could smell someone’s scent, especially since he couldn’t before. The only way he could do that was if…the curse wasn’t broken!

‘But the one who bit me is dead! How can I still be a werewolf?’

“Uh, Ja? I need to make a stop at the library after class, okay?”

“Sure, Sy. I’ll see you at our room after that.”

Once class was over, Syrus dashed into the library and started hunting through the shelves. He found a book on types of werewolves and started leafing through the pages. He found a section with a picture of a bite mark similar to the one he had. He started to read the section. His blood ran cold as he read the last line.

“If the werewolf forsakes his humanity, then an unbreakable curse will fall on his next victim.” Syrus started breathing hard as he put the book away.

‘Oh, man. That guy discarded his name and language, saying he didn’t need them! That means, he had forsaken his humanity and an unbreakable curse fell on me. I’m stuck as a werewolf!’

It all made sense to him now. Yelling at Chazz and smelling Alexis was because of his wolf half (short temper and sensitive nose). In his mind’s eye, Syrus saw himself as a danger to his friends. Could he control himself next full moon or would he end up cursing someone? He knew he wouldn’t deny being human. He would not continue laying down unbreakable curses. That would end here. Syrus thought back to the bite mark and decided to take a good look at his own. Pulling up his pants, he noticed that the mark didn’t scar. Instead, it looked fresh yet no blood leaked out. Weird. Pushing the material down, Syrus headed for the dorm.


Two weeks passed since Syrus’s attack. He kept his temper under control, but he couldn’t do anything about his now sensitive nose. Jaden hadn’t questioned how Syrus knew Alexis was coming before they heard her. He chalked it up to some kind of ESP. He was more interested in checking out the new card packs that had arrived. Syrus was interested too, but had other concerns on his mind as well. The full moon was two weeks away and he was dreading it. How ironic. Two weeks ago, he loved it. Now, he disliked it.

Syrus was so occupied by his thoughts, he didn’t see an Obelisk Blue approaching. Jaden had noticed and had already skirted over and ahead of Syrus. The Obelisk shoved Syrus aside, saying, “Out of the way, Slifer Sludge!”

Syrus stumbled and righted himself in time to hear the boy mutter, “Lousy Slifers. Walking around acting like they own the school.”

Anger shot through the short boy. He called, “What did you say!?”

The Obelisk turned to him, a contemptuous sneer on his face. “You heard me you piece of trash. You Slifers have a lot of nerve to think you can walk around here like you own the place.”

Syrus felt himself getting angrier. This guy was totally wrong. Slifers weren’t like that at all! Plus, Syrus was no piece of trash! Eyes flashing with fury, Syrus forgot about controlling himself as he pointed at the boy and began the most explosive triad of his life.

“You’re a fine one to talk! It’s your dorm that are the snobs! You’re the ones who act like they own the place! Well, you don’t! Every student deserves to be here! Is that clear!?!”

The Blue student glared at the blue-haired boy. “Why you little…I’m gonna to beat you so bad!”

“Is there a problem?” a cool voice cut in. The two boys, plus Jaden, looked over and saw Zane standing there.

“There’s no problem. Except for a disrespectful Slifer.” The bully pointed at Syrus.

“You are aware that’s my little brother, right?”

“Uh,” the boy stuttered. Face flushing, he looked at Syrus. “Sorry Truesdale,” he said to him before bolting.

“You okay, Sy?” Zane asked.

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Good.” As Zane walked away, he knew Syrus wasn’t fine. Syrus disliked confrontations and he never yelled like that. He didn’t hear everything, just from the part of every student’s right to be at Duel Academy.

“Man, Sy. You’ve got the coolest brother! It also looks like my confidence is really rubbing off on you.” Jaden’s voice floated behind him. He wasn’t sure Jaden’s confidence was inspiring to Syrus, but Jaden was right about Zane being a brother. That was why when he found Syrus alone, he would find out what was wrong with his brother.

Chapter Three- Confessions

Syrus sighed and then rubbed his face. His temper was getting worse and he wasn’t sure if he would be able to control it until after the full moon. He was trying to act like everything was fine, but he knew his behavior was attracting attention. He stared at the ocean, the lighthouse casting a light on it occasionally. ‘I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay here much longer.’


Zane was heading for the docks to do his usual thinking. Four Shadow Riders were defeated and keeping the Sacred Beasts Cards safe seemed very do-able now. Even though he lost his key, he supported the ones who still had theirs.

Zane paused when he saw someone else at the docks. As he got closer, he saw that it was Syrus. This was his chance to talk to him and find out what was going on with him.


Syrus’s nose twitched as a scent floated up to it. It was Zane’s smell. Although Syrus just wanted to be alone, he knew this was Zane’s favorite spot. ‘Zane usually just stands and thinks. That’s fine with me.’

“Syrus, what are you doing out here?” Zane asked as he stood beside him.

Despite not wanting to talk, Syrus answered, “I was thinking about my place at school.” It was true. What place did a werewolf have at a dueling school?

Zane, however, thought Syrus was talking about belonging. “Syrus, I’ve said it before. You do belong here.”

“Thanks, big bro.”

“I am concerned about you, though. I’ve never heard you yell or be so angry before. What’s wrong?”

“I’m…just nervous about finals.”

“The finals aren’t for several weeks. Something else is bothering you.”

“It’s nothing.” Syrus turned to leave.

Zane grabbed his arm. “Sy, you’re not leaving until you tell me!”

Syrus was now annoyed with Zane’s persistence. Whirling around, he yanked his arm away. “Don’t touch me!” he snapped, his silver eyes flashing gold.

Zane recoiled at Syrus’s sudden behavior change. His brother’s eyes now resembled a wolf’s and he looked ready to attack him. “Syrus!” he cried in alarm. His cry had an effect as Syrus’s eyes returned to normal and his face took on a look of apology.

“Sorry, big bro. I…I didn’t mean to…”

“Syrus, please tell me what’s wrong.”

Syrus flung himself at Zane, wrapped his arms around him and cried. Stunned, Zane patted his brother’s back until his cries faded away.

“Oh, Zane!” he sobbed. “I ran into a wolf two weeks ago. Only it was a werewolf and it bit me!”

“A werewolf? Are you sure?”

Syrus took a deep breath and nodded. “I’m sure. I changed the following night. The one who bit me died, but I’m still cursed.”

“How do you know?”

“Stuff I read in a book, but mostly because of this.” Syrus pulled up his pant leg and showed the mark.

Zane leaned down to examine it closely. After Camula’s defeat, Zane had taken to reading up on vampires and werewolves. Coincidentally, he had read the same book Syrus had and identified the mark.

“Oh, Sy,” he said softly as the younger boy covered the mark. “Your attacker placed an unbreakable curse on you, didn’t he?”

“How did you know?”

“I read about it. Probably from the same book you read. The one about types of werewolves?”

“Yeah. That’s the one. You know, I feel better now that someone knows my secret.”

Syrus’s comment caught Zane’s attention and made him realize that only the two of them knew Syrus was a werewolf. “Don’t you think you should tell Jaden?”

“Jaden? No, I couldn’t. He’d probably reject me.”

“If he’s a true friend, he won’t reject you. He’ll accept you for what you are now. As I have.”

“I guess so.”

“Tell him in the morning.”

“Okay. In the morning. Night Zane and thanks.”

“Goodnight Sy. You’re welcome.”


Syrus stared at Jaden’s sleeping form. The brunette had slept right through breakfast, which was typical for a Saturday. His mind raced as he tried to figure out the best way to tell Jaden. He considered being vague at the beginning and then being blunt, but that would be a bit complicated.

Jaden stirred in his bed. He opened his eyes and sat up, stretching and rubbing his eyes. He focused on Syrus and flashed a big grin. “Morning, Sy. What’s new?”

Before Syrus could answer nonchalantly, he heard himself blurt out, “I’m a werewolf.”

Jaden blinked a few times. “Not quite the response I was expecting.”

Syrus shuffled a foot, eyes downcast. “It’s true.”

“Uh, you’re joking, right?”

“No joke. Look.” Syrus exposed his mark. Jaden got up and took a good look at it.

“Looks like a big wolf got ya, Sy.”

“No. A werewolf did.”

“You’re really going all out on this joke, aren’t you?”

“I’m not joking.”

“Sy, sometimes you can take a joke too far. So, ha-ha, joke’s over.”

Growling softly, Syrus grabbed Jaden’s pajama top and said, “I’m serious, Ja. I’m not joking.”

