• Published 17th Jan 2015
  • 2,442 Views, 227 Comments

Shimmering Sunsets - Evowizard25



Have you ever wanted to go to a different world? Well, our characters probably didn't, but they went anyways. Now they're going to have to try and live with their new worlds until they can return home...easier said than done.

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Meet the Shimmer {Shimmerverse}

"Well, that looked like it was important." Sweetie noted at the vanished swirling energy "Might I ask what that was?"

“No, no, no, NO!” Sunset ran towards where the portal used to be. “My beautiful portal! It’s gone!” She glared at the new comers. “You messed with my scientific breakthrough, you morons!”

Sweetie blinked, several times rapidly. She then rubbed her eyes, and blinked a few more times. "Sunset? Sunset is that you dear?"

“Who else would I be?” Sunset asked.

“How do you know her name?” Bon Bon asked, peering at her look alike closely.

"What? There's no way that's Sunset!" Dash protested. "She looks nothing like her! Except for the mane, and tail, and her coat, and her cutie mark...okay she looks a lot like Shimmer. But she's earth shod. And, biggest hint, she's mean. Sunset would be breaking down in tears at the thought of calling ponies morons."

Everyone stared at Dash and then groaned.

“Oh bucking hay,” Sunset seethed. “Another parallel universe? And I’m a wimp...again? Thanks for throwing me something ‘fresh’ universe.” Of course, all the soldiers readied their weapons once more and pointed them at the newcomers.

"Oh now that's just rude. We are trying to have a civil conversation here." Sweetie protested. "Really, so unprofessional. Are you always this rude to your guests?"

“Most of our ‘guests’ try to kill or enslave us. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” Bon Bon then held out her pendant and started praying. It was soft and lilting and held the warmth of the sun, asking for protection.

This was lost on the visitors. "Uh...what's she doing?" Dash asked, thoroughly confused.

"I think she's singing or something." Sweetie replied. "And it sounds lovely dear. What's it about?"

“I am asking Celestia for protection,” Bon Bon answered. “I am a High Priestess of our eternal sun Goddess. I pray to her for guidance and strength. Now I pray for both mine and your souls.”

The two visitors stared at her stunned. "Well, I guess we are in another world then, um, assuming she knows there are ponies worshiping her."

"The heck's a soul?" Dash asked, having difficulty following along.

"It's a griffon religious concept, I don't really get it either." Sweetie admitted.

“How dare you,” Thunderlane seethed, pulling out his sword with his hoof and holding it at ready. “How dare you compare our sacred traditions to those bloodthirsty barbarians! I ought to slice you through right now.”

"With what?" Dash asked, dropping his sword to the ground in front of her.

“Shit,” Thunderlane’s eyes widened. “Forgot you were Dash for a second…” He grinned. “But I doubt you can survive a volley of muskets and crossbows, heretic.”

"The heck's a musket? Or a heretic?" Dash asked, confused.

“Calm yourself, Master Sergeant.” Priestess Bon Bon spoke up, her voice warm and lilting, holding a motherly tone to it. “She does not know the way.” She turned to Dash. “A musket is a crude firing tool and a heretic is one who turns away from Celestia’s light.”

"Well considering that I'm personal friends with the Princess, that word don't apply to me." Dash bragged, "And what do you mean firing tool? Like, it shoots fire like a dragon?"

“I assure you, Miss Dash.” Spike sent her a small, gentlemanly smile. “That my fire and that of a musket’s shares little in common. May I say those feathers look lovely on you. I never seen such before in my life.”

"Uh, thanks. But, uh, all pegasi have these back home. Well except for hybrids, but still." Dash fluttered her wings in embarrassment. Different universe or not, Spike flirting with her just felt wrong.

“All of you have feathers?” Pizzelle spoke up, trotting up to her. “My goodness! That is a lovely set of plumage. In all my life I have never seen a pegasus with plumage all over their body. Well, there was this one stallion who had this condition where he did, but I didn’t bother him none about he. He was so charming. Sad it didn’t work out, but we still keep in touch.” She giggled. “I apologize. I tend to ramble.”

"That's alright dear, I love stories." Sweetie replied with a warm smile. "Just be mindful of the content, Dash is still a minor."

"Oh come on! I'm almost fourteen! Stop treating me like a little kid!" Dash barked.

“Don’t get your feathers all ruffled….” Thunderlane patted her head, trying to stop his laughter. “Kid…..” It didn’t last as he belted out in laughter. A few other soldiers joined in.

"Dash, remember what we discussed." Sweetie noted in a warning tone.

Dash sulked. "...no tornadoing ponies that laugh at me because of my age."

"That's right. And you lot, stop laughing." Sweetie said, turning on the soldier with a look many a disappointed mother wished they could wield. "You say you're here in Celestia's name? How would she react if she found out her soldiers were mocking a child just for being young? Have you no shame?"

The soldiers instantly stopped laughing and looked away. Thunderlane rubbed his foreleg with his other. “We just thought it was ironic….You know, the great Dash a kid…..”

"A kid that disarmed you." Dash shot back, still obviously upset.

“Now don’t you fret now, sugar.” Pizzelle frowned. “There are plenty of ponies your age that have done marvelous things. Why our very own Sweetie Belle is a world famous singer and she’s even younger than you. Not to mention our Rainbow Dash is a star Wonderbolt. I’m sure you’re going to be great too.”

"This me is a Bolt? This me is a Bolt?" Dash asked, wings fluttering in excitement. "I so have to meet her...me...uh, how do pronouns work with this again Sweetie?"

"I'm not sure. If Twilight was awake we could probably ask her. She probably studied it at some point." Sweetie lamented.

“Twilight studying?” Sunset asked. “What kind of wack job universe do you come from?” She stormed her way over to them. She gave Twilight a glance over. “Is she half Prench?”

