Chapter 9: Pointless Tag Duel
Itís a time of celebration, everyone! The 10th installation of my tearing a bad fanfic apart out of boredom! Whoooooo!
Yes, I do realize 10 is not a lot, relatively speaking, but given how often I abandon anything else I write,
itís an accomplishment for me.
Regardless, last time on Kasumi: The Last Signer,
Kasumi unrepentantly killed people en masse! This time, the author shall do some quick backpedaling before getting to things s/he actually cares about! How compelling!
Chapter 9: Practice Tag Duel
The chapter starts the afternoon after the events of the previous chapter, with Kasumi just then waking up from her
contrived reason to get a moment with Shikamaru
strain. She realizes what she had done the previous night, and starts to cry before Neji notices her. She explains that she still remembers the face of the first man she slew before he died.
"You were only doing what came natural to defend yourself" Neji stated
It frightens me that her natural reaction to any sort of threat is to violently stab it in the chest.
Kasumi explains that itís not the fact that she killed him that upsets her, but the face that he made. Yep, itís totally okay to kill people, so long as you donít actually see them react. That way, you can act as if they arenít actually human, so itís totally okay!
Haku comes in then, and Neji explains the situation to him.
"Lady Kasumi...If that is bothering you you'll get over it eventually.Ē
I have to say, this fic did one thing thatís not cliche. It actually used It Gets Easier
as legitimate justification for cold-blooded murder. Mind you, itís not good
that it did so, but itís just something to note.
Kasumi accepts this justification, which is one thing that really annoys me. It would be pretty messed up morally if Kasumi was to kill someone and not dwell on it, I get that. The problem is that the author doesnít dwell on it enough; she is sad over having killed someone, but itís less a despair and more a mild discomfort. It takes about a sentence of convincing, and then she is utterly fine with it. This isnít even taking into account the tons of other people she killed that night, either. I would try to make light of this whole thing, but thereís no real way of getting around it: the whole way this was handled was terrible, and almost offensive.
But the author has gotten bored of justifying his/her writing, time for more important things! Hinata enters, because everyone is apparently right outside, and thanks Kasumi for having saved her sister. Kasumi says itís part of a promise, though she groans because Hinata refers to her as ďLady Kasumi.Ē Yes, most everyone is going to start referring to her as that eventually. It gets quite grating.
Shikamaru comes in immediately after. Iím convinced that this is all some elaborate prank on Kasumi; everyone is coming in as if right on cue. Shikamaru shoots Haku a glare because of his poorly thought out idea of pulling a prank, but Kasumi, due to her mind reading ability which she shouldnít have, asks them about the picture. Haku shows it to her, and Kasumi comments that itís cute because a friend has never held her before.
Yíknow, that line makes me realize. Did Kasumi ever even have friends before this? The extent of her life we know before is that she had a family, and they dueled. Yep, so much to see from there. It feels weird thinking about that, but she certainly doesnít seem to miss anybody from her old life.
But enough about actual possible character development, Kasumi tells Haku that he should show it to Naruto. Shikamaru predictably freaks out, but Kasumi tells him that the picture is more indicative of a close friendship than anything. I would hope
itís not indicative of a relationship (as much of a lie as that is, given Shikamaruís blushing in the picture); the older of them is 12.
Kasumi then asks Hinata about her relationship with Naruto completely out of the blue. This was presumably just so the author could, in fact, show that this was Hinata, and not a Skrull that took her place.
She starts to blush and stammer, and Kasumi leaves with Haku and Shikamaru without really getting an answer. Presumably, the author did not want to piss off people that shipped Naruto with anybody else.
Hiashi is right outside the room to greet her, validating my claim of this all being staged, and he states he needs to see her energy to gauge her emotional control over her psychic powers. He does this with the Kekkei Genkai of the Hyuuga clan, the ByakuganĖ no, Iím sorry, the Keki Gensu
of the Hyugga
clan, the Byukugan. Every single one of those typos is, in fact, within these few lines.
