"One more?" Yugi Muto, King of Games and partner to Yami, an Ancient Pharaoh whose Soul resided inside the Millennium Puzzle, pleaded with his friends.
"We're late already!" Tea protested, the young dancer in training was already reaching for her purse, well aware that it was a losing argument.
"There's always time for one more Hot Chocolate." Joey grinned, getting to his feet and heading for the hatch.
"It's not like we can't take them with us." Tristan conceded, getting up and giving the Duellist a hand as he came back over with four fresh polystyrene cups of hot chocolate.
Yugi took his from his best friend and took a sip, then smiled slightly before violet eyes became red and there was a startled glance around before he shrugged and took another sip.
Tea sighed to herself. Yugi had done it again, surprising the Pharaoh by pushing him into the Driver's seat in a non-dangerous environment. It was something he'd been doing more and more often since Battle City and it had taken them a while to get used to it.
However, since it wasn't the strangest thing that had happened to the group, she'd given up worrying about it.
Joey just ignored the change. He still didn't like treating the two Yugis any differently, even since learning that the 'Other Yugi' wasn't another Yugi but the Spirit of the Millennium Puzzle and a Pharaoh to boot.
Joey saw Yugi stood next to Yugi and blinked, attempting to ignore the ghost, who was completely oblivious to Joey's scrutiny. It wasn't helped though, by the fact that since his Shadow Game with Malik (Or Marik, or Yami Marik or whatever he'd been by that point other then another psycho after Yugi and the Millennium Puzzle), he'd been seeing the Other Yugi as a ghost, more and more often as he spent more time around them instead of hiding in the Puzzle.
Joey couldn't say he was happy about the amount of danger owning the Puzzle put Yugi in, but the Pharaoh was almost as much a friend to him as Yuge, so Joey played his part in protecting it.
Yami closed his eyes in bliss.
The hot chocolate here was fantastic.
He'd only been introduced to hot chocolate a couple of months ago, when Yugi had surprised him by shoving him in control outside of a Duel, or without Yami asking, and he'd had to carry on like normal.
That had been here too and other then the stuff they made at home sometimes, with marshmallows on top (why did that remind him of a Duel Monster?), they'd never found a place that made the drink this well.
"Hey look, it's that Duellist again." Tristan's whisper caused Yami to look.
A girl was darting out of the 'Staff Only' door with a Duel Disk and a slightly panicked look on her face as she raced for the exit as fast as she could without actually running.
"You think she's competing?" Joey asked quietly.
Yami shrugged, taking another sip of the hot chocolate. He had no idea who was competing in the Second Battle City. He and Yugi had signed up almost immediately and Joey had signed up the morning after. It was a Kaiba Corp Tournament, so Seto Kaiba would obviously be competing, and would blatantly try for their Egyptian God Cards again.
He'd heard rumours that Weevil Underwood was at it again this year, and Rex Raptor, but the other Duellist he hoped would be there was Mai Valentine.
He wanted a rematch with her, they hadn't Duelled since Duellist Kingdom and he wanted another go. She'd vanished after Battle City and coming around from her Shadow Game with Marik and he just hoped she was alright.
Yami looked down at the contents of his cup and grinned, firmly shoving Yugi in control to drain the last dregs in the cup, Yami briefly wondered how much longer he could put off the one journey that Yugi didn't want him to make.
Yugi gulped down the last of the cup, wondering how Yami always managed to make it last until it was 'barely warm' chocolate, and got to his feet. The others, who had been waiting for the Yugis to finish got to their feet too. "Let's go."
Seto Kaiba was bored.
He'd run this Beginner's Tournament to see if there were any up and coming Duellists who would be worth advancing to the higher rank on his system in readiness for the Second Battle City.
However the only two really worth even a passing look were the two finalists.
Both were complete unknowns to the others of this Tournament, but Seto knew he recognised their names from somewhere. He'd look them up once the winner was decided and he'd gotten back to Kaiba Corp.
There were a couple of foreign players here, obviously recently moved into the area and trying to make a name for themselves here in Japan.
The match ended just two turns later with a surprising move, with the loser wiping himself out on the opponent's face down monster's effect.
