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Yuliya stretched and started taking off her duel disk as well. “Obviously yes, I’ll have tea with you, sure,” she said. “Dunno why that would even be a question; I like caffeine and I like conversation. At the same time though, don’t think that means you’re weaseling out of a linner date either. I said I would buy you food and I meant it, okay?”

They were just about off the field, approaching the central tunnel where Ai had come out of and a whole bunch of production staff ready to de-mic them and debrief them, informing them of their next scheduled appearance and all that jazz. Before they reached them, though, two things caught Yuliya’s attention. The first was an offhand comment Arden had just made that Yuliya had just brushed past in the moment and only now caught back up to her. “Hey, wait, about that-” The second was spotting a familiar face wandering through the stands, which got Yuliya to interrupt herself and rush over to the barrier.

“Cid! Oiiii, Cid! Cedric! You saw that, huh? Bet yer quaking in your boots; I’m not about to lose twice! Say hi to the kid for me when those earmuffs come back off though, alright, see you soon!”

She didn’t wait for him to respond. She barely even saw if he reacted to his full name or not, really, and she was already on her way back to her conversation with Arden. “Sorry, gotta get some licks in with that guy while I can. Not a sore loser or anything, but I’m gonna have to pay him back eventually if I want to win this thing, right? Speaking of winning, though, I’m not gonna fight you on the ‘getting caught up in needing to’ thing, but, like, I’m also going to do all I can to win while playing, right? Maybe I’ll make a mistake or whatever but if I don’t try, that’s not sport, I don’t think. And the same goes the other way too. I’d feel pretty bad if someone threw for me or whatever, don’t you agree?”

The production crew was upon them now, but Yuliya kept her focus on Arden while Jenny worked at her lapel and someone else talked her ear off about when the winner’s quarterfinal matches were scheduled. Something in her demeanor shifted. This was important to her.

Edited by radio414

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“Cid! Oiiii, Cid! Cedric! You saw that, huh?"

Who the heck....Cid looked over towards where the voice had come from. Oh, that was the girl who had just had her duel. Yu-something. Why was she calling out to him so casually?

He stared as she did her hit and run conversation. Blankly watching as she wandered off and trying to figure out why she had come up to him like that. Shaking his head he returned to paying attention to his sister. Who, he noticed, had seen the interaction and was looking back at Yu-? with curiosity.

Cid's least favorite way of her looking.

"Do you know her? You didn't say anything about that when we were watching." Heather said in her too-loud voice.

"Yeah...I mean, I guess? She knows me at least I....Huh, maybe I had a duel with her before? Yeah, I think that might be it."

"So you forgot?" Heather said.

"I guess so...Hey you uh, you didn't want to talk to her...right?" Cid asked. Regretting the moment he did in case she said yes.

However he had forgotten how shy Heather could be outside the house and he was relieved when she shook her head. "Um...what do you think about your duels, anyway? Are...they something you can forget so easily?"

"What's with all the deep questions today." Cid muttered. "Ah, it's not like that. Just when you have so many they really gotta stand out, you know? Well, no, you don't know. But that's just how it is."

She didn't seem satisfied with the answer but, munching on her popcorn, she thankfully looked to be done for now.

Until next thing that triggered her to ask something awkward again of course.

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The Blazing Squire & The Raging Raptor

"and Arden has none."

"Bingo." Itsuki nodded, his eyes still glued on the Duel...and soon, it's impending finale. Yuliya won...as expected...well, namely because she had something up her sleeve, just like he pretty much guessed.

"All Arden had was a big field of monsters and if anything went wrong this turn, she had nothing to fall back on. Well, I suppose she still would've won like that anyway since Yuliya didn't have much defense herself, but that's what a single turn too early will do to you."

Itsuki chuckled. "Such wise words coming from our third place finalist." he said, glancing over at the young woman. "But as that being the start of this tournament, it's enough to put anyone in the mood for a Duel...well...I say anyone, but there's always that one exception." Itsuki immediately thought about Cedric before shaking his head. That guy just wasn't all together here if he couldn't enjoy a simple Duel.


"And with that, everybody, Yuliya Sekelsky is the winner of our opening duel!"

