• Published 15th Aug 2019
  • 1,132 Views, 115 Comments

Duelist Team of Canterlot High - Brony-wan-kenobi

Six students will represent Canterlot High in a childrens card game tournament. And none of them are the main seven!

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After the Storm

Up in the stands, a certain figure dressed in a red business suit with long, flowing silver hair watched the two duelists shake hands with mild interest. Despite his age, he had the appearance of a man in his mid 20’s to late 30’s and kept his face half covered by his hair. He had his legs crossed, one on top of the other, as his hands rested upon them clasped together. On one side was a silver briefcase while on the other was his meal: the famous Appleloosa BBQ pulled pork with a side of fries and diet soda. This man was none other than the creator of Duel Monsters: Maximillion Pegasus!

Of course, the pulled pork was only one of the reasons he was here this night…although he would never deny that it was worth the trip! It wasn’t everyday that a school set up their own dueling team so how could Pegasus deny himself the delight of seeing such fine, raw young talent who desired to step into the limelight? And going up against such a fine school like Appleloosa on their first go? It was next to impossible for anyone to stop Pegasus! So far, he had seen sparks of talent down on the field. Moondancer had made excellent work of the Nephthys his team had worked so diligently to create. A pity that not many people played ritual decks so it was pleasurable to see one with his own eye. The Steelswarm duelist, however, did not draw too much attention from him but that was mostly due to his opponent making the duel utterly dull. Hmm, perhaps dull people like that need a field spell. Something to work on for later. The Dragunity duelist was very clever in getting rid of that Venom Swap. Why, before she had activated that trap, Pegasus had thought the match was over. How exciting! As for the Fire Fist duelist there was a need for improvement.

Then there was the Shaddoll duelist: Star Hunter. The third, but not final, reason Pegasus was here tonight. It was hard not to know about the boy seeing that Pegasus had been involved with Star Chaser’s lifelong ban. He had also watched the video of the duel between the two brothers that Sombra had sent him as proof of Chaser’s crime. To be honest, Pegasus had been more interested in the duel and needed a second watching to spot what Sombra had pointed out! Hunter certainly deserved props for using Lord of Red and in such a dramatic fashion while Chaser had been a bore using that Red – Eyes burn tactic to try and win. It was a shame that Hunter couldn’t attend such a fine dueling institute like Crystal Prep. He could have made himself quite the name.

Did he think that Hunter was as bad as Chaser? Oh heavens no. While Hunter was a no name before his duel against Chaser, Pegasus had never gotten so much as a whiff that the boy shared the same vile streak as Chaser. So he tended to judge the boy on his merits and own accomplishments.

A pity then that not everyone seemed to share this view tonight, souring what could have been such an entertaining duel. Pegasus didn’t know if that Breaburn fellow really believed if Hunter was just as just his brother or that he just wanted to take out his own anger and frustration. Perhaps it didn’t even really matter what his reasons were, seeing as the result would have been the same either way. Alas, such a pity.

Letting out a hum, Pegasus looked over at the silver briefcase as a faint golden light began to shine through the cracks. Light that only those who had been touched by magic could see. A smile appeared on the man’s face, nodding at the briefcase before turning his attention back to the two duelists. This might be considered the final reason he was here tonight, along with this precious cargo. For the last year or so, he had been bringing it to tournaments much like this one hoping to see a similar reaction like what happened to the original Crystal Beasts…before he mass produced them. In all that time, he had never once gotten so much as a spark or a glow. That is until Sombra sent him that video and the briefcase began to glow. And now, as Pegasus brought the straw of his drink to his lips, he believed he had found the one the cards wanted.

Movement below caught the man’s attention as both duelists began to head back to their teams, Hunter appearing a little more haggard.

“Well, I suppose I’d best make the young man’s acquaintance,” Pegasus decided as he walked out of the room with the case in one hand and his sandwich in the other.

Hunter slowly made his way back across the field feeling more drained than he ever had in his entire life. His legs felt like they were made of ten-ton bricks, causing him to stumble and almost fall over. If anyone in the crowd saw this they remained silent about it, Hunter barely able to hear them whispering to each other as the last match of the night would soon begin. Hunter’s eyes felt heavy, as if sleep was beckoning him at that moment. But none of that compared to his throat. It had been a long time since it had been this sore with his vocal cords feeling like they had been set on fire.

