Chapter 31: An Aspiring Duelist…

It has been a week since the shooting had happened…

It has been a day since he had been released from the hospital…

And now…

"Joey…"

"Joey…"

"Joey!"

The blonde's eyes slowly open as he saw the face of his sister with a frown. He sighed, "What now sis…"

"You promised!" Serenity reminded, hands on her hips. However, the only thing she got in return was a yawn.

"I'll get to it later…" Joey turned over as he went back to sleep. He figured he could fulfill his promise later, whatever the hell it was.

"Like hell you will!" Serenity pulled the covers off of him. "Come on, Joey! You promised me!"

"I know I know…" He groggily said as he pulled the covers back over him. "Wake me up in an hour or so…" He yawned once more before falling asleep, much to the chagrin to the auburn-haired girl.

"Looks like I'll have to get the trumpet again…" She sighed to herself. But then again, the last time she tried that she got yelled at. Therefore, a quieter method would have to be implemented…

A smile formed on the blonde's face as he slumbered away. Soon he felt a poking sound. "…Yeah Arisa… Like that…" He muttered in his sleep, which caused a giggle to emit from the young girl. Apparently he had her on the brain 24-7. She felt remorse for breaking up whatever pleasant dream he was having by doing what she was going to do next… almost.

Joey turned again as he felt another poke, his smile growing wider. More and more pokes was felt, causing him to keep turning until he suddenly felt himself about 100 pounds heavier. And since the impact was on his upper body, he felt the air being forced out from his mouth, consequentially waking him up! "The hell?"

"Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" Serenity chanted as she shook him by the loins of his wifebeater. Almost manically! She was looking forward to this day and it was not going to be ruined all because of her brother slacking off!

"Alrightalrightalright…" Joey gently pushed her aside as he got up from his bed. No use going back to sleep now as she'd just keep bugging him until he went crazy or, from her latest "wake-up attempts," break one of his ribs, whichever occurred first. "Give me a sec' a'right?"

"Whatever!" She chirped as she skipped out of the room, but as she was at the door. "Oh Big Brother?" She turned back. "Try not to take too long! Otherwise I'll have to drag you out, even if you're in the shower." She said sweetly before leaving the room, leaving the blonde to shake his head.

"Must be really lookin' forward to this…" Joey sighed as he went to his closet, deciding on what to wear today. He could understand her excitement and the fact that she couldn't wait. After all, it was what she basically talked to him about back at the hospital. But did she have to get him up this early in the freaking morning? God… 'She's gonna be the death of ya…' He thought to himself…

30 Minutes Later

As Joey placed his green jacket over his white shirt, he walked out of his room to see Serenity, with her hand on the waist of her orange pleated skirt and her eyes narrowed.

"Can we go now?" Serenity asked, apparently tired of waiting.

"Chill Sis, it's still a bit early!" Joey scratched his head.

"Joey, it's 11:30!" She explained as Joey blinked.

"11:30? THE FU-?"

"Joey!"

"Oh whatever!" Joey waved off his sister's scolding as they both walked out the door. "Let's just get to the place alright!"

"Finally…" Serenity sighed. She knew that she was being a bit hasty and a bit difficult, but this was a special day for her. Hopefully Joey could understand…

Turtle Game Shop

As Solomon swept away the front sidewalk at the shop, Yugi, Tristan, and Bakura were both bringing in today's shipment! Tristan and Bakura were both relieved that Yugi was back to his normal, optimistic self. He really gave them a scare when he didn't showed up, but the day after Joey woke up, Yugi began to become social again and started to once again hang out with his friends.

"So what's in the goods?" Tristan asked as they both brought in the boxes inside of the shop through the backdoor.

"Just a few new games!" Yugi explained. "There's this new Pocket Monster game where you can customize your own monster then train it well enough to battle it out with your friends. A very interesting concept!"

"Hmm… maybe I should give it a try…" Bakura suggested. "It may be fun, after all!"

"It may be fun to you, but my wallet says differently." Tristan turned to Yugi. "How much is one of those Pocket Monsters gonna to cost?"

