• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,302 Views, 976 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 33: Cherry, Cherry, Quite Contrary:

Author's Note:

So Season 9 will be the final season... But as long as fans like us exist, Gen 4 will continue to live on. :twilightsmile:

This episode went through several rewrites (including with the Duel) before I finally settled on this. So, hopefully it goes over well with everybody. As for the next update, I might skip next month to catch up on some things, as this month's uncooperative weather has had an adverse effect on getting more writing done.

RANK 33: Cherry, Cherry, Quite Contrary:
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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...

During their Spring Break Vacation, Sunset and her friends have all gone to pursue different activities, often with other friends and/or with their families. While some of them have gone outside of the city of Canterlot, Applejack and her family have decided to stay home and catch up on their work at the apple farm. While farm work was no problem for Applejack's younger sister Apple Bloom, homework was a different story. The young girl had to write a report for her Literature Class, and at first, the task seemed too daunting and too difficult for her to complete.

Noticing her struggling to get her homework done, her older brother Big McIntosh decided to assist her in a rather unique way. He decided to tell his sister the old tale known as Dante's Divine Comedy. But instead of simply reading the story to her, Big Mac decided to make the story come alive with the help of his Burning Abyss Deck. He challenged his younger sister to a Duel with it, taking on her Wind-Up Deck. Although Apple Bloom lost the Duel, she was finally motivated to finish her schoolwork on time.

At that same time, Applejack had gotten a call from a friend of hers named Cherry Jubilee. After speaking with her, AJ decided to go and see her, taking her younger cousin Babs Seed along for the ride. What did Cherry have to tell Applejack, and why was she bringing Babs with her? The answers lie ahead...

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(The following events take place at the same time as the events of "RANK 32: Bloom's Divine Card Game".)
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Inside of the Apple Family home, Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Babs Seed were sitting at the table while Granny Smith and Big Mac were busy in the kitchen making the dinner for tonight. Normally, Applejack would assist them, but this time, she decided to help her younger sister figure out what to do with her homework assignment for her Literature Class (which Bloom had been casually putting off during the entire week).

"Alright, accordin' to what this paper says," Applejack told her sister as she read the instructions, "y'allre supposed to write an essay about a book or some other form of literature of your own choice. Has t' consist of at least 500 words, double-spaced, and you have t' be able to read it in front of the whole class on the day it's due."

"Uuugh... thanks for remindin' me, big sis..." groaned Apple Bloom, her tone of her voice obviously suggesting that she didn't want anything to do with her schoolwork. "It's not fair..." she then said, "it's like the teachers'r TRYIN' to suck the fun outta Spring Break by givin' us homework..."

"Amen t' that, cuz." agreed Babs Seed.

"Now, girls... Ah don't like gettin' assignments over vacation as much as the next person," Applejack told them both, "but the fact remains, Apple Bloom: y'all have an assignment t' do, and as far as Ah know, there ain't never been a member of the Apple Family that's shirked off work of any kind, no matter what!"

"Ah guess so..." replied Apple Bloom with a little sigh. "But Ah don't even know what kinda book Ah'm gonna write about! Knowin' the teacher, Ah probably have t' do it on some really long, really borin' book or somethin' that'll take me the rest of the week t' finish readin'..." She then asked her cousin, "Say, Babs... you're in mah class, too: What did y'all write about?"

"Uh, me?" asked Babs Seed. "I chose The Grapes of Wrath. I liked the sound of the title, so I decided t' go with it. I'll admit, the story wasn't what I was expectin', but it turned out to be bettah than I thought."

"Ah wish it were that easy for me t' choose a book for the report..." Apple Bloom told her.

"Ah'm sure you'll think of somethin', sis." Applejack told her in a reassuring tone of voice. "It's like ya said earlier: You shouldn't try t' force yourself to figure this out, or y'all won't do as well at it. Maybe tomorrow, you'll be able t' come up with somethin', and we'll all help ya out as much as we can!"

"Thanks, big sis." Apple Bloom replied, feeling a little bit better about the whole thing.

A few seconds later, the phone began to ring. "Ah'll get it! Ah'll get it!" Granny Smith called out, making her way over to the phone. Picking it up, she spoke into it and said, "Hello? This is Apple Family Farm! How can we help ya?"

"Why hello there, Granny Smith!" said the voice on the other end. "It's good t' hear from ya again!" The voice was a southern accent, similar to the accent that Applejack's family had, but slightly different. "This is Cherry Jubilee. Ah was callin' 'cause Ah wanted t' talk to AJ a little."

"...Mhmmm... yes..." hummed Granny, listening to what the caller had to say.

Cherry then said to her, "Ah wanted t' tell AJ that Ah was able t' find somethin' that she'd been lookin' for."

"Really?" asked Granny, a bit surprised, but happy to hear that.

"So, if it ain't too much trouble, could y'all put her on the line so Ah can tell her everythin'?" Cherry asked her.

"...Okay, Ah'll tell her." said Granny with a nod. Moving away from the phone, she looked over towards Applejack and loudly spoke to her, "AJ! It's fer you."

"Alright, Ah'll be right over!' said Applejack. She then patted Apple Bloom on the back before getting up and walking over to her grandmother. After taking the phone from her, the orange-skinned girl spoke into the receiver, saying, "Hello? This is Applejack speakin'..."

"Hey there, AJ!" said Cherry on the other end. "Good t' talk to y'all again!"

"Hm? Is that you, Cherry Jubilee?" she asked, happy to hear from a friend of hers again. "How's it goin'?"

"Can't complain none." Cherry answered. "Cherry Hill Ranch is still as strong as evah, thanks mostly to that special fertilizer that your family sent t' us about a month or so ago! The cherry trees have nevah looked healthier than they do now!"

"...Mhmm... well, it's good t' hear from ya after so long!" said Applejack, pleases to hear that her old friend was doing well with herself. "So what's up?"

"Well, Ah was just tellin' your granny that Ah was able t' find that rare card that the two of you asked me 'bout." Cherry stated. "The one you that y'all described just after y'all finished deliverin' the fertilizer that day."

"...You're kiddin'!" the orange girl exclaimed, shocked to hear that. "You found it?! How'd y'all get it?!"

"Let me tell ya, it took quite a while t' track it down." Cherry explained. "y'all wouldn't BELIEVE what these people ask for just fer one li'l ol' card!"

"...Ah've seen some of the prices they ask for on the Internet." Applejack told her. "Ah'll believe ANYTHING."

"Luckily for me," Cherry continued, "some handsome young man gave me a good deal, an' Ah was able to buy it off of him. Ah checked the card a few times over, and Ah can safely say that it's one hundred-percent genuine! The bona fide, honest-t'-goodness real McCoy!"

"That's great t' hear, Cherry!" said an excited Applejack. "Ah'm real grateful that y'all went t' so much trouble just t' help mah li'l cousin out!" Pausing for a second, she then asked, "So, uhm... How much were y'all thinkin' ya wanted for it, Cherry?"

Giggling a bit, her friend told her, "Now don't y'all worry none 'bout it, AJ. You n' I've been friends since we were all in Middle School togethah, before mah family packed up n' moved out of town. Ah haven't forgotten how well we got along back then, and Ah made a promise to help out your li'l cosuin." She then told AJ, "Jus' come on down t' the ranch tomorrow, an' we'll work somethin' out."

"Alright, Cherry. Good t' hear that." the orange girl responded. "Ah'll see y'all tomorrow then. Good night."

"Good night, AJ." Cherry told her before hanging up the phone.

After Applejack had finished talking to her, she hung up the phone and walked back to rejoin her family over at the dinner table. By that time, dinner had just been served, with Babs and Apple Bloom salivating over the juicy, golden roast chicken. AJ sat down to join the others on what was to be another delicious Apple Family meal. As they ate, Babs Seed asked her older cousin, "Say, AJ... Who was dat on the phone earlier?"

"Oh that? That was mah old friend, Cherry Jubilee." the orange girl answered. "She just called to tell me that she found that thing y'all were lookin' for."

"Huh?" asked Babs, a bit surprised. "You mean the thing I was talkin' to ya about last Monday? How'd she get it?"

"Ah'll tell ya about it later, after dinner." Applejack informed her. "Right now, let's just enjoy our meal together as a family." Babs nodded and went back to eating.

By the time that they were done, it had gotten pretty dark outside. So the family decided to spend some time in the living room with each other, switching on a movie that was on TV and watching it while they chatted with each other. Now that Babs was now living nearby them, she was able to spend more time with her other relatives and even slept over at their house every so often (which her parents were perfectly fine with).

At about 10:30 p.m., just about everyone in the house was getting ready for bed. Applejack had just finished taking a shower and was on her way to her bedroom, wearing a soft and comfy bathrobe. As she passed by the guest bedroom, she saw that Babs was busy looking closely at her Duel Monsters Deck. AJ then recalled that, not that long ago, her friend Sunset Shimmer was in that very room doing the same thing. She remembered it mostly because that was the night that the Number Cards had first shown up.

The orange girl then strolled inside to talk with her younger cousin before turning in for the night. Walking over to her, she asked, "Are ya busy right now, Babs?"

Looking over to her, Babs answered, "Nah, not really AJ. Just lookin' ovah mah cards a bit. Dat's all." She then asked her, "What'cha wanna talk about?"

Deciding to sit down next to her, Applejack then told her, "Just wanted to tell you what we'll be doin tomorrow. At ten in the mornin', you n' I will head on over t' the Cherries' farm an' talk with Cherry Jubilee about gettin' that rare card for ya. It'll be a long trip, so make sure t' tell your folks and get everything you'll be needin'."

"Yeah, sure. I'll do that." Babs responded. She then asked, "So... what's this friend of yours like, Cuz? Is... she really gonna be nice enough to let me have that card?"

"Who, Cherry?" asked Applejack. "Of course she's a nice person, Babs! She n' Ah used t' be in Middle School together; we got along like two peas in a pod!" Sighing sadly a bit, she then told her, "But some time after Middle School was over, her family moved outta the city to set up their new farm over in Dodge Junction. Ah remember how sad Ah was when she left; she was one of mah best friends growin' up an' Ah hated t' see her leave. Luckily, we exchanged phone numbers so that we could keep in touch with each other and tell each other how things are going. And our two families help each other out as well, which means she an' Ah still get t' meet up with each other every now an' then."

"...I guess she sounds pretty nice, based on the way yous put it." stated Babs.

"She is, though Ah will say she is a bit eccentric at times." the orange girl admitted. "Don't worry, Ah have no doubts that she will give you that rare card, but if Ah know Cherry as well as Ah think Ah do, she won't just simply hand it over: You'll probably have t' do something for her in exchange for the card."

