• 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 22: The Number Mystery, Part 2:

Author's Note:

Part 2, continuing from where the previous Rank left off.

I had a lot of fun writing this Rank, and I hope you enjoy reading it. This Rank is basically my own extension off of one of the stories from the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, while also mixing in some things from the MLP universe as well to create something entirely new. Anyway, enjoy this Rank and let me know what you think of it.

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P.S.: Just to inform you all, on the day of writing this, I may not be able to update this series as fast as I usually am able to. This is due to complications such as weather, along with some family-related events that are demanding my attention for the moment. I'll still be working on new chapters, but for the moment, I'm abandoning the monthly schedule, and will update whenever I can. Hopefully, everything can be sorted out and I can reinstate the update schedule. Anyway, just wanted to inform you all about that.

RANK 22: The Number Mystery, Part 2:
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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...

After Twilight's Duel against Mulia Mild, she and Sunset got back to work searching for information on Skyes Academy, and discovered that the school had attempted to convert itself into an official Duel Academy. However, the school's funds were drained in the attempt, and when the deal fell under, Skyes Academy was forced to shut down indefinitely. Not long after their discovery, Discord, the mischievous spirit of Chaos, revealed to Sunset and Twilight about his mission in their world: To seek out information about the Number cards and the Astral World He then showed the two of them what he had discovered recently: a strange ship that seems to be connected to the Numbers...

Elsewhere, in Cirrus City, at the dilapidated Skyes Academy building, a woman who called herself Queen Chrysalis, was at work on something sinister. She revealed herself as the one who made the plans to have Vinyl Scratch fall under the possession of a Number card, with the help of her second-in-command, Windmistress - a woman with a chilling and commanding personality that answered only to Chrysalis. With the powers of the Numbers that she owned, Chrysalis gained the ability to suppress the blank Number cards, preventing them from awakening their abilities until someone of Chrysalis's choosing would obtain it. What she planned to do with such a power, however, is unknown to everyone but her...

Meanwhile, Dr. Hooves (a.k.a. the Number Hunter) and his assistant, Derpy Hooves, had detected the location of two more Number cards. However, they were not only surprised to see that their owner was expecting them to arrive, but revealed themselves to be Mrs. K, the new hire at Canterlot High School! She proceeded to tell them that she was no enemy of theirs, and instead wanted to help by filling them in on information regarding the Astral World. The Doctor and Derpy weren't sure if they could trust her, so Mrs. K decided to earn their trust by telling them her real name, a name that no one else knew...

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Mrs. K, after taking a deep, long sigh, said to Dr. Hooves and Derpy, "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 two of them 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."

"Kisara...?" asked The Doctor. "That is your name?"

"It's a very pretty-sounding name..." Derpy complimented with a smile. "But why is it such a big deal? Why did you keep something like that a secret?"

Mrs. K - or rather Kisara, sighed a little and told her, "It's... complicated. I cannot tell you why just yet. It is a large enough risk that I am telling you my name in the first place." Walking over to the coffee table, where she had placed several books earlier, she continued to say, "After all, there are already signs that some of the Numbers have fallen into evil hands. And those individuals would most likely do unspeakable things to obtain the information that I possess. Therefore, I want to attract as little attention to myself as possible so as to prevent such a thing."

"Hmmm, I see now. I understand where you coming from, Mrs. K." Dr. Hooves told her, calling her by her other identity to respect her wishes. "But what sort of information do you have that these people would want? Is it about the Astral World?"

"In a way, it is..." Kisara answered. "To be more accurate, the information here refers to a group of select individuals with strong connections to the Astral World. They were known as the Order of Astral."

"Order of Astral?" asked Derpy.

"Yes." Mrs. K confirmed, nodding her head. "They were a nomadic group of powerful, but kind priests and priestesses that banded together to spread the word of the Astral World's benevolent power. They worshipped the very power that lies within it, believing that it was the key to bringing peace and prosperity to their own world. They also showed their respect for the benevolence of the Astral World by travelling around, righting wrongs and injustices wherever they went, trying to bring the world closer to what they believed the Astral World was like. Their exploits caused them to become well-respected among many kings and other leaders."

"Wow... that sounds amazing..." said the grey-skinned teenager. "They must have been really good people to earn a reputation like that..."

"But how do you about all of this?" asked The Doctor. "My current knowledge of the Astral World and the Numbers is limited, at best. And my computers in the Tardis haven't been able to pick up any information, either. So how is it you know so much?"

"It all came to me the moment I picked up the Number card from mountain temple that I had mentioned earlier." Kisara answered. "Upon picking up the Number card, I saw many long-forgotten memories... Memories of other lives that I had previously lived."

"Other lives??" asked Derpy. "You mean like... past lives?"

"Indeed." Mrs. K told her. "On that day, I discovered that I had lived many lives and other identities before this one throughout all of history. But the most important period in which I existed was my first life... Over three thousand years ago, in Ancient Egypt."

"You were alive in Ancient Egypt, you say?" asked Dr. Hooves. "That's astounding! Just think of all of the mysteries you could solve about that era, having lived through it yourself!"

"You are correct. I could very well close the book on many questions about the societies that thrived back in Egypt's past just by recounting the events that I myself had beared witness to." the young teacher said. "And that is what I plan on doing for the two of you. I will tell you what I know concerning the Order of Astral, and the power that they possessed."

"In that case, tell us everything you know." The Doctor requested of her.

"...Before I do, I want you to promise one thing:" Kisara said, making a request of her own. "You must promise to me that nothing that I tell you here spreads around to the general public. I do not wish to risk the possibility of any of this information to enter the minds of those who want to use the Numbers' power for evil. So promise that you will not tell anyone of this before I feel that the time is right."

Nodding his head, Dr. Hooves replied, "Very well. We will honor your request, Mrs. K. Now please, if you may..."

Satisfied with that response, Kisara began to tell them, "Back in my previous life, I was met with many hardships... People looked at me and considered me an omen of great misfortune, due to my outward appearance being different from theirs. I had no family, no home... I was left to wander aimlessly through the world... My travels eventually brought me to Egypt, and once more, I was treated harshly for the way that I looked... I thought that I would have to leave this place as well, until something unexpected happened...

"That was when I saw him - a boy who had saved me many years ago, now a young man and a High Priest to the Pharaoh... And just as he did before, he took pity on me and rescued me from the people that treated me so harshly. He took me to a room in the palace, and made sure that I was cared for... In time, he remembered me as the girl he had saved so long ago, and when darkness fell upon the land in which he served to protect, I decided to repay his kindness and do whatever I could to help... even though it would cost me my life in the end..."

Dr. Hooves and Derpy were astounded upon hearing all of that. They would have never guessed that this seemingly-ordinary young woman would have experienced the things that she had described. Not saying a word, they allowed her continue talking.

"I gave my life to protect him and his kingdom that day..." Kisara said to them, "and even after I departed from the living world, I refused to leave him to face his hardships alone. And so, with the light of the guardian spirit that dwelled within me, I vowed to protect him for all eternity."

"Wow... I can hardly believe what I'm hearing..." said Derpy, becoming even more interested in the young teacher's story. "You must have really cared about this person if you'd willingly sacrifice yourself to protect him... Who was he?"

Taking her Deck back out of her purse, Mrs. K searched through the cards before picking one of them out. "This card might assist in answering your question." She then showed them the card that she had taken out of her Deck: The Blue-Eyes White Dragon.

Gasping, Derpy exclaimed, "Huh?! The Blue-Eyes?? Where did you get that card?!"

"Blue-Eyes?" asked The Doctor. "You mean that ultra-rare dragon card that you told me about? I thought you said that there are only three copies of it in the entire world..."

"There are..." the grey teen answered. "Or, at least... I THOUGHT there were only three. As far as I knew, the only copies of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon are all owned by Seto Kaiba..." Coming to a sudden realization, she then asked Kisara, "Wait... are you saying that the person you were talking about was Kaiba??"

"That is correct... though the one I was specifically referring to is someone similar to Kaiba." Mrs. K explained. "For you see, he, too, has had other lives and past identities, though he has no real knowledge of any of them, like how I was before I obtained my Number. That being said, I do wish to aid and protect him as I did with his past life as Priest Seto, of the Pharaoh's court... and then later as the Pharaoh himself." Looking at the Dragon-Type monster she held, Kisara added, "It is through that bond with him that I was able to once more wield the power of my guardian spirit: The Blue-Eyes White Dragon."

Dr. Whooves and Derpy said nothing, taking in everything that she had said to them so far. It still seemed so unbelievable to them, but they continued to hear every word she said.

"Now... onto the matter at hand," Mrs. K started again. "You wish to know more concerning the Astral World, and the priests and priestesses that were said to follow its examples towards a better world." Placing the card she was holding on the table, next to Dragulon's card, the pale-skinned woman began to tell her story. "My first experience with the power of the Astral World started over three thousand years ago, in the aftermath of a great and costly battle against a dark and most foul entity..."

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Ancient Egypt, over 3,000 years ago:
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In the middle of a desert landscape, two figures were overlooking an almost-desolate landscape, devastated by the ravages of war: Large crevasses ran through the earth, many buildings were toppled over and/or broken, and many ancient tools of war, including spears, swords, and shields, were scattered along the shifting sands. One of the two figures peering around the ruined land was a young man with tanned skin wearing a cloak of blue and white. Across the chest area of the cloak was a golden ankh, the Ancient Egyptian symbol of life. On his head, he had headwear of some sort, made up of blue cloth and sparkling gold. On his back he wore a white cape, and in his left hand was a gold scepter with an eye-like symbol on the front of it.

The other figure another young man, about the same age as the other, wearing a similar cloak-like garment, but with a blue and violet-colored cape upon his back. Around his neck was a gold pendant shaped like an upside-down pyramid, and in his right hand was a piece of silver jewelry with a few hieroglyphics engraved upon on it, known as a cartouche. It was this figure who spoke first: "Seto!" he said to the other. "I have a favor to ask of you..."

