First there was darkness. Nothing to be seen but a pitch-black void that totally consumed all sound and light. Then, there was a spark. Just the tiniest violet sparkle of light that despite its size seemed to light the entire void for the briefest of moments before it faded and everything was cast into darkness once more. That first spark was followed by another spark of light, then another, and then more each briefly lighting up before dying out in quick succession, each in seemingly different points within the void. After several more moments of darkness the points where the sparks had all appeared finally lighted up in violet embers of light that refused to go out. Each one first starting small before growing exponentially. Now any onlooker could see that the light formed a particular pattern, that of six pointed star.
If that wasn’t evident enough the growing embers of light erupted and then arced their light together to form a solid six-pointed star across the darkness, six additional white colored embers of light erupted at different points around the star pattern. The star pattern continued to grow in size, enough to fill the vision of any spectator but at the very center of the pattern different patterns and colors had begun to form new shapes. In no time at all the shapes solidified into several different things. A star and a moon. Grass covered land studded with flowers and trees. Even ponies of various colors but all sharing a simple design that was of a caricature of a normal pony. Then a voice shattered the silence.
“Long ago in a distant age, Equestria was ruled by Celestia and Luna, Princesses of the Sun and Moon.”
As the words were spoken two caricatures of two alicorn ponies emerged from behind the sun and moon. One radiating the sunshine of day and the other the light of the night’s moon.
“All was well in Equestria. The Princesses used the mystical Elements of Harmony to defend their little ponies from monsters from without Equestria’s borders.”
The shapes of several different creatures appear in the scene. One a twisted amalgamation of various animals. Another a centaur like creature with the horns of a bull. A shadow shaped like a unicorn in armor. A swarm of bug-like ponies.
Six different colored stones, the Elements of Harmony, appear and shine brightly around both of the Princesses. A rainbow-colored light erupts from the colored stones and sweeps away all of the creatures leaving the ponies unharmed.
“However, it was the monsters from within that the Princesses could not defeat. As Luna jealous of her sister, for the ponies loved Celestia’s day and shunned Luna’s night, sought to overthrow Celestia and bring about an eternal night.”
The scene of Equestria fades, leaving just both Princesses who proceed to fly around and fight each other. Both shooting each other with beams of magic or defending with sparkling bubble shields. To an onlooker it would seem like fireworks were erupting across a night sky with each burst of magic from the two alicorn caricatures.
“Finally, not wanting to destroy her sister, Celestia used the Elements of Harmony to banish Luna to the moon.”
The Elements of Harmony appear in a flash of light around the figure of Celestia, the same rainbow-colored wave of magic bursting from the Elements to swirl around the figure of Luna before sweeping her upward and into the shape of the moon.
“However, in doing so a great cost was paid. For the bonds between the sisters had been broken in their fight. It was this bond between the two that gathered the Elements of Harmony to them.”
The Elements of Harmony surrounding Celestia vibrate erratically for several moments, lighting energy splaying across the surface of each Element before without warning each Element exploded outward away from Celestia. Scattering in different directions the Elements of Harmony one by one disappear from sight.
“The Elements of Harmony were lost. Each scattering across Equestria or perhaps to unknown lands. For nopony knows where they went or where they are now. Despite searching for the Elements of Harmony they have remained lost for nearly a thousand years.”
Only the image of the Moon remains, now painted with the image of a mare’s head. The Elements of Harmony appear once more, slowly orbiting around the Moon.
“Which puts Equestria in great peril for a prophecy says that the stars will assist the escape of-“
The shout is quickly followed by each of the lights of the Canterlot Equestrian Theater turning on at the same time. This reveals the hundreds of empty seats of the theater as well as the stage where the shapes of the Moon and Elements of Harmony take up the space in the center of the stage. The images though quickly begin to shudder and collapse, dwindling to a central point on the stage where they disappear and reveal a purple, unicorn mare.
Beneath a black top hat on top of her head sits her violet mane with neat streaks of rose pink and sapphire blue, two lengths of her mane hang down to either side of her face ending in two curls at the tip of each. Similarly, her tail, completely violet, also ends in a single curl at the very end of it. She is wearing a close-cut tuxedo, a dark purple bowtie around her neck, the tuxedo ends in two coat tails that fall to either side of her tail in a fashion almost like a cape. In one of her hooves she has a magician’s wand which stops glowing with violet magic the moment the images of the illusion disappeared around the Unicorn completely. On her flank was the same image of the pattern from the beginning of the illusion, the six-pointed star was her cutie mark.
Her violet colored eyes stare out toward one of the back entrances to the theater for a moment before they rapidly shifted between looks of anger followed by petulant annoyance.
Then she took a deep breath of air and whined.
“Suuuuunset! You ruuuuined my performance! This was my latest masterpiece! Dazzling Sparkle’s tale from the darkest parts of Equestria’s history! Such bravo! Such drama!” Dazzling Sparkle stomped
“You mean, such baloney!” Sunset Shimmer said from an aisle when she trotted toward the stage, a quick burst of her own amber colored magic teleported her directly onto the stage.
Dazzling rolled her eyes. “Pardon? My illusions are not ‘baloney’ as you say. They are exquisite works of art! You may be Celestia’s apprentice but you must at least appreciate an artist’s work, no?”
Sunset Shimmer let out a frustrated groan. It sounded well practiced from dozens if not hundreds of similar arguments with Dazzling. “That story and prophecy are what is baloney. The Mare on the Moon? Come on, you could have come up with something better than it being Celestia’s evil, twin sister or whatever.”