Babs hummed about it for a bit, but smiled and said, "That's no problem f' me, Cuz. After all, I've done way hardah things t' get cards." Looking at her Deck, she added, "After all, I was willing t' risk everythin' t' get mah Deck back from those jerks that stole it from me, so how hard could gettin' one card from somebody really be?"

"Ah'm just sayin' y'all should be prepared for whatever she might ask of ya." AJ said to her younger cousin. She then smiled and added, "But whatever it is, Ah know you'll be able t' handle it, just like how y'all handled that Duel with that Skyblaze woman a while back."

"Heh... thanks, Cousin AJ." said Babs, happy to know that her cousin had faith in her. "With yous by my side, dat card's as good as mine!"

"Then y'all had better get get some sleep, or y'all will be too tired to come with me t' Dodge Juction tomorow." Applejack informed her.

"Yeah, good call, Cuz." Babs then stretched her arms and yawned, saying, "G'night, AJ."

"Good night, Babs. Sweet dreams." the orange girl said as Babs got under the covers and began to fall asleep. Applejack then turned the light off and closed the door a bit before heading off to her own bedroom for some rest herself. She was determined to help her cousin get the rare card that Cherry had promised her, no matter what she may ask of her in return.

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Early next morning, at about 10 a.m. or so, all the members of the Apple Family were up and about. They had already started to preform their daily chores in and around the farm. Thankfully, thanks to their break from school, all of them had been able to get more done in the past few days, so everything was well taken care of by this point.

Applejack walked back into the farmhouse after wrapping up a few loose ends that she wanted to take care of before she and Babs left for their trip. "Hey, Babs! Babs!!" she shouted, trying to get her attention. "Where are ya?! We've gotta get movin' now if we wanna make it t' Dodge Junction early enough!"

"I'm ovah here, AJ!" Babs called out from the dining room. The orange-skinned girl walked into the room and saw Babs was looking over her Deck one last time before she and her older cousin headed off to see Cherry Jubilee. Not wanting to keep her cousin waiting any longer, she put her Deck away in her box, packed it and her dueling gear in her backpack, and rushed over to meet AJ. "Okay, I'm ready t' go!"

"Good." said Applejack, checking the time on her cell phone. "If we get goin' right now, we oughtta make it t' Dodge Junction in about two hours." She then asked her younger cousin, "Are your folks okay with y'all comin' with me?"

"I asked them last night before I went t' sleep, and they said they was okay with it." the Manehattan-born girl told her. "They really seem t' trust ya if they was willin' t' let ya do this."

"Yeah, Ah suppose so." AJ replied. "In any case, Ah'm glad they were willin' t' let ya come with me. Now let's hope mah truck is just as cooperative as your mom n' dad were." The two of them then strolled over to the hat-wearing teen's vehicle, loading up their things and preparing for the long trip ahead. Once they were ready, the two of them jumped inside and secured their seatbelts as AJ got her key out. "Alright, let's see if the ol' girl will start up okay..." she said, hoping that it wouldn't give much trouble.

But after she inserted the key and turned it, the old pickup truck made only a few noises before sputtering out. "Hmmmm..." hummed Aapplejack, turning the key a second time. Just like before, the truck didn't do a thing. "Alright, looks like we're gonna need a bit more elbow grease t' get this thing goin'." Rolling up her sleeves, she then told her cousin, "Just gimme a minute while Ah get this all sorted out."

"Alright, whatever ya say, cuz..." Babs replied as Applejack left the truck to try and figure out what the issue was.

Hearing the truck from outside, Apple Bloom and Big Mac left the house to see if Applejack needed any help. "Aw man, not again..." said the bow-wearing girl. "That thing's on the fritz again, huh AJ?"

Applejack popped the hood open, causing a cloud of hot steam to puff out from the truck engine area. "Yeah, looks like it." said the orange teen. "The good news is that it don't look too bad: The radiator just overheated a little, that's all." Turning over to Big Mac, she asked him, "Say bro, can ya go n' find where we keep the jug of antifreeze?"

"Eeeyup!" the older brother replied, running over towards the barn to find it.

A few minutes later, after having finally gotten the truck in working order, Applejack and Babs were finally on their way to meet Cherry Jubilee over in Dodge Junction. "Well, it seems like the truck'll be just fine now, Babs..." noted the farm girl. "As long as the ol' girl keeps goin', we oughtta get there at a good time despite our little hiccup earlier."

"Let's hope so..." Babs responded. "I'd hate t' be stuck out in the middle'a nowhere with no way of gettin' back." She then asked her cousin, "So, are we meetin' this Cherry chick at her farm?"

"No, actually we'll be meetin' her over at this restaurant that's 'bout halfway between her farm an' ours." AJ explained. "Cherry explained it t' me on the phone just this mornin': We'll have some lunch, an' then she'll guide us over to her farm from there."

"I see..." Babs responded. She then asked, "But if that's the case, then why can't we just figure out what t' do 'bout the card at the restaurant? Why do we hafta go all the way over to her place?"

"Ah don't know, t' be honest. She didn't tell me, and she also sounded kinda frantic when she spoke..." Applejack answered. "But in any case, that's what she told us t' do, so we'd better just follow what she said." The Manehattan girl nodded to say that she agreed to do just that. However, the two of them still wondered why they had to go all the way out to Cherry's ranch if they were just going to meet her at a closer location. AJ wondered if it had anything to do with what she might have wanted in exchange for the rare card. Babs, however, just seemed unsure about the whole thing for some reason...

Over a half an hour later, as Applejack and Babs left Canterlot City completely, their surroundings started to look a bit more old and rustic. Anybody who traveled the road that they were on would start to get a feeling of the Old West. Compared to the sights and sounds of Canterlot and its suburbs, it was relatively calm, quiet, and peaceful. In fact, both AJ and Babs felt a bit more at ease just being there.

Having not said much in a while since they left the apple farm, the Manehatten-born girl then asked her older cousin, "So, AJ... yous think Apple Bloom'll finish dat assignment'a hers before we get back or what?"

"Ah'm not too worried, Babs." the farm girl answered her. "She may not look it, but Bloom's a hard worker: Ah'm sure she'll find a way to finish that report somehow. An' besides that, she's got Big Mac n' Granny helpin' her out, too! Who knows? Maybe she'll even find a way to make the assignment fun!"

"Pfft... no offense t' my little cousin or anythin'," Babs responded with a chuckle, "but the day that Apple Bloom has any kind of fun doin' her homework'll be the day that SPYRALs become a Tier 0 Deck."

Applejack let out a slight chuckle herself, but said nothing else in response to her cousin's comment. "Well, in any case," she then said to her, "Ah'm confident that mah li'l sis'll get her work done on time, just like how Ah'm confident that mah friend Cherry'll help you get that card y'all want so bad."

"But how d'ya know she'll come through?" asked Babs. "Dis Cherry chick, I mean." Despite sounding optimistic about it all last night, the young girl still seemed to have concerns about whether or not Cherry would keep her promise.

"Ah just have faith in her, that's all." AJ said with a smile. "She's an old friend, and Ah know she'd never back out on a promise she made herself."

"Well, I guess I can take your word for it..." the red-haired girl responded. "Maybe... Sorry, I-I guess I still don't trust people I don't know aftah what happened right after I got mah stolen Deck back."

Applejack knew what she was talking about: After Babs had sneaked into Skyes Academy and retrieved her stolen cards, some of the people from there had spread lies and rumors that Babs was the one who had stolen the Deck in the first place (most likely Ms. Skyblaze, seeing as she had tried to lie about it right in front of Applejack, her friends, and her family). After the rumors became known, Babs was picked on and scorned by the people that were once her friends, forcing her and her parents to move away to Canterlot. Even though Granny Smith had helped Babs convince the people she knew in her hometown that she was innocent, Babs hadn't yet forgiven them for what they put her through and didn't feel ready to talk to them anytime soon.

Looking up ahead, Applejack saw a large building off in the distance. "Oh! Look over there!" she said. "That's our stop! The Cherry Barrel Restaurant!" AJ breathed a sigh of relief, as she was hoping for something that would allow her to change the subject.

Babs looked out the window and saw where Applejack was pointing to. The restaurant sort of looked like an old-fashioned general store, only much, much bigger. It seemed to be a very popular spot, as the parking lot in front of the restaurant was almost completely filled with cars and other vehicles. "Looks real nice, this place..." stated the Manehattan girl, having never seen a restaurant like this before. At that moment, her stomach began growling a little. Chuckling a bit, she then said, "And just in time: I'm gettin' a bit famished n' stuff."

Chuckling as well, the orange-skinned girl told her younger cousin, "Well Ah'll just go ahead an' find a place t' park, and then we can go right ahead and take care of that li'l belly of yours." She drove around and found a good parking space from what was available, pulling into it carefully. Once the truck was stopped, the two of them hopped out and walked towards the large building.

The two girls glanced around a bit at all of the people going in and out of the restaurant, looking for the person that they were supposed to meet. "D'ya see her yet, Cuz?" asked Babs Seed.

"Mmmmm... Ah don't see anybody just yet, Babs..." Applejack answered. "Maybe she ain't here yet."

But that hypothesis was quickly dispelled when the pair heard the voice of a girl nearby. "Yoohoo~! Over here, AJ~!" the voice shouted, causing both of them to turn around towards where it was coming from. They soon spotted a taller girl waving over at them and trying to get their attention. She had pale yellow skin and bright green eyes, with a small dimple just below the left one. She had gorgeous red hair with darker red streaks and bunched up a bit in the back, with a yellow hairband with small cherry-shaped jewels on it. She wore a long, green dress with a pink waistband and a pink hem at the bottom of the skirt, along with a pink ascot around her neck. On her feet were a pair of pink-and-red boots with a stylish swirl imprinted upon each of them.

"Is that her?" Babs asked her older cousin.

"That's Cherry, alright." confirmed Applejack. "Ah'd recognize that accent o' hers a mile away."

Not wasting any time, the three girls ran over to each other to meet up. Giving her old friend a big hug, Cherry happily said to her, "Aw, Ah'm so glad to see y'all again, AJ! Ah've missed ya so much!"

"Same here, Cherry." Applejack replied, returning the friendly hug. "Always a pleasure t' meet ya." Breaking off from the hug, the orange country girl stepped aside, revealing her younger cousin behind her. "Cherry, Ah'd like y'all t' meet mah cousin: Babs Seed."

"So this is the li'l city girl, huh?" asked the pale yellow girl. Bending down so as to get to eye level with her, Cherry introduced herself to the Manehattan girl, saying, "Ah'm Cherry Jubilee. It's so nice t' finally meet y'all."

