• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,131 Views, 967 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!

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RANK 2: Playing a Different Tune:

Author's Note:

Our first full Duel in the series! A couple of things to note: At some points I may pause the action to explain a card's effects or ruling in greater detail. This will happen for one or more of these reasons: If the card/ruling is important to the plot, if it's a card I made up, or if the card's effects were altered from the real-life version. In the third case, this applies to all of the Numbers; they have their defensive effect from the anime/manga, and may have other different effects as well. This was done merely to make the opponents seem much stronger than they would have been and to make the story more interesting, so try and enjoy it for what it is.

RANK 2: Playing a Different Tune:
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THE STORY SO FAR...:
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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...

Though Sunset has had a rough past, she has finally been able to put most of it behind her and begin working towards a much brighter future. To commemorate her new outlook on life, the young girl purchased a mysterious, key-shaped necklace to serve as a symbol of her "rebirth". However, the very next night, Sunset had a bizarre dream in which she saw a large, diabolical-looking door that beckoned her to open it. When she did, she released a powerful force from the other side. Upon waking up, Sunset discovered a strange blank card that immediately took on a new form upon her touching it. At first, it doesn't seem like too much to worry about...

But when another student named Octavia Melody finds a similar card at school the next day, her personality suddenly changes, and not for the better. Before long, she's seen attacking her best friend Vinyl Scratch, seemingly for no reason! Sunset manages to stop the attack and refuses to allow any harm to come to the up-and-coming DJ. Then, all of a sudden, Octavia challenges Sunset to a Duel, stating that she'll stop trying to attack Vinyl if Sunset manages to win.

Sunset Shimmer has agreed to take her on, but is suspicious about Octavia's current state; she believes that something is wrong, but can anything prepare her for what she'll face next...?

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It was the end of the school day at Canterlot High School, but there was still quite a bit of activity going on within its walls. In the school's Band Room, Sunset Shimmer and Octavia Melody were about to compete against one another in a game of Duel Monsters. However, earlier on, the sepia-skinned girl was discovered attacking her best friend, Vinyl Scratch, and nobody knew why. Even stranger was when she suddenly challenged Sunset to a Duel. No one knew exactly what the deal was; not even Sunset's best friends Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, or Pinkie Pie could figure out what was going on.

All of the people in the room pulled out and activated their Duel Gazers (in Vinyl's case, she had hers built into her shades), which were special lenses that allowed someone to see things within the Augmented Reality. It was necessary in order for people to watch a Duel that was in progress. After switching on their eyepieces, Rainbow Dash then asked, "I don't get it; why is Sunset dueling Octavia? We could just report her to the Principal right now!"

"Maybe Sunset knows somethin' 'bout all this that we don't." Applejack assumed. "It's hard to tell, but she seems to have a kind of 'sixth sense' about stuff like this..."

"You mean like when she knew that those Dazzling girls were up to no good?" asked Fluttershy.

"Mhmm." the orange girl hummed, nodding her head yes. "And to be honest, Ah've got a sneakin' suspicion that somethin' smells rotten in the Alamo..."

"How can you tell?" asked Pinkie Pie. "The Alamo's nowhere near where we live, which is-" She then quickly covered her mouth and whipsered to herself, "Oops... can't say that; it hasn't been canonically established yet...!"

Sunset and Octavia then drew their opening hands, ready to start brawling. "Let's DUEL!!" they shouted in unison (Octavia Melody: LP 4,000) (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000).

Vinyl watched the two combatants as their Duel began. She still wasn't sure what was going on, but hoped that, when it was all over, that her friend would be back to her old self. The blue-haired girl also began to suspect that something else was going on that was causing Octavia to lash out.

"If you don't mind," Octavia started, "I'll make the first move."

"You sure about that?" asked Sunset. "You DO know that the player who goes first can't draw a card on their first turn, right?"

"Believe me, I won't need that much of a head start..." the sepia girl told her. Taking a card from her hand, she then declared, "I'll begin by playing the Spell Card, 1st Movement Solo!" After she played it, a large, digital replica of the card materialized in front of her.

(She's starting things off with a Spell Card, I see...) thought Sunset.

"Spell Cards often have one-time-use effects on the field, but many of them are very powerful." noted Rarity. "The fact that Octavia's playing one even before she plays a monster must mean she's setting up something later on..."

"Now..." began Octavia, "since I currently do not control any monsters at the moment, 1st Movement Solo allows me to Special Summon any monster from my hand or my Deck that's Level 4 or lower and has 'Melodious' in its name. And I choose to play Serenade the Melodious Diva from my Deck!" Upon saying that, her Duel Pad's auto-shuffling function mixed up her cards; when it was done, one card was left sticking out from the top. Octavia pulled it out and placed it onto the card tray face-up and horizontally.

After the digital card appeared on the field, a young maiden with pink skin and hair rose up from out of it. She wore a dress that was colored yellow and orange on top, and red on the long skirt below, along with yellow frills at the very bottom of it. The red part was decorated with musical notes, and on her back was a pink, wing-shaped object (Serenade the Melodious Diva: Level 4 / ATK 400 / DEF 1900).

"Since I cannot attack on my first turn anyway, I placed my monster in Defense Mode to protect myself." Octavia informed her opponent. Taking out two cards with pink-colored frames from her hand, she added, "I'll set two cards from my hand facedown on the field, ending my turn."

"Sunset had better be careful..." said Applejack. "There's no telling what Octavia has hidden on her field right now..."

"Aw, what's she got to be worried about?" asked Rainbow Dash rhetorically. "She'll win this no matter what Octy's got waiting for her!"

Sunset was happy to hear that, but she was still being cautious in her mind. She knew that something was still amiss, but decided to worry about it later. Right now, she had a Duel to win. "It's my turn!" she said. "I draw!" After putting the card she drew into her hand, she took out a different card and said, "I activate Foolish Burial from my hand!"

"So you're playing a Spell Card first as well, I see..." Octavia commented.

The red and yellow girl took out a card from her Deck and stated, "I'll use my Spell Card to send Chronomaly Crystal Skull straight to the Graveyard." After doing that, she then declared, "Next, since you have a monster on the field while I don't, I can Special Summon Chronomaly Crystal Bones from my hand in Attack Mode!"

Sunset Shimmer then placed her chosen monster onto the D-Pad's card tray vertically. The shiny, headless skeleton creature then appeared in front of her, shimmering in the light (Chronomaly Crystal Bones: Level 3 / ATK 1300 / DEF 400).

"Now I activate Chronomaly Crystal Bones's effect!" Sunset then said. "When it's Special Summoned with its effect, I can Special Summon any other Chronomaly monster from my hand or my Graveyard! So I'll bring back my Chronomaly Crystal Skull from the Graveyard in Attack Mode!"

A dark purple portal then appeared beside Sunset's first monster, and out of it emerged a shiny human skull, which chattered its teeth upon its arrival (Chronomaly Crystal Skull: Level 3 / ATK 900 / DEF 600).

"I see... so that is why you sent your Skull to the Graveyard earlier." hummed Octavia.

"Aw cool! She's gonna bring out her secret weapon again!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"Go for it, Sunnie!! It's all you out there!!" Pinkie screamed ecstatically.

