• 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 19: My Roommate Uses Vampires:

Author's Note:

And here's the Halloween-themed episode (or Nightmare Night-themed, if you prefer). I planned on having this episode fall on October, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. So anyway, enjoy the episode, and let me know what you thought of it!

Also, I'm fairly certain that none of you probably expected Vinyl's Deck to be what I chose for her. :raritywink:

RANK 19: My Roommate Uses Vampires:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------
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...

Some time ago, Babs Seed, cousin to both Applejack and Apple Bloom, had recently moved to Canterlot City from Manehatten. Little did they all know that trouble would follow her: Two troublemakers suddenly appeared to try and steal Babs' Deck from her. One was Ms. Skyeblaze, a former teacher at CHS that was fired after she had stolen money from the school. The other was a delinquent named Lucky, but other than the fact that he was also after the Deck, not much was known about him.

Despite the pair's best efforts, Babs Seed easily defeated them with her Predaplant Deck, which included the rare and valuable Starving Venom Fusion Dragon. They made a run for it, but not simply because they faced impossible odds against Babs' friends, but because Lucky had found out Sunset Shimmer's whereabouts. In any case, they two were defeated, and Babs was now safe from them.

After learning about the troublesome duo, Sunset and Twilight are now trying to dig up more information regarding their connections to a school known as, "Skyes Academy". But right now, they have joined their friends for their monthly movie night going on right now...

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

It was late Thursday night at the apartment building that Sunset currently lived in. But it wasn't any ordinary night: Tonight was Movie Night for her and her friends. Sunset and the others gathered together at her apartment to spend some time with each other, watching the movie, having some snacks, and just simply chatting with one another. Tonight, they were also joined by Flash Sentry, Octavia Melody, and Vinyl Scratch. In fact, it was Vinyl who provided the movie that they would soon be watching.

Everyone had gathered together on the couch, the lights all turned off, with only the glow of the television screen keeping the room from becoming pitch-black. It helped to set the mood, as Vinyl had chosen a horror movie from her personal collection as tonight's main event. Sunset and Twilight sat there with their eyes wide, unable to turn away from the screen as the events of the movie unfolded. Spike was hiding under a cushion, not wanting see what was going on out of fear. Flash Sentry, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash did their best not to be scared - or at least not look like they were. Rarity had her hands over her mouth after having let out a horrified gasp at something that happened in the movie. Pinkie Pie... wasn't the least bit fazed and giggled a little to herself as she enjoyed the movie. Vinyl grinned, also enjoying the picture, while her friend Octavia simply sat there, looking slightly bored, as if she had already seen this movie before.

Once the movie was over and the DVD's main menu reappeared on-screen, Vinyl clicked the STOP button on the remote control and asked everyone, "So... what did you guys think of it?"

"I'm... not really sure what to say," Sunset responded first, "but I can certainly say that it was pretty creepy, that's for sure."

"I agree, Sunset..." Twilight spoke next. "I didn't want to look, but I just couldn't bring myself to turn away."

"At least you WERE able to watch it..." Spike told his purple-skinned friend, poking his head out from under the cushions. He was still trembling a little.

"Pffft! You guys're all a bunch of lightweights!" Rainbow said to them in a slightly mocking tone. "I-it wasn't that scary at all! Really!"

"Oh, don't give me that, Rainbow." Applejack told her. "Ah saw you sweatin' when he went and turned that lady into a vampire."

"Uh, N-no I wasn't!" the cyan girl quickly defended herself. "I wasn't sweating! No way!! Besides, I saw you sweat too, AJ!"

"Hmmmm... 'too'? So y'all admit it, then?" replied the farm girl with a smirk.

"Urk!" Rainbow grunted, realizing that she had slipped up.

"Hey, don't get so worked up, guys..." Flash told them calmly. "It's not that big a deal to be scared. After all, we WERE watching a scary movie, so if nobody's scared, then there's something wrong."

"...Uh, good point." Rainbow Dash admitted. Folding her arms out in front of her, she then said, "Okay... MAYBE I did cringe a teensy bit at some parts..."

"Well I absolutely LOVED it!!" cheered Pinkie Pie, still as happy and bubbly as she always was. "That was the best movie EVER!!"

"Pinkie, darling... you say that about EVERY movie that we have seen during our Movie Nights." Rarity pointed out.

"That doesn't mean it isn't true, Rarity." the silly pink girl stated.

"Well, in any case," Vinyl began to tell Pinkie, "you've got good taste in flicks like this one. After all, when it comes to classic monsters, nobody can beat good ol' Count Dracula! Especially not those fake vampires that do that whole sparkly-whatever thing..."

Sighing, Octavia finally spoke, saying to her friend, "Yes, yes... we ALL know that Count Dracula is fifty times better than the 'sparkly' vampires. You say that every time we watch this movie..."

"I never say that, Tavi!" the DJ girl argued. "I said that he's a HUNDRED times better!! That's like, uh... TWICE as much as what you said!"

"Forgive me." the cello-player responded. "You say it so often, I tend to start tuning you out every time..." Vinyl grumbled a bit, but said nothing back.

At that moment, the bathroom door slowly creaked open. On the other side was none other than Fluttershy; apparently she had been hiding in the bathroom the whole time. "I-i-is it over yet...?" she meekly asked.

"Yeah, it's over." Sunset told her timid friend with a smile. "You can come out now."

Fluttershy slowly walked over to her friends, a bit embarrassed at herself for not being able to watch the movie. "I-I'm really sorry, everyone..." she told them softly. "I really wish I could have been here with all of you... but you know that I don't like horror movies that much..."

"Oh don't bother yourself about it, Fluttershy." Octavia told her. "It really wasn't THAT scary, actually."

"What're ya talkin' about, Tavi?!" snapped Vinyl. "Of course it's a scary movie!! I don't know what you were watchin', but it certainly wasn't the one WE were watchin'!"

"Vinyl, you play that movie almost every week!" the sepia-skinned teen informed her. "I've seen it so much, I can practically lip-synch every single line!"

"That doesn't make it, uh... not scary, Tavi!!" Vinyl rebutted. "In fact, you say that about every one of my horror movies!!"

"Only because I'm starting to get bored with them..." Octavia told her. "Every day, you force me to watch one of your silly little so-called 'scary movies', and I'm starting to get sick of them! It's just one of the many traits that you have that annoy me so greatly!"

"Well, no one SAID ya had to watch it with us!" Vinyl informed her. "You could've just gone home if you didn't wanna watch it all over again!"

"For once, you have actually thought of a good idea." the cello-player replied. Getting up and heading for the door, she then said to Vinyl, "I'm heading home. And feel free to take your time coming back!"

"Fine! Maybe I will!!" the DJ angrily said back as Octavia shut the door behind her. The room was left with an awkward silence after the uproar.

Breaking the silence, Sunset then asked the young DJ, "Are... you two going to be okay?"

"Yeah, don't worry 'bout us, Sunset." Vinyl replied. "We have this argument pretty frequently, but we eventually get over it. For now, I think it'd be best if I just had some time away from her for a while..."

"Um, in that case... if it's not too much trouble..." Fluttershy suddenly spoke to her, "you could sleep over at my house. I-I'd like to try and watch that movie with you this time..."

"But Ah thought y'all didn't like horror movies, Fluttershy..." Applejack reminded her.

"I don't... but I sort of feel bad about not being here to watch it or spend any time with you all because I was too scared to even be in the room..." the shy girl told them. "I don't want to let my timidity get in the way of having fun with all of you, so I'm going to try and get out of my comfort zone so that next time, I don't exclude myself from all of you out of fear... As long as you're there to help me through it, Vinyl..."

"Hey, that's perfectly fine with me, Flutters." the electric blue-haired girl told her. Taking the DVD out of the player and putting it back into the case, she then told her, "I'll go home with ya and we'll watch it together. You might end up likin' it."

"Well, let's just take it one step at a time..." Fluttershy stated. "It's taking almost all of my courage just to suggest the idea in the first place..."

(...Is this REALLY the same person that beat that Gilda chick in a Duel??) Vinyl asked herself. She then asked the others out-loud, "You don't mind if me n' Flutters head for her place right now, do ya?"

"Not at all." Applejack replied. "Ah'm jus' glad t' see that she really wants t' try n' get over her fear of scary movies."

"Indeed. It's always good to see her becoming more confident and assertive." Rarity agreed. She then told Fluttershy, "I suppose we shall see the two of you in class tomorrow. Until then, you have a pleasant night, Fluttershy."

"Thank you very much, Rarity." the shy girl responded.

Sunset then looked over at Vinyl and told her, "And try to patch things up with Octavia, Vinyl. You know deep down, she wouldn't want to stay angry at you forever."

"I know that, Sunset." the young DJ replied. "Knowing how these usually go, we'll both have probably forgotten about it by tomorrow. This isn't exactly our first argument, and it certainly won't be our last." Taking out her cell phone, she then added, "I'll at least leave her a message to tell her where I'll be... assuming she bothers t' pick it up. Anyway, don't get all worried about it, okay? Everything'll be peachy tomorrow, I promise." And with that, she and Fluttershy walked out of the apartment together.

"Yeesh, I still can't believe that she's so chilled out even after that shouting match she had with Octy." Rainbow Dash told everyone.

"Yeah, I know. I guess they're just used to it or something..." Flash stated. "It makes you wonder how those two are still friends."

"Well... maybe that's just the way that Octy and Vinyl show how much they care about each other!" Pinkie Pie hypothesized.

"If that's so, then I'm personally quite glad that none of you care about me in the same manner..." Rarity replied.

"Y'all can say that again." said Applejack with a nod.

Getting up, Rainbow Dash then told the others, "Well, I'd like t' hang around, but I need t' get back home and get started on my homework assignment."

"You mean you haven't done it yet??" asked Sunset.

"You guys know I work better under pressure." the cyan teen stated to them.

"Are you sure you're not just procrastinating again... like you always seem to do?" Rarity asked her.

"Look, I don't have the time t' discuss it: I've got someplace t' be, so I'll see you guys later." Rainbow responded, not wanting to argue about it.

"Of course." Twilight told her. "We'll see you tomorrow, then." After Rainbow Dash left, the others then said their goodbyes before heading home as well. Soon, only Twilight, Sunset, and Spike were left in the room.

"Okay, Twilight, we've got some work to do ourselves." Sunset then told her.

"What kind of work?" the young Princess asked. "I thought we finished that homework assignment as soon as we got back here."

"It's not that, Twilight." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "We have to try and see if we can dig up any information on that Skyes Academy place. Remember?"

"Oh, right... I almost forgot about that." the purple teen responded. "Last Sunday, you said that we would try and figure out more about that school and the people that came from there, including those two people that were after Babs Seed... Ms. Skyeblaze and Lucky were their names, right?"

"Yeah." Sunset confirmed. "And if we want to make sure that no one else gets bullied by them or anyone else like them, we need to try and find out as much info as we can." Sitting in front of her computer and getting onto the Internet, the other-worldly girl continued, saying, "Also, call it a hunch, but there could even be a possibility of the Number cards being involved."

"You really think so?" Twilight asked. "I guess it could explain their behavior that day... Though Granny Smith seemed to suggest that they weren't exactly good people to begin with..."

"I can't be sure what to assume yet..." Sunset told her friend. "That's why we're going to pull up all of the info we can first... I just hope we can figure it all out before something really bad happens."

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hours Later...
---------------------------------------------------------------------

All was quiet in Fluttershy's house, as everyone inside had already fallen asleep. Fluttershy's mother and father were snoozing away in their bedroom, as was Fluttershy herself in her own room. Vinyl Scratch, who had stayed over for the night, was sleeping in the guest bedroom (which was originally the room that belonged to Fluttershy's older brother, Zephyr Breeze, before he moved out).