"Uh... yeah, same here." Babs replied, a bit startled by Cherry's sunny-sweet personality. "Uh, AJ's told me some stuff about ya; said you was real nice n' all that..."

Giggling a little, Cherry responded, saying, "Oh, Ah try mah best, li'l Babsie." The Manehatten girl blushed a little, embarrassed a bit by the other girl's nickname for her. "An' AJ's told me so much about ya, too! She said you're quite the li'l card shark when it comes t' Duel Monsters!"

"Aheheh... well, I guess you could say that I try my best, too." Babs replied back. Just then, the sounds of her stomach grumbling could be heard by all three of them. Babs blushed out embarrassment again after it happened.

Giggling again, Cherry then suggested, "Tell ya what: We'll talk some more after we go in an' have somethin' t' eat, okay?"

"Sounds great t' me, Cherry." Applejack replied. "Ah could go fer a li'l somethin' too; after all, it's been a pretty long drive all the way out here." The three girls then walked into the restaurant to have their meal and discuss their matters further.

Some time later, Applejack, Babs Seed, and Cherry Jubilee all had a satisfying lunch together (with Cherry offering to pay for their meal). Applejack had a grilled sirloin steak with some biscuits, mashed potatoes, and fried apples on the side, along with a glass of apple juice as a drink. Babs Seed settled for a double cheeseburger, cooked well-done with lettuce and tomatoes, with fries and macaroni and cheese on the side, plus a glass of Colta-Cola. Cherry's meal consisted of hickory-smoked ham with corn muffins and a hashbrown casserole on the side. In place of the vegetable side, Cherry opted instead for an order of sweet Bing cherries (among the many types grown on her ranch), and a glass of black cherry soda.

A little while later, the three of them had finished their meals and were positively stuffed. "Oh man... that was SOOOOO good..." Babs happily groaned. Suddenly, she let out a small burp, causing her to instinctively cover her mouth. "Aheheh... s'cuse me."

"You're forgiven, Babs..." said Applejack, also very much satisfied with her meal. "It ain't often Ah feel so full from a meal that ain't made at our house." Turning over to her friend, she told her, "Thanks fer suggestin' that we come over here t' meet, Cherry."

"Oh, it's mah pleasure, AJ." the dark red-haired gal replied. "Ah figured you n' li'l Babsie would have quite a long drive from your place t' mine, so Ah thought gettin a li'l bite t' eat before we get down to business wouldn't be a bad idea."

"So... about that," Babs began to ask her, "I don't suppose yous have dat card we was talkin' about on ya, by any chance?"

Giggling, Cherry answered her, saying, "As a matter o' fact, Ah actually do!" Getting her purse out and pulling out a card placed inside of a hard plastic card sleeve for protection, she showed it to both Babs and Applejack, saying, "Here it is, girls: The rare card Ah promised ya..."

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Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon:
(Fusion-Effect Monster/Dragon/DARK/Level 10/ATK 3300/DEF 2500)

1 "Predaplant" monster + 1 DARK monster whose original Level is 8 or higher
Must first be Fusion Summoned. Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; until the end of this turn, change that target's ATK to 0, also that target has its effects negated. If this card is destroyed and sent to the GY: Destroy as many monsters on the field as possible, then you can banish 1 Level 8 or higher DARK monster from your GY and Special Summon this card from the GY.

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"Woah... awesome...!" gasped Babs, seeing this powerful and rare card for the first time ever. "Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon... It really does exist!"

"It sure does, li'l Babsie." Cherry told her. Looking at the card herself, she then commented, "T' be honest, this thing looks pretty scary and mean... Y'all SURE ya want a card like this one?"

"Of course I do!" answered the Manehattan girl. "Dat card's the only thing I need t' completely finish mah Deck! Even with AJ's n' Granny Smith's help, I wasn't able t' find one! Yous had bettah BELIEVE that I ain't gonna let this chance pass me by!"

Chuckling a little, Cherry then said, "My, oh my... quite the enthusiastic one, aren't ya?"

"That's Babs fer ya." Applejack told her friend. "Once she sets her mind on gettin' somethin', she ain't never gonna quit 'til she gets it!" Babs nodded to say that her older cousin was speaking the truth.

"Mmmmm... well, if this card's what the li'l gal wants," Cherry hummed, "Ah'd be more than happy to give it to her!"

"F-f-for real? No foolin'?!" asked Babs, part-shocked and also part-delighted to finally get the card that she always wanted. "Thanks so much!" she said, reaching for the card.

"Woah...! Hold on there, li'l Babsie." said the cherry-loving gal, pulling the card away from Babs. "Ah didn't say Ah was just gonna give it to y'all for nothin', now... This card cost me quite a pretty penny, so if you REALLY want it, y'allre gonna have t' do somethin' for me first."

"Uhhhh... like what?" asked Babs.

"Well, see... the thing is, Ah have a bit of a pickle t' sort out over at the ol' cherry ranch." Cherry Jubilee explained, putting the rare card away in her purse for the moment. "See, a couple o' our workers are sick, an' we're li'l shorthanded. So what Ah'm askin' ya is that if y'allre okay with doin' a bit of work for me over at the ranch, Ah'll give you the card as your payment. Ah figure that, for what this card cost me, a day's worth of work on mah ranch would be a fair trade, wouldn't y'all say?"

"You... wants me t' work at your farm?" inquired Babs Seed.

"Is that why ya wanted us t' go to your ranch, even though you told us to meet y'all here?" Applejack asked, having figured it all out.

"Is that alright with ya?" asked Cherry. "Ah know Ah might be askin' a bit much, but mah folks n' Ah really do need some help over at the ranch. Still, it's your choice: Take it or leave it."

"Um... well... uh..." Babs wasn't expecting to have to do something like that for the card she wanted. At first, she didn't seem too keen about doing any sort of hard work, and she wasn't sure what to do. But then, she remembered something that Applejack had said to Apple Bloom yesterday at dinner; that no upstanding member of the Apple Family would ever refuse to do any kind of work, no matter how tough it was. Making her decision, the Manehattan girl sighed a bit and told her, "Fine, I'll take it."

"You will?! That's wonderful! Ah knew ya would!" cheered Cherry Jubilee, happy to know that she would be getting some help. She then asked her friend, "Is... that okay with you, AJ?"

Nodding, Applejack told her, "That's fine with me, Cherry. In fact, Ah'll lend y'all a hand on your farm too."

"You will, AJ? Y'all don't really have to-"

"Ah insist, Cherry." the orange girl interrupted her. "You know as well as Ah do that Ah'll always help out a friend o' mine. So Ah'm gonna help y'all out; and Ah won't take 'no' fer an answer!"

Chuckling a bit, Cherry smiled and said, "Ah'm pretty sure you wouldn't, AJ. Alright then, y'all can give your li'l cousin n' me a hand over at the farm." Checking her watch, she gasped a little and added, "Oh my! We'd bettah get movin' if we wanna get all that work done! Let's hurry!" AJ and Babs nodded as the three of them got up from the table, paid the bill at the front counter and got into their vehicles. Cherry pulled out in her bright red farm truck first, allowing AJ and Babs to follow close behind. Together, they were all on their way over to Cherry's farm to help her out with her work there.

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For the next several minutes, Applejack and Babs Seed were on their way over to the Cherry Hill Ranch, with Cherry Jubilee leading them there so that they wouldn't get lost. As they were on their way over there, Babs glanced over to her older cousin and began to ask, "Uh... AJ?"

"Hm? What's on your mind, Babs?" the orange girl asked her back.

"Oh... uh... well, I've uh... I've just been thinkin'..." the Manehattan girl responded, stuttering a bit as she tried come up with the best way to say what she had to say. "Isn't it just... well, a bit weird?"

"What's weird?"

"Well, what's weird is that dis Cherry chick didn't tell us about helpin' her out at her farm ahead'a time, y'know?" Babs told her cousin. "It's just... yous would think that'd be somethin' she'd tell us right away if it was so important."

"Maybe that's true..." Applejack responded, "but Ah'm sure she had a good reason for not tellin' us 'til now." She then asked the young girl, "Why do y'all sound so worried? It's just gonna be a li'l manual labor; you've done loads of it on the apple farm already."

"It's not the work, really..." Babs told her. "It's just, well... somethin' 'bout dis whole thing smells kinda fishy, don'tcha think?"

"What d'ya mean, Babs?"

"Well..." Babs explained to her cousin, "like I said earilah, I still have a problem with just takin' someone's word as it is. I know she's yer friend and yous trust her n' stuff, but... but I ain't like that: I have a hard time trustin' anybody I just met. Aftah all, that's how I got mah Deck stolen from me..."

"...Babs..." AJ replied, sad to hear this from her younger cousin.

"Even mah friends back home turned on me when dose jerks made up dat lie about me..." the Manehatten girl continued, feeling sadder and angrier just talking about it. "The same people that I thought were mah friends took someone else's word ovah mine without even thinkin' twice... I'll nevah forgive 'em, let alone trust 'em again... No matter how many 'I'm sorry' emails they send me..."

Applejack was concerned for her cousin having trust issues after all the trouble she had back in her old home. Between having her Deck stolen and her old friends turned against her, it seemed as though Babs would have a hard time trusting anyone ever again. "Well, Ah can assure you that this time'll be different, Babs." she said to her. "Ah've known Cherry for a long time, and she'd nevah take advantage of anybody. Sure, she's eccentric - like Ah said earlier on, but she's a good person; Ah know she is." Babs still wasn't sure if she could trust Cherry as much as Applejack did, but decided to go along with it for now.

After a long drive, the three of them finally made it to Dodge Junction. The town was quite small, but also quite lively, with many people walking around and going about their daily business. The town itself seemed like it was pulled straight out of an old western movie, looking similar to an old-fashioned boomtown. Only this one was not in any danger of deteriorating into a ghost town anytime soon. A fully-functioning train station was present, with trains coming into or departing from it on a regular basis. Plastered all over the town were advertisements depicting Cherry Jubilee's farm, Cherry Hill Ranch, which was where they were headed to.

Driving past the ranch entrance's open gates, Applejack, Babs, and Cherry pulled into a large driveway beside a tall, cherry-red barn. As Applejack and Babs stepped out of the truck, the Manehattan girl couldn't help but stare at the large building nearby. "Woah... dat barn's about as big as yours is, Cuz!" she commented. She then glanced beside it and saw all of the bright pink cherry trees off in the distance. "Woah! And lookit that!" she gasped. "Dat orchard's like, huMONGOUS!!"

