• Published 30th Apr 2016
  • 9,302 Views, 976 Comments

My Little Pony: Friendship is Numerous - Monty Eggman



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

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RANK 42: Everypony Duel the Dinosaur:

Author's Note:

Normally, I put up a new episode during the last full week of each month. But since Christmas falls on the last full week this time, I decided to upload this early, just in case I couldn't do it next week. I'm certain none of you will have a problem with that. :twilightblush:

Anyway, enjoy the episode, and have a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Hearth's Warming Eve/Decemberween! :yay:

RANK 42: Everypony Duel the Dinosaur:
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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...

The WCQ Qualification Tournament kicked off with a bang, as Ember and Indigo Bolt were chosen as the first two Duelists to compete. Ember - wielding her powerful Felgrand Dragon Deck, came all the way from the city of Bloodstone to compete in the tournament, hoping to get a chance to challenge Sunset Shimmer to a rematch. Indigo Bolt came into the tournament with a very strong start; with the help of her powerful Amazoness Deck, she passed the Preliminary Round, having been the only Duelist to score a One Turn Kill during her Match. The two fought a fierce Duel, but in the end, it was Ember who came out victorious.

While the Duel was in progress, however, several other events were taking place as well: Snips and Snails - two young boys who were once Sunset Shimmer's subordinates, found themselves helping out their former boss once more; this time to spy on Adagio, Aria, and Sonata (a.k.a. the Dazzlings) and see if they were up to no good. In the audience stands, Luna met up with Ember's father, Torch - whom she had beaten in a major Duel years ago, and the two managed to bury the hatchet. And back in Equestria, Discord - the wily spirit of Chaos, was preparing for another trip into the minds of both Sunset and Twilight, hoping to uncover new information about the Astral World.

And while all this is going on, the next two Duelists to compete in the tournament have been selected...

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"That's right, ladies and gentlemen!!" announced Megan Williams, the high-spirited announcer for the WCQ Qualification Tournament, which was held in CHS's football stadium (now turned into a coliseum, thanks the AR Vision technology). She then continued, saying, "Our second Duel for the first round will be against two out-of-towners! But they are most certainly NOT out-of-practice, as they both came out of the Prelims with impressive scores! So please give a hearty Canterlot welcome to Slid Diamond and Steel Shadows!!"

The audience members cheered as both Duelists made their way towards the center of the arena, where Sunset was waiting to see them. The brown-skinned Slid Diamond appeared to be a young man - not quite a teenager anymore, but still relatively youthful in appearance. He was dressed rather casually for the tournament, wearing a short-sleeved shirt, shorts, a baseball cap, red shoes and glasses, which added to his youthful look.

His opponent - the metallic-grey Steel Shadows, rather different in comparison. He had sort of a 'drifter' look, as if he was the type that didn't often stay in one place for too long. His outward appearance looked rather rough: His black jacket was a bit worn, indicating that he had it for quite a long time, and his large boots were in a similar state. Part of his hair covered his left eye, and he had a somewhat serious look on his face. All in all, he had a subtly intimidating appearance, but he didn't seem to be unfriendly.

As both Duelists approached each other, Sunset walked up to the two of them and said, "Alright, go ahead and shuffle each other's Decks. Then head to your respective sides of the field." The two of them nodded as they handed their Decks to the other.

As they shuffled each other's cards, Slid spoke to his opponent, saying, "It's great t' finally meet ya, Steel. I've heard you won the last tournament all the way over in Baltimare. That was pretty impressive." Steel said nothing in response (or smiled), but simply nodded his head to say that he appreciated the comment. Sunset - overhearing the comment, hummed to herself; she had actually watched a livestream of that tournament some time ago and now recognized the person in question. "And now here I am; actually getting to Duel you..." Slid spoke to him again. "It's, um...i-interesting, to say the least..."

Looking towards his opponent, Steel finally spoke, asking him, "...Is this your first tournament?"

"Huh? Oh! Well, sort of..." Slid answered. "I've done well in a few small tournies back home, but this'll be my first major one."

"...I see." Steel then handed Slid's Deck back to him and simply told him, "I wish you the best of luck."

"Uh, thanks! You too." Slid replied, his brown skin blushing a little from the comment. Taking his Deck back and handing over Steel's, he said to him, "Here's your Deck back." The grey-skinned man nodded silently and took his cards back before the two of them headed over to opposite sides of the arena.

Walking over to Sunset, Twilight asked her friend, "So, um...do you know anything about these two people? I don't recall seeing them anywhere around here..."

"Probably because they aren't from around here." the red-and-yellow girl answered. "You heard what Megan said: They're both from outside Canterlot." Looking over towards the grey-skinned male in the black jacket, she then told Twilight, "That person over there is Steel Shadows. He's said to be a strong contender in Duel Monsters Tournaments; after all, he's won a few of them. But other than that, he's never really said much about himself or where he came from. His performance in dueling competitions are all anyone really knows about his past."

"Well, he certainly looks pretty strong..." Spike noted. "And a bit scary-looking... You don't think he's with those Skyes Academy guys, do you?"

"...I don't think so, Spike." Twilight told him. "Sure, he does give off a bit of a 'bad colt' look - or in the case of this world, a 'bad BOY' look, but he doesn't seem like he actually IS bad..." Pointing over to Steel's opponent, she then asked Sunset, "What about him? Do you know anything about him?"

"Not particularly, Twilight..." the otherworldly girl answered. "His name is Slid Diamond, but that's about all the information I have. Still, I'm pretty certain that he must be pretty good to make it into the main tournament." It was clear that none of them really knew a whole lot about the two Duelists that were about to fight each other. But they figured that they would find out a bit more about them during their Duel.

"By the way," Twilight began to ask her friend, "any word from Snips or Snails yet?"

"Nothing yet, but they're sure they can dig something up soon." Sunset replied. She then glanced over to where the remaining Duelists were. Once again, neither Sonata nor her sisters were present to watch the match. This only served to raise Sunset's suspicions even more.

In the audience, Principal Celestia looked around herself; Luna had been gone for a while, and she was wondering what her little sister was up to. At that moment, someone approached her asking, "Um, is that seat taken, Principal Celestia?"

The woman looked over and saw that it was Indigo Bolt, still dressed in her toga costume. In the first round, she fought against Ember and lost. Celestia smiled and said, "My sister was sitting here, but she's taken off somewhere, so I'm sure she won't mind if I rent it out to someone. Please, come over and take a seat."

"Thanks." said Bolt as she sat down next to CHS's principal.

"I must say," the light-pink woman commented, "that is a rather nice costume you have on. Did you make it yourself?"

"Kinda." the toga-wearing girl answered. "My mom helped with some of the finer details. I planned on having it on the whole time I'd be in the tournament, but...well, you know. And after all the trouble we went through to have it ready for today; I'll have to keep it on the whole day just to get our money's worth."

"Well, I think you look very nice in it." Celestia told her. "And even though you didn't win, you can take what you've learned today and improve yourself for your next Duel: It's all a matter of trial and error."

"Yeah, I know... Ember and Sunset told me something like that earlier." said Bolt. "I know I'll do better next time, but until then, I'll keep on practicing with my Deck and work out some of the bugs."

"That's the spirit, Ms. Bolt." said the principal. "After all, no one can say they got to the top without hitting a few bumps in the road." She then asked, "By the way...you wouldn't happen to know where Luna went, by any chance?"

"Not really," Indigo told her, "but I did hear rumors that two people were having a Duel just outside of the arena. And it sounded like one of them was Luna. Don't quote me on that, though."

"Hmmm...I see. Okay then." Celestia replied, figuring that - if what she heard was true, she didn't need to worry too much about her sister. Putting those thoughts aside for now, she and Bolt turned their attention back to the arena to watch the next Duel.

Back in the center of the arena, Sunset flipped a coin to determine the turn order. After that was done, it was decided that Steel Shadows would get the first move. With their D-Pads activated, the judge said to them, "Alright, let's have a nice, clean Duel from the both of you, understand?" Both competitors nodded to say that they did. "Then let's get the second Duel of the First Round started! Draw your cards and prepare to battle!" shouted Sunset, raising her right hand into the air to signal the start of the game.

"Let's DUEL!!" shouted both Steel and Slid, drawing their opening hands (Steel Shadows: LP 4,000) (Slid Diamond: LP 4,000). The audience continued to cheer them on, excited to see how this Duel would play out...

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Meanwhile, far away in another world altogether, Discord had just finished packing his things. He was about to embark on another visit to the minds of both Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer. A while ago, he had been tasked with checking up on them and making sure that they were safe. However, Princess Celestia had also asked him to learn more about the Astral World, as well as the Number cards that came from that world.

