• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,323 Views, 977 Comments

My Little Pony: Friendship is Numerous - Monty Eggman



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

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Author's Note:

Behold, my (second) biggest episode yet! Lots of things happen here, and a few new faces will pop up as well. This will all be leading up to some major plot revelations in the next few episodes, so be prepared for big surprises! Enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

And if you're reading this after today, I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving already. :raritywink:

RANK 20: Everypony Loves Kung-Fu Fighting:
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THE STORY SO FAR...:
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In Canterlot High School, every student is wild over the world's most popular trading card game: Duel Monsters! Every day, players of the card game, known as "Duelists", go head-to-head to see who among them is the best around. Among the Duelists in attendance at CHS, one of the best is a young teenager named Sunset Shimmer, a girl from another world...

Yesterday, Sunset and her friends woke up to a crisis: Fluttershy had disappeared, and at first, it seemed that Vinyl Scratch - an up-and-coming DJ and friend to Octavia Melody - was the culprit. After some investigation, Sunset and the others had located their missing friends, and discovered that Vinyl had obtained a Number card: Number 24: Dragulas the Vampiric Dragon. Its corruptive powers caused Vinyl to think that she was a real vampire, and that power allowed her to brainwash Fluttershy in order to draw out Sunset and the others. She then planned to transform everyone in the world into vampires and establish a new kingdom for herself.

Luckily, Sunset Shimmer managed to stop Vinyl's plans after defeating her in a Duel and taking away the Number card that controlled her mind and body. Once she returned to normal, Vinyl remembered everything that had happened... except for picking up the Number card in the first place. Sunset then decided that Vinyl did not willingly obtain the card, hypothesizing that someone must have planted it on her without her knowing.

Who gave the Number card to Vinyl? And why are they after Sunset and her friends? These questions and more have been floating around in Sunset's mind for a while, and she's ready to start getting to the bottom of it all...

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It was nighttime in Canterlot City, and most of the residents of the metropolis had already turned in for the night. This included the tenants of the apartment building run by Manny Roar. Among those already fast asleep in their beds were Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle, who both shared the humongous queen-size bed in the bedroom. After a long day of classes, homework, and a little bit of dueling practice with their friends, the two girls from Equestria were tuckered out and sleepng soundly, resting up for the very next day.

Though their bodies were virtually motionless in their sleep, their minds were still running. Twilight in particular was snoozing peacefully as she literally drifted off into Dreamland. In her dream, she was surrounded by light-pink and light-yellow clouds with a lilac-colored sky above. The young Princess - in her pony form and not her human form for this dream - stood at the edge of a bright-red diving board reaching high into the air and overlooking an Olympic-sized swimming pool. However, instead of water, the pool was filled to the brim with books that had brightly-colored covers.

Taking a deep, relaxing breath, Twilight smiled to herself and said, "I love it when I have this dream... It always relaxes me, even after the most stressful days." The purple-coated Alicorn spread her wings, hopped a few times into the air and shouted, "Here I come!!! GERONIMO!!!", before taking a swan dive off of the board and plummeting head-first into the pool of books. After a second or two, Twilight poked her head out, smiled and stated, "That was so exhilarating!! Pinkie was right: yelling that name really DOES pump you up for a dive! ...Even if I have no idea who this Geronimo actually is..."

Twilight casually paddled her way across the book pool with her hind legs, reading one of the books as she did so. "It's a good thing that this is just a dream:" she said to herself. "Diving into a pool of books would probably hurt in real life... Not to mention that it's quite impossible to actually swim around in such a pool to begin with. Ah, the wonders that can happen through REM sleep..."

Just then, the Princess of Friendship heard some muffled shouting from somewhere nearby. Taking her nose out of the book she was reading, Twilight looked around and asked herself, "What was that? It sounded like somepony was yelling or something..." Gently putting her book down with the others, she then called out, "Hello!? Is anypony there?! If so, then shout as loud as you can!!"

More muffled shouts, louder than the last time, were heard after Twilight made her request. Figuring out where the sounds were coming from, Twilight swam over to the source of the noise and began digging through the thousands of books in the pool to try and reach whoever it was that was buried underneath them. "Hang on!! I'll get you out there! I promise!!" she assured the unknown individual. But after she managed to unearth the stranger, the young Princess was surprised to see who it was. "...Sunset? Is that you??"

It was none other Sunset Shimmer that had been calling for help. And just like Twilight, she was in her pony form and not her human form. Taking several deep, exhausted-sounding breaths, the red and yellow Unicorn said, "Thanks... thanks for getting me out of there..." But when she opened her eyes and looked over at the pony who saved her, she was surprised to see that it was Twilight. "Huh? What are you doing here, Twilight? And how are you back in your pony form?"

"I was going to ask you that, Sunset." the purple Alicorn replied.

Sunset took a moment to look at herself, surprised to find that she, too, had changed her appearance. "Wha... what happened to me??" she asked, not understanding what was going on. "What's going on? Where are we??"

"Relax, Sunset... We're just in a dream." Twilight explained to her friend. "That's why everything doesn't make a lot of sense right now."

"...Oh, okay." Sunset replied, chuckling a little to herself. "For a second there, I thought I was going crazy." Looking at herself and rubbing her fine coat, she then added, "Wow, it... kinda feels weird not wearing anything right now. I guess after a few years of living in the other world, you start getting used to its customs."

"Well, it looks like that necklace of yours is still there." Twilight pointed out.

Taking the piece of jewelry into her right front hoof, the red and yellow pony looked at it and responded, saying, "Yeah, I wonder why that is... Then again, this thing does all sorts of weird stuff, I barely even notice anymore." She then asked her friend, "So... what am I doing in one of YOUR dreams, Twilight? Is it... normal for you to dream about me...?"

"What? No, of course not!" the Princess of Friendship quickly told her. "Normally, what happens in this dream is that I dive off of the diving board into this pool of books and I just swim around for a while until I wake up in real life. I'm almost always by myself here."

"Oh... okay then." Sunset responded. "For a minute, I thought... well, never mind. It's not important." She then asked, "Well, if I'm normally not in this dream of yours, then how am I here now? It seems impossible..."

"Oh come now... don't you know the first rule of the Dreamworld?" asked a strange-sounding voice, seemingly out of nowhere. "In this realm, the impossible is QUITE possible!"

"Huh?? Wh-who was that?" asked Sunset, looking around frantically and trying to figure out who made that remark.

Twilight groaned a little: She immediately recognized the voice as soon as it spoke to them. "Oh no... I should have figured it was him..." she said to herself.

"Who's 'him'?" asked the red and yellow pony.

"SURPRISE!!!!" shouted a cheerful and slightly-mischievous sounding voice as a colorful explosion, similar to a firework, suddenly appeared before both ponies. Behind the explosion was a rather... bizarre-looking creature. He appeared to be a draconequus, combining parts of many different animals: His head resembled a horse, but had yellow eyes with red pupils, along with bushy eyebrows, a short, white beard, and a small fang poking out from his mouth. He had two different animals' antlers on his head; one from a deer and the other from an antelope. His right arm was a lion's paw, and his left arm was a bird's talon. His long body had brown fur, and it ended with a red tail that may have come from either a dragon or a fish. His right leg was from some sort of reptilian creature, and the left leg appeared to resemble that of a gazelle. On his back were two wings: One from a bird, and the other from a bat.

Needless to say, Sunset was... confused by this bizarre creature. "...What in the name of Equestria is that...?" she asked.

Sighing, Twilight answered her friend, telling her, "That's Discord."

After hearing the creature's name, Sunset then recalled hearing about it while she was still a student of Princess Celestia. "Wait, you don't mean THAT Discord, do you Twilight??" she asked, shocked. "The same one that tried to conquer Equestria over a thousand years ago?! What's he doing here?!? I thought he was still a statue!!"

After hearing that, Twilight then realized that she had never told Sunset about the recent events involving Discord. "Oh... I guess I forgot to mention it the last time I was here. Sorry, Sunset." the Princess of Friendship said, rubbing the back of her head.

"Mention what?" asked the red and yellow Unicorn.

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A few minutes later...
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"...So after everything was said and done, Discord agreed to use his powers to help other ponies instead of causing problems." Twilight said to Sunset, telling her all about how the draconequus had been released from his statuesque state; first by accident, and then on purpose with Princess Celestia's help.

"I don't believe it..." Sunset remarked, surprised by what she had just heard. "I never would have thought that Princess Celestia, of all ponies, would ever decide to do such a thing... But I guess she does have a knack for seeing the good in others."

"Hmph, I'm disappointed, Twilight..." Discord told the young Princess with a huff. "We've been friends for almost two years now, and you didn't even think to say a word about me to any of your OTHER friends? For shame, Twilight... for shame."

"Okay, you don't have to rub it in, Discord." Twilight responded. "But I guess you're right about one thing: I should have told Sunset about you a while ago."

"Hm? Hold on... Sunset?" asked the draconequus. "That name sort of a rings a bell..." He then pulled out a bell from a... pocket on his body and rung it.

At that moment, ANOTHER Discord appeared in a puff of smoke right next to the original one. However, this one was wearing a pair of thick glasses. "I came as soon as you called, Boss!" the second Discord said to the first. "What'cha need?"

"Bring me all of the information you have on somepony named Sunset." the first Discord instructed him.

"Right away, Boss!" the second Discord replied with a salute. He then grabbed the top of his head and appeared to unscrew it, as if it were the cap on a container. After fully removing his head, the second Discord held his own head in his left arm while his right arm reached into the opening at the top of his neck. Twilight and Sunset just stood there, not sure what to make of this bizarre scene.

"Let's see here, now..." the glasses-wearing draconequus mumbled to himself. "No... no that's not it... not it... not it... nope, not that one... Aha!! THERE it is!!" He then pulled his right arm out of his neck, pulling out a yellow folder full of papers. Screwing his head back on, he presented the folder to the first Discord and told him, "Here you go!"

"Ah, thank you." the first draconequus replied, taking the folder. "That will be all, then. Goodbye. Oh, and tell your wife and kids I said hi." The second Discord nodded before vanishing in another puff of smoke. Discord then opened the folder and paged through all of the papers inside. After reading them for a while, he then exclaimed, "Oh, of COURSE!! Now I remember that name!!" Looking over at the red and yellow pony, he said to her, "So YOU'RE the Sunset Shimmer that I've been hearing about: Celestia's FORMER prodigy!" Putting his right arm out and offering a handshake, he told her, "I must say, it's a pleasure to meet you at last, Ms. Shimmer."

Awkwardly accepting the handshake, Sunset replied saying, "Uhm... same here, I guess." As she shook his hand with her hoof, she asked him, "So... I guess Princess Celestia's told you about me, huh?"

"Of course she has!" the draconequus told her, suddenly appearing behind the red and yellow pony. This caused Sunset to look in front of her, seeing that the hand she was shaking wasn't attached to anyone. "And Twilight here has told me about how much you've grown up since your trip through the Multiverse."

"Uhm... I see." Sunset said, not sure how else to respond.

"Speaking of Celestia," Twilight began to ask him, "does she happen to know that you're here in my dream?"

"For the most part, yes." Discord replied. "After all, sending me to speak to you was her idea in the first place."

"Speak to me?" asked the purple Alicorn.

"Well, you know how Cellie is, Twilight." Discord said, snapping his fingers and making a wallet appear in his bird talon hand. "You were pretty much by her side for most of your life." He then opened the wallet, revealing a long string of photos depicting Twilight and Princess Celestia during the time that the two were together. "So you ought to know that, despite your many accomplishments, she still be worried about you."

"I guess I never thought about that..." the young Princess thought to herself. She then asked Discord, "And what about you? Are you worried about me, too?"

"Hm?? Who, ME?!" asked the draconequus, startled. "O-o-of course not! I... I know you'll be able to take care of... uhm, whatever it is you're here to take care of! So, no; I'm not worried! Not worried at all!"

Twilight and Sunset giggled a bit to each other a little bit, knowing that Discord was a little worried, even if he wouldn't admit it. But the Princess of Friendship did have one more question to ask him: "Wait... if you wanted to talk to me," she inquired, "why didn't you just use the mirror and come find me?"

"Because if I did that, my powers wouldn't have come with me... I thought you, of all ponies, would know that." Discord told her, acting as if it seemed obvious. "If I lost my powers, even just for a moment, I wouldn't be of much help to you. To be honest, I'm kind of at a loss if I don't have my abilities, thought I hate to admit it."

"Like when Tirek stole them after he double-crossed you?" asked Twilight.

"...Don't remind me." the draconequus replied, not amused by that comment. "I just hope that something like that doesn't happen again." He then told them, "Anyway, don't mind little old me. I'll just be here, acting as Cellie's eyes and ears to whatever it is that you're doing. I promise not to be a bother at all!"

"I guess that's okay, if Celestia asked you to do it." Twilight responded. "Just... don't mess around with anything in my brain, okay? I'd prefer to have everything stay the way it was when I got here."

