• 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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RANK 21: The Number Mystery, Part 1:

Author's Note:

Greetings, everyone! I hope everyone had a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Hearth's Warming. :twilightsmile:

So, here's my present to all of you: A new episode! No Duels take place in this Rank, but there are a lot of important thing that happen here. In any case, I hope you all enjoy it!

RANK 21: The Number Mystery, Part 1:
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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...

Some time ago, Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer had heard that their Home Economics teacher, Ms. Mulia Mild, had vanished without a trace. At that same time, there were rumors about a vicious Duelist that was taking down everyone at the school in Duels. When Twilight confronted the rogue Duelist, dressed in ninja attire, she discovered that they held a Number card and proceeded to battle her. As it turned out, the ninja was actually Ms. Mulia, possessed by the Number card and made to believe that she was a real ninja.

Though Ms. Mulia proved to be tougher than she appeared, Twilight managed to overcome her, thanks to the help of an unexpected ally named Discord. The wily spirit of Chaos had discovered how to further unlock Utopia's power, and with that knowledge, Twilight was able to Summon a more powerful version of him: Number C39: Utopia Ray. With his new power, Utopia helped Twilight defeat Ms. Mulia and return her to normal.

With that battle finished, Twilight and Sunset have only one other thing on their minds, and that is to research information regarding the strange individuals that they encountered at Applejack's farm, along with the unknown person that had planted a Number card on Vinyl Scratch some time after. But as they do, other relevant events are taking place, and other players in this battle for the Number cards are ready to make their next move...

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It was late afternoon in Sunset Shimmer's apartment. It had been a day since Twilight Sparkle, a young Princess from Equestria, had defeated Ms. Mulia Mild in a Duel after the teacher had fallen under the control of a Number card named Crimson Shadow Armor Ninja. During that Duel, Twilight had managed to unlock more of the power that slept within her Number card, Utopia, which allowed her to pool the necessary strength to overcome Ms. Mulia's Ninja Deck. Today, the only battles that Sunset and Twilight had to deal with right now involved their schoolwork. Naturally, the two of them had no trouble in their classes, and even managed to finish all of their homework for the day before they even got to the apartment building.

As the two girls walked through the door leading into Sunset's living room, they set their bags aside and stretched their arms. "Mmmm...! Nothing better than relaxing after such an intense study session!" Twilight happily said to her friend.

"You've got that right." Sunset replied as such hung up her black jacket in the coat closet. "I don't think we've ever managed to finish up all our work so fast before."

"I know, right?" the purple teen said. "I'd even go as far as to say that we might have beaten our own record for quickly finishing up our schoolwork."

"Well, considering that it's the only thing that we can really beat Rainbow Dash at, it's a record we can be proud of." Sunset responded. This elicited a giggle out of both of them. Switching to a more serious tone, the red and yellow girl then told Twilight, "Of course, the main reason that I wanted to finish up our homework right away was to make sure that we have all the time we need for some even more important research: Finding out more about that Skyes Academy place."

"I know, Sunset." the young Princess agreed. "We need to learn more about that place as soon as possible... as well as those strange people that seem to come from there."

Overhearing the conversation, Spike perked his head up from the small doggy bed that was set aside for him to sleep on and looked over at the two girls. "You really think you can find out anything this time?" he asked as Sunset switched on her computer and got onto the Internet. "The last few times you tried searching for info, you two never found anything..."

"I think I might be able to find something this time, Spike." Sunset told him as the dragon-turned-puppy walked over to them. Twilight then picked him up and held him in her arms so that he could see what the red and yellow girl was doing. "During class, I ran into that girl, Indigo Bolt. She must have overheard me asking people about Skyes Academy, because she was able to give me some info that no one else had."

"And what's that?" asked Twilight.

"She could only tell me a place: A place that this school may be located in..." Sunset answered. "It's called Cirrus City."

"Cirrus City?" asked the purple girl. "Never heard of it."

"Doesn't sound like anyplace we know in Equestria..." added Spike.

"That's because there isn't." Sunset informed them. "As far as I can tell... from the maps that I had brought with me when I first came here, Cirrus City has no Equestrian equivalent; it only seems to exist in this world. I've actually heard some things about it: Apparently, it used to be some sort of bustling metropolis at one time. But in the recent years, it fell under hard times and became subject to a lot of crime and illegal activity. As a result, almost nopo- er, nobody lives there anymore."

"And you think that this school is in this city?" asked Twilight.

"We'll know in a few seconds..." said the red and yellow girl as she began typing something in a text box on an Internet Search Engine. "Let's see... 'schools... loacated... in... Cirrus... City'..." she said as she typed. Two seconds after hitting the "Search" button, some results came up. Scrolling through the list, one of the results of the search caught her eye. "I think we may have found something, Twilight..."

"We did?" asked the young Princess. "What is it?"

After Sunset clicked on the hyperlink, a page full of text and a few photo images appeared on-screen. Reading the words in front of her, Sunset began to tell the others, "According to this article, Skyes Academy was a high school in Cirrus City, back when the city was still in its prime. All of the city's residents went to school there, and it employed some highly respected people in the community as staff."

"Really?" asked Twilight. "But you said that the city became run-down and abandoned... How did that happen?"

"Because the school eventually closed down." the red and yellow girl answered, reading off of the article again. "They lost all of their funding and were no longer able to operate. And without a proper place to educate the city's youth, most of the population departed the city to live elsewhere..."

"How'd that happen?" asked Spike.

"That, I'm not sure of just yet..." Sunset told him. Just then, she immediately remembered an important detail. "Wait a second...!" she gasped. "I remember that, during that Turbo Duel we watched, the announcer said that the school was called 'Skyes DUEL Academy'..."

"Yeah, that's right..." Twilight also recalled. "But what does that have to do with all of this?"

"...Perhaps everything." Sunset said, opening another tab on her Internet browser and using the search engine again, all while keeping the previous article active. This time, she typed in the words, "kaiba corp official duel academy locations". The search result list she got immediately brought up a link to the Kaiba Corporation website. She then clicked on it, causing a list of different location spread all around the world to appear on-screen. "Twilight, this is a list of every city and town all over the world that has an official Duel Academy still in operation." Sunset explained. "I've set it to list the cities in alphabetical order, which should help us find out what we need to know..."

"And that is...?" the Princess of Friendship inquired.

Sunset said nothing at first as she scrolled through the alphabetical list. She first went through all of the A's... then the B's... and then through all the C's... but she stopped as soon she got to the D section. "...It's not there." she muttered.

"What's not there?" asked Spike, eager to know what she meant.

"I've looked though all of the cities under C, but I didn't see Cirrus City listed as a Duel Academy location." the red and yellow girl answered him. "That means that Cirrus City does not, and possibly never had, an official Duel Academy sanctioned and operated by Kaiba Corp."

"I still don't understand... How is this related to Skyes Academy shutting down?" asked Twilight.

Clicking back to the article regarding the now-defunct high school, the red and yellow teen answered her friend, saying, "Well, as I stated earlier, the article says that Skyes Academy shut down after they ran out of money. But it goes on to say that their sudden bankruptcy occurred while some 'renovations' were going on at the school. Renovations that seemed to have cost a lot of money..."

Twilight and Spike said nothing in response. They continued to listen to Sunset, hoping that she could shed some more light on what had taken place.

"From what I've heard," the red and yellow girl continued, "setting up an official Kaiba Corp Duel Academy is a very costly endeavor. Based on these facts, I can come up with some kind of hypothesis as to what caused the school's downfall." Turning to her friends, she then told them both, "I believe that Skyes Academy was trying to convert itself into a Duel Academy."

"You do?" asked Twilight.

