26 – Regionals Part 3
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Thanks for your comments in the last chapter! I will have a poll at the end of this one to vote on Ishizu's look with those and a few options I thought of. =)

I hope you enjoy this chapter!

26 – Regionals Part 3

POV Ishizu

I was feeling very conflicted at the moment. 

I sat in a VIP section of the Regionals Colosseum inside a private box seat along with Kin, Ren, Kimiko1Kin's Mom, and Ryo2Kin's Dad. The room was not huge, but it was spacious enough for us, 2 extra empty chairs, and a table full of expensive name-brand snacks and drinks in front of us.

I had bought these tickets at a great price from someone who was not going to be able to make it this year. It only cost me 1,000 DP for the lot, so I felt it was a pretty great deal, all things considered. Plus, it allowed us to support Toshi, even if we had to be incognito about it.

Speaking of supporting him, I was very happy to be out of my cheerleader outfit...I can't believe I let Ren talk me into that...and into a nice beige suit and slacks, white blouse, and tan heels combo. I felt much more comfortable in these types of outfits, as I had to wear them a lot in my Family Head role. Even at my youngest, I wasn't allowed to be in anything less than semi-formal attire in front of the clan elders.

As for our expensive array of snacks...well...I kinda went overboard.

It was my first time doing something like this, so I decided to splurge on our refreshments since it was a special occasion...But I might have overdone it just a bit...

Certainly, the caviar was getting me some concerned glances when we all arrived...

Anyway, that was not why I was feeling conflicted. 

While unintentionally biting my thumbnail, I leaned forward in my seat as I looked down on my boyfriend sitting at the dueling table center stage.

...Except, he wasn't my Toshi at all...He was an ethereal beauty of a man with long shining silvery-white hair and sparkling emerald eyes. Even I had to admit, he truly did look like a God amongst men.

His appearance was also not the reason I was conflicted, however. I had helped him make this persona of his, after all, - though the glowing hair was new - and I was fully prepared for this reveal as we had discussed it, and his "Red Herrings" as he called them, several times beforehand. 

No, I was ready for all that. What I had not been anticipating was...

"Kyaaaaaaaaaa! He's Hot! He's so freaking hot!"  

"OMG, is this for real? That's him, for real!?!"

"Hubba Hubba!"

"He said he was married right? Is he accepting applications for mistresses?"

"Who cares if he is married, Mama's gonna get what Mama needs..."

I glared at each of these...these...harlots!

They had no idea who he was! They had no idea the struggles he went through to get here! All they cared about was his dumb, supernaturally handsome face, and...and...they were saying so many lewd things about MY Toshi!!!

The nerve of these women!

I gave an involuntary growl as my face morphed into a puffed-out cheek pout. 

*Pffft*

The sound of muted laughter was heard next to me, and I snapped my head to look at the culprits like a cobra preparing to strike. 

Kin and Ren sat there with a hand covering the bottom sections of their mouths. They were not even trying to hide their smiles of mirth! What really pissed me off at that moment, however, was their eyes. 

Or, more specifically, the teasing, knowing look in their eyes.

"Ehehe! Ara, Ara, Kin...Could it be? Is our cute little Zu, perhaps, feeling a little jealous?" Ren goads me from behind her hand. She was wiggling her eyebrows up and down a lot...and it made one of my own eyebrows start to twitch. 

"Ufufu! Indeed it does appear that way, my dearest Ren!" Kin mirrors happily with suggestive shoulder shrugs...if that was even a thing...

'Okay. I get it now, Toshi...I would explode if these two were around teasing me 24/7...'

"No, of course not. I'm fine." I answer shortly, choosing to ignore them and, instead, stare intently back out at my boyfriend in the dueling arena. 

'Hmph. Me? Jealous? Possessive, maybe, but jealous? Certainly not. That was just plain stupid. What could I have possibly been jealous of? I got to kiss him every day and cuddle with him every night! No, I was just upset about how all these women were talking about him and treating him. Yup. That was it, and I should tell Ren and Kin this to clear up this misunderstanding. I need to explain it so they will understand!'

"I simply find it rather uncouth the way-" Unfortunately, I am cut off by 2 female voices talking loudly directly below our box seat.

"OMG. He just looked at me!"

"Shut up, no way."

"He did! I swear he looked right at me! Is it a sign? Should I try to meet up with him after Regionals finishes?"

"Like, hang out backstage and hope he picks you out of the crowd?"

"Why not? He looked interested, and I'm hella hot! Plus...he is yummy..."

"What about his wife?"

"I don't see her around, do you?"

"Ha! You slut!"

"You're thinking it too!"

"Well...Maybe~"

*Crack*

How odd. 

The binoculars I was holding just broke for, seemingly, no reason at all. 

I will have to buy a new pair. 

"Ren, is it just me, or did the temperature in the room suddenly drop?"