Surprisingly enough, Fluttershy was able to work up the courage to watch the entire vampire movie with Vinyl, along with her mother and father, though to say that the yellow-skinned girl wasn't afraid after it was over would have been a lie. Even her pet rabbit Angel Bunny was scared after watching the movie... though his pride wouldn't allow him to show that fear in front of anyone. Nevertheless, the rabbit decided to sleep under the couch, hiding from whatever could possibly come in and try to get him.

But Angel Bunny was not the target of the individual that had appeared outside of Fluttershy's house, hopping over a fence in order to get in the backyard. The figure was cloaked, so their true identity was hidden from view, but even without seeing their face, one could tell that they were up to no good. The cloaked figure then looked up at a window on the second floor of the house; the window to the guest bedroom. Running swiftly, but quietly, the unknown intruder climbed up the rain gutter pipe and made their way over to the window. Managing to pry it open, the figure then walked over towards Vinyl and stared at her for a few seconds before reaching into their pocket. The figure then pulled out a blank Duel Monsters card and placed it into Vinyl's hand before leaving...

Not long after, the card began to radiate a shadowy cloud around itself and Vinyl. The young DJ groaned in her sleep, as if she was having a nightmare. "Mmmmn... mmmmmmnn..." was all the noise that she could make as the dark fog began to grow.

"Yes... Vinyl..." said a sinister voice in her head. "Let the Number take hold..." Afterwards, a red mark resembling the number 24 appeared on the back of the hand that was holding the blank card.

At that moment, Vinyl's eyes shot open, revealing that they were now glowing a bright red. Rising up from the bed that she was sleeping on, she then glanced out the window, staring at the full moon that was out tonight. "The night... the night... it beckons me..." she said in a soft, quiet voice that was slightly different from her usual voice. She then got out of bed and stood up straight, looking straight at the night sky as if she were in a trance. Looking down at herself - particularly the pajamas that she had been wearing - she then said to herself, "These will simply not do... On a lovely night such as this one, I must look more... presentable."

Vinyl then walked out of the guest bedroom and glanced around, looking for something - actually, she was looking for someONE. "First and foremost... I shall require some... assistance." she said to herself. "Yes, a follower to aid me tonight... But who should it be?" She then glanced over at the door the led into Fluttershy's bedroom, hearing her breathing from the other side. Smirking, Vinyl then said, "Yes... I think I have found the perfect little helper..." She then began walking in the direction of the bedroom door, not aware that Angel Bunny, who had heard Vinyl muttering to herself, was watching her from a safe distance.

Entering Fluttershy's room, Vinyl stood beside her bed, watching the yellow-skinned girl as she was sound asleep, despite that she had just seen a horror movie. Smiling a wicked smile, the electric blue-haired teen then raised her hand over the young girl, a shadowy mist flowing from out of her palm. "You will help me get what I want..." Vinyl said in an eerie tone. As the violet-colored cloud began to grow around them, the young DJ glanced out the window, hearing the howling sounds of wolves off in the distance. Chuckling, she then said to herself, "Listen to them... Children of the night... What music they make..."

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

That Friday morning, Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle were busy having breakfast and getting ready to go to school. Sunset, still in her pajamas (as was Twilight), decided to make waffles for the both of them, as she had recently purchased a new waffle iron and was eager to try it out. Spike also had a few waffles himself, with Twilight helping pour the syrup. Watching the thick liquid pour out from the bottle, the purple puppy told his Princess friend, "A little more... a little mooooorrrre... ehhhh, just a teensy bit more..."

"Spike, the bottle's almost half-empty." Twilight told him. "If I keep this up, Sunset and I won't have any for ourselves!" Deciding that Spike's waffles had a suitable amount of syrup, the purple girl closed the bottle and handed it over to Sunset who was sitting across from her.

"You guys don't need to worry too much." the red-and-yellow girl told them as she poured the bottle's contents on her waffles. "I've got a few spare syrup bottles set aside, so we won't have to worry about running out anytime soon." She then handed the bottle back to Twilight.

Pouring some syrup on her waffles, Twilight then asked her inter-dimensional friend, "So, did you find anything about Skyes Academy last night? We were working on it for a while, but after I started to get tired, you kept looking for more information..."

"Well, it wasn't much, Twilight..." Sunset sighed to herself. "There isn't really a lot of info about Skyes Academy. There's almost nothing on the Internet about it, even after I tried searching various different topics. I have to admit, it seems a little weird; it's as if the place doesn't exist..."

"Well, there has to be SOME information about this academy..." Twilight stated. "But where should even begin to look?"

"For the first time in a while, I have absolutely no idea." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "Maybe we should-"

But their thoughts were interrupted when Sunset's cell phone began to ring. The two girls and puppy looked over at the phone on the living room table as it played its ringtone. Getting up out of her seat, Sunset Shimmer walked over to the table, picked up her phone, and answered the call. "Hello?" she spoke. "...Yes, this is Sunset Shimmer... Hm? No, Fluttershy's not here with me... why do you ask? ...You're kidding me...! Do you have any idea what happened?? ...Uh huh... Uh huh... I see... Well, I'll see what I can do, Mrs. Shy... Goodbye."

After Sunset was finished with her conversation, Twilight then asked her, "Who was that? What's going on??"

"That was Fluttershy's mother..." the red-and-yellow girl answered in a solemn tone of voice. "And she just told me... that Fluttershy's gone missing!"

"Missing?!" gasped Twilight. "What happened??"

"I don't know, Twilight..." Sunset replied. "All I know was that when her mother came to wake her up, she saw that the bed was empty, and that the window was wide open!"

"You think she went out the window?" asked Spike. "But there's no way that Fluttershy could've just flown out! ...Huh, never thought I'd hear myself say that."

Before another word could be said, Sunset's phone began ringing again. Picking it up, the red-and-yellow girl spoke into it, saying, "Hello?"

"Ms. Shimmer?" said the voice on the other end. "This is Octavia... Can you hear me clearly enough?"

"Yes, I can... what is it, Octavia?" Sunset asked her.

"Do... either you or Twilight happen to know where... where Vinyl is?" the sepia-skinned teen inquired. "I only ask because... I have not heard from her since she left me that message yesterday."

"Um... I don't think we've seen her since she went to Fluttershy's house..." Sunset answered. Twilight and Spike looked on, wondering what was going on this time.

"I was afraid of that..." Octavia replied, sighing sadly. "She said she would contact me when she got up this morning, but so far... nothing. I must be honest; I am worried for her..."

"Well, you two DID have that argument last night..." Sunset told her. "Maybe she's still bitter about it..."

"Maybe, but she never sleeps over at someone else's house and not contact me when she is about to leave." the cello-player informed her. "As I am sure you are aware, we do squabble quite often, but never so bad that we do not let other person know if we are alright or not..."

"...Yeah, I see your point." the red-and-yellow girl stated. "Perhaps she decided to come to school early. Have you considered that?"

"Yes, I did." Octavia answered. "But then I realized that the name 'Vinyl Scratch' and 'goes to school early' cannot possibly make a complete sentence." Humming a little to herself, she then added, "Still, I suppose that there could be a remote possibility..."

"Then we'll meet up over at the school and see if the principals know anything about it." Sunset suggested.

"A very wise idea, Ms. Shimmer." agreed the sepia-colored girl. "We shall do just that. Until then, farewell."

"Bye, Octavia. We'll see you there." Sunset responded, hanging up the phone. She then told Twilight and Spike, "That was Octavia just now: Apparently, Vinyl's gone missing too."

"You're kidding me!" the Princess of Friendship exclaimed.

"This is getting kinda scary, guys..." Spike told them both. "I mean think about it: Fluttershy and Vinyl head off for a sleepover together, and the next morning, POOF! They're both gone! That can't just be a coincidence!"

"My thoughts exactly..." Sunset told the puppy. "But if we're going to find out what happened and where they are, we can't waste any more time! Let's get to the school and hope that things will turn out okay." And with that, the three of them got their things packed and their outfits for the day on before bolting out the door.

Minutes later, Sunset and Twilight, along with Spike riding around in the young Princess's backpack, made their way to Canterlot High School. There, they met up with their Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Octavia. Octavia had already explained to the others about what happened this morning. Not only that, but Fluttershy's mother had called each of them that same morning, asking about her daughter's whereabouts, so they all knew what was going on prior to Sunset and Twilight showing up.

"I just don't understand what could have happened to them..." Rarity said, her right hand rubbing the side of her head. "It is not like Fluttershy to just vanish without a trace..."

"Yeah, Ah can agree with ya there, Rares." Applejack told her. "Fluttershy would never walk around at night by herself... She's afraid of the dark. Ah mean, the girl slept with a night light up until middle school!"

"Yeah... what could've happened??" Pinkie asked.

"Maybe a vampire got 'em last night." joked Rainbow Dash.

"...That is not funny, Ms. Dash." Octavia told her sternly. "This is serious. Vinyl and Fluttershy are missing, and we have no way of knowing where they are. Our only hope is if Principal Celestia or Vice Principal Luna had seen them enter the school building..."

"Then I guess we'll have to go in and ask them if they know anything." Twilight recommended.

"Yeah, let's go. We don't have much time." Sunset stated. The group then walked into the school building, hoping to figure something out about all this.

"...I'm very sorry, girls, but neither I, nor my sister, have seen Fluttershy or Ms. Scratch come into the school yet." Luna told the group after they came into their office and explained everything to her and Celestia.

"Are you sure...?" asked Octavia, beginning to lose hope.

"I'm afraid my sister is correct." Celestia told them, confirming Luna's statement. "I'm very sorry. Trust me, if either of us knew anything about their whereabouts, we would most certainly have told you."

"So... that's it?" asked Pinkie, starting to get sad. "Poor Fluttershy and Vinyl..."

"We can't just give up like that!" Sunset shouted. "There's gotta be a way that we can find them! Something bad might have happened to them, and we've gotta be there to help!" Putting her hands on Celestia's desk, she then pleaded to her, "Please... there's got to be something we can do... Fluttershy and Vinyl are our friends. I don't know how we'll do it, but we have to get them back safely!"

The principal hummed to herself in deep thought. Even though it seemed hopeless, in her mind, Celestia knew that Sunset was right. "Well, I suppose we must try to do something to resolve this." the pale-pink woman stated. "I could never forgive myself if I allowed even the possibility of any harm coming to one of my students." Looking over to her sister, she then told her, "Luna, I'd like you to accompany Sunset and her friends and find those missing girls."

"Very well, sister. I shall do just that." the dark-blue woman replied, agreeing with her older sibling.

"Alright! There's still a chance!" Applejack cheered. "We might be able t' find 'em after all!"

"Indeed." Octavia responded, regaining the confidence that she would see her best friend again. "Thank you so much, Principal Celestia. But I must ask: What about our classes for today? Our teachers are sure to notice that we are absent..."

"I'll just let them know that you're doing some important work for the school today." Celestia answered her. "In any case, just let me worry about that."

"In that case, we should get going right away!" Twilight suggested. "And the first place we should check out is Fluttershy's house. That's where we last heard that Vinyl and Fluttershy were before they disappeared."

"I agree." Sunset said with a nod. "With any luck, we might find a clue as to what happened or - more importantly - where they went."

"In that case, let us all go there immediately." stated Luna.

"To Fluttershy's house we go!!!" Pinkie shouted, pointing forward. The group made their way out of the Principal's Office, with Luna accompanying them. Celestia mentally wished them all luck, hoping that the missing students were safe, wherever they were.