"Scout's honor." Discord replied, saluting as a boy scout's uniform appeared on his body.

"Well, if that's all settled, I'm heading back to sleep." Sunset told them both. "We've got a busy day tomorrow." She then started walking away from the area that they were in.

Following her friend, Twilight looked back over to Discord and told him, "Um, goodbye for now... And tell Celestia that everything's fine."

"Of course, Twilight. You two have a nice and peaceful night!" the draconequus said, waving to the two ponies as they vanished from sight. After they were gone, Discord then said to himself. "Well, now that that's all taken care of, I'd better get started on the OTHER thing Cellie asked me to do while I was here..." He then walked off, disappearing into thin air as he did so.

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The next morning soon came, and classes had already begun at Canterlot High School. Sunset and Twilight headed off to their first class, which was Home Ec. with Mulia Mild as the instructor. The class schedule had recently moved on from cooking to sewing. Unlike with the cooking classes, Twilight had a bit of trouble with it. This was both from the fact that she wasn't good at using her fingers in a precise and skillful manner, and even if she was, Twilight had never really taken up sewing before (often times, she'd just go and see Rarity if she needed something sewn for her). Thankfully, she got help from her assigned partner: Shining Spoon, the boy that she had dueled against after he was possessed by a Number, offered to help her out, possibly to repay her for helping him that day.

"Thanks for your help Shining Spoon." the young Princess told him. "In case it wasn't obvious, sewing isn't exactly one of my best skills." She then asked, "How did you get so good at it?"

"Well, I wouldn't call myself an expert, but my mom taught me a few things after I mentioned that we'd be doing this in class." the orange-skinned boy responded.

"So, how have things been since that Duel we had?" Twilight asked him.

"Pretty good." Spoon answered. "You'll be happy to know that I told my mom and dad about how I felt about being pressured, and they understood. Now my dad promised to ease up a little on critiquing my work, and since then, I've been cooking even better food than before!"

"That's good to hear." the purple teen responded. "It's just like I said before: If they really care about your feelings, they'll understand where you're coming from." Spoon nodded to say that he understood, too.

Sunset overheard the conversation between Twilight and Shining Spoon and smiled, thinking, (Glad to hear things are going better for him, thanks to Twilight's advice... She certainly knows just how to put others at ease and help them become better people in the end... I should know; she's the whole reason that my life's gotten better... Heck, even Trixie's been treating me and other people better after Twilight fought that Duel against her...)

Several minutes later, the bell rang, indicating that the first period classes were over. Ms. Mulia looked up at the clock and told her students, "Well, it seems that classes are done for the day, everyone. We'll pick up where we left off tomorrow. Goodbye for now."

"See you tomorrow, Ms. Mulia." Twilight replied politely.

"Yeah, see you tomorrow." Sunset chimed in. The two girls, along with everybody else, left the classroom and headed for either their lockers or to their next class.

Ms. Mulia sighed a little; she did not have a class to teach during the second period (and during third period she usually helped out in the school cafeteria), so she was usually all by herself at this time. Luckily, she was never bored, and always brought some entertainment for herself during this time. After carefully glancing around to see if anyone was still in the classroom, Mulia reached into her bag and pulled out what appeared to be a DVD case, along with a portable DVD player.

After turning the player on, the teacher removed the DVD from its case and placed it into the device in front of her. About half a minute later, after Mulia was done fiddling with the menu options, the movie on the disc began to play. The title of the movie appeared, but it was written in Japanese. Below it were subtitles written in English, translating the name of the movie as, "Ninja of Red and Blue Dragons: Battle Between Flames and the Sea".

Sighing again, Mulia asked herself, "I wonder what my students would think of me if they knew I liked these sorts of movies? It seems strange, but I've always loved ninja movies when I was a girl." Chuckling to herself, she added, "I still remember that costume my mother made for me so that I could go out and play 'Ninja Battle' with the neighborhood kids..." Suddenly sitting up, the instructor then realized that she had neglected something important. "Oh dear! I almost forgot! No great ninja movie is complete without popcorn!"

Ms. Mulia walked over to the cabinets and got out a bag of popcorn for herself. She then strolled over to the overhead cupboards and opened one of them. She then pulled out a glass bowl to put the popcorn in, but as she did so, she noticed something else falling out of the cupboard with it. It was a Duel Monsters card, based on its back design. "Now what is this doing in there?" she asked herself, picking it up. "Did one of my students leave it behind...?"

But all of a sudden, a dark cloud formed around the card, and then around Mulia herself. Suddenly feeling a great amount of pressure on her head, the teacher grunted in pain and shouted, "Rrrrrrrgh...! What... what is this pain...?? What is happening??"

"Yes, Mulia... let the Number take hold..." said a sinister voice in the teacher's mind. In mere moments, the cloud that surrounded her phased itself into her body. After that, an orange mark that resembled the number 12 appeared upon the front of Mulia's left shoulder. Opening her eyes, which had changed from a bright blue to a haunting orange, she remained silent as she walked over to her DVD player and shut it off before making her way over to a sewing machine. Next to the machine were sheets of black-colored cloth, which Mulia grabbed and placed onto the table in front of her...

Hours later, towards the end of the school day, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie were rushing through the halls in a hurry to get to their fourth period class, which was with Ms. Mulia. The pair were already about two or so minutes late as they approached the door and hastily opened it. Panting heavily, Rainbow Dash said, "We're... we're here... at last..."

"Heh, fashionably late as always, huh Dash?" teased Lyra Heartstrings. "How come you're so quick during track meet, but not when you're getting to class on time?"

"Well, I would've gotten here sooner, but Pinkie just HAD t' get that chocolate bar from the vending machine!" the rainbow-haired girl told her.

Bon Bon, sitting next to her friend Lyra, put on a confused look and asked, "And how, exactly, did getting a snack from the machine hold you guys up for THAT long?"

"Well..." Rainbow began to say...

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Eight Minutes Ago...
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Rainbow Dash was shaking the oversized vending machine as best as she could, but her effort was all for naught. Wiping some sweat from her forehead, the cyan teen told her friend, "Sorry, Pinks... that candy bar's stuck in there. Looks like the machine ate your money again."

But the poofy-haired party girl wasn't giving up that easily. "Oh no it's not!" she said with a slight snarl. "Nobody gets between Pinkie and her delicious chocolate treats! I'm going in there!!"

"Pinkie, don't..." groaned Rainbow Dash as Pinkie rolled up her sleeves and stuck her right hand into the compartment at the bottom, pushing past the flapping door. Despite Dash telling her not to, Pinkie squirmed her arm through and tried to reach for the candy bar that had gotten stuck inside, which was just inches away from her fingers.

Pinkie Pie grunted and groaned as she stretched her arm as much as she could. Finally, she managed to grab the candy bar, which made her face light up. "I got it! I got it!!" she cheered. But when she tried to pull her arm back out of the machine, it wouldn't budge. Now SHE was stuck in the vending machine. "Uh oh..." she replied. "I don't think I can move my arm..."

"Not AGAIN..." the rainbow-haired girl groaned, slapping her face in slight frustration.

"Yeah... looks like it." Pinkie sighed. She then told her athletic friend, "Get the butter, Dashie... You know where it is: Top compartment of my hair, second drawer to the left." Rainbow nodded and began reaching into her friend's poofy pink hair.

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"And after that, we got here." Rainbow Dash explained, finishing her story. She then gave a slight glare at her pink friend, knowing that they were both late because of her.

"Hey! We aren't THAT late, Dashie!" Pinkie pointed out. "And besides; I NEED my before-class candy bar or I can't focus! In my book, it was all totally worth it!" As she munched on her hard-earned candy bar, she rubbed some red marks on her right arm - left behind from having been stuck inside the vending machine - grimacing a little from the slight pain.

"Well, don't feel too bad about it." Lyra told the two of them. "It's not like the teacher's gonna find out you were a bit late."

"Uhhhh... how come?" asked Rainbow.

Pointing her thumb to the front of the room where Ms. Mulia's desk was, the aqua-green girl answered her, saying, "In case ya didn't notice, Ms. Mulia's not here yet. Class can't start without her, so you two are in the clear."

"But wait a second... that's kinda weird..." Pinkie stated. "Ms. Mulia almost never leaves the classroom until school's over. So how come she's gone?"

"Hmmm..." hummed Bon Bon, rubbing her chin a little. "That does sound... unusual, to put it mildly." She then got up from her seat and began heading out of the classroom.

"And where are you off to?" Lyra asked, confused by her friend's sudden movements.

"...The Girls' Room." Bon Bon answered, hesitating a little a first. "If Ms. Mulia's not going to be here just yet, I might as well take a bathroom break instead of just sitting here and doing nothing."

"Makes sense to me!" Pinkie replied, agreeing with her (and still rubbing her sore arm).

"Alright, but don't be too long." Lyra told Bon Bon. "There's no telling when Ms. Mulia'll be back."

The pale-yellow girl nodded and left the room. However, unbeknownst to everyone else, Bon Bon wasn't going to the bathroom. Instead, she disappeared around the corner of the hallway and walking down another corridor. On the way, she passed by two of the custodians, one of them grumbling something about having to clean butter stains off of a vending machine for the third time this week.

Eventually, Bon Bon made her way to a small dead end with a closet door. It was still open, as the two custodians she passed had picked up some supplies there earlier on. Thinking that it would be a suitable hiding place, the girl walked into the closet and closed the door behind her (though not all the way, she left it slightly ajar). Taking out her cell phone from her pocket, she dialed a number on it and held it up to her ear.

Meanwhile, in the Principal's office, Celestia and Luna were busy with their work, as usual. However, they had some help in the form of Mrs. K, a newly-hired history teacher to Canterlot High School. Until the next semester began, in which she would be teaching her first class, Mrs. K often stayed with Celestia and Luna to help them with their work. The two principals were quite impressed by the new hire's intelligence, as she had helped them to figure out how to run the school more efficiently.

"So what do you think, Ms. Celestia and Ms. Luna?" asked Mrs. K after she pitched an idea of hers to them.

"It sounds like a fascinating idea to me." Celestia told her with a smile. "We've never thought of having an Archaeology Club at the school before."

"Then again, we've never hired a real archaeologist as a teacher before." Luna pointed out.

Giggling a little, Mrs. K then told the principals, "I think it would be a real treat to the students to go to a real digging site and learn just what it's like there. Plus, I was thinking of inviting all of the students that were accepted into my class so that they can get to know me better before the next semester."

"I think that's a great idea, Mrs. K." Celestia responded. "I'll fill out the forms right away to approve the idea." But before another word could be said, the phone on the white-skinned woman's desk began to ring. "Hold on just one second..." Celestia told Mrs. K before reaching over and picking it up. "Principal Celestia's office, Celestia speaking." she said in a formal tone.

"Principal Celestia?" said the voice on the other end. "This is Secret Hall Monitor Sweetie Drops speaking..."

"Sweetie Drops?" asked Celestia. "Hang on... let me put you on speaker phone..." After pressing the button that switched on the function, the principal inquired, "Now then... is something the matter?"

The voice coming from the other end was none other than Bon Bon's. Though most students weren't aware of it, the girl's real name was Sweetie Drops. Bon Bon was simply a nickname that she went by (Lyra was the one who thought of it, actually). Speaking into her cell phone, she told Celestia, "I was just at Home Ec. Class earlier, but Ms. Mulia is nowhere to be seen."

"But that doesn't seem right..." Luna spoke up. "She hardly ever leaves the classroom during school hours, except during Third Period to help out at the cafeteria... But nowadays, she stays there during Second Period to make sure that none of her First Period students linger in the classroom, after some incident involving macaroni and cheese..."

"Did either you or Principal Celestia call her for anything during that time?" the pale-yellow girl then asked.

"No." Luna answered. "She wasn't called to attend to other matters... And even if someone else asked her for anything, one of us would have known about it."

"There's something else, too." Bon Bon told them. "On my way over to class, I overheard a bizarre conversation: I saw Crimson Napalm talking to Thunderbass. Apparently, Thunder had a Duel with someone and lost... And from the way he was scuffed up, it looked like whoever his opponent was, they didn't show him a lot of mercy."

"Oh dear... Is he alright?" Celestia asked Bon Bon, concerned.

"I think he'll be okay." the pale-yellow girl answered. "But it seems weird that this would happen around the same time that Ms. Mulia would disappear... She might be involved with what happened to Thunderbass, willing or otherwise."

"I'll look into it, Ms. Drops. Thank you for informing me. For now, you should return to class and keep quiet about the matter." Celestia told her.

"Understood. Sweetie Drops out." Bon Bon said before hanging up.

After Celestia hung up the phone on her end, Luna then asked, "This sounds quite troubling, Sister... But how can anyone receive even a minor injury during a Duel? As life-like as they may seem, Augmented Reality images can't ever actually inflict any real pain."

But Celestia wasn't so sure, as she began to ponder something in her mind. "That's not quite true, Luna..." she told her sister. "There is one way. And you should know what that is."

