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Arena: A Duel Academy Fanfic - [COMPLETED]

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One Sentence Summary:
It's a slice-of-life fanfic taking place in a Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Academy scenario.

Longer Summary:
After a fire burns down his school, Arthur Surrogate and a few other boys are transferred to Hawthorne Academy, a premier all-girl school in Silvershine City. There he meets his roommate, a girl named Arena who is not quite what she seems (and if you REALLY want to spoil it for yourself, just read the title of chapter 6).

What was the idea behind this fanfic?:
There were a lot of different story ideas rolled into this one, but the biggest inspiration was a certain YuGiOh Roleplaying website I've been involved with for a while. I won't name it, though you can see the inspiration in chapter 10 through 18. Even though some characters may be borrwed from that RP, it is not within the same canon. This is a seperate side project.

Is this a parody, or are you just a bad writer who's hiding behind the word parody to excuse your bad writing?:
... Yes.

What's the release schedule?:
Once a week, every Friday.
[spoiler=Table of Contents]Chapter 1: Arthur Surrogate, Welcome Home!
Chapter Summary:
Arthur Surrogate
Transfers to an all girl school
He meets Arena

Chapter 2: You're in the Right Place
Chapter Summary:
After meeting her
Arthur begins his first day
Not much happens here

Chapter 3: Rise and Shine
Chapter Summary:
Challenged to a duel
Against The Distribution
It does not go well

Chapter 4: You've Earned Yourself a Date
Chapter Summary:
Together with friends
They go on a triple date
With a surprising twist

Chapter 5: All Along
Chapter Summary:
Their date concluded
Arena reveals secrets
More than one in fact

Chapter 6: Arena - Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy
Chapter Summary:
While not a secret,
Does the title spoil too much?
We meet Miss Andry

Chapter 7: That's the Plan
Chapter summary:
Bernouli meeting
What could possibly go wrong?
Everything of course

Chapter 8: Class Cancelled
Chapter Summary:
They enjoy free time
With a visit to a lab
They soon say goodbye

Chapter 9: We Don't Escape Our Punishments
Chapter Summary
Hermos Red Leader
And a change of scenery
Are in this chapter

Chapter 10: Crimson Wind Academy
Chapter Summary:
Crimson Wind field trip
With ulterior motives
Begins in this chapter
Chapter 11: This Is A Public Space
Chapter Summary:
A four-on-one duel
A stray kitten, Heaven's Sake,
Plus plans for a tour
Chapter 12: Enjoy The Tour
Chapter Summary:
A tour of the school
For the boys of Team Surname
Ending at a door
Chapter 13: The Cursed Chain
Chapter Summary:
He tells what he knows
Arena tells them the rest
Tournament starts soon

Chapter 14: Ladies and Gentlemen
Chapter Summary:
The tournament starts
Sixteen-on-sixteen action
With no clear winner

Chapter 15: Ladies First
Chapter Summary:
The results are in
The winning academy
Is decided here

Chapter 16: Necrophades Black
Chapter Summary:
It's true what they say
If your dorm color is black
You never go back

Chapter 17: Heaven's Sake
Chapter Summary:
Their final night ends
With some surprise visitor
The Heaven's Sake girls

Chapter 18: I Cannot Meddle with Human Affairs
Chapter Summary:
Seven little words
In the middle of the night
Before it all ends

Chapter 19: Monozygotic
Chapter Summary
The kids are punished
For their loss at the tourney.
Team Surname splits up

Chapter 20: Party Planning
Chapter Summary
Three different stories
From Oliver, Guy and Gal.
But one bit of hope...

Chapter 21: Sweetheart's Day
Chapter Summary
The Sweetheart's Day Dance
A night no one will forget
For better or worse

Chapter 22: Spencer Friedman - The World's Greatest Detective
Chapter Summary
Dozens of suspects
A difficult mystery
Not one step closer

Chapter 23: Old Age
Chapter Summary
The first girl we met,
And I mean the very first,
Dies in this chapter

Chapter 24: Double Exponential
Chapter Summary
The stakes have been raised
With the First Link on the loose
No student is safe

Chapter 25: The First Link in the Chain
Chapter Summary
At last the kids find
The truth behind everything
Most of it at least

Chapter 26: The Seventh Link in the Chain
Chapter Summary
Learning of themselves
Learning about the villain
One last duel begins

Chapter 27: Gal Cannot Win
Chapter Summary
The final chapter
The true fate of everyone
Is decided here

[spoiler=Chapter 1: Arthur Surrogate, Welcome Home!]
Word Count: 2432 Words

So you're looking at the title thinking "Arena!? Duel Academy!?" and thinking this is gonna be some super slick Fight-Club Royal-Rumble type thing, right? Sorry to disappoint, but Arena is actually a girl's name. And as for the Duel Academy itself, it was an all girl school.

And I say "was", because it "was" an all girl Duel Academy, until today at least.

Sitting on stage with my two other brothers-in-arms, I felt like I was stripped down to just my boxers. Of course I wasn't so crass as to just wear boxers in front of an auditorium full of ladies. I had on my traditional Lincoln Academy uniform - black dress pants, dark gray shirt, black cloak. Maybe a shoe or two. I was dressed as a true Norleras Black.

With about a million girls staring at me in that auditorium I was grateful that my cloak came with a hood to hide my face in. Without it, it would have made my nervousness about a hundred time worse. And these guys I was talking about weren't my real biological brothers or anything like that. I barely knew either of them. In fact, if I had to think about it I don't think I've ever even spoken to either of them before today. I might have seen them while I was passing the halls at Lincoln Academy, or maybe sat next to one of them during a test, but before today I had never met this Enrise White "Oliver Khlozoff" or this Invincil Gray "Guy Surname".

But although I was nervous, the one thing that seemed to calm my spirits was the sight of the headmistress of the Academy, the beautiful Lady Lorem Ipsum.
I know what you're thinking."A typo already!?", right? Nope. Her name wasn't Lauren, it was Lorem Ipsum. At least that's what she went by. I never saw her driver's license or her birth certificate, though in hindsight it makes a lot of sense there were so few records about this woman.

Nevertheless, she was amazingly beautiful, beyond all words and almost beyond comprehension. She was supposed to be headmistress, yet she looked about the same age as a majority of her students. I barely want to describe her any further because I think a description would take away a lot of the magic.

"She was blonde!"
"Oh, well I like redheads."
"She was a redhead!"
"I like blondes!"

You can't please all the people all the time, but if there was anyone in the world who could, it had to be Lady Ipsum. Besides, I don't want to focus so much on what she looked like, I'd rather focus on how she made me feel.
She was visually stunning, the kind of girl who could take your breath away with just a smile and the sound of her voice. And what a voice she had! As she spoke she demanded respect, her voice with such confidence, yet there was a bit of a joyful and upbeat tone as well, that made her seem even younger somehow. And with that ever-so small little hint of an accent you had to listen to every little word she said. Unfortunately I was transfixed by her beauty so much I hardly made any sense of what she was talking about. Just being on the same stage as her made me feel more alive, stronger, more courageous, and able to do anything. If she asked me right now to strip down into my boxers I'd do it with no hesitation.

Unfortunately, instead she challenged me to a duel.


I was so lost staring at the beautiful woman it took me a second to register what she had said.

"A duel?" I asked, absentmindedly repeating the last few words I remember hearing from her.

Of course Lady Ipsum had to know the effect she had on men. She was likely ignoring it to save me the embarrassment. "Yes my dear" she stated with a smile.

I was HER dear? I could feel my cheeks getting redder as I struggled to put up my hood.

"Yes Arthur, you and your fellow brothers have quite lovely hoods, and us ladies are certainly humbled by your devotion to your fallen Academy. Unfortunately, Lincoln Academy is no more and while we would love to take you gentlemen in, we here at Hawthorne Academy have our own rigid standards to uphold as well."

She dug something out of from behind a podium and walked over to me. Getting down to my eye level she gave me a smile and more than an eyeful of cleavage. She winked at me once then walked to her position back at the podium. It took me a minute to realize she had placed a Duel Disk on my lap.

"Now, let your placement exams begin!"

I stood up, still flustered and thankful for my billowing black cloak. Of course I've dueled before, and I took the Lincoln placement exams last year, but this was on a whole different level. Everyone dueled at the Lincoln placement exams and no one really cared what you were doing in a duel other than your proctor. Here, my proctor was the headmistress, the most beautiful girl I'd see that day so far, and I had the eyes of a hundred girls on me.

I meant to say something cool as the duel began. "Ladies first", "I'd say age before beauty, but it looks like you've got both", but all I could manage to mutter was a faint "Oh um hrm" which weren't really a word, much less a sentence.

And that's how I ended up in the Red Dorm.


I had barely blinked when my life points hit zero. I was just waiting for one more card to finish off a real winning combo I'd seen once before, but before I got it she wiped me out completely. The girls didn't seem to laugh or point or giggle or anything. It seemed they knew the headmistress was no one to be taken lightly in her dueling skills. And fortunately it seemed Oliver Khlozoff didn't last longer with Lorem Ipsum then I did.

Oliver went all out, summoning wave after wave of monsters against Lorem, but before you could say "I activate my trap card!" it seemed all his monsters were gone and his life points hit zero. I hadn't heard which dorm he ended up in, but I don't think it was the same as mine.

The mood seemed... a little off when Guy Surname's turn came up. Everything felt jubilant and upbeat, like Headmistress Ipsum was a carnival barker trying to keep us all entertained as she described her moves, described her opponent's moves, what they could do better, what mistakes were made, and what possible outs might have existed. As soon as Guy showed up, there was a bit of hesitation on her face.

She had a beautiful, elegant smile on the whole time, yet as soon as she laid eyes on Guy, there was just the smallest wince on her face, the smallest hint of a scowl to show that something was off.

I might have been imagining it, as it seemed Lady Ipsum regained her composure with a quick breath as she turned her back to the boy and faced the crowd of girls.

"Ladies, we've seen quite the display from our fellow brothers from Lincoln Academy. However I think it's a little unfair to hog all the fun. Not to mention these boys need uniforms, custom made of course! I'm a little bit pressed for time, and I must get to Lordly Tailor before they close. so if I may, I'd like to humbly request our esteemed professor, Doctor Odette Arshlocke to take my place in the next duel!"

There were a few murmurs of confusion, a little bit of clapping which was silenced at once when a large woman in black stood up, shooting a dirty look at the people clapping, then made her way up to the center stage of the auditorium.

If Lady Lorem Ipsum inspired courage and joy in the people she met, Professor Arshlocke did just the opposite. Where Lorem was all smiles and youthful good looks, Professor Odette Arshlocke was built like a linebacker for the Silvershine Gorillas. She looked like she had never smiled a day in her life, with the permanent scowl on her face and the furrowed brow etched onto her face. She looked quite a bit older than Lorem, possibly in her late 40s or early 50s. When she spoke, it was the voice of a heavy chain smoker.

"Let's go little boy." she growled as she picked up her duel disk.

Her opponent, Guy Surname, with his hood up seemed to be hiding his nerves easier than I'd ever thought possible. Me and Oliver were plenty scared for him and we were just standing on the sidelines. Staring down Professor Arshlocke, Guy picked up his duel disk and prepared to face off against her.

And despite Arshlocke's unrelenting assault, Guy seemed to pick the perfect combo of cards, winning the duel with just a hundred points to spare.


After the duel, Guy was pretty much the star of the academy. He was surrounded by girls and adored by everyone. When all the fanfare died down, Lorem returned to the auditorium with a few custom designed outfits. They were one-of-a-kind, male Hawthorne Academy uniforms. As there had never been boys at the academy, until now, they had to be custom ordered.

The Hawthorne Academy wasn't like other duel academies, where there was a worst, best, and middle dorm. At Hawthorne, they had three ranks but they were all pretty much equal. The new star of the academy, Guy Surname would be in the Timaeus Blue dorm. They said he had 'an eye for detail', meaning they were careful and cautious while dueling. At it's worst though, it meant they would hesitate and never attack for fear of trap cards.

With Guy being taken away by a swarm of girls towards his new dorm, I was left with the newest Critias Black boy, Oliver Khlozoff. The people in the Critias Dorm sink their fangs into their opponents, never letting up in an unrelenting assault. At it's worst though, it meant that they'd walk blindly into traps and overextend recklessly.

And as I walked towards the dorms with Oliver next to me, I looked at the Red jacket in my arms that would soon be replacing my black cloak. Hermos Red, the group of students that liked to keep their cards in their claws, a phrase that I don't think really means anything. A girl named Ella offhandedly told me it meant we were combo heavy and liked to use extremely situational cards. We valued high risk, high reward. I disagreed with her assessment but she sped off towards the Blue Dorm to get a glimpse of Guy before I could let he know.

It seemed my only companion for right now was Oliver.

"Man, sure does suck that we're not being surrounded by beautiful babes like our new friend Guy!" Oliver seemed to really envy the newest Timaeus as he smiled with a hand on my shoulder.

I didn't really know what to say to the guy. I just nodded absentmindedly. "Yeah."

"Come on Arthur! That's all I get out of you? Just a 'yeah'? We're in a brand new dorm surrounded by beautiful women. Can I get a little more enthusiasm here?"

I gave him a bit of a shrug and a smile. "It's not that big a deal Oliver. We'll get our own separate dorms and kinda just be the outsiders of the Academy for a while. I think you've read one too many romance novels or seen one too many animated shows about this."

Oliver raised an eyebrow. "You're not gay are you bro? I mean, more girls for me if you are but-"

"NO Oliver!" I shot back. "I'm not."

"Ah, no big deal then. I doubt I'll be lacking in terms of finding a girlfriend or 30 at a school like this. Catch you later Arthur!" And just like that, he rounded the corner and he was gone, most likely to his dorm in the Black Dorms.

With not much else to do, I took out my PDA to re-read my introductory email to find my way to my dorm. The Red Dorms were in the south, and my room was number 309.


The dorm wasn't much to look at. It looked about the same as my old one at Lincoln Academy. Everything was plain, drab, and non-threatening, with a bit of carpeting, two beds, and just a few hints of red to remind you that you were in the Hermos dorm. If you've ever been to a moderately priced hotel, you just about got the gist of what the dorm looked like. Since the duel academy was located in Silvershine City a lot of the students commuted. There were students that dormed, but they were few and far between.

I wheeled in my luggage then tried to take a more thorough look at the room, before it suddenly dawned on me that there was one more bed then there should have been.

I almost dropped my keys when I heard the door opening behind me.

Gasping in shock, I noticed quite a beautiful looking young girl. She wasn't as jaw droppingly gorgeous as Headmistress Lorem, but she certainly wasn't bad looking either. Where Lorem was heavenly, feminine beauty in human form, this girl was sort of cute in an innocent sort of way. She had extremely long hair, so long she could probably sit on it with no discomfort. Her hair was a very light shade of blonde, possibly white. She had piercing gray eyes, very intense like she spent a long time thinking. She was wearing a girl's Hermos Red uniform.

"Uhh..." I stammered nervously. "Hi?"

I expected to hear the young girl explode into a fit of hysterical crying, throw things, get angry, something... anything! Instead she stared at me like she was studying me, unsure of what to do. At last she seemed to figure out the right thing to do. She blushed ever so lightly and giggled, an enormous silly grin on her face.

And as I looked over the adorable little girl, a girl I'd soon call my roommate, the first words she said to me would be permanently written onto my mind.

"Arthur Surrogate, welcome home!"


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[spoiler=Chapter 2: You're In The Right Place.]

Word Count: 3201




So there I was, standing in an unfamiliar room with an unfamiliar girl. Rather than doing the normal thing like yell and scream and curse and cry she suddenly beamed and glowed with pride at the sight of me. She seemed like she had been looking forward to this for quite some time. I wouldn't find out just how long until much later.


My first thought was this had to be a mistake. No school in their right mind would pair a girl and a boy together as dorm mates.


"Am I... is this the right room?" It was kind of a stupid question though, since she had she just greeted me by name.


"You're in the right place." she said, with a simple little smile etched on her face and intense eyes still studying me like I was a text book.


"How... how do you know my name?"


Another stupid question from Arthur Surrogate. We all just came from an assembly where me, Oliver, and Guy were the main attraction. The fire at Lincoln Academy had been all over the news. I was still wearing a Lincoln Academy uniform for heaven's sake. The answer I got was much different from anything I'd expected.


"I've known about you since before you were born. I've always known we were destined to be together. And at last, all of my plans have paid off. You are here with me at last."


I paused to try to digest what she had said, but... like what the hell? How do you even begin to process something like that? All I could was blurt out the only word that came to mind.




Before I could protest even further, she took several quick steps forwards, grabbed my hands and pulled my close. With me hunched over a little bit, and the small girl on her tip toes she leaned in, preparing to give me a kiss.


It was a surprise, sure, but I easily side-stepped her. I put my hand on her shoulder and pushed down, making sure we were no longer at face-to-face level, and did my best to back up and give us some distance. I was more confused now than ever before. I began to wonder if Oliver may have had a point about me.


"What are you trying to do!?" though again, another stupid question. She just said we were destined to be together, then leaned in. It wouldn't need a PhD in Card Games like Doctor Arshlocke to figure this one out.


She stared at me like she was studying me once again, before suddenly her eyes began to sparkle as though she had figured it out.


"Oh I believe I understand your hesitation! You wish for me to introduce myself, correct?"


That wasn't quite what I was confused about, though I felt it wouldn't hurt to know who exactly this girl was. "Sure, go ahead."


"My name is Arena." she stated simply, like all of life's questions would be answered with those simple words.


"Uhh... arena?" I question, pronouncing it like the ending of the word 'ballerina'.


The pale haired girl with eyes of gray shook her head. "Not exactly my beloved. My name is AIR-EE-NAH." She pronounced the first syllable with an "Air" rather than an "Uhh"


"That's an... interesting name." she smiled at the word, perhaps glad that I found her name interesting. "Where are you from?"


She seemed unsure of the answer, thinking hard before speaking once again. "I am everywhere."


She had shown hints that something was terribly wrong with her, but this was a glowing red flag of trouble. Just my luck, I find a cute girl who is infatuated with me and it seemed like she had some sort of mental illness.


It'd be wrong to take advantage of a girl like that, so I felt I'd have to let her down gently.


"Look Arena, it's been nice to meet you and all but there must be some kind of mistake."


"There are no mistakes. This is exactly as I have planned it. Now that I have adequately answered your questions, let us get to know one another, physically!"


She once again began to quickly bridge the distance between us, but my hands instinctly put themselves on her shoulders. I never fully understood the phrase "keeping someone an arm's length away" until that moment.


Even though I was stronger than her, it was very difficult putting up with this girl. She was forcing her full body weight onto me and while it was probably no more than 100 pounds, holding back that kinda weight for so long takes its toll. It seemed to me that she was, quite literally, putting everything she had in order to get a kiss from me. For every step I tried to take backward, she seemed to want to take two step forwards.


I had to think of something quick, as this situation could turn really bad, really fast. Yeah yeah yeah, a beautiful girl wanted to kiss me. But she clearly had some kind of mental problems if she was so eager for this on our first meeting.


"M-my heart isn't ready!" I stammered. She frowned, ever so slightly, but seemed to finally let up. She stopped pushing forward.


"I understand. There is no rush. After all, we are roommates and soon, much much more." A weak smile etched itself upon her face, as those gray eyes of her continued staring at me, trying to study me.


With my back still up against the wall she slowly sauntered her way to the nearest bed and took a seat. She patted the bed next to her, a come-hither expression on her face. "Join me won't you." she stated.


I did not.






I never fully understood the phrase "sleeping with one eye open" until that night. I was never much of a light sleeper, though never much of a heavy sleeper either. I had assume my sleeping habits, and just about everything about me, was about as average as one could get. Which made it all the more confusing why this girl was totally into me.


I didn't have the charisma or charming good looks of Oliver Khlozoff, and I didn't have the talent and dueling ability of Guy Surname. It made no sense as to why that cute little girl would single me out.


As I laid my head on the pillow, I watched Arena sleeping in the other bed. Don't get any perverted ideas though. I was watching her to make sure nothing happened. I did have to admit she was pretty cute there in the pale moon light. Every hour or so, she'd get out of bed and walk towards me. I'd pretend to be asleep, rolling over and toss and turn, then she'd get the idea and crawl back into her own bed.


Lying in bed, I began to wonder which of us was truly the one pretending to sleep, waiting for the other one to fall asleep. Eventually I did manage to nod off and by morning I got my answer.


I awoke to find the little white haired girl fast asleep in my arms. She was straddling me with her arms wrapped tightly around me and her face buried in my chest. She seemed to still be wearing a majority of her Hermos Red uniform, so that was a relief, but the relief was soon replaced by fear as I realized what a compromising position we were in.


I could feel my heart beating faster, and perhaps the sound of my own beating heart was what woke her up. She slowly lifted her head and looked me in the eye, smiling.


I slowly withdrew my hands from off her hips and gave her a weak smile in return. "Uhh... h-hello?"


"Good morning my beloved." she stated simply. She leaned in, ready for a good morning kiss. I put my hand up in defense.


"I can't! I have... uhh... gross morning bad breath!" it was the quickest thing I could think of, and probably not entirely incorrect for so early in the morning. I glanced over at the digital alarm clock on the nightstand that separated our beds. It was only about 20 more minutes before the alarm went off and I'd begin my first day of classes at Hawthorne.


"We should probably... g-get up.."


She smiled and blushed ever so lightly. "Feels like you're already up to me."


"No. I mean... eww. Let's brush our teeth, take a shower, and get dressed for school."


She stared at me like she was studying me before asking her question.


"Can we take a shower together?"


When it was my turn to take a shower, I made sure to lock the door.






My classes were mostly boring and uneventful. There were whispers and murmurs about a group of boys being allowed into the all-girl school, but nobody really approached me or talked to me, or maybe they did and I just didn't notice because I was still so tired from staying up all night, trying to keep Arena from getting to close, then failing at the last hour anyway.


Arena clung on to me throughout the whole day. I constantly found her trying to hold my hand or lock her arms with mine or have her rest her head on my shoulders throughout the day. My brain felt like it needed a break from everything, so I was more excited than I ever was when I heard the bell ringing for lunch.


Most hierarchy based duel academy's divide up the school and heavily segregate everyone. The Reds sleep in terrible, rundown buildings and eat the worst quality food. The Yellows have modest living arrangements and pretty good food for cafeteria food. The Blues have the best with no expenses spared.


Thankfully Hawthorne Academy was above such pettiness. All the dorm rooms were roughly the same, only slight color differences in rooms to tell you where you were, and as for food, we all shared the same cafeteria so we all ate pretty much the same.


A few more whispers, pointing, and staring as I waited at the lunch line before grabbing a burger and plate of fires. I had only turned away from Arena for two seconds to grab my food, I could still feel her on my arm for crying out loud, but when I looked back at her I had noticed her plate had been filled with tons of delicious looking fruits, vegetables, and other healthy alternatives that made me feel kind of guilty for going with the burger and fries option.


With Arena clinging to my arm, I maneuvered my way through the cafeteria, though no place seemed particularly inviting. It was a cafeteria full of girls and the whispering and pointing was getting a bit too weird for my liking.


One girl saw me and motioned towards a single chair next to her. She gave me a smile. I motioned towards Arena on my arm, she scowled then put her backpack over the chair she had just offered.


Another girl made eye contact with me, blushed, then went back to eating some pasta as fast as she could.


It was crowded and not much room, and I didn't want to be an old cliché eating on the roof. I felt a tug at my arm and glanced down at the short little white haired girl.


"There." with her hands full of a tray of fruits and vegetables, and her arm locked in mine, all she could do was make awkward thrusting motions with her hips. Thankfully the group of girls she was thrusting her hips towards had their backs towards us. They seemed to be circling something or someone, giggling and overall delighted at... whatever they were looking at.


"Uhh... you sure about that Arena?"


Arena nodded, and though I disagreed with just about every single thing she had tried to put me through the last 24 hours, I decided to let myself be lead through this crowd of girls in the cafeteria.


It wasn't as difficult to make my way through the crowd as I thought it would be. As soon as I approached the girls seemed to move, the group began to part, and I saw a rather large table with two empty seats. I took a seat, Arena sat next to me, and it was now I noticed the reason there was a crowd of girls circling a single table.


I blinked as I recognized the familiar face before me.


"Is that you Oliver?"


Oliver Khlozoff, one of the few other survivors of the Lincoln Academy fires. It seemed he had taken very little time to find a harem of girls ready to fawn over him. They were staring at him intently, almost the same way Arena stared at me.


"Oh, Arthur! It's nice to see you again!" he smiled at me, then glanced down at Arena, holding my arm with one hand and popping some grapes into her mouth with the other.


"Oh man, you got a girlfriend already!?" He smirked, the gaggle of girls around him had giggled.


I glanced down at Arena, thinking over Oliver's words.


"Her name is Arena. And she's not-"


"We are more than just boyfriend and girlfriend." Arena spoke with a very serious expression on her face. She stared intently at Oliver Khlozoff. "We share a deep and profound bond that transcends time and space."


Oliver seemed alarm. The girls seemed quite taken by her words.


"Oh that's so cute!" said one of the girls.


"Do you think me and Oliver will ever share a bond like that?"


"Please, like Oliver would like a girl as flat chested as you."


"What!? Why would Oliver be with a big cow like you!?"


"Oliver! Make a choice right now!"


It seemed Arena had a way with causing trouble wherever she went, though she hardly seemed to mind. With a knife in hand she was delicately peeling an apple, a single spiral-like piece of apple skin was on her plate while a completely unpeeled apple was in her hand. She gave me a smile, motioned to the apple. I shook my head and grabbed a handful of fries instead, watching the fireworks go off between Oliver and the women he kept company with.


It seemed after a lot of damage control, the girls walked away and Oliver managed to avoid the altercation without a slap across the face, or worse. However, it seemed the damage had been done and the girls would not be returning.


"Eh, no big loss." Oliver seemed a bit broken up, but he was taking it well. "There's like 100 other girls here at the academy. I'm sure it'll be just as easy to reel another 20 or so girls before dinner time."


Arena had finished her plate of fruit then just stared at Oliver, studying him. I felt a little better to be off her focus, if only for a moment as I polished off my burger.


Oliver seemed a bit unnerved at all the attention Arena was paying him. "Hey Arena, right? Is there something on my face?"


"You will not find your soulmate here." Arena stated simply, then politely folded her hands in her lap.


Oliver gave her a smirk. "Lady, I'm not looking for a soulmate! I'm just looking to have a little fun!"


I rolled my eyes. "So, have you seen our buddy Guy Surname anywhere?"


Oliver's smirk seemed to fade and he blushed, ever so lightly. "I.. uhh... yeah." he looked away.


His uneasy expression made me a bit curious. "What's the big deal? Did he get more girlfriends than you?"


"Well, see for yourself." Oliver motioned towards a table off in the distance. I could definitely see Guy Surname's face, talking and smiling with a girl, though there was definitely something off about him.


"Yeah, it was totally weird. Guy was acted like he didn't know me or anything."


I stopped to think it over. I didn't know Oliver myself until yesterday. Maybe Guy didn't really know him much either. It seemed Oliver had at least made a friend so there was no chance of him being lonely, and he seemed to be enjoying himself which was definitely good for him.


Watching Guy Surname with his female friend, studying what was so off about him. Suddenly, it hit me. The jacket he was wearing was definitely a Timaeus Blue girl's jacket. There was a bow in his hair, and it's hard to describe but there was something a lot more fluid and a lot daintier and lady-like about the way he seemed to be carrying himself. As he stood up to clear his plate, I noticed he was wearing the complete Timaeus Blue girl's uniform, from the top of his head to the bottom.


"Uhh... you sure that was the only 'totally weird' part about him? He's wearing a skirt."


Oliver blushed lightly and smirked. "Well I mean, it's the 21st century Arthur! No need to be so narrow-minded about these things. Even Aerosmith was singing about it back in '87."


Arena looked at Oliver, then back to me.


"Oliver is upset because he flirted with both of them."


I was glad I finished eating otherwise I'd have probably choked on my burger from laughing.


Oliver blushed ferociously. "It's not... well... shut up Arena!" Oliver quickly stormed out of the cafeteria.


That caused me to laugh even louder than before, and it only stopped when I noticed Arena staring at me with a bit of a hopeful expression. I gave her a weak smile, and willingly put my arm around her and a bit of a hug.


"Come on. We've gotta get to class soon."






The rest of the day was largely uneventful at the academy. After finishing classes, some went to after school clubs, some went to study sessions and tutoring, but Arena seemed thrilled to have me all to herself in room 309.


The only thing Arena seemed more passionate about then having me in her arms was homework. After the Lincoln Academy fires I had to miss out on about a week of school. While the girls continued chugging along with their studies, I was struggling on Card Rulings and the Duel Scenarios they assigned didn't make any sense.


When I spent my first night with Arena, I assumed she'd do anything I asked her. Unfortunately it seemed academic dishonesty is where she drew the line.


"How can you better yourself if you are handed the answer!?"


And though she was always willing to tutor me, it made me feel a little guilty to not be willing to give her what she wanted.


Nevertheless, after about another day or two everything was beginning to fall back into a routine. I had dormed before at Lincoln, I had taken classes before, about the only major difference was there was much more estrogen in my life then there ever was before.


I thought nothing could shake my average happy little life.


I was wrong.


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[spoiler=Chapter 3: Rise and Shine]

Word Count: 3314


When I first arrived at Lincoln Academy over a year ago, I expected it to be non-stop dueling 24/7, especially after the Entrance Exam. First class? Find a partner and duel them. Overdue library book? Settle your tab with a duel. Asking a girl on a date? She'll only accept if you can beat her in a duel!


But in real life, dueling was much less of a fun diversion and much more of a daily grind. When you're studying the inner aspects of dueling at a profound level; the way rulings are phrased, the way duel disks work, deck dissection, banlist design, metagame analysis, the last thing you want to do when you’re out of class is duel.


Also there weren't any girls at Lincoln Academy anyway.


And while there were way more girls at Hawthorne, it seemed that we all shared the same general ideas towards dueling. Dueling was "work", not recreation.


At least that's what I thought, until there came a knock on room 309.


It was my first Saturday morning at Hawthorne Academy, and I assumed I would get the chance to sleep in but apparently whoever was at my door had something else in mind. Still lying in bed with my roommate Arena on top of me, I glanced over to her.


"Rise and shine..." she muttered weakly, then smiled ever so slightly. She leaned in for a kiss, just like every other day this week but, just like every other time, I did not allow it, putting my hand over her lips and gently pushing her away. She seemed to get the hint and got up, making her way to the bathroom to get ready for the day.


There was still a knocking, still a pounding at my door as I slowly got myself up. I tried to wipe the sleepiness from my eyes as I groggily got up and made my way to the door.


As I turned the knob, a sudden fear hit me. What if it was some sort of surprise inspection? Would I get kicked out for having a girl in my room? I tried to play it safe by finding out the identity of my guest first.


"Wh-who is it?" I asked.




The voice was clearly feminine, though that wasn't a surprise since there were only like, 3 men in a half mile radius of the campus. Despite being surrounded by women for about a week, the only girls I knew were Arena, my roommate, Ella, the girl I off-handedly mentioned in chapter 1, and Small Boobs, who's name I unfortunately did not get but who well... had small boobs.


And yet, there was a weird familiarity to the voice. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but perhaps I knew them, or someone related to them not too long ago. Lost in my own thoughts and unsure if I should open the door or not, it seemed Arena would have to make the choice for me.


"Arthur Surrogate!" I glanced back towards Arena to see her with a towel wrapped around her long hair, though she still wore the Hermos Red uniform she slept in. She had a rather serious scowl etched on her face with her hands across her subtle chest. "It is rude to keep all of our guests waiting!"


She rushed forward and before I could protest, the door was swung open. Even though I had only heard one voice, it seemed Arena had correctly guessed it when she said we had guests, plural, waiting for us.


There were 3 girls, all wearing standard Hawthorne female attire, one in Red, one in Blue, one in Black. They also wore matching masquerade masks, and by "matching" I didn’t mean they were all the same color. I meant that they all matched the clothes they were wearing. I unfortunately was not so lucky.


"Oh god!" the girl in the front, whose voice I recognized as Bernouli's, blushed and did her best to look away. "It's rude to present yourself in front of a lady in your boxers!"


I wish I could have thought of something cool and snarky to say in return. "It's rude to wake people up on a Saturday!" But I was too dumbstruck to think of anything clever. I did my best to awkwardly look for some cover.


Thinking quickly, and perhaps for the first and only time recognizing my embarrassment, Arena quickly undid the towel on her head and handed it over. I quickly fashioned it across my waist to cover up, at least a little. Arena gave me a thumbs up, though I was a little confused as to why she needed the towel in the first place. Her hair was as flawless as ever, and the towel didn't seem to be wet at all.


"Aww, no fair!" a blonde haired Critias Black looked annoyed. Arena shot her a dirty look, enough to make the Critias girl flinch and avoid mentioning it again.


The last girl, the Hermos Red was much taller than the other two, and taller than me as well. She seemed physically strong, but mostly seemed to be laying back, guarding the door while the other two stepped into my room.


Which left the Timaeus Blue, Bernouli, taking center stage.


At last I thought of something worthwhile to ask. "What do you want?"


Bernouli seemed to be staring holes into me before at last smirking.


"Bring your deck and duel disk. Come to the track field in one hour, and come alone."


"Can I come too!?" Arena asked with a friendly smile.


"Sure!" the blonde responded cheerfully. Bernouli glared at her, then back to me.


"Alright, bring whoever you want to see your ultimate humiliation. And do try to wear pants this time." Bernouli took a strict, military type about-face then quickly sauntered out of my room. The blonde Critias seemed a bit unsure of everything but awkwardly made her way out of room 309 as well.


I glanced over at Arena, who was already beginning to lay out my clothes.


"I guess I better get ready then."






I was told to come alone, but it seemed only one out of three of us had gotten the memo. I was bringing Arena, Oliver was bringing a horde of fangirls, but Guy was standing there, dressed like a boy by the way, without a single person to cheer him on.


"Oh, you two are here too?" I asked as I approached the two former Lincoln Academy students.


Oliver smirked. "Upset you couldn't have those three beautiful women to yourself, eh Arthur?"


I felt Arena squeeze my arm a little bit harder than before but gave her a reassuring pat on the arm. She loosened her grip slightly but rested her head on my arm and smiled. I smiled back.


I turned to Guy who seemed to be gazing off into the distant at nothing in particular. "Hey Guy, how come you didn't bring your friend from our first day of classes?"


Guy raised an eyebrow. "What are you talking about?"


Before I could clarify, Oliver interjected. “Arthur's just talking crazy! Come on, we gotta catch up on a few things buddy!"


He pulled me aside then whispered. "Leave him alone. He’s probably a little sensitive about being seen by us wearing girls clothes, ya' know?"


Still feeling a little unsure about what was going on, I turned to one of the many girls that had come with Oliver, the only one I had really known and spoken to.


"Excuse me, do you know who those masked girls were?"


"You mean The Distribution? Yeah, you guys are about to be hazed." Small Boobs gave a smirk and I realized perhaps not all of Oliver's fangirls had forgiven him for the cafeteria incident. But I had little time to process this as I suddenly heard an air horn go off. Everyone jumped with a start, except for Arena of course who seemed to still enjoy clinging to my arm.


The 3 girls, The Distribution, stood out quite a bit compared to the other girls on the Track Field. As this was Saturday, most wore jeans or yoga pants, and absolutely none of them wore the uniform. Other than me, Arena, Guy, Oliver, and The Distribution, nobody else was wearing the Hawthorne Academy uniform.


"Now ladies, step back from our targets!" other than Arena who still clung to my arm, the girls quickly dispersed, forming some sort of crescent moon to allow The Distribution a better chance to see us.


Bernouli scowled at Arena but if she was upset she didn't say anything about it. "I'm sure someone's already told you, but for the uninitiated, we are The Distribution. I am Bernouli."


"Laplace!" the cheerful blonde punched the air excitedly.


"Weibull." The taller Hermos Red stated. Her voice was a bit deeper and her hair a bit shorter, but she definitely had curves like a girl. She didn't seem all that happy to be here, but she acted like this was just a job she had to do.


"The three of us, me, Laplace and Weibull, we're going to beat you sorry scrubs in a duel. And when we win, you have to do as we say for a week." she smirked.


I raised a brow, but Arena seemed to have my back on this. "Do not worry my beloved. You will defeat Weibull. I am confident in it." She gave a smile and leaned in for a kiss, and I almost let her, but turned away at the last second.


Bernouli raised her duel disk. "It seems our colours have already chosen our opponents. Reds on Reds. Blues on Blues. Blacks on Blacks."


As the duel began, I had no time to wonder how Arena knew my opponent would be Weibull. Maybe just Red on Red, Blue on Blue, Black on Black seemed like the most obvious pairing? In any case, I wasn't sure what to think but at least I had Arena on my side.






Arena had quickly left my side to give me and Weibull enough room to duel with. Weibull, my opponent, wasn't quite built like a linebacker, but she was still incredibly tall. She seemed rather bored and uninterested by this whole spectacle.


I was unsure what to say but tried to be cool. "Ladies first?"


At last, the first sign of emotion from the girl. She gave a bit of a chuckle. "It's your funeral."


With her duel disk activated, she slapped a monster onto the field "Royal Magical Library!"


With zero attack points, I knew it had a powerful effect. Something about drawing every time... something happened.


Fortunately I didn't have to wait as Weibull's turn continued.


Three spell cards, Upstart Goblin, Pot of Duality, and Chicken Game, and with 3 spell counters she was given a new card. Chicken Game gave her another card.


And it continued in a loop like this, more and more cards being drawn and her Library spitting out a new one for every three spells. Three copies of Toon Table of Context. One new card. Terraforming into a second Chicken Game,. Chicken Game with a free card. Psuedo Space, then Magical Library with the new card. Into the Void, Upstart Goblin, then Broken Bamboo Sword. One new card.


Hermos Red was the dorm known for 'keeping their cards in their claws' and being combo heavy, it seemed Weibull was fully living up to that. At long last, she had finally given me a chance to do something.


"I play Dark World Dealings! We each draw one, then discard one. I’ll discard my Cursed Bamboo Sword, and when I do I get to search out a new card, in this case I'll pick Golden Bamboo Sword. How about you!?"


I stared at the card I drew, and the cards in my hand. It seemed like a no brainer.


"I discard Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World."


"Oooooh!" the crowd of girls ooooohed in excitement.


"He's got this." I heard a girl whisper.


"Depends what he picks."


"What do you mean? He's obviously not gonna waste his move destroy a used up Psuedo Space."


They were right. I pointed and her library, and her Bamboo Sword, were gone. It meant her Golden Sword wouldn't give her a draw, and it stopped her drawing engine.


More whispering, and at last I realized what they meant. It seemed Weibull did too.


I smirked as my Dragon Lord's secondary effect activated. "Oh... yeah. I almost never get the other effect off. When my dragon is discarded I can pick a card at random from your hand and special summon it, if it's a monster."


The crowd roared and hooped and hollered. It was pretty obvious what kind of deck this was. "Now, let's see a piece of Exodia."


Weibull had the best poker face of anyone I ever met. She had probably faced off against many duelists trying to hit her with Lightforce Sword or Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch. With nine cards in hand, and no declaration of victory yet, I knew my chances of getting Exodia were about 4/9ths, maybe less. If I didn't stop her here, it was likely she'd build up the momentum some other way and draw into the final piece sooner or later.


"Come and get it." Weibull waved her arms and he field dissolved. I crossed over the duel field, heart pounding as our eyes met.


She shuffled her hand and laid nine cards on the flat recess of her duel disk. It seemed perhaps she didn't even trust herself, leaving it entirely up to fate for this one. I took one last breath as I picked up all her cards and shuffled them one last time myself. The first sign of a wince from Weibull. I pointed to the top card of the nine card stack.


"This one." I flipped it over, Right Arm of the Forbidden One.


Weibull scowled then gave me a chuckle.


"Damn. Guess I surrender."






There was some cheering and clapping, but it seemed I wasn't the main attraction at this three ring circus. Only five girls were really watching me and Weibull's duel; Arena, Ella, Small Boobs, and two other girls. One of the girls I didn't recognize seemed to be upset that Weibull didn't pull of a win for womankind, but perhaps she'd be appeased by the next duel, already in progress.


We walked slightly over and the crowd dispersed, joining Oliver's duel, watching him face off against Laplace.


"Hey man. Did you win?" Oliver called out when he saw me join the group.




"Cool. About to do the same here!"


Arena scowled. "I doubt it."


I had to agree with Arena on this one. Laplace had out her ace monster, and Oliver's field was clear. Both duelists were down to just a small handful of points left, less than 1000. It seemed very clear Laplace was going to take this.


Laplace furrowed her brow in a cute manner then yelled. "Hey! If you think you're gonna win so much, let's make this interesting!" she grinned from ear to ear and gave a thumbs up. "If I win this duel, you gotta go out on a date with me, but if you win, I gotta go out on a date with you! Is that fair!?"


Oliver looked confused and a bit taken aback. Was this part of Laplace's psychological strategy? "Uhh... sure." said Oliver nervously.


He glanced back at his cards and seemed to renew the duelist spirit.


"I'll begin my turn with Batteryman AA!"


A bit of a few laughs and giggles at the low powered monster on Oliver's field. Laplace didn't join in the mocking just yet.


"You really think you can win with a monster like that?"


Oliver smirked.


"Yeah, I.... HONESTLY... think I can pull it off!" Oliver gave a big cheesy grin back at Laplace. She cocked an eyebrow but seemed to stifle a laugh.


"You... honestly... think you're gonna win?"


"I.... honestly... do!" Oliver gave her wink and there was a bit more laughing from the peanut gallery at how Oliver was joking around with what had to be the least obvious move in Duel Monsters History.


Laplace gave a shrug. "Maybe you should... honestly... take your turn then."


"As you wish ma'am! I declare an attack with Batteryman AA!"


"And I activate my trap card! Mind Crush!"


A roar of laughs and excitement as Oliver realized how bad telegraphing his strategy was, a little too late. "I honestly think I just lost the duel..." Oliver muttered.


And there was little else left in the duel. Laplace declared Honest, the card was discarded, his Batteryman smashed into a behemoth of a monster, and Oliver's life points hit zero.


"Horray!" Laplace linked her arm with Oliver's, who seemed somewhat surprised as though he had forgotten the promise he made just a few paragraphs ago. "You're going out with me!"


We smirked and laughed then made our way to the final duel, Bernouli versus Guy Surname almost done.






The words "almost done" was a bit of an understatement. Me, Oliver, Weibull, Laplace, and everyone else who had been watching our duels had shown up just in time to watch Bernouli's life points hit zero and the holograms from the duel disk slowly fade away.


It seemed a bit strange that no one had been watching Bernouli and Guy's duel.


"I guess you've proven your worth there, Guy." Bernouli seemed almost amicable and pleasant when she approached Guy and shook his hand. Guy seemed a bit nervous and unsure, but he accepted her handshake.


"I gotta say though Bernouli, you do remind me of someone..."


"Likewise. Are you sure you don't have any relatives?"


"I'm afraid not. I was an only child. Never knew my mom. Dad died when I was pretty young. And you Bernouli? Do you have any relatives?"


Bernouli paused, and her amicable nature seemed to fade. She let go of Guy's hand and scowled with her hands across her chest.


Guy looked thoughtful for a moment. "Wait a minute. You do have a brother don't you? Graduated from Lincoln last year? I think I might have-"


"Shut up!" the silence was deafening was everyone stopped what they were doing to look at Bernouli. "Don't you dare talk about my brother again, Guy Surname!"


She reached for her mask and removed it. There was nothing specifically wrong with her face, and I had never seen her before so I had no idea what all the mystery was for. Though now that she mentioned it, I could sort of see a strong family resemblance between her and the former star of the Lincoln Academy.


"My name is Malady Euryval. I spent the past 16 years living in my older brother's shadow. In all the times we have dueled, I have never once beat him. And you, Guy Surname, you effortlessly defeat my brother during the graduation match at Lincoln Academy. You left him broken, defeated, he gave up on the game to go... I don't know, raise pigeons or something? You broke my brother Guy Surname, and I will never give up until I break you too."


She did a military style about face. "Let's go ladies."


Weibull looked as though she was about to say something, but then thought better of it as she followed her leader. Laplace looked at Oliver, making a 'call me' gesture while mouthing the words to him, then quickly followed after Bernouli as well.


Oliver gave a shrug "Women, am I right?" A few groans as the crowd of women began to disperse, leaving just me, the other 2 boys of Lincoln Academy, and Arena all alone to figure out our next move.


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[spoiler=Chapter 4: You've Earned Yourself a Date]

Word Count: 3369


After the three of us had survived the hazing by The Distribution, Arena, Oliver and me decided to go grab some lunch. As for Guy, he decided to go look into his Lincoln Academy yearbook to see if he had managed to save Euryval's old contact information.


"Man, that was pretty rough with those girls, but we managed to pull it off, eh Arthur?" Oliver took a bite of his sandwich.


"What do you mean 'we'? Pretty sure you lost against Laplace." I stated as I pointed my fork at Oliver.


"You've earned yourself a date!" Arena handed Oliver a spoon with a small fruit on it, smiling at the pun she had made. She was once again eating a fantastic plethora of bright and delicious looking fruit.


Oliver glanced at the fruit Arena offered and batted it away, knocking it onto the cafeteria floor.


"Eh, I'm not worried about Laplace. I mean... who knows? She just may end up the future Misses Khlozoff!"


"She won't." Arena responded blankly.


"Man Arena, why do you always gotta sour my mood?"


"It is better to be soured now then to raise your hopes and have them be crushed 8 months from now when she leaves this school forever."


Oliver rolled his eyes, but it seemed in his derisive state he managed to notice something out of the corner of his eyes.


"Hey, don't look now but it looks like MISS Surname has decided to make HER appearance today."


True to his word, it seemed Guy was once again in a skirt, speaking with the same brown haired, spectacled girl from two chapters ago.


"Should we just... we should leave them alone, right?" I asked.


It seemed Arena had something else in mind as she stuck two fingers into her mouth and blew. A sharp, loud whistle pierced through the air. Just about everyone in the cafeteria stopped what they were doing to look at Arena, but Arena's eyes were set on the two Timaeus students.


"Come sit with us." Arena commanded. The pair looked at each other than shrugged, making their way towards us.


We had already met Guy Surname, and he looked pretty much exactly the same as we saw him earlier today, except he was wearing a white frilly skirt and a billow blue blouse. Underneath that he wore a pair of black tights.


His friend was a little taller than Arena, but shorter than Surname. She had brown hair and a pair of glasses, wearing a white vest and blue jeans along with a blue scarf.


"Uh hey, my name is Ami Pastiche." the girl introduced herself.


"Oliver Khlozoff."


"I'm Arthur Surrogate."


I glanced at Arena who stared at me before smiling a big grin, revealing an orange rind like a boxer wearing a mouth guard. I smiled back.


"And this is Arena."


I stopped for a moment to think if I ever got Arena's last name. Before I could ask, Ami's friend introduced herself.


"My name is Gal Surname."


Oliver and I exchanged a nervous look. If that's what Guy wanted to be called while in his female persona, who were we to judge? It was a little peculiar he didn't really do anything to disguise his voice, but we weren't really there to judge.


"Does Lady Ipsum know you boys are here?" Ami gave us a suspicious look and a smile.


"Yeah, a bunch of guys in the sanctity of womanhood would be a major no-no." Gal Surname gave us a wink. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with us, though you should probably be more on the lookout for Doctor Arshlocke or Miss Andry."


"We know all about them. We're student's here."


The pair looked at each other incredulously, then back to us.


Ami spoke first. "You two do know this is an all-girl school, right?"


"Maybe they're one of those newfangled 'gender-fluid' people. Kind of weird but what can you do?" said Gal.


Oliver and I both raised a brow at this, especially considering what we knew about 'Gal'.


"Look....ahem, ladies. Arthur and I are both boys. And this is really only a temporary gig. Our old Academy burned to the ground and like... we still needed an education. Believe me, if I could chill at home and play Xbox all day I would, but being surrounded with so many lovely ladies isn't so bad itself."


Oliver gave a smile but it seemed Ami wasn't a fan as she groaned in disgust.


"Ugh, so this academy is going to be crawling with hundreds of boys soon?"


"No, it's just us." I responded quickly.


"Everyone's dead." said Arena, which incidentally was the alternate title of this chapter before we changed it.


"Oh, that's good." Ami stopped, realizing what she just said. "Well I mean it's not good that they're all dead but... you know what I mean!"


She gave a nervous laugh and it grew a bit quieter until Oliver spoke up again.


"Sure. But it is kind of cool that we're all officially done with our first week at this academy."


"Actually Oliver, it was YOUR first week. It's October so us ladies have been here for over a month now." Ami smiled.


Oliver ignored her as he continued on. "It might be cool to have some kind of celebration in the city."


"You could bring Laplace." I pointed out. "Get your date out of the way already so you can go back to chasing other skirts."


"And you ladies can come along too!"


Arena clung to my arm. "It'll be like a triple date!"


The two Timaeus Blue girls gave each other an uneasy look before kind of absent mindedly shrugging.


"Sure." they said in unison.






Solar Dusk Academy used to be a co-ed Academy on an island a couple miles west of Silvershine. I'm not saying "used to be co-ed" because they switched over to boys-only or to girls-only. I'm saying "used to" because the school sank into the bottom of the ocean.


Back then, it was cool to put your Academy on an island. Unfortunately an earthquake and a hurricane hit around the same time and the rest was history. Only 12 students managed to survive, no members of the staff. The few that made it back to dry land insisted it was neither a hurricane nor an earthquake that brought down the school, but rather some dark unspeakable evil. Most of their ravings were dismissed as a bad case of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and since then almost all of the Solar Dusk Twelve have fallen out of the public eye. All except for one who eventually became a doctor...


But as for those that didn't survive, their names were etched on a long black marble wall, and that wall was set up in front of us at Solar Dusk Memorial Park.


"Not exactly the most romantic spot for a first date." I said, staring at the names of the fallen students.


