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

My Little Pony: Friendship is Numerous - Monty Eggman



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

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RANK 27: Spanning the Generation Gap:

Author's Note:

A little side story involving Gilda that I had planned for a while after working on the series. I hope you all enjoy it.

Also, has anyone picked up the new Shadows in Valhalla set yet? If not, it's worth checking out, as there are a lot of good new cards and reprints in it (like Super Rare Hi-Speedroid Chanbara!) I've found a few of them so far, and I can say it's among one of the best side sets in a while (though Dark Saviors was also a great set as well).

RANK 27: Spanning the Generation Gap:
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THE STORY SO FAR...:
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In Canterlot High School, every student is wild over the world's most popular trading card game: Duel Monsters! Every day, players of the card game, known as "Duelists", go head-to-head to see who among them is the best around. Among the Duelists in attendance at CHS, one of the best is a young teenager named Sunset Shimmer, a girl from another world...

Several months ago, Canterlot High School had kicked off the Inter-School Duel against the rival high school known as Griffonstone. Each side picked a star Duelist to represent them, and the two competitors would face off against each other for the coveted trophy. This year, Canterlot had selected the normally-timid, yet very exceptional player Fluttershy as their representative, while Griffonstone chose Gilda, a notorious roughneck. Despite the overwhelming odds against her, Fluttershy had managed to defeat Gilda's Raidraptor Deck, as well as her powerful dragon monster: Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon.

It was only after her defeat that Gilda had realized where she went wrong: She underestimated Fluttershy's resolve, and as a result, Gilda did not play to the best of her ability. She also saw that Fluttershy had lots of support from her friends; something that Gilda did not have. Since then, she has re-evaluated not only her dueling, but her life as a whole. She hopes to one day better herself so that she can face Fluttershy without holding back.

And during this week of Spring Break, she may get one step closer to that dream...

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(The following events take place around the same time as the events of "RANK 25: Head Games, Part 1")
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Located a bit further away from the massive Canterlot City stood Griffonstone High School. Built out of red brick, nestled around large cypress trees, it was quite a beautiful sight, especially with the tall mountains that could be seen from behind the building itself. This was one of the schools that were rivals to Canterlot High School, as they had competed against each other in the past. In particular, the schools held an annual Duel Monsters competition known as the Inter-School Duel, with a brilliant trophy awarded to the winning Duelist's school. This year, Canterlot had chosen Fluttershy to participate, while Griffonstone went with their best Duelist, Gilda, who had a notably bad attitude going into the Duel, and didn't consider Canterlot's representative any threat.

But as the Duel made its way into the homestretch, Gilda ended up losing as a result of her overconfidence and bad mannerisms. But instead of becoming bitter of her defeat, Gilda had learned from it, realizing that her attitude and roughneck-like facade was what held her back; both during Duels and in real life. Her bullying nature prevented her from having any friends; she had even once lost a friend because of it and tried to hide the guilt by acting tough. Upon coming to the realization, Gilda apologized to Fluttershy and her friends for the way she acted and even rebuilt the friendship with Rainbow Dash that she had lost in the past.

Since then, Gilda had made nearly a complete turn-around, becoming a model student and learning to care for others besides herself. That being said, she still had her tough attitude, but she began putting it to much better use by standing up for other students that couldn't protect themselves.

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Last Friday, which happened to be the last school day before Spring Break Week, proved to be a perfect example of Gilda's new, more caring attitude. In Gym Class, several students were out in the fields for outdoor exercises. One of those exercises was a game of soccer. Standing in the soccer goal as goalie was a young girl with light-grey skin, dark-grey hair with lighter-colored specks and tied into a very short ponytail, and aqua blue eyes. Like many of the gym students, she wore a plain white shirt (which was underneath a lightweight blue vest) and a pair of shorts, hers being purple.

The young girl had a look of determination on her face as several more students were coming towards her. A larger male student wearing a similar light vest - only his was red, was moving the soccer ball along the ground while being pursued by two other students - one boy and one girl, each wearing blue vests (which indicated that they were competing against each other; the reds against the blues). "Okay... this is your big chance, Gabby..." the young girl said to herself, ready to block the eventual shot towards the goal that she guarded. "That ball is not gonna get past me...!"

But as the approaching players got closer towards her, the red-vested student gave a nasty smirk... and then kicked the ball as hard as he could. But instead of going towards the goal itself, the ball was instead heading towards Gabby. Realizing what was happening, the girl let out a gasp, but could do nothing about it as the ball hit her in the face, knocking her to the ground.

"Gabby!!" the other two blue-vested students exclaimed, running over to the their fallen teammate, rubbing the bruise on her face. Luckily, the ball was lighter than most soccer balls, so a bruise and an ache were the worst that she suffered from the blow.

Angry, the other girl in the blue vest shouted at the red-vested boy, "You did that on purpose! You kicked the ball right at her!"

"Peh, no I didn't!" the larger student denied. "I kicked that ball right into the goal! It's not my fault her stupid face got in the way! It's her fault!"

"Oh really...?" asked a voice from off to the side. The four of them looked over to where the voice was coming from. It was none other than Gilda, wearing a red vest overtop of her gym clothes, with a not-so-happy look on her face. She then approached her unsavory teammate and told him, "I overheard a little something that you said to yourself a coupla minutes ago; sometime after Gabby there blocked one of your shots. I believe it was something along the lines of, 'I'll teach that wimpy little freshman to make me look stupid', am I right?"

"I knew it!" said the boy in the blue vest. "He hurt her on purpose!!"

The larger male gulped a bit, but tried his best to maintain his innocence. "N-no I didn't! You can't prove I said that! You can't!"

"She doesn't need to." said another voice. This time, it was from the gym teacher, Coach Grady. He had dark-brown skin, light-brown hair, and yellow eyes. He wore a red baseball cap on his head, a darker-red sports fleece with a pair of matching-color sweatpants, white sneakers, and a whistle around his neck. He then approached the scene and told the red-vested boy, "Gilda here told me about what she heard you say, so I kept a closer eye on you. From what it looked like, you did intentionally kick the ball in Gabby's face." Holding up a red card, he then told him, "You're ejected from the game; and I'll make sure the principal and your parents know about this."

"WHAT?!?" the bad sport exclaimed in shock. Growling, he then yelled at Gilda, "You... you ratted me out?! Why I'll...!"

"You'll what?" Gilda asked him in a low, intimidating voice, not even the least bit scared by him. "Go on... tell me what you'll do... I'm waiting."

Seeing that the tough girl meant business, the troublemaker trembled and sweated a bit before saying, in a slightly whimpering voice, "I'll uh... I'll g-g-go quietly and w-we never speak of this again...?"

"...That's what I thought you were gonna say." Gilda responded. "Now get your butt out of here." And with that last statement by her, the coach then escorted the larger student back into the building, telling everyone else to take a rest while he figured out what to do with him. Once they were gone, Gilda then went over to Gabby and her teammates, asking the injured girl, "Are you okay? Did he hurt you too bad?"

"Just a little bruise, that's all." Gabby replied, trying her best to smile even after what happened. "Nothing's bleeding."

"Good t' hear." Gilda replied, picking up the soccer ball. "These things may not hit as hard as real soccer balls, but you're still lucky that jerk didn't hurt ya anymore than he did. I gotta say: To take a blow like that without that much damage and even managing to smile afterwards... you're a pretty tough chick. And I don't just say that about anybody."

"Wow... you really think I'm tough?!" asked Gabby, getting a little excited. "Wow, to be called that by the toughest girl in school...! Eeeeeeeeee!! That's so awesome!!"

A little bewildered by the younger girl's sudden elation, Gilda then turned to her friends and asked them, "Is... she always like that?"

"Oh, you should see her when she gets REALLY excited over something." said the other girl in a blue vest. "This is actually pretty mild for Gabby."

Chuckling a bit, Gilda then asked them, "You need any help getting her to the nurse or anything? Tough or not, that hit did leave a bit of a mark..."

"Nah, we'll be fine by ourselves." the younger boy told her. "You've been a big enough help already by getting rid that jerk who caused the whole thing." Helping their friend onto her feet, Gabby's friends were ready to bring her to the school nurse. The boy then told Gilda, "Thanks again for doing all of that for us. We really mean it."

"Hey, don't mention it." Gilda responded. "Just make sure your friend gets some help." As the three of them left the field, Gilda folded her arms a little and smiled to herself. During the past few months, she had performed all sorts of good deeds such as this one. After every job well done, the tough girl felt good inside; much better than she had back when SHE was a troublemaker like the student that had tried to injure Gabby.

Later on, towards the end of the school day, Gilda was on her way to her homeroom class when she heard a commotion in a nearby hall... along with a familiar voice. "P-p-please don't hurt me...!" it said. "I-I-I don't want any trouble!"

"That's Martin's voice...!" Gilda said to herself, recognizing it immediately. "What's going on...?" She then ran towards the source of her friend's voice, hoping that she would get there before something bad happened.

In the hall, Martin was being threatened by another larger student as a crowd formed around them. "Just leave me alone...!" the smaller boy pleaded to him. "I didn't do anything to you!"

"Oh but you did, wimp..." the bully told him. "I told ya before: This hall's only for Junior level on up. In other words, NO Freshmen allowed!"

"But that's not fair!" Martin said. "I HAVE to come in here! This is where my locker is! You can't just claim this hallway for yourself!"

"Aw, look at this: The little wimp's telling ME what the rules are." mocked the larger male. He then grabbed Martin by the collar and told him, "Well, I got a rule for ya: Mess with MY rules, and you'll regret it!" He then raised his fist, attempting to do the unthinkable, but before he could...

"Hey!! What's goin' on here?!" shouted Gilda's voice. Her outburst caused everyone's attention to fall on her.

The bully then let go of his grip on Martin and looked over towards her as well. "G-Gilda??" he asked. "What're YOU doin' here!? This ain't none of your business!!"

"Oh, I think it is." Gilda calmly replied. She then headed towards the confrontation, with the other students wisely moving out of her way to allow her to get over to Martin and the bully. "You'd better not be picking on my little friend over there, buddy..."

"Grrrr... so what if I am?!" the lunk asked rudely.

At that moment, Gilda then grabbed the bully by the collar of his shirt, just as he had done to Martin earlier. Looking at the jerk straight in the eyes with an intimidating facial expression of her own, Gilda told him, "Because if you are, then you've only got three choices: One, you run off and we pretend this never happened... Two, I tell the prinicpal and then you've gotta deal with him on the matter... Or three, you can spend your Spring Break WITHOUT all of your teeth! So choose wisely..."