Richard was really excited at this point. It was a Duel that got his blood boiling with excitement (or maybe that was the signs of heat stroke...nah...). Right now he was raring to go, but alas, he had to wait until the appropriate time. Didn't stop him from still being super excited about the start of this tournament.

"Aw man...I'm so pumped for this! I can't wait to show them what I can do!" Richard said with the doofiest grin on his face, as he immediately left his seat for a moment...right now called for something he was in desperate need of: a pretzel. Couldn't Duel on an empty stomach...twas unheard of!

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May 6th, Saturday, 1:15 pm 

"And welcome back folks to the next duel in the Blue Rose tournament. Glad you all could stick around while we got some technical issues sorted out." Ai's voice rang out through the stadium as the seated crowd was starting to get restless. The tournaments activities were set to start some 20 minutes ago, but it had been announced that due to some equipment failures the start would be postponed. "I swear, you're getting all ready to start production for the day and then someone spills coffee all over your equipment and then - " realizing she was still on mic the woman cleared her throat. "Well, regardless, once again as your host and primary commentator I, Ai, welcome you all back to the second day of the Blue Rose tournament. We've got quite the lineup of matches today, but we'll get to those later. For now, I hope you're all ready to see our blazing, blinding clash to kick off the day!" 

As the music began to blare out on the speakers, Ai continued the introduction. "The match of Fire versus Light! Chivalry versus justice! Knights versus Guardians! Here it comes! Coming in as the first seed of Troyce, his deck both ignoble and noble all at once, loaded with more weapons then you could find at a Renaissance fair. Richard Wallace!" As the crowd gave their applause and cheers for the young man as he came out and walked towards the center of the stage. Once that was done, Ai continued. "And coming in as the second seed of Scarlet, her deck is filled with light, sworn to go through its cards faster than a formula one race car. It's Kiyoko Matsuyoshi!" 

The blonde woman, Kiyoko, was met with a similar degree of applause as she stepped out. The woman didn't seem to be all that concerned with the applause, barely looking at the crowd as she walked forward with purpose. Standing at the center, she looked at Richard with an intense, focused expression on her face. Though to a newcomer it would probably seem almost like she had a bone to pick with the young man, this was just in fact how she looked in every match. Presenting her deck for him to shuffle, she simply greeted with, "Richard." 

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Her reaction to the break surprised her, and not in the way one might expect.


Like, now that the pageantry of the first duel of the tournament was over, now Yuliya had a whole few extra days to wallow in all of that and she didn’t really take it well. For most of it, she just stayed in her apartment and scrolled through headlines, scrounging around her kitchen for whatever extra snack food she had lying around, and the one time she did go out was when she was going to get more, a resigned sort of venture that only lasted as long as she could stand it before retreating back inside. It couldn’t last forever, obviously, and Yuliya knew that, especially when the feeling in the back of her mind that she really had to start taking care of herself actually started winning some mental battles, but so the days passed on anyway.

Once things started back up again, though, that was when she really got back into gear. She had an earbud in to listen to the duel while she walked, but the important part was that she was outside and walking in the first place, regardless of anything else. Yuliya took a few turns at random just to get away and then started trying to think of a good place to actually go. A bar maybe? Find someplace with a screen? No, that was what the earbud was for. She was good enough to be able to absorb a board state through audio alone, right? Worst came to worst she could catch highlights later.

A few more turns later and she remembered her encounter that Opening Ceremony Sunday where they all went to The Beach, and, while not interested to do that specifically again so close to the last time (she could go to a beach any time she wanted, that was the joy of living on an island!), there was the option to go to the boardwalk just nearby that did appeal, actually. But then there was another problem: one couldn’t hang out on the boardwalk alone. It just wasn’t done. Thankfully, that had an easy solution. She had a phone, didn’t she?

From: Yuliya Sekelsky
To: Iris (very cool)
Yoooo
Iris
We should hang out
Do you know how to get to the boardwalk?
Actually wait hang on let me just send you my location that should help
Come hang out whatre you going to do instesd watch the duels and talk to nobody?
*instead


With everything shifted forward a few days (her agent had an unenviable amount of work trying to fix her post-tournament schedule because of that), Lailah suddenly had a few days she could spend however she wanted. She could have found a few last-minute things to do, at least found something agreeable she had had to turn down previously, but no, she enjoyed the free time immensely and took full advantage, whether that was spending time with Gabby or catching up on housework or even making it to confession for the first time in a while. It was nice.

