• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,137 Views, 967 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 4: Fashion Disaster:

Author's Note:

This rank marks the first appearance of a main character's deck (besides Sunset's), as well as the first appearances of Celestia and Luna. What I have planned for the principals for this series will be interesting, to say the least. Anyway, enjoy the latest installment and feel free to tell me what you think of it!

RANK 4: Fashion Disaster:
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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...

Lately, Sunset Shimmer's skills in Duel Monsters have been put to the test when she encounters a series of powerful cards known simply as "Numbers". The cards, as well as the Duelists who use them, have shown themselves to be overwhelmingly powerful. However, the Number cards' powers have also been revealed to be dangerous as well: Octavia nearly caused bodily harm to her best friend, Vinyl Scratch, while under the influence of one of them. Only when she was defeated in a Duel and her Number taken away did she return to her normal, non-violent self.

She wasn't the only one to become corrupted by the power of a Number card: Photo Finish had obtained one some time after Octavia had found hers, and her desire to become a famous photographer nearly made her infamous as a Peeping Tom. Fortunately, Sunset was able to stop her, and managed to obtain her Number card after defeating her.

Now Sunset currently possesses three Number cards: Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk, Number 25: Force Focus, and the first one that she had found, Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech. However, she still has no clue as to where they came from. All she knows is that she must try and stop these cards from causing any more trouble, as well as to prevent others from becoming corrupted by them... especially her best friends.

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It was a cloudy night in the city of Canterlot: At 10:46 p.m., most of the city's residents, as well as those who lived in the suburbs, were already getting ready to go to sleep. It was a Sunday night, so the young otherworldly teenager, Sunset Shimmer, went to stay at a friend's house for the night. Tonight, she decided to stay over at Rainbow Dash's place for a sleepover. Of course, right now, sleeping was the last thing on their minds at the moment...

"Ha! I got it!" shouted the cyan teenager as she and Sunset were playing a video game. "Did ya see that?! I got to the top of the flagpole!"

"Yeah... by bouncing off of MY head." the red and yellow girl reminded her.

"Hey, all's fair in love and war." Rainbow Dash told her. "When it comes to a competition, I don't hold ANYTHING back."

"Except this isn't a competition, Rainbow... This is Co-op Mode." Sunset told her friend. "Co-op! As in the first four letters of the word, 'cooperation'?!"

"Yeesh, you don't hafta yell, Sunset... I'm right here." The athletic girl then asked Sunset, "What's gotten under your skin today?"

The otherworldly girl sighed as she put down the controller before saying, "Sorry... it's just that I've been a bit tense lately, you know?"

"About what?" asked Rainbow Dash. "You mean those Number cards?"

Sunset nodded as she took out her deck box and pulled out the three Numbers that she had. "I still haven't figured out where these things came from..." she stated. "I've looked everywhere for information about them: I've talked to other collectors, searched through the Internet, and practically everything in between. But no one's seemed to have ever heard of these cards. By all accounts, they shouldn't exist."

"Woah... that's weird..." Rainbow commented.

"All I know so far is that if someone comes into contact with one of them, they start acting like a completely different person..." the red and yellow girl then said, "And there's also something else; when I found my first Number card, it was totally blank. But then, right after I picked it up, a picture appeared on it all of a sudden."

"You know, now that I think about it," the cyan teen spoke up, "doesn't it seem a little strange that the Number cards that Octy and Photo had seemed to be like... I dunno, the absolute perfect cards for them?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, let's start with Octy's card..." Rainbow replied, pointing to the card in question. "She called it, 'Rhapsody in Berserk'. Doesn't rhapsody have somethin' to do with music?"

"Yeah, it's a musical term." answered Sunset Shimmer. "It's an instrumental composition of irregular form."

"Uh, yeah... sure." The athletic girl then added, "Not only that, but when me and AJ were takin' her to the nurse, she mentioned that the last thing she remembered before picking up that card was that she was annoyed by something that Vinyl had been doing at the time."

"That would explain why Octavia started attacking Vinyl..." noted the otherworldly girl. She then gasped as she picked up her most recent Number card. "That's not all! What about the card Photo Finish had? Force Focus?"

"You mean the one that made her start taking pictures of guys in the Boys Locker Room?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Uh huh." Sunset then looked at the two Number cards that they were talking about and said, "These cards were all originally blank, but after somepon-er, somebody picks one up, it takes on a new form..." Thinking about it for a while, she then hypothesized, "I think I get it now... The Numbers must transform themselves based on the desires and feelings of the person who finds them... Octavia loves classical music, and at the time, she was annoyed at Vinyl Scratch... And Photo Finish desires to be a professional photographer someday... So the Numbers took on forms that best represented the two of them at the time!"

"Woah, really?" asked Rainbow. "Are you sure?"

"Not completely, but it seems to make the most sense." the red and yellow teen answered her friend. "But without a way to test that theory, that's all it will ever be."

"So, if that is true..." the cyan teen began, "then what about your Number card? The big fort-thingy?"

"Chronomaly Machu Mech?" asked Sunset. She then looked at the card that she had found in Applejack's house, and tried to figure out what had happened that day that would have given it the form that it had. But she couldn't recall anything of the sort. "I'm not really sure, to be honest..." she told her. "I never really gave it any thought... But if I could harbor a guess, I think that it might have something to do with you and the rest of our friends."

"Whad'ya mean?"

"Well, ever since Twilight came here and taught me about the Magic of Friendship, and after all of you were willing to give me a chance, I've always treasured the bond that we still have today..." she answered. "And since then, I've been doing whatever I could do to protect that bond from anyone that wanted cause us harm, in one way or another... It's kind of a long shot, but that feeling could be comparable to that of... well, a fortress. One that's strong enough to stand up to anything that's thrown at it... But I'm still not totally sure if that is the reason that my Number card has the form that it has."

"I'd say it does." Rainbow Dash told her very confidently. "No doubt about it. If you truly feel that strongly about me and the others, there's no way that your card could ever become anything else."

Sunset smiled after hearing that Rainbow Dash was quite sure about her theory without even giving it a second thought. Still, she sighed a bit and told her friend, "But, like I said, I'm not completely sure that Numbers become what they are because of that... If only there was a way I could test out my hypothesis..."

"Hmmmm..." hummed the athletic teen, trying to think of a way that Sunset could figure out the Number cards' mysterious powers. Just then, her eyes caught sight of a small, glowing light from out of her bedroom window. "Hey... what's that?" she asked, pointing at the blinking light.

"What's what?" asked Sunset Shimmer, looking out the window as well. She, too, saw the light; the otherworldly girl saw that it was coming from the sidewalk right in front of the house. "Is that what I think it is?"

"What DO you think it is?" asked Rainbow.

"Let's go and check it out, just to be sure." suggested the red and yellow girl. The two of them slowly and quietly exited the bedroom and began heading out the front door.

The pair walked outside and closed the front door behind them. Rainbow Dash borrowed a flashlight so that they could see in the dark as they both headed towards the blinking light. Once they got up close, they saw a Duel Monsters card on the sidewalk, but there was no picture on it. "Just as I thought..." muttered Sunset.

"What is that?" asked Rainbow. "Is that one of those Number cards, Sunset?"

"I think so..." the otherworldly girl answered. "This is exactly what the first one looked like before I picked it up." Looking over at her friend, she instructed her, "You stay back... I'll go and take the card."

"Are you sure about that?" asked the rainbow-haired girl out of concern. "What if that card causes you to go crazy like Octy and Photo?"

"I don't think it will." Sunset informed her. "If that were the case, I'd already be doing that after I got the first one... For some reason, whatever it is that those Numbers do to people doesn't work on me. So I should be fine... I hope."

Rainbow Dash was still a bit concerned, but decided to put her faith in Sunset Shimmer. "Alright then..." she said to her. "Just... be careful, okay?"

Sunset nodded and began moving her slipper-clad feet towards the glowing card. She then bent down and stared at it for some time, still somewhat nervous. Finally, she mustered the courage to follow through with her actions and slowly took the card from off of the ground. At that moment, Sunset's key necklace began to glow and surrounded her with a bright light. It was so bright, Rainbow had to cover her eyes so as not to blind herself from looking at it too long. Then, as quickly as it came, the glow faded.

"Hey! Are you alright??" asked the cyan teen.

"Y-yeah, I'm fine..." Sunset said to her friend, wiping some sweat from her forehead. She then looked at the card and exclaimed, "H-hey! Look!!"

The pair looked at the glowing card as an image began to form upon it. Strange text began appearing on the card, followed by a picture of a glowing, blue orb.

"Woah... awesome..." commented Rainbow Dash, impressed by what she saw.

Sunset Shimmer stared at the new Number card, also impressed by its appearance. She then looked at the top of the card and read the name out-loud: "...Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk..."

"So is this what happened when you got your first Number, Sunset?" asked the athletic teen.

"...Sort of." answered the red and yellow girl. "Machu Mech did this when I first got it, but it also had this purple fog surrounding it, it gave me a really bad headache... and I could swear that I heard a voice in my head; and it wasn't a pleasant one, either." She then glanced at the card again and added, "But this time was different: This time... no voices, no fog, not even a slight migraine... I don't get it..."

"Well, let's try and figure it out some other time..." suggested Rainbow Dash. "It's gettin' pretty dark, and I know my folks'll flip out if I stayed up too late tonight."

"Yeah, good idea. Let's get some sleep and we can try and figure it all out later." Sunset agreed as she pocketed the new Number card before they both headed back into the house.

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Several days later, on a Thursday afternoon to be precise, Rarity was hard at work; she was designing several dresses for both her and her friends for an event that would take place tomorrow night. It was none other than the Fall Formal, one of the biggest events in Canterlot High School. The fashion-forward teen wanted to make sure that everything was perfect before the big night.

Rarity made some slight adjustments to one of the dresses; it was orange on the top part, and blue with a starry background on the bottom, lined with a golden yellow design along the very bottom of the skirt. "Hmmm... I think that should just about do it..." said the violet-haired girl. "It's so hard designing fancy dresses for Rainbow Dash, since she doesn't like wearing them for whatever reason." She then glanced over to her side, where Sunset Shimmer was sitting on a stool in front of a large, pink vanity. "Sunset, darling... what do you think of it? I could use a second opinion."

