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Fanfic / Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V: Pendulum's Fifth Swing

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V: Pendulum's Fifth Swing is a Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V AU story, written by Starlight's Poet.

Following Yuya Sakaki's victory over Strong Ishijima, Maiami City has come to learn about the power of Pendulum, even if Yuya himself hasn't fully learned to how to wield it properly. One day, as he and Yuzu take a much deserved break in the park, Yuya's pendant begins to shine and leads them to discovering a mysterious youth, left unconscious in the park.

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A youth bearing the same face as Yuya himself, if older.

The You Show Students bring him to You Show Duel School, where he promptly awakens. He only remembers that he is a Duelist, and his name.

"Zarc."

The Demon Duelist, who ravaged the Original Dimension, becomes one of the main protagonists, and with a familiar premise. However, fans expecting a retread of the series will be pleased to see how the author handles Zarc's character, his own internal struggles, and how much things will change because of his presence.


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This story contains examples of the following Tropes. Beware of Unmarked Spoilers:

  • Academy of Evil: Reiji and Himika firmly believe Academia of the Fusion Dimension to be this, something Yuto and Shun can attest to, seeing as how Heartland was conquered and destroyed by them.
  • Action Girl: Every female duelist counts as one, with Yuzu becoming a bit of an Adaptational Badass for learning Ritual Summon, a summoning method she didn't know in canon proper.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Whereas people watching the anime are generally unaware of the rules of Duel Monsters, due to a case of All There in the Manual. Here, some aspects are clarified, though mostly in regards to the systems in place, such as monitoring Duels, records of archetypes and decks, etc.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In canon, there is little to suggest Zarc and Ray knew each other before Ray sacrificed herself to stop him, and Ray specifically left her fragments with Zarc's fragments as a means of both preventing his resurrection and pacifying the individual fragments. Here, its heavily implied the two were close before Zarc went postal, and that even with Identity Amnesia, they instinctually recognize each other. Even their original monsters get along, demonstrated when Zarc's SDSK monsters act antagonistic to Ray's En Magicians, while Yuya's Odd-Eyes and Ray's Odd-Eyes Pendulum Magician greet each other like old friends.
  • Adaptational Badass: A few characters, both from LDS and You Show, were competent duelists by themselves, but thanks to the presence of both Zarc and Ray, they're driven to be even better.
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    • Yuya, in Scale 07, shows his new skills by unveiling Synchro Summoning a season ahead of schedule. He's also in the midst of learning about Xyz Summoning, but at present he only knows how to do Synchro. He also uses his new Synchro Monster, Odd-Eyes Skate Streamer, to defeat Hokuto. Scale 10 has it kicked up another notch by not only turning a copy of his father's ace card, Entermate Sky Magician, into a Pendulum monster, but also creating the first ever Ritual-Pendulum monster — "Entermate King Odd-Eyes Dragon."
    • Yuzu also gets in on the action. In the series proper, she's only been shown to use Fusion Summoning, but thanks to Zarc's presence pushing Yuya further and making her feel like dead weight, she resolved to get stronger. To that end, she's since learned how to use Ritual Summoning and introduces Requiem Diva of the Salieri Symphony in Scale 08.
    • Yaiba also gets in on the action. Since Ray is considered to be the top student at LDS, he considers her the standard to reach. Determined to reach her, he studied other summoning methods outside of Synchro. In his duel against Yuzu, he unveils his Xyz Summoning and busts out with a new ace monster: XXX-Saber Hannibal.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Zarc was never even mentioned until near the end of Arc V's second to last story arc. He makes his first ever appearance in the first chapter, and sometime after Yuya defeats Strong Ishijima.
