|II. The Search for Fuego Alvarez
Some quietly sent messages secured Seto the means for travel to The Latin Paradise. He secured simple lodgings. Mokuba could run things in his absence, as the younger Kaiba had done before. Now was the time to locate Fuego Alvarez. He contacted the ranchero,and was informed that Fuego had gone to the capitol to visit with Pablo. Pablo Alvarez was the rising star of the River Plate Futbol team. After learning this, he purchased tickets to the next home game. This one was against Paraguay. Surely, a close relative ofone of the star players on the team would most likely have seats on the field. Even though soccer was not Seto's kind of game, he was able to obtain VIP tickets. He did some research on the team, and found that Pablo had the same round amber eyes like Juana's. Maybe this Fuego did as well.
Buenos Aires turned out to be just as cosmopolitan as Battle City, but much more lively. The thump-thumping of native music could be heard coming from the cars as they whizzed through the streets during the day. His security detail drove him through a city full of European style and colourful barrios. Glass skyscrapers cast shadows on 19th-century Victorian houses, and hazy tango bars competed with quaint antique shops along commercial valles.
They reached Bo Bo, one of Buenos Aires' upscale hotels. It was ultra modern and minimalist in its style, it felt like home to Seto. The game was
scheduled to start at 2 PM tomorrow afternoon. His time was limited, and he hoped hewould find Fuego during the game. He made it to the gates of the Palermo stadium at 1:30 PM, and settled in. The crowd was massive and rowdy. He was used to these kind of crowds during Battle City tournaments, but it felt strange to be part of the mix rather than being the one whom they
focused on. This was a time for River Plate Futbol team to shine. He would come backto his own blaze of glory in time. These fans of this brutal game could care less about Duel Monsters Futbol was all that mattered. Even in the circle of prime seats that ringed the stadium floor, the crowd was huge. The best thing to do would be to observe the reaction of the people in the high end seating areas when Pablo came out.
At 2 PM, a raucous cheer filled the stadium as the players took to the field. the announcer introduced them one by one, "Domino Chavez, Peitro Micelli, Gunther Schottenstein, Diego Caralongas...." The names all sounded the same to him until he heard what he had come for. "Pablo Alvarez..." Seto heard the cheer again, and this time he observed a small group of people across the field cheering a bit louder than the others. They were a motley mix of people who were here to supported Pablo. Three dark haired men, a woman with dark blonde hair, a man with dark red hair, and another woman with dark red hair streaked with strawberry blonde.
Since Fuego was such an unusual name, he did not even know if Fuego was male or female, but it was most likely that Fuego was one of the six people cheering Pablo on. It was time to extend an invitation. He quickly wrote a message and handed it to one of his bodyguards. The burly man made his way over to the other side of the stadium, but was halted in his destination. Of all things that could stop a Kaiba Corporation security guard, a rogue soccer ball was the very least suspected. One of the players flipped the ball up in an amazing rebound, and it went sailing in the air right into the man's face. His sunglasses protected his eyes, but it did not stop him from getting a nosebleed. A collective, painful, "Ooohhh!" came from the crowd, and a few sympathetic hisses of pain, as if some of these spectators had felt that ball hit them as well. A couple of stadium security guards led him away to first aid, and the game continued on. Seto's first attempt to make contact with Fuego Alvarez had been scratched. He decided to learn more at the breaks between sets. He would learn where Pablo frequented after the games, and hope that the little clique across the stadium went with him. As for now, be would just try to enjoy the game and absorb a little local culture. He would have to get used to this if he was going to be globe hopping after more God Cards.
The game broke up with River Plate victorious, and there was much celebrating in the stands and on the field. Seto was careful not to let his trusty white duster get splashed with beer, but didn't seem to mind celebrating with the natives. It had been a very long time since he had done so. Over ten years in stuck in Duel Monsters strategies, and it seemed that he had forgotten how to have fun. This trip had better been worth the
distance he had travelled. All he had found so far was a rather empty past that was leaving him feeling more bitter than the beer that was splashing up around him. His bodyguard came to him with some good news. It turned out that Pablo and company would often go to a certain tango house, La Ventana. The cover charge was a simple 150 pesos. They would be getting there late, as Argentineans tended to party into the very wee hours. Dinner at 8 PM, Show (show?) at 10 PM. This excursion into this lively city was getting to be more and more wild with every passing hour, and now he had 3 hours to wait. Maybe it was time to get a quick tango lesson from one of the places closeby. It was time to try to blend, and he would not be able to do that sensual dance in a native tango house with two left feet. The Kaiba Corp security guards found this amusing until he demanded they do the same. Nothing was going to stop him from finding Fuego Alvarez tonight, especially his graceless security team.
