Shadowed Bolts

by Shadowmane PX-41


When the light died down, Starlight Glimmer graciously landed on her feet and lowered her arms. She looked at how everyone had sprouted their wings, horns, tails, and ears before she turned back towards the Rainbooms and Shadowbolts of the future.

"There," she said. "Now that everyone has magic, there's no need to fight over it. We're all equal now."

"That's what we really wanted back then. To have the same advantage as Sunset and her friends." Sunny Flare smiled as she examined everyone feeling their new appendages. "Now that both teams are the same, the Games can proceed as normal, and there's no need for any more hostility."

"Yes. But what of the future where we came from?" Sugarcoat readjusted her glasses.

"Huh?" Everyone else asked.

"Think about it. Cinch was what caused the Defectors to rise up and hurt the students of CPA. If this battle sways her mind, then the future we came from no longer exists. And in that sense, we shouldn't even exist either."

"Are you saying that we'll die?" Fluttershy hid behind Applejack and hugged her tight.

"Not exactly." Twilight walked over and gently patted Fluttershy's shoulders. "We'll simply fade away forever. We won't die. We'll still live on, but not like this. Our past selves will carry on with our own lives instead.

"How long do you think it'll be before we have to go?" Sunset Shimmer asked.

"I'd say we have plenty of time to say our last goodbyes to everyone." Starlight Glimmer looked back at the two crowds. "Thirty minutes should be enough before we disappear forever. So, if you want to tell your past selves to change, Shadowbolts, now might be the time, before they forget that this ever happened." She turned towards Sunset and her friends. "Same goes for you, CHS girls. If you want to give yourselves some parting words, feel free."

When Starlight finished, the Rainbooms and Shadowbolts split up and walked off to their schools. Sunset led her group while Sugarcoat and Twilight handled theirs.

"Hey, everyone." Rainbow Dash stepped towards the CHS students. "Now, I know that this whole magic deal's been strange to deal with, but you've gotta remember to keep your chins up in the future. I've been an awesome girl for a long time now, but given everything that's happened for me and my friends, I think it's safe to say that my time in the spotlight's come to a close. Now's the time for some new talent to take the stage, even if it is just a past copy of myself." She stepped forward and laid a hand on Past Rainbow Dash's chest. "Hey, me? Make sure you never forget about your friends. You might be radical, but you should never put that attitude before them. Loyalty's been a pretty big thing for me, and I'm trusting you to make sure that you keep Sunset and her friends safe from danger, and that you keep on being a cool friend to them, kay?"

"Hey. I'm no scientist, but shouldn't this technically be a time paradox?" Past Rainbow raised an eyebrow.

"No. The future we come from is starting to disappear, as is everything past the Friendship Games," Sunset explained. "Almost nothing exists, and once the Games come to a close, the different outcome will retcon what's already been set in stone with a better future. A paradox doesn't work if the future copy is already going to disappear anyway."

"English, Sunset?" both Rainbow Dashes said together.

"It'll be fine. You can touch, talk to, and do whatever you want to each other. It won't affect either of you at all." Sunset chuckled.

"Oh. Well, thanks for the speech there, me." Past Rainbow gave Future Rainbow a pat on the back. "I won't let you down."

"For your sake, I hope you keep that promise." Future Rainbow gave her past self a handshake.

Sunset Shimmer came up to her past copy and looked her in the eyes. Giving her a smile, she said, "You've got some great friends, a great future, and a lot more to look forward to in your future. I'm not exactly sure what it'll be, since I'm disappearing, but as long as you believe in your friends, and they believe in you, you're gonna have a great life."

"Thanks, but if I may, can I ask you something?" Past Sunset tipped her hand. "If you're from the future, did you figure out how magic works yet?"

"Yes, I did. It's a weird thing really, but the magic in this world tends to evolve overtime when we're seeded by it. First it came out purely because Twilight was with us; then it was by playing musical instruments; and now it shows up whenever we show off the truest part of ourselves, like Applejack's honesty or Rarity's generousity," she said. "And now that everyone has this magic, I hope that the new world is full of new friends, new discoveries, and lots of new adventures."

"I hope so too." Past Sunset cracked a smile, then held out her arm for a handshake. "It was nice to meet you."

"You too." Sunset returned the gesture before she went back to see how the rest of the Rainbooms were doing talking to their past selves.

Over on the other side, Starlight Glimmer, Sugarcoat, Twilight, and the other Shadowbolts were giving their last words to their past selves and to the rest of their school.