"There we go: All finished!" said the draconequus, wiping his forehead with his right arm. "Ah, packing's so much easier when it's done off-screen: It takes far less time, and I don't have to divulge any details about what I packed right away, either!" Taking the suitcase that he had in front of him, he folded it in half, then folded it again, and again, and then once more until it was the size of a jellybean before stuffing into a...pocket on the left side of his chest.

"And now that that's out of the way," Discord said to himself, "it's time to get to work!" He then made his way out through a door in his attic, which naturally led him out the front door to his house. He then pressed his doorbell (which chimed in reverse), and stood patiently. After a while, his front door opened once again, revealing the inside of an elevator.

Inside the elevator was another Discord, dressed like a bellhop at a hotel. "Good afternoon, Mr. Discord." he said to the other. "Where to this time?"

"Sunset Shimmer's mind, if you please." the original draconequus responded as he got into the small chamber.

"Alrighty then...!" the bellhop Discord said as he pressed a few buttons on a keypad inside of the elevator. The doors then closed as it began to move. On a display at the top was a number representing the floor that they were on. However, as you may have probably guessed, it didn't cycle through the numbers in a normal sequence. Starting at the number 42, it then displayed the following: 201, 917, 411, 1218, 429, and then finally, 616.

"Floor six hundred and sixteen: Sunset's Shimmer's soul room." said the draconequus bellhop as the elevator doors opened.

"Why, thank you kindly, dear sir." Discord told him as he exited the chamber.

"...Ahem." coughed the other Discord as he glanced off to the side and stuck out his hand, making a grabbing gesture with it. Getting the message, the original Discord sighed and reached into a pocket, pulling out a golden bit coin and placing into the other's palm. Satisfied, the draconequus bellhop chuckled and closed the elevator's doors before fading out of existence.

"I swear..." Discord mumbled to himself, "that guy's picking me out of house and home... Well, never mind; I've got some important work to do..." Pulling out a map from the same pocket that held his suitcase, the draconequus unfolded it and began reading it closely. "Let's see...now to find Sunnie's soul room; or rather soul ROOMS, as she has more than one..." He then continued on his way, hoping to find something soon...

Back in CHS's football field/coliseum, Steel Shadows and Slid Diamond were ready to begin their Duel. As most of the people watching were unfamiliar with the competitors, they weren't sure just what to expect out of them. But they wouldn't stay in the dark for long...

"To begin this Duel..." Steel started, "I will play a Spell Card: Gateway of the Six." After he played the card, a large castle gate came out of the ground behind him. The gate resembled what one would see in front of a Japanese-style castle, except that it had a large, circular adornment on the front of it, colored completely black.

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Gateway of the Six
(Continuous Spell Card)

Each time a "Six Samurai" monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned, place 2 Bushido Counters on this card. You can remove Bushido Counters from your field to activate these effects.
* 2 Counters: Target 1 "Six Samurai" or "Shien" Effect Monster; that target gains 500 ATK until the end of this turn.
* 4 Counters: Add 1 "Six Samurai" monster from your Deck or GY to your hand.
* 6 Counters: Target 1 "Shien" Effect Monster in your GY; Special Summon that target.

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"Gateway of the Six...?" asked Rainbow Dash, who was sitting with Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie with the rest of the audience. "I thought that card was banned..."

"It used t' be, but they took off the list a while ago." AJ informed her friend. "Granted, it's only at one per Deck, of course."

"I remember how powerful that card was back before it was Forbidden...and even before it was Limited." Rarity stated. "I can't imagine that they would ever take that card off the list completely..."

"Actually, they did in Japan." Pinkie pointed out.

"You're kidding!" exclaimed the fashionista.

"Usually, I do, but not this time." the pink girl said with a smile and a giggle.

Staring at the giant gate behind his opponent, Slid smirked a bit and said, "I should've know you'd be usin' your Six Samurai Deck... That's the one that won you the Baltimare tournament, right?"

"Indeed it was." Steel responded. "And you'll soon see why. I now activate the Spell Shien's Smoke Signal, which allows me to add any Level 3 or below Six Samurai monster from my Deck. And I select Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki." Placing his chosen card in his hand for now, he then took out a different card and said, "Next, I will play a third Spell Card: Six Samurai United!" After he played the card, a larger image of it appeared in front of him, sitting right next to the other Continuous Spell that he played.

"Yeesh, just how many Spell Cards does that guy HAVE in his Deck??" asked Spike.

"Not sure," Twilight told him, "but it's obvious he's setting up something big... The question is: Just WHAT is he setting up...?" The two watched to see just what Steel was trying to accomplish, as did Sunset.

Taking the card that he had previously added to his hand earlier, the grey-skinned Duelist then stated, "Now I will Summon my Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki in Attack Position." After the card was played, a man clad in red and black samurai armor leapt onto the field. He shed lightning wherever he walked and carried a total of four swords on him: Two were in his hands, and another two were attached to a pair of mechanical arms coming out of the armor on his back (Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki: Level 3 / ATK 200 / DEF 2000).

"After Kageki is successfully Normal Summoned," Steel continued, "I am now able to do the following: First, whenever a Six Samurai is Normal or Special Summoned, I can place two items known as Bushido Counters on my Gateway of the Six." After he said that, the black circle on the gate behind him began to glow blue as a pair of small lights appeared upon it (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 0 + 2 = 2). "In addition," he continued, "I can also place a counter on my other Spell Card as well." Just as he said, a small light appeared on his Six Samurai United card as well (Six Samurai United: Bushido Counters 0 + 1 = 1).

"Soooo...what happens after that?" asked Slid in a curious tone.

"You'll see a bit later..." Steel informed him. "For now, though, I have still another effect to use. After Kageki is successfully Normal Summoned, I am then able to Special Summon a differently-named Six Samurai from my hand, no higher than Level 4. And I choose the Tuner monster, Kagemusha of the Six Samurai." He then placed the card horizontally on his D-Pad's tray, calling up another armored samurai man. His was green and bronze in color, and his weapon of choice was a short spear (Kagemusha of the Six Samurai: Level 2 / ATK 400 / DEF 1800). "And since he was Special Summoned," Steel continued, "my two Spell Cards gain more Bushido Counters." (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 2 + 2 = 4) (Six Samurai United: Bushido Counters 1 + 1 = 2)

"I see now..." Sunset said to herself, "he's making use of the Six Samurai's ability of field swarming to build up a lot of power in those two cards..." Of course, she also knew that there was probably more to his strategy than that.

Continuing his turn, Steel then said, "Now that I have two Bushido Counters on Six Samurai United, I choose to activate its effect. By sending it to the Graveyard, I can draw two cards; one for each of its counters." He then drew his two cards, noting that one of the two was a Trap Card. Placing them both in his hand for the moment, he then told his opponent, "And now...I tune the Level 2 Kagemusha to my Level 3 Kageki." After he said that, his lower-Level monster raised his spear as he transformed into a pair of small lights.

"No way...! A Synchro Summon?!" gasped Slid Diamond. All he could do was watch along with the crowds as the two lights flew into the air and came back down as a pair of green rings. The rings surrounded Kageki and transformed him into three more light spheres (Level 2 + Level 3 = Level 5).

"Great warrior spoken of only in legend," Steel chanted, "manifest yourself before me and bring with you the fires of doom! Synchro Summon! The Legendary Six Samurai, Level 5... Shi En!"

The rings and lights were soon engulfed by a giant column of light that shot down from above. When the light vanished, a powerful human man was standing in its place. He wore red armor with golden trims, which also appeared to have a pair of dark-colored bat wings attached to the back of it. In his right hand was a katana (a super-sharp Japanese sword) which had ridges on it; clearly the ridges were meant to deal as much damage to his foes as possible (Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En: Level 5 / ATK 2500 / DEF 1400).

"Did ya see that, guys?!" exclaimed Rainbow Dash. "He just busted out a Synchro Monster, and it's just his first turn!"

"I do say, that was quite impressive." mentioned Rarity. "A very strong opening play."

Ember, standing on the sidelines, thought the move was quite strong as well. (Not a bad start, I'll admit...) she thought. She continued to watch the Duel carefully not only to see who would be victorious, but also to study both competitors' Decks and strategies with fine detail. After all, whoever won this Duel would go up against her in the quarterfinals.

Looking towards his opponent, Steel then said to him, "With my Shi En's Summoning, I now add two more Bushido Counters to Temple of the Six." (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 4 + 2 = 6) Taking another card from his hand, he placed it in his D-Pad and added, "I'll finish with a face-down card. It's your move."

"Alright then, here I go!" said Slid as he drew his first card of the Duel. Looking over the field, he thought to himself, (Man...this guy's serious for sure: He brought out a 2500-ATK monster on his first turn... Guess I should've expected that from a tournament champ...) Looking over his hand, he then said to himself, "He might have more experience in tournaments than me, but I know how t' think on my feet... By the time I'm done with my turn, that Samurai's goin' down!"