"That's the Keki Gensu of the Hyugga Clan Lady Kasumi, it's like X-Ray vision."
How does he know what X-rays are? Naruto
is anachronistic, but not to this extent. X-rays might or might not have been used later in the manga, Iím unsure of one event, but I find it weird he just flat out calls it ďX-ray vision,Ē as if he was some sort of superhero.
Nothing interesting happens because Kasumi is calm, but Hiashi urges her to get angry. Haku accomplishes this by calling her short stock, which somehow gets her angry enough to cause her power to go off the charts
(Over nine thousand
gag here, if you so wish). Why does this get her so angry? Itís not as if he does it out of the blue; he openly hints at what heís going to do and apologizes for it beforehand. Is it just a trigger of some kind that causes her to go insane for a few seconds?
"Man this is like Chakra" Neji stated.
Keep this in mind for later. Much later.
Kasumiís rage starts to get to the point that the whole compound starts to shake, as if struck by an earthquake. More than a bit annoyed at her ridiculous shenanigans, Haku yells at her to calm down, which she does by gripping her hands. This apparently qualifies as meditating, since Neji comments that the meditation is helping. Or maybe heís stating that itís improving her demeanor in general, which is a complete load; she made the whole compound shake due to being called short.
In what way does this qualify her as well-mannered?!
Kasumi then leaves, bored of this scene already, and wanders off to outside, where she encounters a dog. The dog sniffs her then lets her pet it, since all Mary Sues*
are contractually obligated to have all animals love them. The dogís owner runs up to collect his dog and introduces himself to Kasumi as Kiba. They exchange greetings, and Kiba, being the tactless git he is, tells Kasumi that sheís a natural beauty.
Hinata sees Kiba and greets him since they are on the same team, and the two exchange dialogue to further talk about how amazing Kasumi is. Through this dialogue, Kasumi reveals that she doesnít want to be a ninja. When Kiba asks why, she reveals that itís because ninja kidnapped her and murdered her family!
Yeah, thatís great, Kasumi. Now how about you explain all those friends youíve made that are ninja? Do they just not count, since only really bad ninja are actually ninja?
Apparently, according to her, ninja are nothing but killing machines. Oh, so sheís basically one alreadyĖ Fine, Iíll stop.
Haku and Shikamaru appear, leading me to believe they teleported since no further description is given on their appearance, and Haku immediately tells Kasumi to reveal her mark. Because apparently, nobody is allowed to know Kasumi as a person. Nope, they have to treat her as an object defined solely by the status of those that preceded her: expectations to which she cannot live up, driving her down a road leading her to her eventual self-destruction.
Now if only that was the story I was actually reading. Shino, the third member of Kiba and Hinataís team, appears to explain the Crimson Dragon legend to his teammates. Thankfully, itís not described in the text in depth for once. Kiba immediately starts referring to Kasumi by what is apparently her proper title, which I still donít get. Signers arenít inherently of higher status; half of those in 5Dís
lived in the slums for most of their early lives. I would get if she had performed some great accomplishment, but all sheís done so far is rescue Hanabi, which is nice of her but not really a herculean task.
Haku pulls out the picture of Shikamaru holding Kasumi to show Kiba, who rolls around on the floor laughing and teases Shikamaru about liking Kasumi. What is with everyoneís obsession with this apparent relationship between children? Most everyone in this story is acting like a stereotypical preteen/young teenage girl: petty and obsessed with gossip and relationships.
Ino appears out of nowhere to ask Shikamaru of the sacrilege he hath apparently wrought upon the world, since giving a girl a couple years younger than him a piggyback ride is apparently analogous to only the dirtiest of sex positions. Ino leaves after Kasumi explains, having served her purpose of comical hijinks that arenít very comical.
