• 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!

  • ...
10
 977
 9,323

PreviousChapters Next
RANK 23: School Spirits:

Author's Note:

Well, I finally managed to finish this episode after the downtime I was somewhat forced into. This episode is a bit of a tribute to one of my favorite episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, and many of you may know which one it is that I'm talking about. Anyway, I enjoyed writing this episode, and am glad to have this one up on the week of my birthday. Enjoy!

RANK 23: School Spirits:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------------
THE STORY SO FAR...:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

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

Sunset Shimmer, together with Twilight Sparkle, has been researching information about a school named Skyes Academy, which was thought to have been abandoned after it sank all of its funds towards converting into a Duel Academy, only to fail to do so. However, recent events involving the Number cards have led them to suspect that the school is not quite as empty as it seemed. Sunset and Twilight believe that there are some people there, such as Ms. Skyeblaze and Lucky, who are out to get them: Why, they don't yet. But they are determined to find out before it's too late.

Unbeknownst to them, a meeting between Dr. Hooves, a mysterious man that is also collecting the Numbers, and Mrs. K, the new History teacher at Canterlot High, had occurred when the former detected a Number card in the hands of the other. However, a Duel for the Numbers did not occur: Instead, Mrs. K explained that she was also on a mission to ensure the safety of the Number cards, as well as the safety of both their world and the Astral World.

She then revealed that her real name was Kisara, and that she had actually had many past lives throughout history. After she obtained her Number, she was able to remember all that she had experienced, such as the time when she first saw the Astral World for herself. At that time, over 3,000 years ago, Pharaoh Seto, along with Mana, one of the High Priests in his court, traveled to a faraway temple with two members of the mysterious Order of Astral, Sun'Et and Spakah. After locating the temple and fighting off the monsters that guarded it, they were able to witness the Astral World's power for the first time, and became stronger in spirit as a result. Satisfied, the Doctor left quietly, promising to keep what he had heard a secret.

It has been only a few days since then, and a special event is about to take place at Canterlot High School. An event that no die-hard Duel Monsters fan would ever want to miss out on...

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

It was Friday afternoon, and almost time for Canterlot High School to end its classes for the weekend. The bell had just rung for fourth period classes to end, and all of the students were on their way to either their lockers or to their Homeroom class. Naturally, as they always did between classes, Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle met up with their friends to chat for a while.

"So... um, have you found anything out about Skyes Academy yet...?" Fluttershy asked Sunset. "If... if you don't mind me asking, that is."

"Not much, but we did learn a few things about the place." the red and yellow girl answered her. "Hopefully soon, Twilight and I will figure it all out, and learn more about the guys that supposedly came from there."

"Ah hope y'all do." Applejack told her. "Ah still can't believe what happened back on the farm that day, with that Skyeblaze gal tryin' t' steal mah cousin Babs's Deck! Ooooo... just thinkin' about it burns me up inside!"

"No joke." Rainbow Dash chimed in. "Anyone that would knowingly steal somebody's cards like that doesn't deserve to win any Duels! Ever!"

"And to think that she used to teach here at this school!" Rarity reminded them all. "She ought to know better than to take something from someone else, especially from a young child!"

"Luckily, she left with that other person before things got out of hoof- I mean, hand..." Twilight mentioned.

Poking his head out of the purple girl's backpack, Spike then asked, "Yeah, what was up with that? That weird woman seemed like she was going to take Babs's cards even though Babs beat her in that Duel. The only reason she didn't was because that other guy decided to just leave quietly and take her with him."

"Yeah, that was kind of strange..." Sunset agreed. "What was his name again, Twilight?"

"I think Granny Smith said he was called, 'Lucky'." the young Princess told her friend. "She said he's often gotten himself into trouble for most of his life, but other than that, not much else... From his appearance alone, you could tell that he's had it rough his whole life..."

(Indeed...) said Utopia's voice from within Twilight's mind. (From what I can tell, his rough past has caused his heart to harden to the world around him... He seems to have lost any hope for a better future for himself.) Thinking about it some more, he then said to himself, (Observation Number Four: Hard moments in one's past can cause a person to become cold and bitter to the world. And that seems to cause them to wish the same misery upon others as well.)

Pinkie seemed to have the same feeling herself, from she had heard from Sunset and Twilight. "This Lucky guy sounds like he doesn't care about himself or anyone else... Instead of trying to find something that can help him feel better about himself, all he wants to do is make everyone else feel as bad as he does... That's so sad..."

Surprised, Sunset then asked Pinkie, "How... do you know all of that? Twilight and I didn't know much about him besides what we've told you and the others, and that's not saying much."

Forming a smile, the pink teen answered her, saying, "I can be a pretty good judge of character, Sunnie. In fact, I knew just how good YOU were deep down, even when you were acting all mean and nasty to everyone else! Why else would I suggest inviting you over to that party at Sugarcube Corner right after the Fall Formal?"

After hearing that, Sunset had to admit that she was impressed with Pinkie's skill at knowing just what someone was truly like. Her statement also gave the red and yellow girl another thought. "Now that you mention it, this Lucky guy seems to be acting just the way I used to: Lashing out at others and trying to make them feel just as angry and sad. I doubt he'd listen to me, but I think I should at least try to tell him that what he's doing isn't going to make things better for him... And seeing as how I acted just the same way, I know how he must feel, assuming that Pinkie's guess about him is correct."

"I'm pretty certain it is." the pink girl stated.

"In any case," Sunset continued, "we'll all have to be ready for anything that Lucky, Skyeblaze, or anyone else from Skyes Academy might try to do us... I'm still not completely sure, but I think that they're trying to target us for some reason, based on what happened with Vinyl and her Number card."

"Yeah, you've got a point, Sunset..." Applejack said, nodding. "You said that whoever planted that card on Vinyl might've actually intended t' give it to Fluttershy instead..."

"Speaking of which..." Rarity spoke up before turning over to the shy yellow girl. "Have you had any trouble with intruders since then?"

"No, I haven't." Fluttershy replied. "After everything that happened, my mom and my dad installed locks on my windows so that they could never be opened from the outside again."

"That's good to know." Twilight replied. She then said to the others, "And I agree with Sunset; until we know how to deal with these Skyes Academy people, we'll have to be on our guard." The rest of the girls nodded to say that they understood.

At that moment, a sudden announcement on the school's PA system interrupted their thoughts. "Attention all students and faculty!" said Principal Celestia's voice. "I want to remind you all that tomorrow, Canterlot High will have its doors open for our annual Duel Monsters Spirit Day celebration! We will be holding all sorts of special events, including the popular Costume Duels! Anyone who wishes to take part in these Duels must show up in their best costumes! Of course, feel free to wear a costume even if you do not participate in our special Duels! The celebration will begin at noon tomorrow! I hope to see each and every one of you there! That is all for our end-of-the-day announcements."

After the Principal had spoken, Rainbow Dash gasped a little and said, "Aw man!! Duel Monsters Spirit Day is TOMORROW?! How could I let it sneak up on me like that?!?"

"Well, Rainbow... You never were that great at keeping a schedule, so I'm not too surprised." Rarity mentioned. Smiling, she then said, "Luckily, for you and all of us, I am more than well-prepared for the festivities, and have already designed our costumes for the day's events!"

"Wow, no foolin'?" asked Applejack, a bit surprised. "You actually have all of the costumes we asked ya for?"

"I most certainly do, Applejack dear." the violet-haired fashionista told her. "And I even designed one with Twilight in mind, just in case she would be able to celebrate the day with us."

"Well, that's certainly convenient." Sunset stated. "I had to admit, I was worried that Twilight wouldn't have one when we all came here tomorrow."

"Um, I don't understand..." the young Princess asked. "What is Duel Monsters Spirit Day?"

"Oh, it's really fun, Twilight...!" Fluttershy told her. "It's kind of like an anniversary of the Duel Monsters card game, though it also kind of isn't, since it isn't held on the day that the game premiered..."

"Huh?" asked Twilight.

"Here, lemme explain it to ya, Twi." Rainbow Dash began to tell her. "Y'see, on Duel Monsters Spirit Day, everybody goes out and dresses up like Duel Monsters for festivals and stuff like that."

"Oh, like Nightmare Night?" asked the purple girl.

"Eh, a little bit." Sunset explained further. "But instead of going around and getting candy, people in costume take part in these Costume Duels that Celestia was just talking about. And they say that, if you dress up like one of the cards in the Deck you're using, you'll be EXTRA lucky in all of your Duels!"

"That sounds like it could be fun!" Twilight said, getting excited over the idea.

"T' most folks, it just seems like a holiday made up by Industrial Illusions in order t' make more money." Applejack told her. "But in reality, this holiday dates back a long, long time ago. Accordin' to archaeologists, this holiday was originally created t' honor Duel Spirits and their power in our world."

"That's why people dress up in costume." Rarity chimed in. "Because in the past, that's how people gave their thanks to the Duel Spirits. Nowadays, people do it just for the fun of it!"

"It sure sounds like fun to me." Twilight stated. "I'll try it!"

"But uh... just a word of warning, Twily..." Pinkie began to say to her, "You don't want to go to the festival dressed as Water Omotics." A long pause followed before she added, "...Don't ask me how I know that." She then quietly stepped off to the side, again with an awkward silence in the air.

Breaking the sudden silence, Rarity cleared her throat and told the others, "Anyway... as I was saying, after our classes are done, I would like all of you to come to my boutique for fittings, just in case I need to make any necessary alterations."

"Sure, of course we'll be there...!" Fluttershy told her friend. The others nodded to say that they would be at Rarity's place as well.

"Oh, wonderful! Simply wonderful!" the violet-haired fashionista cheered, getting excited. "Then I shall see all of you at my shop shortly."

"Sure. See you then, Rarity." Sunset replied before the group split up and headed for their homeroom classes. As they left, not one of them noticed that someone was watching them from an adjacent hall: It was Mrs. K - a.k.a. Kisara - the mysterious new hire at Canterlot High School. She had listened in to their conversation for reasons known only to herself. After the girls departed from the hallway, Mrs. K left for her office; a temporary one for her to use until her history class officially began in the next semester.

"Sunset Shimmer and her friends are quite excited to attend the Spirit Day Festival that will be occurring at the school tomorrow..." the woman said to herself. "Perhaps now is the time for me to see if they truly are the ones that the ancient text spoke of." Entering her temporary office and sitting down at her desk, she pulled out her Deck from desk drawer and took out her Number card, Dragulon. "According to what I have read, the Diak Ums, or Duel Priests, that were aligned to the Order of Astral had once saved the entire world from a powerful and evil entity. And after they passed away, their spirits became one with the Astral World. However, they knew that one day, this great evil would rise again in the far future, and had prepared themselves to return to this world in order to combat it."