    • Like Zarc, Ray's existence was never alluded to until the second to last story arc. She appears in the second chapter of the story, observing the Tag Duel between Yuya, Zarc, Sawatari and one of his stooges.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the anime, Shun violently hunted down anyone from LDS and considered Reiji an enemy until proven otherwise. In the fanfic, thanks to Yuto learning that LDS is unconnected to Academia and stopping his assault early, as well as determining for himself what sort of person Reiji was in their duel, he's considerably more heroic and even joins LDS in order to help Standard prepare against Academia.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: Shingo Sawatari. In the series, he was more or less the comedic relief and Butt-Monkey. Word of God says that Sawatari in the story will be taking lessons from his manga counterpart, who was demonstrated as a competent duelist. This is even shown in his Duel against Yuto, where he lasts much longer and counters his moves until the latter brings out Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Zarc was portrayed as power hungry and vicious, who mindlessly destroyed everything in his path, in no major part due to the crowd wanting more vicious duels. Thanks to his amnesia, however, Zarc demonstrates a personality similar to Yuya's, especially in regards to Entertainment Dueling when he sees it first hand.
    • In the anime, Reiji's actions were morally dubious until they were explained further. The fanfic drops the ambiguity of his actions and portrays him and Himika in a more positive light.
  • Alternate Self:
    • The Yu boys are all this to each other, having been spawned from Zarc after he was defeated by Ray in the Original Dimension.
    • Likewise, the Bracelet girls are also this to themselves, all being fragments of Ray.
    • The SKSD Evil Counterpart monsters of the Four Dimensional Dragons count, but Scale 10 throws in another set: the "original" versions of the Four Dimensional Dragons from before the Original Dimension was split into the four dimensions.
  • Anime Hair: This is Yu-Gi-Oh! Notable examples include Yuya and Zarc, to name just a few.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: In-Universe, literally. Before Himika and Reiji introduced Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Summoning the Standard Dimension only had Ritual Summoning to their name. It's since begun to decline, with Himika noting how rare Ritual Summoning is used in the present. Doubles as a Mythology Gag, as in canon, only two characters were ever shown using Ritual Summoning, only one of which was from Standard. The Standard native Mieru Hochun, and the former Academia Student and Fusion native Asuka Tenjoin. Yuya also gets in on the action by having his own Ritual Monster, but takes it a step further by making it a Ritual-Pendulum monster — the first-ever in the series.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Arrogant duelist in this case. There are a few characters who count. Sawatari was certainly this, but two defeats at the hands of Yuya, Zarc and Yuto have led to a Break the Haughty Character Development and has resolved to become a better duelist. Word of God states that Sawatari is meant to become on the level of his manga counterpart, who, in a twist of irony, nearly manages to defeat Yuto when in the anime, Yuto beat him without so much as breaking a sweat.
  • Ascended Extra: Downplayed. Kakimoto, one of Sawatari's three stooges, is chosen to participate in a Tag Duel in Scaoe 02 with Sawatari, even possessing a Pyro deck. In the show proper, his name was only revealed in the credits and had no other role besides sucking up to Sawatari.
  • Ascended Fan Boy: Downplayed. Zarc makes it clear he wants to perform the same kind of dueling as Yuya, much to the latter's embarrassment. Yuzu even lampshades it by saying that he has a new fanboy.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: The Tag Duel between Sawatari and Kakimoto against Yuya and Zarc. Initially, they have trouble getting past them, but its at the halfway point that they show off the full skill set.
  • Berserk Button: Just ask Sawatari what happened when he almost killed the little ones, just to make sure Yuya didn't deliver the final blow in the Tag Duel. He was very lucky Yuya brought Zarc back to his senses, otherwise the Demon Duelist would have made a terrifying comeback!
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: The preview for Scale 10 has Yuya and Zarc apparently borrowing Dennis' Catchphrase, presumably when they are going to defeat Ray and Reiji.
    Yuya & Zarc: SHOW MUST GO ON!
  • Catchphrase: Zarc's usual quip before he begins a major move is, "Ladies and gentlemen, iiit's SHOWTIME!" He also has a more minor one, which is similar to Yuya's own: "The fun, has yet to begin!"
  • The Chessmaster: Sora, in Scale 07. Near the end of his Duel with Masumi, he reveals that he had studied her when he applied for Leo Duel School and researched her techniques. Add to his taunting to cause her to slip up, he was able to put her into a situation where he could end the duel in a DRAW. And the worst part? Sora was holding back, purposely ending the duel in a DRAW. As if to add insult to injury, his Trap's effect would finish before her Brilliant Spark would, meaning he had her beat since the start.