Sunset nodded and explained, "It seems like the most logical possibility. If my theory is correct, I believe that the school lost their funding because they sunk it all into trying to convert it. I'm not exactly sure why so much money is required, but it might have something to do with things such as getting the necessary supplies, hiring more staff, and stuff like that... In any case, they put all of their money towards converting the school, but when it fell through, they had nothing left."

"But why would they try something so risky as putting all of their money towards something like that, if losing the opportunity meant closing down the school?" asked Twilight.

"Because - while setting up a Duel Academy is an expensive gamble - if it works, the staff can look forward to making even more money." answered Sunset. "Since the Duel Academies are owned, funded, and operated by Kaiba Corp., those who work there are paid quite well. So I'd say they took the risk when they saw that they could make a huge profit off of it... At least that's what I think."

"Hmph... the things someone will do just to make a quick bit." said Spike.

"So is that really why the school is closed down?" asked Twilight.

"Maybe... but it seems that the article doesn't tell us exactly what happened. My theory about what happened is just that: Only a theory." Sunset replied. "Still, it gives us something to work on while we try and figure out the deal with that place. After all, we're not simply trying to figure out why the school closed down. We also need to find out about those people that seem to come from there, despite the fact that the place isn't running anymore."

"That's true..." Twilight replied. Thinking for a bit, she then told her otherworldly friend, "Well, if the city and the school are abandoned, maybe these people are using the building as some kind of base..."

"Seems possible." Sunset responded. "But why in a run-down and dangerous town like Cirrus City? That dilapidated barn we were in when we were trying to find Vinyl and Fluttershy seems much safer than that place..."

Sunset's mentioning of that day reminded Twilight of something. "Hey, Sunset..." she began to say, "I just realized: You said that the Number card that Vinyl had might have been planted on her, right?"

"Yes. That's right." the red and yellow girl confirmed. "From what I can believe, someone gave her that card while she was sleeping. But because they broke into Fluttershy's house to do it, I believe they were really planning to plant it on her instead of Vinyl. Why do you ask?"

"...You don't suppose that whoever did it might have been one of the people that were after Babs Seed?" asked Twilight. "The two we met at Applejack's home?"

"Hmmmm... that sounds like a possibility." Sunset pondered, rubbing her chin. "There's just one thing, though: If they were trying to get back at us for foiling their plan to steal Babs's Deck, why didn't they try and come after us instead of Fluttershy? And what's more, how did they know to break into her home in the first place? We never said anything about her to those two people when we encountered them."

"Oh yeah... I didn't think of that." the purple girl replied. "So much for that theory."

"I never said that your guess was wrong, Twilight." Sunset told her. "It's still possible that it could have been them, or even someone else related to them. If that's true, then they must have somehow found out about the people we're connected to, and went after them to scare us and damage our confidence... But again, this is still all just assumptions. We still don't have any hard evidence yet. But if anyone can figure this whole mess out, I'm sure we can!"

Smiling, Twilight told her inter-dimensional friend, "I'll do whatever I can to help out, Sunset! As a Princess of Equestria, I feel that it is my duty to help those that need it. And I promise that you and I will get to the bottom of this whole thing!" Sunset nodded in agreement, smiling as well.

At that moment, the two girls heard the sounds of clapping hands. "Ohohohohoho! Well said, Twilight! Well said!!" boomed a familiar voice.

The two girls looked around, but couldn't see anyone in the room that could have made that remark. They both slowly glanced at Spike, who just gave them a look and told them, "Don't look at me. I didn't say that."

Sunset and Twilight stared at each other for a moment before they realized who the voice belonged to. "That voice..." the red and yellow girl said to her purple friend, "It's that Discord guy again, isn't it?"

"Yep." Twilight replied. "I guess he came back to see how I was doing."

"Yes, indeed." said the draconequus's voice, which was heard only in their minds. "But there's something else: I need to talk to all of you about this, so forgive me for what I'm about to do next."

"Discord... what are you-?" but Twilight's question was cut short when the sound of snapping claws was heard. In an instant, Twilight, Sunset, and even Spike suddenly toppled onto the floor, drifting into a deep sleep...

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Seconds after their sudden case of narcolepsy, Twilight, Sunset, and Spike appeared in an area covered in a thick, light-blue fog. The three of them were currently in a dream, indicated by the fact that both Sunset and Twilight were now back in their pony forms, and Spike had returned to being a baby dragon. Looking over himself, he then asked the others, "Um... did... did we somehow sleepwalk through the mirror portal? What happened?"

"Relax, Spike. We're all just in a dream." Twilight assured him. "Discord must have somehow made us all fall asleep so that he could talk to us, as the only place in this world that we can all speak to him in is in the Dreamworld."

"Righty-o, Twilight." spoke Discord, standing in front of a large lever mounted onto the ground that had several settings on it: "INSOMNIA", "ALERT", "TIRED", "DROWSY", and "NAP ATTACK". Walking away from the lever, he then said to them both, "Sorry for the abrupt nap, but it was the only way I could gather all of you here."

"Well, you could have given us a little more warning before you did that." Sunset told the draconequus. "I could've hit my head on something from that sudden fall."

"Again, I apologize. But I needed to make sure that you were all here for what I needed to show you." Discord explained to them.

"And what's that?" asked Twilight.

Reaching into a pocket in his chest, Discord pulled out a small object that appeared to be a photograph. "This is what I needed to show you. It might help you figure out what this whole Number card business is about."

The two ponies and dragon looked at the photograph closely. It showed a picture of an enormous object that was green in color, had a sort of bottle-like shape, and was surrounded by several large, bronze rings. Attached underneath the object was a ship-like vessel with two pairs of what appeared to be jet engines or something like them. The three of them looked at the photo for a while, but couldn't make heads or tails of it.

"Um... what is this thing??" asked Sunset Shimmer.

"Hmmm... I was actually hoping you would know, Sunnie." Discord responded. "After all, I found this... whatever it is in YOUR mind."

"Wait, what...?" asked the red and yellow Unicorn, startled and taking a step back. "You were in MY mind?!?" Glaring at the draconequus, she then warned him, "I swear, for Celestia's sake, if you messed up ANYTHING in my brain...!"

"Oh, don't get your mane in a knot...." Discord interrupted. "I can assure you that I did not mess around with anything in your mind. Aside from opening up a locked door inside that was covered in chains..."

Snapping out of her anger for a moment, Sunset then asked him, "A locked door...? What do you mean? What locked door?"

"You mean you didn't know?" asked the draconequus. "It's right across from your soul room. Honestly, you need to get to know your neighbors better."

"But why were you looking around in Sunset's mind, Discord?" Twilight then asked him. "I thought you were here to check up on me while I was away from Equestria..."

"Yes, that is a reason that I'm here." he answered her. "But I must confess: That's not the only thing that Cellie requested of me. She also wants to find out information on those Number cards you've been collecting."

"She did?" asked Sunset.

"Oh most definitely!" the draconequus confirmed. "I remember it like it was yesterday... But it was actually the day before that."

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Ponyville, Equestria: Two days ago:
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In a remote area just outside of Ponyville, a silver zipper handle had magically appeared out of nowhere, floating in mid-air. The zipper then slid down by itself, creating what appeared to be a portal leading to some sort of pocket dimension. Out of that portal stepped Discord, who, after climbing out of said portal, snapped his claws and made the opening vanish as quickly as it appeared. He then glanced behind him and saw two ponies - a teal Unicorn with a lyre cutie mark, and a pale yellow Earth Pony with a trio of candy pieces as her mark - just staring at him and at the spot where the portal was. "...What?" he asked the two mares. "You've never seen a trans-dimensional zipper portal before? Yeesh, some ponies these days..." He then walked off, leaving the two bewildered ponies behind.

