"Settle down people, attention please!" Sheppard's voice rang out loudly and clearly over the gathered assembly of students. The chancellor of Duel Academy peered down at near every student gathered in the main hall of Duel Academy through a video projection. Sheppard sighed, before snapping, "Chumley, stop chewing with your mouth open!"

Early Monday morning found Yarden gathered with the rest of the students, first through third years for an assembly of some sort and for an important announcement they'd been notified of through a mass message to every students PDA.

The students were gathered in three groups differentiated by dorm, lined up in lines of four by four, younger years towards the front, older towards the back. Honestly, it was almost military in a way.

Nothing at all like assemblies back home where everyone just sat wherever the hell they wanted. Duel Academy was pretty big on the near racist classism between the dorms.

When he became the next Kaiba, he'd try not to let his petty biases effect him like this. Though, knowing himself, that was pretty unlikely. He could still try though.

As it was though, Yarden was pretty much already well aware of what this assembly was for, and there was a massive shit eating grin on his face.

Though not for what was about to be announced at all.

"Stop smiling like that." Jasmine huffed from his left side. He was in a line of four between himself, Jasmine to his left, Mindy to her left and Alexis to his right.

"No can do." Yarden merely snorted in pure amusement. He couldn't help it. And the reason for that?

Was because of the girl to his right who was obstinately staring ahead, cheeks flushed and refusing to meet his eyes.

His weekend had been pretty much a flop. He couldn't hang out with his girlfriend at all. Because she'd been confined to her dorm room all weekend. And would also be serving a detention every day for the next two weeks after classes.

Because she'd gotten into a fight.

Yes, a fight, not a duel.

Over him.

And she'd beat the crap out of the girl who she was fighting with. He looked over his shoulder briefly to glance to Alexis' seeming opponent, a rather pretty older girl with curves that stretched out her uniform deliciously, though not on Alexis' level.

And the shiner currently bruising one of her eyes.

He couldn't help it, he laughed to himself even as Sheppard began speaking once more.

"Good, now that everyone is listening and eating quietly, I'm happy to inform you the big match up against our rival school, North Academy is coming up," The chancellor stated and as he did, a beacon of light shone down from the ceiling and shone upon someone behind Yarden, he didn't even need to look to see who it was, even as most others did, "Last year our student rep Zane whooped them good and proper and this time I want to win the school duel once again." he continued, a smug smile showing on the bald headed mans face.

The man must really love having gotten that kiss on the cheek by Dorothy instead of the headmaster of North Academy.

'Actually what about the West and South Duel Academies?' Yarden wondered briefly, why were they not considered rivals? He knew Zane had toured the west one last year for a few months when he was in his second year, as the older boy had told him about his time there and said there were a few decent duellists there, though the headmaster gave him an odd feeling and was kind of creepy to him.

…Well whatever, it probably wasn't important.

Sheppard shook his head before pushing on, "Now we still haven't figured out quite yet who is going to represent us this time around in the school duel this year, so if you keep hitting those books and duelling hard, it could be any one of you in that spot and earning glory."

He said a few other things, before bidding them goodbye and the feed cut off, the massive screen going dark.

Excited whispers and muttering kicked up, though one voice stood out to Yarden above all.

"Hey, did you hear?" Jaden's familiar excited voice chattered and Yarden's eyes flickered over to find him standing behind Syrus, who was standing next to an even shorter red clad student, a beret-like hat clasped tightly apon their head, "It could be me in that sweet duel!"

Hmm…wait, wasn't that Blair?

Oh right, it was about that time as well wasn't it?

Well, Yarden didn't really care about her to be honest. He'd let Jaden deal with her.

"He wishes," Jasmine snorted, "I'll admit he's good, but it's most likely gonna be Zane again, and if not it's definitely gonna be you Yarden, you're the best duellist here."

"I am," Yarden accepted her words humbly, before shrugging, "I wouldn't underestimate Jaden though, he's good, especially now that he's upgraded his deck more."

He'd only seen Jaden duel briefly so far while he was here. But every time he did, he could practically feel it. The air vibrating around him with the sheer amount of power he exuded in excitement.

He was ignorant towards it now, everyone was, hell he'd been ignorant towards it a few weeks ago even until he started getting coached on drawing upon his abilities by Dark Magician Girl, but when he first felt the sheer amount of power Jaden exuded, he'd actually almost passed out.

It was like a massive pressure had pressed down upon his shoulders and stole the breath from his lungs now that he was aware of it that first time.

