After a long, restless night, Sunset Shimmer cast the spell to turn herself "human" again and made her way to Crystal Prep. She found both Twilights still hard at work in the lab. "Twilight," she gasped out once she skidded into the room. After a breath, she amended, "Princess Twilight."
"What is it, Sunset?" Princess Twilight asked.
"The spell," Sunset said. "It's gone. I turned my apartment upside down and inside out. The scroll is just gone, Twilight!"
Princess Twilight frowned. "But...that's not possible," she said. "I mean, it's not possible, right?"
Twilight frowned. "What's going on?"
"I didn't get a chance to fill her in," Princess Twilight said. "We're pretty busy."
"Right," Sunset said. "Well...when Twilight came over from Equestria, she brought this scroll with her that had a spell on it. It's the spell that lets both of us take on human form even though the portal's transformation magic is broken." She paused, holding up her amulet. "She also brought some of these spell locks with her. It lets the magic last longer than it would on its own."
"An amplifier, or...a reserve power source for the magic," Twilight said, nodding thoughtfully.
"Right." Sunset ran a hand through her hair. "Thing is, that scroll was on my coffee table the last time I saw it. But now, it's...it's just gone. I searched my entire apartment. The scroll's gone."
"Hmm," Princess Twilight said, frowning. "Alright. I think we're about done here. We'll head back to CHS. First thing I want to do, before we start working on this portal, is investigate Starlight Glimmer. We need to know if she's really the Starlight from this world, or..." She sighed. "Or if she came here from Equestria. Because if she did, she's another problem we have to deal with."
"I'll let Dean Cadance know," Twilight said. "We'll head straight over."
* * * * *
Ten minutes before the first period bell, Rainbow Dash barged into Principal Celestia's office and slammed her palms flat on the desk. "What's the big idea?" she demanded. "Why'd you go and mess with my schedule? I needed that study hall period! You know I'm having trouble keeping my grades up! I don't want or need to take Civics!"
Celestia regarded her calmly. "Ms. Glimmer pointed out to me that you don't have enough social studies credits to graduate," she said calmly. "I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash, but you have to take Civics this year."
Rainbow stared at her, slack-jawed. "But—"
"Good day, Rainbow," Celestia said tersely.
Rainbow narrowed her eyes, turned on her heel, and stalked off to first period. As she turned the corner, she saw Starlight Glimmer standing right outside her classroom door. Starlight smiled at her. "See you in class later," she said smugly.
Rainbow glared at her. "Bitch," she muttered under her breath as she stormed off down the hall.
* * * * *
When Dean Cadance's car pulled up to CHS, with Sunset Shimmer on her motorbike just behind, they found Vice Principal Luna waiting outside the school entrance, arms folded.
"Vice Principal Luna!" Sunset shouted as she ran up to the front steps. "We think—"
"Sunset Shimmer," Luna said coldly, looking down at her. "I'm sorry to inform you that you are no longer a student at this school."
Sunset trailed off, mouth working soundlessly. "What?" she asked dumbly.
"You're an illegal alien," Luna said. "You've caused tremendous amounts of harm to this school and placed the student body in danger. We've covered for you for long enough, but the plain and simple truth is, the longer you remain here, the more danger our students are in. It's time for you to leave."
Sunset felt all the blood drain from her face. "But...!"
"Vice-Principal Luna, what's going on?" Princess Twilight asked. "Why...why are you doing this? After everything Sunset's done to turn her life around—"
Luna looked at her. "I'm afraid you're no longer welcome here either," she said. "You don't even legally exist in this world. You can't simply keep hanging around here while we're trying to provide our students with a proper education."
Cadance stepped forward. "Luna? Where's this coming from? This isn't like you."
"I'm looking out for the best interest of the students under my care. The human students. These ponies need to go back where they came from and take their dangerous magic with them."
Sunset clenched her jaw. "So...so that's how you really feel," she said roughly.
Princess Twilight put a hand on her arm. "No, Sunset," she said. "Something isn't right here."
"I'm sorry, but all of you are going to have to leave now," Vice-Principal Luna said. "Only faculty and students of CHS are allowed on the premises."
"But...the portal..." Princess Twilight said.
"You can shut it down from your side, can you not?" Luna asked, arching an eyebrow. "Then I suggest you do so."
