The Return of Sunset Shimmer

by Never2muchpinkie


Chapter 14: Betrayal

Twilight and Sunset were howling their anger, putting all they had into their attacks. The two blasts made slight progress against one another, only to lose ground and remain even.

Stardust was lost in thought, torn between the two extremes. He had found an absolutely perfect host in Sunset. A mare with doubts, an outcast, someone easily swayed, and, of course, a grudge against Celestia. She was everything he would ever want in a grand plan to overthrow Celestia’s regime and create his own in place of it. With the way Sunset had been acting since unintentionally hitting the dragon he had her completely under his sway. Sunset still had a few of her morals left, but for all intents and purposes she was just a puppet moving to his whims. He had no reason to infringe on those morals either. Mindless destruction of Ponyville or taking lives at random wasn’t what he was after. He wanted the respect of the people, not their love. And for that they needed to be alive.

Looking on the other side of the equation was a mare that could quite possibly be his new pawn. Earlier he had been stuck on eliminating Twilight so she wouldn’t get in the way when they fought Celestia, but now he wasn’t so sure. Twilight was an alicorn, so her magic would already be several levels above every unicorn in Equestria. Her capacity to use and channel dark magic so effectively was an unexpected surprise, but it meant that Twilight was not quite as pure as she thought she was. Lost as she was in her emotions it meant that Twilight was weakened mentally. In that state wouldn’t it be simple enough to get into Twilight’s mind the same way he had done to Sunset?

He had dismissed the idea of ever getting an alicorn host, as they all knew about him and would never put him on. Perhaps Luna would have when she was still Nightmare Moon, but now it was too late for that. In the state Twilight was in, dark magic running through her veins, lost to anger, and doing her utmost to take Sunset down… well, it was a much wider opening than he could have ever expected.

He went back and forth in his mind. He needed to decide who the best choice was. He could just stick with Sunset. She was already a slave to his will and had a dislike for Celestia. It was the safest option, without a doubt.

On the other hoof, he could make an attempt on Twilight. It was a huge risk for sure, but if it payed off he would be unstoppable. If he did manage to get Twilight he would have to work quickly to break her mind. He’d have even less time than he’d had with Sunset. In every way Twilight would be more difficult to convert, but she would also be much more efficient than Sunset, being a natural alicorn. If he couldn’t convert her then she would put him away or destroy him, and he would be back in the same position he had been before Sunset had given him this glorious opportunity. It was definitely a high risk, high reward scenario.

The two mares were still raging their battle, neither one of them having a decisive edge. The battle would end with the conclusion of this confrontation. One of them was going to die here, or at least be too injured and exhausted to continue fighting.

The thought of destroying Celestia with her precious student was too richly ironic for him to reject. Of course Sunset had once been Celestia’s student as well, but they had parted on bad terms. He knew that Celestia would fight even Twilight for the safety of everyone else. If she sealed her own sister in the moon for a millennium he had no doubts she’d take on her own student.

Stardust laughed to himself. He always was a gambler, and this would be the ultimate gamble. If he wanted any chance of taking over Twilight then he needed to work on her insecurities and guilt like with Sunset. Sunset had been so helpful planting that seed of darkness, and he just had to show his appreciation for all her hard work.

The glow from Sunset’s horn faded slightly in intensity, and for the first time Twilight gained a noticeable lead that wasn’t immediately countered.

Sunset could feel the reduction in power, and she felt an inkling of fear. ‘Am I… am I being overpowered?’ she thought. ‘But how? How can her anger be greater than mine?’

Stardust laughed, and it seemed to ring in her ears. “Oh, Sunset. Having trouble, are we?”

She growled. ‘I’m glad you’re amused by this. We’re losing! This is a disaster. I… I dragged things out too much, and now we’ve reached the worst case scenario. Celestia is still at full power. Even if we muster up the strength to defeat Twilight we’re doomed. We’re going to fail.” Sunset felt a trace of despair mixing in with her fear.

“Sunset, you are a fool.” He laughed again. “You amused me greatly, but I think it’s time we bring this charade to an end.”

Sunset was trying to keep her focus on her blast, but she was distracted by his words. “W-what are you talking about?”

Stardust sighed, easing his essence into her body to keep up her resistance for her, to get her full attention. “Do you really believe I’ve hit my limit so easily? This has all been just a game to me, and you a wonderful player.” The dark red of Sunset’s magical aura faded slightly, becoming more yellow in the mixing. “Are you waking up yet?”