The red and yellow girl smiled and nodded. She then faced Octavia once more and shouted, "I overlay my Level 3 Crystal Skull and Crystal Bones to create an Overlay Network!" Once more, the red summoning portal appeared in front of her, sucking in her two monsters, turning them into a pair of yellow lights. Afterwards, a figure surrounded by two balls of light then leapt out of the portal, landing in front of its user. "I Xyz Summon Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut!" Sunset Shimmer said, finishing her summoning chant as her powerful monster folded its arms and glared at the opposing player (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: Rank 3 / ATK 2100 / DEF 1000 / OLU 2).

"I see... so you're an Xyz Monster user, are you?" asked Octavia.

The red and yellow teen smirked and told the sepia-skinned girl, "Now, if I remember correctly, I haven't yet Normal Summoned or Set a monster... So I'll summon Chronomaly Golden Jet in Attack Mode!"

Sunset's new monster was, as its name suggested, a golden jet plane that smashed its way through the roof (though not for real, of course) and stopped in front of its controller (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 / ATK 1300 / DEF 1400).

"Now, Crystal Chrononaut! Attack her Melodious Diva!" Sunset ordered. Her Xyz Monster sped forward and delivered a swift punch to the gut of Octavia's monster, destroying her and sending it to the sepia teen's Graveyard. Octavia simply huffed, seemingly not worried at all.

"Now Octavia's defenseless!" noted Applejack.

"That means that Sunset can now attack her directly...!" said Fluttershy.

"Yep." the orange girl replied. "Once a Duelist gets rid of all the monsters on their opponent's field, they can have their monsters attack the opponent instead, which'll do some serious damage to their Life Points!"

"And since Sunset has an additional monster on the field, she can do that right now!" Rarity added.

The red and yellow girl then shouted, "Alright! Go, Golden Jet! Attack her Life Points directly!" The bizarre jet plane then hovered into the air, charging up a pair of laser beams from the front of it.

But Octavia told her foe, "If you actually think that I'm going to allow you to strike me that easily, you had better think again!" Tapping her Duel Pad's touchscreen, she then declared, "I activate a Trap Card: Pinpoint Guard!!"

Sunset gasped as one of her opponent's facedown cards revealed itself. It then caused a large, stone fist to rise out of the ground in front of Octavia, blocking the laser beam shots from Golden Jet. (Darn... she blocked my attack!) the red and yellow girl thought.

"This card activates when a monster of yours declares an attack on me." Octavia explained. "It then allows me to revive one Level 4 or below monster from my Graveyard." Taking a card from out of her device's Graveyard slot, she then stated, "Of course, since Serenade the Melodious Diva is the only monster in my Graveyard, I shall Summon her back to the field." She then placed the card back onto her card tray, putting her in Defense Position.

"Crud... I should've known it wasn't gonna be that easy." Rainbow Dash commented, groaning a little.

"Some of the trickiest cards in the game to overcome are Trap Cards." Rarity explained. "Since they can be activated at any time after the turn they are set, they can take a Duelist completely by surprise. Sunset had better be careful, especially since Octavia still has one more facedown card on her field..."

Sunset grimaced a little. (Darn...) she thought. (Her monster's defense points are too high... And even if I could attack it, the other effect of her Trap Card will keep it from being destroyed in battle anyway...) Deciding not to attack with her other monster, the red and yellow girl took out two cards from her hand and said, "I'll place two cards facedown and end my turn."

"I thought as much." Octavia replied. "Now it's my turn... I draw!" Looking at the card she drew, which showed a picture of a cheerleader girl wearing a blue outfit, she thought, (This will be useful later...) The sepia-skinned girl then placed her drawn card into her hand before declaring, "I now release Serenade the Melodious Diva!" After making that announcment, a swirling cloud engulfed her only monster and caused it vanish.

"Wait, did she just get rid of her own monster?" asked Rainbow Dash. "What gives?"

"Octavia didn't just get rid of her monster, she released it." Applejack explained. "The only reason she did that was so that she could Summon a much stronger monster in its place."

"It's called a Tribute Summon." Rarity added. "Because the terms 'tributing' and 'releasing' mean the same thing."

"Oh yeah, that's right..." said Dash, remembering that rule. "I forgot that because I hardly ever do it when I play."

Continuing her explanantion, the young fashionista told them, "Anyway... depending on how many monsters a Duelist releases, they can Summon more powerful monsters. Since Octavia released one monster, she can Summon either a Level 5 or a Level 6 monster to replace it."

The sepia girl chuckled a bit and told the group, "Well, you're ALMOST right... However, there is one thing you should know: Serenade's special effect allows me to treat it as two monsters if it's released for the Tribute Summoning of a Fairy-Type monster."

"TWO monsters?" asked Sunset.

"Exactly, and I believe you know what that means, Ms. Shimmer..." Octavia said. "It means that I can now Summon a Level 7 or higher monster to the field. So please give a rousing applause for my Mozarta the Melodious Maestra in Attack Mode!!"

After playing her new monster, the creature then rose up from the giant digitalized copy of the card. The monster had ice-blue skin, light violet hair, and wore a large, red dress with pink frills. She had a pair of butterfly-like wings on her back and held a conductor's baton in her right hand (Mozarta the Melodious Maestra: Level 8 / ATK 2600 / DEF 2000).

"Alright, I'll admit... I sure as hay didn't see that one coming..." Sunset remarked.

"How's Sunset going to defeat a monster that strong...?" asked Fluttershy.

"Well... knowing how these usually go," began Pinkie, "Sunnie's probably already got the card that she needs to beat it. And then after that, we'll more than likely never see it again." The others just gave her a look in response.

Not paying attention to what the silly pink girl was saying, Octavia then shouted, "Go, Mozarta! Attack Chronomaly Golden Jet!!" Her target was that card because it had lower attack points, and thus, it would do more damage to Sunset.

"Heh heh... I knew you'd try that, Octy." the red and yellow girl told her opponent.

"What?" the sepia girl said with a gasp.

Sunset Shimmer tapped her touchscreen and said, "I activate a Trap Card! Shift!!"

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Shift
(Normal Trap Card)

When your opponent targets exactly 1 monster you control (and no other cards) for an attack, or with a Spell/Trap effect: Target another monster you control that would be an appropriate target; that attack/Spell/Trap now targets the new target.

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"I'll use my Trap Card to force your monster to attack a different monster on my field!" the red and yellow girl declared. "So I'll redirect your attack to Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut!"

"Urrrgh... Fine! Have it your way!" shouted Octavia. "Then I'll take him out of the fight instead!" And with that, the cello-player's elegant monster began singing a particularly loud song that was immediately directed towards Sunset's Xyz Monster.

"I'm afraid that's not gonna work, Octy." the red and yellow girl informed her. Taking out a card from underneath her Xyz Monster card on her Duel Pad, she declared, "I activate the effect of Crystal Chrononaut, which I'll trigger by removing one of its Overlay Units!" She then placed the card that she took off of her device into the Graveyard. On the field, her Xyz Monster drew in one of its swirling lights, absorbing it into the mirror on its chest (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: OLU 2 - 1 = 1).

