• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,302 Views, 976 Comments

My Little Pony: Friendship is Numerous - Monty Eggman



Based on the Equestria Girls movies and Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, this series tells the story of Sunset Shimmer in her quest to locate a series of dangerous cards that corrupt those who find them. It's time to Duel!

  • ...
10
 976
 9,302

PreviousChapters Next
RANK 13: Cooking Up Trouble:

Author's Note:

Here it is: Rank 13! This Rank is the first one to feature original characters that not of my own creation. One of these two characters was requested by someone several months ago. The other is one that many of us fans are quite familiar with already, but you'll have to read on to see who they are.

As for the person who requested to be included, thank you for helping me come up with this idea for the episode. I'm not sure if I depicted your character exactly as you intended (in fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't), but I hope you'll like what I decided to go with.

RANK 13: Cooking Up Trouble:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------
THE STORY SO FAR...:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

In Canterlot High School, every student is wild over the world's most popular trading card game: Duel Monsters! Every day, players of the card game, known as "Duelists", go head-to-head to see who among them is the best around. Among the Duelists in attendance at CHS, one of the best is a young teenager named Sunset Shimmer, a girl from another world...

Several months ago, Sunset had inadvertently released a mighty, yet dangerous power upon her world. They are known as the Number cards, and are thought to have originated from another universe known as the Astral World. Though Sunset and her friends have done their best to contain the Numbers, their battles are growing more difficult with each Duel they fight. In addition, Sunset Shimmer believes that there are others out there seeking the Number Cards, such as the mysterious Duelist called "The Doctor", also known as the "Number Hunter".

Luckily, Sunset and her friends received more support when Twilight Sparkle, a Princess from Sunset's home world, arrived to lend a hand. Having obtained a Number card of her own - Number 39: Utopia - the Princess of Friendship is determined to help in any way she can. To aid her, Sunset and the others have offered to teach her how to play Duel Monsters in order to prepare Twilight for the tough battles ahead.

Twilight is determined to master the card game in order to help her otherworldly friends. She has devoted much of her time learning the rules and studying up on the exploits of other famous Duelists in order to refine her own skills. And as anyone who knows Twilight well can tell you, her study sessions are often an adventure in itself...

---------------------------------------------------------------------

It was late Tuesday night in the city of Canterlot. Though many lights were shining brightly and cars still whizzed down the streets, most of the city's residents had already gone to sleep for the night. This also included the residents of the apartment building on S. Jump Street. Everyone in the building, including the landlord, Manny Roar, had gone to bed in order to rest up for the next day. All that is, except for one person...

In apartment 14 - the room that belonged to Sunset Shimmer - the red and yellow girl was sleeping soundly in her large bed when a slight noise stirred her awake. "Uhhhn... whuh...?" she groaned groggily as her eyes barely opened up. Letting out a huge yawn, she slowly got up and looked around, but couldn't find the source of the noise. This led her to believe that it was coming from somewhere else besides the bedroom. Not only that, Sunset noticed something else that was peculiar: The other side of the bed was unoccupied. Normally, this wasn't anything unusual, as Sunset usually lived by herself. But this time, she had a guest staying with her for a while, so it was a little strange in this particular case.

"Huh...? She didn't come to bed yet?" Sunset asked herself. "What's she doing...?" The otherworldly girl walked over to her bedroom door and opened it, heading into the living room. The room was almost pitch-black, save for the bright light that was coming from the flat-screen television set hooked up to the back wall. "Why is the TV still on? I thought I turned it off..." But when she glanced over at the L-shaped sofa in front of the TV, she got her answer when she saw someone sitting there, watching the screen intently.

Having a good idea as to who it was, Sunset walked over to the sofa, towards the person sitting there. "Twilight? You're still awake?" she asked her.

The girl that was sitting there watching the TV was indeed Twilight Sparkle, Sunset's friend from her original home world. When she noticed that the red and yellow girl was standing beside her, the young Princess took the TV's remote control and clicked the PAUSE button. "Sunset? Is that you?" she asked. She then told her friend, "I... I'm sorry if I woke you up with what I was doing... I didn't mean to."

"Eh, don't worry... It's not a big deal, really." Sunset told her. "I was just a little bit surprised to see you still up. You DO know we have school tomorrow, right?"

"I know." Twilight replied. "I kinda lost track of time while looking over these recordings. Don't worry, though; it happens a lot more often than you'd think, especially when I REALLY get involved with my studies."

"Studies? What are you studying...?" asked Sunset as Twilight clicked the remote again, prompting the TV to continue playing the program that the purple-skinned girl was watching. She looked over towards the TV as well to see what it was that Twilight was watching. Once she got a look at it, Sunset knew exactly what her royal friend was studying up on.

"Draw your last pathetic card so I can end this, Yugi!" said the voice of a teenage boy with short brown hair as he stared menacingly at his opponent from across a gigantic arena.

But the other person, another teenage boy - this one with very spiky hair - smiled confidently and spoke back to him, saying, "My Grandpa's Deck HAS no pathetic cards, Kaiba!" He then drew the top card of his Deck and added, "But it DOES contain... the unstoppable Exodia!!"

"Exodia?!? I-i-it's not POSSIBLE!!" Kaiba protested out of shock and horror. "No one's ever been able to call HIM!!!"

But it seemed that was no longer true at the time, as a large figure began to emerge from out of a five-pointed star that materialized onto the field. First the right leg, then the left, and then both the right and left arms, and ending with the head and body. The creature was known as Exodia the Forbidden One, the original undefeatable creature.

*******************************

Exodia the Forbidden One
(Effect Monster/Spellcaster-Type/DARK/Level 3/ATK 1000/DEF 1000)

If you have "Right Leg of the Forbidden One", "Left Leg of the Forbidden One", "Right Arm of the Forbidden One" and "Left Arm of the Forbidden One" in addition to this card in your hand, you win the Duel.

*******************************

The creature known as Exodia stared down a trio of large, white dragons on the opposing field. But as big as those dragons were, Exodia's intimidating size dwarfed them easily. Its controller, Yugi, then declared to his monster, "Exodia... OBLITERATE!!!" And with that order, Exodia threw a gigantic fireball at all three of the dragons, destroying them all in one blow and ending the Duel.

"This... Is this from my collection of old dueling videos? The ones I saved onto my DVR?" Sunset asked Twilight, even though she already knew that's what they were.

"Mhmm." the young Princess replied. "I got the idea after we visited that museum a while ago. I thought it would be a good idea to see how other people played the game and observe how they dueled. That way, I could use that information to refine my own skills."

"I see..." the red and yellow girl replied, understanding what Twilight was doing. After all, she had done the same thing back when she was still learning how to play Duel Monsters. "But, how did you learn how to use my DVR?" Sunset then asked. "I know I hadn't told you how to use it yet..."

"Spike showed me." Twilight quickly replied.

"Ah." Sunset responded. Since Twilight and Spike had come back to this world, the little dragon-turned-puppy had been glued to the television set, often while Sunset and Twilight were in school. So it was understandable that he would have learned how to work the controls by this point. "So this is what you've been doing since we got back from school today?" she then asked Twilight.

"That's right." the purple-skinned girl answered. "I've been watching these with an expert eye, trying to get as much information as possible. I've already looked through all of Duelist Kingdom and Battle City so far; I'm planning to check some of the others next, like the KC Grand Championship, the Genex Tournament, the Fortune Cup, the World Racing Grand Prix..."

"Woah, woah, woah... slow down a bit, Twilight!" Sunset interrupted her. "I hope you're not planning on watching all of those tonight!"

"Knowing her as well as I do," said a sleepy Spike, sitting next to an empty popcorn bowl with his eyes half-open, "she probably would've tried to if you let her." Twilight rubbed the back of her head in response, knowing that her companion was probably right about that.

Sunset sighed a little to herself and smiled before telling her friend, "Twilight, I think I know why you've been watching these videos so much; you're nervous about competing in a Duel again, right?"

The young Princess sighed and asked, "Was it really that obvious...?"

The red and yellow girl nodded and told her, "I was pretty nervous about my first real Duel too... So nervous, that I spent an entire night just watching all of these videos, just like you're doing right now... The next day, I was so sleepy, I fell asleep standing right in front of my locker. When I woke up, I had fallen inside of it and had only five minutes to get to my next class..." Sunset then chuckled a little to herself after recalling that moment.

Twilight blushed a little, trying to hold back a chuckle of her own after hearing what her friend had said. "I'm sorry, Sunset..." she replied. "Really, I didn't mean to worry you, it's just... well, I want to make sure that I can be of help to you and the others with this whole Number card business, that's all."

"I understand completely." Sunset assured her. "Believe me. But you don't need to be so worried about it all. I know you'll do just fine the next time you Duel someone."

"How can you be so sure about that?" asked the purple girl.

"I just have faith in you, that's all. There's nothing else to it." Sunset answered. "Trust me, I wouldn't have asked you to help us if I didn't think you could do it. After all, you've done all sorts of amazing things both here and back in Equestria; stuff that nopony else would have even attempted! In fact, if it wasn't for you, I'd still be a total jerk to everyone around me... That's how I know that you'll be a big help in recovering the rest of the Numbers." She then smiled and added, "My friends and I have faith in you; you just need to have in faith in yourself."

"...Princess Celestia said something like that to me when I was still her student." Twilight recalled.

"I know. She told me the same thing." the red and yellow girl told her with a slight nod.

The young Princess said nothing for a while, thinking about everything that Sunset had said to her so far. After contemplating about it all for a while, Twilight formed a smile and stated, "You're right, Sunset. Worrying about it isn't going to do me any good; it won't help me right now, nor will it help me when I Duel... I just have to have believe in myself and have the courage to take care of this... After all, I did the same when my friends and I faced off against Nightmare Moon, Discord, Chrysalis, Sombra, Tirek, and all of the other enemies we've dealt with so far; as far as I'm concerned, this situation isn't any different."

"Exactly. That's the attitude you've got to have with every Duel you fight." Sunset told her. "And don't forget; your friends will always be there to support you, especially when things get tough. But then, I suppose I don't really need to tell you that; you probably already knew."

"I do." Twilight replied. "But thanks for reminding me; I feel a lot better knowing that."

"Anytime, Twilight." Sunset replied. Looking at a nearby clock, she then told her friend, "We'd better get to sleep. We need to be up bright and early tomorrow."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right about that." the young Princess stated as she turned off the TV. After that, the two of them headed for the bedroom and hopped into bed, ready to get some rest for tomorrow. "Good night, Sunset." Twilight told her.

"Good night, Twilight..." Sunset replied with a yawn, drifting off to sleep along with her roommate.

Not long after they went to sleep, however, a voice could be heard from the living room again: "Bad boys, bad boys... Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you..."

Groaning, Sunset Shimmer sat up and shouted, "Spike! Could you turn that down?!"

"Alright, fine! You don't hafta yell!" the small puppy shouted back as he did what she told him to do.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

The next day, at Canterlot High School, Pinkie Pie had just pulled her pink car into the school's parking lot and stepped out through the driver's side door. After she had gotten out of the car, Sunset and Twilight stepped out from the back of the vehicle, shutting the car doors behind them. The all-pink girl stretched her arms and took a deep breath, saying, "Well girls, I've got a feeling that today's gonna be super-special-awesome!"