"I think she'll be able to tolerate it, Rarity." the red and yellow girl answered her. "And considering her attitude towards dresses, that's the best you can get from her."

"I suppose so." stated Rarity. Turning back to the rest of the dresses, she then added, "I still wish you would go with us to the Fall Formal this year... It just wouldn't feel right if you weren't there with us. Not to mention that the dress that I made for you would go to waste..."

"I told you, Rarity... I'm not going." Sunset responded, sighing. "I'd rather not show my face there after how awful things went last year..."

"But that's all in the past, Sunset dear." the fashionista reminded her. "You've changed a great deal since then; you've done everything you could do to be a better person than you used to be, and now everyone else is finally able to see how truly nice you are now."

"I know that... and I'm glad that everyone at school's not treating me like a social outcast anymore..." the otherworldly girl replied. "But I'd still rather not show up at the Fall Formal... I just know that some people are going to say stuff about me behind my back when I'm there..."

"Well, so what if they do?" asked Rarity. "You should never be worried about insignificant things like that. Even if some people still do not think highly of you, you know in your heart that you're a good person now, and that's the only opinion that should matter to you. And you should not let little things like that ever prevent you from being able to enjoy yourself."

"...I guess you make a good point." admitted the uneasy girl.

"So, please... come with us all tomorrow night." Rarity implored her. "You'll have a great time, I promise you."

Sunset still wasn't sure if going to the Fall Formal was a good idea or not. But in the end, she just couldn't say "no" to one of her best friends. She sighed a bit, smiled, and said to her, "Alright, Rarity... I'll go with you guys."

"Oh, how MARVELOUS!!" cheered the fashionista excitedly. "I'm so glad that you changed your mind!"

Sunset nodded, but then told her, "I'll go to the dance... But I'm NOT running for Fall Formal Princess. As far as I'm concerned, I'm done with that forever."

"If you insist." agreed the violet-haired girl. "I won't try and force you to do that if you do not want to." She then hummed a little and added, "Although... I think I might try for that title myself... Though, it has absolutely nothing to do with you not being in the running; I was planning on getting nominated whether or not you were a contender..."

"No, it's okay with me." the red and yellow girl told her. "If you want to try and be the Princess this year, go for it."

"Okay then." Rarity replied. "Thank you for saying that. I just didn't want you to think I was being insensitive..."

"I know you're not like that, Rarity." Sunset informed her. "And if you do get nominated, you can count on my vote."

The violet-haired fashionista smiled upon hearing that Sunset would support her. Turning back over to her dresses, the violet-haired teen said to her, "Now, let's get you fitted for your dress and make sure it's absoLUTELY perfect! We have so much to do and too little time!" The otherworldly girl nodded and headed to the dressing rooms, with Rarity close behind.

The next school day came and went as usual; after classes were done for the day, Sunset and her friends (minus Rarity) headed out the front door. Normally, they would have gone to watch the other students participate in Duels, but with the upcoming Fall Formal looming ahead, everyone was busy getting ready for the event, including Sunset and the others.

"So you decided to go after all, huh?" Rainbow Dash asked Sunset Shimmer when the latter brought up the conversation that she had with Rarity the other day.

"Yeah, she talked me into it." answered the otherworldly girl. "I said that I'd go, but I'm still not going to participate in the Fall Formal Princess Election. It just brings up too many bad memories..."

"It's okay if y'all don't want to be the Princess." Applejack told her. "We're just happy that you're gonna be there with us tonight instead of staying by yerself at the shelter."

"Yeah! You're gonna have a GREAT time, Sunnie!" Pinkie Pie assured her. "I just can't wait to get into that snack table! The fruit punch, the giant cake, the brownies with the little festive autumn sprinkles on top... Pinch me, I must be dreaming..." Pinkie then looked around at her friends to see if any of them would actually pinch her. "Really? Nobody?" she asked. "Then I'll just pinch myself, then!" And she did just that, grasping some skin from her right arm. "Ow! ...Ow! ...Ow!" The silly girl then just kept on pinching herself and saying "Ow!" over and over again.

Ignoring Pinkie for the moment, Fluttershy then asked, "So where's Rarity...? Isn't she coming with us to help us get our dresses for tonight?"

"Don'tcha remember, Sugarcube?" Applejack then asked the animal-loving teenager. "She's headin' the Decoratin' Committee; She and a buncha others volunteered to pretty up the Gym for the dance."

"Oh... that's right, I forgot. I'm sorry..." Fluttershy apologized.

"It's okay." Sunset told them. "Rarity said she'd be there for a while, so she gave me the key to the closet where she put all of our dresses; that way, we can go and get them now."

"I just hope she didn't make mine too prissy and cutesy like she usually does..." Rainbow said with a groan.

"I think you'll be fine with it." the red and yellow girl told her cyan friend. "I saw what yours looked like, and I think even you'd be able to put up with it for a couple of hours." The rest of the group gave out a brief chuckle as they made their way to Carousel Boutique to get their outfits for the night.

Back in Canterlot High's Gymnasium, Rarity was busy setting up every decoration for the Fall Formal tonight. She and several other students had carefully placed every banner, table, speaker, streamer, and many other pretty things in just the right places and in just the right amount. The violet-haired teen was really giving those helping her a good workout, but she was fair and did handle some things by herself.

Once the last banner was hung up in place, Rarity then told everybody, "Okay, I think that will do it."

"I've gotta say, I love how you put everything together." said a girl with mint-green skin and hair with stripes of an even lighter green and white. "The decor looks even better than last year."

"I agree, Lyra." said another girl. This one had pale yellow skin with swirly hair in pink and indigo stripes. She then glanced over at Rarity and asked, "Speaking of last year, Rarity... Is that... friend of yours coming tonight?"

"Which one, Bon Bon?" asked the fashionista. "Do you mean Sunset?"

"Yeah, her..." the pale yellow girl.

"Well, she didn't want to go at first," Rarity informed her, "but I convinced her that she should go with me and the rest of my friends."

"Look, no offense, Rare," began Lyra, "but I still don't completely trust her. I mean, she did do some pretty bad things during the last Fall Formal."

"Now, look... I've told you many times already:" the violet-haired teen said to them. "Sunset's not that kind of person anymore, and she never will be again. You might not believe it, but she's done her best to change since last year, and she's done quite a good job at it."

"I... guess so..." replied Bon Bon. "She DID help out a lot when those Dazzling chicks tried to brainwash the whole school with their creepy, yet kinda catchy music..."

"I dunno... I'm still not letting my guard down around her, though..." stated the mint-green girl, still not totally convinced.

"You two can do whatever you wish," Rarity said to the pair, "but I would appreciate it if you did not speak ill about any of my friends. If you two really believe yourselves to be better people than Sunset, then you would know not to make such unflattering comments behind her back."

"Darn it... she's got a point..." Lyra grumbled a little.

"Fine, we promise." Bon Bon said to Rarity. "But we're only doing it for you; not for her."

"Have it your way..." the violet-haired girl responded with a sigh. She then looked back at the decorations and told them, "Anyway, you two can go home and get yourselves ready for tonight; I'll handle the rest of the finer details on my own."

"Okay. Later, Rarity." said Lyra as she and Bon Bon left the Gym.

After the pair left, Rarity sighed sadly to herself and thought, (What is it going to take for everyone to see that Sunset has truely changed her ways?) She then did her best to smile to herself and continued to ponder, (Well, I suppose that not everyone can see Sunset the way my friends and I do... And in the end, that's their loss, not ours. But enough worrying about things like that; I just have a few little things left to take care of, and then I can be on my way...)

Rarity walked towards the stage at the back of the Gym that had already been set up, checking to make sure that everything was in its proper place. As she did, she suddenly glanced over and saw something on the smooth, hardwood floor nearby. "What is that...?" she asked herself, walking over to it. "A piece of paper...?" She picked it up and added to her soliloquy, saying, "This simply will not do; I cannot have randomly discarded trash all over the floor just before the Fall Formal begins!"

But then, without warning, a purple haze began to surround the blank paper which then spread around Rarity's body. Just then, she began to suffer from an intense migraine. "AAAGGGHHH!!! What's going on?!? W-why is my head hurting so much...?!?"

"Yes, Rarity... Let the Number take hold..." said a deep and sinister voice in her head.

Rarity gasped upon hearing that. "N-N-NUMBER?!?" she exclaimed in fear. "Don't tell me...!! This is one of those-!" But she was unable to finish her sentence as the cloud engulfed her completely and she fell down onto her knees. After the bizarre event, the blank paper displayed the image of a jewel-encrusted crab, and a yellow symbol resembling the number 52 began to glow on the fashionista's forehead.

Rarity opened her eyes, which were now glowing the same yellow color as the symbol on her head. She then glanced left, then right, looking at all of the decorations that she and the other students had already set up. "These decorations..." she muttered softly. "They simply will NOT do..." Getting back up onto her feet, she then declared, "I must make this place the absolute definition of PERFECT! It's time for an Inspiration Manifestation!!"

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The night of the Fall Formal finally came, and every student at Canterlot High filed into the school in order to attend the festivities. The male students were wearing fancy suits and tuxedos while the female students had on their best dresses and formal wear (with the exception of Vinyl Scratch; since she was the DJ for the dance, she wouldn't be making much contact with the rest of the students anyway).

Sunset Shimmer, along with four of her five best friends, were on their way to the school to take part in the festivities as well. They were all wearing the dresses that Rarity had made for them for the dance. Sunset's dress was mostly light-blue in color and resembled a gown. It had short sleeves, a large, cobalt-blue bow tied around the back of the hip area, had cyan frills on the bottom, and it was topped off with a brooch that resembled the red and yellow sun emblem on her normal outfit. She also had on a pair of fancy navy-blue dress shoes and a pair of sparkly earrings with small rubies.