The other man, named Seto, looked towards the one who had spoken. His facial expression showed that he was slightly alarmed.

The other man continued speaking and told the one beside him, "I want you to inherit my throne and become the new Pharaoh!"

Seto's face instantly changed from alarmed to shocked. His face grimaced a little, not sure if he had heard the other man correctly. "What... did you just say...?" he asked. He didn't believe it, but finally realized that the other man was serious. Seto then shouted to him, "Then... you must duel me once more... here and now! I can only become King after I've defeated you!"

The other man was silent at first as he clutched onto the pendant around his neck. He then solemnly replied, "I... don't have any time Seto..." As he prepared to remove the pendant from around his neck, the young man's body began to vanish into thin air.

(What's going on...?!) thought Seto, watching with disbelief. (The Pharaoh's body is disappearing!! But why?) As he looked on, not knowing what to say or do, he continuously said in his mind... (What is happening to you...? Pharaoh... Pharaoh...!)

"...Pharaoh? Pharaoh...!"

Seto's eyes shot open upon hearing a familiar voice, gasping a little as he did so. Sitting himself up, he looked at himself, coming back to his senses. He saw that his outfit was slightly different, having a more royal appearance to it. In addition, the pendant that he had seen earlier was around his neck. "What... happened...?" he asked himself in a quiet tone.

"Um... Pharaoh Seto? Are you feeling okay?" asked the voice again. It sounded like a young girl's voice, and rightfully so: When Seto looked towards the source of the voice, he saw a young girl - likely a teenager, with tanned skin and short, brown hair. She wore a short, light tan-colored dress with some gold adornments and a piece of headwear made out of the same materials. She wore bracelets and anklets around her wrists and ankles respectively, along with a long cape on her back. Around her neck was golden ring with a pyramid shape in the center and five small needles attached to it.

"M... Mana?" asked Seto hazily, groaning a little as a result of his tired state. "What... what happened?"

"You fell asleep on your throne, and then you started mumbling in your sleep." the girl answered. Putting her hands on her hips, she then asked, "It's a good thing no one was around to see you like this, or people would begin to think you had fallen ill or something."

Huffing, Seto then told her, "Well, I'm not. I just... I just have had some trouble sleeping last night... that's all."

"But Pharaoh, this has been going on since the past three days, now..." Mana reminded him. "I'm not trying to bother you, but as a Millennium Priestess, it's my duty to protect you, the Pharaoh... So you can understand why I'm a little concerned. If there is something wrong, please tell me; I just want to make sure everything's okay."

"I'm perfectly fine, Mana." Seto told her. "So just leave me be for now; there is nothing wrong with me."

"Perhaps not physically, but I can sense something troubling within your spirit." said another female voice, this one sounding a bit older. Seto and Mana turned around to look and saw an adult woman coming towards them. Like them, her skin was tanned as well. She wore a beautiful dress-like garment around her entire body, and an extravagant headpiece made out of the same tannish-white material, decked out with a gold adornment in the shape of a bird. Around her neck was a necklace with an eye-shaped charm on the front of it.

"It's Priestess Isis..." said Mana. She then looked to the woman's side and saw that she hadn't come alone. With her was a young girl that was about Mana's age. However, her skin was colored differently in that it was a pale orange rather than tan. She had greyish purple eyes with black and cyan eye shadow and short, teal-colored hair. She wore a small dress with a transparent white cloth over top of it, a necklace made up of shiny, green stones, a pair of sandals, and a headpiece made of white cloth and a gold adornment with a moon-shaped crest on the top.

Noticing her, Mana walked over with a smile and said, "And you must be that new apprentice of hers that I've heard about! It's great to finally meet you... um... uh, what was your name again...?"

Giggling a little, the other girl answered her, saying, "My name is Somnambula. And since this IS the first time that we have met, I'm not surprised that you didn't know my name."

"Um, yeah! I-I knew that!" Mana replied, laughing slightly out of embarassment. Looking back up to the older woman, she then asked her, "So, Isis... how are things with your new student there? I heard you took her on only a week ago."

"As a matter of fact, she has been doing very well with her studies, Mana." Isis answered her. "She is quite bright and wise for her age, not to mention very optimistic. I believe, when her training is complete, she will become a great priestess, and perhaps even a worthy successor to my Millennium Necklace." Tapping her necklace, she then added, "Speaking of which..." She paused for a moment without finishing that sentence, turned over to Mana and Somnambula, telling them, "I must speak with the Pharaoh for a moment. Mana, perhaps you can show my student around the palace. We've been busy with her studies for so long, I never gave her a proper tour."

"Sure!" Mana exclaimed. She then looked over to Somnambula and said to her, "Come with me! I'll show you the courtyard! We can have some fun over there! I'll race you!"

Chuckling a little, the pale-orange girl replied, "If that's what you want!" She then sped off, running towards a hallway leading out of the throne room.

"Wait! No fair!!" Mana shouted. "You got a head start!!" She then ran off after her to try and catch up.

After they were gone, Priestess Isis turned her attention to Seto and said to him in a serious tone, "My Pharaoh, I can sense that something is upsetting you. I know you are not the first to share your feelings with others, but if something is wrong, I want to help you through it. So please tell me what it is."

"I don't see why I have to tell you." Seto responded a bit rudely. "You should already know whatever it is that you think is bothering me."

"You know as well as I do that I am unable to see the futures or even sense the feelings of those connected to the Millennium Items, my Pharaoh." Isis reminded him. "That being said, I can tell that something is troubling you, even without the Necklace's power."

"And what is it you think is that's 'troubling my spirit', then?" the Pharaoh asked her.

"...I believe it has something to do with happened to former Pharaoh." the woman answered him. This response caused Seto to gasp slightly. "I am right, am I not?" Isis then asked.

Figuring there was no point in hiding it anymore, Seto sighed and said to her, "This day today... It has been exactly one year since the former Pharaoh left this world... One year since our victory against Zorc Necrophades... Even to this day, it still haunts me... when he vanished so suddenly... With his last breath, he gave me the title of King, asking me to restore peace to the land..." Seto clutched onto the pendant the he wore, saying nothing more.

"And you have done just that, my Pharaoh." Isis told him. "With your leadership, Egypt is greater and stronger than it has ever been before. The people of this city look up to you for guidance and protection, and I can see a brighter future for us all in the days to come." Turning back over to him and smiling warmly, she then told him, "The former Pharaoh would be proud if he could see just what you have done. And if he were here right now, he would want you to move on and ensure the prosperity of this land."

"...Perhaps you may be right, Isis. Though I hate to admit it." Seto responded. "Wallowing in the past is not what I should be doing... I will honor the former Pharaoh's wishes... I WILL make Egypt great again, and I WILL create a better future for us all!" Feeling invigorated, he then added, "Yes, I will keep my promises... both to you, Pharaoh... and also..."

Before he could finish his thought, however, one of the palace guards came into the throne room. "My Pharaoh," he began to say to Seto, "one of the guards outside the city gates has informed me that two robed people have come here, seeking an audience with you."

"An audience with the Pharaoh?" asked Isis. "Who are they?"

"We are not sure, Priestess." the guard told her. "All we know is that they appear to be young women, based on the tone of their voices. They mentioned something else, as well... Something called the 'Order of Astral'...?"

"The Order of Astral??" asked Seto, slightly startled to hear that name.

"Are you certain that is what they said?" asked Isis.

"Yes, we are sure." the guard responded. "We don't know what they were talking about when they told us that. What do you wish for us to do, my Pharaoh?"

Seto said nothing at first, thinking about his next action. Right now, the name that was mentioned - Order of Astral - was stuck on his mind. After giving it some thought, the Pharaoh nodded his head and told the guard, "Tell the guards that they may be allowed inside."

"Um... of course, your Highness. I will let them know at once!" the guard replied before leaving.

After the guard had left the palace, Isis then said to herself, "To think... members of the Order of Astral have arrived here in this city. I must admit, this was something I did not foresee..."

"And why is that?" asked Seto. "You explained it yourself that the fates of those connected to the Millennium Items were the only thing you could not predict with yours. So why is that you did not predict that these women - whomever they are, would appear before us today?"

"I am... not sure, to be honest." Isis admitted. She tapped her necklace again, thinking about why it could not tell her about the sudden appearance of these strangers.

"Is everything okay?" asked Mana's voice, returning to the throne room with Somnambula after the two had walked around for a while. "I saw one of the guards rushing towards the palace, so I was just wondering what it was all about."

"Do not worry, Mana." Isis assured her. "He came to tell us that we had visitors to the kingdom."

"Visitors?" asked Somnambula. "What sort of visitors, Teacher?"

"We aren't completely sure yet," the older woman told them both, "but what we do know is that they belong to the Order of Astral."

"The Order of Astral??" asked Mana, not sure what she meant. "What's that?"

"I know of them." Somnambula chimed in. "I have read about them in my studies. They are supposed to be a nomadic sect of priests and priestesses. There are rumors that they travel around to bring messages of peace and prosperity to the world, and they have been known to perform good deeds wherever they go."

"Wow... that sounds amazing!" said Mana, impressed by what she had heard.

"Indeed." Isis spoke up, adding to the conversation. "However, while they do promote peace, they are also said to wield incredible power, perhaps even otherworldly. But not much else is known about them right now, as they are said to be very secretive."

Seto sat upon his throne, listening to the words that had been spoken. (Peace and prosperity...?) he thought. (And otherworldly power...? This might be more interesting than I thought.)

At that moment, another guard appeared in the room, saying to Seto, "My Pharaoh, the two strangers have just entered the palace. Shall I allow them in the throne room?"

"Yes, you may." Seto told him. The guard nodded and left to deliver the message.

