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Yu-Gi-Oh! Cosmic Path [IC/PG-16]

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OP - USO

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OOC

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"Aiwass activates! By equipping itself to Dingirsu, I gain control of it!"

At the duelist's command, the frame-like body of the angel seemed to shift, the eyes closing as the rest of its body opened up, almost unhinging. It then shot forward, clamping around the towering knight and steed, making it look as if it was in pain... Before Dingirsu walked over to the duelist who activated Aiwass and turned around, looking down on its original player.

"In addition, it gains 1000 ATK and DEF while equipped with Aiwass! Attack your master directly!"

The monster's massive lance was thrust forward, bearing down on the duelist before it. His hand moved to activate a set trap, before cursing loudly and standing up straight, the attack hitting him head on. With that hit, his life points fell to zero.

"Team Trinity wins yet another match! It may not have been a 2-0 this time, but the showing was still impressive, especially from Captain Primrose Goitea!"

As the monsters began to fade with the end of the duel, Primrose stood solemnly, staring at Otto across from her... And then the footage cut out.

-----

Saturday, February 15

"Aaand that was the most recent championship match." Vega clapped as the lights in the room came back on, the screen behind her silent but playing the footage of the duels once more. The team would find themselves sitting at a conference table, though it seemed it may just be two foldable white tables stuck together and covered with a tablecloth. There were some windows covered with blackout blinds along one wall, with a sink and some cabinets on the wall opposite it.

"Of course, you don't learn much from watching pros in this sort of sport as you do others, but... y'know, can't hurt!" She hummed happily as she walked to the side to a whiteboard, she began to scribble some general observations she had made about the duels the team had been made to watch. However, there were plenty of doodles of the @Ignister blobs on the whiteboard as well, with encouraging messages written to appear as if they were saying them. Turning around with a big grin on her face, she revealed that there were plenty of bullet points left to be filled. "If anyone wants to discuss what we watched, and what sort of strategies you got from it, let's go for it! But that's the only thing I'm forcing you to do for the day, so if you guys just wanna talk amongst yourselves, that's fine, too! Just be ready for our first match next week!"

Vega turned around to doodle Achichi @Ignister with a red dry erase marker, making sure it gave an approximation of a thumbs-up to the group behind her, before freezing.

"Though, uh... you guys really need to decide on a name before then. Team ____ isn't really gonna cut it, y'know?"

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OOC

 

Alrighty, we're a go!

If anyone has questions about the duels in question, feel free to contact me in your character's private channel, and we can discuss responses. I have a general idea of them, but it felt a bit wordy to write out three separate duels, y'know?

If you just want to begin bonding with your teammates, that is also fair.

Assume Kendra is currently asleep.

Any other comments, questions, concerns can be asked on discord. Thank you all for joining, and I hope you have a great time on this Cosmic Path!

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"Team Trinity wins yet another match! It may not have been a 2-0 this time, but the showing was still impressive, especially from Captain Primrose Goitea!"

The video footage could be seen and heard...this was the most recent championship winners...Team Trinity. Along with hearing the impressive Dueling skills...the sounds of shuffling cards could also be heard slightly in the background. For one specific member of this unnamed Duel team, he was watching intently on this last Duel...it had his full attention...but at the same time it seemed to also pain him slightly from the sight of it.

"Aaand that was the most recent championship match. Of course, you don't learn much from watching pros in this sort of sport as you do others, but... y'know, can't hurt!"

The shuffling card sounds came from one who was leaned back in his chair, shuffling a small deck of playing cards (not a deck of Duel Monsters cards, perish the thought of it!), whilst he listened to Vega, he couldn't help but keep his eyes glued on the footage. A slight sigh escaped the lips of Daichi Raimu as he could see the slight highlights of the last Duel showing off again.

"If anyone wants to discuss what we watched, and what sort of strategies you got from it, let's go for it! But that's the only thing I'm forcing you to do for the day, so if you guys just wanna talk amongst yourselves, that's fine, too! Just be ready for our first match next week!"

The shuffling stopped as Daichi held up a hand slightly. "Not exactly a helpful comment on our behalf, coach..." he piped up, pointing at the Duel that Primose was having. "But THAT Action Duel was hardly one...it lacked the thrill and entertainment that are supposed to be there. And it was over in what...five turns? It was way too short! Not enough time to really captivate the audience." He flashed her a smile, before taking one of the cards from his deck of playing cards, before flipping it in his hand and between his fingers a few times, before holding it up in front of him...but instead of him holding a playing card, it was now a Duel Monsters card...more accurately, Oafdragon Magician. "The audience needs to be enamored with the display that the Action Duelists present in their performance! It needs to dazzle them, allow it to be something they'll always remember when looking back on that day...and it becoming a memory that will always get them to smile!"

He flipped Oafdragon around and it now seemed to show the Jack of Clubs, before smiling again. "As for team name, my thoughts on Team Gestalt is on the table."

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Rosalia had spent the first section of the meeting with her eyes locked on the screen Vega had placed before the six, shutting out Kendra's occasional snores to focus purely on the duels before her. She had sat in the exact same position throughout the meeting, hands clasped just under her eyes as she watched the current champions of the Circuit acclaim their victory. It was impressive, to say the least. Even without the clean sweep.

The one loss Team Trinity had taken in particular kept running through her mind. Dritte of Team Trinity had lost the Turbo Duel against Team Demiurge's Arkhan Jacobs. That one match, the single flaw in an otherwise flawless victory, kept being circled back to in her mind's eye.

- - - - - - - - - -

"You and I are the same, right, Dritte? We both are users of Link Summon... In which case you know of the greatest weapon a fellow user of Link Monsters has to use against you."

"Nani??!?"

"Link Summon! Knightmare Unicorn! And with these arrowheads... Extra Link!"

"What's this?!? In an amazing upset, Jacobs has turned the tide against Dritte and performed an Extra Link before us today!"

"Knightmare Mermaid and Knightmare Unicorn in my Extra Monster Zones both lack Link Arrows that point towards any zone on your field... You've lost, Dritte. With this, your Link Summoning is sealed!"

- - - - - - - - - -

Extra Link... It was an intimidating display of skill to be able to create that situation. Not only to establish, but to create so flawlessly as to reduce the actions of a champion-tier team member to a sliver the width of a hair. This is the kind of prowess we are up against, Rosalia thought to herself soberly, her mind going to the deck that sat within a small box attached to the dark belt she wore over the sensible black skirt. She had performed many Link Summons but never had she managed to set up something as elaborate as Extra Link. Attempted, certainly, but never coming close to succeeding. Definitely none that were so brutal a shutout either.

And his team didn't even win.

It was at this point that her thoughts were broken by Daichi speaking. She paused in her contemplation, turning to look at him throughout the entirety of his little speech. She didn't meet his eyes, though, keeping them turned down towards the table where his hands were, shuffling the cards to and fro as he was wont to do. As usual, he seemed to find everything she always had trouble finding in a duel: The sense of pizazz and style. Or as he seemed to think, the lack of it.

Rosalia took the diplomatic approach and chose not to voice her opinion to Daichi on the matter; After all, he was in the team specifically for Action Dueling, for all she knew he had a point. But the fact that Primrose had been so antithetical...

"I found it very helpful, Miss Sterling. That's the caliber of duelist we should expect to face someday, provided we do well starting out?" She stressed the last two words lightly, glancing around at everybody else. "We are just beginners in the Circuit, even those of us who have been dueling for years... You mentioned us being Team Gestalt, Daichi?" She drummed a finger on the table, looking down at it with a preoccupied gaze. "An organized whole that is more than the sum of its parts? Well... As fun an idea that is to entertain we're not really an organized whole yet, are we? We haven't even had our first match in the public eye yet. We have a bunch of skilled duelists but we still have a long way to go before we can even begin..." She paused, glancing briefly over to Daichi. "... to think to challenge anything like the duelists in Team Trinity. This is our start line. Our genesis."

She lingered on that sentence, still tap-tap-tapping a finger awkwardly on the table before suddenly: "Except for one of us, I suppose. You have experience in these matters, Sashisematta. What did you think?" She almost seemed to shrink back into her chair, inwardly wilting away. The rest of the team was likely used to this visual queue. It always heralded a long, drawn-out bout of silence from Rosalia, one where she talked very little and engaged with the discussion with as few words as possible. The thoughts whirling through her head were too distracting for her to talk much further, at least for now. A lot of the old members of the club, before they had spit off to become this team now, had often identified it as Rosalia being stuck-up. She didn't know if the five around her now thought the same way; She had never had the courage to ask.

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As the recorded duel played on the large screen that Vega had set up, Sashisematta Sai’s eyes darted around the recorded video, taking in everything he could not unlike how a predator animal would inspect its prey. His hands, however, seemed to be acting of their own accord, frantically folding an intricately-printed sheet of origami paper.

"If anyone wants to discuss what we watched, and what sort of strategies you got from it, let's go for it! But that's the only thing I'm forcing you to do for the day, so if you guys just wanna talk amongst yourselves, that's fine, too! Just be ready for our first match next week!"

Sai had completed his creation, a carefully-creased origami triangle, also known as a paper football. His focus redirected toward his target, the sleeping Kendra on the other end of the table, and with a flick he let loose his folded ordinance fly true through the air, embedding itself delicately among the girl’s bangs. Though he had been doing his best to let the young Daichi be blissfully foolish, he was pulled directly into the conversation by Rosalia.

“You have experience in these matters, Sashisematta. What did you think?"

Leaning back and kicking his feet up onto the table, Sai stared at the ceiling and tapped at his chin a few times, ”What I think… what… I… think…” he deliberately let his words hang in the air, until just the moment he heard someone, he wasn’t completely certain who, take a breath to speak. At that time, Sai pushed himself up off of the chair in a way that was somehow both graceful and haphazard, teetering into a standing position atop the table. ”I think that Daichi has no idea what he’s talking about.”

Within a few short bounds, Sai had jumped off of the table, performed a front flip in mid-air, and landed directly behind the team’s other action duelist. He was considerably taller than Daichi, especially with his stilt-like sandals, and loomed over him like a cat would a mouse with a broken leg. Sai gripped Daichi’s shoulder tightly with one hand, using the other to ruffle the boy’s hair, "To-mo-Dai-chi, don't tell me you expect the strongest player to pump the brakes for your own enjoyment."

Despite the sudden and deliberate invasion of personal space, Daichi appeared unfazed.

"It's more than that, Sai!" Daichi said quickly, surprisingly not mentioning the "TomoDaichi" nickname, almost like it being an unspoken rule. "This is Primrose we're talking about! When she started out, she and her Magistus deck were a spectacle to be sure! Her Dueling Style was ten times different than this general aggressive nature, more elegant and full of joy. She's just not the same as she once was, is what I'm saying."

Sai’s eyebrows furrowed, and his jaw visibly clenched for a second before he responded, "She's dueling like her throne depends on it, because it does. Perhaps you misjudged the threat Ava posed. I should hope you won't make the same mistakes against your own opponents."

"Oh my sweet theater buff..." Daichi gave a wide smile, tossing his hands behind his head. "Whatever the cards have in store for me and my Magicians, it'll be a show for the masses nevertheless!"

Dragging his hand across his face as if he were wiping sweat, Sai grimaced, before sighing and pulling his phone from his pocket. In an instant, he was beside Vega’s screen, before he plugged his phone into it and a video flickered to life.


The video seemed to be footage from a recent solo-circuit pro duel, the camera zooming in on a masked man in an elaborate costume as he began the first turn of the duel, surveying his hand.

”First, I will special summon my Grinder Golem to your side of the field!” His voice came out distorted and robotic as an enormous monster made of chains and saw blades appeared opposing the masked duelist, two smaller facsimiles of it appeared in front of him, ”This gives me two Grinder Tokens, but I don’t think I will be needing them to beat you.” Slamming another card onto his duel disk, he continued, ”I activate Polymerization! Fusing my Diamond Dude and Disk Commander from my hand to summon Destiny HERO - Dystopia!” two monsters appeared before shattering into tiny fragments, combining and reforming to unveil a purple and golden armored figure, wielding a black hole in one hand. ”Dystopia’s effect will now banish Diamond Dude from my graveyard, inflicting 1400 points of direct damage to your life points!”

4000 -> 2600

”And now I will use my strongest card! Fusion Destiny! By sending Dogma and Plasma from my deck straight to the graveyard, I can summon my ultimate monster: Destiny End Dragoon!” The masked duelist’s duel disk shuffled his deck, ejecting two cards into the graveyard before an enormous winged monstrosity appeared before him, matching the Grinder Golem in size. One hand had a mounted blade, while the other was the head of a demonic dragon, which now aimed itself toward the Grinder Golem. ”Now, Destiny End Dragoon, win the game! Invincible Destiny! Destroy Grinder Golem and inflict its attack points as direct damage!” The dragon maw opened, and an enormous fireball shot out of it, consuming both the Golem and the masked duelist’s opponent.

2600 -> -400 GAME END


Sai unplugged his phone and reapproached Daichi, nearly looking straight down to meet his gaze directly, ”If you think that duel was any less exciting just because it only lasted a single turn, then you have such a distaste for ambition that it’s going to make me weep.” Turning his face to Rosalia, his expression promptly switched back to cheerful, ”Genesis should work perfectly, after all it’s clear this team is full of amateurs~!”

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╔. .═════════╗

Kendra sighed gently as she watched the match on the screen, her eyes only half lidded... Enough to make most of them think she was really asleep, she was sure. She figured she owed some attention to this duel, it was a championship title match, only seemed fair. She'd like to be in that spot sometime. But the match was so expected. A standard duel was usually like that though, that's why she liked it. It was steady, familiar. With just enough room for experimenting without her having to pretend to be something she isn't. Could she Action Duel? Probably, but she doubted the crowds who flock to that sort of thing would be interested in her demeanor.