"So...I guess we'll soon see what kinda Deck that other guy uses..." Spike mentioned. Twilight nodded as they both watched on. Sunset was also curious to see what cards Slid had at his disposal.

Taking a card from his hand and placing it out, he said, "I'll start with the Spell Card, Fossil Dig! It lets me add a Level 6 or below Dinosaur monster to my hand!"

"Hmmm... That won't work, I'm afraid." Steel replied. "I chain Shi En's effect to negate and destroy your Spell Card before it can resolve!" His monster then raised its left hand and shot out a bolt of electricity that eliminated Slid's card completely. "Did you forget that my Shi En can negate any Spell Card or Trap Card after it activates?"

"I knew what your monster can do, Steel." the brown-skinned Duelist replied. "And I ALSO know that he can only negate a card once each turn. And now that he used his effect this turn, he can't do it again!"

"I see." was all that Steel responded with. "In that case, show me what you plan to do with that knowledge."

"I intend to!" said Slid, taking another card from his hand. "I Summon Souleating Oviraptor in Attack Mode!" His first monster of the Duel was a large dinosaur with a mostly grey body, with some bits of red on it, along with a dome-shaped head. Several cryptic markings were spread all over its body, but most notable of all were the blue flames that poured out from its head and running along its back (Souleating Oviraptor: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 500).

"I see now..." said Steel. "You had a way of searching your Deck, despite my Synchro Monster's ability. Interesting..."

"I'm only gettin' started!" Slid told the grey-skinned Duelist. "Now that I've Summoned my Souleating Oviraptor, not only I can use his effect and search for another Dinosaur, but I can ALSO do this!" Taking another card from his hand and placing it onto the card tray, he shouted, "I Special Summon Kagetokage in Defense Mode!" His second monster appeared on the field first as a shadowy lump on the ground before forming into the shape of a lizard with eerie red eyes (Kagetokage: Level 4 / ATK 1100 / DEF 1500).

"Huh? How did he Summon another monster like that?" asked Vinyl, scratching her head.

"Kagetokage can be Special Summoned from the player's hand when they Normal Summon a Level 4 monster." Octavia answered her. "Because Souleating Oviraptor was a Level 4, that fulfilled the requirement."

After making that move, Slid Diamond then said, "Now I'll use Souleating Oviraptor's effect and add my mighty Super Conductor Tyranno to my hand from the Deck!" After taking his card, he then played another and said, "Next, I'll activate Trade-In! By discarding a Level 8 monster from my hand, I can draw two more cards from my Deck! So I'll discard the monster I just added; Super Conductor Tyranno!" He then did just that and drew two new cards. Looking at what he got, he thought to himself, (Great! I got the card I wanted!) He then took one of the cards he just drew and played it right away. "Now I activate my Ultra Evolution Pill!"

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Ultra Evolution Pill:
(Normal Spell Card)

Tribute 1 Reptile monster; Special Summon 1 Dinosaur monster from your hand.

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"So that's why he Summoned that shadowy lizard-thing..." Applejack noted. "He wanted t' use that card on it!"

"Now he'll be able to Summon just about anything!" Rarity added.

Continuing his move, Slid declared, "Now I release Kagetokage and Summon one of my biggest dinos to the field. Say hello to my Super-Ancient Dinobeast!!" The brown-skinned Duelist placed the card in Attack Position on the card tray, unleashing its might on the field. The monster was a bipedal Dinosaur with silver-blue scales, a pair of small wings on its back (which seemed TOO small to allow it to fly), and glowing, orange eyes. Its outward appearance was simple, but it still looked very strong (Super-Ancient Dinobeast: Level 8 / ATK 2700 / DEF 1400).

"Hmmm...impressive." said Steel Shadows. "So your activation of Fossil Dig was simply to prevent Shi En from negating that Spell Card, am I right?" he then asked his opponent.

"Exactly!" Slid confirmed. "And now your monster's about to go down! Super-Ancient Dinobeast, attack his Samurai!" The giant beast then blasted Shi En with a powerful blast from its mouth. Steel, however, didn't even flinch at the damage that he took (Steel Shadows: LP 4,000 - 200 = 3,800). "No reaction, huh?" asked the brown-skinned Duelist. "Then maybe my other monster's attack'll do the job! Oviraptor, attack him directly!!" The other monster's blue flames then turned orange as it fired a blast of fire at Slid's opponent, knocking away some more of his Life Points (Steel Shadows: LP 3,800 - 1,800 = 2,000).

"Woah...he wiped out that Synchro Monster like it was nothing!" said Sunset. "I've gotta admit, I didn't think he'd pull it off, but I guess he really did know what he was doing."

"He certainly did." agreed Twilight. "He managed to get ahead of that Steel Shadows person this turn... And now we'll see if he can stay ahead of him." Spike nodded to say that he agreed too.

Looking over at his opponent, Steel thought to himself, (That was a skillful play... For someone who never competed in a major tournament before today, this Slid Diamond is quite strong; most of my opponents don't know what to do in the face of my Synchro Monster's effect...) Giving off a small smile, he then said in his mind, (Alright then...I suppose I'd better get serious.)

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Meanwhile, in the halls below the stadium, several food stands were running round-the-clock to satisfy the hungry spectators. Among those stands was one run by two members of Applejack's family: Her grandmother, Granny Smith, and her older brother, Big McIntosh. As one would expect from the Apple Family, their wares consisted of apple-related food items; slices of apple pie, apple fritters, applesauce, apple juice, candy apples...just about anything apple you could think of was there.

"Come back again, young'uns!" said Granny as she handed a slice of pie to a pair of customers. After they walked away, the elderly woman said to Big Mac, "It sure was a sweet idea t' open this here food stand durin' the big tournament! Ah daresay this is the best we've ever done sellin' our treats, an' Ah don't just throw that phrase around!" Looking over their wares, she hummed, saying, "Hmmmm...looks like we're gettin' a bit low on the apple crisp... Big Mac, could y'all head back to the truck n' git some of the extra ingredients so we can make some more?"

"Eeeyup!" Big Mac simply replied, heading towards the parking lot. As he left their stand and walked down the tunnels, he suddenly overheard someone talking nearby.

"So you know what to do, right?" asked a female voice.

"Hm?" hummed Big Mac as he heard the voice. Looking around, he saw three figures off in the distance, fay away from where most everybody was. (Who're those girls...?) he asked himself, looking over at them from behind a nearby wall so as not to attract their attention. After taking a closer look, he then recognized them. (Hold on a sec...it's those three girls from the Battle of the Bands...!) he realized.

Indeed, it was none other than Adagio, Aria, and Sonata standing there. It seemed as though they were talking to each other, but what they were talking about wasn't yet clear to Big Mac. "Um...I think I know what I'm supposed to do." stated Sonata, answering the question she was just asked, though she still seemed a bit confused. "...Um, maybe I do... Do I?"

Sighing a little, Adagio then said, "I'll tell you again: All you have to do is make sure you win the first round Duel. After you do that, the rest of the tournament will be no challenge, even for you. Luckily, it seems that most of the good players will be taking each other out, so you're not as likely going to go up against anyone challenging yet."

"And by the time you do," Aria chimed in, "you'll be more than prepared for them. Those dorks'll never know what hit them! Especially not those Rainboom losers."

"Do you really think this will work?" asked Sonata. "What if they stop us, just like last time?"

"I don't think we'll need to worry too much, as long as we stay on-the-level in front of them." Adagio told her. "You just do your job, and let us worry about Shimmer and her little friends." Hearing the crowds cheering, the Dazzlings' leader then said, "Alright, we've spent enough time down here; we'd better get back to the field before anyone notices how long we've been gone." And with that, the three of them left for the nearest doorway back out into the football field.

Big Mac just stood there, not sure what to make of what he had just heard. (What was that all about...?) he asked himself. (And what're those three plannin' to do to mah sister and her friends?) Before he could ask anything else, he then saw another pair of figures where the Dazzlings were. (Huh? Snips an' Snails...? And what're they up to?)

Looking over at his friend, Snips asked him, "Did'ja hear all of that? They're cookin' up somethin', and it ain't good."

"Yeah...it don't sound good t' me either..." Snails replied. "Should we tell Sunset?"

"Nnnnnnnot yet..." the pudgy boy answered. "I think we oughtta spy on 'em a little more and find out exactly what they're up to... Now c'mon! They went back into the football field, so we should probably head back to our seats." Snails nodded and the two of them left the area.

