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Duel Identity (1)

After a stressful night, Yugi holds doubts as to whether he is doing the right thing by continuing to duel, still fearing the presence inside his Millennium Puzzle. But with three souls at stake, he has no choice but to carry on duelling. Fearing what the Puzzle could make him do, he promises to himself that he will do everything he can to keep it under control even though his Grandpa has told him that he should make full use of its powers.

His friends arrive, ready for the tournament, and Yugi’s Millennium Puzzle transforms him. The friends head off to the arena, but Tristan, Taya and Bakura have to watch from the balcony as only the finalists are allowed onto the Arena floor. Yugi and Joey make their way to the waiting hall where they meet their rivals. Mai and Yugi both seem eager to duel, but Joey seems more eager to mock Bandit Keith who had to steal his star chips. Bandit Keith doesn’t seem at all concerned because he knows that Joey no longer has the qualifying card that Yugi gave him, because Keith stole it during the events of the previous evening.

The doors to the arena open and all four enter the main arena floor. As the four enter, they notice Pegasus has taken position on his throne in order to oversee the duels. He congratulates the four on winning through to the final round and reminds them that only one will walk away with the prizes. Pegasus explains that the real prize is not the money but the title of World Champion that can be earned if the winner of the tournament can defeat Pegasus in a duel.

As Pegasus finishes talking, the play-off board descends as the first duel is announced to be Mai Valentine v Yugi Moto. As the two approach their duelling platforms, Yugi is determined to keep the spirit inside his puzzle under control in case it tries to hurt Mai like it did against Kaiba. Each duellist is asked to reveal which qualifying card they wish to declare. Mai shows the Glory of the King’s Hand (for the prize money) while Yugi shows the Glory of the King’s Other Hand (for the duel against Pegasus). As the duel prepares to begin, Joey appears up at the balcony with his friends in order to get a better view to cheer Yugi on.

Both duellists seem to have a lot on their minds. Yugi is afraid that he can’t duel at his best while trying to control the spirit of his Millennium Puzzle while Mai is reminiscing about how she has learnt through Yugi that duelling rivals can also be great friends, reminding herself that if it wasn’t for Yugi she would no longer be in the tournament. She is determined to play an honourable duel, not using her old “psychic” tricks, but is not willing to give Yugi an easy game. If she doesn’t fight at her best, she will never be able to be truly proud of the match if she wins.

Mai begins the duel with her classic opener, Harpy Lady. Nobody is surprised by the duel, but Yugi’s friends seem concerned that he looks unsettled. Taya worries that Yugi may not be able to win while still affected by his defeat against Kaiba. However Joey is more confident that his friend can win because after seeing Mai duel so many times, Yugi must know all of her strategies. To end her turn, Mai plays one other card face down.

Yugi, determined to win without the help of the spirit of his Puzzle, decides to win quickly and so plays Gaia, the Fierce Knight. But as he attacks, Mai’s trap card is activated, generating a Mirror Wall in front of the Harpy. Not only does the wall block the attack, but also it counters it with one of equal strength, halving the Gaia’s attack points.

Powering up her Harpy Lady with the Cyber Shield, Mai attacks Yugi’s Fierce Knight, crushing it and cutting his life points down to 1350. Mai taunts Yugi, claiming that he must be holding back to have fallen for the trap. Yugi admits to himself that Mai is right, but now that her Mirror Wall is out of the way he is able to attack the Harpy safely. He plays one card face down and then attacks with the Summon Skull, but as the Skull attacks, the Mirror Wall appears again. Shocked, Yugi realises that this trap is a permanent trap, an exception to the usual one-time traps he has encountered before.

While Joey wonders why Yugi is just playing on the attack rather than using strategy, Yugi tries to resist the spirit’s help. Mai demands that Yugi shapes up and starts playing properly, rather than embarrassing himself with his lame frontal assault. For her, the purpose of duelling is defeating worthy opponents, not creaming unworthy players like Yugi. She tells Yugi to face up to the fact that he still isn’t concentrating right after his defeat against Kaiba and that he should get over it. If he doesn’t shake up soon, she’ll wipe him out easily.

As Yugi tries to find a way to explain that it isn’t Kaiba that frightened him but the spirit inside himself, Pegasus gloats to himself that Yugi will never be able to save his Grandpa if he isn’t willing to use his Millennium Puzzle’s true powers. Mai complains that Yugi is boring her and he tells her that he isn’t going to let her win. But if he continues to play so poorly, there’s no way Mai can lose. Joey warns Yugi to ignore Mai trying to psyche him out, but Taya thinks Joey is wrong. Mai is trying to restore Yugi’s confidence, like she did before her duel with Taya.

Yugi claims that he is giving everything he has got, but Mai is doubtful. He seems distracted and, as Mai begins her turn, she realises that Yugi played a trap card to try and shut down her Harpy. Playing Harpy’s Feather Duster, she wipes the Spell Binding Circle from the field, warning Yugi that he should try harder than this. Yugi decides to alter his strategy and switches his Summon Skull to defence mode, playing the Feral Imp to join it.

But Mai powers her Harpy again with the Rose Whip, shocking Yugi as her monster’s attack power increases yet again. Unsure whether he can win on his own, Yugi still resists the spirit’s help, frightened of what it might do to Mai. The Harpy attacks, crushing Yugi’s Feral Imp and Joey warns Yugi that Mai is going to try and multiply her Harpy soon. But even knowing her strategy Yugi is unable to see a way to turn the duel around.

Mai continues her turn by playing the Harpy’s Pet Dragon, whose attack points increase if it is near a Harpy Lady. Attacking, the dragon easily destroys the Summon Skull. Mai warns Yugi that he needs to start focusing on the duel, but then diverts his attention from the duel at hand by asking why he duels. He tells her that he is duelling for his Grandpa, but also for Kaiba and Mokuba.

Drawing his Dark Magician, Yugi plays it in defence mode along with one other card face down. Hoping to defeat Mai’s Mirror Wall with his Mirror Force, Yugi is shocked when Mai predicts his play. Using the Shadow of Eyes card on her Harpy Lady, Mai is able to draw Yugi’s Dark Magician into switching into attack mode and then, after dusting away the Mirror Force, attacking the Harpy Lady. Once again the Mirror Wall kicks into action, halving the Dark Magician’s attack points.

Mai finishes her turn by attacking again with her Harpy’s Pet Dragon. With Yugi’s life points down to 300 and Mai still at full health, is there any way he can turn the duel around without accepting the help of the spirit of the Puzzle?