About halfway, Hunter finally noticed a figure approaching him. It was Silver Star striding across the field back to his own team with a deep frown on his face and hardened eyes. At first, Hunter thought that they were fixed on him. As if he had done something wrong which, to be fair, he had been swearing a lot at the top of his lungs. No doubt there were plenty of children in the audience. It honestly made sense, he had done over to talk to Vice – Principal Luna about his behavior and was now heading back. Yet, as the older man came closer to him, Silver Star’s eyes softened considerably and slowed down.

“Sorry you had to deal with that young man,” he said in a low, kind voice as he patted Hunter on the shoulder. Barely able to hold back his surprise, the teen looked up only to find that Silver Star was picking his pace back up. Turning his head, Hunter saw that Silver Star was heading straight towards Breaburn. For a moment, Hunter just stood there watching Silver Star before turning around and continuing his slow walk.

Eventually Hunter made his way back to his team who quickly moved onto the field and surrounded him. Just in time too as it was then that Hunter’s legs finally gave out, almost dropping to the ground if Moondancer hadn’t caught him. His girlfriend struggled to help keep him up as the rest of the team began to pat him on the back, all of their faces looking relieved. Most likely happy he wasn’t a screaming mess anymore. The only one who wasn’t here right now was Vice – Principal Luna. It seemed she had stayed behind for a moment and was now calmly walking towards them.

“Dude, that was brutal!” yelled Lightning. “I mean the way he was just accusing you and then you summoning all those fusion monsters like it was nothing. If you had gone against anyone else-” Lightning’s ramblings were drowned out as the other members spoke up.

“I feel so pathetic,” said Autumn. “Losing my cool just because my opponent summons non – stop and there you are taking all that for so long. I’m really going to have to redouble my training!”

“There really should be rules against stuff like that,” Pharynx added as he shook his head.

“-and then just pow, right in the kisser with a mean left hook,” continued Lightning, punching the empty air in front of her. She then turned to look at the rest of the group with a grin on her face. “But hey, at least you scared the living shit out of him with all that screaming. Seeing all the color drain from his face while he crapped up his pants was a treat after all that.”

“Yes, the screaming,” said Luna as she now stood in front of Hunter. Slowly, she reached out a hand and placed it on Hunter’s shoulder with a grip that was firm yet comforting. “You know I can’t look away from all the things you said, right. Swearing like that in a public place and causing a scene. I’m going to have to call your aunt and have a talk about this with her.”

“WHAT?!?” shouted Moondancer and Lightning in unison.

“B-But that’s not fair!” cried Wallflower.

“That’s right!” said Moondancer as she stepped forward, nearly knocking Hunter down as she still held him. “That Breaburn guy wouldn’t ease up on him! He had to stand there and take it! It was either that or forfeit! So how can-” Luna held up her other hand to silence the nerdy girl while giving her a short, soft glance with a half smile.

“My hands are tied on this matter,” said Luna as she turned back to look at Hunter. “The rules state that when a student has done something this outrageous while representing the school, I have to talk to their parents or legal guardian.” She paused and smiled again. “However, the rules don’t go beyond that, leaving the rest up to my judgment. I will be talking to Ms. Star Chart about what happened, all the things he said to you, and how long you endured it. She should also be happy to hear that I won’t be punishing you for this either. But, this can only be a one time occurence. Understand?”

“Yeah,” said Hunter with a nod while everyone else around him let out a sigh of relief. He then turned to look at the rest of the team. “I’m just sorry I let you all down like this.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” said Lightning as she playfully punched his side, causing Hunter to wince. The girl really didn’t know how to hold back. “We’re still in this thing! All green girl has to do is win and the points will be tied up! Then we go to that life point thing. I think with the way Pharynx didn’t lose any we should be-”

“Lightning, there won’t be a tie,” said Hunter as he gestured towards the scoreboard. He watched as Lightning gave him a dubious look before glancing over where, upon looking at it, her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

Duel Scores:
Canterlot High: 6
Appleloosa High: 10

“Woah, hold on there!” Lightning yelled as she stared at the board. “That can’t be right! Appleloosa should have nine points! We won twice and they won three times! How can they-”

“My duel, remember?” said Pharynx as he stepped up to Lightning. “The point system is based on how the duel is won. Normal victories are three points but forcing a deck out is four. Even if Wallflower wins her next match, we’ll lose by one point.” As Lightning’s face fell, Pharynx let out a sigh. “Appleloosa has their bases covered so they have the greatest chance to win. Troubleshoes tries to get them a deck out win and Quick Strike goes for the instant win condition while the others seem to work on normal victories. I can see why they’re so good.”

