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

My Little Pony: Friendship is Numerous - Monty Eggman



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

  • ...
10
 977
 9,323

PreviousChapters Next
RANK 36: Raiders of the Lost Deck, Part 1:

Author's Note:

As I wrote this, I originally planned for everything to happen in one episode. As you can tell, that didn't quite happen. Eventually, it started getting long, and I knew I didn't want to cut out anything, as there was a lot of important events that happen. So it ended up as a two-parter. :twilightblush:

I got to watch some of the WCQ online, particularly the scripted Duel. I must say, I kinda liked Ishizu's new, sassy attitude. :ajsmug:

RANK 36: Raiders of the Lost Deck, Part 1:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

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

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

Sunset and her friends have had quite an eventful week during their Spring Break vacation. They had every intention of relaxing, enjoying themselves, and taking things easy. However, fate had other plans for all of them; each of the girls have gotten into exciting, and often nerve-racking situations that called upon their strong dueling skills (or the dueling skills of their companions) in order to resolve those situations. Even Derpy Hooves - along with her friend Dr. Hooves, encountered trouble on their way back home to the city. But during the Duel against the Number-possessed train conductor Steamer, Dr. Hooves managed to unlock the power of the blank Number given to him by Mrs. K - revealing the card as Number 90: Galaxy-Eyes Photon Lord.

Now that Spring Break is over, Sunset and her friends are on their way back to school for business as usual. Mrs. K is also up to some business of her own, as she is in possession of seven other blank Number cards that are showing signs of awakening...

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

It was an early Monday morning in the suburbs outside of Canterlot City. In the home of Mrs. K (known to few as Kisara), the pale-skinned woman was busy working at her desk, filling out some forms. Everything seemed normal at first... until the woman noticed a bright glow coming from her deck box, which was placed on the left side of the desk. "Hm? What is this...?" asked Mrs. K, putting her pen down for a moment to look at her Deck. Picking up the box and opening it, she pulled out her cards and searched through them. She then found where the glowing light was coming from: It was being emitted by one of her two Number cards: Number 46: Dragulon.

"...Dragulon?" she said in slight bewilderment. Putting the rest of her Deck on the desk and focusing her attention on the card in question, she asked it, "What is this? Did something happen...?" She then closed her eyes as the room was met with silence. Even so, it seemed that the mysterious woman could hear something no normal person could hear. Opening her eyes again, she then placed the Number card down and opened the drawer in her desk. Inside the drawer were seven blank cards, each one with a different color filling in the artwork area. In addition, the cards were emitting a light similar to the one surrounding Dragulon.

"...I see." Mrs. K said to herself. Taking the blank cards and placing them into her deck box along with Dragulon, she continued to speak, saying, "So the time has finally come... The return of The Order of Astral..." After saying those words, she walked over to a nearby phone, picked up the receiver, and began dialing it...

Meanwhile, on Canterlot High School's campus, five people were standing nearby the school's giant statue, seemingly waiting for someone. The five people were Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Fluttershy - friends of Sunset Shimmer. They had all gotten back from their respective vacations, and they - along with Sunset, had agreed to meet up at the front of the school to talk about their experiences during Spring Break before attending class. So far, neither Sunset nor Twilight Sparkle had shown up at the meeting place.

Groaning a bit out of boredom, the ever-impatient Rainbow Dash asked her friends, "How much longer are Sunset and Twi gonna make us wait?"

"Ah'm sure it can't be that much longer, Rainbow..." Applejack told her. "But whinin' about it ain't gonna get 'em here any quicker." The rainbow-haired girl just huffed in response to her friend's comment.

"Although I am not nearly as impatient as Rainbow Dash," Rarity began to say, "I must admit, I am a bit anxious to see them both soon. According to Sunset, she has a surprise waiting for us all when she gets here."

"I wonder what it could be...?" asked Fluttershy.

"Hmmmmmm..." hummed Pinkie Pie. Gasping out of delight, she then asked her friends, "Do ya think she's bringing us all a gigantic birthday cake?!"

"I... highly doubt that, Pinkie." Rarity told her. "It's not anywhere NEAR Sunset's birthday yet."

"I know that, Rarity..." the pink girl replied. Her eyes widened a bit before she gave her fashionista friend a funny look and asked her, "Wait: Are you telling me that you ONLY ever have birthday cake when it's YOUR birthday? Not even just for a quick snack? Yeesh... and the fans think I'M the weird one."

Changing the subject, Applejack then told the others, "Well, Ah'm sure that whatever Sunset's got t' show us, it'll be worth the wait."

"It better..." Rainbow commented. "I mean, if I have t' wait this long for it, it BETTER be the coolest thing ever."

Not long after she said that, the five of them heard a loud noise from far away. Startled a little by the noise, Fluttershy asked the others, "Wh-wh-what was that??"

"Ah think it sounded like an... an engine of some sort." answered Applejack as she and the others glanced around, trying to find the source of the noise.

"Look! Over there!" shouted Pinkie, pointing towards the northern end of the street they were on. The others looked in the same direction and saw what appeared to be a person riding on a motorcycle, wearing a motorcycle helmet, a black jacket overtop a light-blue dress with transparent yellow frills, blue pants, and black boots. The driver was moving at a pretty fast clip, but started slowing down as they approached the school. "Hey... I think they're coming towards us!" the pink teen stated. The other four girls looked at one another, wondering who this person was as they stopped their bike in front of them all.

As it turned out, they knew who it was right away after the driver removed their helmet and revealed themselves: It was none other than Sunset Shimmer. "Hey, girls." she greeted them all. "Sorry I'm late: Ran into some traffic on the way over."

Sunset's friends gasped when they saw her arrive on such an impressive-looking vehicle. "...Yeah, that's definitely the coolest thing ever." stated Rainbow Dash in awe.

"Oh wow, Sunnie!! You got yourself a motorcycle!!" cheered Pinkie Pie.

"Duel Runner, to be more specific." Sunset informed her pink-skinned friend. "After the tournament that I was planning to go to was cancelled, I decided to head over to Bloodstone since I heard their driving school was the only one that issued out Duel Runner licenses." Pulling on her jacket a little to show it off, she added, "It's also where I got this new outfit."

"I was just about to say something about your new look!" stated Rarity. "I must say, I like it very much: The light blue colors really give you a soothing outward appearance."

"Thanks, Rarity. I thought the same thing myself when I bought it." the red-and-yellow girl replied. Looking around, she then asked, "Twilight hasn't come back here yet, has she?"

Shaking her head, Fluttershy answered her, "Sorry, she hasn't... We've been here for while, but she hasn't come out of the mirror yet..."

"I wrote to her to let her know where we'd be meeting." Sunset informed them. "I guess she must be tying up some loose ends before she leaves."

"Sounds like Twi t' me." Applejack commented. "Ah'm sure she'll get here sooner or later!"

At that moment, one of the mirrors on the side of the horse statue began to glow. "Look!" said Rarity. "The mirror portal! It's activating!"

"See, what'd Ah tell ya?" Applejack asked them. "Ah knew she'd be on her way." The six of them stared at the mirror portal, eagerly awaiting the return of their inter-dimensional friend.

Not long after the portal activated, a figure stepped out of it. It was Twilight Sparkle, returning from her vacation in Equestria. "Alright! We made it!" said the young Princess. Glancing behind her, she asked, "So was this trip through the portal a little easier this time, Spike?"

Popping out of her backpack, the young purple dragon (now transformed back into a puppy), answered his friend saying, "A little bit, Twilight... Could've been a lot less spinny, though..."

Not wasting any time, Pinkie Pie rushed over to Twilight and hugged her tightly, saying excitedly, "Welcome back, Twilight!! We're so happy to see you!! We missed ya so much!!"

"I'm - urk...! I'm happy to see you too, Pinkie...!" said the purple girl, her voice slightly strained from getting such a tight hug from the silly pink girl. "Think you could... let up on the hug a little...? I can hardly... breathe...!"

Upon hearing that, the silly pink girl let go of her friend before apologizing to her, saying, "S-sorry! Sometimes, when I get all super-excited, I don't know my own strength!"

"Yeah, I noticed that..." said the young Princess, recalling that the pony version of Pinkie gave equally-strong hugs as well. Turning over to Sunset Shimmer, she greeted her, saying, "Glad to see you again too, Sunset. I like your new look."

"Thanks, Twilight." the red-and-yellow girl replied. "I felt that I needed a slight wardrobe change - y'know, to go along with all of the other recent changes in my life." Twilight nodded, understanding what she meant. Sunset then said to everyone, "Well, now that everybody's here, let's talk about how we spent our week. Did you all have fun?"

The other girls paused for a moment, none of them answering right away. Finally, Rarity spoke up, telling her, "Well... let's just say that my vacation was... exciting. Perhaps a tad bit TOO exciting." Pinkie nodded to say that she felt the same way.

"Too exciting?" asked Sunset. "What do you mean?"

A few minutes later, Rarity and Pinkie Pie had finished telling everyone about how their trip in Manehattan was almost a disaster, thanks to a rather unruly local they had met. "You're kidding!" said a surprised Sunset, shocked from hearing what they had told her, as was everyone else. "Is that really what happened?!"

