Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Yu-gi-oh!, Yu-gi-oh! GX, or even Yu-gi-oh! 5D's. It's true! They are owned by Kazuki Takahashi, TV Tokyo, NAS, and the good people at Shonen Jump.

Turn 9: The Yule Duel! Asuka's Opponent is…

The Yule Duel, a tournament organized by Industrial Illusions in order to unite the spirit of dueling with the spirit of the holiday season. The top duelists from the surrounding areas of Domino City were invited to compete in contest of good faith and brotherhood. Naturally, everyone in the marketing department at I2 expected big bonus checks in their stockings for developing this event. What they didn't expect was this…

"RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!" a voice bellowed as the crowd of spectators herded themselves out of the Yule Duel stadium.

"It's the Domino Demon! He's come for our cards and our souls!" another voice proclaimed from the retreating crowd.

"OH MR. PEGASUS, YOU'RE WANTED ON THE DUEL FIELD!" the disheveled Dr. Crowler shrieked as he crisscrossed the tournament field, nearly jumping into the stands with each pass.

Upon his umpteenth round about the stadium, Crowler actually did jump into stands, blocking the way of a female spectator.

"Back demon!" the woman shouted, before whacking the good doctor with her purse.

Crowler recoiled from the hit, collapsing backward onto the floor. It was there that he laid for a moment, as the woman began to shudder at what had just happened.

"I'm no demon! I'm a man," Crowler said as he began to stagger to his feet again. "I'm someone who has been to the graveyard and back! I've been dunked, frozen, run over, and chased for days on end." he whispered hoarsely as he stood before the woman

The fear in her eyes lessened as she looked at this broken man before her. His once proud blue coat was torn and tattered, his hair was matted and dirty, and a face worn from stress and fatigue stared back at her. Tears were now streaming down Dr. Crowler's face as he loosened his grip.

"I may seem insane and some even say effeminate, but I am still a man. I'm just someone who wants to go home," he finished as he lowered his head in defeat.

Suddenly, multiple clicking sounds began to fill the air around the good doctor as he glanced around him. Behind him, two agents in suits and sunglasses were closest to him, one being Agent Smith. To their left, Detective Reyes and her fellow officers from the Domino Police Department stood ready. To their right was the guard from Stacy*s department store, who was sweating profusely and breathing very heavily. All of them had guns at ready.

"Alright, no sudden moves sir," Detective Reyes said as she slowly approached Crowler,. "I'd say that we don't want any trouble, but I think we're past that aren't we?"

Crowler looked up into the stands now. Multiple members of the Domino SWAT team were also stationed throughout the stadium. Two were even station at the, now broken, skylight.

Hmm. I guess I can't exactly blame them for what they must be thinking of me, he thought as he remembered how he gotten into the building.


"SANCTUARY!" Crowler screamed at the top of his lungs as he continued to scale the side of Domino Mall.

The amount of décor that covered the mall during the holiday season had proven a great advantage to Crowler. Multiple strings of lights were strung into intricate designs along the mall exterior. At that point Crowler was gripping onto the side of lights that were strung into a menorah on the second floor of the mall.

It's a good thing I have these insulated gloves, Crowler thought to himself. They said I was a nut to wear them. The static charge from a card in a duel disk is nothing they said. Well, who's laughing now?!?

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Crowler began to laugh maniacally as he jumped onto a long stretch of garland on the corner of the building and continued his ascent.

(A/N: How all of this décor is supporting Crowler's weight, we'll never know…)

Hmm, there are some lights burnt out over there…, Crowler thought as he passed the third floor. Someone should fix that.

Crowler managed to reach the top of the Mall within 10 minutes after beginning his ascent. The combination of inhuman stamina and psychosis had made the normally meek Doctor a force to be reckoned with.

"Top floor: Yule Duel, Pegasus, and a one trip ticket home!" Crowler announced to an invisible audience as he peered down onto the duel field.

"Now how shall I get down there?" he thought aloud, as he began to pace quickly next to the light. "I could use more garland, or lights. Knowing my luck, the maintenance door is probably locked."