A short time later, a pair of figures wearing full-body robes, both colored light-brown, enter the room. Based on their initial appearance, they were indeed a pair of young women. They also seemed to be around Mana's and Somnambula's ages, though perhaps a year or so older.

The robed woman on the left spoke first, bowing and saying, "Pharaoh Seto of Egypt, it is an honor to meet you at last."

"Hm... you know of me?" he asked. "Fascinating..."

"Oh we know of you very well." said the woman on the left. "We have heard great tales of your role in the war against the creature said to have been formed from darkness itself. We were most impressed by your reputation, that the entire Order of Astral saw fit to send us to meet with you."

"And who are you?" asked Isis.

"Oh! Forgive us... we probably should have introduced ourselves the moment we came in." said the woman on the right. Lifting her head up, she revealed her face: Yellow-colored skin and bright, aqua green eyes. "I am Sun'Et, a High Priestess of the Order of Astral."

The other woman, on the left, then revealed her face as well. She had light-purple skin and deep purple eyes. "And I am Spakah, also a High Priestess of the Order of Astral."

Isis nodded and walked over to them, introducing herself as well. "I am Isis, High Priestess to the Pharaoh." She then looked over at her pale-orange companion and told them, "This is my apprentice, Somnambula."

"Welcome to Egypt." the young student greeted their guests. "We are honored to meet with those belonging to the Order of Astral."

Isis then glanced over to Mana and told her, "Introduce yourself."

"Huh? Oh! Right! Of course!" she replied, blushing a little out of embarrassment. She then walked over to the strangers and said to them, "My name is Mana, and I'm also a High Priestess to the Pharaoh."

"You are, are you?" asked Sun'Et. "Quite the accomplishment for someone as young as you are."

"Then again, we also have learned and done quite much despite our age." stated Spakah. "So you can feel good knowing that Sun'Et's words are quite sincere."

"Hey, I'm more than willing take any compliment I can get!" Mana replied with a slight chuckle.

Huffing slightly, Seto stood up from his throne and approached the two guests to his palace. "Alright, that's enough introductions for now..." he said. "I can only assume that the two of you are not here simply to visit the city. So if there is something you need to ask of me, I wish to hear of it immediately."

"Very well, I suppose that time is of the essence." Sun'Et replied, ready to get down to business. "As we said earlier, we came on behalf of the Order of Astral to meet with you upon hearing of your accomplishments. This may seem a bit sudden to you, Pharaoh... but we have come here to seek the assistance of yourself and those in your court."

"Our assistance?" asked Isis. "What for?"

Priestess Spakah stepped forward and answered her, saying, "We of the Order of Astral journey across the world to spread a message of peace. We do this for the good of the world itself, to bring it to salvation and follow the example set forth by another world: The Astral World."

"The Astral World is a world that we believe exists on a much higher plane than the one that we live in." Sun'Et added. "For one to bear witness to it, they must strengthen - or 'Rank-Up' as we have come to call it - their spirit. Thus, we of the Order of Astral seek to do just that."

"Sounds interesting..." said Seto.

"Sounds difficult..." Mana chimed in. "What do you mean by, 'Rank-Up our spirits'?"

"That, we are not completely sure of just yet." Sun'Et answered. "But we have been trained diligently to attain this 'Ranked-Up' state. At first we trained ourselves to become stronger in body, mind, and most importantly, spirit. We have learned much in our training, and can wield power that only few can truly comprehend. Alas, it appears that there is still more we must do in order to finally achieve our goal and see the Astral World, just as our master did many years ago."

"So that is why the two of you were sent here?" asked Seto. "Do you believe that I might find a way to reveal this 'Astral World' to you?"

"We are not sure, but our master thinks that you could have the power open the way to the Astral World." Spakah answered him. "Although our master has beared witness to the Astral World, and was told how one with a Ranked-Up spirit could see it, even he does not know exactly how that is done. But he believes that, with the assistance of your Royal Court, who had succeeded in the destruction of the evil being that plagued your land long ago, we may finally figure out the secret and bring this world closer to complete salvation."

The other four individuals in the room pondered on those words for a while. While they did not understand everything that the two guests had told them, it was obvious that they were determined to figure out the secret of the Astral World and how to reach it. Mana looked over to Seto and asked him, "What are you going to do, Pharaoh?"

The young man hummed a bit in deep thought for a moment. In the end, the decision was easy for him. Turning back to his two guests, he told the pair, "If you require my help, then I suppose I will lend my assistance."

"Are you certain of this, my Pharaoh?" asked Isis, a little surprised to hear him say that.

"I am." Seto responded to her. "I don't know if this Astral World place truly exists or not, but if there is a chance that it does, it is something I feel I must bear witness to. From what I can tell based on their words, there must be a great power in that world; a power that could very well aid in the prosperity of Egypt."

After he said that, Isis understood what his intentions were. "I see..." she began to say while forming a smile. "This is to honor the last wishes of the former Pharaoh: To help make our kingdom greater for those who live in it."

"Indeed." Sun'Et chimed in once more. "The power that the Astral World holds could very well bring a great fortune to your land."

"Not only that," added Spakah, "but if the whole world could be allowed to see the Astral World, it will, as we have said, create an age of peace unlike anything that has ever happened before it."

"Then it is settled: I'll provide you both with whatever you need in order to find this world that you seek." Seto confirmed.

"As representatives of the Order of Astral, we thank you greatly, Pharaoh Seto of Egypt." said Sun'Et with a formal bow. Standing back up, along with Priestess Spakah, she then told him, "Now that everything is settled, we will tell you what we need your help with."

"Far from your kingdom, there is a temple seated high in the mountains." Spakah explained to them, pointing out her finger to a faraway place to emphasize her words. "We had discovered it some time ago, and believe that it carries a strong link to the Astral World. While there may be many sites with similarly powerful connections to the other world, this one is the closet from here, and it is the best chance for you to hopefully see the Astral World."

"So you want me to journey to this temple and assist you in opening a way to it?" asked Seto.

"That is correct." Sun'Et confirmed. "We will warn you, Pharaoh, that it will be a long travel from here; it may take us several weeks to reach it, and that is if we have no interferences. If you cannot afford to leave your duties here for a long period of time, we will understand."

"While my presence may be needed here," Seto told them, "I would be foolish to ignore a chance at obtaining a power that only few have ever seen. I have already made my decision to assist you, and that is final."

"You're sure you want to do this?" asked Mana. "Not that I want to contradict your decisions, of course."

"I'm quite sure of it." Seto told her. "Not only that, I want you to accompany me."

"M-m-me?!?" exclaimed Mana, shocked at what he said to her.

Seto stared at her and continued to say, "I'm not asking you to come because I need your help: I could very well do just fine without anyone's assistance. But I seem to recall that, in the past year since you inherited your former master's position and the Millennium Ring, you have yet to perform any major services to the Royal Court. Therefore, you shall be given an opportunity to do just that."

"You... you're serious??" asked Mana, stunned but pleased to hear him say that. Up until now, she had never participated in any truly important tasks since she became a Priestess. Now that she had a chance to directly assist the Pharaoh on an important matter, she wasn't going to let it slip by. "Thank you, Pharaoh! Thank you!" she said excitedly. "It would be an honor to help you however I can!"

"Just make you don't disappoint me, Mana." Seto told her sternly. Taking a large, golden manacle-like object from beside his throne and strapping it onto his left arm, he glanced over to Isis and said to her, "While I'm away, I'm placing you in charge of things here in the kingdom. I trust that everything will be fine in your care?"

Tapping her Millennium Necklace, she said to him, "You do not have to worry, my Pharaoh. I can ensure you that the kingdom will be safe under my watchful eyes."

Nodding to say that he trusted her words, he looked back over towards Mana and told her, "Meet me and our guests outside of the palace after you retrieve your DiaDhank."

"Yes, Pharaoh Seto!" the young Priestess exclaimed, eager to begin her assignment. She then ran off in order to get everything she needed.

Walking over to Seto, Sun'Et asked him, "Shall we ready ourselves as well, Pharaoh?" Seto nodded to say that they should, and both them, as well as Spakah headed out of the palace to begin their journey.

Isis watched on as the Pharaoh took his leave, thinking to herself, (My Millennium Necklace is unable to tell me the fates of the Pharaoh and Mana... but even so, I can sense that a great struggle involving them will soon come their way...) As she pondered, Mana came running out in front of Isis, strapping a golden object - similar to the one Seto had put on earlier - to her left arm. "Mana..." Isis began to say to her, "this will be your first major assignment in service to the Pharaoh, so it is important that you perform at the very best of your ability."

"I know, I know!" the young girl responded in a hurry. "Trust me, I've been looking forward to this ever since I succeeded Master Mahad, and I intend to give it everything I've got!"

Still smiling, Isis then told her, "I certain that you will be of great help to the Pharaoh. I wish the best of luck to you both." Mana nodded to say that she understood and sped out of the temple to join the others.

"Bye, Mana!" Somnambula shouted to her friend, waving goodbye. "Make sure to tell me everything about your trip! Good luck!!" After Mana vanished from their sight, the young orange-skinned girl turned to her mentor and asked her, "Do you think they'll come back okay? To be honest, I'm a little worried for them..."

"Do not worry, Somnambula." Isis reassured her. "They will come home safely. Never lose hope in that possibility." Of course, Isis herself was also slightly worried for the well-being of the Pharaoh and her fellow High Priestess, but kept telling herself that they would be fine to put herself at ease.

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After Mana joined up with Pharaoh Seto and the priestesses Sun'Et and Spakah, they began their long journey together, leaving the kingdom and eventually Egypt itself. Making the trip on a pair of beautifully-crafted chariots, each pulled by a quartet of horses, the four travelled across the massive desert, in search of the temple in the mountains that Spakah had told them about during their initial meeting. Their journey was long; days quickly turned to weeks of almost non-stop travelling. Before long, it had been over a month since they had begun. Despite the length of their trip, the four were determined to make it to this mysterious temple and open the way to the Astral World.