"Yeah, Ah don't remember it bein' that big the last time Ah was here..." Applejack stated. "'Course, Ah said that same thing the last time Ah was here, too."

"Our cherry ranch is the biggest business here in Dodge Junction." said Cherry, having left her vehicle to join up with them. "In fact, it's pretty much the lifeblood of the whole town. In othah words, it's what keeps the whole town alive. So we've had t' keep on expandin' in order t' meet the expectations of our customers!"

"With a farm this big, it's no wonder y'all wanted our help so bad..." Applejack commented.

"With a lot'o our workers unable t' help out, we're in danger of fallin' behind on our orders." Cherry explained. "We can't let that happen, or othahwise we'll start losin' our customers! Ah'm sure y'all can undahstand how big an issue this is, AJ."

"Ah certainly do, Cherry." the orange girl said, agreeing with her friend. "Believe me, we know how it feels to get a bit shorthanded every now n' again."

Babs, doing her best to remain confident that everything would go smoothly, smiled and said to the cherry farmer, "But... now that yous got us workin' for ya today, it ain't gonna be a problem anymore, right Cousin AJ?"

Smiling and chuckling a little, the orange-skinned girl nodded and said, "Babs's right: With us on yer side, you ain't got a thing t' worry about! We'll show y'all what a li'l Apple Family muscle can do fer you!"

Giggling, Cherry said to them, "That's great t' hear, AJ! And thank ya kindly again!" Opening the barn doors and gathering up several baskets, she then told the pair, "In that case, let's get started right away! We've got a whole lot t' do!"

The three of them began their work over by the orchards; their first job was to pick all of the newly-ripened cherries from the trees. Since neither Applejack nor Babs were cherry experts, Cherry Jubilee helped them point out which trees were ready to be picked. Once they found the right sort of tree, Jubilee got a nearby step stool and began picking the cherries out of the tree. Babs did the same (after Jubilee showed her a tree that she could pick from), getting out another step stool in order to reach the tiny fruit. Applejack also helped hand-pick cherries from a tree that her friend had shown to her. The task took a while, but eventually, they were able to fill all of the baskets that they had brought with them.

After the cherries were picked, the three of them went into another building with their full baskets. Jubilee was able to carry several of them without any trouble, but both Applejack and Babs, with the amount of baskets that they were carrying, looked more like they were performing a balancing act in the circus rather than working on a farm. Nevertheless, all three of them managed to bring their cherry baskets into the building without spilling any. The room that they were in was sort of a processing plant, where the different types of cherries were sorted out so that similar ones were all bunched together. Though there were a few people inside working, the three girls lent them a hand in sorting out the small fruits. They did well, though Jubilee had to occasionally help her friends figure out which cherries were which when some were very similarly-colored to one another. Somehow, though, Jubilee knew which ones were which with little more than a glance, leading both AJ and Babs to think her skill was a bit superhuman.

Once all of the cherries were sorted out, they were packed into boxes and immediately refrigerated in order to keep them well-preserved. After that, the three of them went back into the orchards with empty baskets to start the process again. For the next hour or so, the three of them kept at it until there was no more work to be done. By the time they were finished, both Babs and even Applejack were quite exhausted as they sat on chairs under the shade of a large tree just across from the Cherry Family's farmhouse.

Wiping some sweat from her forehead, Babs said to his cousin, "Man... And I thought workin' on YOUR farm was hard..."

"Yeah, Cherry wasn't foolin' us when she said she was low on help here..." stated AJ. "Ah feel like Ah did the work of about TEN other people." Letting out a deep breath, she managed to smile and say, "But the important thing is that we stuck to it, and saw the work through to the end."

"And Ah can't thank y'all enough for helpin me out here." said Cherry, walking over to them and wiping some sweat from off of her as well. "Thanks t' y'all, we're all caught up with everythin'!"

"That's good t' hear." said AJ, happy to know that she and Babs were a big help to her.

"So... uh, now that yous got everythin' ya need from us..." Babs started, "d'ya think I could have dat card now?"

"Of course," replied Cherry, "but first, why don't Ah get y'all some refreshments? You two look about as jumpy as a herd of turtles with how tired y'all are." The two nodded to say that they would like a drink, and Cherry walked towards her house to find something for them. As she walked through the living room towards the kitchen, she stopped and looked up at the staircase that led to the second floor, where her bedroom was. Cherry thought about something to herself... and smiled as she got an idea.

About a minute or two later, Cherry returned with two bottles full of the cherry juice that her ranch produced; one for Babs and one for Applejack. "Here ya go." she said as she handed them the drinks. "Chilled to perfection."

Opening the top of the bottle, AJ nodded and told her friend, "Thanks a heap, Cherry. Ah gotta admit: This is probably the hardest Ah've ever worked in mah life! And that's sayin' a lot."

"Same here." Babs chimed in, guzzling down her drink. "But it was worth it t' get that Greedy Venom card."

"Weeeeeeellllll... actually," began Cherry, "there is just ONE more li'l thing Ah want y'all t' do for me, Babsie..."

"Huh? One more thing?" asked the Manehattan girl, gulping a bit. Applejack was also a bit curious as to what else her friend could have possibly wanted from them.

"Oh, now don't y'all worry none: It ain't more farm work." the cherry-loving gal assured them. "It's just that, while Ah was gettin' your drinks and everythin', I couldn't help but remember what AJ told me about ya, Babsie: She told me that you're a very strong Duelist, ain't that right?"

"Um, yeah I guess so." Babs replied, feeling a bit suspicious. "But what about it?"

"Well, nothin' much..." Cherry continued, "but perhaps Ah want t' make sure that, if Ah'm gonna give y'all such a rare and powerful card, that it'll be used well by whomevah Ah give it to." She then put on a determined look and told the Manehattan girl, "And the best way t' find that out... is by challengin' y'all to a Duel!"

"A-a Duel?!" exclaimed Babs, not expecting to hear that.

"You... you wanna duel Babs?" asked Applejack, also surprised by this sudden turn of events.

"Ah certainly do, AJ." Cherry responded with a nod. "So what do y'all say? Ya willin' to fight me?"

Babs was still a bit astonished by this girl's sudden challenge. But also because this all felt too familiar, like with what had happened concerning the people that swiped her Deck, along with her former friends back home in Manehatten. She had only expected to get the card after doing all that work on the farm, but now it seemed that she had to win a Duel against her as well. Still, despite all of that, she wasn't about to back down from a challenge. Putting on a determined face of her own, Babs shouted, "Alright, Cherry! I'll take yous on! And I'll beat ya, too!"

Cherry smiled and nodded, saying, "Ah'm lookin forward t' whatevah y'all have ready to throw at me!" At that moment, she pulled the rare card out of her purse again and tossed it over to Babs. With an almost lightning-fast reaction, the younger girl managed to catch it in her right hand without a problem. "Since y'all put in a good work for me here on the ranch, though," Cherry told her soon-to-be-opponent, "Ah'll even let ya take that card, just t' let ya try it out." Babs nodded, saying that she agreed to that. Applejack was still a bit confused by her old friend's actions right now, but decided not to say anything just yet.

A few minutes later, both Babs and Cherry had their D-Pads and Gazers ready to go. The two cut and shuffle each other's Decks and stood a good distance apart from each other. "You ready, Cherry?" asked Babs. "'Cause I ain't holdin' back! Not when a rare card's on the line!"

Cherry nodded and responded, saying, "Give me your best shot, Babsie!"

"I will!" the Manehattan girl shouted back. "...And stop callin' me 'Babsie'!"

Giggling a little, Cherry told her, "Aw, but Ah like callin ya that..."

"Rrrgh... whatevah! Let's duel!!" Babs said back as the two of them drew their opening hands (Babs Seed: LP 4,000) (Cherry Jubilee: LP 4,000). Applejack watched on, still wondering what was going on, but more importantly, how this sudden Duel would play out...

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With the AR images fully materialized, Babs Seed and Cherry Jubilee were ready to begin their impromptu Duel. Applejack, along with a few of the other people that were in the ranch, had put on their Duel Gazers in order to watch. AJ, however, was still curious as to why her friend had suddenly challenged Babs to a Duel with the card that she promised her as the prize. (What's up with Cherry?) she asked herself. (Why'd she challenge Babs outta the blue like that? Normally, this wouldn't be that unusual, since she always wanted t' Duel me every time we'd see each other, but somethin' about this is... weird.) She then began to think back what Babs had told her in the truck on the way over. (...No, Cherry wouldn't lie t' Babs like that, and especially not me; Ah know her too well to even think she'd do that... She'd never break a promise to me or anyone. But Ah have a feelin' Babs doesn't feel the same way...)

And AJ was right: Babs was becoming more and more sure that this was just like what had happened in the past. (I knew it...!) she thought to herself. (She's probably nevah gonna let me have dat card! She's just stringin' me along, just like all those jerks back home!) But then - all of a sudden, she started to have a few doubts about her assumptions. (But... if dat's true, then... why'd she let me borrow the card for this Duel? It don't make no sense...!) Shaking her head a bit, Babs then said to herself, (Whatevah! I'll beat her so much, dat she won't even THINK about goin' back on our deal!)

"I'll start dis here Duel off!" Babs shouted, taking a card from her hand. "And I'll start by playin' the Spell Card, Terraforming! With it, I can add any Field Spell Card from mah Deck to mah hand!" After making her selection, she immediately played the card and said, "I choose dis one! Fusion Recycling Plant!" At that moment, the scenery around them changed to that of a junkyard in the middle of the night. Piles and piles of discarded refuse surrounded everyone, and several searchlights focused their lights on the area where Babs and Cherry were.

"So y'allre goin' with that card right away, Ah see..." the pale-yellow girl said. "Ah think Ah know what ya'llre gonna do next."

"Then dis next move won't be a surprise t' ya, then!" the Manehattan girl told her. "I Summon the Witch of the Black Forest in Attack Mode!" Babs's first monster was a tall, greyish-skinned woman with purple hair and an extra eye on her forehead. She wore a long, black, dress-like cloak on her body with a creepy-looking eye on top of it (Witch of the Black Forest: Level 4 / ATK 1100 / DEF 1200). "Then," she continued, "I'll activate the effect'o mah Fusion Recycling Plant! I discard mah Predaplant Banksiogre t' grab Polymerization from mah Deck!"

"Now Babs has what she needs to bring out one of her Fusion Monsters..." noted Applejack, knowing full-well that her little cousin always played big when it mattered.