That part wasn’t surprising, though. What surprised Lailah was how she felt afterwards, some latent desire to go back out into the world because it was different from what she had been doing. She wondered, what if she had just not? What if she had just stayed home again and waited patiently for her turn to go back on stage? But the rest of her wouldn’t hear a thing of it. She could go back out, so she would. And really, she was a little interested in the duels that were ahead of her, starting with Richard and Kiyoko. 

Lailah didn’t have a lot of insight about the matchup going into it, but she was more focused on the environment anyway. She’d found a decent spot near-but-not-quite perfectly in the center and she’d already bought some chips to snack on in the meantime. She was even in normal clothes to complete the experience. It was one she hadn’t really gotten since high school. It was nostalgic.

Her first chip out of the bag sent her into a coughing fit, though, a mix of a bit more salt than she was expecting and being distracted by the announcements down on the field. She recovered quickly enough, but imagine if someone recognized her in that moment? That would certainly be embarrassing.

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The second day came and Cid found himself thinking hard about what he would do next. Not because of his upcoming match. He didn't really give much thought to that at all. No, what was on his mind was something his sister had asked.

He had been eating breakfast peacefully, not having to worry about waking his sister up for school as it was the weekend, when she suddenly came out and said "I want to talk to another pro."

Cid had at first been confused by why it had to be someone other than him. But then she went on to explain that he avoided answering too much and she wanted to get some answers from someone who would give them.

He supposed he hadn't been as subtle with his question dodging as he might hope. He was slightly proud at how easily his sister picked up on that but he also sorta wished she would be a bit dumber. Would make things easier for him.

Reluctantly, to get her to stop staring at him while he ate, he agreed to set something up.

Which is why he was leaning against the wall, staring at the clouds, trying to figure out what to do. It wasn't as though he knew many people and of those he knew he didn't really keep in contact with them. The easiest solution would be to find someone in the tournament but even that he'd need to find their contact information.

The memory of the trip to the bar popped into his mind. The guy there was another competitor so he was probably some level of pro. But he wasn't sure he wanted to talk to him again. The memory did remind him that he had absently given out, and received, his contact information. Which reminded him of another instance that he stumbled on the number of a fellow professional.

So with a sigh he checked his, rather sparse, contact list and found the name. He vaguely recalled the girl's face and that she was part of the tournament so he figured that might be best bet. He placed the call and got a response quickly.

"Hellllooo?" The drawn out, monotone voice of Leila answered.

Cid hung up immediately out of instinct. Then, taking a breath, and reminding himself he was going through this for Heather, called again.

She answered and responded the same way. Seemingly not put off by Cid's response.

"Yeah, uh, hello. Look this is real awkward I don't know if you remember me but I have something I'd like your help with."

"Hmm...hmmm...hmmmm..." The girl mulled over it for a bit before replying, "alright. Sounds good. I'll help...Who is this?"

Cid couldn't believe the girl would agree so quickly without even knowing what it was. Or who was calling. Which also was weird because his name should have showed up when he called.

"You don't...did my name not...oh whatever. Cid Carlyle, I'm in the tournament too. How do I say...alright so basically my sister wanted to talk with another competitor so I thought I'd...ask someone...right, this is stupid isn't it."

"Cid?....ooooh, Cid....oooh! Cid." After a moment of listening to his request there was a pause before the girl replied. "Hm. Hm. Sounds fun. I'll help." He could almost audibly hear her nod over the phone. Then the call ended. After a few seconds Cid's phone rang again before the girl asked, "where are we meeting?"

He spent a few moments recovering from the weird pacing of the conversation. Was this girl okay? But then he shook his head and responded. He named a place that should be easy to find and wasn't too public, to avoid people swarming to ask questions, before hanging up and staring at his phone a bit longer just in case she called again.

With a sigh he entered the home and called out to his sister "Get ready, I called them, we're heading out in 10."