Unfortunately, Crowler failed to see the patch of ice that had formed near the skylight. One may guess what happened next.

"Maybe if I…I...AIEEEEEEE!" he shrieked as he crashed through the skylight.

"I regret nothiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!" Crowler yelled as he plummeted toward the Yule Duel arena.

End Flashback

Crowler actually smirked at himself and what had happened.

How ridiculous I've been these past few days, he thought, before raising his hand in surrender. "Alright officer, you've got me," he said in a subdued voice. "I suppose saying I'm sorry isn't the best place to start, but…"

"WAIT! DON'T HURT HIM!" a voice rang out from across the duel field.

Detective Reyes turned toward the source of the voice. A boy clad in red and girl behind him had run out onto the field, evading all of the armed officers, before positioning themselves in front of the good doctor.

"SLACKER!" Crowler cheered as he actually embraced the now mortified Jaden. "I can't believe I'm actually happy to see you!

Jaden groaned, "Uh yeah, nice to see you too Dr. Crowler. Um, could you let me go now?"

A look of shock and realization burst onto Crowler's face as he released the young duelist. "Uh, yes, let's never speak of this again, shall we?" he finished with a sheepish smile.

"Definitely…" Jaden and Alexis said simultaneously.

Detective Reyes and gave the order for everyone to lower their weapons, before approaching the trio.

"Would someone mind explaining what in the world is going on?" Detective Reyes asked in exasperation.

Crowler recounted his experiences from the past few days since he had dropped everyone off at Domino Pier. Jaden and Alexis couldn't help, but feel sorry for Dr. Crowler after hearing what he had gone through. Sure, this was the same Dr. Crowler who berated Jaden and his friends both in and out of class on a regular basis. That and Crowler was known to be somewhat accident prone by everyone at the Academy, but still even he didn't deserve this treatment during this time of year.

Detective Reyes stood there and listened to the whole story, nodding once in a while before finally speaking.

"Look, I'll admit the circumstances are really out of this world, but I can't just let you go! Do you know how much your actions have cost Domino City?" Reyes said as she looked at a subdued Crowler. "That and you caused Mass Hysteria at the Yule Duel! I'm sure the execs at Industrial Illusion will love to have you locked up and the key thrown away."

"It's still not fair…" Jaden whispered to himself.

"Excuse me young man?" Reyes said as she turned to Jaden.

"I said it's still not fair," Jaden responded as he stared back at the Detective with a serious gaze. "I don't think I'd feel happy at all celebrating the holidays with my friends and family, knowing Dr. Crowler is alone in some cell."

Jaden…, Alexis thought with surprise.

Slacker… Dr. Crowler thought as tears actually began to well up in his eyes.

"Well young man. What do you think I should do?" Reyes seemed to patronize the young duelist. "I'm supposed to just let him go and hope that the city and I2 can forgive and forget?"

"That sounds like a splendid idea Captain," a voice said from above.

Jaden and everyone glanced up toward the ceiling, where the voice appeared to be coming from.

Oh great. Maybe Sy was right and there is a guardian angel, Jaden thought. "Is that you Clarence?" he said stuttered.

"Hmm, my parents considered naming me that, but thankfully they didn't," the voice said as a figure was lowered through the skylight on a rope ladder. "It's nice to see you again Jaden-boy!"

Everyone gasped in surprise, "MR. PEGASUS?!?"

Clad in a red winter coat, complete with fur lining no less, Maximillion Pegasus descended into the duel arena.

"I must say that I enjoy making an entrance," Pegasus said with a smile. "No wonder Kaiba boy uses parachutes, jet packs, and what not when he makes public appearances."

"M…Mr. Pegasus," Detective Reyes stuttered, "It's an honor sir."

"The pleasure is mine my dear Captain," Pegasus said with a bow before glancing around the arena. "It looks like they had a last minute sale in my arena," he said as with a shake of his head.

Crowler walked up to Pegasus and smiled meekly, "I suppose I am to blame for this madness Mr. Pegasus. I was hoping to get a hold of you and maybe get a ride back to the Academy. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps prevented me from getting a hold of you via normal channels."