"But there's something else we need to take care of here," Twilight said. "There's other magical anomalies, there's that Starlight Glimmer woman, there's—"
"Don't make me call Principal Cinch!" Luna warned. "Go back to your school!"
Twilight recoiled. Princess Twilight stared at Luna in shock. Cadance frowned. Sunset clenched her fists.
After a long moment, Cadance sighed. "You heard her, everyone," she said resignedly. "I don't know what's going on here, but if the Vice Principal of this school says we're trespassing, we need to clear out." She aimed a frosty, reproachful look at Luna. "We're not done talking about this. We've been friends for years. You owe me an explanation for this."
"I have matters to attend to," Luna said. "This is a school, and classes are in session."
Tirek squared his jaw. "Twilight, give me your scanners," he said. "I will remain and continue the investigation."
Luna turned and glared at him. "I'm sorry, do you not understand? You are not welcome here. If you don't leave, I'll have you escorted away by the police."
Tirek glared at her defiantly. "Try it," he shot back. "You do and you'll be inciting an international incident. Or were you not aware that I am the son of the Kentarosi Ambassador?"
Luna stared him down for a long moment, then snorted. "Very well. But don't disturb my students." With that, she turned and walked into the school.
The girls looked helplessly at each other. "What just happened?" Princess Twilight asked, on the verge of tears.
"I don't know," Sunset said, frowning. "But that isn't like Vice Principal Luna." She sighed. "I'd better text the girls and let them know something's wrong. I'm sure they can get to the bottom of it without me..."
Cadance frowned unhappily. "I'd better take you girls back to CPA," she said. "Sunset, you're more than welcome to spend the day at our school if you like."
"Thanks," Sunset said listlessly.
Twilight dug through her bag and began handing pieces of equipment to Tirek. "Let me know if you need help working any of this," she said. "All of it's set up to record the readings, so just...just scan everything and bring it back. I can go over the data later."
Tirek nodded. "And if I learn anything unrelated to the portal, I'll call."
* * * * *
Rainbow Dash was not the only student whose schedule had been altered.
Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash had all been shifted into the same Civics period as Applejack and Fluttershy.
"It's so good to see all of you in my class," Starlight Glimmer said sweetly.
"Why'd you mess with our schedules?" Rainbow demanded.
"Now, Ms. Dash," Starlight said mildly, "I thought you'd appreciate being in the same class with all your friends. After all, it would be a shame to not have such a close group of friends all together in one place, wouldn't it?"
Applejack arched an eyebrow. "That's funny," she said sourly. "Seems t' me you're forgettin' one of our friends is missin'."
"Oh, that's right!" Starlight said, eyes wide in false surprise. "Now that you mention it, Sunset Shimmer was expelled this morning, wasn't she?" She sighed dramatically. "Such a shame..." She shook her head. "Still, it is in everyone's best interests. She's such a disruptive influence, don't you think?"
"No, Ah don't think," Applejack said. The others agreed with her.
Starlight looked at all of them measuringly, then shrugged. "Well. Just because she isn't at CHS anymore, that doesn't mean you can't all still be friends with her." With a smirk, she added, "That is, of course, unless she decides to go back where she came from and you never see her again."
With that, she returned to her desk and called for silence, then began taking roll. The girls looked at each other unhappily, frowning as Starlight's words sank in.
* * * * *
When the very morose group returned to CPA, they were immediately beset upon by Principal Cinch. "Dean Cadance," she said sternly, looking over the group and frowning at the two Twilights. "I demand answers. I have dissected the tissue of lies you and Miss Sparkle have woven, and I will know the truth of what is going on here, or I will see you all removed!"
Cadance blinked. "Umm. Well. It's...it's a little hard to explain, Abacus," she said. "You see—"
Sunset Shimmer stepped forward. "I'll do my best to explain, ma'am, but...it's a little complicated," she said.
"I beg your pardon, young lady, who are you?"
"I'm Sunset Shimmer, a student at CHS, and—"
"I thought her name was Sunset Shimmer," Cinch said, pointing at Princess Twilight.
Sunset blinked. "Huh? No, this is Twilight Sparkle."
Twilight coughed. "Umm...I kinda...borrowed your name to try to explain her away when people started seeing her running around without a bra over here," she said.
Princess Twilight winced. "I am so sorry about that," she said.
