• Published 16th Feb 2019
  • 588 Views, 71 Comments

Equestria Girls: Duel Monsters - Night-Quill



Twilight Sparkle's crown, the Element of Magic, has been stolen. She must now pursue the wayward Sunset Shimmer into a new world. A world where a dark magic lurks beneath the notice of its inhabitants, within a most peculiar game unlike any other...

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Duel #6: Rebuilding Friendships: Tag-Team Dueling

Author's Note:

Wow. This is prolly the longest chapter of... anything I've written to date. I want to apologize in advance with the capitalizing of certain words. It gets a bit confusing what to address in capitals like summoning terms.

Without further delay; enjoy your pastel colored anime fiction.

Twilight and Fluttershy remained off to the side, giving Applejack and Rarity a hint of privacy during their moment of emotional mending. The two sat along the ledge barrier, Fluttershy holding Spike on her lap, who’d shed tears quite strongly from the emotional scene they beheld between the two, so naturally having an animal with her helped calm her. Spike looked slightly troubled, though of course he could not voice his concerns about the potential parallels revealed from this world and how much they might be similar back home. Twilight made mental note of having a talk about it with him later.

“Um, Twilight,” uttered Fluttershy, “can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” Twilight beamed, what with the exhilarant feeling she’d felt inside since the duel ended.

“Was that really your plan from the start?” the pink-haired girl inquired. “Them getting back together over a duel?”

Twilight considered Fluttershy’s question carefully. She naturally couldn’t say it was the words of Priestess that inspired her.

“I assume you know how stubborn Applejack is?” she replied. “I’ve only known her for a day and I could already surmise. Added with her refusal to throw away the photos she had of not only Rarity, but you and your other friends, on top of the Rose Lover, you could say I may have altered certain variables based on the clique system in play in the school.”

“Wow…” Fluttershy looked oddly amazed. “You must be really good at reading people…”

Twilight chuckled bashfully, “Well kind of, maybe, not really. I’m more the bookish type. Although, someone very close taught me the importance of understanding others. I guess you could say I just took it to heart and became good at it.”

“Who was it?” Fluttershy asked, admittedly entangling Twilight’s conundrum further.

“Well you see…”

“Twilight, Fluttershy,” Applejack’s southern twang broke the conversation between the two.

Applejack and Rarity had joined them at the ledge, both with discernible redness in their eyes, with Rarity’s pristine alabaster skin tone belying some pinkness on her cheeks as well. The farmgirl stood before Twilight, arms crossed in what should have been an expression of crossness, but the wry smile formed on her lips indicated otherwise.

“You know how Ah said maybe not make a habit out of stickin’ your nose where it don’t belong?” she chuckled mirthfully. “Well, just this once; Ah’m super thankful you did!”

Twilight grinned sheepishly, when all of a sudden, she felt herself getting lifted off her perch into what might as well have been the most literal definition of a bear hug. How Applejack managed it despite her perceivable frame and overall body build, the strength was inconceivable, making Twilight fret if she would have all her ribs in place. Thankfully, it was only for a moment, then she found herself released once more.

“Sorry about that,” said Applejack, now her turn to being sheepish, “jus’ feelin’ so happy right now Ah-”

Twilight took a breath. So far, no snaps or pain. “That’s alright…” she groaned, though retained her smile.

Twilight was then embraced from the side by Rarity, “Oh yes! Thank you, thank you so much!” The fashionista’s eyes looked almost like the sparkled from sheer joy, “I haven’t felt this elated in so long!”

Twilight managed a smile as air once again entered her lungs to their regular capacity, “And I’m certain Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom will be happy to know as well.”

“Of course, one thing still puzzles me,” said Applejack, looking over the horizon in though. “What was up with that photo?”

“Oh, it’s been photoshopped,” said Fluttershy in a matter-of-fact tone, presenting Applejack back her smartphone.

“What?” asked Twilight, unfamiliar with the lingo.

Applejack turned on the smartphone, the image still there, which she began to scrutinize with squinted eyes. Rarity joined in, but the glare in the sun made things difficult.

“Turn up the brightness, darling,” Rarity urged, to which Applejack did something to brighten the image.

Fluttershy slid to the side, not looking at the photo herself when she took a deep breath; “Rainbow Dash’s arm is not the right length; you can see it where the bicep meets the forearm. The forearm skin tone isn’t an exact match; Rainbow’s skin is a hue of light ceruleanish grey; there it’s light brilliant cerulean. Also, Rainbow isn’t wearing her wristband on that arm when she’d taken to wearing those since the end of junior high. Lastly, note the odd angle of the neck, for Rarity’s kiss was on the cheek and not the lips.” The entirety came out all in one continuous stream, which had Twilight, Applejack and Rarity staring at the shy girl with varying levels of awe.

The three went over the photo themselves. After a moment of closer observation, Fluttershy’s statements were valid. Very much perfect, in fact, right down to Rainbow’s arm behind Rarity looking a slightly darker shade than the rest of her. Some of the shading looked out of place, as did the lack of any ruffling on the top she’d worn that day where the now-confirmed fake arm was resting.

“Ah suddenly feel dumber than a hare in a coyote den…” muttered Applejack, to which both Twilight and Rarity patted her on the back and placed a hand to her shoulder in comfort.

“If it makes you feel any better; I would have missed that myself,” Twilight offered, though her sentiments went unnoticed.

“But who would do such an awful thing?” asked Fluttershy in trepidation.

Sunset Shimmer. Twilight knew the truth. She could tell them, but that would require evidence, something she did not have, other than testimony by an otherworldly spirit currently following her around via a card. Still, it would not hurt to see if her new friends had some form of inkling about.

“Well, would you and Rainbow Dash have any enemies on campus?”

The three looked at her, then among each other.

“Well other than other student groups,” Rarity noted, “but this was two years back.”

“An’ Ah’ve never wished bad on anyone, besides…” A realization dawned on the farmgirl’s face, “God damn; Rainbow! Ah gotta talk to her an’ apologize!”

“Don’t worry, Applejack,” Rarity interjected, taking her hand. “We’ll tell her together that this was all a big misunderstanding. I’m certain she’ll listen if we’re together.”

“Ah certainly hope so…” Applejack nudged her hat lower over her eyes in resentment, “Assumin’ she’ll even speak to me on friendly terms ever again…”

“Fluttershy, you’re observant: Do you have any idea who might have framed Rarity and Rainbow Dash? Or any possible enemies before now?” Twilight inquired, glad to see that cohesion was remerging quickly amongst her friends’ counterparts.

Fluttershy kneaded her hair thoughtfully, “Well, I’m not so certain, but if I had to pick someone, even if it is mostly out of spite…”

“Pardon?”

“That is to say, I wouldn’t put it past if Sunset Shimmer did it,” Fluttershy stated. “She’s stuffed me in my locker plenty of times. A-and just yesterday she was very crossed with me for some reason over the crown…”

Right; Principal Celestia had mentioned the crown yesterday to Twilight too. “Sunset Shimmer?” she asked, feigning ignorance. “The school champion? Red hair? Orange eyes? A stare that could kill you?”

“An’ cuddly as a sawblade,” Applejack added.

“Um, yes?” Fluttershy bobbed her shoulders.

“Also known as the biggest bully of CHS,” Rarity nodded, crossing her arms. “Why, I remember one time when she challenged… Who was it? Lightning Dust? To a dare that ended in tears.”

“Really? What?” Twilight asked, perhaps disturbingly curios. Sunset Shimmer was her predecessor as Celestia’s protégé, so her acting as a bully seemed very unbecoming.

“I don’t know the exact details of how it came about, but suffice it to say, they were daring over money.” Rarity frowned and muttered, “No doubt extorted…” before straightening her face. “They held bills atop their hands and took it in turns to pick them up… stabbing through them with a switchblade!”

Twilight grimaced, “What happened?”

Rarity pursed her lips remembering, “Lightning ended up stabbing herself through the hand.”

Fluttershy let out a muffled whimper, whereas Twilight felt utterly shocked. And she was Princess Celestia’s student?!

“To be fair, Lightning Dust is about a dozen apples short of a bushel,” Applejack remarked, though earning a disapproving scowl from everyone. “Sorry…”

“And she’s the champion, on top of being in the student council?!” Twilight gaped out of sheer incredulity. She could not help but feel that this world’s standards seemed quite lacking... “And wait; she brought a weapon to school?!”

All Rarity could do was nod in response to Twilight’s inquiries.

“Nothin’, Ah mean nothin’ would feel better than beatin’ that bitch down from her pedestal…” growled Applejack, for the first time using more colorful language, one which would end with her paying the swear jar in Equestria.

“Wait! Do you have the number of who sent the photo?!” Rarity interjected.

“It was in an e-mail,” Applejack stated. “It was ages ago, so tryin’ to find it might take time, but Ah guess Ah could do that, seein’ as we’re already missin’ class.”

Twilight bowed apologetically, “I’m so sorry about that!”

Applejack brushed it aside, “Come on now, Twi; it’s fine.”

“I agree; missing one class over what you did for us is worth the spot of tardiness,” Rarity affirmed with Applejack. “And to be honest; I wouldn’t mind showing Sunset what for myself. Especially if it was her behind this…” to which an uncomfortable coldness seemed to emanate from the fashionista.

“Tell you what; Ah’mma see if Ah can find that e-mail while we’re still up here. Lord knows Ah’m gonna need all the help Ah can get makin’ it up with Rainbow…” said Applejack, fiddling on her smartphone, looking more than a little apprehensive.

As Applejack went to work finding this “e-mail” of hers, Fluttershy beckoned Twilight to the side, away from Rarity and Applejack.

“Um, Twilight, if it’s not too much, could you maybe help me with my own little dilemma? That is, if you’re up for it. Not that I want to impose, seeing how you already accomplished a lot…”

Twilight idly dismissed Fluttershy’s concerns, “It’s not problem, Fluttershy. It’s regarding Pinkie Pie, right?”

“Oh right, I already told you,” Fluttershy mused.

“I would be more than happy to help a friend,” Twilight pronounced proudly.

“You… You consider me a friend?” asked Fluttershy, hints of a sheepish smile having formed on her lips, added with the less indirect eye contact. “Even if we’ve just met?”

Twilight nodded, “Of course. I know what it’s like being alone,” she informed, albeit slightly altered regarding her past of self-induced solitude, “and no-one should have to go through that. Please, tell me the whole story…”

-

Keeping privy to the next bell, Twilight and her new friends surreptitiously made their way back into the school proper from the rooftop. Applejack had managed to find the e-mail address of whomever had sent her the altered photo (yet another example of this world’s amazing technological feats, given how complicated and time-consuming photo alteration was in Equestria, even with magical aid), but unfortunately it did not give any definitive indication pertaining to the sender. All they could gleam was “honest prier at B-mail dot com”. A most oxymoronic title. Still, it did not discount the possibility of it having been Sunset Shimmer, a notion that still disgusted Twilight to no end thinking someone like her could have ever been protégé to Celestia.

