• Published 11th May 2014
  • 8,281 Views, 406 Comments

The Shimmer of Magic - Hakuno



Sunset Shimmer is stuck again in the human world. Struggling with the consequences of her actions, she must redeem herself with the help of five girls and a very interested magician.

  • ...
24
 406
 8,281

5. Smoke and Mirrors

Chapter 5. Smoke and Mirrors.

Princess Celestia and Principal Celestia were two completely different beings. Sunset knew it better than anyone else. Well, not that any other than she and Twilight Sparkle could know the both of them. But, somehow, Principal Celestia was able to make Sunset talk about not only Equestria, but also about her former teacher and mentor.

It was, for a lack of a better term, weird to tell Celestia about Celestia. But Sunset managed, even if she ended up crying her eyes out for ten whole minutes. Ok, maybe it was twenty minutes. Nevertheless, after she finally calmed herself, she asked Celestia if she could just go home. She was tired, mentally speaking, and even if it was just a couple of hours past midday, she wanted to sleep.

Much to her surprise, Celestia agreed.

"Tomorrow classes begin again though, and I expect you to come and be on detention afterwards." She had said.

Sunset didn't complain. Perhaps it was because she was tired, perhaps because Celestia had been very understanding. But, it didn't matter, she just wanted to get over with her punishment. The sole idea of not planning anything after the month of detention made her inner organizer die a little, but she just didn't feel like it. Ok, maybe she'd work on a schedule after a good rest.

The moment she stepped out the school, a cool breeze gently met her. The sky was completely covered in clouds, and their color was that of a light gray. It was going to start raining soon, or maybe the rain was going to start in five hours. She didn't know, and it exasperated her.

Stupid humans and their stupid lack of control over the weather.

She took her wallet out of a hidden pocket in her skirt and opened it. Good, she had enough money to go and buy a cheap umbrella to head home safely. And maybe stop in a restaurant and eat something. Actually, the idea of getting something to eat wasn't at all unappealing, especially when her stomach was growling.

Sunset retrieved the wallet to the hidden pocket. She glanced over the portal, taking a moment to decide where to go. Sugar Cube Corner? Their pastries were the best, she had to admit, but it was dangerously near Pinkie's house, and she didn't want to be spotted by those girls. At least, not right after her talk with Celestia. She looked at her right, trying to remember exactly what was in that direction. There was a hardware store around the corner, and two or three houses beyond, a small coffeehouse going by the name of Joe's Dough.

