Adam nodded and bowed his head slightly. “You too, Candriss. Though I want a rematch once this tournament is over, alright?”
The redhead laughed softly and nodded. “Of course, Adam, assuming I last very long there.”
“Oh stop that, Candriss. You’re deserving of blue right now with me, and yet you still expect to dress yourself in red,” he murmured, shaking his head as if thoroughly disappointed in her, and she couldn’t help but frown a little.
“But… Adam, I—“
“I won’t hear it anymore. How many times have you won out of the times we’ve dueled each other?”
Candriss hesitated and looked away, her head shaking in denial. “Flukes.”
“All seven duels?” he asked incredulously, and she nodded. He sighed in frustration and threw his hands up in the air, but calmed down nearly instantly as he placed a hand on her shoulder. “Listen to me, Candy,” he started, his voice quiet as they walked off of the arena to let the next duelists come to duel for the last spot in the final 25 to be pitted against other students from all over the world. “You can stand here and tell me you’re unworthy of this spot until you’re blue in the face, but do you really think the Chancellor will stand for it?”
The redhead lowered her head to force her hair to cover her face, and Adam used his free hand to brush a bit of that hair behind her ear, causing her to flinch from the unusual contact that she simply wasn’t used to. It made her think of Marik and how close he’d gotten to her previously. “You’re better than you give yourself credit for, so why won’t you accept it already? If you were inadequate, do you think the Chancellor would have specifically gone out to look for you when you were of age to join the Academy?”
Again, Candriss was speechless as she turned her head away from Adam, and he sighed and let her go. “He only took pity on me because I was orphaned,” she murmured, and she heard Adam sigh heavily.
“Hardly, Candy. Now go back to your dorm and get your things packed.”
She simply nodded and quietly left the staging area, her deck being pulled from the duel disk to be stuffed back into the pack at her thigh as the disk itself retracted into its ‘rested’ state. She had a feeling Adam would be constantly on her case about the entire situation until she realized just how good she was, but that would never happen.
When Candriss opened the door to her dorm, her facade went up immediately; it was usually so effective that it actually stopped being a mask to her after several minutes.
“Candriss! We heard the news; congratulations!” one of her roommates shouted as she entered the room.
The redhead smiled and she looked a little embarrassed as she brushed some hair behind one of her ears. “I wasn’t really trying to win, though…” she trailed off, a bit flustered from the attention she was getting.
“That doesn’t matter,” the tallest girl in the room said with a hand on her hip. “Emma and I already took to pulling out a few outfits of yours that you’ll absolutely need in Japan.” She glanced at the pile of clothes on Candriss’ bed. “Well, some of the pieces are from our own wardrobe, because we realized we really need to take you shopping with us at some point.”
Candriss blinked and stared at her roommate for a moment, then shook her head. “You… You didn’t have to, Kaleigh.”
Emma laughed from her closet, and then twirled around with a garment she held in her hands. “And we were going to keep this a surprise from you and wait for you to see it yourself when you unpacked, but… this is for in case you meet a boy while you’re there.”
The redhead examined the garment briefly, then instantly felt her face heat up. “Wha—Are you insane, Em? What makes you think I would even—“
It was Kaleigh’s turn to laugh then. “I told her that you wouldn’t need it, because you have yourself someone here, don’t you?”
A certain dark-skinned blond’s face flashed through Candriss’ mind as she turned to gawk at Kaleigh. “I-I do not! I am absolutely certain he holds n-no interest in me whatsoever. Besides, he’s nearly twice my age!”
Kaleigh and Emma looked at each other, and then began to giggle as they approached Candriss. “I was only teasing, but… you’re saying you have your eyes on someone?”
“Who is it, Candy? Spill! Is it one of the professors?”
Candriss waved her hands in front of her and took a step back, head shaking in denial. “N-No! I would never think of dating a professor. He has much better things to do than teach here, anyway.”
Emma started bouncing in place. “Ooh! A successful businessman, then? A politician? C’mon Candyyy, tell us!”
At the distressed look on Candriss’ face, Kaleigh sighed and took Emma by the shoulders to drag her away and save the redhead from her assault of questions. “Come on, Em. Let’s not scare her into never seeing her man again, hm?”
Candriss remained silent after that as she made her way to her already half-packed suitcase, and just when she was about to start checking what was already inside of it, she found the skimpy piece of lingerie tossed into the suitcase, and her cheeks heated up once more. Don’t think about it, Candriss. Just tuck it away somewhere that you’ll forget about it and leave it at that. You will not meet anyone in Japan and you certainly will not wear that for—
“But Kay… can I ask her if he’s foreign? What if he’s German or- ooh, French? Maybe she’s already met a Japanese guy and that’s why she dueled as well as she did? Ooooh, our little Candy won’t be a virgin anymo--”