"Uh... 'Super-special-awesome'?" asked Sunset. "You've been saying that a lot lately... Where'd you hear that?"

"I dunno. Something on the Internet, I think." Pinkie replied. "I thought it sounded catchy, so I started saying it myself!"

"Well, as long as you're happy with it, I guess." Twilight told her, chuckling a little. She then asked Sunset, "So, remind me: What's our first class today?"

"Home Economics." the red and yellow girl answered her. "With Ms. Mulia Mild."

"Mulia?" asked Twilight. "I know her! Or really, I know the one that's in my world. She's a baker back in Equestria, and she once made an entire moose statue out of-"

"Chocolate Mousse?" Pinkie guessed.

"Um... yeah, that's right!" the young Princess confirmed. "How'd you know, Pinkie? Another lucky hunch?" The silly pink girl nodded yes vigorously. "So... she's the Home Economics teacher, I see..." Twilight observed. "I suppose that does make sense; I bet her students could cook some really good food with her instructing them!"

"You bet, Twilight." Sunset replied with a nod. "In fact, I've heard that some of the best chefs and bakers in town all started out as her students."

"That's amazing..." said Twilight. "To have generations of famous cooks resting on your shoulders like that... I hope I can be that much of an inspiration to everypony back home..."

"Aren't you already?" asked the red and yellow girl. "You ARE the Princess of Friendship, after all."

"I can always be better, right?" the young Princess inquired right back. Sunset smiled and nodded to say that she had a point.

As they walked towards the front entrance, the three girls heard people cheering nearby. "Huh? Where's that coming from?" asked Sunset.

"Sounded like it came from beside the building..." Twilight hypothesized. The three of them ran off towards the left side of the school to see what the commotion was all about. They didn't have to look far to see a small crowd of students huddled around two others. It then became apparent that those two students were participating in a Duel.

"Oh wowee!!" cheered Pinkie Pie, hopping continuously into the air in excitement. "There's a Duel going on! There's a Duel going on!!"

"A Duel? This early in the morning?" asked Twilight.

"It happens more often than you think." Sunset replied as she pulled out her Duel Gazer. "After all, we've gotta have something to do before classes begin."

"Makes sense, I guess." stated Twilight as she, too, got out her Gazer. After the three girls put their lenses on, the purple-skinned girl then asked, "So, who are they? The two people dueling, that is."

"Well, the girl on the left with the lavender skin and swirly light-blue hair is Lilac Hearts. She's a member of the school's Drama Club!" Pinkie answered her, pointing to the female student that was dueling. The girl also wore a simple blue dress with an emblem of three small hearts imprinted on the chest area. On her side of the field was a serpentine dragon with red and white scales, fins on the back of its head, a tail made up of green feathers, and a face that gave it the appearance of wearing a mask (Kabuki Dragon: Level 6 / ATK 2300 / DEF 2100).

"I see..." the purple teen acknowledged. "Why does her hair look similar to Rarity's?"

"Because Rarity gave her some hair beauty tips some time ago, that's why." Sunset answered. "If it weren't for the fact that their hair and skin colors were different, you'd think they were clones of each other."

Twilight giggled a little after hearing that. "What about the boy?" She then asked her inter-dimensional friend, pointing to the other Duelist. The boy, who seemed to be around the same age as Apple Bloom and her friends, had orange-colored skin and aqua-green eyes. His hair was cut short, but a bit on the wild side, colored red and blue. He wore a red, short-sleeved shirt with a ladle printed upon it, along with a pair of tan shorts and white sneakers. On his field was a large, three-headed wolf with blue fur and silver armor, standing on its hind legs (Celestial Wolf Lord, Blue Sirius: Level 6 / ATK 2400 / DEF 1500).

"Him?" asked Sunset. "That's Shining Spoon. He's actually in our Home Ec. class, so we'll be seeing him a bit later."

"Oh, I see." Twilight replied as the two of them joined the crowd to watch the rest of the Duel.

The boy, Shining Spoon, said to his opponent, "It's my turn. I draw!" (Shining Spoon: LP 3,900) (Lilac Hearts: LP 1,200) After looking at it, he then played it, saying, "I activate the Equip Spell Junk Barrage on Blue Sirius!"

*******************************

Junk Barrage
(Equip Spell Card)

When the equipped monster destroys a monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard: Inflict damage to your opponent equal to half the destroyed monster's ATK in the Graveyard.

*******************************

After he played the card, an immense power flowed over his powerful Synchro Monster. Lilac stepped back a bit, shaking a little. "Oh no... My dragon and my Life Points are done for...!" she said in despair.

Pointing ahead, Shining Spoon then declared, "Go! Blue Sirius!! Attack Kabuki Dragon with your Wolf's Fang!!" The large blue wolf howled loudly as it rushed towards Lilac's dragon and clamped its three sets of fangs on it. The dragon roared in pain as it shattered to pieces (Lilac Hearts: LP 1,200 - 100 = 1,100). "And now that Blue Sirius destroyed your monster," Spoon continued, "my Equip Spell Card activates its effect, which takes out the rest of your Life Points!"

"Awww... that means I lose..." the lavender-skinned girl said with a sigh (Lilac Hearts: LP 1,100 - 1,150 = 0) (WINNER: Shining Spoon). She then regained her composure, walked over to the young boy, and offered him a handshake, telling him, "That was a great Duel. I'd have practiced a lot more if I wasn't hard at work on this year's school play."

"Um... yeah, you're welcome." the boy replied in a seemingly solemn tone, accepting the handshake. Twilight noticed the slightly sad tone of his voice, wondering why he wouldn't feel good right now, especially after he won the Duel.

Just then, the group of students heard clapping nearby. When they turned to look, they saw a young adult woman, obviously a teacher at the school, standing not far away from them. She had pink skin, fuchsia-colored hair, small freckles on her face, and bright green-eyes. Her outfit consisted of a white shirt worn underneath a brown vest with a bright, yellow collar and hem, and a green skirt with light green flowers printed on it with a transparent green hem along the bottom. Her footwear consisted of a pair of brown boots with green on the toe areas and light green laces.

"Okay everyone! Time to wrap things up!" she told them in a cheery voice. "Classes will be starting soon, and you don't want to be late!" The students nodded and they all filed into the school building. The woman then turned over to Pinkie Pie and said to her and her friends, "That means you three as well, so hurry up and get inside before everyone starts without you!"

"Okie-dokie-lokie, Ms. Cheerilee!" the pink teenager replied with a salute. The teacher smiled and headed back into the school herself.

"Cheerilee's right: We'd better hurry up and get going." Sunset told Pinkie and Twilight. As they all walked into the building together, the red and yellow girl then told Twilight, "Anyway, as I was saying earlier, Shining Spoon is in our Home Ec. class. He's training to become a world-famous cook."

"I see..." the young Princess replied. "It also seems that he's pretty good at dueling, as well; based on what we all saw earlier."

"Yeah, he's been doing pretty well so far!" Pinkie told her. "I've seen some of them before: There've been games that he's played where he didn't or hardly took any damage at all!"

"That's pretty impressive." said Twilight. "Even though he's so young, it's obvious that he has some talent."

"Yeah, and dueling's not the only thing he's been good at;" Sunset chimed in. "You'll see it for yourself in a little while, but he's also great at cooking, too! Like I said earlier, he's wanted to become a top-class cook someday, so it's no surprise that he would want to keep trying his best every day."

"Mhmm, I can understand that." the purple-skinned girl responded. She then put on a sad look and added, "Still, there's one thing that's bothering me a little..."

"Um, what is it...?" asked Sunset out of concern.

"After the Duel..." Twilight began, "did either of you notice that depressed look on his face? Or the sad tone of voice he had?"

"Well... now that you mention it, I did." the red and yellow girl answered. "But why? After all, he won the Duel, so why wouldn't he be happy about it?"

"I dunno..." Pinkie told her, "but he's been that way for a while. I don't know why; he won't say anything about it... It makes me sad just thinking about what could be bothering him..."

"I'd like to know what it is... maybe I could help him." Twilight told her friends. "Nopo- er, excuse me... noBODY ever becomes depressed for no reason... If we could find out why he feels that way, we could try and help him through it."

"Perhaps..." Sunset told her, "but for now, we have to get to class. Once we have the time, we'll try and ask him what's going on... Of course, that's assuming he'll even want to talk about it."

"Well, it can't hurt to try, right?" the young Princess asked Sunset. "We'll think about it some more during our classes, and hopefully by then, we'll be able to come up with some sort of solution."

"Then I guess I'll see you guys at lunch later! I've got to get to Mr. Cranky's class before the bell rings! Bye-bye!" Pinkie told her friends before zooming off. After she left, Sunset then escorted Twilight to where the Home Economics classroom was.

Minutes later, Sunset and Twilight managed to get to their Home Economics class, long before it started. Once the clock struck 8:00, the bell rang, signalling that classes were to officially start. After that, Mulia Mild, the Home Ec. teacher, walked up towards her students to begin her lesson. The woman had slightly tanned skin, puffy, curly dark brown hair, and light blue eyes. She wore a light blue dress and shoes that matched her eye color perfectly, along with a white apron over-top of it. The apron had a few slightly-washed food smudges here and there, indicating that she had used it quite often. Around her neck was a small necklace made up of round, teal-colored stones.

"Good morning, students!" the woman greeted everyone.

"Good morning, Ms. Mulia!" the students greeted back.

"Now, many of you remember what we were all doing last week..." the Home Ec. teacher told them. "But seeing as how Ms. Sparkle has only recently come back to our school, could one of you explain to her what we are currently working on?" After the question was asked, many of the students raised their hands. Looking over them all, Mulia picked and asked them, "Yes, Sweetie Belle?"

"We were learning how to make baked macaroni and cheese!" the younger sister of Rarity answered enthusiastically.

"That's correct." the woman told her with a smile. "And now that we have familiarized ourselves with the recipe, I believe now is a good time to put what we have all learned into practice." Mulia then turned over towards Twilight and asked her, "Ms. Sparkle, I know you weren't here for our previous lesson... Do you think you will be okay or will you need some help?"

"Oh, don't worry about me." Twilight told her. "I'm not unfamiliar with cooking. In fact, I've made quite a few things for myself and Spike back in my cast- er, I mean, in my house!" She then added, "But if it's okay with you, I'll gladly accept any help you can offer me."

"I don't mind at all." the teacher replied. "I'd be happy to give you some assistance." She then turned to the other students and told them all, "As for the rest of you, pair off into your usual groups and get started; I'll come by later to check on your progress." The rest of the class nodded as they all made their way into the kitchen to begin their cooking lesson.

The students in Ms. Mulia's class immediately got to work on cooking their macaroni and cheese meals. Everyone paired up with a partner in order to work on their dishes together. Sunset and Sweetie Belle were in a group together, with the red and yellow girl instructing her on how to cook the food properly so that it would not burn (Sweetie was notorious for burning a lot of food). Sweetie Belle did know a few things that she had remembered from watching her parents and her sister cooking, and added a few things to their meal to make more unique and delicious once it came out.