That last choice made the once tough-looking bully sweat and tremble. Afraid of what might happen to him, he nervously said, "Okay! Okay! I'll go!!" Gilda, satisfied with that reply, let the larger student out of her grip, allowing him to leave the hallway. Grumbling, he then told Martin, "Y-you're lucky she showed up, you wimp...!" And with that last feeble attempt to scare the young boy, he ran off in complete defeat.

"Hmph... HE'S the real wimp, not Martin." Gilda said to herself. She then told the crowd around her and Martin, "Listen up, all of you: If I see or hear anything about my buddy getting picked on by any one of you, I'll make sure you regret it! So for your sake, that better not happen!" The other students got the message crystal-clear and left the hallway.

After the situation was resolved, Martin told Gilda, "Th-thanks for that... But I'm really sorry that you had to get involved in my troubles."

"Hey, don't sweat it, Martin." the tough girl responded, smiling. "I promised I'd help stand up for you, and that's what I did."

Getting up, the nervous young boy then said, "I just wish I could be as tough as you are... Then maybe I wouldn't have to ask you for help with guys like him. But that's about as likely as reaching the last digit in pi."

"Don't sell yourself short, Martin." Gilda told him as they walked over to where his locker was. "Having been a bully myself once, I know what they're really like. That jerk may have looked like he was big and tough... But in reality, he's probably more scared of you than you are of him."

"I hear that quite a lot, Gilda... I'm still not sure just how accurate that is, however." Martin replied, still unsure about it as he opened his locker door and got out what he needed for Homeroom.

"You just gotta show people like him that you're not afraid of them." she assured her friend. "You have to let them know that they can't pick on ya. And once you do, they'll leave you alone."

"You make it sound so simple, Gilda..." the boy told her, shutting his locker closed. "But it can't be that easy..."

"Well, let's not think about it for now." she responded as they walked down the hall. "Anyway, you just head to your class and we'll talk about it more after school."

"Where are you going?" Martin asked her.

"I've gotta go check on something at the nurse's office." Gilda answered. "Just meet me at the school entrance when you're done, okay? And let me know if anybody gives you trouble."

"I will! Thanks again for everything!" Martin replied before the two of them headed for their respective destinations. As they did, they failed to notice that Gruff, the school's principal and Gilda's grandfather, was watching the whole thing from nearby. His wrinkled face smiled a bit after having seen his granddaughter stand up to that bully. He didn't always smile this warmly in the past, but after seeing his granddaughter change her attitude, he decided to do the same himself and stopped acting like a grumpy stuffed shirt all the time. After a while, he decided to leave for his office to finish up his work for the day.

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After the final bell rang, the students of Griffonstone High School were more than ready to leave the building, excited to have the next week off from classes. After the first mass of students ran out the front doors, a few more left the school in a much slower and calmer manner. Among them was Gilda, who was walking with Gabby, the young girl she helped out during Gym Class. Outside of Gym, Gabby's outfit consisted of a silvery-grey coat with a fluffy, white collar overtop of a smaller white shirt. She wore a skirt similar in color to her coat, with long, darker-grey stockings, and shiny, silver boots, each with three buckles to secure them onto her feet. On her hands were a pair of yellow gloves, and she carried a small, brown purse on her shoulder.

"So how's your face feelin'?" Gilda asked the younger girl, wondering how things had went since the incident.

"Much better!" Gabby replied enthusiastically, pointing to the spot where she had gotten hit by the soccer ball. "It doesn't hurt anymore and the bruise is almost completely gone!"

"Good t' hear." Gilda replied. "And you'll also be happy to know that the jerk who did that to you will be spending his Spring Break in Detention. Gramps also mentioned something about the guy going to some sort of sensitivity class or something like that. Whatever the case, the jerk got what he deserved for it." She then told her, "Anyway, I'm sorry that happened to ya."

"Aw, it's okay. I'm just happy that I walked away from it in one piece!" Gabby replied in a passionate tone. "I'm not gonna let a little something like that bring me down!" Gilda smirked a little bit, impressed by the young girl's positive and enthusiastic attitude.

"Hey! Gilda!!" shouted the voice of Martin nearby. He was waiting under the shade of a nearby tree for Gilda to show up.

"Hey Martin. Good t' see ya again." the tough girl told him. "So how did things go after the whole hallway thing?"

"Pretty good, actually." the boy answered her. "No one bothered me on the way to or from class."

"That's good." Gilda replied. "Guess that means those other people understood what I told 'em."

Looking over at the girl standing next to his friend, Martin then asked, "Who is that standing next to you, Gilda?"

"My name's Gabby!" the younger girl introduced herself, vigorously shaking his hand. "And you must be Martin! Gilda's told me a whole bunch about you! She said that you're a pretty nice guy, and I can certainly tell that you are!!"

"Um, well you certainly are quite a vocal one, aren't you?" the boy asked. "By any chance, are you in the Freshman class this year?"

"Yeah! I am! I actually transferred here abooooooout... a month and nine days ago!" answered Gabby. "Are you a freshman here, too?"

"Mhmm. That is correct." Martin told her. "I started classes at Griffonstone this year... Of course, this school is apparently not very friendly towards Freshmen."

"I know, it's so unfair!" Gabby told him. "It's like those older students forget that they were like us at one point!" Looking over at Gilda she then smiled and added, "But it's a good thing that not all of them are like that! Gilda actually helped me out when someone was being mean to me in Gym today!"

"Yeah, she helps me out too." Martin responded. "Even when I had a bit of an... um, issue some time ago; one I'm not very proud of."

"Hey, it's no big deal, guys." Gilda told them modestly. "I'm just... well let's just say that I've been re-thinking my whole life in the past few months, and I want to be the solution to a problem instead of being part of it."

"What do you mean?" asked Gabby.

"Believe it or not, I used to be just like those losers that picked on you and Martin." Gilda admitted. "I caused trouble for lots of people and I felt like everyone was against me, including someone that was my friend back then... But everything changed for me when I was chosen to represent Griffonstone during the Inter-school Duel against Canterlot High. I fought against someone there, someone that was very timid and scared to be there... But even though she was nervous about the whole thing, she fought me with everything she had, with the support of her friends and her school by side."

Gabby and Martin listened to Gilda's story of what happened on the day of the Inter-school Duel competition, curious to know more about it.

"Unfortunately for me," the tough girl continued, "I lost because I underestimated her. I thought she was a scared wimp... but in reality, she had a lot of guts for taking me on despite the odds against her. I hate to admit it, but if I had even a shred of the courage she had that day, I might've won that Duel. And even though I've apologized to her and her friends about the way I acted then, I still don't feel ready to take her on again... Not until I can prove that I can have the kind of thing she had during that match."

"So is that why you've decided to reform yourself, Gilda?" asked Martin.

Gilda nodded and told him, "That girl showed me that you can be tough AND kind... That's what she had during that Duel that I didn't." She then looked over to Martin and added, "And then, when I was with her friend Sunset the next day, I learned that sometimes brute force isn't always the answer to a problem; most of the time it's the cause of the problem. The point is, I've got a lot of things on my mind right now that I need to sort out if I ever hope to face that girl again, this time without holding anything back. I want to give her the opponent that I didn't give her that day: One that fights with all their strength without being arrogant."

"Spoken like a true champ, Gilda..." said a scruffy voice from nearby. The others turned and saw that Principal Gruff was standing nearby, next to his car.

"Grampa? Were you standing there this whole time?" asked Gilda.

"I was." said the principal. "And it seems you've come quite a long way since your Duel at CHS. I'm quite impressed with how you've applied what you've learned to everything you do at school and at home." Opening the driver's side door, he then asked the group, "Speaking of home, hows about all of you come along with me? There's something I'd like to show you all."

"Um, are you sure, Mr. Principal, sir?" asked Gabby. "Are you sure my parents will be okay with it?"

"I'm sure they'll be fine if they know that I'm keeping an eye on things." Gruff told them. "Just call them and let them know that I'll be supervising things. I know it seems like a weird request, but trust me: It'll all make sense once you see it for yourselves." The three Griffon stone students looked at one another, unsure about what Principal Gruff was talking about. But they decided to go along with it for now as Martin and Gabby called their parents to explain everything.

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The three students now found themselves in the car belonging to Principal Gruff, heading to the house that he lived in. Luckily, Martin and Gabby's parents were okay with allowing the two of them to accompany the Principal and Gilda. As they drove over to his home, Gruff then asked the two Freshmen, "Forgive me for asking this, but from what I hear, it appears that you two seem to get picked on a lot, is that right?"

"Yeah, a little bit." Gabby replied.

"Same for me." Martin added.

"Well, I'm sorry t' hear that..." Gruff responded with a sigh. "Believe me, I know how it feels to be made fun of and all'o that. Back in my day, there were these rough folks who made quite a bit of trouble for me in the past: Callin' me names, takin' my lunch money, pushing me around - both figuratively and literally... I tell ya, it wasn't easy fer me."

"So how did you deal with it Principal Gruff, if I may ask?" Martin inquired.

"Well, it's quite an interestin' story, actually." the older man replied. "Y'see, it's actually the reason that I wanted you to come with me n' Gilda here."

After hearing her grandfather say that, Gilda had a slight idea of what he may have had in mind. "Um, Gramps?" she asked. "Are you gonna show them what I think you're gonna show them?" The old man smiled and gave a wink to his granddaughter, essentially telling her that she was right in her assumption.

"Huh? What is it?" asked Gabby as the car finally pulled into the driveway. "What are you gonna show us?"

Principal Gruff stepped out of the car, along with Gilda and the others. He then answered Gabby's question by saying, "Just a little somethin' from my past that could help give the lot of you a better future." As the old man looked through his keys, searching for the one to unlock his front door, Gabby and Martin were still clueless as to what he was talking about. Only Gilda seemed to know what was going on, besides of course Gruff himself.

After Gruff unlocked the door and opening it wide, the four of them walked into the Principal's home together. Gruff flipped on the lights and motioned the others to follow him into another room. "Gabby... Martin..." he told them. "Allow me to show you... my study room." the man the turned on the lights in said room and revealed something that made the two Freshmen gasp in astonishment.

Gruff's Study wasn't like the typical one: All around the room were large glass display cases, filled to the brim with many trophies, medals, and award certificates. It was an impressive collection, to say the least. "Wow... Oh, WOW!!!!" shrieked Gabby happily. "This is SO COOL!! Th-there must be THOUSANDS of trophies and stuff in here!!! EEEEEE!!! And they're so shiny and EVERYTHING!!!"