Walking up to the door of a small cottage, Discord dusted himself off and knocked on it, shouting, "Fluttershy! Fluttershy! I'm here for our weekly tea party!" But he stopped knocking when he saw that nopony had answered. "Hmmm... that's strange... She's usually awake at this time." Floating up to a window on the second floor, he peeked into Fluttershy's bedroom. But she wasn't in there. "Well, she's up, but where could she be...?" he asked himself as he floated back down to the doorstep. And that's when he noticed a small note taped onto the side of a birdhouse next to the front door. "A note?" he asked, taking and reading what was on it. "Dear Discord... I am so very sorry, but I am not home right now. I am at Twilight's castle in Ponyville. Meet me over there... that is, if you really want to... Love, Fluttershy."

"Hmmm... So Fluttershy's staying over at Twilight's new home, is she?" Discord asked, stroking his short beard. He wasn't sure why she was staying at the new castle, but decided to figure that out when he got there. Snapping his claws again, he instantly transported himself to the front of the giant, crystal castle. He then knocked on the door and waited patiently for someone to arrive.

Soon after, the doors opened, revealing Fluttershy on the over side. "Oh! Discord! I see you got my note! I'm so glad; I was starting to get worried that you wouldn't see it..."

"Oh, Fluttershy, don't go worrying your head off over little things like that!" Discord told her with a chuckle. He then pulled his own head off and held it in front of his best friend and added, "After all, you only get one, and you don't want to lose it." This elicited a slight giggle out of the yellow Pegasus. Putting his head back on, he then asked her, "Though I am a bit... confused as to why you wanted to meet me here and not at your cottage. That's not usually like you..." He then looked over a small set of papers that he had pulled out of nowhere and read over them. The top of the page read, "mlp.wikia.com/wiki/Fluttershy". After he was finished reading it, he made the papers vanish and told her, "Nope... definitely not like you at all, at least not according to your character description."

"Oh... um, well actually..." the shy pony explained, "the reason that I'm here is because today is my turn to house-sit for Twilight. So I decided to move the tea party here instead... if it's okay with you, that is."

"Oh! I see! No, that's perfectly fine with me, now that you've told me!" Discord responded with a smile. He then paused for a moment and asked her, "Hold on a second: Did you say that you're... house-sitting for Princess Twilight? She's not here right now?" His voice seemed to suggest that he wasn't aware of this news.

"Oh my...! I'm so sorry, Discord...!" Fluttershy apologized. "I should have told you sooner! Twilight and Spike left a while ago to take care of something that came up... Until she comes back, the others and I are taking care of the castle."

"Really...? Princess Twilight is on a business trip somewhere, and I didn't know about it?" asked the draconequus. Putting on a more unamused facial expression, he then snapped his claws to trigger his reality-bending powers.

In an instant, a large bathtub filled with bubbles appeared out of nowhere. "Eeep! Oh my...!" squeaked Fluttershy, hiding her face when she saw that, in addition to the bubbles and water, Princess Celestia was also in the bathtub as well.

Realizing what was going on, the large, white Alicorn said to the draconequus in a stern tone, "Discord! Didn't we have a little talk about NOT using your powers to summon me out of my castle...?! Especially when I'm trying to take a bath?!"

Discord crossed his arms and told the Princess, "I do apologize, Cellie... But I recall that we ALSO had a little talk about you informing me if any of MY friends are going to be away for a long period of time!"

"What are you talking abo-" Celestia then paused and her facial expression changed when she realized what he was going on about. "Oh my..." she said to him. "Are you talking about Twilight? Oh dear... I'm... I'm sorry that I haven't told you about that. I've been meaning to, but I've had a lot of work to do recently, and I never got the chance to mention it..."

"Hmph! I've heard that before, Cellie..." the draconequus huffed, annoyed at the feeling of being left out of the discussion. "You just didn't want me to know because you still don't trust me!"

"Now Discord, you know that's not true." Celestia told him. "I WAS going to inform you about Twilight. And if you would be so kind as let me finish washing up in my castle, I'll prove it to you."

The draconequus hummed a little bit, thinking about what the Princess had told him. After he was finished, he then said, "Alright then, Cellie. We'll play things your way." He then snapped his claws again, returning the Alicorn back to her castle. He then looked over at Fluttershy and told her, "It's okay, Fluttershy. You can open your eyes now." After hearing him say that, the yellow Pegasus moved her front hooves away from her face.

A few minutes later, Celestia reappeared in Twilight's castle, this time out of the bathtub and fully dressed (well, as fully dressed as she usually was, that is). Clearing her throat, she then said to Discord, "Now, there is something I'd like you to do for me concerning Twilight."

"And what would that be?" he inquired back.

Walking over to a large mirror in the room - the same one Twilight used to enter Sunset's world - she explained to him, "Right now, Twilight is taking care of some business in another world. While I am confident that she will be okay, I will admit, I am a little worried for her." Turning back over to the draconequus, she then told him, "That is why I'd like you to go and check up on her every now and then, to see if she is doing fine. Can I trust you to do that?"

"Hmmmmm... I suppose that I could do that." Discord replied, rubbing his chin. Donning an army uniform and giving off a triumphant salute, he then told her, "Yes! I shall accept this mission! You can trust me!"

Smiling, Celestia told him, "I know I can." She then told him, "In addition, I'd also like you to uncover any information regarding a place called the Astral World, or about some cards known as Numbers. I've been trying to find the information myself, but the royal library has no records or anything about them. Perhaps you might have better luck locating this info for me... I feel it might help Twilight with her business in the other world."

Discord sighed a little, but decided to accept the task, saying, "I suppose I'll try to find out something. If it's for Twilight's well-being."

"Good. Then I shall leave things to you. Let me know about anything concerning Twilight or anything else." Celestia responded with a smile before using her magic to return home.

Glancing down at Fluttershy and pulling out an umbrella big enough to cover both of them, he told her, "Sorry, Fluttershy, but I'll have to take a rain check on that tea party for now; I've got work to do." As he said that, a small rain cloud began pouring rain over them both.

"I understand." the yellow pony replied. "If it's for Twilight, I suppose I can reschedule our time together for another day."

"Splendid!" Discord cheered. "In that case, I'm out of here! Auf Wiedersehen!!" But just as he was prepared to walk towards the mirror portal, he stopped and said, "Hold on... I nearly forgot: Twilight told me that when she and her little dragon buddy went to this other universe, they completely changed their appearance... And not only that, they also temporarily lost their abilities upon entering said world..."

"Yes, that's right..." Fluttershy stated. "She said that she turned into something called a... a human."

"Human?" asked the draconequus. "You mean like those creatures that Lyra keeps talking about?"

"Mhmm... Those creatures." the yellow Pegasus replied. "Though I haven't heard her say much about them lately... I heard that she recently had gotten a new job and it's been taking up a lot of her time." Smiling a little, she then added, "But if these 'humans' did exist, I'd really like to try and meet one."

"Hmmm, perhaps..." Discord replied. Changing the subject back to his dilemma, he told her, "If what Twilight said is true, then I can't just go into that world the same way that she did, or there might be a chance that I'd lose MY powers...! After that whole incident with Tirek, losing my abilities is something I'd prefer never to go through again."

"So what will you do...?" asked Fluttershy.

The draconequus said nothing at first. He hummed and stroked his beard, trying to think of an idea. At that moment, a bright light bulb appeared over his head as he exclaimed, "I've got it!!" He then glanced upwards at the light bulb above him, grabbed a thin chain attached to the light bulb, and pulled on it. This caused the light bulb to switch off and stop producing light. Chuckling a little, he then said, "Sorry for the slight interruption; just don't want to waste electricity."

Not quite understanding what he meant by that, Fluttershy simply asked her friend, "So what is your idea...? That is, if you're comfortable with telling me about it..."

"It's quite simple, actually." Discord replied with a smirk. "I just need to reach Twilight in a way that doesn't involve going though the mirror. If I can enter her mind, I can keep an eye on her without even leaving Equestria!"