"Alright! She's gonna use her Xyz Monster's effect!" cheered Pinkie. "When an Xyz Monster uses up one of its Overlay Units, that allows it to use its special power!"

"Special power...?" Octavia began to ask.

"That's right." stated Sunset. "Now thanks to its effect, Crystal Chrononaut can't be destroyed by battle or by card effects for the rest of this turn!"

"So that's why you used your Trap Card to make me attack it, am I right?" asked the sepia girl.

"That's not ALL that I did..." the black jacket-clad teen added. "It also makes it so that you take all the battle damage from this battle instead of me!"

"What?!?"

Everyone watched as Octavia's monster's attack struck Sunset's Xyz Monster. However, thanks to its special ability, Crystal Chrononaut blocked the attack and absorbed it into its mirror. Then, a second later, it fired a focused beam of light from its chest, which struck the sepia-skinned girl dead-on.

"AAAACK!!!" screeched Octavia upon taking the hit (Octavia Melody: LP 4,000 - 500 = 3,500).

"Yeah! Take that!!" said Rainbow Dash.

"Very nice move on Sunset's part, using that Trap Card in combination with her Xyz Monster's ability." Rarity complimented. "It's a good start, but this Duel is still a long ways away from being finished."

Octavia grumbled, annoyed that she had been tricked into damaging herself. "I... end my turn..." she said in a soft, but angry tone.

"Very well then." said Sunset. "My turn... I draw!" After taking her card from her Deck, she then immediately played it, announcing, "I activate the Spell Card, Chronomaly Technology! First, I take one Chronomaly monster from my Graveyard and banish it from the game completely. Then, I get to see the top two cards of my Deck. One will be placed in my hand, and the other goes to the Graveyard."

Sunset then took her Chronomaly Crystal Skull card out of her Graveyard and placed it back into her deck box (which was now mounted to a belt that she was wearing). After that, she then took two cards from the top of her deck and looked at them. She then made her choice, placing one of the cards into her hand and sending the other one, Chronomaly Tula Guardian, to her Graveyard.

"So what did you choose...?" asked Octavia.

"You're about to see it right now, Octy." the red and yellow girl answered. "I'll switch Golden Jet to Defense Mode and play the Continuous Spell Card, Chronomaly Pyramid Eye Tablet!" Once the card appeared on her side of the field, Sunset then added, "Thanks to the power of this card, all of my Chronomaly monsters get an extra 800 attack points!" (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: ATK 2100 + 800 = 2900) (Chronomaly Golden Jet: ATK 1300 + 800 = 2100)

"Cool! Now Sunset's crystal guy has the most attack points now!" Rainbow noted.

"And since that Spell Card that she played is a Continuous one," added Applejack, "that means its effect stays as long as it's on the field."

With the stage all set, Sunset did not hesitate to make her move. "Crystal Chrononaut! Attack Mozarta!" Now that the Spell Card was strengthening it, the armored creature was easily able to defeat Octavia's high-level monster, and even do a bit of damage in the process (Octavia Melody: LP 3,500 - 300 = 3,200). "And with that, I'll end my turn." the red and yellow girl finished.

Octavia was now getting frustrated by how easily Sunset was dueling circles around her. (This can't be... I cannot lose to someone like her!!) she thought to herself.

"Heh, what's wrong, Tavi?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Gettin' nervous? After all, Sunset's one of the best Duelists in the school! Did you really think you'd be able to surpass her that easily?"

The sepia girl grumbled... and then began holding her head and groaning in agony. "Urrrgghh... this pain again..." she said to herself. "Why is my head hurting so much...?"

"Do it..." said the sinister voice in her head. "Call forth the Number..."

"The... Number..." muttered Octavia. Looking back towards her opponent, she then said, "My turn... I draw..." After slowly taking her card, she then delcared, "I now Summon Aria the Melodious Diva in Attack Mode!" Her new monster was a pink-skinned girl with violet hair, wearing a skintight, burgandy bodysuit, an orange skirt, and boots similar in color to her aforementioned bodysuit (Aria the Melodious Diva: Level 4 / ATK 1600 / DEF 1200).

"And since I now control a Melodious monster," the classical music-loving teen continued, "I can also Special Summon Canon the Melodious Diva in Attack Mode to join it!" Her second monster had violet skin and blue hair that was shaped simlarly to a flame. She wore a dress that colored dark purple, dark blue, light pink, and black, and had on a pair of golden glasses (Canon the Melodious Diva: Level 4 / ATK 1400 / DEF 2000).

"But those monsters aren't strong enough to beat any of Sunset's cards..." Pinkie Pie observed. "What's she trying to do?"

"Wait... those monsters she Summoned... Don't they have the same Level...?" asked Fluttershy.

"You're right, darling!" exclaimed Rarity. "They're both Level 4!"

"So wait... Does that mean that Octavia's gonna Xyz Summon, too?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Ah think she is..." answered Applejack, getting a bit worried, as did Sunset.

Vinyl, who had stayed silent since the Duel began, said to herself, "I know Tavi's Deck just as well as she does... The only Xyz Monster she has in there is Fairy Cheer Girl, and she ain't strong enough to fight any of Sunset's monsters... What's she planning?" The girl then gulped a bit and asked, "And why do I have a bad feeling about what she might be planning...?"

Octavia chuckled evily and turned towards Sunset's friends with an nasty, crazed grin on her face, saying to one of them, "Ms. Dash... you said earlier that I had no hope of surpassing your friend's power... But that's ancient history... I now have a new power; one that is unsurmountable by anything!" Turning back towards Sunset Shimmer, she told her, "What I am about to bring out is a creature the likes of which you have never seen before!"

The red and yellow girl said nothing, bracing herself for anything that the sepia-skinned girl could have planned.

"I now overlay my Level 4 Aria and Canon!" Octavia announced as her two monsters transformed into a pair of yellow lights. After that, a summoning portal appeared in front of her. However, instead of it being a red portal like Sunset had used for her Xyz Monster, it had a galaxy-like appearence.

"That portal... That's not the usual kind of portal used for an Xyz Summon..." noted Sunset Shimmer.

"With these two monsters, I can build the Overlay Network!" Octavia declared. "Prepare to face a monster that you shall never defeat! I Xyz Summon... Number 80: Rhapsody in Beserk!!"

The portal then let out a huge explosion of light; when it faded, a large symbol appeared on the ground... a symbol that Sunset immediately recgonized. "That symbol...!" she said to herself. "It looks just like the mark that was on Octy's neck!"

From high above, a large object that had two small purple spheres circling it began descending to the floor below. It then began to unfold itself into a more humanoid form, taking on the appearence of a large, armored human with huge fists, a long, purple cape, and piercing red eyes. In addition, the 80 mark that had appeared on the ground earlier was now imprinted upon the neck area of the armored monster, signalling the completion of its Summoning.

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Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Fiend-Type/DARK/Rank 4/ATK 0/DEF 1200)

2 Level 4 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. You can target 1 face-up Xyz Monster you control; equip this monster you control to that target. It gains 1200 ATK, it cannot be destroyed by battle, except by a "Number" monster, also it is treated as a "Number" monster. You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 card in your opponent's Graveyard; banish that target. You can use this effect of "Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk" up to twice per turn.

