Disclaimer: I do NOT own Yu-Gi-Oh!

Any appearing members of the Society belong to their respective Authors

Round 0: The Games Begin

I'm HONESTLY surprised this hasn't happened yet. Guess it takes great minds to come up with the greatest ideas, eh? ^^

Tash staggered under the weight of the stack of paperwork in her arms. Thanking whatever gods were listening for her years of belly-dancing experience, she balanced the ginormous stack on one knee as she desperately wrangled the door to Michael's office open and stumbled inside, barely managing to keep the stack of paper from toppling over and deposited it on the desk.

"Sorry about all this," she panted straightening up and blowing a stray strand of hair out of her face. "Apparently a sheet somehow got under the door to the janitor's closet and when Stephen went to open it he-" she paused mid-sentence.

The chair behind the desk was empty. Tash frowned, looking around the office. "Michael?"

"Is he not here?"

Tash jumped and whirled to see Cristoph standing in the open doorway, an apologetic look on his face.

"My apologies for startling you, Lady Tash," he said, pulling his cowl down.

"It's fine," Tash said, letting out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and pressing a hand to her racing heart. "You're looking for Michael too?"

The ninja nodded. "I'm looking for Lady Rhiannon. I haven't seen her for several days and I thought she might be out on a mission and came here to ask Lord Michael where she was..."

"Well, he's not here at the moment," Tash said, frowning as something occurred to her. "Come to think of it, I haven't seen Adrian in a while either..."

"Looking for Adrian and Rhia?" Lily asked, poking her head around the door frame.

"And Michael. You know where to find them?" Tash asked.

Lily gave a wry smile. "Follow me."

"Come forth!" Michael bellowed, slapping a card onto his Duel Disk. "Horus The Black Flame Dragon LV 8!"

There was a deafening metallic roar as the gigantic metal dragon erupted onto the field in a blaze of blue-black fire.

"You done yet?" Adrian smirked, arms folded.

"No, but you are!" Michael retorted.

Ben leaned against one of the glass cases holding endless row after row of Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards. "I call winner." he said.

"Hey, no fair! You got winner last time!" Rhia, who was standing next to him, protested.

Ben shrugged. "Yeah, but that was last time. You didn't say anything about this duel, did you?"

Rhia grumbled and folded her arms.

"Here you are!"

Everyone turned at that to see an irritated Tash striding in, flanked by Lily and Cristoph, whose eyes narrowed at the sight of Ben and quickly moved over to stand next to Rhia.

"Yep, here we are." Adrian agreed with a cheeky grin.

"Is this what you've been doing the past three days? Nothing but dueling?"

"Pretty much," Michael answered for all of them.

Tash stamped her foot. "And you didn't even tell me?" she demanded. "I want in! I call winner!"

"Hey!" Ben protested. "I already called winner!"

"And you already had winner last time!" Rhia countered.

"I want in on this too!" Lily interjected.

"As do I." Christoph put in.

A minutes later they were sending Ben out to get a piece of paper to keep track of who was going to duel who when.

Five minutes later, Ben was getting a bigger piece of paper to add more people when Tom and Willy joined in.

Thirty minutes later, planning for the first official Society Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament was underway.

Kerrie rolled over on her cot, burying her face in her pillow, the smell of fabric and detergent filling her nostrils. After a few months down here, boredom stopped being a sensation and started becoming a state of being.

Oh sure, they were free to talk and do whatnot, but eventually the topics of conversation dried up and after a while even whatever games they could think of to play through the bars of their cell became boring.

She rolled onto her back and stared at the concrete ceiling, the sound of idle, half-hearted bickering from some of the Stu's a few cells over echoing dully in her ears.

It wasn't as if they were badly treated. After Harriet had discovered the kind of conditions the Sues were living in, the situation had been rectified in record time. While things were tolerable now, they were far from desirable.

There was next to nothing to mark the passage of time, except for the agents on watch duty rotating in and out and the overhead lights dimming and brightening to indicate when it was time to sleep. It was as if they'd been trapped in stasis, frozen indefinitely in a dark second of time.

Nothing ever moved. Nothing ever changed. It was suffocating.

A rustling of sitting up and head-turning was proceeded by the sound of the basement door opening and the sight of two familiar figures (one of them hatefully so to some of the inmates) entered.

Robert clapped his hands. "Everyone, could I have your attention please?"

"What do you need our attention for? Don't you get enough of it with your new buddies upstairs, you traitor?" Ash shouted derisively from somewhere in the back.

There were a few hissed "Shut up's!" from all around the Basement, but for the most part, he was ignored and Robert continued.

"I, ah, thought some of you might be interested to know that the Society is holding its first ever Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournament here in a few days."

"So, what? What does that mean to us?" Roxelana grumbled.