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

Minutes later, the group arrived at Fluttershy's home. Luna was driving the classic Mustang that belonged to her and Celestia, with Sunset, Twilight, and Spike riding along in the backseat. The other five girls were riding along in Pinkie's pink Volkswagon Beetle. Once they got to their destination, the group got out of the vehicles and looked ahead at the house.

"Well, here we are..." Spike stated. "D'ya think we can find out anything here?"

"Well, we have to start somewhere, Spike." Sunset told him. "But hopefully, we'll find some clues as to what happened. And from there, we might be able to figure out where Vinyl and Fluttershy went."

Luna walked up to the door and knocked on it. The door was answered by an adult woman with creamy-yellow skin, red hair, and magenta eyes. "Um, hello? Who are you?" she asked.

"My name is Luna, Vice Principal of Canterlot High School." the dark-blue woman responded. "You must be Fluttershy's mother, am I correct?"

"Yes, I am..." the other woman confirmed. "Are... are you here about my daughter?"

"Yes... We wish to help you find out where she is." Luna told her. "And I can promise you that she WILL return home safely."

"Oh, thank you so much, Ms. Luna! Thank you!!" the mother replied, happy to know that someone would help her find her daughter. "Please, come in, all of you. Do whatever you need to do if it will help you find my Fluttershy!"

"Thank you, ma'am. We shouldn't be long." Luna then motioned the others to follow her into the house. She then asked Mrs. Shy, "Do you happen to know where you had last seen Fluttershy and her friend before they went missing?"

"The last time that I saw the girls, they went into their bedrooms for the night." the mother answered.

"Then that is where we shall begin our search." Luna declared. "Everyone, let us move out! We haven't a moment to waste!" The others nodded and followed her up the stairs. As they did, Fluttershy's pet rabbit, Angel Bunny poked his head out from under the sofa that he had been sleeping under. Seeing his owner's friends in the house, he decided to follow them.

Entering Fluttershy's bedroom first, the group began searching the area for any clues. They looked under Fluttershy's bed, her closet, anywhere that could have been hiding some trace of her. Looking at her desk, Applejack noticed the small yellow box that contained Fluttershy's Deck. Picking up the box and looking at it, the farm girl stated, "Well, whoever came in 'n took Fluttershy didn't bother stealin' anythin' else. Even her Deck's still here."

"I don't think anyone broke in and took Fluttershy..." Twilight pondered. "If that was the case, there would have been a struggle, and she would have made a lot of noise as well."

"She's right." Mrs. Shy said, nodding her head. "I didn't hear anything of the sort."

"So we can rule out a kidnapping..." Sunset stated. "Thank Celestia for that..." She then walked over to the window and opened it before adding, "Still, her mother said that the window was open when she entered the room... So if an outside person wasn't responsible for Fluttershy's disappearance, why was the window open?"

"Look! There's your answer." Luna told her, pointing out the window at a rope that had fallen to the grass below. "She had climbed out the window using that bed sheet as a makeshift rope."

"But where did she get it?" asked Mrs. Shy. "All of her sheets were accounted for when I came into her room this morning. And what's more, why would she leave the house in such a manner anyway? It doesn't make any sense!"

Just then, Pinkie Pie felt something tugging on her skirt. When she looked down, she saw Angel Bunny tugging at her clothes as hard as he could. "Huh? What's wrong with you, Angel?" the pink girl asked him.

The others looked over at Pinkie and the rabbit, wondering what was going on. "Something the matter, Pinkie?" Rarity asked her.

"Don't ask me, Rarity... Angel Bunny just started tugging on my skirt all of a sudden. I don't know why." the party-lover said to her.

"Hmmmm... y'all don't suppose he might've seen what happened, could he?" asked Applejack.

"Yeah, but even if he did, it's not like he can tell us." Rainbow Dash reminded her. "He can't talk like Spike can."

At that moment, Angel Bunny took a few steps back from Pinkie Pie and began pointing up into the air. He then put that paw on the tip of his nose. He then repeated these motions for a while. Pinkie, gasping happily, shouted, "Ooooh! Are we playin' Charades?! I LOVE this game!!!"

"Wait, what?" asked Sunset, confused as was everyone else.

"Shhhhhhhhh!!! Quiet, girls! I wanna concentrate!" Pinkie informed them. Looking back over at Angel Bunny, she told him, "Okay, go ahead."

Angel then held up his paw to indicate that there were three words in the puzzle, and that he was about to act out the first word. He then began rubbing his fur, as if he had an itch. "Um... itch?" Pinkie began guessing. "No, itchy? No, not that... Um... irritated? Uhhhhhh... Oh! Scratch!" After hearing that word, Angel gave a thumbs-up, to let Pinkie know that she guess it right. "Yay! I got it!!"

The others just stared on, not exactly sure what was going on. "Ooooookay... this is gettin' a little weird." Rainbow Dash told the others.

"Like you really needed to point that out?" asked Applejack. Nevertheless, the bizarre game of Charades continued, with Angel signaling the second word. He then made a motion with his paws in which he was pretending to read a book.

"Hmmmmm... read? Reading?" Pinkie guess. Angel shook his head no and pointed to the imaginary object that he was holding. "Oh!" the silly pink girl gasped, realzing where he was going. "Uh... Magazine! Newspaper! Book!" Angel then nodded to say that she was on the right track before tugging at his right ear. "Oh, it SOUNDS like 'book'!" assumed Pinkie. "Let's see... rook... cook... hook... look... took..." She then saw that Angel was giving another thumbs-up. "Oh! The word was 'took' right?!" When he nodded yes, the silly pink girl cheered, shouting, "Yay!! I'm winning!! What's next? What's the last word?!"

Angel then used his paws to indicate that the third word had two syllables, each of which would be acted out separately. Angel then flapped his paws like wings and began hopping around the room.

"Okay... this one looks like a toughie..." Pinkie said to herself. "Okay, uhm... hopping, skipping... nope... ummmmm... ballet dancing... uhhh..." She then took another look at Angel, and noticed his flapping forelegs. "Oh, wait... I think I've got it... is it 'flying'? No, 'flapping'? Wait, I've got it!! Is it 'Flutter'?!" Angle then gave a thumbs-up to say yes. After cheering for herself, the party-lover then asked him, "So what's the other syllable?"

Angel stood in front of Pinkie and began acting timid. He covered his eyes with his front paws and drooped his ears down to hide his face. "Um... embarrassed? Bashful? Um... what about, 'nervous'? No? Uhhh... introverted? Sheepish?" Pinkie began thinking of any other possible word for whatever Angel was acting out. Just then, she gasped and shouted, "I know what it is! It's 'SHY'!!" Putting together everything that Angel had acted out, she said to herself, "So it's 'scratch', 'took', 'flutter', and 'shy'... All together, that says, 'Scratch took Fluttershy'..." After dwelling on the puzzle for a few seconds, the silly pink teenager gasped and shouted, "OH NO!!! Scratch took Fluttershy!!!"

"Wait, hold up, what did she just say??" asked Rainbow Dash.

"I think she just said that Vinyl was the one that took Fluttershy away from here...!" Sunset answered, not believing it herself.

"But... but that's impossible!" Octavia responded, horrified to have heard that. "She would never abduct anyone! What would she get out of doing something horrible like that?!"

"I don't really know what to think, but I believe we should inspect the Guest Bedroom and see if we can find anything." Luna suggested. "I don't want to believe that Ms. Scratch was responsible for Fluttershy's disappearance, but if she is, we need to find them as soon as possible!" And with that, the group left Fluttershy's bedroom and headed for the room that Vinyl had been sleeping in.

As Pinkie took her leave, she then said to Angel Bunny, "That sure was a fun game! We should play that again sometime!" The rabbit smirked, as if to say that he'd win next time. After that, the party-lover left the room to join her friends in the investigation.

Everyone arrived at the guest bedroom shortly afterwards, ready to snoop around some more. "Well, here are are..." Sunset began to say, "This is where Vinyl was sleeping last night, right Mrs. Shy?" Fluttershy's mother nodded yes in response.

Walking over to the nightstand beside the bed, Octavia picked up a plastic case laying on top of the bedside furniture and briefly inspected it. "She is correct..." the sepia-skinned girl told the others. "Take a look at this, everyone." She then held up the case to show to the other individuals in the room.

"Isn't that the movie that Vinyl brought with her to Movie Night yesterday?" asked Rarity.

"It is." Octvaia said, nodding her head yes. "This proves that she was in this room."

"And look here:" Applejack chimed in, pointing to the edge of the bed. "Accordin' to Fluttershy's mom, there's a sheet missin' from this here bed! Ah'll bet it was the same one we saw outside of Fluttershy's window earlier!"

"So, it's true...?" Rainbow Dash began to ask. "Did Vinyl really kidnap Fluttershy?"

"That's what it seems like..." Twilight figured.

"But that couldn't be true...." Octavia began to tell the others. "What motive could she possibly have had to abduct Fluttershy? And what's more, she would never leave her favorite movie behind, no matter what the circumstances were..."

"Not only that, but there's something else worth pointing out:" Sunset then said. Pointing to the bedroom window, she then asked, "If Vinyl kidnapped Fluttershy and they left through her bedroom window... then why is THIS window open as well?"

"She could have opened it up last night to let some air in..." Rarity began to hypothesize. "But that wouldn't make any sense; last night was very cold, so she would have been freezing to death if she had done that."

Just then, Pinkie Pie noticed a faint glow coming from Sunset's necklace. "Hey, Sunnie!" she called out. "Your key-thingy is glowing again!"

"Huh?" Sunset glanced at her piece of jewelry and saw that it was, in fact, radiating a bright light that was only getting brighter. "What's going on? Why is my necklace reacting like this?"

Just then, Twilight heard the voice of Utopia in her mind. "Twilight..." he said to her.

"Utopia? Is that you?" the young Princess said out-loud. Taking out her Deck and pulling out her Number card, she saw that it was also glowing just as intensely as Sunset's necklace.

"It is..." Utopia told her. "There is something that I need to tell you. It is... rather faint, but I sense a familiar feeling in this room... I believe I can detect the presence of a Number..."

"A Number?!" asked Twilight.

"What's wrong, Twi?" asked Rainbow Dash. Everyone else was curious to know as well.

"Well, Utopia just told me something, girls..." the Princess of Friendship explained to them all. "He says that there may have been a Number card in here."

"A... Number??" asked Octavia, trembling. "You... you mean like the one that took over my mind...?!"

Scowling a little, Sunset then said, "I should've guessed that this was the case... Vinyl kidnaps Fluttershy with virtually no reason or motive to do so, and it all points to another Number card... I had a feeling it was that, but it wasn't until Utopia and my necklace had some sort of reaction that I could tell for sure."

"If that is the case," Luna began to tell everyone, "then this could be more dangerous than we first perceived it to be..."

"Um... what is going on...?" asked Mrs. Shy, confused as to what the others were talking about. "What's a Number card?"

"There's no time to explain, Ma'am." Applejack told Fluttershy's mother. "We've gotta head out n' try t' find Fluttershy and Vinyl before things really start gettin' outta control!"

"Just leave this to us!" Rainbow Dash said confidently. "Fluttershy'll be just fine when we're through with this!"

"Okay girls, let us move on and follow this new lead!" Luna told them all. The girls (and puppy) nodded and they all left Fluttershy's home. Mrs. Shy just stood there, not sure what was going on, but praying that her daughter would be safe.

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

"So now we know that a Number card's behind this whole problem we have..." Applejack began to say as she and the others wandered around the grassy fields in the Canterlot suburbs. "But even knowin' that, we still don't have a lotta info on this..."

"Yeah, like where Vinyl and Fluttershy are right now..." Rainbow Dash added.

"Or why that window in the guest bedroom was open, despite that the two of them had left from Fluttershy's room." Rarity pointed out.