"Now, I activate Polymerization to fuse Predaplant Chlamydosundew in mah hand with Witch of the Black Forest on the field!" shouted Babs Seed. At that moment, a red-and-blue vortex appeared overhead, drawing Babs's witch, along with a creature that seemed to be a cross between the sticky Sundew plant and a frilled lizard. "Lizard with sticky leaves! Spellcaster in nature's shadow!" she chanted. "Combine together and unleash a new, more vicious horror from deep in the abyss! Fusion Summon! Grow now! Predaplant Chimerafflesia!"

In no time at all, Babs Seed's powerful Plant Fusion Monster grew out from the ground in front of her, displaying its fanged tentacles and vicious-looking red flower (Predaplant Chimerafflesia: Level 7 / ATK 2500 / DEF 2000).

"Oh my...! A Fusion Summon so quickly?" asked Cherry. Smiling a bit, she then told her opponent, "AJ was right about y'all bein' a powahful Duelist. But then again, she never lies 'bout anythin', so Ah guess Ah should've expected this much."

"Hmph, just wait n' see what I've got for yous later." Babs told her in a more stern-sounding voice. "And be ready to give me that rare card for good, and without any funny business!" Looking at her D-Pad's Graveyard slot, she then added, "And speakin' of business, I still have some t' take care of involvin' mah Witch of the Black Forest! After she's sent to mah Graveyard, I can take any monster with 1500 or less defense outta mah Deck! So I'll take mah Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio!"

"Ah see." Cherry acknowledged. She then asked, "Is that all you're doin' then, Babsie?"

"I still have one more thing I can do." the Manehattan girl told her. "At the end of mah turn, my Recyclin' Plant lets me return any monster from my Graveyard to mah hand, as long as dat monster was used for a Fusion Summon dis turn!" At that moment, a card came out of her D-Pad, which she immediately picked out and placed into her hand. "Of course, the monster I'm takin' is my good ol' Witch of the Black Forest! That'll end mah turn."

"Not a bad first move, there." Cherry complimented. "Now let's see if Ah can make a good one as well. Ah draw!" After drawing her card, she wasted no time in playing it. "Ah activate the Continuous Spell, The World Tree!!"

Babs and Applejack watched as a small sprout began to come out of the ground immediately in front of the pale-yellow girl. But the sprout didn't stay a sprout for long. It quickly began to grow bigger and bigger until formed into a massive tree with bright green leaves. "What's with dat giant twig?" asked Babs. "What's it do?"

"You'll just have t' wait n' see, li'l Babsie." Cherry simply told her. Taking out another card from her hand, she then declared, "Now Ah activate my Trade-In Spell! By discardin' a Level 8 monster from mah hand, Ah can draw two new cards from mah Deck!" After discarding a card and drawing two more, she then played another Spell Card. "Ah activate One for One!" she shouted. "Now by sendin' any monster from mah hand to the Graveyard, Ah can Special Summon a Level 1 monster from mah hand or mah Deck!" Taking another card out of her hand, Cherry added, "Ah'll send mah Amarylease to the Graveyard and Summon Glow-Up Bulb from mah Deck in Defense Mode!"

The monster that emerged onto her field next was a small plant bulb with an eerie-looking purple eye. Sprouting from its "head" was a white flower with a red stigma in its center and small green leaves all around it (Glow-Up Bulb: Level 1 / ATK 100 / DEF 100).

"Hmph, that little thing don't look so tough..." Babs commented, not scared one bit by the tiny little monster.

"Don't be too sure 'bout that, Babs..." Applejack warned her. "She's just usin' that li'l guy for somethin' even bigger."

"AJ's right." confirmed Cherry. "Glow-Up Bulb'll help me bring out the card that Ah really want on the field! At least once Ah make one more move first..." Taking a card from out of her Graveyard, she then stated, "Ah now banish Amarylease from mah Graveyard to activate its effect! Now, durin' this turn only, Ah can now Normal Summon any monster by releasin' one less monster than normal!"

"One less monster t' release??" asked Babs, a bit surprised. "But that means-"

"Exactly." the pale yellow girl interrupted. "It means now Ah can Summon this Level 8 monster in mah hand by gettin' rid of only ONE monster on the field! So now Ah'll release Glow-Up Bulb to Summon this! Talaya, Princess of Cherry Blossoms!!"

In a flash, the tiny bulb vanished from the field. And then in its place, a giant cherry blossom flower grew with its petals closed up. Once it was fully grown, the petals began to spread, revealing that inside of the plant was a very lovely woman. She had peach-colored skin and dark-violet hair. She wore a purple kimono with a pink petal design on each of the sleeves, along with a golden flower decoration pinned to each of them. In her hand was a fan that also had a flower petal design, and after she unfolded her fan, several cherry blossom petals flew around, carried by the wind (Talaya, Princess of Cherry Blossoms: Level 8 / ATK 2800 / DEF 1200).

"No way...!" gasped Babs. "She Summoned a high-Level monster like dat on her first turn?!" Something told Babs that this Duel might not be as easy as she had hoped.

"Babsie, meet Talaya: The Plant Princess of Spring." Cherry said, introducing her newly-summoned monster. "Quite the lovely li'l flower, wouldn't y'all agree? And she's got power t' match that beauty as well! For each Plant monster that Ah've got on the field, she gains an extra hundred attack points. That even includes herself!" (Talaya, Princess of Cherry Blossoms: ATK 2800 + 100 = 2900). Looking at Babs's Fusion Monster, she then added, "Ah COULD attack you right now, but Ah know that if Ah do, you'll just use your monster's effect to weaken mah princess and destroy her. So instead, Ah'll just set a card and end mah turn."

"Fine then! I draw!" shouted Babs, drawing her next card. As she looked over what was in her hand, she then thought, (Something's weird here... Dat chick said that she knew about mah Chimerafflesia's effect... So why'd she Summon her cherry princess in Attack Mode?) Babs tried to figure out what her opponent was planning, but wasn't totally sure. (Arrgh! Whatevah! I'll just wipe her out before her plan works! Whatevah it is!) she said to herself.

Applejack noticed that her younger cousin was beginning to show a slight amount of frustration. The orange farm girl hoped that, whatever it was that was bothering her wouldn't affect her gameplay. (Stay calm, Babs...) she mentally urged her.

"I'll start dis here turn with the Spell Card, Fusion Recovery!" the Manehattan girl declared. "It lets me get back any monster in mah Graveyard that I used for a Fusion Summon, along with a copy of Polymerization!" She then took her two cards, which included the Predaplant Chlamydosundew that she had used to Summon her Fusion Monster last turn. "Next, I'll Summon Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio in Attack Mode!" After the card was played, her scorpion/plant hybrid creature crawled onto the field, its stinger raised (Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio: Level 3 / ATK 1200 / DEF 800).

"Hmmm, y'all sure do like scary, creepy plants don't ya?" asked Cherry Jubilee.

"If ya think he's scary," Babs told her opponent. "jus' wait 'til I do this! I use Ophrys Scorpio's effect! By sendin' mah Witch of the Black Forest to the Graveyard, I can Special Summon any other Predaplant monster from mah Deck! I'll choose mah Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra and put him in Defense Mode!" At that moment, a large, fearsome-looking plant grew out of the ground. It had a head and long neck growing out what appeared to be a second mouth, and had several long, tentacle-like vines growing out of it (Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra: Level 5 / ATK 800 / DEF 2300)

"Hmmm..." hummed Cherry, watching Babs's moves closely.

"And now I'll play Polymerization again!" the tough little girl shouted. "I'll fuse togethah mah Predaplant Chlamydosundew in mah hand, along with the Ophrys Scorpio on mah field!" Once more, a red-and-blue portal opened up, swallowing up both monsters. "I Fusion Summon anothah Chimerafflesia!!" In a matter of seconds, a second monstrous plant, much like the first one, grew out the ground in front of Babs.

"So you brought out anothah of those vicious flowers, did you?" asked Cherry, not showing much (if any) fear.

"Dat's right!" Babs replied. "And now I've got everythin' I need t' beat you in one shot!" Thrusting her hand forward, she then shouted, "Chimerafflesia!! Attack her cherry blossom princess!" One of the two plant monsters roared as it prepared its attack. "And at that moment, I'll use Chimerafflesia's effect! It lowers your monster's attack by a thousand (Talaya, Princess of Cherry Blossoms: ATK 2900 - 1000 = 1900), and raises mah monster's power by the same amount!" (Predaplant Chimerafflesia: ATK 2500 + 1000 = 3500) Once that was all done, Bab's monster struck Cherry's with its thorned tentacles, wiping her off the field and dealing some damage (Cherry Jubilee: LP 4,000 - 1,600 = 2,400). The attack also caused a huge amount of cherry blossom petals to scatter around in the air around Cherry's side of the field. In the confusion, no one noticed a small, orange fruit growing out of the tree next to the pale-yellow girl (The World Tree: Flower Counters 0 + 1 = 1).

"Cherry's down t' just 2,400 Life Points..." noted Applejack. "Since Babs still has a second Chimerafflesia to attack with, she can wipe out the rest'o her Life Points right now." Humming a bit, she added, "But if Ah know Cherry as well as Ah think Ah do... there's no way she'd let herself get beat that easily..."

Babs, however, didn't feel the same way as she prepared her next attack. "Go, Chimerafflesia!! Attack her directly and end this Duel!!" At that moment, her second monster whipped up its thorned appendages, ready to strike Cherry. But when it did so, the force of the whipping caused the flower petals in the air to disperse... and revealed something that startled Babs. "Aw no...!" she exclaimed. "A face-down card! Ah didn't see it there!" In her haste to end the Duel, she had completely forgotten about the card her opponent had set earlier.

"Sorry, Babsie." Cherry said with a smile. "But Ah'm afraid it's too late t' take back your move now! Ah actiavte mah Trap Card, Mirror Force!!"

"Aw NO!!!" Babs shouted in despair.

After the Trap Card was activated, a shimmering shield surrounded Cherry to protect her. Chimerafflesia's thorned tentacle struck the barrier and shattered it, but was otherwise unable to harm Cherry herself. Then, soon after that, the shards of glass that broke off of the barrier began to glow before shooting themselves at both of Babs Seed's Fusion monsters, destroying them completely. "Thanks to Mirror Force," the pale-yellow girl told her opponent, "I'll be safe for the rest of this turn, since it destroys all of the monsters ya'll have on the field that are in Attack Mode. Luckily, your Hyrda on the field was in Defense Mode, so it survives."

"Darn it...!" grumbled Babs. "I thought I had it won, but she had that Trap to protect her." Groaning, she then asked herself, (What's wrong with me?? Usually I don't forget about stuff like that...! How could I have forgotten about that face-down card??)