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Iris had been fairly antsy the past few days, awaiting her own tournament debut after seeing Yuliya's performance. The duel itself had had enough energy in it to get Iris's blood pumping, but her restlessness was more than just a passing phase of anticipation. Nothing had really been able to capture her attention over the days, and she had felt somewhat off about taking off so much time from work. After all, Iris prided herself on her both her punctuality and attendance and so missing work for what was likely going to be a month did little to calm her nerves. Of course there was always the chance to just explore, but Iris felt little joy in exploring an unfamiliar location by herself. And so, as chance would have it, as she was waiting for her match to come by to her, the girl received a message from one of her friends. 

Looking at Yuliya's message, she couldn't help but feel as though the girl had peered into her thought.

From: Iris
To: Yuliya Sekelsky

I was just wondering what to do with myself today. So, I would be happy to accompany you. I will be there as soon as I am able. 

Some time later, after having a rather difficult time following her phone's map app to the correct location, she eventually met up with Yuliya. Giving a small bow the woman said, "I apologize if I had kept you waiting at all. Sometimes I just do not understand this device's instructions." Shaking her head to herself, the girl then looked to the sea, then back to the boardwalk, then back to Yuliya. "No matter! What kind of fun awaits us on this boardwalk?" 
 


As Cid had arrived at the meeting place he would notice a silver haired girl with a bag standing around, looking aimlessly up into the clouds. Looking down, as if sensing someone was approaching, the girl looked at both Cid and her sister for a second. The same vacant expression on her face, before her eyes lit up and she waved to the two of them. Shouting out, "heeeeeeyyyyyy. Ooooover heeeereee." Without a care in the world, the girl walked over and said, "hello, Cid and...." Leila stared at the young girl with him for a second before nodding saying, "Cid's Sister....oh! I brought snacks." The girl pulled out a pastry for the both of them, being incredibly insistent they take one even if they at first rejected, before getting one for herself. Standing there, eating happily and was likely to stay silent if no one said anything. 

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Iris’ final steps onto the boardwalk over to Yuliya’s side were certainly helped by the latter girl waving both hands above her head, acting like she was completely unaware that there were only, like, three other people with colored hair on the boardwalk (two of them with a femme appearance, and only one of them with actual blue (and not even the same blue, like, not even remotely)) and was already plenty distinctive. Even if they weren’t helped, well, it didn’t really matter. They were together now and had the whole rest of the day in front of them. Yuliya celebrated the moment with a “Heyyyyyy,” with, like, six ys, a “‘Sup? How’s tricks?” and, in response to Iris’ apology, “No worries! Yeah, the way to get to The Beach is pretty complicated even for locals and I wasn’t even here that long anyway.”

In her earbuds, the co-commentators were passing the time talking about seeding charts and hypothetical results to duels they were likely never going to see given how the bracket had turned out. Yuliya turned off her feed and slipped the buds into her pocket before turning her attention back to her friend and fellow competitor. “Okay, so!

“I mean, we were here, what, last Sunday?” Yuliya began. “Yeah, when we and, uh, Zoe and Leila went to get linner after that opening ceremony. So we could do that again, though it might be more of a brunch than a linner at this point in the day. But there’s more than just restaurants to The Beach’s boardwalk, right?” She asked this question as if the answer was obvious -- self-evident, even. “Most of the stores down here are a bit tourist-y but sometimes there are some neat shirts if you’re looking for that. Down at the end, there’s a rickety old arcade so if you want to play games that aren’t Duel Monsters and are okay with what’re probably some health and safety violations, hey, there you go. But also, I mean, it’s The Beach. That which people say they like long walks on. We can just- we can just do beach things if you’d rather that too. Or! Or, if you’re feeling really saucy, a combination of all four…”

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It took Cid some time after reaching the meeting place to figure out where the girl they were meeting was waiting, or if they were there at all. Truth be told he only vaguely remembered what she looked like. It wasn't until he noticed someone looking his way that his memory was jogged. The jog became a sprint when she suddenly shouted out to them.

"heeeeeeyyyyyy. Ooooover heeeereee."