"It is most certainly true, alarming as it may have been." Rarity informed her friends. "While we were on our trip, we met a person named Diamondbright, who tried to have all sorts of bad things happen to us, including possessing one of us with a Number card!" She then shuddered a bit, still having not completely gotten over her traumatic experience with the Number she had owned.

"She tried to possess one of you with a Number?" asked Twilight. "Then that means she must be one of those Skyes Academy people, right?"

"That's where she said she came from." Rarity confirmed. "Honestly, if it weren't for Sweetie Belle beating her in a Duel, it would have been catastrophic."

"Wait, did you say Sweetie Belle dueled her?" asked Sunset. "And she won?"

"Yeah! You should've seen it, Sunnie!" Pinkie told her. "...Though that might have turned out bad, since that Diamondbright girl was after you specifically... So it probably was a GOOD thing that you weren't there!" Putting her smile back on, she added, "But yeah! Sweetie Belle beat that bad girl like it was nothing!"

"That's great to hear!" Sunset replied, very pleased to hear that Sweetie Belle - a Duelist she helped train, had managed to get her first true victory. Putting on a serious look again, she then asked Rarity, "So what happened to her? Diamondbright, I mean."

"After Sweetie Belle defeated her, she ran off." the violet-haired teen answered her. "Later, we found out that Diamondbright had been placed on the missing persons list since... over a year ago."

"She's been missin' for a year?" asked Applejack. "So how come she showed up now? An' why's she involved in that Skyes Academy place anyhoo?"

"I'm not sure, but I suspect she may show her face again soon." Rarity told her. "And I'm certain she hasn't forgotten what happened in Manehattan; I just hope that we can deal with her when she comes back." Turning over to Rainbow Dash, she asked her, "So... how was your trip with your parents and Scootaloo?"

"Hm? How was it?" asked the cyan-skinned girl. "Well, we did go over t' Cheese Sandwich's place, like I said we would. Only, when we got there, we found out some jerky bully named Garble was terrorizin' everybody."

Upon hearing that name, Spike shuddered a bit and his pupils shrunk. "What'd you say?!" he asked. "There's a Garble in this world too??" Folding his arms (or rather, his forelegs), he then grumbled, "Great... the last thing we need around here is another one of HIM..."

"...Uh, what's with Spike?" Rainbow asked Twilight.

"It's a long story," the purple-skinned girl began, "but in my world, Garble's this dragon that Spike met a while ago. For Spike's sake, I'll leave out the details... but let's just say that there's some bad blood between them."

Rainbow nodded to say that she got the gist of it before continuing with her story. "So as I was sayin'," she resumed, "this Garble jerk was scarin' off the customers for a while. But then Scootaloo trashed the guy in a Turbo Duel! That jerk didn't know what hit 'im!"

"That's good." Sunset said to her. "I'll have to go and tell both Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle that I'm very impressed with their progress as Duelists, especially since they seemed to be using their skills for the greater good." She then turned to Applejack and asked her, "On that subject, have Apple Bloom or Babs improved since I last saw them?"

"Well, Babs certainly did." the farmer girl answered her. "She an' I went t' go see mah old friend Cherry Jubilee over in Dodge Junction. Cherry called me some time ago 'cause she had a card t' give t' Babs, and when we got there, we helped her out a bit on her farm, and the two of them even had a Duel with each other." Pausing for a second, she then added, "As for Apple Bloom, Ah heard that she had a Duel with Big Mac, but she lost. But mah bro told me that it was actually a pretty close game; it really could've gone either way."

Smiling, Twilight then said, "Well, it sure sounds like they've been getting better since we last saw them duel, don't you think Sunset?"

"I agree." the red-and-yellow girl responded. "With some more work, those four could very well be Pro Duelists someday." Folding her arms, she added, "On that note, I also met someone in Bloodstone that I think will be an amazing Duelist too: Her name's Ember."

"Ember?" asked Twilight, not recognizing the name as anyone she knew in Equestria.

"Kinda sounds like it could be dragon's name, doesn't it?" asked Spike. "It sounds kinda tough."

"Well, she is." Sunset told him. "Though when I dueled her the first time, she was flustered over some issues she had with her father, and she lost pretty badly. That's when I found out that her father had tried to ban her from dueling. But I helped her stand up to him, and after they had a Duel with each other, he decided to let her become a Duelist after all. And now that she's gotten past all of that drama, I'd love to take her on again... And when I do, I know she'll be playing at her absolute best." Everyone else hoped that would happen too, even though they didn't know who Ember was.

Turning over to Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash asked her, "So, Flutters... How was your trip to that nature park place?"

The shy girl hesitated at first. "Um... well, I... ummm..."

"...Don't tell me something happened to you as well?" Rarity asked her.

Nodded slightly, Fluttershy answered her, saying, "...Yes. When we got to Rainbow Falls, everything seemed normal at first... But then we found out that their new accountant - Fast Buck, was trying to steal the park and destroy it to build a resort..."

"I heard about that on the news!" Pinkie exclaimed. "He was working for Deltria Resorts, right?" Fluttershy nodded yes.

"I heard about that as well." Rarity chimed in. "After an interrogation, Fast Buck revealed that his company had made some other illicit deals in order to expand their business. After that, several top-class investigators began digging around for evidence to use against Deltria Resorts...There are even rumors floating around that all the bad publicity could possibly cause the company to go bankrupt - what with all the possible fines they may have to pay and all."

Smirking, Dash then said, "And I'll bet that Fluttershy was the one responsible for stoppin' that Fast Buck guy in the first place, right?"

"Um... I guess I did have a small part in all of it, I guess..." Fluttershy said, quietly and modestly. Sighing, she added, "Even though that accountant was so cruel, I feel a little sorry for him; he had all that money and everything, but he seemed so miserable deep down inside... Maybe he wouldn't have been so bad if he learned how to be happier with his life..."

"Aw, don't worry 'bout him, Sugarcube." Applejack said to her. "We're just proud t' hear that ya'll stood up n' fought for what ya believed in. You're gettin' tougher n' tougher every day, y'know?"

"Oh... my... You really think so?" asked the shy girl, blushing and giggling a little.

"So what about you, Twilight?" Sunset asked her inter-dimensional friend. "Did your vacation take a more exciting and dangerous turn too?"

"Yeah, you could say that," the young Princess replied, "and not to toot my own horn, but I might have you all beat on the 'exciting and dangerous' part:" Clearing her throat, Twilight told them all, "After I came back to Equestria, I planned on spending time with my Ponyville friends, and for the first day, everything was fine."

"And then what happened?" asked Rarity.

"When I went to sleep for the night, I was attacked by this evil shadow in my dreams." the purple girl answered.

"Did this 'evil shadow' have sharp razors on his fingers and wear a striped sweater?" asked Pinkie. "If he did, then you might wanna lay off on the horror movies, especially before you go to bed, Twilight."

Shaking her head no, Twilight then told her, "No, it wasn't anything like that. As it turned out, a Number card somehow followed me back into Equestria and managed to literally get inside my head."

"What?! You're serious?!" exclaimed Sunset.

"I am." Twilight confirmed. "My dark side managed to get ahold of it and tried to use it to get rid of me forever. That way, she could take over my body and conquer all of Equestria. Luckily... that didn't happen." She then presented the Number card her dark half used that night: Number 98: Antitopian. She continued her tale, telling them all, "Utopia and I managed to defeat my dark side and banish her into the deepest parts of my mind. And hopefully she'll stay there."

"Woah..." Sunset responded, shocked by what she heard, as were the others. Putting on a serious face, she then presumed, "It's just a hunch, but I don't think that Number just came out of nowhere, Twilight."

"I was thinking that too." the Princess of Friendship agreed. "I think someone planted it on me somehow, possibly the night before I left through the portal."

"In that case, I'll talk to Manny and see if he can do something about it." the red-and-yellow girl suggested. She then said to the others, "Well, even though our Spring Break didn't turn out to be as relaxing as we wished it would have, at least we can be happy in knowing that, no matter what obstacles stand in our way, we have the power to overcome them."

"And every new challenge that we face will only help us become stronger inside." Rarity chimed in, agreeing with Sunset.

"You've got it, Rarity!" said Rainbow Dash.

"Th-that being said..." began Fluttershy, "I do sort of hope that our next Spring Break won't be as stressful or dangerous as this one was."

"I wouldn't so sure of that..." said Pinkie Pie, shifting her eyes and then reaching into her hair, pulling out what looked like a script of some sort. On the back of it was what seemed to be a title, but her hand covered most of it; all that could be seen was a date: March 30.

Checking her cellphone clock, Sunset told her companions, "Well, we'd better get in the building; Classes will be starting soon." Everyone else nodded and walked towards the school's front doors. But when Sunset tried to open them, they remained closed. "Huh? The doors are locked?" asked the red-and-yellow teen. "But it's 7:50; the doors should be open by now."

"That's not the only thing:" Twilight told her. "There's nopon- I mean, noBODY else here. We're the only ones on the campus."

"Yeah, she's right!" said Rainbow Dash, quickly looking around the area around them. Sure enough, the group of seven girls (and one puppy) saw that there was no one around for miles.

"How did we not notice that earlier?" Rarity asked.