So she stuck with what she knew. She could appreciate the technical skill that went into the Extra Link during the Dritte vs Arkhan duel, that sort of thing wasn't easy to pull off, she didn't even use Link monsters and she knew that. It took a lot of planning to be able to do that in a fashion that the opponent couldn't respond to, and it wasn't a foolproof strategy most of the time. But against Dritte, it seemed like a knock out for sure. She felt a bit bad, it highlighted the weakness of specialization, even if in this case it wasn't entirely that. Links to enhance a deck, but it almost felt like he got too dependent on them at the same time... She really needed to branch out to keep up with the best. Maybe she'd get a chance.

Rosalia's response was as diplomatic as ever, she would have to be the one to be a bit blunt it seemed. Her hand rose up to catch the paper football that flew in the air towards her, Kendra slowly pulling her head up from the desk as she sighed out gently. "I've only played in locals mostly, there were a few more serious events, but they weren't... Anything like this. It will take us a lot of work to get there."

She knew she wasn't asked, her fingers curling around a can of soda she had been nursing over the course of the day. She squeezed it gently, the can crinkling underneath her grip, "...And they already know that. They've put in the work, yeah? Sai is right, she isn't putting on a show anymore, it's her livelihood. Maybe she did it on purpose, maybe she's doing it subconsciously, it really doesn't matter. Staying on top takes twice as much work as getting there does."

She waved a hand in the air gently, before glancing towards Daichi, "To them, it isn't just a show or a game, it's how they earn their living. Like most sports, it's not a stable career, if they're smart, they know that... Maybe she didn't realize it at first, or she didn't expect to make it big, we can speculate all we want, but yeah, she's changed. I think anyone in her shoes would." No hint of condemning that perceived change to Primrose in her voice, no hint of anything...

"...I respect that myself. The pressure of being at the top has to weigh on them. The fact they didn't go undefeated will probably make a dent in their earnings, either through merchandise or by unhappy sponsors..." It wasn't a happy thought, but that was business, "Dritte probably feels the brunt of that, even though I can't really say it's entirely his fault. A Link versus Link-heavy deck matchup is... Stressful, I imagine, I wouldn't know."

She finished off her drink, crushing the can underneath her hand as she tossed it from her seat into the trash. It landed in the can as she put her head back down, a low sigh escaping her as she did, "Team Whatever works for me, Genesis makes the most sense. We're starting from scratch."

╚═════════. .╝

Edited by Kazooie

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"If anyone wants to discuss what we watched, and what sort of strategies you got from it, let's go for it! But that's the only thing I'm forcing you to do for the day, so if you guys just wanna talk amongst yourselves, that's fine, too! Just be ready for our first match next week!"

Falisha had been eyeing the screen almost a bit absentmindedly, "It looked like there was a lot of stuff happening in that match. I can't help but wonder what that face-down card was after all. Just watching it leaves you with a lot of questions and not a ton of answers."

She gives a small shrug as she kicks her chair back a bit, pulling out her Synchro Adamancipator cards, "I suppose we could make an educated guess, after all, most tournament decks get registered and are public knowledge afterwards. I'll probably go look it up later and see what Spell or Trap cards hang out in his deck." She hums as she takes out a pad of sticky notes, flipping about 30 in before writing down a reminder for her. 

Once she was finished writing down her reminder, she glanced back up to see Sai and Daichi having what... seemed to be a disagreement? Still friendly though, as she glanced over to Kendra talking about what she assumed they had been discussing, "Hmmm going by what Kendra says I have to say I'd agree to. It's not something my deck is focused on doing but if the situation came up I wouldn't just... not play a way that would be a win. I'm going to respect my opponent enough to think they have a counter after all."

She nods to herself before tapping her cheek, "Team Genesis? That definitely sounds like a good name for a newly rising star team to me!" She crosses her arms, slipping her cards back into her deckbox, "Though I really want to know what that face-down was... Do you know, Vega? After all, you're just as much part of this discussion even if you're doodling." She grinned as she took out her Duel Disc, a screwdriver and a few rocks as she started to fiddle with the light display on it.

 

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It was a pretty average Seattle afternoon. Rather chilly, given the time of year, and Evelyn never did like overcast weather, but while it could be better, it could certainly be worse too. She'd take what small victories she could. Especially when right now, she was taking a pretty serious loss. Of all the days for her to learn the hard way that her phone wasn't actually plugged into its charger... why today? Today was fairly important, as there was supposed to be a team meeting. And being relatively new to the team - which didn't even have a name yet - Eve didn't want to make a bad impression by running late! So, to compensate for already running late for the meeting, Eve had decided to make a detour or two.

First was a quick walk to the coffee shop nearest her apartment. There was certainly no trouble finding coffee in Seattle of all places, so that was no problem. Then she had made a stop by a donut shop along the way, to pick up a variety box of a dozen donuts. That was a few more minutes added to Eve's tardiness, on account of waiting in line then having to actually get the donuts and pay for them. And when the building they were meeting at - a crappy old office building of some sort or another - was finally in sight, Eve picked up her pace, hurrying in through the door and following the directions to the room. As she approached the door, she could hear the tail end of a sentence.

"...of this discussion even if you're doodling."

"Please excuse my tardiness!" Eve said, swinging the door open and power-walking into the room, box of donuts in hand. Glancing around, she could see the footage of some duel or another on the whiteboard, where Vega was doodling some creature from her deck. It looked familiar. Recent. Right, the championship match!

Setting down the box on the table, Eve continued "My phone wasn't plugged in and ran out of battery overnight, but I brought something to make up for the delay. It looks like you were talking about the latest championship, but what else did I miss?"

Edited by yui

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"Boys, boys, calm doooown," Vega waved at Daichi and Sai, wearing a dramatic pout on her face, "There's merit to both. You're right that trying to win is absolutely in the best interest of a competitive player... But making a show is what earns you fans and sponsors, more often than not. Primrose used to play a lot flashier, as I'm sure our little superfan brought up. It's only natural that he's a bit concerned. After all, she even changed her ace not long after entering the majors..."

The coach paused mid-sentence as something Falisha said caught her ear, prompting a raised eyebrow.

"I suppose we could make an educated guess, after all, most tournament decks get registered and are public knowledge afterwards. I'll probably go look it up later and see what Spell or Trap cards hang out in his deck." 

"Sssadly no. Decklists for teams are very rarely available, as the league found it largely too difficult and time consuming to track every single card. On top of that, it hampered players in some matchups, since it's a best of one format."

"I see... Though I really want to know what that face-down was... Do you know, Vega? After all, you're just as much part of this discussion even if you're doodling."

"Hey, the doodles are important!" Vega huffed a bit before continuing, "But... I don't know the exact card. Given the type of guy he is, it's likely it was Blazing Mirror Force, but he knew it wouldn't stop his Dingirsu in that situation. He could have reached for an action card, but he was too confident in whatever he set saving him, is what I'd wager."

"Please excuse my tardiness!" Eve said, swinging the door open and power-walking into the room, box of donuts in hand. "My phone wasn't plugged in and ran out of battery overnight, but I brought something to make up for the delay. It looks like you were talking about the latest championship, but what else did I miss?"

"You're fine, you're fine~" Vega smiled and picked up one of the plain, cream-filled donuts, free hand motioning to the screen to the side, "We were just watching them and discussing some points that came up. The footage is still going if you wanna watch it, but this is mostly free time now. So, if any of you have anything to ask me before your first official match... Now's the time, y'know?"

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Rosalia felt guilt mounting as seemingly everybody piled onto Daichi. If she had known they were going to object this much maybe she wouldn't have brought it up. She winced visibly when Sai said he thought Daichi didn't know what he was talking about. Sai had a way of agreeing with her that made her regret voicing the opinion in the first place. The blunt delivery made her own thoughts seem so much harsher in hindsight. She took a low, deep breath as she endured the conversation that had been birthed by her speaking out. She agreed with all of it, that was true, but she couldn't help feeling like she'd placed Daichi at the end of a company of bayonets. 

She was glad when Eve finally arrived, giving her a chance to change the subject, after Vega had done her best to curtail the conversation. "We've just been discussing the last championship match," she told Eve gently as she reached out and took a donut that was at the edge of the box, a cinnamon-sugar one that everyone else's hands had seemingly avoided. "Thank you," she added softly as she took the donut for herself. "Miss Sterling wanted us to see the duel of champions, the kind of competitors we might be facing." She left it at that, leaving out the debate that had followed. "She thinks it might be helpful to us... Not that it will be, for you and me, at least not immediately."

She looked up, back over to Vega. "The first match will be Sashishimatta, Daichi, and.... Falisha, is that right?" she asked, clarifying. She was about to let Eve know that they still needed a team name that she processed fully what several of the team had told her.

"Oh... Team Genesis?" She hadn't meant to use the word in the context of a team name, and was surprised that so many of them seemed on board with it. It struck her fancy, too, now that she actually thought about it. "... Yes, I think that's... quite a good one," she said carefully, glancing to Vega. As team captain (a position she still wasn't entirely comfortable with having, but Kendra had been on that side of the vote, and she was relentless), she knew she was supposed to take charge on matters like this, but she felt uncomfortable calling it already, so she had a definite delay in her voice, inviting any other names implicitly. At least she hoped it came off that way.

She swiftly stood, walking over to a nearby window with the dull thud of her heels on the floor, drawing aside the blinds that had been lowered for the presentation. Seattle's iconic skyline greeted her, the ever-present Space Needle backed by a gray, rainy sky that matched Rosalia's own eyes. She spared one glance back at Daichi: Brief, but apologetic, with her eyes not quite meeting his own. 

First meeting as a team and already I'm stumbling as Captain... I wonder if I wouldn't have been better in the solo circuit.

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”If you think that duel was any less exciting just because it only lasted a single turn, then you have such a distaste for ambition that it’s going to make me weep.”

Ah...the theater buff and the Entertainment Action Duelist were going to be starting their disagreements early today...however, Daichi paid no mind to this, despite Sai getting to eye level with him and staring a hole into his soul. He knew what he was talking...but at the same time, so did Daichi. They had differing opinions and that was that.

"To them, it isn't just a show or a game, it's how they earn their living. Like most sports, it's not a stable career, if they're smart, they know that... Maybe she didn't realize it at first, or she didn't expect to make it big, we can speculate all we want, but yeah, she's changed. I think anyone in her shoes would."

And then the sleeper awoke to provide her insight, though it seemed to only be bolstering Sai's argument to him. Did it hurt that it seemed like he was getting ganged up on due to the fact of his specific opinions about this particular style and topic? Yes...yes it did. But Daichi still wore a smile. Thankfully, the ever present coach that was Vega came to assist.

"Boys, boys, calm doooown. There's merit to both. You're right that trying to win is absolutely in the best interest of a competitive player... But making a show is what earns you fans and sponsors, more often than not. Primrose used to play a lot flashier, as I'm sure our little superfan brought up. It's only natural that he's a bit concerned. After all, she even changed her ace not long after entering the majors..."

"Thank you coach. I knew at least you would understand the plight I've brought up." Daichi flashed a toothy grin, looking past Sai. "Besides...the way I see it, you can treat this as a way to earn your living while still dazzling the audience with a fantastic Action Duel!"

That's about the time Evelyn came waltzing in...and with a peace offering to her tardiness...ahhh, what couldn't be solved by the wonderful and appealing scent of fresh donuts? In one fell swoop of a movement, he moved past Sai and immediately pulled a donut from the box without even looking...and jackpot: a strawberry iced donut with rainbow sprinkles on it. A donut truly befitting the group's Pendulum Magician.

"Eve, yet again you come through with getting me just the right one." Daichi smiled, savoring the smell of the donut before taking a quick bite out of it. He then was brought back up to the idea of "Team Genesis". "On the topic of Team Genesis...well, I suppose it could work like that...still partial to Gestalt, but alas, if the rest of the crew is on board with it...then you'll have the magician's agreeance on it too." he said, taking another bite out of the donut, before noticing Rosalia, they're fearless team captain, offering a brief and apologetic glance his direction. After polishing off the donut and wiping his face of the crumbs, he offered her a glance back...oddly enough, it wasn't one of disdain or anything like that...it just was a joyful expression he had, apparently thinking it as simply water under the bridge.

Now to address the elephant in the room (...and no, not Sai). "What do we know about the team we're up against? Like, any specifics? Also...is there any word on anyone possibly sponsoring us for this first official match?"

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╔. .═════════╗

Kendra let out a tiny sigh as she closed her eyes a bit, slowly lowering her head back down to her desk. She rubbed at the back of it lazily, her head turning towards Vega, "Maybe being flashy earns some sponsors, but being at the top also does that. If you aren't flashy, you work your way to being the best. Whatever the issue is with her, it's not our job to uncover it and bring back her spark, you know?"

She let her hand set her own deck of cards on the table next to her head. She flipped one over, Battery Charger. "In fact, it's probably better for us that we don't. Find a way to use it against her maybe." She set the card down, a little hum escaping her as she flipped over the next one, "If we ever get to that point, maybe Daichi can get underneath her skin. I doubt she'd like hearing it more than he liked saying it."

She gave a soft smile as she set the card down as well, taking a glance towards Eve now that she had joined the group. She pushed herself up, making her way over towards the donuts brought in. She fished out a creme-filled chocolate one, nibbling on it as she plopped back down onto her seat, "I guess I'll bite with a question... Did they already determine the match ups the others have to face? I'm not dueling in round one, but the others would benefit from knowing, yeah? How far ahead do we get to know the match up?"

She ate the donut lazily, thinking about her deck. She needed an opportunity to make small tweaks to her deck before each match, Batteryman was her deck, but it wasn't always the easiest to make small tweaks to. The more time she had to work on the deck, the more she could focus on actually getting something together... She took a little breath as she rubbed at her neck for a moment, "I'm mostly asking cause I need time to kinda... Edit my deck a bit to prepare, you know? It's nice to have the time to think about it, if that's available."