"Well, hopefully once we resolve this whole thing, we can figure all of that out." Sunset told her. "But like Rainbow said, we still don't know where Vinyl and Fluttershy went last night; there aren't any clues that would help point us in the right direction."

"So how are we going to find them, then?" asked Octavia, getting worried.

"Not sure..." Twilight replied. Pulling out her Number card again, she then added, "But maybe Utopia might have an idea."

Utopia then began speaking to the young Princess in her mind, telling her, "While it is true that we have no way of knowing where to look first, the fact that a Number is involved might help us. If we can find the Number, we will most likely find them with it."

"That's a good idea, Utopia." Twilight replied, liking the idea. She then explained Utopia's plan to the others, and they all agreed that it was a good idea, too.

"So how shall we find this rogue Number card, then?" Luna inquired.

"Easy: We use ANOTHER Number card to do it." Sunset answered the Vice Principal. "And I have just the one." Activating her Duel Pad and Duel Gazer (the others also activated their Gazers as well), she took out one of the cards in her Deck and placed it onto the Monster card tray. "Come forth! Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk!!" At that moment, the galaxy-like portal that appeared with each Numbers' summoning opened up in the sky. The monster then appeared, emerging from out of its sealed form into a humanoid-like creature.

Octavia stood there, staring at the Number card that had once belonged to her. Trembling a little, she then asked, "S-Sunset...? Why did you pick this one...?"

Sighing a little, the red-and-yellow girl then explained, "I know your memories of this card aren't exactly good ones, but I figured, since this card was once bonded to you, it might be able to track down Vinyl... I know it doesn't exactly make a lot of sense right now, but it's the best option that I could think of."

Rhapsody in Berserk then glanced over at his former owner, who was still feeling very uneasy just looking at him. Then, surprisingly enough, the Number card faced Octavia, put it right hand on its chest and gave a sincere bow. "Um... what is it doing?"

"Well, I'm no expert," Pinkie Pie began to answer her, "but I think he's trying to say that he's sorry. Y'know for turning you into a total jerk and trying to make you hurt everyone!" Rhapsody then glanced over at the pink girl, not pleased about being reminded of that day. Pinkie then said to him, "Hey, don't give me that look! You KNOW what you did!" The Number card sweated a little upon hearing that, knowing that she had a point.

Getting things back on track, Sunset then said to her monster, "Rhapsody in Berserk, there's a new Number card somewhere in this area, and we think that it belongs to either Fluttershy or Vinyl... I need you to help us find it and them. Can you do that?" Rhapsody nodded and began looking around the area. All of a sudden, he let out a slight grunt and began flying off, heading towards a wooded area.

"He's heading into that forest!" Twilight exclaimed. "Let's hurry up and follow him!" The others nodded and raced after the Number card, hoping that it would lead them to their missing friends.

The group of ten ran through the thick forest, sidestepping trees and hopping over logs and stumps in their path. Looking up at the Number card that they were following, Applejack said to the others, "For a big guy, he sure moves awful fast!"

"I guess he must be getting quite a strong signal of that other Number card!" Twilight assumed.

"Indeed, Twilight." Utopia told her. "We Numbers are naturally drawn to each other, so we can sense each other's presence... Why that is, I am not quite sure of yet... But I suppose now isn't the time to figure that out."

The group finally stopped at what appeared to be an old barn: A REALLY old barn. Despite the fact that the building looked dilapidated, the wood was slowly rotting away, and that vines and other plants were growing all over it, it had been standing there mostly intact for many, many years. "What's this place...?" asked Sunset.

"What's an old barn like this one doin' in the middle of the woods?" asked Applejack. "Ah've been to this forest in the past, but I ain't never seen somethin' like this here before!"

"Well, it is very well hidden..." Luna explained to her. "And not only that, the trees around this area are so tall and thick, it is as dark as night, even in the middle of the day."

"Hmmmm... judging from its rather archaic appearance," Octavia began to tell the others, "I would guess that this barn may have been built by people who had first settled in this area. At some point, it was abandoned, and ever since, nature has seen fit to reclaim the land, as well as the barn itself."

"Please don't tell me that we are going to enter this old, rusty barn, are we...?" asked Rarity, already cringing at the thought of it.

"We don't have a choice." Sunset told her fashionista friend. "Rhapsody seems drawn to this building, so the Number card we're looking for is inside... And hopefully, we'll also find Vinyl and Fluttershy as well."

"Let us hope so..." Octavia stated. "If anything happened to them... well... I don't want to even think about it..."

"Then let's get in there and make SURE that nothing bad happens!" suggested Rainbow Dash, running inside.

"Hey, Dashie!! Wait for MEEEEE!!!" shouted Pinkie, following her rainbow-haired friend. The others then ran into the barn, hoping that the missing girls were inside.

Having entered the barn, the group began searching the area for Vinyl and Fluttershy. Sunset used a flashlight she had on hand to light up the dark rooms. Just as Luna had said, even though it was still morning, the barn's interiors were pitch-black; it was almost as if the area was cloaked in perpetual night. This was further evidenced by the fact that many nocturnal animals, such as rats, raccoons, and even an owl were still wide awake. The nighttime bird even let out a loud hoot that echoed throughout the crumbling building.

Shaking a little, Rarity then said to her friends, "Oh dear... just look at this place... Just LISTEN... It's almost like that movie we watched last night... Only the castle in the movie was far better-looking compared to this smelly old barn."

"Ah know what ya mean..." agreed Applejack, "Well, the first part o' that, at least... This place looks like a rumpus room for all sorts'a nasty ghouls n' ghosts..."

"That's... that's absurd, Applejack..." Octavia replied nervously. "That was... just a movie... Things such as ghosts and vampires aren't real... right...?"

Just then, the entire group heard a loud SWOOSH nearby them. Shrieking, Rarity asked, "What was THAT?!?"

"It sounded like it came from over there!" Luna said, pointing to her left.

"No way!! I heard it from over there!" Rainbow argued, pointing in a different direction.

"Ya'll 're BOTH wrong!" Applejack told them. "Ah heard it comin' from up above us!"

"I don't think any of us can really tell where we heard it." Twilight stated. "Everything echoes in this barn, so it could have come from anywhere!"

"What I'm more worried about..." Spike began to say, "is what MADE that sound in the first place...!"

The girls gulped, now wondering that as well. They stayed close to one another, carefully scanning any nook and cranny of the room they were so as not to be taken by surprise. But that didn't help them, as another SWOOSH was heard by them. Thinking quickly, Sunset Shimmer pointed her flashlight in the direction of where she thought that she had heard the sound. For a split second, she a flash of light pink in the spot where her flashlight shined its light.

"I think I just saw something, girls!" the red-and-yellow girl told her friends, "Whatever it is, I think it's what's making that sound!" Hearing the loud noise again, Sunset shined her light in the direction it was coming from. Once again, she saw something for a brief moment in the light; this time, it appeared to be a foot, and whoever it was connected to was hastily moving to the right. "Who are you?!" Sunset shouted. "Show yourself!!"

Finally, after hearing the SWOOSH once more, the black jacket-wearing teen pointed the flashlight behind her. She managed to catch the individual in the bright light, causing them to put their hands in front of their face so as not to go blind. But when the group finally got a good look at the mysterious stranger, they realized that the "stranger" wasn't someone that was unknown to them...

"Oh my...!!" gasped Rarity. "I don't believe it!! It's... it's Fluttershy!!"

The person was indeed their shy friend, but something was different about her: She was wearing her normal outfit, but they were slightly ripped and tattered. Her fingernails were sharp and pointy, like claws, and her pink hair was a mess. Not only that, but her normally shy and sweet face was replaced with a more vicious-looking expression as she let out an angry hiss. And that's when the group made the most shocking observation of all:

"Hey! Look at her teeth!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "Some of 'em are sharp and pointy!"

"Sharp and pointy??" asked Octavia, shaking in fear. "You don't mean like... like a VAMPIRE'S teeth, do you??"

"No way... Fluttershy's a vampire now??" asked Applejack, stunned in disbelief.

"Does that mean we have to start calling her 'Flutterbat' from now on?" asked Pinkie Pie.

"I'm not so sure about her becoming a vampire, girls," Sunset told them, still skeptical about the whole thing. "But something seems to have come over her... But whatever it is, it's not because she has a Number card, because I don't see any marks on her that would show that she has one."

"But... if she doesn't have a Number," Twilight began to ask, "then who or what could have done this??"

"HahahahahaHAAA!!!!" cackled a voice from within the room. "You wish to know who is responsible? Very well, then!!" At that moment, several candles sitting on candelabras bolted to the barn's walls lit up - as if by some otherworldly power - bringing a faint, orange light into the room. Once the room was fully lit-up, a figure jumped down from the rafters above. It was none other than Vinyl Scratch, but like Fluttershy, she had much different appearance than from how she usually looked. She was dressed up in a female vampire's outfit: She wore a long, elegant-looking dress that was, naturally, colored in a blood-red hue. Around her neck was a choker-like collar that was black in color with a chain connected to the middle of it. Dangling from said chain was a cross-shaped charm adorned with a red jewel in the middle. Vinyl's eyes were glowing a deep red, and she displayed a sinister, fanged smile.

"...Vinyl...? Is... is that you...??" asked Octavia, not sure what was going on.

"Meheheheh... Not quite, Octavia, my dear..." the fanged DJ spoke to her friend. "I am much more than the friend and roommate you once knew... Now, I have become a vampire! A true being of the night!" As she spoke, the red 24 mark appeared on her hand.

(So it was HER who picked up a Number card...) thought Sunset after spotting the glowing mark.

"Hold on a sec!" Rainbow Dash began to protest. "If you're supposed to be a vampire, then how can you be standing there wide awake in the middle of the day?!"

Chuckling wickedly to herself, Vinyl answered her, saying, "You really need to ask such a thing? Just look around you! This barn and the section of the forest we are in is so overgrown with tress, that the accursed sunlight can never break through! So I can stay up all day without any problem!"

"Fine, whatever. We ain't here t' ask questions anyway!" Applejack told her. "We're here t' save Fluttershy and bring her back safely!"

"You had absolutely no reason to abduct her in the first place!" Luna shouted at the girl-turned-vampire. "Now return her to us at once and stop this foolishness!"

"Hmmhmmhmm... You're quite wrong, Ms. Luna." Vinyl told her in a stereotypical vampire-like accent. "I did have a reason to take your dear friend the way that I have..." Pointing right at Sunset Shimmer, the DJ shouted, "And it was all to get to you!"

"To me? Why??" asked the red-and-yellow teen.

Chuckling again, Vinyl explained to her, "To ensure that you co-operate with my demands, Ms. Shimmer... Using my new power, I bewitched the one you call Fluttershy and made her into my slave." Looking over at the spellbound girl, she then told the others, "Right now, her memories are currently blocked out. As it stands now, she has no memories of who she is or who any of you are, much like that of a doll... But she still has enough mental capacity to obey my every whim. But more importantly, her disappearance drew all of you exactly where I wanted you to be..."

"But why?" asked Twilight. "What do you want from Sunset and all of us??"

Showing the group the Number card that she possessed, Vinyl answered the young Princess, saying, "Why your Number cards, of course... After all, this card gave me incredible power beyond your understanding... But imagine what sort of influence I could have with the ones that you possess! Now be a good girl, Ms. Shimmer, and hand over your Number cards to me... or little Fluttershy shall serve me for eternity!"

But Sunset smirked and told Vinyl, "I'm afraid it's not quite that simple: I'm afraid that I'm not able to just simply GIVE you my Numbers..."

"What?! Why not?!" asked the vampire DJ angrily. "Do you not care for your little friend at all?!"

