• Published 21st Mar 2018
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Duelists of the Friendship Cup - DrakeyC



Friendship Games is retold, but with less academics and athletics and more card games.

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Dedication Through Light and Darkness - Sunset vs Twilight (Part 1)

Author's Note:

Duelists of the Friendship Cup

Dedication Through Light and Darkness – Sunset vs Twilight (Part 1)

The afternoon sun was obscured by the clouds, brief waves of light shining down on Canterlot High. On the back fields, grass rustling in the wind at her feet, Sunset looked over at the Crystal Prep bench. Twilight rose to her feet, pushed her glasses up, and walked out onto the field. Sunset watched her go, her eyes wide.

“I’m… dueling Twilight?”

“Will the Canterlot High duelist please take her position on the field?”

Sunset jerked at the loudspeaker and jogged up to her side of the dueling field. Opposite her, Twilight reached down and activated her duel disk, the card tray projecting in a beam of purple light. Sunset looked down at her own disk and turned it on, the material card tray swinging into place. She raised her head and took a breath.

“Hey!”

Twilight looked up at her.

Sunset nodded. “May the best duelist win, right?”

Twilight’s nose twitched. “Indeed.”

“And now, let the final duel of the day begin!”

-Sunset Life Points: 8000-

-Twilight Life Points: 8000-

The portraits on the display screen flashed and stopped with Sunset’s lit up. “Sunset Shimmer will take the first move.”

“Right…” Sunset looked down at her deck as her opening hand ejected. She reached down and fanned out her cards. “I summon ‘Harmony Guardian Magnanimity’.” A shimmering mirrored portal appeared in the ground in front of her. From it rose a pale-skinned warrior woman in jagged, crystalline blue armor. She spun on one foot and reached to her waist to draw a rapier, brandishing it twice and then planting the tip on the ground (1200/800).

Sunset took a breath and looked up at Twilight; the other girl just watched her, waiting.

She’s not Twilight… she’s not Twilight.

Sunset lifted two cards from her hand and held them out. “Using the Scale 3 ‘Harmony Guardian Risus’ and the Scale 5 ‘Harmony Guardian Magia’, I set the Pendulum Scales!” She swung her hand and placed the cards on the far ends of her duel disk. The disk lit up in red light and gleamed.

Two columns of light, one pale pink and one lavender, rose on either side of Sunset. In the pink column rose a warrior woman in rounded pink armor, a pair of crossbows hanging from her waist. In the purple column was a warrior in smooth purple armor with a gnarled wooden staff strapped to her back.

“Using the cards in my Pendulum Scales, I can now Special Summon monsters from my hand or face-up in the Extra Deck, as long as their levels fall within the Scales!” Sunset announced. She held up her cards. In the pillars of light above, Risus and Magia held their hands out and sent out beams of light that swirled together to form a portal in the air. “Pendulum Summon!” She brought her hand down and placed the cards on her disk. “From my hand, I summon ‘Harmony Guardian Gracia’ and ‘Harmony Guardian Honestas’!”

The portal above Sunset flashed and two streaks of light shot out and impacted her field. From one came a warrior in green armor carved in the shape of forest plants, pink hair streaming down her back. She took hold of a whip coiled at her waist and let it unfurl to hang from her hand (900/1800). The other light faded to reveal a warrior in bulky orange armor, kneeling behind a large broadsword embedded in the ground. She stood up and lifted up the sword, dirt flying as she swung it twice and then rested it on her shoulder (1800/300).

Magnanimity lit up blue between the two monsters. “When I Special Summon a Harmony Guardian monster while Magnanimity is on the field, I can activate her effect and draw one card.” Sunset drew and flipped her card over. “I’ll activate it immediately, the Spell card ‘Harmony Jewel’. This lets me send Gracia from the field to face-up into my Extra Deck. In return, I can draw a card.” Sunset withdrew Gracia’s card from her disk and slid it into the Extra Deck slot, then reached to her deck and drew.

“I activate the effect of Magia in my Pendulum Zone. Once per turn when I have two Harmony Guardian monsters in my Pendulum Zones, I can retrieve a Harmony Spell card in my Graveyard to my hand, but I can’t activate it for the rest of the turn. I’ll take back the Harmony Jewel I just used.” Sunset removed Harmony Jewel from her Graveyard slot.