The rest of the group soon followed behind her, all decked out in their dresses for the evening as well. Applejack had on a dress that was mostly green and red and adorned with red roses, with a green top hat that had an apple emblem placed on the front of it. Fluttershy's dress was blue on top and green on the bottom, resembling a peacock. She also had a fancy barrette with a butterfly etched on it and two green feathers sticking out. Pinkie Pie's outfit consisted of a yellow dress with yellow-orange polka-dots on it, and several purple and white frills at the bottom. She had on a purple and white-striped bow, peppermint-shaped earrings, and an orange necklace that almost looked like it was made of candy.

Applejack looked on ahead at all of the students walking into the high school. "Looks like it's gonna be a big turnout this year;" she stated, "just about everyone in school's shown up!"

"Oh dear..." said Fluttershy meekly. "I was hoping there wouldn't be too many people there..."

"Aw, it'll be alright, Fluttershy." said Rainbow Dash, fixing up her dress and trying make herself as comfortable as possible in it. She then commented, "I gotta say, Rarity did a pretty good job on this thing; I still don't like wearing it, but it's not the worst thing I've ever worn."

"What IS the worst thing you've put on?" asked Applejack out of curiosity.

"THAT honor goes to that stupid pink bunny outfit my aunt made me for Christmas." the athletic teen answered. "I looked like a pink nightmare."

At that moment, Pinkie, putting on an angry expression, glared right at Rainbow and told her in a low tone of voice, "Don't EVER speak ill of the color pink..."

"...Uh... I'm sorry?" Dash responded.

"Apology accepted!" cheered the pink girl, switching back to a happy mood in less than a second.

Sunset looked around a bit nervously; she still thought that some people would make snide remarks at her for what happened during last year's Fall Formal. But so far, most of the students were too busy trying to get inside to pay any attention to her. "Somethin' the matter, Sunset?" Applejack asked, noticing her friend's worried expression.

"Huh? Oh... uh, nothing's wrong... Nothing at all." the otherworldly girl said, fibbing a little.

"Look, there's nothin' y'all need to worry about, Sugarcube." the farm girl assured her. "Just concentrate on havin' fun at the dance. And if anyone still has a problem with ya bein' there, that's their worry, not yours."

"I guess so..." Sunset responded.

Just then, Pinkie looked ahead towards the front doors and saw two adult-aged women walking towards them. "Hey, girls! Look!" she shouted, pointing at the people approaching them.

The rest of the group turned to face the two women: The taller one of the two had light-pink skin, pink eyes, and long, beautiful hair that was colored in teal, green, blue, and lavender. She wore a golden yellow shirt with a sun-shaped brooch on it, over top of a purple and white-colored shirt. She had on long pants that were purple in color, and had on a pair of sparkly, golden-colored high-heeled shoes.

The shorter of the two women had blue skin, turquoise eyes, and long hair that was colored dark blue and purple. She had on a pink shirt with a white collar that had an indigo moon pinned to it and a dark blue belt around the waist area. She wore a pair of long, indigo pants, and a pair of white, high-heeled shoes with pink socks.

"It's Principal Celestia..." stated Rainbow, pointing to the taller woman with light-pink skin.

"And Vice Principal Luna..." added Fluttershy, referring to the slightly shorter woman with blue skin.

"What are they doing here?" asked Pinkie.

"Well, Ah guess they're comin' to talk to us 'bout somethin'..." Applejack deduced, based on the fact that the two principals were heading towards them.

"Yeah, but about what...?" asked Sunset Shimmer.

The two women stopped in front of the group of five as soon as they reached them. The taller one, Principal Celestia, said to them in a pleasant tone, "Good evening, all of you."

"Uh, good evening, Principal Celestia." Rainbow Dash replied, trying to be respectful.

Luna glanced over towards Sunset and said to her, "I see you've come as well, Ms. Shimmer... To be honest, I did not believe that you would be here."

"I'm just here to be with my friends, Vice Principal Luna..." the red and yellow girl responded. "It's not going to be like last year, I promise."

"I certainly hope not." the blue-skinned woman stated, huffing a little.

"Now, Luna... be nice." Celestia said to the Vice Principal. "Sunset has come a long way since last year, and she's more than proven that she can be a good person now, when given the chance."

"I suppose you are right, Sister." Luna responded. She then looked back over at Sunset and told her, "I apologize if my comment to you sounded rude in any way."

"It's okay." the red and yellow girl replied. "It's not the worst thing I've heard."

"So, uh... just outta curiosity," Applejack began to say to the two principals, "what're y'all doin' out here? Ah thought you were already lookin' over things at the Gym."

"Well... that's the problem, actually." Luna answered her. "No one has been able to enter the Gymnasium at all tonight."

"Huh? Why not?" asked Sunset.

"We're not sure yet." Celestia told them all. "But we do know that someone is in there, based on the fact that we could hear someone talking behind the doors as we passed by."

"Hold on a sec..." Rainbow Dash suddenly spoke up. "I just realized something... Do any of ya happen to know where Rarity is?"

"No, not at all..." Fluttershy answered.

"She was supposed t' meet us here so that we could all get into the dance together." Applejack reminded the group. "Could she still be settin' things up in the Gym?"

"Maybe, but she should've been done with that LONG ago..." Pinkie stated.

"I've got a bad feeling about this..." Sunset chimed in, getting worried about her friend. "We'd better get to the Gym quickly... And if Rarity is in there, we have to ask her what's going on."

"I agree." said Celestia, nodding. "Luna and I will get you all to the Gymnasium so that we can figure all of this out."

"We had better hurry, Sister;" the blue-skinned woman informed her older sister, "the Fall Formal will begin in but a mere twenty minutes."

"Then what're we all standin' out here for?!" asked Rainbow rhetorically. "Let's go already!" She then glanced up at the two principals and said to them, "Um... after you, of course..."

The seven of them walked into the school and made their way towards the Gymnasium. Just as Celestia and Luna had told them, the doors were shut tight. On one of the doors, there was a note taped onto it. Applejack took the note and read it out loud: "Do not come in. Gym closed due to decoration repairs. Will open when ready. Love, Rarity."

"That's weird..." stated Sunset. "What would make her do that?"

"Look, when it comes to prettyin' stuff up, Rarity can become a serious whack-a-doodle." Rainbow answered her. She then grabbed the door's handle and pulled on it, but it wouldn't budge. "No good... it's locked up tight."

"How are we going to get in then...?" asked Fluttershy.

"I have an idea!" Luna spoke up. Turning to Celestia, she then told her, "Sister, go get the school's Master Key from your office."

"Good idea, Luna." the light-pink-skinned woman replied before turning around and running to her office. A few minutes later, she returned, holding a rather large key in her hand, which was designed to open any lock in the school. Celestia then shoved the key into the keyhole and turned it. A clicking sound confirmed that the door was now unlocked. "There, that should do it..." the principal said. She then opened the door, and when they saw what was in the Gymnasium, the group of seven, along with several students that were nearby the entrance, gave out a loud, collective gasp.

All over every square inch of the Gym's walls, ceiling, and floor, there were all sorts of fancy decorations. However, there were FAR too many; the colorful streamers created a multicolored spider web that drooped down from the ceiling. Each and every table was decorated with flower vases and extravagant centerpieces, leaving no room for snack trays or punch bowls. Large, carpeted rugs were placed over the hardwood floor, which was not at all suitable for dancing. Fancy drapes were placed overtop of the speakers, muffling out the sounds that came out of them. The Gym looked as though a party store and a fancy clothing store had exploded all over the room.

"What... What is all this...?!?" inquired Luna, not believing what she was seeing.

"What on Earth happened in here?!" asked Pinkie. "It looks like a party store and a fancy clothing store had explod- ...oh wait, somebody already said that... Never mind."

"Oh... my..." said a trembling Fluttershy. "This... this is all WAY too much...!"

"Yeesh... I'd call this place tacky," Rainbow Dash chimed in, "but I think even 'tacky' looks WAY better than this!"

"What the hay was Rarity thinking??" asked Sunset Shimmer, just as shocked by all of this as everyone else. "She would NEVER do anything like this!!"

"Well, y'all can go and ask her yerself..." said Applejack. "'Cause she's right there!" The farm girl then pointed ahead, showing everyone where the fashionista-gone-postal was. She was sporting a crazy grin as she poured an extra-large container of glitter all over one of the curtains on the makeshift stage.

"Ms. Rarity, what is the meaning of all this??" asked Celestia in a forceful tone.

The violet-haired teen looked over towards the group and said excitedly, "Aha! You're all just in time!" Tossing the glitter container away for the moment, she walked towards them and asked, "Isn't it the most beautiful thing you have EVER laid your eyes upon? This is probably my greatest work yet!"

"Yeah, well we don't think so!" Rainbow told her.

"Rarity, this is way, way, way, way, WAAAAAAYYYY too many decorations!!" Pinkie said to the violet-haired girl. "Nobody's gonna be able to enjoy the party in a place like this!!"

"So you don't appreciate my sense of style here?" asked Rarity, a bit annoyed. "Hmph... some friends you are. I happen to think it's absolutely perfect!"

"Well it's not!" Sunset told her. "You OVERdecorated the Gym, and now no one will be able to have a good time!"

"I'm surprised that you would feel that way, considering that you didn't even WANT to go to the Fall Formal at first!" Rarity snapped back. "You were so concerned over what other people thought of you, and now YOU'RE doing same thing to me right now! Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!"

After she made that last comment, the 52 on her forehead began to appear. Sunset immediately noticed it and thought, (That symbol on her head... is that...?) Sighing sadly, she then said, "So that's what's going on..."

"Ms. Rarity, I put you as head of the Decoration Committee because I thought that you would do a good job." said Celestia, a bit of disappointment in her voice. "But it seems I was mistaken in my thoughts. Therefore, I am afraid that I have no choice but to dismi-"

"Wait! Principal Celestia! Hold that thought!" Sunset suddenly spoke up, interrupting the woman.

Celestia stopped herself as she, along with Luna, glanced over at the otherworldly girl. "Ms. Shimmer?" the principal began to ask, confused as to what she was doing.

"You might not want to go through with that just yet..." the red and yellow girl suggested. "It might not be such a good idea on your part..."