"You... you don't mean... There's another Number holder in the school?" asked the dark-blue woman in shock. "How do you know for sure?"

"I recalled that, some time ago, Twilight and Sunset had a Duel with a student who had obtained a Number card while in the Home Economics classroom..." Celestia informed her younger sister. "There is a chance that there may have been more than one Number card in there, and this new card has just now chosen its host. That, coupled with the teacher's bizarre disappearance, seems to only support my theory..."

"Oh my... that sounds terrible..." Mrs. K spoke up, surprised by this.

"It may not be the reason why Ms. Mulia has suddenly disappeared," the older principal told them, "but if it is, then the only ones who can deal with it are Twilight and Sunset."

"So what are you going to do, Sister?" asked Luna.

"First off, we should attend to the issue concerning the class with its missing teacher." Celestia replied. "Luna, I'd like you to substitute for Ms. Mulia for the day. She should have her lesson plans laid out onto her desk." She paused for a moment before adding, "Also, if any friends of Twilight or Sunset are in her class, let them know what's going on."

"Understood, Sister." Luna responded, ready to help her older sister. "Of course, once they hear of this, they might leave class to help Ms. Shimmer and Ms. Sparkle."

"I'm certain they will. And if they do, it might be for the best." Celestia stated. "Sunset and Twilight could probably use the moral support."Turning over to Mrs. K, she then said to her, "On that subject, I'd like you to find Twilight and Sunset. I think they're at the Chemistry Lab right now, if I remember their schedules correctly. Tell them what's going on and offer any help you can."

"Of course, Celestia." the pale-skinned woman answered. "I'll let them know right away." She then got up and walked out of the office. As she made her way to the cafeteria, she thought to herself, (So... it appears a new Number has appeared here at this school, as I suspected. It is my duty to make sure that their power does not grow out of control... And not only that, if fate is on my side, I will be able to witness the power of the one who wields the Emperor's Key... I shall see for myself if she is the one that the fates foretold...)

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Elsewhere, in the school Science Labs, Twilight and Sunset were busy doing some work together in their Chemistry Class. Looking over the paper that instructed them on how to properly do the experiment, the red-and-yellow girl told her friend, "Okay Twilight, concentrate... Carefully... and slowly... add just ONE drop of that to the concoction..."

Twilight slightly bit her lip as she held an eyedropper full of a cyan-colored liquid over a beaker filled with yellow liquid, bubbling from the Bunsen burner it was sitting on. The young Princess was doing her best to safely apply the right amount of chemical, but was a tad bit shaky, again due to her inexperience at using her fingers in such a delicate manner. (Okay, Twilight... you can do this...) she urged herself in her mind. (You've done harder things than this before... so there's absolutely no way that things can go wro-)

But Twilight's thought was interrupted when someone behind her tapped her on the shoulder, saying, "Excuse me, Ms. Sparkle-"

"AAACK!!" Twilight screamed, startled by the sudden touch. This caused her to impulsively squeeze out more than just one drop of the liquid into the beaker. The bubbling yellow chemical then turned dark green and began to foam over. In mere seconds, the concoction overflowed, covering both her and Sunset in green bubbles.

Grabbing a nearby towel, Sunset wiped herself off and scolded her friend a little, telling her in a raised voice, "Twilight! That was too much!"

"I-I'm so sorry, Sunset!!" the young Princess apologized. "Someone startled me just now! I didn't mean to do that!"

After saying that, Sunset glanced behind Twilight and saw Mrs. K standing there. "Mrs. K?" the jacket-wearing teen asked. "What are you doing here?"

"I... came here on Principal Celestia's behalf." the woman explained. Looking at the mess around them, she then told them, "I... deeply apologize for this, both of you. I should have waited until you weren't doing something that required your full concentration."

Wiping herself with the towel, Twilight smiled and told Mrs. K, "It's okay, no harm done. At least it didn't explode on us." She then asked the woman, "So, what did Celestia want us for?"

"An important matter." Mrs. K told her. "Follow me outside the classroom. This is a matter that I wish to discuss with you both in private." The two girls looked at each other, wondering what she meant. For now, they both nodded and followed the teacher out of the classroom.

After leaving the room, Twilight and Sunset were met with their friends Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash. Also with them was Shining Spoon, along with a young girl that was about his age. The girl had short, aqua-blue hair and purple skin, which slightly lighter than Twilight's. She wore a pair of dark-violet rimmed glasses over her cobalt-blue eyes. Her outfit was very simple in appearance: She wore a white t-shirt with purple on the collar, cuffs, and hem. Printed on her shirt was an emblem on the front that displayed a picture of a bulls-eye target, colored red and blue, with yellow on the actual bulls-eye, and a pair of arrows crossed over top of it in an X-shape. She also wore a pair of tan khaki shorts, and blue athletic shoes with violet lightning bolts printed upon them.

"Pinkie! Rainbow Dash! What are you doing here?" asked Twilight. "Don't you two have a class right now?"

"Well, no one told the teacher that, because she never showed up!" the pink teenager informed them.

"Never showed up?" asked Sunset in curiosity. "What do you mean by that?"

"That's what I wanted to discuss with you." Mrs. K spoke up. "It appears that Mulia Mild, the Home Economics teacher, has vanished without a trace."

"Vanished??" asked Twilight.

"She's right, Twi." Rainbow Dash told her friend. "That's what Vice Principal Luna told us when she came to fill in for her. Apparently, Principal Celestia wants you and Sunset told help find her. So after we heard that, naturally, we came over to help out, too!"

Turning over to Shining Spoon next, the Princess of Friendship asked him, "Is that why you're here, too?"

"Uh huh. That's right." the orange-skinned boy told her. "In fact, Mrs. K asked that I come along too."

"I... see." Twilight then glanced over to the only other person in their immediate vicinity. "Um... I don't believe that we've met..." she asked her. "Who are you?"

"Me?" asked the purple and blue girl. "My name's Indigo Bolt. I'm in Shining's Fourth Period class."

"Wait, Indigo?" asked Rainbow Dash, confused. "You don't look like her... And besides, I thought she went to Crystal Prep, not here..."

"No, you're thinking of Indigo ZAP, Dashie." Pinkie corrected her. "She just said her last name was Bolt."

"...Oh, yeah. I guess I didn't hear that part." the cyan-skinned teen responded. "Sorry, Bolt."

"It's okay." Indigo Bolt told her. "Indigo is actually a pretty common name around here, so don't feel too bad about it."

"So, what is she doing here?" Twilight asked Shining Spoon, assuming that he had brought her with him.

"Let's discuss that later for now..." Sunset suggested. Returning back to the main topic, the red and yellow girl looked over to Mrs. K and asked her, "You said that you asked Shining Spoon to come along. Why is that?"

"Because I believe that Mulia's disappearance may have something to do with a Number card." Mrs. K answered her.

"A Number card?!" asked Twilight. "Are you sure??"

"Hold on a sec... how did YOU know about the Number cards?" asked Rainbow Dash. "We never said anything about them to you!"

"Um... well..." the woman muttered, trying to find an answer to Dash's question.

Sighing, Sunset then told her cyan friend, "Dash, Celestia probably told Mrs. K about them already. In fact, she may have told her about them after they got the news about Ms. Mulia."

"Oh... right. Didn't think of that..." the athletic teen said, rubbing the back of her head. Mrs. K breathed a sigh of relief, unbeknownst to the others.

"But how do you know that a Number card is what caused Ms. Mulia to disappear?" Sunset then asked Mrs. K.

"I-, er... Celestia... isn't quite sure yet." the pale-skinned woman answered. "But we heard that, around the same time, there was a Duel outside involving Thunderbass and a mysterious individual. The stranger had defeated Thunderbass and, based on what I had heard, they had inflicted some considerable physical damage onto him."

"But AR Duels aren't able to inflict real bodily harm..." Sunset pointed out. Thinking it over in her head, she then realized where Mrs. K was going with this. "I get it... AR Duels normally can't hurt a person, because the images aren't real... But Duels involving Number cards can often be a different story."

"Yeah! I remember!" Pinkie spoke up. "That Duel you had with Martin over at Griffinstone! You got tied up by his Number cards and you couldn't get yourself free until they were gone!"

"So that's why you believe that a Number is responsible for this, Mrs. K..." Twilight deduced. "And you brought Shining Spoon along because he used to have a Number; one that he had found in Ms. Mulia's classroom, is that right?"

"Yep, that's right." the boy told her while nodding yes. "I really wanna help you guys out, just like you helped me out when that Number card controlled me... So please, I want to help you find Ms. Mulia and get rid of that Number card for good! Will you let me?"

Sunset smiled and nodded her head yes, telling him, "Of course you can help, Shining Spoon. Just be careful, got it?" the boy nodded yes to say that he understood.

"So... where should we start looking?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Ms. Mulia could be anywhere, along with whoever picked up that Number card. It's not like they'll just jump out and say 'hi'!"

"Yeah! That only happens when I say that!" Pinkie Pie chimed in. "...And only when I'm the first one to say it."

"Well, that's kind of the reason I'm here:" Indigo Bolt suddenly spoke up. "I managed to hear something on the way to my class, which I told to Mrs. K."

"You did?" asked Twilight. "And what would that be?"

"Mrs. K mentioned something about a Duel that happened earlier..." the younger girl stated. " Well, I heard something about a Duel at the school today, too... But this one involved Micro Chips, not Thunderbass. Of course, I heard it had the same result: He lost."

"How long ago did you hear about this Duel?" asked Sunset.

"Not too long..." Bolt replied. "I'd guess abooooouut... fifteen minutes ago?"

"Then there's a good chance that this strange Duelist is still roaming around the campus." Twilight figured. "If we hurry, we might be able to catch them!"

"And hopefully, we can find out what they might have done to Ms. Mulia." Sunset added.

"Then let's not waste another moment." Mrs. K told them. Pointing at a double-doorway leading out, she shouted, "Let us go and search the area, top to bottom!!" The others nodded and made their way out of the school.

For the next five minutes, the group searched everywhere around the school grounds, hoping to find any signs of either Ms. Mulia or the strange Duelist that had been beating everyone that they encountered. Twilight and Rainbow Dash searched the soccer field, while Sunset and Pinkie Pie looked around behind the bleachers. Mrs. K looked around the front of the school, along with Shining Spoon and Indigo Bolt. Unfortunately so far, the search was turning up empty.

But just then, Shining Spoon heard a WHOOSH sound a fair distance away. "Huh?" When he turned to look, he saw a shadowed figure sitting on the school's roof. "Mrs. K! Up there!" he said to the teacher.

"What's wrong?" the woman asked. When both she and Bolt glanced up, they saw the figure, but only for about a second before they instantly vanished from sight.

"Who was that...??" asked Bolt.

"I don't know for sure..." Mrs. K told her, "but I suspect that we may have found the rogue Duelist."

"It looked like he was looking towards the back of the school..." Shining Spoon noted. "That's where Twilight and the others are!"

"Then we'd better get over there and warn them!" shouted Bolt before running off.

"Wait! Wait for me!!" shouted the boy as he chased after her. Mrs. K then ran after them, hoping that they weren't too late.

Meanwhile, behind the school, Twilight, Sunset, Rainbow, and Pinkie all met up in front of the soccer field bleachers after looking around the area. "Find anything yet?" asked the red and yellow girl.

"Nothin'..." Rainbow told her. "We've searched everywhere, but we didn't find anything!"

"Well, we can't give up just yet!" Twilight told her friends. "We can't rest until we know that Ms. Mulia is safe and sound!"

"Twilight's right. We have to keep trying." said Sunset. "Sooner or later, something will come to us."

"Oh, you're right about that, Sunnie..." Pinkie began to say. She then pointed up to the sky and shouted, "Because something's definitely coming right for us!!"

The other girls gasped and turned around, just in time to jump out of the path of a speeding object. It landed hard on the ground, creating large clouds of dust around it. But when the dust settled, the four of them saw that it was actually a person wearing a black-colored ninja costume that hid their identity. Only the stranger's bright-orange eyes could be seen.

"Wha-wha-what is that?!" asked Rainbow Dash. "'Cause to me, that thing looks like a ninja!!"

"A ninja...??" asked Twilight. "What in Equestria is a ninja doing here, of all things?"

Sunset's keen eyes zeroed-in on another detail about their mysterious guest: "I don't know who he is or why he's here," the jacket-wearing teen told her friends, "but he's wearing a Duel Pad. So I'm willing to bet that HE'S the Duelist that beat both Thunderbass and Micro Chips earlier!"

"Is that true?!" Twilight asked the stranger. "Are you the one that beat those two students?"

"Hmhmhmmm... I suppose I am, young one." the ninja said in a very deep voice. The voice sounded forced, indicating that it wasn't their real voice. The ninja then told them, "I did indeed defeat two of your classmates this day... But they were hardly a challenge at all: Just something to whet my appetite for battle."

"Is that so...?" asked Sunset.