"Yeah, that must be the one." he said. Cid moved forward and realized that his sister was hovering somewhat behind him. With a shrug he met the girl halfway and, after a nod in response to the greeting, took the food without a thought. She presented one to Heather, as well, but the girl took Cid nudging her to take it. She proceeded to nibble at it without speaking.

Cid looked between her and Leila and realized neither were about to speak up. He sighed, cleared his throat, and said "Yeah, so, this is Heather. The one who wanted to talk with you." at the latter sentence he looked at Heather and jerked his head towards Leila as if to say "Well, go on." but the girl seemed to have grown incredibly shy between the ride here and now.

Leila cocked her head to side curiously at the girl, then put a finger to her chin. After a moment more the girl looked up with a small frown on her face  as she said, “this is a hard question.”

Cid furrowed his brow and looked once more between the two. What did he just miss? Heather's eyes widened as Leila spoke and leaned forward a bit out of curiosity. "Okay...wait what question?"

Cupping her chin in her hand, Leila seemed to think on this even more, not paying any mind to Cid. Then after a moment more of rumination, Leila seemed to hit an epiphany. Rummaging through her pack again, she pulled a card out from a deck box, showing Heather the card 'Madolche Mewfuielle.'

Cid stared at the girl blankly, wondering if there was any point in chiming in, as she did all this. Ultimately he figured that he should just see where this was going.

Heather didn't reply right away and was looking intently at the card. Then Cid felt her tugging at his shirt and, when he looked, saw her pointing at his deck box. "Alright..." he said, deciding this strange silent exchange wasn't going to end at any time. He handed her the box and she went through it a bit before showing Leila a card herself. Heather's favorite card, Unifrog.

Her eyes going wide with intrigue Leila let out an, “ooooh,” nodding. “Cute frog…good choice, good choice.” Leila smiled at the girl saying, “nice to meet you, Heather.”

And at long last, Cid's sister spoke up, "Um, hello." Her voice was soft and Cid snorted at how different she was now than normal. Earning a quick glare from his sister in the process.

Leila seemed to have a brief moment of pride surge through her, as if she had just passed some exam, before looking back to the girl saying, "sooo, what other questions did you have?"

Heather took a few steps away from Cid. He felt relieved that it looked like he wouldn't have to do much here for now but watch. Though it meant that he was the one to notice that every now and then someone would notice them and say something. Cid was concerned that one of the occasional passerby would come up to them to either heckle or praise them.

So while he kept an eye on his sister he also made sure to look around in case he decided it was time to relocate.

"Oh, well..." Heather began. Then, taking a breath, began to speak "You're a professional right what's that like do you like it is it fun how long have you done it why did you decide to do it how do you know my brother by the way oh what made you choose your deck?" The flow of questions only paused when she found she had to take another breath.

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The Raging Raptor

"The match of Fire versus Light! Chivalry versus justice! Knights versus Guardians! Here it comes! Coming in as the first seed of Troyce, his deck both ignoble and noble all at once, loaded with more weapons then you could find at a Renaissance fair. Richard Wallace! And coming in as the second seed of Scarlet, her deck is filled with light, sworn to go through its cards faster than a formula one race car. It's Kiyoko Matsuyoshi!"

Now this was a match up he was interested in seeing, least for one part anyway. Itsuki had the privilege of watching Kiyoko Duel once before in Scarlet, due to him passing through just to get a few challenges as well as potential sponsors for his future Pro Duelist scene. Her and her Lightsworn card were quite the force to be reckoned with, after all, she was the second seed of Scarlet. However...

"Richard Wallace, first seed of Troyce..." Itsuki muttered, looking at the opponent she had to face. "Hmmm, honestly doesn't look like much...but with the introduction Ai gave, makes me thing that it'll be a lot more than a one sided fight..."


The Blazing Squire

"The match of Fire versus Light! Chivalry versus justice! Knights versus Guardians! Here it comes! Coming in as the first seed of Troyce, his deck both ignoble and noble all at once, loaded with more weapons then you could find at a Renaissance fair. Richard Wallace! And coming in as the second seed of Scarlet, her deck is filled with light, sworn to go through its cards faster than a formula one race car. It's Kiyoko Matsuyoshi!"