Kisara reached for a small stack of papers on her desk, which had information about all of the students that would be attending her class next semester. This also included recent photos of each and every one of the students. Mrs. K looked at the pictures of Sunset, Twilight, and the rest of the members of their group. "Sunset Shimmer..." she spoke, "according to my memory of the day that Master Seto witnessed the power of the Astral World, he was brought there with two of the priestess that were part of the Order of Astral, Sun'Et and Spakah..." Taking the pictures of both Sunset and Twilight, Mrs. K then added, "And these two girls are the spitting images of those priestesses.. But the question remains: Are they truly the modern-day forms of the Diak Ums?"

Putting the photos away, Kisara then looked at her Number card once more. She also took out her other Number card, Number 82: Heartlandraco. "The only way I can know for sure is to witness their power. So far, I have seen the skill that Ms. Sparkle possesses, but not that of Ms. Shimmer. And I feel that tomorrow, during the Spirit Day Festival, I might be able to see her true strength." Placing the cards on her desk, she then added, "But in order to do that, I must seek the help of one other person who witnessed the day that the Astral World revealed itself."

Kisara reached out towards her Number cards and said, "Numbers 46 and 82... I invoke your great power... Send this message to the Spirit World, and call forth a dear old friend to fulfill my wishes..." The two cards began to glow with a bright yellow light, seemingly complying with the woman's request...

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

About two hours later, after school was dismissed for the day, Sunset, Twilight, and their friends made their way to the Carousel Boutique to meet up with Rarity so that they could all try on their costumes for the Duel Monsters Spirit Day Festival. Rarity took out her key that opened any door in the shop, and used it to unlock a back closet where the costumes for her friends, as well as the one for herself, were stored.

"Alright, girls," the young fashion designer said to the others while pulling out the costumes, "let us get started! We have much to do and too little time!"

The first to try on their costume was Sunset. Naturally, she chose to dress up as one of the monsters in her own Deck: Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut. Her full-body outfit consisted of "armor" that was mostly plastic, with some matching-color silk in some areas (designed to make moving around easier) The costume even had a mirror on the chest area, and a hat that was modeled after Crystal Chrononaut's head. Looking at herself in the mirror, the red and yellow girl said, "Not bad, Rarity... This costume kinda makes feel like a Power Ranger or something to that effect."

"I'm glad that you like it, Sunset darling." Rarity replied. "I must admit, it wasn't easy to acquire the materials for this costume, let alone making the costume itself... But I enjoyed working on it and learned some new designing tips along the way."

Next to come out of the dressing rooms was Twilight Sparkle, who had her outfit designed to resemble the monster Ancient Elf. The outfit was mostly purple, consisting of a cylindrical hat, a breastplate that was made of sturdy plastic with light blue shoulder pads, a long skirt that ended just above the ankles, and finished off with a separate accessory: a long red sorcerer's staff. "I do hope you like what I made for you, Twilight dear." Rarity said to her. "I didn't know if you would be here for the festival, so I had to whip this one up in a hurry."

"Like it? I love it!!" said the Princess of Friendship, clearly impressed with Rarity's work. "Wearing this makes me feel like an even stronger magic-user already! Even though I know full well that it's just a kind of placebo effect."

"What's this about amoebas?" asked Rainbow Dash, walking out of the dressing room in full costume. She chose to go as Warrior Lady of the Wasteland, wearing an outfit that was made up of a short, teal top and a skirt with the same color, the latter of which was held up by a light-brown belt. She also wore a large, brown hat, and a brown cape that was tattered and full of holes. It even had a plastic sword, carried in a sheath. "By the way, Rarity," the athletic teen began to say, "I like what ya did here, especially the cape! It really looks like I got it from some apocalyptic world!"

"Well, to be completely honest, Rainbow," the purple-haired girl told her, "I cannot take all of the credit for designing the cape." Her tone switching to a more annoyed-sounding voice, she then explained, "You have a sudden moth infestation to thank for THAT one. Luckily, you told me who you wanted to dress up as before I disposed of it. I suppose the old saying of 'making lemons into lemonade' certainly applies here."

"Hey, you could've fished this out of a trash can for all I care." Rainbow stated. "Alls I know is that it looks great with the rest of it!" Rarity chuckled a bit, happy to help out a friend... and also happy to be rid of that moth-eaten cape.

Next to come out in costume was Applejack. She chose a simpler design, going with the monster known as Rose Archer. The outfit consisted of a small, black top that exposed her midriff with a red rose emblem imprinted on its left side, and a long burgundy skirt that extended all the way to the ground. The farm girl also wore a long, red scarf that concealed her neck and mouth from view, a golden crown-like adornment on her head, and she even had a bow-and-arrows set to use as an accessory (minus the arrows of course, though she did have an empty quiver). The bow was designed to look like the stem of a rose, right down to the thorns.

"Now THIS is what Ah call a costume!" AJ stated, her voice slightly muffled from her scarf, but not nearly enough to make the words impossible to make out.

"I must say, I wholeheartedly agree." Rarity told her. "Powerful, but also elegant, as a true archer ought to be. I was quite happy to hear you request this monster for your festival costume."

"Well, Ah got the idea from when Ah tried t' take up archery as a hobby." the orange-skinned teen explained. "Didn't quite work out too well, but Ah knew mah old bow-n'-arrow set would be useful fer somethin'... after Ah went ahead and made it look like a rose stem, that is."

Rarity then called out towards the dressing room entrance and loudly said, "Fluttershy, dear! Let's see how your costume looks next!"

"Um... o-okay, Rarity..." the shy girl spoke. "Just... just don't laugh at how silly I might look, okay...?"

"I'd never dream of it, darling." Rarity informed her. "After all, I designed the costume myself, and I do not find it silly in the slightest!"

"...Alright, here I come." Fluttershy said as she slowly stepped out of the dressing room to present her costume. Her costume was modeled after a card called Wynn the Wind Charmer. She wore a brown cloak with lime green on the collar and at the ends of its very long sleeves that nearly covered her hands. She also had on a short, dark grey skirt and a pair of forest green boots with white cloths on the tops of them. In her hand was a short staff with a yellow orb attached to the top of it, and a plush toy of the monster Petit Dragon (because Wynn's card artwork showed her with that monster). To top off the look, Fluttershy had her hair done up into a short ponytail.

"Wow, you look great, Fluttershy!" Twilight complimented.

"Yeah, you don't look silly at all!" Rainbow Dash chimed in.

"You... you like it?" the shy girl asked. "Oh good... I was afraid that I looked a little ridiculous..."

"Well, given the fact that most of the school will be in costume, I don't think you need to concern yourself with looking silly." Sunset told her.

"Yeah, Ah'll bet everyone at school'll really like how ya look, Sugarcube!" Applejack assured her.

Giggling and blushing a little, Fluttershy then said, "Well... I guess I can be okay wearing this this, especially if it's just for the one day."

"Alrighty then! Iiiiiiiiiiiiit's my turn!!" said the cheery voice of Pinkie Pie, wasting no time in showing off her costume. Not surprisingly, she went as her favorite card, Madolche Puddingcess. She wore a fancy dress that looked exactly like a cake, a pair of long, white boots and gloves, and a tiara on her head. And, of course, a cherry on top. "Whad'ya think, girls?" asked the pink teen. "I look good enough to eat, don't I? That being said, I wouldn't recommend doing that, since that would be cannibalism!"

"I am glad that you like it, Pinkie darling." Rarity said with a smile, happy that her friend liked her costume. "I must say, though... designing that outfit almost felt like I was baking a cake at the exact same time... It was quite the... unique experience, to say the least."

"Hey, wait a sec..." Rainbow Dash spoke up, realizing something that was amiss. "Where's your costume, Rarity?"

"Ah ah ah... patience, Rainbow." the fashionista told her, wagging her finger. "I was waiting to see how all of you looked in your costumes before presenting my own. But now that everyone else is comfortable in their outfits, I shall try mine on as well!" Rarity then disappeared into the dressing rooms to put on her costume for tomorrow. Everyone stared at the entrance to the room, wondering just what Rarity's costume would be. After a few minutes, their friend called out, "Okay! Here I come, everyone!"

When Rarity emerged, she was wearing a mostly-blue outfit that almost looked nun-like in some areas. She wore a blue hat with a long, white veil that extended to the back, a top with long, flowing sleeves that draped long past the arm area and a bright blue jewel attached to the chest area, and a blue, white, and grey skirt-like garment that draped down to the ankles and had more blue jewels sewn onto the sides of it. "Well, what do you think of my costume?" asked Rarity. "I decided on Gem-Knight Lady Lapis Lazuli. Quite beautiful and could possibly even work in a more formal setting as well."

"I think it looks great, Rarity!" Twilight told her. "I could definitely see the Rarity in my world wearing something like this... I'd bet she'd love to see it for herself."

"Hmmmm... I guess I could make a copy of the design and have you bring it back with you when you return home." the fashionista decided. "Anything to help out a fellow designer... that just so happens to be exactly like me... My, that does sound weird when you stop to think about it."

"Well, in any case, we've got our costumes for tomorrow, so we'll be ready to enjoy the festival with everybody else." Sunset stated. "And maybe we could even try out those Costume Duels that Celestia mentioned! I know that's what I'll be doing. After all, this'll be the first time I'll be participating in the Spirit Day Festival, and I want to start it off with a bang!"

"Well, Ah certainly appreciate your enthusiasm, Sunset!" said Applejack. "After all, the whole point of Duel Monsters Spirit Day is t' keep your own spirits pumped up and full of energy!"

"Full of energy...?" asked Fluttershy, shaking a little. "Oh my... I don't know if I could have that kind of energy all day..."

"Hey don't worry about it, Flutters." said Rainbow Dash. "You just worry about enjoying the day in your own way. I'm sure you'll find a way t' have fun with everybody."

"Yeah... I suppose you're right." the shy girl said, smiling a little.

"Hey, um... what about me?" asked Spike. "Don't I get a costume, too?"

"Oh, don't you worry, my little Spikey-Wikey." Rarity told him. "I would NEVER leave you out of our fun, so I put together a little something for you, too!"

"Oh boy! Awesome!" cheered the purple puppy. "What am I going as? Blue-Eyes? Red-Eyes? Anything dragon-related?"

A minute later, a mortified Spike had come out of the dressing room with Rarity in his costume: Kuriboh. "You've gotta be kidding me..." he groaned. "I look like a hairball with eyes and claws!"

"Awww, but you look so ADORABLE in it!" Pinkie Pie told him. "You look so cute, I almost can't stand it!"

Sighing, the dragon-turned-puppy then said, "But I wanted to look cool and tough, not cute..."

Just then Rarity picked him up, and said to him, "But that's just the way people like you, Spikey. That's why I picked it out for you." Giving him a little hug, she then told him, "Because you're the most precious, adorable little thing I've even seen."

Forming a smile and blushing a bit from the hug and compliments that Rarity was giving him, he then said, "On second thought... I think I might be okay with this look."