"Yes... But I did not come here simply to prove my overwhelming strength to such UNDERwhelming Duelists." the ninja told her. "I came here... to take what I want from you!"

This comment startled Sunset a little. "Me...?" she asked.

"Not just you..." the stranger replied. Pointing at Twilight, it then said, "I'm also here for something you posses as well! So I challenge you both to a Duel! And if you are defeated by me, you will give me what I want!"

Looking at the ninja, Twilight could see an orange 12 mark on their left shoulder. She then asked the stranger, "Let me guess... you're after our Number cards, right?"

"Hmhmhmmm... Impressive. You know why I have come here." the figure told her. "It's obvious that you are quite intelligent, despite your age. This could be quite amusing."

"Well, I'M not so amused by the way you beat those two other students earlier!" the Princess of Friendship scolded. "From what I heard, you left them in pretty rough shape! And that's not what dueling is about!"

"You're mistaken." the ninja told her. "Dueling is about proving your power, to show your strength. The fact that they lost so easily merely means that they did not have the necessary strength to overcome me, so they got what they deserved!"

"You're wrong!" shouted Twilight, not liking what she was hearing. "Just because you're strong, it doesn't give you the right to hurt and bully others as you see fit!" Activating her Duel Pad, she then said to the ninja. "And I'm going to make sure that you won't get away with it!"

"Woah, hold on a sec, Twi!" shouted Rainbow Dash. "YOU'RE gonna Duel him?! After hearing about how he was able to beat those other two guys??"

"I don't care how strong this person is..." the young Princess told her. "I'm not going to just stand aside and let them hurt someone else! I could never call myself the Princess of Friendship if I let them come after you or anyone else! This is something that I feel I must do!"

"Woah... well said, Twi." an impressed Rainbow Dash responded.

"If that's how you feel, Twilight, then give that jerk a lesson they'll never forget!" Sunset shouted to Twilight, encouraging her to take on the stranger.

"Don't you worry, Sunset. I will!" Twilight told her. She then said to the ninja, "Alright, get ready! After this Duel is over, you'll never threaten anyone at this school ever again!"

"Hmhmhmmm... if that's what you think, then you are more foolish than the last two Duelists to fight me!" Activating their D-Pads and Gazers, the two were ready to begin their battle. "Now prepare to fall to your knees in defeat!" the ninja said in an intimidating tone. "Let's Duel!!" (???: LP 4,000) (Twilight Sparkle: LP 4,000)

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Not long after Twilight began her Duel against the stranger in ninja's clothing, Sunset, Rainbow, and Pinkie suddenly noticed three people running towards them. "Hey! Look, girls!" she told them. "It's Mrs. K!"

"Yeah, and she's got Spoon and Bolt with her, too!" noted Rainbow Dash.

After the teacher and the two students with her got to the scene, they stopped in front of Sunset and the others, taking a brief moment to catch their breath. Afterwards, Shining Spoon then asked them, "Are you guys okay? We saw some weirdo heading towards where you were, so we came here as quickly as we could."

"We're just fine." Sunset told him. "But as for that 'weirdo' you mentioned, Twilight's fighting him right now."

"She is?" asked Mrs. K. The three of them glanced over and saw that young Princess was ready to duel the strange figure that had been prowling around the school. "So that is the person that we saw earlier?"

"Sure looks like him..." noted Indigo Bolt. "But I don't see Ms. Mulia anywhere... Where could she be?"

"Not sure, but it won't matter!" Rainbow Dash said. "As soon as Twi beats this guy, we'll make him tell us where she is!"

"Yeah! That's right!" Pinkie cheered. But after that, she then muttered to herself, "Though I kinda get the feeling that things aren't gonna come out the way we think it will..." Sunset was about to ask why Pinkie felt that way, but decided to question it later, since Twilight's Duel was about to start, and she would need the support of her and everyone else.

"I shall begin this battle..." the ninja said, taking out a card from their hand. "I will Summon Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo in Attack Mode." The monster that appeared was of a male adult human, decked out in full ninja costume and gear. His costume was mostly black and grey, with several red symbols scattered upon it (Ninja Grandmaster Hanzo: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1000). "By Normal Summoning Hanzo," the ninja continued, "I am now permitted to add any Ninjitsu Art card from my Deck to my hand. I choose to add Ninjitsu Art Notebook with this effect, and end my turn with that."

Twilight then began her turn by drawing a card from her Deck. (That's weird... they just left their monster in Attack Mode and didn't set any face-down cards to protect it... That seems like an oversight to me... or is it?) Though she wasn't sure what her opponent was planning, the Princess of Friendship decided to take her chances and strike while she had a chance. Playing a card from her hand, she shouted, "I'll Summon Gagaga Magician in Attack Mode!" After her reliable Spellcaster-Type entered the field (Gagaga Magician: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 1000), the purple girl then told her opponent, "Next, I'll equip my Wonder Wand Spell to my magician to raise his attack power by 500!" At that moment, a long scepter-like object appeared in Gagaga Magician's hand, its green orb glowing as the Spellcaster grasped it (Gagaga Magician: ATK 1500 + 500 = 2000).

"Not a bad start..." noted Mrs. K. "That move should give her an early lead in this Duel."

"Hopefully..." Sunset added. But she, like Twilight, wasn't sure if everything on the field was as it seemed.

"Go, Gagaga Magician! Attack that ninja!!" Twilight ordered. Her monster then jumped forward and fired a blast of magic from his new wand, blowing away the ninja Duelist's only monster and inflicting a small amount of damage (???: LP 4,000 - 200 = 3,800). "Last, I'll set a card from hand face-down and end my turn." After finishing her move, the young Princess told her opponent, "Perhaps you should have taken more steps to protect your monster during your turn. If you did, you would still have it to protect you right now."

"Hmmhmmhmm... You don't seem to understand the way of a ninja, young girl..." the stranger said to Twilight. "Part of our style of battle is make the enemy believe that they have the upper hand. That move was no more than testing the waters, to assess your strength." Drawing a card from their Deck, they continued, saying, "Now prepare to face the true terror of a ninja battle!"

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Meanwhile, inside Twilight's mind, there was quite a bit of activity going on... and not just the young Princess's thoughts at the moment. Discord, who had paid a visit to Twilight and Sunset in their dreams, was rummaging through what appeared to be several filing cabinets filled with papers and folders. "Hmmmm... no... nope... nothing there..." he muttered to himself, apparently looking for something. Groaning, he said to himself, "How Cellie talked me into this sort of thing, I'll never quite get... I mean, just look at me! I, Discord, master of chaos, disorder, disharmony, and all-around mischief... reduced to secretary work!"

Grumbling, he then continued searching through the folders, making sure not to miss any crucial details. "Even so," he continued to say to himself, "Princess Celestia is trusting me to keep an eye on Twilight and find out whatever this 'Astral World' is," he said to himself, "and I shall NOT fail!" After he was finished looking through an entire file cabinet and closing it shut, he then stated, "Though at this rate, I'm not getting much, looking through Twilight's mind for info about the Astral World... She doesn't seem to have much knowledge of it right now, since she only heard about it recently..."

"Pardon me..." spoke another voice. When Discord looked over towards the voice, he saw that it had come from Utopia, the Number card that had bonded to Twilight. "Is there something that you are looking for?" he then asked.

"And you are...?"

"Utopia." the armored warrior replied. "May I ask what you are doing in my owner's mind? I warn you: If you have any ill intentions, I shall not hesitate to protect this young girl."

"Oh nononononooooo...! I'm not here to cause any trouble, despite what my appearance might suggest to you!" Discord told him. Handing Utopia what appeared to be a business card, the draconequus told him, "Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Discord, Spirit of Chaos."

"A... spirit of chaos...?" asked Utopia, seemingly confused by that statement.

Noticing the warrior's confusion, Discord then asked him, "Is there something about me that bothers you...? If you've got something to say, then just say it!"

"I... apologize if my tone offended you," Utopia replied, "but I am just... confused. You claim to be here with no wicked intentions, and yet you have informed me that you are the Spirit of Chaos. Your words seem to contradict each other, and I am not sure what believe of them..."

"Hmmmm... Well, I suppose I understand what you are confused about, but I can assure you, I would never lay a claw on dear Princess Twilight." the draconequus told him. "I will admit, I did have a bit of a... shall we say, 'rebellious phase'... and Cellie pretty much more or less forced me to use my chaotic powers for good and not for evil."

"Is that so?" asked Utopia.

"Yes, but after having complied with Cellie's requests," Discord continued, "and after having a bit a falling out with a certain resident of Tartarus..." He then whispered to himself in a low, irritated-sounding voice, "whom, for the sake of my good mood shall remain nameless for now..." He then returned to his cheery-sounding tone and finished, saying, "I've grown to like using my power to help other ponies and change my reputation."

"Hmmm, I see. That is good to know." Utopia replied. He then asked, "So... what are you doing here, if I may ask again?"

"Well, Cellie is still a bit worried about her former pupils, so she sent me to check up on them every now and then." the draconequus answered. "But in addition to that, she also wants to know more about this Astral World place and the Number cards that came out of it..." Turning over towards Utopia, he then asked, "According to Twilight, you are the Number card that appeared to her back in Equestria. I don't suppose you know anything about your homeworld that you can tell me...?"

Sighing, the shining warrior responded, "Sadly, I do not. Believe me, if I knew anything else, I would tell you and Twilight." Placing his right hand upon his chest, he then said, "All I know is that my origins lie within the Astral World, and that there a total of one hundred Numbers, including myself. But after I came to this world, I seem to be unable to recall anything else about my home or the other Numbers..."

"Hmph... well, this is starting to turn into a wild goose chase." Discord said in an annoyed voice. As he said that, a few geese were seen flying in the pink skies above.

"But there is one other thing that I do know..." Utopia suddenly told him. "Whenever Twilight or her friend Sunset Shimmer obtains a Number, I can feel some of my memory and power return, as if I share some sort of link with the other Numbers. And I also seem to recall that Sunset's involvement in all of this began when she obtained the necklace that she currently wears..."

"A necklace...?" asked Discord. "You mean that thing that looks like a key?" He then made a replica of Sunset's necklace appear his hand to show Utopia.

"Yes, that one..." the Number answered him. "And while I can't be completely sure... I believe that it may actually be a key. For what, I do not know." Just then, Utopia glanced ahead in a different direction and said, "I am sorry, but I must cut our conversation short... I can sense that Twilight is currently in a Duel with another Number holder, and she will need my help..."

"I see..." the draconequus replied, making the replica necklace that he was holding vanish in a puff of smoke. "In that case go on ahead. I still have some other work to do, so don't worry about me." Utopia nodded and disappeared from the area. Rubbing his beard, Discord then said to himself, "So Cellie's prodigal student is also involved with this whole Number card business, is she...? Then perhaps the answers to all of this lie inside of HER mind... Only one way to find out!" And with that remark, he snapped his claws and vanished from inside of Twilight's mind...

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Back at the Duel, Twilight and her friends prepared themselves as the strange ninja Duelist began their next turn. "For my first move this turn," the stranger told their foe, "I shall activate the Continuous Spell Card, Ninjitsu Art Notebook! Now I'll send one of my Ninja monsters from my hand to my Graveyard. In exchange, I can set any Ninjitsu Art Spell or Trap Card directly from my Deck!"

"Set it from your Deck?!" exclaimed Twilight.

"That's not good..." Sunset noted. "That guy could try just about anything right now with that kind of power..."

"I hope Twilight can handle whatever he pulls off next..." said Shining Spoon. Pinkie said nothing, as she seemed to be in deep thought about something.

After selecting the card that they wanted, the ninja placed it face-down on the field. "Now that I've gotten what I wanted from my Deck, I no longer need this card out... So I'll play my Armor Ninjitsu Art of Alchemy!" the stranger announced. "This destroys all of my face-up Ninjitsu Art cards on the field, but allows me to draw two new cards from my Deck!" After playing the card, the ninja's Ninjitsu Art Notebook exploded and their Duel Pad permitted them to draw two more cards.

"Impressive move..." Mrs. K told the others. "Not only did he set a card on the field for later, but now he managed to reinforce his hand as well. And that is not good for Ms. Sparkle..."

"Don't worry about her, Mrs. K." Sunset replied. "If there's one thing Twilight is good at, it's being able to think on her feet and adjust to the situation at hand."

"Let's just hope that ninja guy isn't good at doing that, too..." Rainbow Dash chimed in.

After placing their newly-drawn cards in their hand, the ninja Duelist then said, "I shall now Summon my Earth Armor Ninja to the field in Attack Mode! And even though it is a Level 5 monster, I am allowed to Special Summon it from my hand if you are the only one to have a monster on the field!" The monster then appeared on the field, wearing a brown ninja costume with some shiny silver armor on the head, arms, and legs (Earth Armor Ninja: Level 5 / ATK 1600 / DEF 1200). "And because that was a Special Summon," the ninja continued, "I can now use my Normal Summon to bring out... my Air Armor Ninja!"