╚═════════. .╝

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Falisha slowly blinked as Vega said her name in the first matchups, "Oh shoot I'm one of the one's up first? Huh. Well hopefully my deck is willing to perform well then!" She gives a laugh and rubs the back of her head, "I kinda totally spent the last week working on my bike to get the colors right, wanted to like start leaving a trail of rainbow-colored lights once I have enough speed counters!" She nods as she slips her deck out of her deckbox, eyeing through the cards.

While she looked through her deck she snatched a donut herself, getting a bit messier lemon donut as she snacked on it. "Hm... oh I probably shouldn't have this in my deck for now..." She blinks as she pulls out her Adamancipator Field Spell, replacing it with another spell card and slipping the Field Spell into a side deck box.

"I think that's enough to get my deck going, probably need to remember to take out my Field Spell whenever I've got a Speed Duel coming up. That could have been a bit bad if I drew it out of the deck before remembering to take it out!" She lets out a small laugh as she looks at the new entry, "Thank you for the donut, dear. I forgot to eat this morning unless getting some powder from crushing rocks in my mouth counts..."

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"I'm mostly asking cause I need time to kinda... Edit my deck a bit to prepare, you know? It's nice to have the time to think about it, if that's available."

“Mm… Well, usually we’ll have at least a week and a general idea of what we’re up against, but this time around it’s double blind,” Vega mused a bit, cocking her head then busting out a toothy grin, “Though, I suppose you’re not in this match, so it solved itself!”

The chatter continued on for a while as Vega moderated only when absolutely necessary, enjoying the camaraderie and ideas the team presented. After a while she clapped loudly. She ushered everyone out with well wishes, and giving them each a pat on the back as they left… And one she was alone, she closed the door, walking back to the center of the room. Taking a deep breath, she looked around, humming ever so softly as she closed her eyes.

-----

Saturday, February 22

A week came and went in no time. As the three duels prepared to begin, with information being supplied to the MC, Vega led Rosalia, Eve, and Kendra into the indoor arena, turning around and stretching her arms wide. The stands of the small stadium weren’t very full, with maybe about a third of the seats taken, with a turbo dueling track in the center of it. Within the oblong track, the center area was split in two, with a small portion towards the far end, separated for the standard duel, and a larger area reserved for action duels.

“Take a good look! I mean, there aren’t a ton of people here… But hey, this is about twice as much as a new team would normally get!” the coach froze in place, averting her eyes to the side as she muttered, “Wait is that because there’s two new teams…?”

Kendra's hand rubbed at her eye for a moment, a little sigh escaping her as she glanced towards Vega. Her brow raised for a moment, "Is... Is that a question or is that you remembering that there are two?"

“Yyyyyes?” Vega replied, sounding less than confident, a nervous grin on her face, “A-anyway! We’re gonna head up to the booths on either side of the arena. The others have already been given instructions to meet us there, if their duels wrap up early. Refreshments are provided, though, here in the minor leagues… It’s just water and some chips, but that’s better than nothing! And hey, there’s a TV for each match, so we can tune in as we need, plus comfy seating! Honestly, it’s not that bad, I swear!”

-----

As Falisha arrived at the track 15 minutes early, she would find a girl standing a good six inches taller than her stretching next to a scarlet duel runner, which seemed to have markings like a pair of wolf eyes towards the front. Her loud voice carried as she began to speak.

“Aha, you must be the shrimp I’m up against,” The girl’s teeth gleamed as she grinned, extending a hand out to Falisha. “Sorrel Laluv, pleased to meet ya. Seems you’re an early bird like I am!”

Falisha blinked a bit, “Wait, what do you mean? I thought I was on time? Do I need to come back later? Wait no Sorrel is the right name. Ah well, if I’m here early then hi I suppose!” She reaches her hand out and grips Sorrel’s tightly, “Falisha Outsword. It’s great to meet you as well. Shame I won’t see you that much once the duel starts though.”

“Course ya won’t! You’ll be seeing my dust,” Sorrel snickered as she shook their hands, before letting go, “‘Sides, I can’t let Honey down. This means a lot to her… I’m sure you’ve got some similar stuff going on, so let’s just try to have fun with it, ye?”

“I mean of course we’ll have fun with it, it’s a duel. We wouldn’t be gigantic nerds with decked out runners if we didn’t enjoy it.” She smirked and let go as well, resting her arm at her side, “Oh I’m sure my team cares more than they’re letting on, got a bit heated at the team meeting earlier after all.”

“Ayy, I’m not the only one who overshares,” The girl laughed as she headed back to her runner, picking up her crimson helmet and boarding it, “May the best one win, I always say! Good luck!”

“Nah I do too. Good luck to you as well. See ya at the starting line!” She gave a smirk before going to her own runner, a rather colorful white runner inset with gemstones as she picked up a white helmet with pink stripes running down the sides of the visor and over the top, placing it on as she got her duel runner to the starting line.

-----

After the remainder of the team settled in, and Daichi, Sai, and Falisha were ready to go, the lights for the stadium went out… Only for them to come back on, focusing on the three different arenas. Three screen setups lit up near the ceiling, with four screens on each. On them, the duelists and their names were shown, with Daichi and his opponent, Honey, shown on the first. The second depicted Falisha and Sorrel, while the third depicted Sai and Avery, with their team logos plastered before each of their names, albeit in a smaller font.

“Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in-between, we have a special event for you today!” boomed a voice from the speakers set up all over, “A premiere duel for not one but TWO teams! Team Wilding is making their first appearance today, led by their captain, Action Duelist Honey Froswald! Some of you in the audience may recognize her as the younger sister of Major League Champion Elliot Dritte! Cam she live up!?”

“Ah, so that’s probably why…” Vega muttered a bit more, eyes glancing out over the arena as more seats seemed to be filled than earlier, taking up maybe half of the available seating now. “Still, that seems a bit harsh to burden her with, don’t you guys think?”

"Is it?" Evelyn asked. "That's usually how it is in the Japanese circuit at least. 'This aspiring new pro is the direct relative of chart-topping duelist Yamada Taro! Expectations are high!' That type of deal."

“If you say so,” The coach pouted a bit, crossing her arms and puffing her cheeks, “But still! It’s a lot, even for someone we hopefully beat! She shouldn’t have to live in her brother’s shadow.”

“Her opponent is Daichi Raimu from Team Genesis! Not much is known about them, but perhaps we’ll learn some today! Can he measure up to the sister of a champion!?”

“Yeeesh, they’re really piling it on,” Vega’s mouth turned downward, teeth bared, almost cartoonishly so, “That’s a lot of pressure on her AND Daichi now, not to… Well, actually, I think the other two can handle that sort of thing.”

“The other two matches are between Standard Duelists Avery Froswald and Sai Sashisematta, as well as Turbo Duelists Sorrel Laluv and Falisha Outsword! Good luck to all involved, and…”
 
The audience joined in the next line from the MC, causing the room to erupt with noise.

“3… 2… 1… Duel!”

-----

“...Elliot Dritte…”

Honey grit her teeth as she took her place in the arena. Always his name. Always how she was his sister. Always, always, always. He hadn’t helped her get here, so why should he get to reap any glory off of it? And for the minor leagues, no less! This was her grand stage to shine, not his, yet-

“Ladies and gentlemen!! If you would please turn your attention this way to the center field and you’ll see our illustrious challenger...miss Honey!” the voice boomed as the spotlights pointed at the Duelist on the field. But all but one suddenly left the Duelist in a swift fashion. “...and who comes to take the stage to meet this challenger? Why...none other than I… Ladies and gentlemen, the Moonlit Magician has arrived.”

Her opponent appeared with all the smoke and mirrors he could manage. Letting her breath go, she turned to the audience and waved with a soft smile, not letting him take all the glory.

“I’m Honey Froswald! I don’t have any special epithet, but I want to give everyone an entertaining experience, all the same!”

“3… 2… 1… Duel!”

As the duel began, the Action Field appeared: Action Field - Grand Adventure. The action cards scattered across a wide plain, with artificial sunlight, trees appearing every so often, with a treasure chest laying here or there in the rocks, the hills, or the roots. Looking around, Honey couldn’t help but think how ill-suited this was to her, but Daichi managed to tear her away from her thoughts.

“If you don’t mind, I believe I’ll take the first move.” Daichi drew his five cards and looked at them, nodding slowly. “I shall set the Pendulum Scale, using my Dragonpit and Dragonpulse Magicians!” Soon two magicians appeared at either side of Daichi before rising into the air above him, being surrounded by a pillar of light. “The scales of 1 and 8, meaning monsters Level 2 through 7 are fair game!”

Oafdragon appeared after that, and Daichi set a card. Watching the audience’s reaction, a good amount seemed enthralled by all of his showy behaviors… But the majority seemed to be unmoved. Were those the ones there for her brother? Or were they simply not amused? After all, he seemed to be doing fairly basic Action Duel things...

"Alas, it's the first turn and I cannot attack. So instead, I’ll set one card face down and relinquish my t-”

“Not so fast!” the small girl threw her hand out as Daichi attempted to change phases, placing a card onto her disk shortly after, “I activate the effect of my Ursarctic Micbilis from my hand! By tributing another Level 7 or higher monster from my hand or field during either player’s Main Phases, I can Special Summon it! I tribute Ursarctic Mictanus!”

As she did, a large brown grizzly bear appeared! Well, a mecha one did, with a tail and electrified gauntlets on its hand. Without opening its maw, it seemed to roar.

“I then activate its effect! It allows me to summon another Ursarctic monster from my hand! Come down, Megapolar!”

As she slammed the card onto the disk, an even larger bear mech appeared behind her. Its body shone with pristine white metal, a heavy, powered hammer in its hands as it took a stance, looking far more humanoid than the previous mech.

“When this one is summoned, I can destroy one spell or trap… and I choose your set card!”

“Well well, now that is an impressive start from you!” he said with a smile, immediately flipping his face-down up: Pendulum Area. It did indeed shatter in front of him, but in quite the beautiful display. “I suppose my bait of Pendulum Area worked. Well, if that’s the case...then I shall now relinquish my turn...provided you have no other interruptions. Now go on, let’s see what we can do to entertain the masses!”

“If you insist,” Honey giggled a little. She was still feeling the pressure, but… If he wasn’t, why should she let them get to her either? Maybe she could learn from him. “Then I’ll draw for turn! And then I’ll immediately conduct a unique summon! By subtracting the level of Micbilis from the level of Megapolar, I can summon a Synchro from my extra deck!”

The two bear-mech’s bodies seemed to fade away, leaving black stars where Micbilis stood, and bright green rings in place of Megapolar. As the rings and stars attempted to align, sounds of electrical interference could be heard, with the rings and stars fading away… Until only one green ring remained.

“Appear, Ursarctic Polari!”

From the one remaining ring, a small, robotic teddy bear rose from it, cooing as it made its appearance. Rainbow colored lights poured from circuitry on its body, until the very space around them began to… distort. The field began to fade away, only for what appeared to be the deck of a battleship to appear beneath both Honey and Daichi’s feet, raising out out of the ground! The sunny day soon turned to the cold night sky, with only stars and the ship to light the arena as they faced off.

“When I summon it, it brings my field spell, Ursarctic Big Dipper out!” As it appeared, every scattered Action Card seemed to fade away, new ones appearing scattered across the flight deck and space debris floating around, “And now, I have the advantage! I activate the effect of Megabilis in my hand! It can also summon itself like Micbilis did, but with Big Dipper, I can instead banish an Ursarctic from my grave! I banish Megapolar, and it appears! When it does, I banish Pendulum Area from your grave!”

The brown bear mech came down again, but more human this time. Its gauntlets had now extended into long claws, causing a quake as it swung them, banishing the card.

“Impressive, my dear. I’m thrilled to see where this goes!”

“Then you’ll love what comes next! I use Megabilis as a tuner, with Polari as the non-Tuner…” She motioned to them as their forms became green rings for Megabilis, and a single black star for Polari, “to summon!”

As a green ring tried to encircle the black star, both faded away with the same crackle as before, leaving seven green rings spinning in place, stacked atop one another. With a snap, the energy swelled inside of them, causing the rings to burst apart, revealing a black mech wielding a scythe inside!

“Ursarctic Grand Chariot! When it’s summoned, it destroys two cards you control… So I’ll destroy Dragonpit and Dragonpulse!”

The massive mech reared the scythe back as Honey hopped onto the mech’s shoulder before shooting forward, swinging the mech through the pendulums set as scales and shattering them, leaving Daichi with just one card in hand and Oafdragon. She watched as Daichi rushed towards an action card, instead motioning for Grand Chariot to swing the scythe! She hopped on board as it did, rocketing her towards Daichi, hitting the ground in a roll as she took the Action Spell from under his nose!

“Now, Grand Chariot! Destroy Oafdragon!”

As Daichi recovered from missing the grab, he shielded himself with his cape, only for his monster to be destroyed! His life fell to 3400 from the battle damage, as Honey walked back up beside her ace, panting. The crowd cheered for the display it saw, only a bit louder than Daichi earlier. Maybe she had just been in her head. But then…

“I’ll set one, then it’s your turn. Let’s see you beat that!”

Surprisingly, Daichi was applauding Honey right now, the sounds of him clapping could be heard. “Impressive display...truly! But, we magicians don’t go down as easily...not when we still have so much to display and dazzle our audiences with! I draw!!”

Honey smiled a bit as she watched him having fun despite such a big swing, preparing for her counterattack. Yes, they had to dazzle the audience, so she had to time it right!

All the while, each special summon had caused another light to appear up at the command center of the ship, whether Daichi noticed or not...

-----

Avery stared up at the speakers, a harsh scowl on his face. Honey had already been feeling the pressure for weeks ahead of this, and now they piled this onto her? She tried so hard, but all they ever saw was the sister of Elliot Dritte, ignoring her. The man clenched his fist as the countdown began.

“3… 2… 1… Duel!”

The large man let out a sigh of relief, a light on his disk indicating that he had the first turn. He looked at the pale boy across from him, who looked to stand just a few inches shorter than Avery, wondering where that shit-eating smirk of his came from. Without a word, he set a card from hand, following up with…

“I activate Melffy Hide-and-Seek. And then I end my turn.”