“Then, I use Harmony Guardian Risus’ Pendulum effect, letting me return a card on my side of the field to the hand. I’ll take back Harmony Guardian Magia.” The pillar of purple light faded as Magia turned into an orb of light and swirled into the ground.

“I set one card and end my turn.” Sunset lowered her duel disk.

Across the field, Twilight drew her first card. “Very well.” She looked at her drawn card and reached over to her hand. “I activate the Spell card ‘Solar Recharge’. I will discard ‘Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior’ to draw two cards, and then the top two cards of my deck are discarded.” Twilight lifted her two cards from her deck and two more retracted into her duel disk.

“I summon ‘Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner’.” Twilight placed the card on her duel disk. Rays of light shone from the ground as a woman in white robes materialized, scarves fluttering in the air (1000/1000). “I then use Lumina’s effect. By sending ‘Felis, Lightsworn Archer’ from my hand to my Graveyard, I can revive Garoth.”

Next to Lumina appeared a man in gleaming white and gold armor, a large polearm in his hands (1850/1300). Twilight leaned forward. “Garoth, attack Harmony Guardian Magnanimity!” Garoth hefted his polearm and charged across the field, the tip pointed at Magnanimity.

“I activate my face-down Spell card!” Sunset swept her hand out. “It’s a Quickplay Spell called ‘Harmony Shock’, and I can activate it by sending a Harmony Guardian on the field to the Extra Deck. Once I do, I can destroy a card on the field. I send Honestas to the deck and destroy Garoth!”

Honestas faded away, leaving an orb of electricity behind. The orb shot into Garoth’s polearm, making him convulse and collapse, shattering as he hit the ground.

Twilight frowned and reached back to her hand. “I set two cards and end my turn.” The two holograms materialized in front of her. Lumina lit up in a golden aura. “At the end of each of my turns, Lumina sends the top three cards of my deck to the Graveyard.” Twilight’s three cards retracted into her disk, and light came from her Graveyard slot. She looked at her screen and extended a finger to tap an icon. “The effect of ‘Wulf, Lightsworn Beast’, activates since he was discarded by a Lightsworn effect. I summon Wulf to the field.”

A glowing portal appeared next to Lumina and an anthropomorphic wolf in white and gold armor stepped out, a large axe over its shoulder (2100/300).

-Twilight’s deck: 27 cards-

Twilight lowered her duel disk. “Your move.”

“Thanks.” Sunset drew, turned her card over, and smiled. “I activate the Spell card ‘Harmony Journal’.” A large brown book appeared in front of Sunset, its cover bearing a shield emblem with six jewels around a pink star. “This Spell lets me pick two Harmony Guardian monsters from my deck. You choose one of them to add to my hand, and the other goes face-up in my Extra Deck.” Sunset tapped her duel disk’s screen. “I pick ‘Harmony Guardian Magnanimity’ and ‘Harmony Guardian Pietas’.” The journal’s pages flipped open to display images of the two monsters.

Twilight closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “I doubt it matters, but I choose Pietas for your hand.”

“Why would it not matter?” Sunset replied. Twilight’s response was to open her eyes and wait. Sunset’s duel disk ejected the card and she picked it up. “Whatever, nevermind then. I activate Harmony Guardian Pietas in my empty Pendulum Zone.”

A column of light rose beside Sunset again. In it hovered a warrior in pale blue armor, its plates designed in swirling curves. A long spear with a jagged blade hung over her back.

“I activate the Pendulum effect of Pietas. Once per turn with another Harmony Guardian in my other Pendulum Zone, Pietas can target and destroy one face-down Spell or Trap card on the field.” Sunset pointed. “I choose the left face-down!”

The card flipped over and rose up, revealing ‘Glorious Illusion’. Pietas held out its hands and fired a blast of lightning into the card, shattering it.

Twilight frowned as she lifted the card from her duel disk to discard it. “That card could have revived one of my Lightsworns.”

“Really?” Sunset let out a breath. “Lucky guess for me then.”

“If you say so,” Twilight muttered.

Sunset narrowed her eyes but didn’t respond. She picked a card from her hand and set it on her duel disk. “I summon ‘Harmony Guardian Magia’.”