Kiba formally introduces his team as team 8, and Shino accidentally brushes by Kasumi, leaving a bunch of beetles crawling all over her and her freaking out. Just to explain real quick: Everyone born into Shinoís clan has chakra-controlled bugs put into their body at a young age. Why Shino was careless enough to let a bunch get on Kasumi, however, is another matter. Maybe he just doesnít like her; it would certainly be a first. Shikamaru points out the obvious of Kasumi not liking bugs.
"No!" I said "What girl does?"
Stereotypes! We love stereotypes! Though, despite her stereotypical answer, she apparently picked up the habit of dub!Yusei, since she recalls a tale of the two of them running in fear from a swarm of bugs in a meadow. I guess old habits die hard, Yusei. Rather, they never die because characters arenít allowed to change at all over ten years.
Haku feels the need to explain about her fear of bugs, and in the process the fact that sheís adopted. Does nobody in this series have the slightest sense of tact? Or subtext?
ďI AM FEELING THIS WAY AND HERE IS WHY.Ē
ďTHIS IS A JOKE BASED ON THE AFOREMENTIONED FEELINGS.Ē
ďHERE IS AN EXPLANATION OF THE JOKE IN CASE YOU DID NOT GET IT DOHOHOHOHOHO.Ē
Kurenai, team 8ís Jounin, appears out of nowhere so they have an excuse to exit the scene. Wait, no, thatís the end of the scene, and there is a horribly forced transition of Neji wanting Kasumi to get to know his team. I honestly have no idea why he wants this, considering his character. Perhaps his personality is not applicable to anything, though, considering how thoroughly the author assassinated it last chapter.
When they arrive, Kasumi first sees Guy and a younger lookalike of Guy, called Rock Lee. Lee immediately starts flirting with Kasumi, calling her youthful, kissing her hand, and saying she has to go on a date with him if he defeats Neji. Basically, how he was when he initially met Narutoís team. The problem, though, is that he never acted this obsessed again.
Itís not as if Lee acts this way every time he meets a girl. Or is Kasumi just special enough to draw the infatuation of a boy three years her elder?
Lee finally gives himself an actual introduction, and the token girl of Guyís team approaches to apologize for his behavior. She introduces herself as Tenten, and she and Kasumi instantly know that theyíll be best friends. Somehow. Tenten referring to her as Lady Kasumi also reminds Guy that Kasumi is a signer, which needs to be brought up for some reason, and Lee asks for her dueling record.
"Six wins zero losses" I said.
"Undefeated" Haku said
SIX WHOLE DUELS, OH MY GOD. I could do that many in maybe a couple hours, but Kasumi is slow and deliberate. She only does that many over a few months, but it just shows how much time and dedication she puts into every move!
Yeah, I have no idea.
The typical happens when a new prominent character is introduced: Kasumi is awesome, Kasumiís family is dead, someone becomes interested in dueling. In this case, the someone is Tenten. Neji praises Kasumiís duel last night and how she defeated Pace with a supposedly weak monster, but Kasumi rebuts that most duelists only think in terms of stats.
For the metagame, at least, this couldnít be more wrong. Outside of a few choice instances, duelists are far more concerned with effects, type, and attribute than they are with raw attack or defense. How would Kasumi know how ďmost duelistsĒ act, anyway? Sheís ten, and her total duels can almost be counted on one hand. Hardly the most reliable bank of knowledge on the card game.
Tenten, interested in the Duel Puzzles, asks Kasumi if she has any more spots for a bodyguard and volunteers to be the last one when she responds in the affirmative. Well, this is an interesting twist; a character who is inconsequential at best is suddenly much more prominent;
how will the author develop the character to accommodate that?
...Ehe. Funny story about that.
The Third Hokage happens to be walking by, and he gives Kasumi some money as a reward for saving Hanabi. I canít help but have a mental image of Hiashi rushing into his office immediately after leaving the compound and demanding that he pay Kasumi. He also mandates that Kasumi have four bodyguards: three male and one female, so that she can have girl talk or something. A bit of a strange command, but whatever. Tenten quickly makes sure that itís okay with Guy.