As if responding to her feelings, she caught a glimpse of Priestess sitting atop the ledge of a bookcase, expressing what might have been concern or possibly discontent. She could not discern as she could not hear her mental transmissions. Before she could try to reach out, she was distracted by Applejack.

“Ah’mma see if Ah can find Rainbow Dash, get this whole mess cleared up,” she stated, beginning to head for the library exit.

“I’ll go with you, at least until next period,” Rarity reciprocated, taking a moment to look back at Twilight. “Will you be on campus the whole day?”

Twilight shrugged curtly, “I don’t really have a choice right now until I can find my wallet. Fluttershy needs my help with something, but you’ll find me around if need be.”

Rarity glanced at the timid girl bringing up the rear, “You mean Pinkie Pie?”

“Do you know anything about their falling out?” Twilight asked.

Now was the fashionista’s turn to shrug, “To be honest, Pinkie hasn’t spoken with me in forever either. I had other things on my mind and it sort of slipped my mind.”

“And she just pretends I’m not around…” Fluttershy murmured.

Twilight pursed her lips contemplatively. Obvious dimensional differentials aside, including this Applejack and Rarity’s orientations and all, first impressions of the human Pinkie, though brief, hinted mostly at the one on the other side of the portal; chipper and jovial. Never could Twilight think of her Pinkie wish ill will or scorn on anypony (or anyone), barring that single time shortly after she’d met her…

“Out of curiosity; by any chance has her hair gone limp?”

-

It figured; the night of the fall formal and midterm championship would be topped off by a party. Where there was party; there was Pinkie, planned by Pinkie. So, Pinkie’s propensity for partying pertained past the portal…

Strange bout of alliterative thinking promptly ignored, Twilight approached the pink party planner, currently the only person (until Twilight, tailed closely by Fluttershy) occupying the school gymnasium who was busy decorating the space for the big event two nights away. A large glittering magenta banner had been hung up over the stage at the far end, rolled up and ready to be unveiled at the pull of a rope, complete with some seemingly haphazard streamers hanging off it. Or that’s what the unaffiliated would fathom. At the moment Pinkie looked busy blowing a balloon before promptly tying it up and tapping it gently away… Before pulling off one of the balloons imprinted on her frilly skirt and proceeding to inflate it.

Yup… Definitely Pinkie Pie, thought Twilight, as evidenced by the established rules of physics breaking before her. She closed in on the party girl, who hadn’t taken notice, what with her back turned.

Twilight coughed softy, “Excuse me,” she spoke, eliciting Pinkie to about face towards her, the filling balloon still in her mouth. “I believe we’ve met before, albeit briefly but-”

“Oh, he-!” the Pink girl’s frizzy hair was suddenly billowing like it was in a windstorm the moment her lips released the balloon. When it had sputtered its last, along with Pinkie, on top of shaking her head rigorously, she resumed beaming at Twilight, “You’re the new girl who dueled Flash!”

“Yes, that’s me.” Twilight grinned embarrassedly from one particular memory, “Thanks for the help with the duel disk earlier…”

“Oh no problem!” Pinkie’s voice suddenly emanated from ahead and above.

In the split second she’d looked away, Twilight saw Pinkie hanging upside down from the hung-up banner, trying a triplet of balloons around one of the sides where it was suspended. When Twilight looked back over her shoulder to Fluttershy, trying to ask if she’d seen what she hadn’t, Pinkie was already back in front of her with another balloon in hand.

“So, what part of your adventure as the new girl in school are you at?” asked Pinkie, something Twilight found perplexingly random.

Twilight idly glanced to the side, watching Pinkie start blowing the balloon, “I’m sorry, I don’t follow…”

“Oh, you know;” said Pinkie, this time remembering to clasp the distending sphere of rubber shut, “new girl, this far into third term, came from seemingly nowhere, the underdog suffering a public defeat by her handsome rival slash love-interest, only to stand right back up and make an epic comeback!”

Twilight wasn’t certain what to make of whatever the pink party planner was going on about, deciding to ignore it for the moment in lieu of more pertinent matters.

“Actually, there’s something I wish to talk with you about,” Twilight replied. Seeing Pinkie’s raised eyebrows as she continued filling the balloon, she deduced she had her undivided attention. “It’s regarding her.”

Twilight stepped aside, revealing Fluttershy, who in a meek display waved timidly at Pinkie. Only silence followed. Save for the hissing of air traveling from Pinkie’s lungs into the balloon. Lungs with quite the impressive capacity given how the hissing didn’t cease. Twilight looked on in a blend of intrigue and trepidation as the balloon continued filling at a steady pace without Pinkie needing to stop to inhale, the pink party girl’s brows lowering into a perfect geometrically flat-lined frown.

As the hissing continued well over half a minute, the balloon continuing to inflate, Twilight and Fluttershy exchanged looks of concern. Pinkie’s face remained mostly unchanged, aside from her pink cheeks turning noticeably darker.

“Uh… Pinkie?” Twilight spoke up, wincing as Pinkie’s entire face slowly flushed.

“That can’t be good…” Fluttershy remarked, kneading her hair in worry.

“Or healthy!” Twilight blurted, seeing the balloon swelling up well beyond its elasticity.

Pinkie’s eyes began to squint, the hissing of air still not abating when the girl’s cheeks began to change from flushed red to a tint of blue. Before Twilight could get another word out, the impossibly inflated balloon burst with a resounding bang, sending the pink girl, now with hints of blue, falling backwards with a thump. Loud, wheezy breathing followed.

“I’m okay!” Pinkie proclaimed with a rasp, raising her arm with her forefinger extended before falling limp beside her once more.

Twilight and Fluttershy huddled around the gasping Pinkie, whose complexion was thankfully retaining its healthier bubblegum pink, albeit she looked cross-eyed.

Twilight held up three fingers over Pinkie’s face, “How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Clementeen,” said Pinkie, eliciting Twilight and Fluttershy to exchange further concerned looks.

The two resolved to try and help the strange anomaly in the shape of a human being back on her feet. Only Pinkie managed to beat both of them to it by kicking herself up and onto a standing position, impressively enough.

“Right! Now where was I that definitely did not involve someone I do not know about?” she asked in a shockingly genuine upbeat tone, walking towards a cardboard box nearby filled with various party paraphernalia.

Twilight turned to Fluttershy, incredulously pointing at Pinkie with her thumb, to which Fluttershy shrugged.

Groaning from exasperation, deciding to approach the party girl again, this time more directly, “Look, I don’t know exactly what went on between the two of you, but don’t you think you’re acting a little childish?”

This seemed to give Pinkie a moment of pause in the midst of her rummaging, before resuming, producing what appeared to be some form of canister. On quick inspection, it was helpfully labelled as helium.

“Right,” Pinkie started, affixing a pink balloon to the nozzle and began to fill it, “Pinkie being childish…”

“Pardon?” was all Twilight could ask due to lack of context.

“Just because I’m chipper and bombastic, something I’m totally aware of despite what some people may think, and yea I might have blown up a thing or two, but it doesn’t mean I’m dumb!”

Twilight looked to Fluttershy in any hope of an explanation, but she seemed equally flummoxed.

“Pinkie, you might need to lay some context…” said Twilight promptingly.

Pinkie’s frown evaporated in the instant of realization, followed by a snorted laugh, “Oh, right, sorry!” She cleared her throat, “It just feels pretty insulting when a certain someone first asks me to arrange the party for the animal shelter adoption extravaganza, only to call that off saying my, and I quote ‘obnoxious loudness’ would just scare half the puppies and kittens to death!”

“B-but… But I never told you that!” Fluttershy replied indignantly. “Pinkie, the extravaganza was a bust because we didn’t have your enthusiasm attracting more people.”

“Well,” Pinkie shrugged, sticking another balloon into the canister nozzle, followed by the hiss of buoyant gas, “at least the puppies and kitten survived, amirite?” Her flat, restrained voice indicated no humor whatsoever, when the canister suddenly sputtered and the balloon stopped filling.

Pinkie rummaged through her paraphernalia, humming in contemplation when she failed to find a second helium canister.

“Shoot…” she tapped her cheek in thought, “Oh! I think I had one in my locker!” she pointed upwards in realization and briskly turned in place to exit the gymnasium, prancing in her own bipedal way, not unlike her pony counterpart.

“Wha…” Twilight mouthed as Pinkie rather brazenly just up and walked, or skipped away. “H-hey! Pinkie, we weren’t done here!” she called as she, and Fluttershy a few steps behind her, went after Pinkie.

The trio were unaware as someone watched them exit the gym and go down the hall. A pair of unnatural feeling orange eyes trailing behind them.

-

Sunset Shimmer raised an unamused, but curious brow as the three girls exited the gymnasium. Two of them she recognized; the annoying noisy girl with a borderline obsession pertaining to parties. So sickeningly chipper non-stop, never shutting up. And there was the wimpy animal lover; so easy to push around it got boring shoving her in a locker after only the third time. And then there was the new girl.

She grunted as a tinge of pain jabbed in her head. Again? The same thing happened yesterday… Come to think of it, ever since she’d gotten back from Equestria, these aches, if not outright migraines, had sprung up…

She peered into the gymnasium. She snorted in contempt; of course, the pink nuisance was the one in charge of the afterparty yet again. It might have looked passable if you were in elementary school, what with the rolled-up banner over the gymnasium stage, balloons, streamers…

Pathetic. This year’s mid-term championship match and fall formal was the night everything would change. She wasn’t going to be demeaned like this by having her field of battle look like some saccharine, pastel mess.

She took out her phone and with familiar movements ticked her way through her limited list of contacts. She had better things to do today, so might as well have someone more fitting do the dirty work of ridding her of the eyesore in the gymnasium. Even they should be able to handle it. A determined tap set off the front-view camera for assurance, and the message was ready. Send.

-

On the way back to the gymnasium, Twilight could not help but find it increasingly irritating how Pinkie seemed to go about ignoring her on top of Fluttershy now, the deliberate humming as she skipped not helping matters. Twilight had actually managed to get irritated enough to the point of rubbing her temples with her fingers.

Ugh! Not even my Pinkie could ever be this persistent in avoiding coming forth with her problems… I swear, by Celestia, this is even worse than the Mirror Pool incident. I mean the clones may have been frustrating with their unruliness, but it was easier rounding them all up than trying to get through to…

“Twilight,” Fluttershy chimed in, “maybe we should just back off if-”

“Hey!” Twilight and Fluttershy looked up upon hearing Pinkie’s exclamation.

During their moment of absence two figures had entered the gymnasium. Standing atop the stage, in a strange display of one standing atop the other’s shoulder, seemingly in an impotent attempt at getting at the rolled-up banner, which was still about three, maybe four, feet too high for them to reach. The one on the bottom soon began to lose balance, and the both of them unceremoniously toppled and fell into a heap.