Dazzling let out an exaggerated gasp of shock before she stamped her hoof again at Sunset. “I’ll have you know I found this story in a book! Within the Royal Library! Spike! Come here with the book!”
From above the stage the small form of Spike the dragon descended as if he was flying. Except, he was just falling, but with style. Both claws clung to a stage rope, a heavy book wedged between his teeth. He doesn’t quite stick his landing as he stumble several steps before stopping in front of Dazzling and Sunset. He spits out the book to Dazzling but all of his attention is focused on Sunset. His pupils had turned into small hearts.
“H-h-hi Sunset! Uh, looking-uh, sunny today!”
Sunset stopped herself in mid eye roll and instead smiled back at Spike, “Thank you, Spike. At least you are nicer than Dazzling here. I don’t know why you stick around with her.”
“Hmph. He is my number one assistant, that’s why” Dazzling said before she turned to Spike and smiled, “Thank you, Spike. The lightning was perfect, now please go find Octavia. I want to know if she has the sample music score ready yet.”
“Yes, M’am!” Spike saluted before he sped off, exiting stage left.
“More like he is the only one who is capable of standing your constant whining all the time. You may not be a student at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns anymore but I bet you didn’t get invited to Moondancer’s party.” Sunset poked Dazzling with a hoof.
“Hah! Shows how much you know! I will be at Moondancer’s party!” Dazzling said, but she had purposefully not added that she had been invited to Moondancer’s party as the entertainment. When she was creating the most wonderful and awe-inspiring illusions in Equestria who had time to make friends? Her cheeks blushed slightly before she shoved the book into Sunset’s hooves, “Here! See for yourself. Now if you excuse me, please let me rehearse. Surely, Celestia has you doing better things than being a bother to an ex-student?”
“Actually,” Sunset smiled triumphantly at Dazzling which immediately alarmed her. Dazzling had known Sunset for many years and she knew Sunset only smiled like that when she was right about something-which was much too often for Dazzling’s taste. “I was sent here by Celestia. She wants you to put on a performance.”
“A…performance?” Dazzling had become acutely aware of the beating of her pulse. Her hooves began to sweat even as she leaned closer to Sunset, her eyes wide as she carefully spoke her next words, “A royal performance?”
“Yes,” Sunset smiled even wider, it was the kind of smile a predator had when they were playing with their food, “a royal performance.”
“YES! I knew Celestia would change her mind! That she would accept my art! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Dazzling was so happy she literally bounced around Sunset, the tails of her tuxedo flapping in the air behind her with every bounce. She stopped in front of Sunset again but her mind was already ablaze with new ideas for performances and illusions. “I have had something oh, so special planned for just this occasion but now that it is here I know that I can do better and bigger! We should have the performance at night, that way when I light the room as if the sun had suddenly risen everypony will be so confused and amazed at the same time and-“
“Hold your horses! I said it would be a royal performance but not for Celestia or the court.” Sunset was absolutely beaming now, she had to hold a hoof to her mouth to prevent herself from laughing out loud.
Dazzling’s thoughts one moment were like a series of fireworks, every moment a new piece of inspiration building up to a grander display. Then the next they were nothing, like a bad cliffhanger that had ended everything so suddenly and without warning. Dazzling tilted her head at Sunset, her face emotionless. “…but Celestia…is royal.”
Normally so eloquent Dazzling struggled to piece together Sunset’s words for a proper response.
“The performance would be royal, but like I said it is not for Celestia. You have been asked to perform at the Summer Sun Celebration. In Ponyville. You are to perform one of your little acts before Celestia arrives to lower the sun for the celebration.”
Dazzling processed the words that Sunset had said. She ran them through her mind several times. Peeling over each one for any sort of hidden meanings or lies. As she placed them in order and turned them around inside her head she realized what the royal performance truly was and it filled her with anger.
“You mean to tell me…that Celestia wants me to go to Ponyville. A town in the middle of nowhere. To perform as not the main attraction, but instead to be the…the…” Dazzling’s voice had become so filled with disgust that she had to spit out the last words, “to be the OPENING ACT?”
Dazzling groaned and rubbed her hooves across her face. She slumped down to the floor and rolled in place on her back. She had, had enough practice to know how to roll without crumpling her tuxedo.
“The opening act! The warm up! Not the headliner! Not the main event! No, no, no. I can’t be too flashy or too astounding. I can’t be great or magnificent. I must be like some birthday clown or warm-up comedian, just good enough. I can’t shoot for the stars, I have to fly low to the ground. Straight and simple. Not mind blowing in the least!”
“Pretty much.” Sunset walked over to Dazzling and looked down at her, not bothering to cover her smile anymore, “So, should I tell Celestia that you want the job?”
Dazzling narrowed her eyes up at Sunset before she jumped back to her feet. Stamping not just one hoof but both of her front hooves. At the same time. She pressed forward, her muzzle almost coming to contact with Sunset as Dazzling stared at Sunset directly in the eyes.
“What kind of artist do you take me for? This is some kind of joke isn’t it? There is no way I am going to be the opening act for Celes-“
“If you pull this off well Celestia says she will offer you to be the main attraction for this year’s Galloping Gala.” Sunset said.
“-tia without knowing my audience. The Friendship Express goes to Ponyville doesn’t it? Tell Celestia I’ll have Spike book sets for us to leave first thing in the morning.”