Announcement: Hello there everyone! Yeah, a new format. Pretty cool, eh? Anyway, this story is my new Love Triangle story, (insert anime happy face) but before we begin, I have a few things to say. First of all, main issue (and listen carefully, boys and girls)! NO! Sweet… Mercible… God, NO! Although the summary makes it seem so, this is NOT "Opticshipping!" (Shizuka x Pegasus) It is a PRO Pegasus story, yes, and yes it is romance, but I can assure you—that Pegasus has little to do with Shizuka in this story when it comes to love. (throws her arms up in the air) THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Okay, that is all I have to say. (Thumbs up and winks) Enjoy!


Disclaimer: I can assure you, that the 'only' things I own are Yu-Gi-Oh merchandise! (which means anywhere from Imported DVDs to Imported Cards and Video games—none of the American Crap) However, I probably own enough Yu-Gi-Oh stuff that you would think I do own it, but alas… Besides, Kazuki Takahashi is like a GOD! Moreover, you can't say you're GOD—people'll give you funny looks (eyes dart from side to side). He created the characters and the beautiful and perfectly constructed world of Yu-Gi-Oh. You just can't say you're him.
Plot: Not wanting to chicken out on Mai and Anzu's dare, Shizuka places her name into an international drawing contest. The prize? One Hundred Duel Monster cards of the winner's choice and spending a "whole" WEEK at Pegasus's mansion: No expenses. How will her boyfriend (Kaiba) and brother (Jounouchi) deal with it when after all, impossible odds, she wins?
Genre: Romance/Humor/Drama/General
Pairings:

Shizuka/Seto
Shizuka/Yakou
Pegasus/Cyndia (hinted)
Anzu/Yuugi
Anzu/Otogi
Jounouchi/Mai


Warning: Rated T (PG-13) (Parent Guidance Suggested) For sensuality, cursing and mature themes.
-Imperfect Paradise (Yamiko)

My Torture Ends A Week From Now
-
By Imperfect Paradise


-
-
-
-


-Chapter One-
The Conciliatory Dare


A tray that sat upon the table had various tints of yellows, reds, purples, and blues. The paint was oil based, in good quality (and most likely, abnormally priced) and in generous supply as well. The wooden tray was made of redwood, painted over with a special furnishing, which made it shine in what was left of the beautiful sunlight of the slowly withering orb, which was disappearing underneath the mountains on the other-side of the lake.

Pegasus J. Crawford was sitting out the balcony of his private estate, hunched over his chair, softly rubbing his paintbrush over the canvas of his 'painting under-way.' He was dressed in the attire he normally wore while painting—yellow blouse, suspenders, brown pants and liver colored loafers. His long silver hair had been pulled back behind his sideburns, revealing a yellow colored eye patch.

After spreading the red slightly around the border of the bluish purple lining, Pegasus J. Crawford leaned back for a brief moment, looking away from the canvas, averting his attention to tray, lightly dipping the tip of his brush into the cherry-orange colored saturated oil. He then turned back to his painting and lightly spread the beautiful color upon the ripples of the fading ocean.

However, it was only a few minutes before Pegasus leaned back once again, and narrowed his eyes, trying to decide whether or not to proceed with his work. Pegasus, being fastidious and difficult to please, only took two seconds to decide that the painting was a failure. Not only did the painting fail to capture his admiration, but also his enthusiasm and his will to go on. They had all but disappeared just as fast as the sun, which had finally vanished underneath the edge of mountainside.

In the darkness of the evening sky, Pegasus stood up on his balcony, reached for the painting, turned it right side up, and slammed it down upon his knee, snapping the canvas directly in half. Upon doing so, his nose wrinkled in disgust as he stared at paint, which had left splotched all over his fingers and parts of his pant leg.

Leaving the equipment on the balcony, Pegasus stormed into his chambers and walked over to the connecting bathroom on the left side of the room. Entering the room and switching on the light, he reached for the golden knob on the white, marble sink and turned on the hot water. He narrowed his eyes, grumbling to himself, washing the wet colors off of his hands.

After leaving the bathroom, while in the midst, drying his hands off with a white washcloth, a knock echoed through the doorway of his chambers. He rolled his remaining eye and called to the door, "What is it?"

The door remained closed for a moment, before a man, somewhere in his early sixties opened the door (rather sheepishly), allowing himself entry and spoke, "Master Pegasus, sir?"

Pegasus turned to him and gave him a nasty glare. He snapped, "I have already asked, 'what is it,' now—don't you think you should take that as your cue to get to the point, Croquet? Well?"

Croquet bowed and answered, "Yes sir… But I have some urgent news… Master Tenma Yakou (A/N 1) has arrived sir. He wishes to speak with you…"

Pegasus paused for a moment, stiffly taking in a little bit of air, before speaking, curtly, "Tell him I'll be down in a moment. In the meantime, take this—" With that, he threw the washcloth at Croquet, who instantly caught it in his hands."—to the wash, and then set up some refreshments for my discussion with Mr. Tenma—got it?"

Croquet bowed his head before him, speaking, "Yes master Pegasus sir…I'll carry out your orders at once" With that, he walked out of the room, as Pegasus proceeded to prepare for his up-coming meeting with the head of Industrial Illusion's Asia branch.


Pegasus emerged from the room, wearing his traditional apparel. His usual attire consisted of a white poet's shirt, his blood red polyester jacket fastened with golden buttons, with red pants to match it. His silver hair was no longer pulled back, but had fallen over his shoulders, giving him the look of some sort of colonial proprietor who had fallen out of his point of time. His eye patch had been removed, and his hair had been combed over so it covered up the scared flesh of where his left eye had once resided within.