Twilight, in the meantime, stayed with the teacher, since she had not been present for the lessons that took place the week before. She watched and listened to Mulia's instructions carefully and followed them to the dot. Luckily, Twilight knew a few things about cooking already, as she had previously mentioned. Mulia was quite impressed with how much knowledge she seemed to have and praised her for it.

As Twilight carried her dish to one of the available ovens, she glanced over to her side, noticing that Shining Spoon and his class partner were still busy making their food. The young Princess looked at him closely, watching as he referred to the recipe frequently, and making sure that the measurements for the different ingredients were as close to perfect as possible. Watching him reminded Twilight of how hard she worked during her time as Princess Celestia's student. She recalled that she had often gone to great lengths in order to make sure that she would pass every test and every challenge perfectly, and that, in her mind, she would not accept anything less than that.

"Ms. Sparkle...? Ms. Sparkle?" asked Mulia's voice from behind her.

Twilight gasped a little after she heard the teacher's voice from behind her. "Oh! I'm sorry..." the purple teen said to her. "I was kind of lost in my thoughts for a moment."

"You are forgiven." the woman told her. "But do not make a habit of it; after all, you can't afford to daydream while your food is in the oven, correct?"

"I understand. I won't do it again." Twilight replied, walking to the oven and putting the tray of macaroni and cheese inside.

Several minutes later, the food that the Home Ec. students had made were finished and were ready to be graded. Mulia got out her clipboard and paper and began examining each dish with an expert eye. She came to Sunset and Sweetie Belle first and looked at what they had made. After getting a good whiff of the food and then tasting a little bit of it for herself (using a fork that she had with her), the teacher smiled and told them, "Very good! Excellent work from the both of you!"

"Thank you, Ms. Mulia!" Sweetie replied happily.

"I must say," Mulia then told them, "I like the addition of Parmesan and mozzarella in the cheese mix. I must say, it's a very unique flavor. I'll give you both an A for this."

"Thank you, Ms. Mulia." Sunset said to her politely. "And the cheese thing was Sweetie Belle's idea, in case you were wondering. I just made sure it didn't burn."

The teacher smiled and nodded before moving on to the next dish. Now it was Twilight's turn to be graded for her work. "Mhmm... Mhmm... Yes, yes... very good job, Ms. Sparkle. I must say, you picked up on the recipe very nicely."

"Thanks, Ms. Mulia." the young Princess told her. "Not to brag or anything, but I've been known to be a quick study."

"It's true." Sunset chimed in.

"Well, I must say, I am very impressed by how well you did, considering that you had not seen the recipe before today." said the teacher. "You get an A as well."

"Oh wow! Thank you so much!" Twilight told her, excited to have gotten high marks on her work.

Mulia then continued on and looked at the rest of her students' dishes. "Let's see..." she said as she examined their work. "Very good, Stormwalker and Flitter... Daisy and Lily, also a good job... Snips and Snails..." The teacher then paused as she looked at the boys' work, shuddering a bit when she looked at the blackened tray of macaroni and cheese in front of her. "Um... I'll give you some points for um, effort..."

After looking at all of the other meals, Mulia then finally came to the meal that was made by Shining Spoon and his partner. Just like before, she smelled the food first, and then used her fork to take some of it and taste it in order to better judge its quality. After thinking about it for a while, Mulia then told him, "Great work, Mr. Spoon! Another fine dish you've prepared. I'll give you an... A-minus!"

The boy seemed a little struck after hearing his grade. Despite that it was a very good mark, he didn't seem too pleased as he said, "I see... thank you, Ms. Mulia."

The teacher then told her students, "Alright, now I want everyone to place their meals on the counter and wrap it up tightly with aluminum foil. Not only that, but before we begin our next lesson, why don't we all take a break and enjoy a little bit each other's meals as well?" Of course, the students were more than happy to take her up on that offer, and they all raced to have a sampling of each other's mac and cheese dishes.

Twilight decided to sample some of the food that Shining Spoon had made (since each pan was labeled with the names of the students that made it, it easy to tell which one was which). After putting some of it on a plate, she took a quick taste and immediately liked it. "Oh wow! This tastes amazing!" she said. "I can't remember the last time that I had macaroni and cheese that was this good!" The young Princess then walked over to Spoon and told him, "You did such a great job on this! This is one of the best meals I've ever tasted!"

"Oh, thank you, Ms. Twilight..." he responded. "I'm glad you like it... even though it isn't perfect." He then walked away and told her, in the same slightly-depressed tone, "By the way... you did pretty good with your food, too."

"Um... thank you." Twilight replied, taken aback by the boy's seemingly-sad attitude.

As Twilight watched him walk away, Mulia, also confused as to why Shining Spoon seemed so depressed, walked over to her and told her, "I am glad that you liked his meal... because it seems as though he didn't."

"But why?" asked the purple teen.

"I wish I knew..." the teacher responded. "He gets the highest grades out of all of my students, especially in regards to the cooking lessons... But it seems as though he's not happy with most of them..."

Twilight looked back at Shining Spoon and continued to wonder what it was that was bothering him. As she thought about it some more, one thing that he had said to her echoed in her mind: "I'm glad you like it... even though it isn't perfect."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

At around 9:30, the bell rang to let students know that the first period was over. The students of Ms. Mulia's class began to leave the classroom to head to their next class. "Good work today, everyone." the teacher told them. "Remember to look over our next recipe; next week, we'll be learning how to make dessert dishes."

After the last student left the room, Mulia then took out her cell phone to look at her schedule for today. She then noticed that there was something urgent on there and said to herself, "Oh dear...! I almost forgot! I have to speak with Mr. Gustave about that extra supply of frosting that he promised to bring to me last week; I have plenty right now for next week's classes, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared... Plus, he owes me a favor for the flour he asked for the week before that... He should be in the cafeteria right now, preparing the desserts for lunch today."

Mula then got up from her desk chair and left the classroom, leaving the room empty... or so she thought. In the kitchen part of the Home Ec. classroom, Shining Spoon was still there, looking over the macaroni and cheese recipe, as well as the food that he had made earlier. "Rrrgh... I don't understand...!" he said to himself in a frustrated tone. "I followed the instructions as closely as possible! The measurements were exact! And I cooked it to the exact time and temperature listed in the book!" Slamming his fist on the counter, he added, "But it wasn't perfect! I only got an A-minus! Where did I go wrong?!"

Looking at the cookbook again, he continued to tell himself, "I need it to be perfect... I HAVE to be perfect! I can't accept anything less than that! It's the only way to prove to him that I CAN be as good a chef as he is!" Shining Spoon then hastily opened an overhead cupboard and yanked out a measuring glass to look at it closely. However, unbeknownst to him, there were a pair of Duel Monsters cards underneath the glass, and his pulling it out caused one of the two cards to fly out and fall to the ground.

Shining Spoon then noticed the card on the floor and asked himself, "Huh? Is that a Duel Monsters card? What's it doing on the floor like that?" He then picked up the card and gasped when he saw that it was completely blank. "Hold on... why isn't there anything on this card? That's not right..." Spoon wondered to himself.

But at that moment, a shadowy cloud formed around the card, and then around Shining Spoon himself. When it did, he felt a great amount of pressure in his body. "Urrrk...! What's going on?!" he asked, holding his head in pain. "What is this?!?"

"So..." said a vicious-sounding voice. "You wish to become a perfect chef, do you...?"

"Huh...? Wh-who said that...?"

"I can give you what you want..." the voice told him. "I can make it so that you will always be able to cook the perfect dishes... each and every time..."

"The... perfect dishes...?" asked Spoon in a monotone voice.

"That's correct... and in exchange, you must do something for me..." it then told him.

"...What is it you want me to do...?" Spoon then asked. As he did, a yellow symbol resembling the number 59 appeared upon his forehead and began to glow brightly.

Hours later, at the cafeteria, Sunset Shimmer, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash were all enjoying lunch together. Pizza was today's entree, and it was often a popular choice amongst the students. Pinkie and Dash each got slices of pepperoni while Sunset and Twilight decided on just plain cheese (since neither of them ate meat).

"So, how'd things go at Home Ec.?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Pretty good." Sunset answered. "Twilight and I each got an A on the dinner entree lesson."

"Oh, wow! Congratulations!" Pinkie praised them, clapping her hands vigorously. "I hope Dashie and I do that well in Ms. Mulia's class too!"

"I ain't really lookin' forward to it." Dash said with a groan. "Even I'm willing to admit: Cooking isn't exactly something that I'm the best at. Believe me, it'll be an accomplishment if I can avoid letting the food burn."

"Well, I'm sure you'll do fine, especially if Pinkie Pie's your partner for the lesson." Sunset informed her. "Besides, I'm pretty sure you can't do any worse than Snips and Snails did. Their dish looked like they were cooking charcoal, not mac and cheese. Right, Twilight?"

Twilight didn't answer at first, as she seemed to be in deep thought. She simply stared at her slice of pizza, not having touched it since she got back to the table. "Hmmmm..."

"...Twilight? Are you okay?" asked the red and yellow girl when she didn't hear a reply.

"Huh? Oh... I'm fine, Sunset." the young Princess answered. "I was... just thinking about a few things."

"You mean Shining Spoon?" asked Sunset.

"Mhmm." Twilight answered with a nod. "He seemed pretty depressed after Mulia graded our works, just like how he seemed so sad after his Duel earlier this morning. I've been trying to figure out why he feels that way all of the time..." Sighing a little, she then told her friends, "And after thinking about it for a while, I believe I might know why."

"You do?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Whad'ya think it is?"

"Well, in class," Twilight started, "Shining Spoon got an A-minus on the macaroni and cheese meal that he prepared. And during the Duel this morning, I saw that the game had ended with him having 3,900 Life Points left." She then looked up at the rest of her friends and added, "Not only that, after I complimented Spoon on the food that he had made, he said something about it not being perfect..."

"Ummm... I still don't think I get it." Pinkie stated, scratching her head. "What does all of that mean?"

But before another word could be said, the group of four noticed that someone had walked over to their table. When they turned around to look, they saw a young girl around their age standing there, just staring at them all. The girl had very light pink skin and long, pink hair that drooped down to her knee area, along with baby-blue eyes. She wore a white sweater with fluffy pink cuffs, a collar, and a hem that had a picture of a fluffy, pink heart printed upon the chest area. The rest of the outfit consisted of a short, light blue skirt and a pair of boots with more pink fluff around the leg areas and white on the bottom.

Sunset and the others just looked at the girl as she stared at them all, not moving or making any sound whatsoever. Finally, Rainbow Dash decided to break the silence and asked the girl, "Um... can we help you or something...?"

The girl said nothing. Instead of saying any words, she responded by sticking out her tongue and making a strange sound: "Pthbth..."

"Uh... did she just give all of us a raspberry?" the cyan teen asked. "Weird..."

"...Hold on a second." Twilight began to say. "I think I might know who she is, assuming that everyone here is truly the same as someone else back in Equestria..." The young Princess got up out of her seat, walked over to the strange girl, and asked her, "Your name wouldn't happen to be... Fluffle Puff, would it?"