Pegasus shook his head, "It's not a problem Dr. Crowler. I'm sure my men in marketing can turn all of this into decent publicity by morning. They'll have to if they don't want coal in their stockings this Christmas," he said with a chuckle.

"Excuse me Mr. Pegasus, but there are still the incidents with Dr. Crowler concerning Domino City.

"What would these incidents be Detective?" Pegasus asked.

Reyes thought for a moment, "Well, disturbance of the peace mostly. However, there is the loitering at Domino Harbor, causing the accidents on the highway, and evading the police by climbing the side of the mall. Shall I try to name anything else?"

"Hmm, how about I post bail for the good Doctor? I've already received calls from Chancellor Shepard back at Duel Academy. He's been wondering where you wandered off to, since his return to the island," Pegasus explained. "I'd rather not have Duel Academy get caught up in a law suit at this time of year. It's best to save fun like that for after New Years."

"Really?!?" Dr. Crowler said with surprise as he began to cry into Pegasus shoulder. "Oh thank you sir! You are a saint among men!"

"Its no problem at all, but I'd appreciate it if you let go of me. You're getting my coat damp," Pegasus said with annoyance.

"OH!" Crowler gasped as he released the duel mogul. "Let's never speak of this again as well, shall we?"

"Definitely!" Jaden, Alexis, Reyes and Pegasus said simultaneously.

"Jaden! Hey, Jaden! A voice rang out from the other side of the arena.

A whole group of people came barreling out onto the duel field. At the front, surprisingly, was Chumley Huffington, flanked on both sides by Hassleberry and Syrus. Both were normally clothed again. Mr. Hayama was trying his best to keep up behind the young duelist, huffing his way behind them.

"Hey guys!" Jaden exclaimed as he waved at the incoming group.

Hassleberry overtook Chumley for the lead and made a B-line straight for Jaden. He immediately halted in front of his friend and gave a salute.

"Sarge, I officially declare Operation: Dashing Through the Mall a success!" Hassleberry shouted with pride.

Jaden just gave a half-hearted salute back before Syrus grabbed a hold Jaden by the waste and wailed, "Jaden, I never thought I'd see you again!"

"Um Sy, we weren't apart that long…," Jaden replied with an embarrassed look on his face.

"But you weren't there. This disgruntled mall security guard made me do forced labor in a department store! It was like summer camp all over again!" Syrus exclaimed.

At this, everyone just gave Syrus looks of confusion.

Pegasus then turned to his fatigued employee, "Chumley-boy, thank you for notifying me of everything that has happened. Hopefully, the salvaging of this event will take little time."

"Hopefully…" Chumley huffed, still trying to catch his breath.

"Excuse me Mr. Pegasus, but you seem awfully upbeat with the stadium being emptied and all," Jaden uncharacteristically noticed.

"Well, worse things have happened…" Pegasus said as he briefly held his hand up to the concealed part of his face.

"Guys, I'd hate to but in, but what happened to my brother?" Alexis asked as she glanced around for the elder Rhodes.

Chumley took a deep breath and responded, "Actually, it's because of Atticus that we're here at all. He calmed the crowd down outside, which made it easier for us to get up here. He's keeping everyone occupied right now."

"Occupied?" Alexis questioned.

"Crowd?" Pegasus asked as he cocked his eyebrow.

Down in the mall…

The crowds that had been in chaotic panic just moments ago were all dancing and singing along to some sort of entertainment act. People lined all levels of the mall and gazed down at a singer dressed in a Santa outfit, who used a discarded lift as a miniature stage.

(a/n: Not sure what lift I'm talking about? Glance back at Chapter 7)

Music blared from the mall PA system as the singer began to sing, "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree at the Christmas party hop! Mistletoe hung where you can see. Ev'ry Couple tries to stop…"

The young singer was none other than Atticus Rhodes, who was being backed up from below by a few familiar faces.

Hank, the maintenance man, fiddled with the lights for center court, giving it an almost professional lightshow display.

"Just like when I worked at Kaiba Land! Whoohoo!" Hank shouted.