Sunset felt like a dark cloud that had been obscuring her vision was fading away, her constricted emotions having more room to breathe. ‘W-what have you been doing?’

“You fell for everything I said. You really are pathetic. You’re a mare that deserves everything that’s coming to you.”

‘What are you saying, Stardust? We’ve been working together for the good of Equestria, to overthrow Celestia.” Sunset felt strange, like something was wrong.

“Overthrow her why? What made you decide on that?”

‘I… um… because of…’ She tried to think of a reason, but her sharp anger from earlier was gone. What had she been doing all this time? ‘Because you told me to… and-and that vision…’

“Mere words and an interpretation of Celestia’s actions, and an unverifiable vision in the middle of the night. Didn’t Twilight herself tell you it was just a nightmare from anxiety?”

Sunset felt a chill go down her spine. ‘You!’ she thought sharply. ‘You tricked me!’

Stardust laughed again. “Wrong, Sunset!”

‘Don’t lie to me! You-‘

“ME?” he said, cutting her off. “I did nothing more than use your memories and thoughts against you.”

The yellow of Sunset’s magic grew closer to her natural green, as the attack got steadily closer to her.

“You may not have thought about it consciously, but in your subconscious, in the deepest reaches of your mind, everything I presented to you stemmed from there.”

‘No! You’re wrong!’ Sunset shouted in her mind.

“Am I? Three years of bonding with your human friends, and yet just one vision of them being glad you were gone was enough to convince you they didn’t really love you.”

A tear came down Sunset’s eye, a numb feeling starting to course through her body. ‘I… I…’

“Your dear pony friends spent the day with you laughing and having good times, but you dismissed them too as being terrified of you and acting as well.”

Sunset was starting to pant, panic blossoming now. ‘Y-YOU! You planted those visions in my mind!’

“Guilty,” he said with a snicker. “But Sunset… I only exposed what was in your own heart, nothing more. When you discovered me your mind thought about the power you could receive. You knew there was something else important about the Amulet, but you dismissed it. You threw caution to the wind for the sake of buffing yourself up. Power always comes at a price, my dear Sunset. And the price of my power is to be under my sway and do what I want. The irony of accusing Twilight of being just a mindless pawn was simply delicious.”

His laughter rang through her mind, echoing. A few more tears came down her eyes. ‘You…’ She couldn’t form any thoughts. The horror of what he was saying was as hard to process as when he was first trying to convince her to kill Celestia and rule over Equestria. Beneath it all was the dawning realization that everything she had been doing was for nothing, done under a false pretense. Though she didn’t want to think of it Spike’s burned body appeared in her mind.

“Ah, Celestia,” Stardust pressed on. “I despise her, truly. That’s why I felt so glad when you first put me on.”

Sunset felt like she would have collapsed if Stardust wasn’t keeping her up. She didn’t have the will to fight him. Her magic and body were completely in his control, and she had no means of removing the Amulet from around her neck.

“Deep down, whether you want to admit it or not, you never wanted to apologize to Celestia. Did you?”

Sunset’s eyes clenched shut. ‘N-no… you’re wrong. I came back… I came back…’

“My every avenue for breaking down your mental defenses was built solely on your own thoughts and feelings. You can hide from yourself, but you can’t hide from me. I can see the things you don’t want to. The truth, the real truth, is that you don’t believe you were in the wrong for what you did. You came back… because you felt obligated to, not because you genuinely thought you should.”

Sunset shook her head, trying to ignore his words.

“WHY BOTHER DENYING IT? YOU KNOW IT’S THE TRUTH!”

Sunset’s legs were shaking, unable to form a response.

“You changed in the human world once Twilight knocked some sense into you. You were offered friendship, and became a good pony. You were able to find your footing because of the friends around you that accepted you despite your past misdeeds. A part of you felt it wouldn’t be right to leave this part of your past unaccounted for. After all, a good person doesn’t just do bad things and not take responsibility for them.

“You were still angry at Celestia, though. You thought her methods were inappropriate. If she really wanted you to make some friends then why didn’t she just say so? If she had done that you would have put in the effort just like you did with your school work. And then everything that Twilight has now would have been yours. You would have been the one to wield the Elements of Harmony and stop Nightmare Moon, reuniting the royal sisters. You would have ascended to alicornhood and become a princess. You would have helped countless others. You would be loved and everyone would look up to you.