Jaden looked into Syrus’s eyes. They reflected a sea of emotions. Slight anger, frustration, and seriousness. Humor was nowhere in sight. Another matter finally convinced him that Syrus wasn’t kidding. “Okay, Sy. I believe you. Now…will you put me down?”

Syrus looked down to see that Jaden’s feet were dangling off the floor! He set him down, surprised that he was strong enough to lift Jaden.

Smoothing his top, Jaden said, “Wow Syrus. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought you were weight-lifting.”

“So…we’re cool?”

“Of course we are.”

Syrus gave a big sigh of relief. “I was worried you wouldn’t want to be my friend.”

“Why wouldn’t I? To me, you’re still the same Syrus.”

Syrus smiled. Zane had been right! Jaden didn’t care that he was a werewolf. With two people knowing his secret, Syrus felt his burden lift from him. Everything was going to be all right.

Chapter Four- Zane and Syrus

‘One week to the full moon,’ Syrus though anxiously. A few days had passed since his confessions and he was feeling that same restless feeling from last month. He found it hard to sit still, let alone concentrate. Jaden, when he wasn’t sleeping in class, did everything he could to keep the boy in his seat. Like right now. They were in Crowler’s class and they needed to be on their best behavior. Jaden kept Syrus seated and focused by having a drawing of the night sky with a full moon at the top of his page of notes. Syrus found that any image of the full moon kept him calm and relaxed.

About forty-five minutes later, class was dismissed and the two friends were heading for Banner’s class. Although, with Banner M.I.A., Jaden wondered who would be teaching the class. Suddenly, Syrus groaned and made a hacking sound. He looked over and saw his best friend with his hands over his nose and his eyes squeezed shut. “You okay, Sy?”

“Crowler’s coming,” he groaned.

“The smell’s that bad, huh?”

“Oh, yeah. I can’t believe I didn’t notice before.”

At that point, Crowler came around the corner, grumbling to himself. He swept past the boys…and right into Banner’s classroom. Crowler was taking over Banner’s class! Jaden and Syrus exchanged looks as they went in and took their seats. Pulling out a piece of paper, Syrus began another full moon drawing.


As Syrus and Jaden headed home, Chumley jogged up behind them, a big grin on his face. Syrus guessed that they were having grilled cheese for dinner. How else would he explain Chumley’s smile?

“Hey, guys. You are not gonna believe what Bastion’s doin’,” Chumley bubbled.

“What?” Jaden asked.

“He’s havin’ the Ra cafeteria deliver steaks to us for dinner tonight.”

“Sweet! Bastion’s the man.”

Syrus unconsciously licked his lips. Steak sounded great. He was looking forward to dinner. In fact, he could already smell them cooking.


However, when Syrus went to get his tray, he found himself requesting a rare steak. They gave it to him with no questions. He got strange looks from his dormmates, but he ignored them as he sat down with Jaden and Chumley.

Chumley also gave him an odd look, but Jaden had a knowing look. He knew the reason for Syrus’s strange choice. That knowledge didn’t stop him from turning green as Syrus lifted a piece to his mouth, a little blood and juice dripping from it. When he popped it in and started chewing, Jaden went even greener and slapped a hand over his mouth. He leaped from his seat and bolted from the room.


“Uh, Ja?” Syrus said as he entered the room. He had quickly eaten his dinner before deciding to check on his friend. Jaden had been laying face-down on his bed, but sat up and looked over when he heard his name.

“Yeah, Sy?” His face still had a tinge of green to it, but was fine nevertheless.

“I’m sorry I grossed you out. But that steak was so good…” Syrus trailed off as Jaden went green again. Syrus promptly switched gears. “So how long do you think Banner’s going to be gone?”

“I don’t know. Not much longer I hope. Crowler’s not the best replacement.”

“That’s true.”

“Sy, I was wondering. Am I the only one who knows you’re a werewolf?”

“No. Zane knows.”

“Why don’t you kill the one who bit you?”

“I did. But if a werewolf forsakes his humanity, the next one he bites will fall under an unbreakable curse.”

“I…didn’t know. That’s awful.”

“Yeah. I know I don’t plan on biting or killing anyone, just promise me that if I do, you’ll kill me.”

“Sy, I’m not gonna promise that! I know you won’t bite or kill.”

“But if I do?”

“You won’t. You’re not like that.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“I know I’m right.”

Syrus smiled as he got ready for bed. Jaden was right. He wasn’t a bloodthirsty wolf. Just a friendly, shy one who was becoming more self-confident as time went on. ‘I just hope I don’t end up acting cocky. I can handle a little more confidence.’


One Week Later It was finally the full moon and Syrus was well-prepared. He left his dorm room early, darted into the woods, and behind a bush. There, he discarded his clothes, folded them, and tucked them under the bush. Now, he didn’t have to worry about having no clothes in the morning. He stood behind the bush, watching the horizon as it darkened with the night sky. Slowly, the moon began to rise and slowly bathed Syrus in its soft light.

His ears began to burn and itch. His hands flew to the top of his head where he found two wolf ears. His changes were starting differently. Plus, it didn’t hurt. Either he had accepted his condition or the first change is the only one that hurts.

As his muzzle started to push out, he heard footsteps followed by someone calling, “Syrus!” It was Zane! Panic flooded through the boy.

‘I can’t let him see me like this! I look like something out of a nightmare!’ He was about to run when a bolt of pain went through his legs. He looked down to see that his lower legs had already changed. His feet had also changed, the claws starting to grow out.

Syrus was trapped. He couldn’t run with his legs half-transformed. More pain shot through his legs and spread to his arms. ‘So much for the no pain during change theory,’ he thought as his fur sprouted over his body. He dropped to his paws as his tail grew out behind him. He heard Zane say his name again before a howl escaped his throat and a desire to kill blocked out all rational human thought as he whirled around to face the intruder and kill him for dinner.


Zane paused on the path leading to the red dorm. A few minutes ago, he had come to the realization that Syrus might be used as a hostage like the first couple of times. Waiting until dawn to tell Syrus wasn’t an option. What if he got caught tonight? So, he found himself heading for his brother’s dorm.

Glancing up, he saw the full moon shining brightly. Syrus had to be in the woods. His feet crunched the grass and leaves on the ground as he entered the area. “Syrus!” he called, hoping his brother would answer. A sound like feet hitting the ground reached his ears. That had to be Syrus! He rounded a bend in time to see Syrus on all four paws and a tail was growing from the base of his spine. Zane stood there for a moment, staring at his brother. This was his first time seeing him transform and he found himself spellbound by the event.

“Syrus, I found you,” Zane said at last just before the werewolf howled. Then, he whirled around and growled threateningly. Zane backed up. There was a hungry look in those gold eyes and he knew that some kind of primal instinct had taken hold of Syrus.

“Syrus, it’s me. Your brother,” Zane said. Syrus just growled and leaped toward him. Zane leaped to one side. Syrus landed gracefully before snapping his teeth at air where Zane’s hand had been a moment ago.

Syrus growled again and leaped once more. This time, he planted his forepaws on Zane’s chest, knocking the duelist onto his back. Zane saw Syrus’s claws heading for his throat and he threw up his right arm to protect it. The claws slashed through the cloth and tore the skin. Zane yelled in pain before exclaiming in disbelief, “Sy!”

The weight on Zane’s chest vanished and he sat up to see Syrus looking guilty. His tail was between his legs, his ears were folded back, his back was hunched, and his eyes were closed as whimpers escaped his throat.

Struggling to his feet, Zane approached his brother. “Syrus, it’s okay. It’s just a scratch.”

Syrus whimpered one more time before saying, “Oh, man. I’m so sorry. I-I didn’t mean to.”

“Sy. It’s just a scratch.”

“A scratch?” Syrus’s ears perked up. “You mean I didn’t bite you?”

“That’s right.”

“Oh, what a relief. But, what are you doing out here?”

“I wanted to tell you to be careful. There are still two more Shadow Riders and I don’t want you to end up as a hostage again.”

“Okay, big bro. I’ll be careful.”

“Good. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Okay. Good night.”

Chapter Five- Cursed Claws

Zane awoke on the morning after the third full moon. Syrus had gotten through his first full round of changes. Both of them were relieved it was over and were looking forward to a few weeks of normalcy. As Zane got dressed, his eyes strayed to his arm. The scratches were effectively covered with bandages, which would be hidden under his uniform jacket.

He strolled into his first morning class, took his seat, and waited for Dr. Crowler to show up. The doctor showed up a minute before class started. He strolled up to his desk, opened his briefcase, removed the papers for today’s lesson, and began to lecture. Zane paid attention and took notes as usual. His usual routine was disrupted during the Q and A that occurred toward the end of class.