Walking over to one of the display cases and looking an award inside of it, Martin made an interesting discovery. "Gabby, these aren't just ANY awards..." he told her. "All of them are for Dueling!"

"Dueling?" asked the younger girl. "No way! ALL of them?!"

"That's right." Gilda confirmed with a smirk. "Where d'ya think I picked up MY dueling talents?" Looking over at her grandfather, she continued telling them, "Truth is, I learned everything I know from my old man. After all, he was quite the champ back in his day."

"Not just a champ, Gilda my dear." Gruff told her. "Back when I was on the scene, they called me 'The Dark-Winged Knight', seein' as how I'd swoop into victory with all the power I could muster. Plus, I had a pretty good poker face, to boot."

"The Dark-Winged Knight...? Hey, hold on!" Martin exclaimed. "I've heard that name before! I've read about someone with that alias that had won well over 70 tournaments while he was active. And you're telling me that YOU are him?!"

"Mhmm. You bet your keester I am!" Gruff told them. "I was quite the hotshot back then... Before I retired I had made quite a name for myself, even back when I was wee tyke. In fact, it was because of Duel Monsters that I had gotten over my fear of those bullies that gave me problems back then."

"It was?" asked Gabby. "How's that??"

"...I still remember what it was like back then. Those meaner kids kept makin' trouble for me, jus' fer the fun of it." he told them. "Back then, it caused me so much pain, that I started becomin' mean and bitter myself. I felt as though the whole world was against me; it affected my attitude, my schoolwork, and my behavior. It seemed as though I'd end up just like the bullies who picked on me: Angry, selfish, perhaps even cruel... But then all that changed one very special night."

"What happened?" asked Martin, becoming more and more interested in the story.

"...I can't quite recall the date, but it was late at night." the principal told them. "I remember sneaking out of my room and switchin' on the TV set. Fer some reason, I just couldn't sleep... Maybe it was because tomorrow was a school day, and I knew that those bullies would be waitin' fer me to show up... Maybe it was because I was startin' to get a little rebellious from all the bad feelin's that I had in me... Or maybe it was something that I couldn't quite explain... Whatever it was, I was out there in the livin' room, looking from some late-night show or something to put my mind at ease... I ended up on a channel that was broadcasting the last match of a major Duel Monsters tournament live... and that's when I saw him for the first time: Yugi Muto."

"Yugi??" asked Gabby. "You saw him on TV?"

"I'd heard about the kid in the past, but didn't think much of it before then." Gruff explained. "But when I saw him in action, words couldn't do him justice; it was the most amazing thing I ever saw! The way he dueled during that match was incredible! I still remember how that gold castle-thingy showed up and put him against the wall, but despite the odds, he managed to win the Duel and keep his championship title! Oh, how I wish I had recorded it on a video tape back then...!"

The three students looked at each other, not saying a word as the principal told them the story from his past.

Coughing a little bit to clear his throat, Gruff continued, saying, "Anyhoo... after the Duel was over, Yugi was approached by some reporter-looking person who asked him how he was able to stand up to the odds against him. And the kid said that it was all a matter of having faith in yerself. He said that while there may be a lot of scary things and people in the world, everyone has the power to face their fears and stand up to them. Overcoming your troubles is as simple as lookin' 'em in the eye and showin' 'em that you're not afraid!

"After the broadcast was over, I calmly switched the TV set off and began thinkin' about everything: My life, my problems, and most of all, what Yugi had said about standing up for yerself. From what he had said, I could tell that he had been in the same situation as me... I guess I figured that if someone like him could stand up to a bully, then perhaps so could I. That very next day, when the meaner kids tried to give me trouble, I remembered everything Yugi had said and stood my ground. They did everything they could to pick on me, but when they realized that I wasn't giving them the reaction they wanted, they gave up and left. Ever since then, I never had any problems with bullies at school."

"Wow... that's amazing...!" said Gabby, impressed by what she had heard.

"Hmmm... I guess it really is that simple..." Martin spoke up, remember that Gilda had told him something like that earlier in the day.

"It really is that easy, Martin." Gruff told him and the others. "When a bully picks on you, they're expecting you to make the reaction they want you to have. It's all a matter of not giving them what they want. Once you stop giving them any reason to enjoy bullying you, they won't bother with you anymore." The young boy nodded, trying his best to understand those words.

"I think I know what happened next!" Gabby said in a loud, eager voice. "You were so inspired from watching and listening to Yugi, that you later became a Duelist!"

"That's right, Gabby." the principal confirmed. "After I finished elementary school, I attended a Duel Academy and perfected my skills there. After that, I graduated, went on into the pro leagues, and... well, the rest is history."

"Wow... you must have been quite a skilled Duelist to win all these awards..." Martin stated.

"He was." Gilda told him. "I've seen videos of his past Duels, and lemme tell ya: he pulled off some of the most impressive victories in history. He even dueled against Celestia and Luna while they were still in the pro leagues."

"Didn't win against them, I'm afraid." Gruff admitted. "But to say I didn't enjoy duelin' them would be a big fat lie. Those young gals certainly knew their way around a Duel Disk - back then before these fancy new D-Pad thingamabobbers - and their skills were a sight to behold... Come to think of it, with how popular those two were, you'd think they'd have boyfriends by now..."

"Um, Gramps?" Gilda asked her relative. "You're gettin' off-topic again."

"Hm? Oh! Right, sorry 'bout that." the old man responded, clearing his throat again. "Anyhoo, my time as a Pro Duelist taught me a lot of things, or rather they reinforced what I learned all the way back to that fateful night that I watched Yugi Muto and heard his inspiring words. That being strong doesn't always mean having a lot of power, but what you choose to do with that power, whether you're facing off against a powerful boss monster, standing up for yourself despite what's been set against you..." He then glanced over at Gilda before wrapping up his speech. "...Or using it to provide help for those that cannot help themselves."

Knowing that he was talking about her, Gilda then asked her grandfather, "I'm going to assume that you wanted me hear to hear all of that too, and not just Martin and Gabby?"

Nodding yes, he then told her, "Gilda my dear, you've come quite a long way since your Duel at Canterlot High School. You've learned from that Duel that being kind is not a weakness, but rather a strength, as evidenced by how well Ms. Fluttershy had played during that match. You've learned to use your power properly; to help people rather than to hurt them. And you've learned that power doesn't always translate to brute force, and more often than not, it is how that power is used that determines victory or defeat." Walking over to a small chest-like box sitting on his fancy wood desk, he opened the box and pulled something out of it, saying, "And I think it's about time to see just how much you've truly learned..."

"Whad'ya mean, Gramps?" asked Gilda. But she got her answer when the man revealed the object that he had taken out of the small box. "Is... is that your Dueling Deck??" she then asked him.

"No way...! That's his Deck?" asked Martin. "The same one he used as a Pro Duelist?"

"Awesome!! A real Pro Duelist's Deck, right in front of us!!" cheered Gabby excitedly.

Looking at his treasured Deck, Principal Gruff then said, "This Deck 'n I have been together fer a long time... Through victories, defeats, and even through hair loss!" He then looked over to his granddaughter and told her, "And I know that you, too will go through similar experiences with your Deck as you walk the road to becoming a True Duelist, Gilda... And as a Duelist, you know full well how we best express our feelings and experiences."

Gilda, a bit surprised by what the man was saying, could only reply by saying, "You... are you saying that you want to-?"

"You got it, Gilda..." Gruff said with a nod. "You and I are going to have a Duel... and I'll see for myself just how far you've come! Whad'ya say? Think you can take on yer old man in a Duel?"

Needless to say, everyone was quite shocked by the sudden challenge, especially Gilda herself. Regaining her composure, she smirked and told him, "A Duel, huh? That's just fine with me, Gramps! I'll accept your challenge! Just don't get too upset by the results once we're done!"

Chuckling a little, the elderly man replied, "Confidant as always, huh? Just like the rest of our family..." Giving off a smirk himself, he told his granddaughter, "Very well, then! I'll show you youngun's that I've still got some fight in these old bones!" Gilda kept her look of confidence, ready for whatever her grandfather had in store for her as Martin and Gabby watched, wondering just what a Duel between them would look like...

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Outside, in the backyard, Gilda and her grandfather, Gruff, were getting ready for their Duel with each other. Gilda had strapped on her bird wing-shaped Duel Pad and Duel Gazer, getting it all set up for a Duel. As for Gruff, he did not use a Duel Pad; instead, he had on an old-school Duel Disk with yellow trims: It was the same one he had used during his time at Duel Academy and his Pro career. The Duel Disk however, was slightly modified with a special adapter that allowed it to be compatible with the newer Duel Pads and Gazers (including the Gazer that Gruff himself owned). He then activated his devices, ready to take on his granddaughter.

Wearing their Duel Gazers, Gabby and Martin were eager to see a match between a former Pro Duelist and his grandchild. "This is gonna be so cool!" Gabby cheered. "We'll actually get to see Gilda duel against a former champ that just so happens to be her grandpa! Eeeeeeeeee!!! I can't wait to see it!!"

"I must say, this is quite the turn of events." Martin stated. "I knew about the CHS's principals' past careers as Pro Duelists, but I never knew that OUR Principal Gruff was one as well. And not only that, he was inspired to become a Duelist after watching a Duel by Yugi Muto himself! I'm not sure exactly how this will play out... only that this will certainly be quite the contest between them."

Once they were ready and the AR Vision display was in place, Gilda then asked her grandfather, "So, you sure you wanna do this, old man? Don't want ya gettin' hurt, y'know."

But Gruff simply chuckled, saying, "Funny, Gilda... I had those same concerns 'bout you. After all, besides that Fluttershy gal, I'm the only other person you've never won against. And that's when I wasn't even usin' my Pro Deck against ya!"

"That may have been true at the time," Gilda responded, not losing her confidence, "but I ain't the same person I was back then! You're about t' see the new and improved Gilda, and when this is over, you won't forget her!"

Still smiling a little, Gruff then told her, "Then let's see how 'new and improved' you really are, whippersnapper. Let's begin this Duel right away!" Gilda gave a nod as they both drew their opening hands (Gilda: LP 4,000) (Grampa Gruff: LP 4,000). Gabby and Martin stood by, eager to see what they presumed would be a white-hot match between two different generations of Duelists.

