• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,244 Views, 417 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything


Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

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7
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Aftershock

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, which meant that no one in their right mind was in front of Canterlot High. Given the weekend rush at Sugarcube Corner, neither was Pinkie Pie. As such, no one saw a cell phone pop out of the school statue, followed by a familiar purple girl.

She moved away, giving room for the next arrival, one those absent onlookers would be harder pressed to recognize. The rainbow hair narrowed it down, yes, but her outfit was a definite deviation from the norm, a bomber jacket over a sleeveless white top, running shoes so streamlined that they looked like they could travel through time, and pants with an improbable number of zippers. She had an air of poise and confidence that looked entirely out of place on a still-growing body.

Then she tipped over and landed on her face.

Twilight knelt down, wobbling a bit herself. "I told you that first step was a doozy." She held out a hand.

"No kidding." Rainbow Dash took it and heaved herself up, nearly sending Twilight for a spill. Dash steadied her, and after a precarious moment, both managed to find something resembling stability.

After they shared a laugh, Dash took in her surroundings. "Huh. Not what I imagined." She shifted her focus to her body. "Really not what I imagined. Where'd the clothes come from?"

Twilight shrugged. "I honestly don't know. Still, leave them on."

"Yeah, yeah. No coat, no magic hiding stuff under the tail, you told me." Dash twisted herself about, trying to get a good look at her own back. "No wings either, which is all kinds of lame."

Twilight nodded and tapped her forehead. "No kidding." She brought a hand to her chin. "What's interesting is that your clothes are almost entirely different from the local Rainbow Dash's usual outfit. I'd expected some degree of similarity, but—"

"Twi, I'm sure that's really interesting, but I'd like to spend as little time without wings as I can." Dash folded her arms over her chest. "You may be used to it here, but I keep thinking of the hedge maze and… yeah."

"Oh! Rainbow, I'm so sorry, I didn't—"

Dash grinned. Well, she exposed her teeth, at least. "You don't need to apologize, Twilight. Just, you know, step it up a little."

"Right. Of course." Twilight looked around for the phone. "Ah!" She snatched it up and began fumbling with the text messaging.

Dash looked over her shoulder. "So, that thing works now?"

"Well, it worked before, but without other phones or the requisite infrastructure, it couldn't do much." Twilight frowned at the interface. "Honestly, who needs a key for every letter of the alphabet?"

"Which alphabet?"

"High Unicornian, for some reason." Twilight began hunting and pecking. "And there only seems to be the one, here. No one's heard of harvest runes or Equestrian Symbolic." After another moment, she positioned the phone so Dash could better see it. "Does this look good?"

"'I'm here with your analogue from Equestria'—what's with the red line?"

"It thinks the word's misspelled."

Dash's eyes widened. "This thing knows how to spell?"

"No, Dash, you can't use it to proofread your Daring Do fan fiction."

Dash pouted. "Aw, come on…"

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Arguing with me isn't going to get you out of this dimension any faster."

"This isn't over," Dash huffed. She refocused on the screen. "'I'm here with your analogue from Equestria. She wants to speak with you.'" She stuck out her tongue. "How did you manage to make me meeting myself sound lame?"

Twilight held back her sigh. If anypony knew how to talk to Rainbow Dash, it was… well, Rainbow Dash. She knew this was going to be confusing. "What would you recommend?"

"Just keep it simple," said Dash. "'Pony you wants to hang out.'"

Another minute, and the message was sent. "Faster than dragon mail, and almost as reliable," said Twilight. Within seconds, the phone buzzed with a reply. Twilight's excitement shifted to brow-furrowed confusion as she considered it.

Dash frowned. "What is it?"

"They may only have one alphabet here, but there's some kind of bizarre subgrammar associated with this medium that I still can't grasp."

"Give it here."

After another moment of struggling with the code, Twilight did so. "Be careful, These devices may be ubiquitous, but they're still expensive. I feel bad enough for Rarity—this world's Rarity—paying for this one. I'd hate to ask her to replace it."

"I'll be careful. No broken ubiqs on my watch." Dash lay on the grass belly-down, put the phone on the ground, and considered the screen.

b there 10sf

Dash groaned. "She says she'll be here in ten seconds flat." She shook her head. "Ugh, that one was getting old the day I met you." She frowned and looked around. "And shouldn't she be here by now?"

"I don't think she meant it literally," noted Twilight. "She could be miles away, and she doesn't have your level of speed. We may have—oh, there she is!"

Dash got to her feet, still a little shaky, but much less so than the first time. Sure enough, there was another rainbow-headed figure fast approaching on a bicycle. One that met her eyes, then redoubled her pedaling.