“Jono, tell the class what type of spell card Dangerous Machine Type Six is.”

“Uh,” the third-year Slifer stammered. “An equip spell?”

Wrong. It’s a continuous spell. I spent the last thirty-five minutes talking about machine-titled spell cards! Plus, you should have read the chapter! But, then that’s just like you Slifers. Lazy students who are unworthy to be at this school.”

Zane listened to this rant and felt himself getting angrier with each word. How dare Crowler put down the Slifers! Especially since Syrus was a Slifer. Unable to take anymore Zane stood up and yelled, “Shut up!”

Crowler’s mouth dropped as his stared at his prized student. “I beg your pardon?” he gasped.

“Slifers are not lazy and they are not unworthy! I’m sick of listening to you put Slifers down! So, give it a rest!”

Crowler continued to gape at Zane for a few more minutes before saying, “Uh, class dismissed.”

Zane gathered his supplies and left the room. As soon as he entered the hall, his temper subsided. He pressed a hand to his temple. ‘What got into me? I never yelled at Dr. Crowler before.’ He continued to ponder this question as he headed down the hall. He couldn’t help noticing that everything seemed different somehow. He wasn’t sure why or how. Nothing had really changed from yesterday. The halls were the same as were the classes, the rooms, and the students.

As he rounded the corner, he spied Alexis coming from the other end. He thought about asking her if she’s seen Syrus. Maybe his little brother knew why his lost his temper. However, the voice of another Obelisk drew his attention from his thoughts and the blonde.

“I’m telling you, man. My friend had a run-in with a rude Slifer last month. The guy was short, but he actually shoved my friend and called him trash. He was really scared by the incident. I promised that if I meet up with that Slifer, I’ll make him pay.”

Zane’s eyes narrowed at the guy’s words. He was thinking of harming Syrus! Well, he was going to put a stop to that! With a snarl on his lips, he stormed up to the Obelisk and grabbed the boy’s coat.

“Don’t you dare try to hurt my little brother! You would do well to advise your friend to get his story straight! My brother was the one who got shoved and called trash! If you lay a hand on my brother, you’ll be the one who pays!”

The Obelisk turned as pale as his uniform sleeves. “Y-yes, Zane,” he stuttered. Zane released the boy who bolted down the hall, his audience of one following close behind.

Alexis, still stunned by Zane’s loss of temper, cautiously approached him. “Zane? Are you okay?”

“Yes, Lex. I’m fine.” Zane’s tone was back to normal. Alexis smiled and nodded before leaving. Her smile turned into a frown. Something was wrong with Zane. He never lost his temper like that before. ‘He’ll tell me what’s wrong eventually.’


Syrus smiled happily as he walked through the halls. The full moon was over and he was back to his old self, albeit with some supernatural abilities. As he rounded the corner, he found his brother leaning against the wall. His eyes were shut and he was pinching the bridge of his nose with one hand. Syrus was immediately concerned.

“Big bro? Everything okay?”

“I don’t know, Sy. I’ve been behaving strangely this morning.”

“Strange? What do you mean?”

“My temper has been short. I yelled at Dr. Crowler-“

“You yelled at Crowler!? Oh, man! I could have sold tickets to that! I know I would have paid to see that!”

Zane chuckled. “I imagine you would have. I also exploded at another Obelisk. He was planning on hurting you. It turns out he’s a friend of the one you yelled at last month.”

Syrus was silent. While Zane defending him was nothing new, losing his cool while doing so was of serious concern.

Zane sighed. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me.”

“You haven’t done anything unusual. Not since…” Syrus trailed off and both brothers looked at Zane’s right arm. Grabbing Zane’s hand, Syrus said, “Come on. We’re going to the library.”

Syrus pulled Zane through the library’s doors and right to the shelf where the werewolf book was. He pulled it off the shelf and flipped it to the first chapter.

“Uh, I read that one,” Syrus noted and flipped to chapter two.

“I read that one,” Zane said.

They flipped to each chapter but either Zane or Syrus had read the chapter. When Syrus reached the last section, he blinked at the title: Other Curses of the Werewolf.

“I haven’t read this one,” he noted.

“Neither have I,” Zane added.

Syrus’s eyes ran over the lines. Apparently, his teeth weren’t the only parts of him that could cause a curse. His fur would give someone sensitivity to temperature. His blood would make one a bloodthirsty carnivore. His claws…

“Oh, man. Even my claws have a curse,” Syrus moaned. “They can darken a person’s nature. Now I’m really sorry.”

“You didn’t know. Besides, it’s not a serious curse. I mean, I haven’t been acting “dark.” I’m obviously strong-willed enough to resist.”

“Yeah. But you’ve also got the short temper that I’ve got.”

“I think I’ve also got a heightened awareness of my surroundings.”

“Actually, that’s just enhanced sight. I have that too. Not to mention, enhanced hearing, smell, and strength.”

“Hmm. So, I might end up with the abilities of a werewolf, but I won’t change. How come these abilities are affecting me now? The full moon’s over.”

“It says here that these other curses occur between full moons. Oh, man. That’s rough.”

“I’ll manage. I’ll start by controlling my temper.”

“Good idea.” Syrus replaced the book and the two brothers left the library.


“Do you want me to tell Jaden?” Syrus asked as they exited the school.

“It would be nice if someone else knew my secret.”

“Okay.” Giving Zane a small hug, Syrus bounded off toward the red dorm while Zane headed for the dock. He needed to reflect on this latest twist to his life. Controlling his impending impulses would be challenging, but he thrived on challenges.

“Zane?” a voice spoke up.

The third-year turned to see Alexis beside him. There was a concerned look in her eyes and he felt his serious demeanor melt a little. “What is it, Lexi?”

“Can I join you?”

“Of course.”

The two of them stood there for a couple of minutes in silence before Alexis broke it. “Have you thought about the upcoming Graduation Match?”

“I was thinking of having Jaden as my opponent.”

“That’s great. The match will be exciting.”

“Are you saying my duels are boring?”

“No. It’s just that with your skill, the duel ends up ending too soon.”

“I see. So by dueling Jaden, the match will last longer.”

“Yeah.” She paused. “Zane, how come you were yelling earlier? I’ve never heard you yell before.”

Zane hesitated. Yes, Alexis was his friend, but would she accept his curse? ‘This must be how Syrus felt when I asked him.’

“Zane? Please tell me.”

Sighing, he said, “Last month, Sy was bitten by a werewolf.”

Alexis gasped. “Oh no.”

“Two days ago, Sy accidentally scratched me.” He pushed his sleeve up to show the bandage before pushing it down again. “We learned today that Sy’s claws carry a curse. My very nature will go dark and possibly vicious.”

“Oh, Zane. That’s awful. For both of you. What do you plan to do?”

“The only thing we can do. Try to curb our impulses. Anyway, how’s Atticus?”

“Well, as you know, his memory’s back. However, he’s getting to be a pain in the neck.”

Zane laughed. “That’s what big brothers are for.”


“Hey, Sy. I heard we’re having fish tonight. Just don’t eat it raw, okay?” Jaden grinned teasingly, but frowned at Syrus’s solemn expression. “I’m teasin’ Sy.”

“I know Ja. I’m just not in a funny mood.”

“What happened?”

“I scratched Zane two days ago and I just found out that my claws carry a curse.”

“What kind of curse?”

“The person’s nature will eventually darken.”

“A dark Zane. I can’t imagine that.”

“Me neither. He’s still acting normal, aside from supernatural abilities.”

“Good. So, how about supper?”

“Okay. Oh, and I think raw fish sounds great.”


“Just kidding.”

Chapter Six- The Secret’s Circle

“Ja! Wake up! Our finals are today.” Syrus shook his best friend as he mentally crammed for the first test.

“I make my final move!” Jaden declared in his sleep. His arm swung out toward Syrus, who leaped back to avoid getting hit.

‘That was close,’ he thought. He remembered the last time he had to wake Jaden up. It was the month before he got bitten. That seemed like such a long time ago. ‘I was so different then. A lot less confident, not as good at dueling, not good at a lot of things.’

He looked at Jaden one more time and got a sly idea. He pulled on his shoes, sprinted to the cafeteria, and returned to the room five minutes later with a bag of ice in his hand. Lifting the sheet, Syrus shoved the bag up against Jaden’s bare feet. The reaction was immediate. Jaden sat up straight with a yelp, banged his head on the bed above him, and landed on the floor with a thump.