Kaiba found himself smirking at the loser's attitude, he obviously didn't like losing to a girl. After all, Duel Monsters was very much a male orientated game. Girls who played weren't very good normally, unless they did it day in day out like that Mai Valentine woman. There'd been quite a few in this Tournament and Battle City had increased the interest in the game.
Seto smirked, maybe the finalist was one to watch.
Of course she was no match for him, but he was certain she could easily give the Mutt a run for his money.
The finals this time around belonged to him and Muto, that much was obvious, and he would win Yugi's Winged Dragon of Ra.
The girl bowed to him and smiled shyly and he groaned.
Another fan girl.
However, she didn't stick around and Kaiba didn't get a chance to question her as she vanished just seconds after the closing ceremony.
Why was she familiar?
Another day, another hot chocolate.
This one from the kitchen of the Muto home, made by Grandpa Muto on the last day before the Tournament kicked off.
Hot milk poured over a few squares of dark, milk or white chocolate depending on preference, with squirty cream and Marshmallows. Chocolate flakes too if there was some to be found in the house.
Yugi or Yami, Tristan wasn't sure which, was sat on the work surface draining they cup slowly, while Joey leant against it, discussing tactics and Tea sat on the only stool that wasn't wonky, putting her two cent worth in.
He didn't understand why he hung around, sometimes, like on days like today, when they were prepping for a Tournament or they spent the entire day duelling, he felt a bit left out.
It wasn't like he didn't understand the rules, and he was always there to cheer for the others, he was just horrible at the game himself. He always had been, even with Yugi and Yami's coaching. Even Grandpa Muto had tried and look how much he'd improved Joey's game…
Joey had decided that Yugi's eyes were like revolving doors today. Purple, red, purple, red, it was like he was having a conversation with both of them and it was giving him a headache. As far as he was aware, he could have been, but unless one of them slipped up, the changing eye colours was the only way he could tell.
The Tournament that started tomorrow was a roaming one, like the first Battle City, but a lot colder since it was November. Joy was personally of the opinion that a Roaming Tournament in November was as sensible as Yugi going to fight Marik even though he knew he could die, but then Rich-Boy would probably call it a 'test of fortitude' or something.
Yugi had modified his deck, which was unsurprising, and Joey had worked on his too, but Yugi still knew most of the cards in it. Joey just didn't own enough cards to be able to surprise Yugi with more then the handful he'd gotten recently from Duke's Game Shop.
Yami was convinced that Kaiba was going to make a try for the Egyptian Gods, Yugi was certain Weevil was going to be a pain, Yami wanted to take Underwood out himself, Yugi wanted to play against Raptor at some point, Yami was looking forward to facing Kaiba, Yugi wanted it to be in the last few rounds…
Joey was getting a headache from trying to keep up. He wanted to play Weevil too so it would depend on who got to the little roach first.
"Kaiba's updated the Tournament list." Tristan pointed out, clicking on a button on Tea's laptop and refreshing the Duellist List on the Kaiba Corp Website, "There's some new names."
"Anyone we recognise?" Joey asked, looking over.
"Mako Tsunami, no one other then that, some new faces that probably won't last the two days." Tristan shrugged, "I don't honestly see anyone on this list that we know other then Kaiba who is a threat bar Mai. Oh…"
"Oh? Oh isn't good." Yami stood up and headed over to the computer. The Pharaoh's growl caused Joey to come over too.
"Ryou Bakura?" Joey growled, "Ryou? It's gonna be his evil side isn't it?"
Yami just growled and didn't reply, he just started pacing, eyes suddenly a lot duller then they had been.
The three friends just looked at each other, they knew what this meant. Yugi and Yami were discussing something. It was something they'd gotten used to over the years and at least they were at home this time so there was no risk of angry teachers or bumping into lamp posts.
"You're gonna have to be careful if Bakura's at it again." Tristan sighed, leaning back against the worktop, suddenly wishing he hadn't checked the list.
"I'm normally safe." Joey shrugged, "I only gotta worry if I'm the one against him. He's stopped attempting to use us as bait at least."
The phone rang and Yami's vision shot towards it for a microsecond before he was distracted again.