Arena put her hand to the wall, studying the names of all the kids written down.


Gal looked a bit somber. "At least they're in a better place."


"They're not." Arena replied quickly. I nudged her and gave her a bit of a look, but it seemed Arena did not pick up on how rude and insensitive this was.


I glanced over at Gal, hoping Arena hadn't hit a sore spot. "Did you know anyone from there? Like family? Or friends?" I asked Gal.


"No friends. I was like, a baby when the school sank. And no family either. I was an only child. Never knew my dad. Mom died when I was pretty young."


I paused to think this over. I had definitely heard that line before, or if not that line than something similar.


Ami broke the moment of silence with an audible yawn as she walked away from the wall and more towards the park's entrance. "The Solar Dusk Wall is too much of a mood killer. Let's go grab a coffee or something. Just text Lillian and tell her to meet us there."


Oliver seemed confused. "Who the hell is Lillian?"


"It's Laplace stupid." Ami said with a smirk. "You didn't get her real name before you asked her out?"


"To be fair, she asked me." Oliver corrected.


"To be fairer, she won him in a duel." Arena corrected.


But it seemed a text wouldn't be necessary as a blonde girl with dark yoga pants and a black top appeared. Her blonde hair was in a braided crown, and she smiled from ear to ear when her eyes met Oliver.


"Hey Olly!" The blonde leaned in to give Oliver a kiss on the cheek but he immediately pulled away.


"Woah! My date's going to be really upset if she sees me kissing another girl!"


The blonde gave a laugh. "It's Laplace stupid."


She gave Oliver a playful punch in the arm, then put her hands up to her eyes like a pair of binoculars, covering her face in the same way a mask would. "You're not very smart but at least you're loyal!"


She flashed a smile and wrapped her arm around Oliver's. It seemed the six of us had finally all arrived and now it was time to continue our triple date. Three boys, me, Oliver and Guy - though he was wearing a skirt and insisted on being called Gal, and three girls, Arena, Laplace and Ami.


"To the mall!" Laplace declared.






Even with limited funds the mall was still a pretty nice place to visit, especially with friends. After a bit of Window shopping, imagining what we could buy if we won the lottery, the girls decided to try on dresses. Oliver and I groaned at this idea but we went along with it anyway. Arena didn't seem to be really that into it, until she noticed I mentioned that she looked pretty cute in pink. After that, Arena ran through the store trying to find each and every pink item she could, doing her best to find the right shade of pink that would earn her a kiss. I decided from that moment on to be more careful with my compliments towards Arena.


After our adventures in trying on clothes, we all sat around the water fountain in front of the big statue of a bear, watching the people walk by and imagining what they might have been talking about.


"Pigeons." replied Arena dismissively.


Everyone except me groaned.


"Arena, they're not ALL talking about pigeons." stated Ami with an exasperated sigh.


"Not all of them. Just the past 3 couples you pointed to."


"Arena... may have a point." I began, standing up for my... what was she to me? She was just a roommate for now.


Arena stared blankly at the pair we were discussing then gave a loud whistle to draw their attention. They seemed startled then looked at us.


"What are you two going to name your pigeon!?" she asked, like it was a normal question.


"Jennifer CLAWrence!" "Leonardo DeCAWprio!"


The couple responded with two different names at the exact same time. They gave each other a confused look then began talking amongst themselves, perhaps arguing, about the gender of their future pigeon.


"Huh, I guess Arena was right." said Ami.


"She usually is." I began.


"Always." she corrected.


Ami groaned. "Well this game isn't fun if everyone at this mall is just talking about pigeons."


"Not everyone. You just happened to-" Arena began.


"Okay Arena! What do you usually do for fun?"


Arena blinked, and then she looked up at me and blushed ever so lightly. "When we’re alone, me and Arthur-"


"Don't answer that Arena!" I stated nervously, quickly putting my hand over her mouth.


Laplace gave a smile. "I knew there was something between you two!"


"Well you, Bernouli and Weibull did catch us in a room together..."


"We share a deep and profound bond that transcends time and space."


I gave up arguing with Arena ages ago. "What she said."


The other girls (and 'Gal') didn't know how to respond to this. Oliver had already heard Arena's spiel and was aware of how much she had claimed to love me. The others seemed a bit taken aback that she was already so committed.


Gal tried to break up the awkward silence. "Oh that's... cute. How did you two meet? Were you two like childhood friends or something?"


"Well..." the question was difficult to answer and I could feel everyone already being judgmental about our relationship. It was definitely a week, technically less since we met on a Monday and it was now Saturday. Arena answered the question for us.


"I have known about Arthur for ages, since before he was born. He and I were officially introduced this past Monday."


And again, we returned to deafening silence. The girls looked at me with contempt, as though I was taking advantage of a poor defenseless girl who didn't know any better. I felt they may have been right.


Ami looked a little concerned at Arena, like a police officer trying to assist a small child find her mother. "Arena, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?"


As she edged in closer, Arena held my arm a little tighter. I glanced down at her, now wondering the same thing. Just who exactly was this girl I shared a room with?


"Yo', leave Arena alone you guys." Oliver spoke up, getting the attention of Ami and Gal.


"Huh? What do you mean!?" Ami protested.


"Yeah ‘Olly’. There's something not quite right between Arena and Arthur." stated Gal.


Oliver raised a brow. "Really 'Gal'? You of all people shouldn't be talking about a weird relationship."


Gal blinked, glanced over at Ami, and then blushed profusely. "I... you... just... hrmph!" Ami was also blushing, and trying to avoid eye contact with Ami.


Oliver smirked. "As for Arena, she's a smart girl. I'm sure she's not making any mistakes with our good friend Arthur. Isn't that right?"


"I... uhh... yeah!" I'd have to thank Oliver for that one later.


Gal and Ami were still a little shaken, avoiding eye contact and trying not to stand next to each other. It seemed Ami was probably aware about 'Gal's' secret, and the fact that we knew probably got them bothered enough to shut up for a minute.


Laplace yawned loudly. "Come on guys; let's go grab a coffee or something."






Starton Cafe was a well-known chain brand of coffee shops around the Silvershine area. There used to be just one, but about a year or two ago they started popping up all over the place. I was never much of a coffee drinker myself, but I did know what I liked. I got an ice coffee, two sugars. Arena got a cup of water. Oliver got his coffee black, no sugar or cream. Gal and Ami both got one of those drinks with more whipped cream then actual coffee in it. Laplace got herself an herbal tea.


It seemed a coffee stop was just what we needed as it seemed to have lightened the mood a little. Gal and Ami were still a little awkward and shy, but at least they weren’t asking questions about Arena anymore.


We all sat at different tables, next to each other and within shouting distance, but still separate. The girls, Arena, Ami and Laplace were on one table and the boys, me, Oliver and 'Gal' were on another.


"So, what do you guys think of Hawthorne so far? Better than Lincoln? Worse?" Gal smiled and looked the both of us over quizzically.


Oliver glanced over to the girl's table. "It... has its perks."


"I can't complain. It's a bit of a routine, about the same as going to Lincoln in some ways but I guess... better. A little friendlier, and people are always willing to help you out."


"Except for Bernouli." Oliver reminded.


"Yeah, I'm surprised you managed to beat her Guy."


Gal seemed a bit confused. "Uhhh... thanks buddy. But I mean... how did you know? I didn't think you were there."


Oliver and I looked each other over. "Well... Arthur and I were all caught up in our thing, but we managed to catch the end of it."


"O-kay." Gal still seemed confused and went back to sipping on her whipped cream with bits of coffee in it.


"So, what's going on with you and Ami?" Oliver smirked, and Gal began to cough and sputter out her drink.


"N-nothing!" Gal got red in the face again and Oliver gave a hearty chuckle.


"That certainly doesn't sound like nothing! Is she a friend? A special sweetheart? Something much much more?"


"We're just roommates!" Gal insisted. "God! Why does everyone always ask that!?"


Their living situation didn't strike me as too odd. Arena and I were roommates so I just naturally assumed the Academy didn't really plan out their dorm room placement very well.


"Really?" Oliver seemed surprised. "How do I get to room with a cute young girl?"


"Why don't you just ask Laplace to move in with her? I'm sure she's got plenty of room." Gal muttered before sucking down more coffee-flavored whipped cream.


Laplace and the rest of the girls stood up. "This was a lot of fun guys. We should do it again!"


And with that, we took our drinks and slowly made out way back to the Academy.






With one hand around Oliver's arm and one hand on her tea, Laplace and Oliver lead the way back to Hawthorne Academy. Laplace kept pointing out cool places to hang out, already making a list of ideas for their second date, third date, and beyond. At last we got to the crosswalk right in front of Hawthorne when Laplace let go of Oliver's arm.


"I guess this where I drop you guys off." she said cheerfully.


Oliver glanced over at his arm, as though something were now missing. "What do you mean?"


"He probably wants to see this inside of your dorm room first." Ami said with a giggle.


"I don't dorm silly! I commute." she smiled once again before leaning in and giving Oliver a kiss.


"I... uhh..." his blushing caused Gal and Ami to erupt in a fit of giggles.


"Remember Oliver! One whole week!" She shook her finger in his face like she was scolding him, then cheerfully skipped off.


"W-well... th-that was..."


"Your first kiss?" Ami guessed.


"Gosh, you're worse than Arena." Oliver shook his head and tried to compose himself.


"In any case, it's almost dinner time." I stated, turning to face the group. "It was really great meeting and spending time with you guys."


"Likewise, I think that..." Gal began, but suddenly something caught her interest. Her eyes grew wide in surprise as she dropped her drink from the Starton Cafe.


"I... what... who..." she pointed as though she had seen a ghost.


We looked over to see a figure coming up to us, wearing a long gray cloak, Invincil Gray from the Lincoln Academy.


The figure removed his hood to reveal a familiar face, the same familiar face we had just spent the whole afternoon with.


"Hey guys." It was Guy Surname, very clearly wearing male attire. He wore his Lincoln Cloak over a plain white t-shirt and jeans. "I was looking over last year's Lincoln Yearbook and I didn't find anything on Euryval but..." He blinked, realizing everyone was staring at him, especially Ami and Oliver.


"What's going on?" Guy asked, rubbing his face on the sleeve of his cloak as though he expected some dirt to come off.


The group sort of "parted" for him to get a clearer view of the girl, Gal Surname, who still seemed completely shaken up and confused.


At last they both seemed to see what was going on.


"Wh-what the hell?" they both said at exactly the same time.


Arena smile, as though this were all part of a plan she had cooked up many moons ago.


"Guy Surname, this is your identical yet oppositely gendered twin sister, Gal Surname."


"Gal Surname, this is your identical yet oppositely gendered twin brother, Guy Surname."


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[spoiler=Chapter 5: All Along]

Word Count: 3142


One wore a cloak and one wore a skirt, but beyond that the two kids, Guy Surname and Gal Surname, were practically identical in every respect. They both had the same androgynous hair style, and they were both the exact same height. The twins stared at each other completely perplexed and lost.


"Uhh... hi...?" they both spoke at exactly the same time.


"It's like looking in a mirror." said Guy, the one in the cloak.


"This is too weird." Gal, the one in the skirt remarked.


"You're telling me." Oliver stated. He looked as though he was thinking hard, before a sudden realization dawned on him. "So wait! When I was hitting on you and Ami in the cafeteria on our first day..."


Ami elbowed Oliver in the ribs. "Oliver! This is serious! And you call that flirting? Puh-lease! You're lucky Laplace isn't here!"


I glanced over at my roommate. "So you knew they were twins all along, didn't you?"


"All along." she said with a nod before continuing. "Their parents were broken up shortly after they were born. That's why the twins don't know about each other."


We all stared at the twins who seemed completely perplexed and unsure of what to do next.


"Umm... so how are you?" asked Gal, trying to remain in control. It was kind of a stupid question, but then again I don't think I could have come up with anything more poignant myself if I discovered I had an identical twin sister.


"Uhh... how's life? How's dad?!" It seemed excitement was beginning to get the better of her.


"I'm good, life's okay. Dad's dead. Died while I was young. Before I could remember actually. And you? How's mom?"


"Same. I never really got to know her."




Before we could try to comfort the twins about their lost parents, a cheerful and upbeat familiar voice shook me out of my own thoughts. A wonderfully beautiful sound, that gave me more energy than 18 cups of Starton Cafe iced coffee.


"Ah, don't worry my students." the smallest hint of an accent highlighted every word she spoke. "I knew your parents, and I'm sure they'd be happy to see you two reunited again."


It was Headmistress Lorem Ipsum, no longer in her headmistress attire and just dressed casually in jeans and a sweater. She was carrying groceries in her arms and looking as cheerful and upbeat as she usually did.


As headmistress there was a certain authoritative air about her that was incredibly irresistible. In jeans and a sweater, she still somehow looked amazing beyond words. She looked completely casual and perhaps even attainable, like a regular person and less of a runway model like she normally did. She was still gorgeous of course, but seeing her in jeans just made her look a little more laid back and a little more real. Less like a far off dream and more like a real actual person.


Arena tugged at my arm really hard and gave me a bit of a disapproving look.


Oliver certainly was lucky Laplace wasn't there or she'd probably gouge his eyes out for staring.


"Headmistress Ipsum? What brings you around here?" Gal asked.


"I work here." the headmistress gave a light and dainty laugh. "Though not today of course. It's Saturday. I was merely walking by and I couldn't help but overhear you five. Guy Surname was it? Sorry for not telling you about your sister during the placement exam. I thought you already knew she was enrolled at Hawthorne!"


Guy seemed as frozen as all the other boys did when Ipsum talked. He shook his head from left to right.


"Ahh, well it's no matter. Unfortunately I never knew your father as much as I knew your mother. She was enrolled in Hawthorne while he was from Lincoln. I was however fortunate enough to be there on the day that they met." She smiled, a heartwarming energy to her as though she was waxing nostalgically.


Everyone seemed to be enjoying the mood except for Arena who seemed to have the same general disinterested expression on her face when she was in class, having to listen to any of the teachers speak. I briefly wondered what was on her mind, but when I heard the sound of Lady Ipsum's voice all my thoughts began to melt away and I could only focus on the headmistress's words.


"It was the night before the LAG Ball, and you know what that meant, right?"


"The Ladies and Gentlemen Ball is typically preceded by the Ladies and Gentlemen Tournament. They met as opponents during a tournament." Arena spoke plainly, scratching the back of her neck.


"That's right! It's surprising someone who just started their second year is familiar with the ball. Especially considering it's typically done in the winter for second, third and fourth year students."


"Actually I'm a freshman." Arena corrected. "And you might be surprised by the things that I know."


Lady Ipsum glanced at Arena. Arena stared back. Lady Ipsum seemed to raise a brow, unsure of what Arena knew but if Lady Ipsum was hiding a secret, it seemed Arena wouldn't be the one to reveal it.


"Headmaster Etaoin from Lincoln Academy and I were waiting for the final duel of the tournament to finish before we could announce a winning. It was between the future Mr and Mrs Surname, who met and were instantly smitten with each other. Neither one of them wanted to be the one to win the duel, so they both did things to reckless lower their own life points. Finally it came down to a handful of life points each, and it could have gone to either of them. Do you know what they did?"


"They tied the game." said Arena.


"They tied! The final match of the tournament, in front of not one, but two academies! All of their friends, all of their teachers, all of their peers were present to see as the two of them pulled off the only tie game in LAG Tournament history! I must say, it was just about the sweetest thing anyone had ever seen! They might as well have loudly declared their love right then and there! After the ball they were as inseparable as two students going to different schools could possibly be. And after graduation, he popped the question! She said yes and before you know it, you two were born!"


Gal blinked, asking the question on everyone's mind. "So why'd they break up?"


Lady Ipsum's upbeat attitude seemed to shift ever so slightly. But she did seem to compose herself and did her best to recover. "Ahh yes. It seems even the most beautiful of flowers will eventually wither and die. Though their love faded, the fact that you two are alive is a testament to the sincere love your parents felt for you once. As they say, 'tis better to have loved and lost."


I could feel Arena holding onto me tighter. She scowled, as though the idea of love fading was worse than any physical threat imaginable. I could feel her tense up, and it seemed Lady Ipsum may have sense it too as she seemed a bit eager to leave all of a sudden.


"Ah well my dears, it was great speaking to you. However, I have groceries that need refrigerating." She motioned to the bags in her arms. "I bid you all farewell, and I look forward to seeing you all Monday morning, bright and early!"


And just like that, Headmistress Ipsum cheerfully sped away.


After she was gone it seemed Headmistress Ipsum's spell was broken. Ami looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking. "Do you think that story was true?"


"No." replied Arena curtly.


Guy and Gal both glared at her.


"You know Arena..." Gal began, an annoyed expression on her face.


Guy blinked. "Arena? Like... a super slick Fight-Club Royal-Rumble type thing?" It was here I realized that Guy had never been properly introduced to my roommate. Then again, he never really got a proper introduction to his own twin sister so I thought I'd cut him so slack on that one


"No, I'm with Arena on this one." stated Oliver. "Headmistress Ipsum looks like... 18 or 19. Yet she was headmistress when Guy and Gal's parents were our age? She'd have to be like 40 or 50 years old."


"Yeah, and Oliver would never want to be with a 40 or 50 year old." Ami stuck out her tongue.


I normally believed in Arena, but right now her assessment wasn't making sense. "So what? She was just making a story to make the twins feel better?"


The pair looked at each other, then back towards us. "Honestly..." they both began.


Gal looked at Guy. He nodded, allowing her to speak first. "I'm just glad to not be so alone anymore. To know there's someone else out there, someone I can call family is a huge relief."


"You're telling me." remarked Ami, quickly under her breath.


"It doesn't matter if Lady Ipsum's story is true or not. It won't take away my sister." He put an arm around her shoulder and they both smiled.


"Well... Guy can sleep over tonight if you want Gal." Ami began. "Just... make sure Andry or Arshlocke don't catch him."


"Awesome!" Gal cheered.




"I should head home too." Oliver stated. "Got finish my deck dissection homework early before... well, I just gotta finish it."


And with that, Guy, Gal and Ami made their way to their dorms, as well as Oliver going back to his. Arena and I were once again alone. She took my hand and we returned back to Room 309.






When I had first met Arena, I had assumed she was some kind of weirdo crazy person. And not in a sad, self-deprecating humor kind of way. "Oh, she must be crazy to fall for a guy like me!" Cue laugh track. There was something not quite right with the way she always stared at me, the way she spoke, the way she dodged any and all questions and the way she always seemed to know everything. I had mostly tried to ignore it this past week, to just get through my classes and hope it all kind of just worked itself out but the way the girls spoke to Arena earlier today, I felt there was still a lot I didn't quite know about my roommate.


"Each and every day our love grows stronger." she said in a cheerful, sing-song voice as she began removing her shoes.


I wasn't so sure, but I thought maybe finding out more about her would change my mind.


"Hey Arena..."


Arena got off one shoe the old fashioned way before collapsing on the bed closest to the door. The other shoe she was trying to remove without her hands. Her toes struggled to undue the laces and kick off the other shoe. At the sound of my voice she stopped and looked up slightly.




I was unsure how to phrase my question, so I just tried to say whatever was on my mind. "I was thinking..." I paused. She was now sitting upright and staring right at me, like she was studying me. She looked at me the same way she looked at her books, with intense concentration trying to capture every detail.


"I think you and I need to get to know each other a little better."


"Physically? I agree."


She leaned over before quickly and hastily removed the second shoe. She brought her legs up and laid on the bed, gently patting a space in front of her and staring at me, smiling and encouraging me to come cuddle up next to her.


I blushed and tried to look away. "No I mean... like... learn something more about each other."


Her smile faded and a serious expression etched itself on her face.


"But I already know everything about you. You are Arthur Surrogate. Your mother is Edith Scribe. Your father is Rider Surrogate. You are an only child. Your parents are going through a messy divorce, but since neither could decide who gets custody, they both shipped you to Silvershine. Because your parents were your one biggest example of love growing up and they are falling apart, you worry that true love doesn't exist."


"See... that's the kind of exposition I'm talking about! Why do you know so much about me?"


"It is only natural for soulmates to understand each other at a deep and profound level."


"But I don’t know anything about you! Where did you grow up, who were your parents? What is your family like?"


Arena blinked, and at last a smile etched itself on her face. "I have a big family. My uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, they all helped to raise me ever since I was born."


Two notable people missing in that list. "And your parents? Your mom? Your dad?"


Arena frowned once again. "Busy."




She stayed with the serious expression. "Something like that."


That wasn't a very good answer, but I felt I'd regret not digging further. "Arena. Can I get a straight answer from you? What does your dad do?"


"I don't have one."


"Your mom then?"


"I don't have one either."


I was growing a bit frustrated. "Okay, whoever it is that raised you to be the upstanding member of society you are today!"


"Zuethera? Lord of the Sky and Ruler of our Family."


Things were finally starting to fall into place little by little. A girl with a ridiculous name. A parent with a ridiculous name, an equally ridiculous title, and a large amount of reverence towards this person. Lastly, a big family that raised this girl to not understand normal social cues. The only thing that made sense given everything I knew so far was that she was some sort of brainwashed member of a cult or something.


I had to sympathize with the poor girl. She was lost, probably fed ridiculous lies to keep her going, and probably had no one else to turn to except for me.


I took a seat next to her on the bed. She immediately cuddled up and rest her head on chest.


"Look Arena, I don't know what happened to you in your past, but at least we're together now. I can't promise much, but I can at least say this. I'll do whatever I can to make sure you're safe."


And that was when I made the biggest, worst mistake of my life so far.


I leaned in and gave Arena a kiss on the forehead.





As soon as my lips met the top of her head, I could see her blush in the bright light that suddenly seemed to be emanating everywhere. It took me a second to realize it, but suddenly seeing a bright light when there was no light before wasn't exactly the best of signs. Was I having a stroke? Was I dying? And the warmth I was feeling was beginning to become unbearable. I felt as though I was dissolving, melting in a puddle as every cell in my body burst into light.


When I came to, I found Arena looking over me nervously.


"Oh thank the Fates you're alright!" she stated as she replaced a wet rag on my head.


"What... what the hell just happened? What was that?"


Arena looked at me with worry before answering my question in the vague, Arena-ish way she always answered. "A taste of heaven."


I scowled as I tried to pick myself up. "That..." I immediately regretted it as I had to lay down again. "No, Arena... you know something about this."


"I know everything about everything."


"Then tell me, what the hell just happened?"


Arena took a breath. "Very well. I was trying to bring you back home. To my home. To the Aether Realm. I thought that at last your heart had bonded itself to mine enough for you to survive the trip. I had miscalculated. It was almost too much for your heart but I managed to fix you back up, with still 2 hours to spare before sunrise on Monday." She puffed out her petite chest proudly as I stared at her confused.


Apparently I had been out of it for 24 hours and with this pounding headache, most of Arena's words felt like garbled nonsense, like a huge majority of the time when she tried to give me an answer.


"So... what the hell? Are you an alien or something? Were you trying to beam me back to your mothership?"


"Nothing like that. I am your roommate. Your soulmate. I am Arena."


I gave out a yell in frustration. She backed away, but still held a serious expression on her face.


"Arena... who are you?" And it was at that moment that at last I realized I had probably been asking the wrong questions this whole time.


"WHAT are you?"


Arena stared at me with a bit of unease but at last she took a breath. "Very well."


A white light seemed to envelop her, which I must admit I wasn't too happy about given the last time I had seen a bright white light suddenly appearing. The entire room seemed brighter, with a light just coming from her. She didn't turn into a reptile or a lizard or one of those big headed aliens, so that was a relief. It was strange, she still looked the same, yet all of a sudden she didn't.


She looked wiser, more mature, more powerful, and then the armor began to kick in. It was hard to describe what she looked like, because between the headache and the bright lights it was hard to make out any sort of details. What was clear though was that she was dressed in an ornate armored breast plate. Her long white hair was flowing, billowing despite being secured under an all silver helmet. At the top of her helmet was a weird, all red fan looking things you see the ancient gladiators wear from the movies. In her right hand she held a spear, all silver with a golden tip. On her left was a shield, all in gold with an owl insignia on it. She was wearing a long white ankle length skirt and a slightly shorter, tunic-like metal skirt connected to her breast plate and armor.


She looked like one of those ancient gladiators, or someone who was being shipped off to war in the second century BC. She looked strict, stern, wise, and like a military commander from a long time ago. I tried to wrap my head around what I was seeing from my roommate. "You're..."


"Arena - Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy."


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[spoiler=Chapter 6: Arena - Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy]

Word Count: 3289


So let's have a nice little recap for everyone just tuning in. I, Arthur Surrogate, a regular average Joe just like you or me recently started at an all-girl school, Hawthorne Academy. I thought that would be the most interesting part of my autobiography but it seemed fate had other plans. Shortly after I arrived I met a very strange girl named Arena. After a couple minutes alone with her I assumed she was god damn crazy. As I just found out tonight, I was only 33% right.




"Arena - Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy."


The girl was completely bathed in light from head to toe. As she approached me, I noticed she still seemed to be wearing her regular clothes underneath the regal Goddess of War attire. It wasn't like I could see a t-shirt peeking out from the bottom of her armor or something. It was more like this second form to her, the battle dress and gladiator uniform was all some sort of a projection, like an old time movie. Her warrior outfit was literally made of light.


I was completely lost. After kissing Arena I felt like I had been hit by a truck, and this second revelation from Arena wasn't exactly helping. "Come again?"


Perhaps she was concentrating to keep up that form, because once she blushed and smiled the armor melted away and she was back to the normal little Arena I had known for a little over a week now. "I barely did after our first kiss but..."


"What? No! I mean... eww! I mean... Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy? What?"


"And also various other things. Arts and crafts - specifically weaving. There's also courage, cowardice, and fear. I'm the patron goddess of a lot of things."


".. What!?"


To say it was a lot to take in was a bold understatement. Again, I was just a regular guy and here I was with a literal goddess in my bedroom.


Arena scowled. "Is it truly that difficult to comprehend?"


I stopped to truly think it over. "Honestly..."


From the way she seemed to not understand human customs, to the blunted way her emotions seemed to express themselves it was clear she wasn't quite normal. And from the way she seemed so absolutely perfect, getting up in the morning and being absolutely flawless, never falling asleep, never being tired, only eating fruits and drinking water. And from the way she seemed so good at studying, so smart, she knew everything, even things before they happened, things that no normal little girl should know. And that's all without even taking the light show into account.


"Okay, let's pretend you really are the Goddess of War and Wisdom -"


Arena scowled. She didn't need to pretend.


"Is there - are there gods for everything? Your dad, Zathura or whatever-"


"Zeuthera. Lord of the Sky, Ruler of the Celestial Family. Zeuthera is both my father and my mother."


I could feel my mind twisting again with Arena’s words. "And how exactly did that happen?"


"Zeuthera was once two separate entities. The God of the Sky and Thunder, King of the Gods. His wife was the Goddess of Marriage, Women, and Family. They were both extremely powerful in their own right, however they realized they could be more powerful as a single entity. We all did. So the Celestial Gods and Goddesses decided to find a partner and merge together, creating a single entity, one stronger then the two separately."


I was unsure of what to make of this revelation. "And... you too Arena?"


She nodded. "I am the fusion of the God of War and the Goddess of Wisdom."


Arena stared at me, and she seemed to pick up on some of my hesitation and nervousness. "Despite being the combination of a male god and female goddess, I assure you I am all female. Do you request physical proof?"


"N-no no! That's okay! I just... give me some time to process this I guess."


Even though I had slept for what must have been over 24 hours, I still felt exhausted. The next two hours were the shortest two hours of my life. I closed my eyes and before I even realized it the sun was up and my alarm was going off.


"Good morning my beloved."


I awoke this morning with Arena cuddling up to me, just like every single other morning since I started at this academy. She was still wearing the same Hawthorne Academy uniform I had seen on her the very first time we met. "Was that all just a dream?"


"No dream. You really did kiss me! And it was wonderful!"


"No, I meant the other stuff."


"That part was less wonderful. You almost dissolved into light from enter the Aether Realm. But you’re safe now, and that’s all that matters!" she smiled and leaned in, ready for Round 2.


"NO!" When I normally refused Arena's advances, it was typically just a light tap and she got the message. This time I put all of my strength into an open palm, smacking her as hard as I could on the forehead.


I may be over selling it, again I was extremely fatigued, and she was an immortal goddess so it probably didn't hurt her at all. It was just the thought of another kiss that filled me with fear. After being struck though, she didn't blink, wince or cry. She just stared at me, as though the emotional hit of getting stopped was worse than the physical hit of physically being hit.


"This is probably the reason you nearly dissolved all the way you know. If you continue to fight and resist, your body will be washed away. But if you go with the flow, you will safely arrive in the Aether Realm and we can start a family and have dozens and dozens of children together."


She smiled gleefully. I sort of wished I could go back to the way things were before.


"If we kissed again, would I dissolve?"


"That was just a onetime thing because I tried to take you to the Aether Realm. It was just like you said on our first day, your heart was not yet ready. It's okay though. We must strengthen our bonds, afterwards I'm sure you will survive the trip. In the meantime, we can still kiss for fun!"


She stared at me longingly and leaned in again. I gently put a hand on her shoulder to stop her.


"Let's... let's get ready for school."






I'd like to say everything went back to normal - and it did! Or it went back to as normal as things ever get around Hawthorne Academy. When I emerged from Room 309 with Arena in tow, I half expected her to suddenly become enveloped in light and skewer someone with a magic spear. I expected to be liquefied again and pulled back into the Aether Realm. I expected some vibrant show of power. I expected Zeuthera to show them self and zap me with lightning for corrupting their daughter. I expected the FBI to break down my door and take Arena away for experimenting. I expected Miss Andry to break down my door for sharing a room with a girl. I expected the other Celestial Gods to break down my door for some Aether Realm business.


But it was one week later, and absolutely nothing interesting happened. I suppose this was slightly to be expected. She was the Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy before we met, and likely would be for quite some time afterwards. If she hadn't blown her cover in a millennia, it was unlikely to happen now.


As we entered the final few days of October, I was unsure how long I could keep Arena's secret. Was it even a secret? Was I going mad? There was clearly something not quite right in Arena, but was it alright to share in her delusion? She hadn't done anything particularly Celestial before or since that night. Was it all just a terrible fever dream? I had to tell someone my thoughts. Even if they didn't believe me, it would at least help me share my burden.


I sat in Duel Scenarios class, waiting for our instructor Miss Lydia Andry to show up. Miss Andry was extremely clever and quick witted, but she absolutely positively hated boys and hated men, a fact me and Oliver didn't realize until after we enrolled in her class.


The seats weren't like traditional desks and chairs, but rather more like benches in an amphitheater arrangement. If you don't know what an amphitheater is, that's pretty unfortunate because it's the only description you're getting.


"Hey Arthur!" Laplace greeted, with Oliver quickly following taking a seat next to her.


"I think Arena's a goddess."


Man did it feel good to get that off my chest.


"Oh Arthur, every guy thinks the girl they're dating is a goddess, right Oliver?" Laplace smiled towards Oliver, who was checking out another girl.


"Huh? What?"


She smacked him on the arm. "Just agree with me Olly!"


I shook my head. "No guys, I'm serious."


Arena had her notebook out and a quill pen and inkwell ready. She stared at me wide eyed, with a cheerful smile on her face. She patted the seat next to her, implying, as she often did, that she wanted me to get as close to her as possible.


"Gosh, you two are just so cute together." Laplace giggled


"Guys! You're really not listening to me here! Arena's like, some goddess from like..."


"The Aether Realm."


"The Aether Realm! Like... do you two really not care?"


"Oh yeah, we've always known." Oliver said nonchalantly.


"You did?"


"Don't tease him Oliver."




Arena looked at the snack cake before her, a chocolate pastry decorated with vanilla frosting. She unbuttoned the top two buttons of her Hermos Red jacket and stuck them... I'm not sure where. A pocket, I assumed.


"Consider it done."


"Hey, do you have any more?" Laplace asked.


"Can you promise me victory in my next great battle?"


"How about 20 minutes of make out time behind the bleachers?"


"I can work with that." He placed another snack cake on her notebook before she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.


Before I could further pursue the issue about Arena, I heard the foot falls of high heels as our professor for Duel Scenarios, Miss Lydia Andry made her entrance.


"Ladies! Ladies! Ladies!" she called out, to get her students to settle down. "And Oliver and Arthur." Like we were the vilest poison on her lips.


Miss Andry was a thin, older woman, with extremely curly light brown hair, she was somewhere in her late 40s to early 50s. She was the leader of Oliver and Laplace's dorm, the Critias Black Dorm so she was dressed all in black with a knee length pencil skirt and the traditional Hawthorne attire.


As we covered before, she really hated men, so getting a job where she would never have to see, speak, or even think about men was like a dream come true for Miss Andry, When Lincoln burned down and she realized she'd actually have to teach some of them she was incredibly enraged. It was only after a few calm words from Headmistress Ipsum that she settled down, along with being promised a promotion to Leader of the Black Dorm.


She went into her lecture, more about how women were better suited for the game, men were easily distracted Neanderthals, and they'd be unlikely to see a game winning solution like a woman could. The typical stuff she always talked about.


"Man, how'd Guy manage to get out of this class?" Oliver wondered out loud.


I shook my head, still thinking about Arena. I wondered how Miss Andry would react to finding out she had a living breathing goddess in the flesh in her classroom. She'd probably be thrilled to find a strong woman in her class, but less excited when she found out how deeply Arena was infatuated with me.


"Eh, he probably wouldn't get harassed much anyway, since he looks so much like his sister." Oliver gave a bit of a chuckle, which seemed to get Miss Andry's attention.


"Oh I'm sorry MISTER Khlozoff, did something I say strike you as funny?" she said it in that same tone adults always used when they didn't actually want an answer. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Oliver was about to give one.




"Olly. Don't." Laplace whispered, though quite a bit forcefully.


Oliver glanced over at Laplace and smirked then rolled his eyes. "No, I think this really needs to be said. I think it's funny that you single out men like me and Arthur so much for minor offensives when you let the girls practically get away with murder. A girl walks out of class without so much as raising her hand and yet you yell at me and Arthur for sneezing. I mean, it's not funny in like a 'haha' sort of sense, but it's funny in a 'makes-ya-think' kinda way. I mean, damn I paid my tuition just like everyone else here."


"Shut up Olly. Shut up." Laplace whispered quickly through clenched teeth as she gripped the sides of her notebook extremely tight.


"Oh, is that what you find OH SO hilarious? Do you hear that Miss Minnow?"


All the other girls turned to a girl near the door, who had her bag on her lap. It was Ella, the girl from chapter 1. "I uhh... I kinda don't really wanna talk about it." Her cheeks turned almost as red as her skirt.


"No no Miss Minnow. MISTER Khlozoff here doesn't think you should be allowed to change your-"


"HEY!" Ella interrupted, still red in the face. "He doesn't... they don't need to know."


There was a bit of a giggling from the other girls, and Oliver raised a brow. "Aren't the other girls gonna get yelled at for laughing too?"


Miss Andry was staring daggers at Oliver, but at last she seemed to be hit by an epiphany. "MISTER Khlozoff," a sinister smile spread on her face like a little girl whose Christmas had just come early. "I have an interesting proposition for you, follow me."


If Oliver was scared he certainly didn't show it. He knew that the woman couldn't physically harm him, but he'd soon find out there were more ways to inflict harm then physically, more ways to inflict punishment then by inflicting a punishment, and more than one way to win a war.






After Miss Andry had lead Oliver off somewhere else, it was pretty quiet for about a minute. Ella Minnow got up and began making her way to the door with her bag in hand.


"Umm... so... is class dismissed now or what?" I asked out loud.


I could hear the sound of 40 or 50 girls turning to look at me, all with various shades of confusion, anger, annoyance, and some even looked mildly entertained. It was hard having so many girls look at me. I felt I had to explain myself. "I mean... it looks like Ella's leaving."


"Oh god, you're as stupid as Oliver aren't you Arthur?" Laplace asked, rolling her eyes.


"No, I mean, if one person leaves she'll just punish the one person. But if we all leave it's not like she can punish all of us."


"Ella's coming back." said the girl sitting next to Ella.


"Then why is she taking her bag?"


"Oh my god, shut up Arthur." Laplace stated, annoyed.


Small Boobs gave a smirk. "Let's just say Ella's lucky she's in Hermos Red!"


"Shut up!" Ella's face got red once again and she quickly and awkwardly made her way out the door.


It made sense to me. If Ella was leaving for the day, we should all have her back and leave together but it seemed the girls didn't agree. I knew one girl who would agree with me though. I nudged the girl sitting next to me.


"Arena, back me up on this."


It was only here that I noticed Arena wasn't clinging onto me as she normally did. It was strange, she looked like she was sleeping, yet I don't think I'd ever actually seen her sleep. I've seen her pretend to sleep but her breathing was shallow as though she was meditating on something.


"Umm... Arena?" I moved my hand closer to her and it was only here that I could feel a warmth emanating from her, and the smallest faintest hint of a light. "Arena?" I tapped her gently on the shoulder and her eyes suddenly opened wide. She flinched and rubbed her eyes, slightly startled before smiling as she put her hand over mine.


"Glorious victory has been delivered." she said simply.


We sat in quiet for another minute or two. Ella returned to class, just as her neighbor promised. Shortly thereafter, Miss Andry returned with Oliver, looking smugger then I'd ever seen him in his life.


Miss Andry's face was red, and she looked absolutely flustered and completely speechless.


Oliver gave a bit of a laugh and took his seat next to Laplace. "'Sup babe."


There were a few quiet whispers, some wondering what Oliver's punishment was going to be, how he managed to get out of it, why Miss Andry seemed so troubled. Laplace, who knew Oliver best seemed the most concerned. "Umm... Olly." she began.


But she wouldn't get an answer as Miss Andry called for attention. "SILENCE!" All the girls in class stopped talking and looked towards Miss Andry.


Oliver was still smirking, with Andry looking like she was about to murder him but couldn't. Too many witnesses. "Ladies! And Arthur..." She slowly seemed to be composing herself, and once again the same cruel smirk began to form on her face. "You all remember Dr Slyft's Five Unsolvable Duel Scenarios, right? Well it seems after today there are only FOUR Duel Scenarios left unsolved."


"Haha, yeah!" Oliver gave a laugh. The other girls were whispering among themselves.


"HOWEVER!" she once again called attention to herself. "It seems that Oliver has shown us that not everything is impossible, so EVERYONE must submit a full and detailed analysis on the remaining 4 Unsolvable Duel Scenarios." A loud groan emerged from almost every girl, except for Arena of course who probably solved all of them before breakfast this morning.


"Due next week!" more groaning and more teeth sucking and fidgeting from the girls. "Everyone, except Oliver of course."


And just like that, the woman had revealed her true punishment. She couldn't physically hit him. That was illegal. She couldn't make him feel stupid, because apparently he had solved a previously unsolvable Duel Scenario. So the last trick she had, and the final ace up her sleeve was to make him feel ostracized. She couldn't find a punishment that would adequately hurt him, so she'd make sure the rest of the class would do it for her.


The girls were staring angrily at Oliver as he tried to slink down into his chair. He always wanted the attention of woman, but not quite like this.


Suddenly the bell rang, and Miss Andry smiled one last time.


"Class dismissed."


Oliver had won glorious victory in his previous great battle, but it looked like Miss Andry had won the war.


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[spoiler=Chapter 7: That's the Plan]

Word Count: 2805


About 12 years ago there was a girl named Fayleen Slyft who was a student at Hawthorne Academy. After graduating she had earned an Engineering internship at Kaiba Corporation, the company that makes duel disks.


At the time, all duel disks recorded the data of every single duel ever played on them and uploaded them to a central server. The only major problem was there wasn't really any way to sort through any of the information in any meaningful way. According to her autobiography (which Ms Andry forced us all to read) the very first duel was named "000000001". The second duel was named "000000002" and so on and so forth in this manner. I'm sure you can probably see a problem with this. If anyone wanted to find any specific duel there was pretty much no way of doing so.


Doctor Slyft changed all that. She created a program to sort through all the data and make it something actually worthwhile. You could look up duels by the life point differences, the cards used, the duel disk registration number, and various other parameters. Her main reason for doing so was so she could recreate and relive old famous duels. Slyft, much like Andry herself, was a huge 'Duel Scenarios' fan. She loved looking at impossible situations and seeing how just the right card could turn a duel around.


It was during this time however that Dr Slyft found a few duels with a few peculiarities to them. She had come across several Duels where the ending just did not make sense. Cards not registered were showing up on the field. Bizarre, never-before-or-since-seen cards showed up on the field. It was all very bizarre, and Dr Slyft was very intrigued. She dubbed these duel scenarios The Five Unsolvable Duel Scenarios, and my friend Oliver Khlozoff had just solved one of them.


"So Andry was all like: 'If you don't solve this Duel Scenario right now you're going to get the punishment of a lifetime!' and I was all like: 'Relax babe! I got this! The only thing that logically makes sense is that he wasn't playing with his own deck, and not even the other guy's deck-'"


"Yeah yeah yeah Oliver, we heard this story before." I nodded absentmindedly, reciting it from memory. "The King wasn't using his own regular deck. He combined his with the deck of the CEO. That's why he was able to use cards he had never registered in his deck, and that's how he hit his opponent with nine thousand damage to end the duel."


It was a Sunday evening shortly after dinner time and me, Oliver and Arena were hanging out in the school library. Oliver was gloating about how he didn't have to do the project and earning vicious stares from the few that overheard him.


Arena had finished her assignment shortly after it was assigned which I guess is one of the perks of being the Goddess of Wisdom. Her analysis on the 4 remaining unsolvable duel puzzles would probably revolutionize the field and completely change Miss Andry's life and the way she looked at Duel Monsters, and what made it worse was that Andry would probably present her findings as her own and take all the credit for it.


Arena peeked over my shoulder as I worked on my assignment. She stared at me, at Dr Slyft's book, "101 Duel Scenarios" and at the words I was writing. She looked so sad, so disapproving of the conclusions I was drawing.


I glanced down at her. "Yes?"


Arena continued staring with a look of disappointment before sighing, rather loudly and deflating back to her seat.


"Don't worry Arena! I'm sure with two geniuses by his side, some of our brilliance will eventually rub off on old Arthur eventually!"


Arena smiled. "That's the plan!" she smiled as she rubbed her shoulder against mine and gave a contented sigh.


"Look, if neither of you are going to offer any help, I think I'm going to go finish this stupid assignment somewhere else."


Arena stared at me with a disapproving look, but she did not stand up to follow me.


I stopped halfway as I walked away. "You're not going to stop me?"


"I cannot meddle with human affairs." she replied.


Oliver gave a snicker as he turned to Arena. "What do you mean by human affairs? What exactly are you Arena?"


I glanced at Oliver, remembering what happened the last time I asked Arena that. She had a blank expression on her face as she stared at Oliver.


I didn't stick around to hear her response, as I had my assignment to work on. I folded up my paper into my text book and took them with me before I began wandering the quiet library, looking for a more inviting spot.


There were still a few girls around the library on a Sunday, most doing homework, others studying and some reading. It was a library so naturally there wasn't much talking, but the few that were talking had a lot of negative things to say about Oliver.


"He was a jerk for mouthing off to Miss Andry."

"Miss Andry was terrible, but Oliver was worse."

"The Academy had really started to slide ever since they let boys in."

All that kinda stuff. I decided to avoid these sorts of conversations and continued my search.


At long last, I had spotted Small Boobs, working quietly and by herself on the Duel Scenarios assignment. I thought this would be a perfect time to get better acquainted with a minor character, but before I could even approach her someone suddenly got in my path. They were tall, and with the sudden shadow looming over me I had to squint and adjust my eyes to before I recognized the face.






Weibull was wearing her uniform, as well as her Distribution mask. "Bernouli wants to see you. And this time, you're coming alone."


I glanced over at Small Boobs who was still working on her assignment. From where I was I couldn't see Oliver or Arena. I wanted to call them for help, but at the same time I didn't want them to continue mocking me. 'Two brave geniuses, coming to save Arthur!' The last thing I needed was Oliver feeling like a big damn hero. I felt I could handle this myself, which was a mistake in hindsight. But I nodded and agreed to Weibull's request.


"Okay. Let's go."






After a quick walk to the dorms I finally arrived at what I assumed to be Bernouli's dorm room. The Timaeus Blue girl was sitting behind a desk in the back, like this was some sort of official board room meeting with her blue Distribution mask on. I had already seen her without her mask and I already knew her first name so, what the hell with all the theatrics, right?


"Arthur Surrogate, take a seat." She spoke pleasantly as she pointed to the black leather chair across from her. It reminded me of a chair I had in my own dorm, except mine had a red trim instead of black.


"Uh, Bernouli? What exactly is this all about?"


"I just asked for you to take a seat. Do you need anything from Weibull? Can she take your jacket? Shine your duel disk? Shuffle your deck for you."


Weibull frowned, not appreciating being treated like a servant. I also frowned, though for other reasons. I was already beginning to regret agreeing to this meeting with Bernouli.


"Well Surrogate, if you don't need Weibull I suppose I can send her away."


As bad as I felt being here in the room with Bernouli and Weibull, I thought I'd feel even worse being in a room alone with Bernoulii. "Can you shine my disk I guess?"


I handed it over.


No need to start yelling at your old friend Arthur about this terrible decision. I already recognized it was a bad idea, and in hindsight I'd figure out it was much worse than I thought. But like I said earlier, I really didn't want to be left alone with Bernouli in her room. Other than Arena, I'd never been alone with any girl in any room.


Once I took a seat Bernouli's mood seemed to pick up and the serious tone seemed to melt away to a faux warm and inviting smile.


"Arthur Surrogate! How have you been?"


"Can we just get to the point? I know you didn't invite me over to your room just to ask how I was doing."


Her smile didn't waver at all, even when she knew I could see through her feigned friendship act. "Arthur Surrogate, just because you and Guy Surname are friends doesn't mean you and I have to be enemies." her words were as phony as her smile.


"Look Bernouli, there's no need to blame Guy for 'breaking' your brother. All he did was beat him in a duel. Hundreds of people have duels every single day. Half of them win, half of them lose. I lost against Headmistress Ipsum. You lost against Guy, and if I remember correctly, maybe against Gal too. Losing a duel is not that big a deal."


At last I felt I realized the point of Bernouli's mask. Her smile wavered ever so slightly, but I felt her eyes would probably be the biggest ones to betray her emotions. As such, she had to keep them hidden.


She continued smiling, then asked a question. "Tell me Surrogate, do you have any siblings?"




"Any loved ones?"


"My parents, friends... I guess Arena too."


"Arena? Oh, the little rat-faced girl who wouldn't stop holding onto you at our duel." she stopped and smiled a little more, the same kind of smile I remember seeing from Andry just before she pulled Oliver away to solve one of the unsolvable duel scenarios.


Weibull returned and placed my duel disk on the desk without saying a word. I glanced up at her, and though I couldn't see her eyes with the mask I could tell that she wasn't much of a fan of Bernouli's schemes.


At last, Bernouli spoke again. "Well, as I'm sure you know I'm practically the Queen of Hawthorne Academy. There's a lot I can do to turn the school against you and your comrades."


I looked around at the dark carpeting and black trimming on the wallpaper. "The Queen huh? I would have expected the Queen's dorm room to be a lot fancier. Looks just like mine and Arena's."


"Your room that you two are sharing? Room 309."


"You should know, you-" I stopped, a realization slowly dawning on me.


"You're recording this, aren't you Bernouli?"


It was at this point I became just a little bit more aware of where I was. After all, she probably had plenty of time to set up any kind of cameras or microphones she needed here.


I scowled. "So that's your plan? Get blackmail on me and then I'll play your game?" I stood up, Weibull began moving towards me but Bernouli locked eyes with Weibull, and the Timaeus Blue made a sort of 'stand-down' motion with the palm of her hand.


"I just wanted a friendly conversation here. Feel free to look around if you don't trust me."


Bernouli stood up and began walking to the door. I walked over to the bookcase and threw most of the items onto the floor. Nothing suspicious there.


"Tsk tsk. What a mess." Bernouli said with a faux-smile as she followed Weibull out of the dorm room.


I walked over to the dresser and began rifling through the clothes. White camisoles, Critias Black skirts, I cringed as my hands got to her panties, quickly tossing them away and onto the bed as I blushed.


Bernouli gave a laugh from the hallway at my reaction. "By the way Surrogate, there's two things you should know. Firstly, the room's not bugged at all." She smirked and slammed the door behind her, though yelled so I could here.


"Secondly, that isn't my dorm room!"


With Bernouli and Weibull gone, it took me a second to realize what she had said, and even longer to realize what it meant. I wouldn't have any time at all to fix the mess I made of books, clothes, and panties as just at that instant I saw the doorknob turning and I heard a gasp.


Remember when this story all began, at the end of chapter 1? I was all alone in a girl's room when she walked in and she was all of a sudden all smiles and giggles and 'welcome home!'? This was pretty much the exact opposite.


"AHHHH!" A high pitched squeal came from the girl at the door, Small Boobs. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE YOU FREAK!?"


She threw her backpack at me, her duel disk, and her copy of Dr Slyfts "101 Duel Scenarios".


"I... I was..." How could I really explain this though? A boy in her room, her clothes all laid out in a big pile, I felt any explanation or apology I offered would probably fall to deaf ears anyway.


Small Boobs scrambled over to her bed with a look of horror and disgust. I quickly sidestepped my way to the door.


"GET OUT!" she bellowed. I quickly sprinted out of there as she started throwing things; my own copy of 101 Duel Scenarios - fortunately with my homework-bookmark stuck in place, a couple of her shoes, and lastly my own duel disk, which caught me in the back of the head. I quickly grabbed what was mine and headed back to the library to meet up with Arena and Oliver.






"Arthur!" Arena rushed to meet me and kissed me once on the cheek. I winced, though not because I was afraid of dissolving into light. It hurt where she touched me, and I'd only notice it later but there was a bruise where she had planted a kiss. I gave Arena a quick pat on the head


"How was your meeting with Bernouli?"