In front of Sunset materialized the purple-skinned warrior, her armor forming a six-pointed crest of spikes on her back. She reached back to take hold of the staff on her back and brought it forward, a pink crystal on the tip glowing (1500/1300).

Sunset looked across at Twilight. Does she even recognize what that card is? True, it was an armored warrior in purple armor, but the overall aesthetic was immediately recognizable as Twilight Sparkle. If the other Twilight noticed the similarity, she didn’t show it. Her expression was the same as before; mild irritation.

“And now, I call on the power of my Pendulum Scales!” Sunset extended a hand into the air. “Using the Scale 3 Risus and the Scale 5 Pietas, I Pendulum Summon!” A swirling portal opened between the two columns of light. “From the Extra Deck, Honestas, Magnanimity, and Gracia! I summon you back to the field!” Three streaks of light shot out of the portal and struck the ground before Sunset, fading to reveal her three monsters.

“So that’s how Pendulum Monsters work.” Twilight raised her eyes and looked between the two monsters floating in the air above Sunset. “When they leave the field, they go to the Extra Deck face-up instead of the Graveyard. Then when you conduct a Pendulum Summon, you can summon those face-up Pendulum Monsters back to the field.”

“Yup, as long as I have two monsters in the Pendulum Zones with Pendulum Scales that their levels fall between.”

“And the card in your Pendulum Zones, they are considered Spell cards, not Monster cards, while in those card zones?”

“Yup, that about sums it up.” Sunset nodded and allowed herself a smirk. “Cool, huh?”

Twilight’s head snapped down to glare at her. “I was going to say it flies in defiance of this game’s established rules, but I can tell that isn’t a concern to you.”

Sunset’s expression soured. “Be that way, then. Since I just Special Summoned Harmony Guardian monsters, the effects of Magnanimity and Magia that were already on the field activate, and I’ll use them in that order. Resolving backward, Magia’s effect lets me take a Spell card from my Graveyard and put it on top of my deck. I’ll take back Harmony Shock. Then, Magnanimity’s effect lets me draw a card.”

Sunset picked up Harmony Shock, put it on top of her deck, then immediately took it back out and put it back on her duel disk. “I activate the Spell card Harmony Shock again, and use it to destroy Wulf by returning one of my Magnanimities to the Extra Deck.”

Magnanimity dissolved into sparkling crystals; electricity generated between them and fired out to shock Wulf. The beast exploded in a shower of sparks.

“Alright!” From the stands behind her, Rainbow whooped. “That’s how you do it!”

Rarity smiled. “Well done, indeed! Give her what-for!”

“You got it!” Sunset thrust her fist in the air, donning a confident smile. “I have four monsters ready to attack, and I’m not holding back.” Lowering her elevated hand, she pointed at Twilight’s monster. “Harmony Guardian Honestas, attack Lumina!” Honestas swung her broadsword behind her and charged.

Twilight put a hand on her duel disk screen and tapped. “I activate my Trap card ‘Lightsworn Barrier’.” A field of white light manifested over Lumina. “With this card on the field, each time one of my Lightsworn monsters is attacked, I negate that attack by sending two cards from the top of my deck to the Graveyard.” Honestas’ sword struck the barrier over Lumina and it was flung back, landing in front of Sunset.

“My Trap is Continuous, so any other attacks you try will be negated as well,” Twilight said. “Though I will still need to pay the cost to use its effect.”

That’s exactly what she wants, too. Sunset bit her lip. That’s her strategy; keep sending her cards to the Graveyard to set up plays. I’m not helping her. “I end my Battle Phase.” She reached to her hand. “I activate the Spell card Harmony Jewel. I return Harmony Guardian Gracia to the Extra Deck and draw a card.”

Sunset looked at her new card and then turned attention back to her duel disk. “I then use the effect of Harmony Guardian Risus and return Harmony Guardian Magia to my hand. That will end my turn.”

“Good.” Twilight drew. She looked over her hand and raised her eyes to Sunset. “Thank you for explaining the capabilities of Pendulum Monsters for me. I needed to confirm their mechanics before I could begin working on shutting down usage of them.”

Sunset narrowed her eyes. “How do you plan to do that?”

“One thing at a time. I activate Lumina’s effect, and discard ‘Shire, Lightsworn Spirit’ to revive my Wulf.” Lumina held her hand out and conjured a golden portal through which Wulf stepped. “Then I offer Lumina as tribute, to summon ‘Celestia, Lightsworn Angel’.”