Finally, at long last, the four of them reached a vast mountainous area covered in trees. Seto and Mana were amazed by what they saw, as it was quite a drastic change from the deserts of Egypt. "Wow... this place is so beautiful...!" Mana stated, impressed by the sights around her. "I've never seen anything like this before!"

Seto glanced around himself, and while he remained silent, he was equally impressed at the landscape. Pushing his feelings aside for the moment, he then asked Sun'Et, "Where is this temple? You told us that it was built near the mountains."

"We did." the yellow-faced girl answered him as she pointed upwards to a specific mountain in the distance. "Do you see the mountain far off to the east?" she asked them. "That is where we must go."

"Very well, then." Seto replied, eager to move on and finish their long journey. The horses began to pull the chariots further along the forest path. In time, the woods gave way to a rocky trail leading up to the mountain top, where the mysterious palace sat upon. Spakah insisted that the chariots move slowly as to prevent a nasty fall of the side.

Finally, at long last, they group arrived at the top, and the sight before them made Seto and Mana gasp in amazement. In front of the travelling party was large red and yellow gate, furnished in an Ancient Chinese design, with a large green door as the only thing between them and the temple on the other side. The Pharaoh and his Priestess had no words to describe the beautiful structure in front of them.

Pushing the tops of their robes off of their heads, Sun'Et and Spakah revealed their heads completely. Both had long, straight hair, with Sun'Et's colored in a mix of red and yellow, while Spakah's was mostly dark purple with a thin streak of pink running the left side. They also revealed some jewelry that they were wearing: Sun'Et wore a necklace with a golden key-like object at the end of it. Spakah had a crown-like adornment on her head, with a similar key-shape mounted onto the front of it.

Hopping out of their chariot, Sun'Et then said to the others, "We will proceed to open the door. Once we do, we will leave the chariots and continue into the temple on foot." Seto and Mana simply watched as the two young girls stepped in front of the large, green door. Once there, they presented the jewelry that they wore before it, as if to make an offering. Almost immediately, the key-shaped objects on the necklace and the crown began to glow a bright yellow, and soon after, the door in front of them radiated a similar glow. after about a few seconds of this bizarre light show, the glowing faded, and the door opened on its own, allowing them all to enter.

"Our master was right, Sun'Et." Spakah told her. "These keys react to only the most powerful of energy: Energy that can only come from the Astral World."

"That means this place does indeed have a connection to the Astral World." Sun'Et added. "There is no mistaking it." Turning over towards the others, the girl bowed and said, "After you, Pharaoh Seto."

Humming slightly, Seto, along with Mana, got out of their chariot and walked through the gate. On the other side, they saw an even more beautiful structure awaiting them. It was a full-on Chinese temple with red roofs and yellow walls, sitting atop a foundation made up of large white bricks with a stairway leading up to the front doors. On the wide path leading up the temple was a large, grey hexagon; upon it there was a wondrous painting of a long, serpent-like dragon with red hair growing upon its head and the way to the tip of its tail. Along the sides of the pathway were large red pillars with golden dragon statues snaking around them.

"I don't believe it..." spoke a truly astounded Mana, jaw dropped at the amazing sight of the temple before her. "This place is... is... it's gorgeous! I've never seen anything like this before in my life!! Wait until Somnambula hears about this!"

"I must admit, this is not quite what I was expecting." Seto stated. "The workmanship on this temple is quite a sight to behold. What sort of design is this?"

"We believe that it was erected to be similar to the temples that exist in a much further off land." Spakah answered. "I heard rumors that a woman named Mistmane had a small involvement in its construction, but we are not sure if this rumor is true or not. Though she is known as a powerful sorceress, so perhaps she was drawn to the powerful energy that exists here and had the temple built to honor that power."

"But that's a story for another time." Sun'Et chimed in. "For now, we must go and see if this temple truly has a connection to the Astral World. And if it does, we must figure out a way to access that connection."

"Then let's move forward and see for ourselves." Seto suggested, walking towards the stairs leading up to the front doors. Mana and the others soon followed him as the walked inside.

Once they entered the temple, the four of them looked around at the dark, empty chamber they walked into. "This doesn't make sense..." Mana began to say. "There's no one here..."

"It does seem bizarre that no one has come to greet us..." Sun'Et stated. "Up until now, Spakah and I had not gone this far into the temple, but we were under the impression that someone was looking after it..."

A sudden chill came over Spakah, sensing something else peculiar about the empty room. "...I have a feeling that we are not as alone as we think we are."

"Huh?" Mana asked, not sure what that meant.

"She's right." Seto spoke up. "Someone... or something is watching us. And I have every reason to believe that it may not just be a single entity." The Pharaoh of Egypt then presented his left arm, on which was the golden object that he had attached to it back at the start of their journey. "I know there's someone watching us right now!" he shouted into the open air. "Why don't you come out and face us directly instead of hiding in these shadows like a coward?!"

No response.

Chuckling to himself, Seto smirked and said, "Alright, have it your way... If you won't show yourself willingly, then I'll reveal you myself! DiaDhank, unfold!!" After he said that, the wing on the gold armband fanned out, revealing a total of three wings upon it. Using the device - the DiaDhank - Seto raised his other arm into the air and shouted, "Ka sealed within the stone slab, come forth!!" After he said that, one of the wings on his DiaDhank began to glow, and once it faded, the image of a creature appeared upon it. "I Summon forth La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp!!"

The others watched as smoke began to billow out from behind the Pharaoh. That cloud eventually formed into a green genie with a long, drooping moustache and gold adornments.

"The Pharaoh! He just summoned a monster from one of the stone slabs kept in the Shrine of Wedju...!" Mana stated, amazed that Seto felt the need to Summon one of the monsters that were sealed away.

"Amazing..." Sun'Et said, as she watched the scene in front of her. "So the stories are true; the Pharaoh and his Priests have the power to call forth monsters in battle..."

"Hearing of it was one thing, but seeing for ourselves is something different entirely...!" Spakah chimed in, also impressed.

Acting quickly, Seto shouted to his monster, "Now, La Jinn! Breathe your flame around us! Light the room and reveal the forms of those surrounding us!" The green genie then took a deep breath and let out a bright and powerful flame. The fire spread all over the room, but remained in the air so as not to damage the temple. It DID, however, light the entire chamber, revealing several other creatures, looking down upon the group.

"M-more monsters?!" exclaimed Mana in shock. "Where did they all come from?!"

"I am not sure..." Spakah stated. "But as foreboding as it may seem, I cannot sense any ill intentions within them. They do not appear to be evil spirits..."

"Then there is only one explanation for these creatures appearing here in this temple:" Sun'Et began to tell everyone. "No doubt this is a test... A test to see if we are truly worthy of bearing witness to the Astral World!"

"Test or not, if these monsters wish to challenge my power, then I will be more than satisfied in honoring that request!" Seto proclaimed. After hearing those words, the monsters in the room appeared to take his words as accepting their test, and in a instant, the whole room was lit up. Smirking, Seto told the monsters, "Ready yourselves, spirits, for a small taste of my power!" He then ordered his monster, "Now, attack them! Genie Fire!!"

La Jinn then let out another powerful blast of flames, aiming straight for the monsters in front of him. But they quickly stepped out of the way, and one of them, a vile-looking, pale-yellow creature with a green neck, fangs and long claws, leapt out of the crowd and towards the group.

"It's coming right for us!" shouted Spakah.

"Oh no, it won't!" Mana said, activating her DiaDhank. Putting out her right hand, she then shouted, "I Summon a Ka from within my soul!" And with that declaration, her DiaDhank formed the image of a young girl in full magician attire. Not long after, the real thing appeared behind her. She had creamy-white hair and bright blue eyes and wore a mostly yellow costume with orange rims. On her ears were two oversized red earrings with yellow stars on them, and her costume (including her oversized hat and boots) also had a pair of white wings in the back. In her hand was a short, yellow scepter with bits of red and orange.

"Go! Lemon Magician Girl!! Intercept the attack!!" shouted Mana, to which her servant obeyed. The magician rushed in front of the attacking creature, assuming a fighting stance. The pale-yellow monster, taking it as a challenge, decided to attack the magician instead.

"That monster looks too powerful..." noted Sun'Et. "I don't think she can fight it all by herself..."

But Mana smirked and told her, "Then it's a good thing she won't be! I activate the effect of Lemon Magician Girl!"

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Lemon Magician Girl
(Effect Monster/Spellcaster-Type/LIGHT/Level 2/ATK 800/DEF 600)

Once per turn: You can Tribute 1 "Magician Girl" monster, except "Lemon Magician Girl"; add 1 Spellcaster-Type monster from your Deck to your hand. Once per turn, if this card is targeted for an attack: You can Special Summon 1 Spellcaster-Type monster from your hand, but its effects (if any) are negated, then change the attack target to it, and if you do, the attacking monster's ATK becomes half its current ATK.

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

"Awaken now! Ka within my soul!!" Mana shouted as another image appeared in an empty slot on the DiaDhank. It was of another female Spellcaster, but its appearance was a bit different. Mana's second servant then appeared behind her, ready to battle. This magician looked almost EXACTLY like her master, but with a few notable differences such as paler skin, brighter green eyes, and bright, blond hair. Her costume was similar to the first female magician's, except that it was mostly bright blue with pink trims, and instead of wings, it had a short, pink cape in the back. Her scepter was also different-looking as well and had colors similar to her outfit's.

"She Summoned another magician to aid her..." Spakah observed. "But controlling two creatures usually takes a lot of strength from the controller... Yet Mana does not appear exhausted at all."

"That's the point." Mana told her. "When Lemon Magician Girl is under attack, she can bring out another magician to help her. And the best part about is that it doesn't cost me any of my Ba to do it!"