"Why Ten-Ten, you are one of my most youthful students! And you want to protect the Youthful Lady Kasumi!"
Youthful youthful youthful youthful youthful. DO YOU GET IT YET, READERS? GUY LIKES CALLING THINGS YOUTHFUL, IT'S HILARIOUS WHY ARE YOU NOT LAUGHING?
Anyway, Tenten starts to go through duel puzzles, which is really uneventful, since itís like a normal duel without anybody actually talking during it. The only notable thing to happen is, of course, that the author gets a card effect wrong: Tenten activates Cold Wave to negate the opponentís traps in the middle of her turn. Cold Wave has to be literally the first move you make during your main phase; otherwise, it plain canít be activated. This is the fundamental flaw with the duel puzzle the author creates; the player has to activate Shrink to decrease the attack of the opponent monster, but needs to also activate Cold Wave, when the two would be mutually exclusive in a turn.
This would be easily fixable if Cold Wave was replaced by a card like Trap Stun, but the author apparently does not care enough. Even disregarding that itís literally broken, the puzzle is piss easy, Leeís claims of it being hard be damned.
Kasumi congratulates her, being the supreme authority on dueling or something, and gives her the deck that Trudge had conveniently given to her. She also gives her one of the duel disks she conveniently bought while in town in case her other bodyguards were interested in dueling. How convenient.
Tenten looks at the two duel disks: one is essentially tailor-made for her before Kasumi even knew her, and the other is Yuseiís duel disk, which Kasumi took from his duel runner. Our hero the graverobber, everyone!
She picks the one that wasnít pilfered from a corpse, and the Third Hokage, who is apparently still there, writes down all of her bodyguards. Kasumi confirms that her fourth and final bodyguard is Kakashi, which may cause more than a bit of conflict. With Tenten and Shikamaru, itís somewhat forgivable, since their respective teams could manage without them. Kakashi, however, is the leader of his team, and god forbid one of the Genin take charge.
The Hokage asks Kasumi to entertain everyone with a duel, because it apparently became the Leaf Village equivalent of football within a few months, and she accepts. However, he specifies that he wants it to be a tag duel for some reason.
Kasumi exposits to everyone else what a tag duel is, with each team getting 8000 life points instead of 4000. Shikamaru says that that makes sense, given how quickly 4000 life points would deplete in such a scenario. A good duelist would make 4000 life points go down quickly in a normal duel, but on the other hand, this is written by an author who knows nothing about the actual card game.
Kasumi and Tenten decide to make a team, as do Haku and Shikamaru, and the Hokage leaves as he tells them to get some practice. Apparently, standing there and yelling dramatically requires vigorous physical conditioning. The two teams decide to have a practice tag duel against one another, with Kasumi now apparently in complete and utter control of her powers. Itís so good for her that sheís not suffering from any of the things that made her mother compelling or multi-faceted!
Kasumi starts the duel by summoning Cleric Mist, and thereís the cliche exchange of somebody
asking why she would play such a weak monster before she explains its effect. She then sets two cards and ends her turn. Haku starts his, in turn, by summoning monsters that serve no purpose other than being fodder to summon Catastor.
Kasumi warns Tenten about it, citing the Ally of Justice part of its name as a fact that itís trouble. Itís funny because the Ally of Justice archetype is entirely useless except for Catastor because their effects work against exactly one attribute: Light monsters.
Catastor is special in that its effect activates against everything that isnít a Dark monster, so it rises above. The rest of the Ally of Justice cards could probably be found in a garbage bin somewhere.
However, Haku ends his turn without attacking, and Kasumi explains that he couldnít because nobody can attack in a tag duel for their respective first turn. This isnít really true, at least in the video games with tag duels; attacks can be declared as soon as the second turn (which is the first turn for the second player to take their turn). Regardless, Tenten starts her turn by summoning Horus the Black Flame Dragon LV4.