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Sunset's jaw dropped when she saw the monster that Octavia had unleashed onto the field. "What is this thing...?" she asked herself, not exactly sure about what she had just witnessed.

"What on Earth is THAT monster...?" asked Applejack.

"I don't know..." said Pinkie Pie. "I'm not sure if it even CAME from Earth..."

Octavia smirked wickedly as the mark on her neck appeared again, this time, staying there for good. "This card's power shall present itself much later on..." she told Sunset. "For now, I will place Rhapsody in Defense Mode and end my turn..."

Sunset Shimmer was a bit confused. (What's her deal...?) she asked in her mind. (She claims that monster she Summoned couldn't be defeated, but it doesn't even have any attack points! And its defense points aren't all that high either... What in Equestria is she planning...?)

"It's my turn; I draw!" the red and yellow girl said, drawing her next card. Looking at it, she thought, (It might be a good idea to prepare a Plan B, just in case... And this card might be able to help me do that.) Placing the card into her Duel Pad's Spell & Trap slot, she announced, "I'll set one card facedown, and switch Chronomaly Golden Jet to Attack Mode!" Pointing straight at Octavia's Xyz Monster, she shouted, "Golden Jet! Attack Rhapsody in Beserk!!" And with that order, the jet plane monster fired a pair of laser beams at the creepy creature, causing a large explosion.

"Bullseye!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "So much for that ugly thing!"

But Octavia smirked once more. "I wouldn't be celebrating if I were you..." she told them. "Just look!"

The others gasped when they saw that the sepia-skinned girl's Xyz Monster was still on field, despite it being weaker than Sunset's Golden Jet. "I-i-it's... still there?!" asked Rarity, shocked.

"Okay... I don't play the game very often," stated Rainbow, "but even I know that ain't right!"

"She must be cheatin'!" protested Applejack. "That monster's defense points were a whole lot lower than Golden Jet's attack points! So why wasn't it destroyed?!"

Octavia chuckled as the mark on her neck began glowing brighter. "I told you my new monster couldn't be defeated..." she said to them all. "Rhapsody in Beserk is a special type of monster known as a 'Number' monster."

"A Number...?" asked Sunset. She then thought, (Why does that sound familiar...?)

"Exactly, Ms. Shimmer." the cello player replied. "And I'm sorry to tell you... but a Number can only be defeated by ANOTHER Number."

"WHAT?!" asked the rest of the people in shock.

"That's not fair!!" yelled Rainbow Dash. "What gives you the right to use some super-card that can't be beaten by anything else?!"

"Sorry, Ms. Dash, but the Complaint Department is closed for the day." Octavia responded with a chuckle. "Thanks to this new card of mine, not even Sunset will be able to defeat me!"

(That's... nuts!) thought a surprised Sunset Shimmer. (So in order to beat that Number card, I have to use ANOTHER one?! How am I gonna do that??) The red and yellow girl sighed and said, "I'll end my turn."

"Of course you are." Octavia responded, drawing a new card. She then declared, "I now activate the effect of Rhapsody in Beserk! By removing one of his Overlay Units, I can banish one card from your Graveyard! And I choose to banish Chronomaly Tula Guardian, the only monster in your Graveyard at the moment!"

Octavia's monster then absorbed one of its floating spheres and opened up a dark purple portal in front of Sunset Shimmer (Number 80: Rhapsody in Beserk: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). It then reached into the portal, pulled out a blue stone statue that was human-like in its shape, and used its power to turn it into a black vapor. The red and yellow girl just stood there, unable to respond.

"Now I summon another Aria the Melodious Diva to the field!" Octavia then told her adversary, bringing out another pink girl in a burgandy bodysuit. "And then I'll activate my facedown card: Call of the Haunted! This card revives any monster from my Graveyard and puts it back onto the field!"

"Are you gonna use it to bring back that Melodious Maestra card, then?" Sunset assumed.

"Actually, I am not." the sepia-skinned teen answered. "I have a much better idea..." She then announced, "I revive Serenade the Melodious Diva from my Graveyard, then I overlay her and Aria to create an Overlay Network!!"

The group gasped as Octavia opened another summoning portal and used it to draw in her two new monsters. Unlike the last one that she had opened, this portal was the normal red color as opposed to the galaxy-like one she had used to summon her other Xyz Monster.

"I now Xyz Summon... Fairy Cheer Girl!" Octavia shouted as a young girl with blue fairy wings and a green dress came out of the portal with a pair of yellow lights swirling around her. She had short blue hair and carried a pair of yellow pom-poms in her hands. She gave out a slight giggle after floating back down to the ground (Fairy Cheer Girl: Rank 4 / ATK 1900 / DEF 1500 / OLU 2).

"Awwwwww! What a cute little fairy!" said Pinkie Pie, eyes sparkling.

"Pinkie! That's the enemy!" Rainbow Dash reminded her.

"Oh, right!" the pink girl replied. She then cleared her throat and instead said, "Awwwwww! What a cute little enemy!" This elicted a groan out of the rest of the spectators.

Sunset thought to herself, (She just Xyz Summoned another monster... At least this one isn't one of those Number things...)

"Next, I will use Fairy Cheer Girl's ability:" stated the cello player. "Once per turn, I can remove one of her Overlay Units in order to draw another card!" Octavia's new monster then drew in one of her lights and absorbed into one of her pom-poms (Fairy Cheer Girl: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). She then shook her pom-poms excitedly, releasing a power that flew into Octavia's Deck, prompting her to draw another card. After doing so, she then told Sunset, "Now, I activate the other ability of Rhapsody in Beserk!"

"It has ANOTHER effect?!" asked the red and yellow girl.

"Indeed it does..." answered Octavia. "It allows me to target any other Xyz Monster I control and lets me equip said target with it! Just watch!!"

The group looked on as the sepia-skinned girl's Number monster stood up and glared at Fairy Cheer Girl. The cutesy cheerleader looked over at the scary creature, shivering. Just then, the Number turned into a thick, black cloud and phased right into Fairy Cheer Girl's body, causing the monster to scream in pain and terror. "AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

Vinyl, watching this all go on, thought to herself, (Tavi... she's... she's hurting her... Can't she see that...?) She seemed a bit sad as she continued her personal thoughts. (I gave her that fairy card a long time ago as a friendly gesture, and this is how she's gonna treat it...? What's happened to her...?)

In time, the dark cloud that was Octavia's Number monster had fully phased into Fairy Cheer Girl's body. The little fairy put on a smile, but it wasn't a pleasent-looking one. She now had a very wicked-looking expression on her face, and she also had the 80 mark on her neck like Octavia did.

Horrified, Sunset asked her opponent in a slightly disappointed tone, "Octavia... what did you do to her??"

"It's quite simple, actually..." the sepia girl replied. "Rhapsody has the power to possess any Xyz Monster I choose. When it does, it increases that monster's attack power by 1,200 points (Fairy Cheer Girl: ATK 1900 + 1200 = 3100). And in addition, Fairy Cheer Girl is now treated as a Number monster; which means now she can't defeated by anything but another Number!"

"That's not good..." noted Applejack, getting worried. "Now that Fairy Cheer Girl has higher attack power than either of Sunset's monsters."