Lumina dissolved into light that swirled in a mass of feathers. From the swarm came a winged warrior with long, blue hair, holding a staff with a glowing orb of light on the end (2300/200).

“Celestia’s effect activates when I summon her by tributing a Lightsworn monster. By sending four cards from the top of my deck to the Graveyard, I can destroy two cards on the field.” Twilight lifted her head. “I destroy the cards in your Pendulum Zones!”

Celestia held out its staff and fired two beams of light. The light struck Pietas and Risus and they exploded in rays of golden energy.

“My Pendulums…” Sunset scowled. “I can summon them back next turn as long as I can set a new Pendulum Scale.”

“On your next turn, maybe, but it’s still my turn.” Twilight reached to tap the screen of her duel disk. “One of the cards discarded by Celestia was ‘Lightsworn Judgment’, which allows me to add a monster from my deck to my hand when it is sent to the Graveyard.” She raised her head and looked between her two monsters. “Next, I attack and destroy Honestas with Celestia.”

Celestia pointed her staff again and a beam of golden light fired, piercing Honestas. “Then, Wulf attacks Magnanimity.” Wulf hefted its club and ran, slamming it into Magnanimity and sending her flying into the air to shatter.

-Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 6600-

“I set a card and end my turn.”

-Twilight’s deck: 19 cards-

Twilight looked across at Sunset and shifted her eyes back and forth. “Your field is empty, now.”

“Maybe, but I’ve got an Extra Deck full of monsters ready to go!” Sunset drew and grinned. “And this is where the comeback starts.” She held her card into the air. “I activate the Field Spell ‘Harmony Academy’!”

The ground behind Sunset cracked and split open. A large crystalline schoolhouse rose behind her, its banners and doors bearing a crest with six colored jewels around a pink star. It finished rising into place with a thud, the crystal shimmering.

“With this Field Spell in play, once per turn if I have no cards in my Pendulum Zones, I can place one of the monsters in my Extra Deck in the Pendulum Zone, but its effects are negated for this turn.” Sunset reached to her Extra Deck and withdrew a card. “I’ll take Harmony Guardian Magnanimity and place her in the Pendulum Zone. And I’ll follow that by placing Magia from my hand in my other Pendulum Zone.”

Sunset looked up as her two monsters floated into place above her. “And now with the Pendulum Scale set, I Pendulum Summon!” Her Extra Deck glowed as her hand hovered over it. “From my Extra Deck, I Pendulum Summon Harmony Guardians Gracia, Magnanimity, Risus, Pietas, and Honestas!” Her two Pendulum Monsters held their hands out and conjured a swirling portal between them.

“No, you don’t.”

Sunset lowered her head. “What?”

Twilight pressed a finger to her duel disk’s screen. “I activate my Trap card ‘Vanquishing Light’.” Her card flipped up and lit up in white light. “By offering a Lightsworn monster as tribute when you attempt to summon monsters, I can negate the summoning and destroy them.” Twilight raised her eyes to look at Sunset. “I offer Wulf as tribute, and negate your Pendulum Summon!”

Wulf was drawn back into the hologram of the Trap. The Trap condensed into an orb of light that shot across the field and rose into the portal of Sunset’s summoning. The portal shone and exploded, rays of light shining from the dust.

Sunset grit her teeth as she watched the portal’s remains fade. “Fine. But unless you plan to draw another copy of that Trap, I’ll just perform another Pendulum Summon next turn and they’ll all be back!”

Twilight sighed and shook her head. “I barely even understand how those cards work and yet I seem to know more about them than you do.”

“What do you mean?” Sunset snapped.

“Look at your duel disk and find out.”

Sunset lowered her eyes and saw her would-be summoned cards sliding into her Graveyard slot from the Extra Deck compartment. “Why are they being discarded?”

“It’s a basic rule of summonings.” Twilight pushed her glasses up her nose, her eyes closed. “As you said, when a Pendulum Monster would otherwise be sent from the field to the Graveyard, it goes to the Extra Deck instead. However, the rulings on the negation of a monster’s summoning states that when a monster has its summon negated, it is considered to have been in its place of origin at the time of that negation.”