"Ah guess we were just that engaged in talkin' 'bout our vacations, that we didn't think about it..." Applejack answered her.

"Oh my... I hope there isn't something wrong with the school..." said a worried Fluttershy. "Sh-should we just go home...?"

"No way, Fluttershy!" Pinkie told her. "If we do that, then the episode'll end too early! If we just stick around a TEEEEEENSY bit longer, something will happen that'll get things moving again, I'm sure of it!" Of course, the others had no idea what she was talking about.

At that moment, a woman walked towards the school, stopping when she approached Sunset and her friends. "What are all of you doing here?" she asked them.

The others glanced towards the source of the voice and saw that it was none other than Vice Principal Luna speaking to them. "Ms. Luna?" Rarity asked. "Is that you?"

"See? I told you...!" Pinkie said in a slight whisper.

"Um, Luna... Why are the doors locked?" Sunset asked the Vice Principal. "It's Monday, isn't it?"

"Hmmm... I guess none of you got the email that my sister sent." the dark-blue woman told them. "Though it was a bit last-minute, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised." She then explained to them all, "We had to close the school today: Just yesterday, the main water pipe sprung a leak and caused some damage to the basement. It's going to take at least until Wednesday to completely repair the pipe AND the basement. Until then, we don't have any functioning bathrooms or anything of the sort."

"Oh, I see now... That's why the school's closed." Twilight said, understanding the situation.

"But then why're you here, Ms. Luna?" asked Applejack.

"My sister asked me to meet with the plumber and supervise the whole thing." Luna answered. "Normally she would be the one to do that, but she had other important work to do in the meantime."

"Oh, THAT'S great..." huffed Rainbow Dash. "Y'mean I walked all the way out here for nothin'?!"

"Well... not necessarily, Ms. Dash." the Vice Principal told her. "There is actually another reason I'm here: I was going to call all of you to meet me here, at the front of the school. Of course, you have saved me such trouble as the seven of you are here already."

"Why did you want to meet with us here...? If you don't mind me asking..." Fluttershy inquired.

"Well, I'll admit it is a bit unusual..." Luna started to explain. She then asked, "You remember our newest hire, Mrs. K?" The girls nodded to say that they did. "Well, for some reason, she called me earlier and requested to see all of you specifically."

"She... wants to see all of us?" asked Sunset. "Why? What does she want with us?"

"I'll answer that question for Ms. Luna." said the voice of another woman. Everyone looked over towards the front parking lot, where a pale-skinned woman with silver-blue hair stood on the driver's side of a small, white car. It was, of course, Mrs. K standing there.

"Mrs. K...?" asked Sunset. "What's going on? Why did you want to see us?"

"Do not worry: I'll be happy to explain everything in my classroom once Ms. Luna unlocks the doors." the mysterious woman told her. The Vice Principal then walked towards the front doors of the school and unlocked them. Once that was said and done, Mrs. K started walking inside with Luna, telling the girls, "If you would be so kind as to follow me, I'll tell you what you wish to know." Sunset and her friends looked at each other for a second or two before deciding to follow the two of them inside the empty school.

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

"A field trip?" asked Twilight's voice from inside one of CHS's classrooms - the same room where Mrs. K was going to teach her history class very soon. Twilight, along with Sunset and the others, were meeting with the new history teacher along with Vice Principal Luna to discuss the reason as to why they had been asked to see them in the first place.

"That is correct, Ms. Sparkle." Mrs. K said with a nod. "I would like to invite the seven of you to come to the Pranceton Museum, owned by an old friend and colleague of mine. As you know, this is the start of a new semester for you all, and had the school not been closed you would have been attending my class today." Smiling, she then told them, "So I decided that, if I can't teach my history class here, then what better place to do so than in a history museum?"

"I must admit, that's a pretty neat idea..." stated Sunset. She then asked the teacher, "But why just the seven of us? Why not the rest of the class? I'm sure there's way more students than my friends and I."

"I know it is a bit sudden and unusual, but of the students that I have attending my history class this year, I feel that you would appreciate going on this trip the most." Mrs. K told them.

"How so?" Rarity inquired.

"Because the archeology team that my colleague leads had unearthed some very interesting relics during a recent dig..." the pale-skinned woman replied. Searching around her desk, she found the papers that she was looking for and presented them before the girls. "This is what had been discovered." she told them all.

The teens gasped when they saw that the pictures on the papers looked shockingly familiar. "Hey! Check it out!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "Those look kinda like Duel Monsters!"

"And not just any Duel Monsters..." said Fluttershy, noticing something else familiar about them. "They almost look like those Number cards...!" She knew because the picture she was looking at was a carving that resembled Rhapsody in Berserk - the first Number card they ever had seen. It even had the same 80-shaped symbol next to it.

"Yeah! She's right!" Applejack commented, seeing a carving of Number 16: Shock Master. "These are all Numbers!" Rarity noticed that too, looking at another carving... and shuddered when saw that it was none other than Number 52: Diamond Crab King, the Number that had possessed her. All of the Numbers' carvings had their symbols placed right next to them somewhere.

But it was the picture that Sunset and Twilight were looking at that intrigued them the most: The carved stone displayed a picture of a large, white circle, with eight more circles - each one in a different color, sticking out of it. "Look at this, Twilight..." Sunset told her, pointing to a shape in the center of the white circle. "It looks just like my necklace!"

"It does...!" Twilight responded, also very surprised to see such a thing. "Do you think that this stone has some kind of connection to that Astral World place?"

At that moment, the young Princess heard the voice of her friend, Utopia, in her mind. (It appears so, Twilight...) the golden warrior told her. (It is only a feeling... but I am certain that there is indeed a link between this relic and the Astral World.)

Humming a bit to herself while she paged through the papers, Sunset then asked Mrs. K, "Where is this archeological dig taking place?"

"Nowhere near here, I'm afraid." the history teacher admitted. "While they are currently housed in Pranceton Museum, these relics were originally unearthed at a site nearby the Himalayan Mountains."

(Wait... the Himalayas?) the red-and-yellow girl asked in her mind. She then remembered hearing something about that area from Zecora when they met with her a while ago. (According to Zecora,) she thought to herself, (that's the place where she found my key necklace, and that it had a connection to the Astral World. And that's apparently where the Number cards also come from...) Sunset wasn't completely sure about everything yet, but she felt that going on this trip would help to answer some questions regarding the Astral World.

Putting away her papers, Mrs. K then made her offer again, telling the girls, "As I have stated before, I would like for the seven of you to accompany me to the museum and see the relics in person. If you wish to come with me, and your parents approve of it, then we will all meet at the front of the school tomorrow, at this exact time... What do you say?"

The seven girls (and one puppy) looked at one another, thinking about whether or not to take up her offer. However, Sunset had already come to a decision. Putting her hand on Mrs. K's desk firmly, she told her, "I'm in."

The other girls let out small gasps, amazed that Sunset had come to her decision so quickly... All except for Twilight, who also put her hand on the desk and said, "Count me in, too!"

"Same here!" said Spike from inside of Twilight's backpack.

Seeing that two of their friends had made up their minds, the others were spurred into doing the same. "Well, Ah guess if y'allre gonna go, then I'll join, too." stated Applejack.

"Same here!" shouted Pinkie with her usual level of enthusiasm

"That goes for me as well." Rarity chimed in, not about to be left out of it all.

"...I guess I could go if that's okay with everyone else." Fluttershy said a bit meekly. She then asked, "Are you going to go too, Rainbow Dash...?"

"Uh, I guess if all of you are." the cyan girl answered. "T' be honest, though... I would've rather stayed home today; During Spring Break I got the new Daring Do book that came out, but I hadn't gotten t' read it yet."

"Oh? You're a Daring Do fan, Ms. Dash?" asked Mrs. K. "It's funny that you should mention that: As it turns out, the museum director is none other than author of Daring Do herself, A.K. Yearling."

Rainbow's pupils dilated upon hearing that. "Wait-wait-wait-wait... What'd you say??" she asked in disbelief. "A.K. runs the museum? For reals?!" The history teacher smiled and nodded yes in response. Her attitude about the trip having completely changed, the cyan teen said in an excited tone, "Why didn't ya say that sooner?!? You better believe that I'm goin' on the trip! Absolutely!!"

"Figures." Sunset said with a bit of a smirk. "Ever since I got her into reading the Daring Do books, she became a superfan almost overnight."

"Same with my world's Rainbow Dash." Twilight commented. "Once she read the first book during a trip to the hospital, there was no stopping her. Would you believe that she actually tried to break into that same hospital just to finish the story without anypony knowing?" The jacket-wearing teen nodded to say that she could believe something like that.

"Well, if all that's settled," Mrs. K told them, "then I'd like you all to arrive here tomorrow before 8 o' clock in the morning. The museum isn't terribly far from here, but it will still be a long trip. I hope to see all of you bright and early tomorrow. For now, you are all dismissed." The girls nodded and left the school to return home. As they walked away, Sunset and Twilight looked back at the classroom they had exited: They were still a bit curious as to the new teacher's unusual request and wondered if there was more to this trip than what was on the surface...