The girl didn't say anything, but smiled and nodded her head yes to answer the question.

"I thought so." Twilight replied.

"Wait, THAT'S Fluffle Puff?" asked Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie Pie then quickly swallowed the food that she had in her mouth and told her athletic friend, "Well, DUH... Of course that's her! I tell you about her all the time, Dashie!"

"Then... why didn't you say something earlier?" asked Sunset out of curiosity.

"I would have, but I had food in my mouth." Pinkie answered immediately. "Mom always said, 'never speak when your mouth is full'!"

Twilight turned back over to Fluffle Puff and asked her, "So, um... was there something you wanted from us, or something that you wanted to tell us?"

But the only answer that the young Princess got was, "Pthbth, pthbththth... Pthbth, pthbth."

Of course, Twilight had no idea what the strange girl was telling her. "Um... did anyone understand what she said...?" she asked her friends. Sunset and Rainbow Dash shook their heads no in response. "Okay, good. It's not just me then." the purple-skinned girl added.

"...Seriously? You didn't get that?" asked Pinkie in a surprised tone. "Because I understood it just fine!"

"You did?" asked Rainbow Dash, slightly surprised by what her friend had said, as was everyone else.

"Yeah, of COURSE I did!" the silly girl told them in a way that seemed to suggest that what Fluffle Puff had said was blatantly obvious. "She said, 'Yes, I do need your help with something.'"

Twilight, Sunset, and Rainbow Dash just looked at each other, not sure how Pinkie could understand what the strange, fluffy girl was saying. For now, they decided to push that aside, deciding that there was a better time and place to try and figure it out. "Well, since you seem to know what she's saying," Twilight began to tell her friend, "maybe you can help us figure out what she needs our help with. Can you... um... translate for us?"

"Sure thing, Twilight!" Pinkie replied with enthusiasm.

"Alright then." Sunset then said with a nod before turning back over to Fluffle Puff. "So... what is it you need us to help you with?" she asked.

The fluffy girl then took a deep breath and began letting out a series of raspberries. "Pthbthbthbthbth... Pthbth pthbth pthbth, pthbtbth... pthbth pthbth, pthbthbthbth..." Twilight, Sunset, and Rainbow had no idea what they could have meant, but Pinkie carefully listened to every "word" that Fluffle Puff told her, nodding her head and humming while listening.

Once Fluffle Puff had stopped "speaking" with Pinkie Pie, the party-loving teenager walked over to her friends and said to them, "Okay, I just figured it all out! Fluffle Puff's saying that she was walking past the Home Ec. class, and that she saw someone inside the room while the doors were already locked."

"Huh? But that doesn't make any sense..." Sunset responded. "Ms. Mulia doesn't have any classes during 2nd or 3rd period, because she helps out in the cafeteria then. The only way that could be true is if someone from our class stayed in there this whole time..."

"But if that's the case, then who could it be?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"I'm not sure, but we should go and let Ms. Mulia know before we head over there ourselves." Twilight suggested. She then glanced over at Fluffle Puff and asked her, "Would you like to come with us to help?"

Again, the strange girl spoke no words, but let out a happy gasp and nodded her head, smiling.

"That means she said yes." Pinkie informed her friends.

"Uh... I think we could infer that, Pinkie." Sunset told her. "Anyway, let's go and find Ms. Mulia; she should be in the break room off to the side of the cafeteria." The others nodded and headed off in that direction.

Several minutes later, Sunset, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluffle Puff made their way to the Home Economics classroom. Now joined up with Mulia Mild, they would be able to get into the classroom, thanks to the Home Ec. teacher's key. As she got the key out, Mulia asked the five girls, "Now, before we go in there, are you absolutely sure that someone is inside?"

"That's what Fluffle Puff... um, told us." Sunset replied. The red and yellow girl then smelled the air and added, "And by the aroma that's permeating from the door, I can confidently say that she was right."

"Aroma?" asked Mulia. She and the others began sniffing the air around them. Sure enough, it was a distinct odor; one that smelled very good. "Oh my, you're right! I DO smell something..."

"Yeah, me too!" Rainbow chimed in, smelling the air as well. "But what is it? What's makin' that smell?"

Pinkie Pie, still sniffing, replied, saying, "It sort of smells like... macaroni and cheese."

Twilight gasped after Pinkie's comment. Looking towards Sunset, she then asked her, "Sunset... you don't think it could be-?"

"It could be, if our hunches are right." the red and yellow girl answered. "We'll all know for sure once we get inside. So let's hurry!"

Mulia nodded and turned the key to unlock the classroom door. She then opened it wide, allowing herself and the others to walk inside. Just as Pinkie had told them, the air in the room was filled with the aroma of freshly-baked macaroni and cheese. And for good reason: Every desk, table, and counter in the room was literally covered with trays of that particular food, steaming-hot and ready to eat.

"M-m-m-my classroom!!" Ms. Mulia said with a gasp. "Who could have done this?!"

"Over there!" said Rainbow, pointing towards the kitchen area. "There's somebody over there!"

The others looked in the direction that the cyan teenager was pointing in, and gasped when they saw that it was Shining Spoon, who was in the process of taking out yet another tray of mac and cheese. He then looked at it with his now-yellow eyes, smelled it and said, "No... not perfect enough... This won't do either!" He then recklessly tossed the tray, spilling its contents onto the tile floor.

"It IS him..." said Sunset. "Shining Spoon...!"

"Mr. Spoon, what do you think you are doing?!" Mulia scolded him. "You are making a mess of my classroom!! I could have you sent to detention for this, you know!!"

"You don't understand!!" the boy yelled, eyes wide with insanity. "I can't leave until I make this dish perfectly!! I HAVE TO!!!"

"Why are you doing this?!" the teacher asked next. "This is highly irregular behavior for you!"

"Yeah, it is..." Sunset chimed in. "And there's only one reason why: Shining Spoon has been possessed by a Number."

"A Number?!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

"He has a Number card, too?" asked Twilight. Looking back over at the crazed boy, she then said to herself, (So that's what happens when someone gets a Number... Just like Utopia told me back when I met him...)

---------------------------------------------------------------------

"From the world that I have come from, there is a great battle taking place: A battle to claim the power that we hold. However... our power cannot be wielded by just anyone; those that are unable to handle it risk becoming enslaved by it. This presents a problem for us and the residents of that world, as you can imagine."

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Snapping out of her flashback, Twilight sighed sadly and told herself, (This is horrible... Just look what that card's done to him...)

(Indeed...) said the voice of Utopia from within the young Princess's mind. (That card must be taken from him as soon as possible, or it shall only become worse.)

"You really think he has a Number, Sunnie?" asked Pinkie Pie. Sunset nodded yes to answer her question.

"What are you talking about, Ms. Shimmer?" asked Mulia, confused.

Turning over to the teacher, Sunset then explained to her, "You're right about Spoon not acting like himself. The reason is because he picked up a Number card, and that's what's causing him to do all of this. He's not doing this out of his own free will."

"He is not?" the teacher inquired.

The red and yellow girl shook her head no and added, "I'm not sure what exactly is driving him to make a mess of the classroom like this, but I do know that the only way to stop him - or rather, the Number card - is to defeat him in a Duel."

"A Duel?" asked Mulia, still not sure about everything. However, based on the looks that Sunset and her friends had on their faces, she was sure that something serious was going on, even if she really didn't know what it was.

Just then, the 59 mark that Shining Spoon had on his head began to glow bright again. He then looked over at Sunset Shimmer and said, "There you are... You are the one I need..." he told her in a low voice. Walking over towards her slowly, he said to her, "Your Numbers... Give me your Numbers...! I need them to achieve true perfection... Now give them to me! So that I can prove to everyone that I truly am perfect at everything!!"

(Perfect at everything...?) Twilight asked in her mind. She then pondered for a short while before saying to herself, (I see... I know what's going on now... I thought this might be the case...)

"If it's a Duel you want, Shining Spoon, then so be it!" Sunset Shimmer told him, strapping on her Duel Pad. "I'll take that Number you have and remove its hold on you!" Showing the boy her D-Pad-equipped arm, she began to tell him, "Get ready, Spoon! It's time to-"

"Wait! Sunset!" Twilight called out. She then ran over to her friend and stood beside her, holding her violet-colored Duel Pad, along with her Deck.

"Huh? Twilight, what are you doing?" asked the red and yellow girl.

"...I've made a decision..." Twlight told her. "If it's okay with you..." Putting on a fierce look of determination, she finished her thought, saying, "I'd like to fight him!"

Everyone in the room gasped when they heard that. "Hold up: YOU wanna fight that guy?!?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Are you absolutely sure you want to?" asked Sunset. "This isn't going to be like your Duel with Rainbow Dash earlier this week: If you lose this Duel, you'll lose your Number card to him!"

"I'm aware of that, Sunset." the purple-skinned girl replied, understanding the gravity of the situation. "But I'll have to risk that sooner or later... I promised you and everypo- er, everybody else that I'd help you get the Number cards and stop them from hurting others, and I intend to keep that promise!" Looking back over at the boy, Twilight then added, "Also, I think I know for sure what's been bothering Shining Spoon lately, and I want to use this Duel to help him as well, and not just by getting rid of the Number card that's controlling him..."

"Really, Twilight?" asked Sunset. "You know what's been troubling him?"

Nodding yes, the young Princess told her, "I think I do. So please, let me duel him... and save him from his troubles once and for all."

The red and yellow girl thought about it for a while. She then remembered that she had told Twilight on the previous night that she had faith in her and knew that she would be able to help them. Keeping her from participating in this Duel would go against everything that she had said to her so far. Coming to a decision of her own, Sunset smiled and told her, "I understand, Twilight; you're absolutely right. I guess this means I'll just be a spectator for this Duel." Turning around and walking back over to the others, she then said to her otherworldly friend, "Show him what you've got, Princess of Friendship."

Twilight smiled and nodded, saying, "I will, Sunset. Thank you for letting me do this." The red and yellow girl smiled back and continued over to where her friends were. The young Princess then turned her attention back to Shining Spoon and said to him, "Alright, Shining Spoon, it's you against me!"

"What?! I will not accept that!!" shouted the boy. "I must defeat Sunset! I need to beat her in order to claim all the Numbers!! Only then will I have the power I need!!"

"So that's all?" asked Twilight. "You just need all of the Number cards, correct?" Taking out a card from her deck box, she then showed it to him, revealing it as her Number card, Number 39: Utopia. "Then you'll need to have mine as well." she then informed him.

"No way! You have one, too?!" asked Spoon, shocked by this turn of events.

"I do. So you'll need to duel me sooner or later if you wish to have them all." the young Princess told him. "So why wait? I'm giving you a chance to take mine right now... Of course, if you lose, I'll get your card instead, as per the rules. So what do you say?"

The boy thought about it for a while, wondering what he should do. He was compelled to fight Sunset Shimmer, but now that he knew that Twilight also had a Number card, his plans changed. Smirking, he then said to the purple teen, "Fine then. I'll beat you, get your Number card, and then use it to take Sunset's Number cards! And when I do, everyone will HAVE to admit that I am perfect in all ways!!"