"I'll go first, Gramps!" shouted the roughneck girl, taking a card from her hand. "And I'll start with one of my faves: Raidraptor - Vanishing Lanius in Attack Mode!!" After playing her card, a large green, blue, and silver-colored bird creature appeared in front of her (Raidraptor - Vanishing Lanius: Level 4 / ATK 1300 / DEF 1600). "And by Normal Summoning Vanishing Lanius, I can use his effect to bring out another member of his flock! So I'll bring out Raidraptor - Sharp Lanius from my hand in Attack Mode as well!" She then played her second Raidraptor, colored mostly red, black, and white to join her in battle (Raidraptor - Sharp Lanius: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 1000).

"She already started with her favorite monster combo..." noted Martin. "It's likely we'll be seeing an Xyz Summoning very soon."

But before even getting to that, Gilda still had a few more cards to play. "Next, I'll play the Continuous Spell, Raidraptor - Nest!" she then declared. "Since I've gotten two Raidraptors onto the field already, I can use this card's effect once per turn to move another one out of my Deck and into my hand!" She used the effect of her Spell Card to retrieve a copy of Raidraptor - Singing Lanius from out of her Deck. "Then, I'll use the effect of Raidraptor - Fuzzy Lanius in my hand to Special Summon it in Defense Mode!" And she did just that, playing her dark blue and violet-colored bird monster to the field, giving her a total of three monsters on just her first turn (Raidraptor - Fuzzy Lanius: Level 4 / ATK 500 / DEF 1500).

"Wow!! Amazing!!" shouted Gabby. "She's just cranking out monster after monster! This is so cool!!"

"If you think that's cool, just wait 'til you see this!" the tough girl informed her friend. "I now overlay Vanishing Lanius and Fuzzy Lanius, both Level 4! I build an Overlay Network!!" After she shouted that, the two monsters in question transformed into a pair of purple light spheres and flew into a red summoning portal in front of her. Principal Gruff hummed in thought as he watched his granddaughter's move. He said nothing at first, and merely observed the scene in front of him. "Avian hunter of the afterlife, seek the truth with your dark eyes, and grasp glory with your sharp talons! Xyz Summon!" Gilda chanted as a red beam of light shot out of the portal on the field. "Take flight! Rank 4! Raidraptor - Force Strix!"

Gilda's new Xyz Monster then appeared in the place of the summoning portal, appearing as a massive, multicolored owl-like creature covered in armor. On its forehead was the red crest that served as the symbol of the Raidraptor archetype, and orbiting around the beast were a pair of purple orbs (Raidraptor - Force Strix: Rank 4 / ATK 100 / DEF 2000 / OLU 2).

"Not a bad move at all." Matin pointed out. "With that card, she can continue to build her forces and maintain hand advantage at the same time."

"Really? How?" asked Gabby, having never seen the card before.

"I'll show ya what Martin's talkin' about." Gilda told her as she removed one of the two cards from underneath her Xyz Monster (Raidraptor - Force Strix: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). "By removing one of Force Strix's Overlay Units, I can grab any Level 4 monster from my Deck, as long as it's DARK-Attribute and its Type is Winged Beast. No problem, since that's almost all of the cards in my Deck." After making her selection, her D-Pad automatically shuffled her Deck and left her chosen card sticking out. Gilda then pulled out the card she picked: Raidraptor - Avenge Vulture. "In addition," she continued, "since I sent Fuzzy Lanius to the Graveyard to activate Force Strix's effect, I can now take another copy of Fuzzy Lanius from my Deck as well. Oh, and did I mention that, thanks to my Sharp Lanius on the field, my Force Strix gains more attack and defense points?" (Raidraptor - Force Strix: ATK 100 + 500 = 600 / DEF 2000 + 500 = 2500)

"I must say, you made quite a strong opening move, Gilda my dear." Gruff complimented. "You've established a strong defense with your Xyz Monster, and even managed to keep a lot of cards in your hand after everything was all said and done."

"Hmph, it was nothing compared to what else I've got planned for ya." Gilda simply told him. "I'll end my turn by keeping Force Strix in Defense Mode and setting a card face-down. Now let's see just what you've got, old man."

"Very well. I draw!" said Gruff as he drew his first card. After looking at it, he then placed it in his hand and pulled out a different card, which he activated. "I play my Reinforcement of the Army! I'll use it to take any Level 4 or lower Warrior monster out of my Deck! And I'll choose the Level 3 monster, Spell Striker! But he won't stay in my hand very long, though... I'll use his effect to banish the Spell Card I used to bring him out and Special Summon him!" And as quickly as Gruff got him out of the Deck, he Summoned Spell Striker straight to the field in Attack Position. The tiny little knight with his blue-colored armor and red cape unleashed his small spear and struck a pose.

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Spell Striker:
(Effect Monster/Warrior/EARTH/Level 3/ATK 600/DEF 200)

You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) by banishing 1 Spell Card from your GY. This card can attack directly. You take no battle damage from attacks involving this card.

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"Huh... that's weird." Gabby said after seeing that move. "I was expecting something a little bigger than that."

"And you should." Martin informed her. "Having read about his career, I know about Principal Gruff's playing style. That monster is merely just the first of many stepping stones he plans to use to get what he really wants..." Gilda knew that as well, and was already prepared to face just about anything her grandfather could throw at her.

Gruff continued his turn, saying, "Since the Summoning of Spell Striker was a Special Summon, I can still use my Normal Summon for the turn. Now prepare to meet one of my best cards! I Summon The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak in Attack Mode!!" The next Warrior that he Summoned was not quite as cute-looking as his first one was: In fact, its appearance was actually very creepy. It appeared to be more of a ghost than a warrior, with a blue, expression-less face poking out of its tattered, dark-purple robes, all surrounded by an eerie, blue aura (The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak: Level 3 / ATK 800 / DEF 1000).

"Eeeek!!" shrieked Gabby, unable to hide her emotions. "A g-g-g-g-GHOST!!!"

"That would be a safe assumption..." Martin told her. "During his time as a pro, Gruff used a Phantom Knight Deck, and while they may be short on attack and defense power, they often have much more sinister tactics to make up for it... I just hope Gilda is prepared for whatever he's got in mind..."

Taking another card out of his hand, the old man then told his granddaughter, "I'm not done just yet! I now Special Summon The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots from my hand since I have Ancient Cloak on my field!" His second Phantom Knight was much like the first one, except it wore a brown-colored outfit (in the same tattered state as the pervious one's), and also had a pair of shackles around its wrists behind it (The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots: Level 3 / ATK 200 / DEF 1200).

"Hmmm... three Level 3 monsters..." said Gilda. "I know what you're tryin' to do, Gramps."

"So you really HAVE been payin' attention to all my past Duels, have you?" asked Gruff. "Then this next play shouldn't surprise you! I overlay my Level 3 Ancient Cloak and Silent Boots to create an Overlay Network!!" The two monsters were then transformed into purple-colored energy and sucked into a nearby red portal as the old man began the Summoning Chant. "Souls of knights who fell on the battlefield... Revive here and now, and become the light that breaks the darkness! Xyz Summon!" After that, another beam of red light shot out of the vortex, much like it did during Gilda's turn when she Summoned her Xyz Monster. "Appear, Rank 3! The Phantom Knights of Break Sword!"

Principal Gruff's next monster, was a ghost-like creature, much like the monsters that went into its Summoning. However, this one was a lot more fierce-looking in its appearance: Slick, black and grey-colored armor, a giant, black sword, and riding on a horse wearing similar armor to his own, gave the monster a look that could send a chill down one's spine in an instant (The Phantom Knights of Break Sword: Rank 3 / ATK 2000 / DEF 1000 / OLU 2).

"I knew it..." Gilda said to herself. "It's Break Sword... One of the most famous monsters in his whole Deck - or infamous depending on who you talk to. I had a feeling he was gonna show his face in this Duel at least once."

"I'm sure many of you young'uns are familiar with this card, but just in case you aren't, allow me to refresh you on the subject." Taking a Trap Card from his hand, he then slid it into one of the Spell & Trap Zones on his modified Duel Disk. "First, I'll set this card face-down... And next, I'll activate Break Sword's ability! By removing an Overlay Unit, I can destroy one card on each of our fields! So I'll dispose of the card I just set... and have your Force Strix go down with it!" (The Phantom Knights of Break Sword: OLU 2 - 1 = 1)

"No!!" exclaimed Gilda. But there was nothing she could do as both her monster and the set Trap Card were drug down below the ground by many ghostly blue-colored hands. Still, she wasn't ready to let that shake her. "That all ya got?!" she yelled.

"You know me better than that, Gilda my dear." Gruff replied. "Now go, Break Sword! Attack her Sharp Lanius with your Phantom Crushing Sword!!" The warrior than gave a hard tap on his horse with his feet, prompting the steed to gallop foward as the knight readied his mighty sword.

"Oh no! Gilda's wide-open now!!" said a worried Martin.

"Gilda!! Look OUT!!!" shouted Gabby.

But the roughneck was ready for it. "Hold on! I activate my face-down card!!" she shouted. "Go! Rank-Up-Magic Raptor's Force!!"

"A Rank-Up card?!" exclaimed Martin, having been taken by surprise.

"That's right!" Gilda confirmed. "Since a Raidraptor Xyz Monster was destroyed this turn, I can use this card to bring it back! So I re-Summon my Force Strix!" And with that, the Xyz Monster she lost was back on the field. "But that's not all:" she continued. "Now I can use Force Strix to Xyz Summon a Raidraptor that's one Rank higher than he is!" This move seemed to startle Gruff a bit, as he wasn't expecting it. At that moment, Force Strix then transformed into a purple light surrounded by a white aura before flying into a black portal marked with the Raidraptor's insignia.

"Behold, the unseen bold falcon!" chanted Gilda. "Reveal your wings' unknown powers here and now! Rank-Up Xyz Evolution!! Come forth! Rank 5! Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon!!" After her chant was finished, a much larger bird creature emerged from out of the black portal in Defense Position. It had lots of body armor, mostly colored black and gold, and strangely-shaped wings that wouldn't seem like it could support the beast in the air, yet somehow did (Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon: Rank 5 / ATK 2000 / DEF 2000 / OLU 1).

"Hmmm... I see now." said Gruff, figuring out his grandchild's move. "You knew I was going to Summon Break Sword, so you played Force Strix as a decoy to get me to use his effect. Looks like you have learned something after all." He then pointed forward and shouted, "But still, I continue my attack! Break Sword, eliminate her Sharp Lanius!!" The ghostly knight then rode forward and slashed Gilda's monster with his sword, destroying it and damaging her in the process (Gilda: LP 4,000 - 300 = 3700).

"Gilda! Are you okay?!" asked Gabby, concerned.