"Ba?" asked Sun'Et. While she had not heard that word before, she was able to figure out what it was. "Oh! You mean your internal power, am I right?"

"That's right." Mana confirmed. "And not only that, but when Lemon helps me Summon a magician to battle, the new magician forces the enemy to fight her!" And as if on cue, the yellow monster stopped its attack on Mana's first servant and went after the new one. "But when that happens, Lemon then saps away the enemy's power!"

Just as Mana stated, Lemon used her magic and surrounded the enemy monster with a bright-yellow aura, which caused to roar in pain. Its attack on the second magician became much more sluggish as a result.

"Now go, Dark Magician Girl!! Strike back!" Mana shouted. "Dark Burning Attack!!" The second magician nodded and flew towards the weakened monster and fired a ray of energy out from her scepter. The ray struck the creature, dissolving it into nothingness. "Alright! I did it!" cheered the young Priestess, hopping up and down excitedly. "I've wanted to try that trick ever since I came up with it, and it worked!!"

Seto, who watching her during the whole skirmish, chuckled to himself before turning back to face the mass of creatures before them all. "Meheheh... if one of your cohorts couldn't defeat even the youngest of my High Priests, then my power may as well be invincible compared to yours!" he taunted them. That comment only got him a fierce growl from the other monsters. "Hmph, so you won't stand down, I see..." Seto asked them. "Very well then! You had you chance to back away, and I will not give you another!" Activating his DiaDhank once more, he shouted, "La Jinn!! Return to your slab!"

The green genie then vanished from sight, returning to its stone slab all the way back in Egypt. Once it was gone, Seto then raised his right arm and announced, "And now I Summon a new Ka to battle!!" Once again, his DiaDhank shone a bright light as a monster image appeared upon it. "Come forth!! Kaiser Vorse Raider!!"

Seto's new servant was a mostly-blue humanoid creature, but besides its appearance, it was most certainly NOT human. It's face was half-covered by a spiked helmet, and he was seen to have sharp fangs for teeth. He had a very imposing outfit that, too, was covered in sharp, golden spikes. In his right hand was a long weapon with a sharp axe head on the top and spiked ball on the bottom.

"When I have no servants beside me, I can Summon Kaiser Vorse Raider without sacrificing my Ba!" Seto explained to everyone. "So instead, I shall use my power to Summon this Ka to serve me!!" At that moment, a second monster image appeared on his DiaDhank. "I Summon Slate Warrior!"

Seto's second monster was of a multi-colored human-like creature. It had a blue face with no visible mouth, a light orange chest plate with red markings upon it, green sleeves and red pants. It also carried a long, golden scepter with a blue orb on the top. "Now, attack them, my monsters!!" Seto ordered his servants. "Take them down!!"

Both Kaiser Vorse Raider and Slate Warrior obeyed their master's orders and rushed into the crowd of monsters. Kaiser Vorse Raider slashed his weapon, destroying several monsters, including a green-skinned woman with snakes for her hair, a silver-grey werewolf with green pants and manacles on its wrists, and a flaming skull. Slate Warrior used his fists and scepter to destroy several more, which included a yellow and purple grub like insect with two long pincers, as well as a plant creature resembling a human woman, but having long, prickly vines instead of arms. Mana also joined in the fight, with her two magicians.

In but a few minutes, most of the horde of monsters had been successfully dealt with, but many more still remained. "Rrrrgh... this taking longer than I'd hoped..." said Seto.

"You're telling me... I'm getting exhausted fighting all of these monsters at once..." Mana stated. "What can we do? At this rate, we'll be too tired to make the trip back home...!"

"Do not worry, Pharaoh Seto and Priestess Mana." spoke Sun'Et. "We shall handle the rest from here."

"You?" asked Mana. "What are you going to do?"

Spakah also stepped forward, saying, "Our master, along with all of us in the Order of Astral, have trained all our lives to Rank-Up our spirits and enter the Astral World. These monsters are but a test for us to pass in order achieve that goal. While we do appreciate and require your help, we refuse to sit idly by and have all of our work done for us. So let us fight in your place from this point."

"And how do you plan on doing that?" asked Seto.

Sun'Et smiled as both she and Spakah threw off their robes, revealing their true outfits underneath. Sun'Et wore an outfit that appeared to look like some sort of ceremonial robes, all white in color, with a long cloth draped over the front of the skirt area. On the cloth was an emblem resembling the key that served as part of her necklace. Her footwear were sandal-like in appearance, with long straps on the lower legs, and on her ears were a pair of sun-shaped earrings, both red and yellow in color.

Spakah's outfit consisted of a simple top over her chest with her midriff showing, a long skirt, smaller sandals, and a long cape flowing behind her. She, too, had on a pair of earrings, but they were pink and shaped like six-pointed stars. On each of their arms was a silver object that had an eerily-similar appearance to Seto's and Mana's DiaDhanks. The removal of their outer robes revealed that their faces weren't the only part of their skin that was oddly-colored, as it seemed that their entire bodies were of the same tone; yellow for Sun'Et and purple for Spakah.

"Are you ready, Sun'Et?" the purple-skinned girl asked her friend. As she asked this question, runic symbols began to form over their left eyes.

"I am." the yellow girl answered. "Now it is time for us to show how strong our spirits have become!" The silver object then began to glow brightly, transforming into a different shape. Once its was finished, a large, wing-like blade was protruding out of it, colored light-green and white. "Great spirit within my body! Unleash your power and manifest into solid form!!" Thrusting her right hand forward, she shouted, "Emerge now!! Gordian Knot!!" At that moment, one of the feather-shaped blades on her device began to glow, and in time, it shot out a beam of light that formed into a a stack of purple cubes covered in a mess of knotted straps.

"No way...! She can Summon Ka too?!" asked Mana, surprised by this revelation.

But Spakah then showed the others that she could do the same, as her device transformed as well. This one turned into a slightly different shape, becoming an object that looked similar to a cocoon or a leaf shape, with alternating colors of violet and hot pink. Its design looked almost supernatural, based on its odd shape. Putting her right arm out, the purple-skinned girl shouted, "Spirit within me! I now shape you into physical form!! Become my partner and my servant!!" After saying that, one of the sections of her device began glowing, just Sun'Et's, shooting out a light that formed into a human male magician wearing mostly dark-blue and red and covered with chains.

"Now I invoke the power of the Gordian Knot and use it to call forth the Golden Jet!!" shouted Sun'Et. And with that, a second beam of light emerged from her device, and in an instant, a shiny, gold plane-like object flew into the temple. The mosnter within the temple were not sure what was happening, and neither did Seto or Mana. But they all knew that something big was about to happen.

"With these servants at my side, I now tap into a great power, one which my master had witnessed the day he saw the Astral World. Now bear witness to but a mere fraction of it!" Sun'Et announced. She then closed her eyes and outstretched her arms and legs, forming a X-shape with her body. Keeping her arms out, she closed her legs together, forming a straight vertical line with them. Now her body was in the shape of the letter Y. Last of all, she then moved her arms in front of her, using them to form the letter Z. "I now build the Overlay Network!!" she shouted.

"The Overlay what??" asked Mana. But before she could say another word, she and Seto watched as both of Sun'Et's monsters turned into a pair of lights; one orange and one yellow. They were soon sucked into a red portal which formed in floor before them. The Pharaoh and his Priestess observed the scene closely, trying to figure out what was going on.

Sun'Et then broke her pose and reached both of her arms out towards the portal, saying, "Awaken from beyond time and space!! Avian Castel!!" The portal then shot out a column of red light which eventually took the form of a robed creature that seemed to combine the traits of a human and a bird. It wore robes of blue and white, and had purple feathers for its "hair" and on its large wings. Surrounding it were two green orbs that orbited around it.

"Did... did she just fuse her monsters?" asked Mana.

"No... that wasn't a Fusion." Seto answered. "It's similar, but not quite the same thing... The monsters she used are still there; I can sense them within those orbs that surround her new creature." Smirking a little, he thought to himself, (So this is the power of the Order of Astral... and the world that they seek to reach...)

"Now Castel, use your special power!" ordered Sun'Et. "Repel the enemy!!" The human-bird creature then immediately absorbed the two green orbs into its chest. With this new rush of power, it then whipped its wings, creating a powerful cyclone and sending in the direction of the enemy monsters. Against the power of this gigantic tornado, they were no match, and many of them were blown away by it, causing them to vanish.

"Woah!! She just blew away over half of them in one shot!!" Mana exclaimed. "We just might be able to win this!" She then ordered her magicians to attack the remaining creatures, and Seto joined in as well.

Not to be left out, Spakah then used her power and Summoned another monster to battle. Her new monster was a gigantic rock creature that was mostly blue and sage green in color with a single red eye on its face area. "Now it's my turn!" she announced as she performed the same dance as Sun'Et, posing her body into the X, Y, and Z shapes. "I now create the Overlay Network!!" In an instant, another red portal formed, and her two monsters turned into a pair of lights - one purple and one orange - before they were drawn into the vortex. "Rise now, Hope!! King of Wishes!!" she shouted.

The monster that she Summoned using the portal beared a striking similarity to Utopia, with one notable difference: The red 39 mark that was on his left shoulder plate wasn't there. Everything else, however, remained the same: White and golden armor, a pair of large swords, and a bright yellow aura radiating around him.

"Now go!!" Spakah shouted. "Attack with Hope Sword Slash!!' The warrior nodded and leapt into what remained of the army of monsters before them. The powerful warrior, together with Seto's Kaiser Vorse Raider and Slate Warrior, Mana's two magicians, and Sun'Et's Avian Castel, allowed them all to wipe out the rest of the monsters in the temple, cementing their victory.

"We did it!! We took them all down!!" Mana cheered. "That was amazing!" Wiping the sweat from her forehead, she then added, "I'll admit, I was getting worried for a while, but I knew we'd do well in the end!" She then noticed that the others weren't cheering for their victory. "Hey... what's up?" asked the young tanned girl. "Why don't you look happy? For Pharaoh Seto, that's normal, but why aren't you happy to beat all of the monsters, Sun'Et and Spakah?"

