Sunday morning found Sunset lazily watching cartoons on TV. The good cartoons, the ones for older kids, not the cheesy ones on the cartoon channel.
With a big bowl of cereal in front of her and a tall glass of orange juice on the table, she almost forgot about her bizarre predicament.
The fact that she was using her magic to eat was a subtle reminder of the situation.
After breakfast, she washed her dishes, then started cleaning the apartment. It was a bit of a mess after the events of the last couple of days. The simple act of cleaning house focused Sunset's mind and had a calming effect upon her; she even started whistling to herself as she vacuumed up crumbs and polished the living room table.
With her housekeeping chores done, Sunset pondered what to do with the rest of her day. Ordinarily, on a Sunday, she'd either go out with her friends or do some shopping, maybe take in a movie. None of which she could do in her present situation, and her friends were all spending today with their families at her own behest.
"I guess I could get in some guitar practice," she thought out loud. "Or catch up on some reading...maybe there's a good movie on TV..."
Her musings were interrupted by the doorbell. She frowned; other than her friends and possibly Celestia, nobody should be dropping by on a Sunday. Even if her rent was due or there was a problem with the apartment or something, the landlord wouldn't show up on a Sunday, and her neighbors didn't generally interact with her...
She trotted over to the door. "Who is it?" she called.
"It's Flash," the muffled voice of Flash Sentry said from the other side.
Sunset's eyes widened and her ears pinned back. "Oh horseapples," she muttered.
"I found a book you left over at my place and wanted to return it," Flash said.
"Oh! That's...that's nice," Sunset said. "Listen, can you just leave it outside?"
"Uhh...actually, I also kinda wanted to talk. We...haven't talked in a while, really, and—"
"You mean ever since you broke up with me?" Sunset snapped.
"Yeah, and...I wanted to, y'know, talk about that and...about us still being friends. And, well..." He paused. "I don't feel comfortable talking about this through a door. Can...can I come in?"
"No!" Sunset cried. "I mean...sorry, it's just...I've been sick, and I'm naked, and—"
"I can wait for you to put some clothes on, and...and if you've been sick, I can like, help you out with stuff. I did wonder why you weren't at school Friday." Flash paused. "Look, I just...I just really wanna talk. Please?"
The pleading tone in his voice made Sunset close her eyes and sigh. *Dammit...he's not going away unless I yell at him some, and I don't want to hurt his feelings by being a bitch to him just because I'm embarrassed to be seen like this...*
Taking a deep breath, Sunset unlocked the door and opened it.
Flash blinked. "Sunset?"
Flash looked down, blinking stupidly, his mouth forming a small 'o'.
"Well?" Sunset said, stepping aside. "Get in here and close that door before anyone sees this."
Groaning, Sunset seized Flash in her magic, dragged him inside, and slammed the door, locking it. Once she set Flash down, he shook himself vigorously, then rubbed his eyes. "Whoa, what just—" He stared at Sunset, eyes widening. "...Sunset? Is...is..."
"Yes, it's me," Sunset said. "This is my real form. I've turned back into a pony for some reason. Twilight's trying to figure it out back in Equestria."
Flash's jaw dropped and his shoulders slumped. "Your...your real fo—you're a horse?"
"Pony," Sunset corrected. Then, with a vicious and slightly petty smirk, she added, "Twilight's a pony too, y'know." Savoring Flash's deer-in-the-headlights stare, she couldn't resist twisting the knife a little more. "That's right, guitar-boy. That cute nerd girl you've been bumping into things spacing out over is a prancing pony princess."
Flash staggered over to the sofa and collapsed. "Whoa," he said. As Sunset sat across from him, he took another look at her.
Then his eyes rolled back in his head. Sunset caught him with her magic before he could faceplant onto the floor and laid him out on the couch. She chuckled to herself. "I think that went well..."
* * * * *
Sonata Dusk wandered sleepily downstairs, dressed in short, tight shorts and a loose tank top, her hair a complete mess. Her ears twitched at the sounds of Adagio and Aria sniping at each other. Scratching herself, she padded into the kitchen, pulled out a skillet, and started making breakfast tacos. She didn't need to check first to know the other Sirens hadn't had anything but coffee yet this morning.