Dash rolled her eyes, hard. "Who looks at a unicorn and thinks Prench? There are hardly any unicorns in Prance."

“Hey featherbody,” Sunset quipped. “Different universe. Our Prance is full of ‘Unicorns’ and only ‘Unicorns’, if you catch my drift.”

"Huh, so instead of being full of tribalist earths, it's full of tribalist unicorns. Different verse, same as the first...hey that has some extra meaning here!" Dash seemed quite pleased with her accidental word play.

“I’m sure your parents are very proud,” Sunset scoffed.

“Ignore her,” Spike said. “My sister can be a bit of a jerk at times.”

“I’m right here,” Sunset remarked.

Spike looked at her then back at them. “She can be a real big jerk at times.” To which he received a fireball to the head. Thankfully, it did nothing to his scales. “See?” He rolled his eyes.

"Wow your Sunset is a SISTER? How the bucking farthing Tartarus did that happen?"

"Rainbow Dash! Language!" Sweetie scolded.

“Celestia adopted us!” Sunset seethed. Her glare did its best to cut through Dash. “So shove it.”

"Oh, so you're an orphan like our Sunset?" Sweetie asked. "I am so sorry to hear that."

“I’m not,” Sunset seethed, looking away. “If my parents didn’t want me, then screw them. I have the best parent you could get. Their loss, my gain.” Spike tried to put a comforting claw on her shoulder, but she brushed it off. “Don’t….I have to go check where that portal went.” She trotted back over to where a few machines lay about.

"Oh man that was a heck of a whizz." Vinyl said, trotting back over to her station. "And look, it's all in one piece! Good job Quickfix!...Quickfix? Uh, anypony seen Quicky? Or the portal we were supposed to be guarding?"

"Is...is that Vinyl?" Dash asked, stunned. "She seems so...off."

Vinyl grinned wickedly. There was something wrong about it. Her blood shade robs held tight against her form and Celestia’s mark was branded to her right cheek. “Yo, wassup? You came from the portal or something?”

"Um, yes we did." Dash responded. "Sooo...you must really like Celestia to have her cutie mark branded on your cheek."

“Eh,” Vinyl shrugged, causing many of the ponies around to tighten up, or point weapons at her. “I worship Big C like any pony does, but I serve the powers of chaos, dudette. I’m a chao Priestess and this here brand,” she tapped it. “Is to make sure I don’t get possessed by a daemon or go mad when I use my powers.” Her laughter was broken. “Can’t really say how the second was effective.”

"Wow this is weird." Dash said, clearly uncomfortable. "Our world's Vinyl is a highly organized neat freak."

"Now Dash, that's not a nice thing to say. Our Vinyl has health concerns, and it can't be easy putting up with somepony as sloppy and unfocused as Octavia."

“Octavia?” Pizzelle piped up. “Sloppy? Unfocused? I will have you know that she is one of Equestria’s leading musicians. I have been to several, and I repeat, several of her performances. She is one of the most skilled ponies I’ve met. Of course, the poor dear gets a bit of heckling now and again because she’s half Vamphirine.” She tutted sadly.

Sweetie looked quite sad. "I don't know what that is, but I'm sorry to hear that some ponies are so closed minded they care about things like that. And I didn't mean to imply that my world's Octavia wasn't accomplished. She even performed for the Grand Galloping Gala this year."

“Vamphirines are, what some more ‘derogative’ ponies would say,” Redheart piped up. “Bat Ponies. She is indeed a half blood in the sense, wings and everything. I do believe I met her once before. Charming young lady. It’s nice to know she made it in your world.”

"Yeah she's uh, a normal earth in our world. No thestral, I mean bat, I mean vamphirine stuff going on there." Dash stated quickly, looking rather nervous for some reason.

Redheart narrowed her eyes. “Dash,” her voice similar to when she had scolded Lightning Dust. “What are you hiding?”

"Nooothing." Dash said in the drawn out tone of every child that hopes that, if they stretch out the word long enough, it will be more believable.

“Dash,” to which Redheart responded like a parent who obviously knew better and the kid better spill the beans now.

Sweetie came to the rescue. "Thestrals, what we call bat ponies, are an extinct tribe in our world. It's a little awkward discussing extinct tribes."

Redheart’s eyes widened and she closed her mouth. “Extinct...They’re all dead?”

Pizzelle looked shaken. “I just talked to a tourists passing through...They’re all dead in your world…..” She shook her head.

“That’s terrible,” Coco said, leaning into Pizzelle. “A whole country...a species….gone.”

“Hard to think of it, really?” Spike spoke up. “I mean, in our world, they don’t really live in Equestria. They prefer to stay to their country of Germane.”

"That's probably one of the biggest differences." Sweetie noted. "In our world they did a mass migration to Equestria shortly after its founding to find new lands. Things...didn't work out in the end."

“Vamphirines are actually, at least here, descended from pegasi who had sided with Chrysalis during the Equestrian/Changeling wars,” Redheart explained. “They fled and interbred with changeling until they became what they are today. They’re very militant, pretty much being run by the army. Though, they aren’t as hostile to us since Princess Pinkie Pie came along.”

“They still give us pegasi a hard time,” Pizzelle huffed.

"Princess Pinkie Pie!?!?!" Dash and, for the first time losing her composure, Sweetie shouted in unison.

"You have to be kidding me! This world makes no sense!" Dash bemoaned.

Sweetie also looked disturbed. "I also try not to be judgemental, but Pinkie Pie? In charge of something? That's just, I can't even think of anything to say to that."

Sunset grumbled as she came back. “She’s probably the most annoying changeling you’ve ever met, but it’s better her lead the changelings than some monarch who wants to consume everything in their path.”