A small medium sized dragon appeared on the field and a thought appeared in my mind Well she has an all Dragon type deck
Why is Tenten running dragons? Her entire fighting style is based around weapons. Hell, her duel disk says weapon master on it, silly and contrived as that is! But instead of something logical based off of this, such as equips or maybe warriors, she gets dragons. Because the author likes dragons, presumably.
Tenten then activates the spell card Level Up, in order to tribute Horus LV4 and summon Horus LV6 in its place. Kasumi comments that itís now in its teenage stage, because she is now apparently an expert on all things dragon. Tenten ends her turn after setting a card, and Shikamaru quickly summons Apprentice Magician, activates Wave Motion Cannon, and sets a card to end his own.
Kasumi summons Copy Plant, then uses its effect to give it Catastorís level of 5 before tuning it to Mist in order to summon Black Rose Dragon. If it seems like Iím rushing through this duel, itís kind of because I am; it makes up far more of the chapter than it should, considering its insignificance, and not much of note is really happening.
Kasumi uses Black Rose Dragonís effect to remove Copy Plant from play, which forces Shikamaruís Apprentice Magician into attack mode and reduces its attack to 0. As a note that I missed before, this is the author actually getting it right. When Kasumi used the same effect on Divine, his monster was in attack position, so the effect should have failed, since forcing the monster into attack position is part of the effect. As a result, Iíd like to thank the friend of mine who pointed that out, for he is much more knowledgeable about childrenís card games than me.
But enough praising my friends, Black Rose Dragon destroys Apprentice Magician, and Guy and Lee make some wholly irrelevant statements, much as they have throughout the whole duel. In retaliation, Shikamaru activates Attack and Receive; Kasumi and Tenten receive 700 damage because Shikamaru and Haku just received over 1000 in one attack. Shikamaru also uses Apprentice Magicianís effect to summon another one in defense mode. Kasumi destroys it with Horus, but Shikamaru activates its effect again to get another out, and Kasumi ends her turn there.
Haku starts his turn by attacking Horus with Catastor (again causing the whole exchange of ďWhy would you [summon/attack with] such a weak monster?Ē ďI activate its effect!Ē), but Kasumi activates her Dodge Attack trap in response. Since things can never go badly for her, due to the stars aligning at her birth or something, the result is two heads, so the attack is negated entirely. Haku ends his turn by setting a monster.
Blah blah blah, nothing of interest happens, Horus destroys Apprentice Magician, face down monster flipped by spell and destroyed by Black Rose Dragon, Horus levels up to LV8 at end of turn due to its effect, blah.
Shikamaru looked up "Not good and for once this is truly a drag a monster with three thousand attack points off the back."
Since when is 7 turns into a duel "off the bat
"? Thatís just sluggish. He shrugs it off, though, and starts his turn, wasting Monster Reborn to revive Apprentice Magician, then summoning Flamvell Magician. Its effect doesnít matter because, like many other monsters in this fic, it ends up Synchro fodder for Tempest Magician. He discards two cards to give it two additional spell counters, then equips it with Stealth Shadow and destroys Wave Motion Cannon.
Kasumi warns Tenten to brace herself, right before Shikamaru tells them both to... brace themselves,
and Wave Motion Cannon inflicts 4000 damage due to being out for 4 turns even though it really wasnít. Itís supposed to just count turns he or his partner have taken; it should only inflict 2000. This is all the more jarring considering the author got it right the first time. At this point, the author is contradicting both the source material and his/her own work.
Shikamaru then activates Tempest Magicianís effect, removing all of its spell counters to inflict 500 damage for each, though the damage is doubled due to the broken effect of Stealth Shadow, so Kasumi and Tenten take 3000 damage. Shikamaru then attacks Horus with Catastor, but Tenten activates Dodge Attack in response. Seeing as how she is not Kasumi, though, she is not nearly as lucky, and ends up getting a heads and a tails. This means that the attack is redirected to be a direct attack, leaving the two with 100 life points. Of course, Kasumi would never be the one to make such a big mistake, even if luck-based!