Even just casually, it was far power more than he'd have even a few weeks from now when he'd fully bonded with all his spirits. Which he supposed made sense, the Light of Destruction was a cosmic force beyond even the god cards and was multiple tiers above the likes of Zorc.

As the Supreme King, Jaden had within his soul, the power of the Gentle Darkness, the force directly equal and opposed to the Light of Destruction.

But beyond that Jaden was just that good. One thing he'd noticed, was that the stronger a duellist his opponent was, the more Jaden delved deeper into his deck.

For most, he barely went beyond Flame Wingman, Rampart Blaster or the Thunder Giant. And even usage of them had dwindled now that he had access to the likes of Heat, Lady Heat and Stratos, with them he rarely needed to bust out any of his fusions, never mind heavy hitters.

Jaden was different from him. He loved duelling in the sense that he would hold back on weaker opponents to keep the duel going longer, when if he wanted he could pull out the likes of Elemental Hero Shining Flare Wingman or Elemental Hero Gaia, or Tornado or Flare Master or even just Elemental Hero Blade Edge and monsters like that incredibly easily.

As it was, in a casual duel with no true stakes beyond competition, Yarden was pretty sure he could beat Jaden. But in a full stakes duel with things on the line? That was where he was iffy.

"Well he did beat Lexi after all," Mindy pointed out breaking him from his thoughts, "That puts him like at least top five right?"

"I don't think I'm quite that high up actually." Alexis finally turned to face them, though there was an embarrassed look in her eyes when he looked straight into her gaze.

"No that's about right for now," Yarden agreed with Mindy, even as he reached his arm over Alexis' shoulders, and enjoyed as he felt simmering glares being fired at him from all directions, seethe and mald cucks, seethe and mald, "As far as I'd say, right now from first to fifth it would be Me, then Zane, then Jaden, then Alexis then probably Bastion I'm thinking."

"The stuffy Ra?" Jasmine asked.

"Bastion is pretty good actually yeah, I'm not sure I could beat him definitively." Alexis nodded as she leaned into him, touching her shoulder to his.

Nah, Alexis was better. The thing was, Bastion tried to play like a meta player, with a very limited source of materials of research unlike the meta players back home, and completely forgot that it wasn't just a mere card game that ran on numbers and probability.

Duel Monsters as a whole, was keyed into the laws of this literal universe. For the truly powerful in this world, it didn't matter if Bastion locked their entire deck down, had them down to one card with a full field of monsters that couldn't be targeted by effects and a full backrow, the truly powerful here could will that single card into being one that would win the duel.

And because Bastion ran purely on logic, numbers and mathematics, trying to build decks that upped the odds of drawing what he needed, including searchers and such, he was always going to be the biggest jobber there was as far as GX went.

…Well it didn't help that he was a bit of a stuffy repressed virgin that would fall in love with the first girl to show an interest in him even if they were like twice his age and had bigger muscles than Arnie and get all flushed to the point where he couldn't think straight.

Bastion was his own biggest enemy, poor fucker.

Soon enough, the students began to be cleared out of the assembly hall and be directed towards their classrooms.

But, just as they were, Doctor Crowler called out, "Ah Zane, Yarden?" he called their names specifically, "Can you two stay behind please, there's something I'd like to discuss with you both."

"Called it." Jasmine snorted.

Yeah, it wasn't very subtle now was it?

"I'll see you in class I guess?" Alexis said, picking up on it as well, while Mindy giggled in amusement.

"Sure," Yarden agreed, leaning forward to peck her on the lips, "And you can tell me all about this fight you got into, it sounds amazing."

Was it wrong of him to be pleased and proud of her for getting into a fight? Especially when from what little he'd put together, it was about him in some form?

Alexis pouted at him, "…I'll think about it." she turned away from him embarrassedly, before quickly walking away.

"You're a real bad influence on her, you know that?" Jasmine pointed out rolling her eyes, "I can't believe our Lexi got into a fight, a cat fight! And that she threw the first hit even!"

"I think it's kinda sweet actually," Mindy pointed out, "Besides from what Alexis told us, that bitch Seika totally like deserved a good slapping."

"Well yes, but still!" Jasmine crossed her arms, "Lexi has detention! Lexi, she's never had detention in her life and now the second she has a boyfriend she's getting into fights and getting them…it's totally weird!" though even as she said that, there was a big grin on her face.

"Well, I'm a bad bad delinquent boy after all, like you said, a total bad influence on a good girl like Alexis," Yarden smirked smugly, "Now I just need to be a bad influence on you two and my work is complete."