His heart was pretty much beating out of his chest at this point, his face wore the widest smile possible. This was the real thing...this was the biggest moment of his life...his Blue Rose debut! Richard was pumped and his blood was boiling with excitement (still probably not a good thing, all things considered). And the applause when he stepped onto the Duel field, Richard reveled in it...it was amazing!

"Richard."

Richard's opponent...Kiyoko Matsuyoshi from Scarlet...this was definitely going to be a fun one. "Kiyoko, a pleasure." Richard smirked, hanging Kiyoko his deck and took her's to shuffle it. "I've heard great things about you and your Dueling. I'm excited to see what you can do." he said, handing the now shuffled deck back to his opponent.

The woman grabbed the deck back, handing Richard his as she nodded. “And I to you. I’m interested in how far your chivalric knights will go against justice.”

"As am I." Richard took the deck back and extended a hand towards Kiyoko. "Let's give him a hell of a match!"

As the referee had come by them, coin in hand, Kiyoko looked to him and said, “heads.” The man flipped the coin, and having landed on tails Kiyoko nodded to Richard. “Your choice.”

"Very well, then if it's all the same to you, I'll go first!" Richard said with the widest smirk.

With the two combatants going to their respective sides, turning on their duel disks, Ai shouted, “now all that’s left is to - “

“Duel!”

"Time to start this Duel off…" Richard drew his hand and carefully surveyed it for a moment. "First, I'll set a monster in Defense Mode and then set one card face down." Two cards appeared on the field, both face down. "It may not be as grandiose of a start as some...but me and my knights are hoping for one fiery Duel. So it's your move!"

Turn 1 - Richard Wallace

  • Sets 1 Monster in DEF
  • Sets 1 S/T on the field
  • Turn End [3 cards in Hand]

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Iris mulled over the choices as she was presented with them from Yuliya. She shook her head at the idea having a brunch at present, there being no such mystique in that specific combination meal time, before ruminating on the other options. The girl was always curious about different shirts and knickknacks that she could get from all the various cities that she visited, though there was definitely more time across her stay at Camellia to do that. And so going to the next on the list, the girl perked up. "An Arcade, you say?" Iris had certainly heard the term before but never once had she actually visited such a marvelous establishment. She had an idea as to what happened at those dens of debauchery and had always been wary of them. "Well, the beach is going nowhere and though I do enjoy a good stroll across one every now and then..." With a nervous yet excited smile crossing her face, the girl looked to Yuliya saying, "let us go to the Arcade!" 

The duo stopped at the Overture Arcade, an old place that had seemed to weather the test of time. For as long as Yuliya could remember the inside of the place had remained virtually unchanged for her entire life, finding the tacky carpeting, dim lighting and blaring sounds of game machines all too familiar. There was the standard affair of video games - fighters, shooters, beat 'em-ups, racing games to name a few - though none of them seemed like they had been made within the past decade if that. There were still more classic machines, such as whack-a-mole, ski ball, air hockey and more. Though the place was not quite bustling, especially with the Blue Rose tournament going on, there was still a sizeable enough crowd of people inside. 

Iris seemed antsy at the sight of it all. Both having the sense of someone who had done something behind their parents back, while also seeming to be incredibly curious and in a marvel at all the different machines in the building. "This place is far more vibrant yet darker then I ever could have imagined," the girl said to her friend. Looking to her, she then asked, "so what manner of, erm, games do you usually play here?" 


 

Leila stared at Heather blankly - though not any less so than she usually did - as the girl started to rapid fire off her questions towards Leila. After they finished and Heather took her breath, Leila continued to stare, before looking upward and tapping her chin a few times. "Hmmmmm....I think....I've been a pro since high school? Hmm..hmmmm..." The girl thought about it more before nodding to herself. "I never played it before then, but I had a friend who was suuuper into it. I thought it would be fun to play with her so she helped me pick a deck." The girl fanned out the cards from her deck showing Heather. "They were the cutest so I picked them...hmmm...but I don't think the game was really that fun at first, but now it's been a lot more fun." Leila nodded as if she had sufficiently answered the question. 

The girl then started to think more about what the girl asked, before having a realization of a question she skipped. "Oooooh, right. Cid." The girl's expression turned more serious as she told Heather the next part, "he saved my life." 