Twilight opened her eyes. “Your Pendulum Monsters were in the Extra Deck when you tried to summon them and I negated that play. Thus when they are now destroyed, they are sent to the Graveyard like any other card would be.”

Sunset’s eyes widened. “But… I had five of them…”

“Yes, you did, and in overextending yourself so recklessly you made yourself vulnerable to counter-play.” Twilight shook her head. “That’s the error in ‘high risk, high reward’ playstyles – inevitably the risk fails to deliver on the reward.”

“I don’t need you to lecture me on how to play!”

“Very well. Continue your turn.”

“I will!” Sunset looked at her hand and scowled. I would if I had any good moves to make! This is my only card left! She sighed and lifted her card. “I set a monster in defense mode. I then use the Pendulum effect of Magia to return Harmony Jewel to my hand.” Sunset took her from the Graveyard slot, looked down at it, and took a breath. “That’s all. I end my turn.”

Twilight drew, watching Sunset evenly. “I’m actually disappointed.”

“About what?”

“I expected to win this duel, but I was anticipating more of a challenge before we got to that point.”

Sunset’s eyes widened before narrowing into a glare. “What did you say?”

“It merely took two cards to completely derail your Pendulum strategies and wipe out your field. You’ve exhausted your resources too quickly and have little in the ways of recovering them. The only card left in your hand is Harmony Jewel, and you can’t afford to give up a monster in your current state. You’ll have no options left once the cards on your field are gone.”

Twilight reached to her hand. “And I have just the means to make it happen.” She held her card in the air. “I bind together the power of four Lightsworn monsters with different names in my Graveyard, in order to Special Summon ‘Judgment Dragon’!”

The dark clouds overhead flashed and a shadowed form flew out of them. Rays of light pierced the clouds and illuminated it, a massive white dragon. It landed behind Twilight with a thud and roared (3000/2000).

Twilight raised a hand and snapped her fingers. “I pay a thousand Life Points to activate Judgement Dragon’s effect. Every card on the field other than Judgement Dragon itself is destroyed!”

Judgment Dragon’s mouth glowed brightly, particles of light gathering in its maw. It snapped its head down and fired, streams of light swarming the field. Sunset’s Pendulums monsters were struck and exploded, while her facedown card flipped up to reveal Gracia, who shattered as the light hit her. The light blasted through the walls of Harmony Academy and the crystal structure collapsed into dust. On Twilight’s field, Celestia and the card hologram of Lightsworn Barrier were hit and burst into shining particles.

-Twilight Life Points: 7000-

Sunset stared at her, her mouth hanging open. “How could you?”

“Even with no Extra Deck monsters to summon, your Pendulum Monsters are a concern. I wasn’t about to leave them in play in case you—”

“You think I care about that!?”

Twilight frowned and paused her explanation.

Sunset’s face twisted in disgust. “You just destroyed everything on the field.”

“Yes.”

“Including your own cards.”

“You have few monsters left in play to attack with, so my Trap is irrelevant, and Celestia has no supportive effects after her initial summoning. I would have little usage for them if they remained in play, whereas Judgement Dragon’s effect has cleared out your field. Compared to that advantage, two cards is an acceptable cost.”

Sunset’s hands shook. “How can you think that way?” she hissed. “That’s not how a real duelist treats her cards!”

“Oh?” Twilight’s lip curled. “And how should a duelist treat her cards, Sunset? Should we make up our own cards and ask our friends to please let us use them no matter how unfair it is?”

“If you have something to say then say it!” Sunset snapped.

“Fine, I will.” Twilight crossed her arms. “You have no business playing Duel Monsters. You cheat and use fake cards to play, making up their powers as you go along. The most baffling part of it is that the students and teachers at your school let you get away with it.”

On the sidelines, Sunset's friends shared looks of confusion. Applejack scratched her head. “How the heck does Twilight know that those Pendulums aren’t real? Ain’t no one but us supposed to be able to remember them?”

I’m a cheater?” Sunset replied, glaring. “You have no room to talk! I’ve spent all day watching Crystal Prep duelists use cards my friends and I can’t hope to get our hands on, nevermind knowing how they work or how to counter them!” She clenched her fist. “My cards symbolize the bonds I’ve forged with my friends. They’re unique and special, they’re proof of how far I’ve come!”