"And worst of all," Pinkie Pie added, "she got a LOT less cute." She then looked over at the evily grinning fairy and shuddered a little.

"I'm not done just yet, though..." Octavia stated. "Just in case you were planning to counterattack somehow, I'll make sure that there's no chance of that happening. So I'll play the Spell Card, Mystical Space Typhoon!"

"No!" shouted Sunset. "That card can destroy any Spell or Trap Card on the field!"

"That is correct." said the cello player. "And I'm pretty sure you know which of your cards I plan to eliminate... But for those who don't know, I'll tell you: I choose to destroy Chronomaly Pyramid Eye Tablet!" And with that, she played her card and whipped up a quick, but fierce storm that shattered Sunset's Spell Card. "And now that it's out of the way," the sepia-skinned girl continued, "your monsters no longer get an increase to their attack points, making them quite vulnerable!" (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: ATK 2900 - 800 = 2100) (Chronomaly Golden Jet: ATK 2100 - 800 = 1300)

"Uh oh... this isn't gonna be pretty..." noted the red and yellow girl, knowing that she was in trouble now.

"Now! Fairy Cheer Girl! Attack Chronomaly Golden Jet!!" shouted Octavia. The possessed cheerleader monster then smiled wickedly and delivered a powerful kick to Sunset's lower-attack monster and dealing a massive blow to the otherworldy girl's Life Points (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000 - 1,800 = 2,200). The force of the blow caused her to step back a bit to try and recover. "Had enough, Ms. Shimmer?" asked the sepia teen. "Would you prefer to surrender to me now and spare yourself of any further pain?"

"Urrrgh, don't bet on it, Octy..." she told her opponent as she tapped her Duel Pad's touchscreen. "I activate the Trap Card Stonehenge Methods!" After revealing her facedown card, she then explained, "After one of my Chronomaly monsters is destroyed, this card lets me Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Chronomaly monster from my Deck in Defense Mode! So I'll play Chronomaly Aztec Mask Golem!" After that, a red human-shaped statue then appeared out of the ground in front of Sunset Shimmer and took a defensive pose (Chronomaly Aztec Mask Golem: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 1000).

"Hmph... irritating little gnat..." snarled Octavia. "Have it your way, then... I end my turn!"

"My turn, I draw!" Sunset drew her next card, but wasn't too pleased at what she got. "This won't help me right now... But I might as well play it anyway." Placing the card into the Spell & Trap slot, she told her opponent, "I activate Temple of the Sun!"

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

Temple of the Sun:
(Continuous Spell Card)

Face-up monsters you control that were Special Summoned from the Graveyard gain 300 ATK.

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

Octavia huffed. "That was pointless... Do you plan on wasting my time and yours playing cards that won't aid you in any way?" she asked. "You're not going to win anyway, so why continue embarrasing yourself?"

"Just make your move!" Sunset grumbled, not really keen on being insulted by her.

"It would be my pleasure... I draw!" Octavia then placed the card into her hand and said, "I activate the effect of Fairy Cheer Girl once more and draw another card from my Deck!" After disposing of her Xyz Monster's remaining Overlay Unit (Fairy Cheer Girl: OLU 1 - 1 = 0), the cello player drew another card from her Deck. She then glanced at Sunset's Xyz Monster and noted, "You've left your Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut in Attack Mode, because its effect would protect it from being destroyed if I were to attack it..." Octavia then smirked and added, "But that requires you to remove its other Overlay Unit."

"Where are you going with this...?" asked the red and yellow girl, not really keen on hearing the answer.

"I'll show you." replied Octavia. "I play Space Cyclone from my hand! This allows me to forcibly remove an Overlay Unit from any Xyz Monster on the field. And I choose yours!"

Sunset gasped when Octavia's Spell Card extinguished her Xyz Monster's last Overlay Unit, sucking up the circling sphere into a minature black hole (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: OLU 1 - 1 = 0). Now she couldn't use its ability to protect it anymore, making it a sitting duck.

"And next, I'll Summon Freya, Spirit of Victory in Attack Mode!" the cello player shouted, summoning a young girl with ice-blue hair in a blue outfit, holding two red pom-poms (Freya, Spirit of Victory: Level 1 / ATK 100 / DEF 100). "Because of her effect," Octavia added, "All of my Fairy-Type monsters gain an additional 400 attack and defense points! Now my monsters are more powerful than ever (Freya, Spirit of Victory: ATK 100 + 400 = 500) (Fairy Cheer Girl: ATK 3100 + 400 = 3500)!! Also, as long as I have another Fairy on my field, you can't attack her with any monster, so don't even try!"

"Just great..." said Sunset, grimacing.

"Aw, c'mon!! Like that prissy cheerleader needs any MORE attack points?!" complained Rainbow Dash.

"Oh dear... this is looking worse and worse by the second..." Rarity noted with despair in her voice.

Octavia then pointed ahead and shouted, "Go! Fairy Cheer Girl!! Attack Crystal Chrononaut!!" The fairy cheerleader cackled a little as she performed another powerful jump kick, this time, to Sunset's Xyz Monster, shattering it and sending it to the Graveyard.

"Ack!!" grunted the red and yellow girl as she took another blow to her Life Points (Sunset Shimmer: LP 2,200 - 1,400 = 800). She fell onto her back from the impact, groaning.

"You may as well stay down, Ms. Shimmer... In but a few turns, this Duel will end with my victory." stated Octavia, "Perhaps now you'll learn to keep your nose out of other people's business!"

"C'mon, Sunnie!" shouted Pinkie Pie. "Get up! You can still win! I don't know how you can, but you can still win!"

Sunset got back up onto her feet; she didn't want to give up, but she didn't know what to do. (How am I gonna beat Octavia now...? None of my monsters are as strong as her Fairy Cheer Girl. Even then, she can only be destroyed by a Number monster, and I don't have any!)

Just then, the red and yellow girl let out a gasp; a sudden realization came to her. (Hold on... that's not true! I almost forgot...! I DO have one of those cards! It was that one I found last night!) She then took the card out of her deck box and looked at it just to make sure. Sunset read everything on the card: The name, the effects, its attack and defense; everything.

(This is it... this card could win the whole Duel for me...) Sunset thought. However, she had some second thoughts about it as she glanced back over to the now-crazed Octavia Melody, and her glowing neck mark. (But...) she thought again, (I'm not sure I want to use it... I'm pretty sure that Number monster that Octavia used is what caused her to act the way she's acting, based on what I've seen so far... And I sure as hay didn't need a cursed trading card to become a cruel person...)

"What's with Sunset?" asked Applejack. "It seems like she's havin' a hard time making some kinda decision..."

"Well, she's not exactly in the best of situations, after all..." Rarity reminded her friend. "She's in a tight spot, and she knows that if she loses, Vinyl, and perhaps all of us, will be at Octavia's mercy..."

"She won't lose!" Fluttershy shouted quietly. "Sunset can get out of this! She would never let anyone hurt anybody, no matter what!"

"Fluttershy's right, Sunset!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "There's no way you can lose this!!"

"You can do it, Sunnie!!" added Pinkie Pie. "You'll win for sure!! After all, you've got your lucky key necklace, the one that you said would remind you stay a nice person instead of a big, mean, turn-into-a-demon-lady-that-destroys-the-school person!!"

