"The Dark Mist Rises: Part 1", known as "The Cunning Vector - Astral vs. Numbers 96" in the Japanese version, is the one hundredth and first episode of the Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL anime. It first aired in Japan on April 28, 2013 and in the United States on March 15, 2014.
Vector, under orders of Don Thousand, forms an alliance with Number 96 in order to obtain one of the Mythyrian Numbers. Vector and Number 96 obtain the "Number" in the ruins first, and are waiting for Yuma and co. with this new power in hand. Upon doing so, they force Astral to a Duel in order to claim the card.
As Vector travels through dimensions, he asks Don Thousand where they're going - doesn't Thousand already know the location of the next "Mythyrian Number"? Thousand responds that the "Number" comes from the depths of Vector's own memories. Vector seems perplexed by this, but Thousand tells him to be quiet and just follow his instructions - they must find "that guy", first. In the Different Dimension Airship, Astral tells the group that the ship's systems have located the next "Number". Isolating the point on-screen, Shark says their destination is a set of ruins on an island. Rio wonders what kind of traps could await them there, with Tori adding that they don't know when the Barians will appear again (in the dub, Rio says that this could be tricky, while Tori adds that tricky means dangerous).
Yuma tells them that the "Kattobingu Yuma" will get them through, apparently having decided to name the airship after himself. Shark asks when he came up with that, while Rio adds that he has zero sense when it comes to naming things while Tori snickers (in the dub, Yuma simply says to get the search party started; Shark's, Tori's and Rio's dialogue is cut from the dub). Elsewhere, a young girl presents some flowers to a politician outside a library as a gathered crowd cheers for him. A man approaches him and thanks him for his generous donation, which helped build this library, addressing him as Parker. Parker responds that children are the treasures of the world, so he should not need any thanks. The crowd begins to talk, saying that Parker had previously built a children's center, offers aide unfortunate people and always puts his citizens first (the crowd's gossip is removed from the dub).
Later, Parker relaxes in his limo and returns to his headquarters, a casino. In his office, a man hands Parker a briefcase full of money, saying that these are their profits for today and that they will start an ambush at the harbor tonight (shots of most of the casino's interior and the briefcase are cut from the dub). Parker instructs him to leave no one alive next time (in the dub, Parker's henchman reports that "they" will be at the harbor with the stuff tonight. Parker replies that he only cares about the stuff and reminds the henchman that if anything stood in his way, he knew what to do). Suddenly, another subordinate is thrown through the door, the door flying off its hinges in the process. There stands Vector, with two other unconscious guards behind him. Vector comments that on the surface, Parker is devoted to charity, but behind the scenes he runs a smuggling ring and casino (in the dub he says that he is the proud politician who will do anything for the people but behind closed doors, he's a crooked con man who will do anything to get the edge). He calls it an impressive double life (in the dub he says split personality) and also calls Parker an underworld boss who will do anything to get what he wants.
Vector advances forward, with the thug blocking his path. Vector throws him aside with a wave of energy and tells Parker it's about time he reveals his true identity. Parker laughs, glowing with a black aura, recognizing Vector as the boy who was with Yuma earlier (in the dub, Parker replies that this depends on whether or not Vector is talking to the real Congressman). Parker falls to his desk unconscious and Number 96 emerges. He asks who Vector is, knowing he must be no ordinary human. Vector responds that he's been looking for Number 96 for a long time and introduces himself as one of the Seven Barian Emperors, Vector.
He offers to be Number 96's henchman, kneeling. Number 96 calls that a rich prospect and wonders why a Barian would offer to be subordinate to him. Vector responds that Number 96 is qualified to be the "true king" and wishes to contribute to his cause. Number 96 asks what Vector's goal is, but Vector just says that its natural for one to join the stronger side if they share the same stake. Number 96 asks how they share the same stake (in the dub, Vector says that while he and Number 96 share the same goals, Number 96 is still stronger than him; Number 96 replies that if Vector thinks that they share the same goals, Vector is wrong). Vector responds that he knows Number 96 has no desire to save the Astral World. Number 96 asks if that means Vector has none to save the Barian World, then. As proof of loyalty, Vector offers to tell him the location of another "Number" and also hands him "Rank-Up-Magic Barian's Force". Number 96 seems intrigued, wondering why he'd give him Barian power. Vector responds that the true king should be invincible. "Barian's Force" flies towards Number 96 is and is absorbed in a flash of pink energy, with him then doing the same to the Deck Parker holds. Number 96 says he had borrowed that man's body to observe the human world; he was getting bored anyway. He tells his "servant" to come along.