“How far you’ve come? Look at your duel disk. You’re supposed to be the best duelist this school has to offer, aren’t you? From the way the cards stand now, you’re about to lose in four turns.” Twilight snorted. “Your friend on the bench is barely even ranked, and she lasted almost as long as you against Lemon Zest and did more damage to her before she lost.”

She peered closer at Sunset. “I think this duel has been rather revealing about you, actually. Without your cheating to support your plays, your deck ran out of steam and was shut down with barely any effort. You’re not a champion, Sunset. You’re a fraud.”

On the sidelines, Radiant Hope frowned. “What are they talking about?” She leaned forward to the microphone, then stopped as Sombra calmly reached his arm out and clasped his hand over it.

Sunset huffed. “You accuse me of cheating because I have cards you don’t know about? Then I say Crystal Prep is cheating for using entire rulesets we don’t know. What’s the difference?”

“That’s not the same thing!” Twilight scowled and stamped a foot. “For one thing, we train hard at Crystal Prep, we actually have to build our decks and get the cards for them, the same as Canterlot High duelists. Everyone who’s here, from either school, has worked hard to refine their skills and make it this far. Except for you. You didn’t earn a spot in this tournament. You faked your way to the top.”

“No, I didn’t. I can’t, not anymore.” Sunset sighed and looked down at her duel disk. “However I got these cards, they’re all I have.” She raised her head. “You call me a cheater, Twilight, but this entire duel I’ve been playing you fair and square, on just my own skills.”

“Is that so? Then it seems I’m right after all; without trickery to help you win, you can’t keep up with the rest of us. In which case there’s nothing left to do but play out this result.” Twilight thrust her hand out. “Judgment Dragon, attack her directly!”

Judgment Dragon opened its jaws and channeled light into its mouth. A beam of light fired across the field and washed over Sunset, sending her tumbling backwards.

“I end my turn by sending four cards from my deck to the Graveyard via Judgment Dragon’s effect.”

-Twilight’s deck: 14 cards-

-Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 3600-

Twilight lowered her duel disk. “I only need to draw a monster with at least six hundred attack points on my next turn, and it and my Judgment Dragon will end this duel. Draw and make your final move.”

Kneeling on the ground, Sunset’s fingers dug into the grass. She stared at her hands, eyes narrowed. “I can’t lose… I can’t…”

“Why do you care?” Twilight asked. “You didn’t bother to enter this tournament in past years. And now that you’re here you complain that we have cards you can’t measure up to. You made the choice to enter and you could have just walked away at any time. Why does the Friendship Cup suddenly mean so much to you now when you never entered before?”

“Because…” Sunset inhaled deeply. “My friends are counting on me… they want to win this tournament. I have to win, for their sake.”

“Their sake?”

Sunset’s eyes widened. That voice…

“Do you really mean that, Sunset?”

Sunset slowly raised her head and saw the edge of her arena booth in front of her. She grimaced and put a hand on the railing, closing her eyes. “Yes. They’re counting me… if I lose this duel…”

“From the looks of things, that’s exactly what’s about to happen.”

“No. I can beat her. I can…” Sunset took a breath. “If I could… could…”

“Could what?”

Sunset licked her lips. She cracked open her eyes and saw a single card on her field.

“Do you want to win, Sunset?”

Sunset swallowed heavily and nodded. “I have to.”

“And what would you be willing to do for that victory?”

“…Anything.”

Sunset raised her eyes to look across the arena. Only shadows were there to see, her dueling booth alone in the darkness. She looked back at her field and the single card there.

“Then you know what you need to do.”

A bead of sweat rolled down Sunset’s face. Her breathing heavy, her chin quivering, she slowly reached out her hand.

“For my friends.”

She clenched her eyes and let her hand fall on the card.

Rays of red light shone up between Sunset’s fingers and the card began to smoke and crackle.


Twilight frowned. “Sunset?” In the stands, Canterlot High and Crystal Prep students alike were whispering to each other.

Sunset was kneeling on the grass, her head down.

“Is she giving up?” Fluttershy whispered.

Rarity pursed her lips. “The poor dear, she did her best.”

Celestia looked at her phone. “It’s been almost two full minutes.” She looked over the table. Sombra removed his hand from the microphone and looked at Hope, giving her a nod. She leaned closer to it.

“Sunset Shimmer has thirty seconds to take her turn. If she does not, we will deem this match a surrender and victory—”

A pillar of flame erupted from around Sunset.