However, as his turn came to a close, a soft yip, a quiet purr, and a happy bark all came from his side of the board as he placed three cards from his hand onto the field in defense position.

“During my End Phase, each of my Melffy monsters can summon themselves from my hand. Now, it’s your go, Mr. Sashisematta.”

-----

“3… 2… 1… Duel!”

As soon as the MC spoke, Sorrel shot off like lightning, taking the first bend way before Falisha made it to it. Pumping her fist up into the air, she quickly flicked one finger straight up.

“Oi, all you f...people watching! I guarantee this duel’ll be over within four of my turns, no matter who I’m up against!” the red-head declared boldly, laughing, “I draw for turn! I set one monster, as well as two in the backrow, and I pass. You’re up, shrimp!”
 

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Moments Before the Duel

"Team Wilding is making their first appearance today, led by their captain, Action Duelist Honey Froswald! Some of you in the audience may recognize her as the younger sister of Major League Champion Elliot Dritte! Cam she live up!?”
“Her opponent is Daichi Raimu from Team Genesis! Not much is known about them, but perhaps we’ll learn some today! Can he measure up to the sister of a champion!?”

Daichi looked at himself in the mirror of the locker room, as he just finished changing into his outfit, looking at the hat he'd be wearing. "Win or lose..." he smiled before nodding, putting the hat on. "It's showtime!"


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The Duel

The lights in the arena cut off for a moment, until a series of spotlights started coming on one by one, moving in quite the rhythmic fashion...finally something cut through the hushed tones of the crowds.

“Ladies and gentlemen!! If you would please turn your attention this way to the center field and you’ll see our illustrious challenger...miss Honey!” the voice boomed as the spotlights pointed at the Duelist on the field. But all but one suddenly left the Duelist in a swift fashion. “...and who comes to take the stage to meet this challenger? Why...none other than I...”

The remaining spotlights converged on one fixed location and suddenly an explosion of purple smoke erupted in where the spotlights stood...and once it settled… “Ladies and gentlemen, the Moonlit Magician has arrived.” Daichi smirked, bowing slightly and facing towards the opponent, the lights immediately coming back on afterwards.

“I’m Honey Froswald! I don’t have any special epithet, but I want to give everyone an entertaining experience, all the same!”

“3… 2… 1… Duel!”

LET THE SHOW BEGIN!!!

Action Field - Grand Adventure...he was cool with this. It was something he'd spent some time on before, so he was in his element somewhat. "If you don’t mind, I believe I’ll take the first move.” Daichi drew his five cards and looked at them, nodding slowly. “I shall set the Pendulum Scale, using my Dragonpit and Dragonpulse Magicians!” Soon two magicians appeared at either side of Daichi before rising into the air above him, being surrounded by a pillar of light. “The scales of 1 and 8, meaning monsters Level 2 through 7 are fair game!”

Taking another look at his hand, he nodded. “And now, I’ll use this moment to do just that! Using Dragonpit and Dragonpulse...time for the real show to begin!” Daichi watched as now a dowsing pendulum appeared between the two magicians and slowly began to sway back and forth. “Metronomic Pendulum, swing and sway to mesmerize the audience! Give way for the magicians to take the stage! PENDULUM SUMMON!!! Now, put your hands together!!!”

Soon one light came from where the Pendulum swayed and in quite the light show and flair, one magician exploded in a bright colorful array of light and descended near Daichi.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the star of my performance: Oafdragon Magician!" Daichi proudly introduced as the magician took a slight bow. "Alas, it's the first turn and I cannot attack. So instead, I’ll set one card face down and relinquish my t-...” he said, simply placing one card face down just as he said, preparing to pass his turn...however, Honey didn’t seem to let him just yet.

“Not so fast! I activate the effect of my Ursarctic Micbilis from my hand! By tributing another Level 7 or higher monster from my hand or field during either player’s Main Phases, I can Special Summon it! I tribute Ursarctic Mictanus! I then activate its effect! It allows me to summon another Ursarctic monster from my hand! Come down, Megapolar! When this one is summoned, I can destroy one spell or trap… and I choose your set card!”

Ursarctic...that was something he wasn't expecting exactly. “Well well, now that is an impressive start from you!” he said with a smile, immediately flipping his face-down up: Pendulum Area. It did indeed shatter in front of him, but in quite the beautiful display. “I suppose my bait of Pendulum Area worked. Well, if that’s the case...then I shall now relinquish my turn...provided you have no other interruptions. Now go on, let’s see what we can do to entertain the masses!”

“Then you’ll love what comes next! I use Megabilis as a tuner, with Polari as the non-Tuner…” She motioned to them as their forms became green rings for Megabilis, and a single black star for Polari, “to summon...Ursarctic Grand Chariot! When it’s summoned, it destroys two cards you control… So I’ll destroy Dragonpit and Dragonpulse!”

The massive mech reared the scythe back as Honey hopped onto the mech’s shoulder before shooting forward, swinging the mech through the pendulums set as scales and shattering them, leaving Daichi with just one card in hand and Oafdragon.

“Taking out Dragonpulse and Dragonpit...an impressive thing to do as of now...” Daichi nodded, before moving quickly towards an Action Card...however...he didn't get it whatsoever. Honey seemed to beat him to the punch as she was practically launched by Grand Chariot to grab it.

“Now, Grand Chariot! Destroy Oafdragon!”

As Daichi recovered from missing the grab, he shielded himself with his cape, only for his monster to be destroyed! His life fell to 3400 from the battle damage, as Honey walked back up beside her ace, panting. The crowd cheered for the display it saw, only a bit louder than Daichi earlier. “I’ll set one, then it’s your turn. Let’s see you beat that!”

Surprisingly, Daichi was applauding Honey right now, the sounds of him clapping could be heard. “Impressive display...truly! But, we magicians don’t go down as easily...not when we still have so much to display and dazzle our audiences with! I draw!!” he said, drawing his next card. “From my hand, I activate Amazing Pendulum! Seeing as I no longer have any cards in my Pendulum Zone, I can add two Magician Pendulum Monsters with different names from my Extra Deck to my hand. I’m selecting Dragonpulse and Dragonpit!”

Quickly removing the two cards from his Extra Deck, Daichi added them to his hand before swiftly placing them on his Duel Disk. “Time for a repeat performance, you two! Dragonpulse and Dragonpit now set my Pendulum Scale! Once more, metronomic pendulum! Swing and sway! Pendulum Summon! From the Extra Deck and from my hand!!” Two lights appeared from the swaying Pendulum as two monsters appeared in a kneeling position. “Oafdragon Magician returns and joining him is Rapid-Fire Magician in Defense Mode!”

“In response, I activate the Micpolar in my hand!” She revealed the polar bear card, Mictanus in grave popping out to be moved to banish, “Summoning it in defense! And when I do, it searches for another Megapola!”

As the polar bear mech surfed onto the field, Honey’s set card also rose up, shining as it activated. Her LP fell to 3300 as the name Ursarctic Quint Charge became clear. “Then I activate the first effect of Quint Charge! I add Megabilis back from Grave to hand, only to tribute it immediately for Megapolar!” The humanoid polar bear mech from earlier appeared once more, brandishing its hammer! It took aim at Dragonpit Magician, pulling the hammer back for a swing, and…!

“Heh, truly trying to silence my performance with that. However, not this time!” Daichi ran off, giving a whistle to Oafdragon and Rapid-Fire to quickly follow him. He then found what he needed...an Action Card just hanging near one of the little ship fins. Running off the side, he held his hand out and immediately Oafdragon Magician caught it, flying him over towards it. In an instant, the ivory magician grabbed the card and added it to his hand. Once they were back on the ship, he immediately played it. “Action Card - Starry Night! This turn, all face-up Spells and Traps cannot be destroyed.” Once he played it, a shimmering set of stars seemed to shoot across where Dragonpulse Magician remained, protecting it from Megapola. “A valiant effort, but I believe that’s as much as you’ll be able to do there...and now, since I activated a Spell...to be accurate, a Normal Spell in the form of an Action Card, Rapid-Fire Magician’s skill activates.”

The magician holding two scepters moved slightly for a moment, having various amounts of colored fiery orbs floating around him and the scepters. “Whenever I activate a Normal Spell, with him, I can inflict 400 points of damage to my opponent! Now, do your thing, Rapid-Fire!!” Rapid-Fire Magician nodded and began to wave the scepters in his hands, the fiery orbs dancing around him before being launched towards Honey, colliding and taking the damage out.

Honey: 3300 -> 2900 LP

“And with that, I shall end my turn!” Daichi declared with a nod.

“Ahh, so that’s your strategy. I was wondering, but that’s pretty neat. Guess I have to take that out first!” Honey grinned as she drew for turn, looking over the board. “I Special Summon the Megatanus I drew from my hand, banishing Megabilis from grave for it!” As she placed the card on the disk, a black mech, not unlike Grand Chariot, appeared, though it stood not much taller than Micpolar and brandished a bow. It took aim at Rapid-Fire Magician, pulling the string back… and letting its arrow shoot true, flipping the monster to face-down defense!

“When it enters, we’ll turn that burn off for now! On to battle! Megatanus, destroy the set Rapid-Fire Magician!”

With a slight grit of his teeth, Daichi watched as Rapid-Fire Magician was attacked and destroyed by Megatanus. Luckily he didn't lose Life Points from that attack, but even still, that was an impressive move. He looked around for a moment, before finding another Action Card nearby. “Bingo!” he said, rushing towards the card.

“Next up, Megapolar is going to destroy Oafdragon! Arctic Crusher!”

“I don’t think so!” Daichi shouted, playing the Action Card he just picked up. “Action Card - Debris Shield! This prevents the destruction of one monster I control only once!” Soon a small shield of falling debris appeared before Oafdragon Magician and protected him from the incoming attack of Megapola. Or so he thought...

“Useless! I activate Action Spell - Eclipse Event! During this battle phase, all action spells have their effects negated! Finish it off, Megapolar!”

"W-What?! That's a trick I wasn't expecting!" he exclaimed, basically watching the shield of falling debris immediately vanish from in front of Oafdragon Magician. Daichi slightly gritted his teeth again, before attempting to outrun the incoming attack. Unfortunately, this put him at a huge disadvantage...now that he couldn't use any Action Cards during the Battle Phase. The attack struck true and it blew Daichi back quite a bit in the process.

“Now, finish it off, Micpolar, Grand Chariot!”

The two mechs mobilized at her command, Honey riding the synchro straight toward Daichi! The polar bear rammed him, then Grand Chariot’s scythe grazed him, knocking him down, and ending the duel. The area filled with the sound of clapping, and a bit of cheers. Nothing like a fully packed stadium, but enough to give Honey a little bit of warmth. As Daichi’s LP fell to 0, the area had lights appear around Honey as she rode Grand Chariot, showcasing her as the winner. The screens that showed their duel showcased such as well, while she stepped down to the ground, the duel fading away. Walking over to Daichi, she extended her hand and smiled softly.

“Sorry if that was a bit… brutal. I actually thought you were really entertaining, good game!”

The ivory magician simply was dusting himself off before extending his hand in response, a wide smile on his face. "Alas, my first Duel was one setting in loss...but, against someone like you, who was able to entertain and showcase to the audience in such a manner, I happily accept it. A truly entertaining game, miss Honey." Daichi smiled before holding her hand up high, practically doing a curtain call bow with her. "Ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for your victor in this Duel: Honey Froswald!"

To this the audience began to cheer about this and once it was time for Daichi to take his leave, he exited the Duel field and made it to the locker room in order to change...taking the hat off, he simply looked at it. The smile on his face showed he had a fun time, to show that he enjoyed such an amazing Action Duel...but what laid underneath that smile? Was it...a bit of frustration? Sadness? No one but Daichi would know the answer to this.

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Sai walked onto the stage after his opponent, with a swell of ominous music backing him. With an oversized kimono that trailed on the ground several feet behind him, he gazed upon the crowd with a smile worth a million monopoly dollars. Raising both of his arms, his sleeves billowed at his shoulders, revealing a pair of full sleeve tattoos. On his left, a complex pattern of churning waves and koi. On his right, bright red flames and the faces of demons. His face was powdered white with striking features painted on in bright blue, in classical kabuki fashion.

From within the folds of his garment he pulled out what appeared to be an oversized folding fan, which he slid into place on a corresponding holder on his right wrist. Opening the fan with a dramatic movement that kicked up the fabric draped over him, he revealed the zones of his field, proud of his custom made duel disk.

While he was pleased to see that his opponent was going first, Sai made a show of stomping his feet loudly on the stage, feigning frustration for the crowd. He yawned as the pastel and fluffy monsters populated the field, making no comment on his opponent's opening play.

"Draw!" Refusing to even look at the card as he pulled it from his deck, Sai tucked it into his sash along with two others from his hand that he wasn't invested in quite yet. "First, I will discard my King of the Swamp to search for the spell card polymerization, which I will immediately use to send my Despians Comedy and Tragedy to the graveyard from my hand!" Dropping the two monster cards into the respective slot where his Swamp King already lie, Sai held out a hand to catch the resulting fusion monster as it was launched from within a hidden compartment where his extra deck was stored.

"Now, as laughter and tears blend and genres are twisted, come forth the dark dragon of romance, Masquerade the Crimsongleam Dragon! Plus my Despian Tragedy will now pull another Despia monster, Ad Libitum, from my deck." Between the two duelists appeared a large, demonic dragon, bending down low and craning its neck upward to roar at the audience. However, buried underneath the roar was the loud yipping of Puppy, who quickly turned around and bounced back into Avery’s hand, but not before a rabbit with plants on its back took its place.

“When you summon, I activate Puppy’s effect!” Avery grimaced as he saw his life fall by 600, but pushed on, “And special summon Kalantosa, Beast of the Forest, from my deck! When it’s summoned by a beast, I can target and destroy a card my opponent controls, so I target Crimsongleam!” Sai grinned, placing his dragon in the graveyard as his opponent took yet another 600 damage.

