“Twilight, I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“You’re right. It’s a great idea.”
Sunset Shimmer rolled her eyes as the alicorn tinkered on the large workshop table in front of the inactive portal to Canterlot High. Twilight—Princess Twilight—stuck out her tongue as she fiddled with her counterpart’s strange little device. She’d been playing with it all morning.
“You do realize that thing stole all our magic?” Sunset pointed out. “Ripped it right out of us! It even took the magic of the portal!”
“That’s the whole point!” Twilight squealed without looking up. “After you wrote to me about her creation, I had to see it for myself! Do you understand the implications of this? If we can harness the power of this device, we could revolutionize transportation throughout Equestria—assuming we can lock it into a single dimensional plane. At the very least, the two of us could generate a portal to see each other at the press of a button!”
Sunset shook her head, but she couldn’t help but smile at Twilight’s antics.
So similar to the Twilight on the other side… yet so different. Their geek-outs and freak-outs are the stuff of legend.
Then again, so are mine.
Sunset blushed as she watched the princess work.
It also doesn’t hurt she’s the one who saved me from my worst freak-out of all time. At least this Twilight’s freak-outs don’t involve becoming a raging she-demon.
Though Sunset had finally forced herself to come back to Equestria, she still hadn’t mustered the courage to face Princess Celestia, even after the new revelations at Camp Everfree. Despite assurances from everypony—and everybody—involved, she just wasn’t ready for that.
On the other hoof, she knew she didn’t have anything to prove to Twilight. Not anymore. Twilight had made that abundantly clear when Sunset had stepped back into Equestria.
The look on the alicorn’s face when Sunset brought the other Twilight’s amulet through the portal had made her feel more wobbly than being back on four hooves. The other Twilight—Princess Twilight had decided to call her Sci-Twi for some incomprehensible reason—had been glad to be rid of the thing. Despite coming to terms with her own magical abilities, the amulet was a reminder of what ‘Sci-Twi’ had become. She didn’t want anything to do with that part of herself ever again.
Princess Twilight had been more than happy to take it off of her hands.
“Okay!” Twilight chirped. She looked up with a bright grin, leaped into the air and placed the modified amulet on a small pedestal in front of the inactive portal. “I think we’re ready to energize the system.”
“And you’re sure it won’t rip the magic right out of Princess Celestia’s copy of the journal?” Sunset glared suspiciously at the amulet.
Twilight shook her head. “This is me, Sunset. Magical theory is my specialty. Just like another unicorn I happen to know.”
Sunset shrugged sheepishly. “That was a long time ago.”
“You were in Equestria for less than five minutes before you got all your spells back.” Twilight cocked an eyebrow. “Anyway, the wards I’ve placed around the book will make sure the amulet doesn’t take too much. We’ve both studied this mirror and Starswirl’s research into alternate realities. We’re ready for this. I’ve been planning for it ever since you first mentioned the device!”
“Okay, okay, fine!” Sunset laughed. “You win!”
“Wonderful!” Twilight clapped her hooves together as she hovered in the air. “Initiating the first empowerment test of the Transdimensional Portal Talisman!”
She moved to throw the lever.
“Can we shorten that to the ‘Talisman?’”
“Fine,” Twilight muttered. “Spoilsport.”
Sunset smirked. Twilight threw the lever.
The bizarre Equestrian technology surrounding the portal began to glow with magical energy. Princess Celestia’s copy of the journal floated in midair for a few seconds before bolts of pink magic lashed down into the strange contraption. Moments later, the energy reached the emitters. Normally designed to refocus the magic of the journal into the portal, now they fired directly into the Talisman.
A shockwave of pink light erupted from the Talisman, throwing Sunset back a few feet. When her vision cleared, Twilight was sprawled against a bookshelf on the far side of the room, groaning as a few more books landed on her head. Sunset stifled a giggle before trotting up to the gently glowing Talisman. Moments later, Twilight joined her.