Twilight giggled a bit, knowing how Spike was quite easily swayed by anything that Rarity said to him. "Well, Twilight..." Sunset began to say to her inter-dimensional friend, "we'd better get back to the apartment. We'll need plenty of sleep tonight so that we'll be refreshed and ready to have a good time tomorrow."

"Got it, Sunset." Twilight agreed. "See you tomorrow, Rarity, and thanks again for the costume!"

"No need to thank me, darling." the young fashionista replied. "I was more than happy to lend a hand to all of you."

"I'm gonna get home and show Maud!" said Pinkie Pie. "Oooooooo...! She's gonna flip when she sees how cool this costume looks!"

"I'm gonna go and show my folks too!" Rainbow Dash added. "Though I'm pretty sure they'll want about a hundred pictures of my costume for their scrapbook, it'll be worth it."

"Ah'm gonna head fer home too." said Applejack. "Ah gotta help Granny put together some of the treats they'll be servin' at the festival."

"I'll go home, too..." Fluttershy said. Looking at herself and then at the dressing room entrance, she then added, "...AFTER I take off my costume... I don't want people staring at me on my way back." She then ran off into the dressing rooms to change back into her usual clothes.

"Very well, then I shall see you all for the festival tomorrow." Rarity said. "Have a good night, all of you." The rest of the group waved goodbye before leaving the boutique and heading for their homes for the rest of the day.

Elsewhere, in the suburbs outside of Canterlot City, Mrs. K had just pulled her car into the driveway. After locking up her vehicle, she unlocked the door to her house and walked inside, turning on the living room light as she did so. She had hardly finished putting down her bags and other things onto the sofa before there was a knock at her door. "Hm?" The woman then walked over to her front door and opened it. Seeing who it was, she then knew what was going on. "Oh! You came." she stated. "It is good to see you again after so long. Now that you're here, I have a small favor to ask of you..."

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

The next day soon came, and Canterlot High School was all ready to kick off the Duel Monsters Spirit Day Festival. Balloons and banners decorated the school building, music was playing both outside and inside, and everyone in attendance, either as a helper or as a festival guest were in costume. Food stands were already busy selling food to customers, with the proceeds going into the school's funds. Various activities and party games were held out in the sports fields, and everybody seemed to be having a great time.

Sunset, Twilight, Spike, and all of their friends had made their way to the school, all of them in their costumes. "Wow, look at this place!" said Rainbow Dash, looking around. "The whole school's packed! This is gonna be so awesome!!"

"Yeah! Everybody's having such a good time!" Pinkie chimed in with her usual level of enthusiasm. "I can't wait get in there and party like it's 1982!"

"Um... why that year?" asked Fluttershy.

"...I dunno." answered the silly pink girl. "But something tells me that something really, really good happened that year, so I'm just gonna roll with it!"

Looking around, Twilight suddenly spotted two other familiar faces. "Hey, girls!" she spoke up. "I think I see Celestia and Luna over there, by the school's front entrance."

"Yeah, that's them all right." Sunset confirmed, looking over as well. "And it looks like they've decided to dress up like everyone else did."

Indeed, the two principals were also in costume, like the other attendees. Celestia's costume was made up of large, white and gold body armor, complete with a breast plate and shoulder pads. The armor looked metallic in appearance and was adorned with a few red, blue, and green jewels. The armor continued to just below the waist, where a long, flowing dress skirt continued to just above her ankles. Celestia wore a pair of boots similar in color to the armor, and were just as regal-looking. On her hands were a pair of long, white, lacy gloves; on her back, a pair of large wings that may have come from an angel costume. Next was a small crown-like piece of jewelry on her head with a halo attachment, and the costume finished off with a long staff in her hands that was silvery-white with a large, golden circular adornment at the top with several small, green chimes dangling on the bottom of it.

Luna's costume consisted of a dark grey gothic dress with short sleeves and a dark red bow on the top of it, and a medium-sized black and purple skirt at the bottom. She wore a pair of long black stockings, with a fishnet pattern on the top that seemed to look like thorny vines, along with a pair of small, black shoes. On her head, she wore what appeared to be a white halo intertwined with a small, black top hat that had a droopy purple feather coming out of it. On her back were a pair of small wings, mostly white feathers with a few that were colored black.

Sunset, Twilight, and the others walked over to meet the two principals. Noticing their arrival, the two women turned around to greet them. "Ah, Sunset! Twilight! Glad to see that you and your friends could make it here!" Celestia said to them.

"Good to see you here as well." the red and yellow teen replied. Looking over their costumes, she then asked, "So, I see that you went with Celestia, Lightsworn Angel... and Luna decided to go as Ghostrick Angel of Mischief."

Chuckling a little. Celestia told her, "I've actually had this costume for a while, ever since we started hosting the Spirit Day Festival at CHS. Likewise, Luna has had hers for some time as well."

"Hmmmm..." hummed Rarity as she looked at the giant wings that Celestia had as part of her costume. "These look a bit... bent-up at the bottom... Why is that?"

"Well, let's just say my older sister is a bit... off-balance whilst wearing them." Luna commented. "I TOLD her to remove them before walking up the stairs, but..."

"Alright, that's enough of that for now." Celestia interrupted, not in the mood for her younger sibling to recount her sudden clumsiness from earlier. "Anyway, let us go inside; Luna and I must get ready to deliver our opening announcements, not to mention start the Costume Duels." The girls nodded and followed the two older women into the school building.

Once they got inside, Applejack paid a quick visit to her grandmother, Granny Smith, as well as her brother, Big Macintosh. Granny Smith wasn't dressed up in costume, but Big Mac was: He was dressed up as Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, complete with a long, red vest over top of a black shirt and pants. Applejack talked with them, asking how well things were going with their food stand. After confirming that everything was running smoothly, Granny Smith and Big Mac informed the orange-skinned girl that they would be able to handle things on their own, and that she should stay with her friends and enjoy the day with them.

The group continued on, glancing at all of the other costumes that their peers wore. They saw Octavia and Vinyl, dressed up as Mozarta the Melodious Maestra and Vampire Lady, respectively. Lyra and Bon Bon were dressed as the Gemini Elves (which they went as during every Spirit Day Festival, according to them). Derpy's costume wasn't really much; all it consisted of were a pair of small, white angel wings on her back, and a Kuriboh baseball cap on her head in addition to her normal attire. Still, she seemed happy with it, not really caring that it didn't look much like Winged Kuriboh. Flash Sentry's costume was modeled after one of his favorite cards, Heroic Champion - Excalibur. According to him, he had pre-ordered it off the Internet a long time ago so that he could have it for the festival this year. It cost a lot, due to it being imported from outside of the country, but he said that it was something that he had always wanted ever since he saw it, and was pleased with it nonetheless.

It was now after 12:00 noon, and Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna were ready to officially start the festival. Walking up to a podium that was set up in front of her and testing the microphone, the armor-wearing woman spoke into it, saying, "Attention please, attention!" Once everyone had stopped talking and focused on her, Celestia continued, telling them, "Welcome everyone, to our annual Duel Monsters Spirit Day Festival! I know that everyone here is excited to have fun in their costumes, just as my sister and I are. And I am ALSO glad to see that everyone used some common sense this time around. After all, we do not want to have a repeat of what happened last year..." That last comment made Pinkie Pie blush a little out of embarrassment. "Now then," the Principal continued, "let's officially begin the festivities with the first - of what I hope will be many, Spirit Day Costume Duel!" The guests in attendance cheered loudly in response.

Luna then walked up the mic and spoke into it, saying, "Now, who will be our first volunteer for this festival's first Costume Duel?"

"Over here!" shouted Sunset Shimmer. "I'd like to Duel first!"

"Ah, Ms. Shimmer. I thought you would say that." the dark-blue woman commented. "Very well, then. You may be our first Duelist for this Duel. Why don't you come on up here and join us?" The red and yellow teen nodded and quickly walked up to the podium. The other students and guests commented on how well Sunset's costume looked after getting a good look at it.

"Sunset sure seems really psyched up to Duel..." Rainbow Dash commented. "Even more than usual."

"Well, she is." Twilight told her cyan-skinned friend. "She told me last night that she wanted to be the first one to Duel during the festival. She wanted to be able to participate in a Duel that she would actually be able to enjoy playing."

"But... doesn't she ALWAYS enjoy dueling as much as we do?" asked Fluttershy. "What did she mean by that?"

"...Well, I asked her that too," the young Princess told her, "and she answered me by saying that, since this whole business with the Numbers cards happened, she hasn't been able to enjoy her matches as much as she would have wanted to. Up to this point, she had to focus on winning her Duels so that she wouldn't lose her Numbers..."

"Oh... I see..." Rarity spoke up, realizing what she meant. "Because Sunset was focused so much on her Number collecting, she hasn't been able to have very many Duels where she could play simply for the fun of it."

"Wow... I didn't realize that she felt that way." Pinkie Pie commented, feeling sorry for Sunset after hearing that.

"Yeah, if I had known all that, I would've played a game with her a long while back." Applejack chimed in. Looking up at the podium where Sunset and the two principals were, she then added, "Well, let's hope she can have a fun Duel today; one that'll make her happier then a turkey bein' pardoned on Thanksgivin'!"

Stepping towards the microphone, Celestia then asked the other guests, "Now, which one of you would like to be Ms. Shimmer's opponent for our first Costume Duel?"

The moment she finished asking that question, the rest of the students and guests nearly fell silent, aside from some muttering. "Aw geez..." said a boy with light blue skin and curly, dark-blue hair, who was dressed up as Raiza the Storm Monarch. "I-I dunno if I wanna be HER opponent... I've had three Duels with her and she's beaten me every time!"

"Eh, consider yourself lucky, Curly Winds." said a boy next to him who had amber-colored skin and braided green hair. His costume was of Deepsea Warrior (with the exception of the helmet). "I dueled her five times and never won." Many of the other students had similar losing streaks to Sunset, and as a result, seemed unwilling to be her opponent for this Duel. As all this was going on, Mrs. K stood off to the side of the crowd, watching and listening to everything that was going on.

Sunset started to frown a little, realizing that no one was offering to Duel her because of strong she was. "Hmmm... this is most troubling..." Luna began to say. "Isn't there anyone out there willing to be her opponent?"

"Um, excuse me?" said a girl's voice. "I'd like to volunteer to Duel."

The sudden request took everyone by surprise. Everyone in the crowd looked around, trying to figure out who it was that was brave enough (or crazy enough, depending on who you asked) to want to battle against the school's strongest Duelist.

"Excuse me?" asked Celestia. "I believe I heard someone wishing to be Ms. Shimmer's opponent for our Costume Duel, am I right? If I am, could I ask that person to join us up here?"

"Of course! I'm on my way right now!" the mystery girl responded. At that moment, a lone figure made their way through the large crowd, heading up to the podium where Sunset and the Principals were. Once she got there, everyone could finally see who this mystery guest was: It was a young teenager that looked almost exactly like none other than the Dark Magician Girl. Her outfit and physical appearance were the spitting image of the popular monster. She even had her signature magical staff, which was carried in a sheath strapped onto her back. The only exception was the brooch on the chest area of her costume: Instead of there being a six-pointed star, there was a golden eye-shaped mark.

