"Are they here yet?!" Seto Kaiba demanded, practically stomping into his own offices. The startled technician he'd assigned for today's project was a wiry, nervous man, and it showed. Well, he'd have to put up with Kaiba's attitude —at least until this all was over, and everything went well— or he'd be out of a job.
Stupid teachers. Stupid traffic! ARGH!
Seto Kaiba was a very organized young man. And he was an exceptional student, too. But apparently not exceptional enough. He'd tried explaining to his teachers that he had something very important to take care of today, and would they mind letting him go just five minutes before the bell rang?
No. No, no, no, no, no! They all said no. Mr. Kaiba, they said, you might be a billionaire and one of Japan's top-ranked businessmen, but you are a student, same as everyone else here. We don't care if your IQ is 190 or 360! We don't care that you finished your exam in ten minutes, while the rest of your classmates have another forty. SIT DOWN!
They had no idea.
He was anxious for a reason! A perfectly good reason, too! To him, at least.
After months and months of hard work, painstaking calculations, electrifying (literally!) hardwiring… he finally got it.
Kaiba Corporation's Virtual Systems were BACK.
And not just back, but improved tenfold! More!
But, he had to test them out.
He couldn't risk another disaster like what had happened with the Big Five. And he didn't want anyone to abuse HIS technology and do what Noah did— sucking people into the virtual world and taking over their real bodies.
So he would test it himself. Take on all the risk— himself.
But that was what he did. He was that kind of a guy. Despite what everyone thought, he cared— about his business. About his reputation. That wasn't so horrible.
He was trying to save lives, after all.
"Y-Yes, Mr. Kaiba. Your opponent arrived some time ago. They are already wired in to the Blue System in the opposite room."
Kaiba sighed. Well, at least one thing was going right.
The whole point of Kaiba Corporation's Virtual Systems was to offer an extremely interactive playing field for duelists. Using virtual reality, it would bring duelists into a world where they could challenge multiple players at a single time, establish deck leaders and use special capabilities…
If everything went right, and the Systems took off, Kaiba Corporation would be back on its feet again.
Not that it had ever gotten off its feet, but Kaiba held onto the hope that people would finally start respecting his company, and him for all the work he put into it.
Kaiba strode into the room to the left of the technician's desk, tossing his school jacket aside as he did so. He examined the Red System's pod. Everything looked fine.
No tampering with the wires… no broken control switches. He'd even developed an internal fail-safe to get the players out, in case of an emergency.
Everything would be fine. He was sure of it.
Without a second thought, Seto Kaiba hooked himself into the Red System and began the program.
He would duel his opponent in the virtual world, and prove to everyone in the real world that Kaiba Corporation was a force to be reckoned with.
Since his opponent had logged in before Seto, that meant he'd already picked out the setting of their duel— and likely a deck, as well.
There were few people in Domino —no, all of Japan— that didn't know of Seto Kaiba's dueling prowess, and the trademark cards in his deck. He had to expect someone that would counter his powerful cards, but would still prove to be a force to be reckoned with.
That was how he wanted it.
When he'd put the advertisement out for duelists, he'd specifically asked for people willing to take risks and duel with everything they had.
And they couldn't have been entrants in Battle City.
He didn't want the mutt to end up being his opponent. Or worse, Yugi.
He didn't expect much of a challenge, given that requirement— but he was well-aware that plenty of people that were skilled enough to enter Battle City hadn't. Maybe, just maybe, his opponent was one of those people.
Kaiba shuddered as the VR System Logon took effect, and he found himself in darkness.
Wh… Where the hell is the other duelist?
Kaiba whirled around to face the source of the sound, but it disappeared. When it sounded again —that damn feminine giggle— he turned around again, and found himself nose-to-nose with a Dark Magician Girl.
Seto rolled his eyes and took a few steps backwards. The Dark Magician Girl made a face at him and blew a raspberry before gliding to the opposite end of the field.
"Are you going to play games or are you going to duel?"
"Duel," the Dark Magician Girl spoke up. Seto's eyes widened. Obviously his opponent discovered the character-editing feature of the virtual world, and had opted to take the form of a Monster from the game. He'd thought the Dark Magician Girl was going to be a Deck Leader— but obviously, his opponent hadn't made that option at the start of the game.
"You're going to play as a Monster?"
"Hey, we're in the virtual world. It wouldn't kill you to be a little creative." A pause. "I, for one, would love to see a Blue-Eyes White Dragon with a Duel Disk strapped to its… er… paw."
Seto scoffed. He couldn't picture it himself, but his opponent didn't need to know that he'd bothered trying.