He walked down the hallways, displaying sort of a proud posture, his arms lightly swinging from side to side, his steps small, yet formal. The hallways were all elegantly furnished, yellow colored walls with magenta carpets with white columns every now and then. Upon the walls were gorgeous tapestries and elaborate paintings, bringing true color to the room. Among many of the paintings were pictures of a beautiful woman with shimmering golden hair and blue eyes.

After traveling down these hallways for sometime, he reached a grand staircase, which connected to a parlor room inside the estate. There, standing next to a table with various assortments of pastries and sweets, was a man wearing a relatively similar outfit to his own. The man, in fact, looked very much like an adolescent version of himself. Indeed, the nineteen-year-old businessman had platinum silver hair, which fell down below his back and over his left shoulder. However, unlike Pegasus, his bangs were messy and layered, quite clearly displaying the mark of his youth. He had electrical bluish sterling silver eyes, which were staring right up at the top of the staircase, his attention locked directly on Pegasus. The man's name was Tenma Yakou—and he was the lead of Industrial Illusion's Asia Branch. Although young, he was gifted, talented and in possession of an incredibly high I.Q., capable of leading and commanding a company as well as any exceptional Corporate Executive Officer of the present day. Pegasus smirked, and simply walked down the staircase, never taking his eyes off the man before him. Tenma did the same. Once he reached the bottom of the staircase, he stood before Tenma and brought his hands out to his sides. He smiled as he spoke, "Welcome to my humble home, my brother Yakou…"

Tenma smirked back, before placing his right hand upon his left shoulder and bowed, and while in the midst of doing so, answered, "Pegasus-sama…"

Pegasus smirked before waving his hand, telling his business partner to rise. He placed his hand upon his shoulder, before saying, "There is no need to be so proper, Tenma-boy… You are like family to me—we must all get together now shouldn't we?"

Tenma smirked, before walking over to the table and sitting himself down into one of the white painted wooden chairs. Pegasus also pulled out a chair and sat down inside of it. Tenma helped himself to the teapot in the center of the table, pouring himself some of the cinnamon-lemon tinted water. Pegasus also reached over and helped himself to one of the powered white cookies from the tray.

"Do tell me, how is the weather is Japan?"

"It's lovely—sunshine, clouds, you know—usual spring weather? Also, cherry blossoms are blooming around this time, so it's rather nice..."

Pegasus nodded, before he looked up and asked, "And how is your brother? Getsukou?"

"He's doing well."

"Indeed."

Tenma, held the teacup with two of his hands, asked, his gaze lifting up to meet his superior's, "So… might I inquire upon the statistics of Industrial Illusions in the Americas?"

Pegasus, looking away from the cookie, looked up at Tenma who was politely sipping form his teacup. He answered, quietly, "Performing at the usual above average status—as it normally does… Why should this be of any concern, Tenma-boy?"

Tenma lowered his tea cup and muttered, "Just interested… I am kind of worried about Industrial Illusions right now…"

Pegasus, suddenly looked up from his sweet and asked, "Why would you be?"

Tenma set his teacup down and he stared directly at Pegasus, who had taken to nibbling on the sugar coveted sweet. He sighed, and then reached inside of his jacket and pulled out what looked like part of a newspaper. He tossed it onto Pegasus's side of the table and muttered, "See for yourself…"

Pegasus reached out for the newspaper and his eyebrows widened at what was on the front page. It featured a young eighteen year old with chestnut colored hair and sharp cobalt blue colored eyes, wearing a white suit business suit with a tie to match it. He knew who it was. The one and only Seto Kaiba. In the picture, the young CEO was holding something electronic that Pegasus had never seen before. The item was emblazed with the o-so-familiar logo, featuring two bold blue letters, one hovering over the other: K.C. (Kaiba Corporation). In the picture, Kaiba had his traditional smirk upon his face, and he looked rather pleased with himself. For some strange and odd reason, this worried Pegasus.

Tenma spoke with a bitter tone in his voice, "Kaiba Corporation made another break-through today… K.C. Battle Pilots. Apparently, it is a newly manufactured hand-held dueling system that has card data from duelists worldwide. (Pegasus raised an eyebrow in response to this) I wouldn't be surprised if your data was in it…"

Pegasus swallowed what was left of the cookie. He asked, "Really?"

Tenma sighed, "And on top of that—there is no need for real duel monster cards. Of course, you can input the card ID into the device and the computer will process it, adding it to your data deck—as Kaiba calls them."

Pegasus pointed out, "Well that is good—they'll need the actual card in order to get the code…"

"Don't be so sure… In these games—you can unlock virtual cards simply by defeating the A.I. generated duelists. In addition, people can battle each other by using an infrared device installed on the side of the gaming consuls. Players can also trade their virtual cards in for different ones. Pretty soon, there will be no need for actual cards…"

Pegasus heard this and averted his attention to the ground. He bit his lip and thought aggressively, 'Kaiba boy—you…' He snarled, clutching his fist, almost shaking in anger after hearing this regretful news. He then looked up and asked, "Have they been launched into the market yet?"

Tenma answered, "No… However, Kaiba had recently held a convention, in honor of this catastrophe, and several local residents had tested them out. The news he had received from the guests, has benefited him greatly…"

Pegasus snatched another cookie from the platter, and hissed, "That damn Kaiba boy—and right after I released those Threat of the Undead and Power of the Dragon structure decks too… (A/N 2) Does that adolescent twit have any idea how much money I invested into the production of designing those decks?"

Tenma rolled his eyes, "That's Kaiba boy for you; Always trying to put us in trajectory of his own dust—that scum-bag…" He reached up for his teacup and sipped, right after muttering, "I still have no idea why you gave him the rights to your product."