The two Priestess of the Order of Astral remained silent at first, not answering Mana's question. Sun'Et then turned over to Seto and asked him, "You can feel it, can't you?"

"...I can." the Pharaoh answered. "This seemed far too easy."

"What do you mean...?" asked Mana, getting worried again. "Are you saying that we're not done here yet?"

Spakah shook her head no, telling the young girl, "I have the feeling that this wasn't our true test... I feel that our true opponent is ready to appear before us in mere moments..."

The group, together with their monster servants, stayed silent for a while, not sure what to expect, but as they waited for something to happen, they could feel the air getting heavy all around them. Even Mana could now sense that something wasn't quite right, fearing that their previous battle was just the calm before the storm. Then, all of a sudden...

"Look, over there!!" shouted Sun'Et, pointing to the left side of the spacious room. The others turned to look... and gasped when they saw a large galaxy-like vortex forming in the floor. Next to it were two monsters: One was a long dragon that seemed to be made of water, and the other was a dragon that seemed to have a partial tree growing out of its brown and green body. The two transformed into a pair of lights - one blue and one orange - before they were sucked into the portal.

"It can't be..." Spakah gasped. "It's an Overlay Network! Those last two monsters created it all by themselves!!"

"But... that portal..." Mana noted. "It's not the same color as the ones you two used..."

"You're right..." Sun'Et confirmed. "And what's more... That feeling that I had; it's stronger than it was before... And it's getting stronger as we speak!"

"Hmmmm... It seems our true opponent is ready to face us..." Seto chimed in. "But whomever they may be, I refuse to stand down before it!" Shouting at the portal, he said, "Come out of there and face us at once!! No more of your games!!"

They didn't need to wait long for it happen: Out of the portal came a gigantic dragon with a long, white body and gigantic wings, one of which had a yellow 46 mark upon it. Its entire form shone a bright golden light as roared loudly, seemingly to demand the respect of those facing it.

"It's just as I thought:" Sun'Et began to speak. "This is no ordinary creature... This is no doubt a being from the Astral World!"

"You mean... there's things like THAT living there?!" asked Mana in shock.

"The Astral World rests upon a higher plane than the world we occupy, Mana." Spakah told her. "There is little doubt that possibly hundreds of other beings like exist there as well, all very powerful."

At that moment, Seto began to chuckle a bit. "So, a dragon? That's our final test?" he asked rhetorically. "Very well then... If it's a battle of dragons you want, then I will be most happy to oblige!" Readying his DiaDhank, he shouted, "Kaiser Vorse Raider and Slate Warrior, I release you! Return to the Shrine of Wedju!!" And with that order, both of his monsters vanished from sight. Calming himself for a moment, he then closed his eyes and placed a hand on his chest, he said to himself in his mind, (Lend me your power... Kisara...) Opening his eyes, he then shouted, "Come forth, my strongest Ka!!! I Summon the almighty White Dragon!!!"

After its image appeared on Seto's device, a great white stream of energy was unleashed, engulfing the entire temple in a blinding light. The light remained for a great amount of time, forcing those nearby to shield their eyes (all except for the dragon creature, who continued to observe the scene). Finally, after a few seconds, the light reformed itself and materialized as gigantic white dragon with blue eyes.

"Alright, he did it!!" cheered Mana. "The Pharaoh's most powerful Ka! We still have a chance!"

"Incredible!" commented Spakah. "To think he had such a powerful beast in reserve! But... is it strong enough to combat the other dragon?"

"We can only hope..." Sun'Et answered her, not sure what would happen next.

The two dragons stared each other down, ready to fight until the bitter end. Putting out his left arm, Seto commanded to his monster, "Go, White Dragon!! Vanquish that monster and leave no traces remaining!! Burst Stream of Destruction!!" His monster roared and charged up a powerful blast of energy in its mouth. Taking aim at the other dragon, the Pharaoh's monster fired its energy straight at it, resulting in a mighty explosion; one strong enough to cause a brief tremor within the temple.

"Urrrrgh!" Mana grunted as she and the others struggled to keep their footing.

Seto stared in the direction of the blast's impact, chuckling to himself. He was sure that his dragon had obliterated the other one. But when the dust cleared, he and the others were shocked to see the glowing gold dragon still standing. "What is this?!?" exclaimed the Pharaoh. "That should have destroyed it!"

"Impossible!" Mana protested. "Pharaoh Seto's dragon has always been able to defeat ANY opponent that faced it!"

"...Until now, it seems." Sun'Et responded solemnly. "It's just as I thought: That dragon is a creature from the Astral World. No beast of this world is a match for it..."

Growling in frustration, Seto said defiantly, "No! I refuse to be defeated!! I shall prove that no one is more powerful than my White Dragon! Mark my words, I will defeat it!!" The Pharaoh was determined to prove his true power, no matter how low his chances of doing so were.

But before another word could be said, the other dragon began to charge up energy in its mouth. "Look out!" warned Sun'Et. "The dragon is about to launch an attack!!"

"Wh-wh-what are we going to do, Pharaoh Seto??" asked Mana, frightened. Seto said nothing in response, but he was not about to let the other dragon see him sweat. He stood his ground, even as the enemy fired its own energy stream at them. All seemed lost...

But then, Spakah's monster servant leapt into the path of the attack. "King Hope!!" she shouted to him. "Activate your special ability!! Light Wing Shield!!!" The white and gold-colored warrior then absorbed one of his floating yellow orbs into his chest. After that, it used one of the wings on its back to block the attack. Despite the stream's incredible power, it was unable to breach King Hope's shield.

"That was a close one..." Mana stated. "If it hadn't been for Spakah's servant, we wouldn't have survived..."

"Don't thank me just yet..." the purple-skinned Priestess told her. "King Hope's protective power is only temporary, and I can only trigger but once more. Unless we come up with an attack strategy, we may all meet our ends here."

"I know that, but what can we do?" asked Mana. "How're we gonna defeat a monster that doesn't even come from this world?!"

Before her question could be answered, the enemy dragon roared again as it absorbed one of its yellow orbs, just as Spakah's monster had done earlier. "It just absorbed an Overlay Unit..." Sun'Et noted. "It's activating its own ability... but what kind of ability is it?"

The enemy dragon then turned its attention over to Seto's Ka, the White Dragon. It then fixed its gaze directly at it, causing the Pharaoh's beast to be surrounded by a yellow aura. As it happened, the White Dragon began to roar in pain. "My dragon!! What's happening to it?!"

"I'm not sure," Spakah replied, "but if I had to guess, I think it's trying to control it...!"

"Control it?!" exclaimed Mana. "You mean turn it against us?!"

"I'm afraid so..." the purple girl told her. "If we don't act quickly, we will not survive another battle!"

"Then I guess I have no choice..." Sun'Et spoke up, walking towards the enemy dragon as it tried to brainwash Seto's monster. Putting her right foot forward, the yellow girl began chanting a spell. As she did, a red aura began to radiate around her. Once she finished chanting the spell and the red aura faded away, she thrust out both of her hands and shouted, "Go!! Breakthrough Skill!!"

Immediately, a ray of purple energy came shooting out of both of her hands and struck the enemy dragon. The energy seemed to sap it of its power somewhat, causing it to lose its focus. As a result, it was no longer able to control Seto's White Dragon. The yellow glow that surrounded the Pharaoh's monster faded away, freeing it from a cruel fate.

"That curse I inflicted has suppressed the dragon's special powers..." Sun'Et explained. "But it will only remain for a short time, and it won't prevent it from attacking us. We need to defeat it now or we won't get another chance!"

"Defeating it is exactly what I plan to do..." Seto said in a low, angry-sounding voice. It wasn't just his voice that was angry, so was his face. Snarling, he shouted at the other dragon, "If you think you can just take my dragon and use it as your own personal slave, then you had better think again!! That dragon is more than just a mere servant! It once belonged to a young girl... a girl that helped me when times were at their darkest... Someone who helped me to see towards a brighter future!! To have anyone take it away and use it against me is an insult not only to me, but to her as well!! I refuse to allow you tarnish our bond!!"

And with that passionate speech, Seto's DiaDhank began to glow in a bright silver light. Noticing this, he looked down at his arm, wondering what was happening. And before he knew it, a second image appeared upon his device: a young maiden.

"What is this??" he asked himself. "I didn't Summon another Ka just now..."

"But I did." said a calm voice in front of him. When the Pharaoh looked up, he gasped when he saw a young pale-skinned girl in front of him with bright blue eyes. She wore a beautiful set of robes that were all tan in color, and her warm smile could been clearly seen upon her face. "Seto..." she told him. "It is good to see you again..."

"K... Kisara...?" he asked, recognizing her immediately.

"Where did she come from?" asked Sun'Et, also surprised at the scene unfolding in front of her and the others.

"I have no idea..." Mana answered. "But she looks almost like that girl that Seto had staying in the palace during the war against Zorc..."

Seto was still astounded at seeing the young girl that he had rescued so long ago. It had been a year since she passed away, so he was not expecting her to come back. "Kisara... why have you come here...?" he asked her.

"...To fulfill my promise to you so long ago." Kisara told him. "I said that I would protect you with the light of my dragon. And I shall do just that." She then flew up towards the White Dragon and said to it, "My beautiful dragon... You have grown quite strong since I left you in my master's care. I am glad to see that he has taken very good care you."

The dragon let out a small, but satisfied snarl in response.

Still smiling, she then said to it, "If you and Seto are to have any hope of overcoming this challenge, then we must tune into each other's power... We must synchronize our energies, and become one power!!"

Seto and the other watched as Kisara transformed into a small blue light that shot into the air. When it came back down, it had transformed into green ring that surrounded the White Dragon. No one knew what was going on... except for Seto, for he could still hear Kisara's voice whispering in his ear.