"What do you think of my terrain selection? Dark terrain is very good for Spellcaster-types like my Dark Magician Girl."
"You must be female."
Of course, he was implying in the real world. As if anyone could doubt that the Dark Magician Girl was female. Pegasus was a true pervert for designing her so—
Not that Kaiba noticed such things.
"Maybe," the voice laughed. "But this is a virtual world. I could be the sexiest thing you ever laid eyes on here, but the butchest guy in reality."
"Somehow I doubt that, choosing Dark Magician Girl as your persona here."
"Hmph. Think what you want."
"I will." Kaiba focused his thoughts, letting a Duel Disk II materialize on one of his arms. His deck came pre-loaded, as he already knew exactly which cards he would use to defeat this pathetic stranger.
"Same rules for all your tourneys, right?" The Dark Magician Girl smirked, closing her eyes as she recited them from memory. "Tributes to summon Level 5 or higher monsters- one tribute for a Level 5 or 6, and two for 7 or higher, right?"
"Unless a ritual summon card notes otherwise, yes. Glad you did your homework," Kaiba responded, drawing his first hand.
"You won't be once I kick your ass."
This line, coming from a Dark Magician Girl, seemed horribly amusing.
"You're all talk. You're too much of a coward to show your real face." He had to admit, it was unnerving him. And he'd only faced a female duelist ONCE before— Isis. But she didn't count. She was weird.
But what if the duelist he was facing wasn't lying, and it wasn't a 'she' at all, but a 'he?' Someone who had chosen the Dark Magician Girl as an avatar just to throw him off?
It was probably a strategy. A trick, a trap. Well. Seto Kaiba wouldn't be fooled!
"Nah." The Dark Magician Girl stuck her tongue out at Kaiba.
Seto Kaiba was quickly getting frustrated.
"You like anime?" The Dark Magician Girl ignored the vein pulsating on Seto's forehead and the reddening of his face; she inspected her bright pink nails instead.
"I'm not here to chat, you know," Kaiba shot back, wishing that there were acoustics in this world, so he could tap his foot incessantly on the floor and the girl would know how impatient he was.
"Yeah? Neither am I. I'm here to make some money. I need it," the Dark Magician Girl responded flippantly.
"Get on with the duel then, or I'll rescind my offer," Kaiba growled.
"Can't do that," she chuckled. "Man, you really do think the world's at your beck and call, don't you? You're pretty disillusioned." One arm had the Duel Disk II attached to it, while the other held the Dark Magician Girl's wand— which she shook at Seto like a stick.
"And why couldn't I rescind my offer, oh Master?" Kaiba quipped sarcastically.
"Leave the kink outside, Kaiba," the Dark Magician Girl raised an eyebrow, continuing, "You can't because I signed a contract. Win or lose, I still get my money. Unless you want a lawsuit on your hands."
Kaiba stifled a snarl, clenching his hands at his sides.
"Will you just get on with it?!"
"Yeah, yeah. But you'll wish you'd answered my question. It would have made this go easier on you."
Before Kaiba could ask what the hell the duelist was talking about, she called out her move from the darkness.
"I'll set two-cards face down and play a monster in defense mode!"
"And end your turn?" Kaiba prompted.
He hated non-serious duelists. People that had no respect for Duel Monsters, that treated it like something to be laughed at…
Seto Kaiba fought the strong urge to walk across the terrain and slap his opponent upside the head.
But he'd probably get sued.
"Hmph. A pathetic first move." Kaiba smirked as he drew, his eyes alighting on the perfect card he'd use to begin the destruction of his opponent.
It didn't matter that his opponent was female, or had probably never dueled before (after all, Kaiba had called all the experienced duelists to participate in Battle City. It was more likely he was dealing with a newbie). He would destroy him —her!— and prove that his Virtual Systems were the greatest thing for the Duel Monsters world.
"Prepare to feel the touch of cold steel—"
"As you summon your Vorse Raider!" the Dark Magician Girl proclaimed in a stage voice, mimicking the Vorse Raider by using her wand as an ax.
Kaiba stopped mid-summon. "How did you know that?"
"You say that every time you summon that monster, Kaiba. Get on with it." The Dark Magician Girl fixed her perfectly-green eyes on his, letting him know just how much she thought of his theatrics.
Kaiba finished summoning the 1900 Attack monster with a grumble, and then raised his voice. "Vorse Raider, attack the face-down monster card!"
"Bad idea, Kaiba-boy!" the Dark Magician Girl giggled, motioning to her face-down card. It flipped face up, revealing the Fire Sorcerer.
