Sunset Shimmer ran to Canterlot high once more, after getting a text about an "emergency" from Rainbow Dash. It was way too early in the morning for this.
“Dash, I swear if this is about a guitar string again!" She threatened as she reached the school's steps.
“Okay, I know usually when I say 'emergency' it's not," Rainbow defended. "But this time it's totally an emergency. And magic related!"
"Fine," she sighed. "What's going on?"
"I think it'd be easier to show you," she said.
Rainbow led her through the halls to the band's practice room. Inside were Rarity and Flash Sentry.
"Girls, if you're trying to set me up with my ex, I appreciate the effort," Sunset sighed. "But I think this is the point where I remind you I'm gay."
"Sunset, dear," Rarity said with the strained smile of someone trying to keep calm. "I know we already asked Princess Twilight about her lack of glasses, but are you sure you don't need them?"
Sunset looked over Rarity. She didn't have any issues. No magical changes. Not even a stain on her skirt, which while Rarity might consider that an emergency, Rainbow would not.
Her eyes shifted to Flash. He was wearing one of those headbands, the ones with the ears that got popular again this year. But she could've sworn those headbands were yellow, not orange. And speaking of orange, were those feathers?
Sunset walked to him and gently touched the ears. They were velvety soft, and definitely not the mass-produced "cheap enough for a public school" headbands. And they were warm. Real. So the feathers had to be-
“Oh stars you’re a fucking Pegasus,” she exclaimed.
“I noticed,” he chuckled.
“Okay, what happened?” she asked, glancing at Rarity and Rainbow.
“Well,” Rarity began. “I asked Flash to help me with, uh something and-“
“Hold it,” Sunset interrupted. “If I’m going to figure this out, I need to know exactly what happened.”
“Alright,” Rarity sighed. “I was trying to get Rainbow Dash and Bright Heart to ask each other out. So I asked Flash to help me set them up.”
“By the way,” Rainbow interjected, “so not cool. I’ll ask Bright out when I want. If I wanted to ask that nerd out in the first place.”
“I’m sure you will,” she rolled her eyes. “Anyway, I asked Rainbow to meet me in the band room, and Flash did the same for Bright Heart.”
“We kinda hid behind the instrument cases,” Flash admitted. “Rarity asked me to keep a lookout for them, and maybe distract whoever got here first before the other did. I kept my eyes on the door, and as soon as the handle turned I told Rarity someone was here, and then I just, I don’t know? Started glowing?”
“That kind of gave away the fact that we were spying on them,” she said.
“Okay, well, I can’t figure out the exact reason yet,” Sunset sighed. “Seeing someone isn’t really on the list of ‘reasons we’ve powered up’ before.”
“Well, magic’s surprised us before,” Rainbow said.
“True,” she agreed. “Okay, let’s work with what we know. From what I have actually figured out, is that this world has magic, but you can’t access it without a means to conduct it.”
“Like electricity?” Flash asked.
“Basically,” she answered. “A Unicorn conducts magic through their horn, but here I don’t have a horn, so I can’t cast spells. The Sirens use the Gems in their bodies, and they got to keep those as a necklace, letting them use magic here. A Pegasus conducts magic with their wings, and again, humans don’t have those. And without wings they can’t really get up high enough to try weather manipulation.”
“So if someone with Pegasus-like magic went skydiving, they’d hit a cloud?” Rainbow asked.
“Well, no,” Sunset said. “Very few clouds are made ‘solid’. Cloud walls and furniture are enchanted to always be solid, but the rest aren’t unless a Pegasus uses their magic on it. Otherwise, they’d be running into clouds while flying. Er, basically Humans don’t expect clouds to be solid, so they won’t be solid.”
“Which reminds me,” she said. “I should totally teach Flash to fly!”
“Can we handle one problem at a time?” Flash asked.
“Anyway,” Sunset said. “Princess Twilight and I used her crown, which was designed to conduct magic. The crown transformed Rainbow, Rarity, Pinkie, Aj, and Flutters. The Elements of Harmony seem to have triggered humans to transform into something that can use magic properly, and since it was Equestria’s magic, it chose to copy it, which is why we get pony ears, and those whose counterparts have wings also got wings and so on. It’s also why Equestria’s Elements, and your counterparts’ Special Talents activate the transformation. Flash’s counterpart is a Royal Guard, and I’d bet my horn his talent has something to do with his lookout skills!