  • Cool Big Sis: Ray's this to the LDS trio. She's also regarded as the top student of Leo Duel School's Expert Class, to which Yaiba considers her the standard they have to reach.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Zarc's "Supreme King" Deck is primarily composed of DARK Attribute Monsters, with the SKSD counterpart to the Dimensional Dragons being particularly terrifying. However, Zarc is nowhere near his mindset as the Demon Duelist.
    • Two of Ray's En Magicians are dressed in dark clothing, and one of them is a Starving Venom monster. Despite this, they're apparently designed to counter the Dimensional Dragons, not to mention they're all designed after the Bracelet Girls.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Discussed by the author. Yaiba's new ace monster is called "XXX-Saber Hannibal." He fully expects to hear dirty jokes being made at Yaiba's expense.
  • The Dreaded: Yuri's this to Sora. When he first sees Yuya and Zarc, one being Yuri's Standard Counterpart and the other the origin of the dragon boys, he says that Standard's trying to give him a heart attack. When Zarc summons "Supreme King Servant Dragon Starving Venom," Sora has a Freak Out! and loses his calm demeanor. As it turns out, Sora had dueled Yuri before and got his ass laid out flat. The end of the duel brings up some very bad memories of that time.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Supreme King Servant Dragon variants of the Four Dimensional Dragons are this, as they not only boast incredible power but have superior effects compared to the other dragons. In Scale 01, Zarc also notices that Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon is very hostile towards SKSD Odd-Eyes and vice versa.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Both Zarc and Ray suffer from these, specifically of the moment when Ray activated the four En cards. Zarc sees himself as a monster to his horror, whilst Ray sees herself having to put an end to someone she cared for. Both are convinced they're just dreams due to their amnesia.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Nail here being the presence of not just Zarc, but Ray being in Standard.
    • Zarc's presence in Standard makes it easier for the others to accept that there are people with the same face as Yuya, meaning Yuto and Yuya are not as easily mistaken for one another. Zarc's use of Pendulum Cards and training with Yuya also gives LDS more data on Pendulum Cards, allowing the production of their own much faster. Conversely, it also lets Yuya find out more of the limitations and benefits behind Pendulum Summoning, and incorporate other summoning methods into his deck much earlier.
      • Zarc's SKSD cards combined with the appearance of Yuto clues LDS into the existence of both Synchro and Fusion counterparts to Yuya much earlier, thanks to Yuya and Yuto possessing doppelgangers to two of Zarc's SKSD cards.
      • Zarc's training with Yuya in trying to understand the complexities of Pendulum Summoning in turn made Yuzu afraid she Can't Catch Up, causing her to begin training earlier than in canon and add Ritual Summoning to her repertoire.
    • Ray, however, is adopted into the Akaba family years prior, with Himika eventually coming to legitimately care for her and Reiji and Reira bonding with her. Ray also ingratiates herself among the LDS students, becoming a Cool Big Sis to many of them, namely the LDS trio, Masumi in particular.
      • Ray's status as The Ace of LDS has in turn inspired others to up their game in an attempt to beat her, such as Yaiba, a Synchro Course student, learning Xyz Summoning in secret.
    • Losing to both Yuya and Zarc damaged Sawatari's pride enough that he actually took training seriously. Despite this, he was still woefully unprepared against Yuto, keying Yuto into the fact LDS and Academia are not the same. After doing his own digging, he then relays to Shun, and convinces him not to try and take Reiji hostage like in canon.
    • Sawatari doesn't readily accuse Yuya of Yuto's actions and doesn't fake his injuries, requiring Himika to use different tactics in regards to You Show. Her motives have also changed. Rather than just trying to get Yuya, the School Duel is designed to test if Zarc and Yuya are actually ready for when Fusion invades.
    • The School Duel plays out a bit differently.
      • Sora decides to actually partake in the School Duel this time, challenging Masumi and forcing a DRAW after he finishes probing her and her Fusion Summoning. This in turn causes Yaiba to face Yuzu, meaning Gongenzaka doesn't join the School Duel.