"How are you going to do that...?" asked the Pegasus. "It doesn't sound as easy as you're making it seem..."

"Hmmm... I think I know of a certain mare that could give me the means to do such a thing..." the draconequus said slyly. He then snapped his claws once more, creating a large puff of smoke. When the smoke cleared, it was revealed that he had used his powers to summon Princess Luna... who was still asleep in her bed (which had ALSO appeared in the room).

"Oh... my..." said Fluttershy, backing up a bit so as not to seem involved with whatever Discord was planning to do, should Luna be angry at him.

Discord then glanced over at the sleeping Princess and said in a soft tone, "Oh Luuuuuuuunaaaaaa...! Are you awake...?"

The dark blue Alicorn rolled around in her bed a bit while talking in her sleep. "Mmnf... mmmnn..." she mumbled. "No... quit doing that... No... Why do you... mmf... only get critical hits... when I'm not trying to defeat... zzzzzz..."

"Hmmmm... this calls for a bit more firepower..." Discord stated, his tone suggesting that he wanted to do whatever he was planning the whole time anyway. Snapping his fingers again, the draconequus made several musical instruments appear on him: A tuba around his waist, an accordion attached to the right side of his body, a harmonica and banjo built onto a harness and positioned in front of him, a tambourine tied onto the neck of the tuba, and a pair of cymbals tied onto each of his legs. "I think Pinkie Pie won't mind if I borrowed these for a moment." he said, smirking fiendishly.

"Oh my... I can't watch...!" said Fluttershy, now hiding behind her chair in the meeting hall.

Taking a deep breath, Discord blew into the tube, letting out a loud, low-sounding noise. This was immediately followed by the draconequus playing all of the other instruments. Their combined noise was more than enough to wake up Princess Luna. The noise startled her so much, she fell out of her bed screaming. Getting up, she quickly used her magic to pick up one of her pillows, shouting, "We're under attack!! We're under attack!! Stay back!! I've got a... um... a... a pillow! Yes, a pillow! And I am NOT afraid to use it!!!" But after looking around, she then realized that she wasn't in her castle, but in Twilight's castle. Luna then glanced behind her, and saw Discord, who had by this point, stopped playing the many musical instruments he had.

"Well, looks like somepony's wide awake now." the draconequus teased, snapping his fingers and causing the instruments to vanish.

Growling a little and irritated in the manner in which she was awoken, Luna faced the draconequus and shouted, "DISCORD!!! WHY HAST THOU DISTURBED OUR PEACEFUL SLUMBER?!?" Shortly after that, the Alicorn began to cough uncontrollably until Discord snapped his claws to make a glass of water appear, offering it to her. After taking a big sip of it, Luna's coughing calmed down.

"The old Royal Canterlot Voice ain't how it used to be, is it Luna?" asked Disocrd smugly.

Clearing her throat, Luna replied, saying, "I suppose, when one doesn't use it for so long, it does put a strain on the throat." Glaring at him a little, she then asked, "Now then, I am going to ask you again, as calmly as possible: Why did you bring me here and wake me up in such a rude manner?"

"Because your sister asked me to check up on Twilight while's she's away in another dimension, but I can't go there without the risk of losing my chaotic powers." Discord explained. "So... I was thinking of contacting her through her mind, but in order for me to do that, I'll need you to-"

"I know what you are about to ask of me, and you can forget it." Luna told him sternly. "The Dreamworld is already chaotic enough without your input. The last thing I need to worry about is having to perform clean-up duty for several nights because you decided to mess around in there."

"What? ME?! Mess around in there?!" asked the draconequus in tone that suggested that he was slightly offended by her words. "Unthinkable! I would NEVER do such a thing!! I simply want to use it as a... shall we say, pathway to mentally contact little Twilight. I'd never do something such as, oh I don't know... set off a bunch of fireworks in there that would drop gobs of paint of everypony or bring along a 50-foot gerbil named Vincent and set it loose... Honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind!" As he said this, he casually used his left foot to push a crate full of fireworks behind a potted plant in the room. He then told the Princess, "Besides, if I remember things correctly, I believe you owe me a favor anyway."

"What?? I have no idea what you are talking about." Luna denied.

"Oh really...?" grumbled Discord. "Does this sound familiar?" He then grabbed onto his face, stretching it and smooshing it into a different shape. When he was done, his head looked exactly like Luna's. He then began to speak, in a tone mocking Luna's voice. "Oh, Discord!" he said. "I am SO busy with my super-important royal duties, but the Canterlot Game Store has this new game that I absolutely MUST have! Could you take some valuable time out of your life and wait in line all night until the next morning to get it for me?!"

Grumbling, Luna then said to herself, "Oh... right... I have to be honest, I was sort of hoping that you had forgotten about that."

"But I didn't." the draconequus told her, transforming his face back to... normal. "So remind me: Who decided to do this little thing for you when he probably had much better things to do with his time?"

"...You did." the Alicorn said with a sigh.

"And who was it that nearly froze himself in the cold, unforgiving night air doing it?"

"...You did."

"And who, if I may ask, dipped into his OWN personal funds - unlimited as they may be - to purchase this item for you to enjoy?"

Sighing again, Princess Luna answered him, saying, "You did."

Smirking, Discord then told her, "I do believe that I've made my point."

Groaning, but realizing that he had made quite a strong case, the Princess of the Night said to him, "You had better not make me regret what I'm about to do for you."

"You won't even know that I'm there, Luna!" the draconequus said with a smile. "I leave you to prepare the spell to grant me access to the Dreamworld." He then began to leave the meeting hall.

"Um, aren't you going to stay here with her?" asked Fluttershy, peeking out from behind the chair she was still hiding behind.

"In a moment." Discord assured her. "First I need to have a little talk with my little buddy Vincent, who is LITTLE, not big! Not at all. And it has nothing to do with anything discussed during the last few minutes! Nothing at all!" He then quickly ran out of the room, shutting the doors behind him.

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"So after she had the spell ready," Discord continued to explain to Twilight, Sunset, and Spike, "Princess Luna granted me access to the Dreamworld so that I could talk to you, see how you were doing, and to investigate the business regarding the Astral World and these Number cards."

"I see... so that's what happened." said Spike. "That's how you managed to get here."

"Exactly." the draconequus confirmed. "And I figured that, if I were to find out anything about the Astral World, I would start by looking around in the mind of the pony that started all of this; in this case, Sunset."

"I guess that makes sense..." Sunset replied. "But next time, if you're planning to poke around in my mind, at least have the courtesy to ask me for permission first. There are some things in there that I really don't want to have disturbed."

"Hmmm... such as that little demon-you you keep locked up in a tiny cage?" asked Discord slyly.

"What's he talking about, Sunset?" asked Twilight.

"Um, i-it's nothing you need to worry about." the red and yellow Unicorn replied. Quickly changing the subject, Sunset then asked the draconequus, "So, about that picture you took: Would you care to tell us anything you might have discovered about it?"

"Hm? Oh yes! That picture!" Discord exclaimed, almost having forgotten about it. Pulling out the photograph again, he looked at it while telling them all, "Anyway, I found this rather large object within Sunset's mind. However, it seems that no one, not even Sunnie herself was aware of it. And given the fact that the door was covered in chains and locks, I'm not too surprised."

"Chains and locks...?" asked Sunset Shimmer. "That almost sounds like the door that I saw in the dream I had before all this Number card stuff began." Looking closer at the photograph that Discord had, she added, "And that place where this object is... it almost resembles the world that the door was in..."

"Hmmm, yes indeed... it appears that, wherever this place is, it's some sort of pocket dimension." the draconequus figured. "And the entrance to this world resides in your mind, Sunset."

"Could you possibly take us there?" asked Twilight.