The Different Dimension Airship hurtles through the dimensions, electricity flashing by the windows. Yuma crashes to the ground, commenting that that hurt. Shark, Tori and Rio and safely buckled in chairs and Tori tells Yuma to sit down already. Rio says that it has become rather rough outside. Astral says some kind of dimensional twist has caused this storm as Yuma gets to his feet and falls again, before being hurled from one end of the deck to the other. Shark tells him to stop goofing off, while Astral wonders what all this means (in the dub, Shark comments that Yuma being tossed around the airship is their in-flight entertainment). Number 96 and Vector arrive at the ruins, with Vector bursting open the door with a flash of energy. As Vector enters, he clutches his head in pain and thinks that some feeling here is making him shudder. Don Thousand laughs. Vector questions him, with Thousand saying Vector has sensed it, then. Vector asks what he means and what Thousand did to him, but Thousand says he doesn't need to know yet and insists he take advantage of this alliance with Number 96 while he can; Vector will absorb Number 96's power. In his thoughts, Vector responds that he knows that, and he's waiting for the right moment to do so.
Back at the ruins, Number 96 calls out to Vector to focus on their mission. Vector apologizes and catches up. As they descend a set of stairs and view the runes on the walls, Number 96 comments that the atmosphere here is refreshing. He says he can sense the remnants of human hatred here, transcending time and space. Vector asks what he means and Number 96 says that humans write their history with hatred and hypocrisy (Vector's and Number 96's conversation at this point is cut from the dub). They reach a landing and find five more sets of stairs. Number 96 asks which one they should take. Vector's eyes glow and he immediately walks to the left-most set. When he reaches them, the first several stairs become a platform that lowers him down. Number 96 floats after him and deduces that Vector has been here before. Vector responds that his body moved of its own accord (in the dub, Vector says that he is familiar with the ruins' legend).
Yuma's group has also reached the island and they now cross a bridge to reach the ruins. Rio says he senses something malicious here and says it would be in their best interest not to enter. Astral says that map led them here and Rio responds that she supposes it can't be helped then (in the dub, Astral asks Rio on how they will have to obtain the "Number" then; Rio replies that they will have to get to the "Number" carefully). As they descend the stairs, Tori says she feels uncomfortable. Looking at the wall, Shark asks if this is the legend of these ruins (as the group travels through the ruins, a mural of a woman holding a baby can be seen in the original version. In the dub, this mural is still there, but the baby is edited out). Rio closes her eyes and says she can sense the people of the past sighing out. Tori says that sounds scary (in the dub, Tori asks if they should just get the "Number" and get out of here). Rio continues that this is life energy flowing through time itself they are talking about (in the dub, Rio says that the grief of the past lives sheds tears and that it can't be healed with time).
Rio's eyes glow green and she is surrounded in a green aura and she recites the legend. This place is cursed. The prince who ruled over this island lived here and he refused to trust anyone. In his paranoia, he ordered the execution of everyone on the island over time. When he was the only one left, he committed suicide (in the dub, the prince exiled everyone on the island. When the prince was the only one left, he realized that he also exiled himself). The green energy fades and Rio collapses. Shark catches her, with Rio insisting she's fine.
Astral muses on the legend himself, wondering why the prince killed everyone, then killed himself soon after (in the dub, he wonders why the prince betrayed everyone he should have protected). Yuma mutters that the ruins must be cursed. Number 96 and Vector reach the throne room, with Number 96 calling it the "plaza of death penalties" (in the dub, Vector says that this is the place where the prince passed judgment on prisoners. Number 96 replies that he would have liked the prince). The torches light of their own accord, revealing walls full of weapons and a few cages (a shot of the weapons is cut from the dub). At the bottom of the room is an axe stuck in a pedestal. Vector suddenly shivers, then realizes that Yuma is coming. Number 96 says he will beat Yuma and Astral straight to hell (in the dub, Number 96 says that he will crush Yuma and Astral, just like how the prince crushed his enemies). Vector begins to object; he wants to be the one who will defeat Yuma, but Don Thousand stops him, saying that it is not his turn. Vector clutches his chest in pain as Thousand grasps his heart again. He wonders what Thousand is doing to him. Number 96 floats downward, saying they will need to obtain the "Number" first though. As he approaches the axe, it is surrounded with a purple aura and a blue-skinned minotaur materializes. Number 96 asks if he is the Number's guardian, then. He suggests they find out who is stronger and a purple D-Pad appears on his arm.