Pegasus stared at Tenma and narrowed his eyes. He spoke, "And that it shall remain…" With that, he reached for his teacup and sipped from it, putting an end to that conversation. His reasons for doing so had been fueled from the deep passions residing within his heart. His darkest secrets and desires. The desire, which had fueled him during the whole Duelist Kingdom event. However, no one was ever to know about that. Ever… Yuugi and his friends had been an exception. When the other Yuugi had demanded to know what his motives had been during the whole ordeal of the Duelist Kingdom competition, what else was there to say? Tenma—had also been aware of Pegasus's intentions. However, Tenma, being young and naïve, still couldn't quite piece together why something as farfetched as that was worth selling the rights to a multi-million dollar product into the hands of a company that would have most likely and would betray them in the end for their own personal profit. Now that Pegasus thought about it, the boy had been right.

However, despite how much it seemed that the horrid unhappiness of Kaiba's new product had been placed behind them (at least temporarily) in their conversation, Tenma, was rather reluctant to let go of the situation as easily as his superior had done.

He spoke, straightforwardly, "Sir… At this rate—our company's stocks will be washed away. There will be nothing left and we will have to merge with Kaiba Corporation—and I don't mean that in a good way…"

Pegasus hissed, nearly cracking the teacup in his hands, "I'd prefer to die than to allow Kaiba-boy to have authority over me…"

Tenma replied, while in the midst, pouring some more tea into his saucer, "I as well… So… What do you suggest we do about this?"

Pegasus sipped from the tea, curtly, before setting it down on the table again, before muttering, "After hearing of the brink of this soon to come quarantine —I'm ready for any bright ideas…"

Upon hearing these words, Tenma smirked, as if he had been waiting for Pegasus to say that… He set his own teacup down and spoke, "Might I suggest something I had in mind." He entwined his fingers together and said, slyly, "I suggest we hold an event that would raise our company's publicity…"

Pegasus sighed, "How, though? No competition could fix this, nor could it work. I can no longer play the role as the invincible king of duelists, and I doubt that Yuugi-boy would help us out with this."

Tenma waved Pegasus's concern away and spoke, "No… not a tournament… I was thinking of a different kind of contest…"

Pegasus raised an eyebrow. He asked, "What type of contest…"

Tenma answered, "A regular lottery styled contest—or should I say a drawing?" Both of Pegasus's eyebrows rose. Tenma continued, "There will be a total of one thousand, one hundred and one prizes. One thousand winners would receive a pack of cards or something like that, something really simple that our company can afford to loose—one hundred would receive an intermediate styled deck, that wouldn't be too big of a loss…"

Pegasus smirked, "I like the sound of this… What of the grand prize…?"

Tenma bit his lip, pausing for a moment. It was followed by an awkward silence. Pegasus looked up at him and asked, "Yes?"

Tenma answered/lied quickly, "I haven't quite figured that one out yet…"

Pegasus smirked, obviously knowing that his partner had something in mind, yet he was rather reluctant to say what it was… He leaned closer to Tenma, looking at him dead in the eye and spoke, "Tenma-boy… I have had plenty of experience when dealing with these types of situations—I know you have something in mind…"

Tenma paled a bit, regretting ever coming up with something as pathetic and as stupid as his idea. After a moment of more sustained silence, he leaned back in his chair and spoke, "You know how much I hate Kaiba, right?"

Pegasus smirked and responded, "Is that a rhetorical question?"

Tenma continued, sweat pouring down the nape of his neck, "Well… I was kind of thinking… that… well… Him? Being the arrogant and snotty bastard that he is—and is rather well known for it in our level of society would be…"

"Yes?"

Tenma gulped before answering, "Well—if it ever got out that you were a more decent and pleasantly tempered person than he was— it could and would most probably raise the customer's trust in you and may result in them buying more of our company's goods…"

Pegasus chuckled, instantly recognizing and loving the compliment that his business partner was giving to him. He answered, "I like the sound of that… Now—tell me how this falls into the grand prize of this contest?"


"Mint Chocolate Chip."

"Lemon Sorbet…"

"Okay, and what can I get you, dear?"

Shizuka looked up from the ground, stared at the smiling lady, but then suddenly looked away again, revealing that she was one of a shy and gentle nature. However, knowing that she probably looked a little unusual in the eyes of the shopkeeper, she opened her mouth and answered quietly, "Mocha Almond Fudge… Please."

The woman smiled, nodded once, and then reached for one of the ice-cream scoops before flipping up the counter, ready to retrieve the flavors requested by the three young women.

As the woman began to fulfill their orders, Anzu turned towards Mai and wrinkled her nose. She asked with distaste laced upon her words, "Lemon sorbet?"

Mai turned towards Anzu and gave her one of her classic I-am-superior-to-you smirks, also winking one of her brilliant grape colored eyes. She then brought her hands out to the side and shrugged a bit as she drawled, "Well, yes, hon… I am a single and an attractive woman, so I have to watch my figure you know…" She then giggled a bit and swished her hair to the side, showing off the beautiful sunlight that radiated off her beautiful and silky golden locks. Some of the men in the ice cream parlor couldn't help but gape opened mouthed at the site of the magnificent appearing twenty four year old. It was not everyday when you saw a babe like that. God—they could have only imagined what her large and perfect breasts looked like when— However, when Mai turned towards them, glaring at them with a deplorable expression, they instantly looked away.

Anzu rolled her eyes, instantly reaching for her ice-cream shake (it was already finished) and sipped through the straw with pursed lips, but not before muttering "men" under her breath. Mai, who continued to glare at the men even as they ran out of the store, seemed to feel the same way. Shizuka, however, simply ignored them, and continued to wait patiently for her ice-cream shake.

In time, they walked out of the store, holding their individual pink emblazed cups, sipping from their straws. After only a few gulps, Mai took one last, rather long sip of her drink, before tossing it and over half of her drink into the trashcan. Apparently, she had regretted the decision of picking out that flavor too.