"Oh please," Jasmine rolled her eyes, "Keep dreaming you dork. Beyond swearing and getting into a few fights to help us, you're hardly a delinquent. You're always on time to class, you never take part in any of the adventures we've gotten up to in the past month or so, you always talk about rules and logic and you're always in your dorm before curfew. Jaden's a delinquent, you're more like a potty mouth exceptionally muscled nerd. Now go see what Crowler wants, teachers pet."


He…he was a nerd? A teachers pet? Him?!

Soon, Jasmine and Mindy bid him goodbye and made their way to follow Alexis back to their class, leaving only Zane, Doctor Crowler and himself in the hall.

He stared after them, gaping.

'I'm….a nerd? A geek? A teachers pet?' those thoughts swirled around in Yardens brain.

And did not compute at all.

Is that what people thought of him here?

The world shattering revelation Jasmine dropped on Yarden, had him following after Crowler and Zane in a daze.

One might have even confused him with a nasty zombie only card player instead of the chadly free style user he was.

Zane gave him an odd look, but didn't comment as Crowler led them from the assembly hall to his office.

"Now boys, I'm sure the two of you, as intelligent as you both are-" Crowler began as he took a seat behind his desk, only to pause as he saw the state of the boy clad in red, "Yarden my dear boy? What's the matter? You look like someone just stole your best card."

Yarden blinked, "Zane…Doctor…" he addressed them, before trailing off for a moment. He took a second to sigh, before he asked a most vital question, "Am I a nerd? A teachers pet?"

"…What?" Zane's cool guy emotionless facade actually broke for a moment and he gave Yarden a weird look.

"…I do concur," Crowler gave him a taken aback look, a confused look in his eyes, "What brought this on might I ask?"

"Something Jasmine just told me," Yarden sighed and shrugged, shoulders slumping, "She said Jaden is more of a delinquent bad boy than me. And said I'm just a potty mouth nerd who always abides by the rules, and I'm always on time for class and stuff, and that I'm a huge teachers pet."

That can't be right. He beat up a literal mercenary and stole his stuff! He beat up armed goons that were part of an illegal research station on the island. He got shit faced drunk and gambled! He blackmailed the headmaster even into giving him Cyber Dark Dragon!

It might have sounded and looked silly to be worrying over such a thing, childish even. But it was a big deal to him. his whole duelling persona going forward was being the bad boy!

The dashing loveable rogue!

Not the unstylish glasses, suspenders and pocket handkerchief guy!

"Well if Jaden is the standard for a bad boy, then indeed I dare say you are the farthest thing from a bad boy!" Doctor Crowler harumphed and Yarden resisted the urge to grasp his chest in phantom pain, "He's a bad, bad lazy no good boy! An utter buffoonish slacker! He sleeps through more than fifty percent of his classes, doesn't turn up for a third of them. And he's not turned in a single completed assignment this entire semester! He even eats mid class! Eats!"

Somewhere along the way the reply to Yarden's question turned into a rant about the sheer amount of stupid things Jaden did in Crowler's eyes.

…And admittedly, he kind of did have a point when it was laid out like that.

'Wow, she really gave you a dose of emotional damage didn't she?' Dark Magician Girl giggled in his ear, 'Neeeeeerrrrrrddddddd!'

Even the voices in his head were calling him a nerd now.

Crowler sighed as he finished ranting about Jaden, though only because he needed to catch his breath.

He could be doing with some cardio training to be honest.

"Well, regardless I wouldn't exactly call you a 'nerd' as dear Jasmine did, but compared to Jaden you are indeed a model student, I couldn't be more proud to have you in my Obelisk Blue dorm," Doctor Crowler beamed at him, "You are consistently at the very top of our duelling theory classes, you never miss vital classes, you've not missed a single assignment and while admittedly for the standard general classes you started off somewhere in the middle, you have admirably risen to the upper tier of you year. Indeed nothing at all like that Slifer slacker Jaden!"

Damnit he really was a nerd!

Why was being a bad boy and doing good in school polar opposites!? What was wrong with taking education seriously when it was at a premiere place like this?

Did a guy need to start wearing electric shock collars and walk around in big black leather trench coats or dusters to get a little props around here?!

…Admittedly that coat of Zane's was damn stylish.

Edgy as as all hell but that shiny black colouring, and the silver trim through it just looked damn good.