The Dark Magician Girl discarded two cards from her hand to the Graveyard in her Duel Disk II, and immediately, a ball of flame whirled towards Seto, inflicting 800 points of damage of his life points.
"Argh!" It was probably a bad idea that Seto had programmed the virtual world to make the loss of life points more 'realistic.' They were called life points, after all, so Seto programmed it to send a jolt to the duelist whenever they lost any.
And he felt like he'd just been socked in the gut.
By a GIRL.
That could not be forgiven.
"But wait!" The Dark Magician Girl smiled, "There's more!" She motioned to one of her two face-down cards, revealing a Permanent Spell Card— Soul Absorption.
"I gain 1000 Life Points just for that nifty little trick! Thanks!"
"…I end my turn." Kaiba seethed. He still had his Vorse Raider, but he hadn't done any damage to her whatsoever. His opponent had gained life points!
And the two cards removed from play? Pathetic cards. An Armed Ninja and a Beaver Warrior.
"Yay!" The Dark Magician Girl drew a card from her Disk and grinned broadly, obviously not knowing the meaning of 'poker face.'
"I'd tell ya to eat dirt, Kaiba, but since we're in Dark Terrain here, can't do that. So, uh— eat dark!" she grinned, slapping a card down.
"I play Graceful Charity!"
Seto rolled his eyes. Okay fine, so she was drawing three cards. She was making up for discarding those two worthless ones from play, and probably for losing her Fire Sorcerer. But… she had to discard two of the cards from her hand to the Graveyard.
Seto grinned, knowing he could easily exploit her weakness. If she didn't have enough cards in her hand to play, he could attack her life points easily.
"Hm. Well, I don't need these." And then the Dark Magician Girl disposed of two cards to her Graveyard. Seto stared at his Duel Disk II, wondering if there was some sort of malfunction.
The Dark Magician… and the Magician of Black Chaos!?
Who in their right mind would dispose of those cards!? They were…
Well, Seto wasn't about to admit they were powerful. Yugi used those cards. And Seto Kaiba would never in a million years admit that Yugi's cards were better or more powerful than his.
"And now, I activate my face-down card—" the Dark Magician Girl paused, smiling up at Seto, "I asked you if you liked anime. You never answered me, so I guess I'm just going to find out the hard way."
Feh. Like I'm afraid of her.
It was just a girl.
"I activate Toon World!" The duelist's life points dropped back down to 4000 from the 5000 that they had jumped to in her last turn.
Seto swallowed. He hated Toon World. He hated those damn anime characters.
He shuddered, remembering his duel with Pegasus.
If he never saw another Toon monster in his life, it would be too soon.
He would have to find a way to get rid of that damned card. But he didn't have anything like De-Spell or Mystical Space Typhoon in his hand— yet. But when he drew the proper card, he'd dispose of that damned Toon World…
"And now I summon my Toon Mermaid!"
A bright red shell appeared on the field, and when it sprang open, a super-deformed mermaid with a devilish smile, a bright blue tail, and shimmering green hair appeared, laughing at Seto Kaiba.
Oh God, how he hated Toon cards.
Worse, he would never sink low enough to put any in his deck. Which meant that the Toon Mermaid —on the duelist's next turn— could attack his Life Points directly.
"You realize that you can't attack me this turn."
"Yep. Too bad. Guess you'll have to wait to be punished, Kaiba-boy!"
"DO NOT CALL ME THAT," he snapped, very nearly on his last nerves.
The Dark Magician Girl only rolled her eyes and made an 'L' sign on her forehead, mouthing 'Loser' without speaking aloud.
"Stupid girl," he muttered.
"I heard that!" she shot back, frowning. "Sexist pig!"
"Hey! I'm not a natural blonde!" the Dark Magician Girl protested, "Besides, this is just an avatar! Like I told you—"
"Yeah, yeah," Seto responded, this time mocking her by opening and closing his hand like a mouth, "'I could be the sexiest thing you ever laid eyes on here, but the butchest guy in reality!'" he repeated, adding a whiny tinge to his voice for extra effect.
The Dark Magician Girl twitched, her lips curling into a frown. She looked like she wanted to clock him on the head with that wand of hers.
"You know what's pathetic," Seto went on, "a loser who thinks he can duel, challenging me! And not just making a pathetic attempt at it, but taking the form of a female monster, while he's at it! And anyone that finds a Duel Monsters card 'sexy,' is in serious need of a therapist!"
"I'm not a guy, you stupid oaf!" the Dark Magician Girl retorted."And if anyone's in need of a psychoanalysis or ten, it's you, you overblown, ego-inflated, stuck-up, prissy little rich boy!"
