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Duel Monsters I've never seen before … the ruined city in my dream … its people sealed away like Hokuto …

And that word … What's connecting all these things together?
Masumi Kōtsu

The events of the Maiami City Championship have changed the entire world. Duel Monsters used as weapons of war. Innocent children sealed into cards by the soldiers who wage this war. And the Lancers who were created to stop them.

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One week later, with Reiji Akaba and the Lancers far from home, things haven't improved for Yaiba and Masumi, the two surviving course representatives of the Leo Duel School. The third representative—their best friend, Hokuto—was one of those who were sealed. Yaiba is still on the mend after his brutal loss in the Championship. And Masumi is being haunted by dreams of a strange figure made of black fire, even stranger Duel Monsters, and strangest of all, a single word of a language she does not recognize.

Determined to find the reason for her nightmares, Masumi seeks out some help, and makes some new friends in doing so—but her efforts have already uncovered a horrifying truth that even Reiji and his Lancers could never have foreseen …

(æ)mæth is the first in a series of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V fics written by Kim Chang-Ra (Spiegel1), focusing on the LDS trio post-Episode 52. It can be found here and here. A sequel fic, (æ)lohim, is currently in progress.

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The stories make use of original Japanese names and nomenclature (e.g. Julia Krystal = Kōtsu Masumi; Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing = Gongfu - Dracomet of Brightness).

Needs Wiki Magic.


(æ)mæth provides examples of:

  • Arc Words: The titular æmæth.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Masumi poses one to Dr. Grimm:
    Masumi: "If I can bring back my friend from the grave so that he can help me fight you … then what else can I do with this power?"
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dr. Gwendolyn "Wendy" Grimm is a student counselor and therapist employed with LDS who likes telling stories whilst sipping her mother's herbal tea. Not only is she also the true face behind Ito, but she's a sadistic Psychic Duelist who can control other people's dreams, Duel in her sleep, and brainwash anyone she defeats into yet more students of Academia.
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  • Catapult Nightmare: Often the end result of Masumi losing to Ito.
  • Five-Man Band: Masumi's plan to defeat Ito revolves around organizing this:
  • Foil: Many original characters of the story play off their counterparts in some way. Hotene, while scarily proficient in Fusion Summoning, is also much younger than the more experienced Masumi, and therefore much more prone to impulsive behavior. Shen, Yaiba's practice partner and fellow Synchro Duelist, is older and less hot-headed than he is. Finally, Fuyu, who has very few friends besides his frequent tag-team partner Hokuto, is physically frail and emotionally fragile, leading to inconsistency in many of his Duels.
  • Four Is Death: By the third time Masumi has her dream, she notes that the æmæth is later altered to read mæth. For the fourth and final time, she sees mæth has been altered again, to read "m4eth". She calls that a bad sign.
  • Homage: To the story of the Golem. Wendy Grimm reveals it to be the origin of the titular Arc Word of Masumi's dream: an ancient term derived from the Hebrew emet, meaning "truth". Later, Masumi's defeat of Dr. Grimm evokes the ending of the tale, in which erasing the first character of the word would leave met, or "death".
  • Living Memory: Masumi unconsciously recreates an echo of Hokuto in her dream before the final Duel. His existence later becomes a Chekhov's Gun when she realizes that she has enough control over her dream to finally turn the tide in her favor.
  • Meaningful Name: Every original character:
    • Ito, the strange figure in Masumi's dream, takes its name from the Japanese word for "thread", referencing its Shaddoll Deck.
    • Hotene is a feminine name in Ainu, while her family name, Menoko, also means "girl" in Ainu; her Ritual Beast Deck makes reference to the Ainu tongue as well.
    • Li Shen's family name is common in China, while his given name takes reference from the poet Yang Shen, who compiled a list of the nine children of the Dragon King, upon whom the monsters of the Yang Zing Deck he uses are themed.
    • Fuyu Rokkaku is named for the "winter hexagon" asterism, represented by the ace monster of his tellarknight Deck.
    • According to Word of God: Wendy Grimm resembles an older Winda, Priestess of Gusto, (and by extension, El Shaddoll Winda), and has a similar first name. Her last name, Grimm, is taken from the Brothers Grimm, who wrote a variation of the classic tale of the Golem, which in turn lends itself to her nickname: the "Golem of Academia". Amusingly, the initials of her full name, Gwendolyn Grimm, are GG—gaming slang for "good game".
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Masumi's quest to find an answer for her strange dreams leads to her discovering that the monsters in her dreams are real. That culminates in her exposing a dangerous mole inside the Leo Duel School, and also recovering the memories Himika erased prior to the Maiami Championship.
  • Mythology Gag: Fuyu, Shen, Hotene, and Ito use Decks themed around the archetypes from the third generation of Duel Terminal.
  • People Puppets: Dr. Grimm's Creepy Doll form can generate and control strings that attack their victims by burrowing under their skin, turning them into even more puppets.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Dr. Grimm doesn't stick around long after losing to Masumi.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Yaiba pulls this on Masumi after watching her lose three Duels in one day—as well as realizing she lied to Fuyu about wanting to unseal Hokuto, knowing full well it was impossible.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: After realizing why Hokuto has been inside her dream all this time, Masumi gains a Heroic Second Wind with a long speech on everything that has led up to this point:
    Masumi: "Hotene. I remember what you taught me today—that we all need a reason to smile every day, no matter what. Well, look at me now … As crazy as it sounds … I feel happy. Because I know now that I'm not going to die tonight. Shen … I remember what you taught me, too—that if I can control my fear, then there's nothing else in my life that I need to control. Well—look at me now. I don't need to be scared anymore. I know now that I've been in control of this dream from the beginning. Fuyu, I remember what you taught me—that strength isn't everything when it comes to Dueling; that what really matters is the knowledge of when to use that strength. Well … look at me now. There's hardly anything standing between me and that puppet behind you—no Spells, no Traps, and only a single, simple monster. So I know now that I can only get stronger from here! As for you … I remember what you taught me more than anything, Dr. Grimm. You taught me the meaning of æmæth—you told me the truth. But it wasn't the truth you were hoping you could teach me. No—this was something you helped me realize a long time ago, before you infected my life like the disease that you are … That I am the best damned Fusion Duelist that has ever walked through the doors of the Leo Duel School. And look at me now! Because tonight, I'm going to show you why! It's … myTURN!"
  • Xanatos Gambit: Masumi claims that Dueling Hotene, Shen, and Fuyu when first meeting them was never about winning or losing. As it turns out, she was right—her intent was only to memorize their Decks and strategies, and use them in constructing a dream scenario where Ito could be defeated.
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