She shrugged. There were places with worse names.

~~~~~~~~

The cozy interior of Joe's Dough Coffee Shop almost made Sunset let herself fall on one of the big, dark green sofas near the entrance. The overwhelming smell of freshly brewed coffee and the soft scent of treats and snacks all combined created an inviting environment within the building to which Sunset could get easily used.

A small growl of her stomach made her return to reality. She casually eyed the half full shop, and she relaxed her shoulders when she couldn't recognize any of the faces in there. With a satisfied smile, she walked to the counter to read the menu and her smile grew at what she saw. "I want a Corretto alla grappa and a baguette with extra sauce." Once she got her order and paid for it, Sunset made her way to an empty table near a window.

Sunset made herself comfortable on the chair. How she had missed this shop that was really near Canterlot High was beyond her. But she wasn't going to complain, she found a nice place to go after school, or whenever she wanted, to relax and think. And the food was really good too. Perhaps the sauce needed a little more of spice, but everything else was delicious. And rather cheap. It didn't take her more than a couple of minutes to eat half the baguette.

She looked outside the window as the first drops of water started to fall from the sky. "Should've bought the umbrella first." She muttered to herself. Now she had to wait until the rain stopped, at least a little, so she'd have time to buy an umbrella.

Not that she had something important to do, or somewhere to go. She took a sip of her alcoholic coffee with a bored expression. She really didn't like anything with alcohol in it, but when it was mixed with coffee, it was just the most delicious thing in the world. She put the cup on the table and smiled. "When I return home, I will sell this thing. I will be rich."

Since being a princess was out of her To-do list, she would need something to make a living in Equestria. And she had to admit, the human world had a lot of interesting things that would sell really good in there, even in the other nations. Especially with the minotaurs. She imagined herself living in the most expensive mansion in Manehatten, or perhaps she could open her own school of magic. She chuckled. No, she'd be a really bad teacher, mostly because she didn't have enough patience.

"What do you mean you're out of orange cake?! You're never out of orange cake! I'm the only one who buys it!" A loud and unsettlingly familiar voice barked from the counter, making Sunset involuntarily turn to see the source of said voice. A chill ran across her spine as she easily recognized the blue skinned girl.

"Sorry Trixie, there's always a first time." The salesman said in a bored expression, obviously used to Trixie's personality.

Sunset had never crossed a word with Trixie, but the blue girl was hard to ignore with her loud and arrogant manner of speaking. She decided to look away to the very interesting rain and just ignore her. A sigh escaped through her mouth. This was a really nice place, but knowing that Trixie frequented it killed any plan she'd have to return. Although, perhaps if she just ignored Trixie, and Trixie ignored her, there was an opportunity to share the same coffeehouse.

"Hey, you!" Trixie yelled. Sunset took another sip of her coffee while glaring at a weird guy surrounded by at least ten dogs. "I'm talking to you!" Sunset heard the sound of steps getting closer and sighed in frustration. She turned her head just to see that Trixie was standing right in front of her.

"I have a name, y'know." Sunset said with a frown, perhaps a little too loud than she had intended.

"I know very well who you are!" Trixie yelled. Well, it was yelling to Sunset's ears, and she wasn't used to people yelling at her. It was usually Sunset who yelled at people.

There was a moment of silence while Trixie and Sunset only stared at each other. Trixie had the obvious spark and movement in her eyes of hesitation, and it was even more obvious since she was forcing a frown, trying to fake a stern look. All the while, Sunset's frown was genuine, and she was trying to shoot a laser to Trixie. If only she had her horn. "The heck do you want?!" Sunset finally snapped, and thankfully, that seemed to take Trixie out of her train of thought.

But she still didn't say a word and just leaned back a little. A few more seconds passed where the staring contest kept going on. Sunset was quickly losing her patience, and she was about to stand up and yell at Trixie, and possibly break her knee, when Trixie made her way to the seat right in front of her and placed her arms on the table, looking directly at Sunset's eyes. "Last week…"

Sunset cocked an eyebrow and unwittingly snorted through her nose. "What? You gonna tell me you hate me too? Save that for tomorrow."

Trixie looked at her hands for a moment with a doubtful frown. "Actually, no. I don't have reasons to hate you. You've never done anything bad at me." She answered, looking up again at Sunset. "Which makes me wonder why… BUT!" She interrupted her own train of thought as she suddenly remembered why she was talking to Sunset. "But, that's not important right now." She hesitated a little, making a little pause, as if trying to gather her ideas. "I have… Something very important to ask you."