Three women were providing backup to the young entertainer.

"You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear…" Bridgette began.

"…voices singing lets be jolly…," Asuka, from Stacy*s, picked up.

"…deck the hall with bows of holly!" a third familiar girl finished with a lot of enthusiasm.

"That's Asuka!" Jaden shouted from high above.

Jaden and friends, Pegasus, and Detective Reyes were now overlooking this unscheduled concert, amazed at what was going on.

"Yes, I was to tell you that we found her Judai-kun, but couldn't get a word in!" Mr Hayama shouted over a chorus of, "Have a Happy Holiday!"

"We ran into her on the way up," Syrus explained. "When she heard Atticus' plan to calm the crowd down, she joined in."

"What about her duel?" Jaden shouted over voices singing the second chorus of "Deck the Halls with bows…"

"She may have been rushed out with the other competitors early on," Chumley cut in.

"I ordered a lockdown and I get a ho-down," Detective Reyes shook her head in disbelief.

A random suited aid came up behind and said to Pegasus, "We're ready sir," before handing him a microphone.

"The repairs are made and the other finalist is found?" Pegasus asked as the song finished up

The aid shook his head in affirmation, while Pegasus turned back to the audience.

"Thank you everyone!" Atticus shouted as applause erupted from his captured audience. "For my next number, I figured that I'd…," he started before being cut off by feedback.

Pegasus had switched his own microphone on and began to speak, "Well everyone, let's give another big hand for Mr. Rhodes, shall we?"

The crowd responded once more with a deafening applause, before turning their attention back to Pegasus.

"Wonderful!" Pegasus began. "As many of you know, I am Maximillion Pegasus, the creator of the Duel Monsters Card game and the sponsor of the Yule Duel!"

Another thunderous applause resonated throughout the mall.

"First, I'd like to offer my sincere apologies to both the spectators and shoppers today for the unplanned interruption. We at Industrial Illusions hoped that the Yule Duel would be an entertaining and safe event for all today," Pegasus explained.

(A/N: Pegasus reformed. Enough said…)

"Unfortunately, the man who was to cameo as the Grinch late into our event was left out in the cold a tad to long; with no costume no less as well," Pegasus said with a chuckle.

The crowd actually responded to this with some spattered laughter.

Jaden turned to Chumley, "Hey Chum, what's he talking about?"

Chumley grimaced before responding, "It's called damage control Jaden. Mr. Pegasus is an expert at it."

"As a conciliation and present to those who are were in attendance today, full refunds will be issued to all."

To this the crowd responded not only with applause, but also shouts of joy and excitement.

"Finally, I request that everyone who was at the Yule Duel return to the stadium and witness its conclusion! It's time to duel!" Pegasus exclaimed with a punch to the air.

The crowd cheered for the duel mogul, as many began to make their way back up the upper levels of the mall.

Pegasus tossed the microphone to his aid and turned to the group and said with a content smile, "Well, that's been taken care of."

"Won't you suffer a significant profit loss with a mass refund?" Mr. Hayama questioned Pegasus, the business owner in him taking over.

"That's pocket change to me my good man," Pegasus responded in a confident tone. "Besides, as I said earlier, the publicity alone can be turned to my favor. All that one needs to come out on top is the right strategies and tactics. This is true for both the dueling world and the business world, right Jaden-boy?"

Jaden just smirked at the comment.

"Now, I'll leave you in the capable hands of Chumley-boy, who has proven to me a most excellent coordinator for this event."

Chumley blushed, "Well, my drafts for the next set were ahead of schedule and you did ask me…"

"Marvelous," Pegasus interrupted. "Be sure that Jaden-boy and his guests have front row seats to the final. As for myself, I have meetings of both business and social interest to attend to. Come now Dr. Crowler or you'll be left behind again," he said as he walked off with his entourage of aids.

Crowler started to meekly follow behind Pegasus before turning back to the group, "Sorry for a fly in everyone's plum pudding this season. I expect to see every one of you in class first thing after break; especially you Slifer slacker."

Dr. Crowler then ran after his ride before it departed.