“Aside from Twilight and me,” she continued, “the Humans who have been able to transform have been effected by Equestria’s magic in some way, so that must have kickstarted the magic into gear, allowing a transformation that gives Humans the ability to conduct magic. It's been fairly unstable, much like a foal, only transforming us when it felt like it. It's been stablizing a bit, which is why my 'Unicorn' and 'Alicorn' transformations have horns, and why the transformation lasts longer, not to mention the fact that we've been able to purposely trigger it and-”
“Wait, back up,” Flash said. “Did you just say that anyone who has had magic used on them can now ‘Pony Up’?”
“I think?” she said. “Unless you happened to find any items radiating weird energy, then I think that’s the reason why you went all ‘pony up’.
“Sunset, Darling,” Rarity said. “You do realize how many people have been affected by magic, right?”
“Well yeah, it’s…” she did a mental count. “Oh no.”
“All the students and staff in Canterlot High, chaperones from the Fall Formal, people from town who went to the Battle of the Bands Finale Concert, since it was open to everyone, the students and staff from Crystal Prep, everyone we teleported out of that apartment building, and both Timber Spruce and Gloriosa Daisy from Camp Everfree.”
Everyone jumped seeing Pinkie Pie suddenly in the room. She was carrying a cake decorated in orange and blue frosting, which she cheerily presented to Flash. The words on it read ‘Congratulations! You’re a fucking Pegasus!’. Sunset sighed before reaching over to apologize by scratching Flash’s new ears.
“You’re going to torture me with your knowledge of pony tricks, aren’t you?” he asked, unconsciously leaning into her touch.
“You have no idea,” she laughed.
“These wings are really cool!” Pinkie exclaimed, having set down the cake and was now examining Flash’s new wings.
“Not as cool as mine!” Rainbow protested.
“Different kind of cool!” she replied, investigating every bit of the wings. “Yours are definitely the best flying wings, and Fluttershy’s wings are the prettiest, and Princess Twilight’s wings are, like, radiating magical energy and stuff! But Flash’s wings are bigger than yours! I mean, they have to be, since he’s bigger than you so he needs bigger wings to fly! And they’re also a bit more muscular! Like, yours are muscular too, but they’re speed muscles! These are heavy lifting muscles but in wings!”
Sunset stopped to look at what Pinkie was actually doing. She seemed to have grabbed Flash’s wing and was poking and prodding at it, occasionally stopping to feel out a muscle or a particularly soft patch of feathers. Flash’s face was hilarious. He looked nearly as red as he did when talking to Twilight. He turned even redder when he realized she was looking at him.
“Uh Pinkie,” Sunset began, “you might want to stop touching his wings like that.”
“Really? Why?” Pinkie asked.
“Well…” she tried to figure out how to say this with the least amount of embarrassment. “Pegasus wings can handle high speeds and being hit with things like any other limb, but they can be a bit, um, sensitive when it comes to being touched like...that.”
Pinkie, Rarity and Rainbow turned red realizing what she meant.
“Kill me now,” Flash muttered, hiding his face in his hands.
“Anyway!” Sunset said, attempting to change the subject. “How are we going to handle everyone else suddenly getting magic?”
“I don’t think we can really just ask Principal Celestia to make an announcement,” Rarity said.
“Yeah, imagine that!” Pinkie laughed. “ ‘Good morning students and staff! If you happen to turn into a horse, don’t panic’!”
“Honestly? I think that’s probably what we’ll have to do,” Sunset sighed. “And either Principal Celestia or Twi could send a message to Dean Cadence at Crystal Prep and have her warn the students. Twi’s been texting Timber Spruce a lot, so she can probably tell him and his sister.”
“Now that I’m thinking about it,” Rarity said, “We really should have figured out there was magic in that forrest when we still had cell service in the middle of nowhere.”
“Speaking of Cell service,” Sunset muttered as her phone started to ring. She pulled it out. “Oh no.”
The contact name said it was Principal Celestia’s number. She’d given her the number only in case of magical emergencies, so she could already guess where this was going.
“Hello?” Sunset said into the phone.
“Good morning Sunset Shimmer,” the person on the other end said.
“Vice Principal Luna?” she asked. “I thought this was Principal Celestia’s number?”
“It is,” Luna sighed. “However, my sister cannot come to the phone right now. Well, her ears can’t.”
There was the sound of muffled reprimanding from the other side of the phone.
“Anyway,” Luna continued as if nothing had happened. “We need you to get to the school’s auditorium.”
“I’m already on campus,” Sunset sighed. “I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
“Thank you,” she said.
With a click, she hung up the phone and put it back in her pocket.
“To the auditorium we go,” she relayed.
The auditorium was a thankfully short trip. Inside were about twenty students and three staff members. Most were transformed, but a couple like Lyra were there for a friend. Seeing the Principal and Vice Principal on stage, Sunset climbed up as well.