"Way to be subtle, Pinkie." Applejack said with some slight sarcasm.

When she heard Pinkie's words, Sunset then realized something. (Hold on... Even though I have a Number card in my hand, I don't feel any different... I don't feel like I want to go and hurt someone for no reason, unlike Octavia...) she thought. (Could it be that I'm somehow immune to whatever they do to people...?) She then remembered that, last night, she had been afflicted by a strange headache, which Octavia seemed to suffer from ever now and then, and that she heard strange voices that seemed to want to take over her mind.

(That's right...) Sunset pondered, (now I remember... I felt as if something was trying to get in my head, but for some reason, I guess it didn't succeed. Whatever that Number card was trying to do to me didn't work, and I'm still my usual self.) The red and yellow girl was now pretty sure that she would be able to safely play her Number card; either way, she didn't have any other options. (Alright, for Octavia's sake, I'll do it! I just hope my friends won't be too freaked out when I play this card...)

The red and yellow girl then gave a fierce, determined look to Octavia, telling her that giving up wasn't even a consideration. "So you're still going to fight on, are you?" asked the sepia girl.

"Of course I am!" Sunset answered. "I'll do whatever it takes to protect a friend!" Tapping her touchscreen, she then shouted, "I activate the Trap Card Miracle's Wake!! This card allows me to bring back one monster from my Graveyard that was destroyed in battle this turn! So Crystal Chrononaut, return to the field in Attack Mode!" After her Xyz Monster reappeared from out of a dark purple portal on the ground, she then added, "And since he was Special Summoned from the Graveyard, Temple of the Sun gives him 300 more attack points!" (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: ATK 2100 + 300 = 2400)

"So what?" asked Octavia. "It's still weaker than my Fairy Cheer Girl by a large amount, so once I destroy it again, you'll lose the Duel!"

"Don't count me out just yet..." Sunset informed her opponent. "This Duel's still on, and it's my turn! I draw!!" She then pulled the top card of her Deck, hoping that it would be something that would help her win the Duel. Once she got a look at it, she sighed out of relief and said, "Octavia... Don't you worry; I'm gonna save you from yourself."

The sepia girl chuckled and asked, "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"It means that I know that you're not willingly saying or doing anything that's happened here so far." the black jacket-wearing teen answered. "But I know who's REALLY pulling the strings here, and I promise that I'll destroy it!"

"What's Sunset talking about?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Not sure..." pondered Rarity, "but from what I can gather, Sunset believes that Octavia's words and actions so far are not truely her own."

"You mean like mind control?" asked Applejack. "It seems a bit farfetched t' me..." Thinking about it a little more, she then said, "Then again, it could explain why Octy's actin' the way she is... She's not normally a violent person, so it does seem kinda suspicious that she'd go an' attack somebody for no reason..."

After hearing the farm girl say that, Vinyl began to suspect that as well, (She's right...) she thought. (I've known Tavi since Kindergarten, and she's never been mean t' anyone... Sure, she can be a stuffed shirt sometimes, but she'd never attack someone... So that can't possibly be the same Tavi I know that's fighting Sunset right now!)

Back at the Duel, Sunset then began her next move; her biggest move yet (or at least she believed it would be). "I release Chronomaly Aztec Mask Golem in order to Tribute Summon Chronomaly Moai Carrier!" she declared. The monster that Sunset played from her hand was a pair of large, blue stone objects that seemed to resemble the clawed end of a crane; in addition, it appeared to be carrying a head-shaped statue (Chronomaly Moai Carrier: Level 5 / ATK 900 / DEF 1800).

"Hmph... that doesn't scare me in the slightest." Octavia commented.

"Then how about this?" asked Sunset. "Since I currently control a Chronomaly monster, I can Special Summon Chronomaly Moai from my hand in Defense Mode!" She then took out another card in her hand, the one she had just drawn from her Deck during her Draw Phase and placed in on her Duel Pad's card tray. The monster that emerged was a giant, stone head that perfectly resembled the head statues of Easter Island (Chronomaly Moai: Level 5 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1600).

Suddenly, Octavia noticed something about the monsters Sunset played. (Hold on... Both of her monsters are Level 5...) she noted to herself. (Is she... is she planning another Xyz Summoning?)

Her friends thought the same thing, but something was amiss. "Wait, hold up..." began Applejack. "Ah've seen Sunset duelin' fer quite a while, but I don't remember her ever havin' any Rank 5 Xyz Monsters in her Deck..."

"Perhaps she managed to acquire one recently?" Rarity hypothesized.

"Maybe... but she usually tells us about any new cards she's gotten." Rainbow Dash reminded them all.

Sunset sighed a bit and thought, (Well... here we go; I'm gonna do it... But first...) She then turned to her friends, specifically Applejack, and said, "Before I make my next move... there's something I need to tell you, AJ."

"Huh?" asked the country teen.

"...Last night," the red and yellow girl began, "when you thought you heard me screaming and came to check up on me, I told you that I had a bad dream... But there's more to the story than that... I was too afraid to tell you, because I thought you'd freak out if I did."

"What do y'all mean...?" asked Applejack.

"Something else happened that night; something that I'm not sure I can easily explain..." Sunset continued. "I didn't want to upset you or any of the others... especially after what happened to Octavia just now." She then sighed a sad sigh and added, "I've been hiding something from all of you the entire day, and for that, I'm really sorry... I'm sure that when I make my next move, you'll understand why I was so concerned about it."

The others didn't know what Sunset Shimmer was talking about, but figured that she felt uneasy about something. What it was, they couldn't harbor a guess, but they also figured that they wouldn't be in the dark about it for much longer.

Sunset then faced her opponent and told her, "Alright Octavia... get ready, because I'm not giving up without a fight!" She then raised her right hand into the air and shouted, "I overlay my Level 5 Moai and Moai Carrier to create an Overlay Network!!"

The others watched as both of Sunset Shimmer's newly-summoned monsters turned into a pair of orange lights that got sucked up into a summoning portal. However, the portal had a galaxy-like appearence, just like the one Octavia used to summon her Number card. "Wh-what's going on??" asked the cello-playing teenager. "Is this some sort of a trick?!"

"No, it's not." answered the red and yellow girl. "It's the monster that's gonna free you from whatever evil power is controlling your body!" She then shouted, "Now, meet my new Xyz Monster!!" Taking the bizarre card from out of her deck box, she placed it onto the tray and said, "Come forth!! Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech!!"

The portal then gave off a powerful explosion of light, leaving behind a violet marking that slightly resembled the number 33. Then, smashing through the digital roof above them all, came a gigantic, floating fortress that easily dwarfed everyone in the room. Atop the fortress was a large, cicular platform, on top which was what appeared to be a minature continent. A glowing, blue sphere could be seen inside, and the same marking that was on the ground was also imprinted upon the front of the structure. In addition, a pair of floating yellow spheres circled the behemoth repeatedly.

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

Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Machine-Type/LIGHT/Rank 5/ATK 2400/DEF 1500)

2 Level 5 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; inflict damage to your opponent equal to the difference between its original ATK and current ATK, and if you do, this card gains ATK equal to the damage inflicted.