(Master Seto... no, Pharaoh Seto of Egypt!) the blue-eyed maiden told him. (Awaken our newfound power! It's the only way!)

Knowing exactly what to do, he then shouted to his monster, "Now White Dragon, synchronize your energies! Become more than what you are!! And together, we shall strike down any foe that stands before us!!" The dragon roared its loudest roar as it transformed into eight smaller lights within the green ring before a tower of light engulfed it all. "Come now! Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon!!"

Out of the pillar of light a pair of shiny, silver wings emerged. This was soon followed by the rest of it, revealing that it was a massive dragon, with a body similar in color to its wings. It roared loudly and stared down the other dragon with its bright, azure-colored eyes.

"Seto's dragon!! It... it transformed into a different monster!!" Mana exclaimed.

"This is... amazing...!" said Spakah. "That young girl somehow intertwined her energy with the dragon, and they become a new creature entirely!"

"I saw..." Sun'Et replied. "But I've never heard of a type of Summoning that involves such a method... This might be worth some more research..." She then asked Seto, "Pharaoh, what kind of Summoning power was that? Does it have a name?"

"A name...?" he asked. Since this was the first time that it happened, he didn't have a name for it. But after thinking about what was involved in the Summoning of his new dragon, he was able to come up with something. "...Synchro Summon." he answered her. "That's what it is called."

"Sounds like you just made it up." Mana noted. "That being said, it does have a nice ring to it, so I won't complain."

The other dragon looked at Seto's new monster. Though you couldn't tell from its face, it seemed... impressed and pleased by what it saw. It was as if it wanted this to happen all along.

"Now, I use the power of Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon!" Seto announced. "Return now, White Dragon!!" At that moment, his original Dragon returned to dominate the battle, giving out a roar as it did so.

After that, Seto heard Kisara's voice from within his new dragon. (Seto...) she told him, (now that my dragon and I have become one, I have become much stronger... And I will share that power with you right now...) And without a moment to waste, two spheres of light materialized beside the White Dragon. From out of the spheres came two MORE dragons, just like the first one.

"There... there's THREE of them now?!" exclaimed Mana. "Where did they come from?!"

Looking at the trio of dragons that he now commanded, he smirked and said, "These dragons represent the bond I have with the young girl they served to protect! And now they lend their power to me to ensure the bright future that she wanted! So from this day forward, they will no longer simply be known as the White Dragons! In honor of Kisara, whose light shines within my soul, they shall hereafter be known as... the Blue-Eyes White Dragons!!" The three newly-christened dragons roared in unison after his speech.

The others could say nothing in response. They could only watch as Seto displayed his new incredible power.

"And with these dragons, I shall surpass my own limits! I shall strike down any who threaten me or my people!" the Pharaoh continued to say. "And no force on this world or any world will be able to match it!!" After that statement, the object around his neck, the Millennium Pendant (a.k.a. the Millennium Puzzle) began glowing intensely. Likewise, his three newly-Summoned dragons began to glow as they all merged together.

"Now he's Fusing them??" asked Mana. "But how can he do that? Only the High Priest with the Millennium Scales can make a Fusion happen!"

"I can't say for sure how it works in your kingdom," Sun'Et told her, "but it seems his monsters are merging merely from his own willpower...!"

"That girl..." Spakah spoke up. "The one he called 'Kisara'... I suspect it is his bond with her that he has all this power right now... Perhaps this may be the answer we had been looking for... The power that can allow our spirits to Rank-Up!" Sun'Et nodded, seeming to agree with her friend.

The three dragons continued to merge their power together, growing stronger and stronger with every passing second. "Now behold, dragon of the Astral World!! Witness the birth of a creature that surpasses even the gods themselves!! The mightiest power, the ULTIMATE power!!" Raising his hand into the air, he then shouted, "Emerge now!! Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon!!!"

A split-second after he announced his new creature's name, the area was bathed an in another intense light, much more powerful than any before it. And when it faded, the three Blue-Eyes White Dragons were now replaced by a single, gigantic, three-headed dragon. No doubt, this new dragon - dubbed the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon by Seto - was far more powerful than the sum of its parts.

"Incredible...! I never thought I'd see something quite like this!" Mana said.

"Now go, Ultimate Dragon!! Annihilate that beast now!!" the Pharaoh ordered his fused monster. "Neutron Blast!!!" The three-headed dragon obeyed and charged up power in each of its three mouths. Once it was at full power, they all fired at once, the streams of energy merging into a single unstoppable attack. The other dragon was unable to avoid it and took the entire attack, becoming engulfed by the blast's destructive energy completely.

The blast caused a massive explosion that actually managed to blow a large hole in the temple roof. The others shielded themselves from the impact of the blast and the dust clouds that were kicked up afterwards. As the force of the attack finally died down, Mana asked everyone, "So... did he do it? Is that dragon gone?"

"Of course it's gone." Seto smugly replied. "No creature - not even that thing, could survive such a devastating blow."

"Let us hope that's true..." Sun'Et replied.

Moments later, Spakah could see an image in the dust clouds ahead of them. Gasping, she shouted, "No! It's still there!"

"What?! You're kidding!!" Mana protested. But when they glanced over to where the blast struck, they could she that she was not lying: The other dragon was still there, very much alive. But it was no longer moving or trying to prepare a counterattack.

"So you still stand, I see?" asked Seto. "If you want to continue this fight, then so be-"

"Wait... hold on a moment, Pharaoh..." Sun'Et spoke up, interrupting his statement. "...It's... not attacking us anymore."

"It's not?" asked Mana. "How come?"

Looking into the eyes of the otherworldly beast, Spakah could tell that it was done fighting. "I suspect..." she said to the others, "that it has recognized the power we all have... And it seems to be impressed by it. I believe that we have passed the test that it has given us."

(She is right, Seto.) Kisara said to her master. (Our battle against it has ended, and it is pleased by what it saw.)

Humming a bit, Seto decided that was good enough for him. "Very well. We accept your surrender, creature of the Astral World. You were indeed one of the few that I recognize as a worthy opponent."

The dragon gave a low roar in response before surrounding itself with a bright yellow light. At the same time, Spakah's servant, King Hope, had a similar-colored aura radiating around itself. "Huh? What's happening to Hope?" asked the purple Priestess.

Everyone watched on as the light engulfed Hope completely. But unlike the light that it had used to control Seto's dragon during the battle, they could sense that the warrior was getting stronger simply from becoming bathed in the light. When the light finally faded, he looked mostly the same, except on his left shoulder pad, everyone could see a red 39 mark upon him.

"That symbol... it looks like the one on that dragon." Mana pointed out.

"It does..." Sun'Et confirmed. "Does that mean it... it transferred some of its power to Hope?"

"It is..." Seto answered. "I can sense that your companion's servant is much stronger than it was at the beginning of our battle." Staring at King Hope's new form, the Pharaoh thought to himself, (The power of the Astral World... Even such a small amount of it is a sight to behold...)

Humming to herself, Sun'Et began thinking deeply about the events that took place. "It was only through our combined efforts that we passed the Astral World's test... And it was the Pharaoh's bond with his dragon and the young maiden that allowed him to best our final opponent." she stated. Smiling, she then said to everyone, "I see it now... I now know how we can see the beauty of the Astral World."

"You do?!" exclaimed Spakah. "How??"

"The answer was right in front of us the whole time." the yellow-skinned girl told her. "It is through our bonds with each other... Our friendships... That is what can allow our spirits to Rank-Up. For the great benevolence of the Astral World is not exclusively for one person or for a select few. Rather, it is something that can only be truly appreciated when it is shared with those you care about. Discovering that answer... that was the true purpose of our test here at this temple."

"Awwww... that's so nice!" Mana said with a bright smile, giggling a little as she did so. Seto huffed a little, but admitted that what Sun'Et said may have had some merit to it... though he wouldn't admit it out-loud.

"I see now." Spakah said, acknowledging her friend's words. "It makes quite a lot of sense, when you think about it." She then stated, "In that case, we should spread what we have learned here today. Both to the Order of Astral and to all who walk this Earth. That it is through the power of unity and the magic of friendship that we can all see the Astral World one day. And with the knowledge we gain through it all, we can truly create a wonderful world; a true utopia." Pausing for a moment, she then turned to her loyal servant, King Hope and said to him, "And in recognition of your newly-gained power, as well as to remind us what we've learned this day... I shall, from now on, call you by a new name: Utopia." The warrior nodded, thanking his master.

Seto and Mana looked on, pleased by what had happened here. They were both happy to have come here to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event in person. Of course, with Seto, he preferred to smile on the inside rather than on the outside: After all, he had a reputation to uphold.

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Minutes later, the four of them were now outside of the temple. Pharaoh Seto and Mana were ready to make the (very) long journey back to Egypt, packing their supplies and loading them up onto their chariot. "Thank you again for all of your help, Pharaoh." Sun'Et said politely. "We would have not accomplished so much without you both."

"So on behalf of the Order of Astral, please accept our gift of the very chariot you took on the journey here." Spakah offered. "It's not much, I'm sure, but it is the least we can do for what you have done for us."

"Hey, no problem!" Mana replied. "We're just glad we don't have to make the entire trip back on foot. Not that I'm proud of it, but all of my magician training doesn't get me outdoors much." The other two Priestesses chuckled a bit at her comment.

"So will you be heading back with us as well?" asked Seto.

"No, we will remain here and try to learn as much as we can about the Astral World." Sun'Et explained. "It won't be easy, but I know we can do it..." She then turned to Spakah and added, "as long as my best friend here is willing to lend a hand."

"B...best friend?" asked the purple girl. "You really mean that?"

"I do, Spakah." the yellow girl replied. "You've always been there for me, helping me out, even when my times were at their darkest. I couldn't ask for a better person to call my friend. And I promise that we shall stay friends, even after we've passed on, and through the generations to come."