"How did you-" I stopped, realizing exactly who I was talking to. I wished she would have warned me beforehand, but then I remembered her words about meddling, and I assumed it was all part of some grand plan she had in mind. I took a seat to catch my breath across from Oliver.


"Man, you won't believe what just happened to me."


It was only as I sat down that I realized how nervous Oliver looked. He was pale as a ghost, staring wide eyed at Arena with a mixture of awe and horror.


"... Y-you think you had a rough evening?" Oliver looked at me, then glanced at Arena, then back to me.


I gave a weak smile as I rubbed the back of my head where my own duel disk hit me. "You don't know the half of it." I paused, then looked at Arena. "Or maybe you do."


"He does." Arena responded quickly.


Oliver got up, still noticeably shaken and not daring to turn his back on Arena. "I think I'm going to go lie down." he stated, then hurried out of the library and, presumably, back to his dorm room.


Arena looked at me expectantly. "I think you and I should lay down together as well."


I wondered if I was giving Arena the same worried expression as Oliver gave her, but I tried to brush it off.


"Yeah, I think we should head back to 309 too."






Back in our dorm room I was able to assess the damages from my meeting with Bernouli. My Duel Disk wasn't powering on, possibly broken after my altercation with Small Boobs. I decided to just leave it on our coffee table. I'd swing by the Duel Disk Engineering program to see if anyone could look it over.


As for my Duel Scenarios project, I felt it was coming along just fine, all it needed was a snazzy conclusion. Arena disagreed and said it needed a lot of work, but in the end it was my call. I didn't need a Nobel Prize for an assignment, just a B or a B+ would be fine.


I'd have to straighten out things with Small Boobs tomorrow, or hopefully she'd just avoid me for the rest of the day. I assumed she'd tell someone and I'd have to face that punishment as well.


After I finished my homework I got into my bed, making sure Arena stayed in her own. I thought to today’s events and tried to brace myself for tomorrow. Things would be hell for a little while going forward, but at least they'd be manageable.


I didn't know the half of it.


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[spoiler=Chapter 8: Class Cancelled]

Word Count: 2992


It's strange how something so small can completely change your mood. Even after Arena came over to my bed in the middle of the night like she always did, I still managed to toss and turn in my sleep. I was absolutely dreading the idea of going back to that Duel Scenarios class, but those two words on that sheet of paper completely changed my mood.


"Class Cancelled" Arena read out loud. "Please put any work due in Miss Andry's mailbox."


A wave of relief hit me, but it seemed the feeling was not shared by everyone there.


"Cancelled!? Aww man! I had to hail a cab to get here on time!" Deep down, Laplace was probably relieved in some way, but for right now it seemed she had commuted across town for nothing.


Oliver probably didn't think it was for nothing. He put an arm around Laplace's waist and pulled her close. "That just gives us more time to get to know each other."


Laplace blushed and giggled. "Oh stop!" though she said it in a way that implied she wanted him to continue.


As I stated earlier, it's strange how something so small can completely change your mood, and at noticing Laplace's entrance, I could feel my mood souring. She seemed to notice the scowl on my face as she pulled a little away from Oliver.


"You know Arthur, you look way cuter when you smile." she greeted. I felt my face go red and Arena tighten her hold on my arm.


"I got this bruise because of your 'friend' Bernouli."


Laplace looked a little concerned at my accusation. "She hit you? Was she wearing a ring or something? She looks big and mean but she's really not that strong."


"She's still out to 'destroy' Guy Surname! Probably trying to go after his friends first."


Oliver gave a laugh. "She hasn't done anything to me yet."


I glared at Laplace. She seemed to realize what I was thinking.


"Hey! You think I have some kind of alternative motive for asking out Oliver!?"


"Ulterior motive." Arena corrected.


"All I'm saying is Bernouli is still out to get us. She tricked me into some other girl's room, and that girl threw a fit, along with her books and my duel disk!"


As long as we’ve known her, Laplace would always be smiling. This, however, was one of the rare times she didn't. "How about I throw my books at you too if you still think I'm out to hurt you or Oliver?"


"You'd kind of be proving his point if you did that though..." Oliver remarked.


"What was that, HONEY?" though she called him honey, there was nothing sweet with the way she sarcastically responded.


As for myself, I noticed a familiar Critias Black girl out of the corner of my way. She was making her way to the main office slowly, stepping only on the white colored tiles on the ground.


"I got to make this right." I moved away from the group, freeing my arm from Arena, and quickly made my way over to her.


"Hey S-" I stopped when I realized our nickname for her, Small Boobs, wasn't exactly the most appropriate one to begin an apology with. "Hey... you!"


Small Boobs stopped her carefree and spirited walk, as it seemed something small had completely changed her mood. "Oh god, it's you."


"Hey, look... I didn't mean to... go into your room and look through your things."


"No, it must have been the Upskirt Goblin, right?" she responded sarcastically.


"No! I mean... yeah, I did go through your things."


"You don't say!"


"It wasn't my fault..." I preferred it when she was upset and angry. At least then I could have hung my head in shame and let her have her anger in peace. Here she made me feel like a deer in the headlights with a clever quip or sarcastic reply to every line I had.


"It was Bernouli." Laplace caught up to us and quickly moved her arm around my shoulder. I blushed and felt a bit tongue tied, which was good because it seemed Laplace would be doing all the talking for us.


"Malady? Why did she bring him to my room?"


"Cause she knew you'd get mad and give him that bruise on his face." Laplace poked at my cheek. I flinched and pulled away.


"Oh. Sorry about that." Was this real life? She was enraged at me for rummaging through her things and now SHE was the one apologizing to me?


"But you didn't tell any of the teachers about our good friend Arthur, riiiight?"


Small Boobs thought about it for a moment. "Nah. Snitches get stitches. I'm not a tattletale."


"So everything's good then, right?"


"Yeah. Later Lily." Small Boobs went back to cheerfully hopping from white tile to white tile, making her way to the main office.


Laplace smugly stuck out her chest. "You owe me one Surrogate!" she gave a smirk then finally pulled her arm off my shoulder. My face was red as Arena took Laplace's spot and cuddled up to me.


"Olly, you didn't have to do any Duel Scenario homework, right? Take our homework for us to the main office."


Arena and I looked each other over, before handing Oliver our Duel Scenarios homework. He looked at it skeptically, then back to Laplace. "What do I get out of this?"


"I'm glad you asked Olly! Meet me behind the cafeteria to find out." She gave a wink. Oliver smirked and hurried off to the office.


Arena and I gave our thanks then went our separate ways.






With our friend Oliver a bit tongue tied at the moment, Arena and I wandered the halls of Hawthorne Academy. It seemed the worst was over and I had avoided a terrible punishment all because Small Boobs cared more about The Code of the School Yard then she did about her own privacy.


"We still have an hour before our next class. We could spend these precious moments in each other’s arms." Arena suggested.


"Yeah fine," I lied. "I just need to check on something else first."


Arena wasn't the only thing that usually hung on my arm. In this case, I was referring to my old Norleras Black Duel Disk. I still remembered waking up in the hospital bed, still delirious from smoke inhalation, not remembering when or why I had kept my disk on. Nevertheless, here it was, still on my other arm. My good luck charm, and one of my last memoirs from Lincoln to survive the fire.


I finally arrived at the Duel Disk Engineering lab when I noticed a familiar face.


"Hey Guy. I didn't know you did Duel Disk repairs."


"It’s Gal silly." she corrected with a smile. "And yeah, I'm in Duel Disk Repair. Guy and Ami are both card designers."


Normally she wore a skirt or some other overtly feminine clothes, but this time she was dressed completely gender neutral with a pair of casual slacks and though the girl's jackets typically did show off some figure, Gal barely had any figure to begin with. I looked at her incredulously. "Really?"


Gal just rolled her eyes at me. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I know who I am. So let me guess, you dropped your duel disk?"


I motioned towards the bruise on my cheek. "Something like that."


"Step right in."


Gal stepped aside and led Arena and I inside the Hawthorne Academy Duel Disk Labs. There were about 12 sort of 'workstation' areas, and all of them had a duel disk on it. They seemed to be in various stages of disrepair - some had the top cover completely removed, exposing the green silicon parts underneath. Some were just completely unscrewed, with the top cover hastily put on, but nothing quite fastened in all the yet. Still others were completely covered, but clearly broken and not all the way there. The 'wings' part were completely detached from the central disk that rested on the wrist. One was connected to a battery and running through a gambit of every color of the rainbow. On the other side of the room there were various little drawers, and all of them were labeled. 'Power supplies', 'RAM', 'Motherboards', 'Fans', that sort of stuff.


Most of the workstations were simple and a bit messy. All of them were drab and kind of gray, with a plain p-touch label showing the name of the person it belonged to. Finally we got to the 7th workstation, which wasn't any less messy then the others, but it had a bit more color to it. There were lights (taken from a duel disk) every which way and silly little drawings (which I would later find out were drawn by Guy) and tiny little beanie babies (property of Gal Surname) and rather than a p-touch label there was a post it note with glitter and block font with her name on it.


"Quite an... interesting desk." I found myself saying.


"A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind." Arena stated bluntly.


"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?"


Gal gave a smirk as she took my Duel Disk from my hand. "Come on Arthur, just give me a minute to check it out." Gal gave a quick twirl of her screwdriver and began working.


I felt a little awkward just standing around while Gal was working on my disk. I tried to make conversation. "So, how's everything?"


"Terrible. Nothing's getting power here."


I looked at her. "No, I mean with you. How's Guy and Ami?"


"Oh." She continued looking into the disk. "We're all good. Guy's and I have a lot in common so we get along fine, but Ami's REALLY taken a shine to him. Can you hold this light for me please?"


She handed me a small pen-sized item, and with a click on the back a bright light came out of one end. "Yeah, no problem."


Gal squinted as she looked over the disk. "Can you just move the light a little bit to the left? Thanks!"


Arena was peeking over my shoulder, mesmerized by the inner workings of a duel disk. Though she was the goddess of wisdom and knew practically everything, I figured there was a big difference between knowing something and being able to actually do it. Arena was the kind of girl who would spend all day studying about basketball, who'd be able to tell you exactly at what angle and what instant to release the ball in order to get the maximum number of points. Gal was the kind of girl who would spend all day actually playing basketball. When it came right down to it, I think for something like duel disk repair I'd rather have Gal look it over. Arena seemed to agree as she continued staring.


"I mean, I thought everything would change if I found out I still had a living family member, much less an identical twin brother. But surprisingly... everything just kind of stayed the same. Me and Ami are still friends. We all still got to go to class. Your little Arena still loves you no matter what and-" Gal paused, then smiled. "Oh. duh! A Duel Disk still won't power on if the power supply's not seated correctly."


She made a silly face as she stuck out her tongue and bopped the top of her head. She then reached in to the disk and began fiddling with it more. With her arm in the way I couldn't exactly see what was happening but soon, the lights came on and the duel disk hummed to life.


"Let me just look it over one more time before giving it the official Gal Surname Seal of Approval!" Gal gave it another quick few glances but I saw it up and running. I was pretty sure things were looking up now.


"Alright Arthur, good news, bad news time!"


"What's the good news?"


"The good news is I got your duel disk back up and running! Hurray hurray! Applause! The power supply must have got knocked loose when you dropped it."


"That's great!" I stopped to wonder what could possibly be the bad news. I could already visualize my future lunch this week, bread and water. I began to reach for my wallet, anticipating some high price attached to this repair. "And what's the bad news?" I asked sarcastically.


"The bad news is your Speak-N-Play's broke."


"My what? What's a Speak-N-Play?"


Arena looked as though it was her moment to shine as she spoke. "A Speak-N-Play is a small microphone device, primarily for use in Duel Disks. It is meant for duelists to record their own thoughts during or shortly after a duel."


"Right." Gal looked very guilty. "I mean, you can't expect much from a free repair, but it looks like when the power supply failed it kind of sort of lost all of its recordings. S-sorry." She awkwardly touched her fingers together looking down, but I still was a little unsure about everything. "You didn't have anything important on there, did you?"


"I... do all duel disks come with that?" I blinked, a realization slowly dawning on me.


"Nope. You either pay extra to get one installed or you can install one yourself. It's not that hard. Just line up the PCIe slots and connect the power supply. No big deal for anyone who's more than an amateur."


I felt a wave of fear pass over me, before suddenly remembering what she said. "So... wait, you're sure the microphone thing is broken?"


"Not broken, just all the stuff on it is gone." she continued fidgeting awkwardly before quickly speaking out again. "I can have Professor Hilda look it over if you want! She's by far the best mechanic I've ever seen."


"No it's fine. That mic isn't mine. I think someone was trying to spy on me."


"Oh! That's a relief!" Gal smiled, before realizing it was actually not that much of a relief. "Wait! Someone's spying on you?"


I nodded weakly. "Bernouli."


"Oh. I guess you'd want me to take it off your disk then?" In a little under a minute, the Speak-N-Play microphone was on Gal's desk. As I watched just how quickly she removed it, I wondered just how quickly Weibull managed to slip it in without me even realizing.


"Man, I knew Bernouli disliked my brother, but I didn't think she'd try to bug one of his friends." Gal looked over at the tiny, bean-sized microphone on her desk.


"I didn't think she would either. Don't think anyone close to Guy is really safe, and I can't imagine anyone closer to him than his identical twin sister. Just... keep your eyes peeled Gal."


"You too."


I glanced at the clock. "Arena and I got to get to class now."








When we first met Professor Odette Arshlocke we thought the worst of her. She was a huge hulking brute, and was built like a shaved gorilla. We thought she was stupid and mean, and an affirmative action hire. They get tax breaks for hiring differently abled people, don't they?


In truth... well she was still mean, but it was a different type of meanness than Miss Andry's style. Miss Andry was mean and she hated boys, and if you were a boy there was pretty much nothing you could do to save yourself there. Professor Arshlocke hated people she saw as weak, whether they were weak little boys or weak little girls. But she was willing to work with you if she saw potential.


She taught Card Rulings, which I found incredibly ironic for two reasons. First, she barely spoke English. Secondly, for someone who admired strength above else it seemed peculiar that she'd be encouraging Rule Sharking. She wouldn't strike me as someone focused on missed timings, getting wordings exactly right and checking for priority, but she seemed more like someone who just summoned the biggest monster she had and dove right in.


Then again, she was a former Pro Duelist in some other country, and apparently all duel academies had to have at least one former pro duelist in order to receive funding. Professor Arshlocke was ours. So in some ways, it did make sense that she knew her rulings inside and out. Never judge a book by its cover, I guess.


Nevertheless Card Rulings was a class that both the Professional Dueling majors and the Card Design majors had to take. Card Design needed it in order to perfect the wording of their cards. Pro Duelists needed it to prevent misplays. Arena and I took a seat near Arthur, Laplace, Ami and Guy.


"Hey guys." I greeted cheerfully. We had managed to outwit Bernouli, I got my duel disk fixed, we got out of Duel Scenarios, and I didn't have to face any punishment with regards to Small Boobs. I was on top of the world, until I noticed the concern on everyone's face.


"Arthur! Arena! It's bad. Real bad."


Ami scowled, her arms across her chest. "Serves them right!" and she gave a bit of a 'harumph!' kind of noise as she looked away.


Guy raised his eyebrows. "Really Ami? I mean, after last week-"


Ami blushed. "That's totally different Guy!"


I myself was surprised at everyone's reaction. "What's going on?"


A dark shadow fell before us, Professor Arshlocke towered above us, a serious expression on her face.


"Arthur. Arena." Professor Arshlocke said with a thick accent and a deep voice. "Main office is looking for you. Is about you two sharing dorm."


And all at once, it seemed one small little sentence had completely changed my mood. I was feeling on top of the world yet now, a feeling of dread began to overwhelm me.



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[spoiler="Chapter 9: We Don't Escape Our Punishments]


Word Count: 3295


Four years ago, a Hermos Red girl by the name of Hilda Mishegoss graduated from Hawthorne Academy under the Duel Disk Engineering program. She was a prodigy with the Duel Disk, graduating Hawthorne at just 16 and completing her masters at the age of 21. Despite her amazing engineering skills she wanted a more humble life and so she applied to be a teacher at the school she herself graduated from.


With all her credentials in order, she began a teaching position in Duel Disk Engineering in January of last year. At the close of the school year in May, the current Leader of Hermos Red had retired after 40 long years of service. Naturally Miss Andry was gunning for that position and though she had about 20 years’ experience at Hawthorne, Hilda Mishegoss had one thing Andry did not, namely a master's degree. When September rolled around, it was Mishegoss who was granted the Hermos Red Dorm Leader position.


And so there we sat in the main office, waiting outside a door labeled 'H. Mishegoss'. I was sweating like a bad metaphor. Arena seemed as cheerful as ever, humming a merry tune and playfully kicking at nothing in particular as her legs didn't quite reach the floor.


"Arena! How can you be so calm at a time like this!? Do you have any idea what's about to happen!?"


Arena stared at me with a blank expression. I realized this was probably a stupid question for the Goddess of Wisdom.


"Okay, you probably do. So tell me then! How do we get out of this one? How do we escape our punishments?"


Arena stared at me some more, studying me and perhaps thinking of the best way to respond. "We don't escape our punishments."


I paused and instinctively asked: "What do you mean?"


"We take out punishment and we move on."


I let the words sink in. I couldn't imagine being kicked out of school and separated from my roommate.


"No! We can't. I mean, my parents will be devastated to hear it. Arena, we got to do something! Fight back!"


"Denial." Arena responded flatly.


"Come on Arena! Work with me here! We gotta get out stories straight at least! We didn't know what we were doing was wrong."


"It's not."


"That's the spirit! Look, maybe if we just plead ignorance they'll go lenient on us. They won't kick us out immediately, or they'll at least let us say goodbye to our friends."


Arena stared at me with a fury I would only ever see directed at one other person. "I would never in my life 'plead ignorance' to anything!"


The way she stared at me had chilled me to the bone worse than Professor Arshlocke did 15 minutes ago. She was primarily the Goddess of Wisdom, but she was also the patron goddess of many things, including courage, cowardice and fear. I felt I could understand the last three just a little clearer now.


There was a bit of a silence before the door labeled H. Mishegoss finally opened. A woman who I originally assumed to be a senior Hermos Red girl opened the door.


"Step inside." she greeted warmly.






Arena and I took a seat in front of a desk, and before either of us knew it, the Hermos Red girl I had mistaken for a senior was sitting across from us.


"Good morning kids!" she stated with a bright smile on her face. "My name is Hilda Mishegoss, but you two can just call me Hilda! I am the dorm leader of the Hermos Red dorm!" She grinned triumphantly and stuck out her chest proudly.


I however was skeptical. "Really? You?" After meeting Miss Andry and Professor Arshlocke, seeing a happy, upbeat smiling teacher was like a breath of fresh air.


"Uh-huh! So then my little Hermos Freshlings! I got a report on you two printed on pink ledger! Very official! Very important!" she gave a giggle as she held up a pink sheet of paper. "Do you two know what this is about?"


Arena nodded. "You are now aware of the fact that Arthur Surrogate and I are sharing a dorm room together."


Mishegoss's smile suddenly faded to a look of shock and surprise. "What!? If I knew what this meeting was about I definitely would have read the report this time!"


When she stuck her head back into the folder to actually read the pink report, I began to think that Mishegoss wasn't exactly playing with a full deck of cards, so to speak. Unfortunately it seemed that, as Goddess of Wisdom, Arena was hell bent on filling in the blanks for her. For everything Mishegoss didn't understand, Arena would be more than ready to clarify for her. This, as I'm sure you know, was a bad idea.


"Hey Arena... cool it." I whispered, though doing my best to put a bit of emphasis on it.


"Anger" she responded flatly.


"I'M NOT ANGRY!" I whispered back angerily


It seemed Mishegoss had a problem reading her paper without reading it out loud as I seemed to catch every other word. "Arthur Surrogate..." "Arena..." "Room 309..." "Photographic evidence..." "Eye Witness Testimony..." "Material witness..." "WOAH!" She slammed the folder down and blushed like she was caught reading a steamy romance novel instead of just a pink piece of paper in a folder, then she smiled at the both of us.


"How cute! But..." her smile faded. "It seems like a pretty open and shut case here my little Hermos amigos. I couldn't just allow this sort of thing to go on right underneath my nose without intervening even just a little!"


It seemed the seriouse expression was just a facade as a smile once again bubbled up to the surface. "Tell ya' what! I'll let you guys tell your side of the story before we decide what to do next!"


I glanced at the Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy. If there was ever a time for her to just follow my lead, now was the time.


"Oh... okay... our story. It all began about th-th-three weeks ago. Lincoln Academy burned down and so I was transferred here, to Hawthorne. They assigned me to Room 309 and I guess Arena was already living there. We know our dorming situation was a mistake, but we didn't bring it to your attention cause-" I stopped to think "Well, we were sure you guys were busy! I mean, it's not like we even do anything lewd or indecent together in our dorm room together! We're... just... friends..."


I caught Arena staring at me, frowning, out of my peripheral vision.


"Arena?" Mishegoss smiled "Is there anything you'd like to add sweet nose?"


"Many things. Our dorming situation was not a mistake. It was the result of many eons of research, trial-and-error, and many well laid plans. We are not 'just friends', as Arthur says. We are soulmates who share a deep and profound bond that transcends time and space."


I felt sick to my stomach at Arena's words. I had done everything I could to keep us together, but it seemed the Goddess decided to completely destroy any and all chance we had. I glanced over to Mishegoss expecting the worse, but it seemed she had tears streaming down her face and a handkerchief in her right hand.


"Oh dear! That's so beautiful!" Mishegoss exclaimed, as she dabbed at her eyes. "It reminds me of the love my mother and father shared!"


Did Arena actually know what she was doing? Hilda Mishegoss was incredibly difficult to read and unlike any other adult I had met at this school so far. It was hard to tell sometimes with how stupid and blunted she acted all the time, but she was Goddess of Wisdom. Arena must have a plan, and she maybe did know something I didn't.


Finally Mishegoss took a deep breath and seemed to compose herself. "Alright, I think I understand. I'll need to speak to the both of you privately now. Arena my dear, can you wait outside in the main office please? Give me five minutes alone with Arthur."


As she got up to leave the room, I gave Arena one last look, honestly worried this would perhaps be my last look at Arena.


"H-hey..." I began.


"Bargaining." Arena cut me off before leaving the room.






So there I was, sitting in Professor Mishegoss's office, scared to death of losing my roommate Arena. It was hard to even be angry at the woman sitting across from me with that cheerful expression permanently etched on her face. She scribbled down some notes on the pink slip of paper in the folder, then smiled as she looked up at me.


"So Arthur, is there anything else you'd like to say?"


I couldn't look her in the eye, but I took a deep breath and tried to find the courage within me to say anything. "Please... don't blame Arena for this."




"Arena doesn't really understand right from wrong like most people. She's not stupid or anything though. She's just not really that concerned with what other people think. Just about the only thing I've ever seen her care strongly about was me."


"And what about you? How do you feel about her?"


Her question took me a minute to process. It was really the first time anyone had actually asked me that question, and the first time I had actually stopped to consider it. "I-I'm not sure. Arena's so sure about her feelings, and maybe I'm a little scared that she's wasting her time and I'll never love her as much as she loves me and she deserves better. But... I guess all I know is that I'd say or do anything to see her smile."


Mishegoss wasn't crying, but she seemed to get a little misty eyed.


"Well said Arthur." she whispered, choking back tears before taking a breath. "Unfortunately the rules are very clear on this. Two people sharing a romantic interest in each other cannot share a two-person dorm room. Please return your dorm key. You two won't be able to share room 309 anymore."


"I... figured as much." It was pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point. A boy and a girl couldn't share a dorm room, so we'd have to be separated. The next part all felt like a blur. I was so lost in my thoughts I barely even registered what Professor Mishegoss said next.


"Arthur Surrogate, here's a key to your new single. Room 415."


It was fortunate the key had the room number printed on it, as I barely heard her speak. I felt so numb and so sad that my adventures with Arena were so close to ending.


"It could have been worse Arthur! If you were in Timaeus Blue or Critias Black, I'm sure Andry or Arshlocke would have had you expelled!" she gave a smirk and a wink, though I didn't much feel like doing either back. "No one else has to know about this, by the way."


Though the words did eventually register, I wouldn't be expelled, I didn't know what to do next. I stammered nervously at being spared an expulsion.


"Th-thank you Professor Mishegoss."


"It's Hilda! And you're welcome." she turned a page on her pick report and began writing something quickly down. "Please send Arena in after you, then head back to 309 and pack up your things. Leave your key on the coffee table."


My legs felt like noodles as I staggered to get back up. I opened the door and saw my roommate waiting patiently for me, a blank expression on her face. "Arena... I..."


"Depression." she stated simply before walking past me and closing the door behind her.






To say it was depression was a bold understatement. I felt like I was losing a part of myself without Arena by my side. It was so strange how just a few weeks ago I would have done anything to get a transfer. But after a few weeks with the girl I wondered how I could possibly get along without her.


Was there something else I could have done? Was there someone to blame? It had to be The Distribution who put this together. Arena and I were probably just collateral damage in some major plan to take down Guy, not that it mattered much now.


In Room 309 I quickly and quietly gathered my belongings. I didn't have many, most of my stuff was turned to ashes at Lincoln. Most of the clothes were new and issues by Hawthorne. Arena didn't have many belongings either. I had only ever seen her wearing the Hermos Red uniform, and the armor of light when she first revealed she was the Goddess of Wisdom to me. I looked back at the room with a certain sense of nostalgia, remembering fondly on our past here. The couch where we'd watch movie together, the desk where she'd tutor me, the bed she always wanted to share with me. I gave it one last long look before closing the door behind me forever.


As I made my way to room 415 I couldn't help but notice how much quieter and less lively the fourth floor seemed in comparison to the others. The third floor common room often had people at all times of days, the garbage cans were nearly always full, and the bulletin board always had flyers for tutoring and club sign ups and general lost and found nonsense. The garbage cans here were empty, the common room was neat and orderly, as though no one ever sat in it, and while the bulletin boards had flyers up, they all still had all of their the strips of papers. You know, the strips that were supposed to be ripped off if you wanted to give them a call. It was pretty clear the fourth floor was a ghost town.


I entered Room 415 and was hit with the same familiar moderately-priced-hotel sensation as I was when I first entered 309. There was a desk with a single small office chair, a single person armchair was set up in front of the TV, and a single bed, all with the familiar red trim to remind us this was the Hermos Red Dorm.


I dumped by books on the desk, wheeled in my luggage cart, and just collapsed on the bed, crying uncontrollably. I regretted ever saying no to Arena for anything. I longed to hold her in my arms right now and for the rest of every single night if it meant she'd be my roommate again. As I lay on the bed sobbing miserably I think I heard the bell ringing for lunch, but I didn't want food. There was just one thing in the whole world I wanted right now more than anything.


I didn't know if Arena could hear prayers but even if she couldn't, it seemed she answered them anyway.


Lying in bed, I didn't notice it when the door opened, and even as she walked in lightly it wasn't until she spoke that I had begun to take notice.


"What's wrong Arthur? Do you not approve of our new home?"


I looked up, eyes still with tears to find Arena, my roommate, standing at the door with a worried expression on her face and a "415" key in her hand.


"Arena?!" I bolted up quickly and rushed to meet her. Embracing her tightly and holding her close. "It's you! It's really... how... why... what?"


"Why are you so surprised to see me here? We are roommates, and this is my room now too."


All the excitement I felt seconds ago completely turned itself to confusion as I realized what Arena was saying.


"Um... what? You're going to have to explain this one to me Arena. We were in trouble for sharing a dorm together, and now Mishegoss assigns you to dorm with me all over again? She seemed kind of slow but I didn't think she'd do something like THIS."


"After you went to pack up 309, she and I had a chat and she... agreed with me. It's exactly as I planned."


I looked her over suspiciously. "What do you mean? What is exactly as you planned?"




She took a seat on the bed and smiled triumphantly.


"You never wanted to lay in bed with me. You were always so worried about other people catching us leaving the dorm together. So I sent Mishegoss a note telling her we were dorming together. I knew she'd try to separate us by moving you to a single, and I knew exactly what I needed to tell her to get me moved to your single as well. There was never any doubt of course. I am the Goddess of Strategy after all. It all went exactly as I planned."


I was still trying to wrap my brain around everything Arena had just send. "So... back up, this was all you then? You're the one who told on us? You were the 'material witness' who provided 'photographic evidence' and 'eye-witness testimony' ... you did all of this... just to get us a smaller room with only one bed so we would be forced to cuddle up together every single night?"


"And the afternoons, if you want!" she outstretched her arms and closed her eyes, waiting for me to approach.


I was completely dumbstruck with Arena's plan, but like what the hell could I really say? I wanted to have Arena back in my life, and here she was, once again my roommate. Maybe even more than a roommate as I approached her. In those short couple of hours I realized just how much the girl meant to me. I took a seat next to her and held her close.


She looked at me and spoke "Acceptance." before we shared our first real kiss.






There were no secrets between Arena and I. Even so, I sometimes really wish there were though. I didn't know what color panties she was wearing (white) and I didn't need to know how often she thought about me (always), but it seemed even Arena drew the line somewhere.


We were cuddling in bed together just before going to sleep in the first night of our new room.


"So you planned all this to get us a smaller room so we'd have to cuddle together every night?"




"Well I've been thinking..."


"Is it about what color-"


"N-no! Anyway, you always say that us being together was 'all part of the plan' or something. So tell me, just how far back does your plan go?"


And it was here that I could sense the first real bit of hesitation from my roommate. She recoiled ever so slightly, physically pulling away and unable to meet my gaze.


"Arena?" A little more forceful this time. "How far back does your plan go!?"


"Uhh..." she continued trying to shrink away and avoid the conversation.


I however wasn't going to let this go. "Arena! How much of my life did you have a hand in?"


"Arthur... listen."


I scowled. "I'm listening."


"You deserve to know the truth, but... your heart isn't ready for it."




"I promise I will tell you the extent of my plans. And you'll know everything before the Ladies and Gentlemen Ball. But for right now, let us enjoy each other's company."


"The Ladies and Gentlemen Ball... it's a promise."


And while I always said my heart wasn't quite ready, nothing she said could have possibly prepared me to learn about The Cursed Chain and the horrible things she did to bring us together.


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[spoiler=Chapter 10: Crimson Wind Academy]

Word Count: 3375


Since moving to room 415 it was easier than ever to stay low and hidden away. It seemed that there truly was no one else living on that floor, or if there were they just never left their room. Arena and I could go to our room at all hours, leave anytime we wanted, we could have sleepovers in the 4th floor lounge room, and we never saw a single person.


It was a bit unnerving at first, but over time we realized the implication of it and grew to enjoy our privacy, and each other.


I'll spare you the details, but Arena and I bonded and grew closer, spending most of our time hiding away in room 415. It wasn't until about December and the end of term that anything of interest happened. The 7 of us; me, Arena, Oliver, Laplace, Guy, Gal and Ami were sitting around in the fourth floor lounge of the Hermos dorm. Yeah, 5 out of 7 of us weren't Hermos but like I said earlier, no one ever showed up to bother us.


Arena and I were sitting on an armchair meant for one person. She was cuddling up close to me, sitting on my lap. Ami, Gal and Guy were on a couch. Laplace was on an armchair across from me. Oliver was sitting on the arm rest of the couch, on the side closest to Laplace.


"So, what's everyone's grades look like?" Gal asked cheerfully.


"Mostly As. I had about two Bs, but I didn't really look-" Guy began, before being interrupted by the rather boastful Oliver Khlozoff.


"Check it Surname! All aces!" Oliver stood up to produce a report card with more As than Small Boobs' underwear drawer.


"Which one of us did you want to check it?" Guy asked dismissively.


Laplace seemed especially incredulous "What!? No way! Even Duel Scenarios?"


"Especially duel scenarios."


"That's the one with the lady who hates men, right?" Ami asked. Since she was in the Card Design Program she had little need to think of any exciting applications for her cards. That was up to the Pro Duelists to figure out.


"I... really can't believe it. I'm a girl and I only got a B on it. What did you do? Wash her car every weekend or something?"


Oliver got up, taking a bow and blowing us all kisses like he was a famous actor accepting an award. "Thank you, thank you! But I can't take all the credit! I'd like to thank the academy, my friends and my family, but most of all I'd like to thank the most important lady in my life-"


Laplace rolled her eyes. "Oh geez. Come on Oliver..."




I froze in shock at the realization of this. Had Arthur been using Arena's power to help his grades!? It was a gross misuse of cosmic otherworldly power, but before I could say anything about it, Laplace stood up and stepped forward.


"WHAT!? Arena?! You mean Arthur's girlfriend!? Why is SHE the most important lady in your life!?"


Arena stared at Laplace, frowning. She looked as though she was about to say something, but before she could Oliver got up as well.


"It's not like that Laplace, come on! Arena's just like..." Oliver struggled to find the right way to phrase it.


"Okay, you know those ancient Greek plays where the main character is in some terrible hopeless situation? Just as things look their worst, all of a sudden some guy comes in through like a trap door or lowered on a crane or something and then he gives the main character all the answers and helps him out and stuff? That's what Arena is to me!"


Laplace just glared at him before blurting out: "I don't think I've ever answered 'yes' to any question that began with 'You know those Ancient Greek plays'."


Laplace stood up from one the couches before grinning towards me in a very Arena-like fashion. She teased her hair as she talked.


"You know Arthur, if Oliver decides Arena's his main girl, maybe that's a sign you and I should get to know each other more."


I blushed, and before I could respond I felt Arena holding onto my arm and hear her growling towards Laplace.


Laplace recoiled from Arena's defensive strategy. "Alright then!" Laplace turned. "How about you Guy?"


This time, Ami was the one getting defensive. "H-hey! Guy wouldn't want to date a girl who was on the rebound. He's a little more respectful than that!"


"And besides, I'm more concerned with working on my art than anything."


Ami looked crestfallen. "Y-you are?"


Oliver looked over at Ami, then at Laplace. "What do you guys mean 'on the rebound'? Laplace and I are still together."


Laplace rolled her eyes towards Oliver. "Are we?" Though she spoke in a way that Oliver wouldn't like the answer. "A minute ago you were just saying how Arena was the most important lady in your life."


"Well... she is! But not in the same way-"


"Which one of us is more important?"


Oliver paused like a deer in the headlights.


"Well then Oliver Khlozoff, until you can decide which of us is more important, you and I are through!"


Laplace stormed off, and Oliver was left stunned speechless...


For about all of 30 seconds. Once she was out of earshot he cracked a smile and seemed to return to his normal self. "Ah well, there's plenty of fish in the sea!"


We all groaned at Oliver's outburst, except Arena of course.


"So, you're really not sad about losing Laplace?" Ami asked.


"Sorry to see her go, but happy to see her walk away."


"Oh wow. She must not have meant that much to you if you've forgotten her so quickly then."


Oliver's smile faded ever so slightly, before he turned to Gal.


"Can we talk about something else!? Plans for Winter Break? Anyone? Who's going home to visit family?"


"My only family is sitting right next to me." Guy responded, motioning towards Gal. "I think we're staying at the academy for the holidays."


"Mom and Dad went south for the winter, so I'm on my own too." Ami looked a bit nervous but smiled.


"It's too far to travel back home, and... yeah." I began.


I didn't want to tell them the real reason I was staying behind. With my parents divorcing, both had been arguing and fighting with who should have me for the holidays. At the end, since none of them could reach a compromise the winning vote went to 'no one' and I'd be at Hawthorne for Winter Break.


"Arena, staying with Arthur?" Oliver asked.


Arena nodded, before resting her head on my shoulder.


"Awesome! We can all have winter vacation here then!" Oliver smirked.


"I wonder if Laplace is staying over too." Ami questioned.


Oliver glared at Ami. "Well I mean... she commutes... so it's..."


"Well she's also filthy rich, so she could go on vacation."


"Wait!? She is!?"


Ami punched Oliver in the arm. "Really!? That's what it takes for the great Mister Khlozoff to change his tune? You're hopeless."


"I didn't know that either." I said surprised. "Though I guess I kind of got the feeling she wasn't exactly broke after she bought all of us our coffee that time."


"Not ALL of us." Guy said sarcastically.


"Well whatever." Oliver began. "What are we doing for the holidays? Where are we going?"


We all wanted to spend the next hour or so coming up with cheesy Winter Break activities. Ice Skating, playing in the snow, scrounging our life savings to get tickets to the Silvershine Festival Spectacular staring the Silverettes.


Before any of us could present our ideas, Arena answered the question of 'where are we going' with three simple words. "Crimson Wind Academy."


We all gave each other a confused look, but before we could ask our thoughts were interrupted with a flicker of the PA systems.


"Little weakling students!" Arshlocke's voice bellowed from the overhead speakers. "Please to visit auditorium for important mandatory assembly!"






The six of us all took a seat in the auditorium. In the top row there was me, Arena and Oliver and in the row directly in front of us there was Ami, Guy and Gal. As for Laplace, she was wearing her mask and sitting with The Distribution as far away from us as it was possible to be.


"She's back with The Distribution?" I asked.


"She never really left them. She spent her time about 50/50 between us and them." Oliver corrected.


I scowled. "Does that mean Bernouli's will go back to trying to destroy Guy again?"


Guy looked up towards me. "What do you mean 'go back'? She hasn't really stopped you know. You and Arena have both just been... too 'busy' in Room 415 to notice."


I blushed, realizing the implication and air quotes of 'busy' "We haven't! I mean... Arena and I, we're both still vir-"


"Hey! Remember Duel Monster Spirit Day?" Gal asked cheerfully.


"Ugh, don't remind me Gal." Ami began. "I STILL get creepy phone calls every once in a while."


"But we got so many cute pictures together!" Gal protested. "And so much candy too! And remember the Midterm Massacre?"


"It was a massacre for a reason! I would have failed Basic Holography if not for... well... let's just say it's a good thing I've got an identical twin."


"But we got all those rare Duel Monster cards!"


"For decks we don't even run!"


"Come on guys! Bright side!"


"What is the bright side to the Distribution breaking Oliver's heart?" Arena asked curtly.


"Hey! My heart's not broken! Besides, now I can go back to meeting other ladies! I could have any girl I want here! Laplace only really had three viable dating options to begin with."


Arena stared daggers at Oliver. "Oh I'm sorry, I meant two, and I'm pretty sure Guy's more into naked ladies from the 19th century than today's standards."


"Hey! Those are anatomically correct models!"


"Oliver... may have a point." I began. "I'm sure once she spends more time with the Distribution she'll realize who her real friends are and this'll all blow over."


The feedback of a microphone and the clearing of a throat alerted me to the start of the presentation.


And there she was, the most beautiful woman in the world. From up in the rafters Headmistress Ipsum seemed so small and far away. She was like a distant dream that I yearned to get back into focus. I stared at her with a dreamy expression, not noticing Arena trying to get my attention.


"Good afternoon my dear students!" the headmistress's soothing voice echoed from the speakers nearby. "Thank you all for coming to this assembly. I promise to keep this as brief as possible as I'm sure you're all eager to start Winter Break. As many of you know, Sweetheart's Day is coming up! Normally we celebrate by holding the Ladies and Gentlemen Tournament, followed later that week by the Ladies and Gentleman Ball. This year however, we'll be doing things a little bit different."


We were all intrigued, a few whispers and murmurs but as soon as it seemed Lorem was about to speak again, everyone kept quiet.


"As you all know, our typical partners for the ball would normally be Lincoln Academy, however after the tragic fire that burned down the school we know three boys isn't enough for you ladies." She put her hands on her hips and cocked her eyebrows while smirking. A few laughs erupted from the auditorium and Lady Ipsum, like a true professional speaker, smiled and allowed them to conclude before continue.


"For this year, rather than scheduling the Ladies and Gentleman Tournament right before Sweetheart's Day, the tournament will instead be held over Winter Break! I'm excited to announce that the reason for this is because our partners for this endeavor will be our nearest neighbors, Crimson Wind Academy!"


There was a lot of excited whispers that were hushed once again when Lorem took a breath to speak.


"For those that wish to remain at Hawthorne this Winter Break, you will have the opportunity to join myself and several other chaperones to a field trip to Crimson Wind Academy. We will stay for three nights, and after the tournament is concluded, we will discuss the next moves for how to arrange the Ladies and Gentlemen Ball for Sweetheart's Day. More information will be made available to you as it comes, so keep your eyes on your PDAs."


There was a mischievous glint in her eyes. "You are all dismissed, and for those that do not accompany us on our trip, I wish you all Happy and Safe Holidays and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!"


The six of us glanced at each other, and just like that it seemed our plans for Winter Break were set.






Crimson Wind Academy was one of the oldest island based Duel Academy. While Hawthorne was an older school, it wasn't on an island and it had been restructured in recent times to follow a newer curriculum. Originally Hawthorne followed the traditional tiered-dorm structure, where Reds were the lowest dorm, Yellow was middle, and Blue was the best. It was also structured as a 3 year school. We no longer followed those standards, instead set up as 4 year school with three equal dorms. Crimson Wind Academy however, kept the old traditions alive with three very distinct dorms.


A majority of Hawthorne had left for Winter Break, leaving only 16 of us present. There was me and Arena, the Hermos Reds. Oliver represented the Critias Black Dorm, and the Surname Twins and Ami were dressed in Timaeus Blue. The Distribution was present as well, one for each dorm. Small Boobs was representing Critias Black, and Ella Minnow was wearing Hermos Red. There were 5 other girls present, and I didn't know them as well as the 11 already mentioned.


As far as chaperones go, I had no major complaints. Crimson Wind Academy was a co-ed school, so Miss Andry was probably terrified of the idea of a boy she'd have no authority over. For our chaperones we had Professor Mishegoss from last chapter, Professor Arshlocke, the lovely Lady Ipsum of course, and lastly the art teacher, Professor Handbasket. You probably already guessed it, but her first name was Helena.


The trip to the island was relatively uneventful. We went on a rather large ship early in the morning, and right after a quick lunch of sandwiches we could finally see the island off in the distance. We were all eager to get back to dry land.


Headmistress Ipsum seemed more excited than any of us. It was very cute to say the least. She had an almost childlike innocence as she stared wide eyed and smiled as the island drew closer and closer. When we finally docked, Ipsum was the first one off the ship.


I had initially assumed, we'd be greeted by the student body, but it seemed the faculty had come to meet us first. They were all adults, about 7 of them. There were 3 woman on the left, one wore an eye patch, and the other two women appeared asian, though I wasn't sure from which country in Asia they were from. One of them was dressed in a modern fashion, a sweater and blue jeans. The other one however was wearing a kimono and looked extremely serious. There were 3 men on the right hand side. One was just about the tallest man I'd ever seen in my life, and very muscular. The other looked rather laid back and calm. The last one... was wearing a very, VERY familiar cloak.


Standing between the groups was a woman in full Crimson Wind Academy uniform. Rather than red, yellow, or blue she wore a maroon colored ensemble. A long sleeve white jacket with the typical academy pattern on the chest, and a knee-length skirt and a thick pair of black tights and matching Academy boots. Her long blonde hair stretched down to just about ankle length. She looked older than our Lady Ipsum, with a tough and imposing expression on her face. Clearly she was a no-nonsense type of headmistress. Unfortunately for the Crimson Wind Headmistress, nonsense was exactly what Lady Ipsum was planning on bringing.


"Charlotte!" Lady Ipsum cheerfully skipped towards the older looking headmistress. "It's been way too long!"


And before any of us could say anything, Ipsum quickly threw herself onto the head of Crimson Wind, holding her tightly and giving her a kiss on the cheek. I wished with all my might that I might suddenly become the Crimson Wind headmistress for that brief moment, but alas, I was still Arthur Surrogate.


Like I did with Arena many times, the headmistress put her hand on Ipsum and pushed her away. "Please Headmistress Ipsum, maintain some level of dignity and professionalism in front of your students!" She was blushing, clearly surprised by Ipsum's sudden outburst. Lady Ipsum still smiled cheerfully and seemed to be bobbing up and down.


"Ah, I apologize Headmistress." Lady Ipsum smiled, though I wasn't sure if she was really sorry. "It's just been so long! My heart is elated to see one of my own students doing so well!"


We students of Hawthorne were quite surprised. The Crimson Wind Headmistress was clearly somewhere in her late 30s to early 40s, and yet Lady Ipsum, who looked not a day over 21, claimed she was her senior.


The headmistress looked much less elated. "You didn't seem so excited when you voted to have me expelled from Hawthorne twenty-something years ago."


"Ah, you still hold a grudge after all these years my dear headmistress? I do apologize, but our rules were very strict about this. You missed your Duel Rulings final exam."


"I went into labor!" The crimson Wind headmistress looked as though she was ready to hit Lady Ipsum, though she managed to regain her composure, speaking in the same calculated tone of voice again.  "It's just as well though. I couldn't afford tuition for your school after my own parents disowned me." The headmistress continued scowling towards Ipsum. "I suppose when you told us we could come to you with anything, teenage pregnancy was where you drew the line."


"My hands were tied dear Headmistress."


"I was a scared teenage girl just looking for some support!" She seemed shaken, but tried to calm down. "But... whatever. That's all in the past."


The headmistress looked away from Lady Ipsum, looking past her and turning towards us.


"So these are your students? Fortunately my students had already been warned of their arrival beforehand. We have prepared a few sleeping bags for you in the Grand Central Dueling Arena."


We all groaned at the headmistress's words.


"Sleeping bags?" Professor Mishegoss protested. "We can't get any beds? Maybe a few rooms?"


Lady Ipsum tried to step between Mishegoss and the headmistress "What my dear Professor Mishegoss means-"


"It's Hilda!"


"It's almost Winter Break. Surely a majority of your students have gone away for the holidays, isn't that right? You must have some rooms available somewhere for us?"


The Crimson Wind staff exchanged looks of uncertainty.


The giant of a man spoke first. "Well, I don't really mind giving the kids rooms, but how would we even divide them up? We can't have like, 4 in Red, 4 in Blue, 4 in Yellow. It wouldn't really be fair."


The normal, more modern Asian lady spoke next. "Not to mention the rooms are technically all still assigned until June. Even if I went on a vacation, I wouldn't want some stranger to have been in my room."


Eyepatch spoke next. "And we don't know when the kids are leaving or when they'll be coming back."


The staff looked at each other uneasily, however it seemed the Headmistress's mind was already made up. A cruel expression formed upon her face as though she had been preparing this moment for twenty-something years.


She gave a bit of a chuckle as she sneered at Lady Ipsum.


"I'm sorry, my hands are tied."


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[spoiler=Chapter 11: This Is A Public Space]

Word Count: 3614


For those just tuning in, your favorite duelists from Hawthorne Academy were on what might have been the world's worst field trip. At Hawthorne, we all had nice comfy beds in our own separate dorm rooms and the freedom to do as we pleased. Here at Crimson Wind Academy we were all corralled into a shared space where we all slept in sleeping bags with nothing at all to do.


Our "room", for lack of a better term, was a rather large gymnasium. To make matters worse, it wasn't even the whole gymnasium but rather just about a quarter of it. There were dividers up, taken from the Nurse's Office to maintain the little bit of privacy we could muster. The rest of the gymnasium was still open to the public. In our shared space there were about 20 sleeping bags laid out for us, 4 for the teachers and 16 for the students.


"I don't want those stupid ugly boys here!" one of the Hawthorne girls protested.


"Eh, they're fine by me." Small Boobs gave a dismissive shrug.


"Easy for you to say! You don't have much for them to peek at!"


"We can set up more dividers! It's not a problem!" Hilda Mishegoss looked over at our direction and gave us a wink.


I blushed lightly. Other than my mom and Arena, Hilda was the only girl in the world who had ever seen me cry. Not only that but she knew about Arena and me dorming together and actually seemed to be supportive of it. I didn't know it then, but Hilda Mishegoss knew a lot more than I thought she did, but we'll get back to that later.


"Maybe try blindfolding them." one of the girls suggested.


"Or at least blindfold Oliver!"


"This is a public space." Arena responded bluntly. “Even if you dislike our own students, we have no control over the Crimson Wind Academy student body. Any student can come and go whenever they wish."


I glanced over at Oliver, who didn't seem too pleased with the situation anymore then the first Hawthorne girl did. "Any student? Well if that's the case I vote we all leave. This place is awful. Come on Arthur, Guy, let's go pick up chicks or something."


Out of my peripheral, I caught Laplace glancing over at Oliver, before quickly turning away.


I didn't want to pick up chicks or anything like that, but I knew better than to stick around someplace I wasn't wanted. Arena followed me. Gal followed Guy. Ami followed the twins.


When I was a kid, my dad always said that complaining was just about the least attractive thing anyone could ever do. If that were true, then the six of us must have been about the ugliest kids in the world, because as soon as we made it out of the shared public space we all started giving our opinions of the trip so far.


"I knew going to from one school to another would be bad, but this is worse than I imagined." Oliver began.


"Let's look on the bright side guys!" Gal began. "The weather's warmer here than in Silvershine!"


"Sorry sis. I'm with Oliver on this one. Looks like that headmistress had an alternative motive for agreeing to Lady Ipsum's challenge."


"Ulterior motive."


"Well, I'm sure there's something we can do." Ami began. "What do the students of Crimson Wind Academy do to kill time?"


And with that, almost as if on cue, a redheaded Ra Yellow girl with a side ponytail turned the corner. She looked a little bit surprised to see us, but suddenly grinned from ear to ear as she took us all in. "Yo'za!" she greeted with a two finger salute.


We gave the redhead a skeptical look. Ever since arriving the Hawthorne kids faced misfortune after misfortune, and here was someone smiling, cheerful, and happy to see us.


"Hey baby..." Oliver began, before Ami hit his arm.


A second girl rounded the corner, much shorter and almost child-like, with long white hair. I assumed she was the daughter of one of the staff before noticing she wore a Ra Yellow jacket, same as her redheaded friend. She looked sort of like Arena's, except much smaller and much younger. While Arena's hair was white, more like silver, this girl's hair had a bit of a blue-ish tone to it, or maybe it was her bright blue eyes that seemed to give me the 'blue' vibe.