“If only Celestia had just told you that one thing everything in your life would be grand. Instead, it went the opposite way. You were despised by all for being a smug jerk, you stayed alone wishing for love, you replaced that with self-centered egoism, you turned into a psychotic monster and nearly doomed two worlds, and then when all those negative things were purged from you then you found yourself lost and having to rebuild yourself from the ground up.”

Sunset felt faint; dizzy. Again, she felt like the only thing keeping her up was his essence controlling her. A part of her knew… knew that everything he was saying was the truth.

“You were angry at Celestia, but you couldn’t accept that. You turned into a monster once, the Element of Magic revealing the true you inside. Forced to face your true self, you resolved to turn into a different person. And in trying to hold up to that standard in your mind you began to turn away from your natural feelings. If ‘Monster Sunset’ was angry at Celestia, then ‘Good Person Sunset’ can’t be angry at her.

“Of course, it’s not a crime to feel anger. Even the best and closest of friends can feel anger towards one another. Speaking one’s mind and coming to a compromise is supposed to be the best way to enhance one’s bonds with others. You, however, couldn’t accept that. Your anger turned to fear that you were regressing to your past self, and your fear turned into a belief that Celestia could never accept the new you, as being fearful was ‘healthier’ than being angry. And in that fear you searched for a way to ensure the outcome. You didn’t even realize that that was a regressive thought, to search for power to try and get in Celestia’s good books. You tried to prove yourself through an unrelated good deed, rather than simply taking responsibility for your past and apologizing.

“Because you couldn’t accept yourself and truly trust others, you fell right into every trap I threw in your path. And in the end, by trying so hard to prove that you changed, you ironically proved you haven’t really changed at all.”

Sunset’s magic had turned back to its natural green, a faraway look in her eyes. As his influence over her emotions faded she had felt like her mind had cleared, but now a new weight had taken its place.

“All I’ve done is talk. You made the choice to trust me and believe what I said. I haven’t once controlled your actions or forced you to do anything.” He laughed. “You do get what that means, don’t you, Sunset?”

Sunset didn’t answer. She felt she did know, but she didn’t want to face it.

You killed Spike. You caused so much pain for everyone here. And, of course… that even the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful magical artifacts known to pony-kind, couldn’t purge the monster inside of you.” He laughed cruelly.

Sunset was beyond tears. She felt like her very mind and heart were being torn into pieces and stomped into nothingness. “I… I… I’m… a… a monster.” The last word came out in a whisper. Her face had gone deathly pale. She felt like she was alone in a black void.

“Well, Sunset,” Stardust said in mild surprise, “I do believe that you’re actually facing the truth for once in your life. It’s too late for you to go back now. You took an innocent life, which was enough to get you fully under my sway. You were all too eager for an excuse to look away from what you’d done. I just provided that for you. But, in all honestly, I’m actually a little impressed that you’re willing to look at the truth of just how deplorable a being you really are. So… I’ll offer you one last choice.”

“A choice?” she said distractedly. Twilight’s magic was getting dangerously close to her, but it scarcely seemed to matter.

“I still have plenty of power in reserve. I could give you enough strength to overpower Twilight’s spell. Of course, if you did that then Twilight will die. If you refuse my magic I’ll hold you here, and you yourself will die. Those who commit bad deeds must be held accountable for their actions, after all. It’s you or her.

“So… which is it, Sunset? Do you want one last burst of energy?”

Sunset tested her legs, but they were still stuck in place. Images flashed in front of her eyes, of Spike badly injured, Twilight crying over him, the sadness of the rest of them, and the cold looks of everyone in the human world.

Tears poured down her eyes as she shook her head. She had caused so much pain. Even if she could avoid killing anyone else and left through the portal again she couldn’t ever face her human world friends again. Even if others were willing to forgive her for her mistakes, she wouldn’t ever be able to forgive herself. “I… I… don’t.” Her voice cracked.

“You don’t…” Stardust knew that was the answer she would give. She was no less under his control now than before, after all. The fact that everything he was saying was true meant she had no grounds for rebuttal.