Anzu removed her lips from her drink, narrowed her eyes and said, snottily, "What a waste, Mai…"

Mai sighed, placed her hands on her hips and complained, "They must have messed up on the production of that flavor! Seriously! I swear I was tasting vinegar in that ice-cream—sickening!"

Anzu sighed, and continued to sip her mint shake, loving the sweet and cool taste it gave. As they continued to walk the streets of downtown Domino City, Anzu and Shizuka continued to drink from their shakes. Mai, on the other hand, was bored—and having lost her shake, there was nothing else to do other than walk. To her, such amusements were nothing but trivialities to her. She turned towards Shizuka and Anzu, smiled—revealing most of her molars, and asked, "So… Anzu, Shizuka? Have you guys found some part-time jobs yet?"

Shizuka suddenly looked away, her face flushing slightly, while Anzu smiled brightly. Anzu responded, with a happy twist to her words, "Oh—Otogi got me a job at his store."

Mai's eyebrows suddenly rose as she instantly remembered something. She giggled again as she asked, "Oh, yes… Speaking of which, how are you two doing together, hmm?" She leaned down towards Anzu, and gave her a pleading look.

Anzu smiled, just before whispering, "Oh." Her smile then faltered, as she released a small giggle, obviously embarrassed of revealing what she was going to say. She then whispered, "Last night—after dinner, we went to the roof-top of his store and…" She then gave the streets a glance, before she whispered something into Mai's ear, (whose eyes widened) and then into Shizuka's, who almost instantly choked on her straw. After Mai had gasped, and just after Shizuka had recovered, Shizuka turned towards her friend and coughed out, "Anzu!" Mai, on the other hand, grinned and said with both awe and admiration for her young friend, "You didn't…"

Anzu chuckled and before answering, holding herself proudly up in the air, "Oh yes, we did…"

Mai let out a hearty laugh and slapped her hand on Anzu's shoulder. Then, pulling her into a headlock, she said, a broad smile upon her face, "I never knew you had it in you Anzu—(Anzu smiled) keep this up and you'll have a home-run in no-time…" (A/N 3)

Anzu gasped and before saying, shaking her head in doubt, "Oh… Um… Well, I don't know if I'll ever go that far, nevertheless with Otogi…"

Mai shook her head, and released Anzu, just before sighing as she pouted, "Yes… well… I guess you are still a bit too young for that…"

Shizuka turned towards Mai and said shocked, "Of course she is! How could you saying something like that, Mai!"

Anzu looked at Shizuka, oddly. She asked, "What do you mean?"

Shizuka stared at them outraged as she responded, "Seriously, Mai! (she turned towards Anzu, who stepped backwards) And you too, Anzu! I can't believe you are talking about such base and heinous activities at such a young age. We're still in high school, Anzu." She then looked back at her shake and muttered, "I can't believe Otogi would do something like that…"

Anzu narrowed her eyes and placed her hands on top of her hips as she said, matter-of-factly, "Oh… Are you still a little mad because he isn't doting upon you like he was before…"

Shizuka turned towards Anzu and narrowed her eyes. What Anzu said had upset her. However, Anzu was half-right. Otogi used to admire her as if she was the morning sun during Battle City and the Alcatraz tower Competition. However, Anzu was wrong about one thing. She wasn't in the least bit mad. In fact, Shizuka wasn't nearly as naïve as everyone thought she was. In truth, she, too, had noticed that both Otogi and Honda were a little obsessive when it came to her so-called "protection" during the dangerous events that plagued Kaiba's tournament. In fact, she was almost glad that Otogi chose to go after Anzu. She said, quietly, "I'm not mad—I was never mad… I'm happy for you Anzu—I am, it's just—" She then stopped, blushing a little bit.

Mai and Anzu looked at each other, before giving Shizuka a look that made Shizuka feel a little irritated. Mai chuckled before saying softly, "Oh… I'm sorry… Are we talking about things that are too mature and quote on quote 'heinous' for you?"

Shizuka looked up at them and stared at them, slightly confused. What did they just ask her? Her confused look was replaced by an annoyed sort of glance, as she asked "What is that supposed to mean!"

Mai chuckled a bit, something cruel coming to her mind. She did feel bad doing this too Shizuka, but it was fun all the same. She stopped giggling as she continued, "Shizuka—you're too sweet and quiet… You play the game as if you are the damsel in distress—and even that is too mature for your part."

Shizuka just stared at them, a little confused. Anzu smirked, (also wishing to take part) while adding to their conversation, admitted, "You'll never get a boy-friend at this rate…"

Shizuka heard this and glared at them, shamelessly. She then asked, both intimidated and slighting intimidating, "What are you trying to say?"

Mai sighed and stopped, placing her hand on her hips. She turned towards Shizuka and flat-out said it. "Shizuka—you're a wimp! W-I-M-P Wimp!"

Shizuka's jaw dropped. 'What did she just say?' she thought. Mai continued, in hopes of milking it in for all it was worth, "You keep your feelings bottled up, you never jump at any opportunity for glory, and you have never, ever have tried to please a man—"

Shizuka looked directly at her and snapped, "Why would I want to?"

Mai pointed at her and stated, grinning almost evilly, "See! I'm right! I am absolutely right!"

Anzu butted in and said, "You know, Shizuka, she's makes an excellent point… You're just too shy…"

Shizuka rolled her eyes, knowing perfectly well about Mai and Anzu's intentions. She muttered, trying very hard to hide a scowl, "Whatever." With that, she nearly threw her drink into the nearest trashcan, and continued to walk. However, as she continued to walk, she thought, 'But still… Are they right about me?' As she walked with them, refusing to look at them in the eyes, Mai grinned, showing that she was quite pleased with herself. Anzu, however, having noticed that Mai had gone over the edge, knew perfectly well that Mai had indeed tampered with Shizuka's feelings. Anzu, also dropped her drink into a nearby trashcan and turned towards Shizuka. She asked, "Oh… uh, Shizuka… Have you had any luck in finding a job yet?"