Later that day, Sunset and Twilight returned to the apartment building (after having made a quick stop at a card store to see they had anything new). After having told the landlord, Manny Roar, about the intruder that had gotten into their room a week ago, he told them that he would do his best to make sure it wouldn't happen again. Satisfied, the two girls returned to Sunset's apartment together.

As Twilight looked over her Deck with Spike (who was happily munching on some popcorn), she said to Sunset, "It's kinda neat isn't it? To be going to a museum for what is technically our first day with the new teacher? I can't wait to see it all!" When she didn't receive a response, the young Princess put her cards down and looked over at Sunset, who was on her couch and lying down on her back. "Sunset? Is something the matter?" she then asked her.

"Not really, no..." the red-and-yellow girl answered. "It's just that... doesn't this all seem odd to you?"

"Odd?" asked Spike with a mouthful of popcorn. Swallowing it all down, he then questioned her, "What makes you say that? She seemed pretty on-the-level to me."

"Perhaps..." Sunset replied. Pausing for a moment, she then inquired them, "But... doesn't it seem strange that, out of all of the people that are in Mrs. K's class, why did she only invite us and our friends? It can't possibly be just a coincidence."

"Hmmmm... now that you mention it, it does seem weird." Twilight stated, now seeing what her friend was talking about. "You think she might be up to something?"

"Well... I don't think she's an enemy, if that's what you're saying." stated Sunset. "That being said, I DO think she has some sort of agenda going on, like there's more to this than what we know. To be honest, it's kind of the reason I agreed to go on the trip."

"It is?" asked both Twilight and Spike.

Looking over to the purple-skinned girl, Sunset then asked her, "Remember when we saw her at the card shop that closed down? Before we left, she started asking me about my necklace; about what it was and where it came from."

"Yeah, I remember." the Princess of Friendship answered. "It almost seemed like she might have already known about its origins when she asked you about it."

"That's the feeling that I got." Sunset replied. Looking at her necklace, she then said, "I think she might know more about this thing than she's making herself seem... And if that's the case, I have to get that information out of her somehow. It could make a huge difference with our battles against the other Numbers."

"Makes sense to me." said Spike, agreeing with Sunset's idea.

"Maybe, but let's not do anything rash, just in case it is a coincidence." Twilight suggested. "And if she is keeping information from us, there could be a reason why she's doing that."

"That's true, Twilight." the red-and-yellow teen responded. "In any case, we have to at least try and see if she can tell us anything she might know." Getting up off of the sofa, she then told her friend, "We'd better make sure we're ready to leave bright and early tomorrow. So I wouldn't recommend staying up 'til midnight studying dueling footage online like I know you do."

"Aheheh... yeah, that's probably a good idea." Twilight responded, giggling a little out of embarrassment. The three of them began getting their things together to prepare for their field trip tomorrow.

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

At 7:58 a.m. the next morning, in front of the school, a large bus was parked on the street, its engine still running. The bus was waiting to take Sunset and her friends, as well as Mrs. K, to the museum owned and operated by the history teacher's colleague, A.K. Yearling. Luckily, each of the seven girls had gotten permission to accompany Mrs. K on the trip (in the case of Sunset and Twilight, Celestia and Luna acted as their guardians, since their families were in a whole other universe).

The seven teenagers sat next to each other inside of the bus, waiting for Mrs. K to arrive. Of course, they each brought their Decks with them, since the museum exhibit was related to Duel Monsters. "So ya managed to finish that new F.A. Deck o' yours, Rainbow Dash?" Applejack asked.

"Yep! Got the last card I needed durin' the week off." the cyan-skinned girl replied. "I can't wait t' try 'em out!" She then glanced over to Fluttershy and asked her, "When we get back, think maybe you n' I could do a practice Duel with my Formula Athletes?"

"Uhmmm... I guess so." the shy girl replied, never one to refuse a request from her friends.

Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie was giggling as she stared at two of her new cards. Rarity - who was sitting next to her, glanced over to look at the cards herself. "Oh my!" the fashionista said with a gasp. "You managed to get that rare card, Pinkie?"

"You mean this one?" asked Pinkie, holding up a card that showed a picture of a tiny little gnome girl with a pink, cone-shaped hat holding up a sign. "Yeah, I can't believe I got it either! Talk about getting super-duper lucky!" She then asked her friend, "Did you get anything new lately? Something that'll be really, really helpful in a future episode or something?"

"Um... well, it isn't much," Rarity responded, "but I did get these while we were in Manehattan." She then showed the pink girl three copies of a card called Power Giant. "A bit on the brutish-looking side, but I just can't say 'no' to those lovely-looking crystals growing out of it!"

Sunset and Twilight sat next to each other, with Spike sitting on the young Princess's lap. The two were still unsure about some things concerning the trip, but decided to not mention anything about it right now. Glancing out the window, Twilight saw a white car pulling into the parking lot. Recognizing it, she said to Sunset, "Mrs. K's here now. That means we should be leaving pretty shortly."

"And hopefully we'll figure out what she's up to." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "For now, let's just enjoy the trip to the museum and not say anything yet about what her deal is."

"Sounds good to me." agreed Spike. Twilight nodded to say that she agreed as well.

After having gotten some things out of her car, Mrs. K then boarded the bus and walked over to the group of seven girls (and one puppy). Smiling, she said to them, "I am glad to see that all of you could make it here today. That's good." Clearing her throat a little, she then told them, "The trip to Pranceton Museum will be a relatively long one. I trust that all of you are prepared, but just in case, if anybody needs to use the bathroom, get any snacks, or anything of the sort, this is your last opportunity, as we will not be making any pit stops."

Everybody nodded to say that they were well-prepared for the long drive.

"Good." said the teacher. "Then if everyone is ready, we'll be leaving immediately." She then motioned to the bus driver to begin the trip. He shifted gears - switching from park to drive, and began moving the bus forward. And with that, Sunset, Twilight, and their companions were on their way. As Mrs. K had told them, the trip would be somewhat long, but enjoyable.

Some time later, at the very museum that was their destination, a young adult woman was busy at work. The museum was still closed to the general public, but there were a few employees working to get things ready before they opened the doors. The woman was at a desk in a small office, and based on the nameplate attached to the front door, it was assumed that she was none other than A.K. Yearling, the museum owner (and well-known book author).

A.K. had light gold-colored skin and grey hair in various different shades covered by a silvery-gray hat topped with a white ribbon. A pair of red-rimmed glasses rested overtop of her rose-colored eyes. Her outfit was a simple dress with a purple-colored cloak overtop of it, and a pair of black high-heeled shoes. As she worked on some papers spread out on her desk, she heard a knock on her door. "Come in." she said.

The door opened and in walked one of the employees, as well as a security guard. "The display from the recent dig is all set up, Ms. Yearling." the employee told her.

"Good to hear." the woman told him. She then turned to the guard and handed him a photograph for him to look at. "This is my colleague, Mrs. K." she told him. "In about a half-hour she'll be arriving with a group of students from Canterlot High School, before the museum actually opens to the public. Keep an eye out for her and her group and allow them inside once they get here."

"You've got it, Ms. Yearling!" the guard said with a nod, handing her back the picture before he and the other employee left.

A.K. Yearling sat there at her desk, looking at the photograph of Mrs. K and then at the clock in the room (which currently read 9:15 a.m.). (It'll be nice to see her again after she went and decided to go teach at CHS...) she thought. (I still remember back when was I at school there; I wonder if Mr. Cranky Doodle still teaches Math there?) Putting the photo down for the moment, she then thought, (But that K... she was... quite unique, to put it mildly. She was an amazing archeologist when we worked together. She seemed to know so much about the stuff that dug up, like she'd already seen it before... I never asked her why that was, or why she decided to become a teacher all of a sudden. I doubt she'd say much, but maybe I can ask her when she gets here. Who knows? I might even come up with a new story idea today while I'm at it.)

But little did A.K. know was that a thrilling and dangerous tale was about to come her way. Outside of her office in the halls of the museum, the security guard was making his way to the front doors, where another guard - who had a slight amount of stubble on his chin, was currently located. "Time to change shifts." said the approaching guard to the other one. "I'll take care of watching the front. You can go and check on things near the new exhibit."

"Um... yes, of course." the other guard said, his voice a bit strained.

"...You alright?" asked the first guard. "Your voice is soundin' weird again. Another sore throat?"

"...Um, yes... I-I believe it is." the other guard answered, making small coughing sounds. "It's nothing, though... A little cough syrup and it should be manageable."

"Alright, if you're sure about it." the first guard said to him. "Anyway, the boss has the keys to the room where the new exhibit is, so go and talk to her about it."

"Yes, of course..." the other guard replied, walking away. As he did, a wicked-looking grin formed on his face and a slight glimmer reflected off his right eye. The guard made his way down the halls to where A.K.'s office was. He remained silent as he walked down the halls, as if he had an agenda of his own.

Stepping into the office, he approached the woman sitting at the desk and said to her, "I've... come to get the keys to the new exhibit, Ms. Yearling... I was told that you had them."

Looking up at the guard, A.K. said nothing at first. She just stared right at him, as if something felt off. However, with everything else that she had to take care of today, she decided not to say anything about it and told him, "Very well." She then reached into a pocket in her dress and pulled out a small key. She used it on a lock in one of her desk drawers, opening it and revealing some items inside: A set of keys (presumably the keys that the man was talking about), several documents, and a Duel Monsters Deck in a small box. The guard looked in the drawer after it was opened; it seemed the contents peaked his interest.