"And why is that, may I ask?" inquired the Vice Principal.

"Because I don't believe that Rarity's doing this out of her own free will." answered Sunset. "I believe that something or someone is making her do this."

"I beg your pardon?" asked Luna.

Applejack, getting a sudden and uneasy thought, asked her red and yellow friend, "Wait... are y'all sayin' that-"

"Uh huh." Sunset replied, knowing what the farm girl was going to ask her. "Call it woman's intuition, but I think that Rarity picked up a Number card..."

The rest of Sunset's friends gasped. "You're joking!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "Now SHE has one of those things, too?!"

"Oh no... Poor Rarity..." said Pinkie Pie in a saddened tone.

"What are you all talking about?" asked Celestia. "What is a 'Number card'? And what does it have to do with what's going on??"

"It's a long story, and I don't have time to discuss it right now..." Sunset told her. "The point is, I know what's causing her to do this, and I know how to fix it. So please... let me go and help save my friend from herself."

Celestia was skeptical at first about what Sunset was asking of her. But she then recalled that, earlier on, she had stated that Sunset was capable of being a good person when given the chance to. The principal then nodded her head and told her, "Very well then. If you insist... then go and do what you need to do."

Luna seemed a bit surprised at her older sister's decision. However, she figured that Celestia had good reason for it, and decided to go along with it.

Sunset Shimmer then walked towards Rarity and said to her, "Rarity, I know what's really going on here: You've picked up a Number card, didn't you?"

"A Number card?" asked the violet-haired teen. "Are you, by any chance, referring to this one?" She then took out a card with a black frame, showing it to everyone in the room.

"I knew it... That's what caused you to do all of this, isn't it?" asked the otherworldly girl.

"If you mean that this card is what allowed me to realize just what I was meant to do with my life, then yes; it is responsible." Rarity answered her. "Thanks to this card, I now know that it is my sole duty to make this world as beautiful as possible, no matter what others may think of it! And no one, not even you Sunset Shimmer, will get in the way of my mission!!"

"If that's what you think, then I have a way that we can settle this!" Sunset told her. "How about you and I have a Duel?"

"A Duel, you say?" asked the crazed fashionista. "And why would I want to do that?"

"If you win the Duel, you can keep this place as it is right now." the red and yellow teen told her. "But if I win, we take it all down: No exceptions."

"Is that so? And if I do get to keep the decor as it stands right now, none of you will complain about it anymore?" Rarity inquired further.

"It's a deal." Sunset responded.

Rarity thought about it for a while before finally saying, "Very well, I accept the terms; we have one Duel, and the winner determines what the decor for the Fall Formal will look like."

"Agreed." the otherworldly girl replied. She then glanced over to her friends and asked, "Fluttershy, can you get my backpack?"

"Oh! Sure, Sunset...!" the shy girl said, picking up Sunset's backpack from the floor next to her and handing it over.

Sunset Shimmer then got out her Duel Pad and Duel Gazer so that she could begin her Duel with Rarity. "Duel Pad, activate!!" she shouted as the device's card tray unfolded. She then placed the lens over her eye and yelled, "Duel Gazer, activate!"

Rarity got out her violet-colored Duel Pad, along with her Duel Gazer, activating them both. "AR Vision Link established." said the computerized voice as a digital copy of the Gymnasium was projected around them. All of the other people, including some students that had decided to enter the Gym, got out their Duel Gazers to watch the Duel.

"LET'S DUEL!!!" shouted both Sunset and Rarity as they drew their opening hands, ready to start the game (Rarity: LP 4,000) (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000).

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

Everyone that had come to enjoy the Fall Formal were now about to get an extra bit of entertainment as Sunset Shimmer and Rarity were ready to begin their Duel against each other. Among them were Lyra and Bon Bon, who had previously assisted the fashionista in decorating the Gym. Needless to say, when they came inside, they were shocked at what they saw. "Woah...! What happened to this place?!" asked the mint-green girl.

"I don't know..." replied Bon Bon, nearly overwhelmed by all that she saw. "What was Rarity thinking?? This place was just fine when we left! I need to go and ask her what's going on here!"

"Well, you'll hafta wait, Bonnie." Lyra told her. Pointing ahead, she then added, "It looks like she's got her hands full right now..."

The pink and blue-haired girl glanced ahead and saw the scene in front of them. "Is that Sunset Shimmer...?" she asked. Looking closer at the red and yellow girl, she then thought, "I have to admit, she has a very nice dress this year..." She then asked her mint-green friend, "What are those two doing??"

"It looks like they're about to have a Duel..." Lyra answered her.

"A Duel?" asked Bon Bon.

"Uh huh." said the mint-green girl as she got out her Duel Gazer so that she could watch it. "This looks like it's gonna be a good one, even if Sunset's one of the competitors..." She then asked her friend, "You got your Duel Gazer, right Bon Bon?"

"Oh! Yes, it's right here." the pink and blue-haired teen replied, getting out the special lens from her purse and putting it over her left eye. They then proceeded to watch the contest, just like everyone else.

"You ready, Rarity?" asked Sunset Shimmer.

"Very much so, Sunset." the fashionista replied. "In fact, I'll even make the first move!" The violet-haired teen then took a card from her hand and said, "I'll place one monster facedown in Defense Mode!" Taking two more cards from her hand, she added, "I'll also set two cards facedown as well, ending my turn!"

"Very well, then... I draw!" Sunset then looked at Rarity's side of the field and thought, (Alright, since she only played facedown cards on her turn, I'd better be careful...) Placing a card from her hand onto the card tray, she declared, "I Summon Chronomaly Nebra Disk in Attack Mode!" After that, her disk-like monster appeared in front of her (Chronomaly Nebra Disk: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 1500).

"By Normal Summoning Nebra Disk," Sunset continued, "I can then activate its effect! This allows me to take any Chronomaly card from my Deck and move it to my hand! And I choose Chronomaly City Babylon!" Sunset's Duel Pad then activated its auto-shuffle function; when it was done, the card that Sunset chose to add to her hand jutted out from the Deck, allowing her to easily take it. After doing so, she then shouted, "Now! Nebra Disk! Attack her facedown monster!!"

Rarity chuckled with a sneer. "Bad move, Sunset..." she told her. "Just take a look at this! I reveal my Gem-Turtle!!" Her facedown monster then flipped face-up, revealing itself as a yellowish-brown turtle with a green gem for a shell (Gem-Turtle: Level 4 / ATK 0 / DEF 2000).

"Aw, CRUD!!" the red and yellow girl exclaimed.

"When you attack a facedown monster," Rarity began, "it flips face-up to reveal how powerful it is. But since my monster's defense points are higher than your monster's attack points, you take the difference as damage!" Sunset gasped as she watched her Nebra Disk hurl itself at the fashionista's Gem-Turtle, ricocheting off of the bejeweled reptile and hitting her instead (Sunset Shimmer: LP 4,000 - 200 = 3,800).

"That's not all:" the violet-haired teen informed her opponent. "By attacking my Gem-Turtle while it was facedown, you've activated its Flip Effect!"

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Flip Monsters:

These Effect Monsters each have an effect that is activated when they are flipped face-up (which can happen when they are Flip Summoned, attacked while face-down, or flipped face-up by a card effect). All Monsters with a Flip Effect have the word "FLIP" preceding the Effect Text. Flip Effects are considered to be a type of Trigger Effect.

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Rarity then said to Sunset Shimmer, "Thanks to Gem-Turtle's effect, I can add one copy of Gem-Knight Fusion from my Deck to my hand." She then did just that, and her Duel Pad automatically shuffled the cards as well.

(Well, this is just great...) thought the otherworldly girl with a groan. (I helped her get a very important card out of her Deck, and all I did was lose 200 Life Points...) She looked over the rest of her hand and added, (But I'm not gonna give up! I have to defeat Rarity and get that Number card away from her!) Taking out a card and placing into her Duel Pad, she then declared, "I'll place one card facedown and end my turn."

"Good... then it's my turn! I draw!" The fashionista drew a card from her Deck, placed it into her hand, and took out a different card, telling her foe, "I Summon Gem-Armadillo in Attack Mode!" Rarity's new creature was an orange armadillo decorated with bright-red rubies, and appeared to have a pair of torpedo-like objects attached to either side of its back (Gem-Armadillo: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 500). "And when it is Normal Summoned, this card allows me to pull any Gem-Knight monster that I desire from my Deck! And I choose Gem-Knight Garnet!"

Sunset watched as, once again, Rarity pulled her chosen card from out of her Deck, after its auto-shuffle function mixed up the rest of the cards. (I know what she's about to do...) the red and yellow girl thought. She was getting a little worried, but wasn't about to show it in front of her friend-turned-crazy.

"And now..." the fashionista began, taking out another card from her hand, "I activate Gem-Knight Fusion!!"

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Gem-Knight Fusion
(Normal Spell Card)

Fusion Summon 1 "Gem-Knight" Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand or your side of the field as Fusion Materials. If this card is in the Graveyard: You can banish 1 "Gem-Knight" monster from your Graveyard; add this card to your hand.

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"I'll use my Spell Card to fuse Gem-Knights Garnet and Emerald in my hand!" shouted Rarity, holding up the two monsters in her hand. At that moment, the human-like monsters appeared on her field, one mostly red and one mostly green, before turning into pure energy and joining together. "And now, I Fusion Summon Gem-Knight Ruby in Attack Mode!!" The energy in front of her then gave out a brilliant red flash; when it died down, a large human in shiny, sparkling, red armor and a blue cape had manifested in front of the violet-haired teen, weilding a sharp, red scythe (Gem-Knight Ruby: Level 6 / ATK 2500 / DEF 1300).

"That's right... Rarity's Deck is designed for rapidly summonin' Fusion Monsters from her Extra Deck." noted Applejack. "And many of the ones that she uses are real powerful."

Celestia and Luna, who were also watching the Duel through their Duel Gazers, were still not sure why Sunset was fighting Rarity right now. But the light-pink woman seemed to believe that there must have been a reason. Luna still seemed perplexed as to what was going on. "Sister, why aren't we doing anything about this?" the blue woman asked her older sister. "We could have this whole thing resolved in mere seconds!"

