Chapter VII. Put up or Shut up

Fuego had kept her promise. There was plenty of hot water, perfect for washing away the dust of the pampas. It would not be enough to wash away the doubts Seto had of having her be his guide in Peru. The clue might be in Maccu Picchu, but the old borders of the Incan Empire covered a vast area, and there was just too much political strife and illegal operations going on in that area. After seeing her work with Dora today, it was clear to see she was needed here, and that he would have to search alone. He had made this decision after Juanita had asked him what he would now that he knew where to go. Fuego would just have to stay home, that's all there was to it. As soon as he got out of the shower, he'd call home, and get some researchers to work with the clues. That assumption was going to one of the last he ever made. He could not hear the voices through the running water, but an angry shriek was unmistakable.

"Hey said what?!" yelled Fuego. She growled and clenched her fists. Juanita just nodded. Fuego knew she was the only thing that might keep that foolhardy man alive on his search, but she really should have heard the news from him. "You know what? He's been in there long enough." She stormed from the kitchen into the steamy room. Juanita knew best not to stop her, and just smiled. There was a slight shuffle, then a scream that could only come from a good shower scalding. Fuego might save this man from danger,
but who would save him from her?

Seto sputtered out the water in surprise as the heat hit him. He stepped back out of the stream, and look from behind the frosted door. There was Fuego, next to the toilet, poised to flush again, and a viscious scowl played over her face. "Are you out of you mind, woman?" he asked.

"I could ask you the same thing!" She stepped away, then turned to leave. "If you don't go to Peru with me, then you just won't go at all!" She stormed out of the bathroom, leaving Seto to only guess at what she might do next. He half-dressed hastily, and then went out to the kitchen. He noticed her coat and hat where gone, but Juanita was still there.

"Where did she go?" he asked. He pushed his wet hair away from his eyes, and waited for an answer. Juanita tossed a woolen poncho at him, and pointed to the barn. When he reached the door, he felt the chill of the early spring night on his wet skin, and slipped the poncho on quickly. She spotted Fuego near his dragon jet, and she was holding an axe, poised to take it to his tires. "Fuego! No! Don't do this!" he said, and darted over to her. "Put it down!"

"You're want to die for these cards? I'll just make it quicker!" She raised the axe up, and he caught it in mid-swing.

"You're crazy, girl! Just stop!"

"Let go! And I'm angry, not crazy! Crazy is running into potential dangers alone when you know there is a way to get through with someone else. That someone is me. If you want to take down Yugi Moto that badly, you have to take me to Peru, got it?"

"They need you here, more than I do. What if another cow has the same problems Dora had?"

"They won't."

"How do you know?"

"None of the other cows are pregnant, stupido!" Seto blushed at this news, but still did not want to take Fuego from where she was needed. He felt her loosen her grip on the axe. She seemed to be calming down. "Tell you what..."

"Let's duel it out. This has been a long day for us both, and I'm sure you're cold, being out here with no shoes, only in your jeans and a poncho, let alone wet hair. Tomorrow, after breakfast, put up or shut up. I win, I go, you win, I stay. Remember this. If I do lose, and your path out of Peru takes you into unstable areas, you are on your own. I can only hope that you're still jinxed, at least, like you were in Buenos Aires. Deal?"

"Deal," Seto said through chattering teeth. Fuego smirked, and took off her coat, and draped it over his poncho. Surprisingly, it fit him well. He always thought it looked to be a bit large on her.

"It used to belong to Jose'. That man was very lucky, and this coat was his. Maybe wearing it might bring you some, too."

"Jose'? Juana's Jose'?"

Fuego nodded, and went back up to the house. She would be fixing up her deck again for this planned duel. He would not being taken down in two turns this time, since he knew what he was up against. Losing to her again would be far less painful than losing his life to some Colombian drug lord's goon squad a week from now. The stars seemed brighter than ever when she looked up at them, but they were never as close to her as they would
be in Maccu Picchu. Tomorrow would give the answer on how close they could be.

After a the morning chores and a hearty breakfast, Fuego secured her plain duel disk to her wrist, and awaited her opponent at the corral behind the house. All the gauchos had gone to the fields, and a few dogs and chickens ran about the yard. She was dressed in her common guacha gear, the sturdy boots, wide leg pants, vest, shirt, and the big maroon
duster and hat. It was clear she intended to put a good day's work in after this. Seto was back in the white duster, and the gear with all the buckles everyone was used to seeing him in. The only audience for this duel was Juanita and Anita. Not quite as exciting as the duel in La Ventana, but sometimes a quiet moment was needed more than any flashy atmosphere. She watched as Seto secured the duel disk on his arm, then popped her disk
open. "When you are ready, Senor Kaiba."

