• Published 23rd Nov 2014
  • 14,136 Views, 846 Comments

(Mis)taken Identity - MythrilMoth

Twilight Sparkle investigates the strange events at Canterlot High School.

  • ...

Shine Like Rainbows

Author's Note:

Updated Preface, September 2016: This story is set in an AU offshoot of an old, cancelled story. It supercedes the events of Friendship Games and most of season five and introduces changes to the character of Sci-Twi, as well as the presence of elements in Twilight's castle which are conspicuously absent in the series to date, such as a palace guard.

"No doubt about it, Spike. There's definitely something strange going on at that school."

Twilight Sparkle adjusted the thick black frames of her glasses, scratching her head as she studied the web of red threads stretched across the board covered with charts, diagrams, sketches, equations, notations, and at the center of it all, a big color photograph of Canterlot High School.

On two separate occasions—the first six months ago, the second only moments ago—every piece of equipment in her lab had gone crazy. During the past six months, there'd been a lot of gossip and rumors floating around. Strange rumors of seemingly impossible, fantastical, nonsensical things. Like teenage girls shooting giant magical rainbows into the air, and a prom queen turning into a demon.

If she hadn't seen the giant rainbow in the sky with her own eyes, she'd dismiss it all as nonsense. But she had. Impossible as it was, a rainbow shooting up into the night sky from the ground, and then slamming back down...

As she'd dug deeper into the mysteries of Canterlot High, she'd found strange seismic and thermic readings coming from the heart of Canterlot, all centered on the school campus.

Then there'd been the latest readings, with sonic, harmonic, and seismic disturbances that defied all known phenomena.

Something at that school was bending the laws of physics, and leaving a pretty deep footprint when it did so.

Twilight sighed, shaking her head. "It looks like I'm going to have to go to that school if I want any answers." She frowned as she studied a series of photos pinned to another board on the wall to her right. "But before that...I need to do some research."

* * * * *

Sunset Shimmer smiled and tapped one finger against the side of her head as she twirled a pen in her other hand. It was lunchtime at Canterlot High, and the gentle buzz of conversation and consumption washed over her from all sides.

Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash sat to either side of her. Rarity sat directly across from her, with Applejack and Fluttershy seated to her left and right. Further down the table, on Applejack's other side, sat Vinyl Scratch, who was bobbing her head to the beat of whatever she was listening to on her headphones as she poured extra hot sauce on her enchiladas.

Sunset Shimmer looked around at her friends, her eyes softening and her smile widening. Looking down at the book which lay open in front of her, she put pen to page.

Dear Princess Twilight,

It's hard to believe it's been six weeks since you were here. Things have changed a lot since you left. I don't even know where to start.

For one thing, most of the school has forgiven me for the way I used to be. I'm still making amends for all the bullying and the ill will I spread, not to mention the whole demon and enslavement thing, but...with the help of my friends, I'm really turning things around.

The Rainbooms are super popular! We're getting lots of attention. There's MP3s and online videos of our music going around all over Canterlot. Rainbow Dash made a big fuss over having another guitarist in the band, but we worked it out—she plays lead, I play accompaniment, and on some songs we play dual lead, or I even get to play lead. I can rock a mean solo!

We're writing more and more songs where each of us can take over on lead vocals. Even Fluttershy has a song she sings lead on...except she won't sing it in front of anybody but us yet. She doesn't like being out in front of the band.

Vinyl Scratch has joined the band permanently, by the way. And our little group of friends, too...she's sitting with us in the cafeteria even as I write this. It's a good thing we have her, because none of us can do what she does!

We all miss you a lot. I know you're busy in Equestria, but don't forget to visit us when you have the time.

Write back soon and tell us all about your adventures in Equestria.

Your friend,
Sunset Shimmer

Sunset slid a photo out from beneath the journal. It showed the entire group gathered in the music room, posing with their instruments. Seven happy friends, enjoying doing something they all loved. With a smile, she placed it in the journal, then closed it. The cover of the journal glowed faintly. She picked up the book and shook it; nothing fell out. "It worked!" she cried happily.