Big Mac still wasn't exactly sure about what had just transpired, but he figured - based on what Snips and Snails were saying, that they were keeping an eye on the Dazzlings for Sunset. It was all he needed to know to suspect that the former singing trio was up to no good. (None of this is soundin' good at all...) he thought. (After Ah get Granny's things, I'm headin' to talk to AJ...) He then continued on his way to the truck to get the items his grandmother wanted, still trying to piece together everything he witnessed...

Meanwhile, back at the Duel, Slid Diamond had just managed to defeat one of Steel Shadows's strongest monsters and even deal a large amount of damage. "Man, that guy with the Dinosaur Deck's pretty good!" said Spike. "After that last move, there's no way he can lose this!"

"I wouldn't be so quick to assume that, Spike." Sunset informed him. "Sure, Slid might be ahead now, but that doesn't always necessarily mean that his opponent can't make a comeback." After she said that, she then noticed that - back over where the other Duelists were gathered, she spotted Sonata and the other Dazzlings standing there with them. However, she decided not to say anything about it yet.

"I agree." Twilight added. "I'm positive we haven't seen anything yet." Spike wasn't sure what they meant by what they said, but decided to watch on and see for himself.

"Okay, Steel..." said Slid as he played his next card, "I'll wrap up my turn with one card face-down. So go ahead with your move."

"Actually, your turn is not yet done." the metallic-grey male said to him.

"Huh? What's that mean?"

"Before your turn ends," Steel Shadows said to his opponent, "I'll activate my face-down card, Swiftstrike Armor." His Trap Card (the one he drew earlier with Six Samurai United), then revealed itself as it flipped face-up.

"Swiftstrike Armor...?" asked Slid. "What does that do?"

"You will see very soon." said Steel. "But first, I must say: You are quite a skilled Duelist, especially since you told me that this is your first major tournament. To defeat one of my best cards so quickly proves how skilled you are."

"Um... thanks, I guess." the brown-skinned male replied, not really expecting his opponent to compliment him.

Placing his fingers on the top card of his Deck, Steel then told him, "As such...I must now Duel you with the respect and power you deserve." Drawing his next card, he then said, "I now use the effect of the Trap Card, Swiftstrike Armor. If I am able to draw a Six Samurai monster during my Draw Phase, I can show it to you and Special Summon it right away."

"Special Summon it?" asked Slid. "Does that mean that-?"

Nodding, he then revealed the card he drew. "I drew Secret Six Samurai - Doji." he responded. "So I now Special Summon it in Attack Position." He then played the card he drew, calling forth a bearded man wearing a black conical hat with purple lines running around on it. His clothes were also black in color, again covered in those same purple lines. His weapon of choice was a long black-and-purple rifle with golden trims (Secret Six Samurai - Doji: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 1200).

"I've never seen a Six Samurai like that one before..." Applejack noted.

"Yeah, he kinda looks more like a ninja than a samurai, really." Pinkie stated.

Looking at the monster that was Summoned to his opponent's field, Slid then asked, "A Secret Six Samurai?"

"Yes..." Steel Shadows replied. "My Secret Six Samurai work in the shadows, protecting their Six Samurai allies in the midst of battle. But although their methods are unusual for samurai, they still have a great deal of honor and will use their skills for the greater good... And now that Doji has been Summoned, my Gateway of the Six gains two more Bushido Counters." (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 6 + 2 = 8)

"Well, if that's what you're gonna do," Slid began, "then I'll show you that you're not the only one who can Special Summon a monster!" Tapping his D-Pad, the basketball player-turned Duelist shouted, "I activate Call of the Haunted! I'll use my Trap Card to bring back Super Conductor Tyranno from my Graveyard!"

Slid's next big monster was a massive, green Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, there were parts of it that were most certainly NOT prehistoric: In particular, it was fitted with what appeared to be futuristic armor plating on its legs, tail, and chest, all of which were shedding powerful bolts of electricity. The beast roared loudly as a show of its incredible power (Super Conductor Tyranno: Level 8 / ATK 3300 / DEF 1400).

"Aiyiyi!!!" screamed Pinkie. "That thing's even bigger than the OTHER dino he Summoned!"

"Maybe...but why did he Summon it now, during his opponent's turn...?" asked Rarity.

Smirking, Slid then said to everyone, "If you're wondering why I played Call of the Haunted now, it's because now I can use the effect of my Super-Ancient Dinobeast. Whenever a Dinosaur monster is brought back to the field from the Graveyard, I get draw another card from my Deck. So I'll just go right ahead and do that."

"I see...so he had a strategy to bring out two high-Level monsters and reinforce his hand as well." stated Sunset. "Pretty clever."

Humming a bit, Steel Shadows then said, "So you Summoned a second monster with high attack power... In that case, I shall respond with an equally-strong move of my own." Taking a card from his hand and playing it, he told his opponent, "I activate Pot of Desires. I banish the top ten cards of my Deck and draw two more." After doing that, he then activated another Spell Card, saying, "Now I play a second Six Samurai United from my hand."

"Another one??" asked Slid.

"Indeed." the grey Duelist responded. "Next," he continued, "since I control a Six Samurai on my field, I can Special Summon Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan from my hand in Attack Position. His new monster was a man wearing jet-black armor with some yellow trims and carrying a single katana in his right hand (Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan: Level 4 / ATK 1800 / DEF 500). His Summoning then allowed Steel to add more Bushido Counters to his cards on the field (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 8 + 2 = 10) (Six Samurai United: Bushido Counters 0 + 1 = 1).

"So you're gonna just keep on adding more counters to your cards, huh?" asked Slid.

"Yes, but that is not all." Steel told him. "Since Doji was on the field when I Summoned Kizan, I can now send Secret Six Samurai - Hatsume from my Deck to the Graveyard." And he did just that.

"I wonder why that guy did that...?" asked Flash. "It's safe to assume he had a reason for it."

"I agree." said Bright Mind, the green-wearing Duelist standing next to him. "I'm certain that card in his Graveyard must have some use if he purposefully sent it there."

Taking yet another card from his hand, Steel Shadows declared, "Now I Summon...The Six Samurai - Kamon in Attack Position." His third monster this turn was another man wearing samurai armor... only his seemed to be made out of sticks of dynamite. The man gave off a devilish grin; between his teeth was a long, thin stick that was lit on the front end (The Six Samurai - Kamon: Level 3 / ATK 1500 / DEF 1000) (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 10 + 2 = 12) (Six Samurai United: Bushido Counters 1 + 1 = 2).

"A third monster..." said Gilda, observing the Duel carefully. "He's definitely setting up something big, I know it." She knew full well that when a Duelist Summoned multiple monsters in one turn, it meant that they were more than likely going to bring out an even stronger creature with them.

"Now that there are two other Six Samurais on my field," Steel told his opponent, "my Kizan gains another 300 attack and defense points." (Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan: ATK 1800 + 300 = 2100 / DEF 500 + 300 = 800).

"I'm not totally sure what you're up to," Slid said to him, "but if you're plannin' to do something to my monsters this turn, I'll at least prevent that!" Taking a card from his hand, he shouted, "I send Miscellaneousaurus from my hand to the Graveyard to activate its effect!" After he disposed of the card in question, a ghostly skeleton of a dinosaur (which appeared to be made up of bones from multiple different dinosaurs) appeared on his side of the field and conjured up a ring of blue fireballs around each of Slid's monsters. "Now my monsters are safe from any of your card effects this turn!" the brown-skinned Duelist told him.

"Then I'll eliminate your monsters with other methods." Steel told him. "I now activate the effect of Kamon! Since I control a Six Samurai with a different name on my field, Kamon is permitted to destroy any Spell or Trap Card that is face-up on the field."

"What?!" exclaimed Slid.

"Your monsters my be protected from my card effects," the grey-skinned male said, "but your Spells and Traps are not under the same protection." Pointing forward, he then announced, "I'll have Kamon destroy Call of the Haunted!" His monster then pulled out a dynamite stick from inside of his armor, lit it with the twig in his mouth and threw the explosive at Slid's Trap Card. The dynamite detonated upon impact, destroying the Trap Card.

"Now that Call of the Haunted is no longer on the field," Sunset stated, "the monster it Summoned goes to the Graveyard with it!" And just as she said, Super Conductor Tyranno was immediately destroyed, leaving Slid with just two monsters to Steel's three.

"Aw no! My Tyranno's gone!" said Slid, cringing a little at the sight of his monster going extinct. Looking back over to his opponent, he thought, (I get it...since he couldn't destroy my monster with his own card effects, he wiped out Call of the Haunted instead... That's probably what he meant by using "other methods"...)