“Don’t sell yourselves short,” said Luna as she stood up tall. “I think you have all done very well given the circumstances and shown that we have the potential to compete in team dueling. That is why I’m going to go before the school board and speak on behalf of the team. If they agree with me, then I will invite all of you to be the founding members of the team.” Everyone turned their attention to Lightning who looked like she was about to explode with joy. At Canterlot High, above every sports trophy case was a picture showing the founding members of each sports team. From hockey to baseball and even chess, they were all immortalized in that still frame. Hunter noticed that Luna rolled her eyes at this before turning to look at Wallflower who let out a gasp at the seriousness of her expression. “Wallflower, I don’t mean to put any pressure on you but it will help my case more if you win. Or, at the very least, make it a close match. I’ll still do my best even if you lose…it’ll just be a little more difficult.”

“I,” began Wallflower as her face began to turn bright red. Her body seemed to grow stiffer as she stood straighter than before. “I’ll try not to let you all down.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” said Lightning as she moved behind Wallflower, resting her hands on the other girl’s shoulders. “She’ll be fine. And when she dominates her opponent you can count me in on the team.”

“Me too,” said Pharynx as he moved behind Wallflower as well. “Might be fun. And, as a bonus, I get out of all my brother’s touchy feely retreats and circles! No more trust falls and making emotional bracelets!” The dark skinned boy smiled as he looked up into the sky, a tear almost hidden to everyone as it ran down his cheek.

“I think I’ll join as well,” said Hunter, much to everyone’s surprise. He ignored them however and instead focused on Vice – Principal Luna. “I don’t want to give up on dueling and I can’t just let things stand the way they are. But, if this sort of thing keeps happening, I’ll have to leave…for my own sake.”

For a moment, Luna said nothing as she looked him over. As she did so, Hunter noted how her right eye narrowed to a point where it almost twitched as well as how her jaw shifted ever so slightly even though her mouth was closed. He could tell that right now she was having a very intense battle within her mind. One that he was fairly certain he knew what it was about. She knew that Hunter was a skilled duelist with a vast collection of cards that could help the team. On the other hand, she was one of the people responsible for him. Not just his physical wellbeing but also his emotional and mental wellbeing. No doubt after tonight she was worried that placing him on the team would endanger those last two. And if he had another break like tonight…

Finally, she let out a sigh. “Alright, but I need to make something very clear,” she said sternly. “Star Hunter, I am willing to let you get off with a warning because you have never done this before. That no one knew what you were walking into. But, if you stay on the team, there is a good chance that there will be others who will do the same. Meaning you will be actively walking into this same situation over and over again. Do you understand this?” Luna left a pause allowing Hunter to nod. “Then you need to understand that your outburst, while understandable, cannot be tolerated.”

“But that doesn’t seem fair!” shouted Autumn.

“Yeah, what’s Hunter supposed to do? Just take it lying down?” railed Lightning.

“No, she’s right,” said Hunter, surprising the two girls. Slowly, Hunter did his best to stand up more on his own power. Slowly he then looked over at Moondancer, their eyes locking. He could see the concern she had for him. The worries and fears all within that simple look. But then, he saw a shift. He could see that she understood what he wanted and agreed with him. When she nodded, Hunter turned to look back at everyone else. “Honestly, I didn’t like myself out there at the end. It reminded me too much of…him. But, I hope there will be more people out there willing to give me a chance to show that I’m not like Chaser. Or at least keep their feelings in check while we duel. If I can’t, then the only thing I can control is myself. I need to take responsibility.” Hunter then cleared his throat. “Ah, do you think it would be alright if I could get some water?”