      • While Yuzu still loses during the School Duel with LDS, due to losing to Yaiba instead, a Blood Knight who respects his opponents openly, she doesn't fall into a Heroic BSoD, but rather resolves to keep training and gains respect for the LDS trio as duelists.
      • With the score between the schools being 1 Win, 1 Lose, and a DRAW, the tiebreaker round goes off with Reiji and Yuya like in canon. This time however, its a Tag Duel, with Zarc joining Yuya and Ray joining Reiji. This in turn introduces Ray to the You Show students, making them aware that Yuzu has doppelgangers as well.
    • After the Tag Duel with Yuya and Zarc, Reiji discovers the location of Shun and Yuto and confronts them, accepting a duel from Shun in order to prove he can be trusted while asking for their help in preparing Standard for the coming war. Due to Yuto's investigation, and the results of the duel, Shun accepts.
      • Shun using Fusion Summoning catches the attention of Academia, as while the energy emitted by the summoning is lower than theirs, it's higher than what anybody in Standard should be capable of. As a result, Leo sends Berrett to investigate, with Serena sneaking along for the ride. It also leads to her encountering Yuzu slightly earlier in canon.
  • Freak Out!: Sora suffers one when Zarc summons his Supreme King Servant Dragon counterpart of Starving Venom Fusion Dragon. It brings up some very bad memories, one that still serve as a source of trauma to him. Take a guess as to why that is?
  • Good Counterpart: The Four Dimensional Dragons are this to their darker, more malevolent SKSD counterparts. Special mentions go to Entermate King Odd-Eyes Dragon, which is stated to be the good counterpart to Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon.
  • Hate at First Sight: Zarc's SKSD monsters act very hostile upon meeting certain monsters, namely their Dimension Dragon counterparts, and Ray's En Magicians. Considering what the SKSD monsters represent however, and the implication that Ray and Zarc were once friends before he became the Supreme King though, it makes sense.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Due to his amnesia, Zarc doesn't remember anything about his time as the Demon Duelist, or the events that led to him becoming Supreme King Z-ARC in the first place. Thanks to Yuya's influence, he's being drawn into his more positive aspects, and possibly what he would have become had he not adhered to the crowd's want for violent duels.
  • Heroic BSoD: Zarc suffers this when he realizes he almost severely injured Sawatari and Kakimoto during their Tag Duel.
  • Hidden Depths: Part of Zarc's characterization in the story is his own internal struggle. A few times, he shows excitement at the prospect of dealing severe damage to his opponent during a duel, but it horrifies him greatly. When he sees Yuya's Entertainment Dueling, which was the duel style Zarc himself wanted to do before the crowd demanded more vicious duels, he is enthralled and wants to perform that kind of dueling.
  • Hurting Hero: An unusual example. Zarc struggles with the fact that a part of him yearns for violent acts in duels, and tries his best to ignore it.
  • Identity Amnesia:
    • Zarc remembers nothing about his past, including his tenure as the Demon Duelist. He does have vague dreams about it, however, particularly the moment when Ray Akaba defeated and separated him.
    • Ray Akaba also suffers from amnesia, though she does seem to have the feeling that she and Zarc have met before.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Yu boys all share identical features, save for their hairstyles, hair and eye color. Zarc also looks like Yuya, but since he's a little older than he is, it's easier for them to tell them apart. Of course, this is a given since the Yu boys are Zarc's reincarnations.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In Scale 6, when Yuzu challenges Himika Akaba by saying that Hokuto was attempting to kill Yuya, Himika points out that all Duelists, when they begin playing Duel Monsters, read a manual that includes not only the rules, but also the possible risks and hazards if they engage in Action Duels. Therefore, in spite of Yuzu's protests, everyone who Duels is perfectly aware of the risks and danger involved in Action Duels, and that they have accepted those risks.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Scale 01, when they learn that Zarc has a deck and he remembers that he's a Duelist, Yuya suggests that they have a duel to get his memories back. In the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, when Yusei meets Luna and Leo for the first time, he's suffering from amnesia as a result of smashing into the concrete during his harrowing escape from Trudge, and Leo suggests they have a duel so he can restore his memories.