Twilight, though not certain what to think of an admittedly fruitless and ill-conceived method, gave a pitiable wince as the two tried to fruitlessly scramble back up, their grunts and vocalizations of protest sounding rather familiar to Twilight. Then again, with the sheer number of dimensional counterparts she’d seen so far (including whom she could have sworn looked like Derpy from Ponyville, right down to the mismatching eyes), it shouldn’t come off as much of a surprise anymore.

The two finally, after what seemed to require more effort than necessary, manage to clamber onto their feet. One was a lanky boy, a tad shorter than any of the girls present, with amber yellow skin, with hints of freckles and drooping turquoise green hair, adorned in a green blazer, light yellow pants and red sneakers. His eyes seemed permanently affixed in a half-lidded, drowsy gaze. The other was a shorter, portlier boy with a bluish grey skin tone and short, slightly disheveled orange hair adorned in a black t-shirt with a white image of scissors on the front, blue jeans and faint green sneakers. Other notable traits included thick eyebrows and a pair of buck teeth. As very much everyone else in the school, they wore duel disks.

Pinkie approached the two, looking up at them with a highly unamused expression, “Were you two just trying to take down the congratulatory banner which may or may not be filled with confetti among other things I just hung up?” she asked, tapping her boot against the floor.

“Err…” the portly one droned, his voice sounding slightly nasal, “No…?”

“Uhh, Snips, I thought Sunset Shimmer told us to take care of it,” the lanky one stated, his tone making him sound quite scatterbrained.

“Snails!”

Pinkie’s brow flattened creepily and her lips pursed in agitation, “I’m sorry,” she said in an uncharacteristically steady tone, “but could you repeat that?”

“Uh, okay!” Snails replied, “Sunset Shimmer told us to take care of the kiddie party decorations because she… Uh, I dunno, I zoned out on that last part…”

“Dammit, Snails!” Snips retorted, when, in a poor attempt to save face, he crossed his arms boastfully, trying to appear tough, “I mean, that’s right, yo! Sunset says she don’t like no kiddie crud, so we’re here to take it all down!” he spoke, making hand gestures that Twilight had no idea regarding their meanings.

Great… First with Trixie in Equestria, and here these two get mixed up with Sunset…

“Is that so?” Pinkie asked, grinning sweetly. “Well, I have only thirty-four words to say to that…” Pinkie, reached into her hair, rummaging through it, when she produced a megaphone from its dimensionally transcendental depths. Clearing her throat, she pressed its trigger, a high-pitched hum emanating from the device; “NO WAY IN HECK IS SUNSET SHIMMER TELLING ME HOW I PLAN MY PARTIES WHICH I WORK MY BUTT OFF FOR TO MAKE THEM THE BEST THEY CAN BE.” She paused for a moment, giving Snips and Snails a moment as they shook from disorientation. “EVEN FOR BUZZ-KILLS LIKE HER.” She then reinserted it back in her hair.

Snips rummaged a finger in his ear as the two were still shook up from the voluminous retort, “Y-yea?” he mouthed sputtering as he shook his head, “W-well what are you gonna do about it? You really wanna make Sunset Shimmer mad?”

“Yea, and you don’t wanna see Sunset Shimmer mad,” his eyes wandered in an unfocused stare, “she’s scary when she gets mad…”

Pinkie snorted, “What’s she gonna do? Beat me up? Stuff me in a locker like Fluttershy? Because that only worked once.” She leaned back, covering the side of her mouth with one hand, “They have really crummy locks…”

“Yea? Well…” Snips hesitated, “we’re not scared to get violent! Right, Snails?”

“We aren’t?” Snails asked absently.

Twilight, though only slightly concerned about the confrontation turning violent, spotted Priestess walk across the stage from behind the rolled-up curtains. As expected, no-one but she could see her, walking in a slow, deliberate stride. She cast a wily sideward glance at Twilight, as if hinting at something Twilight hadn’t recognized.

The situation had taken an unexpected turn. What started out as trying to get Pinkie and Fluttershy back on speaking terms had now veered off into Snips and Snails going about trying to impede Pinkie’s work on behalf of the school… A most fitting idea snuck its way into Twilight’s conscious, glancing between Fluttershy and Pinkie.

Twilight stepped forth, performing a calming gesture, “There’s no need to get confrontational here people. If Sunset Shimmer is taking issues with Pinkie’s mode of festivities, there’s a perfect means of solving this little dilemma.”

“… Reporting it to the student council?” Snails asked in a shocking display of common sense.

As much as the first response would have made sense in a normal setting, at least by Equestrian standards, Twilight had a different resolution in mind.

“I propose a duel. Two-on-two.” She gestured at the two boys, “You representing Sunset Shimmer: If you win, then we will take down the decorations as per her wishes.”

“So, what? Us against you two?” asked Snips, in a tone of condescension Twilight did not care for in the least. “Ha! Don’t think we don’t know how you get your butt kicked yesterday!”

Twilight shook her head, “Not me…” She gestured to Fluttershy, “Fluttershy will be tagging with Pinkie Pie.”

Fluttershy jerked in startlement, “Me?!”

“Her?!” Pinkie reciprocated the sentiment.

“Yes; you two,” Twilight declared, pulling the two towards her by their hands. “I’m certain two of the best duelists at school working together can pull off a spectacular performance. And besides, won’t it be fun?” she fluttered her brow at Pinkie. To her chagrin, the pink party girl simply frowned.

“Um, Twilight,” Fluttershy muttered, “maybe this isn’t such a good idea. I mean, I don’t want to ruin Pinkie’s hard work if we were to…”

Twilight leaned towards Pinkie, “I’ll accept full responsibility for whatever happens. Is that fair?”

Pinkie looked up in thought, “Hmm… Well, I guess it’s fair. Plus, dueling is just a lot of fun!” her face seemed to brighten just slightly.

“So, do both sides accept the proposal?” Twilight asked, glancing up at the pondering Snips and Snails.

The two huddled with their backs turned, seeming to whisper something in between one another. They turned back to the girls, Snips retaining his boastful posturing while Snails simply looked serenely complacent.

“Alright! We accept!” He declared with a needlessly dramatic upward point.

“Uh, yea. We’re gonna duel.”

Pinkie rolled up her nonexistent sleeves in response, “Then it’s time to d-d-d-d…”

-

“d-d-d-duel!” Pinkie proclaimed, stopping her stuttering only once both teams were in place as they activated their respective duel disks.

Twilight assumed a seat on the right-side bleachers, once again letting Spike out of her backpack, having also taken the initiative to close the gymnasium door to hopefully reduce sound pollution.

“So, what exactly is your plan here?” asked Spike, shaking his small, furry body from head to tail.

“If Pinkie and Fluttershy were once close, I believe that by having them face opponents together, maybe it can reignite their trust by having them work together,” Twilight explained.

As the two sides’ duel disks were activating the proper parameters, Twilight once again saw Priestess, this time seated sideways at the top of the opposite bleachers, one long leg stretched out leisurely along the seating. She looked up from the preparing duelists at Twilight, nodding with approval.

“Is something wrong?” asked Spike, following Twilight’s gaze towards the bleachers.

Twilight glanced between Spike and the Priestess, who this time had not decided to vanish upon her looking away. Twilight considered to tell the dog the truth, when the conjoined call of “Duel!” brought her focus back to the opposing teams. In retrospect, Twilight had wished she’d gotten a school issue disk for the spectator function…

Snips Life Points: 4000

Snails Life Points: 4000

Pinkie Pie Life Points: 4000

Fluttershy Life Points: 4000

The coin flip seemed to have gone for Snips and Snails first, or however the devices determined the order of tag-duels, as he was the first to begin selecting something from his hand.

Turn 1: Snips (Hand: 5)

“Okay! I summon ‘Ojama Blue’, in defense mode!”

What appeared on Snips’ field was something Twilight had not come to expect. So far most of the monsters were often presented as frighteningly fearsome or gracefully, maybe even to the point of attractive, elegant or beautiful, or having the cuddliness of creatures like para-sprites, only to reveal some innate nastiness to them in terms of their abilities.

Appearing on Snips’s field was a small blue humanoid with a head proportionately larger than its body. Its head was vaguely rectangular, with two disproportionate squinted eyes near the top corners, and a very pronounced pouted mouth slightly below the middle. What made it appear very out of place was that its small blue body was practically naked, save for a pair of red briefs, or a speedo that hid some form of bulge. It knelt down in a passable display of a defensive pose with its tiny arms crossed over its chest. (Level 2 0/1000)

“I place two cards facedown. Beat that, if ya can!” he resumed his needless tough-guy posing.

(Hand: 2)

Turn 2: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 5)

As per the rulings, Pinkie did not draw a card either. The first one to draw would be Snails on his first turn, plus none of the players could attack on their first turns due to two players remaining completely defenseless. She looked over her five starting cards with a pout, tapping at her chin in a needlessly dramatic fashion.

“Oooh… I’ll summon ‘Madolche Ba-a-aple’ in defense mode!”

Before Twilight could once again wonder about the pink party planner’s antics, on her field emerged what at first looked to be a cartoon sheep or lamb. Twilight instantly noticed that the ‘wool’ of the creature was clearly not actual wool, but it looked to have the texture of what looked to be marshmallow. A pair of what looked to be horns composed of swirls of orangish cream jutted from the front end of its body near its head. It bayed with an admittedly adorable voice as it hunched down atop the sideward card that materialized underneath defense-position monsters. (Level 4, 0/1800)

“And I’ll place one teeny-weeny little facedown,” she continued, before giving a nonchalant shrug. “Well, I’m done.”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 3: Snails (Hand: 5)

Turn 3: Snails (Hand: 5)

A slight nudge from Snips’ elbow brought the vacantly staring Snails back into the moment, “Whu-wha? … Oh, right, uh, draw…”

“I know it’s mean of me to say this, but I get the feeling this is going to be over pretty quickly with these two bozos…” Spike whispered from behind a paw.

“Uhh, I summon ‘Howling Insect’ in attack mode, yea.”

On Snail’s field emerged what was clearly a grasshopper or locust with a striking blue body with teal-green wing coverings and a gruesome yellow face with uncharacteristically vicious looking glowing yellow eyes. It rubbed its extended rear-legs, as if in anticipation, a faint sound akin to scraping emanating from them. (Level 3 1200/1300).

“And uhh… I’ll end my turn,” he proclaimed, not seeming very enthused about the moment.

(Hand: 4)

Turn 4: Fluttershy (Hand: 5)

Fluttershy took a deep, steady breath before sighing calmingly. She drew her first card. She looked at the card fondly before affixing it to her disk’s tray.

“I summon Bicorn Re’em in defense mode.”