Jaden just smiled sheepishly before saying, "Well, at least he's got some of his spark back."

"At least he isn't hugging you anymore," Syrus noted.

"You're one to talk private!" Hassleberry mocked his friend.

"Yeah, that's exactly…HEY!" Syrus exclaimed.

Everyone laughed before Chumley interrupted, "Come one guys. Let's get Atticus and Ms. Hayama up here before even I can find you seats."

"Alright Yule Duel, we're here!" Jaden shouted in excitement as the group walked off.

Later on…

Chumley had managed to secure the gang a box that had been reserved for Pegasus and his entourage ahead of time. Fortunately, since this had been done before consulting Pegasus' schedule, the box was left empty.

"Wow, look at this place!" Syrus said as he glanced around.

"Kind of festive for a dueling field, but not bad," Hassleberry said.

"You think they'd let me do another number in here once the dueling is done?" Atticus mused.

A glance around the stadium showed that the stadium floor had been cleaned up and the skylight above patched up. Without the presence of armed officers filling the stadium, one could really appreciate the effort into building it. The expansive, top level of the mall was usually reserved for conventions and concerts and could easily be converted upon request.

The stadium that I2 had managed to make was somewhat standard in build, with seats surrounding a central field area where the duels took place. What took prominence in this stadium was the décor. Red and gold tapestry lined the walls of the stadium, bearing embroideries of trees, candles, and stars in intricate patterns. The field itself was covered itself in a subtle gold glow itself, due to the millions of lights that were strung overhead. Finally, both the seats and the duel field were colored dark green, complimenting the tapestries that surrounded them.

"Does anyone else smell something sweet?" Mr. Hayama asked as he sniffed the air. "It almost smells like gingerbread."

"That's because it is!" Chumley said as he came up to the other with a cart that had plates of gingerbread and mugs of what appeared to be hot chocolate. "Mr. Pegasus wanted others to enjoy some of the things he did around the holidays. Everyone was able to get gingerbread, hot chocolate, and even egg-nog, non-alcoholic of course," he explained. "I figured I'd bring some by for you guys."

"Thanks Chumley!" everyone said as they grabbed a plate and a mug.

"Hey, where are the Sarge and Alexis?" Hassleberry said with his mouth full of gingerbread.

"They went to talk to Asuka before the match," Mr. Hayama explained as he wiped off the shower of crumbs that had come from Hassleberry's mouth.

In the duelist waiting area…

Asuka and Alexis continued to look at one another, mimicking both expressions and body movements.

"This is too weird…" they said simultaneously.

"What are you guys talking about?" Jaden asked with a confused look on his face.

The two girls just gave exasperated sighs before Asuka asked, "How old are you again?"

"Seventeen." Alexis promptly answered.

"If I were a only a few years younger, people would think we were sisters," Asuka chuckled, causing Alexis to join in.

"Sooo," Jaden began. "Do you know who your opponent is Asuka?"

"That would be me Jaden-chan," a voice said from behind Jaden.

Jaden eyes widened before turning toward the source of the voice. The man that stood before him appeared to be in his early twenties. He had medium length; dark hair was combed off to the side and wore oval rimmed glasses. He was dressed in a light red dress shirt and dark blue slacks. On his arm was a duel disk that resembled the ones first used in battle city, except with a dark grey color scheme.

"No way! Koyo?!?" Jaden exclaimed as he gave the elder duelist a bear hug.

Asuka just smiled before saying, "Koyo was invited to the tournament as well. Being a Pro-Duelist, he breezed easily through the preliminaries."

"It's been a while hasn't it Jaden-chan?" Koyo said as he ruffed up Jaden's hair.

"Hey, what's with the –chan? I'm not a kid anymore you know!" Jaden said as he lightly punched Koyo in the shoulder with a chuckle.

Alexis was now the one with the look of puzzlement on her face.

Asuka noticed this immediately and interrupted to small reunion, "Ahem. I think Alexis is a bit out of the loop you guys."

Koyo stopped his brotherly chiding with Jaden and turned to Alexis. He looked at her and Asuka for a moment before rubbing his eyes under his glasses.