"Heh. Better than that." the tough girl reassured her new friend. "It went just how I planned it." She then took a card from her hand and shouted, "I Special Summon Raidraptor - Avenge Vulture in Attack Mode!" And from out of nowhere, another monster appeared on Gilda's field, appearing as a giant bird with brown and dirty-yellow armor (Raidraptor - Avenge Vulture: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 100).

"Huh? But how did she Summon a monster during her opponent's turn??" asked Gabby, confused.

"Because Avenge Vulture lets her Summon it if she takes damage, regardless of whose turn it is." Martin explained to her. "She had Force Strix take it out of her Deck so that she could Summon it with that effect. That was some excellent planning on her part."

"I admit, that was a good defensive strategy." agreed Principal Gruff. "But I'm not through with my Battle Phase yet! I use the effect of Spell Striker to attack Gilda directly!" And with that order, the tiny knight then lashed out, striking the tough chick with his spear.

"Urrgh!" Gilda grunted slightly upon taking the attack (Gilda: LP 3,700 - 600 = 3,100). "Not bad... playing that card to make sure you'd do some damage to me, regardless of what I planned. You haven't lost your touch, old man."

"Nor have you, Gilda." stated Gruff. "I've got more in store for you, so you had better be prepared for anything... For now though, I'll conclude my turn and pass it over to you."

After she drew her card, Gilda heard Martin calling out to her, "He's established quite a strong board, Gilda...! Unless you can dismantle it now, there's nothing you can do to stop him next turn!"

"Just relax and let ME worry about what he's got." the roughneck told him. "Which is what I WOULD say if I actually was worried about anything!" Placing the card she drew into her hand, she then announced, "First though, I'll switch my Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon to Attack Mode, and activate its effect! By ditching the Force Strix that I used as the Xyz Material (Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon: OLU 1 - 1 = 0), I can destroy Break Sword and inflict his original attack power as damage!"

"You can WHAT?!?" exclaimed Principal Gruff, startled by the move. With its effect triggered, Stranger Falcon then zipped up into the air, looped back down, and performed a bombing run concentrated on the former Pro's Xyz Monster, wiping it out. In addition, the aftermath of the blast struck Gruff himself, dealing a ton of damage (Grampa Gruff: LP 4,000 - 2,000 = 2,000). "Impressive," he said, "but now I activate the second effect of Break Sword!! After it's destroyed, I can bring back two Phantom Knights with equal Levels in my Graveyard and revive them with one extra Level! So now I bring back the Level 3 Ancient Cloak and Silent Boots in my Graveyard as Level 4 monsters!"

And in an instant, the two monsters that were used to Summon Break Sword were back on the field in Defense Mode, and with their Levels increased (The Phantom Knights of Ancient Cloak: Level 3 + 1 = 4) (The Phantom Knights of Silent Boots: Level 3 + 1 = 4).

"So he had a defense set up just like I did..." Gilda observed. "Fine, then I'll tear down those defenses until I can get a clear shot at you! First, I'll use the effect of my Raidraptor - Nest! I'll take Raidraptor - Tribute Lanius from my Deck, and then Summon it in Attack Mode!" Her next monster was, like the others, a bird, this one displaying bright blue and gold-colored armor, as well as several jets on each wing (Raidraptor - Tribute Lanius: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 400). "Then after I Summon him," Gilda continued, "I can drop my Raidraptor - Readiness Trap Card from my Deck to my Graveyard!"

"Hmmm... interesting choice, my dear." Gruff stated, observing his granddaughter's moves closely.

"Next, I'll Special Summon Raidraptor - Fuzzy Lanius from my hand in Attack Mode with its effect." the tough girl continued, Summoning her second copy that she had gotten from her previous turn.

"Amazing!" said Martin. "Between this turn and the previous one, Gilda now has four monsters on the field!!"

"Alright!! Go get him, Gilda!!" cheered Gabby. Then, realizing what she had just said, she quickly told Principal Gruff, "Um, no offense, Mr. Principal Sir!!"

Chuckling a little from the comment, Gruff then turned back to Gilda and asked her, "Anything else you plan on doing this turn?"

"Quite a bit, actually." she answered him. "I now play my Spell Card, Raidraptor - Sanctuary!"

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Raidraptor - Sanctuary:
(Normal Spell Card)

If you control 3 or more "Raidraptor" monsters: Draw 2 cards. You can only activate 1 "Raidraptor - Sanctuary" per turn.

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With the help of her Spell Card, Gilda drew two more cards. After looking at them, she smirked and said, "Just the kind of thing I need!" Playing one of the two cards right away, she shouted, "I activate the Equip Spell known as Raptor's Ultimate Mace! I'll equip it to my Fuzzy Lanius and boost his attack power by a thousand!" With the weapon equipped, the blue-and-violet bird creature immediately became more powerful (Raidraptor - Fuzzy Lanius: ATK 500 + 1000 = 1500). "Now go, Fuzzy Lanius!! Attack his Spell Striker!!" The creature then used its new weapon to strike down and destroy the tiny knight.

"Not bad, but don't forget:" Gruff reminded her. "Thanks to Spell Striker's effect, I take no damage!"

"For now, but that won't save you from this!" Gilda shouted. "Tribute Lanius, attack his Ancient Cloak! And Avenge Vulture, go after Silent Boots!" The two Winged Beasts then soared into the air each performed a powerful dive-bomb at their intended targets, wiping them both out at once.

"Now Principal Gruff doesn't have a single monster out!!" Gabby said, getting excited. "He's totally defenseless!"

"Not only that, but Gilda still has Stranger Falcon out." Martin pointed out. "And if it lands an attack next, Gilda wins!"

"And that's what I plan to do! Stranger Falcon!! Attack his Life Points directly and end this Duel!!" Gilda ordered her Xyz Monster. The giant bird then flew into the air and prepared to launch another attack, clinching the roughneck girl's victory...

...Or so she thought until Gruff yelled, "I don't think that's going to happen! I use the effect of a Trap Card in my Graveyard!! If I'm about to take a direct attack, I can bring The Phantom Knights of Shadow Veil back from my Graveyard as a Normal Monster in Defense Mode!" And after he said that, a dark-purple portal appeared on field in front of the older man. From out of it came a ghostly figure in a tattered blue cloak and carrying red sword, riding atop a blue horse with a fiery blue mane and tail, and gold armor (The Phantom Knights of Shadow Veil: Level 4 / ATK 0 / DEF 300).

"What the-?! How'd that card get into the Graveyard?!" Gilda protested.

"Yeah! He never played that card, so how'd it get in there?!" asked Gabby, not sure what was going on.

Suddenly, Martin gasped, realizing what had happened. "I know how!" he answered to both the girls' questions. "He sent it to the Graveyard with Break Sword's effect! He set it onto the field and then destroyed it along with Force Strix!"

Gilda gasped, now remembering that. Grumbling a little, she then said to herself, "Darnit... I should've known it wouldn't be that easy..." Annoyed but not undaunted by this surprise move, she then shouted, "In that case, I attack your Shadow Veil with Stranger Falcon instead!" The bird creature then continued its attack on a different target, destroying the newly-summoned monster (and as a result banishing it due to its effect), but leaving Gruff unscathed.

"Awww...! she was SO close!!" complained Gabby. "If he hadn'tve played that card, she would've won!"

"Let's not count Gilda out of this Duel yet, Gabby." Martin told her. "She may still be able to win this... That is, as long as he doesn't make any bigger plays on his next turn that she can't protect against."

Hearing what her friends said, Gilda then looked at the other card that her Raidraptor - Sanctuary had allowed her to draw. (They're right about one thing,) she thought, (I'd better be prepared for whatever he's got planned... I have a hunch that next turn, he's gonna come at me with everything's he's got...) Taking the card and shoving it into her Duel Pad, she told her grandfather, "I'll set this card face-down. Then, I'll use the effect of Tribute Lanius: Since it destroyed one of your monsters in battle last turn, I can add any Quick-Play Spell with 'Rank-Up-Magic' in its name from my Deck." After taking her chosen card out, she then told her opponent, "It's your move now."

"Hmmmm... very well." said Gruff as he drew his next card. As he did, he then thought, (Something's amiss here... That was a Quick-Play Spell Card that she added, but she didn't set it...) Not sure what his granddaughter had planned, he decided to go through with what he had planned for this turn. "First thing I'll do is set this Trap Card face-down on the field..." After playing the card face-down, he then added, "And now that I've done that, I think I'll go ahead and activate it!"

"What?!" exclaimed Gilda in surprise.

"But that's impossible!" argued Martin. "You can't activate a Trap Card on the same turn you play it! That's against the rules!"

"You're ALMOST right, Martin." stated Gruff. "But THIS Trap Card is an exception to that rule! I play The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine!! Its effect lets me play it on the same turn I set it as long as I don't have any other Trap Cards in my Graveyard!"

"That's nuts!" said Gilda, sweating a little. "A Trap Card that can activate the same turn it's set?!"

"Indeed, my granddaughter." the older man confirmed. "And after it's played, it becomes a Normal Monster that's Summoned in Defense Mode!" After playing the card, the image of the Trap Card disappeared, leaving behind a small blue flame. It then moved forward, growing in size. After a while, a piece of black-colored armor formed around the flame, encasing it almost completely. Afterwards, a pair of imposing blue eyes shone through the center of the armor (The Phantom Knights of Shade Brigandine: Level 4 / ATK 0 / DEF 300).

Gilda wasn't too intimidated by the creature after seeing its stats. "What could you possibly do with that wimpy little thing?" she asked.

Chuckling a little, Gruff then told her, "You of all people ought t' know that the things that seem t' be wimpy might have powers you're not aware of... Sure, by itself, Shade Brigandine doesn't have a lot of punch... but what if I were to do this?" He then took another card from his hand and played it, shouting, "I Summon The Phantom Knights of Cloven Helm in Attack Mode!!" His next monster was a another wispy blue spirit, this time living inside of a busted-up knight's helmet, along with a pair of metal gloves (The Phantom Knights of Cloven Helm: Level 4 / ATK 1500 / DEF 500).

"Oh... I see now." Gilda replied. "Now you've gotten two Level 4 monsters out."

"Precisely, Gilda my dear." the Griffonstone principal replied. Raising his hand into the air, he then shouted, "I now overlay Shade Brigandine and Cloven Helm, both Level 4 to build an Overlay Network!!" And with that, both monsters transformed into a pair of purple lights that were immediately drawn into a red summoning portal.

"He's doing another Xyz Summon!!" exclaimed Gabby. "But what is he Summoning this time?"

Giving out a small grunt, Gilda told her, "If I know my old man as well as I think I do, I have a feeling I know what it is..." The three Griffonstone students could only watch as their principal prepared to Summon another powerful beast.

