>The air was abuzz with the excitement of the day.
>It held heavy with a lingering stench of sweat, and closely packed bodies were like sardines in the small shop.
>Dim, pulsing overhead lights broke through the gloom of the shop, despite the large bay windows on either side of the beaten up old door.
>The light glowing down on the long white tables shined brightly off her glasses as she pushed them up, a smirk growing across her face.
>She slapped her cards down onto the table, grinning wide at her opponent’s groaning resignation.
>”You’re far too good at this game.”
“You’re just bad, Twilight.”
>Twilight gave her a smile and swept up her cards on the field.
>They were shuffled back into the deck with practiced ease.
“Want to go for another round?”
>”Err, I think I’m done for now, I’ve still got a few errands to run.”
“Oh. Okay Twilight.”
>Twilight winced at Moondancer’s note of disappointment.
>”Don’t worry ‘Dani, we do this every week, remember? Besides, I’ll be back after I’m done. I’m out of the tournament anyway.”
>Twilight laid her hand on Moondancer’s.
>Quick as lightning Moondancer pulled it away, an embarrassed blush staining her cheeks.
“O-of course I remember. It’s not like would so easily forget!”
>”Right,” Twilight stood up, “Try and get out this weekend? For me?”
“F-f-for you? I always do something on the weekends!”
>”More than studying.”
“That’s not all I do.”
>”And more than browsing that silly website.”
“I’ll have you know that Maregolian basket weaving is all the rage these days!”
>Twilight laughed, and Moondancer’s heart skipped a beat.
>”This was really nice, as always, but I really have to go. I’ll see you later?”
“Yeah. Seeya, Twilight.”
>Moondancer's eyes followed Twilight out the door as she squeezed passed the tightly packed bodies.
>She stood and followed Twilight’s path, but stopped short at the glass display counter.
>”Hey Moondancer. You win?”
>”Right, you were playing Twilight weren’t you? Let’s see…”
>Twinkleshine flicked her pencil back and forth in her index finger and thumb as she looked up down the sheet of paper in her grip.
>”You’ll be facing Snips in the next round. He’s right over there.”
>Twinkleshine pointed over towards a round-faced boy a few displays away, face almost pressed to the glass.
“Snips? How did he even win his first match?”
>”He had a bye.”
“Do you enjoy torturing me?”
>”Yes. Now go, the next round is starting.”
>Twinkle looked over the assembled crowd and cupped her hands around her mouth.
>”The next round is starting! Find your next opponent and start!”
>Moondancer spared a smirking Twinkleshine an unimpressed look as she approached the round faced boy.
>He looked up then, seeing her, his eyes fired up.
>”Ah, I knew you would win your first match! Finally, a worthy opponent!”
>Moondancer rolled her eyes and followed Snips over to an empty table.
>They took seats across from each other and began shuffling their deck.
>After cutting, they drew their hands.
>”As you are the inferior duelist, I must give you the advantage and insist that you go first.”
“Kageki, special summon Kagemusha. Synchro for Shien. Set one card, I end.”
>”A mistake! I active the spell Polymerization! I special summon from the extra deck Gaia the Dragon Champion by discarding Curse of Dragon and Gaia the Fierce Knight! Your puny Legendary Six Samurai is no match!”
“I negate polymerization.”
>”And then I- huh?”
“Shien’s effect. I can negate one spell or trap activation per turn.”
>”Oh. No matter! I shall defeat you! I set one monster face down and end my turn.”
>Moondancer raised an eyebrow and drew a card.
“Shien’s smoke signal. I’ll add Kageki to my hand. Normal summon Kageki, special summon Yariza. Battle Phase. I’ll activate Yariza’s effect and attack you directly for one-thousand damage. I’ll swing at your face down with Kageki.”
>Snips groaned as he flipped Lord of D. face up.
>It was quickly added to his graveyard.
“Swing Shien for twenty-five hundred damage. You’re at forty-five hundred life points. End turn.”
>”F-forty five hundred? N-no matter! I draw! Aha, just the card I needed! I summon Kaibaman! I’ll activate his effect and tribute him to summon the legendary-”
“I use Musakani Magatama. Negate Kaibaman and destroy him.”
>”Eh! N-no! It can’t be!”
>Snips glared angrily at his hand and threw it face down onto the table.
>”I end my turn.”
“Swing for game.”
>Snips turned his glare to Moondancer.
>He stood up, his finger brandished threateningly at her.
>”Don’t feel so overconfident yet, my rival! I shall return to defeat you one day!”
“No you won’t, Snips, your deck is trash.”
>”Hmph. The words of an untruther!”
>Before Moondancer could correct him, Snips gathered up his cards and bolted over to Twinkleshine.