"Uhh, are you guys new?" the shorter, white haired girl asked skeptically.


"Nah, look at their uniforms. Those are the Hawthorne kids. Right?"


"That's us!" Gal greeted cheerfully.


The white haired girl smiled as she approached as she approached us, curtsying politely.


"Hi! I'm the leader of Heaven's Sake! Let me welcome you to Crimson Wind Academy!"


We stared at the girl, unsure of the welcome so far, but it seemed perhaps our luck was finally starting to change.


"My name is-" I began, but the white haired girl interrupted me in a panic.


"WAIT!" she insisted. "Headmistress Swebb... I mean, the headmistress, she doesn't want us to meet you guys. She doesn't want us to 'mingle'."


I gave the snow haired girl an incredulous look, but the redhead continued where the shorter girl left off.


"Well guys, it's like this. Our headmistress has had problems with your headmistress because of some argument when they were both little girls."


Arena frowned. "Headmistress Lorem Ipsum hasn't been a little girl in a VERY long time. They were never little girls together. Not even close."


The redhead gave Arena a shrug. "Cheh" she said in defeat. "Well when they were younger. So because of their long standing argument, our headmistress wants revenge and she doesn't want us to lose this tournament. She's worried if we meet we'll all become friends and grow soft, ya' know? Won't have the heart to pull the tirgger so to speak when the time comes. But you guys don't seem so bad, eh there Billie?" she nudged the white haired girl.


"H-hey!" she protested. "No names! Just call me... uhh..."


"Well my nickname's obvious." said the redhead with a toothy grin. "You can call me The Firefly!"


The white haired girl looked lost in thought. "I'll be... uhh... the Princess of Ra Yellow."


The Firefly stiffled a laugh, which did not improve the Princess's mood. "What's the laugh for? I mean... I'm pretty high ranking in yellow if I do say so myself."


"So if you're the Princess, does that mean your prince is-" The Firefly began, before The Princess let out a high pitched squeal.


"No way Rina! Never in a million years! L-look, it's nice to meet you guys, but we really shouldn't hang out like this."


"I think they're cool!" The Firefly began with a smile and a thumbs up.


Guy nodded. "We are cool!" he thought for a moment. "And I hope you don't think I'm too forward in asking this, but could you please convince your friend to give us a tour?"


I raised an eyebrow, but I picked up pretty quickly what Guy was getting at. I turned to look at the Firefly to gauge her reaction, but it was much different than anything I could have imagined. The Firefly's eyes suddenly grew wide, her pupils dilated, a solid black pool to replace her blue irises, then suddenly constricting to a small black point. She blinked, and it was gone, though she rubbed her head slowly. "Uhh... Yeah. R-right away!"


I glanced over to the Princess, who had her hands across her subtle chest like a petulant child. She turned her cheek, looking away from us. The Firefly tried to meet her gaze, and maintain eye contact. "Come on! We got to give them a tour now!"


The Princess remained silent, giving The Firefly a moment to think of something to win her friend over. Fortunately they knew each other quite well. The Firefly spoke in a bit of a sing-song kind of voice, like a mother trying to get her toddler to eat some brussel sprouts.


"You can wear your Heaven's S-a-ake outfit~"


The Princess's mood immediately lifted as she blushed. "W-well... alright..." She glanced at the six of us. "Today is your lucky day! Meet outside the Grand Central Dueling Arena in one hour, and the girls of Heaven's Sake will show you around!"


The Princess gave us another curtsy, then did a quick about face and quickly jogged out of there.


"Take it easy until then guys! And sorry about the Headmistress!" she jogged to catch up to the The Princess, though she didn't need to try too hard. With the shorter girl's shorter legs, the taller girl quickly caught up.






With the girls gone, the six of us were left alone to discuss our next move as we made our way back to rejoin the rest of the Hawthorne girls.


"So, a tour of this island?" Ami asked. "I mean, I guess it'll kill some time before dinner. We... are getting dinner, right?"


"There's some more I wanted to learn about this school." Guy interrupted. "Did any of you notice that teacher in the cloak when we first got here?"


"I was just about to say something." Oliver said.


"What's so great about a cloak? The lady in the eyepatch was the one I recognized." Ami asked.


"That cloak was definitely from Lincoln Academy. Invincil Gray, no doubt about it." Guy said. "But... how did it end up here? Who was that teacher, and if he was a member of Lincoln, does he know anything about the fire?"


While the girls seemed unsure, the answer was obvious for the boys. We had to go on an island tour with that "Heaven's Sake" group no matter what and find out as much as we could.


As we returned to the Grand Central Dueling Arena, we managed to catch Small Boobs talking to a senior looking Obelisk Blue in the hallways. He was rather tall, taller than me or Oliver at least, and he had emerald green eyes and sandy blonde hair.


"Hey baby, what's your name?"


"S-Suri." stammered Small Boobs, blushing.


"Cute name." he gave a playful grin. "You can call me Handsome."


And I had to admit, that Obelisk guy was handsome. Tall, muscular, and a smile that could melt your heart, if you were a girl I mean.


Small Boobs blushed profusely. "Ok-kay..." She hesitated, but eventually worked up the nerve to say his name, "H-H-Handsome." she blushed and looked quite pleased though she avoided eye contact.


I approached with a bit of trepidation. "Is everything okay here?"


The taller Obelisk turned around slowly, still smiling. "Hey kids. When I heard there was an all-girl school coming over for a visit, I just had to come out and meet them. And it looks like I've found the cutest little stray kitten out of all of them."


Small Boobs erupted into a fit of giggles. Her face was still bright red but she was nervously smiling.


Oliver however frowned at this development. "Doesn't your headmistress forbid you from talking to us?"


"Forbidden fruit's always the sweetest kid."


Small Boobs blushed and giggled nervously once again.


"Besides, the headmistress isn't the boss of me. If I see a lady in need, I come lend a hand. It's the gentlemanly thing to do, after all."


"Y-yeah Oliver!" Small Boobs stammered.


Oliver clenched his fists, but I put my hand on his shoulder and whispered. "This guy's like half a cubit taller than you man. And what would you even really be fighting over? Small Boobs?"


Oliver continued glaring, but his fists relaxed. He turned away in disgust and annoyance.


Handsome gave us all a smirk and turned back towards Small Boobs. "By the way kitten, the restrooms are over there." He then turned back to Oliver who was still fuming. "Well then little boy, I look forward to seeing you all again when the tournament starts." One last look towards Small Boobs. "Especially you little Suri."


Small Boobs gave another giggle and an eager wave goodbye. She merrily skipped away, over to where Handsome had pointed for her to go.


"Come on Oliver, let's just go inside..." Guy began, moving our group into the Grand Central Dueling Arena.


As we entered the gym it looked like the place had gotten a lot livelier. There were about 7 students I hadn't seen before, talking and chatting up the Hawthorne group. It seemed Handsome wasn't the only one who didn't particularly care for the Headmistress's rules.


There were four Reds, one yellow, and two blues, and everyone seemed to be in general amicable sorts and speaking amongst each other, introducing themselves. The Distribution was speaking to a rather athletic looking girl in Red.


"Maybe the Distribution wants to tour with us too!" Gal suggested with an eager smile.


"Uhh sis," Guy began. "Bernouli hates me."


"And Laplace broke Oliver's heart!" Ami teased.


Oliver rolled his eyes. "Shut up Ami."


"I don't think Weibull would make for good company either." I remarked.


Gal was normally cheerful, but all this negativity was starting to get to her. She put her hands on her hips and pouted.


"Come on, there's no enemies here today! Just look around you! We're supposed to have some sort of super slick Fight-Club Royal-Rumble type thing against these kids tomorrow, yet here we are paling around and chatting it up! If both of our schools can both put aside our differences, surely The Distribution and Team Surname can be friends!"


I raised a brow at Gal. "Team Surname?"


"I kind of like the sound of that." said Guy.


"Arena always knows what's up." I stated bluntly, before looking over to my girlfriend. "Okay Arena, who she we focus on? Who's our biggest enemy here on the island? The Crimson Wind Academy kids or the Distribution?"


Arena looked at me like she was about to give me some terrible news. She looked slightly pained before shaking her head left and right. I wouldn't understand her words at the time, but they'd become clearer after Sweetheart’s Day. "Your biggest enemy on this island is the First Link of the Cursed Chain."


It probably sounded like nonsense to anyone else, but to anyone who knew Arena as well as I did, when it took her that long to answer and when her voice got that serious it was a sign that there was trouble coming.


And speaking of trouble incoming, what happened next was all kinds of trouble as well. We were so distracted by Arena's warning of a coming danger, we didn't notice the athletic Red slowly sneak up behind Arena, and in one quick and sudden move... let's just say none of us needed to know what color panties Arena was wearing (they were white by the way) yet thanks to this girl we all knew now.


Arena stared at me stoically, not moving or flinching as the Red girl giggled after flipping Arena's skirt. Arena didn't blush, but 'Team Surname' was embarrassed for her. Bernouli and Weibull were chuckling.


"I see London! I see France!" Bernouli chimed.


The rest of the Crimson Wind students and Hawthorne girls stopped what they were doing to turn and watch us, slowly forming a circle. The girl in Red however didn't seem as pleased as the Distribution.


"Ugh, it's not as funny if the girl has no dignity."


"OOOOH!" the kids continued crowding around, sensing a fight about to break out.


Arena turned slightly and looked at the Crimson Wind Red. "Why would I need to act modest? You don't get flustered when you disrobe before the rats and other vermin in your dorm room."


"OOOOOHH!" louder and higher pitched.


"Don't talk to our new friend Cauchy like that!" Bernouli stated. Weibull took a menacing step towards Arena, but before she could get anywhere close, Professor Handbasket stepped in.


"H-hey! What's g-going on here?" she looked more worried than any of the other students here.


"It was nothing I could not handle." Arena stated, unflinching and calm as always.


Professor Handbasket seemed a bit more relieved as it seemed nothing major happened yet. "Come on, w-we're all civilized l-ladies here."


"Settle it in a duel!" Ella Minnow called out.


"YEAH!" It seemed the crowd was in agreement.


Arena glanced over the group, as did Cauchy and the Distribution. Arena was the first to speak.


"Very well. However let's not waste time going one-on-one. I'll defeat the Distribution all at once."


A chorus of gasps, even the Distribution and Cauchy looked surprised. Laplace was the only one who didn't look eager to this incoming duel. She tried to pull Bernouli aside and speak. "I... don't think dueling Arena is the best idea."


A grin spread on Oliver's face. "Laplace is just scared 'cause she knows Arena's a way better duelist than her!"


"WHAT?!" Laplace looked physically hurt by the comment, but quickly pushed that feeling away, turning it to anger instead. "Alright! Let's go!" Her eyes grew more intense as she glared at Arena, and Arena herself had the same blank expression she always carried.


The Crimson Wind Academy kids nudged each other, motioning to pay attention.






"First will be Weibull, then Arena, then myself, back to Arena, Laplace, Cauchy, Arena, then we start over with Weibull. Agreed?"


Arena shook her head. "You won't get to take your turn after I win." She raised her hand and all of a sudden a bright flash enveloped her right arm. It seemed a very ornate silver duel disk with white and gold trimmings appeared on her arm. It looked similar in style to her spear and shield from when she first revealed herself to me as Goddess of War, Wisdom, and Military Strategy.


Naturally there were hushed murmurs at the sight of a duel disk magically appearing on Arena's arm, but the crowd seemed to explain it away themselves.


"Solid Vision?"

"The whole disk?"

"Like Action Duels?"

"Rich girl?"

"Must be nice."


And a few other whisperings, before they got an appropriate distance away from each other. And just like that, their life point counters went up and the duel began.


"I'll start us off with Royal Magical Library! When I play a spell my library gets a spell counter, and I know just the spell to pick! Hand Destruction! We each discard two cards, and we each draw two more!"


Weibull discarded a second Royal Magical Library and Cursed Bamboo Sword. Arena discarded two monsters. Bernouli discarded Volcanic Shell and Galaxy Cyclone. Laplace discarded Crystal Beast Emerald Tortoise and Crystal Beast Amethyst Cat. Cauchy discarded Elemental Hero Shadow Mist and Elemental Hero Neos. With that, Cuachy was able to search her deck for any other hero now, picking up Elemental Hero Blazeman.


"I'll pick up Broken Bamboo Sword from my Cursed Bamboo Sword. Next up, here's Upstart Goblin!" Another spell counter for her Library. Arena did not look concerned however. "Now with my Pot of Duality, I'll be taking another card..." Out of a choice between Golden Bamboo Sword, Wonder Wand, and Summoner Monk, Weibull picked Golden Bamboo Sword.


"And my Library will be taking its third counter. And now with my Library's effect-"


But before she could continue her strategy, Arena would show off hers. "Activate Monster Effect." Arena interrupted with a blank expression on her face. "Herald of Orange Light." A bright orange light, this time a hologram, emerged from Arena's side of the field of Herald of Orange Light and Agent of Creation, Venus hit the graveyard.


A few chuckles and grins from the Crimson Wind Academy team, but it seemed Weibull's turn was just about over. "I'll set one card-"


"It's a bluff." Arena stated curtly. "Magical Stone Excavation won't save you."


Weibull seemed shaken, but concluded her thought and also her turn. "Alright then, your move Arena."


Arena picked up her top most card with confidence. As Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy she must have known the game was over before it started.


"I'll begin with Soul Charge." Arena gave up a huge amount of life points, three thousand, to revive three monsters. The first one was her Agent of Creation, Venus. The other two however...




"She MUST be rich."

"I thought those were only given out as tournament prizes."

"Just who is this girl?"


More frantic yelling, whispering, hooting and hollering. It was the namesake of two of the dorm rooms at Crimson Wind, two of the three Egyptian God Cards, The Tormentor and The Sky Dragon.


"With my Agent I can summon two new Mystic Shine Balls..." It was a good thing Upstart Goblin was played earlier since Arena's life points would now drop even lower. Fortunately for her efforts she had amassed a full field. "And I'll tribute my three shine balls and Agent to summon The Winged Dragon of Ra!"


More yelling in excitement as it seemed my girlfriend had summoned the three Egyptian Gods themselves on her opening turn. The crowd cheered and roared, and though it seemed the end was close, Bernouli still tried to maintain her cool.


"N-not yet! You can't attack!"


"Even if she could, Soul Charge prevents that." Laplace reminded.


Arena did not even acknowledge Laplace's words as she glanced at the final card in her hand. "I tribute my three Egyptian God Cards to summon Horakhty - The Creator God of Light!"


The crowd burst into cheers as the God's overwhelming light surrounded everything and everyone. In her very first turn of a 4-versus-1 duel, Arena was declared the winner.


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[spoiler=Chapter 12: Enjoy The Tour]

Word Count: 3296


After witnessing the summoning of the Creator God of Light, the Crimson Wind Academy students were whispering something amongst themselves. However it seemed Bernouli wasn't about to whisper any time soon.


"That's... you little cheater! You stacked your deck!" Bernouli accused.


"Duel Disks have auto shuffle capabilities." Gal reminded.


"Shut up you brat! I know you! You're their little tinkerer..."


Weibull raised her eyebrow at the accusation. "You think Gal disabled Arena's Brybell?"


"Yeah! I was just about to say that!"


"I don't know about that." Professor Mishegoss said with a coy smirk. "Gal's a pretty good Duel Disk Engineer but if she managed to pull off a stunt like that, I think I'd quit my job on the spot and offer it to her."


Bernouli glared at Professor Mishegoss but she knew she couldn't disrespect a teacher.


Before we could relish in the moment of Bernouli being taken out, a familiar, high pitched little girl's voice reminded us of prior arrangements. "Hey!" called out the Princess, trying to get our attention. "It's time for the tour!"


Her "Heaven's Sake" outfit appeared to be some sort of very professional looking all-in-white secretary ensemble, complete with a tight little pencil skirt, dressy jacket, black dress shirt, and a white tie. It was a fancy ladies suit kind of combination, which looked very peculiar on a girl who had such a youthful look to her. She looked more like a girl who had just been caught playing dress up in her mom's closet, not like the young professional she probably imagined herself to be. Nevertheless, she seemed to be very proud of herself as she uneasily toddled towards us in a pair of heels that matched her outfit.


Next to her was The Firefly, still wearing her Ra Yellow jacket, and behind them was a taller blonde girl, who seemed to stay closer to the door in the hallway, yet looking us over and studying us quite intensely.


"Oh good. Heaven's Sake is here." one of the Ra Yellow boys, a boy with spiky black hair, beady red eyes, and thick bushy eyebrows said with a sarcastic smirk on his face.


"Well Distribution girls, we're oh-so-glad we could entertain you ladies for a bit, but we've got a tour to get to." I remarked as I began trying to lead our group towards the exit.


"We're not through here Arena! I demand a rematch! I demand satisfaction!"


Arena glanced at The Distribution, then the girls from Heaven's Sake, then at Team Surname. She sighed then gave a weak smile.


"Enjoy the tour." she stated simply. "It won't take too long to defeat them again."


"What was that? I'll put you in your place you mouthy little brat!" Bernouli marched over.


"H-hey, maybe just... take a break, ya' know?" Laplace nervously tried to push some space between Bernouli and Arena.


Cauchy seemed quite content with the turn of events as she whispered... something... inaudibly to the boy with the thick eyebrows. They both smiled.


Bernouli stared menacingly at Arena. "Hand over your deck. I need to shuffle it myself."


"Hand over yours as well." Arena stated bluntly.


Bernouli seemed shaking with how mad she was, but she eventually managed to remove her deck from her disk and hand it over.


The Princess was either tapping her foot impatiently or having difficulty balancing on her heels. "So! Are we going on a tour of the island or what?"


Guy glanced over at the Distribution and Arena. "Looks like it's just the five of us then." Guy said with a shrug.


Gal and Ami exchanged looks before Ami spoke. "We should probably stick with Arena, right Gal?"


"Yeah you boys go on ahead without us. We'll stick around here."


"And if you see Professor Siegfried Chapel, make sure Guy beats him in a duel." Arena said dismissively as she glanced over at Bernouli's deck in her hand. She didn't shuffle it one bit before handing it back to the Timaeus Blue.


With that, the male half of Team Surname; me, Oliver and Guy went with the three girls of Heaven's Sake on a tour of Crimson Wind Academy. Our main goal was to find out more about the mysterious teacher in the Invincil Gray cloak.






As we walked through the halls, the Princess seemed very happy to be leading our expedition as she pointed out the "important" landmarks and sites for us to see. There was The Water Fountain You Should Never Use. The Window Sill You Could Fry An Egg On After 3PM Because of The Way The Sun was Positioned. The Staircase You Should Never EVER Climb While Wearing A Skirt.


She was rather eager to show us these important landmarks, but I had to admit that the other two were a lot better conversationalists. We were talking a bit to the blonde and redhead, telling her of our friends and our time so far at Hawthorne.


"Are you sure it was safe to leave your friends behind?" asked the taller blonde girl.


"We’re all kind of used to Bernouli swearing vengeance against us. It's kind of her thing." Oliver shrugged.


"She said it was because I beat her brother in a duel last year, but I don't think that's the whole story. There's no reason for her to hate us all this much."


The Princess turned her head and piped up. "Maybe she's homophobic?"


Oliver stifled a laugh. I also had to suppress a chuckle. The Firefly also seemed to be suppressing laughter as well. Guy glared at The Princess who seemed oblivious to how offensive she was. The blonde also looked ashamed for her friend and turned away.


I tried to answer the blonde's question, still struggling not to laugh. "I w-wouldn't worry too much about our friends. I'm pretty sure Arena can handle anyone who tries to give her trouble."


I doubted these girls would believe me if I told them how I was so sure, but I didn't want to risk them thinking I was crazy if I told them the truth.


"Arena? That's a way better nickname than the one they gave me."


"The Divine Light!" The Firefly laughed as she hugged the blonde from behind.


The blonde seemed a little nervous and put-off by suddenly being hugged. Her eyes widened and her body stiffened.


"Come on now, Firefly." The Divine Light tried to shake of The Firefly from her back. "Draco's the only one who called me that, before he graduated at least."


The Princess of Ra Yellow scoffed. "Yeah, that "Overlord" stuff he was into was super creepy, but it's not like Gouki's any better. He and his creepy eyebrows are planning something, I'm sure of it! Did you see him and his goons hanging out over there at the Grand Central Dueling Arena?"


Guy cleared his throat. "Hey... any way you can fill us in here?"


The Princess stopped for a moment, looked at our group, then towards her own. She looked down towards the ground, awkwardly fidgeting with her hands. "It's a long story." Then her mood seemed to pick up. "Besides, we're not here for a trip down memory lane! We're here for a tour of Crimson Wind Academy!"


We passed a hall and The Princess made a big dramatic show of pointing it out to us.


"Over to our left is the library! They say a magic fairy left hundreds, if not thousands of rare cards hidden within the books on the shelves, open and only available to those studious enough to find them!"


"Really?" Oliver mocked. "That's what THEY say huh?"


"Yeah!" The Princess didn't seem to catch onto his sarcastic tone as she continued cheerfully walking along.


The blonde smiled towards me. "Was there anything you three boys wanted to see in particular?"


Guy immediately spoke up without a second of hesitation. "The Faculty Lounge."


The Princess stopped happily toddling forward and turned to us.


The Firefly gave him a bemused smile. "Planning a revenge prank on our Headmistress already? I don't blame ya'."


I shook my head. "We saw a teacher, and they were wearing-"


Oliver stopped me with a grin. "It's a long story, isn't that right Princess?"


The Princess glared at him then stuck out her tongue. "Alright! If our gripping and exciting tour of the Main Campus isn't interesting enough for you, then our next stop will be the Faculty Building!"


Of course, the next stop on our tour wasn't the Faculty Dorm Building.


We exited the main building and stepped out onto a great lawn. It's not like I hadn't ever seen grass or knew what they were or anything, but I had to admit living all my live in Silvershine didn't prepare me for a campus like this one. There was bright green grass, twisted trails, very little concrete and cement, no paved roads. It wasn't a grid like organization like Silvershine. It felt like a small kid had just dropped legos on the ground and left them there.


"Over there is the card shop!"


"They’re a little bit expensive." The Firefly piped up. "That's sorta why most of the students all just keep the same decks we come in with, with only minor revisions."


"Over here is the post office!"


As she pointed it out, a short blue haired girl emerged from it. She glared at the Princess, who seemed to not recognize the scorn in her eyes.


The Princess smiled weakly towards the blue haired girl, though The Firefly and The Divine Light looked apprehensive. "Hey, wanna join our tour group?"


The blue haired girl continued glaring before speaking. "I'll have nothing to do with ANY of this, Fluffy." she then quickly and unceremoniously re-entered the post office, slamming the door behind her.


Without missing a beat, the white haired Princess of Ra Yellow gave a shrug and continued with not-showing us the Faculty Lounge.


"If you follow this path and take a right, you'll reach the mountains. They say at the top of the highest peak there's a mysterious door that seems to lead to nowhere... or maybe it leads to somewhere. Nobody knows for sure!"


"A door that leads nowhere? Or somewhere? Wow, how many more options could there possibly be?" Oliver mocked.


"Over there in the distance you can see the monorail system. They say it will link our Academy with Silvershine, but by the time it’s done the three of us will have graduated already. "


Oliver stared at the diminutive Princess of Ra Yellow before asking something I had been wondering of myself. "Hey Princess, how old are you again?"


If I had to guess, I would have said eleven. Twelve would be pushing it. "Sixteen. Second Year Ra Yellow." She stuck out her tongue and gave a laugh before continuing with her tour.


"If you follow the path and take a left, you'll reach the Forbidden Woods. Don't go into the woods after dark. They say there's an abandoned dorm full of monsters and ghosts and-"


"OKAY!" Guy yelled out. He paused for a moment before collecting himself. "Sorry Miss... Princess of Ra Yellow. I think we've entertained you for long enough. Can you please just show us to the Faculty Lounge?"


And, once again, I saw a reaction similar to one I had seen before. Her pupils dilated, then constricted, and blinked as she gave a lightheaded little gasp. A blink, and her eyes were back to normal. "O-over there." she rubbed the back of her head then pointed off into the distance. "Follow the path, take a left."


She leaned on The Divine Light as it seemed she became unable to balance that well on her high heels. "H-hey Dani. Can we go back to the room? Maybe... ask The Firefly to take them the rest of the way."


The Divine Light gave a bit of a smile as she cradled the small girl. "I guess this is where we say goodbye. It was nice meeting you three. I hope we see each other again soon!" The taller blonde scooped up the smaller girl and took her over to the Yellow dorm, leaving The Firefly alone with us.


"Sorry about that guys. Don't worry though, you'll get those Paredolia autographs soon enough."


That name sounded familiar, and it took me a minute before I suddenly realized where I had heard it before. "OH! THAT's where Ami recognized her from! The eyepatch lady, right?! She's a former pro duelist!"


The Firefly grinned. "Yep. Same as your big lady, Odette."


Oliver was the second one to realize it. "Oh yeah! Dueling Illustrated - Turtleneck Edition! Three years ago, I think?"


I rolled my eyes. "Figures that's what you knew her for, but she's done way more than just pose for some magazine."


"That's the only one that directly affected me though."


The Firefly gave a laugh before talking. "Anyway, you can see the building over there, take it easy you guys, and just retrace your steps if you need to get back to the Grand Central Dueling Arena."


We all stood in front of the building and took in a deep breathe to try to take it all in. We felt soon we'd get to the bottom of the Lincoln Academy Fires and have all the answers we needed.






I'd like to say the building was an enormous, frightening thing but unfortunately it was rather plain and not that interesting. About one story tall and unless there was a secret basement it probably didn't house more than 30 or so people. On an isolated island, I assumed the people couldn't just get to go home on a regular 9-5 schedule. Janitors, security guards, nurses, they all probably lived on the island.


Still, despite the plainness of the building, I couldn't shake a feeling of dread as though we were being watched. It didn't look physically imposing, but I still felt a bit of trepidation just standing out there. I didn't want to just go marching in to this building, and Guy probably felt the same way too which is why it was Oliver who was the first one to speak.


"Alright, so how are we sneaking in?" Oliver asked out loud.


Unfortunately it seemed I was right. We were being watched and it seemed a teacher had overhead our plans.


Fortunately however it was the laid back teacher I had noticed when we arrived. "Why do you need to sneak in?" he said as he opened the door. "It's still office hours right now."


I was startled, but tried to play it cool. "Oh hello there mister..."


"Just call me Teach."


My dad was a tall, stocky well-built kind of man with a bit of a tan. He always had a bit of a tired expression on his face. The professor didn't look anything like him, with his thin frame and wiry smile. And yet there was something about this teacher that reminded me a lot of my dad that I couldn't quite place.


In any case, Teach opened the door to the building and motioned for us to come inside. We quickly and wordlessly entered and as I looked around me I could almost feel as though I was back at Hawthorne.


They say the Reds lived in rundown shacks, the Yellows in moderate accommodations, and the Blues lived like kings in a palace. Meanwhile, the Faculty Lounge had the same familiar "moderately priced hotel" feel that the Hawthorne Dorms did. It felt a lot friendlier and a lot more inviting than any other place I had encountered at Crimson Wind Academy so far.


I turned to the teacher, and it seemed the weird feeling of familiarity had made it easier for me to speak with him.


"So Teach," I began. "We're looking for a member of the staff here."


"Well you found one! Good job!"


"Not you sir. We're-"


"Oh! Are you in the Guidance Counselor's Fan Club? Hey! Did you see her in Dueling Illustrated - Turtleneck Edition?"


Guy looked away. "Not exactly, but-"


"You haven't? Well don't worry! I've got a spare copy you kids can have." He opened up his jacket and produced a rolled up magazine. On the cover was the lady with the eyepatch from earlier. Just as the title promised, she was wearing a turtleneck sweater but it was quite a tight fit making her feminine charms just a little more Charming.


Oliver took the magazine and gave it a bit of an inspection. "Teach... are you drunk?"


"Pfft! I'm a legal adult. I can drink whenever I want! Anyway, if you're not here for good ol' Teach, and you're not here for The Guidance Counselor, and no one could possibly want to hang out with Miss Kim... oh! Are you planning a prank on the Headmistress!? Her room's down the hall. Second door on the left."


"We have nothing against the headmistress Teach!"


Oliver however spoke up. "Woah, hold up Arthur! I mean, let's not get too hasty on this whole lack-of-prank idea."


"Oliver!" Guy began.


"I'm just saying, she's probably had it too good for too long."


"I'll drink to that!" Teach pulled out a small flask and took a swig of it.


I tried to guide us back on topic. "We're looking for another teacher."


"He had a long gray jacket. And a... um..." Guy started to think, and well sort of realized the same thing all at once.


Teach however gave Guy a laugh. "News flash kid! We ALL wear jackets. You gotta be more pacific!" He slurred with another swig from his flask.


The three of us gave each other a look. We hadn't seen this person's face, and we knew nothing more about them. We didn't even know for certain if it was a man or a woman we were looking for. I stopped to think for a moment, remembering the last words Arena had said to me. Guy was supposed to beat someone in a duel.


"We're looking for Professor Siegfried Chapel."


Teach's expression faded from a sly grin to a look of disgust and confusion. "Oh, that Grim Reaper looking guy? He gives me the creeps. Don't know why you want to talk to him but if you insists, it's the further down the hallway on your right. It's the only room with a lightbulb turned off outside it."


Teach turned his back to us and began to walk away. "Let me know when you plan to prank the Headmistress though! I want to make sure I get a good video for DuelSpace!" he chuckled to himself as he went inside what we assumed was his room and he shut the door behind him.


It didn't take long for the three of us to rush down the hall. Though the doors in the hallway were all identical, we soon found the door without a lightbulb outside it.


Oliver motioned towards the door. "You knock Arthur. You're like, the narrator here or something."


"What!? I’m not knocking on the door! You're the one who always does the stupid things."


"I'll knock on the door." Guy said with a sigh before knocking. Not hearing a response he yelled out. "Hello? Professor?"


A muffled voice from behind the door yelled back. "GO AWAY!"


"I think I heard him say 'Come in'." Oliver said.


Guy frowned, but Oliver put his hands on the door knob and gave it a turn. "Look, the door is unlocked and everything! You first Guy."


Oliver pushed open the door, but to our surprise the inside was pitch black. We had come so far, but none of us were about to lose our nerve here. Guy walked in first, followed by me, then Oliver.


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[spoiler=Chapter 13: The Cursed Chain]

Word Count: 3846


With the faintest of light coming in from the hallway, I could have sworn I saw some movement scurrying behind a curtain of some sort, but in the dark it was difficult to tell.


"Uhh? Hello? Professor Chapel?" I called out.


"Something about this place feels a bit... I don’t know." Oliver was normally the one too brave or too stupid to realize we were in danger, and if even he was getting bad vibes staring at the abyss like this it was definitely a bad sign.


"Come on everyone. We came this far. This might be our only chance to find out what happened to our school." I pulled out my PDA, and with a few buttons a very faint light came out of it. "Let's try to find a light switch."


I entered the room and pretty quickly started regretting it. I had this overwhelming sense I was being watched.


"Professor Chapel? Are you still here? Are you hurt?" I tried to feel around the wall for a light switch, trying to see what I could through the light of my PDA, but alas it was going nowhere.


I could faintly see the light of Guy and Oliver's PDAs near the other sides of the wall, also probably looking for a light switch. As soon as we were far enough away from the entrance, I heard what sounded like movement and saw as the light from the hallway dimmed, before I heard the sound of the door slam shut behind us


I was so surprised I dropped my PDA. It was fortunate the light was still coming from it, otherwise I never would have found it in the darkness of Mr Chapel's room.


"Professor Chapel? What's going on!?" I cried out.


"What do you kids want?!" A wicked old man voice replied, startling the three of us.


"How did he get behind us?" Oliver whispered.


"What a foolish question! I walked."


Guy decided to take the more direct approach here. He cleared his throat to drown out the nervousness. "Hello Professor! We couldn't help but notice your cloak. It reminded us of our own academy, Lincoln."


I heard a noise, then I could hear him exhale. "What of it!?"


"You were a teacher there, weren't you? How did you end up here?"


"And what's with the darkness? I thought kids grew out of their emo phase after puberty."


There was a little bit of a silence, before I could hear footsteps that sounded as they were approaching Oliver.




I heard Oliver gasp and yell in fright. "Oh my god!? What the hell is wrong with your face!?"


"Gentlemen, this is my curse. Unless you wish for it to befall you as well, I suggest you leave."


I next heard Guy's voice. "Arena... a friend of ours... she says we're supposed to duel."


"Absolutely not!"


"Professor Chapel! I challenge you to a duel!"


There was a silence, before I heard Professor Chapel's voice, laughing.


"Ahh... so you're a member of the Cursed Chain as well? Why didn't you say so earlier?"


I could hear Guy's voice trembling. "S-so... if I was a Cursed Chain member... would you agree to duel me?"


"One who holds a link in the chain must accept a challenge made by another link in the chain. You'll regret challenging me soon enough, boy!"


I tried to get up against the wall, as that was where I assumed would be the safest place to stand. I heard the whooshing of two duel disks coming to life and saw the faintest of glows of two duel disks.


"Alright then, I'll go first!" Guy declared. "I'll begin by normal summoning Charging Gaia the Fierce Knight!"


I couldn't see a single thing in the darkness, but I heard the "woosh"-ing kind of electronic sound of a monster being summoned.


"Next up, I'll special summon Turret Warrior by tributing my knight. Here's where it gets interesting though. When I tribute my Knight, I get to search my deck for a "Black Luster Soldier" card, and in this case I pick Black Luster Soldier - Sacred Soldier!"


I could barely see Guy's face from the glow of the duel disk. He held it close to his cards, trying his best to see what they were before making his choice. "I'll set one support card face down." And at last the first bit of trepidation from Guy. It was a good opening move, but he wasn't sure of the professor's deck just yet. He took a breath and tried to stay cool, but stuttered ever so slightly. "Y-your move!"


I could just barely see the cloaked duelist smiling under the glow of his own duel disk. His turn began and he gave a laugh.


And then he did something none of us could have possibly expected. He placed his hand over his deck, and two simple words escaped his lips. "I surrender."






Ailment Euryval was the older brother of Malady Euryval, better known as Bernouli from the Distribution. For the Graduation Duel, Lincoln Academy tradition said the highest ranking seniors was to be involved in a scripted duel with the highest ranking freshman, and the freshman was supposed to win. It was supposed to be symbolic, a sort of "passing of the torch" if you will.


Ailment didn't agree. He insisted it would be an insult to his great skills to have him lose to anyone. He insisted they play it out for real. After convincing the entire faculty that this was the best course of action, he and Guy had their first actual duel. When it came time to test their skill however, Guy pulled off a victory against Euryval. The boy was so utterly changed by his loss that Ailment gave up dueling forever.


Everyone at Lincoln saw Guy and Ailment's duel, and while I was in the same room at the same time Guy and Professor Chapel duel, I couldn't say for sure that I saw it in the dark light. Even so, as I heard the holograms fade and watched the light of the duel disks dim, I could tell it was over.


"Hahaha... MWAHAHA!" a sinister laugh escaped Professor Chapel's lips. "I'M FREE! FREE!"


I heard his footsteps, then suddenly the sound of a curtain fall and a bright flash of orange light. It wasn't Arena negating an effect, but rather it was the setting sun of afternoon, turning to evening.


I squinted and lifted my arms to shield my sight. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light streaming in from the now uncovered windows. Professor Chapel was grinning ear to ear, yet his face looked rotten and disgusting. He had horrible blisters on his face, and a medical condition I could only describe as "melting-face syndrome". Despite his disgusting face, he seemed to smile triumphantly and proudly as he stepped into the bright, setting-sun light, taking a deep breath with hands on his hips. It seemed, somewhat slowly, that his face was healing. His blisters were receding and his face was less-melty.


He turned to Guy though, and a pained expression seemed to fill him.


"But you, my dear boy. My poor, pitiably soul. I fear a grim fate has befallen you. Though I am free, my curse has been passed onto you. I insist you use my cloak. I shan’t be needing it any-"


Professor Chapel stopped as he approached Guy. "Impossible!? You remain unharmed even if the light!?"


"Your curse!?" Guy seemed concerned before producing his PDA. Switching on the front-facing camera he was able to see his face, still the same as ever. "Am I going to turn ugly?"


Professor Chapel looked Guy over then shrugged. "Ah, no need to question the miracle. Where ever the curse is now, it is not with me and that is all that matters."


The Professor walked over to the door, and immediately collided right into it. He rubbed his face, and it did seem to be sort of improving, ever so slightly.


The three Hawthorne males of Team Surname however were still completely stumped. I took a step forward to question the teacher. "Professor Chapel, can you just explain this to us? Why did you accept a duel from Guy just to surrender? What's this stuff about a curse? Why are you wearing a Lincoln Academy cloak?"


"Very well, since you three freed me of my curse I shall tell you all that I know." Professor Chapel removed his cloak to reveal two-thirds of a three-piece suit. Vest, dress shirt, pants, but no jacket over it. I couldn't tell his age, since half of it was rotting off.


"Ever since I was little, the light would cause me terrible, nightmarish pain. My hands, my face, anything the light touched would boil over and rot. I'd often wear cloaks, bandage myself up, and hide away in the corners. It was while in the corner however that I discovered the curse came with an amazing gift. I could move through solid objects with little to know difficulty. It was how I was able to get behind you three, by melting into the floor and emerging on the other side behind you." He picked up a book on his table. "It appears it does not work anymore, so I assume they are related."


He was clutching at the book very tightly, perhaps trying to use his powers one last time. He sighed, then turned away and looked back towards us.


"There are others like me. Not... exactly like me though. Similar extraordinary powers, and similar terrifying curses. They have come to call themselves The Cursed Chain. They wager their links in the chain against each other, winner take all. I have met one of them a while back, during my years at Lincoln Academy. "


I glanced over at Guy, wondering if it was anyone we knew.


"And what do you know about the Lincoln Academy Fire!?" Guy blurted out.


Professor Chapel just shook his head. "I was not aware Lincoln had burned down. I transferred to Crimson Wind Academy at the start of last year. The headmistress did not mind me wearing a cloak, and actually preferred it as a way to avoid frightening the School children. In my room I record my lectures, and in the morning the alcoholic professor picks them up and plays them for the class."


Oliver crossed his hands across his chest. "We don't care much about your daily routine old man. Can you tell us more about this Cursed Chain thing? You said there's a lot more people who have rotten faces. How many more?"


"I'm afraid I do not know how many people there are within the Cursed Chain. If you're looking for answers, you'll have to find someone a little more knowledgeable on the subject."


I blinked, realizing there was just one girl in the entire world who was more knowledgeable than anyone about anything. "I think we'll manage for right now. Thank you Professor."


He smiled, his face almost completely healed except for a few hideous scars. "No my dear boys, thank YOU."






We were trying to retrace our steps before the sun had completely set, to get to the Grand Central Dueling Arena before it became dark.


"So... what do you guys think?" Oliver asked.


"That guy? He was crazy." Guy said dismissively. "A curse? The ability to go through solid objects? Just the stuff of fairy tales."


"How'd he get behind us without any of us knowing?"


"It's HIS room. He's probably got the entire layout of the room memorized. Besides, we couldn't even see the whole thing in the dark. Maybe he had a secret tunnel, or some kind of contraption to auto-shut his doors. It's not that special Oliver."


"What about his hideous face? And how it seemed to be healing himself when the curse was lifted?"


"Make up and special effects I guess."


"But why would he do it?"


"I don’t know? Boredom? Maybe the Headmistress treats her teachers are horribly as she treats her guests."


"What if he really was some kind of dude with magical powers, and you're slowly being cursed?"


"Come on Oliver, I love my sister to death, but you're kind of sounding as naive as her right about now."


"I'm just saying!"


"What about you Arthur? Do you think I'm going to the next melting-face victim?"


I stared ahead of me at the Grand Central Dueling Arena, thinking about my roommate. "We'll know soon enough."


As we walked into the gymnasium, we noticed there were no other Crimson Wind Academy students for right now. We pulled back the Nurse's Office dividers to find out the girls had formed into groups and set up curtains. It seemed the female half of Team Surname had made their own little group and soon the three of us rejoined with Ami, Gal and Arena. Arena was still dressed in Hermos Red like she usually was. Gal was wearing a silly pink pajama set with little ducks on them. Gal was wearing a sort of night gown, but nothing really suggestive or provocative.


They were all sitting on the ground, each close to a sleeping bag and with three bags nearby that they were protecting.


"Hey guys! We saved you some dinner!" Gal greeted eagerly as she motioned towards a collection of chips and Forrester snack cakes.


"You missed all the duels! It was great! Arena beat them like, two more times before Bernouli just started making up rules. 'No First Turn Kills' 'No Gods' 'No attacking for the first three turns'."


"Arena still beat her though! Even the Crimson Wind Academy kids were impressed. I think they were taking notes and everything!"


I rushed past the two girls girls to my roommate who seemed to have been patiently waiting for me. She had a blank expression on her face as she hugged her knees, but her mood instantly lifted at seeing me. She smiled and leaned in, and I gave her a kiss on the forehead.


"Arena, there's something I need to know."


"Tell us everything you know about The Cursed Chain!" Oliver insisted.


"The Cursed Chain..." she repeated, making sure she heard correctly.”I knew Guy would defeat Siegfried."


"Yeah, he surrendered immediately." Guy said rolling his eyes.


Gal and Ami were looking over the four of us concerned. "What's going on?" Ami asked.


"Did something fun happen on the tour?"


"We met this creepy old guy who could walk through walls and melt his own face. He said it was going to happen to Guy too."


"Shut up Oliver."


"It's cool Guy! You can always just look at Gal to get a good idea of what your face should look like after it rots off."


"Shut up man." his voice a little shaky and nervous.


"Cool! I want to walk through walls!" Gal said with an excited smile on her face.


"Unfortunately only Guy will be able to." Arena stated.


"We never saw him walk through walls or put his hand through a book or anything." Guy corrected. "These two just believe anything anyone tells them."


"I want to put hand through a book!" Gal said insistently.


"You can practice by putting your hand through Oliver's face!" Ami teased.


Guy however seemed to slowly be losing his cool. "Can you all please just shut up for five minutes!?"


I felt a sudden strange sensation take over my body. I had never fainted before, but I had dissolved into light and this certainly wasn't that. Everything seemed to grow dull and fall out of focus and I felt as though I was about to slip away from consciousness. And then all of a sudden, everything came back into focus, and into a sharper focus than I had ever seen before. I could see every individual silvery strand of hair on Arena's head. I could see every individual bead of sweat on Guy's brow. I could see every unfamiliar worry line on Gal's face as she looked frightened from Ami, to Oliver, to me. I could see the veins in Ami's eyes, pupils tightly constricted to a singular point. I realized this was happening to Oliver as well. I blinked, and so did all of them as their eyes went back to normal.


"Hey! Are you guys okay!?" Gal stammered nervously.


I opened my mouth to speak, and suddenly found the words escaped me. It wasn't that I was tired or fatigued or too surprised. I literally could not speak and I had no idea why. I could definitely breathe, and I gave an exasperated wheeze. Ami too seemed to have difficulty speaking. Oliver too, was fortunately silent for once.


"What's going on Arena?" Guy asked.


"Why can't our friends talk?" Gal asked nervously.


"Alright." Arena stated simply. "I suppose now would be the best time to inform you all about The Cursed Chain."






We all sat around Arena in silence, a task made especially easy since half of us couldn't even speak at all.


"It all began when the universe was formed. As Goddess of Wisdom it was my duty to know everything. So I watched the early universe slowly take shape, and began making predictions of where it would go. At first it was difficult, but with practice I found my predictions to be accurate to an extremely high degree. The fusion of hydrogen into helium into super dense stars, the creation of planets, the formation of water, I watched everything and continued to hone my predicting skills."


"The Goddess of Wisdom? Really?!" Guy seemed like he was on the verge of walking away, but Gal put her finger to her lips.


"Shhh! You should be more like our friends!" She stared wide eyed at Arena, enraptured by the tale the Goddess was weaving.


"The rest of the Gods and Goddesses did not begin to take notice of what they had created until after humanity had formed. I however, had predicted the origin of the species eons ago. It was at the dawn of mankind that I had my most profound prediction yet. I predicted the birth of my soulmate, and everything that stood in the way of that destined meeting. The people who would end his bloodline before he came into this world. The small missed encounters, the chance meetings, and I realized the tweaks that needed to be made to the timeline to ensure everything went perfectly, from his parents meeting, to his grandparents, to the countless generations that needed to fall exactly in line with my vision of the future. It was done to make sure he didn't die in the fires at Lincoln Academy and making sure he was transferred to Hawthorne to be with me."


Guy gasped. "You knew about the Lincoln Academy fires?! I mean... if this story wasn't complete nonsense or anything of course."


He crossed his hands across his chest.


"Interfering with everyone's lives and dictating how they should behave in order to bring Arthur Surrogate into the world would be grossly disrespectful and take away Humanity's Free Will, which is something that we felt was important to protect. Nevertheless, as God of War I was still able to alter the timeline, as long as I could say it was in the name of Military Strategy and War. And so, I gave eight people eight different gifts. When someone is born, they have an incredibly powerful gift, but at the same time they also have a horrifying curse. In the case of Sigfried Chapel, he was able to move through solid objects but he was damaged horrendously by light. This blessings and curses I give were meant to aid in war. In the case of the Third Link of the Cursed Chain, it was originally given to a man who was meant as a spy to aid in infiltrating through a stronghold to turn the tables of war. As I am an immortal Goddess, my gifts are immortal as well. They do not die when their holder dies. Instead, they pass to someone else at random, at their exact moment of conception."


Guy shivered. "You're the reason Professor Chapel was monstrously ugly?"


"He being a recipient of the Third Link in the Cursed Chain was my intention, yes."


"So... you created eight horrible monstrosities just to be with Arthur Surrogate!?"


"That's so cute!"


"Gal? Really?"


"What do you care Mr Serious Pants? You're too serious to believe what Arena's saying anyway."


Arena stared at Guy before clarifying. "I created eight gifts that had a blessing and a curse, and they've passed through to countless people throughout the ages, Siegfried Chapel being one of them."


I think even if I could speak I'd still be stunned speechless. Unfortunately for Guy's sake, it seemed Oliver regained his ability to speak.


"Wait wait wait! So, when does Guy's face melt?"


"It's not going to, because this is all a big fairy tale!"


Arena stared at Guy with such intensity that even Oliver had to back off. Once she felt she had everyone's attention, she continued.


"As I stated earlier, there are 8 Links in the Cursed Chain. When their holder dies, they are given to an unborn person just being conceived. The 8 Links in the Cursed Chain cannot be destroyed, nor can they be given away freely. They can only be claimed as a prize in glorious battle."


"Like a duel?" Gal said eagerly.


"A duel is one such example. When Siegfried lost the duel against Guy, Guy claimed the power of the third link in the chain."


"So his face IS going to melt?"


"He will not suffer such a fate."


"Because this is all just a prank, a fairy tale, and none of it's real."


Arena stared at Guy once more with a disapproving stare. Guy didn't seem to back off like he did before though.


"Believe what you wish Guy Surname. It does not change the number of links in the Cursed Chain that you hold. You have your prizes, leave me with mine." Arena turned to me and outstretched her arms.


I blushed. "N-not until after dinner. And not in front of our friends like this."


Arena frowned, but she seemed to take it well enough. "Very well." She tucked herself into her sleeping bag and closed her eyes.


Ami meanwhile was still at a loss of words. "That's... wow... Goddess of Wisdom? Cursed Chain? What the heck was that all about?"


Guy shook his head. "Look, Arena's a smart girl but there's no use in worrying about any of that. Let's all just turn in for the night. We've got a tournament to win tomorrow."


And though I'd believe in anything Arena said, I knew Guy had a point. We all had a long day but no proof of any tangible changes to anything. We all went to our respective sleeping bags and fell asleep, eager to begin the Ladies and Gentleman Tournament tomorrow.



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[spoiler=Chapter 14: Ladies and Gentlemen]

Word Count: 3897


There were 32 students at the ready, prepared with duel disks in arm and organized into two groups. We were divided by the school that we belonged to, Crimson Wind and Hawthorne. Lady Ipsum and the Headmistress of Crimson Wind were taking center stage of the gymnasium, and at last it seemed the tournament was about to begin. For every reader who was still holding on to hope for a super slick Fight-Club Royal-Rumble type thing, I've got some good news for you.


"Ladies and Gentlemen! Hawthorne and Crimson Wind! Headmistress Ipsum and I are very excited to present the first annual LAG Tournament between her academy, Hawthorne Academy and our very own Crimson Wind Academy!"


Headmistress Ipsum grabbed the mic. "We all hope this is the beginning of a long standing tradition of good will and friendship between our two schools!"


And back to the other Headmistress. "We needn't beat around the bush for much longer, you all know why you're here. Sixteen duelists, all fighting at once. The school with the highest number of wins at the end of the day wins. Winners will take over the other's school for the Sweetheart's Day ball. Losers will have to host and pay for it."


"With all that said, good luck and have fun!"






Remember in Chapter 10 when I made a mention of the tallest man I'd ever seen in my life? Somehow, my first opponent was even taller.


"Good morning." the Obelisk blue greeted cheerfully. Other than being incredibly tall, he seemed rather tanned like the complexion of someone who spends lots of time working outside. His Obelisk jacket was a long blue coat, and he wore a thick pair of glasses that made him seem like more of a nerd than a jock. But with that muscular build I didn't imagine he'd be opposed to a fight if it came to that.


"I heard everyone was doing nicknames this weekend, so I decided to join in on the fun too. Somebody once called me a Windmill. I suppose that'll have to do for right now."


I raised a brow at his nickname of choice. "Windmill?"


"Yeah, Windmill! But enough talk! Engarde!" He smirked as he drew an opening hand of five, and a sixth on his draw phase.