"Actually, I'm not so sure…" Yugi admitted as he set a box on the counter. "I'll have to check the shelf price first, then comes the discounts for it being here. After all, it's what sets us apart from the other game shops!"

"Speaking of whom, where is Devlin anyway?" Tristan looked around. "Surprised Dice Boy hasn't showed up yet."

"Well he does have his own game shop to run!" Yugi reminded. "Which reminds me, we're starting to stock up on Dungeon Dice Monsters!"

"Yugi, you can't be serious!" Tristan snapped. "You're actually supporting that creep?"

"Tristan, the only reason why you don't like him is because he's your rival for Serenity's affections."

"No, it's not because of that! I mean, you know-" Tristan was interrupted by a humorous sight. He nearly busted a gut from preventing his laughter as Yugi and Bakura also watched as through the open door, Serenity was basically dragging Joey inside of the shop.

"Sis, calm down!" Joey tried to gain some control over his sister's enthusiasm, but it just wouldn't do.

"Come on, we're almost there!" Serenity chirped as she basically ran towards the counter. However, as she scanned the case… "Aww…they're out! Honestly, if you weren't so much of a slacker…"

"Look, it's not like they would've been there if we would've camped out here, they've been out of them for weeks!" Joey explained.

"You're just saying that to make up the fact that you're too damn lazy!" Serenity frowned. "Honestly, for someone who has a paper route, you're sure not much of a morning person!"

"What's wrong?" Yugi asked as Joey sighed…

"Serenity wants to buy a starter deck." He explained. "Problem is we haven't had the best of luck looking for 'em."

"And apparently they don't have any here, still…"Serenity sighed in disappointment.

"Cheer up, Serenity!" Joey placed a hand on her shoulder. "If we don't find a Starter deck, we could do the next best thing…"

"Like what? A starter deck contains all the cards that are important for any deck. Like Trap cards, Spell cards…"

Joey dug into his pocket as he proceeded to pull out a $20. "An average deck only contains 40 cards, and the packs usually contain nine cards. So if you buy five and you'll get 45 cards."

"True, but what if they are completely useless and otherwise a waste of deck space?"

"…Er… let me worry about that, sis!" Joey slapped the bill on the counter top. "Yuge, spot me five packs."

"Are you sure that you should be throwing away money like that?" Serenity reminded, "Your bank balance isn't exactly the greatest! After all, isn't Arisa's birthday coming up?"

"Like I said! Let me worry about that, sis!" Joey said again before asking. "Now, which card packs would you like?"

"Umm… well…" Serenity looked around as she saw various kinds of packs. But there were a few that caught her eye. "Hey, isn't Yugi on the picture of that pack over there?" Serenity pointed to a silver box that contained a picture of Yugi with a duel disk with the title "Dark Beginnings Vol. 1." She then saw another pack with Yugi's picture, only this one was gold and was titled "Dark Revelations Vol. 1." "Pegasus must really like Yugi a lot!"

"Well, when you're the king of games, it is something to be expected." Bakura stated as Serenity pointed to the mentioned boxes of packs. "I'll take three Dark Beginnings and two Dark Revelations!"

"You'll get 12 cards per pack so you'll have more than enough for a deck, now." Joey stated as Serenity looked at the packs she had received from Yugi.

"Do you think I could make a deck out of these cards?" Serenity asked as everyone looked away. "Umm… Is there something wrong?"

"Err…Serenity? The thing is that you can't really make a deck just by simply buying packs." Joey explained. "You have to be very lucky to manage to do that."

"Okay then…" Serenity gave the packs back to a surprised Yugi.

"Umm…Serenity, what are you doing?" The shorter teen asked as Serenity only smiled.

"Joey, would you do the honors for me?" She asked sweetly.

"Say what?" The blonde responded. "Why?"

"But you're the expert at pulling what you need!" She reminded in a somewhat whiny tone as Tristan snickered.

"She needs your power of luck, Joey!" He taunted, which caused Joey to scratch his chin, but in a way where his middle finger was on his cheek, the cheek that was "conveniently" facing Tristan. "Yeah, that's real mature…"

"Yugi, pass me the boxes…" He simply said with a sigh.