“I don’t mind,” said Luna as she looked over across the field. Hunter, along with the rest of the team turned to look as well, seeing the Silver Star was shouting something at Breaburn and waving his fist in the air. “It looks like it might be awhile before the next match. Just be sure to head back here when you hear the announcement.”

As Hunter nodded, Moondancer spoke up. “I’ll go with him. Just to make sure nothing more happens.”

“In all mah years at this here school, Ah have never seen anything more disgraceful than that!” shouted Silver Star, spittle flying through the air and landing on Breaburn’s face. Out of instinct, the teen started to raise his hand to wipe it away, only to stop a third of the way as Silver Star’s face reddened even more.

No one had ever seen the man this anger before. Sure, the man could lose his temper when a student came up with a lame excuse for why he didn’t turn in his assignment, half assed it, or when an entire class failed to live up to his expectations. But in all those other times, his face had never turned that shade of red nor had he shown that many veins. Heck, you could almost see the anger rolling off his body making him scarier than fighting an entire field of Blue – Eyes! Yet, Breaburn stood there as his teammates said nothing. None of them came to his defense or tried to calm the man down. Not because they were afraid of his ire, but more likely they were just as mad at Breaburn. With the exception of Sparkle who seemed to be simply assumed by this sight, looking like she wished she had some popcorn to munch on.

“What you did out there was the most dishonest tactic ta win a duel!” continued Silver Star. “Nothing but a low down move that ah thought you were above. Accusing that poor fella non stop in front of the entire town!?! If ah had known that you were gonna act like that, ah would have taken a forfeit. Now this win is going to feel like a nasty lump in the throat when ah announce the win on Monday.”

Silver Star paused and shook his head. “This was supposed ta be us showing our Appleloosa pride ta them city folk from Canterlot. Our first time dueling against them and puttin’ on a fine show. And what do you think they’re going ta think of us when they head back home? That we have any pride in our town? NO! Do you think the folks up in the bleachers are feelin’ proud right now? NO! Breaburn, you-” Silver Star shoved one of his fingers right into Breaburn’s face, teeth gritted so tightly there might have been sparks. The older man had an ugly look in his eyes now, but that might have been because he was looking at something really repulsive right now. He then took a breath before pulling back. “Ah expected more from you, boy. You let not only me down, but the whole school by that showing. From this point on, you’re no longer Captain. But believe you me, that ain’t the half of it. No sir! Ah’ll be having a chat with Principal Thunderhooves about what happened when he gets back from Hawaii. We’ll be talking long and hard about this. Might be needing ta kick you off the team for the rest of the year! Maybe for good!”

Breaburn somehow managed to stay standing, though his legs felt like they were about to give out. He had expected some sort of penalty if he got caught fixing this match. And in the end, he knew he deserved to be punished for how he had acted. But hearing it from Mr. Silver Star who he had always gotten along with was something completely different. It was like the weight of everything he had decided to throw away tonight had finally come crashing down on him. Not only had he put his dueling future into danger, but he had most likely lost the trust of Silver Star. Maybe the entire school or even the town. How long would it be before he could put this night behind him?

What made this all the worse was that no one was standing up for him. Most of them just stood there, remaining silent. Most of them…

“Well, looks like there’s an opening for team Captain,” said Sparkle as she twirled around. “Since you’re no doubt looking, I think the position should be filled with the most talented show woman in town. Someone like-”

“Oh, don’t you dare think Ah had forgotten about you!” snapped Silver Star, earning an ‘eep’ from Sparkle as she jumped back. “Still fuming about how you handled your loss against that gal Moondancer. And that ain’t nothing compared ta how you treated Quick Strike after he lost! Oh, words will be had with Thunderhooves AN your folk! Ah…Ah…” The elder man let out a hiss of anger before he walked away. No doubt too angry to even look at the two.

“Well poo, another lame talk with my parents,” said Sparkle as she placed her hands behind her head. “But at least I can look on the bright side that Breaburn can mess up worse!” She then let out a loud laugh that cut right into Breaburn. He turned to look at the girl, tears beginning to sting his eyes. But, as he did, Sparkle turned to look at him with her old amused look. “Oh, I wouldn’t be trying to throw my weight around if I were you. No longer Captain, remember? Old high and mighty Breaburn has fallen off his high horse, just another lowly little duelist like the rest of us. I’m so glad I got to see it firsthand.”