Continuing with his turn, Steel Shadows then said, "Now I send my Six Samurai United to the Graveyard. Since it had two Bushido Counters, I draw two cards!" Once he took care of that, he then declared, "Now I overlay my Level 4 Doji and Kizan and create an Overlay Network!" His two monsters then transformed into a pair of lights - one purple and one orange, that flew into a red vortex in the middle of the field.

"Now he's Xyz Summoning?!" asked Rainbow Dash.

"It sure looks like it!" Applejack answered her. "But what's he gonna bring out this time?"

"No doubt something as powerful as that Synchro Monster he started with..." Rarity figured. Pinkie said nothing, but watched as she stuffed her face full of popcorn from an extra-large bucket in front of her, wondering what was going to happen next (and spilling some of that popcorn on the ground in the process).

"Great warrior hidden from the naked eye," Steel Shadows said, reciting the Summoning Chant, "appear now before me and guard your allies from under the cover of shadows! Xyz Summon! The Shadow of the Six Samurai, Rank 4... Shien!" His next monster from the Extra Deck was another man in red armor, but his appearance was much different from the Synchro Monster he had previously Summoned. This warrior did not wear a helmet, giving everyone a look at firey-red hair. Over his armor, he wore a purple cloak, along with a mask over the lower half of his face. His weapon was a blade that was almost as long as he was tall. Orbiting him were two orange light spheres.

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Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien
(Xyz-Effect Monster/Warrior/EARTH/Rank 4/ATK 2500/DEF 400)

2 Level 4 "Six Samurai" monsters
Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 "Six Samurai" monster you control with less than 2000 ATK; its original ATK becomes 2000 until the end of this turn.

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"Woah..." said Flash as he gazed at the powerful monster that had just been Summoned. "A Six Samurai Xyz Monster... So that's what he was going for."

Once Shien entered the field, Steel then told his opponent, "With my Xyz Monster on the field, I place yet another two counters on my Gateway of the Six." (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 12 + 2 = 14). Taking a card out from under Shien's card, he then added, "Not only that, I remove one of Shien's overlay units to activate his effect." Everyone watched as one of the two orange orbs flew into the Xyz Monster's sword, causing the weapon to glow brightly (Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien: OLU 2 - 1 = 1).

"And what does he do?" asked Slid.

"Now Shien can target any of my Six Samurai with less than 2,000 attack points and strengthen that warrior." the metallic-grey man answered. "Now my Kamon's attack power rises up to 2,000!" (The Six Samurai - Kamon: ATK 1500 > 2000)

"That's great and all," the cap-wearing Duelist said to him, "but even so, neither of your monsters can defeat my Dinobeast on the field; he's way too powerful."

"Indeed, your Dinosuars have quite a lot of strength." Steel Shadows commented. He then took a card from his hand and added, "However, great power can also be a great burden as well..."

"Wh-what do you mean by that?"

Steel answered his opponent's question by playing the card he was holding. "I activate a Continuous Spell: Burden of the Mighty." After playing that card, a red aura surrounded both of Slid's monsters, causing them both to tremble and sweat, as if a heavy weight was put on them both.

"What just happened?" asked Spike. "Those dinos look like they're having trouble just trying to stay standing..."

"That's because Burden of the Mighty weakens the opponent's monsters' attack points." Sunset told him. "They lose 100 points times their current Levels. That's not a good thing for that Diamond guy, considering most of the best Dinosaur cards are high-Level monsters."

From the sidelines, Sol Burner, one of the other out-of-town competitors, found the move particularly interesting. (Not bad...) he thought. (That Steel guy turned the Dinosaurs' high Levels into an advantage for himself... Using the enemy's power against them; that is one of the many values of martial arts.)

Slid was starting to worry as he saw his monsters lose some of their power (Souleating Oviraptor: ATK 1800 - 400 = 1400) (Super-Ancient Dinobeast: ATK 2700 - 800 = 1900). Now they were vulnerable to an attack by his opponent's monsters. "This could be trouble..." he noted.

"...I suppose that's one way to put it." Steel replied. Putting his right arm out, he then said, "I enter my Battle Phase, and have Shien attack your Dinobeast!" The Xyz Monster then ran towards the massive Dinosaur, his sword ready to go. Moments after he was close enough, Shien leapt high into the air and seemed to vanish. Super-Ancient Dinobeast looked up, but could only see the Sun... Just then, in but a mere split-second, Shien came back down (seemingly from out of the Sun) and slashed the massive creature with his weapon, wiping it out (Slid Diamond: LP 4,000 - 600 = 3,400).

"Incredible!" exclaimed Bright Mind in surprise. "He completely exterminated it! And moreso, his Battle Phase isn't even over yet!"

Indeed, it wasn't: Steel then gave out his next order, saying, "Now I follow up with an attack by Kamon! Destroy his Oviraptor!" Snickering, his samurai that was decked out in munitions lit up a pair of explosives and threw them both at Slid's other monster, blowing it up and sending it straight to the Graveyard. The blast also caused some splash damage on Slid as well (Slid Diamond: ATK 3,400 - 600 = 2,800).

"Aw, no...!" the brown-skinned Duelist gasped. "He took down two of my best monsters just like that!"

"Woah...I guess you were right, Sunset..." Spike told her. "Y'know, about how that other guy could still make a comeback and all."

"Do you think that Slid person could do that as well?" Twilight asked her inter-dimensional friend. "Even though his opponent has such a major advantage right now?"

"There's still a pretty good chance of it." the red-and-yellow girl answered. "It all depends on if Slid has the courage to fight on, even though the odds are against him." Smiling a little, she added, "You know it as well as I do: Sometimes, when a Duelist is backed so far into a corner, it only makes them even more determined to strike back and win." Twilight and Spike looked at each other, and then returned their attention to the Duel, curious to see if what Sunset said was true or not...

Taking a card from his hand, Steel said to his opponent, "I will set one card face-down... Then, the effect of Shien expires, returning Kamon to his original attack power." (The Six Samurai - Kamon: ATK 2000 > 1500) After wrapping up his turn, he then told him, "With all of your monsters destroyed, your odds of a come-from-behind win are low at best... Do you surrender, or do you still believe that you'll come back?"

"Heh... I think you know the answer to that." Slid answered him, a smirk on his face. "After getting this far already, there's no way I'm gonna pack up and run! Sure, I might not be in the best of situations right now, but as long as I've got a chance to make a comeback, I'm gonna take it! So I'm still in this Duel!"

Steel then smiled a little himself and said, "I knew that you would say that... You are far too worthy an opponent to even think about giving up."

"You...you think I'm a worthy opponent?"

Nodding, the grey-skinned Duelist told him, "I do. I have traveled around for quite some time, perfecting my skills as a Duelist by competing against only the best and strongest... And I must admit: You have proven to be among the best that I have battled against."

"Um...thanks!" Slid replied. "That means a lot; really."

Nodding again, Steel then asked his opponent, "Shall we continue, then?"

"You've got it!" Slid answered. "I may be backed into a corner for now, but I don't plan to stay there!" He then placed his fingers on the top card of his Deck, preparing to draw it. "If I'm gonna make my mark as Pro one day, I've gotta keep on fighting! My dinos aren't going extinct yet, and neither am I!" He then drew his next card, ready to make good on that claim...

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

Meanwhile, in a whole different reality altogether, Discord was making his way towards Sunset Shimmer's mind, hoping to help solve the mystery surrounding the Number cards and the Astral World, as per orders from Princess Celestia. "Hmmm..." the draconequus hummed to himself as he looked at what appeared to be a map of some sort, but all it showed was a large picture of a brain. Discord traced a claw around the brain's wrinkles, as if he was working on a maze in a child's activity book.

"Now let's see here..." he said to himself. "I got past the brain stem...hung a left at the temporal lobe, and then straight through the Wernicke area to the parietal lobe..." Humming again, he then said to himself. "After that, I got to the frontal lobe and chatted with someone in the speech center; some woman with blonde hair who had quite the heavenly voice... I wonder if she's considered singing for a band or two, or at least try voice-acting..." Looking up from his map, he smiled and said, "Ah! Here we are: Sunset's Soul Room...or rather, Soul ROOMS."

Indeed, right there in front of the draconequus were a pair of doors: a mahogany door with Sunset's cutie mark painted on the front of it, and a metallic door covered in chains with an image of the Emporer's Key on it.

"Yep, here it is, just as I remember it." Discord said to himself. However, there was one thing that looked peculiar to him; he looked closely at the metal door and said, "Although...when I was here last, only one of those nine chains had been unlocked... But now it appears that one more of them has been removed... Eh, probably not important." Shrugging off the seemingly unimportant detail that he had noticed, the draconequus opened the other door to take a peek inside.