The second monster that the stranger Summoned to their field was wearing a similar outfit to her first one, but the difference was that the costume was mostly green instead of brown, and the armor was more of darker grey color (Air Armor Ninja: Level 4 / ATK 1400 / DEF 1400).

"What's he gonna do with those?" asked Indigo Bolt.

"You'll see quite soon, young lady..." the stranger answered. "By Summoning Air Armor Ninja, I can use his effect! Now I can lower the Level of any of my other Ninja monsters by one! So I choose Earth Armor Ninja and make him a Level 4 monster!" (Earth Armor Ninja: Level 5 - 1 = 4)

"Why'd he do that?" asked Rainbow Dash. "That didn't change their attack points, so Twilight's monster is still stronger! So what was the point?"

"The point is that now that ninja guy has two Level 4 monsters on his field." Sunset told her.

"You mean he'll-... oh, yeah. Now I get it...." Dash replied, finally understanding the move. "Now he can Xyz Summon... I hope he ain't planning on Summoning his Number right now."

"Yeah, that wouldn't be good at all..." Shining Spoon chimed in, feeling more worried. Pinkie, however, continued to remain oddly silent, rubbing her chin in deep thought.

"So are you planning on Summoning your Number card now?" Twilight asked her opponent.

But the ninja simply chuckled and told her, "If my Duels so far are any indication, I won't be needing it to defeat you, Ms. Sparkle!"

Twilight gasped in shock, not from how confident her opponent seemed to be, but from a small detail in what the stranger had said, (Did they just call me by my last name?) she asked herself. (But that can't be possible... I never said my last name, nor did any of the others, so how did they know...?) Pinkie gasped a little too, apparently having that same question herself.

"I now overlay my Earth Armor Ninja and my Air Armor Ninja, both Level 4, and create the Overlay Network!!" shouted the ninja Duelist as their monsters transformed into a pair of lights - one orange and one green - and were drawn into a red Summoning Portal. "Appear from the shadows and strike my unwary enemies! Leave no traces behind! Xyz Summon!!" shouted the stranger as they recited their Summoning Chant. "Silent assassin! Rank 4! Blade Armor Ninja!!" The monster that appeared was a human adult man wearing a lot of body armor and wielding a pair of razor-sharp katanas. The pink and gold armor shone almost as much as the monster's red eyes. Orbiting the fierce-looking warrior were a pair of green orbs.

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Blade Armor Ninja
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Warrior-Type/WIND/Rank 4/ATK 2200/DEF 1000)

2 Level 4 Warrior-Type monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card to target 1 "Ninja" monster you control; it can make a second attack during each Battle Phase this turn.

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"Woah... that guy looks nasty..." noted Indigo Bolt after she and the others witnessed the monster's Summoning. "And I'll bet it fights even nastier, too."

"Indeed he does." the ninja Duelist told her as they took out one of the cards underneath her Xyz Monster. "Now by removing an Overlay Unit, my Blade Armor Ninja can strike twice this turn!!" And after the move was made, the Xyz Monster then absorbed one of its two green orbs into one of its swords, granting itself a great amount of power (Blade Armor Ninja: OLU: 2 - 1 = 1).

"Two attacks?!" exclaimed Twilight.

"That's not good...!" Sunset said in despair. "If both those attacks hit, Twilight will not only lose her monster, but also over half her Life Points!"

"Watch out, Twilight!!" Shining Spoon shouted to her.

"Now go! Blade Armor Ninja!! Attack her magician!!" ordered the ninja Duelist. Their monster then leapt into the air, jumping towards the sun. Gagaga Magician looked up, but had to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight. This allowed Blade Armor Ninja to close in on him from above, striking him hard with his swords.

"Urk!!" grunted Twilight as she lost her monster and took damage (Twilight Sparkle: LP 4,000 - 200 = 3,800).

"And that is only the beginning!!" the stranger shouted. "Now Blade Armor Ninja attacks you-"

"Not so fast!!" said the Princess of Friendship, recovering quickly enough to tap her Duel Pad's screen. "I play my Guard Go! Trap Card!! Since a Gagaga monster was just destroyed, this card allows me to bring it back from the Graveyard, along with up to two other monster in hand with 'Gagaga', 'Dododo', or 'Gogogo' in their names!" Taking her just-destroyed Monster Card out of the Graveyard, she continued to tell her opponent, "So first, Gagaga Magician comes back from the Graveyard!"

Her monster then leapt out of a dark-purple portal in the middle of Twilight's side of the field and placed itself in Defense Mode. Taking out to more cards from her hand, she then added, "And in addition, I'll ALSO Summon my Dododo Driver and my Gagaga Mancer, both in Defense Mode!"

Her second monster was of a burly, tough-looking man wearing heavy, dull-colored armor, topped off with a helmet that looked like a ram (Dododo Driver: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 200). The other monster was her Gagaga Mancer, who gracefully appeared on the field, wielding her powerful sword and carrying a blue rose in between her teeth (Gagaga Mancer: Level 4 / ATK 100 / DEF 100).

"What?! No fair!!" shouted the ninja, slightly frustrated.

"Whew... talk about a close call..." noted Pinkie. "If Twilight didn't have that out, she might have gotten more than just a close shave..." The pink girl then shuddered a little, not wanting to picture it in her mind.

"Now the rest of her Life points are safe," Mrs. K chimed in, "and next turn, she can Summon an Xyz Monster... Quite an impressive comeback. She must have been taught quite well."

"Well, aheheh... I did the best I could for her." Sunset told the teacher, blushing a bit from the comment.

The ninja Duelist was annoyed, but not ready to call it quits just yet. Pointing forward, the stranger shouted, "Blade Armor Ninja, attack her Gagaga Mancer!!" Once again, the monster moved swiftly and took out Twilight's monster. But since it was in Defense Mode, no damage was done. Taking out two more cards from their hand, the ninja said to their adversary, "I shall set two cards before ending my turn."

"Then it's my move! I draw!!" Twilight shouted as she drew her next card. After looking at it and placing it in her hand, the young Princess then shouted, "I overlay Gagaga Magician and Dododo Driver, both Level 4, and create the Overlay Network!!" Her monsters then transformed themselves into a pair of lights - one purple and one orange - before entering a bright red vortex in the center of the field. "Celebrated marksman of the Gagaga clan..." she chanted. "Draw your pistol in the name of justice! Let your determination guide your aim!! Xyz Summon!! Fire away! Rank 4! Gagaga Cowboy!!"

In an instant, Twilight's rough and tough wild west warrior leapt out of the portal and onto the field, brandishing both of his silver pistols (Gagaga Cowboy: Rank 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 2400 / OLU: 2).

"Alright! She got Gagaga Cowboy out again!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"Yeah, but this time, she put him in Attack Mode." Sunset pointed out. "So she's gonna be using his other special ability!"

Taking out one of the cards underneath her Xyz Monster card, Twilight then told her opponent, "Since Gagaga Cowboy is in Attack Mode, by removing one of his Overlay Units, I can increase his own attack power by 1,000, and at the same time lower YOUR monster's attack power by 500!" (Gagaga Cowboy: OLU: 2 - 1 = 1)

"No! I cannot allow this!" shouted the ninja defiantly.

"I'm afraid you don't have much of a choice!" Twilight protested. "Your Blade Armor Ninja is about to be destroyed!" Pointing forward, the young Princess shouted, "Go! Gagaga Cowboy!! Attack her monster with Gagaga Silver Bullet!!" The gunslinger then aimed his weapons at Blade Armor Ninja and fired two ultra-fast shots at it (Gagaga Cowboy: ATK 1500 + 1000 = 2500) (Blade Armor Ninja: ATK 2200 - 500 = 1700).

"No! You will not destroy my ninja warriors that easily!!" the stranger screamed out while tapping their Duel Pad. "I activate a Trap Card!! Ninjitsu Art of Decoy!! This card prevents my Blade Armor Ninja from being destroyed!!" In an instant, Blade Armor Ninja formed several insignias with his hands, causing a wooden log that only remotely looked like him to appear in front of him as a shield.

"Your monster may survive this, but you'll still be taking eight hundred points of damage!" Twilight reminded her opponent. Everyone then watched as the shots made contact with the log and exploded, causing several fiery clouds to billow out from the impacted area. Twilight and her opponent held their arms up to shield themselves from the blast, as did the spectators. Then, suddenly, several black cloths flew off from the stranger's face and were immediately carried off by the wind.

Finally, the dust began to settle and the smoke clouds began to fade away. "Woah... that was quite a powerful shot!!" Pinkie stated.

"Yeah, it was..." Indigo Bolt said, dusting herself off. "But it's weird; Twilight saw that the other guy had face-down cards out, so why did she risk attacking? She should have known that he'd respond with a Trap Card."

"I think that's what Twilight was counting on." Sunset answered her.

"Yeah, she may have made that move just to get that ninja guy to use up one of his cards." Shining Spoon added. "At least, that's what I think she was doing."

Uncovering her face, Twilight then said to her opponent, "Not a bad move, but you'll have to do worse than that to defeat me."

The ninja Duelist, still covering their face, grunted and said to her, "Oh, believe me... that's what I plan on doing...!" But the voice that spoke to them was no longer deep-sounding. It sounded like an older woman's voice... and to some of the people in attendance, it also sounded very familiar...

"Wait, that voice...!" said Bolt. "That didn't sound like a man's voice! It was a woman!"

"Not just any woman..." Shining Spoon told his friend. "That was Ms. Mulia!!"

Everyone gasped when they heard him say that. But it was true: When the stranger uncovered their face, they revealed themself as none other than Mulia Mild, the Home Ec. Teacher. "I don't believe it...!" exclaimed Twilight. "All this time, I was fighting her??"

"Of course... that explains why we never found Ms. Mulia." Sunset noted. "She wasn't kidnapped by the rouge Duelist; she WAS the rogue Duelist!"

(And also why she seemed to know my name earlier...) Twilight thought, recalling that moment in her head.

"But... why?" asked Indigo Bolt. 'Why would she skip her own class and go after people like that?"

"...I bet it's because SHE got that Number card." Shining Spoon noted, having an ill feeling about the whole situation. "It's controlling her and making her do bad things... Just like mine did."

"Exactly." Sunset confirmed. "She's not doing this out of her own free will. And only if Twilight defeats her can she return to normal."

"In that case, Twi," Rainbow Dash urged her inter-dimensional friend, "don't you dare lose to her! Take down that ninja wannabe!"

"Don't worry, Rainbow Dash... I promise that I will!" Twilight replied.

"Hmph... you may have caused me some pain, but you are far from vanquishing me in this battle!" Mulia shouted to Twilight (Mulia Mild: LP: 3,800 - 800 = 3,000). "You have so far only received a taste of what a true ninja battle is like! Once I unleash my full power, even you will see that you stood no chance of winning!"

"If you're so confident, then go ahead and make your move!" the purple-skinned girl told her, not showing any fear.

"Very well then, it is my move." Mulia responded. "And because it IS my turn, our monsters' attack points are reset to their original values." (Gagaga Cowboy: ATK 2500 - 1000 = 1500) (Blade Armor Ninja: ATK 1700 + 500 = 2200) Drawing a card from her Deck, she then tapped her Duel Pad and said, "Now I activate my Call of the Haunted. This allows me to Summon my Earth Armor Ninja from the Graveyard in Attack Mode!" After the card was flipped, her brown-costumed ninja re-entered the field, ready to strike.

(I'll bet she's going to bring out her Number card now...) Twilight thought. (I'd better be ready for anything.)

Taking out a card from her hand, Ms. Mulia then declared, "Next, I shall Normal Summon my Flame Armor Ninja in Attack Mode!" Her new monster was similar in appearance to her Earth Armor Ninja, except that his costume was mostly colored in shades of red, in addition to the silver armor plating on his arms and legs (Flame Armor Ninja: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 1000). "And by Summoning him," the Home Ec. teacher continued, "I can now use his power to raise the Level of any of my Ninja monsters by one! And I choose to have him use the effect on himself to become a Level 5 monster!" (Flame Armor Ninja: Level 4 + 1 = 5)

"Uh oh... now she's got two Level 5 monsters on the field!" Indigo Bolt said with some worry. "She's gonna Xyz Summon!"

"And I'm pretty sure it's gonna be her Number Card..." Rainbow Dash stated, not too thrilled to see it happen.

(...Stay strong, Twilight... you can get through this...) Sunset mentally urged her.

"I now overlay my Earth Armor Ninja and my Flame Armor Ninja, both currently Level 5, to create the Overlay Network!!" shouted Mulia Mild, not ACTING very mild as her two montsers transformed into a pair of lights - one orange and one red - before being drawn into a galaxy-like vortex in front of her. "Reveal yourself, Number 12!" she began to chant. "Stalk my enemies in the shadows, and end their will to fight! Make your blade as crimson as your armor! Xyz Summon!! Mighty ninja as red as the rising sun! Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja!!"