Needless to say, everyone was in awe of her appearance. "Woah... now that's some costume...!" noted Flash Sentry. "She looks like she could pass as the real thing!"

"Yeah, I was thinkin' that too..." Vinyl spoke up, impressed by the costume as well.

"I must ask her how she crafted such a piece so well..." said Octavia. "It's one of the most impressive outfits I've seen so far today!"

Twilight and her other friends were equally in awe of the mystery girl's costume. "That outfit is absoLUTEly remarkable!!" said Rarity. "The accuracy and attention to detail is beyond compare!!"

"Yeah!!" Pinkie chimed in. "She looks just like the Dark Magician Girl! It's like she just popped out of the card!!"

"But... who is she?" asked Applejack. "I don't recall her goin' to our school..."

"Yeah, if there was someone that looked like Dark Magician Girl walkin' around here, we'd have noticed her by now..." noted Rainbow Dash.

"Well, there are people here from all over the city coming here for the festival..." Fluttershy pointed out. "But I'm sorry to say that I've never seen anyone like her in town before..."

Twilight hummed a bit in her mind, as if she was in deep thought... because she was. (There's something about that girl...) she pondered to herself. (I can't put my hoof... er, finger on it, but she doesn't seem just like any other person here...)

(I feel the same way.) Utopia spoke to her in her thoughts. (There is definitely something unique about this girl... and something familiar about her, too... But what they are, I cannot recall. Perhaps if we were to observe her some more, we may learn more about her.) Twilight nodded to say that she agreed.

Impressed by her outfit, Celestia said to the young girl, "I must say, I certainly like your costume. It's one of the best Dark Magician Girls I've ever seen during the Spirit Day! How did you obtain it?"

"Well... let's just say that I've had it for a LONG time." the mystery girl answered.

"So, you wish to take on Sunset for our festival's first Costume Duel, do you?" asked Luna. "Even though Ms. Shimmer here is our school's best Duelist?"

"Actually, I want to battle her BECAUSE of what I've heard about her!" the girl told her. "When I heard about the Spirit Day Festival and the Costume Duels that were going on here, I wasted no time in coming here, hoping to Duel her!"

"You... came all the way out here just to Duel me?" asked Sunset, surprised and flattered by what she had said. Smiling, she then added, "Well, at least this means I'll get an opponent after all! But, if we're going to Duel, I should at least know your name."

"Um... m-my name??" asked the mystery guest.

"Why, yes. My sister and I would like to know who our little magician is." Celestia said with a smile. "So, please: Tell us your name."

The girl began to sweat a little, as if she wasn't expecting to give out her name. However, she calmed down a bit and managed to say, "It's... it's Mana. My name is Mana! That's my name!"

"Mana...?" asked Sunset. "That's a... very unusual name." Gasping a little, she quickly added, "Not to offend, of course! It's just a name that I've never heard of before. I think it's suits you perfectly!"

Giggling a little, the girl - named Mana, told the red and yellow teen, "Don't worry, I know what you meant by that. The thing is, I'm not from around here; I come from somewhere very far away, but I traveled out to Canterlot after hearing about how strong the Duelists here were. And that's when I heard about the Festival, and figured that you would be here."

"Wow... you really DO seem like you want to take me on in a Duel." Sunset commented, a bit impressed with how far this girl went just have a chance to play a match with her. Putting on a look of fierce determination, she then told her, "In that case, I accept your challenge, Mana!"

"Alright!" Mana said with a giggle. "I can't wait to start!"

"Then we shall not wait." Luna stated. "Sunset, Mana... Your Duel shall take place in the gymnasium. And anyone who wishes to watch the game shall report there as well." Of course, everyone wanted to watch a Duel involving the school's best Duelist, and the girl dressed as Dark Magician Girl, so the whole crowd followed the principals and the competitors to the school gym.

With the bleachers tightly packed with students and guests, the first of the Costume Duels was ready to begin. Naturally, Twilight and her friends sat together, and were soon joined by Flash, Vinyl, and Octavia. "Woah, everyone looks so excited to watch this..." Spike commented.

"Well, what did ya expect?" asked Applejack. "Sunset's dueling someone dressed as Dark Magician Girl, not t' mention this is the Duel that kicks off the entire festival. There's definitely a lotta hype for this match!"

"I just hope this Duel will be one that Sunset will be able to enjoy." Twilight said. "I can't sense any Numbers on that Mana person, so it's definitely not going to be one of those Duels... And you said earlier that Ante Duels where you bet cards on the outcome are forbidden here at the school..."

"With those facts, it seems that this Duel won't have any sort of risks involved." Rarity stated. "Yet... I can't shake this funny feeling that there's something about this match that seems... a bit out of the ordinary."

"Aw who cares?" asked Rainbow Dash. "Either way, this is gonna be awesome!"

Readying their D-Pads and Duel Gazers, Sunset and Mana were ready to begin their Duel with each other. Celestia and Luna volunteered to be the judges. "Alright! We are soon ready to begin our first Duel Monsters Spirit Day Costume Duel!" announced Celestia. "Both Duelists cut and shuffle each other's Decks before we begin."

Sunset and Mana approached the center of the gym and handed their Decks to each other. As they shuffled their cards, the red and yellow girl said to her opponent, "Good luck out there, Mana."

"You too, Sunset. I hope we can both enjoy our Duel here!" Mana said to her. After they were done shuffling, they handed their Decks back to each other and walked over to opposite sides of the room.

"Now that the formalities are out of the way," Luna said, raising her hand into the air, "let us begin this Duel at once!"

"Let's Duel!" shouted both Sunset and Mana (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000) (Mana: LP 4,000).

Mrs. K, watching from the gymnasium's entrance, mentally said to the two Duelists, (Good luck to both of you... I wish for a great Duel between the two of you.)

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

With their Duel Gazers equipped and activated, the festival guests that made up the audience were psyched to see the first Spirit Day Costume Duel begin. "So, Mana..." Sunset began to ask, "who should go first?"

"Hmmmmm..." hummed the girl in D.M.G. clothing. "To be honest, I can't decide..." Smiling, she then suggested, "I know! We'll decide with one of my favorites: Rock-Paper-Scissors!"

"Rock-Paper-Scissors?" asked the red and yellow girl. Nodding, she agreed with the request. "Alright, let's go!" After that, the two of them began shaking their hands a few times, as was the formality with this little game. The two then revealed their choices: Sunset chose Rock, and Mana chose Paper.

"Paper beats Rock, so I win." Mana stated. "But... I think I'll let you go first, Sunset." Her opponent agreed as the two of them drew their opening hands.

"Ah wonder what kinda Deck that girl's gonna use..." wondered Applejack.

"Well, you girls said that, during the festival, if you dressed up like a Monster Card in your Deck, you would be very lucky today." Twilight pointed out. "So maybe this Mana person is using the card she dressed up as."

"I doubt it..." Rarity disagreed. "The Dark Magician Girl card is not an easy card to come by. It is quite pricey, and even then, most collectors would never use it in a Duel. In fact, Yugi Muto was the only known Duelist to ever run it in his Deck."

Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie weren't paying attention to their conversation; they were playing Rock-Paper-Scissors as well. Rainbow chose Paper, but the sign that Pinkie had selected wasn't any one of the three: Her hand was positioned to look like the head and mouth of some sort of creature. "Uh... Pinkie?" asked the rainbow-haired teen. "...What's THAT supposed to be?"

"What does it look like, Dashie?" Pinkie asked her. "I chose Lizard! What, you don't play that version of the game?"

"Um, excuse me, I hate to interrupt..." Fluttershy began to tell them, "but Sunset and the other girl are starting their Duel right now..." After hearing that, Dash and Pinkie stopped their little game to watch their friend play hers.

"Alright, let's see here..." Sunset said to herself, working on her strategy. (This Duel might not have any strings attached, but that doesn't mean I won't play at my best!) Taking a card from her hand, she then declared, "I'll start off with one of my favorites: the Field Spell Chronomaly City Babylon!" Once activated, the field changed to that of a giant, floating stadium; as a nice touch, the bleachers that the other guests were sitting on were made to look like the seating area shown on the card's artwork. "And now that there's a Field Spell active," Sunset continued, "I can Special Summon Chronomaly Tula Guardian in Attack Mode!" In an instant, her towering blue rock monster rose up from the ground and onto the field (Chronomaly Tula Guardian: Level 5 / ATK 1800 / DEF 900).

"A Level 5 monster right off the bat..." noted Applejack. "Sunset's goin' for a big move right away...!"

"Next, since I have a Chronomaly monster on my field, I can now play my Palenque Sarcophagus Spell Card!" the red and yellow girl stated. "Now I draw two more cards from my Deck." After getting her new cards, she then added, "Next, I Special Summon Chronomaly Moai from my hand in Defense Mode since I have a face-up Chronomaly monster in play." Sunset then placed her giant head creature onto the field to support her Tula Guardian (Chronomaly Moai: Level 5 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1600).

"Two Level 5 monsters?" asked Twilight.

"Is she goin' for an Xyz Summon?" asked Spike, watching from the Princess of Friendship's backpack.

"She couldn't be..." Rarity said, shaking her head no. "Number 33 is the only monster she could Summon using those two cards, and she doesn't use her Number cards against people that don't have one of their own..."

Mana, curious, asked her opponent, "Looks like you were able to get two same-Level monsters onto the field... Are you gonna Xyz Summon?"

"Actually, no." Sunset answered. "I have a better idea in mind." Taking a card from her hand, she then announced, "Now I Normal Summon Supay in Attack Mode!" For her one Normal Summon this turn, she played one of her Tuner Monsters; the one that looked like a wooden mask (Supay: Level 1 / ATK 300 / DEF 100). "And next, I'll tune Supay, Level 1... to the Level 5 Moai!" Sunset then declared. Her mask monster then transformed itself into a small light that shot into the air and returned as a green ring that surrounded her Easter Island head monster (Level 1 + Level 5 = Level 6).

"Dragon deity of the Moon, calm the chaos!" Sunset chanted, holding her left arm up in the air. "Give rest to the weary with your soothing night breeze! Synchro Summon! Show yourself! Level 6! Moon Dragon Quilla!" And with the chant complete, Moai transformed into five smaller lights, which merged together with the green ring and morphed into her blue, four-headed Dragon Synchro Monster (Moon Dragon Quilla: Level 6 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2000).

"Oh, I see... A Synchro Summon." Mana observed. "And you even have one other monster that can battle alongside it. Nice move."

"Thanks, but I'm only just getting warmed up, Mana." Sunset told her opponent. "I'll end my turn with one card face-down."

"Yay! That means it's my turn!" Mana exclaimed, drawing a card from her Deck.

"Now we'll get to see what kinda Deck she's using..." Rainbow Dash stated. "I wonder what it could be...?" The others said nothing, waiting to see the answer for themselves.