Her refusal to save herself factored right into his plans. He could have just cut his power off completely, feigning weakness, but what fun was that? He wanted to drag out her suffering. Even at the end he wanted her to make her own choices, so she couldn’t blame him for anything.

“Aw, Sunset, you should be proud that at the end you finally accepted the truth. It’s been fun, but now it’s over.”

Sunset looked her death in the face. She could feel Stardust’s energy cutting off. She didn’t want to escape this. It was the only thing she deserved, after all. What would be left for her if she did survive? Spike would still be dead. Twilights words came back to her, trying to end the battle. “You haven’t yet done anything unforgivable.”

She hung her head. “I have now.”

Celestia gathered up her magic. Sunset was obviously being overpowered. She had hoped that things would turn out that way. If the magic of the Amulet was drained its influence would likely be weakened as well, making it easier to convince Sunset to take it off. That only left Twilight, and she was sure she could get her student to back down.

From up above all their attention was drawn as a blur slammed into the ground, stirring up a cloud of dust.

“Oh, what now?” Rainbow said indignantly. “What else is gonna go wrong?”

The cloud cleared, revealing Cadance and Shining Armor, both of them panting hard.

“What?” “Huh?” All of them reacted with shock, except for Sunset and Twilight, who were too absorbed in themselves to notice.

“Cadance?” Celestia said, confused. “What are you doing here?”

“We felt a strong dark magic through the Crystal Heart, and came to investigate.”

Shining hopped off her back, turning towards the energy battle behind them. He didn’t recognize the orange coated pony on the one side, but he let out a startled exclamation as he saw the one on the other side. His mouth hung open. “T-T-Twily?”

A tear came to his eye. “S-she’s the source of the dark magic?”

Cadance couldn’t believe it either. “W-what happened to her?” she said harshly. “H-how….”

Sunset’s spell broke completely, and she got swept up in Twilight’s attack.

Celestia came back to herself. She had been so surprised by Shining and Cadance’s sudden appearance she forgot what she was supposed to be doing. She quickly created a shield around Sunset, but she could already feel it cracking. She wasn’t skilled enough with shield spells. “Help me!” she said to the pair.

Neither of them knew what was going on, but they both trusted Celestia. They each added their own shield spells on Sunset, and the combined three shields were enough to deflect Twilight’s last spell around Sunset. The spell continued on before being absorbed into the shield spell around Ponyville that was still up.

Sunset fell to the ground, twitching. She had only been in the middle of the attack for a few seconds, but it was enough to do her a good amount of damage.

Twilight looked unemotionally at the broken mare before her. The battle was over. She had triumphed. Little good it did, though. She didn’t feel satisfied. Nothing would return Spike back to her.

“Twily!” Shining called out, trotting towards her. “Please come back to yourself!”

Twilight heard the familiar voice, and with mild interest turned to look. “Shiny?” she said, a little confused. What was he doing there? The waving energy extending out from her eyes faded. “Cadance?” She noticed her old foalsitter as well. It was nice to see them, but there were still things to do.

Sunset groaned in pain. She was still alive, somehow. She had been protected by something. She sat up slightly, an eye closed and panting. Her body felt wrecked.

“So you survived,” said Stardust. “Oh, well.”

The Alicorn Amulet felt exceptionally heavy at the moment, like it was an iron ball on her soul. She had to get rid of it. It was the root of everything that had happened.

Twilight gasped suddenly, her eyes lighting up with excitement. It made her look much like her true self. “I got it!” Her voice began to be colored with emotion.

“Hey, look at that,” said Applejack. “It sounds like that dark magic really is wearing off.”

“Whoa!” Sunset exclaimed, feeling something pulling at her until she was properly sitting up. Twilight was looking at her, but she couldn’t meet the mare’s eyes. Her front leg began to move by itself towards the Alicorn Amulet. “W-what are you doing?”

Twilight responded, “The Alicorn Amulet can only be removed by the one that wears it. So I think there’s a loophole I can exploit there. If I’m controlling your hoof, then technically you are the one that’s taking it off, hmm?"

Stardust chuckled. “Silly mare. The Alicorn Amulet has no such weaknesses… unless I want it to.”

Sunset put up a weak resistance. She was only too happy to part with the Amulet, but she was simply tired of being controlled for one day.