"Don't get ahead of yourself, Spoon." Twilight told him. "I promised Sunset and my friends here that I would help them stop the Number cards, and I won't let them down!" She then slid her Deck into the Deck Zone slot of her Duel Pad and shouted, "Duel Pad, activate!!" Upon saying that, the card tray unfolded itself out of the device. "Duel Gazer, time to go!" the young Princess added as put on her special lens. Shining Spoon then did the same with his D-Pad and Duel Gazer.

"AR Vision Link established." said the computerized voice as a digital copy of the Home Economics classroom projected around everyone. Sunset, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluffle Puff, and even Mulia Mild put on their Duel Gazers in order to watch the game as it progressed.

"LET'S DUEL!!!" shouted Twilight and Shining Spoon, ready to start their battle (Twilight Sparkle: LP 4,000) (Shining Spoon: LP 4,000).

---------------------------------------------------------------------

As Twilight and Shining Spoon drew their opening hands, Rainbow Dash asked Sunset Shimmer, "So... you think Twi'll be okay out there? This'll be her first real Duel against a Number user..."

"She'll be fine, Dash. I know she will." the red and yellow girl told her confidently. "We just need to believe that she can do it."

"Sunnie's totally right!" Pinkie Pie added. "Twilight'll beat that guy and get him back to normal! Right, Fluffle Puff?"

"Pthbthbthbth!"

"Yeah, just what I was thinking!" The party-lover then shouted to Twilight. "Go get 'im, Twilight! We know you can do it!!"

Twilight nodded back to her friends, telling them that she appreciated their support. Turning her attention back to Shining Spoon, she told him, "I'll take the first turn. I set one monster face-down in Defense Mode. And that's all that I will do."

"That means it's my turn." Spoon said to her, drawing a card. After looking at it, he said to himself, "Fairy Meteor Crush... I'll save this for later..." Putting the Spell Card in his hand for the moment, he took a different card and played it, saying, "I activate the Spell Card Cost Down! After I discard one card from my hand, I can lower the Levels of all Monster Cards in my hand by 2 until the end of the turn!"

"No... That means he can Summon his monsters more easily..." Sunset noted. "And knowing him, he probably has a Level 5 or a Level 6 monster ready to bring out."

"That's right, Sunset!" Shining Spoon confirmed as he sent one of the cards in his hand to the Graveyard slot of his Duel Pad. "So now that my Level 5 monster is Level 3 for this turn, I don't have to release any monsters to Summon it!" Playing the monster from his hand he shouted, "I Summon the Catapult Turtle, in Attack Mode!"

The boy's first monster was a giant turtle creature, colored mostly green and black, with a large launching device built onto its shell. The creature had mechanical-like properties, but it didn't appear to be fully-machine (Catapult Turtle: Level 5 - 2 = 3 / ATK 1000 / DEF 2000).

"Woah... a high-level monster right on the first turn..." stated Rainbow Dash.

Taking out two more cards from his hand, he then stated, "Since I can't see how strong your Defense monster is, I'll just end my turn with two face-down cards." After that, two more card images appeared on his side of the field. "Your move." (Catapult Turtle: Level 3 + 2 = 5)

(Hmmm...) Twilight thought as she looked at Shining Spoon's first monster. (Catapult Turtle... I remember seeing that monster on those Duel videos that Sunset had; I think it belonged to that Yugi guy... If I recall, it has a powerful special ability: By releasing one of his monsters, his turtle can deal damage to me, equal to half the attack power of the released monster.) The young Princess that said to herself, "I have to destroy that monster before it can hurt me, but... but the problem is that he put it in Attack Position, even though its defense points are much higher..."

Twilight looked back at the boy, noticing that he didn't seem too worried. This led the purple teen to suspect that he was up to something. (He must want me to attack him...) she noted to herself. (But I have to at least try and take out his monster... Here goes...)

"My turn! I draw!" Twilight said as she drew her next card. Placing the card into her hand, she then declared, "I Summon my Gagaga Magician in Attack Mode!" In an instant, her robe and cloak-wearing spellcaster appeared on her field, ready to battle (Gagaga Magician: Level 4 / ATK 1500 /DEF 1000). "Not only that, I'll also Flip Summon my face-down monster, Gogogo Golem!!" she declared as she revealed her second monster, whose stone body proudly stood right next to Twilight's magician (Gogogo Golem: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1500).

"Wait, she's not going to try and attack, will she?!" asked Rainbow Dash. "That's just what he wants!"

"Maybe so, but she should try and attack that Catapult Turtle anyway." Sunset told her athletic friend. "Worst case scenario, she can at least force him to use up a Trap Card."

"I agree completely, Sunnie!" Pinkie chimed in.

"Pthbth!"

"Fluffle Puff agrees, too!" the party lover added.

Taking out another card from her hand, the young Princess then told her opponent, "Now, I play the Spell Card Wonder Wand! By playing it on a Spellcaster-Type monster, I can give that monster 500 extra attack points! And I choose to play it on Gagaga Magician!"

After the card was played, the magic-using monster was given a long staff-like wand with a large, green jewel on the top. Gagaga Magician then swung the staff in front of himself, ready to display its power (Gagaga Magician: ATK 1500 + 500 = 2000).

"Now, go! Gagaga Magician!! Attack Catapult Turtle!!" shouted Twilight as she pointed to her attack target. The magician then leapt forward, charging up the energy in his new wand so that it could strike down the giant turtle.

"I don't think so!" Shining Spoon shouted. "I activate Zero Gravity!!"

*******************************

Zero Gravity
(Normal Trap Card)

Change the battle positions of all face-up monsters on the field.

*******************************

After the Trap was activated, Twilight's Gagaga Magician and Gogogo Golem, along with Shining Spoon's Catapult Turtle, all switched to Defense Mode, which also succeeded in stopping the spellcaster's attack. "I knew it..." Twilight said to herself with a slight scowl. "But at least he used up one of his cards... I still have a chance. Just to be sure, though, I'll use this to protect myself." Shoving one of her cards into the Spell/Trap Zone slot, she told Spoon, "I'll set a face-down card and end my turn."

"My turn, then!" the boy said, drawing a card from his Deck. After looking at it, he played it, saying, "I Summon The Bistro Butcher in Attack Mode!" The boy's new monster was a vicious-looking chef with dark-blue skin, sharp teeth, and pointed ears. It wore a red-tinted chef outfit that was in tatters, had a large hook on his right hand, and wielded a long knife in the other (The Bistro Butcher: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1000).

"Bistro Butcher...? That's unusual..." Sunset said to herself, "What's he up to now?"

"Now I equip my butcher with my Fairy Meteor Crush card!" Spoon told his foe. "Now my monster can deal piercing damage when he attacks one of your defense monsters!"

"Oh no...!" Twilight responded, getting worried. "Now he can damage me, no matter how I position my monsters on the field!"

"Twilight! Don't worry about that too much!" Sunset called out to her. "Even though he can damage you more easily, it's not necessarily a bad thing!"

"How come?" asked the purple teenager.

"When Bistro Butcher damages your Life Points, you get to draw two more cards from your Deck." the red and yellow girl pointed out. "You might be able to make a comeback afterwards."

"Really? That's weird." said Rainbow Dash. "Why would he let her draw more cards? Something smells rotten around here..."

"Really? All I smell is the mac and cheese Shining Spoon baked." Pinkie replied. "And it smells really good!" Dash just sighed to herself from hearing her silly friend's response.

Shining Spoon paused for a moment after hearing Pinkie's compliment towards his food. He then shook his head and thought, (No! She couldn't have really meant that... There's no way!) Spoon then cried out, "Go! Bistro Butcher!! Attack her Gagaga Magician! Butchering Blade!!" The mean-looking cook then snarled and ran towards Twilight's monster, brandishing its sharp knife.

"I activate my Trap Card!!" Twilight quickly shouted, tapping her Duel Pad's screen.

The butcher swung its knife at Gagaga Magician, destroying it and sending him to the Graveyard. However, it seemed that the excess power from the attack had been weakened, as the young Princess did not take as much damage as she would have (Twilight Sparkle: LP 4,000 - 400 = 3,600). "Hey! What gives?!" Spoon protested. "How'd you cut the damage?!"

Twilight let out a sigh and answered him, saying, "Because I played my Trap Card before your attack hit." She then pointed at the card and told her opponent, "Thanks to Damage Diet, all the damage done to me this turn is halved. Which means your attack did only 400 points of damage instead of 800." Shining Spoon growled a little after hearing that.

"Phew... not bad at all." said Rainbow Dash, wiping her forehead. "She saved herself from taking a huge hit there."

Grumbling a little, Spoon then told Twilight, "Well, as your friends pointed out earlier, you get to draw two more cards, due to my Bistro Butcher's effect. So go ahead and draw your cards." Twilight nodded and picked the top two cards of her Deck. "But now that you've done that," the boy added, "I get to use this! I activate the Trap Card Appropriate!! Now every time you draw cards outside of your Draw Phase, I can draw two more cards from MY Deck!" He then took two cards from his Deck as well.

"Rrrgh! So that's why he let her draw more cards!" Sunset grumbled. "As long as he has that butcher out, they'll both keep drawing more cards out of their Deck every time he attacks with it!"

"Oh dear..." said Mulia, getting worried for both Twilight and Shining Spoon.

Chuckling a little to himself, Spoon then took one of the new cards that he drew and played it onto the field, saying, "I'll set a face-down card and end my turn." After saying that, the boy thought to himself, (I was going to use Catapult Turtle's effect to damage her even more, but because her Trap Card's effect was still present, it wasn't worth sacrificing my monster just to give her a measly 450 points of damage...) He grumbled a bit, annoyed that Twilight threw off his plans.

Twilight looked over towards her opponent and thought to herself, (Alright, good... My plan worked; my Trap Card persuaded him not to use Catapult Turtle's ability. But I have to get rid of his butcher before he draws too many more cards...) Putting her middle and index fingers on the top card of her Deck, she then said, "It's my turn now!" After drawing her card and looking at it, she continued her inner monologue, saying to herself, (This card could help me... I need to show Shining Spoon that he's only hurting himself with the way he is thinking...)

Playing another card from her hand, the young Princess declared, "I activate the Spell Card Dodododraw! I send my Dododo Swordsman from my hand to the Graveyard, and then draw two more cards from my Deck!" And she did just that. After looking at her new cards, she gasped in surprise when she saw what one of them was. (Yes! I got it!) she thought happily to herself.

"Ha! Go ahead and draw more cards!" Spoon taunted his foe. "You're only helping me out! Did you forget my Trap Card? Thanks to Appropriate, I ALSO get to draw cards from my Deck!" He then drew two cards as well and placed them into his hand. He then snickered a little to himself after seeing what he picked up.

"Aw man... Why'd Twilight do that?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Now that guy has even more cards to use against her!"

"Perhaps..." Sunset began. "But if she drew the cards that she needed right now, it may have been worth the risk. I suppose we'll see very soon if Twilight made the right move or not." The others continued to watch the game, anxious to see what would happen next.

"Next," the purple-skinned girl began to say, "I'll Summon this monster in Attack Mode... Go, Zubaba Knight!!"