"Okay then. This might sound like a dumb question, but what's a changeling?" Dash inquired.

“They are shapeshifters,” Redheart explained. “They can look like anypony, or anything if they are designed for it. They are ‘insectoid’ in appeared, but never call them that! They will end you if you call them bugs or anything of the matter. Otherwise, they’re alright even if they do feed on positive emotions and such. As well, they come in several castes, each serving a purpose to the greater good of the whole. We don’t know where they came from. Some have speculated from another planet. They just showed up around ten thousand years ago out of the blue and conquered a good chunk of the planet within ten years. Thankfully, Princess Pinkie has kept their more ‘vicious’ habits down. Instead….” She sighed. “She just has them party all day as well as aid to any and all disasters….and set up more parties.”

"Yep, parties, that sounds like Dr. Pie." Dash noted, nodding in satisfaction.

“I take it your Pinkie isn’t a changeling?” Redheart asked.

“Please say she’s normal,” Sunset said, pleading for something good to happen. “Please, because I can’t stand the thought of two of them in one place and we all know what will happen if Princess Pinkie finds out about a whole world that she hasn’t partied in.”

"Sorry, our Dr. Pinkie Pie is, well, still Dr. Pinkie Pie. I don't think normal and her even share the same zip code." Dash said, shrugging. "From what I understand, her doctorate was mostly a political move on Princess Celestia's part."

“Of course it is,” Sunset huffed. “Mom was always a bit of a prankster. Sometimes I wonder if she was the one who made Pinkie so coocoo...Sometimes.”

"Eh. Our Celestia is a lot more...responsible than yours sounds." Dash admitted. "It mostly had to do with legitimizing an entire new field of magical study, providing measurable benchmarks for said field, and ensuring that the findings would be taken seriously by the magical academic societies."

“.......For parties?” Sunset deadpanned. “She actually endorsed all that...for parties? We sure mine isn’t the more responsible one? ‘Cause let’s see her try to please several nations worth of nobles who want to cut Equestria up into pieces.”

"We get enough of that with the Elk." Dash said, annoyed. "Any not parties, party-mancy. It's actually got a set of related weird magical effects. Practitioners can seem to teleport at will and pop up out of nowhere. They get weird verbal ticks that let them predict the near future. They can also sometimes just seem to be able to ignore the rules of logic and physics. And they somehow are able to pull props right out of nowhere."

“Sounds kind of like deer to me,” Sunset quipped. “Of course, some deer can predict events centuries ahead of time….It was how mom found me.” She glanced away for a second.

"Soooo anypony have any ideas on how to wake Twi up? Cause she's missing a lot of neat stuff here." Dash asked, looking anywhere but at Sunset.

Sunset just zapped Twilight with a small, electric spell.

"Gah!" Twilight shouted, bolting upright. "Aggg, I had the weirdest dreeeeaaand this isn't a dream." Seeing Dash shake her head, Twilight blinked twice, then gasped. "We must be in an alternate dimension, probably folded across the fifth dimensional space, meaning that we are in a world with broad similarities in some ways but also glaring differences in others. Temporal resequencing, no differentiated origin, yes! This world doesn't seem like it's off by a few years or another appreciable amount of time, and yet certain events are so radically different it calls into question our own base assumptions about the under workings of reality on even a fundamental level. Do you realize what this means?"

"No." Dash admitted.

"It means that we are in potentially serious trouble." Twilight admitted. "We have no idea how things work here, and without knowledge we can't plan, and without a plan we can't be organized, and without organization we're doomed! I need books and scientific journals, stat!"

“Yeah no,” Sunset piped up. “The only books and scientific journals we have around here are mine and I will not tolerate them being destroyed, vandalized, or possibly used in a prank...I know you aren’t our Twilight, but I’m not taking that chance.”

"Your Twilight does what to books?" Twilight asked, one of her eyes and ears starting to twitch. "I'm sorry, but you're making it sound like she does horrible things to books. Books, the most important invention ever. Preservers of knowledge, guardians of societal order, the very glue that helps hold an advanced society together and keeps chaos at bay. Nopony is treating books here badly right?"

Sunset looked at her in sympathy. “I know, right? Doesn’t she know how important books are to our society? No, she wants to eat them or something just for laughs.” Sunset growled, her horn flaring. “Sometimes I just want to burn her like she does my precious books.”

Twilight started twitching, violently. Then, she suddenly stopped, looking confused. "I didn't explode?" She tapped her horn a few times. She blinked a bit, then started looking around. "I...I can't seem to use my magic."

“What did you strain a muscle or something?” Sunset huffed. “Just tap into the realm of magic. Any unicorn can do it.”

"The realm of what?" Twilight asked. "Is that what you call your mana reserves here?"

“If you’re referring to ‘aura’,” Sunset explained. “Then I’d like to remind you that all creatures have it, even non-unicorns. Hay, the grass has it. Of course, that’s not in the realm of magic, it’s more of the realm of Druidic powers which is a whole nother realm of itself, although some have postulated that the two are more interconnected than we currently believe, but I’m not one of them. Their facts are obviously disjointed, fixing the perimeters of the realms at much too close a point for them to actually work without breaking each other, which would be rather cataclysmic. Perhaps you’re referring to the saturated bodies of the Prench Unicorns. Well, even they need to access the Realm of Magic to keep themselves going.”

"Well I don't spend a lot of time with deer, they hate mages, so I really can't comment on Druidic magic. But it sounds like the aura you're referring to is the innate magic found in every living thing, and quite a few unliving." Twilight noted, then stopped. "Wait a minute, are you saying that in this reality, unicorns draw on their power from an outside source?"