"Nah, I feel it too. Zu's super pissed!"

"I am not!" I snap back at the two stooges...Only to realize they are still covering their mouths the same smug way while smiling at me. 

'Urg! When did I start getting jealous!?! I've never felt that way about someone before? Toshi! This is all your fault!!!' I think as I hide my face in my hands to cover my blush and glare at "Anubis" through my fingers.

"Now, Now. Behave you two and stop torturing the poor girl. Ren, how would you like it if all the girls around you were making suggestive comments about Kin, hmm?" Kimiko tries to mediate and save me as she pats and rubs my back affectionately.

"You mean like every single day since we entered middle school?" Ren answers her with a dead-eyed stare.

Ren had mentioned to me how annoying it could be when girls tried to get close to Kin. He was very popular, apparently, as he was their school's basketball star player and team captain. It was especially frustrating when it happened while she was still present. Luckily, Kin was quick to shut that sort of thing down and show that he only loved Ren. 

"Ren has it way worse than Aki or I..." Kin adds as he pulls her into his side protectively. "I have to beat the guys away with a stick." She smiles up at him and gives him a kiss on the cheek before snuggling in closer. 

It was true. If there was an award for someone being unfairly objectified most of their life, Ren would have won it every year with her small frame and F-cups...

Kimiko coughs and changes the subject tactfully. "I do hope they all quiet down soon. We can't even hear the announcers over the crowd." 

"I don't see what all the fuss is about. Isn't it good that the women like him? Wasn't that the whole point? If the girls love him, then that only means he will become more popular, right? I'd say he is doing a fine job." Ryo adds his two cents with a serious nod.

"Oh really? Is that what you'd say?" The chilling voice of his wife comes from beside him. 

"Nope. I must have misquoted someone else. My mistake." He answers without missing a beat.

Ren, Kin, and I chuckle and turn back to listen in as the announcers start talking once more.

One thing was for sure: I needed that Isus costume, ASAP. 

These bimbos needed to learn that Anubis was spoken for! 

* | * | *

POV Anubis

I felt an intense stare from the audience and glanced over to see who was trying to bore holes in my head with their eyes.

When I saw who it was, I nodded to myself and looked back at my opponent calmly. 

Internally, however...

'AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! ZUSHI'S JEALOUS POUT IS SO CUTE~~!!!! I CAN'T!!!!'

I probably should stop basking in the attention the female audience members were showering me with.

Not worth pissing off the Waifu. No sir.

Directing my attention back to my opponent, Snow Mieko, I smile at her and offer my deck to be cut. 

The last 3 or 4 minutes have been pandemonium in the stands. 

Men were yelling, women were screaming, and children were crying or laughing. 

I honestly felt a bit bad. I didn't mean to throw all of this into chaos...

Ok, who am I kidding? That is exactly what I meant to do. 

I had warred over this decision, showing my fake face, for several days. Ultimately, I decided to do it for one simple reason:

I was exhausted!

I had to backtrack for at least 2 hours every time I went out because people would follow me around forever! In the few weeks since I had come here, I've had more close shaves than I would like to admit.

Hell, a drunk guy actually SAW me transform in an alley once! (Though it was Anubis transforming into one of my other personas, thank God.)

I was running from a crowd and had to change quickly. I didn't even notice him there, just went for it when I saw the opportunity. 

I will never forget the slack-jawed, wide-eyed look he gave me. Good thing he passed out right after.

Anyway, this pushed me into action. I needed to do something otherwise I would be caught. It was only a matter of time, and stopping wasn't an option at this point.

What I needed right now was a distraction. Thus, my face. 

This wasn't just to increase my popularity, it was to make sure that those who were most determined to find out who I was would have some new way other than following me around. When I succeeded in that secret quest I confirmed my anxiety that people were after me was valid. Now it was time to act on that and confuse the ever-loving shit out of them.  

Sure, it was bullshit, but having a fake identity as a duelist was not against the law. In fact, my identity was protected by the law if I wanted to hide it...Technically. Though, I really didn't trust that too much. 

All I needed was a valid Duel Point Card and I could pretend to be whomever I wanted while I dueled. 

So, did it lessen my mystique a bit? Yes. 

Was I safer because of doing it? ...That's the hope. 

'Search for this face as long as you want! Waist all your resources, and, for God's sake, please pull back your stalkers!!!'

Once I got my teleport items, this wouldn't be necessary, but I had no idea when I was going to be able to invest in those. The card packs and Starter Decks were not cheap.

Should teleporting and safety be my priority? Should making the best deck as quickly as possible be? Is it worth sacrificing my safety a bit to ensure I win at Duelist Kingdom?

These were questions that were rattling around in my brain all week leading up to today. 

And I had not found my answer yet, unfortunately. 