"More than anything, Vinyl." the jacket-clad teen replied. "But it's not that I don't WANT to comply with your demand, it's just I couldn't, even IF I wanted to."

"What do you mean??" asked Vinyl. "Explain!"

"I can't quite explain the details, because I'm not so sure of them myself," Sunset began to say, "but what I do know is that in order to obtain Number cards from a person that has them, you have to earn them in a Duel. That's the only way that you'll have any right to take my Numbers from me!"

"A Duel...?" asked the vampire, not aware of that fact. Thinking to herself, she then said to Sunset, "I shall admit, that was not originally part of my plans, but it matters not. Defeating you in a Duel will be just as simple a task as leading you over here."

"We'll see about that, Vinyl." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "Just remember this: If you're the one who loses, then we get Fluttershy back from you, and YOU'LL be the one that has to give up their Number card."

"I'll agree to that, seeing as how there's no chance of that happening!" Vinyl replied.

The two combatants activated their Duel Pads, ready to begin their Duel. Sunset activated her Duel Gazer lens, while Vinyl switched on the one that was built into her shades. "AR Vision Link established." said the computerized voice as a digital copy of the barn surrounded them all.

"Let's DUEL!!!" shouted both Vinyl and Sunset, drawing their cards and beginning their battle (Vinyl Scratch: LP 4,000) (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000).

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

The rest of the search party activated their Duel Gazers to see what was going on. Pinkie Pie then glanced over at Fluttershy, who, thanks to Vinyl's spell, stood there completely silent and motionless. "Poor Fluttershy..." the pink girl said sadly. "I can only imagine what's going through her head right now... It can't be pretty..."

"Well, once Sunset takes Vinyl down, hopefully she'll snap out of it." Rainbow Dash responded.

"Let us hope so..." Rarity chimed in. "And let us ALSO hope that Vinyl doesn't try to use that same hex on us as well..." The others nodded and proceeded to watch the Duel.

Looking over her opening hand, Vinyl then asked Sunset, "Are you alright my dear...? I can sense uneasiness in your soul... Afraid that I shall claim your cards and your friend after this is all over?"

But Sunset Shimmer did her best not to let her opponent see her sweat. "Just get on with your turn, Vinyl..." she told her, "and we'll see just who scares who."

"As you wish." Taking a card out of her hand, Vinyl then declared, "I shall begin with the Field Spell Card, Vampire Kingdom!!" After playing her card, the area around them transformed into a spooky scene: a town shrouded in fog, an imposing castle off in the distance, large, steel walls lined with spikes on the top, and an eerie red moon in the night sky above. "Hmmmm... now this is the ideal site for a battle against the undead... But I shall divulge its powers another time. For now, I shall Summon my Vampire Baby in Attack Mode!!"

Vinyl's first monster was a small, child-like humanoid creature with all but its face covered in a flowing green cloak held together by a gold brooch. The child's mouth had fangs, its eyes shone a bright blue, and its ears were pointed like a bat's (Vampire Baby: Level 3 / ATK 700 / DEF 1000).

"And lastly, I shall set a face-down card before completing my turn." Vinyl stated, placing one more of her cards on the field.

"That's an unusual choice..." Rarity stated. "That monster has hardly any attack power, so it should be no threat."

"I ain't too sure about that, Rares..." Applejack informed her. "Ah'll bet apples t' biscuits that that's what Vinyl WANTS us t' think... She obviously set a trap for Sunset right off the bat, and is just waitin' for her t' fall into it!"

"That seems very possible." Twilight replied. "I just hope Sunset is aware of that, too..."

The red-and-yellow girl looked at the weak monster before her and thought to herself, (That Vampire Baby is clearly the bait for a trap, so I'd better play this carefully...) She then said to her opponent, "It's my turn! I draw!!" Picking up her first card, she looked over her hand and spotted her Chronomaly Nebra Disk. (That one... If I Summon it, I can get a free Chronomaly card out of my Deck, so I'll pick something that I can use as backup, just in case I do spring her face-down card this turn.)

Taking her chosen monster from her hand, Sunset placed it onto her pad and shouted, "I'll Summon my Chronomaly Nebra Disk in Attack Mode!" In a second, her disk-shaped monster appeared on the field (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1500). "And by Summoning it, its effect lets me retrieve any Chronomaly card from my Deck! And I'll choose my Chronomaly Golden Jet!" After taking her card, the jacket-wearing teen then shouted to her monster, "Now go!! Attack Vampire Baby with Ancient Blade Spin!!" The disk monster then spun wildly and sped towards Vinyl's monster.

"I am afraid that your attack shall not work!" Vinyl told her. "Now prepare to face something far worse than the Black Plague of olden times!! I activate my Trap Card!! The Crush Card Virus!!!"

Everyone gasped when they heard the name of the Trap Card that Vinyl activated. "No way!! The Crush Card?!?" exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

"She actually has that powerful card??" asked Luna, also quite shocked by this. Even Octavia seemed surprised by the card's appearance.

Chuckling wickedly, the DJ-turned-vampire then explained, "I see that many of you are quite aware of this Trap Card's power, but for those who are not, I shall tell you: By disposing of my Vampire Baby - a DARK-Attribute monster with no more than 1000 attack points - I can now destroy every monster on your field and in your hand with an attack value of 1500 or higher!! So say goodbye to your Nebra Disk!"

Sunset could only watch as her only monster was covered in a thick, dark-purple ooze that dissolved it into nothing. (No... my monster's gone...) she thought. Looking at her hand, she then added, (And not only that, her Crush Card Virus also destroys the Chronomaly Winged Sphinx in my hand, since its attack power is 1600!) She had no choice but to send both of those cards to her Graveyard.

"Ouch... that was beyond brutal..." Rainbow Dash commented.

"I was not aware that Vinyl had such a card in her Deck, but given that she runs a Vampire Deck, I'm not that surprised..." Octavia mentioned. "Vampire Decks are all about destroying the opponent's Deck from the inside-out..."

"Well, there is some good news, girls..." Luna told them all. "The new errata on Crush Card Virus now states that Sunset is guaranteed not to take any damage until the end of Vinyl's next turn. So she is still safe for now."

Vinyl chuckled and then told Sunset, "There's one more thing: After I destroy the powerful cards in your hand and on the field, you then have the option to destroy up to three more monsters in your Deck that also meet Crush Card's criteria: 1500 or more attack points. Of course, you don't HAVE to do so, so feel free to skip this part if you wish."

Sunset looked at her Deck and thought over something in head for a moment. She then looked Vinyl straight in the eye and told her, "Very well then... I'll get rid of three monsters in my Deck!" She then took out her Apocatequil, Chronomaly Aztec Mask Golem, and The Supremacy Sun cards in her Deck and sent them to her Graveyard as well.

"What?? You ARE eliminating your cards??" asked Vinyl, slightly confused. "Why would you do that??"

"Yeah, what's she thinking??" asked Rainbow Dash. "She didn't have to go and do that..." No one was sure of what Sunset was planning... except possibly Sunset herself.

Taking out another card in her hand, she then told her opponent, "I don't plan on leaving my field totally empty, so I'll Special Summon my Chronomaly Moai Carrier in Defense Mode, since you still have one card out while I have none (Chronomaly Moai Carrier: Level 5 / ATK 900 / DEF 1800). I'll also set a card face-down and end my turn."

Vinyl hummed a little to herself and thought, (Why did she allow me to destroy three more of her cards with my virus card...? It doesn't make sense! ...Well, fine then... If she wishes to make it easier for me to defeat her, then why should I complain about it?) Drawing a card, she then declared, "It is my turn! And I shall Summon Gozuki in Attack Mode!"

Taking the card she had just drawn, the Vampire DJ placed the card onto the tray. The monster then appeared on the field, revealing itself as an anthropomorphic ox-creature with black skin wearing a tattered kilt-like garment around its waist. In its hands was an incredibly large, wooden hammer.

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

Gozuki
(Effect Monster/Zombie-Type/EARTH/Level 4/ATK 1700/DEF 800)

During your Main Phase: You can send 1 Zombie-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can banish 1 Zombie-Type monster from your Graveyard, except "Gozuki"; Special Summon 1 Zombie-Type monster from your hand. You can only use each effect of "Gozuki" once per turn.

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

"And now that this creature of the Underworld is on the field, I shall use his power to send one Zombie monster from my Deck to the Graveyard!" Vinyl explained as her Deck auto-shuffled her cards and left a single one sticking out. "And I choose Vampire Grace!"

(Vampire Decks consist mostly of Zombie-Type monsters,) Sunset thought to herself, (so it would make sense for Vinyl to have a card that sends them to the Graveyard so she can bring them to the field later...)

"Now for my Battle Phase!!" Vinyl shouted. "Gozuki, attack her Moai Carrier!!"

"What? But my monster's defense is higher!" protested Sunset. "You'll just damage yourself!"

"Unfortunately, you are quite wrong, my dear!" the fanged girl spat back. "Thanks to my Field Spell, all of my Zombies gain 500 attack points whenever they do battle! So my monster is much more powerful right now!" (Gozuki: ATK 1700 + 500 = 2200) And just like that, Gozuki's hammer struck Sunset's monster, turning it into a pile of rubble. "Seems as though you did not foresee this outcome, am I correct?" asked Vinyl with a smirk.

"Actually, YOU are quite wrong, 'my dear'!" Flipping over her face-down card, the jacket-wearing girl shouted, "I play Stonehenge Methods! Since one of my Chronomaly monsters was just destroyed, I can use this to Special Summon a new one from my Deck! And I choose another Nebra Disk!" She then Summoned another copy of her disk-shaped monster in Defense Position to protect herself.

"Rrrgh... very clever..." Vinyl reluctantly admitted. Taking another card from her hand, she then told her foe, "I'll set this card face-down and end my turn!"

"My turn! I draw!!" Sunset shouted, drawing her next card and looking at it. (Good! This card ought to help me, both right now... and later on.) Placing her new card in her hand for now, she then declared, "I'll begin my turn by Summoning Chronomaly Golden Jet in Attack Mode!" In an instant, her shiny plane-like monster flew in from the sky above, hovering just above its controller (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 / ATK 1300 / DEF 1400). "Next," she stated, "I'll play my Spell Card Palenque Sarcophagus, which allows me to draw two more cards, since I have a Chronomaly monster on the field!" After taking her two cards, Sunset then added, "But I'm not done drawing cards yet: Next, I'll play... my Pot of Desires!"

"Wait, Pot of Desires?!?" exclaimed Octavia.

Everyone was surprised by the Spell Card Sunset played, except for Twilight, who wasn't familiar with the card at all. "Um... what's that card?" the Princess of Friendship asked the others.

"It's a very rare card, Twilight dear." Rarity explained to her. "Not to mention that it can be a very risky card to use."

"Why's that?" asked Spike, also curious.

"Well, it DOES allow the person who plays it t' draw two more cards from their Deck..." Applejack stated. "But it ALSO forces them t' banish the top ten cards of their deck face-down."

"TEN cards?!" asked a shocked Twilight. "But if her Deck has forty cards, then that means she's getting rid of more than 25 percent of it with just that one card!"

"True, but if she draws what she needs right now, then the loss of those cards may not matter." Luna told the purple-skinned girl.

"I hope she knows what she's doin'..." Rainbow Dash said, a little worried.

"Of course she does, Dashie!" Pinkie said to her cyan friend. She then looked ahead at the Duel and thought to herself, (At least... I hope she does.)

Sunset Shimmer then drew her two new cards (after banishing even more of them) and took a glance at what she managed to pull. Satisfied with what she got, the red-and-yellow girl placed the cards in her hand for the moment. "For my next move," she began to say, "I'll use Golden Jet's effect, which increases the Levels of all of my Chronomaly monsters by one each!" (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: Level 4 + 1 = 5) (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 + 1 = 5)

"Now she's got two Level 5 monsters..." Rainbow Dash noted. "Is she gonna bring out one of her Number cards now?"