"Past Twilight?" Future Twilight came up to her. "I want you to know that no matter what you decide; whether you choose to come to CHS, or stay at Crystal Prep, don't forget about Starlight. She's one of your BFFs, and I hope you don't end up breaking her heart." She then took the locket that had been draped around her neck and smashed it on the ground. "No need for that silly thing, either. You've got your own magic, and you can freely study what you can do with it. Heck, you could even learn from the other kids at your school, now that they'll be flying or using their own spells."

"Are you sure?" Past Twilight coiled some of her hair around her fingers. "I almost ended up doing something I could've regretted back there if Future Starlight hadn't come in and became that magical deity."

"Having magic is a great thing, but there's no need to rip apart everything that gets in your way in your pursuit of knowledge. Instead, you should write your findings out in a book of your own, and publish what you've learned so that hopefully, many other amazing people will follow in your footsteps." Future Twilight held her past self's hand. "And who knows? You might end up learning more than anything that this human world could ever teach you."

"Thank you, future me." Past Twilight almost teared up at that sentence. "I'll keep that in mind."

"So, about what you showed us back in that other dimension..." Cinch stepped up to Future Sugarcoat with her hands gently folded. "Is it true? Will I really lash out and be ruined for it?"

"Yes. But now you have a choice to make, Abacus." Sugarcoat held out her arms like a scale to emphasize the decision. "You can choose to remain defiant about everything, cause your downfall, get fired, and allow the future to proceed as normal; or you can choose to accept us as equals now that literally everyone has magic now. That way, you keep your job, your reputation, and maybe even your winning streak as we do the final event for real."

"I must admit that I've been a fool." Cinch hung her head and sighed. She barely noticed the horn that she had grown. "I became so obsessed with victory, that I became ruthless, and unjust. I did some things that I myself am not too proud of. I forced others to compete for my honour, when in reality, I should have taken Twilight's feelings into account. If I'd known my actions would cause me to get fired and to then serve a prison sentence, I would have stopped immediately and acted like a true samaritan." She raised her head. "Still, the field has been balanced, so there's no reason to accuse anyone anymore. It shouldn't be me who decides the winner of the Friendship Games. It should rather be the students themselves with how they push and devote themselves to the game. And if CHS have some underdog players this year, who am I to judge? If anything, it makes the game much more exciting, now that I think about it. So I shall allow everything to proceed as normal."

"That's good to hear!" Indigo Zap cheered. "It's much better to play fairly than to be mean to our rivals. And it'll be far better getting to know them all when the Games are over."

"Guess that sets the future of this world in stone now." Starlight brought the other Shadowbolts into a huddle. "You girls might want to say goodbye to everyone before the timeline re-adjusts itself and the world changes. I think your past selves would love to hear what you have to say to send them off."

"Yes. I have to agree," Sunny Flare said. "If the versions of us in the past don't change, then the future wouldn't be pleasant for any of us."

Once everyone else nodded, the Shadowbolts walked up to their past selves and stood in line so that they were each facing their own doubles.

"So, that whole friendship thing really works?" Past Indigo Zap asked.

"Yep. If it weren't for Sunset and her friends, we wouldn't be who we are today." Future Indigo Zap put her hands by her sides. "Sugarcoat would never have learned to open up and accept friends again; Sunny Flare would've remained another stranger in the crowds of CPA; Lemon Zest would still be considered an outcast with how much she loves to rave; Sour Sweet would've still had problems with her bipolar syndrome; and I would've still been a stuck-up, boasting idiot." She used each of her fingers on her right hand for each of her group. "The point is, friendship is a wonderful thing, and if you don't learn to open your hearts to new experiences and other people, then your life just ends up becoming boring, y'know? It's better to have lots of friends and for life to be radical, rather than it be the same thing each and every day."

"I must agree with the Future Indigo that won't exist anymore. Variety is the spice of life, and if we don't change ourselves, then what good are we?" Past Sugarcoat cracked a small smile. "If I can change my personality in the future, then I can change anything about myself once the Friendship Games conclude."

"Eloquently put as always. I expected nothing less from my past self." Sugarcoat said. "But no matter how much we change, as long as you remember who you truly are, and don't forget about yourself along the way, then you truly stand out as a person."

"So, do you still have trouble controlling your emotions? Or have you finally chosen to be a goody-two shoes?" Sour Sweet asked her future self.