“Yes,” Sunset nodded. “You see, this world is split into several realms: The living, that’s us; The dead, Tartarus; and the realm of energy. Now the realm of energy itself is cut up into several sections, the main and more prevalent stream is Magic. There are also chaos, Druidic, and Shadow. While chaos is restricted to only some users for obvious reason, the realm of shadow is never to be delved into….” She shuddered. “We unicorns tap into the realm of magic and where we draw our powers from….You don’t do that in your world, do you?”

"No. This is fascinating, a subdivided higher energy field, but how is it accessed? Psychotelemitry perhaps?" Twilight muttered.

"I think she wants to know how our unicorns work dear." Sweetie prompted, smiling.

"What? Oh right right, information exchange." Twilight said. "Okay, so in my reality, unicorns are both livening magical energy generators, and storage devices. We produce, store, and use our own personal magical energy needs, no need for outside sources."

“But how?” Sunset rubbed her chin. “An innate magical generator? Such works have killed several unicorn in the past who have tried to do so. It’s impossible...unless, perhaps….” She started pacing. “Perhaps there was an outside source. A being who artificially created your subrace through designs and genetic manipulation of the other races….Unlikely, but...but, but, but! There could also be the chance that you are in fact not actually ‘living’. That your unicorns are possibly the result of minor sprites or daemons being saturated in too much good magic….” She teleported a few piece of paper and quills to herself. “Yes...Definitely going to have to research this.”

"Um, well I can answer a few questions about unicorn origins." Twilight pointed out. "Our tribal evolution is documented, from when we branched off the earth tribe and our developmental adaptations over the millennia. Our abilities are perfectly natural, we just evolved them instead of trying to create them artificially."

“The earth tribe, you say?” Redheart fished some writing utensils out of her bag and started writing down on a small notebook with her hoof. She moved next to Sunset. “Hmm, I think you pushing the date on the divergence.”

“I know what I’m doing,” Sunset rebuked.

“Who’s the leading scientist here?” Redheart asked, Sunset just stuck her muzzle up into the air defiantly. Redheart chuckled. “But seriously, a split with the Earth Tribe? That could explain why they have their abilities, a form of Earth Pony magic that’s manifested itself in some other form when they cut themselves off from the mother earth.”

“Interesting take,” Sunset nodded. “But we won’t know until she give us some books or documents from her world.”

“Which she probably doesn’t have,” Redheart scuffed the ground. “Darn it and we were so close to such beautiful science.”

"Also," Twilight noted as she read their notes over their shoulders. "Unicorns didn't diverge off that long ago. Our tribe really only split off about seven thousand years ago."

“...Seven thousand years?” Sunset looked perplexed. “Equestria’s older than that...well okay, this is pretty much the ‘Fourth’ Equestria if you think about it, but still.”

"Really?" Twilight asked, eyes gleaming with delight. "Our Equestria was only founded two thousand years ago."

“Nothing really happened two thousand years ago here,” Sunset piped.

“Well, except for that world war that devastated our planet,” Redheart deadpanned.

“We got better,” Sunset snorted. “Sides, Equestria’s been around for nearly ten thousand years. We can take whatever the worlds have to throw at us.”

"Wait, ten thousand years?" Twilight asked, stunned. "But, that's about how long ago the earth tribe came along. Your civilization is as old as the pony species of my world! This is amazing!"

“Well yeah,” Sunset said. “I mean the main tribes evolved around twelve to fifteen thousand years ago and which they spend a few thousand years of that fighting each other before the Windigos came about.” Sunset rolled her eyes. “They’d probably still be fighting to this day if that never happened.”

"You had the Windigo Winter as well?" Twilight asked. "Tell me, at that time in my world there were five pony tribes, the most we ever had. How many tribes do you guys have?"

“Let’s see,” Sunset tapped her chin. “At the time of the Windigos, there were only three tribes. The event actually caused quite a few populations to get separated or migrate. Let’s see….Ah yes, seven that now live today.”

"Seven?" Twilight squeaked. "Even counting the hypothetical sixth tribe, that still tops us at our nadir."

“Sunset?” Redheart quirked an eyebrow. “Did you forget to include Crystal Ponies?”

Sunset scoffed her head. “Darn, forgot about them. Right, that’s eight. They only got back a little while ago. You know, after being trapped in an massive enchantment.”

"....crystal ponies are real? The sixth tribe is real?" Twilight asked, her grin so wide it looked like it might break her face.

Everypony pulled back, some hiding away from past experience with ‘Twilight’. “Yeah,” Sunset said, not really off put by it. “I talked with them. Hay, Princess Cadance is half Crystal Pony herself.”

Twilight's smile slowly fell. "So...that means that the number of Existant and extinct tribes are now equal. Hooray."

“Are you okay?” Sunset asked. “I mean, it’s not like having that many tribes is that great. Most of them are jerks.” Redheart elbowed her in the ribs. “Ow, but it’s true. And don’t get me started on humans.”

"Humans are real?" Twilight noted. "This is like a fringe theorist's dream come true!"

"...Sooo, since it seems the egghead squad is going to be busy for a while, can I get a sandwich? I'm starving." Dash complained.

“Sure,” Thunderlane spoke up. “Ham or Daisy?”

"The hay is ham?"

“It’s pig meat, kid.” Thunderlane rolled his eyes. “What, do pegasi over in your world not eat pigs?”

Dash looked on with absolute horror. "Herbivore! I'm an herbivore! Sweet Celestia, you freaks eat meat?"

“What’s wrong with that?” Thunderlane glared at her. “Just cause your race is full of pansies doesn’t mean my race is.”

"Wait, what's wrong with pansies? Do you just not like them or something? Talk about picky eaters." Dash groused.

Thunderlane face-hooved. “OH Celestia preserve me, it means I called you featherbodies cowards.”