On Fluttershy’s field emerged a remarkably feline looking beast. Its body shared similarities with a lion, save for a black pronged pattern running along its sides, while its head was a distinctly more orange hue compared to its tan body with a rougher fur texture. Two slightly upward curving, blade-like horns protruded from its forehead. It crouched down, a guttural rumble emanating from its jugular. (Level 4 800/1600)

“I place one card facedown. My turn ends.”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 5: Snips (Hand 2)

“Alright, my draw,” Snips looked at his latest draw. “Oooh, I’ll play a field spell; ‘Ojama Country’.”

Snips slid in a card and tapped his screen. After a moment of the four duels disks humming, the gymnasium was suddenly overtaken by a strange glimmer for a short moment, unveiling the surroundings as having changed. In place of the gymnasium was what looked to be some pitted embankment of reddish-brown sandstone. Atop said embankment stood haphazardly placed structures that appeared to be houses resembling mushrooms in design, save for two extending orbs jutting out of each. The ceiling had given away to a deep blue sky, while small multi-colored half-naked humanoids in red briefs seemed to be walking around aimlessly.

“W-what just-?!” Spike almost shouted, managing to catch his voice in his throat. “Where are we? How’d we get outside?”

Twilight looked around, a part of the bleachers, at least what she and Spike had occupied remained unchanged. Feeling around curiously along her seat, she watched as her hand seemed to peel away at their new surroundings, exposing the slightly worn lacquered wood underneath her hand. Upon pulling away the landscape enveloped the exposed bleachers again, like flowing water taking up unused space.

“It’s fine, Spike,” said Twilight, though thoroughly impressed by what she was beholding. “It’s just another projection. And a very impressive one at that. And all without using magic! Incredible!”

Spike did not seem to share her enthusiasm, watching one of the strange little creatures dawdle past him.

“Ha! With Ojama Country in play, as long as I have an Ojama in play, all monsters’ attack and defense points are switched around,” Snips declared triumphantly. “Which means I’ll be switching Ojama Blue to attack mode.”

The blue humanoid in briefs stood up, flexing its gangly arms, to which cartoonishly disproportionate bumps arose from its biceps. (ATK: 1000)

“Oh… my,” Fluttershy muttered, seeing her own comparatively fearsome beast seem to lose its footing slightly (Bicorn Re’em DEF: 800)

“Uh-ohhh…” mouthed Pinkie, her own monster’s defense takin a direct plummet to zero.

Snails guffawed dopily, “Good one, Snips.” (Howling Insect ATK: 1300)

“What’s more; once each turn I can send an ‘Ojama’ card from my hand to the graveyard, like Ojamagic and Special Summon one ‘Ojama’ from-” Snips’ duel disk screen flashed red. “Wait, what?!”

“Um, Snips; you don’t actually have any Ojamas in your graveyard…” Fluttershy said, pointing out Snips’ mistake.

“D’oh!” Snips blurted, eliciting an idle laugh from Snails. “W-well, I can still summon ‘Ojama Green’ in attack mode!”

Another strange small humanoid appeared on Snips’ field, which seemed to match one of the various creatures wandering about in the projection. This one had a heavily muscled upper body in comparison to its very slim legs, and a head, with no clear indication of a neck, just as large, if not larger than its torso. A single large eyeball gazed from above a huge mouth lines with strangely shining teeth, only offset by a long purple tongue that seemed incapable of fitting into its mouth. In flexed its biceps in a posturing manner, whilst its pecks seemed to quiver. The display was… uncomfortable, to say the least. (Level 2 0/1000 -> 1000/0)

“And now I use Ojama Blue to attack Madolche Baaple!”

The blue bug-eyes humanoid clenched its fist, letting forth a most unsettling wet noise reverberating from its throat. It then launched a wad of spit, accented with a sound akin to a firearm going off.

“What a pity…” Pinkie spoke with a deepened voice, “You activated my trap card; ‘Madolche Waltz!’”

To Twilight’s shock, the tiny globule caused Pinkie’s monster to explode violently. Her life points remained unchanged due to Baaple having been in defense mode. Just then what seemed to be one of Baaple’s horns flew in an arc over the field of battle and struck Snip’s segmented forcefield, bouncing off it.

Snips’ Life Points: (-300) 3700

“Hey, what gives?!” Snips blurted in befuddlement.

Pinkie giggled, “Didn’t anyone teach you not to spit? And Madolche Waltz-y here; every time you attack one of my deliberately delectable pals, you take 300 points of damage afterwards. In addition, when Madolche Baaple is destroyed and sent to the graveyard, she boings back into my deck.” To which Pinkie reinserted Baaple’s card into her deck that was subsequently shuffled.

“Yea? Well I can still attack ya directly with Ojama Green!” Snips retorted.

At that that disgusting green humanoid turned its back towards Pinkie. Twilight could only watch in disgust as the thing seemed to squat down, clenching its fists as its body started to quiver.

Oh sweet Celestia, don’t tell me it’s…

A loud sputter of flatulence emanated from Ojama Green, a visible ball of miasma wafting towards Pinkie. As the gaseous projectile reached her, the party girl began to fan at the air in front of her with her cards.

“Pheee-eww!” Pinkie winced. The sheer spectacle almost made Twilight feel as if she could smell the funk of methane and rotten eggs.

Pinkie Pie Life Points: (-1000) 3000

“How do you like them apples?” Snips sneered.

“Uh, Snips, I think that was a fart…” Snails remarked, earning a round of groans all around him.

Snips rolled his eyes, “I end my turn.”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 6: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 3)

As soon as Pinkie was finished spraying from a can of air freshener that she, naturally, had pulled out of seemingly nowhere, she drew her next card.

“Okay, spitting I could handle, but farts?! That’s just too far…” she remarked. “I summon ‘Madolche Mewfuille’ in defense mode!”

A dark pink drowsy looking cat appeared on Pinkie’s field, garbed in an oversized purple belt around its chest and wore a hat that seemed to be made out of a pancake with a fluffy tassel hanging off it. (Level 3 500/300 -> 300/500)

“Are all of Pinkie’s monsters edible?” Spike whispered, to which Twilight could only shrug.

“When this fluffy yummy cuddly is Normal Summoned, he lets me Special Summon one ‘Madolche’ from my hand.” Pinkie looked over her remaining three cards, “Ooooh, I think I’ll-”

“Not so fast!” Snips interjected, swinging a short arm.

“I dunno, Snips; these things do tend to take a while…” added Snails, idly scratching at his cheek.

“I activate the trap card ‘Spatial Collapse’!” a continuous trap revealed itself from one of Snips’ facedowns. “This card can be played if all players have five or less cards on their fields, so now none of us can have any more than five cards out at once.

Pinkie gave a raise of her shoulders, “Oookay…? Still, I Special Summon-”

“Not so fast… Again!” Another trap card revealed itself on Snips’ side, “I play ‘Ojama Trio’!”

Three puffs of smoke appeared on Pinkie’s side of the field, unveiling themselves as three of the multi-colored creatures wandering around in the field spell projection. One was the same as the muscular mono-eyed Ojama Green. Another was a gangly yellow one with a pear-shaped head with two tendrils where its eyes were located, along with thick red lips bearing a disturbing grin. The third was a very dark grey with a comparably pudgy body, small squinted eyes and an enormous nose. (3x Level 2 0/1000 -> 1000/0)

“Ojama Trio summons three ‘Ojama Tokens’ in defense mode to your side of the field. So now you can’t summon any more monsters or set cards thanks to Spatial Collapse!” Snips added in a boisterous arms-crossed pose. “What ‘cha gonna do now?”

Pinkie grimaced just slightly, seeing the three “Ojama Tokens” make varying insulting gestures at her, the yellow one wagging its rear towards her whilst the dark grey one simply fell on its back, a bubble of snot emerging from its nose, going promptly to sleep.

“I… end my turn.”

(Hand: 2)

“This can’t be good…” Twilight muttered, able to hear the strangely informative back-and-forth between both parties.

“Can’t Pinkie just sacrifice those things?” asked Spike.

“She’ll have to wait until next turn, seeing as she already used up her Normal Summon that turn before Snips brought out those ‘Ojamas’, and with Spatial Collapse he ultimately shut down most of Pinkie’s field,” said Twilight. “Overall, it’s an interesting strategy. Instead of actively going for his opponent’s life points, Snips is stalling her by suppressing field presence…”

Turn 7: Snails (Hand 4)

Snails drew his next card, “Oooh, nice. I summon ‘Warm Worm’ in attack mode.”

On Snail’s side, beside his primed Howling Insect, emerged a baggy-bodied caterpillar or worm with a brownish red back and a white belly lined with a row of stubby legs. A tri-pointed mane of fire protruded from behind its beady eyes, whilst a small puff of smoke emanated from its spinneret. (Level 3 800/1400 -> 1400/800)

“And then I’ll play ‘Verdant Sanctuary’… Whatever that means…” a continuous spell was unveiled from the ground. “Then I’ll attack… uh… the horned thing with Howling Insect.”

Howling Insect reared back, its wings unveiling from underneath its chitinous covers which began to flutter in rapid succession, a hint of a faint screech emanating around the immediate vicinity. (ATK: 1300) Bicorn Re’em lowered its head, groaning from discomfort (DEF: 800), when the poor creature erupted into fragments, eliciting a peep from Fluttershy.

“And then I’ll attack directly with Warm Worm,” Snails followed, his worm turning its rear towards Fluttershy, the air before it rippling forebodingly.

“I play my facedown; ‘Battle Instinct!’” Fluttershy unveiled a trap card. “This card activates if I’m attacked directly and have no monsters; to which I can special summon one level 4 or below beast-type monster from my hand. I choose Giant Rat in attack mode!”

A snarling grey rat, taller than a human appeared on Fluttershy’s field, grasping what appeared to be a human skull in one paw. (Level 4 1400/1450 -> 1450/1400)

“I’m guessing all of Fluttershy’s cards are animals?” remarked Spike. “Isn’t it kind of weird how coincidentally all our friends’ counterparts’ decks seem to coincide with their personalities and interests?”

Twilight had taken note of the similarities, naturally. Applejack, being a farmer and purportedly had some sense of closeness to the land as an earth pony would, used plant-type monsters, a most befitting choice. Rarity, with her love for beautiful aesthetics and precious stones, used the most befitting Gem-Knights, which may also had played in on her penchant for dramatics. Pinkie’s Madolches seemed to ostensibly be based on some personifications of various confectionery delights, given at least in terms of her pony counterpart’s fondness for sweet things. Fluttershy, if being like her counterpart on top of being shy, likely had a fondness for animals, which her two first monsters seemed to indicate.