Cinch frowned, adjusting her glasses. "Now see here," she said stiffly. "I have little patience for any foolishness that you girls might be up to—"
"You know, Abacus?" Cadance said tiredly. "Sorry, but...honestly? What's going on here is really none of your business."
Cinch blinked. "I beg your pardon!"
Cadance stared her down firmly. "Look. Twilight—both Twilights—are dealing with some stuff. I can't explain it, you wouldn't believe it if I tried, and I don't really see any point in explaining it because frankly? It's got nothing to do with you or Crystal Prep. All you need to know is Twilight's going to be busy for a while and won't be attending classes, but you have my personal assurance her grades won't slip and nothing that's going on with these girls will affect your reputation in any way, shape, or form."
The three girls watched the two women anxiously. Twilight gripped the hem of her vest, looking like she was about to have a panic attack.
Cinch squared her jaw. "I'd still like to know why there are apparently two Twilight Sparkles now," she said. "And why that Kentarosi boy is mixed up in this."
The girls looked at each other. Princess Twilight shrugged. Twilight sighed and took her glasses off to clean them. "Principal Cinch," she said, "I really can't explain why there's another me. Unless you're willing to buy 'mad science' as an explanation, I mean. Are you?"
Cinch's frown deepened. "Don't be ridiculous," she snapped impatiently.
"That's what I thought," Twilight said with a sigh.
"She's a clone," Sunset said abruptly.
Everyone froze. Cinch stared at her. "A...clone."
"Yep. Clone." Sunset nodded, folding her arms. "Twilight cloned herself. The clone's a little, well...flaky."
"Tirek's been studying my experiment!" Twilight picked up hastily. "I know he doesn't look like it, but he's actually really interested in alternative science!"
Cinch studied Princess Twilight curiously, rubbing her chin. "Human cloning," she said slowly. "I'd believe it if not for the fact that any clone you made of yourself would be an infant, not a teenager..."
"Found a way to speed up the aging process?" Twilight offered. "I mean, Sunset Shimmer did. The maturation tank is at CHS."
Cinch raised an eyebrow. "Is it now," she said slowly.
"Yeah!" Sunset agreed. "But I'm probably going to destroy it. The world's not ready."
"Yes, having two of the same person running around is confusing," Cadance said with an amused smirk. "Especially when the clone's personality is...completely different from the original."
"Yeah, she likes running around in fancy dresses without underwear," Twilight said with a blush. "I...umm...kinda don't need that reputation."
"Which is why we're working on getting her enrolled at CHS," Cadance said. "But for now, it's better if she...stays here at CPA? She won't get in the way."
"And I need to be where she is," Sunset said. "To run tests and keep a record."
Cinch considered all of this. At length, she let out a tired sigh and massaged the bridge of her nose. "Fine," she said sourly. "Whatever the hell is going on here, as long as it doesn't disrupt my school or cause a scandal, I honestly don't care anymore." She jammed a finger in Princess Twilight's face. "But I expect you to behave," she said sternly.
"I'll keep that in mind," Princess Twilight said.
Cinch straightened her blazer and stalked off. Nobody said anything for a long time.
The silence was finally broken, not by Cadance, Sunset, or either of the Twilights, but by a quiet voice somewhere off to the left.
"That was a total load of crap."
The group turned to see Sugarcoat leaning against the wall, arms folded, studying them intently. "You're really bad at lying," she added.
* * * * *
Tirek frowned at Twilight's scanner as he prowled around the base of the statue where the portal to Equestria was housed. He wouldn't pretend to completely understand how the girl's homemade hodgepodge of a device worked or what its various displays meant, but just by observing its behavior, he could tell that the levels of magic radiating from the portal were cresting like waves on the ocean. What worried him more, however, was what appeared to be a directional vector that pointed away from the statue and into the school.
He followed the directional reading, taking note of the way the counters and meters changed. Entering the school, he stalked through the halls, frowning as the scanner started clicking rapidly. The readouts seemed to show what Tirek could only intepret as "fuzz", or a widespread background radiation of sorts. As he walked, the background reading spiked; he paused, frowning thoughtfully, and took note of his surroundings.
He was standing right outside Vice Principal Luna's office.
As he continued his exploration, he found further surges of the same background radiation, the most prominent one being in the vicinity of Principal Celestia's office. When the scanner indicated he'd reached the source of the reading he'd been following, he glanced down at his crystal.
It was glowing a vibrant turquoise.
His jaw tightened.