"Oh, well in that case-"

"No tornadoes!" Twilight and Sweetie shouted at the same time.

"Plan B it is. We list off our greatest accomplishments to see who is braver. You go first." Dash said, smirking in confidence.

“I fought off a town full of Nightmare Moon cultists,” Thunderlane huffed.

"That's nice. I fought my world's Nightmare Moon one on one. And won." Dash said, smiling. Sure she was exaggerating a smidge, but only a little.

“You’re joking,” Thunderlane looked her up and down. “Nightmare Moon would be sucking your soul dry in no time, featherbody.”

"Sonic Rainboom to the face." Dash bragged.

Thunderlane sputtered. “You Sonic Ranboomed Nightmare Moon?”

"Well technically," Sweetie chimed in, "she turned Nightmare Moon into a potato first."

Everypony looked at her like she had grown a second head.

“A potato?” Redheart quirked an eyebrow.

“That sounds epic,” Vinyl nodded in approval.

“Sounds like four year old fanfiction,” Sunset snorted.

"Dream realm combat." Dash replied. "I kicked the Lady of Nightmare's plot in a mental battle."

“You fought with the foul Night Goddess in the realm of dreams?” Bon Bon looked at Dash with worry.

"And turned her into a potato." Dash replied with a nod. "And then I Sonic Rainboomed her for good measure."

Bon Bon quickly stood up on her back hooves and placed a forehoof on Dash’s head. The other went to her necklace as she started praying once more, in a more urgent, but motherly tone.

"Uhhhh, what's she doing?" Dash asked.

“Nightmare Moon is a vile goddess,” Thunderlane explained. “She was known to do such terrible things to ponies.”

“Basically,” Sunset chimed. “She’s just praying to ward off any and all ill effects or dark powers Nightmare Moon may have left in your head. Standard procedure.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Even if something like that was still lingering after all this time, I'm pretty sure the Elements of Harmony would have taken care of that after we used them to defeat Nightmare Moon."

“How dare you?” Thunderlane picked his sword back up. “Scoff at the actions of one her majesty’s blessed Priestesses?”

"I'm just saying, I'm pretty sure the Elements of Harmony trump her. Unless you're saying she's more powerful than the Elements." Twilight snarked back.

Sunset laughed. “More powerful than the Elements of Harmony? That’s a riot. Once activated, there is no way she could have used any of her magic. She got creamed and there was not a thing she could do about it.”

"Same with us." Sweetie noted. "Once we got the Elements working, it became rather anti-climactic."

Bon Bon had finished praying and pulled back. She tilted Dash’s head, looking her over. “And you’re sure she’s alright?” She gazed over her. “No lasting effects? Ill thoughts?”

"Not that I can tell." Twilight noted. "Besides, I doubt the Elements would let one of their Bearers be corrupted like that."

“True,” Sunset nodded. “Any and all corruption is eradicated by the Elements, whether within or without. No exceptions.”

"Except in instances of personal gain." Dash noted. "Then it's a no go. You can't use the Elements for personal gain."

“Of course you can’t,” Sunset rolled her eyes. “The Elements are themselves sapient to a degree. However, they still have the primary function of destroying any corruption they found, be it an enemy or the bearer. I mean, there’s no way that someone so tainted could walk away from the blast without being purified.”

The three visitors suddenly seemed VERY interested in everything around them.

“...Okay, what did your Elements screw up?” Sunset asked.

Twilight's eyes darted around, seeking escape. "Wellllll that's ummm maybe we should talk about that a bit more privately. But later, first of all I'm curious what Elements you guys have. I want to see if they match or correlate with ours."

“I am the Element of Benevolence,” Redheart bowed her head.

“Selflessness,” Coco piped up.

“Truth,” Pizzelle smiled.

“And the most important one of them all,” Sunset put a hoof to her chest. “Magic.”

"Don't you mean Friendship?" Sweetie asked.

Sunset frowned. “I prefer to call it ‘Magic’, thank you very much.”

"Wait, only four Elements?" Twilight asked, puzzled.

“The other three got sucked into the portal,” Coco whimpered. “I hope they’re okay.”

"We were fine, and that's with a hostile miniature army glaring at us." Twilight reasoned. "You're friends are probably perfectly fine. So what are their Elements?"

“Loyalty, Joy, and Inspiration,” Redheart explained.

"Seven? Ooh, we only have six. Let's see, Loyalty matches with Loyalty, I mean obviously. Truth and Honesty, Benevolence and Kindness, Joy and Laughter, Selflessness and Generosity, and finally Magic and Friendship, with Inspiration left unpaired." Twilight exclaimed.

“Only six?” Sunset looked surprised. “That would have saved me one less headache, ow!” Redheart had elbowed her again. “Oh come off it, you know I care.”

“Yeah,” Coco said. “But it would be nice if you showed it more often.”

"Um right. So anyway, I'm Loyalty." Twilight explained. "Rainbow Dash is Generosity. And Sweetie Drops over there is Kindness."

“Figures a Priestess would get kindness,” Thunderlane muttered.

"Oh, I'm not a priestess. I'm a patisserie." Sweetie explained.

“I wanted to do that,” Bon Bon said as she prayed around Sweetie. “But Celestia’s call sang to me, so I answered.”

"If that's what makes you happy, then I'm happy for you." Sweetie assured her, smiling. "Don't go worrying about might have been. As long as you are happy, that's what matters."

“....You sure you’re not a Priestess?” Sunset asked, titling a questioning quil her way. “You kind of sound like one.”

"Really? Maybe religion isn't as unusual as I thought if it is mostly giving those in need good advice to help them through their day."

“That’s how Equestria survives,” Bon Bon said. “Hope and good advice. We lose many ponies each year to wars and such, but we push on. We survived and persevered thanks to Celestia and the hope she has given us. We are nothing without our hope or our faith in the sun goddess.”