"So," Ben said, speaking for the first time. "Not everyone in the Society is a duelist. At the moment we've got 19 entrants." He paused. "I trust you know what that means."

Kerrie's eyes widened. They needed one more duelist. And if they were down here, then that meant...

"So," Ben smirked, pushing his glasses up. "Who's it gonna be?" he asked, looking around the room. "I'm sure at least one of you in here knows how to duel."

"Even if we did, we don't have any cards!" Fabian pointed out.

"You're in the basement of the Library Arcanum." Ben reminded him. "If it exists in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, we've got it, with copies to spare."

He waited a moment longer as the assorted captured Sue and Stu's looked at each other uncertainly. Oh, sure, most of them had dueled at one time or another during their romps (or rampages, as the case may be) across the multiverse, but that was back when they were immortal, invincible Mary-Sue's. Many of them had only ever dueled with made-up overly-powerful cards. As a result, they had no real skill of their own and even less confidence in their abilities.

Kerrie sighed and started to lay her head back down. So much for something interesting happening down here for a change.

"She'll do it!"

Kerrie's head shot back up as Reena's voice rang out, only to find her friend raising a hand and pointing a finger at her. Her eyes widened. "Wait, what?"

Ben grinned. "Perfect! The first round of duels is on Monday! I'll have someone come down here and escort you to the Gaming wing of the Library so you can build your deck here in the next few days!"

"But wait! I-"

It was too late. Ben and Robert were already heading back up the stairs, the door to the basement closing behind them.

Kerrie stared after them, frozen for a moment before rounding on Reena her eyes wide with panic. "Why did you do that?" she demanded.

"Oh, c'mon, Kerrie!" Reena cried. "You know as well as I do that nobody here has the confidence or the fighting spirit to enter a tournament like that! They've never had to face anyone head-on before without their powers, on a level playing field. They wouldn't know how to handle themselves, which is exactly what we did in Sue Factor. We're the only possible options and I don't know how to duel."

She sat back against the bars of her cell, holding her friends gaze. "So, it's up to you."

Kerrie slumped. Her friend was right of course...

"Oh, please," Ash sneered from across the cell block. "They'll never let her win. And even if by some miracle she somehow does manage to beat one of them, they'll just throw her back down here and punish all of us for it."

"Oh, are you still talking about that?" Reena demanded.

The bickering continued, but Kerrie wasn't listening. Reena was right. She was the only option.

She began to run over her knowledge of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game in her head, already planning her strategy and as she did so, she felt a slow smile spread across her face. Something was finally happening...

A few days later, Ben looked out across the arena from an elevated platform he occupied as announcer, microphone in hand. Less than a day after the Tournament had been announced, Adrian had begun making some alterations to the small replica of the Roman Coliseum in the Architecture Wing of the Library to turn it into the staging ground for the tournament.

In the end, over 20 entrants had chosen to join in the fun, (even Avak, much to everyone's surprise) each with their own unique deck and dueling style. Although some duelists were clearly a cut above the rest, such as Michael and Tash, everyone knew of the one immutable law that all duelists were subject to: No matter how good you were, no matter how much of an advantage you had over your opponent, the course of a duel could change in an instant.

Ben smiled as he raised the microphone to address the assembled duelists and spectators. Even if they weren't dueling themselves, there were still plenty of spectators. There wasn't a person in the Library who wasn't here to watch the duels unfold. Even the Sues in the basement were watching the tournaments on a large TV that had been arranged for the occasion.

He took a deep breath. Here went nothing. Days of preparation begin to pay off...now...

"Ladies, gentlemen and duelists!" He said, as everyone turned to face him. "Welcome to the first official Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Tournament!" There was some eye-rolling and chuckles at the overly long name, but for the most part, people were listening as he continued. "Over the next few days, nothing but the best will be demanded of you, your decks, and above all, your skills. You will ride the Razor's Edge between Victory and Defeat, and at the end of your ride-"

"Get on with it..." Shirley snarled from where she stood next to him, and Ben knew that if he didn't wrap things up quickly, he'd quickly find an edge of his own embedded deep inside his ribcage.

"A-anyway...I wish the best of luck to all of you!" He regained his composure as a glint entered his eye and a smirk twisted his lips.

"Let the games begin," he said slowly. "BECAUSE IT'S TIME TO DUEL!"

The room exploded with cheers, many of the duelists there raising the arm holding their Duel Disks above their heads, fists clenched.

Ben turned to a giant TV screen hanging on the wall next to the he stood in, displaying the brackets.

"Now...who will be our first competitors?

With the posting of this fic, the Society Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournament has OFFICIALLY begun! Best of luck to everyone and I hope you enjoy the duels to come!

Special thanks to Mei1105 for poking me to even START the tournament, and to Master of the Library and MichaelDJ54 for helping me moderate it.

Now...fasten your seatbelts...