He turned away from the door marked "CIVICS" and headed back outside.
* * * * *
"Umm...hi, Sugarcoat," Twilight said. "How long—"
"I heard everything," Sugarcoat said. "I can't believe Cinch swallowed all that. You don't even do that kind of research. All your experiments are with electronics and energy."
Twilight sighed. "Are you going to go to Principal Cinch?"
Sugarcoat snorted. "If she's dumb enough to believe the clone thing, let her believe it," she said. "I just want to know what you're really hiding. This whole thing has been annoying me and I won't be able to stop thinking about it until I know what's really happening."
Cadance glanced at the girls, then back at Sugarcoat. "W-well," she hedged. "It's..."
"Come with me," Princess Twilight said suddenly, marching off down the hall. Sugarcoat followed her. The others shifted awkwardly.
"Is this gonna be a problem?" Sunset wondered.
"I don't really know," Twilight said anxiously. "Sugarcoat's the only other student at Crystal Prep who even bothers to talk to me. I mean...not that often, and usually it's just to criticize me, but..."
"She's the closest thing Twilight has to a friend," Cadance said.
"Ouch," Sunset said sympathetically.
A few minutes passed.
"Should we...should we follow them?" Sunset asked worriedly.
Before the others could answer, Princess Twilight and Sugarcoat returned. "Parallel worlds," Sugarcoat was saying. "That explains a lot. It's very inconsiderate of you to open your dimensional portal in the girls' bathroom, by the way."
"Sorry about that," Princess Twilight said sheepishly. "I honestly didn't know where the portal was going to come out on this side."
"Are we good?" Twilight asked hopefully.
Sugarcoat raised an eyebrow. "There's a Twilight Sparkle from a parallel world running around at Crystal Prep and a portal to another world in the bathroom. You girls are crazy." She looked Cadance up and down, snickered, and wandered off.
"Well, that happened," Sunset said, blinking.
Twilight sighed. "Come on," she said. "Let's go to my lab. Better than standing around out here in the halls."
* * * * *
As soon as the school day ended, the Rainbooms headed for the mall, texting Sunset to meet up with them there. Both Twilights joined them, as well as Tirek.
"Here, your scanners," Tirek said to Twilight. "The data should be interesting. I believe that Starlight Glimmer woman is connected to everything...at least, if I interpreted what your device was doing correctly."
"Wouldn't surprise me in the least," Applejack said listlessly. "She's goin' out of her way t' turn CHS upside down."
"Yeah, she screwed with all our schedules," Rainbow said miserably. "Everybody's in her class now."
"I wish I could investigate her properly," Princess Twilight said with a sigh. "I'll have to figure out a way to get back on the CHS campus without having another run-in with Vice-Principal Luna."
"Man, this BITES!" Pinkie declared. "Why'd Luna have to turn into such a meanie and kick you all out?"
"I don't know," Sunset said. "But I think Starlight Glimmer has something to do with it." She looked around the table. "Keep your eyes on her, girls."
"Are you going to be alright, Sunset?" Fluttershy asked. "We...we miss you at school."
Sunset smiled. "I'll be fine," she said. "Actually..." She glanced at Princess Twilight. "Actually, I'm going back to Equestria for a few days. I mean, I'm kind of useless right now. I might as well...might as well take this time to get some closure with my old life."
A sad silence fell over the table.
"Well, be sure to let us know the instant you return, darling," Rarity said.
"I will," Sunset promised. "I just hope no other huge disasters crop up while I'm gone."
"Speaking of huge disasters," Twilight said, adjusting her glasses, "I know with all this magic and...and other stuff going on, you guys probably haven't been paying attention, but..." She frowned. "Have any of you been following the news about that ice storm in Vanhoover?"
"Oh yes, Mom and Dad were talking about that this morning," Fluttershy said. "They say it's the worst ice storm in decades."
"Hasn't it already killed like, a bunch of people?" Rainbow asked. "I don't really keep up with the news, but it's kinda hard not to hear about it. It's all over the Internet."
"I feel sorry for all those poor people," Rarity said grimly. "But one wonders why such a storm is happening at this time of year. It...it doesn't make any sense."
"The weather does what it wants," Tirek grunted. "Man has no control over it. All we can do is protect ourselves as best we can from the forces of nature."