    • In Scale 09, when Ray unveils her En archetype, Zarc asks Yuya if he's heard of it before. Yuya doesn't know anything about it, believes that it wasn't released to the public because of its effects, even outright mentioning the Toon archetype used by Duel Monsters creator Pegasus.
    • Scale 10 has Reiji bring up the Rare Hunters from the original Yu-Gi-Oh! series, even specifically mentioning an incident where a Rare Hunter dueled using the Exodia archetype and made illegal copies, as well as mark his cards so he would know what card he was drawing. In the Battle City arc, Joey was defeated by one such Rare Hunter, and was later exposed and defeated by Yugi in the following episode.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Zarc brings out Supreme King Servant Dragon Starving Venom, Sora promptly freaks the fuck out and is reminded of his Duel with Yuri, in which the man utterly destroyed him.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: The Dimensional Dragons and their SKSD counterparts, if Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon and SKSD Odd-Eyes are of any indication, do not like each other. At all. This is most likely because of what the SKSD dragons represent, being "shadows" of Supreme King Z-ARC.
  • Playing with Fire: Raid Raptors — Armatus Vulcan, Shun's Fusion monster, as befitting its name, has fire spewing from its body and attacks using a miniature sun.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Yuto rightfully points out that, eventually, Xyz Summoning will be countered by the Fusion Dimension so they should learn other Summoning Methods in order to gain the advantage. While initially hesitant, Shun decides to learn Fusion Summoning in spite of his hatred towards it.
  • Purposely Overpowered: Reiji Akaba, arguably one of the best duelists in Arc V period, thinks Zarc is the strongest duelist. He does have a point, given that Zarc's Supreme King Deck, including his Four Heavenly Dragon counterpart cards, have some pretty overpowered effects. However, Reiji also points out that the only reason why Zarc hasn't reached his full potential is because him using Entertainment Dueling limits his capabilities.
  • Reality Ensues: Excluding Zarc, Yuzu, and Sora, one being an amnesiac with no money or identity to his name, another being the daughter of the school Principal, and the last basically being a freeloader, it's a wonder how You Show hasn't shut down already by the time LDS arrives. As Himika points out, there's no way that You Show can continue as it is with only four students paying to attend classes, and uses it as part of her advantage in her Xanatos Gambit.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Yuzu's Ritual Monster, Requiem Diva of the Salieri Symphony, is obviously a shout-out to the historical character Antonio Salieri. A given, since there's a monster in her deck called Mozart. However, part of Requiem Diva's summoning also summons a ghostly orchestra that plays music upon its arrival, bringing to mind the ghostly apparitions summoned by the musician himself as the Avenger-class Servant.
    • Flames aside, Yaiba's new ace monster, XXX-Saber Hannibal, resembles the Caligula Aragami.
    • Shun's new monster, Raid Raptors — Ra Armatus, is the Duel Monsters version of the Ra Ash Aragami.
  • Single Tear: Both Odd-Eyes and Dark Rebellion shed these when seeing Zarc. While Zarc, Yuya and Yuto don't know why, its because they're seeing their master again after so long.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted this time around. Yuzu quickly gets over Yuto looking like Yuya for a few factors, chief among them being Zarc, who is technically the original. In Zarc's case, however, he's stated to look slightly older than Yuya. This is also the case for Ray, who looks older than Yuzu, but is stated to have the same face as her Standard Dimension counterpart.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Himika's plans regarding You Show run along this, as her intent is to actually make sure Zarc and Yuya are prepared for when Academia arrives in Standard. If You Show wins, then she confirms Yuya and Zarc are skilled enough to train on their own, and gives the school additional funding to make sure it stays that way. If LDS wins, Yuya and Zarc have to join LDS, where she, Reiji, and Ray can oversee their training personally. Regardless, the two will be ready for Academia in the end.
  • Wham Line: As early as Chapter 2!
    Reiji: Who exactly are you...Ray Akaba?
  • Worthy Opponent: As usual, Yaiba shows great respect to people who prove to be a challenge. When Yuzu unveils her Ritual Summoning, he takes her seriously and responds by showing off a surprise of his own: Xyz Summoning his new ace, XXX-Saber Hannibal.
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