"Probably not right now." Rarity stated. "She might want to save them for when Vinyl decides to Summon hers."

Rarity's words were indeed true as Sunset played her next card. "Next I'll Special Summon my Chronomaly Moai in Defense Mode, since I currently control a Chronomaly monster!" With that, her giant Easter Island head statue monster rose up from the ground in front of her (Chronomaly Moai: Level 5 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1600). "That gives me three Level 5 monsters now!"

"Th-THREE of them?!" exclaimed Vinyl, sweating a little.

"Now I overlay Chronomaly Moai, Chronomaly Nebra Disk, and Chronomaly Golden Jet... and create the Overlay Network!!" Sunset shouted. Her three monsters turned into a trio of lights - one orange and two yellow - that flew into a red summoning portal in the middle of the field. "Activate now, mighty machine!" the jacket-clad girl chanted. "Grind your gears! Move the earth! Bury my opponent and leave no stone unturned! Xyz Summon!! Rank 5! Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry!!"

With the chant complete, Sunset played her most powerful Xyz Monster. Its engines revved, its exhaust pipes smoked, and its diggers were ready to get to work on Vinyl and her monsters (Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry: Rank 5 / ATK 3200 / DEF 2000 / OLU 3).

"Alright!! She got Digvorzhak onto the field!!" cheered Pinkie Pie.

"Let 'er have it, Sunset!!" Applejack shouted to her friend.

Sunset nodded to her friend and turned her attention back to her opponent. "I now remove one overlay unit to activate the effect of Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry! Now you have to send the top three cards of your Deck to the Graveyard, and for every monster you lose, I get to destroy one of your cards!" (Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry: OLU 3 - 1 = 2)

Vinyl picked up her top three cards and looked at them. She then grumbled as she revealed the cards that she had to send to the Graveyard. "My cards are Zoma the Spirit, Mezuki, and Pyramid Turtle..." she told her foe.

"Then since two of the three cards were monsters, that means I can destroy two of your cards on the field!" Sunset reminded her. "I choose Vampire Kingdom and Gozuki!!" And with that, both Vinyl's monster and her Field Spell were eliminated, causing the view of the haunted town and castle to disappear, allowing the sight of the old barn to return. "Now you're defenseless, Vinyl." the red-and-yellow girl informed the vampire teenager.

"I'm afraid you are once again mistaken!" Vinyl said to her. "When Gozuki is sent to the Graveyard, I can banish any other Zombie from my Graveyard to Summon a new one from my hand! So I'll banish Vampire Baby and call forth my Vampire's Curse in Attack Mode!" Her newest monster was another vampire, this time an adult-aged man with pinkish-purple skin, short blue hair, piercing red eyes, and a pair of red bat wings. He also had long claws and wore an outfit that seemed to combine a formal suit with metallic armor (Vampire's Curse: Level 6 / ATK 2000 / DEF 800).

"Next, I activate the effect of Vampire Grace in my Graveyard!" Vinyl then told Sunset. "Since I Special Summoned a Level 5 or higher Zombie to the field, I can bring her back to the field by paying 2,000 of my Life Points!" (Vinyl Scratch: LP 4,000 - 2,000 = 2,000) She then took the card from her Duel Pad's Graveyard slot and placed it onto the field in Defense Position. The monster appeared as an elderly woman with a sheet-white face and wearing a purple dress that, while it gave her the appearance of a royal queen, it also had a sinister look with the many claw-like appendages growing all over it (Vampire Grace: Level 6 / ATK 2000 / DEF 1200).

(Hmmm... Vampire's Curse is in Attack Mode...) thought Sunset. (If I attack it, I'll inflict 1,200 points of damage to her, bringing her down to just 800 Life Points... But the problem is that Vampire's Curse can revive itself with its effect if Vinyl pays 500 more points... Then she'd have two Level 6 monsters out, which might allow her to Summon her Number... And I can't let her do that.) Coming to a decision, the otherworldly girl ordered her monster, "Digvorzhak!! Attack her Vampire Grace!! Seismic Disturbance!!" The powerful Machine-Type then revved up its diggers, shaking the ground and created a fissure that sent the royal vampire plummeting to her doom.

"Hmmmm... not bad, my dear... Not bad." Vinyl complimented. She then thought to herself, (A shame that your move won't matter...!)

"I'll end my turn by setting one card from my hand face-down." Sunset declared, placing her card onto the field. "Your move."

"I draw!!" shouted Vinyl as she drew her next card. Smirking at her new card, she then placed it into her hand and said to her foe, "You attacked my Vampire Grace last turn because you knew my other monster could revive itself, to prevent me from Summoning my Number... But I'm afraid there is NOTHING you can do stop the emergence of the ultimate creature of the undead!"

"What are you saying?!" asked Sunset, not too pleased to hear that.

"You shall see, and soon you shall ALL become my children of the night!! Just like your dear little Fluttershy!!!" cackled Vinyl. "I now activate the effect of Mezuki, which, thanks to you, is now in my Graveyard! Now all I must do is banish it from the game and I can revive any OTHER Zombie in my Graveyard! And you can probably guess which of my monsters I shall choose..."

"Let me guess..." Sunset began to say, "it's Vampire Grace, isn't it?"

"For once you are correct, my dear!" the vampire DJ confirmed. "Return, Vampire Grace!!" And with that, the regal-looking vampire return to the field quicker than Sunset eliminated it. "And now I overlay her and my Level 6 Vampire's Curse to create the Overlay Network!!" The two monster transformed into a pair of purple lights as the galaxy-like vortex drew them into itself.

"Here it comes...!" Applejack said, knowing as well as everyone else that Vinyl's Number card was about to appear.

"Arise, Number 24!!" Vinyl began to chant as the mark on her hand began glowing brighter than ever. "Emerge from the depths of the Underworld and wreak your vengeance upon these pathetic mortal souls! Xyz Summon! Ruler of the Undead! Rank 6! Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon!!"

Once the card was played, the galaxy portal exploded, leaving a red mark on the floor that resembled the number 24. The creature first emerged onto the field as a jet-black cocoon with a pair of purple orbs orbiting it. Within seconds, the cocoon opened up, revealing that they were actually a pair of black and red wings with white thorns. The creature was dragon-like in appearance, having black scales with streaks of crimson red all over it, along with skeletal-like armor upon its body. It also had bright, blonde hair on its head, and the left side of its chest displayed that same 24 mark that was on its owner's hand.

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

Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Wyrm-Type/DARK/Rank 6/ATK 2400/DEF 2800)

2 Level 6 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster on the field that was Special Summoned; change it to face-down Defense Position. If this face-up card in its owner's control is sent to your Graveyard or banished by your opponent's card effect: You can Special Summon this card in face-down Defense Position. If this card is flipped face-up: Send 1 card on the field to the Graveyard.

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

Everyone trembled a bit upon witnessing the appearance of Vinyl's Number card. "What the heck is that thing supposed to be...?" asked Rainbow Dash, sweating a little. "Is it a dragon or a vampire??"

"I believe it may be both..." Rarity answered her. "Either way, it means trouble for Sunset..."

(...Stay strong, Sunset...) Twilight urged her friend mentally. (You can get through this... Just don't let Vinyl see you sweat...)

Sunset Shimmer stared at the imposing creature that was Summoned in front of her. The Number monster let out a vicious-sounding snarl right at her as she thought to herself, (That Number card... there's something about it that seems... different compared to the other ones. Not only does it look powerful... but somehow, I can sense that there's something more malicious within it, like it's specifically after me or something...)

Chuckling, Vinyl Scratch asked her foe, "Is something the matter dear...? Don't tell me you're too... scared to face my Number in battle...?"

"Don't flatter yourself." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "You may have a Number card out, but its attack power is way lower than my monster. So I've got nothing to be scared of!"

"Hmmhmmhmmhmm... My dear, you have MUCH to be scared of." the vampire girl replied. "Don't you know that we vampires draw strength from the living in order to gain greater power? I shall show you just what I mean with this! I play the Spell Card, Riryoku!"

The rest of the group gasped. "That is not good..." Luna told the others. "Riryoku allows Vinyl to cut the attack power of any monster on the field by half!"

"Yeah, that don't sound good at all..." Applejack commented.

"Indeed it does not... because the target of my Spell Card shall be that mortal machine in front of me, Digvorzhak!!" Vinyl informed them all. As she did, the card she played caused Sunset's monster to power down as bolts of blue electricity flowed out of it (Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry: ATK 3200 ÷ 2 = 1600). "And if you thought that was bad, then hear this!" shouted the DJ-turned-vampire. "Now my Number card shall gain more strength this turn, equal to the exact amount of attack power that your monster lost!" (Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon: ATK 2400 + 1600 = 4000)

"Four thousand attack points?!" exclaimed Twilight, concerned for her friend's safety.

"Aiyiyi!! This isn't gonna be pretty!" Pinkie said, trembling a little.

Vinyl chuckled some more and stated, "And while that hopelessness sinks in, I shall drive my stake further into your heart, so to speak..." Tapping her Duel Pad's screen, she then shouted, "I activate the Continuous Trap, Coffin Seller!"

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

Coffin Seller
(Continuous Trap Card)

Each time a monster(s) is sent to your opponent's Graveyard: Inflict 300 damage to your opponent.

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

"Now go, Dragulas!!" shouted Vinyl. "Attack her monster!! Midnight Haze!!!" The dragon-like creature roared loudly as a toxic, purple mist flowed from its mouth. The fog enveloped both Sunset and her monster, destroying it and dealing a unhealthy dose of damage to the otherworldly girl's Life Points (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000 - 2,400 = 1,600).

"Sunset!! Are you okay?!" asked Twilight out of concern.

Getting back onto her feet, she answered her, saying, "For now, I am... but if she gets me a few more times like that, it's all over...!"

"Quite right, my dear... and one of those 'few more times' shall happen right now!" Vinyl informed her. "Now that your monster has been sent to its eternal rest, my Trap Card shall sink its fangs into you as well!" As she said that, a purple bolt shot out from underneath Sunset, taking more of her Life Points away (Sunset Shimmer: LP 1,600 - 300 = 1,300). "That is because every time monsters are sent to your Graveyard, my Trap inflicts three hundred more points of damage to you automatically!"

"That's not fair at all!!" shouted Rainbow Dash. "If that keeps up, Sunset'll lose!"

"There is still some hope, Ms. Dash." Luna commented. "Luckily for Ms. Shimmer, Coffin Seller ONLY damages the player for every time a monster is sent to her Graveyard; NOT for each monster. In other words, even though three of her monsters were sent to the Graveyard this turn - Digvorzhak and its remaining Xyz Materials - she still only took 300 points of damage, because they were all eliminated at the exact same time."

"That's good to hear, I suppose..." Rarity replied. "But with so few Life Points remaining, all Vinyl has to do is destroy a few more of her monsters and this Duel will be over..."

"She'll find a way to win, for sure...!" Octavia said confidently. "She saved me from a Number's control, and I know she will do the same for my dear friend as well."

"I agree, Octavia." Twilight told her. "We've just gotta keep hoping that she'll pull through!" As she said that, Utopia, watching the Duel from the depths of her mind, nodded to say he agreed with her completely.

"Make your next move, Sunset dear!" Vinyl told her foe. "So that I can come one step closer to bringing back the age of the vampires!"

