Twilight stared up, eyes wide, mouth gaping. The girl she'd approached in front of the statue had spun, cutting the threads of purple off with her bare hands, which were surrounded by an interplay of red and purple light. Her hair had become streaked through with red highlights, while her eyes had gone completely white, burning like small suns. As Twilight watched, the small girl silently rose from the ground, streamers of red light arching like wings from her shoulders. She raised one hand, red and purple blending into a flaming orb, which she drew back to pitch-
Seconds later, Twilight's vision was obscured by a red barrier, a dome of light which intercepted the fireball as it arched towards her. Falling on her butt, Twilight watched as the figure launched a second orb, only for it to also burst off the shield, causing to shudder ominously. Scrambling to her feet, Twilight spun, only to see Sunset Shimmer, both hands covered in red light, concentrating on the barrier.
Sunset glared at Twilight. "And this is why I wanted to talk to you before you rushed off, Twilight!" She winced as another fireball smashed into her shield. "Now we've gotta deal with this again!"
Twilight glared back at the floating girl, who was rubbing her hands together, obviously warming up another shot. "What- how- what the hell is going on?"
"Magic." Sunset said. As Twilight's eyes widened incredulously, Sunset glared back. "And that's why I never bothered to record any of this. Would you have believed me if I'd told you that?"
Twilight turned, looking up at the small girl floating above them. Already frightened, Twilight swallowed as the figure summoned another fireball- this one stretching nearly a foot in diameter. "Umm-"
"I didn't think so." This time, Sunset twisted her wrists, causing the shield to pulse as the fireball impacted, dispersing the blaze. "We should be okay as long as she's just throwing fireballs- a good shield blocks those easily."
"Okay... Twilight gulped, and took a step back. "...if you don't mind me asking, who'd this happen to last time?"
"Look, it's a long story, but I'll explain-" Sunset jerked her head up as Scootaloo parted her hands, allowing a bolt of purple lightning to arc between them. "Oh horesapples-"
Applejack rounded the corner at a dead run, nearly running into a much smaller form heading down the hallway. "Hey, watch where you're goin'- Apple Bloom?" Applejack was surprised as her younger sister moved past her, intent on moving to the front of the school. "Apple Bloom, what're you doing?" Applejack said, reaching out to grab her sister's shoulder.
As soon as her hand clamped on Apple Bloom, the small figure whirled around. Applejack took a step back. Apple Bloom's eyes were wide, with white light pouring from between the lids, obscuring everything about the younger Apple's eyes. As Applejack watched, lines of red and yellow light began to gather around Apple Bloom's hands, and the younger girl hurled forward, coming up with a powerful punch.
Applejack yelped, dodging to one side. As soon as she passed, Apple Bloom pivoted on one foot, sending a viscious right cross directly at Applejack's stomach. Applejack dodged a second time, only to be sent flying backward as Apple Bloom's foot smashed into her hip.
Groaning, Applejack slammed into the wall, her sister approaching with slow, measured steps. Applejack hissed- then focused inward. This ain't Apple Bloom- she'd never attack me like this. Somethin's wrong- and it looks like Ah'm gonna need a little leverage. Standing up, she felt the energy coursing through her harden her skin and reinforce her muscles. "Alright, last chance to get outta my sister's head," Applejack growled, limbering up. Apple Bloom stood stock still, unresponseive. Applejack slammed one hand into the palm on the other. "Alright, then. Are you ready for a whuppin?"
Apple Bloom took a step back, then threw herself forward. With a roar, Applejack rose to meet her-
Only to blow past her as a second form slid between the two sisters, throwing Apple Bloom to one side as she passed. Applejack stumbled, her quarry missing, and turned to see-
"Aria? What the hell are you-"
Aria snorted, dropping into a fighting stance of her own. A pair of lavender gauntlets adorned her hands, each emblazoned with a small green stone. "Applejack, right?" The former siren looked over at her one-time enemy, then turned back to the Crusader, who was picking herself up off the floor. "I can tell- whatever's making her hit like a brick hasn't made her much tougher. You hit her- you might break her."
Applejack frowned, then noticed that her sister had gotten back to her feet- but wasn't attacking anymore. Narrowing her gaze, she watched the younger girl intently. "Alright. Ah might- MIGHT- buy that. But why isn't she attackin' us?"
Aria frowned, then studied the girl in front of her. "I- I don' think she's aggressive." The former siren mused.
"Really? She came after me like a load of hornets!"
"Look, I don't think she's angry." Aria continued. "See that stance? It's defensive- whatever's controlling her feels afraid. It might have responded to you trying to stop her by retaliating- but since I haven't attacked it, it's backed off. We may be able to calm it down without hurting her."
"Really?" Applejack spat. "And how do you know that?"