"Okay Joey, but remember! Serenity is really counting on you." Yugi replied as he brought the boxes towards him, looking to have fun with this.

"Okay… Let's just get this over with." Joey closed his eyes as he went through the boxes. "Feel the energies… Feel the energies…" He said repeatedly as he picked up one pack? "Nah…" He placed it back into the box as he picked up another one. "Nah, probably crap cards." Five minutes later, after a lot of second and third thoughts, he finally selected his five. "Okay Serenity, you open them."

She nodded as she opened her new packs. As for the cards themselves, they were a lot that could be useful as well as some that were indeed quite powerful. Of course there had to be the ones that were completely worthless and required key cards that appeared to not be present in her open pack, but there was one card that stood out… "Wow… Do you know what this card does?"

Yugi walked over as he and Joey examined the card itself. "It's Double Spell!" Yugi explained. "With this card you can use your opponent's spell card in the graveyard!"

"Sounds cool!" Serenity smiled.

"Yeah, but it's gonna have to cost ya one of your own to use. Otherwise it'd be unbalanced." Joey explained. "That's why we have ban lists in the first place! Otherwise the playing field will be one-sided with elitist piece of sh…" He saw Serenity's face. "Scum like Kaiba pissing everyone off while poor broke schmos like yours truly never having a chance at the top! I mean, it's still kinda this way now, but as long as we keep improvin' our game maybe one day this would truly be a game where everyone has a chance. I mean if Yugi can beat Kaiba, someone else might have a chance."

"But you took on Kaiba numerous times and you still couldn't beat him!" Serenity reminded which caused Joey's eyes to narrow. "Well, you could've beaten him with that one card, but you decided not to use it!"

"She's got a point, Einstein!" Tristan added.

"You just had to bring that up, didn't ya?" Joey replied.

"I'm surprised that you haven't even tried the Soul of the Duelist packs again." Yugi expressed his thoughts. "Isn't there a certain card that you need from those packs?"

"Yuge, after that Fiasco at the…" Joey notices Serenity, "Y'know, I just basically said Fu…er… Screw it. I never got to see the card first hand and I probably never will. At least I have something to keep for a collector's value."

"Come on Joey, I'm sure you'll be successful this time!" Serenity said, with optimism in her voice.

"Yeah Joey! You're sure to get it this time!" Yugi said with optimism equally enough to match Serenity's.

"Look at it this way. If you don't, you'd at least get some cards to go with your deck!" Tristan reminded.

Joey ignored Tristan's remarks as Yugi pulled out a box of the Soul of the Duelist packs as Joey, after he placed four dollars on the table, reached inside of the box. "C'mon… Let it be the one let it be the one…" The blonde's eyes closed as his fingers went over each pack available in the box. There's only three packs in here. It'd at least make it easier to find… A'right this is the one!"

Serenity blinked, "Really Joey?"

"Yeah! I can feel it!" Joey pulled out the chosen pack as he ripped open the wrapper, pulling out the cards. "C'mon, show me the rare show me the rare…" A smile showed on Joey's face as he cycled through the cards. This had to be the one. He could feel it. It was the rarest one in the box, so it couldn't have been crap. However… when he got to the rare… "FUCK!"

"What? What's wrong?" Yugi and Serenity asked at the same time.

"I got an ultimate rare…" Joey explained as he then showed the "Ultimate Rare." "Of Charcoal Inpachi… Charcoal Fucking Inpachi!"

"Joey, you did it again!" Serenity reminded him, a bit in a scolding manner. "You said the F-word, twice!"

"Cry me a river…" He waved off.

"Well Joey, you did get a highly-rare card. Too bad it just had to suck!" Tristan snickered.

"I got better things to do…" Joey turned around as he walked away.

"C'mon Joey! What do you have to do today! I mean it's Sunday!" Serenity asked. "Why can't we hang with our friends?"

"'Risa's B-day's coming up and I gotta look for something to get her! So I'm probably gonna spend all day at the mall!"