Yuma's group has now reached the landing where the stairs split. Tori asks which one they should take. Spotting a star symbol on a nearby pillar, Yuma believes it indicates the closest set of stairs to it is the correct one. Tori and Rio both tell him to wait because there might be a trap. Yuma reassures the girls not to worry and starts going down the stairs with Shark. The girls resign to follow him. As they descend, Rio hears a noise. A large black sphere follows them down the stairs - they've triggered a trap. Yuma yells at the others to run, which they do. As the group runs away, Tori asks what that thing is. Spotting another star symbol on the wall, Yuma presses it, which opens up a small alcove in the wall, allowing them to let the sphere pass them. Yuma is relieved that everyone made it. Shark is angry that the paths Yuma chose were filled with traps (in the dub, Shark is angry because they almost got crushed); Yuma replies that this is quite a thrill. Astral questions why Yuma led them this way and Yuma explains that he knows his father left these star marks behind - he marked the path that it would be easiest to avoid traps on, much to Tori's curiosity. Rio calls that brilliant and Yuma seems pleased, but Shark clarifies that Rio is not praising Yuma.
Yuma leans back and accidentally hits another mark on the wall - this one a circle. Trap doors open up beneath the feet of all four of them and they find themselves sliding downwards. They land in cages, Rio and Tori in the left one, Yuma and Astral in the center cage and Shark in the right one. Yuma asks if the others are okay. Shark replies that he is. Tori asks where they are, while Rio says that they fell into another trap (in the dub, Tori says that this must be another trap, while Rio says that Yuma's father isn't as special as she thought). From the throne across the room, Vector welcomes them. Yuma is angry to see Vector, and Vector says he's disappointed that Yuma won't even call him "Ray Shadows" anymore. Yuma calls Vector a jerk in response (in the dub, Yuma retorts that he was never Vector's friend). Vector clarifies that the "Number" is already his and suggests they Duel for it, as it would be boring to do nothing when they're both here. Yuma accepts and a number of chains descend near Vector's throne. Vector says that he will upgrade Yuma to the deluxe suite as he pulls a chain, opening Yuma's cage.
The floor slides down, becoming a ramp, and Yuma is pitched down the bottom, nearly falling off the pillar he lands on. Vector explains he won't be able to get off of that pillar unless they mechanisms of the temple are deactivated, which can only be done from the throne. He adds that he acquired most information on the ruins from the "Number". Spiked bars rise up behind Yuma, blocking his access back to the cage. Yuma says he won't Duel like this, but Vector tells him to calm down - he won't be Dueling anyway - Astral will be. Rio says he must be planning something negative and Vector tells her that that's his catchphrase (in the dub, Rio yells at Yuma not to trust Vector and let Astral Duel; Vector responds that this isn't Yuma's choice). Astral accepts and floats to the floor, telling Vector to get down here, then. Vector reveals that he's not Astral's opponent.
Number 96 materializes across from Astral, laughing. He tells Astral its been a while and holds up the "Number". Astral asked if he's allied with the Barians and Number 96 responds that he simply took the helping hand they offered him. Number 96 says he promised he would acquire Astral's body one day - and he will make due on that promise now (Number 96 does not mention this promise in the dub). A D-Pad appears on Astral's arm and he asks Yuma is he can borrow his Deck. Yuma's cards fly towards Astral in waves of yellow energy and he absorbs them all. Number 96 vows to make Astral understand that he's not the same as the one they fought before. Number 96 goes first, Normal Summoning "Malicevorous Spoon". He then sends the "Malicevoruos Knife" in his hand to the Graveyard to Special Summon "Malicevorous Fork" via its effect. Then he activates the effect of "Spoon", which lets him Special Summon a "Malicevorous" monster from his Graveyard once per turn. He Special Summons "Knife" and proceeds to overlay his three Level 2 DARK monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 96: Dark Mist" in Attack Position, calling it his "heart" ("alter ego" and "my avatar" in the dub).
Vector explains that "Dark Mist" can detach an Overlay Unit when it battles to halve the ATK of the other monster and add it to its own - that means that no matter what it battles, it will always have at least 100 more ATK. Vector brags that no one can defeat this monster. Number 96 Sets a card and ends his turn. Astral begins his, Special Summoning "Toy Knight" as he controls no monsters. He Normal Summons another "Toy Knight", with Tori commenting he has two Level 4 monsters now. Yuma asks if Astral plans to Summon "Utopia". Number 96 asks if he really thought he wouldn't anticipate this - the "Toy Knights" are not to Summon "Utopia", they're to force "Dark Mist" to use up its Overlay Units to destroy them. He wished to use low ATK monsters to minimize the damage he'd take. Number 96 activates his face-down "Small Stopper", explaining that as long as its face-up, monsters with 1000 or less ATK cannot attack. Chains ensnare both "Toy Knights" and Number 96 continues that if an Attack Position monster does not attack, its controller will take 1000 damage at the End Phase.