Breaburn nearly felt himself stumble backwards at that, as if the smaller girl had punched him in the gut. Without really thinking about it, he turned to look at the rest of his team. Both Quick Strike and Trouble Shoes were looking away, not wanting to make any eye contact with him. Liberty was busy going over her deck, thinking about the duel ahead rather than what was going on in front of her. As for Little Strongheart, she was the only one to make eye contact. Only, he wished she wouldn’t.

“Don’t go lookin’ ta me for help there,” she stated flatly, but loud enough so that everyone around could hear. She then stepped closer, only stopping when she was right in front of him and able to pull down on his shirt until her mouth was next to his ear. “Ya got only a bit of what you deserve there. Ain’t told nobody what you got Forecast ta do for you and, for his sake, Ah ain’t gonna. But, if you had any sense, you would resign from dueling and never show yourself around these here parts again. An don’t you dare try to court me again! Ah don’t even want ta look at your sorry sight!” With that said, Breaburn’s eyes widened as he was then pushed back by Strongheart with enough force to nearly cause him to fall on his ass. Or maybe it was also because his legs had suddenly become as strong as a pair of twigs holding up an anvil. As he tried to straighten himself, he managed to get a look at Strongheart’s eyes. Full of disgust and regret, along with tears that were forming.

Breaburn’s eyes shifted to look down at the ground. They were right. She was right. He wanted to tell them all how sorry he was. How he now realized how wrong he had been. How stupid he had been. But he knew words wouldn’t do it. Not alone.

Slowly he looked up, shifting his gaze over to the Canterlot side of the field. There, he saw Hunter moving away from most of his team with the help of Moondancer. As he watched them, he could hear Strongheart saying something yet he ignored it. Instead he moved away from the rest of his team. He knew what he now had to do.

“You sure you want to keep doing this Hunter?” asked Moondancer. Hunter looked up from the cubed haystack he was currently sitting on, an ice cold bottle of water in his hands. Hands that were trying with all their might to twist the damn thing open!

“Yeah,” Hunter said with a grunt. “My throat feels like sandpaper right, gr, now!” As Hunter gritted his teeth, putting more and more strength into twisting the cap, Moondancer let out a sigh as she shook her head.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it,” she said.

“I, ah, know,” grunted Hunter again, twisting until he felt his palm skidding across the cap. The teen let out a hiss of pain, waving his friction burned hand around as if it had been set on fire. After a few swipes, he finally stopped and rested the bottle in both hands. “Moondancer, that duel made me realize something: I’ve been standing in Chaser’s shadow for so long it feels like it’s a part of me. It…It’s deep inside of me, gnawing and corrupting me all the time. I still dream about that duel at Crystal Prep, only in those dreams I’ve humiliated him and made him feel like how I’ve felt. Then…I wake up sick with how good it felt to see him so broken before me.” A shudder ran through Hunter’s body as he shook his head. “When I was out there, letting the anger take over, I felt like him. I didn’t care about anything or anyone. The only thing that mattered was ripping everything apart. Then, when I saw Construct get blasted like that, I saw what might be my future. Being just a puppet, letting my rage take control like that until it destroys me. So, I need to change that. I need to let go of Chaser and move on. What’s done is done. Now, all I’m going to focus on is the future and not worry about what could have been.”

“That doesn’t mean you should keep doing this though,” argued Moondancer. She then bit her lower lip, running a hand through her hair as she looked down at him. “Hunter, you’re a great duelist and I know how much you love the game. But just look what this one duel did to you. What if every time you go out there, Chaser gets thrown back in your face? Or you see a card that brings back memories of you and Chaser like the Inferno Fire Blast?”

“That’s why I said I’d leave if I kept exploding out there,” said Hunter as he moved to open the bottle again. Well, try to anyways. “I want to at least try and hope not every duelist out there is like Breaburn. Maybe I can make some headway, make a name for myself that really separates me from Chaser. But I won’t keep subjecting myself to a hopeless cause. If I really do keep exploding out there, or if I just can’t move on while dueling, I’ll walk away. For my sake.”

“Need a hand with that?” came a familiar voice. Both Moondancer and Hunter turned to see Breaburn standing a few feet away from them, holding out a hand. As Moondancer clenched her fists and trembled with anger, Hunter stared into the other teen’s face. Breaburn did not look like a guy who had just secured a victory for his team. He looked completely and utterly miserable.