"...Let's not interfere just yet, Luna." Celestia told her younger sister. "There has to be some reason why Ms. Shimmer decided to Duel Ms. Rarity... It's as if there's something about this that she knows, but we do not..."

"Whatever could you mean?" asked Luna.

"...I suppose we'll see soon enough." answered the light-pink woman.

Back at the Duel, Rarity was ready to start her Battle Phase. "Now! Gem-Knight Ruby!! Attack her Nebra Disk!!" she ordered her monster. The knight then lunged forward and used its scythe to cut Nebra Disk in half, destroying it and damaging Sunset in the process (Sunset Shimmer: LP 3,800 - 700 = 3,100). "Looks to me like you're defenseless now, Sunset darling..." she then told her opponent.

"Yeah, well looks can be deceiving, Rarity..." stated the otherworldly girl, tapping her Duel Pad's touchscreen. "I activate the Trap Card, Stonehenge Methods! After one of my Chronomaly monsters is destroyed, this card lets me Special Summon a Level 4 or lower Chronomaly from my Deck! So I'll bring out my Chronomaly Golden Jet to the field in Defense Mode!" After that, Sunset took the card from her Deck and placed onto the tray, bringing out her golden jet plane to protect her (Chronomaly Golden Jet: Level 4 / ATK 1300 / DEF 1400). "Now you'll have to attack it instead of me!" Sunset informed her opponent.

Rarity grumbled a bit and yelled, "Have it your way, then! Gem-Armadillo, attack her jet!!" Her other monster then fired its torpedoes and blew up Sunset's newly-summoned monster.

"Good move on Sunset's part..." stated Rainbow Dash. "She may have lost another monster, but she kept herself from taking a heavy hit to her Life Points."

"But... now she doesn't have anything on her field..." Fluttershy pointed out. "If she doesn't play a monster on her turn, she's finished...!"

"Don't you go worrying about Sunnie, Fluttershy!" Pinkie said to her in a positive tone. "She won't lose to her THAT quickly! In fact, she won't even lose at all!"

Sunset heard Pinkie's words and felt better upon hearing them. Turning to face Rarity, she then said, "It's my turn! I draw!!" She then picked up the top card from her Deck, praying that it would help her. Once she got a look at it, she was quite pleased by what she had pulled. "I hope you're ready, Rarity," she told her, "because I'm not about to let you win so easily!" Playing the card she just drew, she declared, "I Summon Chronomaly Gordian Knot from my hand in Attack Mode!!"

Sunset Shimmer's new monster appeared to be several purple cubes, tied together in a confusing manner by several brown-colored straps (Chronomaly Gordian Knot: Level 3 / ATK 300 / DEF 900).

"So what?" asked Rarity, not intimidated even by a little bit. "That monster's too weak."

"Perhaps... so I guess it's a good thing that Gordian Knot has an effect, then." stated the red and yellow girl. "By Normal Summoning it, I can then Special Summon any other Chronomaly monster from my hand to join it. Then, Gordian Knot changes its Level to match that of the monster I Special Summon!"

"I-I beg you pardon?!" asked the violet-haired teen, a bit shocked.

"So now I'll bring out Chronomaly Sol Monolith from my hand in Defense Mode!" said Sunset, placing her next monster onto the card tray. The digital floor in front of her began to open up, and a tall, brown, stone slab with an orange circular slab on the top of it rose up in front of her (Chronomaly Sol Monolith: Level 6 / ATK 600 / DEF 600). "And now that it's out," the girl continued, "Gordian Knot changes its Level to match Sol Monolith!" (Chronomaly Gordian Knot: Level 3 > Level 6)

"T-two Level 6 monsters?!?" asked the fashionista, getting a little worried.

"Wait, is she gonna-?" Applejack began to ask.

"She sure is!" interrupted Rainbow Dash. "She's gonna bring out a Number card!"

"I overlay my Gordian Knot and Sol Monolith, both Level 6!!" shouted Sunset as her two monsters transformed into a pair of orange lights that were sucked up into a galaxy-like portal in front of her. "With these monsters, I can build the Overlay Network!!" An explosion of light soon followed, revealing the number 25 on the floor where the portal used to be. "I Xyz Summon Number 25: Force Focus!!" After that, a large camera with two swirling lights surrounding it came down from the ceiling above, pointing its gigantic lens right at Rarity (Number 25: Force Focus: Rank 6 / ATK 2800 / DEF 2400 / OLU 2).

"What the-?! What's that card?!" asked Lyra, surprised by the appearance of the Number card.

"Where'd Sunset get that card from?!" Bon Bon inquired. "I've never even heard of it!!"

Photo Finish was in the audience as well, watching the Duel when Sunset Xyz Summoned the Number that originally belonged to her. She couldn't put her finger on it, but something about that card seemed... eerily familiar.

"Now! Force Focus!! Attack Gem-Armadillo, the monster with the lowest attack points!!" Sunset shouted as she gave out her order. The giant camera then charged up an intense beam of light, shooting it right at the creature and vaporizing it, allowing the remainder of the blast to hit Rarity directly.

"Arrrrrrgh...!!" the violet-haired girl grunted after taking the heavy hit (Rarity: LP 4,000 - 1,100 = 2,900).

"Yeah! Nice shot, Sunset!!" cheered Rainbow Dash. "You got her good!"

"Yeah!! Go for it, Sunnie!" Pinkie cheerfully screamed, forcing the others nearby her to cover their ears.

After removing her hands from her ears, Celestia then asked Sunset's friends, "Tell me... what is that card that your friend played onto the field? In all my years, I've never seen one like that before..."

"Neither have I." added Luna. "And as former Pro Duelists, we know about almost every card in existence, so it is not often that we come across one that we have no knowledge of... So please, elaborate, would you?"

"Well, accordin' to Sunset and a coupla others," began Applejack, "they're called 'Number' cards."

"Number cards?" asked the light-pink principal.

"Yep." replied the farm girl. "But as for what they are and where they came from, we don't know diddly-squat. Not even Sunset knows much about 'em."

"The only thing we do know is that, when someone picks one up, it causes them to act very strange..." Rainbow added. "I mean, you should've seen what those cards did to Octy and Photo Finish."

Putting two and two together, Celestia then inquired, "So... you are saying that... the reason that Ms. Rarity is behaving in such an unsettling manner... is because she has one of these Number cards?" The rest of Sunset's friends nodded to say that was true.

"It sounds quite absurd, to be honest..." Luna stated.

"No, it is true, Vice Principal Luna..." Fluttershy told her. "And the only way to get Rarity back to her old self... is if Sunset defeats her and takes away the Number card..."

"Well, I suppose that explains why Ms. Shimmer wanted to duel her..." noted Celestia.

"It still sounds a bit ridiculous," added Luna, still not completely convinced, "but they seem sincere in their words; I suppose that is good enough for me."

"Right now, let's just hope that Sunset can win this and save Rarity 'fore it's too late..." Applejack chimed in as they continued to watch the Duel.

The crazed fashionista glared at Sunset and asked her, "So... I see you've decided to play one of your Numbers... In that case, I suppose that I should stop playing around with you, Sunset..."

The otherworldly girl pondered to herself, (I brought out a Number card not only so that I can defeat her monsters and take control of the Duel... But I also want to try and force Rarity into bringing out HER Number. If I can defeat her Number, whatever it is, I'll have a better chance of winning... I just hope her Number isn't too powerful...)

"It is my turn now..." stated the violet-haired girl. "I draw!" Looking at her card, she then declared, "I Summon Gem-Knight Tourmaline in Attack Mode!" Her new monster was another armored human, this one colored yellow (Gem-Knight Tourmaline: Level 4 / ATK 1600 / DEF 1800). "And next, I activate the effect of Gem-Knight Ruby!" Rarity then told Sunset. "By releasing Gem-Knight Tourmaline, I can then add its attack points to Ruby for one turn!"

"But Numbers can only be destroyed by other Numbers, Rarity!" the red and yellow teen reminded her.

"That is true, but I will still inflict damage when my monster attacks yours!" stated the fashionista. She then ordered, "Gem-Knight Tourmaline, transfer your power to Gem-Knight Ruby!!" The yellow-armored man then vanished into a swirling cloud and turned into pure energy, which began to flow into the Fusion Monster.

"Not so fast!" shouted Sunset. "I activate the effect of Force Focus! By removing one of its Overlay Units, I can negate the effects of any Level 5 or higher monster for one turn! And since Gem-Knight Ruby's Level of 6 is higher than 5, I'll target him!"

Rarity gasped as the otherworldly girl's Xyz Monster absorbed one of its glowing spheres (Number 25: Force Focus: OLU: 2 - 1 = 1) and then let out a bright flash that vaporized the energy stream that was flowing into Gem-Knight Ruby.

"Yeah! Now her monster's attack points can't get any higher!" said Applejack, praising the move.

Sunset smirked and told her opponent, "Sorry, Rarity... you'll have to do better than that to defeat me."

"And I shall do just that..." the violet-haired teen responded, snarling a little as the number on her forehead began to glow brighter. "As a expert designer, I always have ideas to fall back on in case my original vision is not possible... You're going to wish that you had taken the attack from my Gem-Knight Ruby, because soon, you'll be facing something far worse..."

(Here it comes...) thought Sunset, bracing herself.

"But first, I shall reveal one of my facedown cards: De-Fusion!" Rarity declared as she flipped over one of her set cards. "This Spell Card returns one of my Fusion Monster Cards to my Extra Deck, and in exchange, it permits me to Special Summon the two monsters I used to call it to the field!" Taking her Fusion Monster off of the card tray and putting it back in her deck box, she then stated, "So I send Gem-Knight Ruby to my Extra Deck and revive Gem-Knight Garnet and Gem-Knight Emerald!"

The giant human in red armor vanished from the field and left behind a pair of dark purple portals, out of which came two small humans, one in red armor, and one in green (Gem-Knight Garnet: Level 4 / ATK 1900 / DEF 0) (Gem-Knight Emerald: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 800).