"Well, for a suggestion, you could just give her…" Tristan snickered, "A card like that that Ultimate Rare card you're holding right now!"

"At least I have a girlfriend to get a gift for!" Joey countered to stop Tristan's laughing. Once the brunette's mouth was silenced, he replied, "That's what I thought!"

"Where is Duke, anyway?" Bakura asked. Nobody has seen him at all this morning. Usually he'd be here along with Tristan.

"Don't know, don't care!" Tristan flat-out said. The less Devlin was around, the better chance he had with Serenity… That is if Joey didn't get in the way first.

"Tristan, that's not nice!" Serenity scolded as the brunette sighed.

"I know, but…I just hate him…." He responded in a semi-whiny tone. Ironic, as if on cue, the door of the pawn shop opened as a teen only dressed in his boxers stumbled in, his long ebony hair in his face. From the way he appeared, apparently he was on the worst end of a fight. "Umm…what's up?"

"Are you okay?" Yugi rushed over to the collapsing visitor, who sniffled a bit. When the shorter boy gained closer, his eyes went wide. "Duke?"

"…They got me…" He said in a whiny tone. "They cleaned me out…"

"Damn Devlin, what happened to you?" Tristan asked, trying his best to maintain his laugher. He only wished he had his camera with him! This was priceless!

"Fuck you, Taylor…" Duke said as Yugi rushed to get him a robe!

"Damn Duke, could ya just covered up before showin' here?" Joey covered Serenity's eyes. "Y'know we gotta minor in here!" That comment earned him a stiff elbow to the midsection…

"Honestly, I'm almost 16!" She replied. She was growing tired of her brother's overprotective nature to the point where she was going to have sex with the first guy she saw just because of it.

Domino National Park

Arisa sighed as she sat under a tree, cross-legged as she looked over the contents of her deck. The same questions were asked again. 'What the hell?' She thought to herself as she looked at three of her favorite cards: Dunames Dark Witch, Magician's Valkyria, and of course Dark Magician Girl. As much as she hated, loathed, and despised admitting it and was desperately looking to prove that it was a matter of Téa lucksacking Jowgen and Last Turn, she knew deep down that it was her underestimation of the brunette girl that led to her downfall. She had to admit that Téa's Fire Empress Magician was powerful and led to a few close calls!

She took a look at her other cards such as Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and Apprentice Magician. They were also served to do whatever she needed done in a duel, whether if it was to get rid of a monster that could be revived from the grave earlier, or quick tribute bait for her Magician girls. Now it was time make a serious decision on her deck, considering which cards to keep and which to ditch.

Of course, she took out Red Eyes Black Dragon from her deck, instead placing it in a picture frame to treasure. It was indeed powerful, but it clashed with her Magician Girl theme. That lowered her card count to 39, leaving one card to be decided to take its place.

"Hey Arisa!"

The blonde shook, startled from the voice from behind as she turned around. She then gave a small smile. "Oh hi! What are you doing here?"

"Just enjoying a day at the park." Mokuba admitted as he took a seat next to her. "Aren't you usually with Joey!"

"Yeah, but Serenity's really looking forward to her Starter Deck." Arisa sighed, "I tried telling the girl that they've been out of them for months, but she just refuses to believe it. Well…not just me, but Joey, Yugi, Tristan… We would've gone to Duke's shop, but Tristan just had to complain. Anyway, while they're doing that, I just took the time to come down here and relax." She said with a sigh. "How about you?"

"Well, Seto's at work as usual so I'm basically on my own to find something to do!" He admitted. "Still would be nice if Seto would take a day off and hang out like a normal teenager for once!"

"Does your brother work all the time like this?"

"Yeah!" Mokuba sighed. "It's like my brother has disappeared and left a father figure in his place. I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything, but I sometimes wish that Seto could be the way he was, before Gozaburo came into our lives."