In a flash of lightning, Twilight powerful knight monster leapt onto the field, brandishing its swords and shouting, "Zubaba KNIGHT!!!" (Zubaba Knght: Level 3 / ATK 1600 / DEF 900).

"Alright!" cheered Pinkie Pie. "Twilight got a great card onto the field!" Fluffle Puff let out a happy gasp in response.

"Next, I'll switch my Gogogo Golem to Attack Mode," Twilight continued, "and then play Blustering Winds! It's one of the cards that I drew with my Dodododraw! Now my Gogogo Golem gains 1,000 attack and defense points until my next turn!"

"What?!" shouted Shining Spoon.

"Aw yeah! Now her monsters can take down both of Spoon's this turn!" Rainbow Dash said, pumping her fist into the air. "And she'll even give him some damage, too!"

Sunset smiled to herself and thought, (Not bad, Twilight... You're doing great so far. But don't get too confident; he's probably got a backup plan ready, and I'm sure his Number card will be a part of it...)

Twilight Sparkle then pointed ahead and shouted, "Zubaba Knight! Attack his Catapult Turtle!!" The Warrior-Type monster then jumped forward and slashed its swords across the giant reptile. Even though the knight's attack points were lower than its target's defense points, its special ability allowed it to destroy Catapult Turtle anyway. "And next, my Gogogo Golem attacks your Bistro Butcher!!" the young Princess declared. And with that order, the giant rock monster moved towards Spoon's remaining monster and slammed its fist down on it, crushing it into a pancake.

"Aaack!!!" grunted Shining Spoon as the force of the attack hit him hard (Shining Spoon: LP 4,000 - 1,000 = 3,000).

"Yay!! Twilight's in the lead now!!" cheered Pinkie Pie. "I knew she could do it!"

The purple teen then said to her opponent, "Alright, I'll now end my Battle Phase for this turn."

Getting up, Shining Spoon seemed to be angry for some reason. "How... how dare you..." he snarled as the mark on his forehead began to glow even brighter. "You... you ruined my chance... at a perfect victory... So now I'll ruin you!!" Tapping his Duel Pad, he then shouted, "I activate my Burst Rebirth Trap Card!! By paying 2,000 of my Life Points, I can bring back one monster from my Graveyard and set it in Defense Mode!!" He then selected his monster and placed it face-down on his field (Shining Spoon: LP 3,000 - 2,000 = 1,000).

"Yeesh, what got under his skin all of a sudden?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Is he mad 'cause Twilight damaged him?"

"It seems so..." Sunset answered. "Just like how he seemed troubled when he got that A-minus..." The otherworldly girl began to ponder some more about that, as well as the Duel that Shining Spoon had participated in earlier. Sunset then gasped and thought to herself (Wait...! Could it be that...?)

Twilight then looked at Shining Spoon's field and said to herself, "Even with those attacks, he still managed to keep a monster on the field... But he paid a lot of Life Points to Summon it..." She then looked back up at her opponent, who seemed to still be a bit angry about it. "From the look on his face, it seems as though he didn't want to use that Trap Card." the young Princess noted. "If my hunch is right, then I know for sure why he feels that way... I'll keep on paying close attention to his moves, just to make sure." She then ended her turn.

"My turn! I draw!!" shouted the young boy. After placing the card in his hand, he then said, "I now Flip Summon my face-down monster! Hiita the Fire Charmer!!"

The monster was revealed to be a young red-haired girl with a tan hooded coat, worn over top an open shirt with a black garment worn over-top her chest area, along with a short, black skirt. In her hand was a long staff with a burning torch on the top of it (Hiita the Fire Charmer: Level 3 / ATK 500 / DEF 1500).

"Hiita the Fire Charmer..." Sunset began. "One of the six Charmer monsters. When Flip Summoned, it can take control of any opposing monster that matches its Attribute. In Hiita's case, she can take any one of Twilight's FIRE-Attribute monsters..."

"But..." Mulia chimed in, "Ms. Sparkle doesn't have any FIRE monsters on her field, so it doesn't work, right?"

"Perhaps, but I think Spoon played that card for another reason." the red and yellow girl answered.

"What's that?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"The Charmers have another power," Sunset replied, "and I'm sure that he's going to use it right now...!"

Taking another card from his hand, Shining Spoon then said, "Next, I'll Special Summon Inari Fire from my hand, which I can do if I control a Spellcaster-Type monster, in this case, Hiita the Fire Charmer." His next monster was a large, orange fox with a white mane and flaming tail (Inari Fire: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 200). "And now, I'll release them both to Special Summon a monster from my Deck!! Come forth, Familiar-Possessed - Hiita!!"

After making that declaration, Inari Fire began glowing red as it turned into pure energy. It then phased into Hiita, causing her to gasp as her irises shrank. She then began to grow taller, her body changing to that of an 18-year-old girl with empty, red eyes. The flame on her staff grew as well, burning even brighter than before (Familiar-Possessed - Hiita: Level 4 / ATK 1850 / DEF 1500).

"I thought so." Sunset told the others. "By releasing a Charmer, along with another monster that matches its Attribute, you can Summon their Familiar-Possessed forms from your hand or your Deck."

"Pthbth..."

"Yeah, I'm worried too, Fluffle Puff." Pinkie said in response to the fluffy girl's raspberry.

"So he got a tough monster out, so what?" asked Rainbow Dash. "The only monster he can attack is Twilight's Zubaba Knight, and it's not gonna do much damage to her."

"Heh heh... too bad that's not what I'm planning to do." Shining Spoon told her. "I'm planning something even worse in mind... to teach your friend never to get in my way again!!" Playing another two cards from his hand, he then said, "Now, since I have a Spellcaster out, I can Summon these monsters as well!! I play Nefarious Archfiend Eater of Nefariousness and Jigabyte, both in Attack Mode!!"

The boy's first monster was a fiendish-looking marmot-like animal that had a large, red horn on its forehead, what appeared to be three pairs of eyes, large bat wings, and messy brown fur. It was busy chewing on a sinister-looking skull with its fanged teeth (Nefarious Archfiend Eater of Nefariousness: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 200). The second monster was a large-sized, bipedal lizard with green scales, a long tail, clawed hands and feet, and radiating a powerful energy all around itself (Jigabyte: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 200).

"No... he just Summoned three Level 4 monsters onto his side of the field." Sunset noted, getting a little concerned. "He's going to play his Number card!"

"Uh oh... that ain't good..." Rainbow Dash replied, getting worried as well.

"I overlay Hiita and Jigabyte, both Level 4, and create an Overlay Network!!" The two monsters then transformed into pure energy, one red and one blue, and flew up into a galaxy portal up above. "Emerge, Number 59!" The boy chanted. "Unleash your flames upon my enemy!! Scorch them and turn them to ashes!! Xyz Summon!!" At that moment, the portal exploded, creating a mark on the ground that looked like a 59. "My perfection! Rank 4! Crooked Cook!!" Spoon finished, playing his Number card.

At that moment, a large, brown propane tank began to rise from the ground where the 59 mark was. The tank then opened up and revealed a human man inside of it. The front of the tank became the apron wrapped around his body, and other parts of it transformed into a frying pan, an arm-mounted flamethrower, and a silver propane tank that was worn on the man's back, and attached to the flamethrower with a long, thin hose. The top of the tank compacted itself and turned itself into a chef's hat, which prominently displayed the same yellow 59 mark that Shining Spoon had on his head.

*******************************

Number 59: Crooked Cook
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Warrior-Type/FIRE/Rank 4/ATK 2300/DEF 200)

2 Level 4 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. While you control no other cards on the field, this card is unaffected by other cards' effects. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; destroy as many other cards you control as possible, then this card gains 300 ATK for each monster destroyed by this effect and sent to the Graveyard.

*******************************

Everyone else stared at the powerful monster that Shining Spoon had Summoned to his field. "His Number card is... a chef?" asked Pinkie Pie.

"Well, since the Numbers reflect the personalities of those who hold them, it makes sense." Sunset noted. "Since Shining Spoon is so good at cooking, his Number became a chef... But I wonder why it's called 'CROOKED Cook'...?"

Twilight was wondering the same thing, but she didn't have much time to ponder about it, as her opponent told her, "Now I use Crooked Cook's effect! By removing one Overlay Unit, I can eliminate every other card on my side of the field!"

"And why would you want to do that?" asked the purple teen.

"Because for every monster card that I destroy with his effect, Crooked Cook gains 300 extra attack points!" Spoon answered.

"Oh no!" gasped Twilight.

The boy then sent one of his Number card's Overlay Units to the Graveyard (Number 59: Crooked Cook: OLU 2 - 1 = 1), triggering its ability and destroying all of Shining Spoon's cards, which included his Trap Card, Appropriate, and his Nefarious Archfiend monster. As a result, his Number card became more powerful (Number 59: Crooked Cook: ATK 2300 + 300 = 2600).

"You destroyed your own monster just to power up your Number card?" asked Twilight, who seemed shocked by the move, and not because of the advantage that it gave him. "How could you...?"

"That's the way this world works..." Spoon told her. "The weak are discarded so that only the perfect can thrive! And now I'll show you just how perfect my Number is! Go, Crooked Cook!! Attack her knight!! Searing Oven Torch!!" The chef monster then, quite literally, fired up his arm-mounted flamethrower and shot out a red-hot flame that incinerated Twilight's Zubaba Knight.

"Rrrgh... so... hot...!" the young Princess said, as she could feel the heat from Spoon's monster (Twilight Sparkle: LP 3,600 - 1,000 = 2,600).

"Now do you see?" asked Shining Spoon. "Those that are imperfect will never succeed in this world! And with this Number card, along with all of yours, I WILL become one of the flawless elite!!"

"Rrrgh..." Twilight groaned as she got back up onto her feet.

"Twilight! Are you okay?" asked Sunset, concerned for her best friend.

"I'll... be fine, Sunset." the purple teen told her. "I promise."

"Oh dear... this is not looking good..." Mulia stated. "At this rate, Ms. Sparkle won't last much longer..."

"Twilight won't lose!" Pinkie Pie protested. "She just can't! Because if she did, this series would be over and it'd be kinda awkward and stuff."

"Uh... yeah, I agree!" Rainbow chimed in, even though she didn't quite understand that last part of Pinkie's comment.

"My turn's over for now." Shining Spoon told his enemy. "Are you going to do the wise thing and give up, or are you foolish enough to continue this flawed Duel of yours?"

"Rrrgh... I'm still here, aren't I?" Twilight asked him back. "I'm not giving up...! I have to continue fighting in order to save you! Now it's my turn!" She then drew a card from her Deck to begin her turn.

"Yes, but don't forget: Since it's your Standby Phase, the effect of your Blustering Winds Spell ends." the boy reminded her. "So Gogogo Golem returns to its original attack and defense." (Gogogo Golem: ATK 2800 - 1000 = 1800 / DEF 2500 - 1000 = 1500)

Twilight grumbled a bit, wishing that her card's effect could have lasted longer. Looking at the card she drew, she placed it into her hand and said, "I'll switch Gogogo Golem to Defense Mode and end my turn."