He took his opening turn, and I took mine. I was unsure as to what he was planning so I played defensively. As our duel raged on, however I remembered the Firefly's words about the students typically keeping their decks the same. This guy was a third year student so his deck and dueling strategy were about three years old. He was playing Monarchs, but not the typical kind that you see nowadays that focuses on all the spells and traps. And not even the Perfect Circle days that focused on Destiny Heroes and Treeborn Frog. His deck was weird and all over the place, were most plays would lead to a synchro summon or an Xyz nowadays, his lead to a tribute summon instead.


For example, he special summoned Photon Thrasher, then sniped a card in my hand with Thestalos. And just my luck, he picked a Tour Guide of the Underworld instead of any of my Dark Worlds. I got over Thestalos with my Grapha, only to have my direct attack stopped by Battle Fader, then a well-timed Caius on his turn. I only managed to keep Grapha from the banished pile by chaining with Deck Devastation Virus. I thought my Grapha was out of danger from being banished, only to have him meet Chaos Sorceror, and then have the sorcerer itself tributed for his next Monarch, Raiza the Storm Monarch.


It was a close game, and my field spell was proving itself quite well by keeping me from suffering too big of setbacks with his Raiza. He drew a second Battle Fader he had to discard due to the final turn of my virus, and though he was able to destroy my Trance Archfiend, I was able to get back my banished Dragon Lord. After that, I cleared the field with my Grapha's effect, then got my Dragon back to the field. With a clear shot of his life points, I was able to pull off the victory.


"Hahaha!" He laughed wholeheartedly as he clapped like a gentleman appreciating a fine opera. "That was a splendid show boy! I was practically on the edge of my seat! I only hope half the other duels today here are as entertaining!"


And with that, my first duel was over, thankfully with a win and I was free to mull about and look over the rest of the duels.






Arena was of course the first one done which meant her opponent was free as well. Arena had instantly decided to find me after she was done, and her opponent seemed to want to tag along as well.


"Hey!" a kid in red said with an excited look in his eye. He looked young, though nowhere near as young looking as The Princess of Ra Yellow. "Is this your first time at a tournament too!?"


I hesitated before answering. "Uhh... well I guess it's my first time doing the LAG tournament. Usually it's for second years." I glanced over at Arena, and also this kid. "But I guess they must have changed it this year."


"But what does LAG mean anyway?"


"Ladies and Gentlemen." Arena replied curtly, as she interlocked her fingers into mine.


"So, what's your nickname?"


The kid seemed confused. "Nickname? What do you mean?"


"Well, every duelist we've met so far gave us a nickname instead of their real name..."


He gasped and looked excited again "COOL! I want to be the Psychic Demon!" He flashed a triumphant smile and puffed out his chest in pride.


I however just rolled my eyes. It sounded like the kind of name I thought would have been cool my freshman year of high school. "Come on everyone, let's go watch another duel."






The three of us made our way through the crowd looking for anyone we recognized. Unfortunately for us the first person I recognized was a member of the Distribution. Fortunately however, it was our old friend Laplace.


"Hey Arthur!" she greeted cheerfully. I was worried that after her break up with Oliver she would be cruel and nasty, but she seemed all smiles as she saw me.


"Come cheer for me!"


"Don't cheer for her!" her Crimson Wind opponent was a girl in Ra Yellow. She had dark hair with a streak of pink in it. She grinned as she stuck out her tongue towards us. "Cheer for your good friend FreezyBreezy instead!"


The Psychic Demon gave an encouraging cheer. "You tell her Freezy!"


"Shut up slut! I've got this! BOOM! Fairy Wind!"


For those of us that don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of every obscure card, Fairy Wind destroyed all face up spells and traps, and Laplace's Crystal Beast deck relied very much on her backrow. It didn't help that her field spell was gone too.


"Ha! Knew I could do it!" Freezy said with a smirk. "Remember our agreement though! If I win this duel, you got to go out on a date with me, but if you win, I got to go out on a date with you!"


"What!?" Laplace blushed. "B-b-but we're both girls! I... uhh... thought you were kidding! You know, psychological trick?"


Freezy seemed rather taken aback. "Huh? What kind of monster would toy with someone's heart as some kind of psychological trick!?"


Laplace blushed and looked down at her cards. "W-well..."


Freezy smirked. "Nah babe! This is the real deal! Don't worry though, it'll all be over soon! Ancient Sacred Wyvern! End this!"


With an empty field and with no Rainbow Ruins to mitigate the damage, Laplace's life points hit zero. I gave her a weak smile as Freezy rushed over. "Awesome! We're going on a date after this whole tournament thing is done."


"B-but I'm straight!" Laplace insisted.


"So are spaghetti noodles until they get all hot and wet!" Freezy gave a wink then turned to the Red. "Come on Litten, let's go cheer on the rest of our school until this round is over!"


"Right!" The Psychic Duelist nodded as he followed after Freezy who cheerfully skipped away, leaving me, Arena and Laplace alone.


Laplace looked disgusted and slightly embarrassed to have lost in front of me. As a friend of hers, I was unsure how to react, though one thing she said did have me worried.


"Did you mean what I thought you meant? You only asked out Oliver as a psychological trick?"


Laplace continued blushing as she awkwardly touched her hands together. "W-well... I mean... it started out that way..."


I glared at her, but Arena seemed sympathetic.


"She soon found Oliver to be much more charming and interesting than she had originally anticipated. Bernouli and Weibull were encouraging her to get Oliver to fall in love and break his heart, but she believes it is the other way around. She is left heartbroken, and it appears Oliver has his pick from any other girls at the academy."


Laplace sniffed. "Is it really that obvious?"


I offered her my hand. "Come on Laplace. Let's go watch some other people duel until this round is over."






While Arena and I were watching Laplace it seemed a few other duels had concluded. After all, there were 16 duels going on all at once. We caught up with Guy and Gal, who had both won their duels, and we found Ami who had lost hers. Good thing for Ami there were 15 more rounds in this tournament. Laplace wasn't the only Distribution member who lost. In fact, it seemed the entire Distribution lost their first duels. Oliver rejoined us, and Laplace went off to rejoin The Distribution. Soon, it was down to just one duel for the first round.


The Princess of Ra Yellow was dueling Ella Minnow, and it seemed The Princess was having a really hard time. She looked exasperated as all hell with her peculiar High Level Beatdown Fairy Deck.


It was peculiar, because it seemed to focus on a different strategy than normal. She used Photon Sanctuary to summon tokens, then Precious Cards From Beyond for a two-monster Tribute Summon. Most people using a similar deck would just dump-and-revive (with Trade-In and Call of the Haunted) or Banish and Return (With Cards From the Sky and Miraculous Descent) or special summon from the hand (with Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen) but it seemed she forgot all those strategies and instead focused on a Big Fairy deck that tribute summoned instead.


It seemed to be working with Precious Cards from Beyond though, as she didn't seem to be lacking in cards. Still though, she was clearly fatigued.


"Take your turn already!" she groaned, like a petulant child who was ready to go to sleep but being kept awake by loud music.


"Draw. Set. Pass." Ella smirked. Her hand was much less impressive, only one card in hand.


There was a boy with very thick eyebrows and dark black hair. He gave the Princess a serious look. "Hatcher, do not disgrace this academy with an embarrassing loss in the very first round!"


"Shut up Gouki."


"That's The Demon of Turbo to you."


"Shut up Gouki! All I need is one turn for her to slip up."


The Princess drew her next card, which she nearly dropped when she heard The Headmistress blow a whistle.




"What!? What do you mean time!?"


Headmistress Ipsum approached with a smile. "Each round is thirty minutes my dear."


"Thirty minutes? Felt like much longer."


"FELT PRETTY LONG TO US TOO!" a pale boy, dark sunken red eyes and messy black hair called out.


The Crimson Wind Headmistress sighed. "I'm guessing no one bothered to read the rules-"


"I did!" Ella smirked.


"-But in any case, after the thirty minutes are up, the rules say there are just three turns left. Then, highest life points win."


Headmistress Ipsum smiled. "If there is a tie, first life point change decides it."


"And since you're both at full life, you better make these next three turns count."


The Princess grinned. "I will! She only has one face down card! The Creator, attack her directly!"


"Waboku!" The Princess scowled as her turn ended.


Another "Draw. Set. Pass." from Ella, and it was back to The Princess.


Using The Creator's effect, she discarded Soul Charge to re-summon Master Hyperion. She tried to destroy the set card with her Fairy's effect.


"Threatening Roar!"


More groans from the audience.


"Quit stalling!" the Crimson Wind duelists jeered.


Ella rolled her eyes at the people complaining. "Nothing I'm doing is against the rules! I triple checked before picking this deck anyway!" She drew her top card. "That's your third turn by the way Princess. And... Oh there it is! Spell Shattering Arrow! Good game then?"


"Good game!?" The Princess cried out. "B-but..."


"First life point change decides the duel." Ella reminded.


A spell card that destroys face up spells, and inflicts damage. The Princess's Precious Cards From Beyond exploded into a bright shower of pixels and Headmistress Lorem Ipsum hit a button on her PDA. Their duel disks both powered off.


"B-but..." The Princess looked on the verge of the tears. In fact, no one seemed particularly pleased by the outcome of the duel. Normally the end of a tournament duel was met with applause by those backing the winner and boos lead by the loser’s side. Here everyone just kind of looked disappointed, Hawthorne and Crimson Wind both.


"That's a pretty slimy move there Ella." I stated bluntly.


"No fun allowed huh?" Gal said with an accusing tone to her voice.


"This isn't the time for fun! It's a tournament. Trust me Gal, when you absolutely have to win you're going to look back on this moment and remember my strategy."


"I doubt that." Gal said.


Lady Ipsum cleared her throat. "That concludes our first round! Now, with no further ado, let us all begin the next round of spectacular duels!"






My next opponent was The Demon of Turbo. I could already tell why The Princess of Ra Yellow disliked him. He was cocky, confident, but unfortunately for me he could also back it up.


He ran Destiny Heroes, which I thought was a borderline dead archetype, used more as an engine for better decks. Nevertheless, the Demon of Turbo made it work, and lived up to his name as his deck blazed through cards, sending to the grave, getting effects with Diamond Dude, all without paying costs, and drawing quick with Allure of Darkness and Destiny Draw.


His Destiny Hero Plasma wasn't too much of a problem for my deck. Most of my effects activated in the graveyard. It seemed the Demon of Turbo picked up on this and it was Masked Hero Dark Law that sealed my fate.


Discarding with Gates of the Dark World would just lead to more of my cards being banished, and drawing would lead to my cards being banished. My cards had to be in the grave in order to get working. Tour Guide in Hand, I could have XYZ summoned Wind-Up Zenmaines in attack mode, and tried to get rid of Dark Law that way, but with Plasma on the field I was pretty locked out and I had very few points left.


"Alright, if that's how it's going to be than I'll go out on my own terms. I'll normal summon Tour Guide of the Underworld!" The little secretary gave a dramatic twirl, only to see no tour group behind her.


"Plasma negates." The Demon of Turbo said impatiently, as though he was tired of answering the same question for the hundredth time.


"Yeah, I know. Tour Guide of the Underworld! Attack his Dark Law now!" My Tour Guide looked unsure for a second, before regaining her nerve and speeding forward towards Plasma. As her purse met his wicked dragon-like claw, she was crushed in an instant and my life points hit zero.


The Demon of Turbo however did not look like he was enjoying his victory. "You could have just surrendered instead of wasting my time."


Not exactly the kind of response I was expecting from someone who won.


"Hey, I know everyone always complains about sore losers, but there's such a thing as a sore winner too."


"Exactly the kind of response I was expecting from someone who lost." The Demon said dismissively. He walked off, leaving me alone to find my friends.






Arena had defeated her opponent a long time ago and had only just found me after The Demon of Turbo walked off. She latched onto my arm with a contented sigh. In the meantime, I went to find someone familiar. I caught the Firefly dueling some girl from our school I didn't recognize.


"I activate Scapegoat!" The Firefly responded to a direct attack.


Her brown haired opponent in glasses seemed outraged. "Your stupid sheep token messed up my OTK!" She pointed accusingly.


"Y-yeah..." The Firefly rubbed the back of her head with a nervous smile. "That was kind of the point."


"So many monsters with just one card, it's completely unfair! For one card, you get not one sheep token..." the girl yawned.


"N-not... t-two sh-sheep..." she slurred, a notable sound of fatigue in her voice.


"Th-th-three sh-sh-zzzz."


The Firefly gave a giggle. I rolled my eyes and took Arena with me, looking to find someone else I recognized.






I happened to spot Laplace watching a duel, and to my surprise I noticed one of the duelists was Oliver.


"Hey! You better win for me!" Laplace said with a giggle.


For the briefest of moments I wondered if maybe Laplace and Oliver had gotten back together and maybe there whole little breakup would be forgotten. As I looked over the field, I noticed Oliver didn't pay her any mind. It was then that I noticed Oliver's opponent, Handsome.


Handsome gave Laplace a wink and a smile. "I dedicate this future victory to anyone who's never had a victory dedicated to them! So now anyone who's ever complained about not having one can be happy!"


Laplace sighed contentedly. "He's so dreamy."


"Save it for the wedding vows and take your turn." Oliver growled.


"Sure thing kid, but you'll regret that. I activate Foolish Burial! With this, I can send Wulf, Lightsworn Beast to my graveyard, though because of my Wulf's effect it's more like I get a free Special Summon instead."


"My Batterymen can still take him!" Oliver declared.


"I doubt your Battery... ahem... "men", can even handle a single lady. Now let me prove it to you! I tribute my Wulf, Lightsworn Beast for Celestia, Lightsworn Angel!"


His might werewolf looking monster was dissolved in light, and a fairy clad in all white armor appeared on the field.


"Now for Celestia's effect! Take out two of his batteries!" He pointed dramatically and a bright light hit Oliver's field. Two of his Batterymen AA were destroyed in one move.


"And with the cards I've sent to the grave so far, I have just enough to snatch victory! Let's go! Judgment Dragon!"


Laplace looked to be on the edge of her seat. "Go Handsome go!"


I shook my head in a disapproving manner. "How can you like that guy Laplace!? He's a creep. We both saw him hitting on another girl just the other day!"


"So? Oliver's flirted with plenty of girls while we were dating. Right in front of me in fact!"


What she said was true, and I couldn't really respond well to that. "A-at the least we should be supporting our school..."


Handsome ran a hand through his gorgeous blond locks before flashing a smile. "Now, I suppose it's time to bring this duel to its climactic conclusion. Judgment Dragon, attack his last remaining Batteryman."


Judgment Dragon roared triumphantly and a bright light hit Batteryman AA which seemed to swallow up Oliver himself as well. I couldn't bring myself to watch Oliver lose, but after a split second I noticed Oliver had a sinister grin on his face. "I suppose it IS time for a climactic conclusion. HONEST!"


A bright pair of wings emerged from his Batteryman, and it pushed back on Judgment Dragon's attack. The dragon gave out a cry and it exploded into a million pixels.


Handsome grimaced ever so slightly, before smiling. His holograms disappeared and his duel disk retracted. He stuck out an open palm. "Good game."


Oliver seemed confused, before smiling back. "Good game." He then turned to us. "Come on Arthur and Arena. Let's go find our friends."






Ami had won her duel, leaving her to watch the end of Guy's duel. His opponent had her hair tied back in a ponytail and was wearing baggy sweat pants, and a t-shirt under the red jacket of hers.


"Black Luster Soldier! Attack her Dreadnought Dunker!"


Me, Arena and Oliver showed up just in time to watch the end of the duel. Her Dunker was shattered to a million points of pixels, and Black Luster Solider - Envoy of the Beginning began his riposte.


"Now! Attack her life points directly!" The Solider sped forward and in one slash of his sword, the girl's life points hit zero.


The girl in red blushed, swiping a hand through her hair. "So... I guess you win then huh..." she blushed.


"Uhh... yeah, I guess I did. Good game?" Guy extended a handshake.


She blushed as she took his hand, interlocking fingers with him. "So... what are you doing after this tournament?"


Guy seemed unsure of her question but before he could formulate a response it seemed Ami jumped to his defense. "Hey! We're only here until tomorrow! We don't have time for psychological tricks!"


The red looked disappointed, turning to Ami. "I'm sorry. Is she your girlfriend?"


Ami blushed and looked away, seemingly tongue tied. "Well I... uhh..."


Guy however seemed even more flustered than Ami. "Wait, did you just ask HER if I was the girlfriend? I'm not a girl."


His opponent's face got even redder. "You're a boy? I mean... oh... oh geez. I'm sorry!"


We all gave a laugh, and it was hard to tell who was more embarrassed, Guy or his opponent.


"Man, why does a co-ed campus like this have more lesbians than an all-girl school?" Oliver wondered out loud.


"Lesbians don't get sent to all-girl schools." The girl gave a wink, the hurried off.






This was pretty much how we spent the whole day, until later afternoon. The Crimson Wind Academy students went to their dorms to have a late lunch, and we all got a roll of coins to pick up food from a vending machines.


At long last, it was time to announce results.


"Crimson Wind Academy: 128 wins."


"Hawthorne Academy: 128 wins."


"Wow..." I stated sarcastically with my hands across my chest. "Who could have possibly thought that having an even number of people could lead to a tie?"


The monitors above the dueling arena came to life and displayed the results of our after 16 rounds of dueling. In the end, the schools were evenly matched, and no clear winner was decided.


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[spoiler=Chapter 15: Ladies First]
Word Count: 3989

After a little over 8 hours of dueling, the display monitor above the Grand Central Dueling Arena displayed all of the duelists, their win-loss records, and the final scores, 128 wins, 128 loses, 0 draws for both teams. It was fortunate that there were pictures as well as names, otherwise I would have no idea which of my opponents were "Enjeru Karasu" or "Jude Eaves".

Oliver smirked and gave a laugh. "Wow, look at how bad Laplace did."

"Not just her." Guy pointed out. "The entire Distribution bombed hard."

"Yeah, but of course Oliver was only looking for Laplace." Ami remarked. Gal gave a giggle, which made Oliver roll his eyes.

In truth, the Distribution had done abysmally bad. I was skeptical about my own record, 8 wins, 8 losses, but I had gotten more wins than the entire Distribution combined. Laplace had 4 wins, Bernouli had 2, and Weibull had only a single win, though it was against Cauchy. Cauchy herself wasn't doing much better than the rest of the Distribution either.

The best person on our team was, of course, Arena. Second place was surprisingly Ella with 15 wins, though with her slimy stall deck maybe it wasn't that much of a surprise after all. The best person on Team Crimson Wind was The Demon of Turbo, with 12 wins and 4 losses, followed closely by The Princess of Ra Yellow with 11 to match with the age she looked like, and in third was a pale guy who looked like a corpse with 10.

Lady Ipsum was the first one to speak. "If a winning side cannot be decided, perhaps we should all pitch in and rent out a space in Silvershine?"

The Headmistress of Crimson Wind Academy looked as though Lady Ipsum had personally insulted her. "There is no way we're letting it end this way! We HAVE to decide a winner."

The entire Crimson Wind Academy staff and Hawthorne Academy faculty looked up at the score board.

The more modern dressed Asian teacher spoke first. "Well, it's pretty clear that your worst duelists are much worse than our... least capable students. I think that proves our school is better."

"NEIN!" Professor Arshlocke protested. "Weak babies are nothing to base results on. Look only at our strongest! Best of our best is better than your best! Our school stronger!"

"I think we all know the only fair way to decide this." Professor Mishegoss began. "We settle it like we settle everything else. A duel!"

"Alright, b-but who's d-dueling?" asked Professor Handbasket.

"To find strongest school, we need strongest duelists!" declared Professor Arshelocke.

Our entire school turned to our current undefeated queen Arena. Crimson Wind turned their attention to the boy with the eyebrows, The Demon of Turbo. It seemed the tournament was about to be settled at the end of this duel.


The Demon of Turbo was standing on one end of the duel arena, with the Headmistress giving him one final pep talk before the big event.

"Gouki Shinkou, remember our agreement if you win." I heard the Headmistress warn.

The Demon of Turbo rolled his eyes. "What do you mean IF I win? The girl caught me by surprise. Nothing more."

"I don't know how she managed to surprise you, considering how many times you saw her deck yesterday."

"A miscalculation."

"She beat you before. Don't ‘miscalculate’ again."

The Demon of Turbo gave a cocky smirk and a bit of a laugh. "Yes ma'am."

He got a duelists distance away from Arena as his duel disk activated. Arena herself needed no pep talk. She nodded as her silver and gold duel disk came to life.

"Ladies first." Arena stated simply as she drew an opening hand of five cards, then a sixth on her draw phase.

"I shall begin by normal summoning The Agent of Mystery - Earth. As you know, I can search out any Agent monster from my deck to my hand. In this case, I shall pick The Agent of Creation - Venus."

Her deck raised itself ever so slightly from the recess of her disk. She picked it up and cut the deck twice, before picking up the top card, Venus.

"As long as I am searching, I shall also discard my first copy of Hecatrice to search out a copy of Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen."


"What's your girlfriend doing Arthur? She normal summons, THEN goes for the card that lets her special summon?"

"She's got to have a plan Oliver. Don't worry." I said reassuringly.


Before Arena ended her turn, the Brybell Device in her duel disk shuffled her deck for her.

"You may go." she stated with a nod.

The Demon of Turbo scoffed at her play. "I'll start us off with Elemental Hero Shadow Mist. But he won't stick around for long, because now I play Mask Change!" A mask appeared upon the Shadow Mist, and he became absorbed in light.

"Introducing Masked Hero Dark Law! When he's on the field, all your monsters are banished instead of sent to the grave. That means no Honest, and no fuel for your Hyperion either! But that's not all. When my Shadow Mist is sent to the graveyard, I get to search my deck for a new Hero, in the case it'll be my Destiny Hero Plasma! Now Dark Law, attack her Agent!"

Not only had Arena won 16 games in a row, she had done a majority of them without losing a single life point. Seeing her take so much damage was actually a bit of surprise. I was certain she'd make The Demon of Turbo pay for his attack.

"My move." Arena spoke as plainly as she ever did. "I activate Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen to special Summon Agent of Creation - Venus. I will use her effect to special summon three Mystic Shineballs."

For those keeping track of life point, Arena had so far given up 2900 Life Points, 1400 when she was attacked and 1500 for the three Shineballs. Now, The Demon of Turbo was about to take a lot more.

"I shall tribute my three Shineballs to summon Obelisk the Tormentor!"

Gasps and a roar of applause. Even the normally unshakeable Demon of Turbo seemed to flinch when Arena summoned her behemoth of a monster. "Destroy his Masked Hero Dark Law!"

The God arched back and delivered a vicious uppercut. The Demon raised his arm in an instinctual reflex, before the hologram passed through his monster and hit him with 1600 points of damage.

"Now Venus! Attack his life points directly!" A quick direct assault, and in total The Demon took 3200 points of damage this turn, 300 more than Arena.

Arena stared at him blankly. "You may take your turn, but I assure you that you won't be able to destroy my monster."

"I activate One Day of Peace!" the Demon of Turbo began, before a sinister grin grew on his face. "I may not be able to destroy your monster, but I can certainly use it against you!"

The Demon looked over his hand as he drew a card. "I normal summon Destiny Hero Drillguy!

"Drill Me?" Up in the stands, Guy looked worried.

"With Drillguy's effect, I get to special summon a Destiny Hero with equal or less attack. And I'll use it to special summon my Destiny Hero Diamond Dude!"

The Demon of Turbo activated Diamond Dude's effect. His top card was flipped, Dark Armed Dragon. He grimaced at the minor setback but did his best to recover.

"I activate Destiny Draw! Discarding Destiny Hero Malicious to draw two more cards. And with Malicious in the graveyard, I can special summon a second one!"

All the Crimson Wind Academy kids knew what was coming next. Three monsters on the field, and Shadow Mist's effect lasts turn earned him a card. The wicked gleam in his eye could only mean one thing.

"Destiny Hero Plasma!" he slapped down the card with an incredible force as his own three-tribute ace monster appeared on the field. "Absorb her Obelisk and show this girl the true meaning of eternal slumber!"


"Psst, Gal." Ami Whispered. "What's the deal? I thought Obelisk couldn't be targeted."

As a member of the Duel Disk Engineering program, the thought of a broken Duel Disk was much more exciting to Gal than watching a duel. "Maybe her duel disk broken? What do you think bro?"

"Beats me. I'm an artist." Guy said with a shrug. He motioned towards me and Oliver with a shrug. "Pro Duelists? Any insight."

"Destiny Hero Plasma." I reminded. "It negates effects."

We turned our attention back to the game.

"Now Plasma! Destroy her Agent Venus!" We watched as the Demon pointed dramatically. With Obelisk being absorbed, his Destiny Hero Plasma reached a staggering 3900 attack. This could have been a devastating blow against Arena, but fortunately she took no life point damage as Plasma destroyed her Agent.

"No life point loss? Is her Duel Disk broken yet?" Gal's eyes twinkled with determination.

"One Day of Peace." Oliver reminded. "It negates damage."


"My move." Arena began. "I'll normal summon Agent of Miracles - Jupiter."

"You'll need more than a Miracle to get past my monster."

"I have just the thing." Arena stated with just the smallest hint of a smile. "Honest!" Arena's Agent sped forward, wings extending vividly and shattering Plasma, along with her own Obelisk that it had equipped.

The Hawthorne crowd roared in delight at Arena turning the tables on the Demon. Though he took no damage because of One Day of Peace, he no longer had the strongest monster on the field and she had gained her monster effects back.

The Demon of Turbo frowned, but as his turn began his newest card seemed to reinvigorate his spirits. "A Hero Lives!"

If you wanted to find out how many life points the Demon of Turbo had left, just remember: He took 3200 points of damage so far, and he just halved whatever life points he had left.

"I'll special summon my Elemental Hero Shadow Mist, which lets me search out another copy of Mask Change!" And he looked ready to slap it down, but suddenly paused. Perhaps it was a reminder of what happened the last time he dueled Arena, but he hesitated for a second and decided to play a little more defensively this turn.

"I'll normal summon another copy of Diamond Dude and use its effect." this time The Demon's top card was Destiny Draw.

"Next I'll perform an Xyz summon! I create an overlay network with Shadow Mist and Diamond dude to summon Evilswarm Nightmare. Now, when you special summon a monster on your field, I can switch it to face down defense position." The Demon smiled, feeling he had a powerful defense could stop any unrelenting attack of Arena's. "I'll set one support card. Your move."


Let's all take a break for a second to appreciate the math involved before we reach a big combo. Arena drew an opening hand of six and ended her first turn with six cards still in hand. For her second turn, she drew a seventh card, played a support card on the field, and summoned two monsters from her hand, leaving her with 4 cards left. On The Demon of Turbo's turn, he played One Day of Peace giving Arena her fifth card. For the third turn, she drew a sixth then played a monster, played Honest leaving her with four cards left. At the start of this, her final turn, she drew one more at the beginning of draw phase.

Arena looked over the 5 cards in her hand and nodded.

"I'll send my Hecatrice to the grave to search out a second Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen."

"What's the point of searching for that? She barely used her first one." Gal remarked.

"Are Arthur and I the only ones paying attention? Hecatrice, Venus, Honest, a second Hecatrice. She has four fairies in her grave now!"

Guy blinked. "Which means...?

Arena picked at the card furthest on the left in her hand. "With four fairies in my grave, I can now special summon Archlord Kristya!"

It seemed the Demon would have to use that one Overlay Unit now. "Evilswarm Nightmare!" her fairy was switched to face down defense mode, but not before Kristya's effect went off. Arena added Honest back to her hand from the graveyard.

Arena did not seem phased as she slapped down another card from her hand. "By banishing the Agent of Creation in grave, I get to special summon Master Hyperion."

Another heavy hitter from Arena, which The Demon would have to respond to if he didn't want to lose. "Evilswarm Nightmare!"

Arena rarely ever smiled, and even here she barely did either. A slight raise of the eyebrow followed by a single word. "Priority."

The Demon cocked his head a little and raised those big eyebrows of his. "Oh yeah, that's fair."

Hecatrice was banished, and Master Hyperion destroyed The Demon's Xyz monster before being flipped face down.

Arena stared at the four cards in her hand, one of which we all knew was Honest and the other of which was her second copy of Valhalla.

"I tribute my three monsters to summon-"

A roar as an enormous red serpent emerged on the field, coiling itself and wrapping around the gymnasium. We gasped at the enormous beast. With three cards in hand, her Sky Dragon had more than enough points to end the duel if it got in a direct attack.

The demon tried to remain cool in the face of such a beast. "Heh, figures a loser like you would try to end it with the loser dorm mascot." He tried not to show it, but he had to know the duel would end soon.

"Sky Dragon! Attack!"

Or maybe The Demon wasn't just acting cool after all. The Demon flipped his support card. "Mirror Force!"

The crowd roared just as loudly as Arena's monster as her field was obliterated. It seemed however, Arena too was excited as the smallest bit of a smile crawled on her face.

"Good. Now we can truly begin."

Arena had three cards in hand. One was Honest which she picked up from Kristya. The other was Valhalla which she got when she played Hecatrice. At last she played the only other card we didn't know yet. "I activate Pot of Avarice!"


As Arena picked up her five targets: the two gods, and the three monsters she used for a tribute summon, Oliver glared rather dissatisfied by this turn of events though.

"What kind of game is Arena playing?"

"What do you mean?"

"She had a card that lets her draw, and she doesn't play it when she has a monster that would benefit the most from having more cards in hand?"

I shook my head. "She's the Goddess of Wisdom and Military Strategy. She probably saw Mirror Force coming and needed her monster back in the deck."

"She saw Mirror Force coming? Really? And she didn't destroy it immediately with Hyperion?"

I couldn't think of what to say to respond to Oliver. "I guess it's one of those incomprehensible things. Let's just keep watching."

With it being Arena's Main Phase 2, she could no longer attack, but at the least she could prepare an offense for next turn.

She took in a deep breath as she drew her top two cards. Without even looking, she declared one of the card and special summoned it with her Valhalla's effect. "I summon Tethys, Goddess of Light!"

Her eyes narrowed as she saw the other card she drew.

"Every time I draw a fairy monster, I get to draw one more card. So I'll play Pot of Avidity. I'll add my three Mystic Shineballs back into my deck and draw... just one card. If it's a fairy, I get to keep drawing until I don't draw any more fairies."

Is there any suspense at all when a Goddess is playing a duel? Of course she drew exactly what she needed.

She drew one card, an Agent. And from there, her deck just exploded. She drew card after card after card, more agents, 3 Hyperion, another Hecatrice, more fairies, until finally it stopped about 10 cards in when she drew a spell.

"Do you have enough cards yet?" The Demon asked mockingly.

"I just need two more. I activate Hand Destruction." She discarded Valhalla and a Shineball and drew two new cards, and to all of our surprise, neither of her two new cards were fairies either. Arena seemed content enough with her hand though.

"Let's start banishing." Agent of Creation, Wisdom, and Miracles were banished as she summoned three copies of Master Hyperion. It seemed the end was almost here as she activated one of the cards in her hand that was not a fairy.

"I activate Double Summon." And we witnessed the second card she drew that was not a fairy. "And I'll tribute my three Hyperion to summon The Winged Dragon of Ra!"

More cheers of excitement as Arena was able to summon the final God card of her deck.

"And now I use my Winged Dragon of Ra's effect! I'll give all my life points except for 100 to increase its attack by that amount!"

Even though she had given up all but 100 life points, Arena had, by far the strongest monster on the field and one of the strongest any of us had ever seen.

"I end my turn."

The Demon looked over his cards, trying to remain calm as he began to formulate a plan.

"This isn't over! I get to draw two cards from my Destiny Draw which was sent last turn!" The cruel Demon of Turbo smirked, the gears in his head turning as he could see the combo forming. "And I now activate A Hero Lives!"

Life Point Check! The Demon took 3200 points of damage, then halved his life points twice. Whether this duel started with four thousand or eight thousand life points, the math was pretty clear here. He had far less than 2400 life points left.

"I'll summon Elemental Hero Blazeman! This card lets me search for the card Polymerization!" After searching through his deck, The Demon's duel disk automatically shuffled his deck.

"I'll special summon my final Destiny Hero Malicious, then activate Polymerization! Fuse Elemental Hero Blazeman and Destiny Hero Malicious to summon Vision Hero Adoration!"

The monster looked straight out of a Japanese RPG, but with 2800 points of attack, and Arena with a 2400 attack power Tethys, and only 100 life points, the next move seemed pretty clear.

"All that card advantage and yet you still left an exploitable vulnerability on the field." He shook his head like he was scolding Arena, before a wicked grin spread on his face. "Vision Hero Adoration! Attack her Tethys now and end the duel!"

Gal covered her face. "Oh god, I can't watch." Guy and Ami also looked away. Oliver was on the edge of his seat. I however seemed surprisingly neutral.

"No, she's got this. I'm sure of it." I said calmly.

Battle Step. The Demon of Turbo's Vision Hero held its hands in a fighting stance as a powerful beam from the sky emerged and shone down on Tethys.

Damage Step. Tethys raised a palm at the Vision Hero's blast, wings spread out and standing tall. We all stared with bated breath as it seemed time stood still.

"Come on Arena, what are you waiting for? Play Honest already!" I whispered.

Damage Calculations. Her Tethys cried out in pain as her wings crumpled at Adoration's attack. She cried out in agony and at last, the Goddess of Light's suffering was over as she exploded into a confetti of rainbow pixels.

"N-no..." I whispered as I saw my roommate’s life points tick down to zero.

"She... lost?"


The Demon of Turbo was pretty much the hero of the academy from that moment forward. Strangely, the Princess of Ra Yellow looked extremely upset that the Demon had won, even though it meant her school had pulled the victory. With all that said and done, we would stay for one more night before leaving early tomorrow morning. We were corralled into our little spot in the gymnasium, looking over the food we had rationed from the night before.

"Do we really have to eat vending machine snacks again?" Small Boobs whined.

"I'm cool with it." One of the girls flicked a small red candy at Small Boobs, hitting her right in the forehead.

Arena stared at us while we dug into our 'meal'.

"I do not eat processed food."

"That's fine Arena. We wouldn't want you to... CHOKE." one of the girls said, before cackling along with a few other girls giggling.

Arena didn't seem to catch the insult though as she smiled pleasantly. "How considerate."

"They're making fun of you." I pointed out.

"Oh." Arena blinked, then shrugged. "It's not like any of them even came close to defeating The Demon of Turbo though."

The laughter died down and we were all mostly quiet, until Oliver muttered and coughed under his breath. "Especially-The-Distribution."

"What was that?" Bernouli asked.

"Oh I'm sorry, I coughed when I was trying to insult you. Here, let me try this again. Ahem-"

"H-hey now!" Professor Handbasket stammered nervously as she tried to get between them. "I know t-tensions are high because we l-lost."

"We lost because of Arena!" Bernouli insisted.

"Arena pulled a sixteen-to-zero win streak!" Ami said. "I’m an artist and even I did better than you!"

"You know, it IS kind of weird that The Distribution lost as badly as they did though." Gal said while scratching her head.

Arena stared at Gal. "It is not weird. They scouted our decks."

There was quiet for a moment before Bernouli spoke up. "What was that Rat-Face?"

"They were scouting us the moment we came in. Your friend from the Red dorm wanted to goad us into dueling and revealing our deck types. Once we started dueling, the Demon of Turbo and his friends began taking note of our every move. When it came time for the tournament, they made sure to include cards that would stop us. Nobody really main decks Fairy Wind and Lightforce Sword."

Another moment of silence as everyone tried to take in Arena's words before she spoke again. "That was why I kept trying to win as quickly as I could. So they could see as little of our decks as possible."

There was an uproar of yelling, anger and discussion as the girls suddenly began to turn on the Distribution. They were throwing around insulting that I can't really repeat here. Bernouli herself wasn't a fan of all the yelling either, yelling right back as Laplace and Weibull tried to settle down everyone.

"I think you may have kicked a hornet's nest here Arena." Gal began.

"It's better that they be mad at each other than remember they were mad at Arena." Guy began.

I leaned over to Arena to take her aside. As she saw me lean in, she puckered her lips as she expected a kiss. I did not oblige her and instead decided to ask her a question. "So I got to ask. Why did you take a dive?"

She stared at me frowning before giving me the typical Arena-like response. "I cannot meddle with human affairs."

Before I could ask her further, a petite little blonde girl with big red eyes slowly made her way towards us. She bowed politely, which made her extremely long twin tails nearly reach the floor.

"The Necrophades Black Dorm wishes to extend an invitation to The Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy for a banquet in her honor."


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Arena rarely ever smiled, and even here she barely did either. A slight raise of the eyebrow followed by a single word. "Priority."

Considering this is GX era, or at least heavily implied(the card pool clearly isn't, but that's a moot point), the fact you have this old ruling in place made me smile.

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Thanks. Glad someone noticed it! ;D

There's a few hints here and there that it uses a weird mix of rules. First player draws 6, old bad rulings, newer card pool.

[spoiler=Spoilers For Chapter 15]My favourite one though is that it doesn't explicitly state whether they started with 8k or 4k LP, but the duel still works regardless of which one you imagined it being.

Turn 2: Arena's LP is either 6.6k or 2.6k

Turn 3: Arena's LP is either 5.1k or 1.1k
The Demon's LP is either 4.8k or 0.8k

Turn 4 & 5: LolOneDayOfPeace

Turn 6: The Demon has either 2400 or 400 LP left.

Turn 7: Arena reduces to 100 with The Winged Dragon of Ra

Turn 8: The Demon has 1200 or 200 LP left.


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[spoiler=Chapter 16: Necrophades Black]

Word Count: 4127

For those that fell asleep in their History of Duel Monsters class (or were in Duel Disk Engineering and Professional Duelist classes and thus weren't required to take it), Zorc Necrophades was a powerful ancient Egyptian demon that created the Shadow Realm. He was so powerful he couldn't be destroyed, but was instead locked away in a magic puzzle when the Millennium Items were created. Or so the legend goes...

Guy Surname, a man of science, greatly disliked these silly little stories, viewing them as a needless distraction. While his teachers believed the only way to look forward was to look towards the past, Guy believed clinging to the past was more of a shackle that would prevent future innovation.

Nevertheless, after our school was defeated by the students at Crimson Wind Academy, a girl with bright red eyes and a long blonde hair approached us. She bowed respectfully towards Team Surname, or more specifically towards my girlfriend – Arena. She seemed to greatly revere her before speaking quietly, still with her head down.

"The Necrophades Black Dorm wishes to extend an invitation to The Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy for a banquet in her honor."

"What did she just say?" Ami asked.

"Necrophades Black."

"No Arena, she means the other thing." I responded. "The Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy. How do you know about that?"

Guy sighed. "Look, Arena's a good duelist and all but a Goddess? Come on."

The blonde haired girl straightened out of her bow to stare at Guy. "It is evident at first glance that she is from the Aether Realm. As Priestess of the Covenant of the Eternals it is the honor of a lifetime to be within her presence."

She once again gave us another polite bow. "You may call me The Witch of Necrophades if you'd prefer."

We had met a lot of peculiar people at Crimson Wind, but this girl was on a different level. She reminded me of Arena, with her quiet attitude and overly polite and respectful attitude. If she was some sort of priestess to a cult centered on Arena, it probably wasn't that much of a surprise.

"We'll be with you in just a second!" Guy said with a nervous smile before he turned us away from the girl. As soon as she was no longer in our line of sight he dropped the smile. "That girl's crazy. Maybe as crazy as Arena."

"She seems really friendly!" Gal said with a non-phony smile on her face. "Let's go with her!"

"Well she is pretty cute." Oliver admitted. "And I got to admit, the idea of a banquet sounds a lot better than another meal from a vending machine."

Guy scowled. "For kids who believe in fairy tales you sure seem eager to run away with a self-described Witch." He turned to Gal's roommate. "Ami, you're with me, right?"

Ami's glasses fogged up as she blushed. "Umm... y-yeah! Always!" she said nervously as she looked away.

"And you Arthur?"

After everything I'd seen, there was just one answer that made sense to me. "I'll vote with whatever Arena picks."

All eyes turned to our little tiebreaker, but she didn't seem to sense the gravity of the situation.

"It doesn't matter. The future is already set in stone and nothing we do will have any drastic consequences. Nothing changes whether we go with the Witch or if we stay."

I scowled at Arena's decision. "So... 2 vote yes, 2 vote no, 2 vote undecided? Who could have possibly thought that having an even number of people could lead to a tie?"

"You already said that Arthur." Ami scolded.

We were so engrossed in our conversation we didn't notice the light footfalls sneak up behind us, and we certainly didn't expect her to overhear our conversation.

"If I may be the tie breaking vote then," The Witch spoke up. "I believe The Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy should accompany me to the Necrophades Dorm."

It was difficult to tell how long she had been there, but when she finally made her presence known Guy and Ami immediately recoiled in surprise.

"Come on bro!" Gal began tugging at Guy's arms. "We can't leave you behind with The Distribution!"

"Yeah, they'll mess up your face worse than Professor Chapel's."

Guy gave an exasperated sigh. "Alright fine, we'll go. But at the first sign of trouble, we're heading back!"


The teachers were still trying to quell the arguments of everyone against The Distribution so it was extremely easy to sneak away from the group. We followed the blonde girl out of the Grand Central Dueling Arena and took a path that lead into the woods. If you remember a few chapters ago The Princess of Ra Yellow had warned us against venturing into the woods, especially after dark. We'd find out later tonight why exactly she had warned us.

With the sun setting, the dark clouds above us, and the twisting tree top canopies overhead it was pretty difficult to follow the girl into the Forbidden Woods. We wondered how we would get back, but it seemed for right now all we could was trust the Necrophades Witch.

She must have traced the path countless times before because she seemed to know exactly where she was going even with the overgrown path and the darkness ahead. At long last, we could see an old building in an open clearing.

The Witch turned and motioned towards the building ahead of us. "This is the Necrophades Black Dorm!"

When we first took our tour with The Princess and the other two Ras from her club, she had pointed out all the dorms to us. This one was by far much larger and much fancier then the other three, and clearly a step above Obelisk Blue.

The Red Dorm was about the level of a wooden shack. The Yellow dorms looked like modern apartment buildings. The blue dorm reminded me of a fancy mansion. This dorm, with its marble columns and fancy architecture looked like an ornate temple. Despite the hard work that went into designing and constructing the dorm it seemed the building was abandoned and left for nature to reclaim. It was covered with dirt, dust, and overgrown with vines and moss. In its heyday it must have been a gorgeous site to behold. Today, it just looked like a creepy haunted house.

"This feels like a trap." Guy remarked nervously.

"Meow meow meow meow meow." Gal retorted in a mocking tone of voice, mimicking Guy's exact pitch. I tried to refrain from laughing.

"Gal! I'm serious!"

"Meow! Meow meowmeowmeow!" Gal meowed before sticking out her tongue. "Come on, this place looks awesome!"

The Necrophades Witch looked expectantly at Arena. "And... what does the Goddess think?"

Arena stared at the building, at The Witch, then towards me as though she was expecting me to speak on her behalf.

The Witch looked towards me as well, expecting me to answer for Arena's sake. "I guess... it's kind of hard to tell from the outside."

The Witch's serious face seemed to relax just a little before she turned her back to us. "Let us venture inside then."

We entered the Necrophades Black Dorm and it certainly seemed to live up to its name. Except for a few candles, it was completely dark on the inside. Fortunately for the boys, we had experience exploring creepy dark rooms at Crimson Wind. Ami was clinging onto Guy, and Gal was clinging onto Oliver. Arena was also holding my arm, though I doubted it was out of fear.

"First we had The Demon of Turbo's victory over Hawthorne Academy. Next, we are graced with the presence of the Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy. Surely these are positive omens us all. Let us meet everyone. I am sure they are all in the Gathering Hall."

She led us to a central elaborate ballroom, with chandeliers lit by candles. It must have looked gorgeous with electricity, but for right now it looked like the spooky version of that Walter Sidney movie where the prince dances with the monstrous princess. I couldn't see them, but I had a feeling there were other people in the room.

"I’m home! And I've brought guests!" The Witch declared as she walked in.

"G-guests?" I saw a weird flash of light as I heard a nervous boy's voice. I glanced over at Ami and saw a similar flash of light. It took me a second to realize what it was, just the reflection off someone's glasses. "Are th-those the H-Hawthorne kids?"

"Hai. I brought them here as I believed they would wish to join in our celebration." The Witch bowed towards the voice.

"Celebration?" another voice called out. "Ha, that's a laugh."

Another boy stepped forward, and even in the dark I could tell he was incredibly pale. It was the corpse looking boy who came in third place for Crimson Wind.

"The Demon of Turbo's never been one for celebrating." a low, yet clearly feminine voice called out. She was taller than the first boy, and about the same height as the corpse looking vampire. She had long purple hair and a serious scowl on her face.

"There's four of them and six of us. We outnumber them if it comes to a fight." Guy whispered.

"Just turn on your PDA's already." the tall girl began. "I'm sick of not knowing who I'm talking to."

"Likewise." Oliver said simply, producing his PDA and shining a light on himself. "Names Oliver Khlozoff. No cool nicknames like you guys. Since the tournament is over, maybe... want to fill us in on your real names?"

The taller girl produced her own PDA, shining a light on herself. "You don't need to know our real names. You'll be off the island tomorrow anyway. Just call me The Student Council President."

The purple haired President shined a light on the corpse looking guy who hissed and shielded his eyes. "Geez! Warn me before you do that at least!" He squinted and strained as The President aimed her light more towards his chest, concealing most of his face. "I'm The Vampire of Crimson Wind Academy."

"H-he uses that to scare f-freshman." the nervous boy stammered.

"You would know Headless Horseman." The Vampire gave a laugh towards the nervous boy. "You were my very first target!"

The Horseman produced his own PDA and shined a bright light on The Vampire, causing him to recoil once again.

The Witch stepped between the light, casting a shadow to protect the Vampire. "If I may interrupt," in the Horseman's bright light we could see The Witch blushing faintly as she approached the Horseman. "I would really appreciate a bit of help preparing dinner for us."

"The Witch and The Horseman sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" The Vampire teased.

The nervous boy fumbled with his PDA and stammered again. "Umm... ok-k-kay." his light was shaking badly in his hand.

"Come on Hawthornes." The President remarked as she motioned us to follow her. "Let's go to the dining hall."


The Reds had the worst food of the academy. The Yellows had average food to go with their average accommodations. The Blues had gourmet food served at a royal banquet. The meals in the black dorm however were pretty hard to describe. The meal was fine, but it was all over the place in terms of quality. There was medium rare sirloin steak and stale smashed up hot dog buns. There was a perfectly average salad, and some cut up and blender-ized French fries that were masquerading as mashed potatoes.

Overall it wasn't a particularly bad meal, it was just very inconsistent. It seemed The Witch had worked very hard in turning the scraps from the Red, Yellow and Blue Dorm into a serviceable meal.

Arena herself had a gold and silver plate covered with fruit. It was only at this point that I realized I had never seen a single serving of fruit here, nor had I ever seen any fruit any of the other timed I had ever seen Arena eat. She was happily chewing on a strawberry next to me as I looked apprehensively at my dish.

"It is best eaten warm." The Witch reminded as she seemed to personally tend to us like a waitress at a restaurant, refilling our water and offering napkins.

Oliver was eating his smashed up hotdog bun with a piece of steak between it, like a sandwich. "So, where is The Demon of Turbo anyway? I'm guessing he's the leader of this little club? He's not even going to bother to come meet Arena?"

The President and The Vampire exchanged an apprehensive look. "He'll be joining us later." the President finally stated after a bit of a pause.

"He better get here before we finish the steak then." Guy said with a smile. He had two plates in front of him, his own steak and one for Gal that he was cutting up for her.

"So like... what exactly is this dorm anyway?" Ami asked between bites of her salad. "There is no actual Black Dorm at this school, or at least no black dorm uniform. The Demon was wearing yellow earlier today. The Horseman and the President are wearing Red jackets. The Vampire and the Witch are both in blue. What do you guys do here exactly?"

The four Necrophades Black students sort of paused what they were doing. "It's... k-kind of c-c-complicated." said The Horseman.

"Only for a stuttering fool like you." A familiar voice that commanded respect called out. "To put it simply, we advocate freedom." A click as his PDA came to life and we could see the Demon of Turbo and his huge eyebrows standing at the frame of the door. "What are these freeloaders doing in my dorm?"

"Hey come on Gouki!" The Vampire said with a smirk. "These kids were a big help in getting the Necro Dorm set up."

"No. WE were a big help in getting the Dorm set up. The Overlord found the building. The Witch cleaned it up. The President drafted our charter and organized the paperwork. The Horseman helped secure funds and supplies. I presented our proposal and finalized the deal. And your job, Akuto, was to bring everything else up to code. Fix the stairwells, get the plumbing running, and get the electricity back up. Yet here we are still running around with candles like it is 27 AD! The Witch cooks out of a big pot like an actual witch! The President has to handwrite all of her official ledgers instead of typing it."

"I mean... I can just use a laptop if it's that big of a deal."

"As long as my Horseman is with me I am not lacking in anything."

The Vampire struck back at the Horseman's accusations. "You said the Black Dorm was for people who didn't feel at home at the Academy. Who could feel less at home than people living out of sleeping bags in the gymnasium?"

The Demon stopped to consider this for a moment. He gave a chuckle. "I suppose you do make a point." He looked over me, Arena, Guy, Gal, Oliver and Ami as though he was deciding something. At long last he smiled, a wicked grin on his face. "You six are all honorary Necrophades Black Students. You are all welcome to stay the night-"

"Yay!" Gal exclaimed.

"However! That's only if you can manage to get the electricity and plumbing working before midnight. If 12 AM rolls around and we're still relying on candles, you can go back to sleeping with the other Hawthorne gutter rats."

The Demon gave a chuckle as he grabbed two steaks, his own and the one Arena did not eat. The six of us were just in silence for a minute before The Witch stood up.

"I'll take care of the dishes then make everyone's bed." The Witch volunteered. She turned towards the Horseman and blushed. "Do you mind joining me?"

The Horseman looked away but still nodded. "Y-yeah." He got up as well and began gathering plates.