Applejack's anger caused the gems on the back of Aria's gauntlets to spark and burn a tad brighter- and for a brief instant, she could feel Applejack's rage- jut a touch. Raising an open hand, Aria spoke quietly, seeing the possessed Apple Bloom pause as her opponents stopped. "Hold on a moment. Let me try something."
Aria closed her eyes and focused, reaching outward through her gauntlets- like she had once before, to spark and drain strife and hatred from others. Feeling forward, she glanced off Applejack's anger, before directing herself towards the girl in front of her. Apple Bloom's own emotions were there- though muted- primarily fear and desperation, as well as rising feelings towards the thing which wore her body. The raw intelligence which dominated Apple Bloom's form, however, felt merely fear- and a wild desire to survive.
Unbeknownst to Aria, as she focused outward, the armor on her hands began to shift, small pinpricks of lavender light drifting upwards to land on her forehead and temples. As Applejack watched, Aria's head slowly vanished as the light spread, forming a helm the same color as her gauntlets, adorned with a pair of metal fins like the ones she'd worn as a siren, her long hair protruding from behind each fin like tails.
Aria's voice echoed out of the helmet. "She's still in there- but she's not in control. Whatever's posessing her, it's feeling barely any anger, and no hate whatsoever."
"Alright." Applejack's temper cooled. "Wait- you said she's scared?"
"Whatever's controlling her's scared. It's not really thinking- just frightened. More like an animal than anything else." Aria reached up and knocked on her helmet. "Huh. That's new..."
"Like an animal, huh?" Applejack thought for a second, then moved forward, lowering her arms in the process. "Aria, I got an idea. Can you restrain her- without hurtin' her?"
Aria glanced at Applejack. "Really? And why can't you do it?"
"Cause Ah don't think Ah have enough control to pull it off." She glanced over at the purple girl. "And you seem like you've done this before."
Aria snorted. "More than you know. What's the plan?"
Fluttershy ran as she moved towards the nearest of the spikes of pain she'd sensed. Since her powers had come in, touching someone was enough to reveal their aches and pains- although she hadn't been able to treat any bu the most obvious wounds thus far. But something had shifted- she felt a connection to multiple people, several of them having just experienced a massive shock to their systems. Even now, small pains lanced through the closest of the individuals she could trace through her magic.
Rounding the corner, Fluttershy finally identified the figure whose pain she felt. Sweetie Belle was advancing down the hallway, a glow of red and green rippling around her hands, her eyes completely white. As Fluttershy moved in the way of her advance the little girl stopped, motionless. The green lights around her hands began to spark and hiss, darting outward and diving into loose objects - scattered across the hallway. With a flick of her wrist, Sweetie sent the detritus at Fluttershy kicking up a wind of loose papers, scattered coins, and lost pencils.
With a quick cry, Fluttershy ducked, quickly avoiding the worst of the projectiles heading towards her. Regaining her footing, she saw Sweetie Belle stand stock still, her stock of ammuniton spent. Taking a step forward, Fluttershy began to speak. "Sweetie Belle- what are you doing? You could seriously hurt someone, doing something like that." Fluttershy frowned, reaching out with her pain sense. Withing the girl before her was a second figure- one desperately trying to gain traction on the mind before her, suffering small pains as it did so. Something clicked home within Fluttershy's mind. "Wait- you're not Sweetie Belle-"
As she spoke, she noticed Sweetie Belle'd face tighten, tiny wrinkles appearing at the corner of each eye. Sweetie Belle's body reached up with both hands, and twisted her wrists. Green light surround the dials of a dozen lockers, and within seconds, each locker had swung open from the touch of magic. This time, the green lights touched textbooks, pencil pouches, and water bottles- lifting them to orbit Sweetie Belle.
Fluttershy took a step back as Sweetie advanced, the spinning aura surrounding her lashing out with far more force than her earlier attack. However, as the little Crusader advanced, a strange tune began to carry down the hallway.
From behind her, a familiar voice bounced into Fluttershy's ears. "Well, well, Miss Shy. What seems to be the problem here?"
Discord stepped up beside her, strumming out a tune on an acoustic guitar. Starting off soft, he causally caused the first few object floating towards the himself and Fluttershy to spin back, rejoining the crowd of objects flowing around Sweetie Belle. Fluttershy glanced at the janitor. "Mr. Discord? How did you-"
"Oh, this little trick?" He said softly, speeding up the pace of his playing as Sweetie came to a halt. "I found out I could do this yesterday." He frowned slightly. "I was honestly hoping to keep this quiet long enough to play some tricks- but one can't have everything, you know. As for how I can do this-" He turned a wry grin Fluttershy's way. "- I have no idea!" Looking back at Sweetie Belle, he frowned. "Now, listen, I'm all for working out your problems, but this seems a bit excessive. What exactly did you do to upset her this much?"