Soon after the chant was complete, the portal exploded, leaving behind an orange mark resembling the number 12. Out of the portal came a large, four-pointed object: a shuriken. Its center ring was a very dark red and lined with spikes, while the bladed points were of a brighter-colored red. Orbiting the giant shuriken were a pair of orange-colored orbs. Soon after, the shuriken began to change shape, forming into an armored warrior with heavy armor in all different shades of red, brown, and black. On his back was a katana, which he carried in a sheath, and the silver and red-colored mask he wore gave off a frightening appearance.

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

Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Warrior-Type/EARTH/Rank 5/ATK 2400/DEF 1700)

2 Level 5 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; this turn, face-up "Ninja" monsters you control cannot be destroyed by battle or by card effects.

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

Everyone stared at the new Number card that stood opposite of Twilight Sparkle. "Woah... I gotta say, guys," Rainbow Dash began, "enemy or not, that guy looks REALLY cool and awesome..."

"And powerful, I'll bet." Sunset added. "And that's not good news for Twilight... Hopefully, that thing isn't TOO strong for her to defeat."

"We will just have to wait and see..." Mrs. K told them both.

The Princess of Friendship was doing everything she could to not let her opponent see her sweat. The Number gave off an imposing aura of power that made her step back a bit. "Stay brave, Twilight..." she told herself. "You can't let this... this thing get the best of you. No matter what, I have to keep my promise to Sunset and help her defeat these Number cards!"

Ms. Mulia chuckled a little and told her foe, "Look at you, trying to fight back your fears... We ninja can smell your fear and doubt from a mile away, striking you down at your most vulnerable moments." Tapping her Duel Pad, she continued, saying, "Once you are even just slightly off-balance, your defeat will be inevitable! So I choose to activate my last Trap Card! Barrier Ninjitsu Art of Transcription!!"

"Wh-what does that do?" asked Twilight, shivering just a bit.

"I'll tell you:" Mulia replied. "While it may prevent me from attacking with more than just one of my monsters, that one monster is allowed to use the effects of any of the monsters you have on the field!"

"You don't mean-?!"

"I do, Ms. Sparkle!" Mulia interrupted. "I'll use my Trap Card to have Crimson Shadow steal the effects of your Gagaga Cowboy for this turn!" Twilight gasped as Mulia's monster drew strength from her monster to power himself up. "Another rule of us ninja is to also make use of our enemy's power to our own advantage!" the teacher-turned-ninja added. "But don't worry, my Blade Armor Ninja won't be able to use his effect at the same time I use my Trap Card, so you'll survive... for now."

Twilight groaned a bit, not sure what to do at this moment besides hope for the best.

"Next," the ninja Duelist continued, "I activate my Ninjitsu Art of Silent Shuriken! Now every time one of my Ninjas attacks your monsters, I can inflict another 300 points of damage after the battle is over!"

"Oh no... now she can hit Twilight's Life Points almost every turn thanks to that card!" exclaimed Shining Spoon.

"Now I'll activate the effect that my Crimson Shadow gained from your monster!" Mulia shouted as she removed one of her monster's Overlay Units (Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja: OLU: 2 - 1 = 1). "Now my monster power increases (Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja: ATK 2400 + 1000 = 3400), while yours LOSES power (Gagaga Cowboy: ATK 1500 - 500 = 1000)!!And there is nothing he can do to stop it!" She then ordered, "Crimson Shadow, destroy her Gagaga Cowboy!! Moon Shadow Crimson Slice!!"

Twilight could only watch as the powered-up Number card drew their sword and slashed it at her Gagaga Cowboy, sending him to that big saloon in the sky. In addition, the impact also caused the young Princess to take a large amount of damage (Twilight Sparkle: LP: 3,800 - 2,400 = 1,400). Not only that, Mulia's Continuous Spell card, Ninjitsu Art of Silent Shuriken, caused her to lose 300 more Life Points (Twilight Sparkle: LP: 1,400 - 300 = 1,100).

"Ouch... that was harsh..." Indigo Bolt stated. "But she's still in this game."

"Yeah, but for how long?" asked Shining Spoon. "That thing seems unbeatable..."

"No way! Twilight can take him down, no problem!" Pinkie shouted, not ready to lose hope in her friend.

"But how?" asked the young boy. 'How would YOU do it?"

"Um... uh... Not exactly sure about that, to be honest." the pink teen answered. "But if anyone can do it, Twilight definitely can! I just know it!!"

"Pinkie's right, Twi!" Rainbow Dash cheered. "Don't let that brute get t' ya! You can beat it!!"

"You can do it, Twilight!" Sunset shouted, joining in the moment as well. "Beat that number and save Mulia!"

Urged on by their cheers, Twilight Sparkle smiled and told them, "Alright! I'll do it! I'll defeat that Number card and make sure it can't hurt anypo- er, anyBODY ever again!"

Mrs. K was quite intrigued by what she had heard from Twilight and her friends. (Amazing... even against seemingly impossible odds, they never lose their faith in one another... They seem to have developed quite a strong bond with each other, as if they can feel each other's hopes and ambitions... Most astounding indeed...)

But the Number-controlled Mulia Mild wasn't amused. "Pathetic. No amount of cheering will save any of you from the wrath of my ninjas! At this rate, your only hope of survival is your surrender!"

"Sorry, Ms. Mulia," Twilight told her, "but as the old saying goes, 'Quitters never win'! And neither do people who attack innocent bystanders for no reason! Attacking people in hiding is the act of a coward!"

"You dare call me a coward?!" the teacher-turned-ninja said in her fury. "You'll pay dearly for that remark!! Now make your move so that I can eliminate you for good!!"

"I will make my move." the Princess of Friendship said calmly. "And because it's my turn, the effects of your cards end. So your ninja's attack power returns to normal (Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja: ATK 3400 - 1000 = 2400), and it no longer has my Gagaga Cowboy's effect."

"Hmph, it makes no difference." Ms. Mulia responded. "He shall still defeat you!"

"We'll just see about that..." Twilight said as she drew her next card...

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Meanwhile, in a dark, foggy area, a bright light could be seen in the distance, accompanied by a loud train whistle. The light was part of a long passenger train... that was shaped exactly like Discord. "Attention passengers!" blared Discord's voice over an intercom. "We have now arrived at our next destination: Sunset Shimmer's subconscious! Please depart in a DISorderly manner."

After the announcement was made, what appeared to be several clones of Discord departed from the train, each one dressed up in the style of a cliché tourist, such as Hawaiian shirts, cameras around their necks, and giant hats. In addition, they all left the train in various bizarre manners: Some went out through the window, some out of the train smokestack (and getting covered in soot in the process), and others left via hatches on the roofs of the train cars. Some did leave through the actual exit doors, but they were either walking backwards or on their clawed hands.

Only one of the Discords left the train through the proper exit, standing upright, and faced the right direction. Smirking a little at his crazy handiwork, he snapped his claws and made the train and all of the Discord clones vanish. With a hearty chuckle, he said to himself, "Oh, I just LOVE doing that..." Taking a deep breath, he then added, "But seriously, I've got some work to do, so I'd better have a look around here..." The draconequus then started wandering around the dark foggy area, looking for anything that might give him the information that he was seeking.

"Well, I suppose I should start my search in Sunset's soul..." he figured. "Based what I know from looking at the souls of others, everypony's soul is represented by a small room; why that is, I haven't had the time to figure out yet... But inside the room are all sorts of items that reflect the owner's personality. In the case of Twilight's soul, it was an extremely vast room, probably to reflect her desire to learn more about everything in general, so it would have to be big enough to fit all of the information that she learns. And naturally, everything that she does know is well-organized and safely stored away." Looking ahead, Discord then told himself, "That being said, even Twilight didn't seem to know much about the Numbers or the Astral World besides what she has already learned, but since Sunset owns a relic that seems to be connected to that Utopia guy, I might have better luck looking through her mind..."

Eventually, Discord came to a dead end, where he saw something that surprised him. "Wh-what??" he exclaimed. "There... there appear to be doors to TWO soul rooms here!!" Sure enough, on either side of the hallway, there was a door that led into another room. One was made of mahogany wood with a golden doorknob, with Sunset's cutie mark painted on the top. The other door appeared to be made of metal with a handle rather than a doorknob. Engraved on the top of the door was a picture of the key-like charm that was Sunset's necklace, and door itself was covered in chains that were all held together by several padlocks. One of the locks, however, was opened and lying on the floor.

"This is... rather strange." Discord told himself. "Based what I knew from experience, while everypony's soul room is unique, there is never more than one room to explore, but Sunset's is split into two rooms... Most interesting; I wonder if anyone else has seen such a thing before..." Deciding think about that another time, the draconequus cracked his knuckles and said, "Well, in any case, let's see if we can find out anything in either of these rooms..."

Discord then walked over to the wooden door with Sunset's cutie mark on it and opened it. Flicking the light switch, he saw all sorts of things in the room: There were books and studying equipment everywhere, much like Twilight's room, but with a few slight differences. "So it seems that Sunset here is as much a bookworm as Twilight..." the draconequus noted. "But it's not as well-organized... It seems Sunset here still isn't quite sure what she wants to do with her life now that she's essentially committed to living here, so her mind is racing through all of this material to try and figure that out."

He then noticed that a large picture was hanging on the wall above the desk. Discord looked up and saw a photo of Sunset, Twilight, and all of their human world friends posing and smiling. "Quite a large photograph..." the draconequus said to himself, "and it's been placed in a solid gold frame too... Clearly this is the thing that's most important to Sunset: Her friends in this world. And it's been placed in front of her study desk for her to see while she's working. It's very clear that this is what keeps her going day after day..."

Suddenly, Discord heard a low snarling sound coming from behind him. When he turned around to look, he saw that there was a small cage in a dark corner of the room, its door secured with multiple complex locks. Inside of the cage was some sort of demon-like creature: It appeared to be female (in fact, it looked very similar to Sunset herself), with crimson-red skin, pointed ears, jet-black eyes with cyan pupils, fiery red and yellow hair, and sharp fangs in her teeth. She wore a dress similar in color to her hair, had black and red-colored wings, a fiery-looking pony tail growing out of her backside, and long, black boots. Her hand had sharp claws on them, and Discord could see that the creature was heavily shackled. The creature growled and hissed as she flung herself against the bars of the cage in a futile attempt to escape.

"Hmmm, quite a nasty-looking creature, aren't you?" Discord asked it mockingly. The only response he got was a weak swipe from the creature's claws that missed him by a mile. "Well, it's obvious what you are: You're Sunset Shimmer's dark side. You look just like what Twilight described after she came back from her first trip to your good self's homeworld. It seems after Sunset decided to better herself, she locked you away in the darkest corner of her mind, to make sure that you couldn't come back out. It also explains the earplugs on her study desk; you are quite loud and annoying..." Smirking, he then told her, "You have to admit, she did quite a good job on all of these locks." Again the she-demon hissed and swiped at the draconequus, not amused by his comment. But that was all that she could accomplish in her current state. Huffing a little, Discord then informed the creature, "Well, this conversation has been THRILLING, but I have work to do. Au revoir!" The draconequus then left the room, even as the she-demon growled and hissed at him.

Closing the door behind him, Discord sighed and told himself, "Well, that room might have told me a little more about Sunset Shimmer, but not about the Numbers or the Astral World. It seems there's still a lot about this whole mess that even she doesn't seem to know." He then glanced over at the other door, and began to sense something about it; something powerful... and mysterious. "This door could probably tell me something... but it appears someone, or something, doesn't want me or anyone else snooping around, based on all of these chains wrapped around it." Putting on a violet ski mask, Discord then said, "But if they think that they can keep me, the Lord of Chaos out, they had better think again!"

The draconequus then reached into a... pocket on his chest and pulled out a small, red case full of lockpicks. He then took one of them and began using it on the padlocks that kept the chains secure. It took a while, but Discord managed to unlock all of them. "Yes! I got it!" he cheered as he swiftly pulled all of the chains away from the door and tossed them aside. "Now... let's see what secrets you're keeping from me and Sunset..." he said as he opened the door...

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

Back in the real world, Twilight had just started her third turn in the Duel. Looking at her next card, she sighed a little, not too happy with what she got. (Gagagabolt... if I still had my Gagaga Cowboy on the field, I could have used this card to destroy her Number card right now...) she pondered. (But I don't have a way of bring back any of my Gagaga monsters, so I'll need to make a different plan.) Taking out a card from her hand, the young Princess stated, "I'll play my Gagagadraw Spell Card. By banishing three Gagaga monsters from my Graveyard, I can draw two new cards."

"Good move..." noted Mrs. K. "Now hopefully she can draw the cards she needs for a comeback." The others nodded in agreement, hoping that Twilight get out of this situation.

The purple teenager then removed her Gagaga Mancer, Gagaga Magician, and her Gagaga Cowboy from the Graveyard to pay her Spell Card's cost. Afterwards, she drew her two extra cards and looked at them carefully. At that moment, Utopia spoke to Twilight in her mind, telling her, "Those two cards will most certainly help us right now, assuming you play them in the correct manner."