“What are you doing here?” demanded Moondancer. “Come to twist the knife a little deeper? Or do you just-”

“Sure, knock yourself out,” interrupted Hunter, tossing Breaburn the bottle as Moondancer gave him a shocked look. However, Hunter kept his eyes on Breaburn. “But don’t be surprised if you can’t open it. I swear, those seals these days feel more and more like they fused-” Hunter stopped talking as Breaburn effortlessly opened the bottle and then tossed it back to Hunter. “Well, I’d love to say I loosened it…but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.” He let out a sigh before twisting the cap fully off and bringing the nose of the bottle to his mouth. “Guess I’d better work on strengthening my grip as well. Thanks by the way.”

“Ah…Ah, you’re welcome,” said Breaburn, his voice very uneasy as Hunter began to drink. “Ah sort of, er, heard what you were saying. About being in that ratt-, that asses shadow. Feeling more like him while you were dueling. Ah got ta say, Ah felt like that as well. Not proud of it at all.” He then paused for a moment. “Did ya…did you know you could have won?”

Hunter, now halfway finished with his bottle of water, raised an eyebrow before separating himself from his drink. Unable to help himself, he let out a sigh of relief at how good it felt. “Oh yeah,” said Hunter in an off handed tone. “Instead of summoning Anoyatyllis, I should have summoned Apkellone. With her effect, I could have negated the effect of your trap card preventing you from summoning Starfire and not having any tribute for your boss monster.”

A small smile appeared on Breaburn’s face. “Well, could have just normal summoned Starfire an then used them two spell cards.”

“Ah, but you’re only allowed to use each of them once per turn,” Hunter pointed out. “With her, at most you would have only been able to deal 2600 points of damage. I would have still been in the game, ready to attack with even more monsters. True you could have had more copies of those cards in your hand…but by that same logic all I had to do on my next turn was to summon Aliester, get my own spell card, and then negate whatever one you used.” Breaburn nodded, conceding to Hunter’s point. “But, that’s not what happened. I just wanted to hit you with brute force and lost.”

“Yeah, but you shouldn’t have,” said Breaburn with a sigh, a look of guilt returning. “Ah…Ah’m ashamed to admit it but Ah…cheated ya. Ah fixed the match ta make sure we would duel.”

“You did what?!?” yelled Moondancer who looked livid. “After all that talk about calling Hunter a cheater, you just go ahead and fix the match?!”

“Ah know, ah know,” said Breaburn as he shook his head. “It was mighty stupid of me. Ah just wanted ta tell you myself before Ah turn myself in. You, well, you deserve ta know that much at least from me.” At that, Hunter raised his eyebrow once again while Moondancer stood there looking shocked.

“Ahh, don’t bother,” said Hunter as he returned to his water. “We’re even.”

“WHAT?!?” shouted Breaburn and Moondancer in unison so loudly that Hunter choked on his water. As he couched, the two stood there looking like he had gone mad. That he didn’t know what this meant. But he knew. There would be serious consequences for Breaburn down the line, but for right now it would mean that Canterlot High would win by default. It would mean that the dueling team would more likely be confirmed. That or the school board would demand another trial match. And yet…

“Breaburn, did you know what deck I played when you did that?” asked Hunter.

“No,” said Breaburn, still looking puzzled. “Ah ain’t never heard of you before tonight. But that don’t mean that-”

“Then if you didn’t know, then there was no way you could have known I would have been put in a difficult position,” argued Hunter. “For all you knew, I could have been playing True Draco or something like that making the whole thing meaningless. Or I could have been playing a Jinzo or Ancient Gear deck, making all those traps useless. And besides, my brother cheated during your duel and you cheated against me. So just consider us even.”

As Hunter prepared to take another drink, Breaburn spoke up again. “But…But…” Breaburn looked at Hunter like he had lost his mind, unable to comprehend why he would throw this win away. Moondancer just looked at Hunter in a similar way or that he still wasn’t thinking straight.