She was too exhausted to fight, and her hoof grabbed the Amulet against her will. As she began to lift it off she heard Stardust talk to her one last time. “Well, Sunset, I guess this is goodbye. It’s been fun, but now I have a fresh, tasty new host I want to dine on.”

Sunset’s heart jumped. It wanted to take someone else? It had to be Twilight. ‘I have to warn her!’ she thought urgently, but it amounted to nothing. As the Amulet was fully removed and its influence faded completely the last of her strength left her, causing her to collapse. Stardust must have been sustaining her consciousness just he could get out that last stab to her heart.

“Got it!” Twilight said victoriously, the last of the dark magic fading. She lifted the Amulet in her magic, pulling it toward her. She stared at it wordlessly for a few seconds before she hugged herself, gently sobbing. “I did it! I did it, Spike!”

Fluttershy let out a relieved sigh. “It turned out just like you said, Princess Celestia. After the battle her grief did overcome her anger.”

“And both Sunset and Twilight are still alive,” said Pinkie with a little hop.

“I can’t believe that troublesome Amulet had such a simple loophole,” said Applejack, shaking her head. “We could have ended this battle right at the start if we had known that.”

“Nah,” said Rainbow. “Sunset wouldn’t have let that happen. She would have had to be weakened first.”

“I suppose yer right.” She let out a heavy breath. “But now it’s over.”

“Hey!” said Shining. “Would somebody please tell us what’s been going on? We’re so lost. Why was Twily using dark magic? And why is she fine now?”

“I’ll explain it all to you,” said Rainbow, keeping her eye on Twilight, “but shouldn’t someone go over and comfort Twilight?”

Celestia draped a wing over her. “Twilight was the closest one to Spike. For the time being, I think it would be best to leave her be to process what went on today.”

The spirit of triumph faded out of the air as they were reminded once again that Spike was gone.

“What do you mean by that?” asked Cadance, concerned.

Rainbow, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Pinkie had all been right near the front of Celestia’s shield spell to watch the battle, but Rarity had held back, electing to care for Spike instead. Applejack moved out of the way of Cadance’s view to let her see what happened for herself.

Her mouth opened in horror. “Oh, no…” Her head drooped. “I… I see. So that’s why Twilight…”

Shining walked up next to Cadance, holding her. They closed their eyes in silent tribute as they nuzzled their cheeks against one another.

Celestia turned her head. “You five explain the circumstances to Shining and Cadance. I’m going to check on Sunset.”

The other four started explaining the whole situation, but Rarity didn’t join in. Her heart was burning, torn between two choices. The danger had finally passed. Sunset was depowered, and Twilight had calmed down, no longer using dark magic. Things had been so crazy during the battle it was all she could do just to keep on encouraging Spike to hang on. She had watched all her friends suffering and agonizing over Spike’s fate, but she hadn’t told them he was still alive. She didn’t want to get their hopes up in the midst of such a dangerous situation, but now what excuse did she have to keep hiding the truth? She wasn’t the only one that cared about Spike. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything.

‘If only Spike would regain consciousness,’ she thought, her cheeks red with shame. ‘They’re all so distraught but I might be the one suffering most of all, knowing that Spike might slip away completely at any moment. If he would just wake up it would feel alright to tell them.’ She knew it was wrong to keep silent, but she couldn’t bear giving them false hope only to have it torn away. For now she’d bear this pain and fear on her own, and keep on doing the only thing she could.

She gave Spike a hard squeeze, whispering in his ear, “Please, Spikey, wake up. Stay with us. Don’t die. I love you. I want everyone to know that no one is actually dead! I don’t want to keep this secret. So please… please just wake up.”

Spike remained unresponsive, but so long as she could feel the beating of his heart she knew that Spike was still fighting. And if he was fighting then she had to as well. She would call out to him as many times as it took.

Celestia stood over Sunset, a variety of emotions swirling around her, and she didn’t know what to feel first. According to Twilight’s friends Sunset had genuinely wanted to make amends with her, but then hit a huge stumbling block when she discovered the Alicorn Amulet. She wanted to believe them, but she couldn’t quite accept that. It was possible that Sunset had lied, and was out for the Amulet to start with. She would have to wait until Sunset regained consciousness to get the real story. Regardless of Sunset's intentions the one thing that was absolute was getting the location of the Element of Magic from her. Looking over her she didn’t believe that Sunset’s life was in danger.