"I wish I could, but I wasn't able to stay there long." Discord told them. "I kind of broke into the place, and the powers that be eventually caught onto the fact that I wasn't supposed to be in there, so I was ejected out and the door was re-locked." Smiling a bit, he then added, "But I WAS able to stay there long enough to obtain a few more photos! Check these out." He then pulled out some more pictures from the pocket on his chest.

The two ponies and dragon glanced at the pictures closely. These other photos showed some close-up views of the object, showing off more of its details. The three of them saw that, connected to each of the large, bronze rings was a small gear. Sunset then asked the draconequus, "So, what's with these rings? There are so many of them, they're practically covering the object."

"There are quite a lot of them, that's for sure." Discord answered. "It took me a while to count them all, but I was able to discern that there are exactly one hundred of these rings."

"One hundred?" asked Spike. "That many? Wow..."

"Hmmm... One hundred... Why does that sound familiar?" asked Sunset.

"It sounds familiar... because that is also how many Number cards there are." said a male voice suddenly.

"Huh? Who said that??" asked the red and yellow pony, looking around.

"Relax, Sunset." Twilight told her before turning towards the one who had spoken earlier. "It's just Utopia." Indeed it was Utopia, the Number card that the young Princess owned.

"Oh... I see." Sunset replied, relaxing a bit.

"Forgive me for startling you. I overheard your conversation and wanted to join in." the shiny warrior told them. "Also..." he then added, turning towards Discord, "I wanted to speak to you concerning the power that you helped Twilight and I to unlock... How did you come across such knowledge?"

"Well, it just so happens that what I was talking about earlier does indeed have something to do with that." the draconequus answered. Taking out one of the photos that he had, Discord continued to tell them all, "As I took a closer look at these strange rings, more specifically the gears attached to them, I noticed that most of them were completely inactive... however, I counted that, at the time, fourteen of them were operating."

"Fourteen?" asked Sunset Shimmer. Looking at the photos again, she gasped when she saw something on one of the active gears. "No way! That gear has a symbol on it! And it looks just like the 33 on one of my Number cards!"

"Are you serious?!" exclaimed Twilight as she and Spike ran over to see the pictures some more, followed slowly by Utopia as well. On three of the other pictures, there were symbols imprinted upon some more of the gears: 36, 39, and 59. "She's right...! They look just like the marks on Number cards!"

"So, does this mean that, whatever this thing is, it has something to do with the Number cards, too?" asked Spike.

"It seems so..." Sunset answered him. Turning over to Utopia, she then asked him, "Did you know anything about this?"

"Hmmmm..." hummed the warrior as he inspected the pictures. After looking at them for a while, he then said to the others, "While my memory is still very unclear... I believe that this object here may be some sort of vessel."

"You mean like a ship?" asked Twilight.

"Maybe more like a SPACEship..." Spike chimed in.

"But, how does it operate?" asked the young Princess. "And what is its relationship with the Numbers?"

"I... am not sure, Twilight. Forgive me, but it seems my knowledge of this vessel is limited for now..." Utopia sadly told his master. "However, I do feel a strong power within it, a power that may serve us well." The warrior then asked Discord, "Is this where you found out how to unlock the form that I took during Twilight's last Duel?"

The draconequus nodded, saying, "As I was looking around the ship, I saw the gear that had your 39 mark. So, curious as I was, I interacted with said gear, and found out a little more about you. But when I did, that must have sent out the alert that ultimately got me thrown out of the dimension. While I wasn't able to see everything, I figured I'd tell you what I did discover, figuring that you could make some use out of it."

"Well, I have to admit, it did help me quite a bit." Twilight told him. "If it weren't for you, I probably would have lost that Duel against Ms. Mulia." Looking at the photo of the ship again, she then added, "Now, it seems that if we're to solve the mystery of the Number cards, we'll need to figure out how to interact with that ship."

Humming a bit to herself, Sunset then informed them, "Discord said that, when he visited the ship, fourteen of the gears were active. If my memory is correct, between the two of us at the time, we had fourteen Number cards. If that's the case, then it's possible that this ship may be where all of our Numbers are stored away, and every time that one of us obtains a new Number, it reactivates one of the gears."

"So our best course of action is to continue collecting more Numbers." Utopia stated. "If we can restore the ship's functionality, we may be able to solve this crisis once and for all."

"That seems to be the best idea for now." Twilight agreed.

"So it's back to business as usual?" asked Spike.

"Yeah, seems so." Sunset answered him. Looking up at Discord, she told him, "Thanks for all of the info, Discord. I'm sure it will come in handy sooner or later."

"No biggie, Sunnie... Just wanted to lend a claw or two... or ten." said the draconequus as four more pairs of arms revealed themselves from behind his back. This elicited a slightly awkward chuckle from Twilight, Sunset, and Spike. "Annnnnyhoo... I'd better get a move on and let Cellie know about what I've discovered. Ta-ta for now." And with a snap of his fingers, he let out a bright white flash that engulfed the entire area.

The next minute, Sunset, Twilight, and Spike woke up from their nap, their consciousness returning to the "real" world. After a brief stretch, the three of them got back onto the feet. "Well, that was certainly a wile ride..." the red and yellow girl noted.

"That's Discord for you." Twilight told her friend. "When it comes to chaos, he likes to give it with 110% of his effort."

Holding his head, Spike said in a woozy voice, "Sometimes, I wish he'd only give ten of that percent... That trip back and forth gave me a major headache..."

Giggling a little, Twilight picked up her little assistant and told Sunset, "I'll look after Spike's sudden migraine. Meanwhile, keep searching for any more information about Skyes Academy or even the spaceship that Discord showed us."

"Got it, Twilight." the red and yellow girl replied. 'I'll let you know if I find anything new." Nodding, the young Princess then carried Spike to another room while Sunset continued to search her computer for anything new.

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

Elsewhere, in a gloomier-looking location within the region, a large building stood overlooking a large city off in the distance. However, the building was in a state of disrepair with broken windows, doors off of their hinges, stone and wood crumbling apart - both around the building and inside of it, and loud, haunting creaking sounds that suggested that this building wouldn't be standing for much longer. This was what was left of the once-proud Skyes Academy, before lack of school funds forced the facility to close forever. Since that day, the building had been deserted... but rumors were floating around that there were people apparently living inside. While it had never been confirmed, it was enough to prevent the building from being torn down.

But as it turned out, the rumors may have been true, as a strange, cloaked figure was heading towards the building's front entrance. After glancing around to make sure that they wasn't being watched or followed, the figure carefully and discreetly slipped in through the large doors.

Once inside, the figure removed the cloak from their head, revealing themself as a female, likely 18 or so years old. She had dark grey skin, long purple hair, and piercing eyes that matched her hair, topped off with some bluish-green eye-shadow. Her outfit was made mostly out of thick, black leather, consisting of an outfit that resembled a one-piece swimsuit, but was accessorized with several long belt straps with silver buckles around the torso and waist. Around her neck was another black belt with a silver buckle, much like the others she wore, and on her arms were a pair of long, black, finger-less gloves. On her feet were a pair of black, high-heeled shoes secured with some more straps, and a pair of long, dark grey socks. On her left hip was a tattoo, which showed a picture of a small gust of blue-colored wind blowing away several pink flowers.

Still wearing the cloak on her back as a cape, the young woman walked across the trashed hallway in front of her, apparently heading somewhere important. But before she could get much further, another figure suddenly spoke to her in a mocking tone of voice. "Heh, so you finally got back?" it said, the voice sounding male. "Took ya long enough."

Grumbling, the dark-grey woman glanced over to her left. There, she saw the source of the voice that had spoken to her. It was Lucky, one of the two people that had tried to steal a Duel Monsters Deck from Babs Seed earlier on. He was leaning up against a door frame in the hallway, smirking a little. "Shut up, Lucky." the woman said to him. "I'm not in the mood for your snarky commentary."