As Babs Seed mulled over her setback, another fruit began to grow on the tree that Cherry had on her field (The World Tree: Flower Counters 1 + 1 = 2). Once more, no one noticed it... except for Applejack. (What was that?) she asked herself. (Why did that tree suddenly grow somethin' on it? And not only that, what was up with Cherry's earlier move? If she had that Trap Card, why'd she wait until AFTER her monster was destroyed before playin' it? If she did that, she would've saved her monster and kept from takin' any damage...) The country gal figured that her old friend was indeed up to something; otherwise, she would not have willingly taken such a hit to herself. AJ also noticed that her younger cousin was getting frustrated at having been so easily tripped up.

Babs was still annoyed by what had happened, and was scrambling to think of a new plan. Looking at the card she drew during her turn, she sighed, knowing that putting it on the field was the only other thing she could do now. Shoving the card into the Spell & Trap slot, she said to Cherry, "I'll set dis face-down, and then use mah Field Spell t' get back mah Chlamydosundew from the Graveyard. That'll end mah turn."

"That means it's mah turn, then!" the cherry-loving chick said. "Ah draw!" She then looked at the card and was pretty pleased with she managed to get. "Looks like this'll be a pretty fun turn for me, li'l Babsie." she said in a cutesy-sounding voice.

"Don't get too ahead'a yourself there, lady." Babs told her. "Now that it's the Standby Phase, I can now use each'a the effects of the two Chimerafflesias in mah Graveyard! Each one lets me take a Polymerization or Fusion Spell Card outta mah Deck an' into mah hand! Since two of 'em were sent to the Graveyard last turn, it means I can get two cards out of mah Deck!" She then revealed the cards she chose to take out of her Deck: Polymerization and Ultra Polymerization.

"Not bad, but Ah'm afraid this li'l ol' Duel's gonna end before ya'll get a chance t' play either one of them!" Cherry informed her. Taking one of the two cards that were in her hand, she said to Babs, "Ah'll play Foolish Burial from mah hand in order t' send a monster from mah Deck to the Graveyard!" After doing that, she then played the second card, saying, "Next, Ah play mah Fragrance Storm Spell Card!"

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Fragrance Storm:
(Normal Spell Card)

Target 1 Plant monster on the field; destroy that target, and if you do, draw 1 card, then if that card is a Plant monster, you can reveal it and draw 1 more card.

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Babs grumbled a bit; since Cherry had no monsters on the field, the Manehattan girl knew that it would be HER monster that would be eliminated. And as she predicted, her Drosophyllum Hydra was immediately destroyed by the Spell Card's effect. "With that unsightly li'l weed pulled," the pale-yellow girl commented, "Ah can now draw a card from mah Deck." After pulling the top card, she smiled and said, "And since Amarylease - the card that Ah drew, is a Plant monster, Ah can now draw another card from mah Deck!" And that's exactly what she did (The World Tree: Flower Counters 2 + 1 = 3).

(Now another'o those fruits popped up on her big tree...) Applejack thought to herself. She was still unsure of what their purpose was, but knew that it wouldn't be much longer before she and Babs would find out.

Taking the second card that she drew with her Fragrance Storm card, Cherry played it and said, "Ah now play Pot of Desires from mah hand! By banishin' the top ten cards of mah Deck face-down, Ah can draw an extra two cards!" After doing so, she then activated one of them. "Now Ah'll play the Spell Card known as Reasoning! Now, Babsie: You have t' declare a number from 1 to 12... After that, Ah'll excavate cards from mah Deck until Ah flip ovah a Monster Card. And if its Level is different from the number y'all gave me, Ah can Special Summon it!"

Babs wasn't too happy to hear that, especially since she didn't know enough about her opponent's Deck to know what Monster Level she should pick. Sighing, she told Cherry, "I guess I'll predict that... that you'll reveal a Level 4 monster."

"Level 4, y'all say?" asked the cherry-lover. "Alright, let's see if you're right..." She then began flipping over the cards off the top of her Deck. The first card was Pollinosis (a Trap Card), the second was Seed of Deception (a Spell), then came the third card, which was Bottomless Trap Hole (another Trap). The fourth card, however, was a Monster Card, and it was one that Cherry seemed to be hoping for. "Too bad, Babsie." she told her opponent. "The monster that came up wasn't Level 4: It was Level 8! That means Ah can Summon it!"

"Anothah Level 8 monster?!" exclaimed Babs, shocked as ever.

"Now it's time to introduce the spicy li'l lady of Summertime!" Cherry Jubilee declared as she placed the excavated monster onto her D-Pad. "Ah Summon Mariña, Princess of Sunflowers in Attack Mode!!" After playing her powerful monster to the field, a large, bright-yellow sunflower began to bloom in front of her. Like the first giant flower, this one's petals were closed, but they soon opened up to reveal another pretty girl inside of it. This one had tanned skin, a sunflower-shaped headdress, and a red top and gloves. Her fiery-red eyes were quite bright, and the smirk on her face gave off a mischievous attitude (Mariña, Princess of Sunflowers: Level 8 / ATK 2800 / DEF 1600).

"Dat chick looks just like the first big monster she Summoned..." Babs pointed out. Now she was beginning to figure out what Cherry's strategy was: to Summon these Plant Princesses as quickly as possible.

"Ah'm afraid Ah'm not done just yet." said the pale-yellow girl. "Now Ah do believe it's time for me to reveal the power of mah World Tree!"

"Your what?" asked Babs. She then gasped when she suddenly noticed the tree sitting next to her opponent. She had completely forgotten about it. She also noticed something else: The three glowing orange fruits that were growing on the tree's branches. "What're those things?" she asked.

"Those are Flower Counters, Li'l Babsie." answered Cherry. "Every time Plant monsters are destroyed, mah World Tree gets a Flower Counter on it. Then, by removin' those counters, Ah can activate one its special powers! And right now, mah tree has three Flower Counters on it!"

"So that's why she let Babs destroy her monster!" Applejack realized. "So that she could put one'a those counter-things on her Spell Card!"

"That's right, AJ." confirmed the cherry-lover. "And not only that, but mah World Tree gets counters even when mah opponent's Plant monsters get destroyed! Which means Ah got two more for destroyin' your Chimerafflesia and Cordyceps!" Putting her hand in the air, she then declared, "Now Ah'll use mah World Tree's third effect! By removin' all three of its Flower Counters, Ah can Special Summon any Plant monster from mah Graveyard!"

Babs and Applejack could only watch as Cherry Jubilee prepared to play yet another powerful monster to her side of the field. They weren't sure what she would bring out, but they knew it would likely be something that was just as strong as the other two high-Level monsters she played so far.

"Now Ah Summon Chirubimé, Princess of Autumn Leaves in Attack Mode!" shouted Cherry as her third Level 8 monster appeared on the field. It was another woman living inside of a plant; in this case, she appeared out of a flower made out of red and yellow maple tree leaves. She had greyish-peach skin, an intricate headdress made out of more leaves in fall colors, and wore a pretty green dress that also had a leaf-like appearance (Chirubimé, Princess of Autumn Leaves: Level 8 / ATK 1800 / DEF 2800).

"Huh? Where'd dat chick come from?" asked Babs. "Ah was expectin' her t' play dat cherry blossom princess again..."

"Ah sent this card to the Graveyard earlier this turn with Foolish Burial." Cherry explained. "And as long as she's out, you can't attack any of mah other Plant monsters. And not only that, but if you destroy her, Ah can Summon another Plant monster from mah Deck to replace her."

"That's just great..." mumbled the Manehattan girl.

"But that's not all, Li'l Babsie... So far Ah've brought out the princesses of Spring, Summer, and Autumn." Cherry Jubilee informed her. "That just leaves one season left: Winter." Pulling out a card from her hand, she then added, "And with this card, Ah can bring out that Princess as well! Ah activate Monster Reborn!! Ah now Summon mah fourth princess from mah Graveyard in Attack Mode!! Tytannial, Princess of Camellias!!"

And with that, Cherry Summoned one more high-Level Plant from her Graveyard; it was the same card she had discarded earlier when she played Trade-In. This Plant Princess emerged from out of a Camellia flower, which were known to bloom during the winter months. She had very pale skin, almost as white as snow, wore a headdress that resembled the flower she came out of, and wore an elaborate dress with all sorts of leaves, flowers and vines all over it.

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Tytannial, Princess of Camellias:
(Effect Monster/Plant/WIND/Level 8/ATK 2800/DEF 2600)

When a card or effect that targets a card(s) on the field is activated (Quick Effect): You can Tribute 1 face-up Plant monster; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.

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Staring down all three of Cherry Jubilee's powerful Level 8 Plant monsters, Babs only had one question to ask herself: (How'd I let this happen...?) she thought. (Normally, I'd nevah let my opponent get THIS ahead'a me! What's goin' on??)

"Y'all seem a tad bit flustered, li'l Babsie." Cherry told her. "AJ told me ya'll were a tough Duelist, but it seems somethin's got y'all distracted. Am Ah right?"

Babs grumbled a little and said in a low tone of voice, "You're just tryin' t' throw me off, ain'tcha? So that you won't hafta give up that card ya promised me..." Cherry wasn't sure what Babs was saying... but only because she didn't quite hear her.

But Applejack did hear what her cousin said... and it helped her confirm her suspicions as to why Babs's game seemed to be off today. Standing up from the spot under the tree that she was sitting in, the orange farm girl walked over towards the two of them and put her hands into a T-shape, calling out, "Time out, girls! Time out!"

"Huh?" asked Cherry, a bit confused. "Time out?"

"Just gimme a sec, Cherry." AJ requested her friend. "Ah need t' talk to Babs for a little bit. It's real important." The cherry farmer wasn't sure what was going on, but nodded to say she was okay with it, deciding that her old friend had her reasons.

Babs however, wasn't sure what was going on. She asked her cousin, "AJ, what's the deal? What're ya doin'?"

Sighing a little, Applejack then said to her, "Babs, Ah think Ah know what's throwin' yer game off."

"You... you do?" asked the Manehattan girl. "Well, I'm all ears: What d'ya think it is, Cuz?"

"T' be as honest as Ah can, Babs..." the country girl told her, "Ah think it has somethin' t' do with what y'all were tellin' me in the truck earlier. Ya said you weren't sure if y'all could trust Cherry to give you that card, and now it seems that concern is causin' yer brain t' get all sidetracked."

"What d'ya mean?"

"You're so worried about Cherry goin' back on her promise," AJ continued to explain, "that you're not focusin' on what matters right now."

"Well if that's so, Cuz... then it's her fault I'm not focusin' on the Duel!" Babs responded with a slight pout. "If she'd just gimme a reason t' trust her, I wouldn't be in dis mess!"