She tried not to laugh at Principal Celestia. Like her Princess counterpart, she was very good at keeping a straight face, even in the worst of situations. However, the Principal had yet to learn the exact nuance of keeping your ears and wings from saying what you’re feeling. And she was definitely uncomfortable by the way her wings shuffled and her ears laid back.
“Rainbow Dash! Flash!” someone shouted from the seats.
Scootaloo ran up to the both of them, getting the attention of the rest of the students. She was a Pegasus too. Her ears stood straight up, and her wings were fully extended and flapping excitedly.
“I got wings now!” Scootaloo exclaimed. “And Flash does too!”
“Sweet!” Rainbow replied, giving her a high five. “Pegasus fam for life!”
Appearently that was enough Loyalty for Rainbow to transform. She swore as her own wings appeared, earning her a look from Vice Principal Luna.
“Hey! Now you can test out that wing trick we learned about!” Pinkie exclaimed.
Rainbow and Flash turned red again. Rarity tried to keep a straight face, but she let out a snort of laugher. Sunset didn’t have much self control, and started laughing out loud. Pinkie looked back and forth between them, as if she had no idea what she said.
“I’ll explain that part later,” Sunset said
“While I am sure this is all hilarious,” Trixie said from a front seat, “if you could explain why we’re all transforming as you do.”
“While I would have phrased it better,” Luna said, “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“A little bit, I think,” Sunset said. “As best as I can figure, no one here could use magic because they lacked the ability to conduct it. Equestria’s magic transformed me and my friends, and this world’s magic is now adapting by imitating Equestria’s magic. This forces a transformation, but we’re pretty sure it’s limited to only people who’ve come in contact with magic.”
“So, you can’t stop it?” asked Thunderbass, who was now a Unicorn.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “And there’s no way to just ‘not do it’, since it’s activated by your Special Talent.”
“Special what?” Bon Bon asked.
“Special Talent,” she repeated. “In Equestria, everyone has a Special Talent, something they’re good at and love to do. It’s your passion, and magical. You earn your Cutie Mark, a magic symbol that embodies yourself, your talent, and your magic. You know those symbols you guys have on literally every outfit you wear? It’s a perfect match for your Counterpart’s Cutie Mark, which means it counts as your Talent and Magic as well. For example, what were you doing when you transformed?”
“I was making a few candies,” she answered. “I forgot to do it last night because Twist was sick, so I got up early this morning.”
“I’ll bet anything that your Counterpart’s talent is candy making,” she said. “And before you ask, I’m pretty sure it just has to be something close to your talent to do it. After all, Principal Celestia’s Counterpart is literally a sort of goddess who raises and sets the Sun every day, which I doubt she did this morning.”
“What if we just stop doing that?” another girl asked.
Sunset couldn’t remember her name, but it was Scootaloo’s new pink friend. Her ears were laying back, and she looked like she’d been crying.
“That might work,” she agreed. “But you’d have to give up the thing you love to do most. I might be biased, but I don’t think giving that up just so you don’t transform is a good trade off.”
Everyone murmured amongst themselves. They seemed on board with that idea. Then again, who would want to give that up?
“In that case,” Principal Celestia began, “what should we do next?”
“Ask if it’s ethical to place bets on who’s what?” Sunset suggested.
“I’ve got twenty on Lyra being a Unicorn!” Pinkie shouted.
“Pinkie! That’s cheating!” Lyra stood up. “You know for a fact I’m a Unicorn!”
“Technically the school rules only ban gambling on card games and sports events,” Luna interjected with a smirk.
“Jokes aside,” Sunset said, “I suggest we separate everyone it to groups to help them control their magic. I can work with Unicorns, and I think Rainbow’s up to group flying lessons”
“You bet I am!” Rainbow added, jumping into the air.
“Earth Ponies mostly just need to watch their strength,” she continued. “There’s a few other types of creatures we might have to deal with, but we’ll get to that If we need to.”
“Are there any other surprises we should know about?” Celestia asked.
“Not off the top of my head,” she said. “Some of our non-pony-but-still-sapient races might be a bit more difficult, but it’s probably easy to handle, even if a few have a Berserk mode. Although I do have the feeling I’m forgetting someone.”
“Maybe it’s telling Princess Twilight about this,” Rarity offered.
“I was planning on doing that later,” she said. “No, I know I’m forgetting something, but I can’t just- oh shit!”
“Language!” Luna reprimanded.
“Where’s Discord?” she asked, ignoring the outburst.
“Backstage, probably,” Celestia said. “He said he had something planned for his classes. Why?”