"Pfft. That's a surprise." the boy replied sarcastically. "After all, you're usually SO happy and cheerful every time I see you, Windy."

Grumbling some after hearing that remark. the woman then told him, "As Her Mistress's second-in-command, I would advise you not to speak to me in such a disdainful manner... And I've told you before: My name isn't 'Windy'. It's Windmistress."

"Pfft... whatever, Windy." Lucky responded, not caring in the slightest. "You n' I have been here for... what, almost a year now? You should know by this point that I don't give a flying leap about what you 'advise' me to do. So what's your problem?"

"I don't have 'problems', Lucky..." Windmistress said, snarling in a low voice.

"Give her a break, Lucky..." said a younger female voice from inside the classroom he was loitering in. "She's just ticked off because her so-called perfect plan wasn't as perfect as she thought it was." Sitting at one of the desks in the room was a younger girl - about 15 or 16 years of age - with tan skin and orange hair done up into a pumpkin-shaped bun. In front of her olive-green eyes were a pair of purple glasses that shone in what little sunlight creeped into the room. Her outfit consisted of a lime-green sweater and a long, bright orange skirt. On the left side of the skirt was small picture of an orange pie slice topped off with whipped cream. She wore a small pair of dark-brown shoes, and a small, gold ring around her middle finger.

Glancing over at the young girl, Windmistress angrily asked her, "What? How did you find out about that, Pumpkin Pie?!"

"Hm? Find out?" the younger girl asked. "I was just guessing what might've happened. And you went and put it all out in the open just like that." She and Lucky then snickered a bit after Pumpkin had somewhat tricked her into revealing what had happened to her earlier.

Windmistress growled at the two individuals that were mocking her, but regained her composure at the last minute. "Hmph...! Forget it. I have more important things to do than waste my time arguing with the likes of you." the woman told them both. "I have more important matters that I need to discuss with Her Mistress, and that is where I am going."

"Important matters, huh?" asked Lucky, still giving her that snarky tone of voice. "Like how you completely screwed up with... whatever you were doin'?" Windmistress simply huffed at the comment and left without saying another word to either of them. Frowning a little, he then asked himself, "Yeesh, what's HER problem? Can't take a little joke?"

"Apparently not." Pumpkin answered him. "Then again, how's that different from any other time?" Lucky just shrugged, losing interest in the matter soon after.

Meanwhile, Windmistress continued her way through the halls, passing by another occupied classroom. Inside was Ms. Skyeblaze, the former Canterlot High teacher that was fired after she tried to steal from the school's funds. Later on, she along with Lucky attempted to steal Babs Seed's Deck. The woman was sitting all alone in the classroom as Windmistress passed by, wondering what she was up to.

Eventually, the dark-grey woman reached her destination: An open room that had used to be the Teacher's Lounge. But like all of the other rooms and hallways in the school, it was also falling apart, and several broken appliances, including a microwave, a television set, and a fridge, were scattered around. Although the room seemed to have been abandoned for some time, there was one figure sitting inside: An adult woman with black skin with several grey spots, messy blue-green hair, and a yellow mark on her left cheek.

Noticing that she had company, the older woman said to her guest, "Ah, Windmistress. You've returned at last."

"Yes, Chrysalis." the dark-grey woman responded. "I have."

"That's QUEEN Chrysalis to you." the older woman told her. "Or did we forget our manners as we walked through the front door?"

"...Um, forgive me, my Queen." Windmistress apologized. "I have had... some rough moments earlier, but that is no excuse for disrespecting you."

"Hmmm... you are forgiven." Chrysalis told her. Turning to face her, she then asked her, "So, tell me: How did things go? Did you successfully plant the card like I asked of you?"

"Well... yes, I have... But..."

"But what....?"

Windmistress sighed and admitted to her superior, "I apologize, my Queen... While I did plant the Number card as you requested, there were some... distressing complications."

"What... kinds of complications?" inquired the jet-black woman.

"That night, when I traveled over to the girl's house, I intended on placing the Number on the one called Fluttershy, as you asked." Windmistress told her. Sighing again, she added, "However, I was not aware that she had a guest staying with her..."

"...So you mistakenly placed the Number on the guest and not the actual resident of the house?" asked Chrysalis.

"It was almost pitch-black, and I wasn't able to see that I had placed the card on the wrong girl." the dark grey woman explained. "As a result, we have lost that Number card to Sunset Shimmer..." Hanging her head in shame, she then told her superior, "I wish for you to forgive me for my failure, but if you so wish it, I will accept any and all punishments for my flawed endeavor."

But Chrysalis chuckled a little and told her, "Punish you? That won't be necessary."

"...Not necessary?" asked Windmistress, confused. "Why not? I have failed in the task you had given to me... And now we have lost a Number card because of my ineptitude."

"While it is true that you weren't able to place the card on the correct target," Chrysalis explained to her second-in-command, "your small error did not, in fact, have any negative effect on what I was trying to accomplish."

"And... what WERE you trying to accomplish, if I may ask?" Windmistress asked, her tone much meeker-sounding than when she was talking to Lucky and Pumpkin earlier.

Chrysalis paused for a moment, casually strolling over to a binder she had laying on a table next to her. Opening it, she revealed that there were several black Duel Monsters cards inside, but each one was colored grey where the picture would be. "While it might have been... amusing to see little Sunset forced into fighting one of her best friends, it really doesn't matter that the card was planted on a different person." she explained to her subordinate. "You see, your mission was merely a test of the powers granted to me by the Numbers that I possess... A power that allows me to suppress THEIR powers."

"Suppress them?" asked Windmistress, curious to know where her superior was going with this. She then watched as Chrysalis flipped to another page in the binder, which held four more cards, only these DID have pictures on them. She then took one of them out and showed it to the dark grey woman.

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

Number 70: Malevolent Sin
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Insect-Type/DARK/Rank 4/ATK 2400/DEF 1200)

2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 monster your opponent controls; banish it until your opponent's next Standby Phase. At the end of the Damage Step, if this card attacked: You can make this card gain 300 ATK, and if you do, increase its Rank by 3.

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

Chuckling again, Chrysalis said to her, "After coming into the possession of four Number cards, including this little beauty, I also came into the possession of a vast amount of knowledge about them... With their power, I can now freely control the strength of Numbers that have yet to reveal themselves, restricting their powers until they are eventually planted on those I choose to give them to... And thanks to what you have done for me, I can now see that it worked perfectly."

"...I understand now, my Queen." Windmistress spoke, now knowing what Chrysalis was trying to accomplish. But then she asked her, "However... there is still the fact that the Number you gave me to plant on the girl is now in Sunset's possession... What are we going to do about that?"

"We'll get it back in due time." Chrysalis simply replied. "There is no need to concern ourselves with it for now." Turning back over to her loyal servant, she told her, "We have more important matters to discuss anyway. So I want you to inform the others to assemble at the school auditorium... There are some things I wish to discuss with all of you, so do as I ask of you."

"Y-yes, my Queen. I shall do as you wish." Windmistress said with a bow before leaving to assemble the other individuals that were hanging around the abandoned school building.

After Windmistress had left, Chrysalis turned her attention back to the binder containing all of the Number cards she had found, both the blank and non-blank ones. Chuckling to herself, she thought, (Soon... all will go as I planned. And when it does, I will single-handedly exact my revenge on those thoughtless imbeciles...!) Rubbing the yellow mark on her face, she then added, "When that day comes, I'll inflict TWICE the pain they gave to me...!"

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Around that same time, in a far-off area, the individual known simply as, "The Doctor" was pacing around inside of his laboratory/home/means of travel - a.k.a. the Tardis - going over some thoughts in his head. With him was his bubbly and eager assistant, Derpy Hooves, who was always around to lend him a hand whenever she wasn't busy with school.