"Hmph. That was a waste of time, Twilight." Spoon taunted. "Nothing will save you now, so just admit that you cannot beat someone as perfect as I am!" He then drew his next card and smirked saying, "And if this won't convince you otherwise, nothing will! I play the Spell Card... Stop Defense!!"

Everyone in the room gasped when they heard that. "Aw no! Not that card!!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

"Now I can switch your golem to Attack Mode, making it and you completely vulnerable!" Shining Spoon told her as the Rock-Type monster switched positions.

(No... I was planning to use Gogogo Golem's effect to stall until I could counterattack...) thought the purple teen. (But it doesn't work if he's in Attack Mode!)

"Now, Crooked Cook! Destroy her monster!!" ordered the boy. The chef monster then fired its flames at Gogogo Golem, destroying it and sending out more damage to Twilight (Twilight Sparkle: LP 2,600 - 800 = 1,800). After making his move, Spoon taunted her further, saying, "Just face it: I learned a long time ago that only the perfect can survive, and the flawed mean absolutely nothing! There is no hope for those that are imperfect, and there is no hope for you as well!!"

But Twilight wasn't about to show any fear in front of her opponent. "That's where you're wrong, Shining Spoon." she told him. "While I'm not sure exactly where in the world you learned that from, thinking like that is never going to help you succeed at anything."

"What's that supposed to mean??" asked the boy.

"You keep saying how you want to be perfect, and that I and everyone else around you is flawed and worthless..." the purple-skinned teen explained to him. "But I think that in itself is an imperfection that YOU have!"

"How dare you say that!! I can be perfect at everything! And I will prove it by crushing you!!" Spoon said in a rage.

"You'll have to wait to do that, since your turn's over. It's my turn now!" Twilight then drew her next card and looked at it. The Princess of Friendship smiled and said, "You said that there was no hope for those that have flaws... but that's not quite true. I believe that there is hope for anypo- er, anybody that seeks it!"

"Huh? What are you talking about??" asked Shining Spoon, not understanding what she meant.

(Twilight... I know what you are planning to do. I am ready when you are...) said the voice of Utopia in the young girl's mind.

Twilight nodded and played the card she had just drawn from her Deck. "I Summon another Gagaga Magician from my hand in Attack Mode!!" And with that, she brought out another blue robe-wearing magician to her field. "Next," she continued, "since I control a Gagaga monster, I can also Summon my Gagaga Child to the field!" She then placed her next monster in Defense Mode, and it appeared on the field as a young boy with a hat and robe similar to Gagaga Magician's, but also wearing a school uniform, a pair of red sneakers, and carrying a blue popsicle (Gagaga Child: Level 2 / ATK 800 / DEF 1200).

"Summon whatever you want!" Shining Spoon shouted at her. "Nothing you play can stand up to my Number card!!"

But Twilight chuckled a little and said to him, "...Nothing except ANOTHER Number, of course." This caused the boy to gasp in surprise.

"But her monsters' Levels aren't the same..." Rainbow Dash pointed out. "She can't Xyz Summon."

"No, she can, Dash." Sunset argued. "Just watch."

"I activate the effect of Gagaga Child!" Twilight declared. "By Special Summoning him with his effect, I can make his Level match that of another Gagaga monster I control. So I target Gagaga Magician, causing Gagaga Child's Level to change to four!" (Gagaga Child: Level 2 > 4)

"This can't be!!" protested Shining Spoon. "Now she can Summon an Xyz Monster!"

"I overlay my Level 4 Gagaga Magician and Gagaga Child to build the Overlay Network!!" shouted Twilight as her two monsters became a pair of purple lights that flew into a galaxy-like portal in front of her.

"Wh-what's going on?!" asked Mulia Mild, shielding her eyes from the bright lights that were emitting from the portal.

"I'll tell ya: Twilight's gonna Summon HER Number card!" Rainbow Dash said with a smile on her face.

"About time!" Pinkie Pie chimed in. "Five chapters in and we finally get it see it in action!"

As the portal swirled in front of her, Twilight closed her eyes and chanted, "Appear, Number 39! My battle starts here! I entrust my wishes upon your white wings! Xyz Summon! Messenger of light! Rank 4! Utopia!!"

The portal then exploded into a powerful light, leaving behind a red 39 mark on the floor. From high above, Utopia, in his sealed form, floated down to the battlefield before unfolding himself, emerging into his true form: A powerful warrior with white and gold armor and brandishing a pair of giant swords (Number 39: Utopia: Rank 4 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2000).

"N-n-n-n-no way...!" said Shining Spoon, trembling a little. Even Crooked Cook seemed to be intimidated by Utopia's presence.

"So that's Twilight's Number card..." said Dash, in awe of the powerful monster her friend had Summoned. "It's AWESOME!!"

"And pretty!" Pinkie added, eyes sparkling with delight. Fluffle Puff gasped happily, her eyes also sparkling.

"I must say, I am truly impressed as well..." Mulia chimed in. "I just hope that it's powerful enough to help her save Shining Spoon..." Although she still wasn't sure that the Number card he had was the cause of it, she now seemed to truly believe that the boy wasn't saying or doing anything out of his own free will.

Spoon grumbled a bit and told his foe, "You may have a Number on the field, but his attack points are less than mine! So next turn, I'll eliminate your Number and defeat you for good!!"

"If you're so sure of that, then attack me." Twilight told him.

"What's she thinking?" asked Rainbow Dash. "She doesn't have anything out to protect her Number from his attack!"

Sunset hummed a little to herself and pondered, (Hmmm... She doesn't seem like she's making a mistake to me... I wonder what she's up to?)

"My turn! I draw!!" said Spoon as he drew his next card. "Perfect... as always." He then played the card he drew and said, "I Summon another Jigabyte in Attack Mode!" The boy then Summoned another humanoid lizard to his field. "And next, I'll use Crooked Cook's remaining Overlay Unit and power it up even more!!" He then sent the remaining Overlay Unit to his Graveyard (Number 59: Crooked Cook: OLU 1 - 1 = 0), allowing him to destroy the monster that he had just Summoned and give his Number card even more power (Number 59: Crooked Cook: ATK 2600 + 300 = 2900).

"Next, since Jigabyte was just destroyed and sent to my Graveyard, I can now Special Summon a new monster from my Deck; one that has 1500 attack points and 200 defense points! So I'll bring out Inari Fire!" He then Summoned a second copy of his fiery fox monster to the field in Attack Mode.

"Oh no... If he attacks with both of those monsters, Twilight's Life Points'll drop to zero!" said Pinkie Pie.

(C'mon Twilight... you can't let him beat you... I know you can win!) Sunset mentally urged her friend.

"Now, Crooked Cook!! Show her just how imperfect she truly is! Destroy her Utopia!!" Spoon ordered his monster. The chef then fired its flames directly at Utopia. "You never had any hope against someone as flawless as me!!" the boy shouted at Twilight, so sure that he would win.

"I wouldn't say that..." the purple teen told him.

"Huh? What??" The boy was confused by what she meant.

"Your Number may have a powerful ability, but so does mine!!" Twilight then took out a card from underneath Utopia and yelled, "I activate Utopia's effect!! By spending one Overlay Unit, I can negate your attack!!"

Everyone watched in surprise as Utopia drew one of its swirling orbs into his chestplate (Number 39: Utopia: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). Afterwards, he then used one of his wings to block the flames being shot at him by Crooked Cook.

"Yeah!! Way to go, Twi!!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "You blocked his attack!!"

"Phew... that was a close one." Pinkie added, wiping her forehead, as did Fluffle Puff.

(No... I can't let her... win... Can't let her!) the boy thought as he took another card from out of his hand. "I-I-I activate Book of Moon and use it to switch Inari Fire to Defense Mode!" He then flipped his monster face-down and placed it horizontally on his Duel Pad.

"I see..." Mulia began. "If he had left that monster in Attack Position, Twilight could have destroyed it and won the Duel." Sunset stayed silent, but continued to root for Twilight in her mind, trying to send as many good vibes her way as possible.

"Rrrgh... I won't let you defeat me...!" snarled Shining Spoon. "I'll never become truly perfect if I don't beat you!!"

"Sorry, Shining Spoon, but I'm afraid that you couldn't be 'perfect', as you say, even IF you defeated me." the Princess of Friendship told him.

"What do you mean?!" asked the boy.

"...Because no one can be perfect." Twilight answered.

The boy gasped when he heard that. "Th-that's a lie! It has to be!!"

"Well, it isn't." the purple teen told him. "No matter how hard you try, achieving true perfection is impossible. And there's a reason why: It's because everypo- er, everybody's idea of perfect is totally different from another's. What you might see as perfection, others may see as completely flawed. There's no way that you can live up to anyone else's idea of becoming perfect, and trying to do so will leave you forever unsatisfied and unfulfilled."

"Shut up! What would YOU know about something like that?!" asked Shining Spoon. "How do you know how I feel?!"

"Because I used to think just like you did, that not being as good as possible at everything would make me worthless." she answered him. "But then I learned that wasn't true: Like I said, what you may see as perfect, others may see it as a flaw. But it also means that what you might think is flawed and imperfect, someone else might see as unique and special. It's all of our unique attributes that make us who we are. And besides, why would you want to be what someone else wants you to be, when you can just be yourself instead?"

Shining Spoon said nothing in response. What Twilight had told him seemed to affect him mentally. (Be... myself...?) he thought as the number symbol on his head began to dull its light.

"You should never have to be anyone else but you, Shining Spoon." the young Princess told her opponent. "And my cards will help to convey those feelings! Now I draw!!" After drawing her card, she thought to herself, (Alright, if I'm going to win this Duel, I have to destroy Crooked Cook on this turn... But how?) She then looked over her hand, hoping to find something that would help her win. That's when she noticed a Spell Card in her hand. (This card... what does this do...?)

*******************************

Double or Nothing!
(Quick-Play Spell Card)

When a monster's attack is negated: Target that monster; during this Battle Phase, it can attack again, and if it does, its ATK is doubled during the Damage Step only.

*******************************

(This card could help me defeat him,) Twilight thought. (but what are the odds that he'd be able to negate my attack?) But right after saying the word "negate", the purple girl gasped. (Wait a second...! It doesn't say that my opponent has to negate my attack!) Once she realized that, Twilight knew exactly what she was going to do. (Utopia, I think I have a plan to win this Duel right now...) she said to him with her mind. (Are you with me?)

(I know exactly what you plan to do, and I agree with it.) the warrior responded. (It is our only chance at victory, so we must seize this opportunity while we still can!)

"Alright then! Go, Utopia!!" Twilight shouted with a smile. "Attack Crooked Cook!!" The mighty warrior nodded as he pulled out his sword. He then leapt forward and charged towards Shining Spoon's Number card.

"What the-? She's attacking him?!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "But her monster's weaker! It'll get clobbered!!"

"Oh dear... why would she do that??" asked Mulia.

Sunset said nothing in response to Twilight's shocking move. But her face seemed to suggest that she knew what Twilight was doing, and that her inter-dimensional friend wasn't making a mistake.

"Ha ha ha!! So you HAVE given up!!" the boy cackled. "After that big speech of yours, this is the best you can do?!" He then pointed ahead and yelled, "Crooked Cook! Counterattack!! Searing Oven Torch!!" His monster then shot its fire attack once more.