As far as the positives of revealing my face went, I had a couple I could name. 

First, the reaction from the crowd. I wanted attention, and, boy howdy, did I get it. No matter what happens, I was guaranteed to be on Pegasis' radar now, and that had been my main goal all along. 

Second, it allowed me to use this appearance tactically. 

I wasn't going to ditch the mask now that I revealed my face! The mask was my identity, this was just a bit of fan service, or, at least, that is how I reasoned with myself internally. As soon as this duel was done, I was masking right back up. Removing my mask, hence forth, will be for special circumstances only.

Now that my face was "known", I had a tool that I could use in difficult situations to turn them to my benefit. For instance, I could remove my mask to distract an opponent and make them lose focus, or I could use removing my mask to gather a crowd if I needed to merge with them and slip away, or I could use it for dramatic moments in the story to show my support for the main characters. 

There were endless possibilities.

Lastly, I could use it to great effect as I was doing right now. 

"Miss Snow? Are you alright?" I ask, tilting my head in mock concern. 

"H-huh? O-oh, yes. Yes! I am...um...I am just fine? Thank you for asking Mr...Anubis..." Snow, completely red-faced and panicked, replied.

Yup. I was using it to fluster my female opponent. 

As they say, "If you got it, flaunt it!" 

If I can throw opponents off their game by using my fake face, you bet your ass I was going to! I would be stupid not to!

It's not cheating to be a mega hotty...Well, maybe it is. Depends on who you ask.

The point is, I needed at least one or two wins here, and I would get them by any means necessary.

The quest that I had received before I entered the arena made that point extremely clear to me...

Event: Regionals Tournament

Congratulations! You have managed to secure an invitation to the prestigious Duel Monsters Regional Tournament.

Try not to embarrass yourself out there, as we will make it worth your while to win and stay in the tournament as long as possible!

Rewards:

Round of 64 - Lose: 1000 DP | Win: 5000 DP & 3 Bonus Packs (Applied as a free credit in the store)

Round of 32 - Lose: 5000 DP | Win: 10,000 DP & 5 Bonus Packs (Applied as a free credit in the store)

Round of 16 - Lose: 10,000 DP | Win: 15,000 DP & 1 Bonus Starter Deck of the user's choosing (From ones currently available. Does not remove the item from shop availability)

Round of 8 - Lose: 15,000 DP | Win: 20,000 DP & 10 Bonus Packs (Applied as a free credit in the store)

Quarter Finals - Lose: 20,000 DP | Win: 25,000 DP, 1 Bonus Starter Deck of the user's choosing (From ones currently available. Does not remove the item from shop availability), 10 Bonus Packs (Applied as a free credit in the store), 1 free item from the shop. (Under 100,000 DP)

Finals - Lose: 25,000 DP | Win: 50,000 DP, 1 Bonus Starter Deck of the user's choosing (From ones available), 10 Bonus Packs (Applied as a free credit in the store), Any 1 Card of the users choice (So long as the card is in current circulation)

I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the reward list. 

What was with those Duel Point numbers!?! If I did well, I could buy out all the packs in the shop, any useful items I needed, and then some!

This shop...system...whatever was offering over 125,000 DP in total for winning the tournament!!!

Like, what? That is 125,000,000 Yen or 1,250,000 USD! I could be a fucking millionaire if I won!

Ok, let's be reasonable, there was no possible way I was getting to the Round of 8...but if I could win in the Round of 16, I would get a free Starter Deck! That was worth 6000 DP alone and they were limited in the shop! If I was understanding correctly, this one would not count against the single one available in the shop!

This meant that I could have 3 Blue-Eyes White Dragons if I won the tournament! (2 from free Starter Decks and 1 from the only available Starter Deck Kaiba in the shop.)

I could beat Kaiba at his own game!

That wasn't going to happen...but if these were the rewards offered for this tournament...What were they going to look like for the Duelist Kingdom Tournament or the Battle City Tournament? 

I was salivating just thinking about it...

But that was for later. 

First I had to win this round and duel.

And to do that...

"Your dress looks lovely, Miss Snow. I just had to compliment you on it...Are you ready to duel now?" I ask, flattering her in a polite way.

"I...um...Wow...T-Thank you! Yours looks very dashing! Your outfit I mean, not dress. Obviously! haha And, um...Yes? Yes! I am ready to duel now! Gonna kick your butt! hahaha... Oh, Gods, please kill me..." Snow stammers out and then buries her face in her hands as she mumbles that last bit. 

"No, no, Miss Snow. That is a common misconception. I do not do the killing, I simply judge the dead and guide them to their eternal resting place. Do not worry, your time is not for a while yet."

*Gulp*

'Hook, line, and sinker. Time to advance to the next round.' I think internally with an evil smile.

Thanks for reading!