"It's been pretty quiet ever since that Duel you had with that computer store robber, Dr. Hooves..." Derpy said to the mysterious man. "So far, the Tardis hasn't picked up a trace of any of the other Numbers."

"Indeed... I do wish to make sure that all of the Numbers are eventually safely contained," The Doctor responded, "but I suppose if no other Number cards have revealed themselves, then we should just be happy that things are peaceful for the moment."

"That's true, Doctor... No sense worrying about it right now." the grey-skinned girl told him with a smile.

"In the meantime, we should go over our progress so far." Hooves said to her. "Tell me: How are things going with Ms. Shimmer? Has she been better towards you?"

"Oh much better, Doctor!" Derpy replied in a chipper tone. "She's nothing like how she used to be! In fact, when I mentioned that I was going to have that big Social Studies test today, Sunset helped me study for it!"

"Well, that's good to hear, Ms. Derpy." The Doctor told her. "It's good to hear that she's been most kind to you since our first meeting."

Derpy nodded, keeping that warm smile on her face. She then asked him, "So... do you think it would be a good idea for her to work on collecting the Numbers with us?"

"Hmmmm... I'm still not sure if I can trust her that much yet." Dr. Hooves answered in a concerned tone. "Don't get me wrong: I do not consider her an enemy at all, but until I know for sure what her intentions are for collecting the Numbers, and what apparent role she plays in this situation, I can't afford to take any chances..."

"Oh... I see..." the grey girl responded in a sad tone.

Sensing that she was feeling down, The Doctor put her hand on her shoulder and comforted her, saying, "But know this: I would gladly work together with her once I know that I can trust her, but no sooner. Believe me, it would certainly make this task much easier if we were united in our noble cause. I just didn't want you to feel foolish for asking me that question from the manner in which I responded."

"Don't worry about it, Doctor. I understand what you meant." Derpy replied. "Just go with the decisions that you feel comfortable with. I'm just here to lend you a hand."

"And you have been quite the help, Ms. Derpy." Hooves told her. "I couldn't have found a better assistant than you if I tried." The young girl giggled a bit, happy to know that he thought so highly of her. "Anyway, speaking of Sunset and Numbers, do you happen to know how many she has collected so far?" he then asked.

"Hmmm... I think I heard her say that she's found eleven of them." she answered him.

"Then that means eighteen of them have been found, if I combine those with the seven that I currently possess." said the Doctor.

"But that's not all, Doctor..." Derpy began to inform him. "Twilight is helping her collect the Numbers, too."

"Hm? Twilight?" asked Dr. Hooves. "Who is that?"

"Oh... she's a friend of Sunset's." she responded. "She showed up a few times last year, but she doesn't come by too often."

"Is she not from the Canterlot City area?"

"You don't know the half of it..." Derpy answered. "It's just a rumor, but some people at school say that she comes from another dimension."

"A parallel universe, you say?" asked The Doctor, intrigued by this information. "Most fascinating... And she is helping Sunset with her Number collection, you say?"

"Mhmm. I think I heard that she's gotten four of them so far." the grey girl told him.

"I see... then that means over one-fifth of the Number cards have been located between me, Ms. Shimmer, and this Twilight girl." he stated. "At this rate, we may soon have them all... We just have to hope that no one else is collecting the Numbers for themselves, though I'm fairly certain that could be happening as we speak."

"That reminds me: There's something I've been meaning to ask you." Derpy told him. "What about that guy that sent us that message to find the Number cards? Do you have any idea of who it is?"

Sighing, The Doctor told her, "I'm afraid I haven't looked into it much. I've been so busy collecting the Numbers, I never considered it..." Humming to himself in thought, he then added, "But since you brought it up, it does sound quite bizarre when you think about it for a moment..."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, consider the following: Our guest claims to come from a place called the Astral World." he began to explain. "From what I know, it is a world that has apparently existed before all others. And it's a place that very few individuals have entered, or even have seen. And suddenly, out of the blue, a stranger from that world is able to send a signal to us that's clear enough for us to hear him, even though we could not see him..."

"Wow... when you put it that way, it seems like it should be impossible." the grey-skinned teenager said, understanding where he was coming from. "If the Astral world is so hard to see or enter, then how did this... whoever he is, find us?"

"That's a mystery that I don't quite have an answer to..." Dr. Hooves stated. "But it does raise my suspicions on whether this person is who he says he is... But to be sure of it, we'll need to find out more information concerning the Astral World and the Numbers cards that apparently inhabit it."

"Don't worry, Doctor, we'll figure it out sooner or later. I'm sure of it!" Derpy told him, trying her best to encourage him.

"Believe me, I intend to figure this all out as much as you do." the trenchcoat-clad man stated. But before another word could be said, a beeping sound could be heard on the Tardis's main computer. "Hm? Derpy, look!" The Doctor said, pointing to the large monitor.

"The computer!" exclaimed Derpy. "It's found another Number!"

"Another TWO Numbers, to be exact." Dr. Hooves informed his assistant. "And it's close by... The signal seems to be coming from the Canterlot suburbs... I'll see if I can pull up a picture of the surrounding area on-screen." The man then sat down in front of the monitor and began typing some commands on the keyboard. At that moment, a picture of a small white house with a blue roof showed up in front of them.

"Hm? That house?" asked Derpy. "That house... it's in the Canterlot suburbs... Is that really where the Numbers are supposed to be?"

"I suppose we'll only know for sure if we go there and see for ourselves." The Doctor told her. Typing on the keyboard again, he continued to say to her, "I'll have the Tardis lock in on the location and transport us there immediately."

Getting giddy, Derpy said to herself, "Ooooo! I love this part!"

After he was finished with the preparations, Dr. Hooves initiated the Tardis to send them both to the location on the map. The call box-like vessel then faded from view a few times before disappearing completely. The two headed off to hopefully locate their next Number cards...

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

However, that house was not home to just any ordinary Number holder. At that very location, the front door of the small home had opened. On the other side was none other than Mrs. K, the newest hire at Canterlot High School. In her hands was a large trash bag full of garbage. She carried the large, black bag over to the big, blue, plastic garbage can at the end of the walkway, putting the garbage inside of it.

Not long after she had finished, a sudden feeling came over her. "Hm?" She looked around, but couldn't find anything. Yet, the feeling was still there. It didn't take her long to figure out what that strange feeling was trying to tell her. "Oh... Now I see..." Mrs. K told herself. "It seems that I shall have some guests arriving soon... Guests that I have been waiting to see." Looking over to the side, she then added, "Very well. If fate decrees it, then I shall do what I must." The teacher then stood on her front yard, waiting patiently for the guests that sensed were coming to her.

As she stood there, she unknowingly attracted the attention of of her next-door neighbor: an older man, possibly in his 40's with very short greyish-purple hair, dull-peach skin, light blue eyes, and wearing a brown suit and pants. Glancing over at the young woman, he asked her, "Um, miss...? What are you doing just standin' there, doing nothing?"

"...Do not be concerned, Mr. Doodle." Mrs. K told him. "I am simply waiting for somebody. That is all that I can tell you."

The man stood there, wondering what she meant by that. Eventually, he figured that he wasn't going find out anything else and lost interest completely. "Suit yourself, then." he told her. As he went back to his house, he sighed and said to himself, "I TOLD Matilda that our new neighbor would be... bizarre." He then walked into his house, not aware of just how "bizarre" things were about to get.

Not long after that, a large object began to materialize in the spot that Mrs. K was staring at, as if she knew precisely where it was going to appear. The object was the Tardis, and after it had fully appeared in front of her, its doors opened, and out stepped Dr. Hooves. He then paused for a moment in surprise, as the person he was meeting with was already there. "You're... already here...?" he asked. "You knew that I was coming here?"