"What's the matter? Scared of playing with a little bit more pressure to make things interesting? I will finish my turn by setting a monster in face-down defense position." Sai placed a single card on his otherwise empty duel disk, as a solid vision hologram of the face down card appeared in front of him to match. "Go ahead, let's see how much you can make of your turn."

Avery sighed, but otherwise ignored the taunts. As he drew, his eyes seemed to sparkle, immediately playing the card.

“I normal summon Rescue Rabbit! Then I banish it for its effect, to summon two Melffy Rabby!”

As he spoke, the semi-realistic looking rabbit appeared, wearing rescue gear! It then saluted, disappearing as it hopped aside, with two pink bunnies popping up in its place. Before Avery spoke again, he moved his hands over the two bunnies, a vortex opening beneath them on the ground, causing them to turn into bits of yellow-brown energy that flew into it, spinning… before it began to erupt.

“I overlay my two Rabby to Xyz Summon Melffy of the Forest!” Suddenly, a small forest appeared around avery, with a stump right in front of him. Assorted storybook-looking animals peeked their eyes out occasionally, one that looked similar to Rabby even hopping onto the stump to look around. “Then I’ll detach one material from it to search Melffy Playhouse. I’ll set one, then end my turn… And Puppy returns!”

Yip! The dog appeared once more, panting happily next to the stump, rejoining its cat and fox friends! Avery’s form stayed firm, but his eyes darted about from card to card, assessing the field as his turn came to an end.

Sai eyed the new monster, studying it carefully, "This is your first duel at a pro level, isn't it?"

“I don’t see why that’s relevant.”

Narrowing his eyes, Sai grinned, "How could it not be? I'm sure your team captain is doing just fine, the duelist she is against is an idiot, but can you imagine how she would feel if you let her down? What if you are the reason your team loses their first official appearance?"

“Can we get on with this?” the large man closed his eyes, “It’s your move. Go.”

Sai smiled sweetly at his opponent. It was rare for him to have to look up even slightly to make eye contact, rarer still while wearing his sandals. It was a special treat for him today. “Naturally, I’ll start my turn by drawing a card…” Though he pulled the card from his deck with an astounding amount of flourish, his eyes were serious, darting back and forth between his new cards, the contents of his hand, and what was on the field. “I hope you are ready to explain how you lost~”

“First, I will flip summon my Predaplant Squid Drosera. Your Melfys don’t notice flip summons, no?” As he asked the rhetorical question, the face-down card on his field revealed itself to be a small plant, with thorny vines protruding in all directions. “Don’t worry about that one for now. Now that you control an Xyz monster, I can summon Masquerade from the graveyard for free!” Placing the monster on the fan, his dragon appeared on the field once again, this time remaining silent and training its eyes on Sai’s opponent. “Don’t worry, he won’t be punishing you for playing the game this time. But he is more than capable of destroying your monster! Now Crimsongleam Dragon, attack Melffy of the Forest!”

“I activate Melffy Playhouse!”

Avery’s set card revealed itself, and one of the Xyz materials floating around the stump disappeared into thin air. Before explaining, the large duelist stared at his disk for a moment, confirming the lack of life tax, then continued after shaking his head.

“By detaching an Xyz Material from Forest, I can target a card you control and return it to the hand, and I target Masquerade!”

“Oh no? You’re targeting Masquerade? Oh no! It will be defeated yet again???” Sai feined desperation for a moment, before grinning. “Unless I activate the quick-play spell: Predaprime Fusion!” Sai threw the card onto his disk, as his two monsters were consumed by a sudden mass of thorny vines, swirling into a sphere before opening to reveal the new monster: “Predaplant Dragostapelia! Plus, Squid Drosera places a predator counter on each of your special summoned monsters, which with a deck like yours means everything!”

“I can still respond!” Avery called out, a small symphony of animal cries erupting from his board, as each of the Melffys activated. “Puppy, Fenny, and Catty activate, allowing them to return to my hand before the counters land on them!”

The three turned around and hopped back to Avery’s hand like Puppy had before… Except for Puppy, who had a small, plant-like face biting into its leg.

“What the?”

"In response, I used my Dragostapelia’s activated effect! It can place a predator counter on any monster I like! As if I would let you get away with that trick again. Plus, all monsters with Predator Counters have their effects negated!”

“I see…” Avery muttered, before a card produced itself from his deck. “Catty’s effect resolves as it returns, searching Alpha, the Master of Beasts from my deck!”

“Now,” Sai’s voice was low, almost a whisper, before suddenly escalating to a roar, “for my real attack! Predaplant Dragostapelia, attack Melffy of the Forest!” The dragon-like plant flew over the adorable monster, before viciously slicing it in half with its tail. “I feel I should warn you, Avery Froswald. This next turn you take will be your last.”

Edited by (?)

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Rosalia, dressed in a sleeveless black sweater and a long, slanted blue skirt, had kept her eyes trained on the dueling fields before them, but at this exchange her eyes flicked over to Evelyn, taking in what she said quietly, considering it. If that was true, she was perhaps due for some unwanted scrutiny in her debut match as well. Her sister's face flashed in her mind briefly and she shook her head slightly. None of the others knew about her family in the pro scene... Or at least she hadn't told them yet. She crossed her arms, rubbing at her shoulders. Suddenly she felt relieved to not be front and center in this debut match. 

Her eyes kept finding themselves straying across the faces of her teammates on the screen. Sai, Falisha... and Daichi was up against their captain. The meeting several days ago crossed her mind, another small stab of guilt hitting at her. 

"This is your chance, Daichi," she whispered lowly. "To show me and Sashisematta the kind of duel you think belongs on this stage."

But as she watched the duels unfolding in front of her, she saw that Daichi was ultimately outmatched. Even just the first few turns were indicative of the difference in skill level between the two, as Honey quickly reduced Daichi’s field to ruins. 

“Her skill level is apparent,” she said quietly, her voice in the analytical tone she generally used when observing a duel. “She’s not missing any opportunities to destroy Daichi’s field… and it’s payed off.”

She realized, feeling slightly guilty, that she had been distracted from Sai and Falisha. She mentally kicked herself for forgetting her other teammates, scanning the duel fields to find them. She caught Sai’s duel just as he summoned Squid Drossera, and the apparent rebirth of the dragon that helmed Sai’s deck.

She nodded, unsurprised. Masquerade is an exceptionally powerful monster, especially here in a setting where Sashisematta is against pro duelists who use more powerful cards regularly, she thought. Almost all top-level duelists use multiple monsters of that type. Allowing him a repeat performance. 

Her attention was suddenly drawn back to Daichi as she saw his Pendulum Scales light up, with Dragonpit and Dragonvein in them once again. She looked to a nearby screen and saw the Amazing Pendulum card fading from sight. Is a reversal coming from you, Daichi? She wondered. She had to admit she was impressed at Daichi’s use of Rapid-Fire Magician. A card with an objectively mediocre effect that tied into Daichi’s Action Dueling in a surprisingly smart way.

But she winced (only inwardly) as Daichi failed to press his advantage. Honey was starting her turn with Grand Chariot still remaining on the field. That was all he seemed to have: Minor tricks and magics that ultimately didn’t stop that very Grand Chariot from taking the last of Daichi’s Life Points. 

“Not a great start to our first match,” she commented quietly from her seat next to Evelyn. “But at least Sashisematta still seems confident." Her eye now strayed to Falisha, whom she hadn’t caught sight of just yet...

Edited by Faytl

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“You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought you were taking this duel seriously! I special summon Analyzer in defense mode, activating it’s effect and with it checking 5 cards from the top of my deck!” A man behind a desk appeared on the field, scribbling out paperwork before he wrote something down and threw it at Falisha’s Duel Runner, causing her deck to eject 5 cards that were displayed on her opponent’s runner as well. Within them were Rock Band Xenoguitar, Spellbook Organization, Card Advance, Adamancipator Friends, and Zerozerock. “I select Rock Band Xenoguitar, perfect for my opening performance!” A monster blaring out a guitar solo erupted from the top of Falisha’s deck, before stopping his playing and placing his guitar in front of him. “Now be amazed at how quickly my rocks can crash through a Runner like a rockslide!”

“Synchro summon! Erupt from the vast waters, Adamancipator Risen - Dragite! Xenoguitar’s effect also activates, returning Analyzer from grave to hand and placing one card from my hand on top of my deck!” A dragon in blue crystal formed quickly before with a beat of its wings, crystal shattered like dust over the two duelists once it fully formed, before flying next to Falisha’s Duel Runner.  “Dragite’s effect! There’s 2 rock monsters, and as such I bounce cards on your field equal to 2, selecting your two set backrow cards!” The dragon beat it’s wings, crystal flying forward towards the card’s near her opponent’s runner before swirling quickly around them as she forcefully returned them to her opponent’s hand.

“That’s a bit cowardly, don’t ya think?” Sorrel snarked as she picked up her cards, “Personally, I think you’re showin me too much respect, leaving the monster and not going for the kill!”

“I respect cards you’re running in your deck to be relevant to a situation, and backrow’s simply the biggest factor when you have two. I then activate the continuous spell, Card Shuffle, proceeding to pay 300 life points in order to shuffle my deck!” The spell card opened next to her, a man holding two decks that he quickly began to shuffle together, her runner’s disk activating and shuffling for her, as well as displaying it happening to Sorrel.

“Don’t worry, I’m not done yet! I normal summon Maharaghi!” A small stone statue appeared in front of her next to her dragon, looking fairly bland to the spectators she imagined. “I then proceed to battle phase and have Dragite attack your face down!” 

“What’d I tell ya?” the red-haired girl laughed as her face-down was revealed to be Hyena, which died… only for two more to appear in defense. “When Hyena dies, it calls more copies of itself from the deck.”

She gives a grimace as it turns out to be Hyena, “Damn it, Maharaghi, attack another Hyena. Your monster was simply better than I was expecting for the situation, Sorrel. I then set 1 card and pass the turn, Maharaghi’s effect returning the spirit to my hand.” She frowned as Maharaghi shined as it’s end of turn effect activated, picking up the card off her duel disk and adding it back to her hand.

”Alright then, I’ll draw for turn! Then I’ll activate Ready Fusion, allowing me to Fusion Summon Flower Wolf for nothing more than 1000 LP!”

As her counter fell from 4000 to 3000, a wolf adorned with flowers leapt from the spell card, panting as it ran alongside its duelist, flowers appearing on the track where its paws landed.

“I thought you were a turbo duelist, yet here you are using fusion! Couldn’t keep up with the skill of standing duelist’s or what?” She smirked as she egged her opponent on, hoping to bait her into an attack.

“Eh? There a problem with that? Anywho, boyo isn’t sticking around. I tribute both Flower Wolf and Hyena, in order to tribute summon Thunderclap Skywolf!” The two monsters had a slight energy appear around them before they disolved, only for a bolt of lightning to strike the ground where they were before! A growl filled the track as the blue lightning wolf appeared, trained on Dragite. “Next up, I activate Ayers Rock Sunrise! I revive Flower Wolf, and then…”

The duelist revved her bike up as the wolf reappeared. a burst of flowers suddenly appearing on Dragite! The dragon’s body seemed to shrink slightly as it let out a small roar, the counter showing its attack drop to 2400.

“The second effect of sunrise reduces the effect of opponent’s monsters by 200 per beast in my grave! Battle, I attack Dragite with Thunderclap Skywolf! Heavenly Skybreak!”

The wolf howled out, sounding more like thunder than a howl, as it charged forward… Only for it to begin to crystallize alongside Flower Wolf, while Dragite faded into nothing.

“That may deal with my dragon, but you still have quite a rockslide to overcome! And now I’ll reveal why attacking was a mistake! Trap card, Adamancipator Relief, activate! I tribute Dragite to destroy both Flower Wolf and Skywolf!”

“Well, that’s a shame,” Sorrel laughed, setting the two cards from her first turn once more. “Guess it’s your turn, then!”

She blinks as her opponent only sets 2 cards again and passes, “Have you learned nothing? Playing passively isn’t going to beat me, speed up your game! At this point I’m just thinking the wolf is more like a de-clawed kitten!”


“Maharaghi’s effect, I choose to place the card on the bottom of my deck, draw!”

“I activate the effect of Card Shuffle, and Normal Summon Analyzer!” The man scribbling behind the desk appeared once again, throwing another piece of paper towards Falisha’s runner as the top 5 cards were revealed once again to Sorrel. Xenoguitar! Zerozerock! Adamancipator Signs! Slip Stream! Doki Doki! “Finding Doki Doki, I special summon it in defense mode. I discard Maharaghi for Doki Doki’s effect, special summoning a Xenoguitar from my deck in attack position!” She shows the Maharaghi in her hand as she slipped it into her graveyard, another Xenoguitar rocking out before placing its guitar between itself and her opponent. “Let’s see if any of those face downs can even stop me, it failed to last time after all!”

“Nah, you’re golden! I’ll let ya know if anything comes up,” the duelist revved up again, passing by Falisha and looking back to give her a thumbs up and toothy grin.


“Heh, good job at least not revealing what they’re for then I suppose.” She returns the toothy grin as she revs her engine louder to drown out Sorrel’s. “Synchro Summon, roar from the volcano top, Adamancipator Risen - Leonite! Activating its effect, I check top five, finding Crystal - Leonite!” Her Adamancipator and Doki Doki leapt above her disk, a swell of flame erupting as Leonite formed, before her bike’s wheels gained a wreathing of fire as the effect activated, leaving a trail as it searched her top of the deck. Her deck ejected 5 cards again, revealing Speed Spell: Angel Baton, Adamancipator Crystal - Leonite, Catapult Zone, Adamancipator Resonance, and Card Advance! “...” Falisha quietly and sheepishly indicated on her runner that she selected Crystal- Leonite, desperately hoping that her opponent would just gloss over she had forgotten to take a Field Spell out of her deck, as she had forgotten she ran two.