Pinkie rubbed her shoulders. "I have some Caneighdian friends online," she said unhappily. "They've been telling me some scary things. Ever since this ice storm started, people have been acting really mean. It's like the weather's making everybody crazy or something!"
"Well, bad weather does put people in a bad mood," Sunset reasoned. She stretched. "Anyway...keep an eye on Starlight Glimmer, and if anything else crazy happens, call me or Twilight or Dean Cadance. Even if I'm in Equestria, I won't be far enough away that they can't get hold of me from the other portal."
"We'll be working on finding any answers we can," Princess Twilight said. "I...may have to go back to Ponyville and check on the portal there from my end. I especially need to check on the Cutie Map. I need to find out why its magic is showing up on this side." She smiled reassuringly. "I'll be back as soon as I can, don't worry."
As the group went their separate ways, the Rainbooms all had the same thought going through their minds:
*What if we never see Sunset or Twilight again?*
* * * * *
As the week wore on, the happy, friendly atmosphere of Canterlot High started to curdle. Celestia and Luna had become taciturn and unapproachable, the Rainbooms' bad mood over what had happened to Sunset slowly began to infect the rest of the student body, and Starlight Glimmer's bizarre lectures in Civics class—which was rapidly becoming a mandatory subject as more and more students' schedules were rearranged to accomodate her—had many students tense and on edge. Even the rest of the faculty was starting to feel the strain of the dark, oppressive mood that had taken over the school.
"Is it me, or are things worse now than they were when the Dazzlings were here?" Rainbow Dash asked as she looked around the cafeteria on Friday. The usual dull roar of conversation and laughter that filled the lunch hour was missing; everyone picked at their lunches listlessly, their faces dull and vacant.
"It's not just you," a familiar voice intruded. The Rainbooms looked up at the three girls approaching their table and gasped.
Rainbow shot to her feet. "YOU!" she bellowed. "What are you doing here?!"
Adagio Dazzle placed a hand on her hip. "What do you think?" she asked. "We're trying to figure out how to get our revenge on you, get our full magic back...if we're lucky, maybe even leave this toilet of a world forever." She frowned as she looked around. "But I have to say, something terrible must've happened here."
"Yeah, it's like somebody rounded up everybody's puppies and beat them to death," Sonata Dusk said.
"What happened to all that love and friendship crap?" Aria Blaze wondered. "This place is like a freakin' zombie movie."
"And why do you care?" Rarity challenged.
"Honestly? Because we can't feed off...whatever this is," Adagio said, gesturing vaguely around. "We thrive off negativity, and we know exactly how to turn friendship and love into hate, but this?" She shook her head. "Everyone's just gone...blah. This isn't normal."
"And again, why do you care?" Applejack asked, narrowing her eyes.
"We don't," Aria huffed. "But it's creeping us out, and—"
"We kinda need an audience to whoop your butts in front of," Sonata picked up. "If nobody cares that we beat you, what's the point?"
"Wow," Pinkie Pie said, "that actually kinda made sense. In a bitchy, trashy you girls are total cunts kind of way."
"Pinkie Pie!" Fluttershy chided.
Pinkie blinked. "Huh? Oh, sorry..." she said listlessly. "I think all the blah around here's starting to get to me."
Adagio laughed throatily. "Well, we are total cunts," she said, examining her fingernails. "So what did happen here? And where's your little ringleader Sunset Shimmer?"
"Sunset Shimmer is no longer a student here," Vice Principal Luna's voice intruded as she walked silently up behind the Dazzlings. "And you three have no business being on this campus."
Adagio turned to her, eyes narrowed. "Really," she drawled.
"You're trespassing," Luna informed her, arms folded. "If you don't leave, I'll have you removed."
Aria and Sonata glanced at each other. Slowly, softly, they began to harmonize. A faint shimmer of dark magic filled the air.
Adagio stared into Luna's eyes and began to sing.
You don't see us here
We don't exist to you
Now you'll walk away
You have some things to do...
Luna's eyes flashed green. She shook her head. She looked around the table. "Girls?" she asked shakily. "What was I..." Her eyes widened. "Sunset Shimmer. Girls, I'm sorry, I—"
Starlight Glimmer marched up to the group, a frown on her face.
"This is unexpected."
Luna took a step back. "S-stay away from me, you—!"
Starlight snapped her fingers. A turquoise glow surrounded Luna's head. She went slack, her eyes dull and vacant.
"I believe you're needed in the faculty office," Starlight said sweetly.
