Sunset stood in the middle of what seemed like a training ground, outside of the Accord headquarters. Several guards were around her as well as Stella Nova, having apparently decided to see Sunset off. Whether it was to just make sure she leaves or because actually wanted to make sure Sunset was prepared was something Sunset could only guess. In Stella’s hand was a teleporter, similar to the one Aeon used, though it seemed much more simplified, only having three buttons on it. After fiddling with it for a couple moments, Stella walked up to Sunset and handed her the teleporter.
“Here, this is one of our training teleporters. It’s been configured to access only to three dimensions. I’ve set it up so the leftmost button goes to Hell, the middle button will take you to whatever universe Tirek happens to be in, and the rightmost button returns you here. I expect you to either return here with Tirek or not at all. Don’t disappoint.”
“Nice inspirational speech,” Sunset said with a roll of her eyes. She didn’t need Stella to remind her of the stakes, she knew how statistically it was going to end. Though Twilight and her did have a habit of beating the odds. She glanced back at Stella as she answered, waving off the sassiness with her hand.
“If you want inspirational, Sunset, read a poem. Just don’t ruin the chance I’ve given you.”
With that Stella walked off, leaving Sunset with the guards. Taking this as her cue, Sunset took a deep breath as she prepared herself. She hit the leftmost button and watched as the portal opened in front of her. She let go of the breath and walked through.
Sunset walked out of the portal, one of the few times she wasn’t just dumped on the ground, one of the perks of using a tested and calibrated device. She looked down at the ash by her hooves before looking up at her surroundings. In the distance, she could see the burning remains of what had to be Canterlot Mountain. It did still seem to have some structures on it, however, though it seemed miles off, maybe even half a day’s travel. She just hoped she wasn’t too tired by the time she got there, as she was sure there was going to be a fight.
Just as she was about to set off towards the mountain she hears a pair of voices, laughing, from behind her. One of the two voices was the same deep, booming, voice that Sombra possessed, while the other one was the same lighthearted and cute voice that Twilight possessed.
Sunset raised an eyebrow and started to head in the direction of their laughs. She went around a rock and saw a most unusual sight considering what this universe was considered. Out in front of her was Sombra and Twilight, lying down on a picnic blanket, having a conversation while they drank what looked to be wine and munched on sandwiches. They looked like they were having a wonderful time in the middle of Hell. Sunset had to shake her head to make sure she was seeing this right.
“… and he said, ‘Armor? I thought you said amore!’” Sombra ended what appeared to be a joke, as both him and Twilight burst out laughing.
“Wait, wait, wait, he got you how many magazines?” Twilight asked, still trying to recover from her laughing fit.
“Okay, what the buck is going on?” Sunset finally spoke up. Neither Sombra nor Twilight were really surprised she was there. Twilight just looked towards her while wiping away a tear from her eye.
“Oh, hey Sunny, when did you get here? Sombra was just telling me some stories from this Equestria.”
“That’s all you have to say to me? I come here to save you, expecting a fight, cheating death yet again, and all I get is a ‘Hey, Sunny’?” Sunset raised her voice slightly, even though she didn’t really mean to. She just didn’t expect Twilight to react in such a nonchalant way.
Twilight frowned and her ears went flat against her head.
“I’m sorry, Sunset. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just like you said when you left, you were coming back for me. I knew you would. You always find a way, Sunset. It doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for you coming back for me, or anything, I just knew you were smart and stubborn enough to find a way,” Twilight ended her little explanation with a hug. Sunset groaned.
“You’re so hard to be mad at when you always know the exact right things to say.”
“That’s sweet and all, but you two know that she can’t leave, she made a deal,” Sombra chimed in, having let them have their conversation before speaking.
“Sombra,” Sunset started, “I know you two made a deal, but is there any way Twilight and I could leave? You know we don’t belong here.”
Sombra’s eyes glowed with black magic as he stomped his hoof on the ground, causing ash and dust to fly about, as well as knocking the two mares off their feet.
“No,” He said in a commanding and booming voice, “A deal has been made in my domain, it shall be honored. I shall not be left alone to memories and legend.”
“Twilight, have any ideas?” Sunset asked, shaking slightly next to Twilight. Sombra’s voice sounded like it could kill in and of itself. She looked to Twilight just in time to see her mouth the word ‘legends’ before her eyes widened.
“I think I’ve got it, if we’re lucky that is,” She stated to Sunset before she stepped forward and spoke to Sombra. “Sombra, I think I might have a solution. What if I could provide you with hundreds, if not thousands of Sunsets and Twilights?”
Both Sunset and Sombra tilted their heads at her.
“What do you mean, Twilight Sparkle? I know not of any sort of duplication magic.”
“Twilight, you better not mean…”
“Yes, Sunset. I mean the legend of the Mirror Pool.”
“Twilight, you know how dangerous that could be!” Sunset exclaimed, though Sombra seemed intrigued at the prospect.
“So this ‘Mirror Pool’ can create duplicates of you two, and then I can keep them?”
Twilight nodded, “Yes, you’ll never be alone ever again.”
Sombra took a moment to ponder the deal, before nodding slightly, “Alright Twilight Sparkle, I accept your deal.”
Sunset leaned in close to Twilight, “Are you sure about this? What if we get separated, and we don’t know which Sunset or Twilight is which?”
“Don’t worry, I have that covered, remember the name ‘Tom.’”
Twilight turned back to Sombra, leaving Sunset’s question unanswered. “Okay, Sombra. I just need you to lead me to where Ponyville used to meet the Everfree Forest.”
“Hmm. If I remember correctly, we’re in that spot, actually. As I said, not a lot survived the war, not even the magic of the Everfree.”
Twilight nodded and turned, trotting off, with Sombra and Sunset in tow. With all the destruction, it was almost impossible to tell the landmarks Twilight might have taken to get to the Mirror Pool in their home universe, though it did help that Twilight memorized the directions to most things in the Everfree. After about a mile of walking, Twilight found a boulder that seemed to be covering a hole. Though the only way that she could tell there was a hole was the slight smell of plant life. With the help of Sombra, she lifted the boulder and descended into the plant covered cavern below.
“This is amazing,” Sombra stood in surprise. “I had no clue anything like this still existed in this world.”
“Thankfully, it still does. Now come on, Sunset, let’s do the ritual and get out of here.”
Twilight and Sunset walked up to the small pond in the middle of the cavern, they both looked into the perfectly mirror like water.
“Should we do it together or one after the other.”
“I think the latter, just to make sure nothing bad happens.”
“Alright. You can go first, as I don’t have that rhyme memorized.”
Twilight nodded and started: “And into her own reflection she stared, yearning for one whose reflection she shared, and solemnly sweared not to be scared at the prospect of being doubly mared.”
Suddenly, another Twilight emerged from the pond, as if she was down there the whole time. This was followed soon by Sunset’s clone, having done the ritual after Twilight finished hers. Standing all together it was impossible to tell who was the real Sunset and Twilight.
That’s why Twilight came up with the code phrase.
“Okay, reality check, what was Rarity’s boulder called?”
Unfortunately, she got three responses with the exact same answer, “Tom!”
Twilight sighed heavily and put her hoof to her face, “Sweet Celestia, can’t it ever be simple?”