“I attack with Risen - Leonite! Gah!”

“Oi, oiii, who was the one that said attacking was a mistake?” Sorrel teased as her first face-down revealed itself to be Call of the Haunted. Out of it came Thunderclap Skywolf, a brace around its ankle causing it to be tethered to the trap card… Except for a brief moment where it disappeared entirely. Within that second, a large bite mark appeared on Leonite and Xenoguitar, causing the gem lion to roar in pain before exploding with crackling thunder.

“When it’s special summoned, it destroys all monsters my opponent controls. The good news is that I don’t get to attack you the turn I use this effect… Oh, wait, I didn’t fuckin’ get to do that this turn, anyway!” The toothy grin grew wider as the wolf returned to its chain, growling low as it ran alongside its master, but leering at Falisha over its shoulder.

She glares at the activated trap card as Skywolf returned, placing both her monsters in graveyard, “Maybe you should stop having to play catch-up, I’m tired of looking at you in my mirror! Xenoguitar’s effect activates, and I return Risen - Dragite to my Extra deck, placing 1 card on top of my deck!” She let out a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding, not wanting to show she was nervous about her first duel and was embarrassed that her turn had been blemished by something completely out of the duel itself.

“I activate the spell card, Adamancipator Friends, in order to check for any friends lurking in the top 5 of my deck. I add Adamancipator Researcher to my hand! I end the turn!” She smiled as she found the researcher, the other cards shown being Zerozerock, Tackle Crusader, Spellbook Organization, and Gorgonic Gargoyle. She simply grinned and nodded to herself, “Hey, Sorrel, you just need a monster to win! Go for it, I’m wide open and no field, but if you whiff… This game is mine, and that’s a promise!”
 

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“So we lost our first duel, huh…” Vega muttered aloud as she watched Daichi walk off the field, shaking her head a bit, “That’s a shame. Mostly because it really hurts morale, both for the other two and for him moving forward. You guys, don’t be too hard on him, got it?”

She turned to the next screen over to watch Sai’s duel, a sigh and a smirk on her face. Yeah, this is what she signed up for when she recruited him to the team. But maybe he was overdoing it a bit. His opponent clearly had a lot less experience than him, but there was Sai, showing his ass.

Finally, she turned to watch Falisha and Sorrel, just in time to see Falisha keep having her effects just barely make it. She seemed to be holding on, but…

“Y’know, for how aggressive Sorrel is being, she has a lot more removal than I expected,” the red-haired coach reclined a bit, propping her legs up on a table in front of her, “But, iif anyone can bounce back from that… It’s probably you and Falisha, don’t you think, Eve?”

-----

Quote

Sai: 4000 LP
Avery: 2800 LP

“I draw for turn!” Avery declared, a single bead of sweat falling down his face, “And then I special summon Alpha, the Master of Beasts!”

As Avery’s card slotted into the disk,a loud roar filled the arena. From above, a large beast came slamming down, impacting the ground with a rumble that could be felt by everyone in the arena. As the beast stood up and looked forward, it’s leonine face bared its fangs, wings spread wide, and lithe body digging its gnarly claws into the pavement as it roared once more.

“Then I activate Alpha’s effect! I’ll target my Puppy to return it to hand, and if I do, I can return cards my opponent controls to the hand equal to the amount I returned!”

"Tut tut tut." Sai let out an exaggerated, sigh, rolling his eyes at his opponent. "Did you forget about my Dragostapelia's effect? By placing a predator counter on your Master of Beasts, I can negate its effect." As he spoke, his dragon spit out another of the small plant-like counters, which promptly attached to Alpha's face, preventing it from finding its target.

“I’m well aware. I overlay Kalantosa and Puppy! Appear, beasts of the forest, Joyous Melffys, to the Extra Monster Zone!” The vortex formed and the stump from before appeared, but now covered with all kinds of fruit. A llama, a mouse, and other Melffy creatures appeared around the stump, looking over at Sai with a confused and expectant look on their face. “Then I proceed to battle. Alpha, attack Dragostapelia! Regal Roar!”

Leaping at the dragonoid, Alpha’s wings spread wide as it sunk its claws into the creature, roaring loudly until only a few stray vines lay about. With a growl it returned to its owner, standing slightly behind and left of the stump, causing Sai’s life to drop to 3700. 

“Then Joyous Melffys attack you directly!” As a banana slapped Sai straight between the eyes, his life fell to 1700, and Avery let his breath out, “And I will end my turn.”

Sai spread his arms wide as he took the damage, grinning and laughing like a maniac, his clothing billowing in a gust of wind. "I had warned you, and here it is! My final turn!" For a moment, his expression was calm, serene even, as he pulled a card from the top of his deck. "And now, I have drawn the card that will spell your defeat."

“During your Standby, I activate Joyous Melffys! By returning it to the Extra Deck, I can revive any number of level 2 or lower beasts, as long as the amount is equal to or lower than the materials it had. As it had two, I’ll revive both Kalantosa and Puppy!”

The stump faded away as a bunny’s head popped up, looking around to see if it was safe… only for Puppy to hop on top of it and bark proudly, panting as it stood proud. It stood a space to the right of Kalantosa with Catty to its right, while Alpha stood far left.

"Summoning your Kalantosa against an empty field? I must really have you on edge!" Instead of looking at the present field, Sai instead inspected his long and carefully manicured fingernails. "Did you have any other effects you intend to waste, or should I just go ahead?"

“Take your turn. If you have time to blather, you have time to play.”

"Oh, but don't we have time for both?" With a frown, Sai placed a card in his field spell zone. "Allow me to invite you to my favorite place, the field spell card that will spell your demise! Despia, the Branded Theater!" Behind Sai arose an enormous building, styled in the same manner as his Crimsongleam Dragon. "It allows me to conduct fusion summons without Polymerization, and with it I will spell my victory!"

"Now, for the next part of my plan for victory, I will normal summon my Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio! Its effect allows me to discard a monster card, my Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra, to-"

“I activate Catty’s effect and then Puppy’s effect! By returning it to the hand, another Kalantosa will appear,” The dog yipped as it turned around to hop into Avery’s hand, another of the bunny, slightly different shade. After that, the kitten followed suit, with Avery adding a card from deck to hand. “I search Hop Eared Squadron… and Kalantosa will destroy Branded Theater!”

"Oh no! Not my Theater!" The tower behind Sai began to crumble and collapse, Kalantosa's effect having made quick work of it. "Nonetheless, my Scorpio's effect will now resolve, summoning Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra from my deck!" Emerging from the ground was what first appeared to be a flower, before it bloomed to reveal the face of a venomous snake. "Since it was summoned by the effect of a Predaplant, I can search my deck for the spell card: Fusion Recovery!"

“One more thing, I activate Hop Ear Squadron!” Avery placed the card onto his disk, causing three rabbits, using their ears to fly, to appear around the new Kalantosa and salute! They suddenly dispersed into green rings, two of them, and surrounded the rabbit, causing it to turn into two green stars. “Appear, festival of hopes and dreams… Star Mine!”

As the summon finished, a doll-like creature with fuses all over its body appeared between Alpha and the remaining Kalantosa, defending itself… and having its fuses extend and attach to the two around it.

“It may break theme, but when Star Mine is destroyed, it deals 2000 damage to you! If you destroy anything adjacent to it, the same thing happens!” Avery roared, bracing himself, “So I suggest you back down. That 1700 won’t take the hit.”

Sai raised his eyebrows. "But does it not damage you as well? That's an awfully risky move. You are putting quite a lot on the line just to win this duel."

“I have the life to handle it right now. You don’t.”

"Even so, to blank your defensive options early just to hide behind a bomb you can barely survive, don't you think it's foolish? Your plan only makes sense if it's truly an impenetrable defense."

“... I’m doing what I can. I’m no pro. I’m here because it means something to someone I care about, and I can only hope to improve. I’m sure I’ve played this out wrong, and I’ll learn from that in the future… But is it more pathetic to lose due to mistakes, or more pathetic to win because someone else made mistakes?”

Sai gritted his teeth, the joy washing away from his face in an instant. "If nobody is to make a mistake, then the game is nothing but luck. To trod upon my victory is tantamount to trod upon my FREEDOM!" In a burst of motion, Sai grabbed hold of the kimono he wore, pulling it off of his body and throwing it into the stands in a single movement. Underneath, he wore a pair of billowing pants with several pleats, and his upper body was exposed to the entire audience.

Every inch of his skin that had previously been concealed was covered by tattoos. His entire left side matched his arm, an intricate pattern depicting what goes on beneath the depths of the sea, its edge adorned with carefully drawn breaking waves, in homage to classical paintings. The right was ablaze, with even more demons and devils now visible. The details almost seemed to have been carved into Sai's body, the ink working together with scar tissue to create the complete image. On Sai's back was a vivid image of both the Sun on his left side and a blackened Moon on his right being pulled together into a spiraling abyss in the center, invoking both his spell card Polymerization, as well as the Yin-Yang.

"Now, I will go beyond what luck ever could and seize the victory I foresaw on the very first turn!" Sai's face was curled into a vicious snarl as he slammed a card down onto his fan, "I activate Fusion Recovery, which allows me to return Polymerization and Despian Comedy from my Graveyard to my hand!" With an outstretched hand, Sai caught the two cards as they were ejected from his Graveyard. "Now I shall activate my Polymerization once more! By fusing Ad Libitum in my hand with Ophrys Scorpio on the field, I can summon Predaplant Chimerafflesia!"

Just as his Darlingtonia Cobra pulled itself from the ground, so did a new monster, albeit on a far greater scale. An enormous flower of red and white sat between the two duelists, with two vines that each ended in a flytrap-like mouth. "Plus, since I used Ad Libitum as fusion material, I can summon back my banished monster: Masquerade, The Crimsongleam Dragon!" For the third time in the duel, Sai's ace dragon hit the field, hovering beside his new plant monster. "Now, Chimerafflesia, use your effect to banish his last hope! Consume Star Mine!" Without delay, the two mouthed appendages dove in toward the synchro monster, each taking half of it in mouth and tearing it in half, avoiding the explosion Avery was banking on. 

“Damn it!” Avery shouted as the monster was banished, pieces of it laying about the board, “Still, you can’t overcome Alpha!”

"Oh, this Alpha?" Suddenly, the predator counter on the beast's face erupted with growth, crushing the monster's head and destroying it. "Since it had one of my predator counters, I can tribute it to summon my Drosophyllum Hydra from the graveyard." As he spoke, the monster he had previously discarded returned to the field. "I suppose your Master of Beasts served a better role at the bottom of the food chain, didn't it?"

"And finally, do you recall when I said that my Branded Theater would spell your demise? By banishing Despia Tragedy from my graveyard, I can set it upon the field once again, and now I will immediately activate it!" The sky darkened and the air turned cold as the theater appeared once again behind Sai. "Now I shall use its effect to send my Drosophyllum Hydra and my Darlingtonia Cobra to the graveyard!" The two monsters shattered into fragments of solid vision, as a dark shadow coalesced before Sai, "Nobody will match my desire for victory. No matter how far I go, my hunger will never be sated! Fusion summon! Starving Venom Fusion Dragon!"

The shadow burst to reveal the monster, a purple and black dragon adorned with multicolored orbs. On its head, a pair of horns curved forward, pointing directly at Avery. "And, since you control a special summoned monster with 200 attack, my Fusion Dragon gains that much! Not that it needs it." With a purplish glow, Sai's monster's attack rose to a total of 3000.

"Now, Crimsongleam Dragon, attack his remaining monster!" Sai's demonic dragon dove in toward the small plant-adorned rabbit, aiming to crush it within its cruel jaws. Avery's monster didn't stand a chance. "Now, Chimerafflesia, attack directly!" The toothy vines went out yet again, but this time directly at Sai's opponent, taking a huge bite out of his life points. Avery winced at the attack, scowling.

2800->300

"Now, just as promised. It may have ten times the attack needed, but I am not in the business of mercy. Starving Venom Fusion Dragon, destroy my opponent's hopes and dreams!" The dragon heeded its master's command, diving in to his opponent and reducing Avery's life points to 0.

"Next time you have lofty ambitions, back them up with more than platitudes."

While the field faded away, Avery simply sighed. He looked back up to the window where his team waited with a wistful look, then silently walked away from Sai. Anyone looking close could see tears in the large man’s eyes, but his back was to Sai the whole time.

The audience remained silent as the duel ended… Until someone booed, shorrtly followed by a few more. It wasn’t comparable to the applause from earlier, but it was clear the performance did not sit well with them.

-----

Quote

Falisha: 3400 LP
Sorrel: 3000 LP

“Alright then, I draw! Time to win! Aaaaaaand… MOTHER F-

The audio cut rather suddenly from Sorrel to the audience, who could only see her pitching a fit… But Falisha got to hear every single choice word that escaped Sorrel’s lips.

“Rrr, I proceed to battle! Thunderclap Skywolf attacks you directly!” The wolf howled as it disappeared again, only to reappear with lightning crashing against Falisha’s disk! “Then I end my turn,” Sorrel muttered as her turn ended, only to be met by a taunt.

“Oh, and it would seem you whiffed…! Well then, let’s see what I draw!”

“Oi, shaddup! I just got unlucky, that’s all! What can ya do right now, anyway?”

“Haha, I got it! I activate the Speed Spell, Overboost!” Her Speed Counters immediately rushed up to 9, her engine revving loudly as she pulled ahead, “Followed by activating the Speed Spell, Deceased Synchron!” 

“Hold it!” Sorrel grinned wide as she revealed the last card in her hand: Hop Ear Squadron! “I activate this guy’s effect! By summoning him during your turn, I can immediately Synchro Summon using him and a target. Seeing as I only have Thunderclap… Synchro!”

