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  The crowd whooped and hollered. The mood was electric, and lights spun and swirled. It was a hot and heated night and Giorno was masterfully controlling the excitement. He walked out onto the stage and Narancia shot him with the full spotlight. Giorno held the microphone tightly and his arm swept to one side of the stage.

  “Ladies, gentlemen, esteemed guests,” he begun, and the crowd silenced itself, “we are here for a rather fantastic duel: Jolyne Cujoh versus Trish Una – only one of these lovely ladies can claim the twenty-sixth win. Back and forth, back and forth these ladies have gone and now at their fifty-first duel, we will decide which of these two hot’n’heavy rivals can finally earn bragging rights over the other.”

  The crowd cheered. Trish and Jolyne were crowd favourites at Giorno’s underground duels. After all, most of these people had been here for the previous fifty duels these two girls had slogged out and every time, people were thrilled and enthralled by the way they played the game.

  “In this corner, we have a girl who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee: Jolyne Cujoh!” Giorno said.

  The spotlight burst to Giorno’s left and Jolyne came out onto the stage. She hopped around and pranced; exactly like how an arrogant boxer would before entering the ring. She grinned a vicious grin and she glared into the darkness opposite her.

  “Anything you want to say to our lovely guests here tonight, Jolyne?” Giorno asked as he sauntered towards her.

  He stuck the microphone in her face, politely, and Jolyne did not match such courtesy.

  “Trish can suck my dick. I’m taking home the win tonight.” Jolyne bragged.

  Giorno forced a smile. He desperately wished in that moment Jolyne was more eloquent but there was beauty in brevity, no matter how vulgar.

  “Excellent.” he said.

  The crowd went wild, and the difference began to split. There were cheers and shouts of confidence – particularly from the peanut gallery consisting of the other members of the Green Dolphin Gang – but there were also great heckling coming from those who supported Trish. Regardless, Jolyne enjoyed all attention: positive and negative.

  “And now, in our other corner is the spiciest lady on campus, Trish Una!” Giorno said.

  His arm snapped to the other side and the spotlight closely followed. Trish strutted onto stage and took her place in the duel format. People cheered raucously for her and she savoured the attention. Not in the same way as Jolyne, loud and boisterous and clowning and clamouring for more, but in a way, which made her seem like an enigmatic pop star. Though, there was heckling hurled at her. Again, especially from Jolyne’s peanut gallery but Lucy, god bless her, was trying her hardest but it was five against one on that front.

  “So, heads or tails, ladies?” Giorno asked and he brandished a coin which had a dragon on one side and a demon on the other.

  “Well, I can’t imagine Trish is getting much head from Lucy, so I’ll take tails, so she can make up the difference.” Jolyne taunted.

  “Go be crass somewhere else, Cujoh.” Trish snapped.

  “Alright. So Jolyne tails and Trish is heads… Let’s flip the coin.” Giorno said.

  He handed the microphone to Trish, not trusting it with Jolyne, and Giorno flipped the coin. It soared high into the air, glinting as it turned. And then, Giorno caught it. He slapped it onto his hand and covered it. He glanced at the audience.

  “I hope all bets have been placed.” he said, snidely into his blackberry, under his breath.

  “Either way we’re good as gold, GioGio.” Fugo informed Giorno over his headset.

  Giorno slowly revealed the coin. Trish peered over his shoulder and so did Jolyne with her curiosity getting the better of her. Giorno smirked but Trish yanked the microphone away from him before he got the chance to say anything into it.

  “Its fiends. Jolyne can decide the duel order.” Trish huffed, and she slammed the microphone into Giorno’s chest.

  “Aw, come now,” he said, like a snake oil salesman, “don’t spit the dummy.”

  Trish gave Giorno the stink eye and he scrambled for the microphone which made awful noises as it bumped up against the fabric of their jackets. Jolyne snickered and continued to make taunting comments and other trash talk with her friends in her “Gang”. Trish rolled her eyes.

  “Alright, alright, come on now, ladies, let’s get this show on the road – it’s what we’re all here for.” Giorno said.

  The girls took their stances upon the stage. Their Duel Discs flared, and the crowd murmured excitedly. Giorno smirked.

  “You can begin at your leisure, Jolyne – or are you gonna pass the torch to Trish?” he asked.

  “In my opinion, the best defence is an aggressive offence – of course I’ll take the first turn.” Jolyne said.