That threw him off guard. He'd had strings of insults thrown at him before, but never that many in a single breath.
Much as he hated to admit it, she was good.
Almost as good as him.
Not like he'd say it aloud, though. He was about to open his mouth and come up with a snarky reply, but the incensed Dark Magician Girl just kept yelling, even though her Toon Mermaid was staring at her.
"And you probably wouldn't know 'sexy' if it slapped you in the face—"
"Are you going to slap me?" Seto interrupted, a smirk on his face.
"I WANT TO! I've wanted to slap you for a real long time, Seto Kaiba!"
A long time? They hadn't even been in the System for more than twenty minutes.
"You couldn't even get close enough before you'd be flat on the ground— eating dirt."
"Wanna bet, you twiggy little brat!?"
"Look who's talking, you airheaded shrimp!"
"THAT'S IT!" And without a moment's hesitation, the Dark Magician Girl came flying at him, her emerald green eyes ablaze and her wand raised.
And she was about to clock Seto Kaiba on the head with it when suddenly the space right in front of her fizzed.
When her blue boots touched the 'ground' she stared at Kaiba.
"What did you just do?"
Seto looked about nervously; there was not a glitch in his system. There couldn't be. He'd gone over every single possibility—
This time, a much larger distortion, one that sent the Dark Magician Girl bouncing towards him.
"What do you think you're doing, you fool!?" Seto demanded, shoving the mass of busty-magician-girl away from him.
She looked up at him plaintively, "That thing was going to get me! I don't know what's going on in this virtual world, but I have no plans on being stuck in one again!"
Before Seto could question her as to what she'd meant by 'again,' a third distortion —staticky and gaping— roared towards them, effectively wiping out the Toon Mermaid, Toon World, and all the other face-down cards on the field.
"Aw man! I was going to use that!" the Dark Magician Girl cursed, "I would have whomped you with that strategy."
"You couldn't 'whomp' me if you had a steel two-by-four," Seto challenged, crossing his arms over his chest.
He wouldn't let the Dark Magician Girl know that it had been a while since he'd had a good banter with anyone. Besides, he had to find out what was wrong with his system and get the hell out of there.
That meant activating the emergency trip…
"Hey! Hey, what are you doing!? You can't leave me here!"
"You weren't told about the emergency fail-safe!?" Seto growled. Damn that technician. Stupid idiot. STUPID EVERYONE!
"No! Gah!" The Dark Magician Girl jumped a half foot into the air when a distortion raced by her ankle, practically pressing Seto's face into her breasts. "Will you just —gah!— get us —eek!— outta— AAAAAHHH!" The Dark Magician Girl burst into tears as the static shocks increased in number and started closing in on the two.
"Give me your Duel Disk, fool!"
Seto grabbed her wrist, inadvertently pulling her into his embrace. He realized she'd stopped crying and was staring at him oddly, and looked up into her eyes— right as he pressed the fail-safe button and the distortion waves closed in on them.
Seto Kaiba woke from the Virtual World with pain lancing through his feet all the way up to his chest. His eyes were stinging and unaccustomed to the harsh florescent light of the System Rooms, and he kept them closed while he tried to grope his way out of the Pod.
Wanting to be out of the small enclosure as soon as possible, he pushed up on the glass casing, neglecting to unplug himself or flip the side-lock near his arm. But when the hatch refused to budge, Seto found himself shoved back into the pod by his own force— his hands collapsing on his chest.
And that was when it hit him.
Those weren't his.
His chest wasn't—
He opened one eye, and then another.
Those were definitely not his.
I… do not… have breasts.
But there they were.
And that was when Seto Kaiba let out a surprisingly soprano scream.
Stupid Kaiba! Stupid men! Stupid BOYS! GAH, stupid Kaiba! I hate you!
Téa Gardner, from the moment she awoke, had labeled the past half hour as a complete and total failure. Grade F, 0%, FILE IN "DO NOT REMEMBER."
She wished she didn't remember.
But she did—- every snarky remark, every glare, every… well, that last time he'd looked into her eyes, just before they'd disappeared? That look had actually been pretty nice. For a moment there, Seto Kaiba had almost been —dare she think it— handsome.
Nah. Not a snowball's chance in hell. I just wanna get outta here before he finds out that it was me. I'll just get my check from the technician dude, and—
Her vision was still pretty blurry, but she didn't remember her hands being that big.
"If that stupid Kaiba did something to make me swell up, I swear, I'll—"
That wasn't her voice.
Those were her thoughts, but that was not her voice.
Her voice wasn't a deep, sexy rasp.
"Oh hell no."