Applejack paused for a moment, trying to think of some way to help her cousin see that Cherry was the honest person she knew her as. Getting an idea, she then told her, "Well Babs... from what Ah saw before the Duel started, it sure seems like Cherry trusts you quite a bit."

"...Huh??" said the Manehattan girl. "Whad'ya mean by that?"

"Well, just think about it:" AJ explained to her as best as possible. "She let you borrow that rare card for the Duel, don't ya remember? Even though she's never met ya 'til today, she MUST trust ya a whole lot t' give y'all that card and not think that you'll just run off with it without taking up her request t' duel."

Babs gasped a little bit; she hadn't realized that before. Cherry wouldn't have let her borrow the card for the Duel if she thought that Babs was dishonest. Pulling the card out of her Extra Deck and looking at it, she asked herself, (Is dat right...? Does that Cherry chick really trust me dat much...?)

"Ah know ya'll have a hard time trustin' people after what happened back in Manehattan," Applejack told her, "but y'all gotta know that not all people are like that. While there are some people out there that'll take advantage of ya, y'all gotta believe that there are just as many - if not more, people out there that're honest t' the core!"

Babs sighed a little and responded, saying, "I... I guess dat's probably right."

"And not only that," the orange teen continued, "but think about this: Your friends back home were lied to by those people just like you were. They didn't know the whole truth, an' right now, they probably feel real bad about how they treated ya. Maybe it was wrong of 'em t' take someone else's word over yours, but that don't mean y'all should just ignore 'em forever. Ah know ya'll really don't wanna do that, do you?"

"...No, I guess not."

Smiling and patting her on the back, AJ told Babs, "Babs, while it isn't wrong to be cautious around people ya don't know, it IS wrong to just always assume that no one's trustworthy. After all, if y'all can't have faith in others, then you're gonna have a hard time makin' any new friends... OR repairin' any damaged friendships, if ya know what Ah mean." She then asked her, "So... can ya trust me when Ah say that Cherry is nothin' like those people that stole from ya?"

Babs was unsure about the whole thing, but it wasn't about whether or not she could trust her cousin's friend. Now she was beginning to rethink everything she had thought about people up until now. At first, she believed that anyone that she didn't know was dishonest, and therefore an enemy. But after what Applejack had told her, she now began to realize that assumption was causing more harm to her than when her Deck had been stolen. Not only that, she then began to think of her former friends back in Manehattan and how they must have felt after Granny Smith helped her tell them the truth about what happened. She then realized that she was acting just the same way her friends did after they were lied to: Blindly distrusting others without even giving them a chance to prove that they were actually honest.

Sighing sadly, Babs said to her cousin, "You're right, AJ... All this time, I just assumed othah people would be a jerk t' me, just like the ones that stole mah Deck... But I guess I was bein' the jerk instead. You said dis friend'a yours was a good person, and I shoulda just taken yer word for it. But I was so distrustin' of othahs, that I even started t' doubt you. And you're the most trustworthy person I know." Trying her best to smile, she then apologized, saying, "I'm... I'm sorry, Cousin AJ."

"It's alright, Babs." Applejack told her. "Ah understand. Right now, just worry 'bout gettin' yer head back in the game and duel like the Babs Ah know!" Putting her hands on her shoulders, the orange girl added, "And y'all can believe that Ah'll be there to keep your spirits up!"

The Manehattan girl nodded and turned to face Cherry, ready to duel her without any concerns. "Alright, Cherry!" Babs said with a smile on her face. "Let's get back in this game n' finish our Duel!"

Cherry wasn't sure what Babs and Applejack were talking about, but was happy to see that her opponent seemed to have her head in the game now. "Well," she began to say, "Ah don't know what y'all were talkin' 'bout ovah there, but whatever it was, Ah'm glad t' see that it got y'all fired up again! ...Though it might be a tad bit too late, Babsie; Ah've got three of mah four Plant Princesses on the field, and you don't have anythin' on your side. If mah monsters attack you right now, the Duel's ovah!"

"Then give it your best shot, Cherry!" the fiesty young girl said back.

Cherry hummed a bit to herself and thought, (...She don't seem too scared, despite the fact that Ah've got three Level 8 monsters to attack her with... but why?) She then glanced down at the ground and noticed the card image that was in front of Babs. (Is it that face-down card?) she asked herself. (Does she have a plan t' save herself from losin' this turn? But... if that card targets a monster on mah field, Ah can just use Tytannial's effect t' stop it... But if it doesn't target, it'll be big trouble for me.) It took a little while, but Cherry came to a decision: (Alright, just t' make sure mah stronger monsters will be safe, Ah'll attack with mah lowest ATK monster first.)

Babs and Applejack watched the cherry farmer closely, wondering what she would do. The Manehatten girl hoped with all her might that what she had planned would be enough to keep her alive for another turn.

Pointing forward, Cherry shouted to her monster, "Chirubimé! Attack Babs directly!! Maple Leaf Storm!!" Her Plant Princess of Autumn put out both of her arms and summoned a typhoon made up of red, orange, and brown leaves that flew straight towards Babs.

"Babs!! Look out!" shouted Applejack.

"Trust me, cuz, Ah gots this!" the Manehattan girl said with confidence. "I play mah Trap Card, Call of the Haunted!" Her Trap then flipped face-up and blocked the powerful attack. "Thanks to dis here card, I can Summon any monster from mah Graveyard in Attack Mode! And I'll choose mah Predaplant Banksiogre!" After the card activated, a dark-purple portal manifested itself in front of Babs, and a large reddish-brown plant-like creature came out of it. It had several eyes and mouths growing around it, giving it a very creepy appearance, much like Babs's other monsters (Predaplant Banksiogre: Level 6 / ATK 2000 / DEF 100).

"Two thousand attack points?!" said Cherry with a gasp.

"Dat's right, lady." the Manehattan girl told her. "Which means if you continue your leafy-chick's attack, she'll take herself out. So what's it gonna be?"

Cherry sighed, but knew that she didn't want her monster to be destroyed. "Fine, Ah'll cancel Chirubimé's attack this turn." she replied. But then she shouted, "But Ah still have two othah monsters to attack with! Mariña, attack!! Rapid-Fire Seed Shot!" The sunflower Plant Princess thrusted out her left arm, causing several sunflowers behind her to grow up and fire their seeds like gatling guns. The high-speed shots struck Babs's monster and wiped it out, causing its controller to take damage (Babs Seed: LP 4,000 - 800 = 3,200), and her Call of the Haunted card to be destroyed. "Ah'm a bit confused, though:" Cherry said to her opponent, "Y'all could've used that Trap to bring back one'a your Fusion Monsters that Ah destroyed earlier... Why didn't you?"

"Because if I did, I couldn'tve done THIS!" Babs answered. "I activate Banksiogre's effect! When it's sent to the Graveyard, it sticks all'o your monsters with Predator Counters!"

Cherry and Applejack watched as three green heads with red eyes and sharp teeth flew out from the spot where Babs's monster was. Each of the three fanged heads flew towards Cherry's monsters and bit them on their arms. The three Plant Princesses winced a little in pain from the bites. "What's happenin' to them?" asked the pale-yellow girl.

"Don'tcha know?' asked Babs. "Any monster that's stuck with a Predator Counter drops down to Level 1... IF it's got a Level of course." The three heads then began radiating a shadowy aura as they reduced their victims' power (Mariña, Princess of Sunflowers: Level 8 > 1 / Predator Counters 0 + 1 = 1) (Chirubimé, Princess of Autumn Leaves: Level 8 > 1 / Predator Counters 0 + 1 = 1) (Tytannial, Princess of Camellias: Level 8 > 1 / Predator Counters 0 + 1 = 1).

"Hmmm... maybe so..." Cherry told her. "But their attack points don't change! So I'll attack with Tytannial next!" Thrusting her left arm out, she shouted, "GO!! Red Petal Twister!!" Her last Plant Princess shrugged off the discomfort of her bite and whipped up a tornado made up of red flower petals that struck Babs hard. The Manthattan girl held up her arms to shield herself as best she could.

"Urrrrgh!!" Babs grunted upon taking the hit (Babs Seed: LP 3,200 = 2,800 = 400). Though she was down to only a few Life Points, she managed to survive the turn.

"Good... she's still in this." Applejack said to herself. (C'mon, y'all can do it, Babs! Ah know ya can!)

Cherry smiled and said to her opponent. "Well, it seems y'all managed to stay in the game, li'l Babsie. But now you're down t' just four hundred Life Points. If y'all are the Duelist AJ said you were, then y'all should have no trouble gettin' past mah monsters! But ya only got one turn t' do it."

"And one turn's all I need t' win dis!" Babs said with pure confidence as she drew her next card. "I Summon mah Predaplant Chlamydosundew in Attack mode!" After playing the card, her creepy frilled lizard/plant creature popped up onto the field (Predaplant Chlamydosundew: Level 2 / ATK 600 / DEF 200).

"Hmmmm... creepy, but it don't look so dangerous." Cherry Jubilee commented. "Why Summon that?"

"I'd be happy t' tell yous." Babs began to explain. "Remember dose counters I stuck on all'o your monsters last turn?"

"...Yes..."

The spunky red-head then told Cherry, "Well, Chlamydosundew has a real neat effect: It can fuse itself with any monster on the field dat has a Predator Counter - even if dat monster's on the othah playah's side'o the field, in order to let me Summon a DARK-Attribute Fusion Monster from mah Extra Deck!"

"You... you're gonna use MY monsters to Summon your own?!" gasped Cherry. "Is that why-?"

"Yous got it." Babs told her, knowing what she was going to ask. "I didn't Summon mah Banksiogre last turn just t' protect me from losin' the Duel; my real goal was t' stick counters on your monsters in order t' prepare for dis move! And just in case you was thinkin' about using your Tytannial t' stop me from doin' that, don't bothah: Since Chlamydosundew doesn't actually target your monsters, she can't stop dis move!"

"Oh no...!" Cherry responded, knowing that she was in trouble now.

"So with all'o that said," the Manehattan girl began to say, "I'll use Chlamydosundew's effect and fuse him with your Mariña to Fusion Summon a monster!!" The two Plant monsters were sucked up into another red-and-blue portal in the sky as Babs began her Summoning Chant. "Sweet-smelling flower that invites the abyss! Princess of the Summer! Now become one, and indulge in whatever pleases you! Fusion Summon!" The portal then exploded in a powerful, bright light as the monster combined together. "Come forth! Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon!"