Syrus burst out laughing and Jaden followed a few seconds later. “Okay, Sy,” he said, chuckling. “I’m up. Just no more ice.”

“Hey, if it gets you up, I’ll use it.”

“So, what are you doin’ over the summer?” Jaden asked as he got dressed.

“I’ll be watching Zane duel. It’s so cool that my bro’s turning pro.”

“He’s good. Of course he would go pro.”

“Yeah. I’m also going to be there for support. He controls his impulses better when I’m around.”


Syrus frowned at his test paper. This question was a tough one. He knew this one! What was the answer? He stared hard at the question, unaware that he was scratching at his ear with fast, quick motions.

This motion did not go unnoticed by Jaden. He stared at his friend for a moment before elbowing him. Syrus paused in his scratching to look at him. Jaden mimed Syrus’s action and the boy lowered his arm, and flashed a sheepish grin before returning to his test.


Zane studied his notes in between tests. He had a final next period and he needed all the concentration he could get. It wasn’t hard. The entire room was studying. The sound of paper crinkling faded into the background as Zane focused on his notes. He started committing the facts he had written to memory, his focus very deep. He started scratching his ear exactly like Syrus had been doing.

His scratching attracted Alexis’s attention. She tugged on his sleeve repeatedly until he looked at her. His hand had paused in its motion. Alexis mimed the scratching. Zane blinked, now aware of his hand’s position. With a deadpan expression, he lowered his arm and returned to his notes.

Alexis also returned to her studying, but her mind wasn’t on the test. It was on Zane. His scratching was very wolf-like and that worried her. It was hard for her to see her friend display wolf-like behavior. Especially since he doesn’t change.


Alexis stood on her room’s balcony, staring at the beautiful view. Her thoughts were still on Zane. He hadn’t done anything else wolf-like but she couldn’t help worrying. Was he getting worse? Was he growling at people? Or howling in the forest?

“Hey, sis,” Atticus said as he came in and drew alongside her. He caught her glum expression and his face lost its smile. “Lexi, everything okay?”

“I’m worried about Zane.”

“Zane? Why should you be worried about him? I mean, it’s not like he’s possessed.” Atticus chuckled.

Alexis huffed. “Of course not. He’s cursed,” she blurted out. She slapped a hand over her mouth. “Oops.”

“Cursed? What, we talkin’ like excellent duelist, good looks, and adoring fans?”

“Well, no. Not like that.”

“Then, what do you mean?”

“I said too much. I’m going to talk to Jaden and Syrus.” Alexis exited the room, leaving a perplexed brother behind.


Alexis walked briskly down the path to the red dorm. Truthfully, she just wanted to talk to Syrus. She was deeply concerned about Zane and hoped that Syrus could lay them to rest.

Bounding up the stairs, Alexis knocked on the door. The door opened immediately and Syrus smiled at her. “Hi, Alexis. I smelled you coming.”

“Hi, Syrus. Can we talk?” She noticed Jaden in the room and added, “Alone?”

“Uh…sure.” Closing the door behind him, the two duelists headed for the spot where Jaden and Syrus practice dueled for their tag match earlier in the year. “So, what did you want to talk about Alexis?”

“It’s about Zane. He told me about you and him. I’m concerned about him. Today, during study hall, he was scratching behind his ear.”

“Oh.” Syrus shrugged. “No big deal. I did that during a test today.”

“Well, it’s just I find myself wondering what else to expect.”

“Pretty much the same things I do. I mean, I’ve gotten stronger, my senses are enhanced, I’m running faster, and I sometimes crave raw meat.”

“Raw meat? Eww.”

Syrus laughed. “I only did it once. A week before the full moon.”

“You’ve gotten a lot more confident, Sy.”

“It’s another side effect of being bitten. Anyway, Zane’s not going to howl or transform. His temper might flare up sometimes but it’s nothing to worry about.”

Alexis sighed. “Thanks, Syrus. I feel a lot better now.”

“You’re welcome,” Syrus answered as Alexis walked back to her room.


Atticus roamed the blue campus. His conversation with his sister chased itself in his head.

Cursed…like excellent duelist…No…I said too much.

“What did she mean by all that?” he murmured, casting his eyes about the scene. They landed on a familiar figure coming his way from across the lawn.

“Just the person Lexi and I were talking about,” he said. “Maybe I’ll finally get an answer.”


Zane sighed as he walked across the grass. After the scratching incident during study hall, he found his senses getting sharper. For example, his sense of smell. He found he could smell someone behind him. But only if he knew them well could he identify them by smell before turning around.

He’s gotten to know Syrus, Alexis, and Crowler by smell. Syrus’s and Alexis’s scents were comforting and pleasant, respectively. Crowler’s, however, was awful. He wondered if Crowler smelled like that to Syrus.


The boy looked up and saw Atticus approaching him. A scent of cologne and ocean breeze floated up to his nose. It was a good smell and he made a mental note of it before saying, “Hi, Atticus.”

Atticus stopped a few inches from Zane and said in a soft voice, “Sorry about you being cursed, pal.”

Zane blinked before saying teasingly, “Being a superior duelist isn’t really a curse.”

“That’s not what I mean. Alexis said you were cursed. She didn’t say anything more, but it sounded serious.”

Zane inwardly cursed. Alexis slipped and now Atticus was trying to pry it out of him. He didn’t want to tell him about Syrus’s secret and maybe he didn’t have to. “I got scratched by a werewolf a little over a week ago. I’ll probably end up with a dark and vicious nature.”

“Did you kill it?”


“No!? You’re saying there’s a dangerous animal roaming the forest!?”

“Well, not roaming the forest.”

“You mean it’s loose on campus!?”


“Oh, man. I’ll rally the students, get a hold of some silver bullets, some silver weapons…”

“You don’t want to do that.”

“How come?” Atticus looked straight into Zane’s eyes, saw sympathy for the werewolf and his mouth fell open.

“It’s someone at the school, isn’t it?”


Atticus automatically started going through a list of people. ‘It’s not Lexi or me. It can’t be Jaden or Chazz. Definitely not Bastion. Syrus? Nah, can’t be. It’s not Shepherd, either. Crowler, perhaps?”

“It’s Crowler, right? I always thought there was something fishy about him.”

“No. Not him.”

“I know it’s not Lexi or me. It’s not Jaden or Chazz.”


“It’s not Bastion either.”

“That’s right.”

“Is it Shepherd?”


“Well, I it’s not Syrus.” Atticus grinned, but it faded a moment later when Zane didn’t answer. “Uh, Zane, you missed your cue. You’re supposed to say I’m right.”

More silence. Once again, Atticus looked in Zane’s eyes. He saw that sympathy again, but he also saw a touch of sadness and a lot of brotherly love.

“Oh, man. It is Syrus. I’m sorry, Zane.”

“It’s all right. You didn’t know.”

“True. Why didn’t you tell me earlier? For that matter, why didn’t Lexi tell me?”

“I’m protecting Syrus’s safety. He doesn’t need the whole school to know.”

“Who does know?”

“Well, you and Alexis of course. Oh, and Jaden too.”

There was a brief silence between the two boys before Atticus made an excuse of getting a little studying in before dinner. Atticus returned to his room and found Alexis sitting at her desk, studying.

“Hi, sis. Guess what? I ran into Zane a little while ago.”

“Really? How is he?”

“Fine. He told me about his curse and that Syrus is a werewolf. How come you didn’t tell me?” There was a tone of hurt in his voice.

“I didn’t think it was my place to tell. Besides, Syrus is my friend.”

“Yeah. You’re right. I would have done the same thing. This whole curse thing with Zane is why you went to talk to Jaden and Syrus, right?”

“Well, actually I just talked to Syrus. I don’t know if Jaden knows.”

“He does. You and me are the other ones that know.”

“So, it’s just the three of us. It shouldn’t go any further than that.”

“No doubt.”


The finals were over and the Obelisk dorm was celebrating with a very lavish buffet. Everything looked and smelled so good to Zane, yet nothing looked good enough to satisfy this craving he was feeling…until he reached the steaks. The sight of them made his mouth water. Swallowing back his saliva, he selected the three he thought smelled the best and sat down between Alexis and Atticus.

Alexis glanced at Zane’s plate, but said nothing. She knew why Zane chose just steak, but at least it wasn’t like what Syrus had done. The slabs of meat were well-done. She returned to her meal and didn’t look again until Zane was getting to his last steak.