Looking over her hand and giving out a warm smile, she then began her turn. "First... I'll discard a card from my hand and Special Summon this monster!" Placing the card on her D-Pad, she then cheered, "Now it's time to have some fun!! I Summon... Apprentice Illusion Magician!!"

The monster that appeared on her field in Attack Position was a young human girl with tanned skin and pale-blond hair. her outfit had some similarities to Mana's, but was mostly pink and purple, as well as having an overall different design as far as the finer details. In her right hand was a short magician's staff with a ring-like adornment on the top and an orange-colored jewel in the center of that ring (Apprentice Illusion Magician: Level 6 / ATK 2000 / DEF 1700).

The audience gasped in shock when Mana played her card. "Th-that's impossible!!" shrieked Lyra. "How on Earth did she get THAT rare card?!?"

"D-don't ask me, Lyra!" Bon Bon told her friend. "I don't have a clue!"

"What's going on??" asked Twilight. "Why is everypo-... er, everyBODY so shocked by her move?"

"It's that card she played...!" Fluttershy informed her friend. "Apprentice Illusion Magician is one of the rarest cards out there!"

"Not to mention one of the most expensive, as well!" Rarity chimed in. "Back when it was first released, I'd heard rumors that just one copy of that card sold for as much as three hundred dollars!"

"Th-THREE HUNDRED?!?" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "That's insane!!!"

"Yeah, if I was gonna spend three hundred dollars on a card, it had better do all of my chores and homework for me every day!" Pinkie Pie mentioned. "And I can safely say that a card cannot do any of that...! Believe me, I tried." Taking a card from her Deck she narrowed her eyes at it and added, "You'd think a card called 'Mathematician' would be more than willing to help me with my schoolwork..."

Sunset was just as shocked at seeing the ultra-rare monster card on Mana's field. (Okay... I knew I had to be ready for anything this girl could throw at me... But that card was the LAST thing I ever expected to see! I have to admit, I'm interested to see where this Duel is going...)

"Now I activate the effect of my Apprentice Illusion Magician!" Mana began to explain. "When she's Normal OR Special Summoned, I'm allowed to take a specific monster from out of my Deck!" After pulling out her card, she showed it to Sunset and asked her, "I'll bet THIS card looks pretty familiar, doesn't it?"

"No way...!" gasped the red and yellow teen. "The Dark Magician!"

"Amazing...!" said Flash Sentry, gasping as well. "Is it possible that she's using a Dark Magician Deck?"

"Well, that seems to be the obvious answer..." Rarity stated. "But it seems just... too unlikely, despite seeing it for myself!"

"Why is that?" asked Twilight.

"Because they're so expensive to build, that's why." said a familiar voice nearby them. The group glanced over and saw their friend from Griffonstone High School, Gilda. Like the other party guests, she was dressed up too. Her costume was modeled after one of her monsters: Raidraptor - Sharp Lanius.

"Huh? When did you get here, Gilda?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"'Bout a minute ago." the honorable roughneck replied. "I would've been here sooner, but this costume ain't exactly easy to get into." Continuing her answer to Twilight's question, she then told them, "Anyway, as I was sayin'... Dark Magician Decks are so absurdly expensive to make, that no Duelist other than Yugi ever used one. I don't know where this chick got her cards from, but there's no way that I'd miss the opportunity to see them in action. Heck, I'll probably wanna take her on after Sunset's done with her."

"I guess that'd be the opportunity of a lifetime, to actually be able t' battle the legendary Dark Magician in a real Duel..." stated Applejack, thinking about doing the same thing herself.

Back at the Duel, Mana was ready to surprise the crowds some more with another rare card. "Now I'll activate the Spell Card Dark Magical Circle!"

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

Dark Magical Circle
(Continuous Spell Card)

When this card is activated: Look at the top 3 cards of your Deck, then you can reveal 1 "Dark Magician" or 1 Spell/Trap that specifically lists the card "Dark Magician" in its text, among them, and add it to your hand, also place the remaining cards on top of your Deck in any order. If "Dark Magician" is Normal or Special Summoned to your field (except during the Damage Step): You can target 1 card your opponent controls; banish it. You can only use each effect of "Dark Magical Circle" once per turn.

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

"Now with my Spell Card's activation, I'll look at the top three cards of my Deck and see if I can add any of them to my hand!" Mana stated, pulling the top cards off of her Deck and looking at them. Giggling a little, she then said, "And lucky me! I CAN add one of them! I'll choose my Illusion Magic!" She then placed the card in her hand and put the other two back on top of her Deck. "Now that that's done, it's time for the Battle Phase!" she shouted. "Apprentice Illusion Magician! Attack her Tula Guardian!" The tan-skinned magician charged up her staff and shot a stream of purple flame-like energy. "Go! Dark Incineration Attack!!"

The magical flames engulfed Sunset's monster, destroying it and causing some damage to its owner (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000 - 200 = 3,800). "Nice move, Mana... but I'm not out of this just yet! I activate my Stonehenge Methods Trap Card, in order to Summon Chronomaly Golden Jet from my Deck in Defense Mode!" In an instant, her shiny, gold plane-like monster appeared literally from out of nowhere, landing in front of its owner (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 / ATK 1300 / DEF 1400).

"So you were prepared for a counterattack, I see." Mana stated. "That's the reason you kept one of your Chronomaly monsters on the field..." Thinking to herself, she then said in her mind, (I was told to be ready for anything from you, so I guess she wasn't kidding around with me when she said that.)

"So, any more moves before I start my turn?" asked Sunset.

"I think I have something that I can still do..." Mana replied. "I'll play the Illusion Magic Spell Card that I got from Dark Magical Circle. By releasing my Spellcaster monster, I can add up to two more copies of Dark Magician from my Deck!" She then sent her Apprentice Illusion Magician to the Graveyard and took two more Dark Magicians out of her Deck.

"I had a feeling that you had a full playset of those magicians in there..." noted Sunset Shimmer. (Still, something seems off...) she then thought. (Why did she get rid of her only monster just to do that?)

"I'll end my turn with one face-down card." Mana stated, placing a card into her Duel Pad. "It's your turn!"

"Alright then!" Sunset shouted. "I draw!"

"And now that you've started your Standby Phase, I can play my Trap Card!" the magician look-a-like announced.

"You're... activating it now?!" asked the red and yellow teen, having been caught off-guard.

"I sure am!" Mana confirmed. "I activate Eternal Soul!!" Her only card on the field then flipped face-up, revealing itself to the crowd.

"Now that's a new one..." noted Gilda.

"I've never heard of that card..." said Fluttershy.

"For those of you who don't know what this does, I'd be happy to explain it for you!" Mana began to say. "Once per turn, I can activate one of two effects! And this turn, I choose to play my card's first effect, and Special Summon a Dark Magician straight from my hand!"

"You're kidding!!" exclaimed Sunset in shock. "You're bringing him out right now?!

"That's what the card says I can do!" Mana confirmed. Taking one of her cards and placing it onto a Monster Zone, she then chanted, "Now come forth, greatest of the Spellcasters! The ultimate wizard in attack and defense!! The all-powerful Dark Magician!!!"

At that moment, a large, golden circle - similar to the one on her Dark Magical Circle card, appeared in front of the girl in the D.M.G. costume. After that, a column of shadowy energy shot out of it, and soon, that energy shaped itself into a human-like shape. Once the Summoning was complete, everyone stared in awe at a blue-skinned adult man with golden yellow hair, wearing a hat and outfit that was colored blue-violet, with red rims in most areas. His staff was similarly-colored to his costume, topped off with a green orb at the end of it (Dark Magician: Level 7 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2100).

"No way... she really did it..." said Pinkie, amazed by what had just taken place.

"She played the Dark Magician..." Flash Sentry added. "She just Summoned one of the most famous Monster Cards in all of Duel Monsters...!"

"It's... incredible..." Twilight chimed in. "He looks so powerful... even when he's just standing there...!" Taking out a notebook, she began writing some notes about what she and the others had just witnessed. "Hearing about the Dark Magician was one thing but seeing it is another! I absolutely MUST know everything about it!"

"Yeesh, Twilight... do you have to take notes on everything?" asked Spike. He then said to himself, "Actually, I knida already know the answer to that..."

Sunset was quite amazed at how her opponent had managed to Summon the famous Dark Magician so easily. (There's no doubt about it...) she said to herself, (this Mana girl isn't just some random person; after all, she came all the way out here just to Duel with me... But why? In any case, I plan on winning this no matter how many rare cards she has!)

"Now that I've Summoned my Dark Magician," Mana said, continuing her play, "that's all I need in order to activate the other effect of my Dark Magical Circle! Now I can banish any card on your field! So, of course, I'll choose your Moon Dragon!"

"Aw no!!" the red and yellow girl exclaimed, watching helplessly as her Synchro Monster vanished from the field before it could get into any action. "Rrrrgh... well, so much for my Synchro Monster. I'd better think of something this turn, or this Duel will be over for me...!" Taking a card from her hand, she then shouted, "I play my Pot of Desires! I banish the top ten cards of my Deck face-down, and then draw two more!" After doing that, she managed to pull both a Spell Card and a Trap Card. Taking note of the Trap Card that she managed to get, she then decided to play the Spell Card right away. "Now I activate another copy of Palenque Sarcophagus! Since I've got Golden Jet out still, I can draw two more cards from my Deck!"

"What do you think Sunset is hoping to draw?" Twilight asked her friends.

"Don't ask me, Sugarcube." Applejack responded. "She could be goin' fer almost anythin'."

"Let's just hope it's something that can put her back in the lead..." Fluttershy said.

After drawing her two new cards, Sunset put them away in her hand and placed a different one onto the field. "Now I Normal Summon my Nebra Disk in Attack Mode!" she declared (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1500). "Which means that I can use its effect to search my Deck and add another Chronomaly card to my hand!" She then looked through the available choices that appeared on her Duel Pad and let out a small sigh. (Good... Pot of Desires didn't banish the cards I needed most... That's a relief... Now to make my choice.) Facing her opponent, Sunset told her, "I'll choose to add Chronomaly Crystal Skull to my hand!"

"And.. what do you plan on doing with it?" asked Mana, curious.

"Simple: By discarding my Crystal Skull while I have a Chronomaly monster on the field, I can add yet another one to my hand from my Deck." the red and yellow-haired teen explained. "And I think I'll take Chronomaly Crystal Bones." After doing so, Sunset continued her turn, saying, "Now I'll use Golden Jet's effect, which raises the Levels of all my Chronomaly monsters by one! Which means that both it and Nebra Disk are Level 5 now!" (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 + 1 = 5) (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: Level 4 + 1 = 5)

"Now you have two Level 5 monster again, just like the last turn..." noted the other girl. "Are you going to try an Xyz Summon this time?"