The other Rainbow skidded to halt next to the statue, stumbled off of the bike, and collapsed onto her hands and knees, gasping for breath. "Hi." Gasp. "Twi." Pant. "Light." Wheeze.

After a few moments, she caught her breath and managed to stand. "Got here fast as I could." She nodded to her counterpart. "I look good."

The pony Dash returned the nod and the grin. "Likewise."

"So, what did you want to do? Soccer, biking, skateboarding, footra—"

Twilight gasped. One Dash fell to the ground. The other cursed and shook out her hand. "Lousy flimsy little… Give me a hoof any day of the week."

The punched Rainbow bolted up and tackled her counterpart, driving her into the ground. "What was that for!?"

The two thrashed back and forth. "That was for betraying your friends!"

The local Dash froze. "You did not—"

The other took the opportunity to get on top, sitting on her opponent's waist and pinning down her forearms. "Your head got so feathering swelled that you gave those sirens the magic they needed to take over the world." She didn't sound angry, just disappointed.

The pinned Rainbow clawed at the other's arms. "We still kicked their butts!"

"Because you got lucky." The other Dash leaned in close. "The world was saved thanks to a pair of headphones!"

The local Dash looked away and saw Twilight, who was gazing on the grapple in horror. "Did you seriously set all this up?"

Twilight shook her head furiously. "I had no idea! She just said she wanted to meet you!" She raced closer. "Dash, there's a nonzero chance that prolonged contact with your analogue will cause a cataclysmic paradox that—"

The skirtless Rainbow paid her no heed. "How much has Twilight told you about our world?"

Her counterpart glared back. "Not much. We usually had something bigger to worry about."

"Well, in Equestria, we have a set of magic doohickies called the Elements of Harmony. Sunset Shimmer stole Twilight's. Mine is the Element of Loyalty. And loyalty? It's a two-way street. You have to give as much as you get."

"I know. I learned that."

Pony Dash sneered. "I'm you, doofus. I know exactly how thick that head of yours is. I've made this mistake before, and I admit that I still let my ego get away from me sometimes. But never when the world was at stake."

"What, so the others were blameless? AJ and Rarity—"

"Aren't you. They've got their own strengths, they've got their own failings. They're not better than you, and you're not better than them. But I have been a much better Rainbow Dash than you have, and I want to make sure you live up to the level of awesome I expect from myself."

"So you punch me in the face!?"

A smirk. "I had to get your attention somehow." One Dash got up and offered her hand to the other.

That other looked at it warily. "Seriously?"

"Yeah. I said my piece."

The local Rainbow took the hand, to her counterpart's pleasure. Then she drove her fist into that counterpart's gut, which was less to her pleasure.

"For the love of Celestia, you two!" cried Twilight.

Pony Dash held up a hand from where she was curled up on the lawn. "No," she groaned, "it's cool. She owed me one."

"Damn straight I did." The other Rainbow smirked and offered a hand. "Now we're even." She helped her analogue to her feet. "So, still wanna hang out?"

"Thanks, but no thanks. I'd like to get my wings back ASAP."

This got a gasp. "You have wings all the time!? Forget here, let's go hang out in your—"

"Absolutely not!" Twilight wedged her way between the two Rainbows and pushed them apart. "You two have put probability space through the wringer more than enough for one day. Dash, we are going home now."

"But, Twilight…"

Twilight shuddered. Whining in stereo. Creepy with a capital everything. "I will make this a royal decree if I have to."

Her Dash sighed. "Fine…"

As she was being dragged back to Equestria, she exchanged a wink with her counterpart. This wasn't over. It was just the beginning.

Author's Note:

Yeah, it was pretty clear who'd be starring in this one. My first thought was an inner monologue as Dash was speeding along, but I couldn't get anything compelling without it feeling out of character. So, I went for the most Rainbow story dashingly possible: Rainbow punching and yelling at herself for her own stupidity, neither knowing nor caring that she might explode all of existence. As such, I have to revise my estimate of Equestria Girls stories from two to three, counting this one.

Given scientist Twilight, I'm now thinking that the outfits of visitors are shaped at least in part by their subconsciousness. Twilight still identified herself as "student," so she blended in. Individuals like Ditzy Doo and Pinkie, who are pretty much universal constants, would look identical. But Dash? Not so much, especially when she wants to distinguish herself from her local counterpart.

When I wrote the punch, Rainbow Dash's theme from Fighting is Magic came up in my iTunes. I love serendipity.

Also, attributing dialogue between two instances of the same person continues to be frustrating.