>Moondancer sighed and began to pick up her own cards.
“You really hate me, don’t you?”
>Twinkleshine waved her off.
>”Of course not. He just wants to face his rival, what’s the harm in letting him?”
>”Alright, alright. Your next opponent is… Huh. A new person. Rainbow Dash, over there I think.”
>Twinkleshine pointed over towards a girl across the room.
>She was flicking through common singles, brow furrowed in concentration.
>”Go easy on her, okay? I don’t want you scaring away customers.”
>Moondancer didn’t acknowledge Twinkleshine, her eyes were locked onto Rainbow Dash.
>She trudged across the room, concentration never wavering.
>Rainbow Dash looked familiar, the name was at the tip of her tongue.
>Which was odd, Moondancer couldn’t remember a time that she had interacted with someone like Rainbow Dash.
>She was tall, narrow-shouldered and waist-ed, and her tank top showed off a pair of sculpted athletic arms.
>She looked up from the card she was reading.
>A pair of maroon eyes locked onto Moondancer’s and lit up, a smile crossed her face.
>”Hey! What’s your name? Are you my new opponent?”
>”Great. Let’s go find a table.”
>Rainbow Dash didn’t wait for Moondancer, she was already bouncing over to a free table.
>Moondancer followed her and, like with Snips, they quickly began the process of shuffling and cutting the others deck.
>”Wanna Ro-Sham-Bo to see who goes first?”
>Moondancer shrugged and they put up their fists.
>”Right. Ro-Sham-Bo! Alright, I won! I’ll go first.”
>Moondancer nodded, but her head wasn’t in it.
>Rainbow Dash looked incredibly familiar, and it was slowly consuming her attention.
>”So, Moondancer, right? How’d you get into the game?”
>Moondancer glanced down at her hand, then up at Rainbow Dash.
>”Really? Me too. She said I’d like all the monsters ‘n stuff, and it seems pretty fun.”
>Rainbow set a monster.
>”I end my turn.”
“Right. I activate two Shien’s Smoke Signals and add Kagemusha and Kageki to my hand. I’ll play Six Samurai United then normal summon Kageki, special summon Kagemusha- I’ll discard Six Sam United to draw two. Synchro for Shien.”
>Moondancer drew two cards, she glanced down at them for a second before carrying on.
“I’ll set one card face down then activate another Six Samurai United. I’ll activate Grandmaster of the Six Samurai’s effect to special summon him from my hand. I’ll swing at your face down with Grandmaster, then with Shien for twenty-five hundred.”
>Rainbow Dash sent Vorse Raider to the graveyard.
>”Wow that was a pretty good. You play a lot, huh?”
>”Alright. I draw. I’ll activate Lair of Darkness.”
“Negate with Shien.”
>”Damn. Then I’ll play Allure of darkness. I draw two cards then banish one, I’ll banish Lilith, Lady of Lament. I’ll activate Fires of Doomsday, giving me two tokens in defense position. I’ll end my turn.”
“I’ll summon Yariza, then discard my Six Samurai United.”
>Moondancer drew two cards.
>She sized them up, then shuffled them into her hand.
“Activate Temple of the Six, swing for direct damage with Yariza. Destroy your tokens with Shien and Grandmaster. I end.”
>”Right. This is my turn! I draw. I’ll summon Lilith, then tribute her. I can choose three traps in my deck and you randomly decide which one I’ll set.”
>Rainbow Dash took a few minutes to decide, her brow was crinkled in concentration until finally she pulled free three traps from her deck.
>Moondancer tapped the middle one and it was slipped into the back row.
>”I’ll set one more card then end my turn.”
>Moondancer froze, her hand resting on a card.
>”Hey Twilight. What are you doing here?”
>”I… Was just meeting Moondancer.”
>That’s where Moondancer had heard Rainbow Dash’s name.
>She was one of Twilight’s friends.
>”You know Moondancer? Small world, huh?”
>”Oh are you guys playing? Mind if I watch?”
>”Go for it, I was just planning on winning!”
“N-not at all.”
>Twilight smiled at them both and took a seat.
>Moondancer felt a heavy sense of dread creep up her spine.
>She could win this turn, but that would mean defeating one of Twilight’s friends in front of her.
>Twilight would surely hate her for that, defeating her was one thing, but her friends felt like another matter entirely.
>”Sweet. Scared of my trap cards?”
>Rainbow Dash smiled wide as she drew another card.
>”I’ll activate Lair of darkness.”
“Negate with Shien.”
>Rainbow Dash smirked.
>”I’ll activate my second lair of darkness.”
>Moondancer felt her blood run cold.