Taking out the keys in the drawer, Yearling presented him with them and said, "As you may know, these keys are for every door and lock in this entire museum, and it would take several days to replace them all... They're very important, so don't lose them."

"...You don't have to worry about that, Ms. Yearling." the guard told her. Then, all of a sudden, the man produced a hidden white cloth from his uniform and pushed it up against A.K.'s face. "You have much bigger things to worry about instead...!" he then added, an evil grin appearing on his face.

"Urk...!" A.K. had only a second to figure out what was going on... before her eyes grew heavy and she slumped to the floor, unconscious.

"That chloroform rag should keep you out of commission for a while..." the man said to her, even though he knew she wouldn't respond. Walking over to her desk, he then grabbed the documents and the Deck that were in the drawer. "Now that I've gotten these, all that's left are those newly-discovered relics..." Snickering to himself, he then left the room, thinking that everything was going according to plan...

Unbeknownst to him, however, A.K. had opened one of her eyes...

Less then a half-hour later, the bus that Sunset and her friends were riding in arrived at the Pranceton Museum. Now that they had reached their destination, the seven teens were anxious to get out of the bus and into the building. Pinkie Pie was especially anxious to get inside... but not to look at the exhibit. From her straining, sweating face, as well as her trembling body, it was obvious what was going on. "Rrrrrrn... errrrrrrg...!" she grunted, her legs crossed. "I can't take it anymore...! I gotta go...!!"

"See? I TOLD you not to drink all of that Colta-Cola five minutes into our bus trip, Pinkie dear." Rarity reminded her sternly. "You're lucky that you only began having... erm, 'issues' just as we got into town."

Pinkie wasn't listening, as she was focusing all of herself on trying not to explode. As soon as the bus came to a complete stop, she zipped out of the vehicle like a lightning bolt. She stopped in front of the main entrance and pounded on the glass doors, shouting, "Please!! Let me in! Let me in! Let me in!! I gotta go like a race horse!!!" Then, all of a sudden, she changed to a calmer tone and said (seemingly to no one), "Heehee! See what I did there?"

The security guard standing on the other side of the doors looked at the struggling pink girl. Opening the door, he raised an eyebrow and asked, "Can I help you, young lady?"

"Y-y-y-y-y-yes you c-c-can...!!" she told him as best as she could. "I gotta go really bad...! REALLY BAD!!"

Narrowing his eyes, the unconvinced guard told her, "Ya think I just fell off turnip truck yesterday? The museum's closed; I ain't lettin' ya in!"

"But ya GOTTA!!" Pinkie pleaded with him, hopping around like a flea and clutching the hem of her skirt. "If you don't, I'll blow up for sure!!! I KNOW IT!!!"

"I said NO!!" the guard informed her again.

Just outside of the bus, Sunset, Twilight and the others could only watch as their silly pink friend tried everything she could to convince the security guard to let her inside. Mrs. K had now just gotten out of the bus after getting all of her belongings. Looking over at Pinkie, the teacher then said to the others, "I suppose I had better go and sort this out before there's a disaster."

"Yeah, ya probably oughtta." Applejack agreed. The rest of the group then made their way to the main entrance to try and help their burdened friend.

Once the rest of the group got to where the security guard and Pinkie were, the man then asked them, "What's going on here? Who are all of you?"

Taking a deep breath, Mrs. K told him, "Please forgive my student; she is having... a problem, to put it mildly. I can assure you she has no intentions of purposely causing you any trouble." Showing an I.D. cad, she explained to him, "I am Mrs. K, teacher at Canterlot High School. I've come here with some students of mine with Ms. Yearling's permission."

"Mrs. K?" asked the security guard, recognizing the name. "So you were the one Ms. Yearling asked me to let in. I guess that explains what you're doing here." Sighing, he then added, "Even so, however... I'm afraid I can't let you in right this moment; something's come up and until we take care of it, you'll just have to wait for now."

"Why...? What happened?" the teacher asked out of slight concern.

But before any more words could be said, Pinkie Pie then screamed, "I-I-I can't WAIT ANY LONGER!!! I GOTTA GO!!!" And before any force on Earth could stop her, she ran in through the open door and into the museum, hoping to find her destination before it was too late.

"H-HEY!! Get back here!!" shouted the guard. But the pink girl was completely out of his sight. Groaning, he asked himself, "Rrrgh... why me...?" He then looked at the rest of the group and told them, "Well you might as well come in now, before your friend hurts herself 'r something. But nobody leaves my sight, got it?"

"We promise to stay nearby." said Mrs. K. Sunset and the others nodded to say that they promised to as well. After that, they all ran into the museum in search of Pinkie.

Minutes later, the group of eight turned up nothing while looking for Pinkie Pie throughout the spacious building. "Darnit...! We'll never find her at this rate!" complained Rainbow Dash. "There's gotta be like, a hundred bathrooms in here!"

"We'll find her sooner or later, Rainbow." Twilight told her. "She can't be that far. If I were her at least, I'd have probably gotten into the first bathroom I could find. That being said, there's no telling which one she found first..."

"In that case, since this search might take a while..." Sunset began. She then turned to the guard and asked him, "Maybe you could tell us what's going on that you couldn't let us inside right away?"

"I must admit, I am curious about that as well." stated Mrs. K. "Did something bad happen?"

Hufing a little, the man sighed and told the young teacher, "Well, I suppose if you must know, we've learned that - besides your student just now, we've heard that there's an intruder in the museum."

"An intruder?" asked Rarity. "What sort of intruder?"

"We don't know yet." the guard answered. "And we're not sure how they got in or why they're here. But we figure that they must be here to try and steal something."

"Oh... my...!" peeped Fluttershy. "That doesn't sound good at all...! Now I kind of wish we just stayed back at the bus..."

"Don't worry." Rainbow Dash reassured her shy friend. "We'll be fine as long as we stick together. Trust me, I won't let anything happen to ya."

The shy yellow girl smiled a bit and said, "Thanks... I feel a little better knowing that."

"That goes fer all'o us, too." Applejack chimed in. "As long as we're all together, ain't nothing bad's gonna happen to us!" Looking around, she added, "Of course, we still need t' find Pinkie before we CAN all be together..."

Just then, another security guard - younger than the one walking with Mrs. K and her students, ran up to the group and said to the other guard, "I'm glad I found you! We've learned where the intruder is!"

"Good." the older guard said, thinking that they had gotten a clue to Pinkie Pie's whereabouts. "Where is she?" he then asked.

"Um... she? They aren't a 'she'." the younger guard explained. "HE'S currently in the room where the new exhibit is located."

The others gasped, realizing that the younger guard was talking about the OTHER intruder. Realizing that their main target's location was known, the older guard then told the group, "Stay close to me, everyone. Just in case this guy has any accomplices, I want ya to stay near me where I can keep an eye on ya." The rest of them nodded and followed him towards their next destination.

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

In that very room, the short-bearded security guard that had previously paid A.K. a visit in her office was now walking through the unlit area, using the very keys he took from her to unlock display case after display case, pilfering the relics housed inside. Chuckling to himself, the man said, "Perfect... These particular artifacts will fetch quite a high price on the black market! And best of all, no one has any idea that I'm even here!" Hoisting up his bag of loot, he told himself in a bragging tone of voice (which had a bit of a Spanish accent to it), "By the time those fools realize what has happened, I'll be MILES away from here! Ha ha haaa!!" He continued to laugh as he went over to the door to open it.

But he noticed that something was wrong: The door was locked. "What? What is going on??" he asked. "I unlocked this door in order to get inside, and I know for certain that I didn't re-lock it..." Confused, he set the bag down and tried the keys. However, they didn't seem to work, as the door still didn't open. "Wh-what?! What's wrong with this door?!" he shouted. "Why won't it open?!?" He struggled to get the door open, but it wouldn't budge. He was trapped. Growling, he then looked through the window and gasped in horror at what he saw...

It was the two security guards, along with Mrs. and her students, who were on their way towards the room he was in. Sweating and even more baffled than before, he asked himself, "The guards?!? That's impossible!!"

Stopping in front of the closed door, the older of the two security guards said to him, "So, it was you all along, wasn't it? I had a feeling you were up to no good... If you thought you could just rob this museum in broad daylight and get away scot-free, you're absolutely crazy!" The crook simply grumbled in response.

Mrs. K and the others looked at the criminal through the door's glass window. For some reason, Sunset, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash had a strange feeling come over them upon looking at the man's bearded face. "Hmmm... why do I have this weird feelin' that I've seen that guy before?" asked Dash.

"I got that same feeling myself." Sunset told her. "I'm sure I've never met him before, so why does he looks so familiar?"

Twilight hummed to herself, trying to figure out where and when she could have possibly seen someone like this crook. "It doesn't make any sense... Who could he be?" she asked.

The crook had some questions of his own. "What's going on here?!" he inquired angrily. "How did you know I was here?! There's no way you could have possibly found me out!!"

"Oh, there's a way..." said the voice of a woman.