When the red-haired girl placed the card onto the disk, they took their positions around the wolf in a triangle, beginning to transform… Only for the wolf’s claws and fangs to tear through them, howling as its own body faded to leave 7 stars. The two rings from the rabbits circled around, then tilted forward, only for a pillar of light to fill the area, a high-pitched howl echoing from it!

“From a galaxy far away, the apex predator appears! Blow away the competition, Stellar Wind Wolfrayet!”

Out of the light came a beast so large it barely fit on the track, running over Sorrel with paws on either side… if you could call them that. It had a sharp, draconic look about it, with glowing red eyes on either side of a red-gemstone mounted on its face. It had two large red horns, with other red protrusions across its body, segmented in appearance. Its reptilian tail flicked as its scarred-looking wings twitched, letting out another high-pitched howl! But… it only had 2500 attack, same as the wolf before it.

“We’ll see if that even works! I banish Xenoguitar and Adamancipator Analyzer from my graveyard! Synchro Summon, erupt from the waters yet again, Adamancipator Risen - Dragite!” The dragon appeared from a burst of crystal once again, roaring at the wolf, which howled louder back at it. “Xenoguitar’s second effect from being banished, I mill Crystal - Dragite! I proceed to activate Dragite! Damnit, failing to find any rock monsters.” 

“Think you got a bit ahead of yourself there?” Sorrel grinned, her monster growling… and a counter denoting 3100 attack appeared next to it. “Each time you attempt to activate a monster, Wolfrayet gains 300 attack points! And with you failing your removal, you can’t attack over it anymore!”

“Then I'll spend 7 speed counters to draw a card! Yes! I proceed to activate the Adamancipator Signs that I drew, targeting the Leonite in grave!”

“I activate my trap card, the Transmigration Prophecy! It allows me to return your Risen Leonite and level 4 Leonite to your deck and shuffle!”

“Sorry kitten, but I activate Dragite’s effect, due to it’s crystal being in my graveyard, I negate your trap card! Leonite revives, stacking Seeker, then using Leonite’s effect to add it to my hand!” Her runner erupted in a combination of fire and crystal, scattering the runway with lingering flames and crystal particles

“Dammit…! Even so, you can’t kill Wolfrayet! In fact, doing that gave him another 300!”

“Special Summon the Researcher in my hand, finding Tackle Crusader! Synchro Summon, Merge the stones gathered by the Hurricane, Risen - Rapture!” A small windstorm blasted behind her bike, blowing out any of the flames behind her and scattering the dust off the track, and Wolfrayet growled with 3700 attack. “I then activate Tackle Crusader’s effect, targeting Wolfrayet!” A spirit of the Tackle Crusader appeared, wrestling Wolfrayet before forcing it face-down in a chokehold.

“Useless!” Sorrel laughed as the beast’s attack became 4000… and a wicked wind whipped through the arena, even shaking the glass on the booths that the two teams were viewing from, “When Wolfrayet has at least 4000 attack, I can return him to the extra deck… and shuffle each monster you control back into the deck! Howling Windstorm!” Wolfrayet stood up and shattered the spirit of Tackle Crusader, letting out an even more shrill howl than before, causing the wind to intensify around Falisha’s monsters… and throwing them all in different directions, only for them to shatter and return, “I may have no monster, but I drew the only losing card in my deck! This game is as good as won now!”

She grins, “And with that, you’ve lost this duel. I Normal Summon Seeker, using it’s effect to special summon Koa’ki Meiru Prototype from my deck.”

“3000 exactly!? Dammit, you little-” 

 “I attack with both monsters! And that’s game~!” 

As the rock-robot and the boy struck at Sorrel’s runner, the screen came up, showcasing Falisha’s victory as she slide to a halt. Sorrel let out a frustrated grumble, pulling the helmet off of her head, while Falisha pulled up beside her, pumping her fist for the crowd watching as the small cheering erupted! The rock player hopped off of her runner and walked over to Sorrel, extending her hand. “Hopefully the banter didn’t get to you too much. I had fun and hope you did too. Feel free to come find me any time and we can get a few practice matches in!”

“Eh? Why are you apologizing? I shit talk my opponents constantly, Hoeny just asked me to tone back!” She laughed loudly before taking Falisha’s hand and shaking it, “Good game. I’m a bit frustrated, but mostly at myself. I could have stopped that earlier but didn’t, so fair’s fair.”

After the shake, Sorrel turned away and threw her hand up behind her as if to say bye. However, Falisha would find a note in her hand with Sorrel’s number in it, saying that she was owed a rematch!

------

“There you have it folks! Despite Team Wilding’s Honey coming out on top in record time, both Falisha and Sai from Team Genesis pulled out the win, no matter what you think of their methods! A big round of applause for Team Genesis!”

The applause from the audience did come, but… It was less than Falisha had received individually. It also ended without much fanfare, only for the MC to clear their voice and continue.

“Thank you to everyone for coming out to see these premieres today! Maybe some of you have new teams you want to follow, so please continue to support your local minor league!”

-----

Vega sighed up in the booth as the duels wrapped up. She had feared it would come to this, but it would be a teachable moment. At least, once she had a chance to let them all discuss it themselves. And think on it. Once the three duelists had made it up, she cleared her throat… and began to clap.

“Congratulations, guys! It’s always seen as a great sign if you win your premier, though it’s usually against an established team… but, either way, you did it! I hope this serves as a source of morale moving forward! However, I would like you guys to… discuss what took place here today, before we go. Of course, you don’t have to, but it’ll just be moved to next week’s discussion, so it’s either now or then. Would anyone like to weigh in first?”

Vega smiled and looked over the entire group as she said it, although her eyes did linger on Rosalia for just a bit longer than the others, if anyone noticed.
 

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╔. .═════════╗

“So this is where we’ll be watching from, huh?” Kendra stepped inside of the viewing box as she rubbed at her cheek gently, she was honestly glad she wasn’t dueling right at the start. She had a few… Quirks with her deck she wanted to solve still. Batterymen weren’t the most prestigious of archetypes on their own, she had a lot of editing to do to make them presentable on even the minor league circuit… And honestly, that was a daunting task for her. She could put it off a little bit longer.

Daichi was the first duel she was interested in keeping an eye on. Falisha would probably be able to handle herself, she had a hard time keeping up with those motorcycle duels… And of course, Sai sure did exist. It was going to be a bit hard to keep up with everything at once.

“Alright Daichi… It’s your opportunity to speak to the audience…"

She hummed gently as she grabbed a little bag of chips from the snack table, opening up a bottle of sugary diabetes she had brought herself, and reclined back, ready to watch her team get to work…

Realistically, she should have had more to say. Her focus was mostly on Diachi’s duel, and true to his word, he was flashy. Pendulum Summon was practically made for flash, it was hard to imagine who could use it and be boring. The thought actually made Kendra smirk a little bit.

His Magicians kept rising from the dead like zombies, despite being Spellcasters… Honestly, it was just a bit unfortunate he was up against their captain, she was consistently batting off his attacks and preparing to retaliate during his own turns… She wasn’t sure if any of them would’ve have had a better showing against the captain of the team.

...But more than anything, the end of the duel left a sour taste in her mouth. Card games involved a certain amount of luck, but… Honey’s victory there was ultimately a draw of a card on a field… That just so happened to counter the card from the field that Daichi had grabbed? There was a reason she didn’t like Action Duels. Daichi would’ve lost without the Action Card anyway, but he loses with it as well, it just felt futile. She let out a tiny sigh, her head resting on her hand as she leaned against the arm of her seat, “...Well that was anti-climatic. I feel bad for him.”

“So we lost our first duel, huh… That’s a shame. Mostly because it really hurts morale, both for the other two and for him moving forward. You guys, don’t be too hard on him, got it?”

“Not a great start to our first match. But at least Sashisematta still seems confident."

“Definitely not a good start… Daichi put up a good fight and he got the crowd’s approval... That counts for something.”

---

That left Sai and Falisha. Falisha… She could not keep up with that turbo duel herself. She’d have to catch the replay of it later on if she really wanted to analyze what the hell was going on. That meant Sai was going to be what she focused on…

And she wasn’t a fan of what she was seeing. Sai’s first turn was fine. Logical. His opponent was ready for the Fusion Summon, took his turn… But that goading. That prodding at the opponent, it wasn’t necessary. It made him look bad, and it had the added downside of making him look like a fool if he lost… “Is this really the stage presence you want?”

She took a sip from her drink, a little sigh escaping the tired woman as she leaned back to watch the duel continue. It definitely didn’t get any better. Outright insults were starting to be flung by Sai now as well, disregard for what his opponent is doing, then…

A bomb.

Admittedly it did break theme, but it wasn’t like she didn’t have options that broke theme. Xyz Summoning was a toolbox, it was meant to cover a wide variety of options, that’s what made it so appealing to her. It would’ve been silly for that Avery to not have options in his deck that were different from the rest of it.

But then, the two of them started to talk once more. Sai starting to prod at his opponent, Avery finally replying back in kind…

Kendra just frowned.

The final turn played out more, the return of the Fusion Summon method to pull out another monster from his Extra Deck...

Even if Sai was right, and she was inclined to agree with him… Platitudes don’t create victory after all, but his brutal methods clearly didn’t bond him to the audience. The booing crowd made perfect sense in this situation…

In fact, it made more than perfect sense. Daichi, for his loss, had won the crowd’s heart. He had pulled them into something ‘special’ and that counted for something, even if she had been hard on him in the earlier meeting. Meanwhile, despite the show of strength coming from Sai, there’s more to this than just winning, the crowd was angry that it ended on that note, not that she can really blame them…

---

“Would anyone like to weigh in first?”

Kendra raised her hand, “Yeah, just a quick question. Sai, what the fuck?”

She gave him a pointed glare, a firm look in her eyes that normally that tired girl didn’t show. She put her hand down in front of her arm rest, before turning to look back at the fields, “...Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did? We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support. It doesn’t matter how good we get if the crowds refuse to show up for us.”

She didn’t stop though, her fingers curling against the rest of her seat as she did, “I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree. You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad. It makes me look bad. It makes Rosalia look bad. Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason. When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.”

╚═════════. .╝

Edited by Kazooie

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Rosalia had been transfixed on both duels since Daichi had been eliminated, but when Sai found a reason to bare his chest suddenly she found reason to suddenly look elsewhere, anywhere else. She rose a hand to her temple, half covering her face as if she were on the street with Sai and people were staring, for once her generally placid face looking awkwardly embarrassed. Why is he doing that? she asked herself, looking out of the box they occupied to see that there was a raucous response from the audience at what she could only call a spectacle.

But her embarrassment soon gave way to discomfort, and her discomfort then to a somber stare as Sai proceeded to somehow escalate the situation while picking apart his opponent's field piece by piece. It would have been an impressive feat of skill if she hadn't been thoroughly distracted by how he was conducting himself. Almost as if his words themselves contained the acid of his Starving Venom. And when the dust cleared and the duel was won... For some reason the boos caused Rosalia to wince. This was not a sound she had expected to hear. Especially not in reference to their victory.

- - - - - - -

She had spent the remainder of the last duel in deep thought, raising her head only to acknowledge a relived smile when Falisha managed to pull out a victory over Sorrel. But she was distracted by two phrases echoing inside her head.

"Next time you have lofty ambitions, back them up with more than platitudes."

"We have a bunch of skilled duelists but we still have a long way to go..."

That gentle rebuke to Daichi seemed to echo louder and louder in her head until it somehow bounced back to her as Sai's biting remark, loudly within her mind. She had trouble shaking it from her mind, not even sure how the connection made sense but knowing in her heart that it very much did. She didn't even notice Vega look to her, but she was pulled out by Kendra beginning to lay into Sai.

“Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did? We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support."

She's right.

“I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree."

Somehow I don't either.

"You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad."

Maybe I should say something.

"It makes me look bad."

I should probably say something.

"It makes Rosalia look bad."

I really should say something.

"Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason."

Why is it so hard to know where to even start? How is she doing it so easily?

"When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.”

Another pang of guilt as she wondered yet again if that one slight disagreement back in the meeting had created some domino effect that led them here. It was salvageable, yes, but she really wished it hadn't happened in the first place. As captain shouldn't she be ahead of this? 

She let out an audible sigh, making the first proper sound she had produced in twenty minutes. She noticed Vega's eyes flick over to her and thought she saw a hopeful glint in them. She very much wished she had anything impressive to offer but all she managed, with a tired and flat voice:

"Sashisematta." She tilted her head up to meet his eyes, despite the twinge of discomfort she felt doing so. "Is there a reason for what you did out there?" she asked simply, merely looking at him and waiting. No judgement in her voice, no discernible opinion easily read from her expression. Just... waiting for his answer.

Edited by Faytl

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eve.png

That was it, then. The duels were over, with a 2-1 score overall for Team Genesis. They were pretty exciting duels, too. Evelyn could hardly ask for a better real intro to pro dueling on this side of the Pacific.

“Would anyone like to weigh in first?”

“Yeah, just a quick question. Sai, what the fuck?”

Oh, that? Out of the three duels the team had partaken in, Daichi lost his, Falisha won hers, and then there was Sai. He also won, but unlike Falisha's modest victory, Sai finished the game with a display of brute force and sheer power.

“...Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did?"

They sure didn't like it. They even booed him for his performance. It was pretty rude, to be honest.

"We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support. It doesn’t matter how good we get if the crowds refuse to show up for us.”

Were... were those two not one and the same?

“I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree. You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad. It makes me look bad. It makes Rosalia look bad. Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason. When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.”

"Sashisematta. Is there a reason for what you did out there?"

This felt like a matter everyone should weigh on. Including Eve. After waiting a bit to make sure nobody else had anything to say - and a brief moment of surprise at Sai's lack of an immediate answer - Eve presented her thoughts. "Does there have to be one?"

Wait, no, that came out wrong.