"Those girls have REAL magic," Aria said. "They were dripping with it."
"No, really? I didn't notice," Adagio said.
"What's goin' on here, Adagio?" Aria asked. "The last time we faced those Raingrooms, they just barely put on the whole pony ears and rainbow laser light show when they sang that lame friendship song. Now they're what, permanently part pony?" She frowned. "Kinda like us?"
"That...seems to be the case," Adagio said. She sighed. "Only they got the better part of the bargain." She frowned. "Something very strange is happening..."
Aria rolled her eyes. "Duh," she spat. She glanced at Sonata. "You know, not every meal has to be tacos."
Sonata shrugged. "Yeah, I know. That's why we're having gyros for dinner tonight."
"Gyros?" Adagio asked, tilting her head. "Do you even know how to make those?"
"Sure," Sonata said with a shrug. "I mean, I'll have to use the crock pot because we don't have a rotisserie, but other than that, it's not much harder than making a taco."
Adagio shrugged. "Whatever you say. You're the one who knows how to cook."
Aria shook her head. "How is it Sonata's a ditz at everything except making food?"
"Well you two don't know how to cook," Sonata pointed out. "Someone's gotta keep us all alive here." She frowned. "Besides, the last time Adagio tried to cook, there was a pound of hair in it."
Adagio glowered at Sonata. "Anyway," she snapped tersely, "we need more info on this whole magic thing." She frowned. "Which means somehow, we need to sneak back into Canterlot High."
"Ugh, that place," Aria groaned. "Fine."
A plate with two expertly made breakfast tacos landed in front of each Siren. Sonata sat at the table with her own plate and a sunny smile. "Eat up!"
* * * * *
Flash shot bolt upright on the sofa. "THE BOOBS WERE A LIE!" he cried.
Sunset rolled her eyes. "Welcome back, Flash."
Flash looked over at Sunset, his face taking on a green tinge. "You're a—"
"I...I made out with a..."
"Girl who used to be a pony," Sunset supplied.
"Also a pony."
Flash shot off the couch and bolted for the bathroom. Sunset raised an eyebrow as she heard him empty his stomach.
A few minutes later, Flash staggered back out, pale and clammy. "Oh God," he groaned.
"Wow, you really know how to make a girl feel special," Sunset said.
"But...but I kissed...and wanted to do stuff with..." Flash gulped. "Animals."
Sunset blew on her mane. "Look, asshole," she said, "I've kind of had a really crazy weekend, my life has just been completely upended by unexpectedly turning back into my true form, this world may actually be in deep trouble, Twilight's busy trying to figure out what's going on, and the last thing I need is for you to have some shallow chickenshit freakout on me." She pointed a hoof at the door. "Now, you can sit down and we can talk like civilized beings, or you can get out right now and prove you're a jerk. And believe me, Twilight would not be impressed by you acting like a jerk."
Flash blinked dumbly. "I just..." He put his head in his hands. "Sorry. This is a lot to take in."
Sunset sighed. "Fair enough," she said. "I'll make lunch while you take a minute to think."
Flash remained lost in thought until a plate with a microwave pizza for one landed on the table in front of him, along with a bottled cola; a similar meal landed on the other side. Next, two bowls of fresh green salad landed on the table; the one beside his plate had a copious amount of Thousand Island dressing, while the other salad was drizzled in Balsamic vinaigrette. He looked up as Sunset sat down across the table; a faint pale green aura surrounded the horn protruding from her brow. A similar aura surrounded a pizza cutter which was floating over the table, cutting the two pizzas into precise quarters. The pizza cutter floated over to the kitchen sink; Flash watched as the sink turned itself on, rinsed the pizza cutter, then turned itself off. His eyes tracked back to Sunset as a fork floated off the table, seized a large bite of salad, and stuffed it in her mouth. She eyed him as she chewed. Blinking dazedly, Flash grabbed a slice of pizza and nibbled on it. "How...how did you..." He tilted his head at the pizza, then at the sink.