“Look,” said Hunter finally. “I’m not saying this because I forgive you…not completely anyways. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted so that our school could win. But I get where you’re coming from. My brother hurt you. Badly. I’m sure if you never met him, you would never have tried to hurt me like that. Because, that’s what corruption does to people. It just keeps eating away at them until they turn into something ugly. And then it spreads, infecting more people along the way. So let’s just end this here; admit we both made mistakes and walk away.”

Breaburn’s eyes widened, a bit in shock as well as relief. “Ya…Ya sure about that?”

“Yeah,” said Hunter as he pulled out his deck. Slowly he fanned them out until he saw the images of Winda and Construct next to each other, looking at the hollowed forms of monsters that had also been corrupted. “Perhaps it’s also time I walked away from this deck as well.”

“Well, if that’s the case, then I came at just the right time,” came a new voice, causing everyone there to jump. All three turned to see a man with long white/silver hair in a red suit standing before them, a briefcase in one hand and stained fingers on the other. As they all looked at him, the man made a waving gesture with his free hand. “I believe I have exactly what you need now my boy.”

“Hold on there partner,” said Breaburn as he moved to stand between the Canterlot pair and this new person. “Now Ah know a good chunk of the folks out here and Ah know Ah ain’t ever seen you before. Who are ya?”

“Breaburn, how could you not recognize who he is?” demanded Moondancer as she shot an annoyed look at Breaburn. “That’s Maximillion Pegasus! You know, as in the guy who created duel monsters?”

“Ah, so wonderful to be recognized even after all these years,” said Pegasus with a smile, walking past Breaburn without giving him another look. When he finally stood in front of Hunter, Pegasus smiled. “An excellent duel out there, Hunter boy. You played marvelously just as I expected you to. Well, at least until the end that is. Such a sour end to it all. But alas, that’s life.”

“But how could you expect anything from me?” asked Hunter, picking up on that over everything else.

Pegasus merely waved a finger at that, tuting as he did so. “Your reputation precedes you, Hunter boy. Within certain circles, like mine, of course. And not because of that utter ruffian with his droll tastes.” Pegasus then got down on one knee, opening the briefcase before offering its contents to Hunter with his head bowed. Looking inside the teen saw a stack of cards in the middle, kept in place by foam. “You said it was your desire to walk out of Chaser’s shadow, did you not. Well, this deck will help you in that regard. Take it, they belong to you and you alone, Hunter boy.”

Curious, Hunter reached out to touch the card. As soon as his fingers made contact with the cardboard, Hunter felt a jolt of energy pass through him almost like an electric shock. Only, it didn’t hurt at all. It felt pleasant, relaxing even, like a warm blanket was being wrapped around him while the scent of his favorite meal tickled his nose. Unable to control himself, Hunter picked up the cards and began to go through them. After looking at the first card, his years widened. While he was not so arrogant as to think that he knew every card out there, he knew he had never seen this one before. Shocked, Hunter began to go through the deck seeing more and more cards he had never even heard about. There were even spells, traps, and extra deck monsters that were all unfamiliar to him.

“I’ve never seen any of these before,” Hunter finally admitted, looking over to Pegasus for answers.

“I should hope not,” replied Pegasus as he stood up. “The deck that you are holding right now is a one of a kind, one which only you will have…for right now at least.”

“But…” stammered Hunter as he looked at the cards in his hands and then back at the man who had given them to him.

“What good will they do him?” demanded Moondancer. “They can’t be tournament legal and-”

Pegasus interrupted with a laugh. “Ah that has already been taken care of. Not that hard really. This isn’t the first time a duelist has had a deck that they alone possess. Destiny Heroes, Crystal Beasts, Neos, and other such decks were one of a kind once. Each one used by master duelists who had fans flock to tournaments around the world just to see with their own eyes these exclusive cards. Then, when I finally do release them to the public, there will be swarms of people eager to get their hands on them. Just like when I first released all the Blue-Eyes cards to the public. Oh, the heart attack that man had!”

“Still, why me?” asked Hunter as he held these cards. “Why give them to someone like me? After how I acted out there?”

At that, Pegasus gave him an understanding smile. “My boy, do you really think you’re the first person to make a mistake? The first person to allow his emotions to get the better of them? I can hardly blame you for that little slip up.” He paused and let out a little laugh. “But, to answer your question Hunter boy, I didn’t choose you to have these cards; the cards choose you to have them.”