When he came in, he noticed that - while most of the room was how he remembered it (including the tiny, snarling form of Sunset's she-demon form in a cage, which he did his best to ignore), Discord did notice a few things had changed. "Yeeesh, this place is even more cluttered and messy than when I first popped in here..." he told himself. The mess told him that something must have happened recently to create such a thing. "I'm no psychiatrist...PSYCHOTIC, maybe - according to some ponies, but in any case... it seems Sunnie's gotten a few things on her mind recently and is trying to sort it all out. However, the fact that there's still a major mess here means that she hasn't had the time to take care of it yet, for whatever reason."

Just then, Discord noticed something else in the room that was new: A small television set with a built-in VHS player. In front of the TV was an unlabeled video tape. "Now what's this thing...?" the draconequus asked himself, walking over towards the desk. Picking up the tape and looking at it, he said to himself, "Now this looks important..." Knowing what to do, he inserted the tape into the VHS player to see what was on it...after getting himself a soda and a bucket of popcorn to munch on while he did so. He then sat down on a chair and kicked up his feet on the desk as the video began to play.

The video tape started up, showing an image of a temple in the mountains, as well as several people in white robes. He didn't know it yet, but the video that Discord was watching was none other than the dream that Sunset (and Twilight) had a few nights ago. The draconequus wasn't sure what to make of the video, but he could tell that - based on the context, he was seeing the world through the eyes of someone else. He came to this conclusion based on the fact that the other people in the video were looking directly at the "camera" and speaking to them directly.

Discord's hypothesis was confirmed when the person in question walked over to a large fountain and sat down on the edge of it. The person then looked into the water at their own reflection, revealing themselves as a girl who looked VERY familiar to Discord.

Eyes widened, the draconequus spit out the soda in his mouth in shock, saying, "Th-th-that person!! She looks just like Sunset!! The hair's styled a little different, of course...but that is her!" Standing up out of the desk chair, Discord looked closely at the screen and asked himself, "Hmmm...this is quite strange... I don't recall Sunnie ever having anything quite like that in her wardrobe... She doesn't seem like the type that's into toga parties..."

Before he could ponder about it any more, another voice was heard on the video. "S...Sun'Et?" asked the voice, sounding feminine.

The "camera" then showed the girl's reflection in the water gasp a little before the scene quickly moved over to the right, where another very familiar-looking girl could be seen. "Spakah? What are you doing here...?" asked another voice. Since the only person that was on-screen wasn't moving her mouth, it was assumed that it was the other person speaking - the one who had been staring into the fountain earlier and from whose perspective the video was showing.

"Unbelievable...!" said Discord, amazed. "A Twilight look-a-like as well as one of Sunset! But they didn't call each other by those names..." The draconequus continued to watch the video, listening to the conversation between Sun'Et and Spakah. Eventually, they got to the point of the conversation where they discussed the nature of souls in the Astral World; particularly the bit about how those souls could be reborn in the living world.

"Hmmmm...I think I'm starting to understand it all now..." Discord said to himself. "But to be sure, I had better take a look around Twily's mind as well." The draconequus then stopped the video, rewound it, and then ejected it out of the TV. Placing it back on the desk the way he found it, the wily spirit of Chaos was ready to take another journey, this time into the mind of Twilight Sparkle, where he would hope to find out more concerning this new development...

Back in the "real" world, Slid Diamond was just about to begin his turn. Although his field was empty and he was staring down two of Steel Shadows' powerful Six Samurai monsters, he wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet. Looking at the card he got, he said to himself, (Alright...if I'm going to have any chance at beating him, I have to try and make this work... Here goes everything...!) Placing the card he had just drawn into his hand, he took out a different card and shouted, "I activate the Spell Card, Double Evolution Pill! By banishing a Dinosaur monster and a non-Dinosaur monster from my Graveyard, I can Summon a Level 7 or higher Dinosaur monster from my Deck, ignoring its Summoning conditions!" The audience, the other competitors, and even Steel himself gasped in surprise.

"Ignoring the Summoning conditions?" asked Twilight.

"Yeah, what does that mean exactly?" Spike inquired.

"I'll explain:" Sunset began. "First off, you need to know that there are some monsters out there that are bit more strict as to how you get them to the field. Some say that you have to Special Summon them in a specific manner, or they may say that they cannot be Special Summoned, or stuff like that. However, there are some cards out there that let you bypass those restrictions and Summon them anyway. It's a bit risky in the sense that they can't come back if they're destroyed, since they weren't properly Summoned, but it's often worth the risk."

"Yeesh...just when I think I've got this crazy game figured out, something else pops up!" Spike noted. "How can anyone remember all of that stuff like that?" Twilight chuckled a bit and gave her assistant-turned-puppy a comforting pet on the head to help calm him down a little.

Back at the Duel, Slid took out two monsters from his D-Pad's Graveyard slot and revealed them to his opponent. "I banish both Super-Ancient Dinobeast and Kagetokage from my Graveyard...to Summon my most powerful Dinosaur!" Taking out his chosen card and placing it onto the card tray, he shouted, "Come out! Ultimate Conductor Tyranno!!"

After the card was played, everyone watched as the skies above them began to darken. Then, several dark-purple lightning bolts rained down from the dark clouds above, causing even Steel Shadows to back off a bit (even though the bolts weren't real). Then, from behind the stadium, an incredibly large lightning bolt struck the ground. But instead of burning itself out, the bolt morphed itself into a sphere...and then into the shape of a massive dinosaur. The light then faded, revealing a black and red Tyrannosaurus Rex with several purple orbs dotted upon its body. Large sparks shed off of it every second as it belted out a very loud roar. The creature was so big, it didn't seem like it could fit in the arena, so it opted to stay outside of it.

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Ultimate Conductor Tyranno
(Effect Monster/Dinosaur/LIGHT/Level 10/ATK 3500/DEF 3200)

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must first be Special Summoned (from your hand) by banishing 2 Dinosaur monsters from your GY. Once per turn, during either player's Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can destroy 1 monster in your hand or field, and if you do, change all face-up monsters your opponent controls to face-down Defense Position. This card can attack all monsters your opponent controls, once each. At the start of the Damage Step, if this card attacks a Defense Position monster: You can inflict 1000 damage to your opponent, and if you do, send that Defense Position monster to the GY.

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

Everyone watching stared in awe (and some fear) at the gigantic Dinosaur monster that Slid had just Summoned to the field. "L-l-l-lookit the size of that thing!!" said Applejack.

"I-it's bigger than...than the whole school!!" added Rarity, trying her best not to faint (since she couldn't bring her fainting couch with her into the stadium).

"I really, REALLY hope this doesn't turn out like the Jurassic Park movies...!" Pinkie chimed in. "'Cause that thing looks like it could eat us all up like we're bits of cereal!"

"Why cereal?" asked Dash.

"Y'know, 'cause this place looks like a bowl and everything? Get it?" the pink girl explained.

Looking up at the massive Dinosaur, Steel Shadows...steeled himself and said, "So...this is his ace monster... Quite impressive." He then said to his opponent, "Do not forget...my Burden of the Mighty reduces your monster's attack power by 100 times its own Level." (Ultimate Conductor Tyranno: ATK 3500 - 1000 = 2500)

Looking up at his most powerful monster, Slid thought to himself, (Okay...I managed to get Ultimate Conductor Tyranno onto the field now... If I can get his effect to work, I can switch both his monsters to Defense Mode.) Looking at the other card in his hand (the one he had just drawn), he then added, (After that, I can use Monster Reborn and bring back Super Conductor Tyranno... That way, after I use Ultimate Condutor's effect to attack all of his monsters, even if he blocks the damage somehow, I can still use Super Conductor to finish him off, and I'll win!) He then glanced over at Steel's side of the field and saw his face-down card. (The only thing that could save him is that card he set last turn... Still, I gotta try and make this happen!)

"For my next move," Slid said to his opponent, "I'll use the effect of the Miscellaneousaurus I sent to my Graveyard last turn! By banishing it, along with any number of other Dinosaurs from my Graveyard, I can Summon a new Dinosaur from my Deck whose Level is equal to the number of monsters I banish!" Taking out another two cards out of his D-Pad, he then told him, "So in addition to banishing Miscellaneousaurus, I'll ALSO banish Souleating Oviraptor for the cost of the effect!"

"That means Slid can now Summon a Level 2 Dinosaur from his Deck..." Sunset pointed out. She then thought, (If I know how Dinosaur Decks work, I think I know what he'll Summon...)

After selecting the monster he wanted to Summon, Slid's Deck auto-shuffled his cards and left his chosen card sticking out. The cap-wearing Duelist then shouted, "I Special Summon Petiteranodon in Defense Mode!" His newest monster was a yellow and beige baby pterodactyl with big, green eyes and a small eggshell stuck to its horn-like appendage. It gave off a cute-sounding cry after it appeared on the field (Petiteranodon: Level 2 / ATK 500 - 200 = 300 / DEF 500).