The next chapter is the actual duel. Just so you all know, This is gonna be a longer arc, so expect 10+ Regionals chapters. =)

Please choose an option for Ishizu's Isus persona in the poll below! I added the comments from the last chapter as well as putting in quite a few more options. I wanted to make the list as diverse as possible so I mixed reality with fiction. Pick whichever you think fits best!

Important Note: Ishizu won't act like the picked person, she will just look like them. Her Isus persona will be a calculating Ice Queen. She will be very much opposite to the fun and bubbly Ishizu we have come to love through this story - Which will make the moments when she breaks character even more fun. She wants to play a character, just like Toshi does. 

Kinda like this vibe from The Garden of Sinners (Anime)
https://img-9gag-fun.9cache.com/photo/an9K02q_460s.jpg

Stern, catty at times, teasing, definitely gonna have that glowing eye intensity. That's my idea for now, at least.

Here is a rough design of what I want her costume to look like: https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/smite/images/c/cd/Isis.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20200107041259 

The only difference is that her headpiece will come down to cover her face in an owl mask.

Lastly, I want to address a couple of comments I read in the last chapter about the face reveal. This is going to be a bit long-winded, so I will put it in a spoiler for those who don't want to read. Most of it is explained in the chapter so feel free to ignore if you want!

I will also put a TLDR at the bottom if you just want a summary.  

Spoiler

First off, I wanted to say thank you to those who left comments about this action. This may sound odd, but it is only through the feedback of my readers that I can grow as an author. These questions help me solidify my decisions and build out the fictional world I have created. I appreciate all feedback and hope to improve my writing as we continue this story. 

I also quickly wanted to define what a Red Herring is, in case people are unfamiliar with the term. It means to give a clue about something that is misleading or that is only meant to throw your opponents off more. In this case, it is his face reveal that will lead nowhere and to nothing.

Toshi himself will go into some of the reasons he did this in the chapter, but here are some specific points KidBuu699 made I want to cover for everyone's benefit:

  1. The reveal takes away from the mystery that the mask gave him.
    1. I absolutely agree! This was not ideal, but Toshi has learned recently that the Duel Monster's National League was looking into him through Nobu's actions and a secret quest. He has also been facing more and more difficulties leaving places after he duels due to people following him, and he is a bit tired of having to take an extra hour or two of his day just to get home. The teleport items will help when he buys them eventually, but, until then, he needed to distract some of the more determined people. It is better to lose some of the mystery than have someone show up at his door after a careless mistake. He hopes that this face reveal will turn the heat down for a little while as they divert their efforts into finding him through his fake face. 
    2. I can also promise that he will not be using this often. Only when he needs the shock factor or in situations where he will gain more from it.
  2. What happens when people find out it is fake?
    1. Nothing. There is nothing illegal about having a fake identity as a duelist. I explained this in chapter 4, but tons of people use alter egos and aliases to duel. There are lots of different reasons why they would want to do this, so the UN, who backs the Duel Points system, the Duel Point Cards, and the Duel Monster's National League, is fine with it. All that would happen is that they will realize they were tricked and probably double the efforts into finding out who he really is. All the while, Toshi has bought time for himself so he can obtain the teleport items...and earned a much larger female presence in his fan club. lol
  3. The Undertaker
    1. I actually thought of using the Undertaker's WWE intro as well! lol I decided to go with something different instead, but it is funny that so many others had the same thought! Not plot-related, but fun nonetheless. =)

TLDR:

Toshi is using his fake appearance to double-bluff the world. Now people will be spending time and resources looking for someone who doesn't exist. There is nothing illegal with his actions, since using your real identity is not a requirement to participate in official Duel Monsters events and competitions, all they need is a duelist's Duel Point Card (Explained back in chapter 4). He will also not be using this look often, and when he does, it will be to assist him in impacting the story or to distract from something he doesn't want others to focus on. His new face is just as much a mask as his usual one is.

[collapse]

I hope you enjoyed the chapter!

What Face Should Ishizu Go With For Her Isus Persona?
  • Esdeath - Akame ga Kill Votes: 31 27.7%
  • Boa Hancock - One Piece Votes: 8 7.1%
  • Medaka Kurokami - Medaka Box Votes: 2 1.8%
  • Rias Gremory - High School DxD Votes: 5 4.5%
  • Yoruichi - Bleach Votes: 30 26.8%
  • Saber - Fate/stay night Votes: 4 3.6%
  • Cleopatra - Ancient Egypt Votes: 22 19.6%
  • Freya - Norse Mythology Votes: 5 4.5%
  • Alexandra Daddario - Modern Actress Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Scarlett Johansson - Modern Actress Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Angelina Jolie - Modern Actress Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Margot Robbie - Modern Actress Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Zoe Saldaña - Modern Actress Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Just Use Her Costume Design Image For The Face As Well Votes: 5 4.5%
Total voters: 112
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