"What about your faith in yourselves and each other?" Sweetie asked. "Surely you can do things on your own."

“Equestria is never alone,” Bon Bon hummed a prayer. “We are one unit, a big family. We look out for one another, but as always, there are rotten cores scattered here and there that tarnish us which must be removed. We do our best to make it through together, for a single drop does nothing against the roaring fires.”

"Removed." Sweetie notes, unimpressed. "Not redeemed or repaired or restored."

Bon Bon faltered and looked away. “The church of Celestia does not condone violence against one another and that redemption is possible for everyone, be it pony or otherwise...Some however...do not take that to heart when confronting heretics.”

The silence that followed was interrupted by Dash's stomach. "Oh right, never got that sandwich."

The tension broken, Twilight turned to Sunset. "So, what do we do now?"

“We go back to Ponvyille and report this to mom,” Sunset said as though it was obvious. “She’ll know what to do...Hopefully.”

"Oh, who is your mother?" Twilight asked, having been unconscious at the time it was explained.

“My astounding lady,” Spike bowed. “Our mother is none other than Princess Celestia herself.”

Thud.

Dash looked at Twilight's unconscious form. "Now would probably be a good time to mention exactly who Twilight is so loyal to she not only got the Element, but fought Nightmare Moon head on to help rescue. And not with my little dream trick. Just straight up fought her."

“Your Nightmare Moon must have been lower tier on the god range,” Sunset put a hoof to herself. “I’m one of Equestria’s greatest unicorns in history. I’m the Element of Magic. I couldn’t put a scratch on her when she regained her form.”

"Yeah...Twilight is kind of almost Alicorn levels powerful." Dash admitted.

Sunset scrunched up her face. “She has the power of an Alicorn?....And not me, when my own mother is one? I have more power than a city full of unicorns!” She seethed. “How can she be stronger than that?”

Pizzelle put a comforting wing over Sunset. “Now deary, let’s not get ourselves worked up over something trival. Twilight’s our guest and it’s very rude to quarrel over a guests’ talents. Very rude, I say.”

"Well, if it's any consolation," Sweetie noted, "Twilight doesn't like being as powerful as she is. She has to maintain tight control at all times, or else there is a chance things can go very, very wrong. Quite frankly, I think she's honestly been a bit giddy about not having magic at the moment."

Sunset stared at them like they were nuts. “BIzarro. World.” She shook her head.

Dash snorted and rolled her eyes. "And how do you think you look to us?"

“I don’t know,” Sunset rolled her eyes. “Mammal?” She glanced at Dash.

"Well honestly, except for the earths and Spike, you guys all look like hybrids. So there's that."

“You have feathers all over yourself,” Sunset piped up. “That’s not normal for a pegasus, unless you’re part griffin or something.”

"It's normal for us." Dash piped back. "Anyway, Griffons are from another continent, so your little "part griffon" theory has a few holes in it."

“Well,” Pizzelle spoke up. “That and the fact that griffins prefer to eat ponies rather than make ‘late night romps’ with them. Though I did hear of this mare who partnered with a griffin. I believe he was a piano teacher.” She tapped her chin. “I definitely think so.”

Dash looked rather puzzled "Huh, interesting. Our griffons don't eat sentient meat, they consider it dishonorable. From what I understand anyway, I only ever met one griffon. But I know there has to be some interaction, because Hippogriffs."

“Good luck finding one of those,” Sunset snorted. “Our griffins don’t care about honor. They just like fighting. That’s pretty much all they do. Hay, they’ll even turn on each other when they have no one to fight.”

“But,” Redheart said. “We did meet griffin who was a rather nice gentlecolt. He was a hunter, yes, but he was nice and courteous.”

“Everyone has odd ones out,” Sunset said.

"You're Celestia's Daughter!?!" Twilight shouted, springing back up to her hooves. She then bowed in deference. "I apologize if I've been rude. Is there some title I'm supposed to call you by? The daughter of Princess Celestia deserves my highest respect...well second highest after the Princess herself."

“Well, well,” Sunset smirked. “Looks like somepony knows how to treat her betters. To be truthful, you may call me Princess Shimmer. While I may only be a ‘minor’ Princess, I do appreciate a little respect from here on out.”

"Of course Princess Shimmer your grace." Twilight said. There wasn't the slightest trace of doubt, mockery, derision, or weariness in her voice. She actually seemed glad to call her that.

“Miss Twilight,” Spike frowned, casting his sister a weary glance. “You don’t need to bow. We aren’t ‘your’ royalty.”

“Pfft, says you,” Sunset scoffed. “I was raised by our sun goddess, trained by her and the best scholars in the world, I think I deserve a little respect from outsiders.”

"Princess Shimmer, you received personal training from Princess Celestia? That's amazing!" Twilight gushed. "Okay I mean you're her daughter and all so that makes sense that she would train you but still Princess Celestia's personal training is just so amazing and wonderful and perfect just like Princess Celestia herself but I mean it's Princess Celestia nothing she does is less than perfect and-" Any further rambling praise was cut off by Dash's hoof in her mouth.

"Twilight, stop freaking out about every little thing the Princess does." Dash rolled her eyes. "Besides, why are you so amazed that she got training from Celestia? You're her student too."

“She took on you as her student?” Sunset blinked in surprise. “Mom never had the time for that, besides raising Spike and me, with leading the country and all.”

"Huh, our Princess has had several personal students over the millennia." Sweetie noted. "Twilight is the young of her two current ones, the senior student is our Sunset Shimmer."

“And I’m sure she’s amazing,” Sunset rubbed her chest and smirked. “Probably aces every test she gets. Let me guess, one of the most powerful unicorns in history?”