"So umm..." Oliver began as he handed his plate over. "What's the plan? How do we get the electricity running here?"


After dinner, The Vampire and The President lead us down a corridor. We followed mostly in silence until Gal spoke up.

"Why is The Demon of Turbo such a big dumb jerk anyway!?"

The President shrugged her shoulders. "It's complicated I guess. He's been hurt before and he just doesn't want to let people in. He knows he can't run a dorm on his own though so he has us."

"Why do you follow him?" Ami began. "I mean, I just kind of still don't get what this dorm is supposed to be. Red is bad duelist. Yellow is average. Blue is exceptional. Are you guys like... super-duper exceptional or something?"

"Well I don't know about the President, but I sure am!" The Vampire smirked.

The President elbowed him in the ribs, enough to knock the wind out of him.

"Everyone's got their own reasons for joining the Black Dorm. I'm still here because it looks good on my permanent record. Student Council President is good, but helping to start up an entire dorm would be on a whole different level."

"I'm here because I'm sick of the other Obelisk. They're so snobby and all they care about is being rich and not helping anyone else. I've got dozens of vassals all over the dorms to do my bidding."

The Vampire gave a grin. "The Horseman's here for a simple enough reason. The Red Dorm is awful and even without electricity and running water he's probably never had it so good."

"It's obvious why The Demon's here. He loves bossing people around."

"And speaking of love, it's pretty obvious why The Witch is here. She's crazy about the Horseman, though neither of them will dare to admit it."

I glanced over at the girl with her head on my shoulder. "I guess... love can make people do pretty crazy things."

"Like making a Goddess descend to the mortal world?" Oliver stuck out his tongue towards me.

I gave him a more serious expression. "Yeah, or make someone stick with a guy even though her friends hated him." Oliver immediately retracted his tongue, dwelling on my comment before Arena spoke up next.

"Or making a girl skip out on the annual Pastiche Family Christmas just to be with a boy who isn't even aware of her true feelings."

"Yeah, sure!" The Vampire agreed, though in a way that seemed to indicate he didn't actually agree or even understand what we were talking about. "Anyway, before the final duel The Demon made a deal with the Headmistress. If he won, she'd officially endorse the Black Dorm and we'd get to become a real dorm, not just a bunch of weirdos hanging out in the woods."

The Vampires stopped at the end of the hallway.

"Alright, we're here."

"And where exactly is here?" I asked.

I looked around and all I could see was a large heavy all metal door. I stopped, worried that perhaps all of Guy's fears had come true. Maybe this all was a trap and maybe the food had been drugged, and a million other different scenarios ran through my mind before The President spoke up.

"It's the basement door."

"All the electricals, all the plumbing and all that other stuff that makes a building run is down there."

Oliver looked at the door, then back to the two of them. "So... what are we waiting for exactly? Just go down and turn on the electricity."

The Vampire knocked on the door. A hard metallic sound echoed throughout the hallway. "We don't have the key."

We all groaned.

"Well we don't have the key either!" Gal exclaimed. "But we'll be happy to help break down the door with you guys!" She leaned her knee on the door and pushed hard, which of course did nothing except cause her to stumble over backwards.

She blinked then put her shoe on the door knob. "Maybe if I just-"

"Stop it sis. You're wearing a skirt." Guy reminded, gently pulling her away.

The Vampire shook his head. "We've already tried that. Breaking down the door I mean. Not wearing a skirt."

"Crimson Wind was built near an active volcano so, believe it or not, the basements are designed to be completely fireproof."

"Wish Lincoln was designed like that." I remarked.

The President continued. "The buildings were built to withstand a lava eruption, if it ever came to that. There's rumors that all the basements for all the buildings on the island interconnect and they all lead to somewhere deep underground. Like the academy is just the tip of a much larger iceberg."

"But we won't get anywhere without a key."

Gal grinned as she stood behind Guy, pushing him forward with her hands on his shoulders. "Or... Guy could use his magical powers and unlock the door from the other side!"

"Magical what?" Guy awkwardly took a few steps forward before Gal pushed him face first against the heavy metal door.

The President and the Vampire shared a concerned look before turning to us.

"Come on bro! Just show them! Go through the wall! I'm sure you can!"

"Sis! I don't… stop!"

"Don't stop? Okay!"

Arena scowled before speaking up. "It is much more difficult to melt through solid objects when someone else is touching you, especially for his first time. He will naturally want to pull you along with him, which would take up much more energy."

"Alright! Can we just knock it off already!?" Guy swatted at Gal's hands, pushing her away from him. "I don't have any magical powers! Arena isn't a Goddess! This whole Cursed Chain thing is a load of nonsense! You want to see me walk through a wall? Here it goes!"

We all shined our lights towards Guy's direction and, if he didn't have all the lights on him and the attention of 7 other people none of us would have believed what we saw. He walked through the solid metal door like it wasn't even there, melting and disappearing into nothing on the other side.

"Woah... he... he did it?" Oliver rushed forward and banged on the door with an open palm, the metal noise echoing loudly. "Hey Guy! Open the door!"

After the longest minute of our lives, there was an audible click and slowly, the heavy metal door opened. It was about an arm's length of reinforced steel, but sure enough on the other side of the door was Guy Surname, eyes wide and afraid and nervous. "W-what the hell just happened?"

We were all speechless as it seemed he had pulled of an impossible feat, but it was Ami, not Gal who was the first one to speak. "Don't scare us like that ever again! We were worried you disappeared forever!"

"Ha! I knew you could do it bro!"

"The door... it was open and unlocked... and it slammed shut behind me when I walked in... or something. That has to be it. I... there's no way I walked through a solid metal door..." He clanged on the door twice, to confirm the solidness, then took a breath and hit it once more, his arm going through and reaching out the other end. He instantly recoiled and pulled his hand back.

"How... how is this possible? Arena? What the hell is this? What the hell am I?!"

Arena shook her head. "It is the third link in the Cursed Chain. I already told you so."

The Vampire pushed Guy aside. "Look, I don't know or care what it was. We can worry about it later. All that matters is we've got the basement door open again! I'll get to work on checking the electrical grid and plumbing."

A familiar and respectful voice spoke next. "And the Horseman and I shall escort our guests to their rooms now." In the dark, candle-and-PDA-lit hallway it was probably easy for the pair to sneak up on us. Guy was much too confused, and much too excited at his new found power to possibly go to sleep right now. The rest of us however were quite tired from the many hours of dueling we went through.

"Sounds good. Lead the way." I stated simply, my arm interlocking with Arena's for support.

We were all ready to go to sleep, unaware of what we'd wake up to in the middle of the night.


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[spoiler=Chapter 17: Heaven's Sake]

Word Count: 3777

It didn't take long for The Vampire to do whatever he needed to do in order for the electricity in the Black Dorm to turn on. As soon as we were upstairs the hallway lights came to life with the familiar buzz that only florescent lighting can produce. We cheered and clapped, as it seemed this guaranteed us at least one good night’s sleep at Crimson Wind. Oliver got his own room, as did Gal. Guy and Ami got two separate rooms, however Guy was really eager to talk to someone about the discovery of his ability to go through solid objects, what Arena called "The Third Link in the Cursed Chain". Ami graciously volunteered to keep Guy entertained in his room.

As for Arena and I, we both shared a room of course. The two of us laid in bed together as we did every night and she kept trying to cuddle up to me

"You okay Arena?" I gave a smile. "Why aren't you trying to kiss me like you usually are?"

"Heaven's Sake."

I paused.

Was she chastising me for asking for a kiss? That seemed very un-Arena-like, though I did admit my hands fell to my sides and the mood was greatly soured.

"D-did I do something wrong?"

"You asked why we weren't kissing tonight. Because of Heaven's Sake."

It seemed I should have been used to stupid nonsense answers from Arena at this point, but every time she did it I was still taken aback. I could have sworn I heard those words put together like that at some point earlier in this trip though. I racked my brain trying to remember before giving up.

"Okay Arena, What do you mean?"

"I usually only get to kiss you when you're asleep." Arena explained with a blank expression on her face. "And we're not going to do much sleeping tonight."

I stopped to think it over, worrying about what she meant.

"Uhh... let's save that for when we're not in school anymore." I gave a nervous laugh as I tried to push her off.

"Well we're not in school right now..." Arena gave the smallest hint of a smile as she whispered. "But that's not what I meant. We're going to get interrupted soon."


I didn't have to wait long. A high pitched voice coming from a bullhorn almost made me jump. I moved Arena off of me and looked outside to see a very small girl clad in an all-white secretary outfit and two Ra Yellow girls at her side.

"Attention sinners, heathens, and guests from Hawthorne Academy! This is The Princess of Ra Yellow, along with the rest of Heaven's Sake! You have corrupted a sacred building, and it is up to us to cleanse this site of your impurities by any means necessary! Come out peacefully now or face our divine judgment!"


Like most girls her age, The Princess of Ra Yellow, was born 16 years ago. Unlike most girls her age, she was raised in a small, deeply religious village. I'd just like to be clear, she wasn't a bad person. I had nothing against her, nothing against people of the faith, and I didn't think of her as dumb or foolish or anything at all like that. She had a lot of good ideas about how people should act. She just had no clue about how people actually DID act.

Neither Arena nor I were interested in finding out exactly what divine judgment the Princess had in mind for us so we quickly threw on our shoes and hurried downstairs only to find the rest of the Black Dorm already outside. The Vampire was still fully dressed, as though he lived for the night. The President wore a modest nightgown that went down to her knees. The Horseman was in boxers, a t-shirt, a pair of fuzzy slippers, and a hastily thrown on Red jacket. The Witch was wearing what I could have sworn was The Horseman's dress shirt, though since he was a boy and taller than her it fit her more as just a very short dress. The Demon of Turbo had not shown up yet.

"Who the hell is that?" The Vampire asked.

"HECK!" The Princess corrected over her bullhorn.

Arena looked over at the girls who were standing outside the building before bluntly answering The Vampire's question.

"They are Heaven's Sake."

The Vampire looked over at Arena, than at the girl wearing the white business suit. "Never heard of 'em."

As was stated earlier, The Princess was wearing her Heaven's Sake outfit. It was clearly designed just for her, since no one really makes secretary clothes for little kids. She wore an all-white business-suit-type outfit with a black dress shirt, black tights, and a white tie. The skirt, heels, and blazer were all in white as well. She was carrying a lit tree branch in her right and a megaphone in her left. Her other two friends, The Firefly and the Divine Light were more appropriately dressed in their Ra Yellow dorm uniforms and sneakers.

"WE ARE-" she flinched at the loudness of her own voice from the megaphone before casually dropping it off to the side. The Firefly picked it up and tucked it away in her backpack.

"We are Heaven's Sake! The champions of the light, the bringers of law and justice! And we will not sit idly by and watch you drag this Academy to the lakes of sulfur and fire! Right girls?"

The other two ladies of Heaven's Sake seemed less enthusiastic about the idea. "Hrmm.... r-right... " they muttered, eyes down and awkwardly looking away. They looked more like a mom and dad who got dragged along to watch an embarrassing children's movie that their daughter INSISTED they all go watch right now.

The rest of Team Surname soon arrived as well, still mostly dressed though with their Hawthorne jackets in various states of undone. Gal's was unbuttoned to reveal a black camisole. Oliver's jacket was in his arms, revealing a white shirt underneath. Ami and Guy were still mostly dressed, though since they may have been sharing a room this was understandable.

The Princess waved her blazing tree branch towards us in a menacing manner. "We shall be the Pantocrators over the Necrophades Black Dorm and deliver swift retribution against the heathens!"

"Hehe..." Oliver snickered lightly at the word she had used.

"Pantocrator." Arena nodded. "Judge, Jury, and Executioner."

Ami however wasn't a fan of Heaven's Sake interrupting her and Guy's alone time... "Just what the hell is going on here? What is she talking about?"


"I think I get it." Oliver responded. "You ever read the Bible, Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48 and John 2:13-16? Jesus is like wicked pissed that people turned his sacred the temple into some 27 AD farmer's market with cattle and chickens and stuff. So Jesus lays the divine smack down on them, beats them up, and tells them to go hit the road. I think that's what the Princess wants to do to us here."

Gal stared at him blankly before giggling. "Gee Oliver, I don't think I've ever answered 'yes' to any question that began with 'You ever read the Bible'."

Oliver sighed at Gal's ignorance. "Philistines."

The Princess took a confident step forward. "If you won't leave quietly then I guess this is the part where we 'lay the divine smack down', as you put it!" She turned to her friends.

"Danielle! Rina! Show them a divine lay!"

We all stifled a laugh but the other non-Princesses of Heaven's Sake didn't seem as amused as us. To say The Firefly and the Divine Light had a bit of trepidation to them was a huge understatement. They backed away, palms up at around mid-waist level like they were surrendering to the cops.

"Umm... I think your Lord and Savior would prefer we turn the other cheek on this one." The Firefly said nervously.

"Yeah, we agreed to follow you over here to keep you safe. We're not going to fight these people. We're outnumbered and outmuscled."

The Princess scowled, a look of rage on her face before she swallowed hard, pushing it down and internalizing it. It seemed she realized what she had to do. There was a certain, almost frightening seriousness to her face.

"Fine! If neither of you can do what needs to be done, I'll do it myself then!"

"Just do it already so we can all go back to sleep then!" A voice from high up called out.

We looked up to see the Demon of Turbo's face peering out from a window high above. It seemed The Demon viewed the Princess as such a trivial non-issue he didn't even bother to come downstairs to meet with her, and seemed to be goading her on in fact.

She walked over to the building, flaming tree branch at the ready.

"If you sinners want to be cast into Hell, then that's exactly what I'm going to do!"

The Princess pressed the burning stick against the moss and plants that wrapped around the Black Dorm. We gasped, preparing for a huge blaze to set the building on fire.


But alas, a huge blaze did not come. She kept pushing her burning tree branch against the moss and vines, trying and failing to get a fire going. "Any... any day now... st-straight to Hell with these heathens and sinners."

The President scowled as she watched the Princess not-set her dorm on fire. "You need dry plants for that to work stupid. It was raining all last week."

"And this building is like 90% marble and granite. It's not going to catch fire." The Vampire continued.

"Sh-shut up! I'm going to do it! Don't try to-ahh!" the Princess clutched at her hand, dropping her only source of fire into the ground where it puttered out into nothing. She was sucking her thumb, crying.

The Divine Light looked away and the Firefly gave an exasperated sigh before speaking. "Sorry about this folks. You know how Billie gets sometimes."

"When she feels slighted she can get a bit... childish."

"I'M NOT CHILDISH!" she shrieked, before going back to crying and sucking her thumb.

"We're used to it by now." The Vampire said with a nod.

The Demon of Turbo gave a laugh from on high. "Alright, so you got that out of your system. Go home now Hatcher. Leave us alone." He slammed the window down and presumably went back to sleep.

"Well this was anti-climactic." Oliver began with a yawn. "Not that I was hoping to see another fire again anytime soon."

The Divine Light approached The Princess, trying to wrestle her hand out of her mouth. "Come on, let me just see it..."

"Mrr!" The Princess hesitated before the Divine Light got her hand free to look it over.

"Ouch. Looks pretty bad." The Divine Light held up the Princess's hand. I didn't know too much about first aid, but I had to agree with the Divine Light's earlier assessment.

The Divine Light seemed to agree as she turned to the Necrophades. "Can we get something for her before we leave?"

The Vampire grinned. "We're fresh out of lollipops but-"

The President pushed him aside. "I'm sure the Witch can brew up something for that nasty burn of hers."

The Princess once again returned her thumb to her mouth, whimpering, as The Divine Light scooped her up.

"Follow me." The Witch commanded. The Divine Light obliged before being lead inside. As they got to the door, The Witch turned to The Horseman. "I'd appreciate some help if you could offer."

The Horseman blushed but wordlessly followed along.

The majority of Team Surname was left speechless. It seemed the Black Dorm was used to the Princess's shenanigans but to us this was something completely out of nowhere.

"Let's head back inside." The President declared. "You're welcome to join us Firefly."


Just like I said earlier, the ballroom did look much better in the light. A flick of a nearby switch and the ballroom was an elegant display of gold and silver, about the size of the Grand Central Dueling Arena. It was a dark and cloudy night, making the lights of the ballroom stand out even more.  It was kind of a shame that we lost the tournament because this place would have been perfect for the Sweetheart's Day Dance.

There were couches off to the side I hadn't seen before in the dark, I took a seat on one, and Arena took her spot right next to me.

"So... what's the deal with the Princess?" Ami asked. "She really seemed to hate this place. Did a Necrophades break her heart or something?"

The President and the Vampire looked at each other.

"Rina knows it better." The Vampire said, motioning to The Firefly.

The Firefly awkwardly rubbed the back of her head. "Broken heart? Nah, it wasn't that bad. But last year there was this guy named Draco going around calling himself the Dark Dragon Overlord. Back then, the Black Dorm was just the Necrophades Club, but they were a lot more sinister back then ya’ know. They wanted to prove they were better than all of us, challenging us to duels, putting down the other dorms, playing pranks on all of us, that sort of thing. They were just in general being a bunch of rude jerks. Their favorite target for pranks though was The Princess. Guess they saw her as weak."

"Doesn't look like they were wrong." Oliver began before Ami lightly hit him on the shoulder.

"It used to be just The Overlord, the Demon, and the Witch." the Vampire began. "They were the three founding members. The Witch just goes along with anything anyone says. The Demon's mostly just focused on getting power The Overlord though, he just really, REALLY seemed to want to ruin Billie's life."

"The Vampire and I weren't part of the dorm back then. Draco got expelled after... he was stalking her I think? Watching the Princess, leaving her creepy messages, that sort of thing. I guess she's still super shaken up after it. Can't really blame her." The President gave shrug.

I was a little shocked to hear about this. "Wow, I'm surprised you guys have so much drama in this academy."

"I'm more surprised the Princess is a second year student." Oliver said. "She looks the same age as my step-sister."

I glanced over at Oliver. I didn't know he had a step-sister, but if his parents were divorced maybe I could look to him for some kind of support while my own parents faced the same thing.

The Firefly grinned at Oliver's words. "Actually Billie's two months older than me if you can believe it."

The Vampire nodded at the Firefly's words. "I'll admit, Necrophades weren't the best people last year, but all that stuff was in the past. We're on the up-and-up now, working on becoming a fully official dorm. We're not monsters like The Princess thinks we are."

"It doesn't help that you call yourself 'The Vampire of Crimson Wind Academy' though." The President responded, complete with air-quotes at his title.

"It seemed appropriate at the time. Especially consider the whole blood transfusion thing."

We didn't have time to hear the Necrophades Dorm conversation, as shortly thereafter The Divine Light emerged, holding the Princess in her arms. The Horseman and the Witch followed closely behind them.

"Somebody's hand is all better now!" The Divine Light smiled cheerfully, though the Princess was pouting and looking away indignantly. "And I think she has something to say to everyone!"

The Princess was set carefully on the ground, awkwardly wobbling on her high heels. Her hand was wrapped up in a bandage and she glared at the Divine Light.

"I'm not going to apologize Dani, you know that."

"Come ooooon." she teased, poking at the spots where she knew the Princess was ticklish, getting a quick smile before an angry look spread on the Princess's face.

The Princess tried to swat away the Divine Light's hands. "St-stop it! C-Cut it out! You really want me to just give up all my ideals and everything I stand for just because you said 'come on'?!"

She glared at The Divine Light, who had finally stopped trying to tickle her.

"They're not your enemies Billie." The Firefly said. "Draco's gone. You're safe now."

"This isn't about Draco! It's about the entire Necrophades Black Dorm!" she pointed menacingly at the four of them.

"You've tainted this building, and I came here to cleanse your taint!"

The Necrophades Dorm had an easier time keeping a straight face than Team Surname did. I snorted, giving a few weak chuckles. Guy was doing his best not to laugh at all, biting his lower lip. Ami looked as though she was about to explode. Oliver meanwhile burst out laughing, followed soon after by Ami.

Only Gal seemed to have a better poker face, but we soon found out why. "What? What's so funny?"

The Vampire leaned towards Gal. "Don't worry about her. The Princess says this kind of stuff All. The. Time."

"It's not funny! You guys ruined this sacred building?"

Everyone there seemed to be mocking her, dismissing the girl and what she said. Even I was guilty of it as I had finally managed to get my laughter under control. They treated her like a child even though she was the same age as them. And even if they did have a point, I felt it was finally time to ask the one question I felt no one had probably asked her before.

I walked over to the Princess, who was still noticeably upset.

"Why do you think this place is sacred anyway?"

Her reply was nothing I could have ever expected.

"What do you mean? All grave sites are sacred!"


If there was a way to get a room full of laughing kids to sober up, that was it. The chuckling, giggling, and laughing all stopped as all eyes turned to the Princess after her sudden outburst. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

"Wh-what do you m-mean g-grave site!?" The Horseman asked nervously. The Witch pulled him close in a reassuring manner, petting his arm for support.

The President shook her head. "The Black Dorm isn't a grave, and it never was. There's literally no way for anything to have been buried underneath us Princess."

"President's right. We're practically sitting above the world's biggest bomb shelter. I can't even imagine the kind of equipment it would take to pierce the-"

The Princess interrupted. "They weren't buried here! They died here! In the dorm rooms! In the ballroom! In the hallways! In the staircases! Two hundred thirty eight lives, extinguished in a flash. Why did you think they abandoned this dorm in the first place?"

There was a sudden gravity to the room as everyone suddenly became hyper aware of where exactly they were sitting. If these people were anything like me, they must have been thinking "Had someone died right where I was sitting?"

A chuckle emerged from a nearby entryway, and we all turned our heads to see The Demon of Turbo. His piercing red eyes surveyed the scene and he seemed mildly amused but mostly annoyed to see the white haired Princess still in the ballroom.

"So this is what I come to find? A little girl comes and threatens our home and you all come to treat to her own self-inflicted wounds and continue allowing her to speak?"

"It's the truth!" the Princess pleaded. She turned to us, eyes almost watering as she began her story. "When I first came to the island, I could tell there was something unusual and unsettling about this building. I could hear voices calling out to me, whispering about how there were so many people... people from this dorm that were pulled to the other side on one fateful night."

She tried to choke back a few tears before continuing. "I came here every morning, praying for the souls of the damned to find peace. I left offerings, lit candles in their honor and did everything I could to soothe their spirits. That was until Draco came along. I don't know how he found out about this place, but he made a mockery of everything I had done for them. He trashed the place, burned up the bibles and crucifixes I had set up, he left insulting graffiti marks, and he hounded me every day until he was finally expelled."

The white haired girl closed her eyes as though in a deep meditative trance. "Even now I can still hear their voices, yelling, screaming, and begging for sweet release."

We all looked at her, unsure of how to react. It was a wild story and it came from a girl who seemed to want to do anything to take out the Black Dorm.

The Demon gave a laugh. "None of our guests believe you."

And it was rather true. None of us were quite ready to commit to The Princess's side of the story. It was until a small voice called out that some of us began to consider it.

"I believe her." The Witch declared blankly. "As Priestess of the Covenant of the Eternals-"

"Not you too Kira!" The Demon grimaced as he glared at the blonde girl. "We tolerate your peculiar nature only because you cook and clean, but there's no reason to go along with Our Lady of Perpetual Flatchestedness here. Act more like the rest of your Necrophades brethren. Who do you trust? Me, or that little white haired freak who tried to burn down our dorm?"

The Horseman, The President, and The Vampire all looked away.  

"I... I'm not so sure." The President said.

"M-me n-neither." The Horseman agreed.

"I mean, it's a pretty big building and it seems like the people involved left in a really big hurry. Other than a lock to the basement it was pretty easy to get everything back up."

"Unbelievable. What about you Hawthorne kids. Do you REALLY believe the story of the girl who tried to set our home on fire?"

I couldn't tell what the truth was and what a lie was anymore. Fortunately, the girl standing next to me, the Goddess of Wisdom, knew everything there was to know about everything.

"Arena, you got to tell me. Is any of the Princess's story true?"

"It is."


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[spoiler=Chapter 18: I Cannot Meddle with Human Affairs]


Word Count: 4160


It was just two little words from Arena, but suddenly the whole situation had changed and me and Oliver both had second thoughts about staying the night in the Necrophades Dorm.


"You know, we REALLY appreciate the hospitality guys, but I kind of have a very strict no-dead-people policy." Oliver gave a nervous laugh as he stood up. "Isn't that right Arthur?"


"Yeah. Let's... let's just head back to the Grand Central Dueling Arena."


"I won't hear of it." The Witch looked at us with a fierce intensity in her eyes, similar to the way Arena did anytime I did anything. "You'll never find your way back to the main campus this late and besides-"


It seemed Mother Nature was against us leaving as well. A loud clap of thunder interrupted the witch and we all heard the pitter patter sound of rain hitting against the windows.


"It's going to rain." The Witch concluded.


"They can all take their chances in the rain." The Demon smirked. "The Black Dorm doesn't hold people against their will anymore."


He gave a nasty smile at The Princess who seemed to back away.


The Vampire yawned, quite loudly in fact. It was contagious and a few of us followed suit. "Look, we're all exhausted. We can decide this tomorrow morning. I know I'm The Vampire of Crimson Wind, but I don't exactly feel comfortable living in a place where a bunch of people died."


The Demon scowled. "You really believe that garbage from The Princess?"


"It's true!" The Princess shot back.


He turned to her and spoke flatly. "Swear on a bible."


Without a second of hesitation the Princess unbuttoned her jacket and produced a pocket sized book. She held it out for the Demon and raised her left hand. "Let's go!"


I turned to Team Surname, asking for opinions, though more looking for a certain girl's opinion than anyone else’s.


"Whose side do we take?" It was more directed towards Arena than anyone else.


"I cannot meddle with human affairs." Arena stared blankly. She blinked, then added one more thing. "You shouldn't meddle with this one either."


Guy however seemed to have his mind made up. "This is the dumbest non-issue I've ever heard and I literally cannot believe this is how we're spending our final night here. The Princess was nice, but she's either jealous of the Demon or still a little traumatized from last year. There's no such thing as ghosts or spirits or anything like that. I'm with the Demon on this one though."


"I'm with Guy!" Ami said, red in the face.


Gal rolled her eyes. "That's so silly bro! Just 5 minutes ago you were all like: 'Let's get out of here!' Now you want to stay the night in this creepy haunted house?"


Oliver smirked. "I would have thought you two would have been sick of haunted houses after Duel Monster Spirit Day."


Guy's face turned white and he gave a shudder. "I know I don't want to go through THAT again, but this is different. Besides, it's raining."


"I'll whether the weather whatever the weather." Gal said with a nod. "Even if this place ISN'T haunted, I don't want to spend the night in the building where two hundred thirty eight people died."


"To be clear, they didn't die." Arena corrected.


All eyes turned to Arena, though she didn't seem even remotely flustered by all the attention she was getting. "It is precisely as the Princess said it was. They were pulled to the other side."


I groaned. "Arena, it's like... way too late at night for you to be speaking in riddles. What exactly happened?"


Arena stared at me, smiling ever so slightly before once again turning to her signature serious expression. "The students were dissolved into light and their essences were scattered amongst the Aether Realm. An Eternal from the Aether Realm could bring them back if they were so inclined." Arena stared blankly before quickly adding in. "The voices that the Princess and the Witch are hearing are completely unrelated though."


I stared at her for a minute, processing what she said. "So that's it then right? We just have to bring back the kids from the abandoned dorm and everything will be fine."


Arena stared at me once again, as though studying me and figuring out how to explain it. Finally she said the same words I heard from her a million and one times before.


"I cannot meddle with human affairs."


Arena folded her hands on her lap as though that was the end of the discussion.


This was hardly the end from what I could see though. Not only did Arena know exactly the way to resolve the problem at hand but she was also the only one who could physically do it. She could bring back all the souls that were scattered, resolve everyone's problems in one fell swoop, yet she refused for some completely arbitrary reason. I cared for Arena a lot, but if she could be so callous about human life how would I know what the future held? Would she do nothing if our friends desperately needed her? I tried to keep my hands from shaking, but it seemed that Oliver and Guy at least noticed. They motioned towards me, and The Vampire and The President turned to me as well.


"Arena..." I spoke through gritted teeth, trying my best to maintain my anger.




"Can we have a conversation?"


"We are having one."




She blushed, completely misreading the situation. "I will join you in our bedroom then."


I blushed lightly too as it seemed she had defused the situation. "N-not there. Hallway please."


Her face turned even more scarlet.


"If you are THAT eager it is my duty to oblige."






I followed her out of the Necrophades Ballroom and into the hallway. As soon as we were far enough away, she leaned onto a wall and closed her eyes, puckering her lips and extending her arms.


I was not amused. "No, Arena. We need to talk."


Arena scowled but she seemed to realize I was not in the mood. Her smile dropped and her face turned back to the serious scowl that was normally etched on her face. "Very well. What is on your mind?"


"It's about that whole 'not meddling with human affairs' thing."


"Correct. As an Eternal from the Aether Realm, I may not show favoritism."


It was hard for me to stifle a laugh at her words. After all, this was a girl who had literally laid in bed with me the first night we met. To say she was not picking favorites after something like that was completely ludicrous.


"You can't be serious Arena. It's pretty clear you pick and choose when to interfere and when not to."


"Incorrect." She stated, staring at me like she was studying me. "Everything remains exactly as it is supposed to be despite my descent into the mortal realm."


"That's impossible. There's no way you had no effect on anything in the human world. What about the LAG tournament?"


"Without me there, The Distribution does better that before but since there is no one to pull off a sixteen-to-zero win streak then Crimson Wind Academy still maintains their victory."


"What about the Cursed Chain? Guy's magical powers?"


"All part of the plan. Guy and Gal would just not have as much information as they do now."


"And our friends?"


"They would have found themselves without my involvement."


She may have been right about everything so far, but there was one thing in the mortal realm I was certain she had to have meddled with. "What about me? Was this... was this what you had envisioned when you looked at my future?"


Arena stared at me, a pained expression on her face before she looked away and responded.


"Not exactly."


I had to know how much had she meddled with. "What was my future going to be like if we never met?"


Arena looked away again, not speaking. I felt I had to press her on this, unaware of how much I'd regret it later.




"Very well." Her serious expression returned again as she stared at me intently. "You had no future."


It was glad I decided to have a private conversation with Arena here. Oliver would have made a joke with that. I however, was shaken up by her comment enough to stay the task. "W-what do you mean?"


"You were not meant to survive the fire at Lincoln Academy."


To say I was stunned would be an understatement. Absolutely shell shocked would be closer to what I felt. What could I possibly say to that? So many questions were running through my head, though the ever-reliable Goddess of Wisdom seemed eager to impart that special bit of wisdom on me.


"When I first gazed into the future, so many eons ago at the dawn of mankind, there were so many human lives that would be shining in so many different ways. But you, Arthur Surrogate, were special for the exact opposite reason. You were so bland, so average, and made so little an impact on other people's lives that the world continued spinning and nothing of consequence changed regardless of your actions. Whether or not you existed, your parents would still have divorced. Your four other friends, 'Team Surname' as they call themselves, would have still found each other. The Tournament here would have had the same results. The world would continue on as though Arthur Surrogate never existed."


I like to imagine I'm cool and smart and funny and can always come up with a clever quip but how exactly do you respond to something like that? She wasn't being cruel or mean, but pointedly factual in the typical Arena-like way. Could I even fight against what she was saying, and if so would it even be a good idea to do so? My existence hinged on the fact I made no impression on anyone.


Nevertheless, Arena seemed to smile at this. "That's what made you perfect for me. As a Goddess, I cannot make any impact on this mortal coil. But as a human, you do so with ease. When I realized this, I knew I had to have you. It was this fact which lead me to making a deal with Persades, Goddess of the Underworld, Death and Rebirth. I would exchange your life for the lives of a few others."


That was the sentence that shook me out of my thoughts. I had a bad feeling Arena had made a terrible deal in order to keep me alive, but I had to know the truth. "How many?" Though I had a feeling I already knew the answer.


"Two hundred and thirty eight."






I folded my hand into Arena's and that was the end of the conversation. There was little else I could say here. Arguing for Arena to return those kids would mean arguing for my own death. So there was nothing left to do but return to the ballroom and see what was going on.


"I'm back." I announced.


Oliver gave me a quick nod. "Oh hey. We barely noticed you left."


After what I had just heard I wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear. "Gee, thanks." I blurted out sarcastically.


"Quiet! Duel's about to end!" Gal said with an eager smile as she turned back to the center of the ballroom.


I glanced over to see the end of the duel between The Princess and the Demon. They both had less than one thousand life points left, and it seemed it was the Princess's turn.


"Activate Trap! Miraculous Descent!" she declared, flipping her face down.


The Demon raised one of his large eyebrows at her, smirking with delight at her move. "So you've made use of the trash I banished with Dark Law after all?"


"Dark Law's not here anymore, so this duel's just about over!"


He gave a laugh. "Did you forget my Beelze's effect? You'll never summon a monster strong enough to defeat him!"


"I don't need to! And I might have forgotten your Beelze's effect, but you're forgetting my Athena's effect! When a fairy type monster is special summoned, you lose 600 life points!"


The monster on the Princess's field raised a spear, shining a bright light. The Princess smiled as she looked over the field. "And that's not the end of it! With my Athena's effect, I can send my Majestic Mech Ohka to the grave, to special summon Majestic Mech Goryu!"


An even larger monster appeared on the Princess's field, but that didn't seem to be her primary goal. "Athena! End this!" a wave of her spear, 600 more life points, and The Demon of Turbo lost to the Princess of Ra Yellow.


"Good job Billie!" The Divine Light cheered.


"Way to go!" The Firefly yelled as well.


The two girls rushed over to their leader and scooper her up, excitedly raising her high like she had just scored the game winning touchdown. The Princess had a big cheesy grin on her face before she stuck out her tongue towards the Demon. "Ha! I win!"


"Congratulations." The Demon gave a slow sarcastic clap before dropping the smile. "Now I'm going back to sleep." Without another word he turned his back to the Princess and began making his way to the door.


The Princess and the rest of Heaven's Sake looked shocked. "What!? But you promised..."


The Demon ignored her, viewing her as such a non-issue he didn't even turn around to face her. "President, what were her exact words?"


The President sighed, then looked over a paper. "She said, and I quote, 'When I win, you and everyone else have to stop desecrating this site'."


"And we have, isn't that right Witch?


"Hai." The Witch responded in a drowsy voice while slowly lifting her head from the Horseman's chest. "That is correct. We inspected all the rooms and all the public areas."


"N-no graffiti. N-no litter. N-no cobw-webs." The Horseman put a hand on the back of the Witch's head, and she once again went back to sleep in his arms.


"Well there you have it. We're treating our new home with the utmost respect." With his back still turned to the girl, he stopped at the door, putting a hand on the frame. "And we'll even let you light your little candles and give us a quick prayer if you really insist on it."




The Demon may have lost the duel, but he still had one last trump card up his sleeve. "There are no buts here. If you knew what Swebb and I talked about before the final duel of the tournament, you'd realize I'm being more than generous here."


The girls of Heaven's Sake give each other nervous looks before speaking in unison. "The Headmistress?"


"Yeah. She wanted a win against Hawthorne Academy so badly that before the final duel of the tournament we struck up a deal. I'd deliver a victory against our archrivals in Silvershine and in exchange she'd make the Black Dorm a real and official dormitory."


There was a low and audible gasp from The Princess, but most of us were too tired and fatigued to react.


The Demon continued. "We still need to draw up all the paperwork and get everything in tip top shape, but the day after the Sweetheart's Day ball is when everything goes live. There is absolutely nothing you can do to stop any of this."


Before leaving, the Demon turned to his subordinates. "As for the rest of the 'leaders' of the black dorm, there's a lot of people at this academy who'd be dying for a spot here. I appreciate the work you two put in here, but if you want to leave you're free to do so. You can easily be replaced."


The Demon then turned his back to all of us one final time. "Do whatever you want, just let me sleep." He said before walking away.


And with that, it seemed as though everything was decided. Guy and Ami had already fallen asleep in each other arms, and the Witch and the Horseman also began cuddling up on a nearby couch. The rest of us were still awake, though fading fast.


The Vampire turned to the three girls of Heaven's Sake. "It's late. You guys are welcome to sleep wherever you want. Don’t know where exactly the dead people were, but we'll figure it out." he gave a shrug as though he was used to having to wade through corpses to get a good night’s sleep.


The Vampire took a look at the Princess, he seemed to have second thoughts about speaking to her and took his time to phrase it correctly before finally settling on the following: "Sorry it ended up like that."


She looked up at him, a quick yawn but she maintained a determined expression. "This isn't over. Not by a long shot."


We all groaned, but everyone was too tired to do anything about it.


Fortunately for us it was almost dawn, so we wouldn't have to wait too long to experience the Princess's counterattack.






When you were a kid, you may have watched a movie or TV show where two characters were fighting. The hero makes some sort of threat or insult of some kind. The villian responds, all cool and collected, 'oh yeah? You and what army?'. Then the hero smiles back. 'Me and this army!' and suddenly a million and one of his closest friends show up, armed to the teeth and ready to fight.


No one had said 'you and what army?' to The Princess of Ra Yellow, but that didn't stop her from gathering one anyway.


I was never much of a light sleeper, though never much of a heavy sleeper either. But even if I was a heavy sleeper it was hard to sleep through the sound of a horde of duelists marching into the ballroom all chatting and murmuring, talking, whispering, shouting and everything in between.


I awoke with Arena on top of me and awkwardly pushed her away. Still groggy from the general lack of sleep, it seemed everyone else was still shaking the sleepiness out and not exactly in the mood to greet dozens of students, though that was exactly what we got anyway.


I couldn't count them all, though I recognized a few of them from the tournament. Many were new, either they did not join the tournament or they did not make much of an impression on me. And there front and center of the mass of people was the Princess of Ra Yellow.


"Good morning everyone." She greeted cheerfully, though with one of those phony smiles like Professor Andry wore when she was about to give us terrible news.






And various other sounds came from the Necrophades and Team Surname as we were still trying to get up. One of the Necropades however was wide awake.


It seemed the sound of many people storming into his building had woken up the Demon of Turbo.


"Just what the hell is this!?" The Demon of Turbo barged in to the ballroom, furious as ever.


The Princess was in such high spirits she didn't even correct his use of 'hell'. "I'm glad you're here Gouki!"


The Demon walked menacingly towards the Princess, though a large hand put itself on his shoulder, belonging to The Windmill. He gave a coy smirk and the Demon seemed to back off.


"Great, so we know who's in charge right now." She smiled smugly. "I just want you to know, I sent out a massive, school-wide email about this place. It seems these people are just as mad as I am about you taking over this site."


"Yeah! Who died and made you the leader of the Necrophades Dorm?" yelled out a boy I didn't recognize.


"Yeah!" the Princess yelled out to get the crowd on her side.


"Feebas is right-"




And then came a sentence the Princess probably wasn't expecting. "- It should be me!"


"Yeah!" she paused. "Wait, what!?"


"Lousy Necrophallus!" Freezy yelled out. "It should be a girl who gets to take over the dorm!"


"No, no, no!" The Princess protested. "We're not here to TAKE OVER the Black Dorm! We're here to DISMANTLE it!"


The Windmill gave chuckle. "Not exactly little Princess. That's what YOU'RE here for. Everyone else just wants a piece of the pie themselves."


Someone else chimed in now. "I mean, if the Demon of Failure gets his own dorm, why can't I get one too?"


"It's not fair that a Yellow gets to lead the dorm! Yellows already have it better than us reds!


"Maybe we could all just have everyone move up a color and get rid of red?"


"Lynn-nya and I should get to take over! We'd make it the most-est fun!"


"We'd fill it with cute boys!" a girl's voice responded.


"Or cute girls!" called out Sugu, Guy's opponent from round 2.


"No dorms! Down with the current administration!" said a girl nicknamed Ace.


"We could make it into a shared space. For... certain activities." A guy I recognized as my opponent 'Dustman' piped up.


"I should be leader!"

"No me!"

"No, her!"

"Handsome should lead us!"

"Well if you all insist..."

"Build something cool instead, like a giant robot!"

"Movie Theater!"

"Post Office!"



At last, a loud noise from the Princess's bullhorn brought everyone out of their fervor, if only for a second.


"GUYS!" With all eyes on her, she cleared her throat. "If we can't figure it out then the least we can do is agree to have no one take it over." The Princess of Ra Yellow stated. "It's not like we can have everyone duel it out in some sort of super-slick Fight-Club R-"


"Billie's right! Battle Royale!" Cauchy declared.


"Yeah!" The crowd roared in agreement.


As I said earlier, the girl had a good idea on how people should act. But as for how people actually did act, that was a completely different story. Though she had managed to bring them together, it was quickly evident that The Princess was no longer in charge here.


"We can't all duel for the dorm right now-"


"One hour from now!"




Cauchy smirked at the Princess, before unceremoniously flipping the short girl's skirt.


"H-hey! Upskirt Goblin!" The Princess hastily adjusted her pencil skirt.


Cauchy blew The Princess a kiss then laughed and hurried off to join the group.


Half in shock, half just waking up, the entirety of Team Surname had no idea what to do after watching the previous scene unfold..


"Wow, and I thought Arena kicked a hornet's nest last night." Ami stated as she adjusted her glasses. "Can't wait to see how this ends."


But unfortunately for anyone excited to see the conclusion of this, the PDA's belonging to the students of Hawthorne academy all went off at once. We all glanced at our PDAs, though they all had the same message.


Attention all Hawthorne Students:

We hope you enjoyed your time at Crimson Wind Academy however our trip has come to a close. The boat taking us back to Silvershine City will be departing the Crimson Wind Piers in exactly 30 minutes. If you are not on this boat please be aware the next ferry will not be arriving until tomorrow morning. You will have to make your own arrangements as to how to get back to Silvershine. It is imperative that you be on time. Looking forward to seeing you all there.


We all looked at the message, and the scores of people coming up with strategy, trading cards, and arming themselves for war.


"What!?" Oliver protested. "Damn, I can't believe we're going to miss out on a really cool Battle Royale duel between literally everyone in the school."


I shook my head, glancing over at my girlfriend. "Let them sort it out amongst. We shouldn't meddle with another school's affairs."


The six of us lethargically made it to the entrance of the Black Dorm, following the overgrown trail back to civilization, back to the pier, and finally back to Silvershine City.


Unfortunately we wouldn't find out the results of the Princess's holy crusade against the Demon of Turbo today. It should have taken Arena's advice to begin with. We were just guests at Crimson Wind Academy, nothing more. In the end, nothing we did had any effect on the school, and nothing we did could have prevented the tragedies we would see coming up, all the people we'd see dead before this was over, and we'd learn that the little war between the Princess of Ra Yellow and the Demon of Turbo was nothing compared to the war for the Eight Links of the Cursed Chain.


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[spoiler=Chapter 19: Monozygotic]
Word Count: 4585

With the Sweetheart's Day Dance only 2 weeks away, the students of Hawthorne Academy were brought into what could only be described as the worst 90 minutes of our lives so far. If we had known what the assembly would be out, I doubt anyone would have shown up. Our faces were as red as Professor Mishegoss's jacket as we listened to her speak up at the podium. Fortunately it seemed she was just about done.

"But by far the MOST important thing to remember is that whoever YOU decide to be intimate with is someone that loves, trusts, and respects you!" she gave a smile.

I glanced over at Arena who gave a contented sigh before resting her head on my shoulder.

Professor Handbasket however wasn't as content with Professor Mishegoss's lecture. "Uh M-M-Mishegoss, isn't it m-more important that they d-don't be t-tempted and avoid th-those kinds of s-situations altogether?"

Professor Mishegoss raised an eyebrow at Handbsket's suggestion. "Abstinence only? No no no! These are growing, maturing women... and a few gentleman. It's TOTALLY normal for them to have questions about what they're going through. We should NOT make them feel ashamed or embarrassed of their own changing bodies."

While I normally longed for every fleeting second I saw or heard Headmistress Ipsum, this time it was different. We were all still completely embarrassed and caught off guard by the assembly that no one seemed caught in her spell.

"No no, I agree with Professor Handbasket." Headmistress Ipsum declared. "If they wish to explore these urges and feelings, they can do so after they graduate."

Mishegoss gave a huge grin. "Oh Ipsum, stop being so old fashioned!" she gave a giggle and a playful tap on her arm.

"I'm not being old fashioned." Ipsum protested, though she still had a smile etched on her face. "And even if I was, there's nothing wrong with a little Renaissance-era modesty!"

Mishegoss gave a laugh. "Renaissance era? Come on! Back then girls around their ages were already having kids!"

"Yeah, and look where they are now. Ninety nine point nine nine nine percent of them are all dead." Ipsum gave a wink.

Mishegoss however rolled her eyes. "It's healthy, normal and ABSOLUTELY natural for these kids to explore their feelings. They should feel com-PLETE-ly safe when doing so."

Ipsum stared at Mishegoss. It was evident she did not approve but there was no use arguing this late into the conversation. "Just finish your presentation." Ipsum gave a cheerful smile, probably happy that it would all soon be over.

Mishegoss turned to the tortured students of Hawthorne Academy with a smile. "Now, before we wrap up I just wanted to see if there were any questions about anything we went over."

"NO!" the entire student body yelled at once, except for one girl unfortunately.


Hundreds of pairs of eyes turned to Gal Surname, the Timaeus Blue duel disk engineer. She grinned in excitement as though she had just won a raffle, and the prize was 10 more minutes of awkwardness.

"I had a question about twins! Identical twins!"

"Monozygotic." Arena corrected.

Gal nodded towards Arena, though I doubted she recognized that Arena had corrected her. "I have an identical twin brother, but Bernouli says it's impossible and that we can't be identical twins. Identical means we have the same DNA and if we did we have to have the same gender, but I'm a girl and he's a boy. I'm pretty sure the two of us are identical twins though."

"We don't know Guy's gender for sure." Oliver gave a chuckle.

Guy frowned, but Oliver's new girlfriend, Ilene, gave a laugh. "Good one Oliver!"

Mishegoss thought for a moment. "Wow that IS a good question. I'm sorry to have to break it to you honey, but whoever it is that told you that was right. You and your brother can NOT be identical twins. You are probably just fraternal twins. Your mom had two ovum at the same time."

"Not true." Arena said blankly.

Mishegoss looked at Arena. "Oh uhh... well I guess it's rare, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility. We went over how sperm cells and ovum cells were made, right?"


"Are you sure? I can go over it-"


"Well... a quick review anyway."

We all groaned.

"When the reproductive cells divide, they go through meiosis! For most cells, they make exact duplicate copies of themselves, including their DNA. Not for the reproductive cells though! Instead of splitting into identical copies with 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46, the cells split with only 23 single chromosomes, no pairs at all! Also when they divide through this process, the genes are shuffled around a little bit to produce an even greater diversity! For a normal person, your mom's 23 single chromosomes meets your dads 23 chromosomes and you end up with the full 46 that most healthy human beings have. Sometimes though, for one parent the process doesn't go very well and we end up with too many or too few chromosomes. With me so far?"

The blank expression on everyone's face seemed to indicate we had zoned out a long time ago. As a teacher, she was probably used to this.

"I can repeat it all for you if you-"

"NO!" and there was more yelling from the student body, urging her to continue.

Mishegoss smiled and continued her answer. "The 23rd chromosome pair decides your gender, XX for girls, XY for boys. You're only meant to get one chromosome from each parent, an X from mom and an X or a Y from dad. Sometimes though a sperm cell comes up with an XX or an XY, meaning the zygote has an XXY combination at the end! However, in extremely rare circumstances it can split, leaving a boy with a normal XY final pair, but unfortunately leaving a girl with an abnormal single X chromosome instead of two. So while you could have identical, oppositely gendered twins, the female would have a lot of development issues when growing up."

Gal had a blank and unsure expression on her face. "So, am I an identical twin or not?"

Oliver put his hand on Gal's shoulder. "Basically, there's two choices here. Either you’re not an identical twin with Guy, or one of you is going to be extremely sick in the future because they got inferior genetics from Mister and Misses Surname."

Gal looked upset, though it was difficult to tell which part was troubling her more.

Arena was also upset, but not because she pitied Gal or Guy. As Goddess of Wisdom, she was upset over the spread of misinformation.

"That is not entirely correct Professor Mishegoss. If one of the Surname parents had inferior gametes, and they split at a certain point, then yes, they would give birth to one sick child and one healthy child. However, for the Surname parents they BOTH gave inferior gametes with genetic imperfections."

Bernouli gave a laugh, but Arena ignored her.

"In a normal child, an XXXY combination would cause a lot of problems. For the Surname twins however, their zygote was split in such a unique way that the twins are identical in every respect, except for the 23rd chromosome that decided their gender."

Mishegoss looked slightly confused, before an enormous grin spread on her face. "Wow Aunt Arena, you sure do know a lot about the Surname twins’ DNA."

Arena stared at Mishegoss for a few seconds before answering back. "Their exact genetic information is VERY important to my plan."

Mishegoss gave a knowing smile and nod, then turned to our group. "Well, I hope this session was as enlightening for you as it was for me! Before you all go, please take some protection with you before you go." The Hermos Red dorm leader motioned towards a large white bin near the door.

Oliver looked like he had just broken out of a trance. "We can go now!? Awesome!" With one hand he grabbed his backpack, and with the other he put it around Ilene's waist.

However, the clearing a voice and the reverberation of a microphone alerted us that it was not over just yet. Headmistress Ipsum's heavenly voice echoed throughout the auditorium.

"Before you all scamper away to enjoy your weekend, I just need to see the following 16 students..."


In the weeks after the LAG Tournament, I got to know more about the girls that I shared the academy with. There were the 9 of us that you already knew, Team Surname and the Distribution, and Ella and Small Boobs made 11. There was also Ilene Dover, Oliver's new girlfriend. There was Paige Turner, the Critias Black girl with the dark sense of humor. We had Marsha Mellow, who truthfully, was a little bit overweight. There was Lauren Order, a nervous girl with glasses, and lastly there was the dark-skinned Karen Maintenance, who worked with Duel Disks just like Gal. All of us were at least on a first name basis, we'd smile and nod at each other when we passed by the hallways, that sort of thing.