"Don't worry, I know what to do. I just hope it'll be enough." Twilight said as she took out one of the other cards that she had in her hand. Setting it face-down on her Duel Pad's card tray, she then declared, "I'll set one monster in Defense Mode, and then activate my Gogogo Talisman Spell Card before ending my turn."

"Is that all you can accomplish, Ms. Sparkle?" asked Mulia Mild, still under the control of her Number card. "Well it's quite pathetic, seeing you struggle to get out of the trap that I have placed you in. Even you must admit that your situation is hopeless!"

"If that's what you think, then you don't know me very well." Twilight said back. "Too many pon- er, people depend on me, and I can't afford to just give up because things seem bad! So if you want to win this Duel, you'll have to do it the hard way!"

"Yeah! You tell her, Twi!" shouted Rainbow Dash.

"Um, she did Dashie." Pinkie told her cyan friend. "Weren't you listening?" This elicited a groan out of the athletic teen.

"Hmph! Have it your way then." Mulia said. "Now it's my turn!" After drawing a card, she then declared, "I now remove Blade Armor Ninja's remaining Overlay Unit! And this time I'll bestow his power onto Crimson Shadow!" And with that, Blade Armor's last green orb was absorbed into his sword, which he pointed straight towards Mulia's Number card (Blade Armor Ninja: OLU: 1 - 1 = 0). Crimson Shadow then began to radiate a green light around himself as his power increased.

"That's not good... now her Number card can attack twice this turn, thanks to Blade Armor's effect!" said Indigo Bolt.

"If she takes out her monster and hits her directly, Twilight will lose the Duel!" said Shining Spoon in despair.

"I wouldn't be so sure of that." Sunset told him. "I think Twilight figured out some way of stopping that from happening..."

Thinking that she had this Duel won, Ms. Mulia did not hesitate to make her next move. "Go, Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja! Destroy her monster, and then prepare to strike her Life Points next!! Moon Shadow Crimson Slice!!" The powerful ninja clad in red armor then leapt forward, ready to take out Twilight's only monster. The spectators became tense, not sure what was going to happen next.

But when Twilight's monster revealed itself, it used a pair of large, blue arms to block the attack, preventing both itself and Twilight from taking any damage. "WHAT?! What happened?!? Why didn't the attack work?!?" shouted the Home Ec. teacher.

"Because the monster I played was Gogogo Golem." said the Princess of Friendship. "If he's in Defense Mode, he can save himself from being destroyed once during a battle." The giant blue rock monster then grunted as it managed to push Crimson Shadow back to the other side of the field without suffering a scratch (Gogogo Golem: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1500).

"Hmph. A minor setback, nothing more." Mulia said. "That power only works once each turn, and you still take damage from my Silent Shuriken Spell Card (Twilight Sparkle: LP: 1,100 - 300 = 800). Not only that, but I STILL have Crimson Shadow's second attack! Prepare to lose your monster AND this Duel!!" The Number then jumped forward, ready to finish what it started.

"I'm afraid you won't get me THAT easily!" Twilight shouted back. "I activate the effect of my Gogogo Talisman!" As she did, a monolith then came out of the card's image on the field and began radiating a red-orange light. That light then surrounded Gogogo Golem moments before the ninja attacked it with his sword. But once again, the rock monster escaped unharmed. Even though Twilight took more damage from Mulia's Spell Card (Twilight Sparkle: LP: 800 - 300 = 500), she managed to save herself from certain defeat.

"No!! You must have cheated!!" screamed Mulia. "You said that Gogogo Golem's effect only works once per turn!!"

"It does." Twilight confirmed. "But my Gogogo Talisman's effect allows me to prevent one of my Gogogo monster from being destroyed in battle once per turn as well. So I used the effect on my Golem and saved him from being destroyed a second time! I guess you should have paid a little more attention to my last move. If you did, you probably wouldn't have wasted your Blade Armor Ninja's effect this turn."

"Woah, that was awesome!!" said Rainbow Dash. "She managed to save herself from losing!"

"Indeed." Sunset stated. "Not only that, but she also caused Mulia to use up all of Blade Armor Ninja's Overlay Units, so there won't be any more double attacks coming from her."

Taking a deep breath and wiping his forehead, Shining Spoon then chimed in, saying, "I should've known Twilight would get out of that mess."

"Maybe this time," Indigo Bolt added, "but unless she can come up with something good, she'll lose on Mulia's next turn for sure."

"Well lucky for us, that's the only kind of move that Twilight makes!" Pinkie Pie assured her.

Grumbling, Mulia shouted, "In that case, Blade Armor Ninja will destroy your Golem!!" Her second monster then jumped forward and managed to eliminate Twilight's only monster (Twilight Sparkle: LP: 500 - 300 = 200). But because of the young Princess's move, she still had some Life Points left, and Mulia was out of options this turn. "Looks like you bought yourself one more turn. We'll just see if that makes any difference in this battle... Next turn, I'll wipe you out for good, and your Numbers shall become mine! So enjoy one more turn in which you have them... Because that's all you have left!"

Twilight then drew her next card and thought to herself, (As much as I hate to admit it, she has a point: I need to beat her this turn, or I'm a goner. But I'm not sure what else I can do... I know there's a way out of this somewhere, but...)

"I suppose that's my cue, then." said a very familiar voice.

"Huh? Who said that...?" Twilight asked herself. But it didn't take the smartypants long to figure out who that voice belonged to. "Discord...? Is that you?"

Appearing in a phantom-like state (much like how Utopia did whenever he talked to Twilight), Discord stood right beside the young Princess and said to her, "You bet your flank it is! I just came by to see how things were going."

Sighing, Twilight mentally told him, "I know that Celestia asked you to keep an eye on me, but in case you can't already see it, I'm in the middle of something important here, so I don't really have the time to-"

"Hmph...! You mean you don't have any time to talk with one of your best friends?? Some Princess of Friendship you are..." huffed Discord, feeling a bit insulted. "And to think; I was about to tell you something that might help you win..."

"Wait... what did you just say?" asked Twilight, unsure if she heard him correctly.

"Hm? Oh! So you ARE interested in having a little chat with me?" Discord asked with a smirk. "If that's the case, I take that last comment back."

"Um... okay." Twilight then asked him, "Anyway, did you just say that you know a secret to winning this Duel? But how? You don't seem to be the kind of individual that would be into games like this, even IF they exist in Equestria."

"Well, I'm not." the draconequus told her. "I'd sooner catch blue flu again than do something like, say... spend an evening playing something like Ogres & Oubliettes. Personally, I don't see myself EVER partaking in something like that... ever. But yes, I do happen to have some valuable information that can help you win this little game of yours, if you're willing to listen."

"Well... um..." Twilight wasn't sure what to do, as she still seemed to have some doubts about Discord and whether or not she could take his words at face value. After all, the wily creature had a habit of playing tricks on others, not to mention that he used to be an enemy of Twilight and her Equestrian friends.

Noticing the young girl's uneasy feelings, the draconequus sighed and said to her, "...Twilight, what is it going to take for me to prove to you that I can be just as much your friend as... well... your friends?? I understand that things haven't always been... easy between the two of us, and I know that I can be quite a hoofful at times... But is it too much to ask that I should be allowed to have that same bond with you that you seem to have with Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy or anyone else?"

"I... I suppose not." Twilight replied, understanding where he was coming from.

"And is it too much to ask that, even if it's just this one time, that you can trust me when I sincerely want to help you?" Discord told her. "If I remember correctly, Cellie wanted me to use my chaotic powers to do good, and that's exactly what I just did: I found out something valuable about the Number cards deep Sunset's mind, and I wish to share it with you so that you can keep your promise to her."

"...Wait, you were in Sunset's mind??" asked Twilight. "Why were you in there?"

"I'll explain it later, after you defeat that wannabe ninja over there." Discord suggested. "Right now, I'm asking you one teeny-tiny little thing: If you really are the 'Princess of Friendship', can you trust one of your friends enough to tell you what they discovered?" He then put on a sad-looking face, complete with puppy-dog eyes.

Thinking to herself, Twilight ran over what she had just heard in her mind. (He seems sincere...) she thought. (and it seems like he truly wants to help me... But how can I trust him after he betrayed us and sided with Tirek to take over Equestria...? Then again, Tirek DID double-cross him in the end, and after he lost his powers to him, Discord looked so crushed and unhappy... Tirek promised him everything, but left him with nothing after it was all said and done. And once he found that out, I could feel that Discord finally understood who his true friends were... That's all Discord really wants: He wants friends that understand him, that can trust him, and treat him like a real friend... And it's about time I do that for him. After all, I'm the Princess of Friendship, and I should act as such.)

"...Discord?" Twilight began to say to the draconequus.

"Hm?" Discord hummed, waiting to hear what she had to say.

The young Princess then looked up to him and smiled, saying, "You're absolutely right. I should be treating you more like a friend, but I was too afraid to put my trust in you... and for that, I'm sorry." Putting on a determined look, she then told him, "But I'm over that now. I know you just want to feel accepted and understood by others... And I suppose that if it weren't for you, we may not have been able to stop Tirek from taking over Equestria."

"Well, to be fair, I DID cause the problem in the first place..." the draconequus admitted.

"But you made things right in the end." Twilight told him. "And I know you did that because you deeply and truly cared about us, like any true friend would... And that's why I feel... that I CAN put my trust in you."

"You really mean that, Twilight?" asked Discord.

"I do. I trust you, Discord." she told him again.

"HUZZAH!!!" the draconequus shouted. "Twilight trusts me!!" Snapping his claws, he made a long, dangling cord appear in front of him as he said, "I can FINALLY use this!" He then pulled the cord, causing a large, yellow party ball to open up,which dropped down a vertical banner that read, "TWILIGHT TRUSTS ME". After wards, he started dancing around, singing, "Twilight Sparkle trusts ME! Twilight Sparkle trusts ME! Twilight Sparkle trusts ME!"

Narrowing her eyes, the young Princess told him, "Discord... don't rub it in."

Stopping his little celebration, Discord chuckled and said to her, "Sorry about that." He then snapped his claws, causing the party ball and banner to vanish into thin air, all the while grinning his teeth and rubbing the back of his head.

Twilight chuckled a bit, chalking that moment up to Discord just being himself. Then, at that moment, the young Princess noticed a faint glow coming from the box that held her Extra Deck. "Huh?? What's this?" she asked herself, opening it up. When she pulled out the cards inside, the glow became more intense, and it could be seen by everyone in attendance.

"Urrrgh...! What's going on...?!" grunted Ms. Mulia, shielding her eyes from the bright light.

"What's up with Twilight's Deck??" asked Rainbow Dash, also covering her eyes, as was everyone else. "Why's it glowing like that??"

"Don't ask me...!" said Shining Spoon. "I don't know what's going on, either!" Indigo Bolt nodded to say that she, too, wasn't sure what was happening to Twilight's cards right now.

Sunset, however, seemed to have an idea as to what was causing that bright light. (Could this be because of her Number card?) she asked herself. (I remember... this happened before, when Twilight had her Duel with Trixie...) Mrs. K said nothing, but based on her facial expression, she also seemed to know what was going on.

Finally, the glow began to fade away, and when Twilight Sparkle turned to look at her Extra Deck cards again, she saw that one of them was surrounded by a faint, white light. When she pulled that card out, the young Princess was shocked to see that it was a blank card. "Wait... I don't remember putting something like this in my Deck before today... Where did it come from?" she asked herself. She then turned around to face the projection of Discord in her mind and asked him, "Did you do this...?"

Laughing a little, the draconequus told her, "Oh I didn't do that... It was YOU who made that card appear!"

"I... I don't understand." Twilight told him. "How did I do this?"

"Well, after looking around Sunset's mind," Discord explained, "I came across some information on the Number cards; information that appeared to be well-hidden, even to Sunset herself. As you know, the Number cards' powers are only as strong as its owner's hopes and desires... And as far as I can tell, as a Princess of Equestria, your deepest desire is to create a world where everypony can get along with each other and work together towards a brighter future." He then made a dictionary appear in his hands and read off of it, saying, "That's the very definition of a utopia, if I'm not mistaken." Tossing the book aside, he then added, "Because of the nature of your desires, Utopia has been given incredible amounts of power; power that becomes stronger as you grow stronger... or something like that. I'll admit, I did skim over most of the info."

Twilight thought about what he said and seemed to finally understand what he meant. "I see... so that's why you wanted me to put my trust in you, is that it?" she asked. "Because you knew that Utopia would grow stronger from my own personal feelings, is that right?"

"That is correct." said Utopia's voice. "I don't know how, but... I know it to be true. By placing your faith in someone that you initially found difficult to trust, you managed to overcome a personal obstacle. That, in turn, appeared to have unlocked more of my power." Twilight then looked at the blank card, only to find that it was no longer blank: There was now a picture of a powerful warrior upon it, and the initially-textless box under the artwork now had text, written in the Astral World's language.