"Rarity's got two Level 4 monsters on her field!" Pinkie noted, pointing frantically. "But she doesn't have any Xyz Monsters in her Deck!!"

"In the past, she didn't." Applejack told her. "But if Sunset was right about her gettin' a Number, then Ah think we're about t' see it, whether we like it 'r not!"

"Now, I overlay my Level 4 Garnet and Emerald to create an Overlay Network!!" shouted Rarity as her two monsters transformed into orange lights and were sucked up into a galaxy-like portal. "Now prepare yourself to see what TRUE beauty looks like!" The portal then exploded, leaving behind a symbol similar to the one on her forehead, which was now glowing brighter than ever. "I Xyz Summon... Number 52: Diamond Crab King!!"

Everyone gasped as they saw a humongous diamond come crashing through the digital ceiling, landing right in front of Rarity. Surrounding it were two orange lights. Before any move or comment could be made, cracks began to spread all over the diamond. Then suddenly, the gem exploded, sending shards of itself all over the place (luckily, none of them were real), leaving behind a large pile of spiky shards where the diamond used to be. Then, out from underneath the pile came a pair of blue pincers, one of which had a yellow 52 imprinted upon it, followed by a pair of beady eyes and a mouth, which gave out a bizarre-sounding cry.

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Number 52: Diamond Crab King:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Rock-Type/EARTH/Rank 4/ATK 0/DEF 3000)

2 Level 4 monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle, except with "Number" monsters. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; change this card's DEF to 0, and if you do, change its ATK to 3000. These changes last until the end of this turn. If this card attacks, it is changed to Defense Position at the end of the Battle Phase. If this card is attacked, change it to Attack Position at the end of the Damage Step if it has no Xyz Materials. You can only control 1 "Number 52: Diamond Crab King".

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The audience gasped when they saw the brilliant glow coming from Rarity's Number monster. "So that's your Number card, huh?" asked Sunset.

"Isn't it impressive?" asked the violet-haired girl. "My Number is a true personification of pure beauty! But as you are about to see, even the prettiest of things in this world can have quite a painful sting..."

(What's she talking about...?) thought Sunset. (Her Number card doesn't have any attack points, and yet... she put it in Attack Mode anyway... Something's up, and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna find out what that thing is capable of pretty soon...)

Sunset's friends were astounded by the appearance of Rarity's Number card. "So THAT's her Number card?" asked Applejack.

"Pfft. Typical..." huffed Rainbow Dash. "Of course it HAS to be something pretty and shiny for her."

Just then, the group noticed someone nudging beside them: It was Lyra and Bon Bon, who had a few questions for them. "Hey, you're Rarity's friends, right?" asked the mint-green girl. "Mind tellin' us what's goin' on?"

"Yeah," Bon Bon chimed in, "why'd she turn the Gym into a decorator's madhouse? And what's with those weird cards that she and Sunset have?"

"Oh, nothing much." Pinkie simply said. "They're just cards that have the power to brainwash people and make them go cuckoo."

"Say what...?" asked Lyra.

"What Pinkie's sayin' is that those cards down there are what's responsible for makin' her overdecorate the room." Applejack explained. "More specifically, it's that big crab-thing that Rarity just Summoned."

"But how does a trading card brainwash somebody?" asked the pink and blue-haired girl, confused.

"We're not exactly sure, but trust us: Those Number cards are nothin' but trouble." Dash replied. Turning back towards the Duel, she then told them both, "That's why Sunset's dueling Rarity: She's trying to get rid of that Number card and get her back to normal!"

"So... Sunset's trying to SAVE Rarity?" asked Lyra, a bit surprised. "AND save the Fall Formal?"

"You betcha!" Pinkie answered. "Sunnie would never let something bad happen to anyone, especially not her friends!" Lyra and Bon Bon looked at each other, surprised to hear that Sunset was putting herself on the line in order to help a friend. It made them question whether or not what they thought they knew about the red and yellow girl was true.

"Well?" Sunset then asked Rarity. "Are you going to just stall all night, or are you going to make a move?"

"If I were you, I wouldn't be so hasty." the violet-haired teen told her. "But since you insist, allow me to show you the true power of my Number card! I activate the effect of Diamond Crab King!" Taking one of the cards underneath the Xyz Monster and sending it to the Graveyard, she then shouted, "Now by expelling one of its Overlay Units, I can switch its attack and defense points for one turn!"

"Switch their stats?! Oh no!!" Sunset cried out in shock.

The giant crustacean then absorbed one of its swirling orbs into the shards on its back (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). It then screeched out a battle cry as it increased its power dramatically. (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: ATK 0 > 3000 / DEF 3000 > 0).

"Oh my... now Rarity's Number card is stronger than Sunset's!" Fluttershy stated, trembling.

"Diamond Crab King, destroy Force Focus!!" ordered the fashionista. "Shard Storm!!" The giant crab then screeched once again as it aimed its back towards Sunset's monster and fired off all of its razor-sharp diamond shards. Each shard stuck itself into the giant camera creature, causing it to explode. The impact of the blast dealt some damage to Sunset Shimmer, causing her to step back (Sunset Shimmer: LP 3,100 - 200 = 2,900).

"Now they're both even in Life Points..." Applejack noted.

"But not in monsters." Luna added. "Sunset is not in a good situation right now..."

"If this keeps up, the Fall Formal will be history!" complained Rainbow.

"Don't worry, Dashie!" shouted Pinkie Pie with a determined voice. "Sunset'll always save the day! And if you think she can't, she'll always find a way!"

Lyra and Bon Bon, after hearing how much Sunset's friends trusted her so much, were now beginning to doubt that the red and yellow girl was who they thought she was. Either way, they had no choice but to hope that Sunset would save the Fall Formal, as well as Rarity.

The fashionista then told her foe, "After it attacks, Diamond Crab King switches itself to Defense Mode, and its points return to their original values." (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: ATK 3000 > 0 / DEF 0 > 3000)

(Crud...) thought the otherworldly girl. (Not only does it have a powerful attack, but it goes right into Defense Mode afterwards? That means she can strike me whenever she wants, and I can't even touch her!) She then summoned up some of her inner courage and added, (But I can't give up! I have to defeat her! It's the only way to stop that Number from causing her any more harm!)

"It's my turn! I draw!" Sunset said as she drew her next card. Looking at it, she then thought, (Right now, the first thing I need to do is to make sure that she can't hit my Life Points... I have to put up a strong defense until I can make my move...) Taking a different card from her hand, she declared, "I Summon Chronomaly Moai Carrier in Defense Mode!" The large, crane claw-like monster then appeared on the field in front of her (Chronomaly Moai Carrier: Level 5 / ATK 900 / DEF 1800). "Since you have at least one card on your side of the field while I have none, I can Special Summon Moai Carrier from my hand!" She then took the card she just drew and placed it facedown on the tray. "Finally, I'll play another monster in Defense Mode to end my turn."

"Hmph... what a waste of time." stated Rarity. "All you can do now is hold off your inevitable defeat. It's rather pathetic, actually... Now I shall draw!" She then picked up her next card and grinned wickedly, thinking, (Mirror Force... perfect!)

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Mirror Force
(Normal Trap Card)

When an opponent's monster declares an attack: Destroy all Attack Position monsters your opponent controls.

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The fashionista continued to think to herself, (Now that I have this card, I am now TOTALLY untouchable! Even if Sunset can attempt an attack, I can eliminate all of her monsters with this card, paving the way for my victory!) Placing the powerful Trap Card into her hand, she then declared, "I now play my facedown card: The Spell Card, Spiritual Transference! This card allows me to revive any monster that is in my Graveyard; in exchange, I have to pay Life Points by an amount equal to half of the attack power of the monster I choose to summon! And I select Gem-Knight Garnet!!"

Sunset watched as a dark purple portal appeared beside Rarity's Number card, out of which came the small human in red armor. "Gem-Knight Garnet has 1,900 attack points; that means you have to pay 950 Life Points." Sunset reminded her opponent (Rarity: LP 2,900 - 950 = 1,950).

"Part of being an expert fashion designer is knowing when to make necessary sacrifices." the violet-haired teen replied. "And speaking of which, I now play the effect of Gem-Knight Fusion from the Graveyard. By banishing one Gem-Knight in my Graveyard, I can return my fusion card to my hand! So I banish Tourmaline in order to do just that!" Rarity then took out both her Gem-Knight Tourmaline and Gem-Knight Fusion cards from out of her Graveyard slot, placing the monster into her deck box, and the Spell Card into her hand.

"Uh oh... that means she can use that card again!" said Dash.

"Now, once more, I activate Gem-Knight Fusion!!" shouted Rarity. "And I shall fuse Garnet on my field, along with Sapphire in my hand!" At that moment, a blue-armored human appeared beside Garnet before the two turned into pure energy and joined together. "Now! Gem-Knight Ruby, return to the field!!" the girl shouted as her scythe-wielding warrior made his second appearance.

"Not that thing again..." said Applejack in despair.

"C'mon, Sunnie... you can get through this..." urged Pinkie Pie.

"Ruby, attack Moai Carrier!!" ordered Rarity as her monster sliced apart Sunset's faceup defense monster. But right after it got smashed, a shockwave emitted from out of the knight's weapon and struck the otherworldly girl (Sunset Shimmer: LP 2,900 - 700 = 2,200).

"Hey, wait a second!" Rainbow protested. "How'd she lose Life Points?! Sunset's monster was in Defense Mode!"

"It's because that Gem-Knight Ruby has the ability to deal piercing battle damage." Celestia explained. "It means that when Ruby attacks, the difference between his attack power and defending monster's defense power is dealt as damage to Sunset's Life Points."

"In other words," Luna added, "it means that Ms. Rarity can damage Ms. Shimmer no matter which Mode she places her monsters in."

"That ain't good..." stated Applejack. "If this continues, Sunset'll lose the Duel..."

Pinkie was about to offer words of encouragement, but somebody else beat her to it. "No way is she gonna lose!" Lyra suddenly shouted.

"Lyra??" said Bon Bon in surprise.

Looking over in Sunset's direction, the mint-green girl then yelled over to her, "Hey, Sunset!!"