When I noticed the 16 students that had been held after Mishegoss's lesson, it was abundantly clear what we all shared in common.

"This is everyone from the LAG tournament."

"That's right my dear!" Lady Ipsum smiled cheerfully. Hearing her call me 'her' dear was enough to make my heart skip a beat. I stared at her in stunned silence, face igniting in red as I listened to her speak, but didn't hear the words.

"As a... reward for your hard work and commitment to the art of dueling, the 16 of you have been hand selected as the Sweetheart's Day Dance Committee."

Ilene raised an eyebrow before raising her hand. "What exactly does that mean?"

Our headmistress smiled. "I'm glad you asked! Everything from beginning to end, top to bottom, the food, the drinks, the venue, the decorations, the music, and everything else involved in setting up and making the Sweetheart's Day dance a smashing success will all be in your very capable hands!"

The boys were still entranced so we didn't hear anything we disagreed with. The girls however shared confused and reluctant looks. Bernouli spoke up next. "Uhh... I don't know how everyone else feels, but the girls of The Distribution don't really want to do it."

"Yeah!" Weibull agreed.

"Oh but you all spent so much time speaking with and hanging out with the students of Crimson Wind Academy! I'm certain that you know their likes and interest much more than anyone else at the academy. As such, the sixteen of you would be best suited for this task!"

"But that's not fair! We worked hard already." Marsha protested.

"Yeah, have someone else do it!" Karen complained.

The smile on Lady Ipsum's face flinched, ever so slightly. For the first time, the faintest bit of a scowl etched itself on her face for a split second, before once again turning to her award winning smile.

"Let me rephrase that all for you then then. For your shameful and embarrassing loss at Crimson Wind Academy, all sixteen of you will be punished by having to work together into making the dance an unforgettable night for everyone. If you embarrass this academy once again, you can forget about re-enrolling in the fall."

She still smiled, and spoke in exactly the same smiling cheerful tone when threatening us as she did when she gave a farewell smile and a quick wave. "Have a nice day everyone!"

We were speechless, none of us had ever seen Headmistress Ipsum quite so menacing and threatening. It was a bit of a pause before Gal interrupted the silence.

"Yay! Party!" Gal exclaimed gleefully.

"Uhh... what the hell was that!?" Laplace finally managed.

Guy seemed to be one of the first boys to shake off her effects. "She's going to kick us out of school if we don't help with the Sweetheart's Day Dance?"

"She said to make it an unforgettable night." Arena corrected.

"Unforgettable?" There was a bit of a mischievous glint in Oliver's eyes as he spoke. "Oh well well, sounds like we've got a lot of room to play with then, don't we girls?"

A few of the girls nodded weakly.

"Let's give them a party they'll not soon forget then! We can hold it in our gymnasium!"

"Yeah! And we shouldn't give them the whole thing either." Ella gave a laugh. "Give them just a quarter of it! And we host a basketball game the same night too!"

"And... we give them our leftovers from last night!" Ilene added.

"Better! Forrester Snack Cakes fresh from the vending machine." Small Boobs puffed out her chest in pride.

"Or just poison them." Paige give a sinister grin behind the long hair that covered half her face.

"Too far Paige." Marsha chastised.

"Yeah, but only by just a little bit." Bernouli said. "Why kill someone when you can just make them regret ever disrespecting us?"

"They'd never forget it if someone died during Sweetheart's Day." Arena stated.

But whether she was in a group of a hundred or a group of sixteen, Gal Surname was still the one dissenting voice.

"Come on! Our trip was awful, but we'd really be punishing the students for something their Headmistress did!"

"I say screw Crimson Wind and screw everything they stand for!" Oliver declared. "Who's with me?"

The crowd cheered with her.

Gal turned to the two people she always felt she could count on. "Ami? Guy? You're on my side, right?"

And though he usually tried to pick his sister's side, Guy looked at the ground. "Come on Gal. Those Crimson Wind kids do sort of have it coming..."

I shook my head. "The students were pretty nice for the most part. It was just that Headmistress of theirs."

It seemed the sound of cheering and laughing from most of the girls had gotten someone's attention as a cheerful voice made her presence known. "Hey!" Professor Mishegoss returned with a smile. "You kids must have gotten the good news eh?" Our spirits quickly sobered up as we wondered if the other part of Lady Ipsum's punishment was a second round of lectures from Mishegoss.

"So, you 16 are the Sweethearts Day Dance committee? AWESOME!" And with the grin on Hilda Mishegoss's face and the gleam in her eye, you could really tell she meant it. "This day is HUGE in the Mishegoss family! It's probably my dad's FAVORITE day of the year! I'm a big fan of Sweetheart's Day myself too, OF COURSE, so as a reward for helping you guys understand your changing bodies, Headmistress Ipsum assigned ME to be the faculty advisor for the Sweetheart's Day Dance! Isn't that great!?"

I felt a bit of a relief, and I could see the wind knock out of Oliver and the other girls's sails. Together the 16 of us would make a terrible committee, but with Mishegoss leading us, we at least stood a chance of making it to the fall.

"Anyway! There's sort of 4 main things we need to get for to make this party TOTALLY out of sight. Do you kids still say out of sight?"

We all exchanged awkward looks before Mishegoss spoke again. "Oh well, that's not important. What IS important however is this!" Mishegoss pulled out 4 folders, each labeled something else. There was one labeled Venue, one labeled Food & Drink, one labeled Entertainment and one labeled Decorations.

"Alllll-righty everyone! Gather round and hear ye' one and all! Many hands make light work, so I've divided up this dance into FOUR main sub-committees. We need a location where this is to take place, we need to figure out catering, we need decorations, chairs, and tables, and lastly we need a band or DJ to cover the jams. I've got four folders, and we've got 16 students, so 4 groups of 4 seems pretty fair."

Oliver got the folder labeled "venue". Guy got "Food & Drink". She handed me a folder labeled "Entertainment". Gal got "Decorations".

"Khlozoff, Pettan, D'Vallé, Dover, you four can be on Team Venue." Laplace, Small Boobs, and Ilene looked mildly annoyed to be on the same team.

"Oh that's cool." Oliver said blankly. "I've gotten to second base with everyone in my-" Laplace and Ilene rushed to shut him up, hands over his mouth and grabbing at him. The pair then blinked as they realized Small Boobs was also there trying to shut up Oliver.

Laplace and Ilene stared at Small Boobs before speaking at the same time. "Wait, why are you-"

Small Boobs gave a nervous grin. "Uhh... d-don't worry about it!"

"Surrogate, you'll be on a team with Pastiche, Euryval, and Minnow to find us some entertainment. No gangster rap please?" I blinked, remembering that 'Euryval' was supposed to be Bernouli. I winced and gave her a bit of a weak smile. She scowled and turned her nose up in pride.


"Which one?" asked Guy.

"Mister Surname, you'll be on a team with Arena, Dwyer, and Order to get us some grub."

Guy raised a brow. "Who the heck is Dwyer?"

"Barbara." Weibull said nonchalantly. "Just stick with Weibull for right now though."

"And Miss Surname-"

"I got it!" Gal declared. "The only ones not taken so far are Marsha, Paige, and Karen! We're going to decorate the heck out of everything!" she giggled and gleefully rounded up the 3 remaining people to her team who seemed much less than enthusiastic. In fact, the only one who seemed to match Gal's level of excitement was Mishegoss herself.

"Inside everyone's folder are a few articles, clippings, advertisements, printouts, and just general information on things I thought might look cool for the Sweetheart's Day Dance. Just look them all over before making a final decision. I've got the funds, just give me a call when you're ready to make the final decision and the school can cut the check."

Mishegoss gave a smile and a wink towards "Good luck kids, and have fun! If you're having any trouble, meet back here or send me an email and we can chat about it!"


I looked over all the groups, doubting than anyone besides Gal could possibly have fun. Oliver was in a group with his ex-girlfriend and his current girlfriend and they were sure to cause sparks. Guy was in a group with Weibull, and Arena was away from me for the longest stretch of time since she met me. Paige was always a downer, Marsha wasn't on the food committee, and even though I was generally okay with Ami and Ella, it was the last one, Bernouli that I had to watch out for.

The four of us found a good quiet spot in the library, lots of witnesses in case Bernouli did something stupid. And speaking of which, as soon as the four of us sat down at the table, it seemed Bernouli had something on her mind.

"Hand over that folder Surrogate. I'm the one in charge." she said bluntly.

I glanced over at the folder in my hand. "Psh, whatever."

I put the folder down on the table and was about to slide it over when Ami's voice stopped me. "Hey wait a minute!" I paused, giving it a minute. "We're a team here, aren't we? Why do you get to be in charge?"

"I'm leader of the Distribution. I've got more than enough experience leading a group than anyone else here."

"Experience?" Ella gave a laugh. "Puh-lease. You, Moe and Curly are half the reason we're stuck doing this volunteer work in the first place. It was me and Arena carrying the team!"

Bernouli glared at Ella. "Say that again!"

A chorus of girls reminded us that we were still in a library. "Shhh!"

We were all rather alarmed and paused for moment before I spoke up. "Let's just open the folder first."

Unfortunately the folder Mishegoss gave us wasn't even remotely helpful. There were names of bands on a list, magazine clippings, and just bands that were either dead, retired, or way beyond anything we could reasonably afford unless we went all in with half an auditorium and leftovers with a side of poisoned Forrester Snacks.

Bernouli scowled as she looked over the papers and other junk that spilled from the folder. "She's like... 5 years older than us. How can she be so out of touch with the kind of music we listen to?"

"All these bands suck." Ella muttered as she rooted through something that looked like pages ripped from a diary. "Who's Hilda Timberwolf anyway?"

"Hilda is Mishegoss's first name." Ami began "Timberwolf was the last name of that guy from... oh." Ami suddenly realized what the torn scrap from the diary was meant to be.

They say you can't please all the people all the time, and it seemed all those people were here today to pick music for the Sweetheart's Day Dance.

"No way. Rock and roll."
"I prefer alternative."
"Hmph, you would prefer that Pastiche."

I mostly tried to stay out of their conversation, sorting through the collection of articles, magazine clippings, and paperwork here. One name kept popping up over and over again.

I picked up an old poster from about 6 years ago with four signatures on it. "Do you guys know anything about this band called Patchwork?"

That seemed to trigger something within the girls as they stopped their arguing for a second to look at me. "Patchwork?" they said in unison.

"Oh yeah." Ami nodded. "You're not really from Silvershine but they're this old local band from about 5 years ago."

Ella continued. "They had one good album then they just kind of disappeared."

"I'm not really a fan myself," Bernouli began dismissively, earning her death glares from Ami and Ella. "However I will admit that everyone else really seems to like them. We can probably score some big points if we manage to book them."

"Plus it seems Mishegoss really had her heart set on these guys too." Besides the old poster, there were about 8 or 9 ticket stubs from the band, a flyer, and about 12 magazine article clippings about the ban. "They're all over the place."

"Guess it's settled then! Glad it's unanimous." Ami smiled.

Bernouli looked over the Patchwork poster. "Anyone know where to find this band?"

"Damn. I think I heard they typically play at Point Blank." Ella said in a defeated tone of voice.

The girls all had a look of shared disappointment, but I was still as confused as ever. "What's wrong with Point Blank? Is there something I should know?"

"It's a nightclub. They'll never let us in." Ami remarked.

"If only we were much, much older." Ella smiled. "That'd be great."

"Well we got to at least try. Come on, what do we have to lose?"

Bernouli scowled. "Fine, I'll meet you all there."

Bernouli walked away, leaving just Ami, Ella and me to head to this nightclub.


Point Blank was the place to be if you were anyone in Silvershine. It wasn't uncommon to see famous movie stars or important musicians playing at the hottest nightclub in town. There were also rumors of an underground dueling ring localized around the area, with their headquarters in the night club basement. That was all just hearsay and rumors though, as far as we knew.

When Ami, Ella and I got to the head of the line, we handed the bouncer our IDs.

The bouncer scowled. "Sorry, no minors allowed."

I paused, trying to stand up as straight as I could and cleared my throat. "My good sir, my wife and my mistress are certainly not minors." I said in the deepest voice I could muster.

"Do you have any idea who I am?" he asked before I gave him a shrug. "My name is Spencer Friedman, world's greatest detective!"

We looked over the man from top to bottom. He wore a plain looking dress shirt with rolled up sleeves, regular dark dress pants, a walkie-talkie, sunglasses, and just a small bit of scruffy facial hair like he hadn't shaved since Monday, and judging by the messy mop top of head he probably hadn't had a haircut since Founder's Day. Truthfully he didn't look that physically intimidating. Let's just say, if he and I had an arm wrestling match, I think it would be pretty close.

"A detective?" Ella remarked. "And you're working as a night club bouncer?"

The detective lowered his sunglasses so we could see his pale purple eyes. "I don't need to be a detective to see through your obvious facade kids."

He cleared his throat as he went into exposition mode. It was clear that Spencer Friedman had a lot of experience unraveling mysteries for regular non-detectives. "You three clearly gave me student IDs. These IDs not only imply you're students at the local duel academy, but they also state your date of birth."

"Oh... oops." Ella said with a nervous smile.

"You're also all still wearing the Hawthorne academy uniform for Pete’s sake."

"Wow, you really are the world's greatest detective." Ami rolled her eyes.

He readjusted his sunglasses and put his hands on his hips. "Do you know how many Hawthorne kids I bust trying to get in here? Why just last week this little girl, Hilda Mishegoss tries to come in."

"Hilda? But..." While it was true she was young looking, she was definitely an adult.

"She even had a fake ID and everything! Like anyone would believe that woman was 21." He handed back out student IDs. "Now get out of here, there's other people waiting to get in."

"Yeah." a familiar voice remarked. "You kids are holding up the line."

Bernouli was always taller than us, but in high heels she definitely looked much more mature. Her hair was done up in a bun and she was dolled up with makeup. She wore a tight all black dress that greatly showed off her figure. This was obviously Bernouli, but she just looked so much more mature. She smiled towards Spencer Friedman as she handed over a card.

"Sorry to keep you waiting Miss... Lilith Fibber?"

Bernouli gave an exaggerated laugh. "Oh please! Lilith is such an old lady name. Just call me Lil!"

"Oh sorry to keep you up Lil Fibber. Please come in! Come in!" he gave a salute and waved Bernouli through, then turned to the three of us. "As for you kids, go home to your academy before I call your headmistress!"

We were still frozen in shock that Bernouli managed to pull it off. I was the first one to shake off that feeling though. "Yeah, don't call her please. I think we're all good for right now."

We rounded the corner, waiting just out of sight for Bernouli to return. We didn't have to wait long to see Bernouli slowly saunter up to us.

"Woah, you got to show me how you do your makeup." Ami remarked, impressed.

"Yeah, I want to look older too!" Ella said with a smile.

"Shut up nerds." Bernouli scowled as she undid her hair and scowled. "I got to talk to the lead singer of Patchwork before they began their set."

"And!?" the three of us looked at her in anticipation.

"They said no."


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[spoiler=Chapter 20: Planning A Party]

Word Count: 4605


Our attempt to get in touch with Professor Mishegoss's band had been nothing short of a crushing defeat. With little else to do, the people on Team Entertainment split up and went our seperate ways for the night. Ami and I headed off to the Hermos Red lounge, and as luck would have it our friends had already beaten us to the punch. Unfortunately though, judging by the looks on their faces their nights had been about as disastrous as ours. Just about the only one who seemed to be in good spirits was Arena's as she rushed to meet me. She gave me a big hug and pulled me closer, trying to get me to sit next to her.


"Everyone else have as bad a time as me and Ami?" I asked, taking a seat next to my roommate.


"Worse." Gal blurted out.


"That's an understatement." replied her brother, as he slouched on a couch.


Oliver was also huddled up, scowling. "It was pretty awful."


"Awful?" Ami said with a bit of a smile. "I would have thought you would have had the time of your life surrounded by 3 beautiful women."


"You'd think so, but no."


"Really? I can't imagine it was as bad as our night." Ami said.


Oliver gave a sigh. "Where do I begin Pastiche... where do I begin..."






"I guess the best place to begin is at the beginning. Laplace, Small Boobs, Ilene and I had been given a small little folder and some pretty basic instructions. Find a place that would be willing to host the Sweetheart's Day Dance. Should have been easy, right?


So we hung around and chatted for a bit before Laplace suggested we all go visit her apartment, a place I've visted countless times mind you. We took the Silverline all the way downtown, and we arrived at her penthouse. I don't think you've ever seen it, but let me tell you the Laplace Family is loaded six ways to Sunday. Take the Necrophades Black Dorm in its prime, times it by, oh-let's-say, a hundred billion and you're not even close.


Fancy marble statues, paintings, high vaulted ceilings, a courtyard garden, elegant buttresses, clerestory inner lighting, the works. Small Boobs and Ilene were in utter awe, but to me and Laplace it was just a regular Friday afternoon.


"Wow, this place is amazing." Ilene said in awe and wonder of the elegant opening hallway.


"Oh, it's no big deal Ilene."


Now, I don't think Laplace was trying to show off or anything, I know her better than that. I think just something about the way she said must have really rubbed Ilene the wrong way. Like Ilene was all of a sudden super aware that she'd never compare to a beautiful bubbly blonde buxom billionaire.


... Which is totally untrue of course! Ilene's a great girl!


But back then, I was kind of on edge cause I'm a sensitive dude, you know? I could tell pretty quickly that Ilene was not digging this place.


"You okay babe?" I asked her before I put my hand on her shoulder.


She gave me the death glare then rolled her shoulders, the universal sign that she wanted me to take my hands off. I pulled away to give her some space. "Ugh, why did we agree to come here?"


"It's pretty amazing!" Small Boobs said, cause she didn't know anything.


But anyway, it's pretty clear my girl wasn't having fun, but that wasn't the worst part. We took two steps into the living room and suddenly I saw Laplace's parents.


Don't get me wrong here though. It's not that I didn't get along with them or anything. It's just that they're the complete opposite of Laplace. She's giddy, excited, and a free spirit. Mister and Misses Laplace were old fashioned and stuffy, like the kind of people that wear that one eyeglass even though you know they could afford to get both eyes looked at.


The only thing they had in common with their daughter is that they, of course, adored me. I guess I just bring out the best in people, because even though her dad's dresses like Mister Monopoly and her mom's dressed like the Duchess of Silvershine or something, they both smiled and their faces lit up when they saw me walk in.


"Ah! Oliver my boy!" Mister Laplace put down his paper and pipe before he came over to shake my hand.


"We were worried sick! We hadn't seen you in ages!" Misses Laplace came up and gave me a great big hug.


Laplace gave her parents a pitiful look before she broke their hearts as badly as when she... well she broke their hearts is what I'm trying to say here. "Olly and I broke up."


Clearly, the family was devastated over it. Misses Laplace hold me tight, and Mister Laplace tries to reassure his wife.


I tried to wriggle away. "Please Mister and Misses Laplace!"


"D'Vallé." Laplace's mother said, whatever that means.


"It's nice to see you guys care, but for right now your daughter and I are working on something."


"And we're helping!" Small Boobs said as she stuck out her small boobs in pride. With her hands on her hips she probably thought she looked like some kind of superhero or something.


Mister and Misses Laplace looked at each other like they kind of got the exact same thought at the exact same time.


"Yes, you two can have all the privacy you need to work on your problems." Mister Laplace said before he gave me an encouraging pat on the back. I guess he was hoping I would get back together with his daughter.


... Which I totally wouldn't of course! I mean Laplace is great! She's funny, kind, smart, REALLY beautiful, athletic, free spirited, fun to be around and yeah she's rich. What was I talking about? Ilene! Yeah. She's great too!


So we head over to Laplace's bedroom, and she starts typing away on her computer. From her room though, me, Ilene and Small Boobs have a breathtaking view of the entire Silvershine skyline.


Small Boobs meanwhile is looking over the folder Mishegoss gave us. There's pictures of the Silvershine Civic Center and the Silverdome and all that, but Laplace is completely ignoring it.


"My parents know all the architects and famous landowners in Silvershine. I'm sure we can find a real elegant place to host a dance. If I pull the right strings we might even be able to snag Starfield's Park for the night!"


Arthur, I'm sure you don't know anything about Silvershine... or high society come to think of it, but Starfield's Island is pretty much the premier rich people's island in Silvershine. Naturally, I was super stoked at the idea of a party at the park there.


"Awesome! You're the best Laplace!"


To say Ilene was less than enthusiastic than me would be an understatement. She gives me this look like I just ran over her grandmother.


I caught her trying to look away, trying her best to take her mind off of the fact that Laplace and I had dated before, though I guess it's kind of hard given where we were. Big romantic view where she knows Laplace and I would come after school to... umm... go over Professor Mishegoss's lectures. She tried to take her eyes off the scenic panorama in front of her and focus on Laplace's collection of books and other things when all of sudden her eyes landed on a framed picture of me and Laplace from Duel Monster Spirit Day all smiling and happy, and Ilene looked like she was about to break down crying.


"Ilene, come on." I said, doing my best to reassure her, but she wasn't having it. She pushes me away but I have to make sure things are alright between us.


"We're just looking for a place we can have fun!"


"If you're looking for a place you can have fun, why not just pick Lilian's bedroom!?" she said before storming out of Laplace's house.


I raced after her. "Ilene! Come on! Laplace means nothing to me!"


I looked back to Laplace, and she's staring at me like I just slapped her hard across the face too.




Now, I was caught like a deer in the headlights. "Well I mean-"


"No, you know exactly what you meant." Laplace did that thing with her lower lip, the same exact look as when we first broke up.


"I... think we should leave." Small Boobs said quickly before she slipped past me and left.


Now, I'm a gentleman, despite what Ami says about me. I can't just sit around and watch a girl about to break down and cry over me.


So naturally of course, I left the room.


Mister and Misses Laplace were waiting at the door, and they looked up at me with an expectant look. I just shook my head from side to side and they got the message. They look downtrodden and defeated, which is about a million times worse than how I felt at that moment. I left Laplace's penthouse, took a deep breath, and made my way back to Hawthorne Academy, alone."






"So to make a long story short, no venue, no Sweetheart's Day date, and I hurt the woman I love most."


Ami looked legitimately concerned. "Which one?"


"Shut up Ami."


Oliver scowled, but there was just a hint that he was about to cry before he pushed it back and returned to the scowl once more.


Gal stared at Oliver for a minute before speaking. "You DO know Lilian's last name is D'Vallé, right? Because you called them Mister and Misses Laplace like, 7 times."


"It's also pretty rude you kept calling her 'Small Boobs' too." Ami scolded.


"Haven't I been punished enough? I just had the worst night out of everyone here."


"I doubt that." Guy said dismissively. "You dug your own pit and you reaped the seeds you sowed. I was pretty much doomed from the start."






"When Professor Mishegoss announced my partners would be Arena, Weibull, and Lauren I thought this would be easy. Weibull was only a problem when Bernouli was around, but otherwise she's not too bad. Our folder suggested we were supposed to get food and drinks for the Sweetheart's Day Dance so it would be time to get to it. Since Team Surname's typical hang out spot was usually pretty deserted, I decided to take us up to the fourth floor Hermos Dorm lounge. We have two Hermos Reds on our team, Arena and Weibull, so I think nothing of it, not noticing Lauren's apprehension until it's too late.


As soon as we arrived to the fourth floor it was quickly apparent that Lauren was very uncomfortable being there. She was looking around, trying to find a fault in everything. Arena, Weibull and me dropped off our backpacks and began loosening our uniform jackets, but Lauren kept looking around nervously, avoiding touching anything, and seemed to be scanning the corners of every room.


"Is... I think I see a camera!"


I sighed. "Are there any camera here Arena?" She shook her head from left to right.


I normally don't believe in all that 'Goddess of Wisdom' stuff, but she is a Hermos Red and she and Arthur definitely go into the same bedroom together. I'm sure if there were any cameras then security would have put a stop to them by now.


"So there ya' go Lauren." I said with a shrug as I began unpacking the contents of our folder.


It was only after unpacking everything that I noticed Mishegoss left us with pretty much nothing to work with. Inside the folder there were a bunch of coupons, a couple of pictures of food she probably liked to eat, something that looked like a shopping list, but nothing all that important. Eggs, butter, milk, cheese, stuff like that. Don't get me wrong, I like Cruncharoos just like anyone else, I just think I'd be pretty annoyed if I came all the way across the Cassandrian Sea and that was my entire dinner plan for a school dance. Even if Crimson Wind is a bunch of jerks, they didn't deserve that shabby a treatment.


So anyway, we all looked over the articles, coupons, and supermarket ads as clueless as ever. As honorary team leader, I was the first to speak up.


"So what are we doing?"


"Planning a party." your girlfriend, Arena, said.


Surprisingly, Weibull gave a chuckle. She always seemed so stoic, serious and plain. Without Bernouli there to tighten the leash Weibull could finally relax a little.


"Thanks Captain Obvious." said Weibull with a bit of a smile.


"It's Arena." she corrected.


Lauren continued scanning the area, squirrely-eyed and nervously as ever before. "Guys! We got to make sure we get something for people with allergies!"


"Alright. No seafood." I said, as I jotted down the details. "No peanuts either. And no gluten."


"And people who can't eat meat! I think I heard The Princess of Ra Yellow was a vegetable!"


I raised a brow at her words. "A vegetable?"


Weibull looked over the terrible shopping list we had, glanced over the expired supermarket weekly specials, then looked over at me. "Do we know how many people are coming yet?"


"Three hundred and thirty eight, including the police."


"Why are the police going to be there!?" Lauren was wide eyed and afraid as she looked Arena over.


"More importantly, how did Arena know that?"


"N-no. I think my question was the most important." Lauren said nervously. "Why are the police going to be there?"


Arena chose to answer her questions in the reverse of the order they were given. "I am the Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy. It is my duty to be aware of all information and knowledge in existence."


Weibull and Lauren were looking at me confused. All I could do was give a shrug. "Just humor her, okay?"


"As for the police presence, the Sweetheart's Day Dance will occur at the Silvershine Civic Center which is owned by the precinct. A detective there owes Professor Mishegoss a favor."


Lauren continued scowling, looking me and Arena over before speaking. "You REALLY want me to just humor all of that?"


I gave a shrug. "I mean, I kind of just go with it at this point."


"Guy Surname!" Lauren blurted out, as though she suddenly stopped caring about drawing security's attention. "I am a woman of science, logic and rules! I will not humor an outlandish claim like that!"


Arena frowned. "If she cannot acknowledge my divinity then I cannot assist in aiding your group."


"Cause you were really helping before." Weibull gave a chuckle.


I looked back at Lauren. "Come on Lauren, please? Just act like she's a Goddess until the dance is over."


I have no idea what I said, or if she was just kidding around with me the whole time, but suddenly her eyes got really weird. They seemed to get smaller, then bigger, then she blinked and it was all over. A huge smile etched itself on her face as she turned to Arena.


"Oh great and all powerful Arena! Please unravel the great mystery behind Dr Slyft's Four Unsolvable Duel Scenarios!"


Lauren stared wide eyed at Arena. As a card designer though, I didn't really understand much when I heard Arena talking:


"The King of Games stopped attacking because the CEO threatened suicide. The Tomb Keeper and the Friend of the King were playing a Shadow Game so they were both injured. The Homunculus had slipped The Supreme King the Philosopher's Stone prior to the duel, which he used 3 times. Lastly, th-"


"Boring!" Weibull interrupted. "Let's ask Arena about our lives instead! Will we all graduate and get good paying jobs?"


Arena stared at Weibull for a moment. "Be more specific."


Lauren pushed past Weibull. "If we're asking about the future, let's ask her something more important!"


"Guys!" I interrupted. "You don't need to humor her THAT much."


"Just a sec!" Lauren turned her attention back to Arena. "Oh Great and Divine Goddess! Will I meet my future husband at the Sweetheart's Day Dance?"


Arena responded quickly. "Yes."


"What about me?" asked Weibull.


Arena looked curious for a moment, unsure of how to respond before giving a short answer. "No."


I however felt this was a great waste of our time. "Stop playing with Arena! Let's just get back to the food prep."


"OH GREAT AND POWERFUL ARENA, BLESSED BE THY NAME!" when Lauren spoke, I could already tell this would end poorly. "Grant us the divine knowledge of all of the past Sweetheart's Day Dances menu!"


I stopped for a moment to consider it. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but there was something a little bit off with the skeptical look Arena was giving Lauren.


"Are you sure?" Arena asked, before Lauren nodded eagerly.


"Very well."


Arena put a hand on Lauren's forehead and... I don’t know, I guess she might have pinched a nerve or something because all of a sudden Lauren's eyes bugged out again, she started twitching, and then she collapsed on the floor.


"What the hell did you do to her?!" Weibull asked.


"I gave her what she asked for. The knowledge of all meals ever prepared for any and all Sweetheart's Day Dances for all academies ever since Sweetheart's Day was established."


We all glanced down at Lauren, worried.


"It is a lot of information to process. She may wish to lie down here for a while."


"Hnngrh..." Lauren muttered as she was slowly coming to.


Weibull looked panic as she scooped up Lauren. "N-no... I don't think either of us are going to be staying here much longer."


The two other girls quickly left the Hermos red dorm lounge, leaving me and Arena alone to sort through this mess."






Guy sighed. "In short, it was nothing but a disaster because Arena decided to play around with her whole 'Goddess of Wisdom' shtick."


"That doesn't sound so bad." I remarked. "You at least figured out our venue, which should help out Oliver & Company." I put a hand on Arena's forehead. She smiled and tilted her head towards me. I obliged and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.


"Yeah, and maybe if Lauren ever wakes up, she'll have infinite knowledge of meal prep." Guy rolled his eyes sarcastically.


"Still sounds better than my day!" Gal declared before giving a loud "harrumph" and collapsing into an awkward heap.


"You okay sunshine?" Ami put an arm around Gal's shoulder and awkwardly adjusted her skirt with the other hand.


"Everyone got to have fun, but I was stuck with Little Miss Doom and Gloom for decorations! I tried my darndest, but no amount of sunshine and sprinkles could bring us back from that!"






"As you all know, I, Gal Surname, am quite possibly the best at celebrating anything. The Princess of Parties! The Sovereign of Soiree! The Empress of Entertainment! The Duchess of Diversion! The Matriarch of Melancholy! Wait, Melancholy's bad, right? Matriarch of the other thing!


I thought I could handle anything, then... SHE showed up.


Paige Turner, of Critias Black fame of course. I had a feeling if she was anything other than Black she'd have thrown a tantrum! Black fingernails, big, bulky black hoodie, black opaque tights and fishnets under her Critias black skirt. And she had three piercings on each ear! Not one, not five, but THREE!


This girl was a walking disaster, and pretty much the exact opposite of Gal Surname. Nevertheless, I agreed to take her under my wing so we could start the party planning.


As we walked into the hallway I was already in party planning mode, gathering my thoughts, and getting my hundred million ideas out there.


"What this party needs is lots of rainbows! Rainbow glitter everywhere! And confetti! Everyone loves confetti! And candy! And those thingies you hit with a stick!"


"You mean freshman?" Paige said, like, completely seriously!


Marsha snorted when she laughed. "Good one Paige."


Even Karen gave a chuckle! Even Karen! We're like, soldering sisters but she was against me too!


"Hey! That's not funny! We were all freshman once too! Besides, no freshman other than Arena were invited to join the tournament anyway so it's not their fault we're setting up the dance."


"Relax Gal!" Karen said as she stepped between the two of us. "Paige was just kidding."


Paige gave me a blank stare, like she was staring into my soul, and she wasn't liking what she saw. I, on the other hand, could only stare at her moldy exterior, and I was already getting the creeps. I shook my head, trying to get us back on track.


"Well we gotta come up with a theme! Oh I know! It could be Middle Ages themes! All the boys dress up as knights and all the girls dress up as princesses!" I grinned excitedly at my brilliant idea, but unfortunately Paige was still there to ruin everything!


"There's no way I'm dressing up as a fu-" Well, she said I word I don't like to say. But I guess what she tried to say was "There's no way I'm dressing up as a-" "-princess for ANYONE."


I hadn't anticipated something like that. I mean, who WOULDN'T want to be a princess!? I mean, except for boys or something. Okay, so like 50% of all people wouldn't want to be princesses, but that's just because they're boys!


I gave Paige a smile. "What's wrong then? Do you want to be a knight?" I gave a giggle, but Paige didn't seem to find the humor in it. Neither did Karen or Marsha.


"Why don't you ask your roommate?" Paige shot back. I didn't get it, but I guess Karen and Marsha did as they gave a laugh too.


"Okay Paige, how do you want to set up the dance?"


"Black." she said blankly.


"Black's not a theme. It's just a color." Karen said.


"It's not even a proper color! It's the absence of color!" I protested.


The dark-skinned Karen gave a smirk. "Wow Gal. What's wrong with black huh?"


"I mean... I didn't mean it like that Karen! We should have a wide variety of colors for the wide variety of kids that go to this academy!"


"Relax Gal. Just joking. Sheesh."


"None of these jokes are funny though." I said.


"Maybe we should just check Mishegoss's folder?" Marsha suggested. I was glad to have someone on my side now.


"Great idea! I bet Hilda and me think alike! We'll see just how she wants this dance to go!"


But to my surprise, the folder had absolutely nothing in it! Nothing at all! Not even a thing!


"Her folder, like her brain, are completely empty." Paige said blankly. The other two gave a laugh.


"Th-this must be a mistake! Hiiiilda!" It was a good thing that we were just in the hallway and we had only been talking for about 5 minutes. We found the Duel Disk repair teacher right at the podium, jotting down notes.


"Hey Gal! And gals!" Hilda smiled as we entered and I could already feel our dance taking off. Surely Hilda would take care of us, right?


"You accidentally gave us a blank folder! There's nothing here for decorations!" I protested.


"Oh? That was NOT a mistake sweetie!" Hilda smiled at me, but I wasn't getting it. "I mean, food, music, location, no one ever remembers THAT part of the school dances. What they remember is how it made them feel, and that's sort of your jobs! The dance isn't just meant to be one person's vision, but the united vision of everyone at the school.


Mishegoss turned to the other three girls. "What kind of party would you girls want to go to?"


"A big banquet." Marsha said.


"An elegant ball." Karen suggested.


"The Devil's Wedding."


I scowled at the girl's suggestion. "Paige, you've got a really bad attitude!"


"Likewise." Paige said.


"Girls, girls, girls! Sorry to sound like one of those signs on the Other Side of the Highway, but you can't just go dismissing each other on something like this. There is no right or wrong way to set up a party. The most important thing is it can't be one single person's perfect ideal version! What's good for one person isn't uniformly good for everyone."


"So... what then?" I asked.


"Work together to find a style that you'll like best!" Hilda gave a smile. "Gal, you obviously want rainbows and glitter, right?"


"And WHAT do your other teammates want?"


"A buffet!"


"Maybe a disco ball?"


"Antique torture devices."


Mishegoss stared, but still smiled. "Sounds like you girls have a lot of ideas then! You didn't need my folder after all!"


I sighed as I thought for a moment. "What was your Sweetheart's Day theme Hilda?"


"Oh, it was great! The year I graduated we had a Hawaiian themed luau. We hung out at the beach, all the Hawthorne Girls wore grass skirts and coconut bras while and all the Lincoln boys wore loud, colorful Hawaiian shirts. We had a big bonfire barbeque and fruity drinks out of coconuts while listening to upbeat tropical music. It was great!"


And that idea did sound awesome! Way better than dumb Paige Turner and her dumb all black party. But Mishegoss shook her head.


"Don't try to copy our class though." Mishegoss gave a wink. "Get your own style, talk to your friends, and I'm sure you'll come up with something even better than us!"


It was at that point I realized this party was going to be a complete mess. My heart was breaking as the other 3 girls chatted excitedly, throwing out bad idea after bad idea after bad idea. These girls didn't know anything about parties!"






"If not even the most positive of us can stay positive, what hope does this dance have at all?"


"Maybe we'll come up with something good anyway?" Ami said, trying to cheer up Gal.


"I doubt that!"


We were all so defeated and downtrodden at this moment, all except for Arena of course. I thought back to Arena and Gal's story, remembering the girls asking Arena about the future. I decided it might be a good idea to do the same.


"Arena, will the Sweetheart's Dance be... okay?" She gave me a blank expression, so I decided to rephrase it "Will it be memorable?"


She seemed to appreciate the directness. "Yes."


That was good enough for me. Arena's words were all the reassurance I needed that we would do well in setting up the dance.


"See everyone. Arena thinks we'll be fine, and we have no reason not to trust her."


Unfortunately for us though, Oliver had one last lingering question.


"Will it be memorable for good reasons or for bad reasons?"


It was like someone had rewound the tape on Arena. "Yes." she spoke in exactly the same tone and cadence as before.


When Arena was involved we should have known better than to expect a direct answer. Further inquiries got us her favorite 7 word reply. "I can not meddle with human affairs." Something was going to happen at that dance, but unfortunately the only way to find out was to live through it. Unfortunately for us, not everyone who entered the Silvershine Civic Center that day would be leaving alive.


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[spoiler=Chapter 21: Sweetheart's Day]

Word Count: 4691

We were all dreading the upcoming Monday after being appointed the Sweetheart's Day Committee, but by Tuesday afternoon we had finally gotten some good news. A venue had been decided, and though many students had their heart set on Starfield's Park, we had managed to get the Silvershine Civic Center for free. Professor Mishegoss was able to speak to the Chief of Police about a 'grave injustice' committed against her at the Point Blank night club by a certain detective, so they offered to let us use the Civic Center as some sort of compensation. What this meant for the rest of us was that the Venue team would be broken up, and the rest of us would get one or two new members.

While Team Entertainment couldn't quite get Patchwork on our side, Laplace had a friend of her cousin, or a cousin of her friend, but this person worked as a roadie for Patchwork. He knew all their songs, he had all the instruments, and most importantly he was willing to do it, unlike Patchwork. She put the call in on Wednesday, and we officially got him and his band signed on to play for our dance on Thursday. With our cover band ready to rock, Team Entertainment was also soon dismantled and evenly distributed to Team Food & Beverage and Team Decoration.

The last two groups however were still a bit of a mess. Even with a whole weekend to mull it over we still couldn't get ourselves together. The girls decorating the Civic Center didn't seem to have a single cohesive vision to tie everything together. They spent all Monday morning setting up a hodgepodge of tables, chairs, confetti, glitter, fake blood, coffins, disco lights, banners and streamers, and then spent all of Tuesday cleaning it up, and Wednesday setting up something completely different. At least with more people on Decorations, it felt less like everyone versus Gal and more like everyone versus everyone, so while Gal was still upset, so was everyone else.

The Food and Beverage team likewise took the first half of the week arguing menus, spent all Wednesday buying food, and all Thursday throwing out everything that had gone bad or spoiled.

At last, for better or for worse, it was the morning of the final day.

I awoke, like I did every morning, with Arena cuddling up to me. I gave her a gentle pat on the back to alert her I was awake. She gave me a soft good morning kiss on the cheek. I may have blushed but I pushed her aside and started to rub the tiredness from my eyes.

"Ready for today?" I asked.

"Sweetheart's Day." Arena nodded.

Thinking back to the whole headache that was planning the dance, I was still filled with doubt. "Are you sure the dance will turn out okay?"

"It will certainly be memorable."

Even though I usually trusted Arena, with all that went on these past two weeks I wasn't so sure.

The one good side of being on the Dance Committee was we didn't have to go to class the Friday of the dance. Unfortunately the reason for that was because we still had a lot more work to do. I'd honestly rather be in Professor Andry's class then have to spend another hour in front of 15 other people hearing them yell about nonsense. I begrudgingly put on my Hermos Red jacket and met with the rest of Team Surname at the train station. We nodded and spoke little for most of the ride to the Civic Center, everyone not-too-anxious to see what we'd find on the final day.

As we arrived and took a good look around, I counted and it seemed the six of us were the last to arrive. Strangely though, even after counting to sixteen it seemed more and more people were coming in. There were a lot more kids then I expected there to be, a lot more Red and Blue uniforms than I remembered originally being on the committee, and there was also one final color on a uniform I hadn't seen since the Winter Holidays.

"Princess of Ra Yellow?" I blinked as I realized just who exactly the short girl and her two friends were.

"Hello!" the Princess greeted with a curtsy. The Firefly gave a smile and a two-finger peace-sign salute. The Divine Light gave us a wave and a smile.

Oliver looked over the three girls, slightly surprised before a smile formed on his face. "Oh hey, what are you ladies doing here?"

Professor Mishegoss walked in just as Oliver asked, a huge silly grin etched itself on her face. "Come on Olly! Who else but ME could have come up with such a BRILLIANT scheme?"

Guy looked over at Mishegoss, then at the other students walking in. "Brilliant? I don't follow."

"I'll let them tell it!" Mishegoss looked eagerly towards the students at Crimson Wind Academy.

"Your teacher told us you guys were having trouble with the dance." said a boy I didn't recognize.

"So she asked for some volunteers to help you out." said a girl.

"And that's us!" said another boy.

"We packed all of our elegant evening wear in the lockers downstairs." the Witch of Necrophades said simply.

"And we all decided to lend a hand." said Handsome.

"Teachers and students alike." said Teach with a smirk.

"I'm just here to cash in on that date Laplace owes me." Freezy said with a big eager smile on her face.

"What!?" Laplace and Oliver both said at the same time.

We all had a bit of a laugh, before the more modernly dressed Asian teacher spoke. "It's a party for both academies. Who else would know what we like better than ourselves?"

"Besides, we wouldn't want you fools to ruin our only vacation." The Demon of Turbo said with a scowl.

I was absolutely stunned. I was certain this party would go down in flames but, like some sort of badly dressed ancient Greek ascending from a trap door it seemed Mishegoss and the kids of Crimson Wind Academy came through in a clutch.

"Al-RIGHT everyone!" Mishegoss called out. "We've still got a LOT of work to do and only EIGHT hours to do it with! Let's ALL split up and get to work!"


Me, Oliver, Guy, Small Boobs, Lauren, Weibull, Bernouli and Paige went downstairs to the kitchen of the Civic Center. We were accompanied by Handsome, Teach, the Witch of Necrophades, the 3 girls of Heaven's Sake, and a small handful of Crimson Wind Academy students whose names I didn't get.

"Alright kids!" Teach began. "I don't know much about dueling, or duel disk engineering, or card design, or really anything about Duel Monsters, but I tell ya' when it comes to cooking there's no one who can beat this guy!" Teach pointed to himself and gave a proud smile before hiccupping.

"Unfortunately for you kids, I'm hungover. Alistair can take over for me." The girls from Hawthorne gave a laugh. The boys of Team Surname and the Crimson Wind Academy kids did not. Teach awkwardly pawed at a bottle then quickly pulled it in towards himself, hiding in it his jacket, and he snuck away somewhere.

When Handsome smiled, it seemed like he put his whole body into it. His eyes lit up, his shoulders relaxed, and a huge award winning grin emerged on his face. He definitely earned his nickname. "Guess that settles that then." He threw on an apron and got to the center of the group.

"Alright folks, you don't have to be a five star chef in order to cook a good meal. You've all eaten food before. You all know what good food is supposed to taste like."

He nodded and smiled towards Heaven's Sake. "And even if you've got two left hands like The Princess of Ra Yellow, there's more to running a kitchen than just cooking. You can still wash dishes, cleaning countertops, throwing out the garbage, and various other miscellaneous tasks. Looking over our team, we should be good to cook a spectacular meal for all 300 students here today."

Oliver gave a smug little laugh. "Psh, cooking's for women." This earned him either an eye roll at best or a death glare at worst from the majority female student body that was downstairs.

Handsome cocked his head to the side, like he didn't quite understand what he was hearing. "Hey, listen Try-Hard. Girls dig a guy who can cook."

Before Oliver could respond, he got shut up by a chorus of girls. "Yeah." "Yep." "Mhm." "He's right." and other similar sounds of agreement.

Handsome gave a smirk then tossed Oliver an apron. "Maybe instead of trying to be a self-proclaimed expert on the subject, you can try listening."

Oliver looked as though he was about to say something, but Handsome's cool and calm demeanor seemed to shut him up. Oliver put the apron on and muttered something.

Handsome smiled again before continuing his lecture. "Good food starts with good ingredients! On Crimson Wind, we usually can't get that much fresh produce. Here on the mainland though, that's a completely different story."

He went to the pantry and pulled out a few basic ingredients. Flour, pasta, rice, that sort of stuff. "This is a good start, and this usually won't spoil, but for the more fragile ingredients, I got a special friend of mine to pull some strings." He motioned towards the Necrophades Witch.

The Witch merely nodded. "My father owns a traveling farm."

I stopped to let it digest. A traveling farm? Just what exactly did she mean by that? Unfortunately I wouldn't get a chance to ask this year, though I would eventually find out.

Handsome nodded back at the Witch. "The Ikari's Market sells some of the freshest, juiciest, best ingredients in the entire world. And with his daughter a student at our school I was able to get a very special shipment sent here."

I blinked as I saw him produce a cart of fresh fruits and vegetables from somewhere in the pantry area. It was pretty clear this wasn't some kind of spur-of-the-moment type of thing. Mishegoss had this in the works for quite some time. I wondered why she had asked us to do this kind of work when she had these kind of people and connections. I didn't think about it too much as I didn't want to miss out on Handsome's lecture.

"Look at this food! Check out how fresh and how full of life it all is."

The cart of fruits and vegetables really did look quite delicious. I wasn't normally a fruits and veggies kind of guy, but it looked like the stereotypical "bowl of fruit" drawing you might see at an art museum. It looked like the kind of food Arena always had when we had lunch together. I wondered briefly if they were from the same source, then stopped to wonder a few more things. What exactly was Ikari Farms? If Handsome and Mishegoss cooked this up together so to speak, how did they know each other? Was Mishegoss more than she seemed?

"Along with fine fruits and vegetables, we also need some good protein, which Try-Hard over there may need to learn about if he ever wants to develop any muscle, eh?"

That earned him a few giggles and an angry expression from Oliver, but he kept quiet for now.

"What about the Princess?" Lauren questioned nervously. "She's a vegetable!"

The Princess raised her eyebrow, before correcting her. "Vegetarian."

"Ah, don't worry. This menu I've got in mind covers any and all allergies and lifestyle choices. I'll teach you all something basic, then we'll all move to something more fine-tuned for each of you. Put on an apron and let's get to work!"

Handsome spent the next 40 minutes going over quick and basic instructions. How to sharpen a knife, how to boil water and keep it from bubbling over, how to monitor temperature with a thermometer, and how to properly slice, dice, and julienne vegetables. The Princess and Small Boobs weren't that great at it, so they were pulled aside to wash the pots and pans as we finished them, as well as take out the trash. It was easier work for them so they didn't mind at all.

Lauren however was practically a natural. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of how to create meals for Sweetheart's Day Dances.

When it came my turn, Oliver and I were shown how to prepare, carve, and cut the fat off a chicken breast. We prepared them about 20 at a time before setting them in a huge oven, and after a couple of hours the kitchen was smelling delicious. We had fresh baked bread, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, salad, pasta with a vegetarian sauce, steak, salmon, chicken, and plenty of other mouthwatering treats as well.

With Handsome at the helm, time really flew by and before we knew it there were only two hours before the dance was on. Nevertheless, Team Food and Beverage was excited and in high spirits as we went upstairs to the main room of the Civic Center. We had done out part of the work, all that was left was the decorations and setting up of everything.


The main dance floor for the Civic Center honestly wasn't much to look at. It was plain, drab, mostly white walls, plain wooden tables, plain red and white table cloth, and plain folding chairs. It wasn't as impressive as the meal we cooked downstairs, but it was a vast improvement over the ridiculous and over-the-top nature of everyone sticking whatever they wanted on the wall.

The Demon of Turbo didn't look too proud of the scene before him but he gave a sigh. "It's the best we could do on such short notice. The girls needed a focused leader to take charge."

"Or two focused leaders!" The President corrected.

"Yeah, and maybe another day or two to get everything together."

Handsome looked over the scene with a hand on his chin. "Looks plain. Bland. Terrible" he tossed The Demon a packet of matches. "Burn it to the ground. Start over."

Though he wouldn't know why, the three of us from Lincoln Academy gave each other an uneasy look. The President gave a bit of a laugh. The other girls on Team decorations however looked pretty crestfallen to hear that from Handsome.

The Demon of Turbo scowled at Handsome's suggestion. "I'd like to see you do any better."

Handsome gave a laugh. "Oh you'll do more than just SEE what I can do Demon of Failure. You'll get to taste it too!"

"W-what are we h-having?" asked the Horseman.

"Glad you asked Whorse-man. We're having a little bit of everything. I think I really outdid myself here, as usual!"

"What's for dessert then?" asked The Demon.

"Well I wanted to make a butterscotch parfait, but unfortunately we're all out of butter and Teach drank all the scotch."

"So... what are we having then?" Marsha asked.

Handsome looked like he had a clever quip saved up, by thought against it. "No dessert tonight. Unless you like Forrester Snack Cakes.

I looked over the scene and while it looked plain it wasn't a mess. I'd give it a solid C-rating. Maybe a C-minus. As I gazed over the scene I couldn't help but notice Arena staring at the walls, at the ceiling, at the floor, and at everything in between.

"Alright! It's ALMOST Showtime!" Mishegoss announced as she took a step forward. "Let's get a check list! Venue!"

Detective Friedman, who I hadn't noticed before, spoke up. "You've got the place until 1AM!"


A young boy who looked about the same age as most of the kids from Crimson Wind gave a cool little twang of his guitar. "Ready to rock! Or at least warm up, and THEN rock."


Handsome gave a cocky smirk. "Downstairs, on heating trays."

"And Decorations?"

The Demon and The President exchanged looks for a bit of an awkward moment before the President spoke up. "We did the best that we could given the time that we had."

"It'll HAVE to do for now." Mishegoss said with a smile. "OKAY! Everyone put on your fanciest clothes and meet back here at 8PM!"