Cherry and Applejack watched as Babs prepared to Summon the rare and powerful Dragon-Type Fusion Monster that the cherry farmer gave to her at the start of the Duel. After the chant was complete, the portal above shot down a powerful ray of light. Then, from out of the light, came a monster that had some similarities to Babs's other rare Fusion Monster, Starving Venom Fusion Dragon. This one, however, was a lot bigger in comparison and even meaner-looking. Instead of a murky green underbelly, Greedy Venom's was a silvery-white. Its wings had the shape of blooming flowers, along with thorn and bulb-like protrusions coming out of its body. Each of its bulbs glowed brightly as the mighty dragon gave out a terrifying roar (Greedy Venom Fusion Dragon: Level 10 / ATK 3300 / DEF 2500).

"Oh mah stars..." said a shocked, yet impressed Cherry Jubilee. "She actually did it...! She managed to Summon Greedy Venom..." After snapping out of her amazement, she then realized something: Something that didn't quite make sense to her. She then asked, "How... how'd y'all do that?? Doesn't Greedy Venom require at least 1 Level 8 or higher DARK monster t' be Fusion Summoned? Mah Mariña is an FIRE monster, and besides that, your Predator Counter reduced her to Level 1; it shouldn't have worked!"

"Oh yeah, I forgot t' mention somethin':" Babs responded casually. "See, due to Chlamydosundew's othah effect, it treats all monsters with Predator Counters as DARK monsters for a Fusion Summon. In addition, since Mariña's ORIGINAL Level was eight, I was allowed to use her for the Fusion Summon, even though her Level got reduced."

"Darn... Ah forgot about that. Not a bad move, li'l Babsie." Cherry complimented. "But even so, your monster's attack power ain't strong enough t' take mah Life Points to zero this turn! And if y'all try t' use your Dragon's effect, Ah'll stop it with Tytannial's effect!"

But Babs smirked and told her, "Yeah, I didn't forget about her ability. Anytime I target a card on your side'a the field, she can negate it..." She then added, "So, I'll get rid'o her first!"

"Uhhh..." was all that the pale-yellow girl could respond with. She had a feeling that Babs had a plan to get past her two remaining monsters.

Taking a card from out of her Graveyard, the Manehattan girl said, "Now I'll bring back mah Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra from the Graveyard! And all I gotta do is release a monster on the field: A monster with a Predator Counter, that is!"

"Oh no...! Not again!" gasped Cherry Jubilee.

"Say bye-bye to Tytannial, Cherry!" said Babs with a smirk as the wintery Plant Princess vanished from the field. Then, on Babs's side of the board, her large, tentacled, double-mouthed Plant monster revived itself in Defense Position.

"Since Drosophyllum Hydra's Summoning effect doesn't technically target a monster," Applejack commented, "Tytannial can't negate it or even chain to it... And because of the other move Babs made durin' this turn t' Summon her monster, Cherry's got only one monster left on the field to protect her! Babs managed t' wipe out two high-Level monsters, and it ain't even her Battle Phase yet!"

"Now that your Tytannial's gone," Babs said, continuing her move, "I can now use Greedy Venom's effect! Once per turn, I can drain the attack power of one'a your monsters t' zero, and negate its effects durin' this turn!" The powerful Dragon monster then emitted a powerful mist that shrouded Cherry's side of the field. The poisonous vapor caused her remaining monster to lose all of her power; she even seemed to be wilting a little (Chirubimé, Princess of Autumn Leaves: ATK 1800 > 0).

"Oh no...!" gasped Cherry in distress. "With mah princess's attack at zero, she can't block any of the damage!"

The Manehattan girl smiled and told her opponent, "You were a pretty tough chick, I gotta admit. But ya should've known there was no way I'd let ya beat me that easily! Not when a card as awesome as Greedy Venom's up fer grabs!"

Cherry said nothing, but smiled and nodded to Babs. She was amazed with her Dueling, but most of all, she was even more impressed by the fiery personality that the young girl had. No doubt, Cherry seemed to enjoy herself quite a bit during this Duel as well, even though she was about to lose. Staring straight at Babs, she said to her, "Gimme your best shot, Babsie!"

Pointing with her right hand, Babs shouted to her monster, "Go, Greedy Venom!! Attack Chirubimé and end this Duel!!" The powerful dragon then charged up a powerful purple light in its maw. Once it had gathered up enough energy, it fired the blast straight towards the pale-yellow girl's last monster, taking her down for the count. And with that move, the Duel was over (Cherry Jubilee: LP 2,400 - 3,300 = 0) (WINNER: Babs Seed).

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After the Duel ended and the AR images disappeared, Applejack ran over to see if Cherry was alright. Babs took a moment to look at the Greedy Venom card on her Duel Pad before removing it and placing it back into her deck box. Afterwards, she ran over to where Cherry and AJ were. "Hey, are you alright there?" she asked the cherry farmer.

"Oh don't y'all worry none about me, sweetie." Jubilee responded. "Ah'm just fine." She then said to Babs, "That was a great Duel, Babs. Ah haven't had that much fun in a long time!"

"Uh, yeah. Same here." the Manehattan girl responded. She then asked, "So... can I have that card now? You said if I beat you, I could have it, right?"

"Hm? You mean Greedy Venom?" asked Cherry. Giggling, she then told her, "Aw, don't y'all worry 'bout it! To tell ya the truth, Ah was gonna give you that card whether y'all won or not."

Both Babs and Applejack gasped a little after hearing that, their eyes growing wider. "You... you were??" asked Babs, shocked by her comment. "Then... then why'd we have that Duel if you were just gonna give it to me?"

Sighing a little, but still smiling, Cherry explained herself, saying, "Do y'all know how borin' it gets 'round here sometimes? Out of everybody who works here at the ranch, Ah'm the only one who plays Duel Monsters! And even if there was someone nearby for me t' duel with, Ah rarely evah get much time at all t' do it! So can y'all blame me for wantin' t' have a li'l fun an' enjoy mahself?"

"Oh, now Ah get it; Ah should've known..." Applejack said, finally understanding what this was all about. "You just wanted t' duel with Babs for the fun of it, right?"

"That's absolutely right, AJ!" Cherry confirmed. "And Ah wouldn'tve been able to have any fun duelin' li'l Babs if it weren't fer you 'n her helpin' me out here at the ranch! In fact, Ah thought Ah'd nevah get all'o that work done aftah some o' mah workers called in sick this mornin'! Really, y'all were huge life-savers!"

"Wait... you mean they only told ya they were sick just today?" Babs asked. When Cherry nodded yes, the young red-head now knew why she and AJ weren't told this last night when Cherry had called them on the phone. Apparently, Cherry hadn't planned on her employees not being able to show up for work. Now that she knew all of that, Babs began feeling bad about the previous thoughts that she had about her cousin's friend. In a slightly sad tone of voice, she said to her, "Cherry... I... I'm sorry."

"Hm? Sorry?" asked the pale-yellow teen. "Ah don't understand; what're y'all sorry for?"

"Well..." Babs began. For the next few minutes, the Manehattan girl told Cherry everything about what had happened to her in the past, and then telling her that she distrusted her at first when she had them unexpectedly do work on the ranch, and then challenging her to a Duel. Babs admitted to her that, because of those actions, she mistakenly thought that Cherry wasn't planning to give her the rare card at all.

After hearing all of this, Cherry Jubilee felt a bit sad herself, "Oh my..." she uttered. "Is all'o that really true?"

"...Mhmm." Babs said, sniffling out of guilt. "I'm... I'm really sorry for thinkin' you were gonna cheat me out of that card. Ah should've known bettah... Please forgive me."

Cherry Jubilee hummed a bit, and then looked over at Applejack, who smiled and nodded to her, as if to say that Babs really felt terrible about everything and that she should forgive her for it. The cherry farmer then smiled and pulled out a small, white handkerchief. She offered it to Babs and said, "Ah, forvgive ya, Babsie. Ah understand how you feel."

"Y...you do?" asked the young girl, taking the handkerchief and wiping her eyes with it.

"Mhmm." the pale-yellow girl responded. "After what y'all told me, Ah don't blame ya for feelin' the way you're feelin. But it's like AJ told y'all earlier: Not everyone in the world are like those brutes who stole your Deck, and while it nevah hurts t' be cautious around people ya don't know, y'all should nevah shut them out completely. I mean, look at AJ an' me: When we first met, we didn't know each othah right away, but just 'cause we didn't know each othah didn't mean that we couldn't be friends."

"Cherry's right, Babs." AJ chimed in. "You can never truly trust or distrust someone until y'all get t' know 'em better. In the end, y'all might be surprised t' see that a person who may have been a complete stranger to ya at first, may end up becomin' the best friend ya ever had. In the end, it's up to you t' have the courage t' find that out."

Having finished wiping her face with the cloth that Cherry had offered her, Babs smiled and told them, "You guys're right... It'll take some work, but I think I might give it a try." She then walked over towards Cherry and put her hand towards her, offering a handshake. "So... uh... Cherry? You... you think we could, y'know... be friends, too? Even after everything that's happened?"

"Why of course we could!" the pale-yellow girl said without a second thought. "It's all water under the bridge, li'l Babsie." she added, accepting the handshake.

"Uh, okay... could ya stop callin' me 'Babsie' all the time?" asked the tough young girl, blushing put of embarrassment. "Just Babs is fine." Cherry giggled and nodded to say that she agreed to that.

Minutes later, Applejack and Babs left the cherry farm and were on their way home. After Cherry helped fine-tune her truck, AJ was able to head out onto the road without a problem. As they drove, Babs felt happy, and not just because she had gotten a rare and valuable Duel Monsters card. Moreso, she had gained an even more valuable friend today, not to mention that her faith in others had been restored, even if it was only just a little bit.

Babs looked at her Deck and hummed to herself a little. Hearing her cousin's humming, Applejack then asked her, "Somethin' on your mind, Babs?"

"Huh? Uh, not much, really." the red-head responded. "It's just... well, I've been thinkin'."

"About what?"

Babs paused for a moment, pondering about her thoughts some more. Turning to her cousin, she told her, "After I get back t' my place... I was thinking of checkin' mah email."

"Your email?" asked AJ.

"Yeah..." the Manehattan girl said with a nod. "I think there's a few old messages that've been sittin' in there that're long overdue for a reply..." Applejack smiled upon hearing that: She knew that Babs was talking about the apology email that her old Manehattan friends had sent to her shortly after Granny Smith helped prove that Babs had not stolen her Predaplant Deck. The orange-skinned apple farmer was pleased to know that Babs was willing to give her former friends a second chance as they both went back home.

Meanwhile, in the desk drawer of Mrs. K, a blank Number card with an orange background began to glow...

-- To Be Continued...

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