"No." Sunset said calmly, sipping a little more of her coffee. Trixie was about to say something, but Sunset interrupted her with a movement of her hand. "Whatever it is, the answer is no. Now leave me alone."

Trixie pressed her lips and her frown deepened. "I'm a magician." She started, and she was going to say her full speech even if Sunset pretended to ignore her. "I've studied the most magnificent magic tricks there are ever since I was a little girl. But last week, you…"

"Did what you can't?" Sunset interrupted with a mocking smile. When Trixie didn't respond, Sunset's smile disappeared. "Hurry up and say what you have to say. The answer is still no."

"What-"

"No."

Trixie frowned and raised her voice. "What do I have to do for you to teach me magic?" Sunset idly bit her baguette and slowly chewed, looking at Trixie with a bored expression. "Trixie shall become the best magician in the world! And as much as I hate to admit it, you know how to do magic! Real magic! So teach me!"

Sunset only stared back at Trixie and groaned. "Magic doesn't exist in this world. Humans can't do magic. Now leave me alone."

"You contradict yourself!" Trixie pointed a finger to Sunset. "You just said that last week you did what I can't! You obviously meant magic! And I'm not blind. I know what I saw at the Fall Formal!"

"Then you saw what I can do to YOU if you don't stop annoying me." Sunset replied, forcing her hands into fists.

For the first time, Trixie smiled. "Oh, I also saw who can make you cry like a baby." At that, Sunset slammed her fist on the table and leaned closer to Trixie with a menacing stare. "I only remember you being in the crater though; I don't know how they defeated your… demonic transformation."

Sunset sat back, still trying to shoot a laser at Trixie. "Why don't you go bother them instead? Oh, that's right, they can't do magic either."

"Then what the heck happened?!" Trixie yelled. "Yes, you are my last option because they said they can't do magic. But they don't want to tell me what happened!" She crossed her arms and leaned on the back of her seat. "And it's usually the villain who knows more about these things."

Sunset took a moment to watch the rain and sighed. It was a strange feeling, something between guilt and self-loath. "You're right. I'm the villain, am I not?" She looked at Trixie, who widened her eyes in surprise, as if she just noticed that she hurt Sunset. "Even after what happened, I'm still a villain." She took another sip of her coffee and sighed. "I could be the good girl and tell you exactly what happened, even though you won't believe half of it. Or I could still be the villain and recruit you for evil purposes." She chuckled and looked at Trixie with a serious expression. "Either way, the magic I used last week only lasted for, what? Ten minutes? I think it was ten minutes. And I can't teach you magic, because humans can't do magic."

"But… You did magic, and you're a human."

Sunset rolled her eyes. "Listen, I don't really want to talk about it. You only need to know that I can't do magic; you can't do magic, and nobody can do magic. Now, go away."

At that, Trixie let out a weird sound through her mouth that reminded to a frustrated sigh and a groan. Sunset was about to make fun on her, but she decided not to do it when Trixie nervously bit her thumb and looked through the window. Sunset closed her eyes and sighed. I'm going to regret this…

"Ok, what's wrong?"

Trixie opened her mouth a little and looked at Sunset with a confused expression. "What?"

Sunset groaned. "You want something, and you had five first options to get it. I was your last option. The fact that you're here means that you're desperate." She leaned closer and took her cup of coffee. "Why?" She sipped.

"Trixie is never desperate." Trixie puffed and crossed her arms.

"Sure you're not." Sunset said calmly and took another slow bite to her baguette.

Trixie pressed her lips and frowned. "Ok, maybe I'm a little in need of assistance." She spoke through her teeth while glaring daggers at Sunset.

"I only heard that you're desperate." Sunset teased.

"Trixie is never-"

"Spit it out already!" Sunset yelled, smacking her cup on the table.

Trixie pouted for a few seconds while gathering her thoughts. "My parents think that my dream of being the most famous magician is stupid…" Sunset raised an eyebrow. "They think it's childish and pointless. And I want to prove them wrong." She forced a sigh and closed her eyes, leaning on the back of her seat. "Of course, they won't help me get the props for my performances, so I can't really make big shows." She opened her eyes and looked directly at Sunset's eyes. "That's why I want to learn real magic."

Sunset sipped a little more of her coffee and realized that the cup was almost empty. "And why you think you're any good to be famous?" She suddenly felt as if she was interviewing Trixie, it wasn't exactly a good feeling. "There are lots of 'magicians' out there. No one really cares about them."

"Because they don't care about illusions." Trixie muttered. "They just have money and pay for some air time to show their crappy tricks that are no more than fake 'public' performances. But they pay the 'casual public' to fake their amazement."