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

Needless to say, everyone was shocked when they saw the giant fortress, as well as hear what its name was. "Did... Sunset say... Number??" asked Rarity, jaw dropped and pupils dialated.

"She did... She has a Number card too!" Rainbow Dash replied.

"But... why was she so concerned about it?" asked Fluttershy.

Applejack, pondering a bit and thinking about everything that happened so far, came to a conclusion. "Wait... Ah think Ah might know..." she said. Everyone else turned to face her in order to hear what the farm girl had to say. "Did y'all notice that when Octy played her Number card, she started actin' even creepier than when this all started?"

Everyone nodded yes to say that they did notice that.

"Ah'm willin' t' bet that's the reason she's actin' this way." the country teen continued. "Somehow, that Number card is causin' her to go berserk!"

"You can't be serious, AJ..." said Rainbow Dash, not conivinced. "How does a trading card cause somebody to randomly attack people?"

"Ah know it seems weird, but think about it: Have any of you ever heard about a card like Octy's before?" asked Applejack.

"Well... now that you mention it..." began Fluttershy, "it does seem strange that we've never heard of it..."

"Indeed..." Rarity chimed in. "You would think that we would have seen such a powerful card in the past, or read about it on the Internet... And it couldn't have come from a new set, because there haven't been any new releases lately."

Still not believing it much, the cyan-skinned teen then inquired, "Okay, let's say that all of that's true: If so, then how come Sunset's not acting all crazy or whatever?"

"That Ah'm not sure of... not that Ah'm complainin' or anythin'." Applejack replied. "But back to t' the main subject, Ah believe Sunset was concerned that we'd think she'd end up acting the same way as Octy because she also has one'a those Number cards."

"I suppose that could make sense." Rarity said, nodding in agreement. "But she should know that she had nothing to be concerned about..."

Everyone was certainly surprised when Sunset Shimmer played her Number card, but no one was more shocked than Octavia, who did not expect it at all. (That... that's impossible!!) she thought, sweating. (How did that upstart get a Number card as well?! I thought for sure that she didn't have any!!)

"You don't look so calm right now, Octy..." Sunset told her. "Did my move shock you that much?"

The cello player growled and told her, "Perhaps a little... but it matters not: You may have a Number card on the field, but its attack power is only 2,400, which is 1,100 less than my Fairy Cheer Girl! She'll reduce your fortress to rubble next turn!"

"Sorry, Octy. You're not gonna GET a next turn!" the red and yellow girl informed her. "This Duel is ending right now!" She then took a card from underneath her Xyz Monster card and shouted, "I activate Machu Mech's effect! First, I remove one of its Overlay Units!" The giant fort then brought out mutliple cannons out from inside of itself, and one of its swirling lights flew into its uppermost pillar (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: OLU 2 - 1 =1).

"Next," Sunset continued, "I target one monster on your side of the field, and then the difference between its original attack power and its current attack power gets sent to you as damage!"

"What?!? Oh no!!" shouted Octavia in despair. "But I... I increased Fairy Cheer Girl's attack power by a total of 1,600 points!! And now I'm going to take that as damage to my Life Points?!"

"Exactly!" confirmed the otherworldy girl. "Thanks to this one card, I'm turning your own strategy against you!" Pointing straight towards Octavia's Xyz Monster, she then ordered, "Machu Mech, target Fairy Cheer Girl and absorb her power!"

Sunset's Number card then began radiating a yellow light, which also surrounded Fairy Cheer Girl. Octavia watched as her monster struggled, but was unable to escape Machu Mech's effect on her. Just then, the dark cloud that had possessed the cheeleading fairy earlier was sucked out and drawn into one of the large cannons. Afterwards, the 80 mark on Fairy Cheer Girl dissolved away, and her nasty, evil look also vanished. She looked around, seemingly unaware of what was going on.

"No... no this can't be...!" Octavia protested.

"Now, Chronomaly Machu Mech!" Sunset then announced. "Fire your cannons and blast away her Life Points!"

The sepia girl shook as all of fortress's cannons aimed straight towards her and began charging up. Then, once it was ready, Sunset's monster fired mutliple shots straight at Octavia, sending her flying a short distance and landing on her rear (Octavia Melody: LP 3,200 - 1,600 = 1,600).

"Wowee, did you girls see that?!" asked Pinkie. "Sunset just blasted half of Octy's Life Points in one shot!"

Rainbow Dash had to admit: That was pretty impressive. "So... awesome..." she muttered.

Octavia, getting up and grumbling under her breath, said to her foe, "I'm still here, Ms. Shimmer... You haven't won this yet!"

"No, but I will in a few seconds." stated the red and yellow girl. "I now activate the other effect of Chronomaly Machu Mech! After it damages you with its first effect, it can then absorb the Life Points you just lost and turn them into attack points for itself!"

"It does WHAT?!?!" exclaimed Octavia in shock.

Machu Mech then began glowing again, drawing in large amounts of energy towards itself and making itself even stronger than before (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: ATK 2,400 + 1,600 = 4,000). "Now my Number card's attack points are higher than your Fairy Cheer Girl's!" Sunset Shimmer informed her opponent.

"This... can't be..." the sepia-skinned girl muttered in disbelief. "I was close... so close... I had this won!"

"Not anymore, Octavia!" said the red and yellow teen. "Go, Chronomaly Machu Mech! Attack Fairy Cheer Girl! Meteor Meltdown!!" Octavia could only watch as Sunset's Number card took aim and fired its shots towards her Xyz Monster. The cheerleader dropped her pom-poms and stretched her arms out wide, using herself as a human shield to block the powerful shot from Octavia. The monster then gave a look back towards the sepia girl and gave off a pleasent smile before being blasted to oblivion.

Octavia just stood there, not believing what had just happened (Octavia Melody: LP 1,600 - 500 = 1,100). "My... my Fairy Cheer Girl..." she muttered, mouth agape. In her mind, she recalled the smile her monster gave earlier: Somehow, it reminded her of her friend Vinyl.

Sunset Shimmer felt a bit sorry for Octavia, knowing that none of what had happened so far was her fault. Still, Sunset had a job to do, and defeating the cello player was the only way to complete that job. "It's still my turn, Octavia." she told her opponent. "And I still have one monster left to attack with... And since you no longer have another Fairy-Type monster on your side of the field, your Freya, Spirit of Victory is now vulnerable to attack!" The red and yellow girl then shouted, "Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut! Attack Freya and end this Duel!"

Sunset's remaining Xyz Monster clenched its fists and leapt forward, arms straight out in front of it. Octavia's reamining monster shrieked and tried to avoid the attack, but she wasn't fast enough to get away from Crystal Chrononaut's mighty punch. She got hit and was sent flying right towards her controller, colliding with her and causing them both to fall to the ground.

"AAAAACK!!!" grunted Octavia as she was thrown down to the floor hard from the impact of both the attack and her own monster. Once both of them hit the floor, Freya self-destructed, turning into millions of small, yellow lights. And with that, the Duel was over (Octavia Melody: LP 1,100 - 1,900 = 0) (WINNER: Sunset Shimmer).

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

"Amazing!" cheered Rarity. "Sunset won the Duel!"