"Not so fast! I use Utopia's effect once again!!" Twilight shouted. "I remove his last Overlay Unit and negate my OWN attack!!" And once more, Utopia absorbed his last Overlay Unit and put up his shield to block his own sword attack, along with Crooked Cook's flames (Number 39: Utopia: OLU 1 - 1 = 0).

"I don't get it... why the heck would she wanna do that??" Rainbow Dash asked, confused. "That move did her no good at all."

"Not quite, Dash." Sunset told her. "I think I know what she's trying to do."

"So... she negated her attack on purpose...?" asked Mulia Mild. "But why?"

Shining Spoon, however, figured that Twilight must have blundered. "So you realized that your monster was weaker than mine, and as a result, you stopped our attacks before they hit." he said to her. "You may have saved yourself, but without any more Overlay Units, I can destroy your monster! Your mistake this turn will lead to your failure! Something that never happens to someone as perfect as me!!"

But Twilight chuckled a bit in response to his words. "Failures and mistakes are two very different things. After all, mistakes can be corrected!" She then held up her Spell Card and said, "I play my Double or Nothing! Spell Card!!"

"Wh-wha...?" the boy stuttered.

"This card has an incredible power, but I can only use it if my monster's attack was negated." the young Princess. "Now do you see where I'm going with this?"

Spoon gasped. "N-no! You negated Utopia's attack on purpose to play that, didn't you?!"

"Exactly." Twilight confirmed. "I guess your so-called 'perfect plan' didn't account for this little variable..." After shoving her card into her Duel Pad, she then told him, "Now, thanks to this Spell Card, I not only give Utopia a second attack, but now his attack doubles this turn if he DOES attack! Which is exactly what I'm going to do right now!!" (Number 39: Utopia: ATK 2500 x 2 = 5000)

"F-F-FIVE THOUSAND ATTACK POINTS?!?" Shining Spoon cried out. "NO WAY!!!"

"Amazing..." said Mulia. "The timing on that move was... was..."

"Perfect?" Pinkie asked, attempting to finish the teacher's sentence.

"...In this case, I'd rather use the term, 'outstanding'." the woman replied back.

"Alright, Twilight! You did it!!" cheered Sunset Shimmer. "Now take his Number card down!!"

"You've got it, Sunset!" Twilight then gave out her order to her monster. "Go, Utopia!! Attack Crooked Cook and end this Duel!!"

"Yes, I shall!!" the warrior replied, rushing towards the enemy Number card once more. "Now get ready to feel the power of my Rising Sun Slash!!!" Utopia declared as he took out both of his swords and slashed them at Spoon's Number card, destroying it in one mighty blow.

"NOOOOOOOO!!!!!" screamed the boy as he took the massive blow, which succeeded in depleting all of his Life Points (Shining Spoon: LP 1,000 - 2,100 = 0) (WINNER: Twilight Sparkle).

---------------------------------------------------------------------

"She did it!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "Twilight beat 'im!!"

"Hurray!! Hip-hip-hooray!!!" screamed Pinkie, hopping up and down in excitement. Fluffle Puff simply let out a happy gasp in response.

Sunset smiled to herself and said in her mind, (I knew you could do it. Great job, Twilight.)

The young Princess let out a sigh that was a mixture of both relief and exhaustion. "Phew... that took a lot out of me just now... But we did it, Utopia. We stopped that Number card from controlling him any longer."

"Indeed." said the white-armored warrior. "With my power, along with your intelligence and determination, we have won this battle... But there shall be many others in the future."

"I know." Twilight told him, feeling slightly nervous just thinking about her next major battle. But she pushed that worried feeling out of her mind, smiled, and told her new friend, "But I'm not going to let that stop me from trying to help you or my friends! I'll do everything in my power to stop the other Number cards." She then put out her left hand and added, "Let's keep up the good work, Utopia... together."

The warrior paused for a moment, impressed by the young Princess's courage. He then nodded, put out his left hand and shook hers, saying, "Yes, we shall." After their handshake, Utopia turned his attention to Shining Spoon, who had fainted after losing the Duel. "For now, there is only one more thing that I have to do; now that the boy has lost the Duel, we are now free to claim his Number."

Utopia then thrust his right hand out, in the direction of where Silver Spoon was as a small ball of light phased out from the boy's chest. The sphere then flew towards Utopia himself and into his right hand, causing both the sphere and Utopia himself to vanish. After that happened, Twilight then noticed a faint glow coming from her deck box, which was now attached to her hip by a belt. The purple teen opened the box and pulled out a glowing card, which revealed itself as Number 59: Crooked Cook.

As soon as Twilight had gotten the Number card, its former owner began to groan. "Rrrgh... uhhnnn... What happened...?" he moaned as he sat up, holding his head in pain.

"Shining Spoon!" Sunset shouted to him as she and the others in the room raced over to check on him. "Are you okay? Do you need to go and see Nurse Redheart?"

"No... I think I'm okay..." he answered groggily, opening his eyes. He then looked over at his dueling opponent with his tired eyes and muttered, "T...Twilight...?"

"Yes, it's me Shining Spoon." the young Princess told him with a smile. "I'm happy to see that you're okay... That Duel really wore us both out..."

"Okay...?" he asked. "How is anything okay...? I lost..."

"So what?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Do you really think it's that bad if you lose one Duel? I mean, it's not like any of us here have never lost one every now and then."

"But... you don't understand...!" Spoon said to them. "It means that I really am flawed; I'm not perfect, and I never will be... Just like Dad always thought I was..."

"Your... dad?" asked Sunset. "What do you mean?"

A few minutes later, everyone sat down to rest as Shining Spoon told them all about what had been bothering him lately. "Well... the thing is..." the boy began to explain, "my dad's a super-famous chef; one of the best in the country. I always loved how he cooked, and one day, I decided to tell him that I wanted to be a cook just like him." The boy then put on a sad-looking face and continued, saying, "But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how closely I followed his instructions... I was never able to make anything that worked; he always told me that unless I got the instructions just perfect, it would never be good enough to meet his standards..."

"...I see... Now I understand." Ms. Mulia said to him. "Your father is pressuring you to be at your best, but instead of helping you, his actions are actually causing you to become more stressed. No wonder you never seemed happy with your grades here..."

"Or when you won that Duel with Lilac..." Pinkie Pie chimed in. "That's so sad..."

"Pthbth..."

"Glad you agree with me, Fluffle Puff." the party-lover commented in response to the raspberry.

Twilight smiled a little and said to the boy, "Shining Spoon, I know exactly how you must feel... Believe it or not, I had a problem very similar to yours a very long time ago."

"You did?" he asked.

The purple teenager nodded and said to him, "A while back, I was the personal student of a very good teacher. Just about everything that I know, she taught to me... and that included a few things that you can't get out of a book, no matter how engaging that book can be." Twilight paused for a moment, took a deep sigh, and told him, "Back then, I wanted to impress her with my knowledge so much, that I tried everything I could, in order to be as great as she was.

"Then one day, there was this test that I had to take," Twilight explained further, "and when I didn't receive a perfect grade on it, I was... well, devastated. I thought that I had lost any hope of ever being a great successor to my mentor. I then ran off to my study room, cursing myself for not being able to get the perfect grade that I felt I should have gotten... But then, the Princ- ...er, my teacher came up to me and said...

"'It is alright, my faithful student... I know how you feel, and I know you wanted to do your best to impress me. But you don't have to worry about trying to be perfect for me... I want you to be at your best, of course, but most importantly, I want you to be you. You don't need to try so hard to be like me or anyone else... Instead, you should be trying much harder to be yourself, to become great in your own way.'"

Shining Spoon seemed very moved by what Twilight was telling him. "Be... great in my own way...?" he asked.

"Mhmm." the young Princess replied, nodding her head yes. "Trying to be exactly like someone else will only make it harder to be the great person that you were always meant to be. After my mentor explained it to me, I then realized that the reason I didn't do as well as I wanted on my test, was because I had stressed myself out trying to be perfectly like her." She then told the boy, "The most important thing you need to remember when pursuing your dreams and interests is that you have to be yourself, not what someone else wants you to be. And while your father's intentions may have been good, you need to tell him that it's only causing you more serious issues. You need to let him know how you really feel about all of this, and if he truly cares about you, he'll understand."

Shining Spoon reflected on what Twilight Sparkle had told him concerning his problems. He had never thought about it that way before, and began to realize that she had a point, and that trying to be exactly like his father was only causing him more problems in the long run. Letting out a deep sigh, he told her, "You're totally right... It was silly of me to think that I could be exactly like my dad. But that doesn't mean that I can't ever become a great chef, too."

"So, does this mean that you'll stop trying to be perfect at everything?" asked Sunset.

"Yeah, it does." he replied, getting up to his feet. "I may not be able to cook exactly like my dad can, but I can still be a great chef like he is in my own way! I'll work hard, do my best, and cook so amazingly well, that he'll be proud of me no matter how it all turns out!" Chuckling a little, he then added, "Who knows? Maybe the way I cook could actually surpass him!"

"Well, I suppose we'll see soon enough." Mulia Mild told him with a smile. "After all, we still have a few more cooking lessons for the next few weeks, and I will be anxiously awaiting your next great concoction." Shining Spoon nodded to his teacher, saying that he would do his very best and be happy with whatever grade he would receive.

"So... guess that wraps things up here, doesn't it?" asked Rainbow Dash as she, Sunset, Pinkie Pie, and Fluffle Puff walked over to Twilight.

"Yep... at least until the next Number card appears, that is." the purple-skinned girl replied.

"Well, I know we'll be able to deal with it, as long as we all stick together and don't give up." Sunset told them all. She then looked to Twilight and told her, "Great job winning the Duel. I expected no less of you. But I have to ask: How did you know what was bothering Shining Spoon before we did?"

"Oh, that? Well, he sort of reminded of when I had stayed up last night watching all of those dueling videos because I was worried about not being at my best." the young Princess answered. "But I guess since I won the Duel, I don't need to worry about that, do I?"

Sunset shook her head no to answer her inter-dimensional friend's question. At that moment, the bell rang to inform the students to head to their next class. "We'd better get a move on, Twilight." she told her. "Can't miss our next class."

"Yes, of course." Twilight then waved good-bye to Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluffle Puff before heading out of the Home Economics classroom with Sunset.

As they left, Pinkie then glanced over at Rainbow Dash and asked, "Soooooooo... what're we gonna do about all this macaroni and cheese?"

As Twilight and Sunset walked to their next class together, Utopia (in a sort of phantom-like form) hovered over them as he pondered something to himself...

"After careful analysis of current events, I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as 'perfect'. All living things' ideas of perfection differs from that of another living thing, and therefore, I can see that achieving perfection is an impossible goal. The attributes of all living things, whether they are positive or negative, shapes who they are as individuals, and what one may see as flawed, another might see as wonderful...

"...I shall remember that."

-- To Be Continued...

---------------------------------------------------------------------

NUMBERS OBTAINED:

Twilight Sparkle (2 Numbers total):

- Number 59: Crooked Cook

---------------------------------------------------------------------

PreviousChapters Next