Everyone started looked around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. Just then, Rarity pointed towards the door window and shouted, "Look! In that air vent!" Everybody then looked towards the air vent in the room that the crook was trapped in. The cover had been removed and a figure leapt out, landing perfectly on the floor below. The mysterious individual then produced what appeared to be a small remote and clicked it, turning on all of the lights. It was then that the figure was revealed to be none other than a smirking A.K. Yearling.

"WHAT?! YOU?!?" exclaimed the crook. "How! I thought I took care of you already!!"

"...You THINK you did. But as always, you're quite wrong." the woman told him. "Luckily, I saw what you were trying to do, so I held my breath just a split-second before you used that chloroform rag on me. After that, it was just a matter of making it look like I was knocked-out so that you'd drop your guard. Not that your trick would've worked anyway; even with a proper dosage, it would take way longer for that stuff to knock me out, and by the time it would have reached my face, it would have lost most - if not all, of its effectiveness." Folding her arms, she continued, saying, "After you left, I sent out an alert to the rest of my security to have them electronically lock the doors on this side to trap you in the room. I suppose you would have known about this... if you bothered to also steal a radio along with that uniform."

"Urk!!" The man then realized that HE was the one that had no idea what was really going on. "How dare you trick me!!" he shouted.

"Don't get angry at me; Did you honestly think I wouldn't have learned from the LAST time you used the old chloroform trick?" A.K. asked him.

"What?? What are you talking about?" asked the criminal.

A.K. chuckled a bit as she grasped her hat. She then threw it off, along with her cloak and her fancy dress. Everyone gasped when they saw that she was wearing an entirely different outfit underneath. She was now decked out in an greyish-green explorer's outfit, along with a beige hat and a pair of long, brown boots. In addition, she also let her hair down, revealing it to be rather long. Then, she took of her glasses and stored them in her chest pocket.

Gasping, the man said in a horrified voice. "N-n-no!! It can't be!!! You're...! You're...!"

"It's Daring Do!!!" shouted Rainbow Dash in excitement. "She's real!!" Everyone else was also astounded by this revelation. All except for Twilight and Spike, as they already knew that A.K.'s pony counterpart had the same secret identity. Mrs. K also seemed to know about her friend's other persona as well, as she was also not surprised by the big reveal.

"And since I've revealed my identity," Daring Do began to say as she reached for an object from behind herself, "why don't you go ahead and show us who YOU really are!" She then revealed the item that she was going for was a whip, which she aimed right towards the crook. The whip didn't cause him any injury, but it DID tear away his disguise.

With the security guard uniform now in shreds, the man's true appearance underneath was revealed: His skin was mostly greyish-brown in color and he had short, black hair, with a pair of light-green eyes and bushy eyebrows. His outfit was a simple one, consisting of a white shirt and a red ascot with white polka dots. His pants were tan in color, held up with a belt that also carried a gold, skull-shaped charm, ending with a pair of pitch-black boots.

Twilight, Sunset, and Rainbow Dash gasped when they saw what the crook really looked like. "Now I recognize him!" said the red-and-yellow girl. "That's Dr. Caballeron!"

"What?! Dr. Caballeron?!" exclaimed Dash. "You mean he's real, too?!"

"Just like in my world..." stated Twilight. "My friends and I ran across him before, and we learned that he was just as nasty in real life as he is in the books, if not nastier."

"So just what is that scoundrel up to here?" asked Applejack. "Is he tryin' t' rob the place or somethin'?"

"It does appear that way, Applejack." Rarity told her. "Just look at the bag next to him; it's full of relics!"

"And most of the display cases in the room are empty...!" Fluttershy chimed in. "He must have opened them to steal what was inside...!" Mrs. K said nothing, but her face began to get angry after hearing what was going on.

Back inside of the room, Daring Do continued to stare down her archnemesis, Dr. Caballeron, knowing that she had him right where she wanted him. "I've gotta say, Caballeron... I think you might be starting to slip in your old age; after all the times we've been butting heads with each other, you honestly thought that I wouldn't recognize that stubble on your chin when you walked right into my office earlier?"

"Hmmm... so you knew it was me all along?" asked the crook. "And you gave me those keys knowing that I would pull a fast one on you?" Chuckling, he then told her, "I must admit: I am a little impressed that you managed to figure it all out so quickly."

"Hmph. Flattery's not gonna get you anywhere." Daring Do told him. "Like it or not, you're on a one-way trip to the slammer, and you know it." Pointing straight at him, she then added, "But maybe if you if return everything you stole - including the papers concerning the digging site AND my Duel Monsters Deck that you took from my office, maybe I'll put a word in to the judge and see if he can lessen your jail time a bit. So what's your choice?"

"Heh heh heh... what's my choice...?" Dr. Caballeron repeated. He then looked up at his hated enemy with a crazed look on his face, his eyes now turning an eerie pink. "...I choose to be rid of you once and for all!!" At that moment, a pink mark then began to glow on the back of his right shoulder - shaped like the number 67, as he raised his right hand towards Daring, his pointer finger extended.

Mrs. K was the only one to see the mark... and know what it meant. "A.K.!! Watch out!!" she screamed, trying to help her friend.

"Huh?" asked Yearling. When she looked towards Dr. Caballeron, she saw that his finger was beginning to glow the same pink as his eyes. "What the-?!" she exclaimed as a beam of energy shot from his finger straight towards her.

Acting quickly, Mrs. K swiftly opened the doors (as they were only locked from the other side) and ran as fast as she could to her dear friend. She then leapt towards her, pushing them both out of the way of the beam. The shot struck the wall behind them instead, creating a smoky hole.

Needless to say, the others were shocked at what they just saw. "D-d-d-d-did you just see that?!" asked Rainbow Dash, stuttering out of astonishment. "If that thing hit her, then... then... Well, I don't wanna think about what would happen!!"

"How'd he even do that?" asked Applejack. "Does he have superpowers r' somethin'?"

Twilight and Sunset hummed a bit, having a idea of what was going on. That was confirmed when Utopia showed up in Twilight's thoughts and told her, (Twilight... I can sense a malicious and familiar energy in that man. There's no doubt about it: He is holding a Number.)

"I thought so." the young Princess replied.

"What is it?" asked Sunset, unable to hear her Utopia speaking earlier.

"Dr. Caballeron..." Twilight began to say, "he's holding a Number card. Utopia just told me."

"A Number?!?" gasped the other girls in shock.

"Th-that's not good..." said Spike. "If a guy that dangerous has a Number, then we're all in trouble!"

Back in the room, Dr. Caballeron was annoyed by Mrs. K's sudden act of heroism when she pushed Daring Do out of the way of the deadly beam. "You dare get in MY way, woman?" he asked the teacher angrily. "Stay out of this, or I'll make sure it's the last thing you ever do!"

"K, you'd better get out of here...!" Yearling suggested to her friend. "I don't want you gettin' hurt 'cause of me!"

But the teacher closed her eyes and calmly told her, "Thank you for your concern, A.K., but I will be just fine." Daring Do wasn't sure what her friend was talking about, nor was she sure of why she was willingly going up against a dangerous criminal like Caballeron.

"...So you won't leave, will you?" he then asked the teacher. "Have it your way. I'll take care of you first!" He then pointed his finger at Mrs. K and fired another pink beam.

"Mrs. K!! Watch out!!" shouted Rarity out of concern.

But the teacher didn't move an inch... except to activate her Duel Pad and set a card from her Deck onto it. Opening her eyes, a red, wing-shaped mark appeared over her left eye as she shouted, "Come forth, Dragulon!!" At that moment, her D-Pad lit up and shot out a huge column of light that surrounded her. The beam that Caballeron fired was neutralized the moment it hit the light column, doing no damage whatsoever.

"What the-?! How did-?!" stuttered the crook.

The others were just as amazed. Not just from the fact that Mrs. K was unharmed, but also because a large, white, serpent-like dragon had now appeared from the light column, acting as a shield to protect both of the women from harm. "What's that thing?!" asked Rainbow Dash.

"It looks like a dragon...!" stated Fluttershy, trembling a bit upon seeing the mighty beast.

Sunset and Twilight saw something else that surprised them: the yellow 46 mark on its wing. "S-Sunset, do you see that mark?" asked the Princess of Friendship.

"I... I do!" the red-and-yellow girl responded, mouth agape. "That's... that's a Number card! Mrs. K has one too!" Needless to say, everyone was shocked by this sudden turn of events.

Dr. Caballeron was the most shocked of them all; he did not expect someone to stand up to him, let alone succeed in doing so. Growling a little, he then asked, "So you're not just any ordinary person... Just who or what are you, anyway?!"

"...Someone that isn't going to allow you to continue your misdeeds." Mrs. K calmly - but angirly, told him. "You have stolen from this museum... You have stolen from my friend... You even tried to cause her harm in your greed-driven goals. I will personally see to it that you answer for your crimes today."

"...And how do you plan to do that, exactly?" asked Dr. Caballeron, not intimidated by her threats.

Showing her D-Pad she told him, "I challenge you to a Duel. And you will bet your Number card and the Deck you stole from my friend on the outcome. I will wager my two Numbers as well."