"Formed from pitch-black darkness, to fight those foolish enough to oppose it with its treacherous fangs!" said Principal Gruff, reciting a chant that Gilda knew full, and for good reason. "Xyz Summon! Appear now! Rank 4! Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon!" he finished as the portal shot a powerful red light. From out of that light came none other than the mighty and extremely rare Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon, which looked very similar to the one Gilda had in her Deck (Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon: Rank 4 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2000 / OLU 2).

"There it is..." Gilda said to herself, knowing that her grandfather was trying to Summon this monster.

"I-I-I don't believe it!!" said Martin, shocked. "He has Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon in his Deck too?! I had no idea!"

"Oh it's more than just that, whippersnapper..." Gruff told the boy. "This card's got quite a history in this family. All of the great Duelists in my family have used this as our ace card. First me, then my son, and now Gilda. It's the perfect representation of what our family is like: strong and powerful, as well as having a knack for using our foes' power against them."

"Wow... is that really true, Gilda?" Martin asked her.

"Yep, all of it." she answered. "All of the Duelists in our family that were particularly strong have been usin' Dark Rebellion in our Decks. I'm the most recent member of my family to become a Duelist, so my Gramps gave me my own copy of the card."

"Really?" asked Gabby. "But the card is so rare... How did he get so many of them?"

"Let's just say that my gramps has a knack for always being able to find rare cards like that one." Gilda simply stated. "As well as pretty good pulls in booster packs. He makes it looks so easy sometimes." She then turned to face her grandfather's dragon and smirked, saying, "But that doesn't mean he's gonna have the same luck in this Duel, because that dragon won't be able to stop me!"

"Hmmm, I suppose it wouldn't." Gruff stated calmly. "Which is why he WON'T be."

"Huh? What's that mean?" asked the tough girl.

"You'll find out soon enough..." the man told her. "But first things first, I'll use Dark Rebellion's effect by removing both its Overlay Units. (Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon: OLU 2 - 2 = 0) I use the effect to cut your Tribute Lanius's attack points in half, and give them to my dragon!" The two orbs that surrounded the dragon were then absorbed into it, allowing the creature to strike Gilda's Raidraptor monster with purple lightning bolts that sucked the power away from it (Raidraptor - Tribute Lanius: ATK 1800 ÷ 2 = 900) (Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon: ATK 2500 + 900 = 3400).

"Urrrgh...! That all you got, old man?!" shouted Gilda, not intimidated in the slightest, even after having the effect of Dark Rebellion used against her.

"I'm afraid not, Gilda my dear." the Griffonstone principal informed her. "I planned on hitting you with every last bit of my power, and that's what I'm going to do right here and now!" Taking a card out of his Graveyard, he then told his granddaughter, "I banish Silent Boots from my Graveyard to use its effect, which allows me to add any Phantom Knights Spell Card or Trap Card from my Deck to my hand." After removing his monster from the Graveyard, his Deck automatically shuffled the rest of his cards, leaving his chosen card sticking out for him to take.

"So... what card do you think he took, Martin?" Gabby asked him.

"I suppose we'll know soon enough..." the younger boy responded, trembling a bit out of fear and anxiousness. Gilda, however, was doing her best not to let her grandfather see her sweat.

After taking the card that he chose with Silent Boots's effect, he then said, "And now I'll go right ahead and activate the card I chose... You know the old saying, 'Two can play at that game'? Well, since you seemed to like increasing your Xyz Monsters' power - like you did with your Stranger Falcon, then allow me to do the same! I play the Quick-Play Spell, The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch!!"

"What the-?! No way!!" shouted Gilda. "He's got a Rank-Up Card too?!?"

"You didn't know?" asked Martin, shocked that, of all people, Gilda wouldn't know about a card in her own grandfather's Deck. "How come??"

"No, she doesn't know 'bout THIS rare card..." stated Gruff. "Because up until now, I never had the chance to play it! In all of my past Duels, I've usually ended the game long before I could establish this powerful combo. As a result, you three are the very first people to witness my Deck's TRUE ultimate monster before your very eyes!!"

"T-t-t-true ultimate monster???" asked a shaking and nervous Gabby. "What could it possibly be??"

Gilda didn't know for sure, but after thinking for a while, she then asked herself, (Wait... his true ultimate monster...? No way...! Could he... Could he actually have THAT card??)

"Now I use the effect of The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch!" declared Principal Gruff. "First, I target one DARK-Attribute Xyz Monster on my field that has no Overlay Units left; I choose Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon! And after I do, I can use him as an Overlay Unit to Xyz Summon another DARK monster that is one Rank higher!!"

"Dark Rebellion is a Rank 4 monster..." noted Martin. "So that means he's planning to Summon a Rank 5!" Gilda knew that too, and was pretty sure she knew what was coming, even though she had never seen her Grandfather play it before.

At that very moment, Dark Rebellion was shrouded in a thick, black cloud as lightning filled the battlefield. Not only that, the dragon itself started to crack apart, as if there was something inside of it that was trying to come out. "From the depths of Purgatory, sing the song of rebellion dedicated to the unsinking souls!" Gruff chanted loudly. "Appear and echo forevermore! Rank-Up Xyz Evolution!!"

After he said all of that, the creature then burst apart, revealing a similar-looking, but much different monster underneath. This new dragon was similar in color, but it was now covered in thick armor that had a bone-like appearance to it in some parts. Overall, it had a more crystalline appearance to it. It wings now looked multiple large swords were stuck onto the beast, making it look even more imposing. The many crystal-like spheres integrated into its body were glowing bright purple, and a single, purple orb orbited around it.

"Appear, Rank 5! Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon!!" Gruff said, finishing the summoning chant.

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Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Dragon/DARK/Rank 5/ATK 3000/DEF 2500)

3 Level 5 monsters
If this card has "Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon" as material, it gains these effects.
* Once per turn: You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; change its ATK to 0, and if you do, this card gains ATK equal to that monster's original ATK.
* When your opponent activates a monster effect (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card, then you can Special Summon 1 Xyz Monster from your GY.

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Gilda stood there, in complete awe at her Grandfather's most powerful monster. "Dark Requiem... Xyz Dragon..." she said to herself. "So my Gramps really did have it all this time... I can't believe it..."

"It's... it's so amazing to look at..." Gabby complimented, her eyes sparkling. "Even though it looks so vicious, it's also kind of pretty, too!"

"I have to admit, this is certainly a sight to behold..." Martin chimed in. "That monster is basically an evolution of Dark Rebellion, and therefore, it must be even MORE powerful! And that's not a good thing for Gilda right now..."

Gilda was a bit intimidated by this powerful dragon being Summoned in front of her, but wasn't about to let that keep her from fighting back. Showing her grandfather no fear, she looked at him and asked, "So I guess I'm not like your other opponents, huh old man? I actually forced you to use your secret trump card against me, is that right?"

"You could look at it that way, I suppose..." Principal Gruff told his granddaughter. "Or perhaps I want to provide you with the ultimate test; a challenge worthy of our family name! If you've truly learned from your recent experiences, then you should have no problem holding your own against my most powerful monster!"

"Is that so?" asked the tough chick. Smirking and psyched up to take on such a powerful opponent, she told him, "Then bring it on, Gramps!"

"You got it, Gilda my dear!" the old man responded with the same amount of vigor.

"That's so awesome..." said Gabby. "Even with that super-tough monster out, Gilda's not flinching even for a second! I'd love to be just like her!"

"To have the courage to fight against impossible odds..." Martin said mostly to himself. He then began thinking some about what Gilda and Principal Gruff had told him about standing up for himself.

"I now continue my turn by using the second effect of my Rank-Up card!" the Griffonstone principal shouted. "After it successfully Summons an Xyz Monster, the Spell Card itself becomes an additional Overlay Unit for that monster!" After he said that, the Spell Card's image on the field began glowing, transforming into a bluish-green light that flew out and merged itself into Gruff's new monster (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: OLU: 1 + 1 = 2). "And now that he has two Overlay Units, my Dark Requiem is ready to use its new power!"

"Oh, really?" shouted Gilda, doing her best to remain brave. "Then let's see what you've got, Gramps! I ain't scared!"

"Very well then!" the older man replied. "I remove one Overlay Unit from Dark Requiem to use its first effect!" After saying that, one of the two floating purple orbs phased into the sphere on the dragon's chest (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). "By doing so," he continued, "I can now select any of your monsters on the field and drop its attack power all the way down to nothing! And I choose Stranger Falcon!"

"What?!" shouted Gilda. But she couldn't do anything as the orbs on Dark Requiem's wings began turning a deep black. Not long after, the orbs shout several black tentacles that wrapped themselves around Gilda's Xyz Monster, sapping its power completely (Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon: ATK 2000 > 0).

"Don't worry too much, whippersnapper." Gruff told her. "Those attack points won't be gone completely. Because after Dark Requiem drains a monster's attack power, he then gains those attack points for himself!" (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: ATK 3000 + 2000 = 5000)

Gasping, Gabby then exclaimed, "That's just like Dark Rebellion's effect!"

"Not quite." Martin told her. "Dark Rebellion only saps half the attack power of a monster... But THIS one drains it completely, and for half the cost to use it! And who knows what other powers that beast might have?"

"Gee... this doesn't look good for Gilda..." the younger girl responded. "I hope she'll be okay..."

Gruff then gave a smirk of his own and told his granddaughter, "I hope for your sake you have some sort of plan, because if I attack your Stranger Falcon right now, this Duel will be over! His five thousand attack points are more than enough to wipe out the rest of your Life Points!" Pointing forward, "It's time for battle, Dark Requiem! I know you've been waitin' for a chance like this, so go out there and take down Stranger Falcon!!" The beast roared loudly as it flew straight up into the air and spread its wings. Then, in between the gaps in its wings, a stained glass-like pattern began to form.

"Wow... it's beautiful..." Gabby commented, who couldn't deny that fact even as it was about to take Gilda down for the count.

"GO!! Disobeying Requiem Disaster!!" Gruff shouted to his monster. The dragon's chin spike then began glowing with pure energy as it prepared for a powerful dive-bomb attack that would end the Duel. "This Duel is over, Gilda!" After that, the dragon struck its target, causing a powerful explosion of energy.

"Oh no! Gilda!!" shouted both Martin and Gabby, concerned for their friend.

As the smoke cleared, Gruff was sure that last attack won him the game... but he gasped when he saw that Gilda was still standing. Not only that, her Life Points were still intact (Gilda: LP 3,100). "What?! How did you survive that?!" shouted Gruff, having been caught completely off-guard.