"Nope... at least not before I make one more play, that is." answered Sunset. "Remember my Field Spell? I didn't play it simply so that I could Special Summon Tula Guardian. I also had it ready to use its own effect when I needed it!" Taking out a Monster Card from her Graveyard, she continued to tell her opponent, "Now by banishing a Chronomaly monster from my Graveyard, Chronomaly City Babylon lets me Special Summon a different one that's equal in Level!"

"Does this mean-?" Mana began to ask.

"You've got it!" Sunset interrupted. "I'll banish Moai from the Graveyard, and bring back my Tula Guardian!" At that moment, a dark-purple portal appeared in front of the red and yellow girl. Out of it came her giant blue golem, Summoned in Attack Mode.

"Three Level Fives?!" exclaimed Rarity. "That must mean she's Summoning her best Xyz Monster!!"

"That's correct!" Sunset confirmed. "I overlay Tula Guardian, Golden Jet, and Nebra Disk - all Level 5 monsters, and build the Overlay Network!!" And with that announcement, her three monsters transformed into balls of light: Two yellow and one orange. They flew into a red vortex that opened in the center of the field. "Activate now, mighty machine! Grind your gears! Move the earth! Bury my opponent and leave no stone unturned!" she chanted. "Xyz Summon!! Rank 5! Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry!!"

To the astonishment of everyone watching, Sunset Shimmer played her most powerful monster. The gigantic machine revved its mighty engines, and was ready for battle (Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry: Rank 5 / ATK 3200 / DEF 2000).

"Amazing!! What a comeback!!" cheered Flash Sentry.

"You said it!" Rainbow Dash chimed in. "I'll bet that Mana chick wasn't expecting THAT move!"

The other female Duelist was quite shocked by how easily Sunset managed to Summon such a behemoth. But she managed to form a smile, clapped and said, "Oh, wow! What a great move!! This Duel just keeps getting better and better!"

"Um... not quite the reaction I was expecting, but I'm glad to know that you liked my last move." Sunset responded. "Of course, I'm only getting started; I now remove an Overlay Unit from Digvorzhak to use his special ability! I send the top three cards of your Deck to the Graveyard. And if there are any monsters, I can destroy a card on your field for each of them!"

Mana revealed her top three cards to everyone attending the Duel. "My cards are Skilled Dark Magician, Secret Village of the Spellcasters, and Dark Eruption."

"So one monster, then..." the red and yellow girl observed. "That's enough to take out one of your cards!"

"That won't help you very much, I'm afraid." Mana explained. "Even if you destroy my Dark Magician with your Xyz Monster, I can use Eternal Soul to bring him back next turn! And when I do, I can use my Magical Circle to banish one of your cards!"

"...I know. Which is why your magician isn't what I planned to destroy." Sunset told her. "Since your Trap Card can revive him endlessly, I'll go right ahead and put a stop to that! I destroy Eternal Soul!!" And with that, the card was shattered into pieces.

Mana gasped as something else happened. Small bolts of black energy began to cover the Dark Magician. Then, as quickly as he came, he was gone. "Oh no!!"

"Uh... what just happened?" asked Rainbow Dash. "I thought Sunset could only destroy one card with Digvorzhak... So why did Dark Magician blow up too?"

"I think I remember lookin' it up before:" Gilda commented. "When Eternal Soul is taken off the field, it takes out all of its owner's monsters along with it."

"Well, that's good to know." Twilight noted. "Sunset managed to remove two cards for the price of one. Now she has a chance to attack unimpeded!"

Humming a bit, the D.M.G. cosplayer told Sunset, "That was a very good move, Ms. Shimmer. You targeted my Trap Card to take out my monster at the same time. Very impressive."

Sweating and smiling a little awkwardly, the red and yellow girl thought to herself, (Actually, I didn't know that would happen. I was just trying to keep her from bringing Dark Magician back... Oh well, I won't complain about it.) Pointing straight ahead, she then shouted, "Digvorzhak! Attack her directly!! Seismic Disturbance!!" Her Xyz Monster then created a powerful tremor that caused several rocks to rise up from the ground, which struck Mana hard.

"Urrrrgh!!" the D.M.G. look-a-like grunted, bringing her arms over her face to shield herself from the impact (Mana: LP 4,000 - 3,200 = 800).

"I've taken over three-quarters of your total Life Points just now!" Sunset pointed out. "Unless you do something next turn, this Duel will be over!"

Giggling a little, Mana told her rival, "Don't go worrying about me, Sunset! I don't plan to make it any easier for you! From this point on, you're gonna see what I can really do!"

Smiling a bit, Sunset was happy to see that her opponent was still excited about the Duel. "That's what I like to hear!" she told her. "Give me everything you've got, and make this Duel one we can both be proud of!" Mana nodded to say that would do just that.

"Y'know, Ah'm beginnin' to really get into this Duel, too." Applejack told the others.

"Yeah, I know what you mean." Flash commented. "Those two are really going at it, and it seems like they're psyching each other up, to boot! I've got a feeling this is only gonna get even better from here on out!"

"Oh... my." Fluttershy meekly chirped, trembling a bit about the thought of the Duel becoming more intense. Even so, she felt the same way as her friends did, and was anxious to see what would happen next.

"It's my turn! I draw!!" shouted Mana. After drawing her next card, she wasted no time in putting it onto the field. "I'll set the card I just drew and end things with that!"

This caused the audience to gasp in confusion. "Hey, Tavi... what was up with that?" asked Vinyl. "She didn't play a monster..."

"No she did not..." Octavia stated. "But I have a feeling that she has something planned: Whatever that may be, I cannot say."

"Hmmmm... what's that chick up to now?" asked Gilda. "All she did was set a card... Does she not have any monsters in her hand...? Or...?"

Sunset wasn't sure what Mana was planning, but knew that the Duel had to go on. "It's my turn! I draw!" she shouted, drawing a card.

"And just like before, now that it's your turn, I can play my Trap Card!" announced Mana. "I activate Magician Navigation!"

"What? What does that do?" inquired the red and yellow girl.

"I'll tell you:" explained the girl. "It allows me to Special Summon a Dark Magician from my hand, along with another Level 7 or lower Spellcaster from my Deck!" Placing one of her cards onto the field, Mana shouted, "Come forth, Dark Magician!!" And with that, another blue-skinned magician appeared on her field in Attack Mode.

"You Summoned another one??" asked Sunset.

"That's right." Mana told her. "And not only that, I can also Special Summon a second Spellcaster from my Deck, if you recall. And I'll choose the Level 7 Magician of Dark Illusion!!" The second monster that appeared on her field (this one in Defense Mode) had a similar look to her Dark Magician, but was enveloped in a shadowy mist, like a phantom (Magician of Dark Illusion: Level 7 / ATK 2100 / DEF 2500).

"So what?" inquired Rainbow Dash. "They're not powerful enough to defeat Sunset's monster."

"You forget..." Rarity reminded her. "That girl still has Dark Magical Circle active on the field. Now that she Summoned Dark Magician, she can banish any one of Sunset's cards!"

"That's not good...!" Twilight gasped. "She'll banish her Xyz Monster with that move! And that's her best card! What'll she do without it?!"

"Don't count her out of it just yet, Twilight." Gilda told her. "I know better than anyone else that, if a Duelist plays their cards right, they can turn the tide of the Duel in an instant." The young Princess turned her attention back to the Duel, eager to see if what the kind roughneck said was true...

"Go! Dark Magician!!" Mana shouted. "Use the power of the Dark Magical Circle and banish Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry!!" Sunset could only watch as her opponent's monster used a powerful spell to disintegrate her powerful Xyz Monster. "Looks like this Duel's not quite over yet, is it?" the girl then asked.

"Maybe so, but I don't plan on throwing in the towel just yet." said Sunset with a smirk. "After all, I have a reputation to maintain." Taking a look at her hand, she began working on a strategy. (These cards could help, but unless I get the other cards that I need, I won't be able to stop her from winning this Duel... Alright cards, don't fail me now...) Taking a card from her hand, she shouted, "I Special Summon my Chronomaly Crystal Bones in Defense Mode!" Her shiny skeleton monster then appeared on the field to guard her Life Points from attack (Chronomaly Crystal Bones: Level 3 / ATK 1300 / DEF 400). "Since you're the only one that has a monster on the field, I can Special Summon him, and then use his effect to bring back a Chronomaly monster from my Graveyard!"

"Is that so?" asked Mana with a warm smile.

"Yes it is." the red and yellow girl replied. "So I'll bring back my Crystal Skull in Defense Mode as well!" She then took the card out of her Graveyard and played, causing the large, sparkling skull to appear in front of her (Chronomaly Crystal Skull: Level 3 / ATK 900 / DEF 600).

"Two Level Threes... That's what she uses to Summon her Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut." noted Flash Sentry. "Is she planning to bring it out?"

Sunset then played another card from her hand and declared, "Now I activate my third and final copy of Palenque Sarcophagus!" And after she drew her next two cards, she now had five in her hand. After pondering about it for a while, she then said, "I'll set all five of my cards face-down and end my turn!"

"She... didn't Xyz Summon?" asked Pinkie. "That's not usually like Sunnie to leave herself wide open like that..."

"Yeah, but she DID fill up her entire back row with the rest of the cards in her hand..." Applejack reminded her. "Ah don't think she's as vulnerable as she's makin' herself seem..."

"Well, whatever she has planned," Rainbow Dash chimed in, "it had better work, or she's toast!"

"It will work. I know it will!" Twilight responded, confidant in her inter-dimensional friend.

Mana wasn't sure what Sunset had planned, but her excitement didn't waver one bit. "Wow... face-down cards can be tricky..." she commented. "To be honest, I'm a little scared to see what they'll do..." Giggling some more, she added, "But I'm having such a great time, that I'm WAY more excited than scared right now!"

Sunset couldn't help but smile at the young girl's high spirits. "I have to say, it's great to see a Duelist that knows how to truly have fun when they duel." she told her. "Dueling you right now is making me feel great inside, and it reminds me of why I started playing Duel Monsters in the first place. Back when it was just me and my close friends, playing with each other, we shared a lot of good memories... and it even helped me to forget about some of the saddest points of my life, even just for a moment." Wiping a small tear that formed after she said that, Sunset told her opponent, "Mana, thank you for being my opponent. I really needed a Duel like this to put that spark of enjoyment back into my spirit."

Chuckling warmly, the D.M.G. doppelganger responded, "You're very welcome. I'm glad that you feel that way. I don't care which one of wins this! Either way, this will be a Duel that I can look back on with a smile!"

"Same here." Sunset replied. "Now how about we get on with this game and let the audience enjoy it as much as we are?!"

Nodding, Mana told her opponent, "I was hoping you'd say that!" Both of them had determined looks on their faces, telling the other that they would play their best on this turn. "It's my turn now!" the girl then shouted, drawing a card from her Deck.

"And since you like playing Trap Cards the moment that my turn starts," Sunset began, "it's only fair to give you a taste of your own medicine! I activate Battle Mania!!" One of her cards then flipped face-up.