His fork cut into it more easily then the last two. He had soon cut a piece from it and ate. From her position, Alexis now saw why it had been easy to cut: The steak was medium-rare!

“Uh, Zane,” she said gently. “That steak’s not fully cooked.”

“I know.” Zane’s tone was light like he didn’t mind. The next moment, however, he froze with his fork halfway to his mouth. He stared at the piece for a moment before putting the fork down and rubbing the bridge of his nose, eyes shut. ‘I can’t believe I did that.’

“Zane, it’s all right,” Alexis whispered. “Syrus told me he once ate raw meat.”

Opening his eyes, Zane picked up his fork and proceeded to finish his meal. Alexis had a point. Syrus, too, had told him he had eaten raw meat. His own steak was somewhat cooked.

Chapter Seven- Syrus’s Second Year

Syrus clapped and cheered as the Cyber End Dragon made its appearance. It was Zane’s second duel of the summer and Syrus loved every second of it. He had been deeply touched when he had been invited to attend all of Zane’s summer duels. People paid big bucks to see his brother duel and he dreamed of one day being a pro and being paid to duel in public.

He cheered even louder as Cyber End Dragon attacked, bringing the duel to a close. As soon as the holograms faded, Syrus leaped out of his seat and sprinted down to the concourse that led to the stadium floor. He smiled as he saw Zane heading his way. A sound not unlike a stampede came from behind him, getting louder all the time. He turned in time to get shoved aside by a throng of media hounds. He fell on his rear and watched as his brother vanished from his sight.


Zane left the dueling floor to the sound of cheering fans. It was his second pro-dueling victory and the spectators were going wild. He knew deep down that if he started losing, his fans would turn against him. All of them except for one: His brother. Whether he was a winner or a loser, he would still be Syrus’s dueling idol. It was a thought that gave him comfort and made him happy.

His happiness grew when he saw Syrus in the concourse, a big smile on his face. He caught sight of a rush of newspaper and television reporters running towards him, pushing Syrus aside before snapping his picture, shoving microphones in his face, and asking questions.

Zane closed his eyes, responded to a few questions, and then made his way through the crowd and up to Syrus. He lifted his brother as if he weighed next to nothing and led him outside where his limo waited. Once inside and on the road, he said, “Are you okay, Sy?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Great duel, by the way.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“Are you kidding?” Syrus said, opening a cooler and pulling out a rare steak wrapped in deli paper. “It was even better than the last one. When’s your next one?”

“The week after next.”

“Cool.” Syrus ripped a bite off the steak and chewed happily. “Want some bro?” He indicated his meat.

Zane chuckled. “No thanks. I take it the full moon’s coming.”

“Next week.”

“That explains your recent eating habits. I prefer having my food cooked.”

“Hey, I do too! I just crave raw meat once in a while.”


Weeks passed and Zane’s victories grew by leaps and bounds with Syrus having a front row seat for each one. Before either one knew it, Syrus was attending the last duel of the summer before going back to school.

“That guy’s been to all of Zane’s duels,” a guy behind the werewolf commented.

“You think he’s a big fan?” another one asked.

“Maybe. Perhaps he’s a number one fan.”

Syrus turned and smiled at the boys. “Yup, I’m his number one fan and his little brother.” Syrus turned back around as Zane stepped onto the dueling field.

About an hour later, Syrus was waiting for Zane in the concourse. He made sure to stay close to the wall. He knew the media would show up when Zane entered the corridor. He watched as his brother came down the hall toward his position. Just as he drew up beside Syrus, the media came running up, right on time.

Syrus was actually inside the circle, but respectfully away from the cameras. He listened to the reporters’ questions and Zane’s answers. This publicity made his chest swell with pride at his brother’s dueling prowess.

“Zane, do you owe your success to the support of your fans?” one woman asked.

Zane closed his eyes and smiled. “Actually I owe my success to my little brother, Syrus.” He reached over and pulled Syrus next to him. “It’s his support that’s seen me through my duels.”

Cameras flashed and pencils scratched as the reporters took in Zane’s every word. Syrus blushed at being in the limelight. It was little embarrassing, but it felt good nevertheless.

There was a cacophony of voices, but Syrus couldn’t distinguish individual questions. Finally, one woman called, “Do you duel?”

Perking up at the question, Syrus flashed a grin. “Yup. I’ll be starting my second year at Duel Academy.”

“How did it feel going to school with a pro like Zane?”

“I was…a little intimidated at first, but I got over it after a while. I was able to prove that I’m not just Zane’s little brother.”

‘And I look forward to really proving that,’ he added silently.

The media soon dispersed and the two brothers headed out of the stadium.


Syrus smiled as he got off the school helicopter, two weeks later. He was back at school and he couldn’t wait to prove himself. It was a new year and a clean slate.

“Sy!” called a familiar voice. He turned to see Jaden running over to him. His smile widened and he sped over to his friend, giving a high-five when they caught up to one another halfway to the red dorm.

“It’s great to see ya again, Ja! I missed being around you.”

Hey, same here. By the way, I just finished decorating our room.”


“Uh-huh. I made a wallpaper out of your interview articles.”


“Just kidding. I do have a few copies, though. Think I can get you to sign a couple?”

Syrus lightly punched Jaden’s arm. “Very funny.”

“Seriously, though. I’m rooming with a celebrity.”

“I’m not a celebrity. I’m just related to one. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the new year. New people, new duels…”

“And new people to duel. Like that guy. My first opponent of the new year.” Jaden pointed to a silver-haired boy in a white suit standing on the rocky beach below the dorm. Jaden jumped down to him and immediately challenged him.

Syrus sighed as he watched. He thought back to Jaden saying he had a few copies of Syrus’s interview. He had one copy himself, but only because Zane insisted. Syrus liked the magazine for the lowdown on pros. Of course, Zane was in it plus a few others. In fact, Jaden’s opponent looked familiar. He racked his brain before gasping. Pulling the magazine out of his bag, he rifled through the pages until he found the name: Aster Phoenix!


A black Tyranno bore down on him, its holographic form overshadowing him. His eyes widened a split second before he slid backwards from the direct attack, his lifepoints dropping to zero. He felt his duel disk being slid off his arm and his cards landing beside him. He struggled to a sitting position as a group of freshmen Ras left.

‘So much for proving myself,’ he thought.

“Uh, Sy? You there?”

“Huh?” Syrus looked over at Jaden, his recollection fading out.

“I was just asking why we’re handing out replacement disks to people.”

“Uh, I heard they lost to some big guy at a bridge. He wears the disks of his victories on his back.”

“Uh-huh.” Jaden was about to ask another question when something caught his eye. “Hey, Sy, where’s your duel disk?”

Syrus didn’t answer. He stared at the ground, cheeks red.

“You dueled him and lost, didn’t you?” There was no astonishment or anger in Jaden’s voice, just matter-of-fact.

“Yeah. I did.”

“You didn’t…you know.” Jaden clamped one hand on the other and pressed down.

“What? No, of course not.”

“Good. I’d hate to think you lost your temper.”

“No. Just my pride. How am I suppose to prove myself if I keep losing?”

“Sy, it was just one duel. The year’s still new.”

“You’re right. There’s still time.”

“So, this bully ambushes others at a bridge?”


“Then, let’s go. I’m gonna duel him.” Jaden took off with Syrus not far behind.

It didn’t take them too long to reach the bridge and just as Syrus said, there was big guy on the bridge. He introduced himself as Hassleberry and demanded the replacement disks Jaden and Syrus were carrying. Jaden decided to use the disks as a stake. If Jaden won, Hassleberry was to return the disks he stole. If Hassleberry won, Jaden would hand over the replacements.

Hassleberry laughed. “You think to challenge me? You, a Slifer Red?”

“He’s not just a Slifer,” Syrus interjected. “Ja’s the best duelist in the school.”

Hassleberry’s gaze fell on the smaller boy. “I remember you. I beat you just recently. You’re just like a dog, running away and hiding behind your master!” The Ra student laughed.

‘Dog! How dare he insult me! I’m not a dog. I’m a wolf!’ Syrus’s eyes flashed gold and he growled softly. He took a step forward to pummel the Ra student when Jaden stepped in his path.

“Easy, Sy. Take it easy,” he whispered.

“But he called me a dog,” Syrus whispered back, expressing disgust at the word “dog.”

“I know. Let me duel him to get the disks back and satisfy your pride.”

Syrus closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them, they were silver again. “Okay, Ja. Go for it.”