"...Gramps, did you already forget about the card that I had my Tribute Lanius send to my Graveyard?" asked the roughneck. She then took out the card in question from her Graveyard and showed it to everyone: Raidraptor - Readiness.

"Oh! Of course!!" exclaimed Martin. "That's what happened!"

"Wh-what happened?" asked Gabby, not sure what was going on.

"It's simple:" Gilda began. "By banishing Raidraptor - Readiness from my Graveyard, I stop all damage to my Life Points this turn. Meaning that even though my monster was destroyed in the battle, I'm still perfectly fine!"

"...I see. I had a feeling you wouldn't leave yourself wide open like that. Good move, my dear." complimented Principal Gruff. He then thought to himself, (Back in the Inter-school Duel, she had that card in her Graveyard, but couldn't use it because she recklessly banished all of her Raidraptors... She certainly has learned quite a bit from that Duel after all... Now let's see if she keep up the good work or not.) He then told her, "You stopped one move, Gilda... but I still have plenty more where that came from!"

"Well unfortunately for you, they'll have t' wait for a while, old man." the tough girl informed him. "Y'see by sending my Raidraptor - Stranger Falcon to the Graveyard, you let me use its ability."

"Its ability?" asked the elderly man.

"Yep, but even before that, I'll chain one of my own cards to that effect!" Gilda told him, as she tapped her D-Pad's touchscreen. "I activate the Trap Card, Raidraptor - Return! Since one of my Raidraptor monsters was destroyed in a battle, this card lets me retrieve any Raidraptor from my Graveyard! And I'll choose my Raidraptor - Sharp Lanius!" After taking her card and putting it in her hand, she then continued, saying, "Now that that's done, I'll resolve Stranger Falcon's effect, which lets me Special Summon my Raidraptor - Force Strix from the Graveyard in Defense Mode. Not only that, I can then attach Stranger Falcon to it as an Overlay Unit!"

"Wow!! She had the perfect defense all set up!! Did she really think that far ahead?!?" asked an astonished Gabby. "Amazing!!"

"Yes, considering the fact that she wasn't even aware of Dark Requiem being in Principal Gruff's Deck." Martin pointed out. "And not only that, but thanks to Force Strix's effect, it even gains more attack and defense points for the other monsters she has on the field!" (Raidraptor - Force Strix: ATK 100 + 1500 = 1600 / DEF 2000 + 1500 = 3500 / OLU 0 + 1 = 1).

Gruff couldn't help but be very proud of his granddaughter for making such an excellent move. "You managed to survive my monster's five thousand attack points without even a scratch. That was quite an expert play on your part." he praised her. "But I still have an extremely powerful monster on the field, and until he goes, you're still a long ways away from winning this Duel!" He then took a card out of his Graveyard and added, "Especially since I'm doing this; I take The Phantom Knights' Rank-Up-Magic Launch that I sent to my Graveyard after using Dark Requiem's effect and banish it to use my Spell Card's effect! This allows me to attach The Phantom Knights of Fragile Armor to Dark Requiem as an additional Overlay Unit!"

For an instant, a ghostly blue figure wearing cracked and damaged armor appeared on Gruff's field. Then, it transformed into a purple light that phased into his Xyz Monster, becoming a purple orb that orbited it (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: OLU: 1 + 1 = 2).

"Now it has two Overlay Units again..." Martin observed. "But he can only use Dark Requiem's attack-draining effect once per turn. So why is he attaching another card to it now...?"

Gilda thought the same thing, and figured that he had a plan in store for her. But she wasn't about to let that scare her. In fact, it only made more determined to win this Duel. "Is that all you've got then?" she asked her grandfather. Gruff simply nodded to say that his turn was over. "Good, then let's wrap this Duel up right now! I draw!!" She then pulled her next card and looked at it. Placing it into her hand, she then shouted, "Let's make this Duel a little more interesting! I now overlay my Level 4 Tribute Lanius and Fuzzy Lanius to build an Overlay Network!!" and in an instant, her two monsters transformed into a pair of purple lights that flew into a red portal in front of her (Raidraptor - Force Strix: ATK 1600 - 1000 = 600 / DEF 3500 - 1000 = 2500)

"Is she Summoning what I think she's Summoning?" asked Martin, curious.

"Formed from pitch-black darkness, to fight those foolish enough to oppose it with its treacherous fangs!" Gilda chanted. "Xyz Summon! Appear now! Rank 4! Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon!" And with that, Gilda Summoned her Dark Rebellion card to fight against her grandfather.

"Hmm, so it's a battle between our two dragons you want?" asked Gruff, asking as if he expected that move.

"Hmmm, this could work..." Martin noted. "If Gilda uses Dark Rebellion's effect to cut Dark Requiem's attack in half, then her dragon will have enough power to wipe out both it and Principal Gruff's Life Points at the same time!" However, his face also showed a look of concern; he had a feeling that something wasn't quite right, based on the fact that Gruff didn't seem too afraid of seeing Gilda's ace monster showing up.

Taking out both of the cards from under her Xyz Monster, she then shouted, "I use the effect of Dark Rebellion (Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon: OLU 2 - 2 = 0)!! Cut Dark Requiem's attack power in half!!" And with that her monster prepared to do just that as it shot out several bolts of purple lightning towards Principal Gruff.

"Not so fast!" the older man responded. "I counter with the other effect of Dark Requiem! By using up one Overlay Unit (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: OLU: 2 - 1 = 1), I can negate your monster's effect and destroy it!" The others gasped in shock as Dark Requiem absorbed another of its floating orbs to use it other power. It then gave out a loud roar as a dark-purple portal emerged in front of it. Out of the portal came a familiar figure, shrouded in a bright shield that deflected Dark Rebellion's power right back at it, taking it out of the fight for good. Afterwards, the shield vanished, revealing the figure inside was none other than The Phantom Knights of Break Sword.

"Huh?! Where did he come from??" asked Gabby, confused.

"Well, as an added bonus," Gruff told everyone, "after Dark Requiem negates an effect, he also lets me Special Summon an Xyz Monster from my Graveyard. And since I still had Break Sword sitting in there, I was able to revive it." Smirking, he then informed his granddaughter, "I expected you'd try to fight power with power, and I was good and ready for it. That's the same thing that cost you the Inter-school Duel. I thought you would have learned from that."

Gilda said nothing back and continued with her turn. "I now activate the effect of Raidraptor - Force Strix. I remove an Overlay Unit to take any DARK Winged Beast monster from my Deck and put it in my hand." (Raidraptor - Force Strix: OLU 1 - 1 = 0)

"Sorry, my dear... but I won't allow that either!" Principal Gruff told her. "I use Dark Requiem's effect a second time and negate Force Strix's effect!" His dragon then absorbed the other orb floating around it (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: OLU: 1 - 1 = 0), and at that moment, a bolt of purple lightning fired from out of the ground, destroying Force Strix before it could use its power. "And because I did, I can now revive Dark Rebellion, which I detached just now to use Dark Requiem's effect!" And just as he said, his other dragon returned to the field, ready for a fight.

"This is bad..." said Martin. "Principal Gruff has three Xyz Monsters out, and they have a combined attack power of 9,500! There's no way Gilda will survive an attack by all of them!"

But Gabby wasn't ready to give up on her. "No! She can do it!" she said. "She can't give up after coming this far!! No way!!" She then shouted to Gilda, "You can still win this Duel!! Do what you did back in school and stand up for yourself!! If you can beat that mean guy in Gym Class, then you can beat this thing, too!"

Inspired by Gabby's spirit-fueled words, Martin smiled and cheered, "She's right, Gilda! You CAN win this! You just have to remember everything you've learned up to this point! You have everything you need to pull this off!!"

(He's right...! That's exactly what I have to do!) Gilda pondered in her mind. (I just need to remember how that Inter-school Duel played out... I need to try and figure out exactly how Fluttershy had won that game...) She then looked at the cards in her hand closely... and figured it out. (That's it! I know what I have to do now, and it's all because of the fact that I had this card ready to go...) Taking a card from her hand, she then announced, "I Summon Raidraptor - Sharp Lanius in Attack Mode!" And with that, her red-armored bird monster emerged onto the field. "And next, I'll overlay him and my Level 4 Avenge Vulture to create an Overlay Network!"

"Another Xyz Summon?!" asked Gruff, not sure what his Granddaughter was planning.

"I Xyz Summon ANOTHER Force Strix!!" Gilda declared as another copy of her owl-like monster appeared onto the field.

"Hmph... so I guess you had nothing else left to do but that." her grandfather simply said. "But his defense points aren't enough to stop my monster's attacks!"

"...He's not in Defense Mode, old man." the tough chick told him. "I Summoned Force Strix in Attack Mode!!"

"Attack Mode?!?" gasped Gruff. "But why?!"

"Just watch and see." Gilda told him. "For my next move, I'll Special Summon Raidraptor - Singing Lanius in Defense Mode, since I control an Xyz Monster." Her next card was a tiny, brown and yellow bird that was, like her other Raidraptors, covered in armor (Raidraptor - Singing Lanius: Level 4 / ATK 100 / DEF 100). "And since he's out, my Force Strix gains 500 more attack and defense points!" (Raidraptor - Force Strix: ATK 100 + 500 = 600 / DEF 2000 + 500 = 2500).

"It's still not enough to get over any of my monsters, Gilda." the elderly man reminded her. "Your plan won't work!"

"Well, we'll just see about that!" Gilda shouted. "Force Strix, attack his Break Sword!!"

"She's attacking?!" asked Martin. "But her monster's attack power is too low! It can't win!"

Gruff was equally as confused by this shocking move as Gilda's monster flew towards its intended target. Of course, Break Sword hardly broke a sweat as it raised its sword and slashed at Gilda's monster, destroying it and damaging her Life Points (Gilda: LP LP: 3,100 - 1,400 = 1700). "What was the point of that??" asked Gruff, still not sure what she was doing. "Are you trying to knock yourself out of this Duel?!?"

"No, I'm trying to win this Duel, old man!" she rebutted. "And now that Force Strix is destroyed, I can now play this Quick-Play Spell Card! Go, Rank-Up-Magic Doom Double Force!!"

(Wh-what?!?) Gruff asked in his mind. He had completely forgotten about the card that her Tribute Lanius had allowed her to pull from her Deck.

"This card revives any Raidraptor Xyz Monster that was destroyed in battle during this turn back to my field!" Gilda explained. "So come back, Force Strix!" And with that, her monster instantly reappeared on the field. "But best of all, I can now use the resurrected Force Strix to Summon an Xyz Monster with DOUBLE the Rank!!"