"Yeah. I think Twilight's the only non-Alicorn that can compete with our Sunset...well except for maybe Dominion, but he's not a unicorn and he kind of cheats." Dash shrugged.

“He doesn’t sound like a nice pony,” Coco tilted her head in confusion. “Is he a heretic or something?”

"He's a warlock." Sweetie replied. "And he's quite a nasty...whatever he is. We're not even sure he's a living being. He's always cloaked and shrouded in darkness. A rather nasty brute."

Sunset opened her mouth to respond, before she was interrupted by an eery screech. “That’s Fluttershy,” the screech came out louder this time, causing her to cringe. “And she does not sound happy.”

"Fluttershy?" Sweetie asked, stunned. "What in the wide world of Ungula could make her sound like that? Fluttershy is one of the sweetest creatures on the planet."

“She’s the spirit of the Everfree Forest here,” Redheart said. “You’ll meet in a second. She doesn’t like to keep ponies waiting for long.”

"Fluttershy, a spirit?" Twilight asked, stunned. "Huh, so does she have a full manifestation, an avatar, a shamanic link, or some other way of interacting with the world?"

“You can ask her yourself,” Sunset tilted her head.

Just then, two large Timberwolves stepped into the clearing. Everyone gave them a wide birth. Behind the creatures walked their master. The butter coated mare hissed as she walked forward. Her large bat like wings ruffled against her sides. Her fangs shown in the light as she stepped forward. Her slitted cat like eyes bore into them, gazing into their souls. Along her body was a plant like dress that intermingled with her fur. In some places, it was a part of it. Her pink mane was held in a flower like hat. She stood as tall as Celestia herself.

Dash's jaw dropped. "Okay, weirdest universe ever. I think I'm actually intimidated by Fluttershy of all things."

"I don't think this Fluttershy is going to get scared by a leaf falling on her and faint." Twilight added. "And I honestly can't tell how she's making her presence known."

“Outsiders,” Fluttershy’s lilting tone was ethereal and floated around like nature itself. “You are trespassing in my woods. Explain yourselves.”

"Oh my goodness, that will take some time." Sweetie admitted. "Well first of all I would like to apologize if we upset you, that wasn't our intention. As to how we came to be here, we were investigating a strange energy field, which was apparently a portal of some sorts. Then, a large blast of energy comes streaming out and hits us, and the next thing we know here we are."

Fluttershy looked to where the portal was once. “I am glad it was gone. That ‘thing’ was nothing more than a parasite, draining me slowly.” She snorted. “But it’s gone now and we have a new problem. The Elements have been separated. They must be made whole once more.”

"Yeah, our Elements got separated too." Dash rebutted. "But unless you've got some way to travel between realities, we're kind of stuck here. I mean, it's not like you had a Starswirl that cranked out World Mirrors or something."

“To my knowledge, no.” Fluttershy shook her head. “I have kept myself out of the affairs of this world for generations. Starswirl came and went, but he was always an enigma to me. He was a the strangest being I have ever known.”

"You knew Starswirl? Was he as hot in this reality as in ours?" Twilight asked.

Dash facehoofed. "Really? That's your first question? Really?"

“Umm….” Fluttershy blushed and looked away. “I wouldn’t say he was bad looking.”

Dash started pounding her head against a tree. "Why is it *thud* no matter *thud* what world *thud* we go to *thud* Starswirl is sexy?"

“...Yeah, I’m gonna go with Dash on this one,” Sunset piped up. “Not on the sexy part, but on the question. Fluttershy’s almost as old as Equestria itself. She’s older than my mother, freaking Celestia, and your first question….Was Starswirl hot?”

"In her defense," Sweetie chimed in, hoping to save her friend from embarrassment, "just about any unicorn from our world would have been distracted by mentioning Starswirl...even the lesbians."

“Strange,” Pizzelle looked perplexed. “We just think of him as a grandfather type of figure. He lived for nearly three thousand years and pretty much all that time he was a wizened old stallion. Funny how worlds work. That reminds me of a story that….”

Sunset closed her mouth with magic. “Nope, no stories from you. We’ll be here all day.”

"Three thousand years?" Twilight asked. "Our Starswirl only lasted five hundred...well okay he vanished but still! How many spells did he create in this world?"

“Most, if not all, spells can be traced back to Starswirl the bearded,” Sunset explained. “When he was born, our race was relatively young so we didn’t have a lot of magic other than standard levitation and some killing spells. He was the one who pioneered modern magical theory and allowed us to look beyond such ‘simple’ practices. He himself created 5,345 spells that we are aware of. Some scholars think there might have been more, but they’ve been lost to the sands of time.”

"Our Starswirl created only 683 spells, still that was on a significantly smaller time scale. In our world we didn't even have a simple illumination spell until he discovered it." Twilight noted. "Speaking of theories, due to his ridiculously long age some scholars have speculated that there was more than one Starswirl over the ages and that is why there seems to be some inconsistency is how he was described."

Sunset chuckled. “That old theory? Nopony in their right minds believes that hooey. Most scholars believe it was due to his massive magical output. It kept him alive all those years...until Discord killed him of course.”

"Wait, your Discord killed him?" Twilight's jaw dropped. "But...Discord despises death! Yeah sure he's evil, manipulative, and delights in tormenting others as his toys, but he doesn't kill! I think it's mostly because then he can't mess with you, but still!"

“Our Discord doesn’t like to kill either…..” Sunset said, causing everyone to shiver in fear. “It’s why he best Grim, the god of death. That way nopony would ever die. He would keep them coming back and back and back whenever he got bored. Starswirl was just ticked him off so, because he was helping the Royal Sisters.”

"That's...disturbing. So...do you guys have an actual number for the years Discord was in charge?"