“Well, you see,” she chuckled nervously, “Our theatre teacher’s Counterpart might just happen to be another of those ‘sort of a god’ types, except instead of controlling the Sun or Moon, he’s basically the embodiment of Chaos.”
Fog rolled onto the stage. Some catchy song Sunset couldn’t put a name to began to blast out of the sound system.
“Oh no,” Sunset muttered.
“Did someone say my name?” came a voice from above.
There was a mechanical whirring as something lowered from the stage’s catwalk. A prop moon lowered. Discord had one knee hooked onto the bottom of the crescent as he dangled upside down, with his other leg stretched to rest at the top of the crescent. He dropped, unfurling a new pair of wings to slow his landing. Sunset barely glanced at the mismatched horns on his head, but was that a-
“No fair!” Pinkie exclaimed. “How come he gets an actual tail!”
“Great, isn’t it?” Discord asked, spinning to see it. “And that’s not even the best part!”
He snapped his fingers, making the music change to something even more lively. He tapped Celestia and Luna on the head, causing their hair colors to switch. He then summoned a sandwich as tall as his leg. Another music switch, and he started dancing with the sandwich. It didn’t last long before he tripped over his tail and went flying off the stage, sending sandwich ingredients into the crowd.
“How’d you learn to control you magic so quick?” Sunset asked.
“Well, I had help, of course!” Discord laughed.
Someone tapped on her shoulder. Sunset turned around, only to scream at seeing Discord now behind her. She glanced back downstage, to see Discord climbing his way back up, and then back at Discord standing next to her.
“Oh no,” she groaned. “Tell me you didn’t.”
“Of course I did!” the Discord behind her laughed. “Our dear Princess Twilight really needs to work on remembering to lock her doors.”
“Discord, go home,” she said.
“And miss all the fun?” he asked.
“Really, what’s the harm?” the other one asked, putting his arm around his double. “It’s not like having two of the same person in one world will destroy it! After all, you’re here.”
“And Twilight and Spike,” the other one said, teleporting to the other side.
“And don’t forget three Sirens!” one of them said, teleporting over to Celestia.
“What do you think will happen?” he asked. “Think Twilie will ‘ground me’ for sneaking out?”
“That’s exactly what I’m going to do!”
They looked up to see Princess Twilight running through the side door. She stopped and looked at all the people in the seats.
“It’s too early for this,” Twilight sighed. “I just came to pick up my Draconequus.”
“We’ve got it covered anyway,” Sunset assured. “But I’ll give a full report later.”
“Oh Twilight, you do care!” one of the Discords said. “But I’m having too much fun here! Besides-“
He grabbed his double and snapped his fingers. A curtain appeared around them, and you could hear their footsteps as they shuffled around. Another snap, and the curtain disappeared.
“You can’t drag me back if you don’t know which Me is Me!” both Discords said.
Twilight stepped closer and examined the two of them. Sunset tried to tell them apart, but there wasn’t much difference. Same hair, same outfit, same expressions. She couldn’t do it, but judging by Twilight’s expression, she could.
“Klutzy,” she said.
“Draconequus!” the Discord on the left replied. His grin dropped. “Damn it Twilight!”
“Let’s go home,” Twilight rolled her eyes as she grabbed that Discord.
“You realize I can easily teleport myself to some island vacation where you’d never find me?” he asked.
“If you don’t come quietly, I’m getting Fluttershy.” She threatened.
“You wouldn’t!” he exclaimed, eyes going wide.
“I will!” she said. “And while I’m at it, we can discuss on how every single mug in Ponyville ended up in my front lawn!”
“Because it’s a little muggy out!’ he cackled.
The entire room groaned. Twilight gave up, and opted for grabbing her Discord by the tail and dragging him away. For a ‘sort of god’ of Chaos, Discord was doing little more than crossing his arms and pouting in protest. She waved to everyone on the way before disappearing out the door.
“Well, that happened,” Sunset sighed. “This is going to be one of those days, isn’t it?”
“Looks like it,” Flash agreed. “On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you think this is going to be?”
“Are you kidding?” she laughed. “We have a building full of people with the magic power of young adults, the magic control of a foal, and the raging emotions of a teenager. If something doesn’t explode before lunch, I’ll be surprised.”
“Come on, we’ve faced worse!” Rainbow exclaimed.
“Rainbow has a point,” Rarity added. “And of course, you’ll have us as well.”
“Yeah!” Pinkie agreed, putting her arms around them. “I’m sure everything’s just fine!”
As if on cue, there was the sound of an explosion from outside. That was quickly followed by screaming.
“Did I say ‘it is fine’?” Pinkie asked. “I meant it’s going to be fine! Yep! That’s what I said!”