Jaden repeated his challenge to Hassleberry, who accepted. When the duel ended with Jaden as the winner, Syrus’s dislike toward the freshman faded, yet he didn’t like the way he was getting friendly with Jaden and knew he would have to guard his position of best friend.


Syrus beamed as he dialed the videophone, smoothing down his jacket as he did so. Zane’s face appeared on the screen and Syrus grinned. “Hey, big bro!”

“Sy, good to see you. Did you call to wish me luck?”

“Yeah, and to show you this.” Syrus flipped up his collar.

Zane’s eyes widened and a big smile spread across his face. “You’ve been promoted to Ra. Congratulations.”

“Thanks. I knew you would be proud of me.”

“Sy, I’ve always been proud of you. So, who was your opponent?”

“An Obelisk named Missy.”

“Oh, I remember her. She was like an entire fan club rolled into one.”

“Still is. She kept talking about you and her being a pro tag team. Speaking of pro, who’s your opponent tomorrow?”

“His name is Aster Phoenix.”

“Aster! Wow! Jaden dueled Aster, who was using a starter deck! I can’t wait to hear about his real deck!”

“Syrus, heel boy,” Zane teased.

“Woof,” Syrus answered, causing both boys to laugh.

“I better let you go to class. Take care tonight, by the way.”

“Okay. Thanks big bro.”


Zane sighed as he left the stadium. It had been a surprise to get a call from his brother. It was a shame Syrus wouldn’t be able to watch his duel tomorrow. It didn’t seem right. But, he couldn’t ask to reschedule.

‘What would I say? I want to reschedule after the full moon so my brother can watch it? Oh, and by the way, he’s a werewolf? I couldn’t. I know Jaden will tell the duel-by-duel afterwards anyway.’

The Next Night

Syrus howled happily before breaking into a run. He sprinted through the trees, leaping over logs as he did so. He paused at the stream to quench his thirst and then continued to run until his paws were exhausted. He collapsed on the ground, panting heavily.

‘Boy that felt good,’ he thought. ‘A good run was just what I needed. Wait, is that Jaden’s scent?’ Lifting his head, Syrus sniffed the air. Yes, that was Jaden’s scent all right.

“Syrus! Where are you?”

Syrus answered with a long howl. Snapping twigs and running feet followed his howl before the Slifer Red appeared.

“Sy, something terrible happened!”

Syrus smiled inwardly. Jaden sounded the way he used to before he got bitten. “What? Lose your rabbit’s foot?” he teased.

“Nooo. It’s back in the room,” Jaden answered, causing Syrus to sweatdrop. “It’s Zane. He lost.”

“He…lost? How?”

“Aster uses Elemental Heroes too. He used one to defeat Cyber End Dragon. And he wants a rematch with me. He accuses me of copying him.”

“When is he coming?”

“I think he’s coming tomorrow night. The rematch might be the following morning.”


Syrus prowled around the edge of the woods near the school itself. Aster was supposed to arrive tonight and Syrus wanted to be there to see him again. He had to be sure to stay out of sight though. A scream reached his ears and he ran to the edge near the school entrance.

He saw the prone figure of a man who was dressed like a burglar. Standing over the man was Aster. The sight of him made Syrus’s blood boil. He defeated his dear brother. ‘It’s not right that Zane lost. He shouldn’t have lost.’

Aster started to turn in his direction and the werewolf darted into the shadows. He saw Aster facing the woods and was heading in his direction! Syrus couldn’t move. He started breathing hard and fast as Aster reached the edge. However, Aster stopped when he heard his name and he returned to the pavement. Syrus sighed with relief. Saved by his best friend.

Chapter Eight- Search and Rescue

Syrus moaned, which was copied by Hassleberry. Only he did it louder. Jaden had gone missing after losing his rematch with Aster which was several days ago. Syrus was worried about him. He was so concerned that he barely ate or slept. His senses were suffering from his lack of well-being. His sense of smell wasn’t working well and his hearing was at human norm as was his sight.

Syrus gave a loud sigh. An eyebrow twitched when Hassleberry gave a louder sigh. Why did that guy feel like he had to compete with Syrus over who missed Jaden the most? It was really annoying and he conveyed that by shooting the freshman an annoyed look. Hassleberry responded by giving him a fearsome look, lip curled, and his eyes looking dinosaur-like. To Syrus, it was a pathetic attempt at intimidation and decided to show him some real intimidation.

Curling his lip even more, Syrus bared his slightly sharp teeth and growled at him, eyes turning gold. Hassleberry recoiled slightly at Syrus’s display and promptly faced forward.

Syrus sat back with a feeling of satisfaction. Deep down, however, Syrus was a little ashamed of what he did. He shouldn’t have let his feral attributes surface, but he wanted to show his rival he wasn’t a pushover. He saw Hassleberry glaring at him out of the corner of his eye and had a feeling this wasn’t over.


“What’s your problem, Truesdale?” Hassleberry snapped on the way back to the dorm.

“I would think it would be obvious, but I guess it’s too much for your pea-sized brain to figure out,” Syrus retorted.

“Them’s fightin’ words, pipsqueak.”

“Bring it on.”

Hassleberry threw his arm forward to punch Syrus’s cheek, but the smaller boy easily dodged the attack. He brought his leg around and kicked Hassleberry with enough force to knock him to the ground. He jumped on top of Hassleberry, scratching at the arms and face as well as punching and pulling at the hair.

“All right! That’s enough,” came Alexis’s voice. She grabbed Syrus around the waist and pulled him off his victim. Hassleberry leaped to his feet, anger practically rolling off him in waves.

“What’s the problem here?” the girl asked, releasing Syrus when he had calmed down.

“Ask him,” Hassleberry growled.

“He’s trying to take over my position as Ja’s best friend.”

‘He was guarding his role,’ Alexis realized. It made sense that Syrus would feel defensive, but he rarely attacked.

“Anyway,” Syrus continued. “He attacked first. I was defending myself.”

“Scratching and hair pullin’ are not defensive strategies. In fact, it’s not a strategy at all. Those are the moves of a coward!”

Syrus was fuming enough for his whole body to tremble. Turning on his heel, he stormed off into the woods. He didn’t care if he was missing dinner. It would be moon rise soon and he needed to blow off some steam.


Alexis glanced around. No sign of Syrus. Where was he? He usually doesn’t go far from the forest edge. At least according to Jaden. She wanted to make sure he was okay since he didn’t show up at dinner again. She pushed between two bushes and saw a gray wolf curled up beside a pile of folded clothes. Its side rose and fell in a slow, even rhythm.

“Syrus?” she said gently.

One ear twitched and two gold eyes opened blearily and blinked before focusing on her. He got up, stretching and yawning. “Hey, Alexis. What time is it?”

“Uh, about seven. I didn’t know you could still talk.”

“Of course I can. I’m a werewolf, not a regular wolf.” Syrus sniffed the ground and then the air.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking for Ja. Kind of hard since my senses aren’t very sharp right now.”

“You really miss him.”

“A lot. I feel really alone without Jaden or my bro around.”

Alexis kneeled down and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’m still here, Sy. You’re not alone.”

“Thanks, Lex. What’s with the bag, by the way?”

“Oh! I almost forgot. I put some food in it for you. I know you haven’t eaten for days.”

“Oh, Lex. You’re the best.” Syrus licked Alexis’s cheek before taking the bag and heading off to search. Alexis smiled as she exited the woods.

“Alexis, what in Sam Hill were you doin’ in there?”

Alexis looked up and saw Hassleberry coming up to her. “I was talking to Syrus. He’s looking for Jaden. You know he hasn’t eaten or slept in days?”

“He’s doin’ a search and rescue? I guess he is a true best friend. I’m goin’ to help him.”

“Uh, Syrus can handle it himself. He took care of you, didn’t he?”

Hassleberry gingerly touched a band-aid. “Yeah. He’s a tough little guy. He fought like a wolf,” he said, not noticing Alexis sweatdropping.


Syrus placed his nose to the ground, taking deep breaths. Nothing. Just like the day before and the day before that. He sighed before nosing a biscuit out of the bag and chewing on it. He started to mentally check off where he’s looked.

‘I’ve looked around the edge of the dorm. I’ve followed the river and looked around the pond. I think I need to go further away.’

Swallowing his last bite, Syrus stood up and turned in the direction that would lead him deep into the woods. A cool breeze sprang up and flew up to Syrus. It ruffled his fur and tickled his nose making him stiffen in disbelief.

‘It can’t be. I couldn’t have smelled what I thought I smelled.’ Syrus lifted his nose into the air and took a deep sniff.