  The girls continued to glare at one another and they both took a breath: “Duel… Set!” they yelled at each other, their voices dripped with a special sort of loathing born of hatred.

  Jolyne’s Duel Disc spat out five cards and she looked over them. Her eyes alight with ideas. So many ideas and her fingers twitched before she made her selection. She clicked her tongue and a deviant smirk crossed her face.

  “I summon Swallowtail Butterspy in attack mode!” jolyne yelled.

  She slammed the card onto the extended part of her duel disc. Springing to life came a beautiful card belonging to the Photon Butterfly archetype. Jolyne’s monster flitted about: its wings unfurled and a sneer on its digital face. It boasted a hefty eighteen hundred attack points and Jolyne’s grin was only getting bigger.

  “And now I’m able to summon Blue Mountain Buttershy from my hand.” Jolyne continued.

   She slammed a second card onto her Duel Disc. Another monster took to life with a blue glimmer. But this one only had zero attack points and that roused Trish’s anxiety. She must have something planned for it.

  “The conditions have been met, I XYZ summon Photon Alexandra Queen from my extra deck!” Jolyne shouted.

  Her heart hammered as she sent both cards to the graveyard. The monsters on her field dissipated, and in their place, as she slammed her third monster card in the monster zone, a beautiful monster rose. Its wings unfurled, and it was huge. It glimmered and sparkled: the scarlet hues thrown across the entirety of the arena, even unto the shadowy faces of the crowd.

  “I end my turn.” Jolyne said.

  “What’s this? Jolyne’s ace monster is already out?” Giorno yelled into the microphone.

  Trish stood her ground. She glared. “I draw.” she said.

  She re-examined her cards and she breathed deeply and evenly. Twenty-four hundred attack points. The number kept echoing in her head, but she had a plan. Jolyne could use brawn; she would use brain.

  “I summon Valkyrian Knight in attack mode.” Trish said, and she calmly placed her card atop her Duel Disc.

  Trish’s monster took stance upon the field. Its cape flicked, and its animations went through its idle cycle. It stood tall and proud. Trish was confident in her knight.

  “Attack.” Trish said.

  “What?!” screeched Jolyne. “Your monster is way weaker!”

  The attack was sent forth regardless and Trish’s monster was destroyed. She took five-hundred damage. Trish raised her arms as the attack caused a gale and she smiled as she lowered them once it subsided. It unsettled Jolyne.

  “I now use the spell card Rising Fire: it allows me to target one Fire monster in my graveyard, resurrect, and increase its attack by five hundred points.”

  Her monster returned with a roar. The crowd screamed. This was what they liked to see but Trish was only just beginning as she used her next card.

  “I now activate the Spell Card Phoenix Gearblade.” Trish said. “And I equip it to Valkyrian Knight, raising her attack points another three hundred.”

  Her Knight reached forward and grasped the blade. Its attack points were raised but only by three hundred.

  Jolyne nattered. “Okay, so what? You’ve got twenty-seven hundred points.”

 “Because this counts as a new summon, Valkyrian Knight may attack again.” Trish said.

  “What?!” Jolyne screamed.

  Valkyrian Knight attacked at Photon Alexandra Queen.

  “Just kidding.” Jolyne blew a raspberry at Trish. “I activate Photon Alexandra Queen’s effect! By detaching one XYZ unit, I can return all cards to the hand but we both suffer the penalty of three hundred damage.”

  Trish groaned and her Valkyrian Knight was forced back to her hand. Because it had an equip spell, it went straight to the graveyard. At least Jolyne had to return her Photon Alexandra Queen and take the three hundred as well. That was some consolation, but the fact of the matter was, Trish’s life points had dropped more.

  “You thought I didn’t see your little combo? I saw it a mile away, Trishy-pooh.” Jolyne said. “And now your out of moves, right?”

  “Correct.” Trish replied, infuriated. “I end my turn.”

  “And what a turn it was!” Giorno commentated. “It’s getting very hot and heavy in here and we’ve barely begun. That’s why these girls are rivals!”

  Rivals, as a relationship status, was unique and a very powerful tie to bind two duellists. Not quite hatred but it wasn’t friendly. Occasionally sexually or romantically charged, yes. And it was something that they had all to themselves as they enjoyed the raucous crowd, cheering them on, heckling them and more. Everyone on the edge of their seats, wanting to see exactly how these rounds played out on the stage.

  Especially since these two were completely ignited in their fierce and voracious hunger for victory.