The red and yellow girl glanced behind her to see who it was that was trying to get her attention. "Lyra Heartstrings?" she asked.

"Listen up!!" the mint-green teen continued to shout to her. "I'm gonna tell you this just once: You had better NOT lose to her right now!"

"You... don't want me to lose?" asked Sunset, mystified by Lyra's comments.

The mint-green shook her head no and told her, "Up until this point, I still thought that you were the same jerk that you were during the last Fall Formal... But now, after seeing you in action and after hearing how much your friends believed in you, I now totally believe THEM about what they've said about you; that you're trying to be a good person now! So you had better prove them right... and beat the skirt off of Rarity!"

Sunset was quite shocked to see that someone besides one of her friends had openly stated that they no longer thought that she was a still a bad person. She was also surprised by the next few comments that she heard:

"You can do it, Sunset!"

"We totally believe in you!"

"You can beat her, no problem!"

All around her, Sunset Shimmer saw that now every student was supporting her. It was quite clear to her now that no one ever thought of her as the wicked she-demon anymore. Wiping a happy tear from her eye, she then gave Rarity a fierce look and said, "You ready? 'Cause with everypo- I mean, everybody here giving me their support, I'll be able to beat you and get you back to your old self again!"

"Oh really?" asked the crazed fashionista. "I'd like to see you try!"

"If you insist..." said the red and yellow girl with a smirk.

"I'll place this card facedown and end my turn." stated Rarity as she set her Mirror Force Trap Card on the field. "It's your turn."

"Alright then, I draw!" Placing her drawn card into her hand, Sunset then took out a different card and declared, "I play the Field Spell, Chronomaly City Babylon!!"

"A Field Spell Card?!" asked Rarity, surprised.

"That's right." Sunset informed her. "Field Spells are special Spell Cards that go in the Field Zone, and often have effects that spread across the entire field! Just watch!" She then played the card, and when she did, the digital copy of the Gymnasium whited out around them. After that, both Duelists, as well as their audience, found themselves standing in ancient ruins on a chunk of land that floated in the sky.

"What have you done?!" asked Rarity, horrified. "No one can see my beautiful decorations anymore!!"

"Believe me when I say that no one WANTED to." Sunset told her opponent. "Now thanks to this card, I can bring back any Chronomaly monster from my Graveyard by banishing another one that has the same Level!"

"What??" asked the violet-haired girl.

"So I'll banish my Golden Jet, Level 4, to bring back Nebra Disk!" the otherworldly girl declared as she removed her Golden Jet from play and put it into her deck box. After doing so, Nebra Disk then emerged from a dark purple portal in front of her. "Next, I'll Flip Summon Chronomaly Cabrera Trebuchet!" she then shouted, flipping over her facedown monster, revealing it to be some sort of bizzare-looking machine with two arms connected to it by chains, along with some sort of metal tentacle on the front of the anvil-like object that it was attached to (Chronomaly Cabrera Trebuchet: Level 4 / ATK 0 / DEF 1800).

"Now she has two Level 4 monsters..." noted Fluttershy. "She's planning to summon an Xyz Monster...!"

(Octavia's Number is a Rank 4;) thought Rainbow Dash, (is she gonna play that... or...?)

Sunset then raised her hand as high as she could and shouted, "I overlay my Level 4 Cabrera Trebuchet and Nebra Disk!" The two monsters transformed into a pair of lights, one yellow and one orange, and were sucked into a galaxy-like portal. "With these monsters, I can build the Overlay Network!!" The portal then let out an explosion, revealing a Number symbol on the ground. "Now... I Xyz Summon Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk!!"

Rarity, along with the audience, gasped as a glowing sphere, surrounded by two swirling orbs, slowly floated down from the sky above. Once it stopped right above Sunset's head, the light began to dull slightly, revealing that, inside the sphere, there was what appeared to be an ancient-looking fortress inside. A pair of large, egg-shaped objects were placed across from each other on the sphere, and the number 36 manifested itself upon the sphere's surface.

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Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk:
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Machine-Type/LIGHT/Rank 4/ATK 2000/DEF 2500)

2 Level 4 "Chronomaly" monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle, except with "Number" monsters. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; change its ATK to 0 until the end of this turn. You can Tribute 1 "Chronomaly" monster, then target 1 monster your opponent controls, whose current ATK is different from its original ATK; destroy that target.

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"Woah... lookit that thing..." said Applejack, awestruck by the appearance of Sunset's newly-summoned monster.

"Where did she find that one?" asked Pinkie.

"It was near my house last Sunday night." Rainbow answered. "She found it on the sidewalk and picked it up while it was still blank. Then there was a weird light show, and after that, it turned into that thing." The rest of the group looked at one another, still at a loss for words.

Rarity trembled a bit after Sunset brought out her new Number card. Staring at it, she then thought, (Since when did she get this Number card?! I thought she only had three of them, including that Force Focus card I destroyed earlier...) Shaking her head, she then pondered, (Well even so, her new monster's attack power is less than either of my monsters, so it won't save her anyway... And even if she attacks, I'll activate my Mirror Force and deflect the attack right back at her!)

Noticing Rarity's sudden smirk, Sunset figured that something was up. Glancing down at the field, she saw Rarity's Trap Card, still facedown on the field. (She obviously set a Trap for me; the moment I declare an attack, she'll try and destroy my monster with it... But I have another idea that just might work...) She then said to her opponent, "I'll end my turn by placing Chateau Huyuk in Attack Mode!"

"Huh? What's she doin'??" asked Rainbow Dash. "Her Number only has 2,000 attack points! It'll get whupped!"

"I'm not so sure about that..." Bon Bon spoke up.

"Huh?" said the rest of Sunset's friends.

"Bonnie's right." Lyra chimed in. "I think Sunset knows exactly what she's doin'."

Rarity chuckled, which soon turned to laughter. "That's all you are going to do?!" she asked mockingly. "You've OBVIOUSLY given up! Why else would you place your monster in Attack Mode, and risk having it be destroyed by either of my monsters? You'll soon pay for your mistake!! Now I draw!!"

The fashionista took a new card from her Deck and looked at it. "This will do just fine..." she said to herself. She then declared, "I switch Diamond Crab King to Attack Mode!" Her Number card then presented its pincers and moved forward slightly, ready to launch an attack. "Next," she continued, "I'll activate his effect and switch his attack and defense points for one turn!" (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: OLU 1 - 1 = 0) (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: ATK 0 > 3000 / DEF 3000 > 0)

(This is it... she's planning to launch a final attack to finish me off...) thought Sunset Shimmer, bracing herself.

"And now, I'll Summon Gem-Knight Lapis in Attack Mode!" the violet-haired teen shouted, playing the card she drew earlier. Her new monster was of a young female human, possibly in her teens, wearing armor that was beige and burgundy in color, and even had a skirt-like garment around her waist area (Gem-Knight Lapis: Level 3 / ATK 1200 / DEF 100). "And next, I shall activate the effect of Gem-Knight Ruby!"

"Uh oh, she's doin' that again..." said a worried Applejack. "And without Force Focus, Sunset has no way of stoppin' it!"

"Don't worry about a thing, AJ!" Pinkie told her. "Sunset will still beat her and get her back to normal!"

"C'mon... you can do this..." urged Lyra.

"Gem-Knight Lapis, transfer to Ruby and increase his power!" Rarity ordered. Lapis then turned into pure energy and flowed in the fashionista's Fusion Monster, making him even more powerful than before (Gem-Knight Ruby: ATK 2500 + 1200 = 3700). Rarity then thought to herself, (Alright, I doubt that Sunset has anything sneaky planned... but just in case, I'll attack with Ruby first before using Diamond Crab King...) She then pointed ahead and shouted, "Gem-Knight Ruby!! Attack Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk!!"

Sunset watched as Rarity's Fusion monster leaped up towards her Xyz Monster and struck it with his scythe. Even though the Number card could not be destroyed by a non-Number monster, the damage was still inflicted, and the otherworldly girl shielded herself with her arms and did her best to stand her ground, despite how much force was used against her (Sunset Shimmer: LP 2,200 - 1,700 = 500).

"And now..." Rarity continued, "Diamond Crab King!! Finish her off and win me the Duel!!" Her Number card then pointed its shard-covered back towards Chateau Huyuk and fired off its shards.

"Look out!!" yelped Fluttershy in distress. Everyone else watched on, wondering if this was the end of the Duel.

But Sunset Shimmer chuckled and said, "I was hoping you'd do that, Rarity!"

"Wh-what?!" said the violet-haired teen, suddenly not feeling too good after hearing that.

"I activate the effect of Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk!!" shouted Sunset, removing a card from underneath her Number card (Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk: OLU 2 - 1 = 1). "By removing one of its Overlay Units, my Chateau can target one of your monsters and drop its attack points all the way down to zero!"

"WHAT?!? NO!!!!" screamed Rarity as Sunset's card fired a blue bolt of electricity right at Diamond Crab King, stunning and weakening it (Number 52: Diamond Crab King: ATK 3000 > 0). The shards that it fired still struck Sunset's monster, but now that the crab's attack power was completely gone, they were unable to destroy it, instead becoming stuck in the blue force field that surrounded the fortress.

"Now that it's weaker than my monster, your Diamond Crab King, as well as this Duel, are finished!" the red and yellow girl proclaimed.

(No...! This can't be!! With his attack at zero, my monster is done for!!) thought Rarity, now shaking in fear. (And since I'M the one who initiated the attack, I can't use Mirror Force to block it!! She must have known that I set a Trap for her! How on EARTH could she have thought that far ahead?!)

"Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk!!" shouted Sunset. "Counterattack! Send those shards back where they came from!!" Her monster then began glowing incredibly bright, and then let out a flash of light as it fired the diamond shards right back towards Rarity's monster. The fashionista trembled, but there was nothing that she could do but watch her Number card be destroyed. The remaining shards then struck her directly, knocking her down and knocking her out (Rarity: LP 1,950 - 2,000 = 0) (WINNER: Sunset Shimmer).