With no other options, Astral overlays his two Level 4 monsters to Xyz Summon "Number 39: Utopia" in Attack Position. Vector seems amused and Yuma says "Utopia" won't stand a chance. Astral asks if they think he had no plan and equips "Utopia" with "Guard Robe Exchange". "Utopia" is adorned with a golden cape and its ATK rises by 500. "Utopia" attacks "Dark Mist", but Number 96 activates the effect of "Dark Mist", detaching an Overlay Unit to halve the ATK of "Utopia" and add it to that of "Dark Mist". He declares "Shadow Gain" and a black mist envelops "Utopia", dropping its ATK to 1500, while that of "Dark Mist" rises to 1600. Yuma says that "Utopia" is finished then and Vector yells that that's too bad for Astral. Astral activates the other effect of "Guard Robe Exchange" now - when the ATK of the equipped monsters changes through a card effect, the opposing player takes damage equal to the difference. Astral says Number 96 will take 1500 damage now.
Shark is impressed - this card will let him use the power of "Dark Mist" against itself. Vector balls his fists and growls, while "Utopia" fires golden beams from his cape, hitting Number 96 for 1500 damage. Now, Astral activates the effect of "Utopia", detaching an Overlay Unit to negate his own attack. Yuma says Astral is ahead early now. Number 96 says he expected no less, but asks if they really think he took damage for no reason. From above Yuma, a large pendulum blade swings down, nearly hitting him. He narrowly avoids it and Vector says he forgot to mention that when Number 96's Life Points decrease, the labyrinth's traps will activate. Yuma asks what he means before the blade swings at Yuma again, nearly throwing him off-balance. Vector laughs maniacally and Yuma curses. Tori and Rio say that means Astral can't attack then, with Shark calling it a cowardly move (in the dub, Tori and Rio say that each time Astral attacks, he will put Yuma in greater danger; Shark says that this is just evil). Number 96 says he has "cards" outside of his Deck. "Small Stopper" will serve him in the Duel, while the temple's traps will serve as more "cards" to put into play outside of it. He asks what Astral will do now then (in the dub, Number 96 says that if Astral wins, Yuma doesn't).
Featured Duel: Astral vs. Number 96
Turn 1: Number 96
Number 96 draws. He then Normal Summons "Malicevorous Spoon" (2/100/500) in Attack Position. Number 96 then Special Summons "Malicevorous Fork" (2/400/400) in Attack Position via its own effect by sending "Malicevorous Knife" (a "Malicevorous" monster) from his hand to the Graveyard. As a "Malicevorous" monster was Special Summoned, Number 96 activates the effect of "Malicevorous Spoon" to revive "Malicevorous Knife" (2/600/100) (a Level 2 or lower "Malicevorous" monster) in Attack Position. Number 96 overlays "Malicevorous Spoon", "Malicevorous Fork", and "Malicevorous Knife" in order to Xyz Summon "Number 96: Dark Mist" (2/100/1000, ORU: 3) in Attack Position. Number 96 Sets a card.
Turn 2: Astral
Astral draws. As he controls no monsters, Astral Special Summons "Toy Knight" (4/200/1200) in Attack Position via its own effect. He then Normal Summons another "Toy Knight" (2/200/1200) in Attack Position. Assuming Astral will use his "Toy Knights" to attack "Dark Mist", Number 96 activates his face-down "Small Stopper". As long as this card is face-up, monsters with 1000 or less ATK may not attack and during each End Phase the turn player will take 1000 damage if they control a face-up Attack Position monster and did not attack. Astral overlays his two "Toy Knights" in order to Xyz Summon "Number 39: Utopia" (4/2500/2000, ORU: 2) in Attack Position.
Astral equips "Utopia" with "Guard Robe Exchange", which increases its ATK by 500 ("Utopia": 2500 → 3000 ATK). "Utopia" attacks "Dark Mist", but Number 96 activates the effect of "Dark Mist" to halve the ATK of "Utopia" and have "Dark Mist" gain an equal amount of ATK ("Utopia": 3000 → 1500 ATK, "Dark Mist": 100 → 1600 ATK) by detaching an Overlay Unit ("Dark Mist": 3 → 2 ORU). As the monster equipped with "Guard Robe Exchange" had its ATK changed by an effect other than its own, Astral activates the second effect of "Guard Robe Exchange" to inflict damage to Number 96 equal to the change in ATK (Number 96: 4000 → 2500 LP). Astral then activates the effect of "Utopia" to detach an Overlay Unit ("Utopia": 2 → 1 ORU) and negate the attack.
The following cards appeared in this episode. Cards in italics debuted here.
- During this episode, the Summoning portal for "Number 39: Utopia" appeared on the ceiling rather than on the ground, as it's usually the case.
- The dubbed name of this episode is a reference to "The Dark Knight Rises".
- The scene of the sphere chasing the group may be a reverence to the boulder chase from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.