"The only thing you'll come closer to is me getting that Number away from you!" the jacket-clad teen responded, drawing her next card. She then looked at the card, seeing that it was another copy of her Nebra Disk. (Good start so far... this will help me get one of the cards I need to win this... it just all depends on my next draw... I just have to pray that my plan works in time.) She then played her newly-drawn card and declared, "I Summon Nebra Disk in Attack Mode! And I'll use its effect to take Chronomaly Tula Guardian from my Deck!"

"Hmph... how boring. Just give in already." Vinyl told her. "Whatever you're planning cannot possibly work!"

After taking her chosen card from her Deck, Sunset then replied back, saying, "Let's see if you think that after I activate my Trap Card! Go, Xyz Reborn!! This card brings back an Xyz Monster from my Graveyard and attaches itself as an Overlay Unit to that revived monster!" She then took her chosen monster out of the Graveyard and placed it onto the field as she shouted, "Return to the field! Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry!!" And with that, her powerful Machine-Type monster came back to the battle field, equipped with the very card that revived it as an Overlay Unit (Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry: OLU 0 + 1 = 1).

"This is it!" cheered Applejack. "If she can activate Digvorzhak's ability again, she might be able t' take down that Number card!"

"Perhaps... but she shall not have that chance!" Vinyl informed them. "I activate the effect of Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon!! By removing one Overlay Unit, I can change any Special Summoned monster to Defense Mode and flip it face-down!!" And after sending one of the cards underneath her Xyz Monster to the Graveyard (Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon: OLU 2 - 1 = 1), the dragon-like monster's eyes began to glow bright-red, which caused a red aura to surround Sunset's Xyz Monster and forced it to change modes.

"No...! If it's face-down, Sunset can't use its effect!" Rainbow Dash stated. "That was her only chance to get out of this!"

"I'm not so sure about that..." Twilight told her.

"Huh? Whad'ya mean, Twi?" asked the athletic girl.

"I don't think Sunset's completely out of options just yet, Rainbow." the young Princess replied. "Something tells me she has a different plan in mind... What it is, I'm not sure of, but she must have a plan of some sort."

"I agree with you, Twilight." Octavia said with a nod. "This Duel is not as hopeless as it seems... Or at least, it had better not be... Or we are all in trouble."

Sunset then looked over her hand, determined not to give up, even in such a precarious situation. (Since she flipped my monster into Defense Mode, she'll be able to destroy it next turn...) she thought. (She might even be able to get another monster out to attack my Nebra Disk... At the very least, I'll need to protect Nebra Disk so that I don't lose any more Life Points.) Playing another card from her hand, Sunset declared, "I play Chronomaly Pyramid Eye Tablet from my hand! This grants all of my Chronomaly monsters an extra 800 attack points!" (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: ATK 1800 + 800 = 2600)

"Hmmmm... meaning that my Number card cannot defeat your weaker monster on my next turn, because its attack power is too high." Vinyl replied, not seeming to care in the slightest. "I suppose that's the best you can come up with, seeing as how I completely ruined any chance you had at winning and saving your friend Fluttershy..."

"Don't start celebrating your victory just yet, Vinyl." Sunset told her. "Because I'm not planning to lose! Go, Nebra Disk!! Attack Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon!!"

Vinyl grumbled a bit as Sunset's monster struck hers. "You fool!! Numbers can only be destroyed by OTHER Numbers!!" she reminded her foe.

"But you'll still take the damage!!" Sunset informed her opponent as Nebra Disk bounced off of Vinyl's monster and returned to her side of the field (Vinyl Scratch: LP 2,000 - 200 = 1,800).

"Hmph... that move was pointless! This Duel, and all of you, shall be mine!! Now I draw!!" The vampiric DJ then looked at her next card and played it, saying, "I play Gift of Transcendence!! By banishing two Zombies from my Graveyard, I am permitted to draw two additional cards from my Deck! Pyramid Turtle and Vampire Grace, I release your spirits from the grave!!" After removing her monsters, Vinyl then drew more cards from her Deck.

"Don't forget, Vinyl:" Sunset reminded her. "The card ALSO states that this turn, you can't Special Summon anything except Zombie-Type monsters, and they have to come from your Graveyard."

"Hmph... that limitation is meaningless. I have everything I need to almost ensure my victory!" Vinyl replied. "I NORMAL Summon Blue-Blooded Oni!" Her next monster was a large, blue-winged bat with a skeletal-like appearance and beady yellow eyes (Blue-Blooded Oni: Level 4 / ATK 1000 / DEF 1700). "Of course, due to his effect, my new monster automatically switches to Defense Mode, but that is fine with me, because I can still use his effect! By removing my Dragulas's remaining Overlay Unit, I can revive any Level 4 or lower Zombie from my Graveyard! And I choose Gozuki!!"

At that moment, Vinyl's Number Card then transferred its last Overlay Unit to Blue-Blooded Oni (Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon: OLU: 1 - 1 = 0). Drawing from the Overlay Unit's power, the bat-like creature opened up a violet portal, and out of it came the vampire girl's hammer-wielding ox creature.

"She now has two Level 4 monsters, which is enough for an Xyz Summon." Luna pointed out. "But because Vinyl played Gift of Transcendence, she is not permitted to Special Summon anything outside of her Graveyard this turn."

"Which means Sunset has to defeat her next turn, or it's all done!" Applejack stated.

Taking the other new card that she drew, Vinyl told her foe, "Next, I shall equip Gozuki with Axe of Despair! This axe, forged in the darkest pits of the Underworld will increase Gozuki's attack power by a thousand!" After playing the card, Gozuki's hammer vanished and was replaced with an oversized axe with what appeared to be a shrunken head where the blade was attached (Gozuki: ATK 1700 + 1000 = 2700).

"Oh my GOODNESS!!" shrieked Rarity. "That weapon looks HIDEOUS!!"

"You don't have to tell me twice, Rarity..." Pinkie Pie chimed in.

"Now, Dragulas!!" shouted the vampire girl. "Unleash your wrath upon her face-down monster and send it back to the grave!!" The vicious dragon-like monster spewed its toxic vapor once more, eliminating Sunset's Digvorzhak for the second turn in a row. "And now my Coffin Seller shall continue to weaken you, now that your monster is destroyed!!"

"Urrrrrgh...!!" grunted the red-and-yellow girl as her Life Points got even lower (Sunset Shimmer: LP 1,300 - 300 = 1,000).

"And I am not finished yet!" Vinyl shouted. "Gozuki shall attack next!! Destroy her Nebra Disk!!" The ox creature then slashed his axe and sliced Sunset's remaining monster in half. The otherworldly girl lost more Life Points: A few from the attack (Sunset Shimmer: LP 1,000 - 100 = 900), and a few more from Vinyl's Trap Card (Sunset Shimmer: LP 900 - 300 = 600).

"To end my turn, I shall use Gozuki's effect and send my Vampire Duke straight to the Graveyard." Vinyl stated, doing just that. "On my next turn, I shall use Blue-Blooded Oni and Gozuki to Summon an Xyz Monster to finish you off! So feel free to surrender now... or fight on hopelessly. Either way, my next turn shall be your undoing!! Hahahahaaa!!"

But when Sunset drew her next card and took a look at it, she snickered a little, smiled and told her opponent, "Sorry, but there won't BE a next turn!"

"What?! What nonsense are you spouting this time?!" yelled the vampiric teenager. "You have only 600 Life Points left, and over half of your Deck has been eliminated! But the best part of it is that YOU destroyed your own Deck and left yourself completely powerless to fight back!"

"...Or maybe I was just thinning out the cards in my Deck to make it easier to draw the card I needed right now." Sunset suddenly revealed to her.

"Wh-WHAT?!?" exclaimed Vinyl, not expecting to hear that.

"I knew it!" Twilight said happily. "That's why Sunset was taking all of those cards out of her Deck! She was trying to draw a specific card that she needed! And the best way to do that is to take away almost all of the other cards first!"

"That's amazing!" said Octavia. "I knew she had something planned, but I would not have guessed something like that!"

But Vinyl was not happy to hear that. "You... you were planning this from the very beginning, weren't you?!" she snarled.

"You've got it." the jacket-clad teen confirmed. "And my plan worked, because I drew just what I was hoping for! I play the Field Spell, Chronomaly City Babylon!!" And after she activated it, the entire area transformed into a floating arena in the bright, sunny sky.

"Urrrgh...!! Stop this...!!" groaned Vinyl, covering her face. "I can't stand it...!! The light...! It burns...!!"

"Oh, stop with the drama already, Vinyl. You're perfectly fine." Sunset told her, not impressed with the act. "You're not a vampire, you never were, nor will you ever be one. That Number card of yours is only making you THINK you're a vampire, get it?"

In a brief moment of sanity, Vinyl Scratch uncovered her face, noticing that she was indeed, perfectly fine. The sunlight generated from the Augmented Reality field wasn't really hurting her. "I... I don't get it..." she muttered to herself, still not totally believing what was going on.

"Well, you'll get it soon enough, Vinyl." Sunset told her opponent. "And after you do, you and Fluttershy will be yourselves again! Now back to the Duel!" Taking another card from her hand, she then declared, "Since there's a Field Spell Card in play, I can now Special Summon Chronomaly Tula Guardian in Attack Mode!" Not long afterwards, her blue stone giant rose up from the ground and appeared beside his master (Chronomaly Tula Guardian: Level 5 / ATK 1800 + 800 = 2600 / DEF 900). "Next," she continued, "I activate the effect of Chronomaly City Babylon: By banishing Chronomaly Moai Carrier from my Graveyard, I can bring back a different Chronomaly monster from my Graveyard that's the same Level!"

Now Vinyl was the one getting scared as she began to ask, "You don't mean...?"

"It means that, since Moai Carrier is a Level 5 monster, I can bring back another Level 5 monster!" Sunset answered her "And I'll choose Chronomaly Winged Sphinx!!" And in an instant, a violet portal opened up in the ground, allowing her flying sphinx monster to emerge onto the field (Chronomaly Winged Sphinx: Level 5 / ATK 1600 + 800 = 2400 / DEF 1900). "Of course, Winged Sphinx wouldn't have been in the Graveyard if your Crush Card Virus didn't put it there at the very start of the Duel. And by the way, it was because of your virus card that I came up with my plan in the first place."

"N-no!!" shrieked Vinyl, knowing that she was in trouble now.

"But my plan wasn't just to simply to get what I needed from my Deck this turn." the black jacket-wearing teen informed her opponent. "It was also to get you to drop your guard. By making you THINK that I was destroying my own Deck recklessly, you started getting over-confident. And once I saw you use up your Number card's last Overlay Unit, I knew now was the time to fight back!"

"That's... that's impossible!!" screamed Vinyl. "There's no way you could have possibly thought that far ahead!!"

"Believe whatever you want, but this ends now." Sunset told her. "And since your monster can't use its effect to switch the monster I'm about to Summon to Defense Mode, I can now defeat it!" Raising her hand up into the air, she shouted, "I overlay Tula Guardian and Winged Sphinx, both Level 5, and create the Overlay Network!!" Everyone watched as both of Sunset's monsters transformed into a pair of orange lights that were sucked into a galaxy-like portal.

"Emerge, Number 33! Mysterious machine of ancient times, come forth and unleash your power upon my foes!" the jacket-clad teen chanted. "Xyz Summon!! Megalopolis of monsters! Rank 5! Chronomaly Machu Mech!!" She then placed her Number card on the Duel Pad's tray. This in turn, caused the summoning portal to explode in a flash of light, leaving behind a violet 33 symbol. From above, Sunset's powerful flying fortress immediately appeared on the field (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: Rank 5 / ATK 2400 / DEF 1500 / OLU 2).

"Yeah! She got a Number out!!' Rainbow Dash cheered.