“The Discordian era lasted 2302 to 3134 After Founding,” Sunset explained. “So Discord ruled for exactly 832 years.”

"Huh." Twilight said, desperately wishing she had something to record this. "It's really hard for us to pin down how long Discord ruled in our world. He distorted time within Equestria, so that while to the outside world only two years had passed, inside he had ruled for (7^banana)/Pants-(Cheese x 6) years."

“Yeah, you can thank Father Time for recording it for us,” Sunset said. “He was pretty much one of the few gods Discord couldn’t touch.”

“Outside world?” Redheart asked. “Your Discord only ruled over Equestria?”

"He, and I quote here, "Doesn't really feel like conquering the rest right now. Maybe if he gets bored later. Now, run from the pudding alligator bees, run!"...so yeah, it was apparently not fun enough for him. The rest of the world was saved by laziness." Twilight deadpanned.

“Our Discord took over the whole world pretty much instantly,” Sunset said. “It’s just, not a whole lot of the world knew it. Some areas he would be subtle, some he would be as flamboyant as ever. He broke ponies and other sapiants’ minds, caused wars, etc. It was all a game to him.”

"Yeah, Discord's mind games suck." Dash agreed. "Made it I much more satisfying to kick his butt though."

“Couldn’t agree more,” Sunset growled, pawing the ground in anger. Her horn flared up. “If I see that low life once more, I’ll burn his face off.”

"He just crumbled to ash when our Sunset incinerated him...then walked over with a dustpan and swept himself up."

“Ours turned into a baby,” Coco smiled. “A cute little baby Discord. Aww, he was so cute.”

“Stupid runt,” Sunset huffed.

"Wait, Discord turned into a baby? What?" Dash asked.

Sweetie mused. "Well, Discord never did look threatening, I imagine he would be adorable as a baby."

“I didn’t think so,” Sunset snorted. “He turned my hair into bacon. BACON! Do you know how much that smell affects unicorns?”

"What's bacon?" Dash asked.

“It’s pig meat,” Pizzelle answered, frowning. “Oh dear, I forgot you were a herbivore.”

Dash was rather upset "I thought ham was pig meat? And what is with you guys eating pigs?"

“Pegasi are omnivores,” Redheart said. “They need a healthy balance of meat and plant material in their diet. I assure you, we Earth Ponies and Unicorns are exclusively herbivores.”

"Huh." Dash seemed to cool down at this. "Sorry, it's just, even when I had a griffon friend meat was kind of a freaky thing for me."

“I can see that,” Redheart nodded. “It took me a while to get used to it when I babysitted Lightning.”

"Yeah well...thanks." Dash sat down. "I had a bad first exposure when she killed a baby bunny in front of me back when I was six."

Coco gasped. “She killed a baby bunny….” She seemed to be tearing up. Pizzelle quickly put a nurturing wing over her.

"Alright then, moving on." Twilight said, wishing to change topics, "Princess Shimmer, you suggested we head back into Ponyville to contact Princess Celestia for aid?"

Sunset nodded. “Indeed. We’ll have Spike send a letter then. We can’t now because the Everfree Forest messes with magic.”

“Sorry,” Fluttershy muttered.

"That's fine Fluttershy dear. This Everfree seems so much better behaved than our own," Sweetie assured her. "We haven't been attacked by horrific monsters, or been hit by some burst of wild magic. This Everfree seems a lot nicer than our own."

“It wasn’t always,” Sunset said. “Fluttershy over there was so nervous of ponies, she kind of made the forest into a deathtrap to make them go away.”

“Well you ponies tried to kill me several times over the years,” Fluttershy huffed. “I apologize for defending myself and my forest.”

"Oh its perfectly understandable dear. Our forest doesn't have the same excuse, it just is a death trap." Sweetie explained. "We don't have an Everfree spirit to negotiate with unfortunately."

“So...There’s no me over there?” Fluttershy frowned. “Strange.”

"Noooo, there is a Fluttershy, she's just, weeee" Dash drew the word out to torturous lengths "eeelll she's a mortal pegasus pony."

Fluttershy blinked several times. “I’m sorry. It’s just….I can’t really grasp being a mortal. Before I became the Spirit of the Everfree I was already blessed with eternal life. I’ve survived things up to and including a pony stabbing me through the chest. I’m just thankful it wasn’t blessed.”

"Wait, you became the Spirit of the Everfree?" Twilight was giddy at the revelation. "That's amazing! Our Spirits don't change function in our world. They have fundamental core aspects to their beings from the moment they come into existence that defines their very nature and being! How did this happen? Tell me everything!"

“I do believe you heard me wrong,” Fluttershy shook her head. “I wasn’t always a spirit either. My mother was an Earth Pony, my grandfather a pegasus, it was my father and grandmother that gave me my traits before I became the Everfree spirit.”

"You became a spirit?" Twilight was actually bouncing a bit in excitement. "Nothing becomes a spiriting our world. How did this happen? What was the process? What kinds of magic did it involve?"

“I am the only being to become a spirit,” Fluttershy said. “So I assure you, this was as strange here as it was in your world. It was a long process...It all started when I went into hiding. You see, it was during the first years of Equestria that I was born. My father was a prince, my mother was a simple gardener who kept to herself. So, she didn’t have really anyone to call family. He watched her from afar, but didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to hurt her. Not because ‘he’ would, but….He was half changeling.” Fluttershy sighed. “My grandparents were trying to set a lasting peace between the races of the world and many ponies didn’t like them for it. So, my father knew it would bring it to her doorstep, but he urged himself to...They soon had me.” She chuckled.

" Alright but, that doesn't explain how you became a spirit." Twilight noted.

“I fled to the Everfree Forest because of the war my grandparents fought,” