"Oh, I'm sorry. Must be pretty hard on you."


'My father was killed', was how he summed up his life story. The ill-fated orphan boy. The charity case of the pro dueling world. There was a time in his life when Edo couldn't utter those words without choking back a sob, alarming the person he was speaking to. But ever since the previous year with the defeat of the Wave of Light and the success of personal quest pricked with vengeance, Edo no longer found his chest tightening whenever he spoke of his father's murder.

Then a hand whapped Edo on the back a couple of times and violently jolted him out of his reverie. Edo winced at the pounding treatment he was receiving.


"You shouldn't make that sad face!" said the encouraging voice attached to the hand.

Edo cast his gaze at the aquamarine-haired boy, swearing he felt his spinal cord dislocate in three places. "H-huh?"

"That's right!" Johan punched his palm with his knuckles. "Life is too short to be unhappy. Anyway, I bet wherever your dad is, he's smiling proudly down at his son." He raised his eyes to the sky now, gazing dreamily at the clouds like they were giant balls of cotton candy. "You can't continue living in regret, you know."

Edo frowned. What did this kid know about him? I'm not living in regret, he thought scornfully to himself.

And then something heavy was pitched on his head.

"No way!" Johan shouted, immediately perking up while Edo incuriously perked down (figuratively speaking, of course). "Salami? Provolone cheese? And…oh my! Bacon! BACON!"

From the shining jewels in his eyes, Edo guessed that the large weight on his head was a picnic basket filled with enough food to feed a neighborhood of people for a full year living in an underground bomb shelter.

"First dibs on the bacon!"

Surprisingly, Juudai had no objections to that. "Fine with me! I knew you'd be happy I brought it!"

"Mh-hmm!" Johan placed a hand on his thigh and slapped a patch of grass in front of him. "Put 'em down here and we'll make ourselves a -good sandwich!"

Juudai complied, much to Edo's relief. Within the matter of a few minutes, both boys had tucked in and acting right at home.

"So then I said to him—you call that a spell card? My Wingman can knock the pants of that thing!" Juudai emphasized his point by carrying out his signature 'Gotcha!' motion.

Johan laughed. "No way!"

"...you guys...are both so gay..." Edo muttered to himself under his breath. Unfortunately, Juudai had heard.

Juudai blinked. "Gay?"

"Happy, Juudai, he means you're always so happy," Johan explained to him plainly. He turned to the silver-haired boy for approval. "Isn't that right, Edo?"

Half-lidded eyelids. "No," he deadpanned.

Johan blinked. "Oh."

Edo brought his hands over his eyes and sighed, mentally reprimanding himself for setting the bar too high and thinking for even a second that these two held the intellectual capacity to understand the evocative version of 'gay'. This was going to take some explaining. First things first: Deep breaths. With a palm placed delicately over the core of his chest, Edo inhaled and exhaled, feeling his lungs expand with air and then deflate. After a moment's thought, he repeated the action for good measure.

This was not going to be easy. The two bunglers sitting before him wore similar expressions of bamboozlement, neither having any idea what was going on. Just looking at them beleaguered Edo's sanity. Johan and Juudai exchanged glances as the silver-haired boy in front of them sighed.

"So…what's going on?" Johan piped up, after Edo had pulled off six consecutive rounds of sighing.

Edo scratched his nose. How was he supposed to explain this?

"Alright." He took a deep breath. "You know when a guy and a girl really love each other…"

Johan's arm shot up like a spring. "Oh, oh! Is this the birds and bees story?" he exclaimed.

"Yes, actually," Edo replied, arching an eyebrow. "Do you know how it goes?"

"Sure do!"

Edo raised his other eyebrow. "Ok. …huh." He pursed his lips. "Well, why don't you go tell Juudai then…" he suggested awkwardly, waving a hand in Juudai's direction.

"Sure thing." Johan turned to his brunette counterpart. "You see, Jay, there once was a bird and a bee…"

Three minutes later…

"…and the bee says, 'I summon Insect Queen!' And the bird says, 'Well I counter with God Bird Attack!' And then— Edo...are you alright?"

Edo ignored Johan's worried question and continued to hit his head against the tree.

The stupidity of some people!