To my surprise, Arena decided to stay behind. She said she wanted to surprise me, so I assumed that as a Goddess her dress was going to be amazing. After a quick shower at the Red Dorms and a quick spritz of deodorant I put on the tux I rented and headed back to the Civic Center. It was pretty plain, a black jacket, white dress shirt, black tie, black pants. I stood just outside the Civic Center, surveying the crowd when a flash of hot pink caught my eye. I walked over, surprised to see that bright pink was actually Oliver Khlozoff's bright pink dress shirt.

Along with the bright pink dress shirt he wore a black vest, along with black pants and black tie.

"Heh. Nice pink shirt." I said with a smirk. "You look like a bottle of stomach medicine."

"Thanks. You couldn't find a blander suit to wear Surname?" Oliver gave a smile.

"Sorry, I wasn't able to pick up a copy of Fashionista Magazine like you clearly did."

"Ha. I'm wearing pink to match my date for tonight bro."

I surveyed the crowd and started to think. "Really? I could have sworn I saw Ilene wearing a yellow dress."

"We're not-"

"Gentleman." Guy greeted us. Sorry to disappoint anyone expecting a stunning plot twist, but Guy was not wearing anything pink. Instead he wore a white suit, black dress shirt, and no tie at all.

"Hey guys!" Gal giggled as she hurried over to us, wearing a bright puffy pink dress. She put an arm around Oliver's neck and gave him a hug.

I blinked, noting the matching colors of Oliver and Gal's clothes. "... Oh." I paused to think it over for a moment. "Wait!? You and Gal are-"

"Down boy." Oliver said, like he was scolding a dog. "You've already got Arena. No need to come after me and Gal."

"We're going as friends!" Gal said excitedly.

"Same with me and Ami." Guy said absentmindedly, and just at the wrong time it seemed. Ami was right behind Gal and listening in to our conversation, but after hearing Guy's words it looked like she had just sucked on some sour candy while also being forced to maintain the smile.

"Just... friends." Ami said slowly. She wore a long blue dress that reached down to her ankles.

Gal smiled eagerly at me. "So where's Arena!? I bet she's dressed like a fairy princess!"

I looked over at the Civic Center. "I think she's still inside, doing the final finishing touches of decorating."

"It's almost time for the dance to begin anyway. Let's head in." Oliver suggested.


A few hours ago, the walls were plain, drab, and mostly poorly lit. Right now however, we stood in a beautiful, brightly lit and elegant looking ballroom. There were all white stone statues of warriors clad in ancient gladiator armor, white pillars of marble, and everything seemed to be giving off a white glow. My heart skipped a beat as I realized I had seen something like this before the first time I kissed Arena on the forehead. In the middle of it all was my girlfriend, the Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy. She wore a white, flowing, toga-like dress and had a white flower in her long silver hair.

Everyone else rushed to admire the decorations. I however rushed to meet Arena. She smiled, and I was almost too afraid to ask.

"Are we... is this... the Aether Realm?"

She scowled. "Don't be ridiculous! Those who have not had their heart properly bonded with an Eternal would never survive the trip. They'd be dissolved into the Aether like the students of the abandoned dorm, or like you almost were after our first kiss."

"Oh." I looked around, still confused. "So... where are we again?"

"We are still in Silvershine, however I have overlaid parts of the Aether Realm over it."

"Oh." I looked around, still confused. "I'm not sure I understand."

Arena's frown intensified. "If you remember the night of our first kiss, it may have looked like I showed you my true divine form, however I know revealing myself like that to an unprepared mortal may kill them. Instead, I merely overlaid my divine form over my regular human form. That's why you could see my Hermos Red uniform despite the armor. Similarly, I have overlaid the Divine Form of the Aether Realm over your mortal Civic Center. The humans can see what the Aether Realm would look like, however they do not have the damaging effects of being liquefied and ripped apart."

I looked over the room I was in, and looked back at Arena, trying to wrap my mind around what she was saying.

"Do not worry. Someday very soon I plan to reveal my full self to you." She gave a smile and a wink.

As I tried to look away, I noticed Mishegoss approaching me and Arena out of the corner of my eye. I had to do a double take because she looked incredibly different than how I had always seen her. She wore a tight fitting purple dress and her brown hair was done in curls. Normally she dressed like a greasy weirdo with messy hair, dirty hands from working on duel disks all day, but she cleaned up pretty well. "Woah! Aunt Arena, I thought I had an eye for beauty BUT it seems the architecture skills are NOT lost on you! Good job."

She gave Arena an encouraging pat on the shoulder before rushing to the stage area where our Patchwork-cover band was tuning their instruments.

"Hey Arena..." I began, daring to ask a question that had been gnawing at me for a long time. "That's the second time she's done it. Why does Mishegoss keep calling you Aunt Arena?"

Arena stared at me, studying me as though she was judging me before she blurted out the answer. "Because I'm her aunt."

Before I could ask any more, the amazed "oohing and awwing" of Crimson Wind and Hawthorne was cut short by Mishegoss's voice. "Attention everyone! I'll keep this short! Headmistress Ipsum honored me by allowing me to head the committee for the Sweetheart's Day Dance, but what kind of leader would I be if I hogged all the credit? It was all you kids who did the real hard work! Give yourselves a nice round of applause!"

And it was sincere, and there was cheering and clapping. It was nice to be appreciated, if only for a few fleeting seconds before Mishegoss continued.

"With that, I'll let our band take over from here!"

A boy with messy long, shaggy black hair, a plain white dress shirt, jeans, sneakers, and a guitar took the microphone. "Alright, we are the Kristina Korrina Experience!"

Ami smiled at the band name. "Oh cute. He named his band after his girlfriend."

"I'm Kristi Korrina!" the boy continued.

Ami stared at the future rockstar on stage. "Oh."

"Now, are you guys ready to rock?"


"Then let's go!"


And honestly, with all the stress of the past two weeks it was nice to just relax with friends, both old and new. The friends I had made at Hawthorne and the new friends I had met at Crimson Wind had really come together for an amazing celebration.

The Kristina Korrina Experience started with an upbeat big dramatic dance everyone could dance to, then moved into slower songs, since this was Sweetheart's Day. In the meantime, I was having difficulty finding my own Sweetheart. She seemed to have slipped away before the first song even began. I eventually found her sitting on an all marble bench, drinking something out of a fancy silver goblet, surveying the scene.

"Hey Arena." I greeted.

She gave me a quick smile, then went back to studying the crowd.

I too looked them over. Guy and Ami seemed to be having fun, even if Ami did know they were just friends. Gal and Oliver were the life of the party, as they were pretty much the center of attention with their ridiculously spastic and high energy upbeat dancing. Surprisingly, the princess of Ra Yellow was a pretty good dancer too, though her moves were more flowy and graceful, like a ballerina. Even the enormous brute with bulging biceps, the second tallest man I had seen on Crimson Wind Academy was in high spirits as he approached the Korean Crimson Wind Academy teacher.

"Miss Kim" the muscular giant smiled. "May I have this dance?"

She blushed, offering her hand.

I looked at all the couples, then I looked at my roommate Arena. "Do you want to dance?"


The song ended, and Oliver and Gal quickly showed up, enormous smiles and mildly out of breath.

"What's wrong with you two?" Gal asked, breathing heavily with a grin. "It's a dance so... dance!"

Arena stared at Gal and Oliver, then Oliver smiled as though he suddenly realized it..

"I get it! She doesn't know how to dance!" Oliver gave a laugh.

"OH! Olly! I love this song! Let's go!" Gal said excitedly as a new song started. She grabbed his hand and pulled him back over to the dance floor, leaving me and Arena alone.

Arena stared at the pair as they trotted off, then looked down, slightly ashamed.

"Oh..." I began. "Well, it's nothing to be-"

"While I am aware of the motions involved in dancing, I am not quite up to par in actually performing them. I know exactly the speed at which I must move my feet, the rhythm in which to sway my hips, when to raise my arms and bob my head... actually pulling it off is a bit more challenging." she scowled, as though it was difficult to admit.

"Oh... well it's nice to see you're not perfect at everything."

Arena scowled. I quickly tried to back pedal.

"Arena, you don't have to be the best dancer here though. I mean, just look at the spastic way Gal and Oliver are going."

What started at the weird flailing around from Gal and Oliver called dancing. They were rough and unrefined, but you could tell by the goofy grins on their faces the two of them were enjoying themselves.

"It's about having a good time Arena." I pointed at the crowd. Even Laplace was smiling, despite having to dance with Freezy.

Arena stared at me, then smiled. "As long as I'm with you, I'm always having a good time."

"Then let's have fun together on the dance floor. We'll dance to something slow, and I'll take the lead for a change."

Arena gave her hand. "I trust you."


"Everyone find a partner, because it's time for a Kristi Korrina original! It's called Midnight Love!"

I took Arena to the dance floor, and true to her word she wasn't very good at dancing. It was alright though, no one was watching her. With the slow song playing from the Kristi Korrina Experience, everyone was more focused on their partner. In fact, everyone was so lost in their Sweetheart, that there was no one around to notice the short little white haired girl as she made her way up on stage in a panic.

The Princess of Ra Yellow pushed Kristi aside before awkwardly fidgeting with the mic stand to get it down to her level. When the music suddenly stopped, all eyes turned to the stage.

"Boys! Girls! Everyone! Stop dancing! St-stop dancing!" She was in a panic and looked as though she was about to cry.

"Our Headmistress is dead!"


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[spoiler=Chapter 22: Spencer Friedman - The World's Greatest Detective]


Word Count 4326


It takes a lot of guts to murder someone, especially in the middle of a community civic center surrounded by dozens of police officers at a party meant for children. But somehow someone decided this was the best time and place to carry out the deed. At 10:38 PM, Headmistress Charlotte Brooke Swebb of Crimson Wind Academy was found dead by Wilhelmina Hatcher, the Princess of Ra Yellow just outside the women's restroom.


The next few minutes were all nothing but a blur as cops rushed to talk to the girl, get some quick details, and bark out orders on the location of the body. We were all instructed not to move before the police returned. The Princess was inconsolable, as would be anyone who found a dead body. She refused to leave the safety of the Divine Light, clutching on to her friend and sobbing miserably into the sleeves of her dress. The Demon of Turbo looked half saddened, and half angry.


"So... what happens to the Necrophades Dorm now?" he said simply, before the President punched him in the arm.


When the police returned, they didn't give us any further information, just told us the police would handle it. As we were escorted out, a detective handed Arena a card. She read it out loud.


"Spencer Friedman - The World's Greatest Detective."


"Reach out if you hear anything." The crass detective from Point Blank made a sort of phone motion then hurried downstairs.


We all walked in a bit of daze as we gravitate towards the exit, passing by a much more handsome Professor Chapel and Professor Mishegoss who were holding the double doors open for us.


And just like that, the Sweetheart's Day Dance was over.






We barely knew the woman, and most of us hated her anyway, but yet we all felt some kind of blame for what had happened to her. A few of us went to her memorial service, and we saw a few of the Crimson Wind Academy kids for one final time as well. She was heavy in our hearts for the first few days, but then a couple of weeks later it was like she never even existed at all. Life moved on, and it wasn't until about the third week of March that we even thought about her again. The six of us were all sitting around the Hermos Red Fourth Floor lounge, as we typically did after school, talking about inconsequential nonsense.


"Bro, that's ridiculous." Gal insisted. "Mike Tys-owl could beat Mu-Caw-mmed Ali any day of the week."


"I'm with Gal on this one." Ami said simply. "Mu-Caw-med is a pretty old pigeon."


"It also doesn't help that he's dead." Oliver chimed in.


"Duh! I didn't mean TODAY. I meant both of them in the prime!"


"Oh! Well yeah, that's different." Gal shook her head. "Float like a hummingbird, sting like a chickadee."


We all gave a laugh, however our merriment was cut short when we heard the dinging of an elevator bell. Our hearts all skipped a beat as we looked towards the flashing light above the doors, a sign that someone was coming to our floor. The six of us looked around the lounge and gave a quick head count. The kids of Team Surname were already present and accounted for and none of us were expecting anyone new to show up. We quickly scrambled to make ourselves look presentable. I pushed Arena off my lap, Oliver quickly put on his jacket and Ami straightened out her skirt.


We breathed a brief sigh of relief to see it wasn't any staff member, though that quick instant of relief was soon replaced as we realized who these three students were exactly. Bernouli, Weibull and Laplace from the Distribution stood before us, with Bernouli front and center.


"Hey Guy." Laplace smiled towards Guy and winked, and Ami clutched at his arm defensively. Laplace seemed cheerful towards most of our group, though she seemed to be avoiding eye contact with a certain someone.


"Welcome!" Gal greeted cheerfully. She quickly pushed herself closer to Ami, who blushed as Gal suddenly came incredibly close to her. Gal gently patted the newly formed 'seat' next to her. "Room for one more! Two more if Arena wants to sit on Arthur's lap."


"I do." Arena stated simply.


"I don't think they're here to hang out with us." Ami spoke as she adjusted her glasses and gently pushed Gal back over.


Bernouli scowled. "Whatever you idiots are doing, it's not as important as this."


Gal smiled cheerfully. "We were talking about our favorite pigeon racers!"


Bernouli was so taken aback by that outburst, Weibull had to respond for her. "You guys talk about birds a lot."


Guy gave a shrug. "No more than anyone else at this academy."


The Distribution looked each other over and kind of awkwardly and wordlessly mumbled an agreement.


"Okay! That's not important right now." Bernouli straightened her posture to look taller and began anew. "My father is the Chief of Police at the SSPD, and that Crimson wind Headmistress case has him up the wall. He hasn't slept, he rarely eats. The idea of a criminal being as brazen as to murder someone right underneath Silvershine's Finest has shaken him to his very core. So I came here, hat in hand, to humbly ask for your help."


We all stared at Bernouli for a moment, and it was Oliver stifling a laugh that eventually broke the silence.


"Let me get this straight! You're asking us, a couple of good-looking school kids, to solve a case that the entire Silvershine Police Department couldn't solve?"


"No stupid, I'm only asking one of you to solve it."


All eyes turned to Arena, who was staring blankly with a vacant expression on her face.


Bernouli gave a smile. "Weibull and Laplace told me all about your little rat-faced girlfriend and her magical powers. Goddess of War, Wisdom and Military Strategy, right?"


Guy sighed. "Really?"


"So if she's well and truly the Goddess of Wisdom, let's see her solve this mystery!"


Arena stared at Bernouli, frowning before speaking as calmly as ever. "It is not wise to test an Eternal from the Aether Realm."


Bernouli however, did not speak clamly. "I don't care at this point! I've lost my brother, I won't lose my father too!" Bernouli's voice shook and her arms trembled. Arena sat perfectly still, studying the girl.


"As I have stated countless times, I cannot meddle with human affairs. However, if you truly wish to solve the case, your best bet would be to speak with the mortal leading the investigation."


"That's the thing! The SSPD officially shelved the case! Officers aren't allowed to waste any more of the city's resources pursing it!" Bernouli was still shaking. "It's... over."


Arena stared at her as she reached in to the pocket of her Hermos Red jacket. She pulled out a slightly worn card. "The officers aren't allowed to investigate any further. However, a detective is a completely different story."


It didn't take long for Laplace to get the nine of us a limo to the address on the card. Along the way we tried to discuss what we knew about the headmistress, the case, and anything else that might aid in the investigation. Thanks to Arena, we found out the Headmistress was 36 years old. Twenty one years ago she had a daughter and was kicked out of Hawthorne Academy, and then kicked out of her house by her parents. She lived on the streets, and really struggled to make ends meet. When her baby was born, she just saw it as a new mouth to feed so she gave her daughter up for adoption. Her daughter's name was Allison Katherine, and if you wanted to look up that girl you can find her name written on a solid ebony wall in Solar Dusk Memorial Park.


I figured all this information was mostly useless fluff from Arena. Anytime we tried asking anything more direct, Arena would tell us she had given us as much information as she could, and anything more would violate her 'meddling' rule.


I thought Bernouli would go ballistic. Instead she remained confident and smiled. "I'm not worried. Papa says Friedman is the best detective this city has ever seen."


Arena stared at Bernouli for a minute. "That is... somewhat accurate to some degree."


I put my arm around Arena. She leaned in and closed her eyes, expecting a kiss. I gave her a quick one on the cheek then leaned in to whisper into her ear. "Look, I know you probably can't tell them but you at least should tell me. You already said I can't affect anything, so telling me shouldn't hurt anyone, right?"


"Correct." she whispered back.


"Who killed the Headmistress?"


Arena stared at me with a serious scowl, as though she had hoped to guard me from this secret for as long as possible. At long last she whispered back, though she didn't give me the type of answer I had hoped for.


"The First Link of the Cursed Chain."


Before I could ask further, Ami spoke up. "Hey guys! According to his business card, this is the place."


We stopped in front of a rather rundown looking brownstone apartment, just a few blocks away from The Other Side of the Highway. Since he was a detective, we figured he was so close to the seedy part of town in order to keep tabs on all the criminals and other lowlifes.


As we got out of the limo, Laplace turned to speak to her driver. "I don't think you should wait around." He nodded in agreement and got out of their fast. Laplace gave a wave and called out to him. "We'll call you when we need you to pick us up!"


We walked up three steps and rang the doorbell before a buzzer went off. Oliver pushed on the door knob and we were set to go in. As we slowly made our way up the stairs, I suddenly stopped as I realized something. Laplace and Bernouli bumped into me.


"H-hey! What's the hold up!?" Laplace suggested, struggling to keep balance.


I turned to the pair and spoke. "Hey 'Lilith'. Are you sure it's a good idea to see this guy?"


"Lillian." Laplace corrected. "And I mean-"


"No." Bernouli interrupted. "He's talking to me. And I'm confident my disguise was foolproof. There's no way he knows it was me."


Bernouli pushed past me and lead the charge upstairs. Ami rolled her eyes at Bernouli's hubris. "Not a very good detective if he can't see through a disguise like that, is he?"


But Bernouli ignored us, clinging desperately to the wish that this detective would solve all her problems.






I'm sure you've all seen those hard-boiled detective movies, or at least enough parodies of them to know what to expect. Cigar smoke, drab brown walls, guys in trilby hats and suspenders who drank a bottle of scotch for breakfast. About half of the apartment looked like that, with a newspaper sprawled out on a desk and a bulletin board and a small filing cabinet near the door.


The other half of the living room looked more like a daycare, with pastel pink and blue walls, lined all over the place with books, ranging from pop up picture books to books thicker than an encyclopedia with titles in languages I didn't recognize. There were building blocks, crayons, and other children's toys strewn all over the place, along with a stroller and what looked like one of those creepy porcelain dolls you would expect to see in an old lady's house. The doll had long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and an elaborate gothic style dress on complete with a pair of cotton gloves. The doll was placed on a chair with a serious scowl on her face and she was posed with her head in a book like she was reading it.


Detective Friedman himself was sitting at his desk. He smiled and folded up some papers before tucking them away into his desk. "Good afternoon kids. I've been expecting you."


We all gave a worried "uhh" or "umm" at that last comment before Weibull spoke up.


"I phoned ahead." We all looked her over. "What? It would have been a waste of time to come all this way and have him not be here. Was I the only one thinking ahead?"


"It's a good thing you called too! Hortense and I were right about to leave, but when I heard the Sarge's daughter was on her way there was no way I could say no to her!" he smiled towards Bernouli. "What's on your mind Malady?"


"Papa hasn't been doing so well since the Crimson Wind lady died. We thought maybe a fresh pair of eyes could help shine some light on this case."


It seemed Bernouli was right all along. Detective Friedman did not recognize her as Lilith Fibber.


"Oh there's nothing for you all to worry about! I am the world's greatest detective after all." The detective ran a hand through his hair and smiled. "And now that the Silvershine Police Department has officially dropped the case, it gives me permission to use my... ahem... secret weapon."


"Tell us everything you know about the Headmistress's murder!"


"Well Malady, it's still mostly hush hush, close the chest! Really only meant for a genius such as myself. I can however tell you our list of suspects."


Bernouli looked at the detective with a determined expression, but Ami, Laplace and I weren't really in the mood to hear the detective brag about himself.


I only heard a few bits of information, a rundown list of the suspects and a vague, barely passable motive for each of them, but instead of listening to the pompous buffoon we turned our attention to the library of books. I picked one up, and Laplace grabbed the one underneath. Ami also began pawing through the books with an unsure expression on her face. One seemed to be in Russian, and one was in some Asian language I didn't recognize.


"Do you think Detective Friedman's read all these books?" Laplace asked.


Out of my peripheral I suddenly saw the porcelain doll turn to me and speak. "Please don't disorganize those."


"WOAH!" Ami yelled, dropping A Russian History of Time on the ground with a loud thud. "Did that doll just move!?"


This caught the attention of the group, especially Detective Friedman who grinned and gave a laugh.


"Doll? Oh no! That's my little sister, Hortense! She's all human!"


We looked over at the little bisque doll perched on an oversized plush chair that seemed to make her seem even smaller. She stuck her head back into her book.


"She looks nothing like you." Gal said simply.


"She's my half-sister." Spencer responded.


"Oh she's so adorable!" Oliver grinned, his eyes sparkling in a shiny manner like how Gal looks when she sees dessert. "She reminds me of my step-sister when she was her age."


I looked at Oliver, remembering he had mentioned that before. Now seemed as good a time as any to ask. "Your mom and dad are divorced?"


"No, my mom's dead."


"Oh." And just like that I was back to square one with regards to emotional support.


"Don't worry about Hortense you guys." Spencer reassured us as he walked over to her and pat her on the head. "You're just a big sour patch kid because you haven't been able to spend time with your big brother Spencer huh?"


Hortense growled, trying to bury her face deeper into her book. Spencer continued. "But once we get to use our secret weapon, we'll solve this case lickety-split and it'll be back to the two of us!"


The doll tensed up and seemed to freeze, shiver, and then stick her head back in to her book.


"Speaking of which, Hortense don't be so impolite! Say hello to our guests!" The 4 year old girl stared at us before grunting a greeting.


If there was some way to take the very essence of Spencer Friedman and put it through a mirror to get the exact opposite, it would come out to look a lot like his half-sister Hortense. Spencer was loud, boisterous, overly friendly, and he dressed like a crumb-bum with his sweats and t-shirt. Hortense was dressed like a dainty princess and she seemed anti-social, mean-spirited, and quiet.


"Come on Hortense. It's very unladylike of you to ignore our guests." Spencer suddenly snapped his fingers and smiled. "You should at least give them a good handshake!"


Hortense gave a sigh as she closed her book with a loud satisfying thud. She awkwardly maneuvered off her chair. Once she had both feet on the ground she removed her dainty white gloves before she toddled up to Ami. "If you insist." In one quick motion, the little porcelain doll grabbed Ami's hand.


Hortense's eyes opened up wide, her pupils dilated before suddenly constricting into a singular point. It was a split second, blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but she quickly removed her hand from Ami's, as though she had been hit by static or as though Ami's hand was a fire on the stove she didn't expect. Ami also suddenly recoiled at the girl's sharp reaction. Hortense looked a bit dazed and pale.


"Is your sister okay?" Ami asked worried.


"Oh she's fine, she just gets moody meeting new people. Maybe if you guys introduce yourselves she'd be a bit more at ease."


If one day when he was an old man Oliver Khlozoff decided to highlight his top 3 favorite moments of handholding, this upcoming one probably wouldn't even make top ten. The time he shook Lucas Starwalker's hand at NerdCon, the time he took his bride's hand and slipped the ring on, and the first time he held his newborn son's hand would probably easily dwarf the time Hortense shook his hand. Nevertheless those three moments hadn't happened yet, so for right now he was pretty excited. He grinned eagerly and seemed to be giddy with excitement.


"Geez Oliver, calm down." Guy said with his hands across his chest. "Do I have to call Taylor Hanson or... what was that guy's name?"


"Chris." his sister reminded.


"Taylor Chris."


The girl once again seemed to have a mini-stroke as her hand came in to contact with Oliver, but she quickly recovered as she pulled away. She shivered and gave him an uneasy look.


"What the point of all of this anyway? We came here to talk to the detective, not babysit his sister." Guy said.


Spencer narrowed his gaze towards Guy. "Sounds like you volunteered to be the next one to meet Hortense!" he picked up his sister and awkwardly set her down in front of Guy


Guy flinched before reluctantly accepting the handshake. "Hi. I'm Guy." he said simply.


Hortense stared him right in the eye, and unlike everyone who only got a split second hand touch before she moved away, she gave him a good solid handshake and... nothing else. Her eyes didn't seem to change and she didn't recoil suddenly, and that in and of itself caused the girl to panic.


"Why-why can't I see anything?"


The girl was still holding on to Guy's hand, trying to get a different position and adjust how she was holding his hand, but alas whatever was happening with us that caused her to have a split-second-stroke and made her recoil in disgust was not happening with Guy.


"Just what the hell is going on here you two?" Spencer asked, frowning for what may have been the first time in his life. The girl loosened her grip and Guy awkwardly pulled his hand out, hiding it behind his back.


"I... I'm not sure." Hortense responded quickly, and it seemed that was a difficult thing for her to admit.


"I can provide a few answers." Arena stated with a blank expression on her face. Hortense nodded weakly and presented her hand to Arena, who pulled her hand away and stared at the four year old girl.


"You may wish to put your glove back on before you and I shake hands. I don't believe you would want to activate the Fifth Link of the Cursed Chain on someone like me."


Arena then turned her expression towards Spencer. "And if I can save some of your time and some of your sister's sanity, I'd not recommend you waste any of your 'secret weapon' on any of these students. The murder was not committed by a child."


"That's what I've been saying." Hortense said weakly.


Spencer glared angrily at Arena for a moment before breaking out into a smile. "Hey! Who's better qualified to tackle a case like this? Some little girl from Hawthorne or the World's Greatest Detective?" He scooped up Hortense, who seemed to be having an existential crisis at only four years old. He brought her to her chair and handed the girl her gloves back.


"Speaking of which, I think we've spent enough time entertaining the boss's daughter and her friend, wouldn't you agree Hortense?"


The little girl looked at Arena with pleading eyes. It seemed the two may have been kindred spirits. The two of them were not quite what they seemed and they each knew something far beyond what we mere mortals could comprehend. Arena shook her head towards Hortense before turning her attention back to Spender Friedman. "Let me also save you the trip. It was no one from Crimson Wind Academy either."


"Ha!" Spencer gave a laugh. "The girl fancies her a detective eh? Well-"


"Think about it. If you were on a remote island where the closest thing to a police officer was an absurd security guard who imagines herself a ninja-samurai shinobi-shogun, you would not risk committing a crime in Silvershine where an actual police force existed."


Spencer paused to think it over. "Well it would be a little too obvious the way you planned it. A murder at Crimson Wind Academy? Certainly it could only have been done by a Crimson Wind student or staff member. So they'd have to wait until they were on the mainland to-"


"The perpetrator had plenty of time before the dance to end her life. It wasn't until everyone from Hawthorne showed up that the headmistress was murdered. It was someone from Silvershine."


Spencer glared at Arena, then smiled. "Ah well, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree! Please leave Hortense and me to pack!"


"Thank you for your time sir! We'll keep in touch if anything!" Bernouli said quickly.


It seemed there was no use arguing with the detective and his sister. The 9 of us quickly left the apartment and headed downstairs.






Team Surname and The Distribution were standing in the lobby of Spencer's Brownstown apartment, right in front of his mailboxes. Laplace called her limo driver and we were waiting around for him to show up. I was unsure how Bernouli felt about the meeting until I saw the the smile on her face that let us know she was confident with how it ended.


"That went better than I could have ever imagined." Bernouli said with a smile.


"Really?!" I asked. "Because that Detective Friedman guy has no idea how to run an investigation."


"And taking care of his little sister would probably keep him from putting 100 percent of himself into the case."


"Oh! We should volunteer to babysit her!" Oliver suggested excitedly.


We all paused to give him an 'are you serious?' kind of look before we all just shook our heads and turned to Bernouli.


"I'm confident in Detective Friedman! Most men aren't even half the man HE is. Even if he's not giving his 100 percent, it's still leagues better than an army of detectives."


"Doubt it." Guy said, shaking his head. "That Spencer Friedman is never going to catch the guy who did it."


Arena stared at Guy for a minute. "That is... somewhat accurate to some degree."


Bernouli scowled. "Oh who asked you anyway?"


"You did." Ami responded. "We were just fine hanging out in the Red Dorm before you guys came along."


"We have to believe in him!" Bernouli insisted, though it was unclear if she was trying to persuade all of us or just herself. "Once they catch the murderer, we can all go back to normal."


"If anyone catches him, it won't be Friedman." Ami said.


"Oh! I know!" Gal's hand shot up like she was at school. "We should do an investigation ourselves! I bet we're the only ones who can bring the guy who killed the headmistress to justice!"


Arena stared at Gal for a minute. "That is... somewhat accurate to some degree."


Bernouli stared at Arena and scowled. "Alright then little Miss Goddess, let's list everything we know so far."


"It wasn't a child, and it wasn't some from Crimson Wind Academy." I said, repeating what Arena had told us.


"It probably wasn't the police either so we can cross them all off the list too." Oliver put a hand to his chin. "So who's left?"


"Our teachers?"


There was a bit of a silence as we let Weibull's words sink in. Could one of the teachers at our academy really be a cold-blooded killer?


"Professor Arshlocke. Miss Handbasket" Guy began listing off.


"Hilda. Miss Andry." Gal continued.


"Headmistress Ipsum." It pained me to have to imagine a woman as beautiful as her being the murderer.


"We can't rule out any of them, so the choice is clear." Bernouli started. "Tomorrow morning, we interrogate all of them, find out what they know, and put an end to all of this once and for all."


But of course, finding out who killed the headmistress would be just the beginning for us.


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[spoiler=Chapter 23: Old Age]


Word Count: 4311


When I first started at Hawthorne Academy, I had no idea what to expect out of the experience. I thought having a girlfriend would be the most exciting thing that could possibly happen to me here, however meeting Arena was nothing more than a small footnote in a much grander tale. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that my girlfriend would turn out to be a Goddess from the Aether Realm, that I would be friends with someone who had magical powers, and that me and my friends would get entangled in some sort of murder mystery, I wouldn't have believed you.


And yet here I was, with Arena on my arm as I exited our dorm room and made my way into the hallway of the fourth floor, unsure of what to expect out of the first official day of investigations. I wouldn't have to wait long because as I walked towards the elevator and passed by our typical hangout, the Hermos Red Fourth Floor Lounge, I noticed all of my friends (and the Distribution) were already there. The other three were in their usual spots, and Laplace, Bernouli and Weibull took me, Arena and Ami's usual seats. Ami herself was standing, so she was the first girl I saw that morning.


"Morning guys." Ami said with a smile.


"Morning." I looked over the group, still a little tired. "What's going on here?"


"We're ditching class!" Gal blurted out.


"Not all of us." Guy reminded.


"Let's back up a bit." Bernouli stated. "There's still a lot we don't know about this case. We don't know the murder weapon, we've never visited the crime scene, heck, we don't even know what the headmistress died from!"


"Old age." Arena replied with a blank expression on her face.


Bernouli narrowed her gaze towards the girl, then looked back to us.


"If we're going to help Detective Friedman solve this case, we'll need to split up. The Distribution will go investigate the Civic Center. The rest of you can go investigate the teachers."


Gal shot out of her chair, hand raised like she had something to object to and was waiting for the teacher to call on her. "Wait!"


She awkwardly touched her fingers together and rubbed her sneakers on the floor. "I... kinda sorta really don't want to be face-to-face with a killer. What if it's Hilda!? I could never look her in the face again!"


Arena stared blankly at Gal for a moment before taking a breath, as though she were about to speak. Before she could however, Ami began.


"I'm with Gal on this one. I kind of don't want to be there the day we discover a killer either. Gal and I can join you three at the Civic Center. Besides, it's a big place. We might find more clues that way."


Oliver scowled at this recent development. "That's no good. Miss Andry hates men and would never listen to anything me, Arthur or Guy said. Sure, we have Arena on our team but she's a bit of a wild card."


Arena stared at Oliver, then cocked her head to the side.


"Alright." Bernouli gave a sigh as she looked over her team. "Laplace, stay behind and babysit the Lincoln Academy boys' team."


Laplace opened her eyes wide as she pointed to herself. "Me!?" She looked over at us, but once her eyes met Oliver's she instantly turned away, back towards Bernouli.


"No, the other girl named Laplace." Bernouli said with a roll of her eyes "Yes you! You take Andry's class, so it should be even easier to get a chance to speak to her."


"But-" Oliver and Laplace began.


"Okay! We all know our roles. Let's meet after school and discuss what we found out!"






After Winter Break, I was pretty sure that all four of us hated our Dueling Scenario class. Laplace hated that Oliver sat behind her. She could always hear him flirting with other girls. Oliver hated that Laplace sat in front of him. She was now forbidden fruit he could no longer have since their breakup. Arena hated sitting next to Oliver. As far as I knew she didn't hate Oliver, but she hated being apart from me since Laplace took her seat to get away from her ex. And I, of course, hated the male-bashing teacher of our class, Miss Lydia Andry. She always made cruel, caddy remarks against men, gave Oliver and I the worst assignments, and seemed to praise the girls and insult the boys any chance she got. Miss Andry was whatever the opposite version of a misogynist would be.


After the death of the Crimson Wind Academy headmistress, Miss Andry was a bit more subdued and a little less passionate in her male-bashing. Instead she was more focused on praising the fallen leader of that other school, and asked that we all do the same. She declared the month after the Sweetheart's Day to be considered Women Duelist's History Month, which probably wasn't a real thing.


At long last, the bell finally went off and it was time to put our plan into action.


"Remember everyone!" Miss Andry called out as the rest of the students hurriedly packed up their books. "For our next class, remember to bring an example of a difficult Duel Scenario a famous female Pro Duelist was involved with, and how she overcame it."


"Ugh! Just kill me now!" Ella groaned as she packed her bags.


Miss Andry scowled towards Ella, but if she was offended she didn't say anything. Instead Miss Andry took a seat and began making marks on a few papers.


In the amphitheater-like classroom, the four of us began descending the steps and making our way towards the teacher, however I stopped partway through and turned to speak to my group.


"Let's not all go at once. I mean... there's four of us, so we might as well get four chances at talking to Miss Andry, right?"


"Good thinking Arthur! I'll go first." Oliver smirked. "I've got a way with women."


Laplace scowled. "Yeah, fine. Do whatever you got to do. Once you fail then me, Arthur and Arena can go clean up your mess."


Oliver looked like he had something to say, but then thought better of it. The three of us exited the room quietly leaving Miss Andry in Oliver's care.


Out in the hallway, Laplace and I leaned against the door to listen in on their conversation. Unfortunately we didn't get to listen much before Guy Surname showed up.


"Just got back from Miss Handbasket's office. Pretty sure she didn't do it."


"Shh!" I said, trying to wave him off. "We're trying to listen in on Oliver and Andry!"


Arena stared at Guy before speaking. "You used the Second Link in the Chain on her."


I wasn't quite interested in hearing about magical chains or Miss Handbasket right now. If I was supposed to ask this lady questions, it wouldn't make sense to repeat the same ones Oliver had asked her. Laplace meanwhile seemed uninterested in either magic chains, handbaskets, or Oliver's questions. She looked at me and blushed, sniffing a bit before speaking.


"You know, I noticed it in class but wow. You smell amazing Arthur."


"Oh uh... thanks." I said, blushing. I didn't want to embarrass her by telling her where I had gotten the body spray from. Laplace kept leaning in closer and closer, so I had to back away from her.


It was a good thing I did back up too, because about two seconds later the door swung open and Oliver emerged. He gave me a confused look but did his best to stand in between us and Andry, to keep her from spotting us.


"Thanks anyway Miss Andry!" he called out with a grin that immediately turned to a frown as soon as the door was closed behind him.


"Well everyone, the good news is she still hates men!"


"You know, I really don't think Miss Andry did it." Guy began. "I mean, you say she's a terrible person but she spent like 30 minutes giving that headmistress a eulogy."


"She's just trying to throw us off her scent." Oliver said dismissively. "Speaking of which, how's that body spray I gave treating you Arthur?"


"What!?" Laplace got quite red in the face and began digging in her pocketbook.


"I've been getting some pretty good compliments." I said, raising an eyebrow towards Laplace.


I looked back at her just in time to see her pull out a small pink bottle with the Rebecca's Secret logo on it. "Well if you're going to try on someone else's perfume, try some of mine too!"


I looked at the little container, then handed it to Arena. Arena looked it over in her hand for a second before handing it to Guy.


Laplace's face was still highlighted with red but she took a few quick breathes before pushing past the both of us. "Out of the way! I'm going in next!" Laplace entered the classroom, slamming the door behind her.


Rather than lean on the door this time we just sat off to the side to discuss a few things. In particular, I wanted to go over something I vaguely recalled Guy mentioning.


"So... you saying Handbasket didn't do it?"


"She was with Professor Chapel the whole night."


Oliver gave a laugh. "Woah, Siegfried you ol' dog you!" Another chuckle. "How'd you get Handbasket to spill the beans on that one?"


Guy awkwardly looked away and touched his fingers nervously. "I just sort of... asked nicely."


"He used the Second Link in the Cursed Chain."


Before we could ask Arena to elaborate further, Laplace emerged from the classroom with a defeated expression on her face.


"Woah, even I lasted longer in there than you did." Oliver began. "What happened?"


"She hates me because you and I used to date. She called me a degenerate and all kinds of other words I didn't understand. Said I was an embarrassment to womankind who fell for a chauvinistic pigs charms."


"Did you agree with her?" Oliver asked.


Laplace remained quiet.


"I guess I'll talk to her now." I stated.


I was nervous as I stood before the classroom door, but I quickly drew a breath and stepped inside.






"Miss Andry." I began.


"Get out."


"Yes ma'am."






And just as soon as I walked in I did an about face and walked out. Oliver meanwhile was trying his best not to laugh at my futile attempt to talk to the professor.


"If you have to laugh, do it somewhere else." I reminded. "She can probably hear us in the hallway."


"Last girl here." Laplace motioned towards my girlfriend. "Arena's turn?"


"I cannot meddle with human affairs."


Oliver gave a sigh. "Guess we're not going to get to the bottom of this one then?"


Guy had been watching us for a while now. He looked as though he was giving something a lot of thought before he sighed, realizing what he needed to do. He rolled up the cuffs of his pants to show off his ankles, like they were girl's capris. He removed his jacket and tied it around his waist, giving him a more slimming look. He spritzed himself with Laplace's perfume before pocketing the small Rebecca's secret bottle. He closed his eyes and took a breath, before a big smile etched itself on his face. The only thing wider than the smile on his face was the door he had left wide open as he entered our Duel Scenario's classroom.


"Gooood morning Miss Andry~" Guy greeted cheerfully. "It's me, Gal Surname!"


We were all frozen in surprise at the door, breathlessly waiting to see if Miss Andry would fall for Guy's plan.


"Oh. It's Mishegoss's prize pupil."


"Hilda!" Guy corrected with a grin and a wink.


We all exhaled, it seemed to be working.


"I was thinking that since most of my friends were taking your class, maybe I should take Duel Scenarios in the fall too! You know, as an election or something!"


"Elective." Andry corrected. "Why would you need a class like this? Mishegoss says you're an excellent duel disk engineer."


"Right, but ever since that Crimson Wind tournament, I've been thinking that I kinda sorta have a real knack for dueling, ya' know? Besides, we need more ladies front and center as role models, not hidden behind the scenes in sweatshops!"


"I completely agree Miss Surname. If you'd like we can discuss this later."


"We can discuss stuff now! My friends told me about the kind of assignments you give out." Guy continued smiling. "Just last week, you gave them an assignment about powerful women duelists!"


Miss Andry seemed to soften up, and almost smile at Guy's words. "That I did. It's important for kids to know they only got this far because they stand on the shoulders of giants."


"Now I gotta imagine, that headmistress from Crimson Wind was probably pretty strong too! Did you ever get a chance to speak to her?"


Miss Andry seemed to hesitate as she raised an eyebrow and narrowed her gaze. "Depends. Why are you asking?"


Thinking quickly, Guy came up with a reasonable excuse. "I wanted to follow along with your coursework! I'm sure the leader of Crimson Wind Academy was an amazing duelist, and you seemed to know a lot about her at the funeral. Can you tell me what you knew about her?"


"You... you heard enough during the eulogy!" It seemed Andry returned to her old self as an angry expression etched itself on her face. "Now get out of my classroom!"


Guy had one final ace up his sleeve. "Tell me what you know about the Crimson Wind Headmistress! Pretty pretty please?" Guy crossed his hands like he was begging and quivered his lower lip as he stared at Miss Andry.


It was very Gal-like, but no one honestly thought it would work. So imagine our surprise as Miss Andry's eyes suddenly contracted, then dilated, before she shook her head and finally spoke. It was a familiar sight I had seen before, despite the fact I felt I still didn't quite understand what triggered it. Fortunately I didn't need to understand it to benefit from its effects.


"Okay! I admit it! I didn't know anything about the headmistress! I never met her before I saw her in that box. I didn't even go to the Sweetheart's Day Ball!"


She shivered at the thought. "Just think! Surrounded by those boorish slobs of Crimson Wind Academy! If it weren’t bad enough I have to teach those two boys in my class! If I had to be at a dance with about 25% boys, I can't imagine what I would do with myself! And those Crimson Wind teachers too! It's a shame and a travesty is what it is!"


She slammed a hand on her table and continued. "Though I never knew the headmistress of Crimson Wind Academy, I felt it was important that the girls had a good role model to look up to, so I made up everything I said in that eulogy. Are you satisfied!?"


We were all pretty surprised, though for different reasons. I was surprised at how easily Guy was able to spring the truth from Andry. Oliver was surprised at how well Guy could imitate his sister. Laplace was surprised to hear that Andry didn't actually know anything about this case. Arena was never surprised, of course, but Guy was probably surprised at himself for actually realizing however the power of the Second Link in the Chain was.


"Thank you Miss Andry..." Guy gave a wink, then spoke in his more normal voice. It still sounded almost identical to Gal's voice, but just a little less breathy and a little bit less positive and upbeat. "And please, don't treat my friends harshly anymore."






We walked to Professor Arshlocke's class still mostly in a stunned silence at what we had just seen. At long last we took our seats and finally Oliver seemed to be the first to speak.


"So, what the hell was that exactly Guy?"


"Gal's pretty easy to imitate. Just think about your happiest memory and it just kind of comes natur-"


"No that stupid." Oliver shook his head. "Andry was pissed and then you just asked nicely, gave her the ol' puppy dog pout, and she's suddenly putty in your hands?"


Arena stared at Oliver before speaking. "It's the power of-"


"The Second Link in the Cursed Chain..." Guy concluded before giving a heavy sigh. "I didn't really want to admit it, but I guess there might really be something to what Arena says. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but anytime I ask someone to 'please' do something... they do it."


"Cursed Chain?" Laplace asked. "Uhh... yeah. What exactly was that again?" She gave a bit of a nervous smile, like a kid who was just called by his teacher and was struggling to remember an answer.


Of course, Laplace had spent most of her time with the Distribution lately, so we gave her a quick rundown.


"Alright Laplace, pay attention 'cause I'm only going to say this once." Oliver began. "There's this thing called the Curse Chain. It's the name of a bunch of magical powers."


"Eight." Arena stated. "And they are a gift and a curse. A positive side, and a negative side."


Oliver continued. "You get one when you’re born-"


"When you are conceived." Arena corrected


"Dying gives the power to whatever random person is being conceived at the time." I continued. "And the powers can be won and lost by playing Duel Monsters.”


I nodded at everything we had established so far, however a thought quickly came to the forefront of my mind. "So... I thought Guy's Cursed Link Chain could only let him move through solid objects."


"He has more than one." Arena clarified. "The Third Link in the Chain allows it's wielder to travel through solid objects. The Second Link in the Chain allows it's wielder to bend other people's will by asking them politely. It was meant to be used by a negotiator after wars were won."


Unsure of the implications of what we were hearing, we all sat in a stunned silence. One of us however, wasn’t as silent.


"What? That's ridiculous." A voice we hadn't quite expected to hear, Ella Minnow, reminded us that we were in a classroom surrounded by people.


We all exchanged mildly concerned looks about her overhearing us. Was any of this even supposed to be a secret at this point? Would there really be any consequences to revealing Guy had magical powers and Arena was a Goddess in human form? We had no time to think it over because shortly thereafter, Professor Arshlocke, the Duel Rulings professor walked in.


"Good morning class!" She greeted with great enthusiasm in her thick Eastern European accent. "Today is important day! There are many important misses in the world! Miss Ipsum! Miss Arshlocke! But the most important miss in this class, is Miss Timing! Today, we learn all about miss timing, what causes it, and how to prevent it!"


We sat for a while, listening to Arshlocke's lecture. The three boys of Hawthorne, Arena, and Laplace however had more important things on our mind than a conditional 'when' in a card text or optional Trigger Effects. We were antsy, jittery, but at last the bell went off and our class was over.


The five of us hurried towards Professor Arshlocke. With Guy on our side, we were confident we could get any information we needed from the teacher.


"Hey Professor." I greeted.


"Oh, hello children. Is not time for lunch?"


"Well yeah, but before that..." Oliver began. "We were kind of curious if you knew anything about the Headmistress of Crimson Wind."


Ella Minnow who had been slowly making her way to the door suddenly stopped, lingering slightly and waiting for us at the door.


"Professor, can you please tell us everything you know about her?" Guy said. And just like that, her eyes narrowed and constricted, and the Second Link in the Cursed Chain's power was activated.


Professor Arshlocke nodded weakly. "Dah. Woman's name was Charlotte Brooke Swebb. She was headmistress of Crimson Wind Academy. She had baby as teenager. Is not big secret. She clawed her way back to the top, only to be killed. Tragic."


We looked at Guy, wondering if he could draw any more information from her. "Can you please tell us if you know anything about her murder her?"


Again, her eyes constricted and dilated. At last she shook her head. "I am sorry. I do not know such things. Now, please excuse me. I am feeling quite... tired."


She put a hand to her forehead and took a seat at her desk.


"Thank you miss." Laplace began before we all moved towards the door. As soon as we did we noticed a short girl with hazel eyes with a mischievous grin to match the mischievous glint in her eye. Ella Minnow was blocking our way out with a confident smile on her face.


"So... you're looking to find out more about Headmistress Swebb's murder? I'm just the girl you're looking for then!"


We gave each other an uneasy look. Arena told us that a child was not the murderer, however we were suddenly trying to figure out exactly what Arena had said. She had a tricky way of phrasing things. Did a teenager count as a child to Arena?


"I, Ella Minnow, was on the dance floor that night, with the only beloved beau I needed, my trust camera!" She gave a wink and pointed dramatically towards herself. "I caught quite a few interesting shots, and in fact I was able to get a picture of that Crimson Wind headmistress before she was carted off too!"


"You what!?" the four of us yelled.


"She photographed the headmistress's corpse."


Ella smirked a triumphant little smile. "Ah, so now the cool kids want to pay attention to me? Fine fine, just come to my room after lunch and I'll tell you everything I know about that headmistress."


I glanced over at the clock and nodded in agreement.


"That's fine. We have to talk to a few of the teachers about it too." Laplace said.


Ella put a hand to her chin. "Hmm... that's a good idea."


Arena glanced over at Laplace, then over at Ella, before she let out a soft little sigh.


"We'll see you soon!" I said, unaware that this would be the last time we saw Ella Minnow alive.






No one was in the mood to linger during lunch. After a quick lunch, the five of us put away our lunch trays and exited the cafeteria.


"All that's left is Professor Mishegoss and Headmistress Ipsum." Guy reminded.


"Don't forget Ella Minnow." I quickly added


"Let's split up gang!" Oliver smiled towards Arena, Guy and me. "You, Scooby and Shaggy head to the haunted roller rink! Me and Daphne are-"


Laplace was giggling, but both her and Oliver's spirits immediately dropped as they both realized splitting up in the way they suggested would leave the two of them alone.


"Umm... actually maybe..." Oliver said, trying to backtrack.


Guy rolled his eyes. "Well I definitely need to be there to talk to Ipsum."


Arena clung to my arm and stared at Oliver, as though daring him to split them up. It seemed no matter what was decided, she'd be coming with me.


Laplace and Oliver exchanged nervous glances.


"Looks like it's settled." Laplace began. "Me, Olly and Guy will go talk to Ipsum."


"Arthur and I shall visit Ella's room."






I always trusted Arena's judgment, but the idea of not being able to see Ipsum was a bit of a disappointment. Nevertheless, I stood outside Ella Minnow's room knocking for about 3 minutes with no response.


"What happened?" I glanced at the door, frowning. "I thought we agreed to 'after lunch'."


"You did."


I looked over at the Goddess of Wisdom. "Arena, is Ella Minnow still here?"


"No." Arena replied quickly.


"Ugh! Goddess of Wisdom, why couldn't you have told me that sooner?" I rolled my eyes but affectionately put my arm around her.


For some reason, as we walked through the halls Arena seemed slightly distracted, and distant. Normally she'd cuddle up close to me while walking. Now she was about an arm's length away as the two of us headed to meet our friends at Ipsum's office.


"I did not tell you because she was still here."


I paused to look her over. "What do you mean by that?"


"You asked if Ella Minnow was still here. It wasn't until the moment you asked that she was not."


I stared at Arena for a moment, trying to put together what exactly she was saying.


"Arena..." I was almost too afraid to ask. "Where's Ella?"


There was a pause, and a bit of trepidation from Arena. But the loud screaming of my friends alerted me to the fact that I wouldn't like the answer.


I raced down the hallways to Lady Ipsum's office, finding the rest of my friends standing over what looked like a dried out old scarecrow. I gasped as I recognized the Hermos Red girl's uniform, and though I never saw it before, I realized just what the smashed camera on the ground implied. I wasn't looking at a scarecrow after all. There in the middle of the hallway, just outside of Headmistress Ipsum's office was the rotting, ghastly corpse of Ella Minnow, wrinkles lined all over her face and looking like she had been dead for about a hundred years.


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