Shedding a tear of joy upon hearing that, Spakah said to her, "I promise that too, Sun'Et... Thank you." The two of them shared a friendly hug, cementing that nothing could ever come between their bond as friends. The scene even caused Mana to cry a little out of happiness.

Huffing slightly, Seto turned towards the chariot, preparing to get inside. "Come, Mana." he said to his companion. "We're leaving for Egypt."

"Huh? Oh! At once, my Pharaoh!" Mana replied. Turning back over to Sun'Et and Spakah, she said to them, "Well, I guess this is goodbye for now. Good luck on finding the Astral World! I know you'll be able to do it!"

"Thank you." Sun'Et replied with a smile. "And best of luck to you and the Pharaoh as well."

"I hope you can use what you've experienced here to better yourselves and your kingdom as a whole." Spakah chimed in.

"We'll do our best to." Mana responded. "Anyway, goodbye! I hope we can meet again someday!" The two Priestesses waved goodbye as the tanned girl hopped into the chariot with Seto, who motioned the horse team to start heading home. Truly, for the Pharaoh of Egypt, his loyal Priestess, and the two from the mysterious Order of Astral, this was something that they would never, ever forget...

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Present day:
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Finishing her story, Mrs. K said to Dr. Hooves and Derpy, "And that is my full recount of the day that I personally witnessed the emergence of the Astral World."

Needless to say, her guests were astounded by what she had told them both. "That's so... amazing...!" Derpy said. "I can hardly believe that actually happened! And you were there to see it all!"

"I must say, that was quite an amazing tale on your part..." The Doctor stated. "It sounds unbelievable... Luckily for you, with all that I've seen in years, I'm willing to believe in almost anything." Humming a little, he then asked her, "Say... the dragon that you mentioned earlier; the one that the Pharaoh battled against... Would it happen to be...?"

"It is." Kisara answered him, knowing what he was about to ask her. Holding up one of her Number cards, she told him, "The dragon that my master fought is indeed the same one you see on this card. And it was through Dragulon that am able to remember it all perfectly. As one who beared witnessed to the Astral World, my fate, as well as the fates of several other people, are all tied to it. It is for that reason, that we cannot allow its great power to fall into the hands of evil. Unfortunately, it seems as though it has already begun. You know as well as I do that many wicked ones have obtained their own Numbers."

"Indeed." Dr. Hooves said with a nod. "I've so far collected six Number cards myself, all of which were owned by some rather unsavory individuals. However, it seems as though they weren't strong enough to handle the Numbers' power: Many of them acted much more recklessly... and in the most extreme cases, they even developed a completely different persona."

"Yes, it seems as though the Numbers' powers are far too great for most to control, so they end up being controlled BY it." Mrs. K observed. "And it doesn't seem to matter whether that soul is good or evil. The Numbers will amplify their strongest emotions and cause them to behave in a bizarre manner." Closing her eyes and going into deep thought, she then added, "Only a few, such as you and I Doctor, are capable of handling their power will no ill effect. But I fear there may be evil individuals with that same spiritual strength. If a wicked soul can freely control the Numbers' power, it could mean the end for all of us."

"Oh my..." Derpy said with a gasp. "What are we gonna do??"

"All we can do for now is to make sure no more Numbers fall into such hands." Mrs. K replied. "All of us must do whatever we can to obtain the Numbers faster than these wicked individuals, either while they are still blank or by taking one in a Duel. Either way, we must all work fast."

"Hmmmm... you say that 'we' must collect the Numbers quickly..." Dr. Hooves began to say. "Something tells me that you are not simply referring to yourself and I, am I correct?"

"You are." Kisara confirmed. "While I fear that there are evil ones planning to abuse the power granted by Number cards, I am also certain that there are people like us who respect the power of the Astral World and want to use it to save the world, rather than bring it to its ruin. And like us, they have ties to the Astral World in one way or another." She began walking over to a desk in the corner of the room as she spoke to her guests. "In fact," she continued, "I even believe that some of them may even have ties to the ancient Order of Astral, and the Duel Priests and Duel Priestesses that belonged to it."

"You mean like... descendants?" asked Derpy. "Kinda of like you?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact." Mrs. K answered the girl. "Though I wouldn't use the term 'descendants'... Think of it more like... reincarnations?"

"Re-in-car...nations?" the grey girl then inquired. "What does that mean?"

"It means that she isn't merely a relative of someone in the past, Ms. Derpy." Dr. Hooves told his assistant. "Mrs. K IS that someone in the past, but in a new body. In other words, she was reborn as an entirely new person." He then asked the woman, "And you say that there are others like you out there that are supposed to be our allies?"

"That is right." Kisara said with a nod. "But just like I was before I obtained my Number card, they have no memories of their lives in the Order of Astral. In order to ensure the survival of this world, their memoires must be awaked like mine were." She then presented something in front of her guests: They were a small pile of Duel Monsters cards that she had retrieved earlier, when she strolled over to her corner desk.

Gasping, Derpy then said to The Doctor, "Look, Doctor! Those are blank Number cards!"

"They do seem to be, Ms. Derpy..." he replied. "But... why are they still blank, even though Mrs. K is holding them? And furthermore, why are the picture areas different colors?"

"I am not sure why, but I do know this:" Kisara began to explain. "After I received Dragulon and regained my former memories, I also obtained these eight blank cards. Although I can sense that they are Numbers, they have not taken on new forms upon my touch. I strongly suspect that these cards are not meant for me to use; rather they are set aside for certain individuals."

"Ah, I see..." Dr. Hooves responded, understanding what she said. "And perhaps the colors might designate who should wield them."

"That does seem to make sense." Mrs. K said, agreeing with his theory.

"But who do they go to?" asked Derpy. "What exactly DO the colors mean? How are we supposed to use that to figure out who they belong to?"

Before another word could be said, the three of them noticed that one of the eight cards was glowing brightly. "What is this??" asked The Doctor. "Has this ever happened before??"

"No... not at all...!" Mrs. K responded. "This is the first time that I've seen something like this happen!" She went to put them away on the table behind her, but when she was a fair distance away from her guests, the glowing stopped. "Hm? Now it's stopped..." she observed. She then looked back at Dr. Hooves and Derpy, then back at the cards; specifically the one that had put on the light show seconds ago - the one that had a solid brown color in the artwork.

Taking that card and putting the rest away in her corner desk. She walked back over towards The Doctor with the card in front of her. Once she got close enough to him, it began to glow again. She pulled it away for a moment, and the glow faded once more. She then held back up and, right one cue, the light around the card returned. "Could it be...?" she began to ask.

"What?" asked The Doctor. "Do you know what is happening?"

"...I think..." she started to say. She then paused for a moment to think. Once she was done, she then told him, "I think its reacting to you, Doctor."

"To me?" he asked. "Are you sure??"

Closing her eyes in deep thought, she answered him, saying, "Yes... I can sense it... Clearly this card has some sort of connection with you, Dr. Hooves. I believe that it is meant for you."

"Really? It's for him??" asked Derpy.

Nodding yes, Kisara said to The Doctor, "You are tasked with the collection of the Numbers because destiny has foreseen that you will play a great role in this struggle to protect our world and the Astral World from a dark future. And the way that this card reacts to you is proof of that. Therefore, this card is indeed destined to be in your hands." Holding the glowing card out to him, she told him, "Take it. It belongs with you now."

"Are.. you sure about this?" asked Dr. Hooves, who, for the first time in a while, wasn't really sure of the situation before him.

"Quite sure." Mrs. K said with a smile. "It may sound somewhat cliché, but I do believe that this card wants to be with you, and wants to help you save our worlds. So I strongly insist that you take it. Besides, you both came here intending to obtain a Number card, so by taking this, you will have succeeded in doing so this day."

"Hmmm... I suppose that is true." The Doctor figured. "And I also suppose that it would be rude of me of refuse your request - and perhaps the card's request, to take it now." Now sure of what to do, he grasped the card in his right hand and accepted the gift.

"Alright! We've got another Number card!" cheered Derpy. "This is great!!" But then she noticed something peculiar. "H-hey... wait a second, the card's still blank..."

Looking at the card again, Mrs. K noticed this as well and said, "It does seem to be so..." Thinking about it a little more, she came to some sort of conclusion. "Perhaps simply taking the Number card is not enough; otherwise it would have already taken form. There may be more that you must do in order awaken it, but whatever that may be... it seems you may have to find out on your own."

Staring at the blank Number card for a few seconds more, Dr. Hooves slipped it into his deck box, planning to figure out what to do with it at a later time. "Well, in any case," he said to Kisara, "thank you for everything that you have provided for us. And I promise that no one else will hear of what you have told us. But we do hope to use the information you have provided in order to solve the Number mystery."

"Thank you for honoring my wishes." the pale-skinned woman replied. "I wish you good luck in your future endeavors, including the awakening of the Number card I gave to you. Goodbye for now."

"Bye, Mrs. K!" Derpy said to her as she waved. "I'll see you at school!!" As they left, the grey teen then said to The Doctor, "Say, I've got an idea! Maybe that guy from the Astral World who contacted us might know how to wake up that new Number card!"

"Easier said than done, Ms. Derpy." Dr. Hooves told his assistant. "He hasn't spoken to us since the first time we met him. I doubt we'll be able to contact him again, even with the technology within the Tardis."

As Kisara watched the two of them return to the call box-shaped vessel, something about what they had said earlier hung in her mind. "So..." she said to herself, "someone from the Astral World contacted them a while ago..." Thinking about it some more, she then added to her soliloquy, saying, "This is quite strange... Though I know that this man possesses incredible technology at his fingertips... such direct contact with those in the Astral World is impossible..." She then left the room, preparing for her usual routine, still wondering how someone from the Astral World was able to reach Dr. Hooves and Derpy...

-- To Be Continued...

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