Mai heard this and teased, "And have you found a hunk in the process of doing so, dear, or is that just too 'heinous' for you as well?"

Shizuka stiffened a moment, (becoming rather annoyed at this point) before turning away again, blushing. Mai's eyebrows moved up again with an bemused appearance and asked, "Could it be that I am right?"

Shizuka continuing to look away, in attempts of trying to hide her cherry-red face, before she answered, "Well… I sort of… got a job…"

Anzu asked, interested, "What do you mean by 'sort of?'"

Shizuka looked up at Anzu and explained, "Anzu—you know very well that sophomores aren't even supposed to apply for a job.—"

Anzu added, "And freshmen…"

Shizuka continued, "Whatever—doesn't matter, I'm a sophomore—that's what counts. As I was saying, it's against the rules! I mean, it's school policy! You can only apply for a job if you are a junior or above. So, I applied for a simple job that meets the school's requirements for someone of my age…"

Anzu looked bewildered. She asked, "Well… What is it?"

Shizuka answered, "Baby-sitting…"

Mai snorted before saying haughtily, "That isn't a real job!"

Shizuka insisted, placing her hand on her chest as she faced Mai, "It is for me! It is the closest thing I have to employeement! I do it four times a week, and I get paid a decent amount of income."

Mai asked, although, not really caring, "How much?"

Shizuka pondered for a moment. She then answered, "About… um… anywhere from one hundred to two hundred dollars a day…"

Anzu's eyes widened and Mai gasped. Anzu asked, "Are you serious?"

Mai stared at her nearly gaping. She then asked, completely bewildered, "Who in the "world" would pay 'that' much for… how many hours, Shizuka?"

Shizuka answered, "From three in the afternoon to six in the evening…"

Mai muttered wiping her forehead, "Jesus Christ…"

Anzu then asked her, "Shizuka… I can't believe someone would actually go that far pay that much for three hours a day. Just who is this person?"

Shizuka heard this and her eyes widened. She then looked away. Mai took that into account immediate, but was not quite sure what to make of it. Anzu looked at her and asked, "Shizuka—what is it?"

Shizuka muttered, fondling with her own hands, blushing to the point where her cheeks were completely red, "I'm not quite comfortable at giving out his name…"

Mai suddenly squealed with delight, causing Shizuka to glare at her. She then cooed and asked, while at the same time, trying to get in Shizuka's face, "Oh, so it is a man! Do tell us his name, Shizuka—the man who has stolen your heart…"

Just as Mai pretended to faint, Shizuka turned towards Mai and snapped, "He has not 'stolen' my heart!" She then looked away and placed her hands over her chest, "In fact, I can't stand him!"

Mai smirked and continued to taunt the auburn-haired girl. She cooed, "Oh getting emotional, are we, Shizuka?"

Anzu rolled her eyes, getting a little annoyed with Mai at this point herself. Continuing to walk, she looked directly ahead, and muttered, "Be reasonable Mai… Shizuka's probably just pulling our legs. I mean, seriously, the only person who would go that far for baby sitting and fit all of Shizuka's descriptions would only be none other than Seto Kai—"

Anzu suddenly stopped walking. Mai and Shizuka did as well. Anzu then stiffened and spun around so she was facing Shizuka. She stared at Shizuka with wide eyes her mouth opened a bit. Shizuka looked away again, not wanting to make eye contact. Anzu gasped, "No…"

Shizuka remained silent, refusing to continue to conversation. Anzu spoke, not daring to believe it, "Shizuka—you cannot be serious!"

Mai looked at her and asked, "Working for Kaiba? Are you mad!"

Shizuka turned towards them and explained, "Well… he needed someone… Well… Mokuba needed someone… The job hadn't been filled, so I—"

Anzu turned around so she was facing Shizuka, pausing her in her tracks. She grasped Shizuka by the shoulders, looked her directly in the eyes and commanded, "Shizuka—do yourself a favor! Quit now while you have the chance!"

Shizuka looked at her and asked, confused, "Why? I haven't had any problems in the last two weeks of my employment."

Anzu heard this and shrieked, "Two weeks! Just how long have you been working for him!"

Shizuka, changing her position, answered, truthfully, "Since the end of last month…"

Anzu just continued to stare, opened mouthed, appalled at her friend's little sister, while as Mai shook her head, almost pitying the young girl. In time, Mai let out a sigh and muttered, "Don't say I didn't warn you kiddo—but if I were you, I would sleep on it. Kaiba is nothing but a selfish and cold-hearted person who will probably fire you in time."

Shizuka heard this, and instantly looked down at the ground. Deep down inside, she knew that Mai and Anzu were probably right—but… However…

True, when she had applied for the position of babysitting and tutoring Seto Kaiba's little brother, Mokuba, she, in fact, had suffered some discriminating from the arrogant Corporative Executive Officer during her job interview. During that time, Shizuka had to do all she could do to prevent tears from falling from her eyes—she knew that Kaiba was immune to such actions and loathed them all the same. However, for some miraculous reason, Kaiba had ended up hiring her. In fact, when he had left the room, Kaiba's gaze softened a bit—or at least his eyes lost at least lost some of their icy influence.

During her first couple of weeks of tutoring Mokuba—the hours were lengthy and tiresome—Mokuba had no intent to participate when it came to his homework. It seemed as if he had expected Shizuka to do all the work for him. Shizuka told him that wasn't the way it worked, earning herself a scowl from the young child. As if that wasn't hard enough, sometimes Kaiba would come home early, in order to (as he called it) 'observe' Shizuka during her term of employment. Most of the time, he watched with a rueful smirk in his eyes and almost laughed when Mokuba kicked the table, knocking his textbook to the floor. It proved to be very stressful for Shizuka.