The watching students screamed. Twilight’s breath caught and she took a step back. Sombra’s eyes widened and he snapped his head to the field.

The flames faded, embers glowing in the air. The grass around Sunset was scorched black in a perfect circle, smoke rising and blowing away. Sunset stood up, her head down, hair billowing, and lifted her arm above her head. The embers and smoke swirled around her and were drawn into her deck.

Sunset slowly raised her head, her hair whipping in the air behind her.

Pinkie whimpered. “Guys? Tell me I’m not seeing what I think I’m seeing.”

“Ah wish Ah could, Pinkie. Ah really wish Ah could.”

Rarity’s hands shook in her lap. “I remember those eyes…”

Twilight gaped. “S-Sunset?”

Eyes glowing bright red, Sunset lowered her arm and put a hand on her deck. “My turn.” She didn’t look away from Twilight as she drew her card, flipped it over, and placed it on her duel disk. “Activate Spell card, ‘Infernal Harmony’. Two Light-attribute Harmony Guardian monsters in my Graveyard are banished.”

The holograms of Gracia and Risus flew out of Sunset’s duel disk and dissolved. “Then, two Dark-attribute Harmony Guardian monsters are added to my hand.” Her deck lit up red and shuffled, the cards ejecting from the top.

Sunset grabbed her cards and held them out, the glow in her eyes intensifying as she spoke. “Using the Scale 3 ‘Harmony Guardian Compassio’ and Scale 9 ‘Harmony Guardian Infernal Juniperus’, I set the Pendulum Scales!” She swung her hand down and placed the cards on her disk.

Pillars of light, red and teal, erupted from the ground beside her. In the red pillar was a warrior woman in gold armor, a shield and sword in her hand, red and yellow hair flowing down her back. In the teal field was a warrior in green and purple armor, her helmet forming a visor across her eyes. A flail with a flattened metal disk for the head hung from her hip.

“Using the cards in my Pendulum Scales, I can now Special Summon monsters between their Scale levels from my hand or face-up in my Extra Deck!” Sunset thrust her hand up. “Pendulum Summon! Come forth, my monster servants!” A crackling portal opened over her head and streaks of light shot onto her field.

“From the Extra Deck, Harmony Guardian Gracia, Harmony Guardian Magnanimity, and Harmony Guardian Magia! I summon you in defense mode!”

The streams of light vanished and Sunset’s three monsters appeared kneeling in front of her.

Sunset stared at Twilight, her eyes still bright red. “I now tune my Level 4 Harmony Guardian Infernal Juniperus with my Level 4 Harmony Guardian Gracia.”

What!?” Twilight shook her head. “You can’t! Monsters in the Pendulum Zones are considered Spell cards, they can’t—”

“Harmony Guardian Infernal Juniperus’ special ability,” Sunset interrupted coldly. “When it is in my Pendulum Zone, I can conduct a Synchro Summon using Juniperus and a Level 4 Harmony Guardian on my side of the field.”

Juniperus turned into four glowing green rings and began to encircle Gracia, sparks of energy crackling between them. The rings caught fire and Gracia lit up in a bright red aura.

“I harmonize the spirits of the guardian of kindness and the fallen guardian of inspiration, and open the dimensional gates to call on the harshest of dark musicians!” The rings circling Gracia contracted around it and a column of flame erupted up from them.

The light in Sunset’s eyes flared up. “Synchro Summon! Awaken, Level 8, ‘Harmony Guardian Infernal Ariette’ (2300/1300)!”

The flame pillar receded to reveal a creature hovering in the air, leathery purple wings keeping it aloft. It was a female humanoid being, its skin purple and covered by violet and dark green armor with a silver star on the shoulders and its gloves. A red gemstone set in the middle of its chestplate gleamed brightly. Long purple hair floated in the air behind it, streaks of silver light shooting down the strands. The warrior held out her arms and a massive trident appeared in her hand, crackles of purple energy shooting between the tips.

As the new Synchro monster slowly lowered to the ground behind Sunset, Twilight stared up at it in shock, her mouth hanging open. “This is impossible…” She lowered her eyes to Sunset. “How are you doing this? Sunset!”

Her eyes pulsing with red light, Sunset’s response was to curve her lips in a cruel smile.

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