She couldn't tell why, but Sunset was intrigued. "Isn't every magic trick a fake? It's not actual magic."

"You're not listening." Trixie interrupted. "I said that they fake their amazement, not the magic. Magic and illusions are to amaze people, if they fake that amazement, then it's not magic, just a bunch of idiots." She rubbed the bridge of her nose for a couple of seconds. "I want to amaze everyone with real illusions and not shameless attention grabs. But for the best tricks, I admit I need either money to buy props, or real magic."

Sunset leaned on her back and looked thoughtfully at what was left of her baguette. She then looked at Trixie, and to her surprise, the blue girl had a determined expression on her face. She couldn't quite tell why, but she was a little -just a little- interested in knowing what Trixie was able to do. She sighed and leaned forward, resting her arms on the table and looking directly at Trixie. "Magic doesn't exist in this world. I can't teach you what you can't learn." Trixie let out a long sigh, but before she could say anything, Sunset continued. "But… I may be able to help ya."

Trixie arched an eyebrow. "Oh yeah? How so?" She tried her best to hide the hope in her voice.

Sunset hummed doubtfully for a moment. Why am I doing this? "I know people who can get you things for rather cheap prices."

"No thanks." Trixie said immediately. "I don't want to get in troubles with who-knows-who just for a few props."

"And yet, you're still here." Sunset smiled deviously at Trixie's silence. It was so easy. "Tell you what. You amaze me with a magic trick, right here, right now, and I'll see what I can do to get you something without 'troubles'."

Trixie looked suspiciously at Sunset. "Why you suddenly want to help me?"

"I'm giving you an opportunity to prove that you are worthy of my help with your life-dream." She answered putting her hand on her chest, faking an offended posture. "Also I'm bored."

There was a moment of silence before Trixie spoke. "Very well."

"Just one thing." Sunset said, raising a finger, as if trying to reiterate her sentence. "You've got only one chance."

To her surprise, Trixie smiled. "It's good then, that The Great and Powerful Trixie is always prepared for a spontaneous performance!" Trixie didn't see Sunset rolling her eyes, as she was already searching for something in her right pocket. After a couple of seconds, she finally produced a normal-looking deck of cards. She smiled widely at Sunset. "The best magic tricks are always the simplest! And Trixie shall amaze thee with the best of the simple magic tricks!"

Sunset crossed her arms. "You won't impress me with a trick like that."

Trixie kept smiling. "Oh! It seems we have some neigh sayers in the audience!" Sunset raised an eyebrow. "Here!" Trixie placed the deck face down on the table and slid it to Sunset. "Make sure it's a perfectly normal deck, and shuffle it yourself!"

"Ok…" Sunset tentatively took the deck with her right hand. She knew that tricks with decks meant that the deck was somehow rigged, so she was a little confused. And as she was told, she made sure that the deck wasn't rigged. She searched for cuts or marks or anything. When she found nothing, she started to shuffle it.

Once she was satisfied, Sunset placed the deck face down on the table and passed it to Trixie, who quickly spread the cards. "Now, take one." She ordered. Sunset took one in the middle and used both her hands to hide which card it was. Ace of hearts, ironic. Trixie stacked the cards in a deck again. "For this trick, I will need you to write your name on the face of your card!" She said, handing her a marker that she took from… Somewhere. "A lot of people think that the deck is rigged, or that the magician has a duplicate or something! That's why you're going to mark your card, so you know that this is real magic!" Sunset almost snorted, but said nothing. She took the marker and with the beautiful penmanship she developed in the past years, she wrote her name.

"There, impress me." Sunset said with a sarcastic voice, giving back the marker.

Trixie tossed the marker on the table, deciding to save it later. "Now, please put your card on top of the deck." Sunset did as was told. "The Great and Powerful Trixie will now amaze you!" She cut the deck in half and started to shuffle it again. But unlike Sunset, who only mixed the cards in the simplest way, Trixie moved the cards from one hand to another, making them dance in the air while one of them kept spinning around in between her hands. The cards flew to and fro, fro and to, jumping and moving from hand to hand. It was so unreal, almost hypnotic.

When Trixie finally stopped, Sunset almost told her to keep shuffling. "Now, as you can see," Trixie said, turning over the top card of the deck, revealing the Three of Spades. "This isn't your card, and," She turned it over again, but then she rotated the whole deck, showing the bottom card, which was the Seven of Diamonds. "This isn't either." She then placed the deck face down on the table. "But don't worry, Sunset! Your card doesn't like any position in the deck but the top! So…" She snapped her fingers right above the deck, and after one second, she turned over the top card. It was the Ace of Hearts with a big 'SUNSET' wrote on it. "Hmm the Ace of Hearts, kind of ironic, don't you think?"