"Hmmmm... that's odd..." Rarity said, confused by Sunset's move. "Why would she do that?"

"What does that card do?" asked Fluttershy.

"Well," the fashionista explained, "that Trap Card forces all of her opponent's monsters that are currently on the field to switch to Attack Mode. Then, they have to attack Sunset this turn. But why would she willingly allow her opponent to do that...? Doesn't seem to make any sense..."

"I bet we'll see what the deal is in just a few more paragraphs." Pinkie stated.

Mana didn't seem to know why Sunset played her card either, but decided against asking about it. "Well, if that's what you want, then I guess that's up to you. In the meantime, I'll play the Spell Card Bond Between Teacher and Student!"

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

Bond Between Teacher and Student
(Normal Spell Card)

If you control a face-up "Dark Magician": Special Summon 1 "Dark Magician Girl" from your hand, Deck, or GY in face-up Defense Position.

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

"Now, Dark Magician Girl!" Mana shouted. "I Special Summon you from my Graveyard!" And with that move, the famous female Spellcaster appeared from out of a violet portal, taking her place on the field (Dark Magician Girl: Level 6 / ATK 2000 / DEF 1700).

"Woah... If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was seein' double..." Gilda stated.

"But... I thought you said that almost no one plays that card in their Deck, Rarity." Twilight reminded her.

"I did say that..." the violet-haired girl replied. "But after seeing all of the cards that girl has, all of the assumptions that I've made regarding her Deck are thrown completely out the window!"

Giggling, Mana then asked her opponent, "Surprised?"

"At this point, I'm pretty much expecting anything." Sunset responded. "At this rate, I wouldn't be shocked if you had Slifer the Sky Dragon in that Deck somewhere..."

Chuckling a bit at Sunset's little joke, Mana then told her, "Anyway, as I'm sure you may know, Dark Magician Girl receives an extra 300 attack points for every Dark Magician or Magician of Black Chaos in the Graveyard. And since I do have a Dark Magician in my Graveyard, that's enough to give her a small boost!" (Dark Magician Girl: ATK 2000 + 300 = 2300)

"That may be true, but your Spell Card Summoned her in Defense Mode." Sunset pointed out. "So right now, it doesn't matter how many Dark Magicians you have in the Graveyard."

"You're right, Ms. Shimmer. So I'll just bring him right back!" Mana told her. "I activate the effect of Magician of Dark Illusion! Since I played a Spell Card, I can now Summon the Dark Magician in my Graveyard! And you know what that means, right?"

"It means that her Dark Magical Circle thingy'll get t' use its effect again!" Applejack correctly guessed. "And Sunset can't afford t' let that happen now!"

Sunset had the same feeling, so she was ready to take care of that issue ASAP. "I activate my Trap Card! Breakthrough Skill!! This will negate your magician's effect, meaning that Dark Magician WON'T be coming back to the field!"

But Mana wasn't ready to allow that to happen. "I knew you'd try that, Sunset!" she told her. "I banish Magician Navigation to use its second effect! This allows me to negate the effect of any Spell or Trap Card that's currently face-up on your side of the field! And I choose to negate Breakthrough Skill!!"

"Aw no!!" shouted Rainbow Dash as the rest of the audience gave out a collective gasp.

"I don't believe it...!" Flash said. "She actually predicted that Sunset would try and stop her from Summoning back her Dark Magician...?!"

"Sunnie!! Do something!! ANYTHING!!!" screamed Pinkie.

"Sorry, Sunset." Mana said with a chuckle. "Looks like your plan didn't work."

"...I couldn't stop you from Summoning back Dark Magician..." Sunset replied in a quiet tone. But then, she looked ahead at her opponent and said, in a more determined voice, "But I can at least stop you from using that Continuous Spell! I activate a second card!! Mystical Space Typhoon!!"

"Alright!! She's still in this!" cheered Applejack.

"This card lets me destroy one Spell or Trap on the field!" Sunset told her opponent. "And I choose your Dark Magical Circle!" And with that announcement, the Spell Card in question was destroyed and its effect no longer active.

"Oh, my...!" gasped Mana. "So... you had a backup plan to use against MY backup plan??"

"I guess you could say that." the red and yellow teenager answered. "You'll still get your Dark Magician back, but now you can't banish any more of my cards!"

"I see..." Mana replied as her Dark Magician returned to the field (Dark Magician Girl: ATK 2300 - 300 = 2000). "But I still have some moves left to try out on you this turn! I overlay Dark Magician and Magician of Dark Illusion - both Level 7, and create an Overlay Network!!" In an instant, both her monsters transformed into a pair of purple-colored lights before being sucked into a red portal in the center of the field.

(She's Summoning an Xyz Monster...!) thought Sunset.

"Ancient magical energies now combine!" chanted Mana. "Merge the ways of the old with the ways of the new and unleash your almighty power!! Xyz Summon!! Come forth now! Rank 7! Ebon Illusion Magician!!" With the chant complete, the portal shot forth a bright, purple column of light. Then, out of the light came a young human man with tan skin and blond hair. He wore a purple outfit that was similar to the Dark Magician's in many ways. Orbiting him were a pair of purple balls of light as he floated in mid-air (Ebon Illusion Magician: Rank 7 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2100).

"No way... an Xyz Monster that looks like the Dark Magician?" said Rainbow Dash, amazed. "I don't believe it..."

"Believe it, Dashie," Pinkie informed her. "He's right there in front of you...!"

Smiling a little, Sunset then asked her opponent, "So, I see you like using Xyz Monsters, too."

Mana nodded her head yes and replied, asking, "You really didn't think I'd leave THIS card out my Deck, did you?" Taking one of the cards (which was Dark Magician) underneath her Xyz Monster and sending it to the Graveyard (Ebon Illusion Magician: OLU 2 - 1 = 1), she told Sunset, "Now I use Ebon's effect! By removing an Overlay Unit, I can call up a Normal Spellcaster monster to my field! So I Summon my third Dark Magician!!" She then played her last copy of the card onto her field, giving her two Dark Magicians, along with Ebon Illusion Magician and Dark Magician Girl to fight Sunset with (Dark Magician Girl: ATK 2000 + 300 = 2300).

"Three monsters with 2500 attack points...?" Sunset pondered. "Not bad, Mana. I've gotta say; I'm impressed."

"Then you'll love to hear about this, too!" the other girl told her. "While I have Ebon Illusion Magician out, when my Dark Magicians declare an attack, I can immediately banish any of the cards you have on the field once per turn!"

"What?! That can't be!" gasped Sunset.

"So even after she was able to get rid of that Magical Circle thing, she's STILL going to lose a card to her banished pile?!" exclaimed Applejack.

"Oh my... that's not good at all...!" Fluttershy said meekly. "Sunset, be careful...!"

"Time for my Battle Phase!" shouted Mana. "Dark Magician, attack Chronomaly Crystal Bones!!" After her Spellcaster pointed his staff at Sunset's partial-skeleton monster, Mana then added, "And now I'll use Ebon's effect to banish your other monster! Go, wipe out that Crystal Skull!!" Her Xyz Monster then fired a series of magic rays from his staff at the large, shiny skull in front of him. "Looks like a victory for me!" said Mana, forming a V-shape with her fingers.

"This Duel's not over yet!" Sunset informed her rival.

"Wha-what do you mean??"

"Because I still have some cards left in play, that's why!" the red-and-yellow girl answered her as she flipped one face-up. "I play the Trap Card, Solemn Strike! By paying 1,500 of my Life Points (Sunset Shimmer: LP 3,800 - 1,500 = 2300), I can negate your monster's effect and destroy it!!" And just like that, the rays that Mana's monster fired were sent flying backwards by an invisible force, striking him instead. Ebon Illusion Magician was destroyed and Crystal Skull was spared of its wrath.

"That was a close one..." said a relieved Spike. "She almost lost her monster, but she managed to save it just in time.

"I'll bet she set that just in case Mana could still banish any of her monsters." Flash hypothesized. "A good thing too; if she didn't have that ready to go, Sunset would have lost."

Mana smiled a little and giggled, telling her opponent, "I gotta say, you certainly are quite stubborn, aren't you? You just won't let me get rid of ANY of your cards, will you?"

"That's right." Sunset answered. "Dueling for fun or not, I won't go down so easily!"

"Then I'll just have to take out your cards the old-fashioned way!" Mana shouted. "Dark Magician!! Continue your attack and destroy her Crystal Bones!!"

"Not so fast!! I activate my last face-down card! Wonder Xyz!!" she declared, flipping over her final back row card. Mana gasped in shock after seeing it.

"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Rarity, who was as shocked as everyone else was by Sunset's quick response.

"This Trap Card allows me to perform an Xyz Summon right after it resolves... Even if it's your turn!" the red-and-yellow girl explained. "So now I overlay Crystal Bones and Crystal Skull - both Level 3, and create the Overlay Network!!" Her two monsters transformed into a pair of yellow lights that flew into the air. The yellow lights flew into a red Summoning portal in the center of the field. "Ancient armored warrior of another world," she then began to chant. "stand at my side and display your mysterious power!! Xyz Summon!! Emerge from beyond! Rank 3!! Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut!!"

After the chant was finished, a figure leapt out of the portal, standing at Sunset Shimmer's side: It was Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut, the card that she had chosen to dress up as for the Spirit Festival, and now it was ready to bring its master some good luck.

"So that's why she didn't Xyz Summon last turn..." Gilda noted. "She must have figured that her opponent had something planned, and didn't want to risk Summoning her Chrononaut too early."

Mana was a bit frustrated that her move didn't work. But she was also a bit confused. "There's still something I don't get..." she began to ask. "Your new monster's attack points are less than any of my monsters, so why did you Summon it?"

"Because of his special ability, that's why." Sunset answered her. "By removing one Overlay Unit from Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut, I can not only prevent him from being destroyed in battle, but he can then send all of the damage I would've taken back to you!"

Gasping, Mana shouted to her monster, "Dark Magician! Quick, stop your attack!"

"I'm afraid he can't." Sunset continued to explain. "Did you forget about my Battle Mania card? The Trap Card I played when your turn started? Because of it, you HAVE to attack with all of the monsters you have in Attack Mode!" This caused Mana to gasp even louder.

"So THAT was her plan!" said Rainbow Dash. "She was planning to combo that Trap Card with Crystal Chrononaut this whole time!"

"Most impressive!" Rarity said in agreement.

Mana seemed slightly disappointed by the fact that there was no way for her to get out of Sunset's trap. But even so, she still managed to form a smile, telling her opponent, "That's okay... The whole reason I wanted to Duel you was because of how strong you were; I wanted to see your skills for myself by playing a real Duel with you. And now that I've seen your power first-hand, I couldn't be happier! Even if I'm about to lose this Duel, I'll still feel like a winner for getting the chance to Duel you in the first place!"