"Magic," Sunset said. "I'm a unicorn."
"Right," Flash said. "Is...is Twilight—?"
"Twilight has magic too," Sunset said. "She's an alicorn...that's a little harder to explain." Sunset sipped her cola, then levitated her pizza and took a delicate bite. "It's..." She frowned, then shook her head. "It'd be easier to show you. If I can remember how this spell works..."
Sunset closed her eyes and concentrated. Her horn flared brightly. A square expanded in midair between them, surrounded in a rippling green aura. Slowly, it filled with an image of an angry purple pony with Twilight Sparkle's hairstyle, a long, tapered horn, and large, feathery wings. An array of ponies who looked eerily familiar fanned out behind her, all with dangerous expressions on their faces.
After a moment, the image disappeared, and Sunset opened her eyes.
Flash shook his head in disbelief. "Okay...umm...wow." He paused for a bite of salad. "She looked...kinda pissed," he said after a moment.
"Well, yeah," Sunset said. "That was the night I stole her crown." She grimaced. "That's...the only time I've ever actually seen Twilight as a pony," she said. "I guess maybe I saw her wandering around Canterlot when she was a little filly, but I don't really remember."
"The others...were they...?"
"Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity," Sunset said. "Equestria and this world are parallels. Every single person you know has a counterpart somewhere in Equestria." She paused. "I think anyway."
Flash gulped. "Even...even me?"
Sunset grimaced. "I'd rather not talk about this world's Sunset Shimmer, if it's all the same."
Sunset sighed. "Yeah...there's probably another Twilight here somewhere. I...kinda hope we never run into her. It'd be...awkward."
"Hmm." Flash ate in silence for a few minutes. "So, uhh...you turned into a human when you came here so you'd fit in, but now you can't change anymore?"
"I didn't have anything to do with turning myself human," Sunset said. "The portal did that. I don't entirely understand how it works. I'm not even sure Twilight does. The only pony who really understood all this dimensional magic was Starswirl the Bearded, and he's been dead for centuries." She paused for some salad, then said, "All I know is when I came out of the portal in this world, I was human. When I went back to Equestria, I turned back into a pony." She shrugged. "Only now, something's gone wrong. The portal's magic is out of whack, I'm a pony, the other girls all have their pony ears and ponytails and wings and Rarity even has a horn now, the Dazzlings have some of their magic back but didn't change all the way back into their true forms..." She shook her head. "All I know for sure is that Twilight said the thaumetric pressure readings—" She looked up at Flash, who had a slice of pizza halfway to his mouth and was just staring at her in much the same way he used to stare when she was tutoring him in math. She groaned. "Nevermind. Let's just say weird stuff's happening and it looks like Equestrian magic is leaking into this world."
Flash snapped out of it, blinking several times. "Oh," he said. "Is...is that a bad thing?"
"Well, it's certainly inconvenient," Sunset said. "I mean, I can't exactly go out like this. People would freak."
"Best case scenario, Twilight finds a way to fix it and I get to be human again and get on with my life. Worst case scenario, I have to go back to Equestria and abandon my life here because I can't be human again." Sunset sighed. "That's assuming the effects are limited to anyone who's actually been exposed to Equestrian magic. Something Twilight said bothers me. If too much magic leaks into this world, things could get...weird."
* * * * *
"Brother, please...you need to stop with all this witchcraft stuff. If Father found out, or Mother..."
"Father is a fool. Besides, if I choose to explore the secrets of the ancients, that's my right. It's my life, and I'll do with it whatever I wish. I have no interest in following in Father's footsteps."
"But Father's work as Ambassador is important!"
"Father kowtows to fat, bloated foreign politicians! He does nothing of substance! I refuse to be subservient to others, holding a pretense of power! I desire true power!"
"Go ahead, then. Run to Mother. Run to her in tears and tell her everything."
"...you know I won't do that, Brother. I couldn't...but please..."
"Either help me or get out of my sight."