A thought came across Twilight in conjunction to similarities between this world and Equestria. Magic, for the most part, in Equestria was highly reflective of the subject wielding it, be it unicorn sorcery, or the inherent magic saturating the very fiber of all three pony tribes, right down to the meanings behind everypony’s cutie mark. If what Priestess had told her about Duel Monsters, or rather, the Games of Darkness being bound to the inherent power of this cosmos, could everyone’s decks covertly be a reflection of the person who wielded them.

And someone thought to literally monetize it…

“Uh, well, I’ll attack the rat with Warm Worm instead…” Snails replied.

If I only had a disk so I could see their statistics better…

Warm Worm (ATK: 1400), the air around it continuing to ripple, launched a stream of fire from its spinnerets at the newly summoned Giant Rat (ATK: 1450). The large rodent swiftly ducked under the flames and charged at the hapless arthropod, viciously sinking its large incisors at the back of its neck, making it erupt into bits.

Snails Life Points: (-50) 3950

“He just offed his own monster and took damage…” Twilight mused, feeling uncertain what the dopey student was trying.

“I told you, you shouldn’t expect much from these two, alternate reality or not,” Spike added with a shrug.

“Thanks. When Warm Worm is destroyed, it sends five-”

“Three!” Snips retorted.

“Three. Cards from the top of your deck to the graveyard.”

“Oh…” Fluttershy reluctantly took the top three cards of her deck and slid them into the graveyard slot.

“Uhh… What else was there…? Oh yea! And with Verdant Sanctuary when an insect is destroyed in battle, it lets me add an insect from my deck to my hand that was the same level, so I add a level five-”

“Three,” Fluttershy corrected.

“Level three insect to my hand,” Snail’s deck ejected a card for him to pick up. “I set one facedown. I’m done.”

(Hand: 3)

“Hmm…” Twilight hummed, eyeing the field following Snails’ turn.

“So what do you think that was all about? He took damage and just sent three cards into Fluttershy’s graveyard,” Spike stated. “Compared to Pinkie, she’s not even hurt.”

“I know,” Twilight confirmed with a nod, “I’m just wondering if these two might be more knowledgeable than we think…”

Turn 8: Fluttershy (Hand: 3)

Fluttershy drew her turn card. “I summon ‘Mine Mole’ in attack mode.”

A small brown cartoonish star-nosed mole with big, cutesy eyes appeared on the field. Its namesake nose may or may not have actually looked more akin to a pink flower, and it wore an orange safety helmet, while in one of its stubby paws it brandished a pickaxe. (Level 3 1000/1200 -> 1200/1000)

Fluttershy then looked defiantly towards Snips’ two Ojamas posturing obnoxiously, “I will then attack Ojama Green with Giant Rat!”

“Wait what-?”

Snips barely managed to respond when the large rodent charged forth on all fours towards the one-eyed Ojama Green (ATK: 1000), which began to fret and flail its arms as Giant Rat’s (ATK :1450) glistening incisors chomped down on it, destroying it.

Snips Life Point: (-450) 3250

“And then, Mine Mole attacks Ojama Blue!”

Fluttershy’s small, but plucky Mole (ATK 1200) ran towards the posturing blue humanoid, swinging its pickaxe with a squeaky battle cry. As the squinty-eyes blue humanoid held out its hands in protest (ATK: 1000), Mine Mole struck with its weapon, ending Ojama Blue.

Snips Life Point: (-200) 3050

“Hey, no fair!” Snips cried out in protest.

“Well, actually, it is; this is a two-on-two duel after all,” Fluttershy stated matter-of-factly.

“Ehh, I could’ve handled it…” Pinkie grumbled.

“But Pinkie, your field…”

Snips piped up, “I activate Ojama Blue’s effect: When he’s destroyed in battle, I can add two ‘Ojama’ cards to my hand!” to which said number of cards slid out from Snip’s deck.

“See, now he just got a new card in the hand,” Pinkie retorted.

“I-I was just trying to…”

“Are you through?” Snips called with slight agitation.

“Oh! Um, yes?”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 9: Snips (Hand: 4)

Snips drew his card, “Okay, now I play Ojama Country’s effect and discard ‘Ojamagic’ to the graveyard to Special Summon one Ojama from my graveyard! I bring back Ojama Blue in attack mode!”

The blue squinty-eyed humanoid arose from the purple graveyard portal, to which it crossed its arms and stuck its tongue out at its foes. (Level 3 0/1000 -> 1000/0)

“And when Ojamagic is discarded to the graveyard, I can bring one each of Ojama Green, Yellow and Black to my hand!”

“Seriously?” Spike snorted. “Those things are so easily taken down. What’s having three more of those… horrible abominations gonna do?”

“I play ‘Polymerization’!” Snips inserted an all too familiar card to Twilight from her training with Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. “With this I’ll fuse Ojamas Green, Yellow and Black in my hand!”

The Fusion vortex opened over the field, to which the three respective Ojamas, all looking exactly alike to their tokens occupying Pinkie’s field, were sucked in, their forms beginning to blend together. Snips brought his hands together, fingers intertwining.

“Fusion Summon! Check it out: Level 6, Ojama King!”

What came forth from the vortex was… Absolutely ridiculous. The combined Ojamas formed a giant white humanoid, with the majority of its body being composed of a neckless head. A wide pink-lipped mouth extended from side-to-side, a row of pristine white teeth peeking from between. Its massive nose took up most of the length of its body. Two tendrils near the top of its head bore squinted eyes. Two stubby arms protruded from its sides around where a human’s ears would normally be located. Atop its head was a tacky looking golden crown, a short green cape clung off its back, and like its materials, it wore a red speedo over its comparatively smaller groin and another around the top of its head. Just then the creature flexed its arms, its body distending to possess a set of massive muscles. (Level 6 0/3000 -> 3000/0)

Twilight’s face scrunched just slightly upon seeing this aberration no doubt birthed from a mind most vulgar, “You were saying?”

“Oh, my…” Fluttershy murmured.

“And with Ojama Country still in play, his attack and defense switch around, giving him three thousand attack points,” Snips boasted, “and on top of that, Ojama King makes you unable to use two of your monster zones!”

Both Pinkie and Fluttershy winced when a small Ojama King appeared on their duel disks’ screens, holding a giant stamper, with which it plastered a red X on two of their respective monster zones.

“Ohhh… shitake...” Pinkie groaned, in anticipation of what was to come next.

“Ojama King, attack her Giant Rat!”

Ojama King (ATK: 3000) leapt into the air, straightening its body midair before beginning to plummet down on Fluttershy’s monster (ATK: 1450), which cowered in vain under its paws, letting loose a fearful shriek before the over-muscled abomination touched down, squashing the rodent flat. Fluttershy yelped as her duel disk’s feedback rocked her body upon impact.

Fluttershy Life Points: (-1550) 2450

“That’s for last turn!” Snips sneered.

“When Giant Rat is destroyed in battle, he lets me Special Summon an earth attribute monster with 1500 or less attack points from my deck in attack mode,” a card slid out of Fluttershy’s deck, “I Special Summon a second ‘Giant Rat’ in attack mode!”

A duplicate Giant Rat emerged onto her field, grasping at the human skull in its paws, hissing aggressively.

“I end my turn,” Snips crossed his arms smugly.

(Hand: 3)

Turn 10: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 3)

Pinkie continued to look over at Fluttershy with confused uncertainty in the midst of drawing her next card. Taking a deep breath through her nose, Pinkie’s eyes steeled towards the looming Ojama King, whom had managed to clamber back onto its feet…

“I play the spell card; ‘Terraforming’! This lets me add a field spell from my deck to my hand,” her chosen card was ejected… Only to remember that due to Snip’s Spatial Collapse and the irksome Ojama Tokens taking up her field along with her Madolche Waltz, she was very much stuck.

“I… can’t do anything…” she muttered, “I end my turn…”

(Hand: 4)

“But… She could have just sacrificed one of those Ojamas!” Spike almost shouted at Pinkie’s anemic display. “Why didn’t she-?!”

“She… She can’t…” Twilight mused.

“What do you mean?” Spike looked up at her in confusion.

“Maybe she doesn’t have monsters that require tributes… Or maybe Ojama Tokens can’t be sacrificed for a Tribute Summon. From what I’ve seen, Snips’ strategy is to ultimately shut down his opponent’s field and render them unable to move while he whittles them down.”

“Are you seriously implying that Snips and Snails can actually win?!” Spike asked incredulously. “If that happens I… I won’t even know what’s real anymore…”

Turn 11: Snails (Hand: 3)

Snails drew his card "Uhh… I banish Warm Worm from my Graveyard to Special Summon Azz… Uh, Azzt… Erm… the Giant Worm.”

The Ojama Country’s ground erupted, a long, green segmented arthropod emerging onto the field. Looking like some form of centipede, it coiled in place, snapping its vicious set of mandibles, its fearsome compound eyes giving off a red shimmer. (Aztekipede, the Worm Warrior, Level 4 1900/400 -> 400/1900)

“… Hey, what’s with the attack points?” Snails asked, sounding somewhat annoyed.

“Because of my Ojama Country, dummy!” Snips retorted. “Why did you even summon that?!”

“Because it’s tough, duh!” Snails replied in a slightly less hostile tone.

“Well just… Just switch it to defense!”

“I can’t, uhh, I just summoned it!”

“Fine, don’t worry about it, just do something!”

“Uhh, okay…” Snails picked out another card from his hand, “I Normal Summon 'Warm Worm' again.”

A second Warm Worm emerged onto the field.

“I attack Giant Rat with, uhh, Howling Insect, yea.”

Howling Insect’s wings began to flutter again, the irksome screeching beginning to sound once more (ATK: 1300). In response, the second Giant Rat (ATK: 1450) rushed at the oversized grasshopper, snatched it up and began to tear into the arthropod, literally devouring it in front of everyone in rapid succession, leaving behind bits and pieces of chitin which soon vanished.

Snails Life Points: (-150) 3800

“That… That was horrifying…” Twilight remarked.

Spike was pulling on his ears, “Again with getting his monster killed?!”

“Verdant Sanctuary lets me add another insect to my hand that’s the same level…” another card ejected from his deck to be added to his hand, “Oh yea; when Howling Insect is destroyed in battle, it uhh… Oh yea; he lets me Special Summon an insect from my deck with one-thousand five hundred attack points.”

“Just say fifteen-hundred!” Snips called out.

“So, I summon, uhh, ‘Shield Worm’ in defense mode.”

Another squirming arthropod emerged: This one a predominately brown and orange baggy worm which seemed to possess some form of chitinous crest on its underside that it lifted to its front, over which loomed a sextet of beady eyes. (Level 4 800/2000 -> 2000/800)

“Sniiips…” he called out in a whiny tone. “It switched it around the way I don’t want iiit…”

“Well stop playing those kindsa cards then!” Snips argued.

Snails muttered something everyone unheard, “Shield Worm sends cards from Fluttershy’s deck to the graveyard equal to the number of insects on my field, so that’s five-”

“Three!” Spike shouted from next to Twilight in exasperation.

“Three… Who said that?” Snails looked around.

Twilight feigned coughing in an attempt to abate suspicion, with one hand over Spike’s muzzle. In turn, Fluttershy took another three cards from the top of her deck and slid them into her graveyard slot.

“Uhh, then I attack Giant Rat with Warm Worm, I guess…”

Twilight had to grip Spike’s muzzle tighter as the dragon-turned-dog was pulling on his ears in sheer frustration, a muffled scream just barely escaping his lips.

As before, Warm Worm prepared to fire a stream of fire from its spinneret, when Giant Rat lunged at the hapless arthropod and tore into it viciously.

Snails Life Points: (-50) 3750

“And you again send three cards to the Graveyard.”

Fluttershy, with increasing reluctance, was forced to send three more cards into her graveyard, this making it nine overall.

As Spike’s insanity-induced screaming began to abate, Twilight whispered to him, “Spike! Spike, calm down! It’s part of his strategy!”

“Fhay wut?” Spike muffled. Twilight eyed the dog flatly, when Spike finally seemed to get a grasp again and assumed silence, eliciting Twilight to release his muzzle.

“It’s how Snails’ deck works. Instead of damaging the opponent, he forces them to send cards from their deck to the Graveyard. It says in the rules that if a player runs out of cards to draw, they lose.”

“Wait…” Spike began counting down on his paws, “So if he sent three last turn, added with three twice this turn, so that’s nine… How many cards does a deck usually have?”

“Forty cards. So at this rate, with Fluttershy’s starting hand being five, plus, her needing to draw once each turn, added with the nine she’s lost to Snails’ worms, plus the Giant Rat she summoned from her deck, she’s almost down to half…” Twilight looked apprehensively at the playing field, “Spike… I think I may have made a huge mistake pitting these four against one-another…”

“And I get another insect. Uh, I end my turn, I guess…” Snails drawled, seeming uneasy with having two monsters with their reversed stats being left in unfavorable positions on the field.

(Hand: 5)

Turn 12: Fluttershy (Hand: 3)

Fluttershy, looking slightly nervous as almost half of her deck had been spent, closed her eyes, seeming to mumble something under her breath.

-

I need to do something… I can’t let Pinkie Pie down. Even if she thinks I betrayed her, I… I need to show her, no matter how much she resents me, that I will always be there for her!

-

Fluttershy drew her next card, looking over at it, to which her eyes seemed to brightened. Twilight noticed this change in the shy girl’s expression, to which she hoped her trepidations might be proven wrong.

“I activate ‘Ayers Rock Sunrise’!” Fluttershy, in a much more confident and flourished display, inserted a card into her disk, unveiling her drawn card. “This card lets me summon one beast-type monster from my graveyard. And then, for each beast, plant and winged-beast monster in my graveyard, all the opponent’s monsters lose 200 attack points!” A card slid out of her Graveyard slot, “I choose the tuner monster ‘Uni-Horned Familiar’, in attack mode!”

From the Graveyard portal emerged a bipedal, monkey-like creature with shaggy teal fur, pointed ears, a long tail with a tuft at the end, and most notably a golden horn protruding from its forehead. (Level 2 0/1000 -> 1000/0)

Just then, spectral apparitions of various animal-like creatures appeared over the field of battle. Among them being a Giant Rat and Bicorn Re’em, along with four other monsters; two of them appearing to be some form of giant flying squirrels, one a small monkey and one a black tapir, amounting to six monsters. The apparitions hovered and flitted among Snips and Snails’ monsters, Ojama King noticeably seemingly to deflate, for lack of a better description, slightly.

“I will now tune my level two Uni-Horned Familiar to my level three Mine Mole…”

Uni-Horned Familiar’s form faded, leaving only its glowing outlines. Its likeness erupted into two green rings. Mine Mole levitated off the ground to the middle of said rings, its form also fading away, whilst three glowing orbs arose from within it it. The orbs of light settled in an upright row within the row of rings, which began to revolve. (2+3=5)

“Little critters need not fear, for their inner courage will light the way for the coming of a valiant protector in their hour of need.”

The orbs erupted into a pillar of light within the rings.

“Synchro Summon! Level 5 steed of lightning: ‘Thunder Unicorn’!”

From the light emerged a regal equine with a dark blue body and fiery orange mane. Yellow patterns reminiscent of lightning bolts ran down its body, whilst a glowing bolt-shaped horn protruded from its forehead. Thunder Unicorn reared on its hindlegs, letting loose a neigh, accented with the rumble of thunder. As its hooves touched down on the ground, blue sparks crackled around them. (Level 5 2200/1800 -> 1800/2200)

Twilight couldn’t help but feel strangely transfixed on the new monster. While its body did not exactly match that of true equines, she could not help but exhibit a feeling of familiarity with the surging thunder-horned unicorn.

“Also when Mine Mole is used for the Synchro Summon of a beast-type Synchro monster, I draw a card. I then play Thunder Unicorn’s effect!” Fluttershy declared. “During my Main Phase I can select one monster on my opponent’s side: That monster loses 500 attack points times the number of monsters I control. I choose Ojama King!”

A bolt of lightning suddenly struck Ojama King, its body suddenly deflated further, complete with a sputter like a balloon. (ATK: 3000 – 1000 – 1200 = 800).

Snips visibly cringed, “This sucks…”

“Thunder Unicorn, attack Ojama King! Thunder Spear!” Fluttershy in another more confident display, swung her arm in a rather dramatic fashion at the deflated aberration.

Thunder Unicorn (ATK: 1800) raised its head, its lightning-bolt horn beginning to surge in golden radiance. Rising to its hindlegs, it let forth thundering neigh as its hooves slammed down to the ground, its head lowering in the momentum to point its electrified horn pin-point at Ojama King. A bolt of electricity surged forth. The white product of someone’s nightmarish sense of humor spasmed and shook uncontrollably, everyone catching glimpses of its most bizarre skeleton (which seemed to be mostly a skull, arms, legs and a pelvis), until its vocally exploded, accented with another sound flatulence, to which Twilight could only groan.

Snips Life Points: (-1000) 2050

“When Thunder Unicorn’s effect has been used, I can’t attack with any other monster this turn. So I will switch Giant Rat to defense mode. (DEF: 1400)” The oversized rodent hunched over, nestling the human skull in both paws. A facedown materialized on Fluttershy’s field, “I set one card facedown and end my turn.”

(Hand: 3)

“Nice play, Fluttershy!” Pinkie cheered, when she seemed to hesitate slightly. “I mean… um… Heck with it: Nice play!”

Fluttershy responded with a flattered giggle. Twilight could finally allow herself to smile in satisfaction for the first time since the duel started.

I think it’s working…

Turn 13: Snips (Hand: 3)

Snips drew his next card. “Plan B!” he screeched. “I play the spell ‘Tri-Wight’! This lets me Special Summon two level 2 or lower Normal Monsters from my graveyard: I Special Summon Ojama Yellow and Ojama Green!” to which the yellow pear-headed and green single-eyed toothy Ojamas emerged both onto his field. “I Overlay the level 2 Ojama Yellow and Ojama Green!”

Overlay? Twilight wondered as the two Ojamas erupted into orbs of blue light that spiraled into the air before coalescing into one large brilliant light.

“Xyz Summon! Sunset Shimmer’s regards: Rank 2 ‘Armored Kappa’!”

The next monster was not like any Snips had summoned. It wasn’t even an Ojama, nor seemed to have any correlation whatsoever. This new creature was a gangly green creature that looked to be a blend of a turtle’s body with a frog’s limbs and had a sharp orange beak. Twilight thought she’d seen illustrations of something similar in books of Equestrian bestiaries. A silvery star-shaped headdress rested flat atop its head, with matching colored armored bracers adorned on its forearms and legs, along with a segmented steel chestplate adhered to its belly. On its back it wore a high-collared cape composed of similarly segmented lengths of metal. (Rank 2, 400/1000 -> 1000/400)

So Sunset Shimmer gave him this thing? Twilight thought as the Armored Kappa lowered onto the field, the orbs representing its Overlay Units hovering around it. Whatever this thing is, I wager Sunset gave it to Snips as some form of ace in the hole…

“I remove one Overlay Unit from Armored Kappa,” Snips declared, one of the floating orbs around it straying from its pattern and embedding into Armored Kappa’s being, sending a ripple of light throughout its form. “This increases its attack by 1000. I’ll then attack Thunder Unicorn!”

Armored Kappa (ATK: 2000) produced a gurgling hiss from its throat before taking a deep breath. It lunged its head forward, sending a stream of water towards Thunder Unicorn (ATK: 1800). When the regal beast attempted to defend itself with another surge of electricity, the water caused its golden bolts to coalesce onto its own being, making it combust violently. Fluttershy yelped more audibly as her monster was obliterated.

Fluttershy Life Points: (-200) 2250

“That’s for the King!” Snips spat. “I end my turn.”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 14: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 4)

As Pinkie drew her next card, her eyes furrowed with pouted lips. She swiped a thumb once over each cheek, leaving a dark red streak over them, after which she licked at said thumb.

“Mmm, cherry…” She then took a card from her sizable hand of five, “Sorry about this, buddy…” Pinkie said to Mewfuille. “I sacrifice Madolche Mewfuille,” the cat vanished from her field in a swirl of light, “to Tribute Summon Madolche Puddingcess, in attack mode!”

Taking the place of Pinkie’s monster was a child-like human girl. She had flowing, swirly blonde hair than reached well past her back and billowed out elegantly. Adorned in creamy yellow dress with frills reminiscent of swirls of whipped cream, a brown undulating pattern looking like solidified chocolate pudding running down one row of these frills, along with a small silver tiara. She performed a pirouette in place before assuming a semi curtsied pose. (Level 5 1000/1000)

“Mess with the best, now the best will make a mess,” she quipped, her pout having given away to a determined smile.

“Why? What’s she gonna do?” asked Snips in a condescending tone.

“Oh, she’s going to attack…” she steadily raised a hand, and with a snap pointed it at the coiled up Aztekipede, (as her duel disk properly pointed it out) “Snails’ Giant Worm thing!”

Snails slowly looked towards Pinkie’s field with an absent “Huh?” when the child-like Puddingcess (ATK: 1000) pointed a finger at Aztekipede (ATK: 400). From out of nowhere, a large, dark brown ball of what seemed to be chocolate pudding fell from the simulated sky, covering the green centipede with a wet splatter, before the resulting mess broke away into bits.

Snails Life Points: (-600) 3150

“Heeey…” Snails said in a tone that one would assume was of protest.

“And now things get delicious,” Pinkie emphasized with a smirk. “When Madolche Puddingcess destroys a monster in battle, she lets me destroy one of my opponent’s cards…” her head turned towards Snips, accompanied by the uncanny sounds of a groaning hinge.

“Uh-oh…” Snips visibly cringed, his eyes diverting towards his certain trap card.

“Puddincgess; splatter it!” Pinkie ordered with a dramatic point.

In response, Puddingcess idly snapped a finger, giving a mischievous wink, when Snips’ Spatial Collapse exploded into a puddle of pudding. At that moment, the entire obscured gymnasium felt as if some unseen weightiness to the air had lifted.

Pinkie took a deep breath through her nose and sighed, “Once again; pudding saves the day.” She then proceeded to take a card from her hand and slid it into a slot at the front end of her duel disk’s blade, “And now I can freely play the field spell ‘Madolche Chateau’!”

Pinkie inserted the card into her disk and tapped her screen. Her and Fluttershy’s side of the field shimmered, like rippling water, transforming their half of the Ojama Country ground to something most befitting the party girl. Behind the two arose a grand castle which, like something out of the Brothers Glumms’ Hazel and Gelato, was composed entirely of pastries and confectionery. The front wall was made up of a checkered chocolate cake, while the battlements at the top was of sponge cake lined with swirls of whipped cream, while the two towers on both sides were made of stacked cakes, ice-cream sandwiches as macarons. Twilight could not help but feel like her mouth might have watered just slightly, despite knowing it was all an illusion.

“When Madolche Chateau comes up, this tasty wonder shuffles all my Madolche monsters back into my deck,” to which the only monster in Pinkie’s graveyard at the time was ejected and placed into her deck to be shuffled. “And it also increases the attack points of all ‘Madolches’ by 500. And top it all off (pun intended), when there are no monsters in my graveyard, Madolche Puddincess gains another 800 additional attack and defense points!” (Madolche Puddingcess ATK and DEF: 1000 + 500 + 800= 2300)

“Whoa; that’s a lot of attack points…” Snips remarked.

With an out of tune hum, Pinkie slid another card into a slot, “Now I can place this itty-bitty facedown. And that’s that.”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 15: Snails (Hand: 5)

As Snails drew his next card, Snips ran up to him, gripping him by his blazer and began to shake him violently, “Snails, you gotta do something!”

Snails’ head bobbed from the momentum, “Uhh… What am I supposed to do?”

“I dunno! Use the thing Sunset gave you or something! If we lose, she’s gonna kill us!”

“… Uh, literally or… non-literally?” Snails wondered aloud.

“Both!”

“Uhh, okay…” as Snips released hold of him, Snails pressed something on his screen. “I activate my facedown; ‘Lair Wire’.”

The card’s image launched a thin wire that ensnared around Puddingcess’ ankle. Before she could fathom what was happening, the wire pulled taught and reeled her into the card, splintering into bits upon making impact.

Pinkie let out a wheezing gasp, grasping the sides of her head in utter shock, “Not the pudding!”

Reluctant as she was to do so, Pinkie’s Puddingcess’ card was forced to be shuffled into her deck as per its effect, a quivering pout on her lips.

"Lair Wire... Uh, it banishes an insect from my graveyard and destroys an opponent's card," Snails clarified.

“I activate a Trap card!” Fluttershy interjected. “Chain Whirlwind! This card can only be activated when a card is destroyed by an effect: I destroy two spell or trap cards on the field: I’ll destroy Ojama Country and Verdant Paradise!”

The Ojama Country projection on Snips and Snails side suddenly began to crackle, breaks like in a mirror spreading throughout its landscape until the entire thing shattered all around them. The sandstone embankments were instead overtaken by a terrain matching Madolche Chateau, where the entire ground was made up of puzzle-piece shaped tiles composed of various confectioneries. Then the card projection of Snails’ Verdant Paradise erupted into bits. Now with Ojama Country gone, all monsters’ attack and defense values switched back to their rightful positions.

“Aw crud…” Snips muttered, slouching his shoulders.

“I got this, Snips,” Snails replied more nonchalantly. “I play D.D.R – Dance Dance Revo- Oh wait, no the other one; ‘Different Dimension Reincarnation,’ yea. This lets me Special Summon a banished monster in attack mode and equip this card to it.” On cue, one of Snails’ Warm Worms appeared from a black portal.

“Then I play ‘One for One’. By discarding a card from my hand, I uhh… I Special Summon one level 1 monster from my hand.” Snails slid a card from his hand into his graveyard. “I summon the tuner ‘Sinister Sprocket.’”

Another monster that did not quite seem to match their owner’s regular monsters emerged onto the field. It was a small sprocket with a black dome on top with red-lined, blue eyes, whilst underneath its teeth was a downward coil of chain. (Level 1 400/0)

“Uh, so I tune Sinister Sprocket with Warm Worm. Uh, that makes four, right?”

Despite his lack of certainty, Sinister Sprocket’s chain lashed out and coiled around Warm Worm. The small metallic being faded away replaced by a green ring, which revolved around the bound Warm Worm, which also began to fade into a glowing outline. Three orbs of life arose in a vertical line from its body in along the single ring. (1+3=4) The ring began to revolve, to which the single orbs shot out into a pillar of light.

“Uh, Synchro Summon. Level 4, ‘Dark Diviner’… Whatever that means.”

Another mismatched monster emerged from the pillar. By contrast to Snails’ arthropod themed monsters, this monster seemed to be some ghostly apparition, obscured entirely by a tattered blue cloak, topped with a red hood. A pair of glowing red eyes shone from within the ruffled fabric, whilst two gangly hands reached out from the blue folds, wielding a long, intricate staff. (Level 4 2000/1000)

“What do you suppose that thing does?” asked Spike, looking more concerned now that Snips and Snails seemed to have rebounded from Fluttershy and Pinkie’s efforts with their new monsters.

“I don’t know. But if Sunset Shimmer gave them these cards; odds are they’re both dangerous…” Twilight replied, not noticing her own hands were gripping tightly at the folds of her skirt.

“I attack Fluttershy’s Giant Rat with Dark Diviner,” Snails lazily pointed at the hunched-over rodent.

Dark Diviner (ATK: 2000) pointed its staff at Giant Rat (DEF: 1450). A flurry of dark energy bolts launched from the pale blue gems studded at the tip. Fluttershy flinched in surprise when her Giant Rat exploded.

“I use Giant Rat’s effect to Special Summon a third one to my field,” Fluttershy responded, a third skull grasping rodent appearing on her field.

“Oh, when Dark Diviner destroys a monster, you send three cards from your deck to the graveyard,” Snails added.

“Again?” Fluttershy groaned, sending another three cards from the top of her deck to the graveyard. If Twilight’s calculations were correct; Fluttershy’s deck was left with eighteen cards.

“And I’m done,” Snails concluded.

(Hand: 2)

Turn 16: Fluttershy (Hand: 3)

Fluttershy drew, putting her down to seventeen cards. “I summon ‘Unibird in attack mode.”

A dark blue bird with a bright yellow vaguely lightning bolt shaped tuft atop its head arose onto the field, spreading its wings to reveal familiar lightning-esque stripes around its neck and chest. (Level 2 100/600)

“Now I activate Unibird’s effect: By banishing it and one other monster on my side of the field, I can Special Summon a Synchro Monster from my Graveyard with a level equal or less. I’ll banish Giant Rat for this effect: My little friends; bring back Thunder Unicorn!”

As Giant Rat vanished from the field, Unibird spread its wings, letting loose a screech as its body began to shine and spark with pure electricity. With a burst of lightning, a familiar blue equine appeared back on the field, neighing in triumph as it stood before Fluttershy, its golden horn surging with ribbons of electric currents. (Level 5 2200/1800)

“I activate Thunder Unicorn’s effect once again to decrease Dark Diviner’s attack by the number of monsters I control.”

As earlier, a bolt of lightning from above struck Dark Diviner, a haunting snarl emanating from within its cloak in protest. (ATK: 2000-500=1500)

“Thunder Unicorn; attack Dark Diviner!” Fluttershy ordered, pointing an accusatory finger at the floating specter.

The unicorn’s jagged horn erupted with more lightning, lashing out with its neck to launch a concentrated projectile at Dark Diviner. Another hollow snarl permeated the gymnasium as the electricity coursed through its body. But to everyone’s amazement, the monster did not seem to explode as they were wont to do.

Snails Life Points: (-700) 2450

No-one seemed to react to anything for what felt like a full-on minute. Snails looked around, seeing all eyes were focused on him when complete silence pervaded the obscured gymnasium.

“What?” he asked with a bob of his shoulders.

“Why didn’t Dark Diviner go boom?” asked Pinkie, after which she lapped up some of the cherry syrup she’d smeared on her face that had started to run down her cheeks.

“Ohhh…” Snails replied absently, to which he actually looked at his own screen.

“He doesn’t know his own card’s effect…” sighed Twilight, fighting the urge at a facepalm. “I at the very least took the time to memorize mine!”

“Uh, ‘This card cannot be destroyed by battle,’” he read aloud. “That explains it.”

Fluttershy laughed uncomfortably in the midst of sliding a card into a slot, “I place one card facedown and end my turn…”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 17: Snips (Hand: 3)

Snips drew, “Okay; you may have wrecked my Ojama Country, but I can still take out your prissy unicorn! I remove Armored Kappa’s second Overlay Unit to increase its attack by another 1000.” The last remaining sphere levitating around the kappa strayed and embedded itself to it, “I attack Thunder Unicorn again!”

Armored Kappa’s (ATK: 2400) throat started to gurgle before lashing out its head once again, firing a jet stream of water towards its previously vanquished foe (ATK: 2200).

“Fluttershy, he’s gonna-” Pinkie managed to cry out, when Fluttershy’s facedown card revealed itself.

“I activate my trap; ‘Horn of the Phantom Beast.’”

A pair of what looked to be antlers carved with shallow arcane indents materialized onto Thunder Unicorns head, along with a piece of spiked armor running along its neck. (ATK: 2200 + 800 = 3000). Thunder unicorn once more launched a projectile of electricity from its horn, this time cleaving through the jet of water, resulting in Armored Kappa being electrocuted.

“Horn of the Phantom Beast becomes and equip card that increases my monster’s attack by 800. And when the equipped monster destroys another in battle, I draw a card.”

“I activate Armored Kappa’s second effect!” Snips retorted. “I discard a card to prevent my monsters from being destroyed this turn and I take no battle damage!”

A spiraling arc of water surrounded the kappa, absorbing the electricity coursing through Armored Kappa, leaving it unharmed.

“The card I discarded was another Ojamagic, so that means I get another Ojama Yellow, Green and Black into my hand,” his duel disk expelled three cards from his deck to be added to his hand. “I end my turn.”

(Hand: 6)

Turn 18: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 2)

“Hey, Fluttershy,” Pinkie chimed in the midst of drawing her next card, “do you know what time it is?” Before anyone could make so much as a guess, Pinkie’s facedown raised from the floor, revealing a trap card, “‘Madolche Palooza’ time! This lets me Special Summon as many ‘Madolches’ from my hand to the field as I can, but they kinda gotta go back to my deck at the end phase…”

Snips snorted, “Good luck with that when you still have those Ojamas on your field.”