Feeling happy for her opponent, Sunset told her, "I'm glad to hear that from you. I suppose, when you're Dueling for the fun of it, who wins and who loses doesn't really matter. All that matters is if you can enjoy it to the very end." She then thought to herself, (And that's why I'll do my best to always make enjoying my Duels the most important thing. Thanks, Mana... Thanks for showing me that.)

Nodding and putting on a look of determination, Mana then shouted, "Okay then, if I'm gonna go down, I'll go down fighting!" Pointing forward, she ordered her monster, "Dark Magician, attack her Crystal Chrononaut! Dark Magic Attack!!" With that, her first Spellcaster monster then shot a blast of dark energy from his staff, sending it straight towards Sunset's monster.

"I activate Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut's effect!" the red-and-yellow girl said, removing one of her Xyz Monster's materials. "Reflect the attack right back at her!" The purple-armored monster absorbed one of its yellow orbs (Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut: OLU: 2 -1 = 1), and drew the magic blast into the mirror on its chest. Afterwards, it fired a portion of it back at Mana, causing her damage (Mana: LP: 800 - 400 = 400).

Knowing she had no other choice, the D.M.G. cosplayer yelled out, "I now attack with my second Dark Magician!" And just like before, the other high-Level Spellcaster fired his blast of magic at Sunset's monster, who absorbed it into its mirror.

"Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut can only activate its effect once per turn," noted Flash Sentry, "but once its activated, the effect remains for the rest of the turn."

"Which means this Duel's about to end." Gilda chimed in.

The Xyz Monster then shot the magic blast right back, striking Mana and depleting the rest of her Life Points (Mana: LP: 400 - 400 = 0) (WINNER: Sunset Shimmer). With that last move, the Duel was over.

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

"And that ends our first Costume Duel of the festival!" announced Principal Celestia. "The winner is Sunset!" The audience cheered loudly for her victory. Walking over to Sunset, the pale-pink woman said to her, "Excellent work, Sunset. You achieved quite an impressive victory."

"Thanks, Principal Celestia." the red-and-yellow girl responded with a smile. "To be honest, I probably would've had just as much fun with this Duel even if I didn't win. It's been quite a long time since I was able to have a Duel like that."

"Hmmm... yes, I suppose I can see your point." Celestia replied, understanding why Sunset would feel that way after having to battle against the Numbers.

"In any case, you and our young guest here have certainly helped kick off this Spirit Day Festival with a bang." Luna commented. "I've never seen the students at our school get as excited as they are now."

"Um, glad we could help out." Sunset said. She then looked over at Mana and told her, "It was great meeting you, Mana, and even better to Duel with you."

"Same here." the blonde-haired girl replied. "It took a lot of effort to get over here, but it was worth it!"

"You have to tell me, though:" Sunset began to ask. "Where did you get all those rare cards for your Deck?"

Giggling, Mana told her, "Sorry, can't tell ya! That's my secret~!" Sunset chuckled a bit, deciding not to press her question if she wasn't going to get a response. She giggled a little as well, still happy to have had such a fun Duel with Mana.

Several minutes after her Duel, Sunset rejoined the rest of her friends so that they could enjoy the rest of the Spirit Day Festival. "Well, Sunset darling," Rarity began to tell her, "you played quite an impressive Duel, especially considering what you were up against."

"I know... seeing all those rare cards in action was something else." Sunset told her. "I hope I get to Duel her again someday."

"Well, Gilda said she had dibs on her after you were finished." Rainbow Dash stated. "Fluttershy and me are gonna check it out once they start throwing down. Ain't that right, Flutters?"

"Mhmm." the pink-haired girl replied with a nod. "I'd really like to see how much stronger Gilda's become ever since our match at the Inter-school Duel. I'm both a little excited and worried just thinking about it..."

"Ah'm gonna pay my granny an' big bro a visit an' see how they're doin' at our food stand." Applejack told the others.

"And I'm coming too!" Pinkie Pie chimed in. "It's just not a festival for me until I've had some of Granny Smith's apple fritters fresh out of the oven!"

The farm girl chuckled a bit and told her pink friend, "Don't ya worry none, Pinkie; Ah asked Granny t' save one just fer you." Pinkie giggled a bit and followed Applejack to her family's food stand.

"Well," Twilight began to say to Sunset and Rarity, "looks like it'll be just the three of us for a while."

"Looks like it." the red-and-yellow girl agreed. "So why don't we go and find something fun to do, just like the rest of our friends are?"

"I couldn't agree more, Sunset." Rarity replied with a nod. Looking around, she then asked, "By the way... have either of you seen that Mana girl since the Duel ended? I'd really like to ask her how she got her costume so perfect..."

"I'm sure she's busy doing something else somewhere around here." Sunset figured. "If I had to guess, I'd say she might have a lot of new fans asking for an autograph... or perhaps her phone number."

Twilight chuckled. "That's a good possibility..." she said, agreeing with her inter-dimensional friend.

Unbeknownst to the three of them, the girl, Mana, wasn't signing any autographs or anything else right now. Instead, she was heading away from the festival, still in costume, and walking down the empty halls of the school. She eventually stopped in front of the entrance to a classroom. Unlike the other rooms, the door to this one was unlocked, so she opened the door and flipped on the light switch before walking inside. "You did a great job today, Mana." said a woman's voice from inside the room.

"Thanks." the D.M.G. costumed-girl replied. "It's been a while since I could cut loose and have such a great Duel like that. Thanks for inviting me over here... Kisara."

Indeed, the woman that had spoken to Mana was the teacher Mrs. K - a.k.a. Kisara. Smiling warmly, she told the young girl, "I can imagine that it has been a long time since you had a great Duel. If I recall, the only other time you were able to enjoy a Duel so much was when you battled against that young boy at Duel Academy."

Mana nodded and said, "As a Duel Spirit, I am not always able to come here to this world as often as I'd like. That's why I was so glad to hear from my old friend, asking me to come here to participate in the festival."

"Hmmm. You're very welcome, Mana." Kisara told her. "And now that you have that charm that I gave you, you can come back here should I require your help again."

Upon hearing that, Mana placed her hand on the small brooch that was on the chest area of her costume (which replaced the six-pointed star design that she normally wore). After a short pause, the girl then asked, "Speaking of help, did my Duel with Sunset help you figure out what you needed to know?"

"As a matter of fact, it did." Kisara told her. "As you remember, I asked you to come here and duel Sunset so that I could see her skills for myself. I watched from the gym entrance, and I am pleased to say that I was impressed by what I saw. And I am now convinced that, after seeing the strength of her as well as her friend Twilight... that they are the ones we have been waiting for."

Nodding, Mana replied, saying, "I agree. Sunset's strength... I could feel it the moment I saw her. Her power is very much similar to that of the priestesses of the Order of Astral... The very same ones that Pharaoh Seto and I met over three thousand years ago."

"Yes... the priestesses..." Kisara continued to say. "There is no doubt about it: The souls of Sun'Et and Spakah walk upon this world once more, and they exist within Sunset and Twilight."

"That's not all..." the girl informed the woman. "I could also sense power similar to them within the crowds during my Duel with Sunset. I am sure there are others that carry the souls of the Order of Astral's members."

"I thought as much." Mrs. K said as she took out the seven blank cards from a pocket in her shirt; the blank cards where the picture areas were different solid colors instead of just plain white. "After all, I was already able to locate another individual some time ago that may indeed have such power. I have already given him one of these cards, but it may take some time before he can fully awaken it." Putting the cards away, she then added, "Anyway for now, my duty is make sure that no harm comes to Sunset, Twilight, or anyone else connected to them before I can take action. If anything significant happens concerning them, I shall inform you immediately. Thank you for all of your help so far."

Mana nodded and responded, saying, "Anything for an old friend of the Pharaoh. Just let me know if I need to make an encore appearance." Kisara nodded to say that she would. "Anyway, I'd better go... This girl with brown skin and white hair wanted to Duel me after I was done with Sunset, so I'd better not keep her waiting."

As the girl began to leave, Mrs. K asked her, "By the way, I had never found the time to ask you this, but: How DOES it feel to have your soul merged with your own Ka?"

Stopping for a moment, Mana answered her, saying, "I'll admit, it's pretty surreal... It's like I'm myself, but I'm also not myself. It's pretty wild to think that this is what my master Mahad went through when he merged with his Ka..."

"Hmmm... I see. So you did the same after your passing as a show of respect to your master?" asked Mrs. K.

"I guess you could say that." the girl replied. "Anyway, I'll see you later, after the festival." And with that, Mana left the classroom, leaving Mrs. K / Kisara alone with her thoughts.

-- To Be Contin-

"WAAAAAAIIIIIT!! Hold on!! Don't end the episode just yet!!"

...Uhm... Pinkie? Is that you? How... how are you doing that?

"Not important. I just wanted to make some perfectly clear before you close off the chapter! It's really, really, really, REEEEEAAAALLLY super-important!"

Uh, what exactly did you want to make clear?

"Well, uh... remember that thing I said early in the chapter? It was iiiiiinnnn... uhm... the thirty-eighth paragraph, I believe. I mentioned to Twilight that she shouldn't go to the Spirit Day Festival dressed as Water Omotics?"

Yeah, I did. I wrote that, remember?

"...Oh yeah, duh... of course YOU'D remember!"

I also recall that you didn't want Twilight or anyone else to ask about that... Wait... when you said that, you didn't mean that you... you actually-?

"Yeah, I might as well come clean about it and get it off my chest now... I... Well, I went to the festival last year... and I... I... and I saw someone there dressed up as her and when I say, 'dressed' as her, I'm using the term lightly because... well you know! Anyway, it was really, really super-weird and disturbing and I have no idea why anyone would ever think about doing something like that and it made me freak out and go, 'WHUUUUUUH?!?'..."

...Oh... so you... you SAW someone do that? You mean you didn't-?

"Yeah... the whole thing made me REALLY uncomfortable... But now that I've gotten it out, I feel a WHOLE lot better! Really, thanks for hearing me out, I mean it!"

Uhm... sure. You're welcome, Pinkie...

"...Hm? What's wrong? You sound like you weren't expecting me to say that... Heyyyyy, wait just a cake-flipping second... Did you think that I was the one who did all that stuff I just said?!"

What?! Of course not! I'd never think you would!

"...Yeah, okay. I guess you wouldn't, since you're the one who came up with the gag and wrote it... But what about all of them?! I don't want them thinking that I'd ever do something that crazy! Even I have my limits!"

Who's "them"? You mean the readers? Calm down, Pinkie... I'm pretty sure none of them would EVER think that you'd do something like... that.

"...Yeah, I guess you're right."

Soooooo... are we done here? Can I end the episode now?

"Don't ask me. You're the one writing this. In fact, you're still writing my dialogue as I speak... literally! I mean, you have the power to make me or anyone else say something or NOT say anything!! At any given moment, you could just make me stop talking anytime you wa

-- TO BE CONTINUED...

"...See? Just like that."

PreviousChapters Next