Shikamaru then commands Tempest Magician to attack Black Rose Dragon and finish the duel, the latterís attack halved due to the broken Stealth Shadow, but Tenten activates Dodge Attack again. Since Kasumi is never actually allowed to lose, even if she didnít cause it, it lands on two heads, negating the attack. Strangely, Tenten closes her eyes during this, as if horrified by the prospect of a hologram attacking another hologram.
As if we still had any doubt that Kasumi was the epitome of perfection, Tenten tells her that itís all up to her as her turn starts. She then proceeds to completely contradict this by activating one of her trap cards after Kasumi draws, which treat all of the monsters on the field as Dark attribute for the rest of the turn. Why she couldnít activate this when Catastor attacked Horus, I have no idea. The author probably just hoped we wouldnít notice.
Kasumi activates Fallen Comrades, and Shikamaru shares the exasperation of the readers as he laments how many times sheís gotten that card. She then activates Scouting Party, a card which destroys all spell and trap cards on the opponentís side of the field by discarding a card. So, itís basically Harpieís Feather Duster with a negligible cost. Harpieís Feather Duster was one of the first banned cards. If you say so, author.
The author then gets Black Rose Dragonís effect wrong again, with Kasumi banishing Phoenixian Seed (which she had discarded to use Scouting Party) to reduce Catastorís attack to 0. Except that Catastorís been in attack mode this whole time, so whoops. She then activates Double Attack, so Black Rose Dragon gets to attack Catastor twice.
So, the expected happens. Attack Catastor, attack Catastor, attack Tempest Magician, Kasumi wins, as if anyone ever had the slightest doubt. Shikamaru laments that he almost beat a Signer, as if he could, given what the author has suddenly declared as canon for no real reason.
Kasumi tells Haku and Shikamaru that since it was just a practice duel, it wonít be counted on their dueling records. Who cares? These four are the only four duelists in the village at this point; whoís honestly keeping track of something so inconsequential? Itís probably Kasumi, just so she can lord her superiority over everyone else.
The Hokage appears again, as if he had any real reason to leave in the first place, and congratulates everyoneís performances. He then reveals that the tag duel will act as a ceremony to kick off the Chunin exams next month. Why? How do the two events relate in the slightest? I still canít fathom why this game is so popular in the Leaf Village; barely anyone plays it, but according to the characters, everyone loves watching it.
Haku and Shikamaru insist on being included in the event, and the Hokage agrees, though makes sure they know they arenít the main event. When they all start to ask about their opponents, the Hokage keeps the opponents for Tenten and Kasumi secret, while revealing the opponents of Shikamaru and Haku to be Rei and Asuka.
No, not them
! Kasumi is surprised and exposits about Asuka now being a doctor and married to Jaden, and Rei having been a cheerleader for Jack while he was still popular. Knowing this author, this entails Rei being portrayed in a chiefly negative fashion. Also, despite Asuka and Jaden*
now apparently being married, the narration slips and refers to Asuka by her surname in GX.
The Hokage asks Guy to give Tenten four hours a day to prepare with Kasumi, which should be more than enough. After all, they have a month to prepare. What are they going to do with four hours a day, make idle chitchat only tangentially related to dueling at best?
Shikamaru then asks Kasumi to join his family for dinner completely at random, because there is no such thing as atmosphere in this story. There is only ďthings happening in sequence.Ē Kasumi thinks it Not a Date
and accepts, Shikamaru did want it to be a date, and Iím left thinking they shouldnít be dating since theyíre ten and twelve, respectively.
Haku teases Shikamaru about his crush some more, Kasumi reveals to Tenten that sheís just playing along because playing with othersí emotions is hilarious, and the chapter ends with more antics stemming from this.
And with a total lack of anything interesting in the authorís notes, I am instead left to bid you all adieu! ĎTil next time, in which more tag duels occur. Because this one was so riveting.