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"She did it! She DID IT!!! Sunnie WON!!!" Pinkie screamed in delight. "I knew she'd do it!!"

"Way to go, Sunset!! You beat her!!" cheered Rainbow Dash.

"Yeah!! Way to go!!" Lyra chimed in.

Celestia and Luna were also quite impressed; both with Sunset's dueling skills and also for the reason why she was dueling. "She is quite impressive, Luna." stated the elder sister. "It's quite clear that Ms. Shimmer has come quite a long way since last year..."

"That is true, Sister. I cannot deny that any longer." said the younger sister. "Sunset has truly changed her ways... and I believe it is because she has such good friends supporting her." The light-pink principal agreed with a nod.

Sunset took a deep sigh after her arduous Duel. At that moment, her necklace began to glow. She then glanced up and saw a light phase out from Rarity's chest. Knowing exactly what to do, the red and yellow girl reached her hand out and allowed the light to fly right into it. She then grabbed the light, which formed into Rarity's Number card after it was in her hand. In addition, the Number symbol on the violet-haired teen's forehead dissolved away completely, meaning that she was no longer under that card's control.

After taking the Number card and putting it away in her deck box, Sunset heard groaning sounds coming from Rarity. Concerned for her, the otherworldly girl then ran over towards her friend to check up on her. "Rarity! Are you okay??" she asked her.

The fashionista groaned and answered her saying, "...I... I am now..." She then looked over at her friend, eyes filled with tears. Swiftly embracing Sunset in a hug, she cried and told her, "Oh, Sunset...! I'm so sorry!! I knew what I was doing while under the control of that card, but I couldn't do anything to stop myself!! Please forgive me... I didn't mean to do any of those horrible things to you!!"

Sunset Shimmer then returned the hug and told her, "It's okay, Rarity... Everything's going to be okay. I know you weren't in control of your own actions; that's why I was fighting hard to bring you back to your old self. Besides, you've forgiven me for doing something a whole lot worse, so I think I can forgive you for anything that you did just now..."

Rarity was still crying a little, but she was happy to hear her friend say that. "Oh thank you, Sunset..." she told her. "You are indeed a true friend..." She then gave the otherworldly girl another friendly hug, which Sunset returned, causing everyone in the audience to smile at the heartwarming scene.

After breaking off of the hug, Rarity then frowned and said, "Even so, I'm afraid the damage has been done: I mean, just LOOK at this place!" Glancing around the overdecorated gym, she added, "The Fall Formal begins in only five minutes; there's absoLUTELY no way that I will be able to take down ALL of these decorations in time all by myself!"

"Now don't y'all fret none, Rarity!" said Applejack's voice. "You WILL be able to get this place ship-shape and on time!"

"Because you're not gonna be doin' it alone!" Rainbow Dash chimed in. "We're gonna help ya!"

"You... you will?!" asked Rarity, regaining hope.

"Sure, no problem, Rarity!" said Lyra. "We'll all get the gym back to the way it was, no sweat!"

"With all of us working together, we'll make this the best Fall Formal ever!" Bon Bon added.

Rarity then saw that everyone else in the room was on board with helping to restore the Gymnasium and make it presentable for the big event. Needless to say, she was absolutely pleased at how generous everyone was to help her, even after she had gone totally berserk. "Thank you..." she told them all. "Thank you all so much... I don't deserve such kindness..."

"Rarity," Sunset began, "you're a great person, and you always will be; of course you deserve it." She then took out her backpack and told her friend, "The other students and I will get this place back together... In the meantime..." The red and yellow girl then pulled out a neatly-folded dress from inside the bag and handed it to Rarity, saying, "...I think the only thing you should have to worry about is making yourself look presentable for the occasion."

"My dress..." stated the fashionista, "with all that has happened, I nearly forgot about it." She then told her friend, "But... I really should help out... It's my fault that everything is the way it is..."

"It's no problem, Rarity." Sunset told her. "You've been through so much already tonight... We'll handle things in here; you just worry about looking your best."

The violet-haired teen thought about it for a while, unsure about what to do. But she finally nodded and said, "Alright... if you insist... I know you'll all do a great job in here." Sunset nodded to say that she would as she gave her the dress. Rarity then left the gym, heading into a bathroom to get changed.

The next five minutes came and went, and thanks to Sunset Shimmer, her friends, and the rest of Canterlot High's students and staff, the Gym was restored to the way it was before Rarity picked up her Number card, and not a moment too soon. With the earlier Duel now just a memory, the Fall Formal was able to go on as planned. Every student was enjoying themselves, dancing, having a bite to eat, meeting up with their friends, and much more.

Not long after the event officially started, Rarity had finally returned, now wearing the dress that Sunset and the others had brought with them. Her ensemble was incredibly beautiful; it was mostly in a deep red color, with a blue collar adorned with pink and purple jewels, along with a few pearls. Around her waist, there were blue frills, with a purple lotus flower-like decoration on the back of her, and a long, blue train trailing from the back. The bottom of the dress, as well as the ends of the sleeves, were decorated with several interconnected purple diamond shapes, some of which were bejeweled, with longer, pinkish sleeves coming out from underneath the dress's sleeves. On her head was a blue hat with several small, pink jewels, a cyan hat pin with two long antennae-like appendages sticking out, and topped off with a large, pink feather.

"Oh... my...!" said Fluttershy with a gasp. "You look so beautiful, Rarity!"

"Thank you, Fluttershy dear." the fashionista replied. She looked around the room and added, "And the Gymnasium looks absoLUTELY perfect! Just the way it was before I found that horrible Number card..."

"Well, Lyra and Bon Bon were a big help;" Sunset stated. "they knew exactly what the room looked like when you were with them this afternoon."

"Well, I can't thank you all enough for everything that you've done for me." said the violet-haired teen. "You were especially a big help, Sunset: You put yourself at risk to save me from that Number card, and I shall not soon forget it. I daresay, this might be the only instance in which I'm actually GLAD to have lost a Duel."

"Heh, well if you ever need me to beat you again, just let me know." the otherworldly girl said jokingly. The others laughed in response to her funny comment.

At that moment, all of the students heard the voice of Principal Celestia, who was standing in front of a microphone on the stage that was set up in the back of the room. "Students of Canterlot High," she began, "my sister and I are very pleased to see you all here in attendance at this year's Fall Formal. And I speak for all of us when I say that this one will be one that we shall never forget."

The students chuckled a bit in response to their principal's comment.

"But now that the Fall Formal is going ahead as planned," began Vice Principal Luna, "it is now time to announce the name of this year's Fall Formal Princess! And I am pleased to say that it was a unanimous decision!"

"Wow... that sure is great, ain't it, Rare?" asked Applejack. "Y'know, to have the ENTIRE school vote fer ya."

"Well, actually... about that..." the fashionista began to say, "I actually dropped out of the running."

"Huh?!" the others said, surprised.

"After everything that has happened tonight, I lost all interest in becoming the Princess this year." Rarity admitted.

"But... if you're not competing," Sunset began to ask her, "then who won?"

"And the winner of the title of Fall Formal Princess is..." began Celestia, opening the envelope and taking out the paper that had the winner's name written upon it. She then read the name to herself, and then announced it out-loud:

"...Ms. Sunset Shimmer!"

The red and yellow girl's irises shrunk when she heard her name being announced; she was not expecting this to happen. "M-m-m-m-ME?!?" she asked, pointing to herself.

"Well, unless you have a twin sister with the same name as yourself, I do not believe that my sister was referring to anyone else." Luna told her.

Sunset looked around at everyone in the room, more nervous than she was during her earlier Duel. "But... I don't understand..." she said to the Principals. "Why did everyone vote for me? In fact, how did I even get nominated??"

"We can answer that for ya." Lyra suddenly spoke up. "After we got the place all straightened up, I went over to Principal Celestia and told her that you should be the Princess this year."

"And I seconded the motion." Bon Bon added.

The otherworldly girl was flabbergasted after finding out that not only did someone else nominate her for Fall Formal Princess, but also knowing that EVERYONE in school voted for her, without her having to force them to do it. "So... you all want me to be the Princess...?" she asked them, a bit meekly. "Even after how much of a jerk I was the last few years?"

"Of course." Lyra told her with a smile. "Because you're NOT a jerk anymore. After seeing you out there, trying to save Rarity from that weird card, we can now see that you're a whole different person now. And this is our way of saying that we like the new you, one hundred-percent!" Bon Bon nodded to say that she agreed with her friend, as did the rest of the students.

"So...?" began Celestia. "Will you come on up here, and accept your title? It's still your decision, Ms. Shimmer."

Sunset Shimmer was very touched that everyone in school actually wanted her to be the Fall Formal Princess this year, and that they were now totally convinced that she was a good person now. Wiping away a tear, she then said to the light-pink woman, "All right... I'll do it. I will accept the title that everyone here was nice enough to give to me." She then proceeded to walk up to the stage in front of the two principals to attend her official coronation.

"In that case, I hereby declare you to be this year's Fall Formal Princess!" said Celestia, placing the crown on the otherworldly girl's head. "Everyone, please give a round of applause for Princess Sunset Shimmer!" The rest of the students cheered loudly in response.

Photo Finish then walked towards the stage with her trusty camera and said, "Alright now, time for your official Fall Formal Princess photograph! Stay still now..."

But before the budding photographer could take the picture, Sunset put her hand up towards her and said, "Wait, before you do that..." She then glanced up at Celestia and asked, "Is it okay if I could have my friends join me for the photo? I don't think I could have gotten the title of Princess without them."

"Well, you are the Princess this year..." stated the light-pink woman. "If that is what you wish, then it is fine with me." Luna nodded to say that she was also fine with it.

Smiling, Sunset then looked over at her friends, including Lyra and Bon Bon, and said to them, "Well, what're you guys waiting for? Come on up here!" The others happily did so, joining their friend onstage. Photo Finish then clicked her camera, taking the picture of the new Fall Formal Princess and all of her friends. Truly, it would be a night that all of them would remember forever.

-- To Be Continued...

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NUMBERS OBTAINED:

Sunset Shimmer (5 Numbers total):

- Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk
- Number 52: Diamond Crab King

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