'I wonder if he has it right now in his closet or is it something he picked up later?' Yarden wondered, eyes flickering to Zane for a brief moment, who was just looking at him with a bemused smile, laughter dancing in his eyes.

He thought the whole discussion and Crowler all but confirming he was a real proper nerd was amusing, didn't he?


He was totally gonna raid his closet, and steal his jacket if it was actually already in his possession for that!

It wasn't like he'd need it anyway. He wouldn't be getting the Cyber Dark Dragons for his edgy phase, those were in Yarden's possession.

And honestly, them and the jacket went hand in hand right? An iconic duo, so he deserved the jacket. It was rightfully his even!

A clap brought him from his thoughts to Doctor Crowler, "Anyway, funnily enough your merits as a top tier student, and Zane's of course is why I asked you both to follow me here," the blonde teacher smiled brightly at them, "I'm sure you both already suspect, but it's about the school duel. Usually, as it has the previous two years, the role generally would have fallen to Zane as the undisputed best duellist in all of Duel Academy, but now there's a true contender for that spot, no?"

"Not really doctor Crowler," Zane shook his head, "As things stand right now, Yarden is my better. If we duelled right now, I wouldn't be able to win. For the moment at least."

He nodded his head to Yarden, "Yarden is the top duellist of duel academy right now, so I think he should take the spot in the school duel," he said, "Besides, I heard through the grapevine that North Academy is sending a first year this time around, it's only fair that another first year faces off against them."

'For the moment, huh?' Yarden couldn't help but laugh inwardly.

"Indeed?" Crowler's eyebrows rose in astonishment, before his big purple painted lips twisted into a massive smile, "Well then, that makes things simpler I suppose. Yarden, you will be the one representing us in the school duel then! Congratulations!"

Yeah, about that.

How about no?

He'd already long since considered that he would be nominated for the spot. Though, he'd thought he'd have to duel Jaden or Bastion or something for the spot.

And he'd already long since decided to take his name out of the running. Admittedly, that was only a decision he made after he defeated the baldie boys, aka the Paradox Brothers.

"About that Doctor Crowler," Yarden smiled at the man, even as he prepared to crush his happiness and expectations, "I don't think I should. I've been getting a lot of limelight lately, I think I should take a step back from this one. The other students might think the academy likes to play favourites and give you teachers an unfavourable reputation. Perhaps another first year should take the spot in the school duel."

Nailed it! That was earnest and seemingly well meaning, right?

"Hoh?" Zane raised an eyebrow at him.

"Haaaaaah!?" Doctor Crowler gaped at him.

"And while you have very valid reasons to dislike him, it's important we win the school duel," Yarden continued with a nod, "How about giving the spot to Jaden?"

Doctor Crowler went stock still, and his already pale skin, somehow lightened even further. He looked like he was having a nightmare.

"Jaden?" Zane's second eyebrow joined the first, "Not Bastion? Or Alexis?"

"Bastion would probably just lose." Yarden shrugged, and didn't mention Alexis. Simply because, Alexis would have eyes on her as well after the duel with the Paradox baldies.

Which meant the odds wouldn't be stacked against her. And in fact since she was known for being part of the tag team that took down the baldie twins, the odds would favour her.

But a Slifer red being put up against the top of North Academy, and one of the famous and rich Princeton brothers? Well, the odds wouldn't quite be like his and Alexis' against the baldie boys, but they'd be pretty well against Jaden.

…And Bastion again would just lose. He might have beaten Chazz before, but Chazz had duel spirits now. Sure, just a single Ojama at this point, but that was leagues higher than Bastion when it came to plot armour.

Or spirit shenanigans.

Same thing really.

"So," Zane struck up a conversation as soon as they exited Doctor Crowlers office a while later, the man being completely unresponsive after name dropping Jaden as a candidate for the school duel, it was kind of melodramatic to be honest, "What are you really planning? What scheme have you thought up this time?"

"Scheme? Me?" Yarden gave him an innocent look, "Can't I just be the nice guy I am and want to help out another fellow student to get their name out there?"

"Maybe if it was Alexis, I'd believe what you said," Zane snorted, crossing his arms, "But since it isn't, I'm going to go ahead and call bullshit. What are you really after?"

"No faith at all, huh?" Yarden snorted.

"Maybe I'd believe you if another of your little schemes didn't go viral over the weekend," Zane shook his head with a smirk, "You predicted someone would be foolish enough to steal Yugi's deck. And put off going with us to check the deck out, so you could instead record yourself beating Yugi's deck. And if you could predict that, then I'm sure you've already predicted that you would be nominated for the school duel."