“Heh heh heh.” Stardust laughed to himself. “Look at them, so at ease. They seem to have forgotten all about me already. How disgraceful.

“Oh, Twi-liiiight, you’re still holding me up with your magic. In other words, your magic is connected to mine. Your mind and memories are an open book to me. I can feel the pain in your soul. You’re just like Sunset. All you need is the right push. You want to escape this pain you’re in, don’t you?”

Twilight wasn’t wearing him, so he couldn’t properly control her or use any spells. However, he could still speak to her so long as she kept a link between them, as well as transfer a little of his influence and darkness into her. He would pull the same trick he did with Sunset. In ordinary circumstances he would never be able to get to her, but these circumstances were anything but ordinary. Twilight had been pushed to the brink emotionally, facing the loss of everyone she cared about. She was at her most vulnerable, and he knew he could get to her in that state.

Mimicking her voice he said to her, “Spike is gone. I can’t believe it.”

Twilight’s face clenched up, along with the rest of her body.

“It’s my fault. If I had taken Sunset seriously from the start this wouldn’t have happened. I couldn’t be like my precious teacher. I couldn’t fight someone I cared about with my whole heart in order to protect everyone else.”

Twilight felt a burning guilt that seemed to emanate from her entire being.

“What… what do I do from here?”

Her tears had stopped, and her eyes were dim. A numb, heavy feeling began to feel like it was crushing her again. ‘I don’t know,’ she thought.

“I just don’t know. NO! That’s wrong! This is all Sunset’s fault! I gave her time and attention, considering her pain and fear, and she threw it back in my face. She should never have touched the Alicorn Amulet in the first place. Didn’t she know what would happen?”

Her despair began to be overcome by a burning anger flaring up within her. She gritted her teeth, glaring over at the laid-out Sunset.

“She betrayed us all! Killed Spike, nearly killed Celestia, nearly killed me, and hurt all my friends!”

Her eyes narrowed to slits, her body shaking with rage.

“Princess Celestia is standing over her. She’s sure to forgive Sunset. But does Sunset really deserve a third chance? She’s unforgivable!” Her horn began to glow slightly, a trace of black within it. “She needs to be dealt with.” She tottered slightly, panting. “I don’t have any more strength. I need more power. I need more power!”

She kept swaying back and forth, the strain of keeping herself afloat amidst everything taking all her strength. She felt like she might pass out, but still she kept unconsciously using her levitation on the Amulet. She was feeling so tired now she couldn’t even stay angry.

“More… power. Sunset… needs to… to pay.” Stardust slowed down his voice in relation to her waning strength.

‘Power…’ thought Twilight, blinking. She noticed the Alicorn Amulet still floating in front of her, her eyes half closed. She reached her legs out, taking it in her hooves.

Hiding his voice from her he said, “That’s right, Twilight. It all feels like a bad dream, doesn’t it? All you have to do is put me on, and I will take all your fears away. You’re barely conscious right now, your body and soul too tired to really think. If you don’t do something now Sunset might get away with all of this. You wouldn’t want that, would you?”

‘I… I want… to protect…’ Twilight tottered, nearly falling again. ‘Friends-need to-keep safe. Need… need more power.’ She stared at the Amulet, almost feeling the whirlpool of power stored within. Had she been in a right state of mind she would never have considered it for a moment, but all her faculties were at the breaking point. She didn't have the space to think, to consider the implications.

One thing was certain: she wouldn’t allow Sunset to cause any more trouble. That Sunset was only being controlled to act that way didn’t occur to her, mainly because Stardust was suppressing that knowledge, only allowing the thoughts that furthered his goal.

Celestia sighed, wondering where they all went from here. Her former student had fallen to darkness again, they had lost Spike, and Twilight was-

“HUH?” she cried out, flinching. As she had thought of Spike and Twilight she had turned her head towards both of them. “TWILIGHT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she shouted, her eyes widening. Twilight had a dead, glassy look in her eyes, and was raising the chain of the Amulet towards her neck.

That got all of their attention, and they all turned to look at Twilight.

Celestia quickly fired up her horn, but her slight hesitation had been enough to cost her the few precious seconds she needed to stop Twilight.

The Amulet fell around Twilight’s neck, and the effect was immediate. Her horn exploded with power, darkness surrounding her as Stardust began laughing with pure delight. Twilight’s body was his!