"He's right, Twilight." Discord told her. "So why don't you go ahead and use that new card to beat the pajamas off that ninja wannabe?" He then winked at her, smirking as he did so.

Nodding to the mischievous draconequus with a smile, she told him and Utopia, "That's what I plan on doing!" Turning her attention back to Ms. Mulia, Twilight said to her, "Alright, Mulia! It's time we ended this Duel once and for all!"

"And what is that supposed to mean?" she asked the purple girl. "Don't tell me you still think that you can get out of this?"

"Just watch me..." the young Princess told her, taking a card from her hand. "I Summon Gogogo Giant in Attack Mode!" After playing her card, her brown and blue-colored stone giant appeared in front of her (Gogogo Giant: Level 4 / ATK 2000 / DEF 0). "And by Normal Summoning him, Gogogo Giant allows me to switch him to Defense Mode and Summon another Gogogo monster from my Graveyard in Defense Mode! And I choose Gogogo Golem!!" And after she said that, her other stone monster reappeared on the field, coming out of a violet portal.

"Two monsters, two hundred monsters, it won't make any difference!" the Home Ec. teacher shouted. "They're not strong enough to save you from my ninjas!"

"Perhaps not, but since they're both Level 4, I can use them to Summon something that IS strong enough!" the Princess of Friendship told her.

"Aw yeah! She's gonna Summon her Number card!" said Rainbow Dash, getting excited.

"Go for it, Twilight!!" Sunset shouted in encouragement.

Nodding, Twilight then made her next move, saying, "I now overlay my Gogogo Giant and my Gogogo Golem, both Level 4, to build the Overlay Network!!" In a flash, both of her monsters transformed into a pair of orange lights that were sucked into a galaxy-like vortex above. "Appear, Number 39!" the young Princess chanted. "My battle starts here! I entrust my wishes upon your white wings! Xyz Summon! Messenger of light! Rank 4! Utopia!!"

The Summoning Portal then exploded, leaving a red 39 mark on the ground below. Soon after, Utopia appeared, first in his sealed form, and then quickly transforming into his battle form as a pair of yellow orbs orbited around him (Number 39: Utopia: Rank 4 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2000).

"So this is your Number card, is it?" asked Mulia. "While he does have a slightly higher attack power than either of my monsters, I'm afraid that it won't be enough to save you from defeat next turn!" Taking out the last card underneath her Number card, she shouted, "I activate Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja's effect! By removing one Overlay Unit, I can prevent all of my Ninja monsters from being destroyed this turn! Now there's no way you'll be able to eliminate my monsters before I unleash my wrath!"

But Twilight showed no fear as she calmly told her opponent. "Actually, I don't NEED to destroy you monsters to defeat you, Mulia. I have all that I need to end this Duel right here, right now!"

"You lie!!" protested the ninja Duelist.

"If you don't believe me, I'll let my Deck prove it to you." Extending her right arm, Twilight shouted, "I now invoke the power of... Xyz Evolution!!"

"Huh? Xyz Evolution??" asked Indigo Bolt. "What's that?"

"Never heard of it." said Rainbow Dash. "What about you, Sunset? You have any idea what Twi's talkin' about?"

"As a matter of fact, I do." the red and yellow girl answered her. "I've heard that it's a special type of Xyz Summoning... unique in how it is performed. Ordinarily, you use two or more monsters with the same Levels to Summon an Xyz Monster. But with an Xyz Evolution, you instead use one Xyz Monster to call up another."

"And Xyz WITH an Xyz?!" exclaimed Shining Spoon. "That's nuts! I didn't know that was even possible!" Turning back to the Duel, he then added, "But it could be just what Twilight needed to win this Duel!"

"Let's hope so." Mrs. K chimed in, intrigued to see Twilight's move.

Continuing her turn, Twilight shouted, "I now use Xyz Evolution to Xyz Summon using Utopia as the Overlay Unit!" And after she made that announcement, Utopia reconfigured himself back into his sealed form and descended into another galaxy-like vortex. "Show yourself, Chaos Number 39!" she chanted. "The power of hope, the messenger that changes chaos into light! Come and show your magnificent might! Chaos Xyz Evolution!" At that moment, the vortex exploded, and the 39 mark that it left behind was radiating a even brighter red light. "Unleash yourself! Rank 4! Utopia Ray!" Twilight finished, placing her newly-obtained card onto her Duel Pad's tray.

Everyone watched in astonishment as another object appeared in the skies above. It resembled Utopia's sealed form, but was mostly black in color, and it had more of a sword-like appearance to it, with three yellow orbs orbiting it. The object then began to transform itself, forming itself into a large, armored man in black, grey, and golden armor with large wings, and glowing red eyes underneath a blue jewel-like adornment on his forehead. He also appeared to be wielding three swords: Two equipped onto either side of his hips, and a much, much larger one in a sheath on his back.

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Number C39: Utopia Ray
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Warrior-Type/LIGHT/Rank 4/ATK 2500/DEF 2000)

3 Level 4 LIGHT monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. You can also Xyz Summon this card by using a "Number 39: Utopia" you control as the Xyz Material. (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; it gains 500 ATK and 1 monster your opponent controls loses 1000 ATK, until the End Phase. You must have 1000 LP or less to activate and to resolve this effect.

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Everyone was amazed by Twilight's move, as well as the new monster that she had Summoned. "Get a load of that thing..." Rainbow Dash said in awe.

"It's so big and powerful..." noted Indigo Bolt. "But where did it come from?"

"As long as that thing can help Twilight win, who cares?" Shining Spoon told his friend.

"No doubt about it!" Pinkie Pie said confidently. "Twilight's sure to win now that she has... whatever that thingy is on the field!"

Mulia wasn't terribly impressed by Twilight's new monster as she told her foe, "That's your big move? Your new Xyz Monster's attack power is no higher than your previous one! Nothing changed at all!"

"You're wrong." Twilight informed the ninja Duelist. "Even though Utopia's attack power didn't change, his special ability DOES! And I'll activate it right now!" Removing one of the three cards that were underneath her new monster, the young Princess declared, "I remove one Overlay Unit from Utopia Ray and activate his effect (Number C39: Utopia Ray: OLU 3 - 1 = 2)! Since my Life Points are 1,000 or lower, I can increase his attack power by 500 (Number C39: Utopia Ray: ATK 2500 + 500 = 3000)! But in addition to that, I can also decrease the attack power of one of your monsters by 1,000! And that power lasts until the end of this turn!" Pointing straight at Mulia's Number card, Twilight announced, "I choose to lower Crimson Shadow's attack points!"

Mulia gasped as her powerful Number card began losing its strength, causing it to drop to one knee (Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja: ATK 2400 - 1000 = 1400). Grumbling she then told Twilight, "That still isn't enough! I have more than enough Life Points to survive, even IF you attack my weakened Ninja! Just face it: you can't escape my trap!"

But Twilight chuckled a little and informed her opponent, "Then I guess it's a good thing that Utopia Ray has no limit to the number of times I can use his ability each turn."

"Wh-WHAT?!?" gasped the Home Ec. teacher, not expecting to hear that.

"I activate Utopia's effect again!!" the Princess of Friendship shouted, sending another of her monster's materials to the Graveyard (Number C39: Utopia Ray: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). "And once more, I power up Utopia, and power DOWN Crimson Shadow!" (Number C39: Utopia Ray: ATK 3000 + 500 = 3500) (Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja: ATK 1400 - 1000 = 400)

"No... no this can't happening...!" protested Mulia, shaking in fear for the first time since the Duel started.

Taking out the last of Utopia Ray's materials, Twilight shouted, "And now, one last time, I use Utopia's effect! (Number C39: Utopia Ray: OLU 1 - 1 = 0) I power up his attack points again (Number C39: Utopia Ray: ATK 3500 + 500 = 4000), and this time, I'll decrease Blade Armor Ninja's attack power!" Now Mulia's other monster fell to the ground, losing a lot of his own strength to Utopia Ray's effect (Blade Armor Ninja: ATK 2200 - 1000 = 1200).

"After all that," Sunset began to say, "Twilight's monster now has 4,000 attack points. Once she attacks Mulia's Number card, this Duel is over."

"Yeah!! Awesome job, Twilight!!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"Yeah!! Great work!!" Pinkie chimed in. "Now finish her!!!"

Nodding to her friends, the young Princess then ordered her monster, "Utopia Ray!! Attack Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja and end this Duel!!"

"I shall do just that!" Utopia responded, now speaking in a slightly more aggressive-sounding voice. He then pulled out both of the swords from the sheaths on his hips. Not only that, but he also extended an extra pair of arms that helped to draw the much larger sword on his back. With all three swords unsheathed and ready for battle, there was no stopping Utopia from fulfilling his duty to Twilight. Slashing all three of his weapons, he shouted, "Go!! Rising Sun Chaos Slash!!!"

Mulia could do nothing but watch her Number card take the mighty blows, one after the other. The force of the impact sent her Number card flying right into her, causing them both to fall to the ground. Though her Number was immune to destruction, Mulia wasn't so lucky; all of her remaining Life Points were depleted, and she fainted out of exhaustion (Mulia Mild: LP: 3,000 - 3,600 = 0) (WINNER: Twilight Sparkle).

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"Yeah!! Twilight did it!!" Rainbow Dash cheered. "She beat Mulia!!"

"That was SO cool!!" shouted an excited Indigo Bolt. "That was the best come-from-behind win I've ever seen!!"

"Yeah!! It was so toasty!!" Pinkie chimed in.

"Um, did you just say, 'toasty'?" asked Sunset, a bit confused.

"It was a battle involving ninjas, Sunnie." the silly pink teen explained to her. "I HAD to make a Mortal Kombat reference at some point! Yeesh."

"Um, right." Sunset responded. She then smiled and told everyone, "In any case, Twilight did a great job, and now Mulia will return to her normal self very soon."

"It seems so." Mrs. K replied. She smiled to herself as she thought, (And now that I have seen their power first-hand, I know now what I must do next...) She then turned around to leave, telling the students, "I'm going to inform the Principals that you completed their task, as well get some assistance for Ms. Mulia."

"Uh, sure. Thanks, Mrs. K." Rainbow responded. "After all, we don't wanna just leave her lying out here with no one to take care of her." The pale-skinned woman smiled a bit before continuing on her way.

Twilight was now standing in front of Mulia Mild, holding the teacher's Number card and stared at it. Smiling, she then said in her mind, (Well, that takes care of that... But I couldn't have won this without the help of my friends. Especially you, Discord.)

The mischievous draconequus chuckled, telling her, "Well, if you're REALLY that thankful to me for helping you, I'm still interested in having my own personalized throne in your castle..." The young Princess narrowed her eyes a little, which immediately caused him to retract his statement, saying, "On second thought, a... reward isn't necessary. Besides, I like my little pocket dimension home better anyway. I'll just head back and let Cellie know that everything's okay with you and Sunnie."

Giggling a little, Twilight said to him, "Thanks Discord. I suppose I'll be seeing you again very soon?"

"Hmmmmm... maaaaaaaybe." the draconequus replied. "Can't say for sure when... Could be tomorrow, could be next month, could be during another huge crisis, who knows?" Smiling a little, he then told her, "But I'd be more than happy to come back whenever you need some help... from a friend."

Twilight nodded and said to Discord, "I'll accept any help you want give me. Have a safe trip home." The draconequus smirked and snapped his claws, vanishing from Twilight's mind... for now.

Sunset and the others rushed over to see Twilight and congratulate her on her victory. "Great work, Twilight!" the jacket-wearing teen said to her friend. "That was your best work yet! But how did you manage to Summon that new card of yours? I don't remember you having it before..."

"Um... I'll tell you about it later, Sunset." the young Princess replied. "Right now, I kind of need a rest; that Duel really wore me out..." Soon after, they all left the area after Nurse Redheart showed up and they were sure that their teacher would get the rest she needed.

Hours later, in a house in the Canterlot suburbs, Mrs. K turned on the living room lights before closing the front door behind her. She set her bags down on a sofa and continued into her Study Room. Walking up to a bright white desk, she turned on a small desk lamp before sitting down in front of an old-looking book. "Sunset Shimmer... Twilight Sparkle..." she said to herself. "And their friends... After witnessing that Duel, as well as seeing Ms. Sparkle actually evolving her Number card, I am more convinced that they are the ones I have been looking for... But there is still much that needs to be done, before they can save us all..."

Mrs. K then opened a drawer under her desk and took out a small, white envelope. Opening it, she pulled out eight Duel Monsters cards with black frames, indicating that they were Xyz Monsters. However, every single one of them was blank. But in the spots where the card's artwork would have been, the areas were not colored white, but in various different colors instead: Magenta, orange, red, violet, pink, cyan, yellow, and brown...

-- To Be Continued...

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NUMBERS OBTAINED:

Twilight Sparkle (4 Numbers total):

- Number 12: Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja

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