‘It is Jaden’s scent! I wasn’t imagining it!’ Grabbing the bag, Syrus ran in the direction of the scent. He emerged in a clearing and skidded to a halt.

There, laying unconscious under a tree, was his best friend. Syrus ran over to him, dropped the bag, and nosed Jaden’s cheek. ‘Please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead,’ he mentally repeated.

“Ja? Come on bro, wake up,” Syrus pleaded as he continued to prod the boy. His prodding was rewarded with a groan.

Jaden’s eyes opened slowly and blinked before Syrus heard, “Sy, is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me.”

“Really?” Jaden sat up. “I mean, you’re not a hallucination?”

“Nope. The real deal.”

“Oh, Sy!” Jaden’s arms wrapped around the wolf’s neck. “I missed you so much. I haven’t seen you for weeks!”

“It’s only been one week.”

“One? It felt longer.”

“I know. Hey, want some food?” Syrus nudged the bag forward.

“You bet. I’m starved!”

Syrus inwardly smiled as Jaden wolfed down the food. His best friend was back and he wasn’t lonely anymore. ‘Now Zane just needs to start winning again.’

Chapter Nine- Moon’s Darkness

The water cascaded down his hair and back. He barely noticed it. His thoughts were on his dueling career which was on a downward spiral. Ever since he lost to Aster, he had been on a losing streak that wouldn’t end. With every loss he suffered, more and more fans deserted him. He knew he still had one though: Syrus.

Zane sighed as he exited the shower, dried off, and got dressed. He had reached the end of the line and Syrus was still loyal to him. He didn’t care if his brother’s reputation was ruined and his pride was gone. They were still brothers.


Zane yelled as electric shocks coursed through him and his lifepoints dropped to 3500. He didn’t like this underground dueling, but he had to start from the beginning. That was what his new manager, Mr. Shroud, had told him.

His opponent, Mad Dog, was truly absurd. In appearance, he looked every inch the muscle-bound tough guy. However, the moment he spoke, Zane almost face-faulted. The guy had a little kid voice! But, his dueling skills were something else. He had effectively prevented Zane from summoning machine monsters for three turns.

‘What am I going to do?’ he wondered as the duel progressed. ‘He seems to have the perfect strategy to defeat my deck.’

A bigger shock went through him and as he screamed he heard a voice howl in his mind, “Free me!”

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

‘I’m you.’


‘Or more precisely, your wolf half.’

‘But, I wasn’t bitten.’

‘You were scratched, yes. It doesn’t matter. Any werewolf curse brings a wolf half with it.’

In his mind’s eye, Zane saw the voice that was talking to him. It looked just like Syrus’s wolf form only a little bigger and three scratches on the right foreleg.

‘This is some duel you’re in,’ the wolf commented.

‘It hurts.’

‘I know. But, I can help you overcome it so you can win. That’s the only way out.’

‘Or I could lose.’

‘You could, but then you would be facing another duel just like this.’

‘How can you help?’

‘Let me out of this subconscious cage and we’ll “fuse” together and beat your opponent.’

Cage? Zane blinked and saw something he hadn’t seen before: A cage of silver stood between him and the wolf. Clearly, the wolf couldn’t undo the latch on the door. Zane could and he wondered if he should. The wolf sounded sincere in offering his help. They would merge long enough to win the duel, that’s it.

‘All right. I’ll let you out.’ Zane flipped the latch up and as the door swung open, he asked, ‘What do I call you anyway?’

‘You can call me Darkness. Now, we have a duel to win.’

Zane felt Darkness seep into his body, the two becoming one. Zane returned to the duel (in which only two seconds had passed) and summoned Chimeratech Overdragon to the field. He felt Darkness’s desire to destroy and he decided to indulge the wolf. The duel ended in a huge explosion and his victory. Zane had survived.

‘Thank god that’s over at last. I hate being caged,’ Darkness commented.

‘Thank you for your help.’

‘Of course. And now, I’ll return to your subconscious.’



‘We…made a good team. I wouldn’t mind if we stayed together.’

‘You fear losing again.’

‘Yes, I do.’

‘Then I’ll stay. With my help, you’ll never lose again.’

Zane nodded as he left the cage. He didn’t hear Darkness chuckle, ‘Zane doesn’t realize that he’s fallen into my trap. Soon, I will be in complete control of his body.’

One Month Later

“And yet another win for Zane Truesdale. I’m telling you folks, Zane’s dueling like a man possessed,” the TV broadcaster announced.

Syrus stared at his brother’s image. He was clad entirely in black and his face seemed different. His blue eyes seemed darker and an almost feral expression dominated his face. ‘He’s possessed all right. Possessed by a curse. It’s all my fault.’


Jaden sighed as he emerged from the outhouse. That had to be the best shower yet! It was certainly better than bathing in the lake. As he headed for his room, a long mournful howl sounded through the air. Jaden winced at the sound. It was such a sad sound that he could feel his heart breaking. He broke into a run and into the woods. He came to a halt when he met up with his friend who was howling again.

Jaden clapped his hands to his ears. “Sy, stop! It hurts.”

The howl ended abruptly. “Sorry, Ja,” Syrus answered in a depressed tone.

“You’re howling because of Zane, huh? I don’t like the way he’s dueling, either. It’s so hard and brutal.”

“It’s not that. It’s his curse, Ja. His curse finally got to him and it’s my fault.”

“Sy, no. It’s not your fault.”

“It is!” Syrus stamped a forepaw. “I scratched him! I laid that curse on him!”

“Sy, your brother had probably been fighting it for a long time and couldn’t hold it back any longer. There’s no way you could have prevented it. Just like you couldn’t stop yourself from scratching him.”

Syrus tilted his head, considering his friend’s words. Yes, he couldn’t stop himself when he scratched Zane and Zane had been fighting a losing battle. It made a lot of sense. “I guess you’re right. But, I intend to help him beat it.”


“I don’t know. But, I’ll think of something.”


‘The GX tournament,’ Syrus mused as he gazed at the island from the dock. ‘The whole island’s the field. Students and pros dueling one another. I wonder where Zane’s at. Someone said they saw him arrive.’

Sighing to himself, the small Ra left the dock. He wandered over the island and stopped when he found Jaden in the midst of a duel. As the brunette won his duel, a large black figure appeared in the sky over the volcano: The Red-Eyes Black Dragon!

‘That’s Atticus’s card!’ Syrus realized. ‘Now that’s a duel I want to see.’ Curious, Syrus, Jaden, and Hassleberry headed toward the volcano. Syrus skidded to a halt when he saw the combatants: Atticus and his brother, Zane!

Syrus watched in stunned silence as the two dueled. Zane was pounding Atticus, even when the brunette became possessed by Night Shroud once more. While he watched, Syrus noted the destructive cards Zane now possessed. By studying them, he hoped to devise a strategy to destroy or at least beat them. He knew deep down that Atticus was going to lose and he was right. The good news was that Night Shroud was permanently expelled from Atticus, though.

As Jaden and Hassleberry rushed to Atticus’s side, Zane headed down the volcano. In order to do so, he had to pass Syrus. The two brothers locked eyes and Syrus’s eyes burned into Zane’s calm and cruel gaze. As Zane continued on, Syrus vowed to save his brother. No matter what.

Chapter Ten- Brothers Reunited

Submarineroid propelled itself toward its target, an Obelisk Blue student. The boy yelled as his lifepoints dropped to zero. Another victory for Syrus. This pleased him greatly. He was one step closer to dueling Zane. Yes, he was a Ra Yellow, but Zane was a pro. He needed to win several medals before taking Zane on. That was the plan.

“What happened, Truesdale?” the Obelisk asked. “Last week, you were hiding in a trash can and now you’re kicking butt. What changed?” He tossed his medal toward Syrus, who caught it.

“Nothing changed,” he replied as he turned and headed back up the rock path leading to the red dorm.

“What do you mean nothing changed?” Jaden spoke up when Syrus met up with him at the top. “You’ve been winning duels and taking names. You’ve also become more confident.”

“The full moon’s tonight, too,” Syrus whispered. “My confidence is at its strongest right now.”

“Hey Jaden, Syrus,” Hassleberry called running up to them. “Aster and Zane just bumped shoulders in front of the school. I think things are going to start getting ugly.”

‘Zane!’ Syrus’s heart started to beat faster. His brother was close and this was his chance. Picking up the pace, Syrus raced ahead of his friends and headed for the school.