And that was when Téa Gardner let out a startlingly tenor scream of her own.
"WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO ME!?"
"I AM GOING TO KILL YOU, YOU SICK BASTARD!"
The technician behind the front desk blinked. His employer, Seto Kaiba, and his opponent —Téa Gardner, the technician remembered— had both stormed out of their respective System Rooms and immediately started shouting at one another.
And then, both of them looked the other up and down, definitive glares crossing their faces.
"YOU," they both uttered at the same time.
"You are one sick bastard," Kaiba repeated. Or rather, Téa. No, Téa-in-Kaiba.
The technician blinked. Had his employer just called a woman a bastard?
"You think this is my fault!? I'm the one stuck in this shrimpy, pathetic little—"
"WHAT!?" Both the girl and Mr. Kaiba wheeled on their feet and stared at the technician, who trembled a bit, more surprised than anything else.
"Uhm, sir…" he tried again, this time facing Mr. Kaiba, "Did something go wrong in the—"
"Hey, look at me when you're talking! It's rude!"
The technician blinked at the girl, offering a slow nod and then facing them both.
"Did something go wrong in the system?"
"Damn straight something wen—" That was when Téa-in-Kaiba clamped a hand over Kaiba-in-Téa's mouth. He forcibly dragged her a few feet away from the desk, out of the technician's earshot.
"You are not going to tell him that your mind ended up in my body. Not only would it be a scandal for you and your precious business, but it would be bringing unnecessary people into the equation."
"I don't take orders from a girl," Seto shot back, about to turn back to the technician when she was yanked back —hard.
"If you forget, I'm in your body, Kaiba. And you wouldn't want anything to happen to your precious reputation, now would you? So let's keep this between us. You're supposed to be some genius technical boy, so you fix this problem on your own."
Kaiba-in-Téa swallowed, unaccustomed to being intimidated in such a fashion.
Was that how he always looked?
For a moment there, Kaiba-in-Téa admitted that he appeared very imposing, with blue eyes flashing in a dangerous manner.
And apparently I have one hell of a grip.
Kaiba-in-Téa rubbed his —rather, her— wrists absently, frustrated that he was stuck —of all places— in Gardner's weak little body. She was certainly thin-skinned, to turn so red after just being gripped like that.
"And stop feeling me up."
"You heard me," Téa-in-Kaiba hissed. "I see the way you're rubbing my arms. And I bet before you got out of that room, you had a good grope on my breasts too, huh? Pervert."
"I'm a pervert!? What about you, you—"
"I DARE YOU TO SAY IT." Téa-in-Kaiba challenged, leaning over Kaiba-in-Téa's smaller frame. There was fire dancing in those eyes, and Kaiba knew instantly that Téa was pissed— moreso than she'd ever been in his presence.
And she'd been pretty angry with him before…
Why her, of all people!?
Though, it wasn't as if the situation would have been any better if it had been someone like, say, the mutt. That would have been horrific. Worse, if it were Yugi!
Still, being female…
Ugh. Kaiba-in-Téa shuddered, despite his own body towering over him with a glare that could melt ice.
Better Téa, Seto reasoned, than a complete stranger.
Earlier, he'd thought that complete strangers to Duel Monsters were fools, especially for challenging him at his own game. But now, knowing that it was Téa, and…
Well, the situation was only a bit better.
NO NO NO! This situation is terrible ! I've got to get the hell out of this stinking female body NOW!
"Come on." Kaiba-in-Téa grabbed his —HER?— own body's arm, his brain not entirely processing how much difference there was in size between the two.
"I'm very sorry, sir," the technician addressed Téa-in-Kaiba the moment she —er, he— approached, Kaiba-in-Téa towing him along. "I had no idea that this young lady was your girlfriend."
"MY WHAT!?" Both teens exclaimed simultaneously, their eyes wide with horror.
"Like I'd ever date a stuck-up, prissy, snot-nosed twig like him in a million years," Téa-in-Kaiba blurted, crossing his arms over— well, Kaiba's chest.
"You're not so much of a prize catch yourself, you twiggy, small-breasted, uncute mop!" Kaiba-in-Téa shot back.
"Pardon?" The technician looked utterly confused. Had Mr. Kaiba just insulted himself? And had his girlfriend done the same?
"NEVER MIND!" they both snapped, glaring at one another.
Finally, Téa-in-Kaiba heaved a sigh. "We're not going anywhere like this. Let's just check out the pods and see what we can find."
"Fine. Stupid brat." Kaiba-in-Téa stalked off, heading towards the Blue Room, Téa-in-Kaiba following shortly thereafter.
The technician only blinked. "What did I miss?"