Damn, that made him sound a lot smarter than he really was, didn't it? Future knowledge sure was useful.

And he wasn't wrong about that video against Dimitri going viral. He'd uploaded it both to his duellist page profile and to the web itself, and in total it had gotten over ten million views.

Which in of itself was awesome because he'd monetized that shit. Which should get him a good fifty grand more added to his bank.

And of course, it boosted his fame even more.

His prospects and stonks just kept rising.

"Well, I suppose you're not wrong," Yarden shrugged, "But it's pretty simple to be honest. I've got a lot more money to my name now, and I've saved up a ton of DP I can be more liberal with."

"…Ah," Zane nodded as realisation shone in his eyes, "The bookies huh? You want to make more money, but if you personally took part in it, the odds would be massively against your opponent instead of you, so unless you tossed your pride and took a fall, there would be little money to be made."

Zane cocked his head to the side, "Weird though, if you predicted all this, then you should realise the money going in both sides wouldn't come close to the amount trading hands when it was you and Alexis against the Paradox brothers," he noted, "That is, unless you know something I don't?"

Like say Chazz being the representative of North Academy and his brothers going to broadcast it live to the entire world? And had already begun advertising it?

Advertisements that were hyping the shit out of Chazz? For their big play into making him a famous, successful duellist?

The odds of course still wouldn't reach the same tier as the Paradox Brothers against him and Alexis, but he also had a shit ton more money and DP to play around with now to make up for that.

"Maybe," Yarden smirked, "I'm sure there's a lot of things I know that you don't. Like, did you know Scotland was the first country in the world to allow girls to attend proper schools?"

"Is that right?" Zane snorted, throwing his catch phrase back at him. Should he sue? Can he got a saying copyrighted? "Fine, putting that aside, there's something else going on with you, that I think I'm entitled to an explanation of."

Hmm, so it was already that time huh?

Honestly, he half expected it to have come up days before now, but he supposed Dimitri was the first person Zane had seen him use them against.

"The Cyber Dark Dragons, huh?" Yarden asked.

"Yes." Zane said simply.

Well, fair enough. He wanted to pick Zane's brain anyway about an agency to represent him and handle his affairs for him.

He already had his eyes on one who'd sent him an offer after looking through them over the weekend. Gardener Agencies.

Duelist Profile: Yarden Odhar

Name: Yarden Odhar
Age: 15
Country of Birth: Scotland
Significant Other: Alexis Rhodes,
Occupation: Student of Duel Academy
Student Dormitory: Obelisk Blue
Current Funds: 200,950DP
Bank Account: £383,388
Bonded Spirits: Ranryu, Decoy Dragon, Rare Metal Dragon, Hundred Dragon, Spirit Of The Breeze, Fairy Dragon, Chaos Necromancer, Soul Tiger, Larvae Moth, Griggle, Outstanding Dog Marron, Catnipped Kitty, Unhappy Maiden, Skull Servant, Archfiend Marmot of Nefariousness, Goblin Calligrapher, Serpent Marauder, Blade Rabbit, Steel Scorpion, Dreamsprite, Relinquished
Abilities: Massively Enhanced Physical Parameters. Enhanced Senses. Increased Growth Rate, Draconic Aura. Enhanced Endurance. Enhanced Recovery Rate. Enhanced Dexterity. Enhanced Bone Durability. Enhanced Healing Factor. Enhanced Reflexes. Enhanced Agility. Enhanced Flexibility. Magic Resistance. Energy Absorption.
Deck(s): Dragon Spirit, Magician Girl, Skull Archfiend, Mish Mash,

Here we be, back again wee hoo. Kind of took a while with this one huh? Not really been in much of a Yugioh mood lately until just a bit ago, but hey better later than never...right? Right!?

Not a whole lot to talk about this chapter, it was just the start of the next arc and the lead up to the school duel, and Yarden of course as always has a scheme in mind. Maybe the true villain of the series was the Yarden's we met along the way?

Welp, that's all for now. Like usual if you wanna read ahead for advanced chapters for like Systematic Shinobi: Multiverse Mayhem, the main Systematic Shinobi, this and a bunch of others you can check em out on my Pa-atreon.

Anyway, again, shameless Pa-atreon plug. I've got one, go by the same username on there, easy to find and all that jazz. Support me if you want, it'd be swell, but don't feel pressured lads and ladies, I'll be uploading my stuff outside it regardless and not keeping it all behind a paywall or anything like that.