However, in time (as slow as it was), things steadily began to look up. With Shizuka's gentle and placid guidance—Mokuba began to improve in his studies—slowly yes, but reasonable for someone of his educational level. Mokuba in fact, had come to grow somewhat attached to Shizuka. Kaiba, however, continued to watch them, and Shizuka did her part by simply ignoring him.

What really made Shizuka feel uneasy though, was that during her most recent day of work, when Kaiba had done what Yuugi and the others deemed impossible for Kaiba to perform. As skilled as he was in the fields of dueling and business, he had always seemed to lack one little quality: Kindness. Therefore, when he had looked in Shizuka's direction and smiled at her—it nearly scared Shizuka out of her pink-colored school uniform. By god, he had smiled at her. Her! Shizuka Kawai—the sister of the quote on quote 'mutt' whom Kaiba enjoyed taunting and teasing until no end. The so-called little girl that no one ever noticed nor seemed to think was of any importance. Imagine that. But why? Why would he do something like that?

Her thoughts were interrupted when Anzu interrupted the silence. Anzu cleared her throat and stated, "Well, anyway—I have to go to my part-time job at the Black Crown. Shizuka, you want to come? It is Friday, after all…I mean, you don't work today, right?"

Shizuka looked at Anzu and said, "I guess…"

Anzu smiled and turned towards Mai. She asked, "How about you, Mai?"

Mai brushed her hair behind her back before saying, "I would be delighted…"

With that, they set off in the direction of the Black Crown—where Anzu's "someone-nice" was in fact, managing and preparing for the biggest event yet to come…


The trio could have never said that they had been in an extremely crowded and claustrophobic store. For that store would have been nothing compared to the mess at the Black Crown. The place was so packed with people that the masses stretched way outside of the store and nearly into the street. The traffic was going by very, very slowly, and cops were managing both them and the people, making sure they didn't do anything stupid. As Anzu, Mai and Shizuka approached the building, their jaws nearly dropped at the site of it.

Mai stared at it and asked in amazement, "What in God's name is going on?"

Anzu stared at it, opened mouthed and said nothing, only shaking her head from side to side. Shizuka turned towards Anzu and asked, "Anzu—what's going on? Was a new product released or something?"

Anzu answered, "Well… The only things I know of that we have been expecting are Kaiba Corporation's Battle Pilots—but they aren't supposed to be released in our store for… well… a while."

Mai looked at it and asked, "So… what do you think all the commotion is about?"

Anzu however, ignored Mai and began to jog towards the store. She instantly pulled out a badge from her pocket (featuring the logo of the black crown and her name) and began pushing her way through the crowd. Shizuka and Mai heard her call out commands, which included, "Out of the way!" "I'm staff!" and "Let me through!" Taking off after Anzu, they began to navigate themselves through the floods of the costumers, receiving hurtful statements, such as "Watch it, bitch!" and "Hey, I'm in line here!" along with many other harsh and rude comments that made Shizuka almost cringe.

Once they had gotten into the shop, they noticed Anzu and a very familiar young man with long black hair. Otogi, conveniently enough happened to look their way and asked, "Mai-san? Shizuka-chan? What are you too doing here?"

Mai stared at him bitterly and hissed, "Cut the crap, Otogi—what in the world is going on here!" She then pouted as she looked at her reflection in the mirror on the wall, "My complexion won't last much longer in this hell-hole."

Otogi narrowed his eyes—in response to Mai referring to his shop as a 'hell-hole'—and answered, curtly, "A new contest was launched just an hour ago…"

Shizuka asked, with a bewildered stare, "A contest? What kind of a contest?"

Otogi smirked, and pointed at the wall where one big television screen, which was surrounded by little smaller ones, were showing the same, identical thing through-out the many monitors. A commercial was playing over and over again, which was illuminating bright and colorful slogans to get the viewer's attention.

Industrial Illusions has succeeded in launching yet another successful contest. Just yesterday, the creator of Duel Monsters, Pegasus J. Crawford, has launched, a somewhat different competition—in which the winner will be decided by a drawing.

One Grand Prize Winner of this new and "free" contest will receive one hundred duel monster cards—each individual card of his or her choice—and get to spend one week in the luxury of the site of where the famous Yuugi Motou was declared King of Duelists—Dueling Kingdom. One hundred second place winners will receive either a Threat of the Un-Dead Structure Deck or a Power of the Dragon Structure Deck—once again, their choice. One thousand third place winners will receive a pack of cards from the newest pack—Legend of a Duelist Duel Monster card-packs.

This contest will take place all over the world—see your local game-shop for details. Also, for a limit of time, you will receive one random card with your entry card within the first week of the contest! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, hurry and enter while you can!

Mai stared at it and her eyes widened. After a sustained silence, she spoke, "Woah…"

Shizuka added, wiping some sweat off her forehead, "Unbelievable…"

Otogi turned back towards them and stated, "Yeah—and thanks to that commercial—business has been blooming in my shop since ten-o-clock this morning. Of course—only a few people have actually 'bought' anything. In fact, I bet only two people in this whole shop are actually interested in purchasing anything."

Shizuka looked back up at the screen for a moment, before saying, "Well—if you ask me, it is a little obsessive… Industrial Illusions must be spending a fortune on this contest—I wonder what their motives are?"