Sure enough he found them at La Ventana. They were all cleaned up, ready to tango the night away, and maybe kick in a samba line along the way. The men were dressed to the nines in pleated pants, silk shirts, thin ties, and soft-soled dancing shoes with Cuban heels, and the ladies looked resplendent. The blonde in a royal blue strapless dress, blue satin pumps and the redhead in a gold and red knee length dress that was the same shade as her hair and red Mary Jane style shoes, also soft-soled. Around her wrist dangled something that looked like a folded fan with a small sphere at its base and red lace on the edges.
The smell of various beef dishes filled the air as waiters moved through the dining area. People in Argentina ate more beef per person than in any other country in the world. Apparently, owning a ranch on the pampas was a very profitable business. After he finally got his title back, he would consider looking into buying some land down here. People came from all over the world to play in his Battle City tournaments. Mabe he could start a Duel Academy West here in South America. Maybe here in Buenos Aires or in Brazil in Sao Paolo. The band played a slow, but rhythmic melody, and soon the dance
floor was packed. Pablo and his friends were scattered about the floor. Maybe he could learn more from one of the ladies in Pablo's little group. He was about to move out to the floor, when one he noticed Pablo showing the redhead a Duel Monsters card. She smiled,and shook her head. "Don't you even think to challenge me with that when we get home," she said.
"You can't hold the national title forever, woman!" joked Pablo.
"She's held it for five years, now, Pablo," said one of the men. "The one who takes her down will have a real test on his or her hands." The redhead just smiled, and went back to sipping her drink, but was soon interrupted when a playful man whisked her off to the floor.
What an unexpected treat! The lady was a Duel Monsters champion down here, yet he had never seen her at any of the Battle City Tournaments. He was pretty sure his classic style could take her down, and he had faith in his dragons, but he was not here to duel. In all the excitement today, no one even noticed who he was. There were times when a bit of mystery was called for, but this was not one of them. Now he had to know who the redhead was, and what better way to find out than to challenge her to a duel. First, he had to dance the tango. This was much more of a challenge than any duel.
"Get it overwith, Mister Kaiba," one of his bodyguards said. "You'll never find out what her deck is like if you don't."
"Agreed. I'm going, I'm going...." said Seto, and he slipped onto the floor and made his way through the crowd. He tapped the shoulder of the redhead's partner, and nodded. The man made his way to the bar, and Seto fell into step with his new partner. He was amazed at how naturally he flowed with the music, even after those few lessons he had this afternoon. Being a stranger in a strange land had its advantages. "I overheard that you are the national Duel Monsters champion, senorita," he said.
"You wish to challenge me, senor? Most men that play the game around here do,though I've won them many times over," she answered. She pivoted round, kicked her leg back, and urged Seto to speed up his steps to match the band's tempo.
"I'm not from around here."
"I can see that, though you do seem very familiar. Spin, and quick dip.... You do the tango very well for a foreigner."
"I still intend to make you my mark for the night, senorita. Will you accept?"
A mischievous smile played over her bronzed face, and for the first time, Seto saw her eyes up close. They were the same amber as Pablo's and Juana's, but they burned with a much brighter light. "First I must know your name, senor."
He took a step back, and said, 'If you must know, I am Seto Kaiba."
"Is that so?" The redhead took a step back as well, and snapped the fan that had been dangling from her wrist. It was a Duel Disc! Very feminine in design, but still practical. "Senor Kaiba, Consiga listo sentir el calor de Fuego Alvarez!" (Get ready to feel the heat of Fuego Alvarez!)
"Si! I am Fuego Alvarez. You, sir, are about to be burned!"