"I do still have the occasional blip every now and again, but if it weren't for Fluttershy and the Rainbooms of Canterlot High, I would've remained a bipolar bully forever." Future Sour smiled, and it persisted when she pointed towards Fluttershy. "She's got a bright future ahead of her, and she's the most kind person I've ever seen. I've always judged people on what they do, and that girl over there's a true example that I should learn to control myself and my emotions better."

"Really? No kidding?" Past Sour's eyes widened.

"Trust me, me. When the Friendship Games finish this year, go up to Fluttershy and ask her to be your friend. If you still have issues with your split personality, just take a deep breath and tell her. She'll be glad to help you out." Future Sour gently put her hands on her past self's shoulders. "I've gone at least a few days without having my little fits because of her, and I've slowly but surely been getting better and better at controlling myself."

"I'll keep that in mind," Past Sour said. "You'd better not be lying to me, though..."

Sunny Flare approached her double and took her hand. "I know it must be quite hard having no-one at CPA who appreciates your will to make the school a happier place, but you shouldn't have fallen in line with the other students just because you weren't getting through to them."

"What good will that do now?" Past Sunny Flare asked "Everything will just be the same as it was before the Friendship Games, albeit with a lot more magic than before."

"Just be yourself. Do what you want to do. Don't be a sheep. Have your own ideals, get more engrossed in your gardening, just be Sunny Flare, not a Crystal Prep student." Future Sunny gave her a small hug. "I'm so sorry that you had to go through a whole term of being a nobody with no unique traits."

"Why are you pitying me? Aren't you technically my future self?" Past Sunny pulled herself out of the hug.

"Yes, but I'm the only version of you who knew that I was a fool for abandoning my true self just before the Friendship Games." Future Sunny hung her head. "If it hadn't been for Sunset Shimmer and the Rainbooms, I would've still been like the rest of the school. Boring, emotionless, and downright selfish.

"My time is up, but yours won't be for ages, past me. You've still got time to change, go back to being the Sunny Flare you've wanted to be, but couldn't show because you were too busy at Crystal Prep with the rest of the students." Future Sunny began to cry. "And please, just make sure that as time goes on, you learn to accept the CHS students as your friends—not your enemies."

"Well, given everything that's just happened, and with what Starlight did and said, I don't think there's anything I can say to counter that..." Past Sunny Flare mulled about for a bit before she too smiled. "I'll be sure to take your words with a grain of salt."

"Thank you. That's all I really wanted to say." Future Sunny was still crying, but she too cracked a smile.

"So, you're from the future?" Past Lemon Zest asked.

"Yep. Still got the same playlist as you, though. With the addition of some of the Rainbooms' songs." Future Lemon Zest handed her past self her headphones. "Here. You can take them. I won't be needing them anymore, since I'm gonna vanish in a few more minutes. But you still need to keep rocking on even when I'm long gone, OK?"

"Sure thing." Past Lemon Zest slipped the new pair of headphones on and hit the play button on the outside of one of the speakers. As the song blasted out into her ears, her smile grew wider and she threw herself into her future dopperganger, giving her a big hug. "Thank you so much, me! I'll be sure to take good care of them!"

"I hope so." Future Lemon Zest tousled the hair of her past self. She waited until the past copy took them off again and said, "and make sure you remember what the other future uses said. Change for the better, be unique, and make some friends with the CHS students. They deserve it."

Lemon gave her future self a thumbs up before the Shadowbolts went off with Starlight Glimmer to meet up with the Rainbooms again.

"So, everyone. Are you done with saying goodbye to everyone?" Starlight asked. "Once you say yes, I'll accelerate the timeline's recreation with what little bit of Aurora's power I have left, and your journey will really be over."

"I think we got the point across pretty well." Indigo Zap crossed her arms. "With any luck, everything will be just swell."

"No matter what happens, I'll be sure to contact you whenever you need me, Starlight." Twilight put a hand on Starlight's shoulders. "I've handed the message to past me, and she's taken it to heart." She looked back and saw Past Twilight already use her magic to levitate some nearby stones. "Along with a few other things..."

"Guess it's time then." Starlight stepped forward between the two schools again. "It's time to close this chapter of the book forever."

"Hopefully, now that everyone has magic, they'll make the world a better place." Sunset Shimmer joined Starlight, as did the other Rainbooms. "With the Magic of Friendship and everyone's hopes and dreams combined, everything will be perfectly fine."

"It's just a shame we won't be able to see it." Fluttershy sighed and hung her head.

"Oh we will, our past selves are us, and they won't be going away. They'll see the magic-filled world with their own eyes." Sugarcoat gave Fluttershy a warm smile. "I'm sure that we'll be seeing a lot of things soon."