Pinkie giggled, “Silly Snips; I only need two. I Special Summon ‘Madolche Cruffsant’…”

On Pinkies edible looking field emerged what was simply put a brown and white stuffed toy spaniel puppy, wearing a collar with a charm shaped like a croissant, along with a small green top hat. (Level 4 1500/1200 + 500 = 2000/1700) Fluttershy could not help by fawn over the stuffed animal when it proceeded to bark and wag its tail.

“And ‘Madolche Messengelato’!”

Beside Cruffscant emerged a male child-like human with dark teal hair adorned in a brown and red, long-hemmed outfit. The large newsboy cap with a large golden pin engraved with a horn instrument suggested him as some form of mailman or messenger, along with the green satchel hanging off his shoulder. (Level 4 1600/1000 + 500 = 2100/1500)

“Yup…” Spike nodded, “All edible.”

“When Messengelato is Special Summoned with a beast-type Madolche monster on my field, like this scrumptious Cruffsant, I can add one Madolche spell or trap to my hand,” Pinkie’s deck shuffled and ejected a card, “which I’ll also play; ‘Madolche Ticket’.” A continuous spell emerged onto her field. “And then I attack Dark Diviner with Messengelato!”

“Uhh, I thought it can’t be destroyed in battle…” Snails drawled in his ever-oblivious tone.

Pinkie only shrugged, “It can’t. You still take damage though.”

Messengelato straightened his cap with one hand, an ominous glint in his eye. In the blink of an eye, the gelato-themed messenger drew an envelope from his satchel and sent it flying in a beeline towards Dark Diviner (ATK: 2000), against all plausible laws of physics. The envelope seemed to pierce the floating specter, albeit it still remained afloat, seemingly unharmed.

Snails Life Points: (-100) 2350

“Sadly, during my end phase, Messengelato and Cruffsant return to my deck…” Pinkie slid the respective cards into her deck, “Buuut, thanks to Madolche Ticket, now any time a Madolche returns to my deck from the field or graveyard, I can add a Madolche to my hand for each of them…” two cards slid out of her deck. “And I place one card facedown. Turn’s done!”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 19: Snails (Hand: 2)

Snails drew, “Oooh; I banish two insects from my graveyard (Howling Insect, Warm Worm) to Special Summon ‘Doom Dozer’ in attack mode.”

A more befitting monster erupted form the confectionery ground: A bright red, with a glistening blue back chitin, centipede emerged and coiled itself onto Snails’ field. (Level 8 2800/2400).

“I attack Thunder Unicorn with Dark Diviner…” he looked down at his disk again, “Uh, ‘when this card declares an attack, if the ATK of the attack target is higher than this card: The ATK of the attack target becomes equal to this face-up card's current ATK.’”

So Dark Diviner can literally destroy any monster it attacks without fear of destroying itself and ensures further deck destruction… Twilight thought, feeling rather reluctant to see Thunder Unicorn perish again.

“Not so fast, Snails…” Pinkie responded with a dramatic pointing pose. “I activate my trap card; ‘Madolche Nights’. When your monster activates an effect while I have no monsters in my graveyard, this card negates that effect!”

Dark Diviner’s (ATK: 2000) staff once again launched its flurry of dark energy bolts. Thunder Unicorn (ATK: 3000) expertly weaved around the fusillade, to which it responded in kind with a lightning bolt. While the specter remained unharmed, the attack still shaved a considerable amount of life points from Snails.

Snails Life Points: (-1000) 1350

“Heeey…” Snails drawled, looking slightly annoyed at Pinkie Pie. “I attack your Ojama Token with Doom Dozer.”

“Snails, no!” Snips retorted in vain as the giant centipede rumbled towards the panicking Ojama Yellow token and lunged down, mandibles agape, seemingly to devour the protesting creature.

A puff of smoke erupted just above Pinkie Pie, at which the party girl looked in the direction of with a slight hint of unimpressed confusion.

Pinkie Pie Life Points: (-300) 3700

“Snails! Now she has a monster zone back!” Snips screamed at his partner indignantly.

“Uhh, so? She doesn’t have any monsters out.”

“Well at least put a facedown or something! You gotta protect me!” Snips demanded in a begging tone.

“I can’t. I only have another two Howling Insects…” His eyes suddenly widened upon realization. “Oops… Uh… Turn over?”

Turn 20: Fluttershy (Hand: 2)

“That’s all I needed to hear…” Fluttershy said, strangely ominous in lieu of her soft voice as she drew her next card. “I activate Thunder Unicorn’s effect; decreasing the attack points of Dark Diviner by 500.”

The specter was struck by another bolt of lightning. (ATK: 2000-500=1500)

“Thunder Unicorn; attack Dark Diviner! Thunder Spear!”

Thunder Unicorn (ATK: 3000) raised its head once more, drawing electricity from the air until its horn was aglow with power. With a victorious neigh, it rose to its hindlegs, smashing its forehooves on the way back down, launching its iconic javelin of power at Dark Diviner. As during every previous attempt, the ghostly specter remained unharmed, apart from a pained rasp emanating from within its body.

Snails Life Points: (-1500) 0

“Uhh… Did I just lose, Snips?” asked Snails, ever the oblivious one.

“I end my turn,” Fluttershy announced, now dripping with ever surfacing confidence.

(Hand: 3)

Turn 21: Snips (Hand: 6)

“Crap, crap, crap…” Snips muttered as he drew a card. “Protect me! I summon ‘Ojama Yellow’ in defense mode!”

Another Ojama, this one being much like one of the tokens with the pear-shaped head and tendril eyes. It knelt down atop its sideward card with its hands crossed at its front. (Level 2 0/1000)

“I switch Ojama Blue to defense mode too!” Snip’s Ojama Blue knelt down similarly to its red cousin.

“Try getting through that. I end my turn.”

(Hand: 5)

Turn 22: Pinkie Pie (Hand: 2)

“Enough is enough!” Pinkie exclaimed as she drew. “I have had it with these flatulent Ojamas in this fudge… ulent… Agh! Forget it. I summon Madolche Petingcessoeur in attack mode!”

Another female human, this one the size of what might as well have been a doll, if that’s what Madolches were to begin with, arose to the field. She had blonde hair tied up into a flayed bun atop her head with a silvery lace. She wore a bright pink dress with the hems decorated with ruffles looking like swirls of whipped cream and a big green bow over the belly. She spun in a pirouette in place before striking a joyous pose. (Level 4 1400/1400 + 500 = 1900/1900)

“Petingcessoeur can be Special Summoned as long as I’ve no monsters in my graveyard. And then with her effect I can Special Summon one Madolche monster from my hand. Bring on back the pudding… cess.”

Madolche Puddingcess re-emerged onto the field, performing a formal curtsy, holding at the sides of her dress. (Level 5 – 1 = 4 1000/1000 + 500 = 1500/1500)

“Monsters Special Summoned with Petingcessoeur also have their level go down by one. Now I can Overlay Petingcessoeur and Puddingcess…”

The two confectionery themed monsters both spun in a pirouette until their forms faded into glowing orbs. As with any previous display, the orbs revolved up above, getting ever closer before coalescing into one.

So that’s why Pinkie was having such a hard time before. Xyz summoning requires some degree of field presence, and with Spatial Collapse and those Ojamas crowding her field, she was unable to bring out stronger monsters. But because of Snips and Snails disharmonic dueling towards the end, their strategy was broken!

“Patrons of sweet happiness, combine your power and roll out the welcoming for the queen of the land of delights.”

“Xyz Summon! Rank 4: ‘Madolche Queen Tiaramisu’!”

Descending from on high came a beautifully dressed doll-like human girl. Her hair a shimmering platinum blonde topped with a white gold crown. Her outfit was a frilly dress with colors matching her namesake confectionery; coffee brown with white frills, with an orange inner layer in the midst of her skirt. In her hands she held a glistening pink scepter with a golden two-pronged crest. She courteously bowed towards her intended opponent. (Rank 4 2200/2100 + 500 = 2700/2600)

“So what? Even if you destroy Armored Kappa, I’ll just keep summoning more Ojamas! And if you destroy Ojama Blue, I get two Ojama cards into my hand. You’re not taking me down, Pinkie!” Snips pointed at Pinkie boastfully.

“Madolche Queen Tiaramisu’s effect: By removing an Overlay Unit from her; I can shuffle up to two Madolche cards from my graveyard to my deck. This in turn makes you shuffle that many cards from your field to your deck,” Pinkie replied.

Snips let out an obnoxious, nasally guffaw, “Because of your cards’ effects, you only have one card. It doesn’t matter which you pick!”

Pinkie shrugged nonchalantly, “Guess your ri- ‘Mystical Space Typhoon’!”

Using the last card in her hand, a gust of wind arose onto the field from nowhere. It coalesced around Pinkie’s Madolche Waltz, blowing it into the simulated sky, where it vanished.

“You know, that is an awfully long name; ‘Mystical Space Typhoon’. You’d think something simpler would be better like, I dunno, ‘Cyclone’. I mean not to spit on those hard-working designers over at Crystal Mirage Inc., but…”

“Uh, Pinkie?” Twilight called form the bleachers. “Perhaps you should finish the duel first and comment later!”

Pinkie giggled. “Oopsie! But anyway; Mystical Space Typhoon destroys one spell or trap on the field; so now with Madolche Waltz all snugly in there; I remove one Overlay Unit from Tiaramisu!”

One of the revolving spheres of light strayed from Tiaramisu. Holding aloft her scepter, the orb embedded itself into its crest. A golden light shone forth, prompting Pinkie to remove her two Madolche cards in her graveyard to be shuffled. She then pointed her scepter at Snips’ field, the same golden light making Ojama Blue and Red vanish.

“I attack Armored Kappa with Madolche Queen Tiaramisu!”

Tiaramisu (ATK: 2700) held forth a hand, extending her thumb up, which she then turned downwards at Armored Kappa (ATK: 2400). A looming shadow appeared underneath the reptilian creature, prompting it to look up, when, accompanied by a cartoony whistle, a giant tiramisu piece landed on the hapless creature, utterly squashing it. This left Snips’ field empty.

Snips Life Points: (300) 1750

“Let ‘im have it, Fluttershy!” Pinkie called encouragingly, a far cry from the dismissiveness from earlier.

(Hand: 0)

Turn 23: Fluttershy (Hand: 3)

Fluttershy drew her last card of the duel, before pointing at Snips directly, “Thunder Unicorn, attack Snips directly!”

Snips screamed pathetically as Thunder Unicorn unleashed one last lightning projectile from its horn, the attack spreading along with segmented forcefield around the defenseless player.

Snips Life Points: (-3000) 0

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