"Indeed. And she chose a perfect time to Summon it, as well." Luna noted. "Sunset had many opportunities to play one of her Number cards, but she wisely decided to hold off on Summoning one until the time was right."

Octavia was just happy that Sunset would be able to save Vinyl from the force controlling her at last. "Do what you must do, Ms. Shimmer." the sepia-skinned girl told her. "Defeat that Number and save my friend!"

Sunset nodded and looked back at her opponent, who was now getting a little more worried after Machu Mech appeared. "Alright, Vinyl... your time as a vampire is over, because I'm planning to defeat that Number and wipe out your Life Points on this turn!!"

"A-and how do you plan to... do that??" asked the wannabe vampire.

"Just watch: First off, since my Pyramid Eye Tablet is still on the field, Machu Mech gains 800 more attack points!" Sunset told her (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: ATK 2400 + 800 = 3200). "But that's not all! I also remove one of its Overlay Units, and activate its effect!" Sunset then took one of the monsters underneath her Number card and sent it to the Graveyard (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: OLU 2 - 1 = 1).

"Don't forget!" Vinyl interrupted. "My Coffin Seller Trap Card takes away 300 of your Life Points, since you sent one of your monster cards to the Graveyard!" (Sunset Shimmer: LP 600 - 300 = 300)

"That's nothing compared to the damage you're going to get!" said the red-and-yellow girl. "Now Machu Mech can target any of your monsters and hit you for damage equal to the difference between its current attack power and its original attack power! And I chose to target your Gozuki, which got a power boost from your Axe of Despair card!"

"WHAT?!" exclaimed the DJ, shocked by what she had just heard. But there was nothing she could do to stop Sunset's monster as it took aim and fired its cannons right at Vinyl, inflicting a ton of damage on her (Vinyl Scratch: LP 1,800 - 1,000 = 800). She snarled and shouted, "I still have Life Points left!!"

"Not for long, Vinyl." Sunset told her. "After Machu Mech damages you, the Life Points you just lost are then added to its OWN attack power!" (Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech: ATK 3200 + 1000 = 4200) Smirking, she then asked her, "Sound kind of familiar? You know, about the whole, 'sucking strength from others' thing that vampires tend to do? It's not so fun when you're the one getting their power taken away, is it?"

"Th-this can't be!!" shrieked Vinyl, losing the cliché vampire-like accent and briefly returning to her normal voice. "That thing's got four thousand two hundred attack points?!? That's insane!!"

"Hey, did you girls just hear that?" asked Pinkie Pie. "Vinyl's voice is back to normal!"

"Ah guess the shock of seein' Sunset's Number card power itself up must've startled her that much." Applejack presumed.

Now that the stage was set for her victory, Sunset wasted no time in making her final move of the Duel. "Chronomaly Machu Mech!" she ordered her monster. "Destroy her Vampiric Dragon!! Flaming Meteor Meltdown!!!" The giant fortress aimed its cannons again, this time at Vinyl's Number card. In but a split-second, the fortress gunned down the frightening dragon and reduced it to ashes.

"AAAAAAAAAGHHHHHH!!!!" screamed Vinyl as a portion of the massive explosion struck her, causing her last remaining Life Points to be depleted (Vinyl Scratch: LP 800 - 1,800 = 0) (WINNER: Sunset Shimmer). The force of the explosion caused her tattered cape to fly off into a dark corner of the barn. As for Vinyl herself, she fainted to the floor as the dark fog lifted from her body. At that same time, Fluttershy - who had been standing motionless and expressionless during the entire Duel - let out a tired sigh and fainted as well.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
One Hour Later...
---------------------------------------------------------------------

"...I think she's coming to..."

"Yeah, her fingers are starting to twitch a little...!"

"Hey, look! Her eyes are opening!"

"Huh... wha...?" moaned the voice of Vinyl Scratch as she slowly opened her eyes. Her vision was a bit blurry at first, but once her eyes had adjusted to the lights around her, she saw several people looking over her: Sunset, Twilight, Octavia, and the rest of their friends were are huddled around her. "What...? Huh...?" she groaned, feeling as though she was up all night.

"Alright! She's awake!" Applejack said happily. "Y'all had us worried fer a bit there, Vinyl."

"Huh...? Worried...?" Vinyl said hazily.

Octavia, who had tears in her eyes from the joy of seeing her best friend back to her old self, asked the young DJ, "Are you alright, Vinyl? Please tell me that you are!"

"Tavi??" Vinyl asked. Answering her friend's question, she told her, "I guess I'm fine... But what's going on? Where am I?"

"In my office at school." said the voice of a young adult woman that had just walked into the room. She had pure-white skin, much like Rarity's, had short pink hair done up into a cute little bun, bright baby-blue eyes, and wore a typical nurse's uniform, complete with a white cap with a red cross-shape printed upon it.

"We brought you over to see Nurse Redheart after you and Fluttershy had fainted." Twilight told her.

"Fainted...? Me and Fluttershy?" asked Vinyl. She then let out a horrified gasp as everything finally came back to her. "That's right!" she exclaimed. "I remember now!! I thought I was a vampire and I brainwashed Fluttershy!! Wh-where is she?! Please tell me that I didn't hurt her!! Please tell me that I didn't suck her blood or something like that!"

"Relax, she's right over there, Vinyl." Sunset told her, pointing to a bed next to the one that the young DJ was lying down upon. Vinyl and the others glanced over to see the animal-loving girl resting peacefully. "Fluttershy's not hurt at all." the red-and-yellow girl explained, holding up a a small object to show Vinyl. "There's no way you could suck anyone's blood with these fake vampire teeth."

"She had actually woken up before you did." Rarity added. "But she started to feel tired and the Nurse decided that it was best for her to rest and conserve her energy until she feels better."

"We already let her parents know that the two of you are alright, so ya don't have t' worry about that either." Rainbow Dash stated.

Sighing out of relief, the electric blue-haired teen said to herself, "That's good t' hear... I wouldn't have forgiven myself if I did anything really bad to her after going crazy like that..."

"Speaking of which, you have a bit of explaining to do, Vinyl..." Octavia began to tell her friend in a sort of mom-like tone of voice, which she only used when Vinyl or anyone else did something foolish. "You saw what happened to me after I mistakenly picked up a Number card... So why, against any sort of good judgment, did YOU take one for yourself??"

"Huh? Number card? What Number card?" asked Vinyl Scratch, confused.

Sunset reached into her Deck box and showed Vinyl the Number card that she had used in their Duel. "This Number card was what caused you to believe that you were a vampire, and it allowed you the power to take over Fluttershy's mind and turn her into your servant." she explained to her. "Once we tracked it down, I dueled you for it and won. But why did you have it in the first place after you saw just how dangerous they were?"

Staring at the card in Sunset's hand, she tried to recall exactly when she may have picked it up... but she then told them, "But... that's impossible... I don't remember ever picking up a Number card."

The others were startled and confused by what she was saying... except for Twilight and Applejack. "Call me crazy, girls," the farmer girl began to say, "but Ah don't think she's fibbin'..."

"She isn't?" asked Octavia.

"I agree with Applejack." Twilight said with a nod. "If Vinyl had seen just how powerful the Numbers' corruption was for herself, she'd never willingly pick one up and risk having the same thing done to her."

"But, if she didn't pick it up herself," Sunset began to inquired, "then how did she get one? There's no possible way, unless-" She then cut her thoughts short when she came to a horrifying realization: "...Unless someone PLANTED it on her without her knowing it...!"

The others gasped after hearing that. "How horrible!" Rarity exclaimed. "Do you really think someone could do that?"

"It's the only other way that Vinyl would have gotten a Number card..." the jacket-clad teen told her. "That's why the window in the guest bedroom was open: Because someone opened it from the outside and came in."

"All of that just to give Vinyl a cursed trading card?" asked Pinkie Pie. "But why? And who?? Aiyiyi, this is too weird and confusing...!"

"And what's more, how is it that the Number card reacted to Vinyl's thoughts and feelings instead of the one that originally had it?" asked Rarity. "Wouldn't the card have already bonded itself to the intruder before they got to Vinyl?"

"Yeah, that's a good point, Rarity..." Sunset said, humming to herself. "Pinkie's right about this whole thing being weird and confusing." She then told her friends, "The only thing that I can say for sure... is that someone seemed to be out to get us."

"Us? Why??" asked Applejack.

"Because the intruder broke into Fluttershy's home." the red-and-yellow girl explained. "They probably planned on planting this Number card on her. But they ended up giving it to Vinyl instead, probably because it was too dark in the room for them to tell that it wasn't Fluttershy."

"I gotta admit... that's kinda scary when ya think about it..." Rainbow Dash stated. "They went after Fluttershy, but it could've just as easily been any one of us, too!" Rarity and Octavia shivered a bit after hearing that, knowing first-hand just how dangerous Number cards were, having been possessed by them before.

"Woah... so the only reason I got that card was just 'cause I was in the wrong place at the wrong time?" asked Vinyl Scratch. Thinking about it some more, she then added, "That IS scary..."

"It's all my fault..." Octavia said, sniffling a little. "If it hadn't been for that argument I had with you, none of this would have ever happened... Forgive me, Vinyl."

"Hey, lighten up Tavi." the DJ replied, smiling warmly. "Don't go beatin' yourself up over this. There's no way any of us would've known about any of this! Besides, if I hadn't been there, then Fluttershy would've gotten possessed by that Number instead of me. Yeah, I did brainwash her, so she still got sorta possessed, but I think we can all agree that her getting that card would've been way worse. So, at the very least, I'm glad that it was me and not her."

"Oh my... That was... oddly mature of you to say that, Vinyl." said Octavia, impressed by what she had heard from her friend and roommate. "I suppose you aren't as uncouth as I thought you were."

"And what's that supposed t' mean, Octy?" asked Vinyl, slightly annoyed by that comment.

"...Never mind." the cello playing teen said. She then asked her friend, "So... are we still friends? Even after our argument yesterday?" She then put out her hand, offering a handshake.

Chuckling a little, Vinyl shook her hand and told her, "Of course we are. You can't get rid of me THAT easily, Tavi. We're stickin' together like glue!" Octavia chuckled, happy to hear that everything would be okay.

"We've gotta head back to our classes for now." Sunset told Vinyl. "The nurse said that you and Fluttershy should just stay here and take it easy for the rest of the day."

"Sounds good t' me..." the electric blue-haired girl replied, yawning a little. "I didn't sleep a wink last night, so a little nap'll do me some good. Anyway, I think I'll be just fine right now."

"Then I suppose we shall see the two of you after school then." Octavia told her. "Have a good rest, my friend."

After they left, Vinyl fluffed up her pillow and prepared to take that long-overdue snooze. But then she felt a bit of un-comfortableness on her body and took a moment to glance at herself. She then finally saw the dress that she had been wearing while she still believed that she was a vampire. "Yuck... THIS was what I was wearin' this whole time??" she asked herself. "Man, I MUST have been crazy to wear something like this...!" For now, though she decided to ignore it and laid down onto the bed to sleep, just like Fluttershy on the bed next to her.

Watching from a nearby window, a cloaked figure - the same one that had paid Vinyl a visit last night - lifted the hood of their cloak, revealing their face. It was an older teen, possibly eighteen or nineteen years old, with dark-grey skin, long purple hair, and purple eyes with light-blue eye-shadow. "Hmph... well, so much for that plan." she said to herself. "And now that they're aware of it, it will be impossible to attempt this again." Smirking to herself, she then added, "No matter... There will be other times. Soon enough, we'll have them all groveling for mercy before our power." The stranger then slipped away without being noticed, her destination and motive known only to her... for now.

-- To Be Continued...

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

NUMBERS OBTAINED:

Sunset Shimmer (11 Numbers total):

- Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon

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

PreviousChapters Next