Arisa looked at the ebony-haired boy as she couldn't help but feel sorry for him. Kaiba was the only family he had, despite being a total douche, and even then he couldn't spend time with him because of his work. And knowing that he was basically giving up doing the things normal teenagers his age were doing right now in order to support the both of them, in a way the blonde felt a bit sorry for him. However, what neither Arisa nor Mokuba noticed, was a black van driving up from behind them as the door to said van opened… Out stepped two well-built men dressed in black complete with a black ski mask.

"S'that 'em?" One asked.

"Yeah, word said that he was small enough!" The other responded.

"An' the ho?"

"Snatch her, too! We could have some fun with her, G!"

"So what are you going to do now?" Mokuba asked as Arisa let out a sigh.

"Well, might as well head down to Kaiba Corp to see what's up!" Arisa admits. "We need to see how Kara's doing."

"Kara?" Mokuba blinked in confusion before he remember. "Oh right, she's there to see-HEY!" He was cut-off by a hand wrapping around his head.

"Mokuba? HEY-" Arisa too was soon grabbed from behind as the two thugs held tightly on to their capture.

"Dayum bitch, hold still!" One of them hissed as the girl, who was now flailing her legs to break free from hold. He soon felt teeth on his hand which cause him to scream loudly! "YOU FUCKING BITCH!" He snapped as he then proceeded to hit her hard with a headbutt, knocking the blonde unconscious!"

"Arisa!" Mokuba yelled, a bit muffled by the hand as his captor smirked.

"Throw her in 'tha van!" He ordered as his partner draped the unconscious girl over his shoulder. "I'm sure my man'll be happy about this!"

Kame Game Shop

"Duke, don't tell me that you just went over to that place!" Joey slapped a hand onto his head. After what has happened the last time he went there, how it almost cost him his life and how it made Yugi go out of control, one would think that he wouldn't have to worry about anyone going there, let alone his friends.

"I was just driving by in my limo before I saw a couple of guys playing a dice game. Being known as the ultimate dice master, I couldn't resist going to see what kind of game they were playing!" Duke explained, having since placed on a robe.

Tristan narrowed his eyes. "You mean to tell me that you stopped just to play a freaking game of dice?"

"Hey, I was winning!" Duke snapped back. "It was going really well, until they showed up…"

"What happened?" Yugi asked.

"They robbed everyone, told all of us to strip down! Since there were plenty of girls there, I thought it wouldn't have been so bad, but they took everything from me! They even…" Duke sniffled a bit as a tear came from his eye.

"They even what?" Joey asked.

"THEY EVEN TOOK MY DICE EARRING!" Duke bawled as Serenity wrapped her arms around him. Comforting him.

"It'll be okay Duke…" She soothed the mentally broken Dungeon Dice Master, as Duke couldn't help but smile. He was actually this close to Serenity, even up to the point where he could feel her breasts brushing up against his arm and shoulder. The best part of it all? Taylor hated every moment of it. He knew that he'd like to punch him in the face right now, but that'd only make him look worse in Serenity's eyes. Too bad Spike-o: You snooze, you lose!

"Well…things seem to be a bit in order now, so I'm gonna bounce and work on finding 'Risa a B-day gift!" Joey informed as he proceeded to leave.

"Joey! Wait!" Tristan called out. "Don't tell me you're actually letting Serenity be even near Devlin's naked ass!" He complained. "Shouldn't you have been yelling, screaming, or better yet beating the living shit out of Devlin right now?"

Joey waved it off, "Nah… I believe Serenity can handle herself! 'Member what she did to Kaiba?"

"I know, but!"

"I'm out guys!" Joey yelled out to everyone as he proceeded to leave the shop. "Wish me luck!"

"I'm sure you'll find something!" Yugi encouraged.

"It may take a while, but you will manage to come up with something to give her that she'll love!" Bakura added as Tristan glared at the exiting blonde.

"Some friend you are, Wheeler! See if I help you again!" He shouted, but Joey was long gone! Damn that guy!


I'm getting somewhat of a writer's block now, but I don't want to stop yet, as I have three more stories in this AU in the works. And I have plenty of stories to finish. Anyhoo, things are looking to take a dark turn once more with the sudden abductions of Arisa and Mokuba. What will happen now? You'll have to find out later!