Seto rolled his eyes. The woman had invaded his shower and threatened to slash his tires, but she still called him by that formal title. He nodded, and slipped his deck into the slot. "Do this!"

Fuego flipped a coin. "Tails!" she called. It was tails. "I choose to go second." She pulled her five initial cards. They were Internal Flame Emperor, Magic Cylinder, Malevolent Nuzzler, Sand Gambler, and Meteor Destruction. She just waited for Seto's opening move.

"I play Harpy's Brother (1800/800) in attack mode, and add Sword of the Deep-Seated which brings his attack up to 2300. I end my turn."

Fuego looked out at holograms in the centre of the corral. Harpy's Brother looked rather ominous holding that big sword. She was amazing at how life-like the monsters had become with the technology over the years. She drew Gaia, the Combustible Collective (2000/0). "I play Meteor Destruction, and hit your life points directly for 1000. I think play Gaia, the Combustible Collective (2000/0) in attack mode, and add a Malevolent Nuzzler which brings Gaia's attack up to 2700. Get that big bird, Gaia!" Seto watched
the 8000 points spin down to 6600, and Harpy's Brother dissipated from the corral as the big blob of lava rocks and the green she-demon attack him. At least this time she had not declared that she would take him down in two moves. "I then lay one card face down, and end my turn."

Seto brought back the combo drew again, and found the Sword of the Deep-Seated back in his possession. I play Monster Reborn, and bring back Harpy's Brother and his 'leetle fren'. (total 2300/1300)" At least this way she would only take down 400 life points, and that could buy some time.

Fuego drew Flame Cerebus (2100/1800). "I bring out Sand Gambler (300/
1600)." Now a hologram that looked like a well-dressed gambler from the Old West was with Gaia and his Malevolent Nuzzler. "Go Gaia!" Down 400 more points. "Sand Gambler! Get him directly for 300 more!"

Seto was now down to 5900 life points. He drew his card, and cracked a small smile for Fuego's benefit. Her eyebrows lifted in surprise slightly. A little plan was forming, and she was just not ready for this. "I play Lord of D, and he's going to play us some music on his Dragon Summon Flute! Get ready to dance, Senorita Alvarez! The Lord of D is calling out two old friends of mine, the Red-Eyes Black Dragon (2400/2000) Blue-Eyes White Dragon
(3000/2500). Get her!"

"Not so fast! Get by this!" Fuego flipped up her trap card, Magic Cylinder, and deflected 2400 points back at Seto, taking his life points down to 3500. Fuego braced for the Blue- Eyes attack that was coming next. Sand Gambler dissipated, and she watch 2700 points roll from her counter. Seto laid one more card face down, and ended his turn.

Fuego drew Dain Keto-the Cure Master. "I lay down Dian Keto and get back 1000 life points, and end my turn." Fuego grumbled low. She was now seeing the kind of game Seto used to play back in the day. She liked playing old school, and was really not expecting him to do so. This was his game, and he could play it any way he wished. She knew a loss might just happen with that much power on his side of the field, but win, or lose, she was going to be there for the search of Incan God Card. Just as she knew would
happen, he rained down a nasty attack on her unguarded life points to the tune of 6600 life points. She had 600 life points left, and things were looking pretty bleak. Only Dark Hole would save her now. She drew her card. Flame Ruler (1500/1600), not going to work. "Fine, go ahead! Have a fun time in Peru on your own!" She collapsed the duel disk, and took it off. "I have work to do." She left the corral, and did not look back.

Seto just stood there in silence until one of the dogs came up and licked his hand. He scratched its head, and just shrugged. He looked over to Juanita and Anita. They turned and went off behind Fuego. What was it about these Argentine women that made them have the tempers of hornets?

Fuego entered the house, and gathered up her books and charts. She felt tempted to call Mokuba, and to have him come get his idiotic brother before he got himself killed trying to search for God Cards in the drug-growing capitols of the world, but she would not make this Mokuba's problem. The young man was very happy now, and he needed to stay that way. Somehow, she was going to get to Macchu Pichu and find the clue, with or
without Seto Kaiba. He would then know just how much he needed the Global Elemental Team to protect him.