"I did." Mrs. K answered him. "And I also know who you are, as well as the reason you are here." She then said to him, "You are the one that they refer to as, 'The Number Hunter', am I correct?"

"Um... yes, that is what they call me." The Doctor confirmed, still a bit startled that this person was expecting him to arrive. How, he did not know.

Mrs. K then hummed a little and asked him, "And I am correct in assuming that you are here because you sensed the Number cards that I possess?"

"Yes, that is true." Dr. Hooves replied. "So now that explanations are out of the way, I must do my job and obtain your Numbers; by force, if I must."

But Mrs. K seemed unafraid of what he had told her. "I understand that you are collecting the Numbers in order to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands." she said to him. "A truly noble cause, indeed, and one that I knew from the moment that I sensed your arrival."

"You... sensed me?" asked The Doctor, unsure what she meant.

Looking her guest in the eye, the young teacher told him, "If that is your reason for collecting the Number cards, then you will be happy to know that you have no need to take my Numbers at this time."

"Wait... what is that supposed to mean??" asked Dr. Hooves, confused by what was happening (possibly for the first time in his life). "What do you mean when you say that I have no need to take your Numbers?"

"Simply that. You have no need to take my Numbers." she replied. "You wish to keep them falling into the possession of those who would cause harm to this world. As I have no evil intentions concerning the Numbers, I shall tell you that I am no enemy of yours, and that dueling me for my Numbers would only hurt both of our causes."

"I'm... still not sure what you mean by this." The Doctor responded, unsure of what was taking place. "You say that you are no enemy of mine? How can I trust your words?"

"I don't intend or expect for you to trust my words." Mrs. K answered. "But I shall prove that my goals for the Numbers are the same as yours. I desire to protect this world from those who would abuse the power of the Astral World for their own wicked reasons, just as you do."

"Wait, the Astral World?" asked Dr. Hooves. "You know about it??"

"I do. I know many things about that world, as well as the great power coveted by many people, good and evil." Mrs. K told him. "And I can sense from your words that you wish to know more about it..."

"I suppose I do." the brown-skinned man replied. "I know some information about the Number cards and the world from which they came, but my current knowledge is limited at best."

Smiling, Mrs. K then asked him, "In that case, perhaps I may be able to earn your trust, by showing you what I know about the Astral World. Perhaps what I have will aid you in your upcoming battles against those corrupted by the Numbers."

"Hmmm... well I don't know about trusting you yet, but I suppose if you're willing to help me, I might change my mind about taking your Number cards." said The Doctor.

"Very well then." Mrs K replied, satisfied with his response. "Then summon your assistant and follow me into my home."

"My assistant? How did you know I had an-?"

"As I mentioned, I know quite a lot about you." the young woman reminded him, smiling as she did so. "Bring her out here so that she may hear of what I have to tell you as well."

"Um... very well, if you insist." Dr. Hooves replied. Turning back towards the Tardis, he shouted to his companion, "Derpy! Could you come here for a moment?"

Not long after, the grey-skinned girl came out of the call box and said, "I'm here, Doctor. What did you need?"

Mrs. K looked over towards Derpy and said to her, "Good afternoon, Ms. Hooves."

After hearing her name, as well as that familiar voice, the grey girl looked up at the teacher and gasped. "Mrs. K?! What are you doing here??" Looking around, she then realized what was going on. "Wait... this is YOUR home?? YOU'RE the Number holder that lives here??"

"I am." Mrs. K confirmed with a slight nod. "I understand this must be startling to you, knowing that I am a Number possessor. However, I plan to reveal everything to the two of you before you leave this place." Walking towards her house, she told the two of them, "Now, if you will both follow me inside, we can get started." Derpy and Dr. Hooves looked at each other, startled by the events that occurred. But they both decided that allowing Mrs. K to explain herself to them was the best course of action. Nodding to each other, they slowly followed the young teacher inside.

As Mrs. K rummaged through her things in another room, The Doctor and his assistant waited in the living room, wondering what was going to happen next. "So, you say that this woman, Mrs. K, is a teacher at your school?" the man asked.

"Yep, she recently got hired to work at the school." Derpy answered him. "Next semester, I'll have her for History class."

"Hmmm... quite interesting." The Doctor responded, thinking about it all some more. "If that is the case, then how come I did not detect her Numbers much sooner? I would've thought the Tardis's computer would have revealed her to me long ago..."

"Yeah, why is that?" asked Derpy. "Why DID it only find out about her Number cards now?"

Coming back into the room, Mrs. K carried a stack of books, notes, and other papers over to a small coffee table in front of the sofa that Derpy and Dr. Hooves were sitting on. "To answer your question:" she spoke to them, "I am not sure why my Numbers have alerted you to my presence at this time, but I may know their reason for doing so." Looking straight at her guests, she told them, "I believe my Numbers wanted us to meet with each other, so that I could tell you everything I know about them."

"They... WANTED us to meet each other?" asked The Doctor. "How? And why?"

Closing her eyes and folding her arms in front of her, Mrs. K responded, saying, "You must know by now that the Numbers are not only powerful, but self-aware." Taking her Deck out and revealing the two Numbers she owned - which consisted of Number 46: Dragluon and Number 82: Heartlandraco - she continued to say to them, "The Numbers can sense when they are held in the hands of Duelists, and while many wish to consume their handlers with their overwhelming power and will, there are some that wish to help their owners."

"Really?" asked Derpy. "You're saying that not all of the Numbers are bad?"

"I don't believe that any of them truly are good OR evil. They simply shape themselves according to the nature of their holder's soul." Mrs. K explained. "But it seems that, overall, the Numbers' power is naturally good." Putting away Number 82 for the moment and keeping Number 46 in her hand, she said to her guests, "Take this card for example. Even by the standards of a Number, its power is incredible. And through its eyes, I have seen and learned much... About the Astral World... and about myself."

"What do you mean?" asked the Doctor, becoming more curious and interested in what she was telling them.

"...At the time I was born, I was like any ordinary child." Mrs. K said to them. "Even as the years went by, there was nothing to suggest that I was different than anyone else... Years later, after becoming an adult, I began to show an interest in the field of archaeology. Why, I did not know at the time." Looking at the card that she held in her hand, she then told them, "That all changed when I found this card nearby the site of an ancient temple at the top of a mountain. There, I met a stout old man who spoke strangely to me at first."

"Strangely how?" asked Derpy.

"He said he could sense the spirit of a dragon within me." answered Mrs. K. "But I had no idea what he was talking about. Nevertheless, he seemed to sense something within me that truly impressed him and asked me to enter the temple with him. Not knowing what else to do, I followed him inside. But when I entered the temple... nothing. He had vanished completely, as though he were never there. I thought I had been hallucinating from all of the hard work I was doing... and that's when I saw this card on the floor. And when I picked it up... several images flashed before my eyes... Memories that I never knew I had... And when it was all done, I was on my hands and knees, overwhelmed by what I had just learned."

The Doctor and his assistant looked at one another, surprised by what they had just heard. "That sounds almost unbelievable..." the trenchcoat-wearing man said. "But you don't seem as though you're making it up. Though I will admit, after what my assistant and I have experienced thus far, I am willing to believe nearly anything..."

"Yeah, me too..." Derpy chimed in. "I knew there was something... well, mysterious about you, but I never could have imagined something like that. Just... who and what are you...?"

Mrs. K paused, not speaking for a moment. After taking a deep, long sigh, she told them, "I shall tell you who I am... in order to try and earn your trust. I shall reveal to you my name... my real name that I have never told anyone up until now."

The Doctor and Derpy leaned forward, eager to hear what their host had to say to them.

Facing her guests, she said to them, "You may call me... Kisara."

-- To Be Continued...

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NUMBERS REVEALED:

Queen Chrysalis: (4 Numbers total:)

- Number 70: Malevolent Sin

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