The others looked at her. "How's that now?" Applejack asked, a forkful of enchilada halfway to her mouth.

"I tried to send Twilight a picture with the journal, and it worked," Sunset said with a smile.

"Whoa, awesome," Rainbow said. "Uhh...how'd that work, though?"

Sunset shrugged. "I honestly don't know. It was just a hunch. Kind of a Pinkie moment."

"Oooh, I love Pinkie moments!" Pinkie said, giggling. "I have Pinkie moments all the time!"

"You know," Rarity said thoughtfully, "it would be lovely to visit Twilight in her world. I would dearly love to see her castle with my own eyes."

"It's really castley," Pinkie said. "It looked all sparkly and crystally and stuff when I poked my head in the portal." She tilted her head. "Funny thing, there was this pink pony with big blue eyes just like mine and big poofy pink hair just like mine staring back at me."

"Uhh...that'd be the other Pinkie Pie," Sunset said, sipping her water.

Pinkie gasped. "A whole other me?"

Rainbow reached around Sunset and slapped Pinkie upside the head. "Twilight already told us about those pony versions of us, remember?"

"Oh yeah!" Pinkie giggled. "Duh, Pinkie!"

"I don't think Twilight wants any of you going through the portal," Sunset said. "Or any of her friends there coming here."

"Whyever not?" Rarity asked.

"It'd just be..." Sunset frowned. "Two of the same person...pony...whatever in the same place at the same time...it just really isn't a good idea."

"Because it'd make the whole universe go splodey?" Pinkie asked.

"I doubt it," Sunset said. "It'd just be...I don't know. I just know if Twilight thinks it's a bad idea, it probably is."

"That sucks," Rainbow Dash said.

After school, the girls decided to hang out at Sugar Cube Corner before heading out to the farm for practice. While Pinkie was texting a half dozen people at once, Rarity was working on outfit designs, and Rainbow and Vinyl were talking music, Sunset's journal began to glow and vibrate. She laid it on the table; the others stopped what they were doing and leaned close, interested.

Sunset opened the journal. A photograph fell out. She glanced at it, set it aside, and read Twilight's reply aloud:

Dear Sunset Shimmer—and everyone else,

Things have been pretty quiet here in Equestria lately. Well, we've had a couple of little things to deal with, but nothing too serious. I'm so glad to hear things are getting better for you, and that everybody's happy and having fun.

I didn't know the journal could send pictures! How'd you figure it out? I'm sending one back; I rounded up as many of my friends as I could on short notice, so it's a little crowded. My friends here really freaked out when they saw all of you. I don't think they really believed me about what's on the other side of the portal until they saw it with their own eyes! Our Rarity's already trying to copy your Rarity's outfit for herself...she's probably going to copy the others' outfits too. Just between us, I don't think she'll really get anypony but Fluttershy to wear it. Maybe Pinkie, just because Pinkie's Pinkie.

I'm planning to take a little break from everything here in a couple of weeks. If nothing serious comes up in Equestria, I'd like to come over to your world for a couple of days. Maybe on a weekend? That way we can all spend a lot more time together.

I'm so happy to hear from you. I hope to see you all again very soon.

Your friend forever,
Twilight Sparkle

"Awesome!" Rainbow cheered. "I can't wait to hang out with Twilight again!"

"Yay! I'm me!" Pinkie said, bouncing in her seat. "I'm so glad I'm me. Can you imagine if I wasn't me? That'd be like...awful!"

"Show us the picture already!" Rarity said. "I simply must see what we're all wearing over there!"

Sunset rolled her eyes. "Applejack, get ready to catch her," she said. "She's gonna faint." She laid the photo in the center of the table. The others crowded in for a look. Rarity gasped and swooned.

"Wow, we're all naked!" Pinkie exclaimed.