"I see. So you have Numbers too... Very interesting." the man responded. "In that case, I'll accept your challenge. In addition, if I win this Duel... You won't leave this place alive."

"...Have it your way." Mrs. K told him. "But if I win, you will suffer a Penalty Game for your crimes against the world." Dr. Caballeron then huffed, not scared even one bit by her words, but he did wonder what she meant by a "Penalty Game".

Mrs. K then glanced back to her friend and said to her, "Yearling, have your security leave for now. I wish no harm to come to them until after I've dealt with that man. My students may stay if they wish, but your guards do not have the power to deal with that man the way he is now."

"You sure about that?" asked the acheologist/author. "I told you, Dr. Caballeron doesn't mess around; if he says he'll do somethin' horrible, he's crazy enough to try it!"

"I'm aware of that." the teacher responded. "But I promise that we'll all be fine. Now... if you please." Daring Do wasn't too sure about the whole thing, but decided to trust her friend and called her security to leave the scene.

As the guards left, Sunset and the others stayed behind "I don't believe it..." Rarity told her friends. "Our teacher is going to Duel with that ruffian...!"

"And she literally put her life on the life, to boot!" Rainbow added. "You heard what Caballeron told her, didn't ya?"

"Ah heard 'im loud n' clear, Rainbow." Applejack responded. "And she's still takin' him on in a Duel! Just what's up with her, anyway??"

(That's a good question AJ...) Sunset thought to herself. (Just who is Mrs. K...?) The jacket-wearing teen had some suspicions about their history teacher, and she had a feeling that they would know quite soon.

Snickering, Dr. Caballeron produced a D-Pad of his own, which had a Deck loaded into it. "I'll make you regret fighting me, woman..." he told her in a sinister tone, his eyes glowing pink. "And to add insult to injury, I'll crush you with your beloved friend's Deck! What do you think of that?!"

"...I think it will be YOU that will be regretting their actions today, if that is what you plan to do." Mrs. K told him, still speaking calmly and without fear. With their equipment ready, she then shouted, "Now, it's time to duel!" (Dr. Caballeron: LP 4,000) (Mrs. K: LP 4,000)

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

After both Mrs. K and Dr. Caballeron drew their opening hands, everyone else that was till in the vicinity had activated their Duel Gazers in order to watch the dangerous Duel that was about to take place. Then, at that moment, someone else came up behind the group and asked, "Hey! What'd I miss?"

The others looked behind them and saw that it was none other than their friend Pinkie Pie, who now seemed a lot more relaxed after having used a bathroom. "Pinkie?? How'd ya find us?" asked Applejack.

"Hmmmm... not sure, really." the pink girl simply replied. "Now that something important is happening, I guess I kinda had to show up." Looking ahead of them, she saw the Duel that was about to start and gasped, asking, "Is that Dr. Caballeron?! And our teacher?!"

"Yep. That's them, alright." Sunset answered her. "And they're about to duel each other."

"They're dueling?" asked Pinkie as she put on her Duel Gazer and activated it. "How come? What's going on?"

"Well, to make a long story short," Rarity began to explain, "Caballeron tried to rob the museum, but his plan failed. But just as he was about to caught, he lashed out and tried to harm Ms. Yearling. But somehow, Mrs. K managed to stop him... Though I'm not exactly sure how..."

"Well, before he shot another beam at them," Fluttershy began to say, "Mrs. K played a card on her Duel Pad. Then, there was a flash of light, and then we saw that dragon appear."

"But that don't make any sense..." stated Applejack. "We weren't wearin' our Gazers when it happened, so how'd we even see that monster appear?"

"I know why." Twilight told her. "That dragon she played is one of the Number cards. According to Utopia, Numbers have powers beyond that of other Xyz Monsters, and they can even have abilities that affect the real world as well."

"Exactly." Sunset chimed in. "I know first-hand just how powerful the Numbers are in our world. From my Duel against Martin, and the time I used a Number card to find Fluttershy and Vinyl when they went missing, I'm very much aware of the effects they have outside of a Duel." Folding her arms, she then added, "The only thing I don't know... is how and why Mrs. K has a Number card, or what that might mean for all of us..." The other girls weren't sure either, but they decided that now wasn't the time to figure that out, as they had bigger things to worry about, such as the outcome of Mrs. K's Duel against Dr. Caballeron, the archeologist-gone-bad.

Snickering to himself, believing that he had the Duel won already, Caballeron then said to his opponent, "You really have no idea what you're up against, do you? Bet you wish that you backed out while you had the chance, did you?"

"...It is you who is unaware of who they're up against." Mrs. K told him in a stern manner. "If you think victory will smile upon a weak soul such as your own, then you are quite foolish... So I'll do the sporting thing and allow you the first move."

"Grrrn... I don't need your charity." the man huffed, yet took up her offer anyway. Looking at his hand and making his decision, he took every card in his hand and placed them in his D-Pad. "I set FIVE cards face-down and end my turn!"

Sunset and the others gasped at the move he made. "Did ya see that?!" asked Applejack. "He only played cards in his Spell & Trap Zones!"

"Cool! He didn't Summon any monsters, so he's wide open!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"I wouldn't be so sure, Rainbow darling." Rarity told her. "He still filled his entire back row full of cards, so it is obvious he set some sort of trap..."

"Rarity's right." said Sunset in agreement. "Mrs. K has to be careful not to set them off at the worst possible time."

Luckily, Mrs. K felt the same way as she drew her first card for the Duel and began her turn. Looking back at A.K. Yearling/Daring Do, who was now off to the side behind her (and having activated her Duel Gazer as well), she thought to herself, (Don't worry, my friend... I will do what is necessary to ensure that this scoundrel pays for his crimes against you...) Taking a card from her hand, she then declared, "I'll begin with a Spell Card: The Melody of Awakening Dragon!"

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

The Melody of Awakening Dragon:
(Normal Spell Card)

Discard 1 card; add up to 2 Dragon monsters with 3000 or more ATK and 2500 or less DEF from your Deck to your hand.

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

"I will now discard my Eclipse Wyvern and add two more Dragons to my hand from my Deck." Mrs. K said to her opponent. After disposing of the card in her hand, her Deck auto-shuffled and left two cards sticking out of the top. After she took them, Mrs. K then added, "And now that Eclipse Wyvern has been sent to my Graveyard, I activate its effect and banish one LIGHT or DARK Dragon from my Deck that has a Level of seven or more." After making her choice, her Deck shuffled itself again and allowed her to take the chosen card, which she placed in the box attached to her hip.

"So what did you choose?" asked Caballeron.

"...I'll show you right now." the young teach calmly replied. She then took one of the cards and presented it to her opponent.

The cruel man gasped at the sight of the card she showed to him. "Wh-what?! That's impossible!! The Blue-Eyes White Dragon?!"

The others (including Daring Do) were also taken aback by the card Mrs. K was holding. "That's crazy! How does she have a Blue-Eyes?!" asked Rainbow Dash.

"But... I thought Kaiba was the only one that owned them...!" stated Fluttershy.

"Yeah, isn't that what you told me, Sunset?" Twilight asked her friend. "You told me that Seto Kaiba was the only person to have that card."

"I did say that..." the red-and-yellow girl told her. "Honestly, I have no idea where she got that card from..." Now the jacket-clad teen was even more sure that Mrs. K was not who she appeared to be on the surface.

Dr. Caballeron refused to believe that what he saw in her hand was what he saw. "That card has to be a fake!" he protested. "It has to be!"

"I can assure you that this card is genuine." she told him. "But regardless of whether you believe me or not, it won't change anything. You will be defeated all the same."

"Rrrgh... just get on with your turn!" Caballeron snarled.

"Very well." said the teacher. "However, I should inform you that I didn't show you my Blue-Eyes simply to shock you or even because it was required of me to have you verify that I chose a proper target for my Spell Card."

"What do you mean?" he asked her.

"I'll show you... by revealing the OTHER monster that I placed into my hand with my Spell Card!" Mrs. K told him, as she placed a different card onto her D-Pad's tray. "I Special Summon this monster! Come now, Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon!!"

After playing the card, the ground in front of her burst apart, shooting out a ray of light. Emerging out of that light was a massive dragon with pure white scales, glowing blue eyes, and several markings all over its body that glowed the same color. In short, the dragon looked just like the original Blue-Eyes, but seemed to be much more powerful (Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon: Level 8 / ATK 3000 / DEF 3000).

"WHAT?!?" exclaimed Dr. Caballeron, not expecting to have a monster with three thousand attack points Summoned in front of him so quickly.

"My Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon can be Summoned from my hand by simply revealing the original Blue-Eyes in my hand." Mrs. K explained. "But you'll soon see that it shall be the least of your worries as this Duel continues on." Taking a card from her hand, she then said, "Now I play Stamping Destruction from my hand. Since I control a Dragon monster, I can destroy any of your Spell or Trap Cards and inflict 500 points of damage to your Life Points as well." She then chose her target and her Dragon monster flew up and crushed it with its massive feet.

The targeted card was destroyed, but there was something strange about it: When it revealed itself, it was shown that wasn't a Spell Card, nor a Trap Card; it was a Monster! "What the-?!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "What's goin' on?! How'd he put a Monster Card in his back row??"