“Woah, hold on there partner,” said Breaburn seriously. Hunter could hear it in the taller teen’s voice that he didn’t trust any of this. Like it could all be a trap or a trick of some kind. Then again, with that sort of answer, who wouldn’t think something fishy was going on? “What kind of answer is that? Cards don’t pick who plays them!”

“Whether or not you choose to believe me is irrelevant,” said Pegasus as he turned to walk away. “What I have told you is the simple truth of the matter. Those cards belong to Hunter boy now. I will be very interested to see how he plays them.” And with that, Pegasus walked away.

“Hey wait!” shouted Breaburn. Hunter watched as the tall teen began to chase after Pegasus only to stop when another figure stepped in the way from behind one of the nearby stalls. Hunter recognized her as Strongheart, the duelist who had defeated Autumn. And he could tell that she had been there for some time.

For a moment, Strongheart looked at Breaburn as if she didn’t know what to say or what to do. Then, finally, she gave him the smallest of smiles before patting the taller teen on the back. “Come on, the last match is about to start.”

“We will now begin the final duel of the night,” said Forecast in a lifeless voice, lacking any energy at all. “Would Liberty Bell and Wallflower Blush please take the field.”

“Ah man, come on there,” complained Liberty as she took the field. “At least put in a little energy for the girl with the stars and stripes on her side!” Shaking her head, she knew why this was while taking her position. The game was pretty much over and done with, this was just a formality. That as well as the crummy way the last duel ended.

As her deck began to shuffle, she looked across the field to see no one was there. Liberty frowned, hoping that her opponent hadn’t chickened out or that she was trying to convince her coach to forfeit. Damn that would suck! Again. This was why she hated going last sometimes. She was always itching for a good duel, waiting and waiting for her turn just to have the other team say ‘why bother’. The only thing worse was when the other duelist was just going through the motions, clearly not giving a damn. Then Liberty blinked and when she opened her eyes that Wallflower girl was there, with her deck shuffling as well.

“Wow, you just seemed to come out of nowhere!” exclaimed Liberty, taken aback.

“I get that a lot,” sighed Wallflower, looking utterly dejected.

“Listen,” said Liberty in a serious tone. “This match might be over with, but I want you to give me your all. Show me what you got so we can at least end this in a blaze of glory! In America!”

“Ah, I’ll try?” stated the other girl, giving Liberty an odd look.

“Good,” said Liberty with a grin as they were signaled to start. “Since your team lost, you get to decide who goes first.”

“You can,” said Wallflower. “Doesn’t really matter much to me.”

“ALRIGHT THEN!” screamed Liberty so loudly that she hoped she woke everyone up around them, including the dead, so that they could focus on this sure to be an amazing match! “Let’s get this started! Forecast! Play my jam!” There was a sigh on the speakers before everyone heard ‘America, Fuck Ya!’ sung loudly.

-Liberty Bell’s Life Points: 8000-

-Wallflower Blush’s Life Points: 8000-

Turn One: Liberty Bell

“Let’s kick it up!” she yelled while drawing her cards (hand: 6). Grinning she looked at her hand, spotting her Blast Sphere in her opening hand. Oh yeah, this would make a great opening play. When her opponent attack this face down card, it would not be destroyed but instead equipped to that monster. Then, during Wallflower’s standby phase, it would explode taking the monster it was equipped to with it and burning her with damage equal to that monsters attack points.

“I’m playing this card face down and ending my turn,” announced Liberty. She could already see it now. Wallflower burning through cards in her hand to get an impressive boss monster out, only to have to either get rid of it or take a lot of damage.

Turn Two: Wallflower Blush

“I draw,” said Wallflower. (hand: 6) “I end my turn.”

Turn Three: Liberty Bell

As the crowd gasped, Liberty narrowed her eyes for a moment before shrugging. “Fine,” she said as she drew. (hand: 6) “I really hope it was just a bad hand and you’re not just throwing in the towel already. Well, might as well summon BM-4 Bomb Spider in attack mode!” (1400/2200) Appearing on the field was an eight legged metal tank with large rocket launchers on its back, looking like each one could hold six or eight.

“Now I attack you directly!” Liberty shouted, pointing at Wallflower as missiles were fired.