"Har har. I'm still not impressed." She was, in fact, a little impressed. But, she didn't want to admit it.

"Oh, but the trick's not over yet!" Trixie took the deck with her left hand while turning over Sunset's card. She took the card and put it in the middle of the deck. "Now, Sunset, please help your card reach the top again! Snap your fingers!" Sunset didn't want to do it, but something in Trixie's eyes told her that she was obliged. So she snapped her fingers, and almost immediately, Trixie turned over the top card, revealing the Ace of Hearts. "I can do it all day!"

"Show off." Sunset said. "You didn't put my card in the middle."

Instead of the angry gaze Sunset expected, Trixie smiled fondly. "Very well! I shall show you!" She turned face down Sunset's card and put it half way in the middle. Then, she turned over the top card, revealing the Queen of Clubs. "As you can see, the top card isn't your card, because your card is in the middle! What's more…" She turned over the Queen of Clubs, and using that same card, she finished putting in Sunset's card in the middle of the deck. "Now- Oh! What's this?" She turned over the card she had just used, only that it wasn't the Queen of Clubs anymore. It was the Ace of Hearts, with Sunset's mark on it.

Sunset had to use all her will to not let her jaw drop. She knew that magic didn't exist in this world, and she had researched the most common magic tricks humans often did. But she never saw anything like this. However, she wasn't going to admit that she was impressed. "You didn't show me that my card was going in the middle of the deck."

And yet once again, Trixie only smiled. "Very well!" She turned over Sunset's card and placed it on top of the deck, and after a quick shuffle, she turned over the top card again, revealing Sunset's card. "Now watch closely!" She turned face down the Ace of Hearts and put it once again half way in the middle of the deck. Only this time, she bended it a little upwards, letting Sunset see which card it was.

Sunset's smile grew deviously. It's the King of Diamonds! "Wait a second!" She almost yelled, stopping Trixie from putting the card all the way in. "That's not my card!"

Trixie blinked at Sunset for a few seconds. "What do you mean it's not your card?" She slowly took the card out of the deck and slowly turned it face up. It was the Ace of Hearts, and it had Sunset's mark.

"What… But… How did…" Sunset stammered, unable to keep her jaw closed. But she had to regain her posture, since a little crowd had formed sometime earlier, and they were cheering at Trixie's trick.

"And here's when you tell me that I cheated somehow, right?" Trixie was smirking. She was enjoying every single second of it. "That's why, for the last part of this trick, the Great and Powerful Trixie shall make yet another mark on your card!" She said while turning over and over again Sunset's card. Trixie took it face up, so everyone could see that it was, indeed, the marked Ace of Hearts. "This is so all of you can recognize the card even if it's face down!" And with that, she bended the card in the middle. Now the card always made a little arc. Trixie turned if face down once again and slowly put it in the middle of the deck. "Now, my lovely audience, at the count of three, let's snap our fingers to help the card go to the top!"

Sunset could see what was going to happen, but she just couldn't figure out how it was going to happen. "One, two, three!" Trixie said, and everyone snapped their fingers, including Sunset. And to everyone's surprise, the top card jumped a little and magically bended itself. Sunset held her breath while Trixie very slowly took the card and turned it over.

It was her card.

The crowd cheered.

~~~~~~~~

"So, impressed?"

After her little performance, Trixie had been graciously accepting compliments from the few people who gathered to watch her. Sunset had decided to just finish her food, enjoying the brief moment where everyone just ignored her. "Even I have to admit when something's impressive." Sunset answered, putting her now empty cup on the table. "But you're too loud."

Trixie hummed in satisfaction. In Canterlot High, receiving praise from Sunset Shimmer was not only unheard of, but completely impossible. It was known that she treated her little minions as slaves and she never even said thanks. "So, how exactly are you going to help me?"

Sunset looked out of the window. The rain had stopped a couple of minutes earlier. "I know these guys. They can get you almost whatever you want, but there's always a trick, and you end up working for them or worse." She looked at Trixie, smiling at the fear building in her face. "But, luckily for you, I'm a special customer of theirs. Hmm I'd say I'm like their partner or something like that. So they won't try to trick you… Maybe."

"And who are these guys?" Trixie cautiously asked, not so sure anymore if she wanted Sunset's help.

Sunset leaned on the back of her chair. Now that I think of it, this may be entertaining. "Do you know that Pawn Shop that opened just a few days ago?"

Author's Note:

I hope the magic trick part is not confusing, if it is, just search for "ambitious card" on youtube.