Anzu snorted, "Hmph… Publicity—what else… That sounds like something Pegasus would do…"

Otogi turned towards her, and said, "You say that as if it were a bad thing…"

Anzu muttered, disgruntled, "Well, you'd feel that way if you experienced Duelist Kingdom, Otogi… Back then, the man was the equivalent of a cold-blooded monster in that tournament… I'm lucky I survived the damn thing. What with the Game Killers and all that…"

Otogi sighed and responded, "Well, even so, let's not forget—that he, after all, promoted my game world-wide and allowed me to open up my shop." Anzu stared at him for a moment, and sighed, knowing that Otogi would never change his views. She knew, after all, that Otogi greatly admired Pegasus. She guessed she couldn't blame him, for there was good reason in him doing that. Otogi, who had once lived in a below-average level of society with a clown (literally) for a father, had always dreamed of making it big in the world. He had been a fanatic of games and video games alike, and even designed his own for his pleasure and fun. When Duel Monsters had become a major hit, Otogi was simply fascinated with it. However, there was more. He wanted to be a part of it too. So, using the same monsters of Duel Monsters, he created DDM (Dungeon Dice Monsters), and sold it to Industrial Illusions. Ever since then, he had been living the life.

Otogi turned towards Shizuka and asked, "Shizuka-chan, how have you been doing?"

Shizuka answered, simply, "Fine…"

Otogi smiled and commented, "Good…" He then looked back at the contest and asked, "So… (he then looked back at them) Do you guys want to enter?"

What he just said nearly started what could have rivaled a hurricane. Anzu stiffened and Shizuka instantly gasped as she stuttered, "N-no! I couldn't do something like that!"

Anzu muttered, "Good… At least someone other than myself has sense."

Otogi sighed, really wishing that Anzu wouldn't say such degrading things about his hero—and boss for that matter. After recovering, he turned towards Mai and asked, "Mai, how about—"

However, the space where Mai had once stood was now vacant; Mai had gone. Then, upon hearing a familiar voice, they instantly looked to their left, and noticed Mai shoving people out of her way, trying desperately to reach the checkout counter. She hissed things like, "Beat it!" "Get out of the way!" and "Move it, buster!"

Both Anzu and Shizuka couldn't help but release a sigh, in embarrassment for their "full-of-herself" friend.

However, in matter of minutes, Mai emerged from the crowds, looking quite pleased with herself. She walked up to them, smiling triumphantly, holding a card tightly between her polished fingers. Once she stood at least three feet away from them, she held it up and grinned as she said, "Read it and weep! Holy Barrier: Mirror Force! At last, I have finally gotten the key trap card in Yuugi's deck!"

Anzu rolled her eyes and spoke, "Mai that was totally un-called for…"

Shizuka stared at her, placing her hand to her cheek, appalled, "You entered!"

Mai chuckled and waved her hand to the side, dismissing the shock of the situation. She moaned, "Please—It's not like I am going to win anything, dears; I just wanted the card." Anzu and Shizuka simply rolled their eyes. Suddenly, a hand made contact with Anzu's shoulder. Anzu looked up and saw Mai grinning at her. Anzu asked, however, in truth, not really wanting to know, "What is it now?"

Mai smirked, and shook her head back and fourth. She then spoke in a seductive tone, "Anzu—could you be a dear and get me another card…?"

Anzu stared at her and her eyes widened. What was she asking? She asked, not daring to believe it, "What? You want me to enter?"

Mai tilted her head to the side and quoted Otogi, "Honey, you say that as if it were a bad thing…"

Anzu gasped, shocked by Mai's attitude. Seemingly outraged at the whole concept of what Mai was proposing her to do, she shoved Mai's hand off of her shoulder and shrieked, "Absolutely not! There is no way in hell that you are making me do this!"

Otogi looked at her and said, trying to be reasonable, "Anzu-chan, there is nothing bad about it. I entered the too, after all—"

Anzu stared at him, shocked, nearly screaming in his face, "Otogi! How could you!"

Mai pleaded, in a totally counterfeit sounding voice, "Please, Anzu… I really, really want another card…"

Anzu hissed, "You can't make me…" With that, she turned away, and placed her arms across the chest, putting an end to their discussion.

Mai sighed and muttered, "Fine, have it your way…" She then turned towards Shizuka and gave her the same, pleading look. Shizuka just shook her head, staring at Mai with wide eyes. She took a step backwards and said, "No… No Mai…"

Mai grinned, and cocked her head to the side, "Come on... I dare you..."

Shizuka said, matter-of-factly, placing her arms over her chest, "I am not changing my mind, Mai..." With that, she turned away.

Mai then narrowed her eyes and frowned. She then looked away and sighed, "Well… I guess that a wimp like you wouldn't have had the guts to enter anyway…"

Shizuka heard this, and instantly remembered the debate that the three of them had held within an hour ago. Anzu remembered it too and couldn't help but giggle. Shizuka spun around, narrowed her eyes and commanded, "Don't call me that."

Mai smirked, knowing she had hit a weak point. She leaned closer to her and asked, with a drawling voice, "Why? What would a wimp like you care about it?"

Shizuka's eyes widened for a split moment, before she spoke, in a reasonable voice, "Mai—that's not funny…"

Mai responded, "What's not funny, wimp?"

As Mai laughed her arrogant laugh, tears began to pour down Shizuka's eyes. Anzu noticed this and stopped giggling at it almost instantly. Shizuka whispered in a broken voice, "I am serious, Mai... stop that..."

"Stop what, wimp?"

Shizuka cringed and shrieked, "Stop that!"

Staring at the trio oddly, Otogi raised an eyebrow and asked, "What the heck is going on?"

Mai smirked and repeated, "Wimp…"

Shizuka growled, "Mai, please—"

Anzu admitted, "Mai, this is getting out of hand…"

"Wimp!"

"Mai!"

Mai repetitively continued, a satanic grin glued upon her face, "Wimp! Wimp! Wimp! Wimp! Wimp! Wimp! Wi—"

Shizuka, was on the verge of crying at this point. Or she was just shaking. She was, in fact, shaking with insult, fear, and anger… That single word only made the feeling worse, every time Mai said it. Upon hearing it, she instantly remembered their statements from that of the previous hour.

Oh… I'm sorry… Are we talking about things that are too mature and quote on quote 'heinous' for you?

Shizuka—you're too sweet and quiet… You play the game as if you are the damsel in distress—and even that is too mature for your part.

You'll never get a boy friend at this rate…

You keep your feelings bottled up, you never jump at any opportunity for glory, and you have never, ever have tried to please a man—

Shizuka—you're a wimp! W-I-M-P Wimp!

Wimp…

Wimp… …

Wimp… … …

As Mai continue to tease Shizuka, Shizuka's tears began to disappear. Replacing them with anger. As Mai proceeded, the anger began to grow stronger with its quality. In a matter of a few seconds, it began to grow into a bitter vengeance. Her blood began to boil and her teeth were clenching tightly against her jaw. Her breathing began growing ragged, growling from underneath her tightly clenched jaw. She was so mad, it was crazy. She had one single desire. To prove Mai wrong by any means! Her fury was causing her to undergo a transformation. A metamorphosis. She was no longer the insecure child in whom everyone always thought of her as, but was now an unrestrained and vehement teenage girl, who looked bent on destruction.

Then—something happened. Something impossible of its class. A new side in Shizuka was unleashed, one that would bring shock to all Mai, Anzu, Otogi and even herself in the future. If her brother and Yuugi had heard of it, they wouldn't have believed it in the least.

Shizuka, narrowed her eyes, and began to storm towards Mai. Mai stopped in her words, and noticed the dangerous look that Shizuka was giving her as she approached her. Mai felt fear course through her body. Anzu and Otogi just stared at what was going on, not daring to believe it. Mai (knowing she was in for it) braced herself, ready to feel the wrath of the young girl—however… Instead of confronting her, Shizuka merely brushed past her, shoving her aside with her elbow. Mai spun around and watched as Shizuka began to push herself through the crowd. As Anzu and Otogi gaped at Mai's dirty work—their eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when Shizuka kicked, yes, kicked someone out of her way, as she tried to get by the swarms of hectic costumers…

When Shizuka reached the counter, she slammed both her hands upon it, getting the cashier operator's attention. The woman stared at her oddly as she did this. Shizuka, at this point, being enraged and not herself, smiled a seductive Mai like smile and asked, with a poisoned honey voice, "What are the details of this contest?"

The woman smiled brightly and replied, "Please fill out your name, address and phone-number on the slip of paper." With that, she handed a slip to Shizuka.

Shizuka nearly tore the slip out of the woman's hand, shocking her, seized a pen from the side of the table and began to write on it. After furiously scribbled all the necessary data upon it, she then shoved someone of her way, and dumped the piece of paper into the entry box. The woman stared at her, almost appalled at the temperament of the young girl, before she hesitantly held out a Duel Monster card and stammered, "And h-here's your—"

Shizuka, ignoring her, forgetting completely about the card—and in fact not even caring about it, stormed away from the counter, and shoved people out of her way.

Anzu stared at her as she emerged from the swarms of people. She spoke, not believing it, "Shizuka-chan… you… you…"

Shizuka, however, glared at her, warning her to be silent. Anzu complied immediately, and backed away in the process. Shizuka smirked and turned towards Mai. Mai stared at her, confused. Shizuka, stiffened, still quite angry. Then, not able to control her animosity any longer, Shizuka brought her hand out and smacked Mai clear across the face. Anzu gasped, and Otogi stared open mouthed. As Shizuka brought her hand back down to the side, Mai touched her face, feeling the sting underneath her fingers. Shizuka smirked for a split second before glaring as she growled, "Wimp my ass…" With that, she snorted and brushed past them, walking towards the doors of the shop. She then kicked them open, and took off down the street, scaring people as she walked by. People jumped to the side, trying to avoid the wrath of the teenage girl.

Once she disappeared from view, there was an awkward silence between Mai, Otogi and Anzu. Mai hesitantly looked at Anzu and stammered, "I…She… uh… she just… now… I…"

Anzu rolled her eyes and muttered, "Don't even bother, Mai…" With that, she simply walked away with Otogi, leaving Mai alone, within the swarms of people…


- TO BE CONTINUED -


The following is not meant to be counter fanfictionDOTnet format. These are merely author notes. They are not meant to counteract the rules or restrictions of the webmaster's policies in anyway. Thank you for your attention.

-
-
-

Author Note 1 – Yes, Tenma from Yu-Gi-Oh R is (once again) in ANOTHER one of my fictions. I just find him a really cool and interesting character. If anyone wants to know more about him or what he looks like, send me an e-mail and I will hook you up with some Yu-Gi-Oh R information.

Author Note 2 – Yu-Gi-Oh: Threat of the Undead Structure Deck and Yu-Gi-Oh: Power of the Dragons Structure Deck are real decks (in Japan)- and they have just been released in America as Yu-Gi-Oh: Zombie Madness and Yu-Gi-Oh: Dragon's Roar. I do not own them in the least. However, I do plan to save up for Yu-Gi-Oh: Power of the Dragons Structure Deck. It looks pretty tight.

Author Note 3 – I don't know if any of you know what 'homerun' means in my class of society. So, I'll explain it to you. First of all, first base means 'kiss'—second base means 'French' (a kiss in which you use your tongue)—third base means 'make out' and homerun means 'consensual relationship' or for simplicity's sake, 'S-E-X.' I personally don't care about it (and I haven't even stepped up to bat yet, so) but I figured that someone like Mai would, so there you go.


Random Note: Thank you very much for reading, now it would really please me if you could review. (puppy dog eyes) Onegaishimasu…