Joey picked it up, "Muto Residence, Joey speak… Mai?"
Yugi was back in control and hovering as Joey tried to talk to her. "How are you?" Joey asked, excited, "Are you compe… pulling out?" Joey's shoulder's sagged, "Why?"
Joey listened as Yugi waited semi patiently.
"No, I understand." Joey sighed, "Do you want to speak to Yugi? Yeah I'll pass you over. Here Yuge."
"Hi Mai." Yugi said, "You're pulling out of the Second Battle City?"
"Yeah, I'm just sure if I'm ready to get back into Professional Duelling yet." Mai sounded unsure, inside his head Yami was being very rude about Marik, who was the reason for this.
"We're competing, we're not aware of any threats, there shouldn't be any madness."
"I appreciate the try Yugi, but I know what Tournaments are like when you enter, there will be madness somewhere. I'm just not ready to jump back into it yet."
"It's not your fault." Mai tried to reassure him, "I'd just thought I'd warn you about the rumours."
"Marik's Rare Hunters are still running and there's rumours that they'll be there."
"Thanks for the warning, it figures they'd still operate even without Marik, Card Sharking is too profitable." Yami said, borrowing control for a second.
Mai just grunted her agreement, "Anyway I'll see you around."
"Take care Mai. Feel free to stop round if you're in Domino."
"I might take you up on that, pass me back to Joey."
Yugi passed the phone back and sighed, slumping back onto a wonky stool as Joey said bye and stared at the phone.
"She's pulling out?" Tea asked.
Both boys nodded as Joey put the phone down.
"She say why?" Tristan asked, "It's not like her."
"She says she's not ready to come back into the Professional Duelling Circuit." Joey shrugged, "We all know why."
Yugi just stared into his lukewarm chocolate as Yami ranted about Marik in his head and Tristan used some rather colourful language.
"You do realise this is our fault?"
'No Yugi, it's mine.' Yami stopped ranting and sighed, 'Marik was after me. Mai, Ryou, Joey, even you… you were all victims in his rampage…'
"You beat him, that's what matters."
Yugi felt the mental equivalent of a shrug and knew that Yami had more thoughts on the matter, but didn't want to share them.
"Yuge?" Joey poked him and he smiled slightly.
"I'm fine, just thinking." Yugi smiled slightly. "More hoping really, I'd like a normal Tournament this time."
"Cross our fingers." Tea said, "We don't particularly want to see you two risking life and limb again."
"We'll just have to wait and see."
Ryou Bakura was wandering around Domino and wondering what had possessed him to enter the Tournament.
Actually that was an easy question, he knew exactly what had possessed him, the real question was what was Ryou going to do to stop Bakura from doing any real harm.
There was a Duel going on in Domino Square that had attracted quite a bit of attention.
"I'm going to win the Tournament, just you wait!" The boy was saying as he summoned a Zombie Warrior and equipped it with Zombie's Jewel. "I'm in a league of my own. Attack!"
"Yeah, the League for those who are delusional!" The girl smirked as her face down defence mode monster blew up and took out 2000 life points from the boy. "You walked straight into my Princess's trap! She takes 500 life points from you for every magic and trap card you have on the field when she's flipped face up!"
Ryou felt Bakura's amusement at the look the girl was giving her opponent.
"That'll teach you to under estimate girls."
There were a few female Duellists around, there was the Duellist playing, another one was watching the match with an amused look, and another was on her laptop and paying attention at the same time, her Duel Disk by her side. He wondered how many of them were competing tomorrow and if any of them would reach the finals.
He doubted it, of all the female Duellists he'd ever seen, only one ever made the finals, and that was that Valentine woman, Joey and Yugi's friend, Mai, he thought her name was.
He watched the girl crush the boy into the ground and ask if there were anymore challengers and then wandered home.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Author's Note – A short opening one, but a better one then the original. I've had a lot of practise at writing since I wrote the first intro to my OC.
I wonder if any of you can guess which girl Kari is. Laptop Girl, Duelling Girl or Spectator Girl?
Next chapter I get to start the Tournament and maybe introduce the bad guys and their cronies, not sure yet. I think you'll be surprised when you find out who the cronies are.