"Yes, of...of course," Luna said dully. She turned and walked away, her gait stiff and mechanical.
The Rainbooms stared at her. "What the HELL?!" Rainbow cried in alarm. "What did you—"
"So this is what's going on here," Adagio said, looking Starlight up and down. "You're not human, are you?"
Starlight smirked. "I know all about you, Adagio Dazzle," she said. "Word of advice. Get out of my school. Stay out of my business. I have plans for the Rainbooms, and if you interfere, well..." She chuckled darkly. "Put it this way: Don't." She looked at the Rainbooms, a dark smile on her face. "Girls," she said calmly. "See you in class."
And with that, she disappeared in a flash of light.
Absolutely nobody in the cafeteria reacted.
The Rainbooms stared, slack-jawed, at the space she'd occupied, then looked at each other. "How...how did she do that?" Fluttershy asked, eyes wide.
"Twilight couldn't do that! Sunset couldn't do that!" Rainbow cried.
Adagio's eyes narrowed, a contemplative frown crossing her face. "Who was that...creature?"
"Starlight Glimmer," Rarity said. "She showed up earlier this week, and...well..." She frowned unhappily. "She's..." She gestured at the listless students seated all around them. "Things have only been like this since she came here."
"Adagio," Aria said, a sudden, insistent tone in her voice. "That was Equestrian magic. Really powerful Equestrian magic."
"Yeah, I haven't felt anything like that since that old goat Starswirl," Sonata agreed.
Adagio scowled. "Girls?" she said to the group at large. "This Starlight Glimmer is as much a threat to us as she is to this pathetic high school. I hate to say it, but..." She gazed imperiously at the Rainbooms.
"You're going to need our help to get rid of that bitch."
A tense silence fell.
Rainbow nodded. "Yeah. I can go along with that."
"Rainbow Dash? Are you certain about this?" Rarity asked nervously.
Rainbow frowned. "No," she admitted. "But without Sunset and Twilight, we're screwed. If they can help us fix this mess, what choice do we have?"
* * * * *
Beck, Belle, and DD sat in a Hinny's in Whinnyapolis. It was past two in the morning and their bus had arrived at the station only an hour earlier. They were tired, they were sore, and Hinny's was the only thing open within walking distance of the bus station, so they rented coin lockers to stow their luggage and hiked up the road to get some hot food and kill time.
"I'm thinking we'll check into a motel at sunrise," Belle said. "Hole up for a day, get some rest, make some plans. Tomorrow we'll rent a car and head down to Canterlot."
"That's a long drive," DD said, examining a map he'd bought at the bus station. "I think taking the train would be better. It'd be more comfortable than the bus and less expensive than renting a car."
"Yeah, I agree with DD," Beck said. "We have no idea what we'll run into when we get there. We need to save what money we can."
"Hmm," Belle said. "Yeah, you're probably right. Okay, we'll take the train. Do you wanna hole up or head out right away?"
Beck grimaced. "Bad as I'd love a bed and a shower, I think we'd better keep moving." The waitress came around to refill their coffee; taking a sip, Beck stared out the window. "She's out there," she said. "She's living it up, has a perfect life, has friends...she doesn't have any problems."
"Beck..." DD said.
"Sunset," Belle corrected him reproachfully.
"Nah, it's okay," Beck said with a smile. "You guys are my friends. From the day we met, I've just been Beck to you guys..." She sighed. "Everybody's gotta have a nickname, right...Double Diamond?" she added with a smirk. Shaking her head, she motioned to the waitress. "Think I'm gonna order another plate. I haven't eaten like this in I don't know how long."
"Hmm...yeah, think I'll do the same," DD said. "Besides, it's not like we're in any hurry to leave."
The cook turned up the kitchen radio. In the stillness of the virtually empty diner, it carried to their table.
//—thorities are closing all roads and shutting down all transportation into Vanhoover as the killer ice storm worsens. So far, fifty deaths have been reported, mostly among the homeless community. Bitter wind chills and widespread power outages have authorities concerned that we could be facing hundreds more deaths. Emergency services are trying to clear the roads to allow for an evacuation, but with all evacuation routes dangerously iced over, there may be no escape for those trapped in their homes as the ice and snow continue. The effects of the ice storm are spreading, and record lows could be felt as far south as Whinnyapolis within the next twelve to twenty-four hours...//