Old Domino City
A crowd had gathered around the famous game store, that evening. They were hosting a surprise duel monsters tournament, which was still their top game!
The owner and operator, Yugi Moto, had a strong reputation among their patrons for carrying on as close as he could to what the previous owner, Solomon Muto (his grandfather) would have wanted, including prioritizing the experience of their patrons, and keeping the spirit of the Heart of The Cards alive.
Of course, this wasn't just a surprise event, meant to raise peoples' spirits and ease anxieties in the wake of the "freak lightning storm" that had the superstitious citizens wringing their hands.
No, Mr. Moto had ulterior motives...
Inside, all the duelists they had room for on the roster were seated, and ready to begin! There were 32 in total, and people were excited, even if there wasn't a huge grand prize in store for the winner. The people were just eager for a distracting spectacle, and spectating a popular card game would have to do, for now.
From up at the second floor, looking out from the landing, Mr. Muto couldn't help but smile. His long red hair was tied back, although the blonde locks were still hanging free. He wore Solomon's bandana like an eyepatch across his left eye, and he'd long since left behind his blue school uniform, having traded it out for more casual clothing, save the navy great coat he often wore. He smiled to himself, You would have loved this, Grandpa. And... I don't know how well I can support Joey, now that he's lost his sister... We can't find Tristan, either... We're hurting, without your guidance, but... He lifted a card shaped spy glass to his good eye, and scanned the contestants. Our enemies have never acted this boldly, before... Something is wrong, but I know, if we trust in the Heart of The Cards, we'll find stronger hope, tonight...
There were a dozen volunteer referees, but 4 in particular seemed intense as they appraised all the contestants- with name tags that simply read "Valentine", "Gardner", "Wheeler" and "Burke". Remember, Yugi had instructed them earlier, It's not necessarily the winners we're looking for; I'll be watching for the one's with the REAL potential, the one's we need. Trust your instincts, but if in doubt, look for my signal, and issue the "special invitations", discreetly...
The chatter hushed quickly when the shop owner/organizer raised a hand (after putting away his spy glass, before anyone noticed it), "Everyone, thank you for coming to our community morale match! It warms my heart to see this turn out, my grandfather would have been proud to see it! His first priority was this community, that's why we've always been a safe and friendly place for the youth, and everyone who keeps the joy of games in their hearts! It's only fitting we honor his spirit in these uneasy times by coming together, in the spirit of sportsmanship, and friendly competition! With that-" He sliced his hand down in a chopping motion,
"It's time, to Duel!"