>”I’ll tribute your Shien and Grandmaster, to summon Darkest Diabolos!”
>”Nice one, Rainbow Dash.”
>Moondancer’s hand rested on the Compulsory Evacuation Device hidden in her back row.
>Darkest Diabolos was immune to the effects of her cards.
>”I’ll attack your Yariza, you take two-thousand points of damage. I’ll end my turn.”
>Moondancer drew a card.
“I’ll start by using mystical space typhoon on your lair of darkness. It’s destroyed.”
“Then I’ll normal summon Spirit of the Six Samurai, then special summon Grandmaster. Temple of the six samurai means Diabolos loses one-hundred attack points for every Six Samurai monster I’ve summoned. He’s at twenty-eight hundred. I end my turn.”
>Rainbow Dash drew a card.
>”I set one card. I’ll attack Grandmaster with Diabolos.”
“Spirit of the Six Samurai goes to graveyard instead of Grandmaster.”
>Rainbow Dash nodded, “I’ll end my turn.”
“Draw. I’ll normal summon Hand of the Six Samurai, and I send Darkest Diabolos back to your hand and Hand of the Six to mine. I’ll swing for twenty-one. I end.”
>”My turn? I draw a card…”
>Rainbow sighed and let her cards drop to the table.
“I summon Zanji. Swing for game.”
>A shudder of dread raced up her spine, and Moondancer dared not look over towards Twilight.
>Moondancer looked up at Rainbow Dash as she gathered her cards.
>”…Was a great match. Thanks, Moondancer.”
>”Wow Rainbow, I didn’t know you were so good at this game”, Twilight said, “You almost had Moondancer. I’ve never gotten that close!”
>”I’m alright, and it is pretty fun. Maybe we can have a rematch sometime?”
>”Sorry Rainbow, I should’ve mentioned that Dani is a little shy.”
“I-I am not!”
>”Heh, nothing like some time around me to change that!”
>Rainbow grinned hard enough to shut her eyes and she jabbed her chest with her thumb.
>”You know Rainbow, I’m surprised you even came. I didn’t think you’d like stuff like this.”
>”What can I say?” Rainbow said, “I love winning. Even at a card game.”
“But you lost.”
>”Well yeah, but I’ll win one day. I just have to keep going and pushing myself to get better, that’s the only way.”
>Moondancer resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she finished shuffling the cards into her deck.
>All three of them, the crowd around them as well, turned to look at Twinkleshine at her whistle.
>”The tournament is taking a two-hour hiatus. Eat, sleep, go home, just be back before four o’clock.”
>The bustling crowd around them began to gather up to leave, though a few stragglers remained behind.
>It was Twilight who interrupted Rainbow Dash and Moondancer’s packing.
>”You guys want to get something to eat? I’m starving.”
>”Sounds good Twi. That place on the corner?”
>”Sure. You like burgers, Moondancer?”
>Moondancer shrugged as all three of them stood up from the table.
>Twilight led them out of the store and into sunny, clear weather that bathed them all in a warm glow.
>Moondancer kept pace with Twilight and remained silent as she and Rainbow Dash began chattering.
>The walk was short, and before they knew it they were stood in front of a small shack that could barely be defined as anything bigger than a postage stamp.
>Twilight and Rainbow Dash stepped forward to order, but Moondancer hung back.
>She let her eyes linger on Rainbow Dash, from the high ponytail down her sculpted back and lithe, agile legs.
>Rainbow was chatting with the girl behind the counter, a gleam in her eye that was visible even to Moondancer a few feet away.
>The girl laughed and took out a pen and scrawled something onto Rainbow’s hand.
>Rainbow gave the girl a little smirk.
>It was Twilight who paid at the register, a thin smirk of her own crossed her face when she glanced over at Rainbow Dash as the girl behind the counter giggled again.
>The food only took a few minutes to make, and Rainbow and Twilight were quick to start walking back towards Moondancer.
>”Who was that girl, Rainbow?”
>Rainbow Dash pulled out a fry from the grease-heavy bag and threw it in her mouth.
>”Dunno. I got her number though.”
>Rainbow held out her hand, it was marked clearly with a seven-digit phone number, signed at the end with a heart.
“I didn’t know you were gay, Rainbow.”
>Dash shrugged, “Whatever get’s the job done.”
>The brick shop was just ahead of them, and Moondancer sped up a little to reach it.
>She opened up the door to let Rainbow and Twilight in.
>She kept a close eye on Dash- or, rather, she observed her with narrowed eyes.
>The way the girl carried herself was so unlike what she was used to, even with Twilight.
>Confident, yet aloof, and a magnetism that revolved around her.
>Like a chad.