He got there to see Aster and Zane facing off aka Old West-style. “Hey, both of you get back to your corners and chill out,” he yelled as he got between them. He felt a little like a referee at a wrestling match. Turning to Aster, he said, “You don’t want to duel him. He’s looking for revenge.”

“Uh, no, he’s not,” Aster corrected. “I mean, I’ve been talking trash for the last ten minutes and he hasn’t taken the bait. According to your brother all that matters to him is victory and he doesn’t care who he has to step on.”

Syrus spun around to face his brother. “Is that true?”

Zane sneered, “You people are just a bunch of maggots to me.”

Syrus’s eyes widened in shock and hurt before his nostrils flared slightly. Zane’s scent. It was different. ‘Why didn’t I notice it before? It’s definitely more wolf-like than usual.’ Out loud, he said, “I’m challenging you to a duel, bro.” He waited for a response. Would Zane laugh and walk off? Or would he accept?

“It’s your funeral, little man,” was Zane’s answer.


Syrus was holding up well against Zane if he did say so himself. He had 2400 lifepoints while Zane had 1600. The shock bands, however, were another story. Each point lost set them off. It was agony to the boy, but Zane wasn’t even flinching. Zane declared they gave him strength to endure the pain and then inflict it on his opponent.

Syrus was horrified at his brother’s attitude. This was not the brother he knew and loved. Who was this guy?

He saw two monsters heading for him, preparing for a double direct attack. Acting fast, he activated his trap’s effect. Yes, Lifeforce cost 800 points total to block both attacks, but it was worth it. Otherwise, Zane would have defeated him in two or three turns.

A shock bigger than his previous ones shot through him. He screamed as the pain sent him to his knees and his glasses fell to the ground. Syrus didn’t notice because his eyes were closed. He heard Zane repeating his beliefs of enduring pain, victory, and not respecting his opponent. ‘Maybe that is my brother and he just saw the facts of the real world.’

‘You’re wrong,’ a voice called.

‘Huh? Who’s there?’

‘You know me.’

I do know. Syrus wasn’t sure how he knew, but he did. Opening his mind’s eye, Syrus saw a gray wolf with a bare patch on the left hindleg. He was looking at himself!

‘You’re me!’ Syrus exclaimed.

‘Yes, I’m your wolf half.’

‘You said earlier I’m wrong. What did you mean by that?’

‘That’s not really your brother. His wolf half is in control.’

‘But he wasn’t bitten.’

‘I know. But every curse brings a wolf half with it. I believe Zane was desperate to escape the Underground and he joined together with his wolf half, not knowing it would control him.’

‘I have to help him.’

‘I know, little one.’

‘Hey! We’re the same person, you know!’

A chuckle. ‘I know. I’m sorry.’ The wolf paused and tilted his head. ‘Your friend, Jaden, is talking to you.’

Syrus came back to the outside world in time to hear Jaden say, “You need to teach him respect, Sy. Respect for his cards, respect for his opponent, and respect for himself.”

Syrus put his glasses back on and stood up. “You’re right, Ja. I’m not giving up until I do show him respect.”

‘Be careful, Syrus.’

‘I will. Thanks.’

The duel resumed and Syrus was fired up to defeat Zane. He felt certain when his brother played Power Wall and discarded twenty-seven cards. That left him with one card in his deck! If he could hold on a little longer, he would win.


“I did it,” Syrus said after blocking Cyberdark Dragon’s attack. As the smoke cleared, Syrus looked at Zane’s field, blinked for a moment, and then his mouth fell open at the card that was just activated. De-fusion!

“Oh no!” he cried. “That means…”

“It’s over,” Zane declared. “Farewell.”

Syrus stood in stunned silence as Zane’s Cyberdak monsters bore down on him. He couldn’t block them all with his trap. It was over. He barely acknowledged the shocks as he fell to the ground.

‘I failed,’ he sobbed to his other half.

‘I’m sorry. I guess there’s no way to help your brother.’

‘There is one way.’


“I’m fine, Ja. Really.” Syrus pushed the sheets back and got off the bed.

“Sy, you were just in a rough duel. You need rest.”

“And you need to have your head examined if you think I’m staying here tonight.”

Jaden’s eyes widened at Syrus’s outburst. Then, they went back to normal size. “Oh, right. I forgot. Sorry, Sy.”

“I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to snap like that.”

“Go ahead and leave, Sy. I’ll see you later.”

Syrus headed out of the infirmary and into the forest. He stripped off his clothes and watched the moon rise. His body shivered a little as his fur began to spread all over him. His tail grew out behind him as his feet became paws with exposed claws.

Syrus crouched on his hindlegs as his arms and hands began to change. His ears and muzzle emerged and he howled as his change ended. He sniffed the air and ground vigorously.

‘Looking for something, little one?’

‘I’m looking for Zane and I thought I asked you not to call me “little one”.’

‘Actually, you didn’t.’

“Oh. That’s right, I didn’t. Hey! I’ve got his scent!’ Syrus took off in a run. The scent got stronger as he neared the red dorm. He raced into a clearing and there was Zane right in front of him.

‘Zane,’ Syrus thought as he stared at him. ‘No. That’s not really Zane.’

“How ironic,” Zane said. “We meet again in the same place I was born in.”

“It’s you. Zane’s wolf half.”

“Yes. However, your presence is making it hard to stay in control. Zane obviously cares a great deal about you.”

Give Zane back control and go back where you came from.”

“You think I’ll go back to that subconscious cage? I don’t. I deserve to be as free as your wolf half.”

“Then I have no choice but to get rid of you.”

“You can’t kill me. You’ll be killing your brother, too.”

“Who said I planned to kill you? I plan to remove the curse I caused by placing another one on you.”

“You can try, runt.”

Growling, Syrus pounced and missed as “Zane” leaped gracefully to one side. The werewolf snapped at his brother every chance he got, but he kept missing.

‘I will bite him. He can’t keep dodging forever.’

Suddenly, Zane jerked as if stunned. His dark blue eyes lightened and he held his head in his hands. Soft growls came from his throat.

‘Uh, wolf me? What’s going on?’

‘It looks like Zane’s fighting his wolf half. Maybe you won’t have to bite him.’


Darkness leaped aside as the young one pounced. He wanted to laugh. Did this Syrus seriously think he could curse him again? The first time that happened, Zane was just a human. Too slow and too weak. Now, the enhanced senses were working for him.

He jerked back to avoid another snap of teeth. ‘This has gone on long enough. He needs to die.’

‘WHAT!?’ Zane exclaimed.

‘You heard me.’

‘But, that’s my brother.’

‘He’s not mine. So, I’ll have no problem killing him.’

‘You can’t. I won’t let you.’

‘You can’t stop me. I’m in control.’

‘Not for long.’

Zane lunged at Darkness, grabbed him by the scruff, and hurled him down his soul corridor. Zane realized he was in control and was about to tell Syrus when Darkness leaped on top of him.

‘You might be in control, Zane, but I can influence your actions.’

‘What?’ Zane was surprised. Darkness wasn’t going to take control again?

‘It’s sweet revenge really. Syrus will believe I killed him, but you will live with the knowledge that it was you who killed him.’

‘No. Syrus.’

Darkness laughed before saying, ‘Kill him Zane!’

‘No, I won’t.’

‘Yes, you will. Kill him!’


‘Kill him!!’


‘Kill that runt now!’

‘No! HE’S MY BROTHER!’ With a surge of love and mental power, Zane blasted Darkness off him and sent the dark wolf hurtling back into the silver cage.

‘No!’ Darkness howled as the latch clicked into place. Then, he was silent.

Zane blinked as he returned to the real world. He looked at his surroundings. He was in the forest. He looked in front of him to see Syrus in an offensive posture. His legs were bent, the ears were folded back, his teeth were bared, and a growl echoed in his throat.

“Syrus,” he said gently.

The werewolf’s pose slackened. He stared at him for a moment before answering, “Z-Zane?”

“It’s really me. Darkness is back in his cage and he’s going to stay there.”

“Darkness? Is that his name?”

“That’s what he asked to be called.”

“Considering the curse that brought him, it’s an appropriate name.”

“Yes. Sy, I’m happy to be back in control. It’s been so long since I could do anything on my own.”

“I’m happy you’re back too.”

“I intend to give the Underworld Deck back to Shepherd. He was right. It’s too dangerous.”

“Good idea. You can crash in my room, bro.”

“Thanks, Sy.”

“No problem. Oh, and one more thing, Zane. Get out of those clothes.”

Zane laughed. “Deal.” As Zane headed for the Ra dorm, he heard Syrus release a long and joyous howl.

The End