"I've got to get a new prescription. I'm seeing double again…" Koyo said.

Asuka, grimaced before saying flatly, "She's real you doof…"

Gee, this seems familiar…, Jaden thought to himself as Wing Kuriboh appeared beside him briefly with a look of disbelief.

Koyo walked up to Alexis and kissed her hand in a gentleman-like manner, causing her to blush.

"Forgive me. My name is Koyo Hibiki and I am source of Jaden's dueling prowess," he said in a suave voice.

A large *thwack* was heard as Asuka punched Koyo into a near-by wall.

"Stop flirting with Jaden's friends!" Asuka said in an uncharacteristically angry tone.

Asuka marched over to give Koyo a further lecture, while the elder duelist recovered from her sudden attack.

In the meantime, Alexis walked over to Jaden and whispered, "Are they always like this?"

Jaden smiled before responding, "Yep, they act like this all the time. I used to tease them about how they acted like a married couple all the time."

"WE DO NOT!" Koyo and Asuka both yelled as they both blushed.

"Um, excuse me?" a voice said suddenly.

Everyone turned to see Chumley standing in the doorway.

"We need you guys in your places now," Chumley said to Koyo and Asuka.

Koyo lifted himself up and turned to his friend.

"Well looks like we get to settle this once and for all," Koyo said with a friendly smile as he started to walk out with Chumley

"Who really is the better duelist…" Asuka said with her own sly smile as she followed

"See you guys later…" Koyo called back.

"We have a little score to settle…" Asuka said.

Alexis turned to Jaden, who was visibly quivering with excitement.

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" he stuttered with excitement. "The rivalry comes to a head!"

"What rivalry?" Alexis asked before being pulled out by the arm by Jaden.

"Come on Lex! We don't want to miss this!" Jaden said as he dragged Alexis back to their seat.

Minutes later…

Jaden's quivering hadn't ceased since the two had returned to the stadium. The whole box itself seemed to shake due to Jaden, as well as everyone in it.

"Why…is …Jaden…shaking….?" Sy asked as he gripped onto his shaking seat.

"It's something…about…Asuka…and Koyo being rivals." Alexis said as she held on to her own seat.

"But…I thought…Asuka was…just a hobby duelist?" Hassleberry wondered allowed.

Mr. Hayama just gave a knowing smile before saying, "I'm….afraid…Asuka…hasn't… been fully truthful…with you boys."


The crowd roared in excitement.


The crowd roared as Koyo ran onto the field, waving at everyone as he made his way to his position.


The crowd roared even louder as Asuka made her way onto the field. She had a stern look on her face, but still appeared to be blushing a bit.

"She never did like that title…" Mr Hayama said before glancing around to see astonished faces looking at him.

Syrus, Hassleberry, and Alexis were looking at him with expressions of shock and awe.

"She was an International Pro…" Syrus began.

"…at the age of…" Alexis continued.

"…THIRTEEN?!?" Hassleberry finished as he grabbed a hold of Mr. Hayama.

"You guys didn't know?" Atticus asked non-chalantly.

"You did?!?" they asked.

"Yeah, Asuka was the youngest International Pro Duelist. Before that, Rebecca Hawkins held the title at the age of 15; after she held the American Championship title for 3 years. You guys should really read up on your Pro League History…" Atticus lectured as he continued to watch the duel.

"Shhh! They're going to start!" Jaden whispered hastily.

Asuka deployed her duel disk, which resembled the standard academy issued ones, while Koyo armed his own.

The two stared at each other for a moment, a fire burning in both their eyes.

"You're not holding back this time, are you?" Asuka asked with a smirk.

"Not against someone like you Asuka-chan!" Koyo said with a confident smile.

"Alright then…" Asuka said.


To be continued…

(A/N: The Crowler storyline has come to a close, while Asuka's secret has revealed. Not only that, but we also have a new character added to the present day fold. What other things will be revealed in the upcoming duel? Stay tuned. Until then…Gotcha!

(A/N: Oh and if any of you want a better idea of what Koyo looks like, check out his GX manga counterpart.)