"AWWWWW!!! He's so CUTE!!!" squealed Gabby.

"I know...!" said Fluttershy, her eyes lighting up as well. "It's definitely a lot less scary compared to that other monster he Summoned..."

Slid Diamond then told his opponent, "As you may already know, any monster Summoned through Miscellaneousaurus destroys itself at the end of the turn."

"I know." Steel replied. "And I also know that you don't plan to have it out for that long, am I correct?"

"Right on the money." Slid confirmed. "'Cause I'm gonna activate Ultimate Conductor Tyranno's effect! During the Main Phase, I can destroy any monster I've got in my hand or on my field, and after that, I get to flip all of YOUR monsters face-down and switch them to Defense Mode!"

"I see." Steel simply replied.

"But there's more:" the brown-skinned Duelist continued. "Ultimate Conductor Tyranno can attack every monster you've got on the field, and if he attacks a Defense monster, I can send his victim to the Graveyard and hit you for a thousand points of damage!"

Gasping, Twilight then said, "That's incredible! If he does that, he can eliminate both of his opponent's monsters, and wipe out all of his Life Points!"

"There's more to it than just that, Twilight." Sunset told her. "Part of Ultimate Conductor Tyranno's effect states that he has to destroy one of his monsters. And if he destroys his Petiteranodon, he can replace it with a new monster from his Deck, using its effect!"

"Either way, it looks like that Slid guy's gonna win this one!" said Spike.

(Hmmm...can it really be that easy?) Sunset wondered to herself. Looking at Steel's face-down card, she then thought, (Something tells me that guy has a counter for that effect ready to go...)

"Now, Ultimate Conductor Tyranno! Activate your effect!" Slid announced. His monster then began charging up an enormous amount of energy, ready to unleash it upon the entire arena. "I'll destroy my Petiteranodon and switch both of your Samurais to Defense Mode!" The massive Dinosaur then fired its lightning straight towards Steel Shadows and his monsters.

"...I must say, that was an impressive move, Slid Diamond." said Steel. "You managed to come back from my earlier attack even stronger than ever. You truly are a worthy opponent..." Then, displaying a look of determination, he then added, "However, this Duel is not over yet!"

"Huh?!" Slid wasn't sure what his opponent was talking about. Then, he remembered the face-down card that Steel had out, wondering if he was going to use it now.

"I activate my Trap Card..." the grey Duelist said, flipping over his Set card. "The Counter Trap, Musakani Magatama!!"

"Musa-whatey...whata-what?" asked Rainbow Dash, unsure about the card that was just played (or how it was pronounced).

Slid, also unsure about the card, asked his opponent, "What does that card do...?"

"Musakani Magatama activates in response to any effect that would destroy a card on the field, while I have a Six Samurai present." Steel Shadows explained. "Since part of your Ultimate Conductor's effect includes destroying one of your own monsters, I can now negate the action and destroy your Ultimate Conductor!"

"WHAT?! Aw, NO!!!" But there was nothing Slid could do as the Trap Card shot out a brilliant bolt of light that deflected Ultimate Conductor's lightning, sending it right back at him. The beast roared as its own attack destroyed him.

"Whoa...!! Did ya see that, Tavi?!" asked Vinyl, completely in shock. "That grey guy wiped out that huge Dinosaur like it was nothing!"

"I did see it, Vinyl..." Octavia replied, also surprised by what had happened. "That countermove was timed perfectly!"

Slid was still in a bit of disbelief after seeing his best card so easily destroyed. "Aw man...I was planning to win with that..." Still despite the setback, the cap-wearing Duelist wasn't about to surrender. "I'm not through yet! I activate the Spell Card Monster Reborn! It brings back one of my monsters from the Graveyard!"

"I see." Steel responded. "But don't forget: Because you Summoned your Ultimate Conductor Tyranno using Double Evolution Pill, you cannot bring it back."

"I know that." Slid told him. "But I CAN bring back this guy! Super Conductor Tyranno!!" In an instant, his other lightning-themed Dinosaur reappeared on the field, ready to fight...even though Steel's Spell Card weakened it a little (Super Conductor Tyranno: ATK 3300 - 800 = 2500).

"Not bad... You had a backup plan, just in case." Steel noted. "You chose not to banish it from your Graveyard with Miscellaneousaurus... That way, you could Summon it if you felt it necessary."

"That's pretty much it." Slid told him. "I might not be able to beat you this turn, but I can still shave off some of your Life Points and destroy one of your monsters, too!" Pointing forward, he then shouted, "Super Conductor Tyranno! Attack Kamon!! Lightning Fang Attack!!" The mighty Dinosaur roared as it charged in to attack.

"The Quick Effect of Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien now activates." Steel then said. "I remove his last Overlay Unit to increase Kamon's strength!" (The Six Samurai - Kamon: ATK 1500 > 2000)

"That still won't be enough!" shouted Slid as he continued his attack anyway. Super Condutor Tyranno then dove face-first into Kamon and letting off a massive burst of electricity that exploded, wiping out the Samurai and some of Steel's Life Points (Steel Shadows: LP 2,000 - 500 = 1,500). "Unfortunately, that's all I can do for this turn." he then told his opponent. "But since my turn is over, Petiteranodon - which I Summoned with Miscellaneousaurus, destroys itself." After the monster shattered apart, Slid then added, "But because that happened, I can use Petiteranodon's effect and Summon a Level 4 or higher Dinosaur from my Deck. So I'll play my Stegocyber in Defense Mode to protect me." Slid's next monster was yet another big dino; a stegosaurus that appeared to be covered head to toe in a metallic-like armor (Stegocyber: Level 6 / ATK 1200 - 600 = 600 / DEF 2400).

"Looks like Slid's doing his best to try and defend himself, now that Steel managed to buy himself another turn to fight back." said Sunset.

"Seems like it." agreed Twilight. It was clear that this Duel was nearing the end, but who would come out on top was still a mystery.

"My turn. I draw." said Steel as he drew his next card. Looking at it, he then said, "Since the card I drew was my Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi, my Swiftstrike Armor Trap Card Summons him to the field." He then played the card he drew right away, bringing out yet another powerful warrior. This one was dressed in green-colored armor, and his sword was almost as long as his body (Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi: Level 4 / ATK 1700 / DEF 700). His Summoning also meant that Gateway of the Six gained more counters (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 14 + 2 = 16).

"So...what's that guy do?" asked Slid.

"You will see right away," Steel answered him, "because I'm using his effect. Since I have another, differently-named Six Samurai on the field with Enishi, I can banish any two of the Six Samurais in my Graveyard." After he disposed of both Kagemusha of the Six Samurai and The Six Samurai - Kamon, he then told his opponent, "In exchange for that, I can now send any one of your monsters on the field back to your hand; I select Stegocyber."

Slid gasped as the monster he Summoned earlier was bounced back into his hand. But then he also realized something: "Hold on..." he began to say, "why didn't you do that to my Super Conducter Tyranno? After all, his attack points are higher..."

"You'll see." the grey man told him. "But first, I must make a few more preparations."

"Preparations?" asked Slid.

Nodding, Steel Shadows then pointed to his Gateway of the Six and said, "Throughout this Duel, I have been building up my power, preparing for the right moment... And now that time has come." Tapping his D-Pad's screen, he announced, "I now activate the effect of Gateway of the Six!"

"Gateway of the Six?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"Dont'cha remember, Dash?" asked Applejack. "That was the first card that guy played when the Duel started."

"Oh yeah...that's right, I forgot about that." the cyan teen admitted.

"Since the moment he played that card," Rarity began to say, "it gained two counters every time Steel Summoned one of his Six Samurai monsters... If my math is correct, he had Summoned Six Samurais a total of eight times. Meaning that it now has sixteen counters."

"But...what's he gonna do with all of them?" asked Pinkie Pie.

"Just watch...and you'll see why this card was Forbidden at one time." the purple-haired teen told her. The group turned their attention back to the Duel, waiting to see what would happen next.

Steel Shadows then declared, "I now use the second effect of my Gateway of the Six: By removing 4 Bushido Counters from it, I can retrieve any Six Samurai monster from my Deck or Graveyard and put it into my hand." After he paid the cost (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 16 - 4 = 12), he then added, "I use the effect to move The Six Samurai - Nisashi from my Deck to my hand." After doing that, he then added, "And for my next move, I'll Normal Summon him to the field right away!"

Clad in glowing, green armor, Steel's newest monster appeared on the field with an intimidating look in his eyes. He then showed off his weapons: A pair of laser swords that glowed in the same color as his armor (The Six Samurai - Nisashi: Level 4 / ATK 1400 / DEF 700) (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 12 + 2 = 14).