"Er, I mean, yes, he maybe said some things that were out of line. There's always going to be heels like that, and I'm not saying we should encourage it, but his actual turn? That was fine, right? Whether you make your opponent go to exactly zero like Falisha or make a display of power like Sai, winning at our debut is a great start. Plus there's that saying... all publicity is good publicity. Or something. I would've been rooting for him, at least, even if we weren't teammates," Evelyn concluded with a shrug. Then, as if it hadn't occurred to her until just now, Evelyn added one last thought, unrelated though it may have been to the matter at hand.

"Oh, we should get something tasty to celebrate our first win. My treat."

Edited by yui

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Sai waited patiently as Kendra went off at him. She seemed terribly confused about who he was, why he was here, and, most importantly, the effects his actions would have. She was new to the pro scene, so it wasn't a misunderstanding he would hold against her. He looked to Vega, who was carefully analyzing each of them gathered there.

It was notable to Sai that Kendra said Daichi was the only one to have garnered good will. While it was not something he himself was making any attempt to earn, he felt that such a comment was awfully dismissive of their turbo duelist. No matter.

Then, the team captain Rosalia spoke up, albeit after a sigh long enough that Sai questioned her lung capacity, unabashedly staring down at her chest as she spoke, Sashisematta." She sounded timid, yet looked him directly in the eye as he brought his back up to meet her gaze. "Is there a reason for what you did out there?" Unlike Kendra, she was seeking to understand. It seemed that she was aware that Sai took no action thoughtlessly. However, before he could respond, Rin spoke up.

"Does there have to be one?"

Yes, you idiot. I'm not a magic 8-ball. Sai frowned, but allowed her to continue. Perhaps she would strike gold, and at least she seemed more open to radical ideas than the teammate Sai doubted was even awake for the entire match. Hell, she would probably be angrier if she were.

"Er, I mean, yes, he maybe said some things that were out of line. There's always going to be heels like that, and I'm not saying we should encourage it, but his actual turn? That was fine, right? Whether you make your opponent go to exactly zero like Falisha or make a display of power like Sai, winning at our debut is a great start. Plus there's that saying... all publicity is good publicity. Or something. I would've been rooting for him, at least, even if we weren't teammates," just like that, Sai's frown dissolved and a smile crept to his lips, his sharply-pointed teeth ever-so-slightly visible. Maybe it was the subtle accent they shared, but somehow these words made more sense than any said previously in the conversation.

"Oh, we should get something tasty to celebrate our first win. My treat."

All things considered, it was remarkable that this was the first point in the conversation that Sai laughed, his face pointing to the sky as his jaw hung open. "Rin, my dear, you cannot afford my taste. I'm afraid my gluttony extends far past dueling." Sai quickly refocused, his hair falling neatly as he jolted his head back in place to look down at the rest of his team. "Kendra, if Vega was concerned I might make her look bad, she wouldn't have recruited me. She knows exactly who and what I am, and doesn't need you to defend her honor." Raising his arms as well as his voice, he addressed the group, "In fact, she's the only person here who has beaten me, but I don't see her complaining."

Tilting his head at an unnatural angle, he turned it to face the team captain, once again meeting her evidently nervous gaze. Despite the nervousness, however, she didn't look away. Sai smirked with pride, before continuing, "I am glad at least one person on the team would surmise that there is more to it than just being cruel for fun." With a grand gesture, he indicated toward a massive screen, showing clips of Falisha winning her duel, with a good chunk of the crowd still excitedly watching the replays. "Does that look like someone dragged down by their devil of a teammate? I think our resident geologist has earned quite a few fans today."

As the screen changed to now show Avery's valiant, but futile effort against Sai, he quickly positioned himself between his team and the view, using his fan-shaped duel disk to further expand his silhouette, "As for my own duel, surely you understand that infamy is just as powerful as fame? No. They will line up out the door hoping to see me lose. To think that I disregarded the image I would be giving is comical. Every single action I took was one of cultivation. And not just of myself." Taking a step toward Rosalia, he folded his duel disk, slamming it on the ground between them. Leaning down with both of his palms against it as if it were a cane, he was now at eye-level with Rosalia, scarcely a foot aware from her. It was clear that she was bothered by the closeness, yet she still refused to falter. "Is that a good enough answer, Captain Dragunov?"

Suddenly, he straightened his back, bringing himself back up to tower above the rest. "You had a wonderful duel, Tomodaichi. It is unfortunate you were not able to pull through, but as far as I could tell it truly was just a matter of fortune. If you believe you may have misplayed somewhere down the line, I would gladly coach you."

"So, what are we getting to eat?"
 

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There was a perk for losing your match first...you were able to watch the other two matches and see how your teammates were doing. So too was Daichi, his duffle bag with his costume slung over his shoulder as he watched the two Duels in tandem with each other...and well...on one hand, he was excited and proud of one Duel, and on the other...it honestly hurt him. Like...A LOT...

"Next time you have lofty ambitions, back them up with more than platitudes."

Hearing those words honestly made his stomach churn, his skin crawl. Daichi wanted to go over and deck Sai right in the face for that attempt of an entertaining Duel...but alas, he couldn't. It just wasn't in his nature to do that. If anything, the booing of the crowd just reinforced that idea. Sure, end result was that they won. Team Genesis was the victory of this match, so...why did it leave such a terrible taste in his mouth? And it's that Duel there that Daichi couldn't help but dwell upon.


“Congratulations, guys! It’s always seen as a great sign if you win your premier, though it’s usually against an established team… but, either way, you did it! I hope this serves as a source of morale moving forward! However, I would like you guys to… discuss what took place here today, before we go. Of course, you don’t have to, but it’ll just be moved to next week’s discussion, so it’s either now or then. Would anyone like to weigh in first?”

Daichi and the others made it into the booth, the words from the coach lingering in the air. No one wanted to say anything at first about the Duels that were had. And then...well...the team began to weigh in HEAVILY...

“Yeah, just a quick question. Sai, what the fuck?”
"Sashisematta. Is there a reason for what you did out there?"

It was like they echoed the sentiments that Sai's Duel in particular was surely the weak link. Then again...even Kendra made mention of between him and Sai, that he...Daichi...was the reason they had any good will with the audience. It made him...happy somewhat to hear this, but despite the smile he wore...inside... He shook his head slightly after Evelyn spoke up, Daichi was about to speak up...but, who would pipe up next, but Sai himself. Oh...this would be good...

"Kendra, if Vega was concerned I might make her look bad, she wouldn't have recruited me. She knows exactly who and what I am, and doesn't need you to defend her honor. In fact, she's the only person here who has beaten me, but I don't see her complaining."

Daichi kept quiet, seeing Sai explain himself...seeming to echo what Evelyn spoke. To an extent, he supposed that they were both right. At the same time, however, he found this to not sit well with him whatsoever. Why go the route of infamy and having the audience hate you when you could get the audience to enjoy every second and be cheering for you? It didn't make any sense to him whatsoever. However he was brought back up from his thoughts, hearing Sai address him specifically.

"You had a wonderful duel, Tomodaichi. It is unfortunate you were not able to pull through, but as far as I could tell it truly was just a matter of fortune. If you believe you may have misplayed somewhere down the line, I would gladly coach you."

He was silent for a moment or two, before simply displaying his trademark smile. "Thanks for the praise and the concern there, but I think I'll pass on the lessons, dear theater buff." Daichi said, waving his hand dismissively. "All I know is that I had a genuine blast against Miss Honey. Things didn't pan out my way, but there's always next time. The fact that I could make the audience smile and cheer, in conjunction with having a dance partner…so to speak...that was able to match it was more than I could've asked for in my first match. Nevertheless, I do apologize for not winning. I promise I'll do even more to make up for this. Definitely gonna be starting with looking into the effects and side effects of the different Field Spells and their corresponding Action Cards. That's what ultimately turned the tide in Miss Honey's favor." He turned towards Falisha and gave her a thumbs up. "That said, the Turbo Duel was fantastic. Falisha had it under control from turn one, that was clear to see. There was even some excitement and applause from your end!" he continued, before simply sighing, glancing back in the direction of Sai. "And then...of course, we have the other Duel...the one where we got a standing ovation of boos from the audience. Yeah...that one...I'm not even sure what to say on that. Maaaaaaaaybe next time do something a bit more...audience friendly? After all, don't think the audience can deal with much a of Heel when most of the Duels they witnessed today were pumped with positive energy."

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Falisha blinked as she heard the quite loud ovation of boos coming from one of the seperated arenas, "That's... not directed at me it doesn't sound like." She frowned as she made her way back to her team, smiling and waving to the crowd that had watched her match. As she walked in she puffed out her cheeks a bit, placing her hands on her hips as she bent over, "Yo what's with the boo's? Nobody lost like turn 1 right?"

She crossed her arms before blinking seeing as she entered at what appeared to be a point that they were getting on Sai for... playing a heel it sounded like? "Oh wait that was the boo's. I mean if that was the goal then kudos, I heard it from my match." She laughs and gives a small shrug, "Hopefully it doesn't reflect poorly on our other teammates' duels, though it didn't seem like it did mine."

She hums as she slips into a chair and places her face in the palms of her hands, looking between all of our teammates, "Hopefully I don't make everyone upset seeing this but as much as we're a team we're also individuals, we're all going to have different ways of achieving our goals. Granted I haven't seen this duel yet so like, excuse me while I go watch it before I fully butt in, yeah?" She gives a laugh as she goes to look at the replay, nodding to herself, "Hmmm... mhm... let's see... oh that makes sense!"

After a few minutes of watching the play Falisha would clap her hands, "Sai you're a dick!" Before she clapped her hands again, "Dick you're also a Sai and still a member of the team, I think some of us may just be shocked, though granted if that's how ya duel obviously I'm not gonna stop you, you know you'd make like a pretty good tournament like... oh gosh don't some guys get hired specifically to target out tournament participants? That'd definitely be a good career choice!"

She hums and rubs the back of her head with a light smile, "Though that to be said, I can't exactly fault the rest of the team for being upset either, y'know? My head still hurts a bit from all of the baiting out I was doing of Sorrel. Like yes I -sounded- like I was playing nice but if you pay attention to my gameplay I feel like I spent a lot of the game pulling her around. Granted it was fun and there were a few spots where she almost got out."

Before she took a deep breath, "Wait, what about my replay?!" She immediately went to the screen playing her replay, seeming to keep her eyes glued to the screen, "Please tell me they didn't catch it, please tell me they didn't catch iiiit...!" She takes a breath after a certain point, "Okay that's good at least... cool, don't have to worry about that." She wipes her brow a bit before grinning, "Anyways, I had fun and I hope everyone has an enjoyable experience in their upcoming duels!"

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"Oh, we should get something tasty to celebrate our first win. My treat."

"So, what are we getting to eat?"

"Mmm... Well, first things first, you guys should go and enjoy whatever you guys want. I'm gonna be a bit busy tonight, so I need to go home and get ready~" Vega crooned, then cleared her throat, "However, I'm gonna take the time to organize my thoughts. I would like to go ahead and meet up Tuesday, rather than later in the week... and yes, we have a match next weekend."

Standing up to walk away with a soft hum, Vega stopped as she passed Daichi... placing a hand on his shoulder and looking down slightly to give him a soft smile. She patted his shoulder before stepping away, spinning around and flashing a smile and peace sign to the team as she descended the elevator. Of course, there was plenty she could say right then... But it was best for her to be hands off, she felt.

-----

Saturday, February 22
6:35 PM

"Running just a little late, are we?" a soft voice giggled as Vega walked into the ritzy Italian restaurant, looking over to it. At the bar sat a woman wearing a nice, body length dress, with some seashell flourishes on it, and her light blue hair fell to the small of her back. She stood up and walked over to Vega, looking up at the taller woman with a smile from about 9 inches below, "I figured you might be a bit later than this. Didn't your team want to celebrate after their first win?"

"Well, they did, but... It's their limelight, y'know?" Vega laughed, rubbing at the back of her head, her own outfit almost matching the other woman's, but a bit less form fitting. Bits of She wore a pair of bangles that took on an appearance similar to flame, but overall, the outfit she chose was much more modest. Unlike the woman, she wore flats, before leaning in to rest her arm around the smaller person. "Besides, I didn't wanna stand you up. I just... take some time getting ready."

The other woman giggled as Vega blushed a bit, leaning her head against the coach, "So... do you want to tell me about what happened with it, then?"

"Ah, well... He's a bit... That is to say..." Vega scratched at her cheek, trying to look away from her companion, "He's... he's a diamond in the rough. Yeah, that's it. It's a rocky start, but it'll get better. Now, let's get a table, then I can tell you more, yeah?"

-----

Tuesday, February 25
3 PM

"Once again, congratulations on your first win, Team Genesis!" Vega began the meeting with a big grin, slamming her hands on the table, "Before anything else, it was a great showing! I had Daichi, Sai, and Falisha show up early to have a talk with each of them individually, but for now, I'm sure you've had time to look over the replays I sent each of you... At least, if you were planning to at all~" Vega seemed completely unconcerned, but there was an ever so slight accusatory tone to her voice. "Anyway, while I encourage more discussion of the duels since you've had time to think about it more, I would also like you to each look at your messages. I've sent info on the next team we'll be up against, and, well... It's a somewhat newer team, but one with a lot of fans and a lot of success so far. To the point that a number of the duelists on it are considered Major Circuit worthy or better. I'm not saying that I doubt you guys, by any means, but... do not take Team Free lightly."

Walking over to the whiteboard, Vega hummed as she began to doodle more @Ignisters alongside writing some information down. While it was only briefly, if someone was paying close attention they would see the flame-like bangle on her arm peek out from under her coat's sleeve, before she turned around and clapped, having listed the decks, duel type, and approximate skill level of each of the players. Two in particular, Johnathan Nava and Charlie Robin, seemed to be ranked S+ and S tier, respectively.

"Now... We won't know who they send out against us on Saturday, but we still need to be prepared. We only really have Daichi for action duels, so I assuuuume we'll be going with him, but that leaves standard and turbo. Kendra, Eve, do you two think you're up for this next match?"

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