"Yeah, I thought only Spells and Traps could be played there!" added Pinkie Pie.

"Heheheh... that's the power of Artifact monsters." the bad doc explained (Dr. Caballeron: LP 4,000 - 500 = 3,500). "Even though they are Monster Cards, I can place them in my back row as Spell Cards instead! And when your foolish teacher decided to destroy one of them, she set off its effect!" At that moment, the card then reappeared on the field, this time in the Monster Zone. "You see," he continued, "Whenever an Artifact monster in my back row is destroyed during my opponent's turn, it returns to the field as a Monster! Now behold as I Summon - in Defense Mode... Artifact Achilleshield!"

After the card was played, a bronze, mechanical-looking shield came out of a dark-purple vortex in the center of the field. Once it did, several parts of it began to glow purple, and a ghostly-looking figure - colored purple as well manifested behind it (Artifact Achilleshield: Level 5 / ATK 1500 / DEF 2200).

"A monster that starts out in the back row n' moves to the front row if it's blown up??" asked Applejack. "Ah ain't heard of such a thing!"

"That means destroying his back row cards could be dangerous..." Sunset stated. "Any one or more of them could be more Artifact monsters."

But Mrs. K wasn't startled even the slightest. "I knew you were using Artifacts. After all, you stole that Deck from my friend. You won't be able to catch me off-guard if you're using her Deck against me, as I know everything about it."

"Heh... then you ought to know," said Caballeron to his foe, "after Achilleshield is Summoned on your turn, you cannot target any of my Artifacts with your monsters' attacks for rest of the turn!"

"That won't be enough to stop me from vanquishing you." said Mrs. K as she took a Trap Card from her hand and placed into her D-Pad. "I'll set a card face-down, before I prepare my next move."

"Heheheh... sorry, but you'll have to wait even longer for your next move!" said the crooked man. "I activate a Trap! Artifact Sanctum! I use this card's power to Special Summon another Artifact, this time from the Deck! And I choose to Summon Artifact Caduceus in Defense Mode!" After playing his second monster, a large, bronze staff fell from the sky and struck the ground. Then, parts of it began to glow orange as a similarly-colored phantom-like figure picked it up and heaved it into the air (Artifact Caduceus: Level 5 / ATK 1600 / DEF 2400).

"Hmmm... In that case, I activate the effect of my Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon!" stated Mrs. K. "By forfeiting its regular attack this turn, I can have my Dragon destroy any one of your monsters! I target and destroy your Achilleshield!" Her monster then began to spark with lightning as it prepared its assault.

"Not so fast!" shouted Caballeron. "I respond with this! Artifact Ignition!!" After his Quick-Play Spell Card flipped face-up, he then told her, "With this card, I can destroy any Spell or Trap on the field! However, I won't destroy any of YOUR cards! I'll destroy one of my own!" He then revealed the target of his Spell Card's effect: Artifact Aegis, another "Artifact" monster. It was immediately destroyed and sent to his Graveyard.

"He just took out one of his own Artifact monsters!" said Twilight. "But doesn't that mean-"

"Right." Sunset answered, knowing what she was going to say. "Now he'll get to Summon that card as well. Not only that, but his Spell Card also lets him set any Artifact monster from his Deck to his back row."

Having set a card from his Deck using the effect of his Spell Card, Caballeron then told his foe, "Now that Artifact Aegis has been destroyed during your turn, I now play it to my Monster Zone in Defense Mode!" His monster then appeared, first as a shield (which was shaped differently from Achilleshield), and then as a bright-yellow, feminine-looking figure that took ahold of it (Artifact Aegis: Level 5 / ATK 1200 / DEF 2500). "And now that it has been Summoned, my Artifacts cannot be targeted or destroyed by any of your card effects this turn!" This elicited a gasp out of Mrs. K as her monster's blast struck his monster, but failed to eliminate it.

"Aw no..." said Pinkie Pie. "She wasn't able to get rid of any of his monsters!"

"Yeah..." stated Applejack. "Thanks t' those two monsters he played, she can't destroy 'em, nor can she target 'em with effects or attacks! That means he'll still have all of his monsters on the field durin' his next turn!"

(And since they're all Level 5,) Utopia said to Twilight, (he will most certainly use them for an Xyz Summon.)

"That doesn't sound good at all..." the young Princess replied. "Not for Mrs. K, anyway..."

Chuckling, Dr. Caballeron then told everyone, "And as an added bonus, thanks to the effect of Artifact Caduceus, I draw one card for every Artifact I Summon during my opponent's turn after it's on the field!" He then drew a card from his Deck and added it to his hand.

(That is troubling...) thought Mrs. K. (I admit: I didn't expect him to use my friend's Deck as well as he did during my turn... However, I will not allow him to get the better of me; not when the safety of myself, my friend, and the chosen ones are at stake...!) Putting on a determined look, she told her opponent, "I'll end my turn."

"Hmph... not scared yet, are you?" asked Caballeron. "Well we'll just see how long you can keep up that act of yours! Now I draw!" Playing the card he drew right away, he said, "I activate Pot of Desires! I banish ten cards from the top of my Deck face-down and draw two more!" After he resolved the effect of his Spell Card, he then played a second one, telling her, "Next, I activate my Celestial Transformation! This allows me to Special Summon any Fairy monster from my hand with its attack power cut in half! So I'll Summon my Artifact Chakram in Attack Mode!" Afterwards, a pair of bladed weapons dropped down from above and were then picked up by another ghostly figure, this one colored in a dark pink hue (Artifact Chakram: Level 5 / ATK 1900 ÷ 2 = 950 / DEF 2000).

"That Spell Card destroys the monster it Summoned during the End Phase of the turn it was played." Sunset pointed out. "However, I don't think that monster will be around during the End Phase... I'm pretty sure that we're about to see his Number card very shortly." Her friends nodded to say that they felt the same way.

Mrs. K also knew that Caballeron's Number card was about show itself, and she braced herself for whatever he might bring out. She said nothing, but kept up her confidant expression so as not to let him see her fear.

"Still not scared?" asked the bad doc. "Then let's see how brave you are when I do this! I overlay three Level 5 monsters: Achilleshield, Aegis, and Chakram, combine and create the Overlay Network!!" In an instant, all but one of his monsters transformed into yellow-colored energy and flew into a galaxy-like vortex in the center of the field. After that, the portal exploded and left behind a mark shaped like the number 67. "Appear, Number 67!" Caballeron chanted. "Descend from the skies above and bend Lady Luck to my will! Xyz Summon! Now come forth, Rank 5! Pair-a-Dice Smasher!!"

After the Summoning chant was complete, a large, white, six-sided die came crashing through the digital roof above them, surrounded by three orbiting yellow spheres. The die then split in half, revealing some sort of blue statue inside a glass case and extending a large pole from out of itself, forming into a large hammer. Then, the die hammer began to glow yellow and used the light it created to form into a red, grinning human-like creature wearing a white skirt-like garment around his waist and a pair of sandals, the left one bearing his number symbol. The creature took hold of the die hammer and chuckled as he held triumphantly into the air.

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

Number 67: Pair-a-Dice Smasher:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Fairy/LIGHT/Rank 5/ATK 2100/DEF 2100)

2+ Level 5 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle except with "Number" monsters. Once per turn, during your Main Phase 1: You can detach 2 materials from this card; each player rolls a six-sided die twice. The player with the higher total cannot activate monster effects or declare an attack, until the end of the next turn. Once per turn, if either player rolls a six-sided die (or dice) while this card has material, you can treat one of the results as 7.

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

Sunset and her friends stared at the newly-Summoned Number card on Dr. Caballeron's field, puzzled a bit by its appearance. After a few seconds of stunned silence, Pinkie then said, "I've gotta say, as a leading expert in things that are weird and silly, that monster's pretty high up there."

"Right now, Ah'm more concerned with what thing does than what it looks like." stated AJ. "Whatever it is, Ah know it's gonna be big trouble for our teacher."

"You can certainly say that again, Applejack..." Rarity told her.

Despite the appearance of the new Number, Twilight and Sunset remained hopeful that Mrs. K would over come it. "He may have Summoned his Number card," the red-and-yellow girl then said, "but I wouldn't count Mrs. K out of the Duel just yet."

"You think she could still win this?" asked Spike.

"Maybe." said Twilight. "With what we've seen so far from her Deck, I have a feeling that just about anything could happen." Sunset nodded in agreement.

Admittedly, Mrs. K did sweat a little after her opponent managed to Summon his Number card... for about a second. But she wasn't ready to show him any fear, and she certainly wasn't about to give up the fight. She then defiantly told Caballeron, "You may have your Number card on the field, but it will not guarantee a victory for you! I will find a way to overcome it and make you answer for your crimes!"

Laughing cruelly, the bad doc told her, "You will do NOTHING! Pair-a-Dice Smasher will smash any chance you had at winning against me! And once I'm done with you, this museum and everything in it will be mine!! I'll become rich beyond compare, and there's not a thing anyone can do to stop me! Hahahahahaaaa!!!"

Daring Do, watching the Duel with a feeling of worry in her heart, said to her friend mentally, (Please, K... You can't let him win... If you do, then we'll all be in major trouble...)

-- To Be Continued...

PreviousChapters Next