"DOUBLE?!?" exclaimed everyone else.

At that moment, Force Strix transformed into a ball of purple light that was immediately sucked into a black portal with an image of the Raidraptor's symbol overtop of it. "Dauntless falcon!" Gilda chanted. "Hoist up the flames of anger, become the flash of light that burns the land to ashes! Rank-Up Xyz Evolution!!"

Everyone watched as the skies began to darken around them. Lightning crashed along the clouds above as an enormous bird-like creature in bright white, gold, and red-colored armor appeared above them all. The green orb in its armor began glowing very brightly as a show of its power, and a single, purple orb orbited it.

"Soar! Rank 8! Raidraptor - Satellite Cannon Falcon!!" shouted Gilda, finishing her chant. "Let's win this Duel right here, right now!!"

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Raidraptor - Satellite Cannon Falcon:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Winged Beast/DARK/Rank 8/ATK 3000/DEF 2000)

2 Level 8 Winged Beast monsters
If this card is Xyz Summoned by using a "Raidraptor" monster as material: You can destroy all Spells and Traps your opponent controls. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; it loses 800 ATK for each "Raidraptor" monster in your GY.

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Everyone watching was in a state of shock at how easily Gilda managed to call up such a powerful monster to her side of the field. The one who was astonished most of all was probably Principal Gruff,; he wasn't expecting such a move on his granddaughter's part. (So this was her plan...) he thought. (She didn't set her Quick-Play card so that she could make sure that she would have it at such a crucial moment... And she destroyed her own monster and took a blow to her Life Points just so she could activate it... I never would've guessed...!)

With her new and extremely powerful Raidraptor behind her, Gilda smirked and told her grandfather, "You look a little surprised, don't you? I told ya: I ain't the same Gilda back before the Inter-school Duel! I'm new and certainly improved! While the old me would've played out everything she got without leaving room for a backup plan, I chose to hold back a little and save the big guns for when I needed 'em!" Pointing forward, she finished her speech, saying, "And because I did, I'll finally be able to beat you and your 'ultimate Deck'!"

"Hmmmm... I do admit that your move to Summon Satellite Cannon Falcon was quite impressive." the older man commented. "But even if you attack my weaker monsters, I'll still have Life Points left! Then on my next turn, Dark Requiem can finish you off!"

"If you make it to the next turn, that is." Gilda informed him. "And I can assure you that you won't!" Raising her hand into the air, she then yelled, "I activate the Quick Effect of Satellite Cannon Falcon! By removing one Overlay Unit, I can select one monster you have on the field, and shave off 800 of its attack points for every Raidraptor I've got in my Graveyard!"

"Urk! F-for every one of them?!?" exclaimed Gruff with a gasp.

Taking the card out from underneath her Xyz Monster card, she nodded and said, "That's right, old man... And after I send Force Strix attached to him to my Graveyard, I'll have a total of nine Raidraptors in my Graveyard!" (Raidraptor - Satellite Cannon Falcon: OLU 1- 1 = 0) Pointing towards her grandfather's side of the field, she then triumphantly told him, "So your Dark Requiem loses 7,200 attack points!!"

"This can't be!!" shouted Gruff. "Even after he used his effect, Dark Requiem doesn't have that many attack points!! Wh-which means that-"

"That he loses ALL of them!" Gilda finished his statement. "And since he also used up all his Overlay Units as well, he can't stop this effect from working!" After Gilda finished her remark, her powerful monster unleashed a barrage of explosives aimed straight for Dark Requiem's wings. After they detonated, the dragon was still standing, but its power to fight was totally gone (Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon: ATK 5000 - 7200 = 0).

"So THAT was her real plan!!" Martin said, realizing what had taken place. "Gilda used her other monster's effects just to get rid of Dark Requiem's Overlay Units! That way, he couldn't prevent Satellite Cannon Falcon from activating its effect!"

"Woah... that's... that's the COOLEST thing I've ever seen!!" cheered Gabby with lots of excitement. "And now she's gonna win!!"

Gruff was honestly surprised by how well Gilda played her move this turn. Despite the odds against her, Gilda not only managed to stay cool, but played in a way that perfectly mixed brute force with strategic thinking. No doubt, this was Gilda's true strength as a Duelist. He smiled to himself and thought, (I should have expected no less from her... No doubt about it: We have a new champ in our family.)

With the stage all set for her victory, Gilda went ahead to give the finishing blow. "Now, Satellite Cannon Falcon!! Attack Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon with all the power you've got!!"

Her monster obeyed and flew up into the skies above, soaring through the digital clouds above, and then out of Earth's atmosphere. Even from way up high, Satellite Cannon Falcon was able to pinpoint its target to prepare for a mighty attack. With the target locked-on, the Raidraptor fanned out its heavy metal wings, charging up energy into them. The flow of power then briefly took on the form of the Raidraptor's symbol as it aimed its numerous guns towards the planet.

"Now GO!! Shatter him!!" Gilda shouted. "Eternal Vengeance!!"

Satellite Cannon Falcon then fired a large beam of green light towards down towards the Earth, followed by smaller beams fired from its six side cannons that helped to fuel to larger one. The beam zipped down to the ground below, and eventually, it found its target. Dark Requiem was instantly vaporized by the beam, and the excess power struck Principal Gruff, taking out the rest of his Life Points and ending the Duel (Grampa Gruff: LP: 2,000 - 3,000 = 0) (WINNER: Gilda).

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

With the game over, the AR images faded away as Martin and Gabby came to congratulate their friend. "That was AMAZING, Gilda!!" Gabby cheered. "You beat him!! You beat a real Pro Duelist!!"

"And in a most fantastic and excellent way as well!" Martin added. "You seemed to have every move so well-calculated and planned out."

"Well, I don't know about EVERY one of my moves being that well thought out," the tough chick commented, "but I guess I had the right mind to save my best moves for the end. In any case, thanks... both of you for supporting me out there. Dash was right; it does feel pretty good to have friends out there to cheer for you."

Just then, Principal Gruff walked over to his granddaughter to give his thoughts as well. "Gilda, my dear... you were quite a fantastic opponent." he told her. "I'm very proud of you."

"Hey, I've got you to thank for that." she responded. "You taught me everything I know."

"No, not everything." he admitted. "You had some dueling knowledge that even I couldn't teach you. Knowledge that you learned on your own, through your past experiences. That is what won you this Duel. Because you took what you learned from your defeat at the Inter-school Duel and used it to improve yourself during this Duel. Now you have what it takes to become our family's greatest champion!"

"I do?" asked Gilda, flattered by having heard that.

"Well... ALMOST everything." Gruff said. "I think there's one last thing I can offer to you before setting you on such a path." He then took out two cards from his Deck and showed them to his granddaughter. "Take these, Gilda... and use them well."

Seeing the cards that he was offering her made Gilda's heart skip a beat. "What?! But that's... Dark Requiem! And your Rank-Up card!! I can't take these!!" she exclaimed in shock.

"You absolutely can, my dear." the old man insisted. "You proved that you're more than deserving of them in our Duel together. I had my suspicions, but I had to know for sure if you had what it took to become the best in our family."

"So... so that's why you wanted to Duel me?" asked Gilda, now finally understanding what her grandfather's motive was.

"Exactly." he answered. "As I said, this was a test to see how far you've come since the Inter-school Duel... but also to see if you were worthy of becoming our family's newest and most powerful champ. And I can say without a doubt, that you passed that test perfectly. And such hard work and determination deserves nothing but the best rewards... Hence why I am giving you my Dark Requiem Xyz Dragon."

Gilda just stared at the card, amazed by all that her grandfather was telling her. Still not sure if he was serious, she then asked, "Is... is it really okay for me to have it? It's your favorite card, after all."

"My time as a serious Duelist has passed by, Gilda." Gruff told her. "With all these new, young Duelists out n' about, I can barely keep up with the times anyway. I'd rather spend out my years behind a desk than out on the battlefield. And besides that, this Duel alone is makin' my pacemaker work overtime... But now I can retire knowin' that our family will have a worthy successor as a dueling champion! And rather than have my precious Dark Requiem collect dust in an old box, I'd much rather have it duelin' alongside someone that can give him all the fun he could ever want! And I know that you, Gilda my dear, are the Duelist that can do that. So I insist that you take it, and let be able to battle for the both of us."

Gilda thought long and hard about what her grandfather told her. After all that he said, there was no way she couldn't accept his gift. Nodding with a smile, she said to him, "If that's what you think... then sure. I'll accept it." And with that, the deal was made; Gruff handed the cards over to his granddaughter, knowing that they were in good hands.

"Wow, that's great, Gilda!" Gabby said to her. "You got Dark Requiem for yourself now! Now you'll be like... a-a-a baJILLION times stronger now!"

"...While bajillion is not a real number," Martin stated, "she is right that you've become much stronger now than before... And I feel that some of that new strength may exist outside of your Deck, if you know what I mean."

Gilda did know he meant, and nodded, saying, "Thanks Martin. I appreciate the comment."

"And after seeing that Duel, I... I feel that... that it's about time that I begin standing up for myself, just like you had done while facing Dark Requiem in that Duel." the boy then said. "It's about time that I become brave and not let others push me around or make me feel bad. I knew for a while that I can't keep running to others to solve my problems for me and I must become more independent. I'm ready to begin creating a new and improved me!"

"That's good t' hear, buddy." Gilda stated. "Just make sure that this time, when you do, you don't pick up any cursed Duel Monsters cards like last time."

"Um... yes, of course." Martin responded, blushing a little.

Gabby then walked up to Gilda and asked her, "Say um, Gilda...? I have some Duel Monsters cards too, but I never tried playing the game yet... C-could you teach me how? Could you??"

The tough girl paused for a moment; this was the first time that someone actually asked her to teach them how to play Duel Monsters. Smiling warmly, she replied, "No problem. I'll teach ya everything I know: How to build a good Deck, how to play, some basic strategies, everything. What's say I come by your house tomorrow, 12 noon?"

"Sure, I'll let my mom and dad know!" Gabby replied cheerfully. "Thanks!" Gilda chuckled a bit, happy to help someone start their path to become a Duelist.

Principal Gruff smiled a bit himself; for the first time in a long time, he felt really good about himself for helping his granddaughter achieve her dreams. (You've grown up quite a lot in such a short time, my dear.) he thought. (You become stronger in more than one way, and you can only get better from here. Do your best out there, Gilda... After all, you're the one our family looks up to now.)

-- To Be Continued...

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