"The Magic of Friendship will always be in our hearts, and in the hearts of everyone who believes." Sunset Shimmer took one last look around at the Canterlot High and Crystal Prep students as she and the others from the future were lifted into the air by a white glow. "As long as they keep their friends close, they'll never have to worry. They can surpass any obstacle, win any battle, and do anything they want."

"Thank you. Thank you, everyone. And good luck in the Friendship Games," Starlight said as she and her entourage were carried higher and higher into the air.

Suddenly, the magic around the future humans got brighter and brighter, almost to the point where it was blinding. With one more great flash of light, the thirteen girls were all consumed in a bright white pillar of light, ascending into the stratosphere.

Once they were past the clouds, they all started to fade away, holding each other's hands and bringing themselves into one last group hug as their legs vanished, then their bodies. One by one, the girls vanished away, with Sunset, Twilight, Sugarcoat, and Starlight being the last ones to disappear. They smiled at each other before the light took them entirely.

"Thank you, Sunset. Thank you for everything," said Twilight as they all disappeared.

Later, after the Games had drawn to a close, the Wondercolts and Shadowbolts of both schools were talking to each other about what had happened. However, unlike before, they were glad to be talking to each other, instead of having their old rivalry. More so, they were interested in showing off what they could do when they could fly or use their new horns.

Sunset Shimmer walked up to Twilight, who was standing by the front door of Canterlot High. "Hey. About what I said earlier? I'm sorry." She hung her head and sighed. "I was just stressed out about this whole magic thing that I didn't take your feelings into account."

"Oh, it's fine, Sunset. The Games are over now, and everyone's got this magic stuff now." Twilight turned to face her. "If anything, I'd say it's water under the bridge now."

"I agree, but now you've gotta make one of the biggest choices of your life." Sunset put a hand on Twilight's shoulder. "You can choose to stay at Crystal Prep, be there for Starlight and Sugarcoat, and graduate with maximum honours; or you could come to CHS, learn more about friendship, and have a real group of friends."

"It's a nice offer, Sunset." Twilight looked back at Sunset and took her hand off of her. "But I'm afraid I can't. Starlight Glimmer and Sugarcoat were my BFFs, and I can't just abandon them after the Games, especially not after what just happened back there with those future girls."

"I completely understand." Sunset gave her a small hug. "It's been nice knowing you, Twilight. I hope we can see each other again soon."

"Aww, me too, Sunset." Twilight returned the favour. "Your friends sound really nice too, and I hope that we can all be friends together some day."

"I'd like that too." Sunset leaned up to her ear and whispered. "Goodbye, Twilight."

"Bye, Sunset." Twilight whispered back before the two of them broke up and went back to their own respective groups of classmates.

"So you girls really like this Magic of Friendship stuff, huh?" Sunny Flare asked the Rainbooms.

"Yep!" Pinkie Pie smiled. "The magic we had made us all super-shiny when we used it before. And now it'll make you and your friends super-shiny too!"

"What do you mean by that?" Sugarcoat raised her left eyebrow.

"What Pinkie Pie's trying to say is that our magic has a special... property as it were," Rarity began to explain. "From honesty, loyalty, laughter, generousity, and kindness, we can use this rainbow-magic to defeat the forces of evil," she sighed. "Sorry. I just sound like an old woman, don't I?"

"Nah. If anything, I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do in your hands." Indigo patted Rarity's back.

"Ooh! We should be friends!" Lemon Zest blurted out. "We can share numbers, meet in the park, get ice cream together, it'll be fun! What do you say, girls?"

"At first, I would've said no, but after that crazy battle between Starlight and those future versions of us, I'd be happy to be friends with you." Rainbow Dash put her hand out in the middle of the group.

"A pleasure." Rarity put her hand on Rainbow's.

"I'd like that." Fluttershy did so as well.

"Me too!" Pinkie added.

"Might be nice to see some new faces on the farm." Applejack's hand was next.

The Rainbooms all waited for the Shadowbolts to put their hands on as well. After a few seconds of thinking, they saw the uniformed girls all sprout their own smiles as they put their hands on top of the Rainbooms' hands.

"I'm looking forward to making friends with all of you," Sugarcoat smiled.

"I agree. This whole friendship thing is going to be totally awesome. Especially with you girls." Indigo nodded.

All ten girls threw their arms up into the air and began to trade their phone numbers with each other so that they could stay in touch. After that was all done, they all began to talk to each other about what they liked to do together, and what they could now do together as friends. They all smiled and laughed the whole way through.