Sunset levitated the device to Twilight for inspection, since Twilight had more experience with dimensional magic. Her brow furrowed as she cast a comprehensive analysis spell. The alicorn frowned and watched the Talisman with a critical eye for a few moments before she burst into a grin.
“I think we have it!” Twilight crowed. “Oh, this will get me published in Equestrian Journal of Magical Theory! Again! And you’ll be my co-author!”
With a squeal of glee, Twilight threw her hooves around Sunset and squeezed her with a ferocity that rivaled Pinkie Pie. Then, before Sunset realized what was happening, Twilight kissed her cheek.
Sunset instantly went red.
“What… what was that for?” Sunset blinked a few times.
Twilight’s ears went back as she blushed. “Just a… thank you?”
Well… that was unexpected. Not… that I mind… I think…
“Now… uh… let’s try this thing out!” Twilight said in a voice that was far too loud.
Sunset was more than happy for the change of subject.
“Wait, don’t you want some of your friends to come along? Or maybe Spike?”
Twilight shook her head. “I’ve calibrated it to handle just the two of us. Putting more ponies through the portal could have… unexpected side effects.”
Sunset raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, please, let me press the button already!” Twilight begged, jumping up and down like a filly on Hearth’s Warming Day. “Please! Please!”
“Oh, okay!” Sunset laughed. “Just do it already.”
Twilight’s hoof tweaked the dimensional tuner, currently set to a location near Canterlot High. The dial sat just above a small digital reader that showed the Talisman’s current charge level. Sunset herself had been the one with the idea to use ambient magical energy to recharge the device. In Equestria, it would charge in a less than an hour. In the other world, it would probably take a couple hours, half a day at most.
“And here we go!”
Twilight pressed the activation button and immediately a burst of violet and amber energy erupted from the Talisman. A few seconds later, it coalesced into a pulsing, shimmering circular gateway in space and time.
“We did it! We did it! We did it!” Twilight squealed, bouncing around Sunset. “It’s the same magic as Starswirl’s mirror! The basic spellwork matrix is identical!” She hesitated. “Well, almost. I’m sure the few arcane irregularities I’m sensing are just because of the portal’s wonderful new portability!”
Sunset tried to keep her expression to a smirk, but a giggle slipped out before she could stop it.
“Okay!” Twilight said. “Let’s hop on through, say hi to our friends and then hop back. Just a quick jaunt around the ol’ dimensional block for an initial test!”
She has to be excited if she just used ‘ol’’ in a sentence, Sunset thought with a smile. And I have to admit… I really want to try this now.
Sunset nodded. “Together?”
Twilight grinned. "Together."
“One… two… three!”
Without hesitation, Sunset and Twilight leaped through the portal.
The swirl of light and sound was a little different than usual, but it lasted only seconds.
Immediately, they came crashing down onto a cold, thrumming metal deck. Sunset looked up and her eyes went wide.
“Uh… Twilight? This doesn’t look like Canterlot High.”
Twilight looked up. She gasped and her wings flared.
They were on the bow of a great airship as it descended upon a coastal city. Pegasi in steam-powered armor dove in formation as klaxons blared out across the deck. The sky exploded in blasts of magical fire from the harbor guns below.
"This is Captain Stormbreak to all hands! Initiate Operation Sunlight! All cannons open fire!” a voice called out over the speaker system.
The ship’s hull boomed as Sunset and Twilight scrambled to the railing to look down. Massive turrets spat magical energy toward the city below as enemy aircraft—gyrocopters piloted by earth ponies—and griffons leaped up to meet the massive airship and her escorts. Any enemy caught in a blast was instantly knocked unconscious and left floating in midair in a strange little bubble.
"For Queen Twilight and Queen Sunset!” Captain Stormbreak called out as two more enormous airships descended from the clouds, each flying banners emblazoned with the intertwined cutie marks of Sunset and Twilight. “For the Republic of Magic!”
“Twilight?” Sunset asked as she turned to stare at the alicorn.
Twilight’s eyes were huge.
“Um… maybe it needs some… calibrations?”