"Well...Ah reckon that makes sense," Applejack said, eyes wide. "Ah mean...uh...them's an awful lot o'..." She swallowed. "Ponies."

Twilight Sparkle, wearing a simple gold tiara with five small amethyst points, sat on the steps of a grand crystalline palace, the center of a herd of ponies. Lying in front of her on the steps was Fluttershy, smiling shyly with her mane covering half of her face. In the air behind Twilight was Rainbow Dash, giving the camera a cheeky grin. Rarity stood primly beside Twilight, wearing an elaborate, ruffled gown and a wide-brimmed bonnet, all in alternating shades of cream and seafoam green. To Twilight's left, Pinkie stood on one hoof, waving at the camera, a broad, beaming smile on her face. Applejack sat on Rarity's other side, her hat tipped back.

On the ground in front of the steps sat three small fillies, all smiling. A grey pegasus hung upside-down at the top of the picture, her lopsided gold eyes sparkling. A zebra wearing gold bracelets, necklaces, and earrings lay next to the three fillies. On the other end of the young trio stood a tiny purple dragon with slit-pupiled emerald green eyes and green spines.

To either side of the broad castle steps stood two tall, elegant, beautiful mares, each with long, tapered horns and massive, angelic wings. Each wore a crown, fancy horseshoes, and ornaments around their necks. The one on the right was dark blue, with a black crown; her wavy blue hair was speckled with silvery sparkles. The one on the left was white, majestic, and had familiar waves of multi-hued, pastel hair.

"Woooooow," Vinyl breathed. "That's trippy." She looked around the table, then back at the picture. "Holy crap, there's a pony of all of you!" She tilted her head. "Except Sunset."

"That's because I am the pony of me," Sunset said.

"Wow, I look awesome as a pony!" Rainbow said, laughing.

"Oh my goodness...Spike really IS a dragon!" Fluttershy said, voice full of wonder.

Rarity stirred, blinking as she looked back at the picture. "What is that dreadful thing I'm wearing?"

"Is that Apple Bloom?" Applejack asked, scrunching up her nose. "She looks...tiny."

"So does Sweetie Belle. And Scootaloo."

"I think they're a lot younger in Equestria than they are here," Sunset said. "Which is really weird, because you're all younger than your Equestrian counterparts."

"Really? How old are we over there?" Pinkie asked.

Sunset tilted her head. "Early to mid-twenties?" she guessed. "I'd say Rarity's probably the oldest. She looks like she's about...twenty-seven maybe?"

"Whoa," Rainbow said. "So we've all got like, jobs and stuff?"

"I'd imagine so."

Fluttershy's eyes were wide and her cheeks were pink as she stared at her pony counterpart. "Oh my...she's...she's so beautiful," she said. "And those two bigger ones! Oh, I wish I could go there!"

The others laughed.

"Say, those two larger ones...seem very familiar," Rarity said.

Sunset swallowed a lump in her throat. "This one's Princess Luna," she said, pointing to the darker alicorn. "And that...that's Princess Celestia."

"Of course!" Pinkie exclaimed. "I should've recognized that hair!"

"Is that...is that Derpy photobombing?" Rainbow asked.

"Sure looks like it," Sunset said.

"What's up with the zebra?" Vinyl asked.

"I...have no idea," Sunset said, frowning. "I didn't even know there were any zebras in Equestria. The zebra lands are pretty far away." She tucked the photo and the journal back in her bag. "We should be heading out to the farm," she said. "It's getting a little late."

The girls left, paying no heed to the lone, shell-shocked patron in the next booth. The baggy old jacket made it impossible to tell if the person in the booth was male or female; the oversized baseball cap didn't help matters.

A slim purple hand adjusted a pair of black-rimmed spectacles. "Equestria," Twilight murmured to herself as she wrote the word on a yellow notepad full of names. Along one side of the page, next to the list of names, she'd written the word 'Ponies?!' and circled and underlined it.

At the very top of the page was her own name, underlined three times.

Frowning, she gathered her belongings and left.

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