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The thing Yuliya remembered most about Overture Arcade was the carpet. Maintaining it seemed like the most Sisyphean task in the world outside of actually rolling a rock up a mountain, and yet whoever owned the place still insisted on having the same garishly dated design the arcade had when Yuliya was just a youngster. It was the kind that was dark with brightly colored squiggles and shapes peppered throughout. As they stepped inside, Yuliya noticed that they’d toned down vacuuming in the years since; the threshold between the boardwalk and the arcade proper was a mass of sand that, while it certainly thinned the deeper you went, it never really seemed to go away. It was like glitter, Yuliya thought. They both got everywhere, one was just coarser and rougher.

The games still mostly worked, though, as far as Yuliya could see. Nearby, some small child still in their bathing suit was having trouble with the joystick for X!bert, but also the joystick for X!bert was dumb in Yuliya’s eyes anyway and the game even more so. She preferred more visceral affairs, so when Iris asked what she wanted to play, her eyes lit up and she immediately bought some tokens, found the TimErgency 4 machine, and slammed the tokens down.

Yuliya picked up the light gun from its holster and flashed Iris a wicked smile. “There’s an old challenge, like, it felt old even when I was a kid and the arcade was technically still new, probably because we all talked about it in hushed whispers. Seven games, seven credits -- or fourteen if you’re co-op -- the goal, of course, being to get the good ending on The Antediluvian Manor with the last credit, though obviously you just want to get as far as you can.”

She picked up the other light gun and gestured to the stack of tokens she left splayed on the stand. “You in? Braver than we have dared, and all but, like, two have failed. I don’t think I’ve made it further than maybe a third of the way through Evil Carnival myself. Thankfully, TimErgency 4’s pretty good --” she pronounced “TimErgency” like it was a name (“Tim Urgency”), instead of the clearly intended “Timer-gency” “-- and if we scrub out we can go find the Puck-Man machine and cool down on that.”

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"They were the cutest so I picked them...hmmm...but I don't think the game was really that fun at first, but now it's been a lot more fun."

"So it got even more fun the more you played..." Heather said.

Cid could feel her eyes on him and knew why. She was thinking about how he seemed to like the game less now after so many duels. She was wondering what the difference was. He let out a sigh. If he had realized this is what she was trying to figure out he wouldn't have agreed to do this. It was bad enough her asking him about it but to bring someone else into it...

"he saved my life." 

What was that? He turned quickly to look at the girl again. She seemed entirely serious but how could that be? He had never done anything so dramatic. Cid could barely remember their previous interactions but he was sure he'd know if he had done something like that.

Unfortunately Heather seemed to be taking her seriously. "Whoa, really?" she said, giving her older brother a shocked look.

Cid knew he had to stop this quick. "No, not really. She's just joking, right?" he looked at her and tried to give her a look that said 'stop messing around' in the hopes she'd cut this out.

Leila nodded towards Heather, closing her eyes as she began to reminisce. "I remember it like it was....hmmmm....it was after a tournament and I was very hungry. Really hungry. I had no ramen left at my hotel either. It was very dire. So I went  to get some food and then, when I went to pay..." opening her eyes as if to reveal the dramatic revelation the girl said, "I didn't have enough money. So I couldn't eat it...that'd be stealing, which is bad." Leila nodded to herself. "But your brother was also in line and helped me buy them. And then I didn't starve."

"Whoa..." Heather said again.

Cid groaned. "No, not whoa. Heather you're smarter than that does that really sound like I 'saved' her?"

Heather blushed. "Well...she just...seems so impressed."

"That just means she's easily impressed." Cid muttered and glanced at Leila "it's not that big a deal" he told her.

Leila looked to Heather and nodded, "it was a big deal."

Cid was about to argue when he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. Several people were looking their way. Some of them talking among themselves and watching them. It seemed as though their time without disturbance was about up. However he didn't think Heather would like having to leave just like that.

So with a sigh he grabbed Leila by the arm and said "It's getting crowded, let's go somewhere else."

Without argument Leila walked along saying, "okay." After a bit more she asked, "did you want food? I can buy now." The girl seemed proud about this.