(Now what's this guy up to...?) wondered Slid, watching his opponent carefully.

"...Now that I have three monsters on my field," Steel Shadows began to tell his opponent, "I'm ready to call forth yet another of my most powerful warriors. I now initiate...a Contact Fusion!" This comment made Slid and the audience gasp in surprise.

"Contact Fusion...?" asked Twilight. "What's that?"

"It's a special type of Summoning method used by certain Fusion Monsters." Sunset explained. "Remember when we watched that Turbo Duel back at the Duel Museum? That Chet guy used that method for bringing out his XYZ-Dragon Cannon."

"That's right...I DO remember that!" said the young Princess. "He managed to combine his monsters together, without using some other card effect to do it!"

"Exactly." the red-and-yellow teen responded. "Ordinarily - in order to Summon a Fusion Monster, you have to use a card like Polymerization or something in order to initiate the Fusion Summon. Afterwards, you dispose of the Fusion Materials and Summon the monster from the Extra Deck. But with Contact Fusion, you don't need to use a card effect; you just combine the materials and Special Summon the Fusion Monster right away."

Back at the Duel, Steel then began his next move, saying, "I now Contact Fuse my Nisashi, Shien, and Enishi!" At that moment, a red-and-blue colored portal appeared above the arena, which the three warriors jumped up into. Each one transformed into a streak of light - one green, one orange, and one yellow. Those streaks then shot into the portal, causing the swirling clouds to glow brightly. "The Samurai who strikes twice, the Samurai who sleeps in shadows, and the Samurai who repels the enemy..." the grey-skinned Duelist chanted, "Unite together and create the great warrior that strikes silently and viciously! Contact Fusion! The Secret Six Samurai, Level 5... Rihan!"

After the summoning chant was complete, a column of green light struck the field in front of Steel Shadows. Slid shielded his eyes from the explosion of light, looking back only after it began to fade away. When he did, he saw that - standing there in front of Steel, was a powerful warrior wearing an outfit that seemed to combine the armor of a samurai with the loose-fitting garb of a ninja. The armor pieces glowed with an intense green light, as did the knuckle-mounted energy blades that he was armed with (Secret Six Samurai - Rihan: Level 5 / ATK 2400 / DEF 2400).

"I-I-I don't believe it...!!" said a shocked Slid Diamond. "A Six Samurai Fusion Monster!!"

"Indeed it is." Steel told him. "Secret Six Samurai - Rihan is the newest addition to my Deck... He can be Special Summoned via Contact Fusion, using any three Six Samurai that have different Attributes. In this case, I combined a WIND monster, an EARTH monster, and a LIGHT monster to Summon him."

"You said he was your newest card, right?" asked Slid. "I guess that explains why I've never seen you use it before... So...what exactly does he do?"

"I'll explain that, but first..." Steel began to say, "since I Summoned another Six Samurai, my Gateway of the Six gets two more counters (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 14 + 2 = 16). And on that note, I will activate its effect again: I remove four of its counters (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 16 - 4 = 12) and add Secret Six Samurai - Hatsume to hand from my Graveyard." after taking his card, he then told his opponent, "And now for the effect of Rihan: By banishing Hatsume from my hand, I can now banish your Super Conductor Tyranno from the field!"

"What?! Oh no!!" exclaimed Slid.

"I'm afraid so." the grey-skinned Duelist told him. "This was the reason I did not use Enishi's effect on Super Conductor earlier, just in case you had some method of replaying it from your hand. It was also the reason that I sent Hatsume to the Graveyard during my last turn." Tapping his D-Pad's screen, he then said, "Lastly, I will use the effect of my Gateway of the Six once more. This time, I will remove six of its counters (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 12 - 6 = 6). By doing so, I can revive any Shien Effect Monster from my Graveyard back to the field."

"A Shien monster?" asked Slid. "Does that mean...?"

Nodding and taking out a card from his Graveyard, Steel told him, "I revive my Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien back from the Graveyard!" His Xyz Monster then re-emerged back to the field from a dark-purple vortex, already brandishing his sword (Gateway of the Six: Bushido Counters 6 + 2 = 8).

"No way...!" said Rainbow Dash. "So that's what he was really up to!"

"He planned it all out from the beginning..." Rarity remarked. "He played Gateway of the Six and had it build up those counters so that he could use them to fuel a finishing move right at the end."

Ember, watching from the sidelines thought to herself, (That guy's gonna be a tough nut to crack...) Based on the way things looked, she was certain that - next round, she'd be dueling him. She then smirked and added, (This just got a bit more interesting...)

"Now for my Battle Phase!" shouted Steel Shadows. "I attack directly with both Rihan and Shien!" Slid watched as the two warriors jumped forward, readying their respective weapons. "Rrrrrgh!!" he grunted as each monster struck him directly with their full power, starting with Rihan (Slid Diamond: LP 2,800 - 2,400 = 400) and then ending with Shien (Slid Diamond: LP 400 - 2,500 = 0). And with that, the Duel had concluded (WINNER: Steel Shadows).

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"This Duel is over!" shouted Sunset. "Steel Shadows wins and moves on to the Quarterfinals!"

"WOW!! What an amazing finish to an AMAZING Duel!!" said Megan with a great amount of spirit in her voice. "Steel Shadows and his Six Samurai Deck will move on to the next round, where he will face off against our previous victor, Ember!"

Walking over to his opponent to check up on him, Steel asked him, "Are you okay?"

"...Yeah, I'm fine. A bit disappointed, but I'll live." Slid responded. He then smiled and offered a handshake, saying, "Thanks for such a great game, Steel... Though it looks like I might have more work to do if I'm gonna do better at the next big tournament."

"Perhaps..." the grey-skinned Duelist said to him, "but I believe it may not take you long to achieve that goal... You certainly put up a strong fight here today. I look forward to a rematch with you in the future."

"Uh, yeah...same here." Slid replied. "Just don't expect me to lose the next time, 'cause I'm planning to get much stronger!" Steel simply smiled, chuckling warmly a little as he accepted the handshake that was offered to him. After that, the two parted ways, with Steel returning to where the other competing Duelists were standing, and Slid heading off for the tunnels under the stadium, presumably to get a snack or something.

"Well, that certainly was entertain'." stated Applejack.

"Yeah, sure was!" Pinkie Pie chimed in, after having swallowed a large amount of popcorn. Looking into her bucket, she then added, "Oop! I was so focused on the game, I didn't even notice that I went through so much popcorn! I'm gonna go get some more!" She then ran off to do just that.

Just then, Rainbow Dash noticed someone walking up the set of stairs as Pinkie was walking down on. Recognizing them, she then asked, "Hey AJ... Isn't that your brother walking up towards us?"

Looking over in the same direction that Rainbow was, Applejack and Rarity saw Big McIntosh walking up the steps to where they were. "That is him...!" said Applejack.

"But I thought that he was busy helping your grandmother with her food stand downstairs..." Rarity pointed out.

After Big Mac made his way to the girls, his sister then asked him, "What's up, Big Mac? What're ya doin' here? Is somethin' the matter?" Big Mac then leaned over to his sister and seemed to whisper something to her. Gasping, AJ then asked him, "You're kiddin' me!"

Shaking his head, her brother simply replied, "Nnnnope."

"What's goin' on?" asked Rainbow Dash. "What'd he say to you?"

"He just told me that he saw those Dazzling chicks talkin' with each other down in the tunnels." Applejack explained. "He didn't hear the whole conversation, but from what he did get outta it, he figures they've got somethin' planned... But he didn't know what exactly."

"So what are you going to do?" asked Rarity.

Thinking for a short while, Applejack then told her brother, "Go 'n tell Sunset n' Twi about what ya found out. They'll know what t' do."

"Eeeyup!" replied Big Mac before leaving.

"It appears as though Sunset might be right about what she thought concerning the Dazzlings..." Rarity stated. "I just pray that whatever this 'plan' of theirs is, it won't negatively affect the tournament."

"Relax, Rarity!" Dash told her. "Sunset'll handle those jerks, no problem! And if she can't, then I can!"

"Well, let's not be quick to start anythin' just yet..." AJ told them both. "We still can't be sure if they really are up t' no good. For now, let's just wait n' see what they do first..." The other two agreed as they continued to watch the tournament, hoping that things would turn out well; one way or another...

-- To Be Continued...

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TOURNAMENT RESULTS (Round 1):

1. Indigo Bolt vs. Ember [WINNER: Ember]
2. Steel Shadows vs. Slid Diamond [WINNER: Steel Shadows]
3. ??? vs. ???
4. ??? vs. ???
5. ??? vs. ???
6. ??? vs. ???
7. ??? vs. ???
8. ??? vs. ???

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