"Nothing- I mean I- oh, right." Fluttershy tumbled over her words. "She's not in control of herself- I don't know what's making her do this, but I don't think Sweeties would want this." She paused, the said softly "I really hope we don't have to hurt her to stop her-"
Discord played for a moment longer, before letting out a massive grin. "I already know I can't make anyone who resists dance with my little lady-" He tapped his guitar lovingly- "But perhaps..." His smile turned viscous. "If she's not in control of herself- we can change the tune she's dancing to, no?"
Twilight watched in horror as the girl above the barrier rose higher, a bolt of red lightning caught in one hand. Sunset grunted, and began to reinforce her shield, red light streaming from each hand. "Listen, when the bolt hits, start running. I don't think I can hold the barrier after she hits us once- and she can follow up with a fireball as soon as the shield drops. Can you do that-"
Twilight stood, frozen, even as the small girl raised her hand to throw. Sunset choked back a curse. "Twilight, listen to me, there's nothing you can do! As soon as the shield drops, run!" Twilight, her gaze caught by her impending demise, barely moved. Sunset cursed again, then turned her gaze to the figure above them. Maybe if I pulse the shield, then hit her with something, I can hold her off long enough for Twilight to-
Sunset watched as Pinkie Pie rammed into Scootaloo from above, both feet thudding into the small girl's shoulders, before spring-boarding off and landing atop Sunset's shield in a perfect three point landing. Scootaloo was sent flying to the ground behind the statue, her lighting bold discharging harmlessly off the statue. -Or, Pinkie will pop in and give us a hand. How the hell did she get up there?
Sunset let the shield drop, a smile on her face- before quickly glancing up and moving two steps forward, catching a plummeting Pinkie Pie. Pinkie bounced from Sunset's arms, a massive grin on her face. "Ooh! That was fun! We should do that again some time, Sunny!"
Twilight's jaw hung slack, before she rapidly composed herself. "Wait- you just knocked someone back forty feet, slamming them into the ground! You just killed someone, and you're making jokes like-"
Pinkie dodged towards Twilight, sweeping her into a massive hug. "Ooh, it's so good to meet you, new Twilight! And don't worry about Scoots, she's fine. In fact," she continued, pulling Twilight into a quick bridal carry "We should probably move. Like, right now."
Without further ado, Pinkie ran back towards the school. Twilight glanced around nervously, seeing Sunset running alongside the pink girl with casual ease. Twilight blinked. "Wait, how did she- why aren't you-"
Sunset shook her head as the three girls arrived at the front steps of the school. "It's Pinkie Pie. Don't question it."
Twilight found herself set on her feet- and immediately swept into another hug, as Shining Armor embraced his sister. "Twilight- I though I was going to-"
Sunset cut off his dialogue with a quick cough. "Touching moment later, magical superbeing now." As the group watched, Scootlaloo rose into the air, a swirling vortex of purple and red light beginning to gather aroud her. "Right. Pinkie, can you do that jumping attack again?"
Pinkie shook her head. "Nah. Everyone's paying attention to me now. I can't make the jump I'd need to pull it off." Reaching into her hair, Pinkie rummaged around for a minute before withdrawing a few round objects. "Still, I've got a few tricks up my-"
"WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY SISTER?"
Everyone flinched at those words, before turning to see a pissed off Flash Sentry watching his possessed sibling approach the group, a wide eyed Rainbow Dash following on his heels. Flash stared at his sister, before turning his gaze to Sunset. "What is going on? How did this-"
"No time to explain. Pinkie, you and I are on defense- protect the school. Mr. Armor, could you please call the police?" Sunset glared at Shining, not noticing the approach of the flying girl behind her. Pinkie, however, did- pegging Scootaloo in the chest with one of the beanbags she'd grabbed, knocking the girl off course, and the fireball out of her hands.
"Already tried. I can't get through on the line." Shining said quickly.
Sunset swore, then turned to see Scootaloo dive bombing them again- only for Pinkie's second beanbag to slam into her face, knocking the newest pair of fireballs loose from her grasp. Seconds later, the fire balls were swatted back at the Crusader by a scarf wrapped in blue magic. Rarity stepped forward, cracking her removed neck-warmer like a whip. "That should hold her for a moment. darlings." Glancing at Sunset, she frowned. "You think we're going to need the rainbow, dear?"
Sunset nodded. "With any luck, Applejack and Fluttershy will get here soon. I don't understand what's happened to Scootaloo- but it's obvious she's not in control. We should be able to snap her back to normal with the elements- I hope." Turning back to the form of the Crusader as she rose, Sunset gulped and rained her hands. "Until then, we've just gotta hold out."
Behind her, Rainbow Dash rubbed her head. Dammit! The one time I need the magic, and I've still got this headache! It's even worse here than it was in the building, but I can't leave now! Her jaw clenched. Scootaloo wanted me to talk to her again, that was all. Whatever took the chance to grab her like this, I'm gonna pound their face in!