He, in fact, didn't really care about getting food yet. But it would be an easy out and maybe they would talk less with food to occupy them. So he agreed. "Yeah, sure. Let's do that."

Under his breath he muttered "Maybe then you'll see how much not a big deal it was."

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Richard vs. Kiyoko

"It may not be as grandiose of a start as some...but me and my knights are hoping for one fiery Duel. So it's your move!"

“Very well, my turn. Draw!” Glaring at the face down monster, Kiyoko took little time to mull over her turn. “I summon Jain, the Lightsworn Paladin."

"Hmm a Paladin...heh, basically starting off with your own knight against mine?" Richard nodded. "A true sword and sorcery moment here right now."

“And you will not find my knight lacking. Jain, attack!” Raising her sword into the air, paladin’s blade glowed as the monster strengthened itself (1800 ATK → 2100 ATK). Charging ahead the lightsworn brought her sword down on the set monster, Infernoble Knight Ogier, felling the knight in one strike. With the battle over Jain hopped back to Kiyoko’s side, her sword reverting to its original state (2100 ATK → 1800 ATK).  

“With my attack finished I set these two cards face down. And due to Jain’s effect, at the end of my turn I send the top 2 cards of my deck to my graveyard.” As the girl moved her cards around she looked at Richard, nodding. “Your move.”

Turn 2  - Matsuyoshi Kiyoko [8000 LP | 3 Cards in Hand | 2 Card in Grave]

  • Summons Jain, the Lightsworn Paladin [ATK: 1800]
  • Sets 2 S/T on the field
  • Mils two cards
  • Turn ends

"Very well...draw!" Richard drew for his turn, nodding slowly at the card he drew. "I summon forth, Infernoble Knight Oliver, in attack position!" A knight appeared with a flurry of swirling flames, brandishing his blade that shone in the light.

"Now he may seem like not a threat in the slightest, due to his 1000 attack, but I assure you...Oliver here has heart and the support of his comrades." Richard smirked, using his Duel Disk to select a card from his grave. "At this time I activate Ogier's ability! While it's in the graveyard, I can select a Warrior monster I control and equip him to it. Naturally, I'll be selecting Oliver!"

Once the selection was complete, directly behind Oliver stood a newly revived Ogier, knelt down and seeming slightly ghostly. Of course, this signified him being equipped to the monster before him.

"But this is only the beginning…" he immediately took two more cards from his hand. "From my hand, I activate two Noble Arms Equip Spells...firstly...Gallatin, which gives Oliver an attack boost...bringing him to 2000 attack!" Now in Oliver's hand, Gallatin materialized and proceeded to boost the warrior's attack. "And the second...Clarent!" In Oliver's other hand, the sword Clarent appeared.

"Now by the effect of Clarent, at the expense of 500 Life Points, my knight can attack you directly!" Richard said, grinning from ear to ear. "And before you get a thought...due to Ogier, Oliver cannot be destroyed by Card effects. That said, do I see or hear any response from you, Kiyoko?"

Furrowing her brow at the attack, Kiyoko shook her head. “Continue.”

“Very well.” Richard nodded, exhaling slowly. “With that said, it’s time for Battle! And it’s here where I’ll pay 500 LP due to Clarent’s effect and give my Oliver the power to attack you directly!”

Richard LP: 8000 -> 7500

“Now go, Oliver! Attack Kiyoko’s Life Points directly!” Richard declared, sending forth Oliver with a strong fervor as the knight closed the gap between Richard’s side of the field and Kiyoko’s, immediately passing by her Jain without so much of an afterthought and in one swift movement, struck at Kiyoko with both of his swords.

Kiyoko LP: 8000 -> 6000

“And now, that’s where I’ll call it a turn.” he said, watching his knight return to his side of the field. “You’re up Kiyoko. Let’s see what you can do to counter that.”

Turn 3 - Richard Wallace [7500 LP | 1 Set S/T | 1 Card in Hand | 0 Cards in Grave]

  • Summons INK Oliver [ATK 1000 -> 2000 | Equipped with INK Ogier, NA Gallatin, NA Clarent]
  • Turn ends

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