"She did it!! I KNEW she'd do it!!!" Pinkie screamed ecstatically. "I don't know how she did it, but she did it!!! ...Did she?"

"Heh, that's our Sunset for ya..." said Applejack. "She's at her best when she fightin' for somebody else."

The red and yellow girl heard what her friends were saying, happy to know that they didn't seem to be thinking differently about her because she had a Number card. She took a deep sigh of relief and said, "Glad that's all over..."

Just then, the key around Sunset's neck began to glow brightly, which immediately got her attention. "Huh?" As she looked at the key, she then saw something else that seemed strange: A small ball of light phased out from Octavia's chest area and floated in mid-air. "What in Equestria is that...?" she asked.

"What's that ball of light?" asked Rainbow Dash, not sure what was happening right now.

Sunset continued to stare at the light and began reaching her hand out towards it. Just then, the light flew straight towards her. Instinctively, Sunset put her outstretched hand in front of her face, catching the light with it. She then noticed that the light felt solid. When she went to look at it, she saw that she was now holding a Duel Monsters card. But it wasn't just any card: It was Octavia's Number card, Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk.

Sunset Shimmer wasn't sure what was going on, but before she could think about it anymore, she heard Vinyl shouting, "Tavi! Tavi!! Get up!! Speak to me!!"

The red and yellow girl ran over towards Octavia, who was still lying down on the floor, completely motionless. Sunset checked up on her, hoping that she would be alright. As she glanced all over the sepia-skinned girl's body, Sunset then noticed the 80 mark on her neck... moments before its glowing dulled and it vanished completely. "That mark's gone..." she said to herself. "Is it because I defeated her...?" Sunset then kneeled down next to Octavia and asked her, "Octavia! Are you alright?? Please, say something!"

At first, the young girl said nothing, but then, Octavia began to groan as her eyes slowly opened. Sunset and Vinyl then noticed that her eyes were now back to their normal violet color. With a tired tone of voice, the cello player said to Sunset Shimmer, "...Thank you... Thank you so much... for getting that... thing... out of me..." After that, she moaned one last time and fainted.

"Tavi!!!" shouted Vinyl, hoping with all her heart that her friend hadn't gone to that symphony orchestra in the sky.

Sunset checked Octavia's pulse and breathed a sigh of relief. "She's okay..." she told Vinyl. "She just passed out... I don't blame her, though, with everything's that she's been through." Sunset then glanced over towards her friends and said, "Dash... AJ... Can you get Octavia over to Nurse Redheart?"

"Uh, sure! Of course!" said Rainbow. She and Applejack ran over to where Octavia was, picking her up. She was hoisted onto Applejack's back with Rainbow Dash's help, and the three of them quickly left the Music Room, heading straight for the Nurse's Office.

Vinyl watched as the two of them left the room with her friend. "You should go with them, Vinyl." Sunset told her. "I think Octy could really use her friend right now..."

"Uh, yeah... sure." said the electric blue-haired girl. As she headed towards the Music Room exit, she stopped and turned to Sunset Shimmer, saying to her, "Hey... thanks, Sunset. For savin' Tavi... When she spoke last, I could tell she was back to her old self again... So, again... thanks."

"You're welcome, Vinyl." the red and yellow girl responded. "Think of it as a 'thank you' for helping me and my friends out against the Dazzlings." The up-and-coming DJ nodded and smiled before leaving the room to go see her friend. After she left, Sunset then looked at the Number card she had gotten; the one that she suspected had something to do with Octavia's sudden violent acts. She could just feel that there was an enormous amount of power inside of it.

Rarity walked up to the otherworldy girl just as she put the card away in her deck box. "Great job, Sunset." she told her. "That was an impressive comeback!"

"Yeah, and you came from behind to win, too!" added Pinkie.

Fluttershy blushed a little as she meekly said, "Way to go..."

Sunset appreciated their comments, but still felt bad about what she had done... or rather, what she HADN'T done. "You... you guys..." she began. She then bowed her head forward and told them, "I-I'm sorry... I'm sorry for not telling you about the Number card earlier! It's just that... well, it's just that I-"

"It's alright, Sunset." Rarity said to her friend, putting a hand on her shoulder. "We understand. But you should have known that we would never think differently of you over something like that."

"Really?" asked the red and yellow girl. "So... can you forgive me for being so secretive about it?"

The violet-haired teen nodded yes and added, "Of course we can, darling. Believe me, compared to what we've forgiven you for in the past, this is, as Applejack would put it, 'small potatoes'."

"Besides," Pinkie chimed in, nudging beside Rarity, "You played such an awesome Duel, we could NEVER stay mad at you, even if we tried!" Fluttershy nodded to say that she agreed them both.

Sunset wiped a small tear from her eye, happy to hear all of that. "Thanks, guys..." she told them. "That really means a lot to me... Now I'm even gladder that I got to know you all."

"You're very welcome, Sunset." said the yellow and pink girl in her usual soft tone. "But next time, please tell us if something's troubling you... If that's okay with you."

"We know your intentions were good when you chose not to tell us about your Number card," Rarity added, "but we're your friends, Sunset; you know you can always tell us about anything that you're concerned with. And you should know that we'll always be there to help you."

"You're right..." the red and yellow girl said with a sigh. "I should have known you'd all understand... But I was just too scared to say anything." She then put on a pleasent smile and told them, "But not anymore: From now on, I'll be a lot more open about these kinds of things." After she said that, she found herself in the middle of a warm group hug, courtesy of Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie.

After they broke off the group hug, Pinkie Pie asked, "Well, all this excitement has gotten me all hung-thirst!"

"What?" asked Rarity, confused by the bizzare word that her silly friend friend had said.

"Hung-thirst!" Pinkie repeated. "It's a word I made up that means that I'm both hungry AND thirsty at the same time! Let's go to Sugarcube Corner and get some ice cream and milkshakes!"

"Sounds like a good plan to me." Sunset replied.

"We should probably go and check up on Ms. Octavia first." Rarity commented. "The poor girl's been through a lot, and frankly, I won't feel any better unless I know that she's alright."

"Good idea..." said Fluttershy. All of them left the room, except for Sunset Shimmer. Turning back towards the red and yellow girl, Fluttershy asked her, "Are you coming with us, Sunset...? I mean, if you want to..."

"Yeah, just go on ahead... I'll catch up later." the red and yellow girl answered. "I just have some thinking to do..." The shy girl nodded and left to catch up with her friends.

Once she was alone, Sunset Shimmer began thinking about everything that had happened since last night. (What's going on here...?) she pondered. (First, I have this bizarre dream... Then these "Number" cards show up... Then Octavia goes crazy. I know that there's a connection to all of this somehow... I just hope I can figure it all out before things REALLY get out of hoof...) Sunset then grumbled and added, (No, I meant, "hand"! Not "hoof"! How come I'm still not used to this world's vocabulary? I've been here for years now...!) The red and yellow girl sighed and left the room, heading to the Nurse's Office to see her friends and check on Octavia. But she knew, deep down, that what she experienced today... was only the beginning.

-- To Be Continued...

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NUMBERS OBTAINED:

Sunset Shimmer (2 Numbers total):

- Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech
- Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk

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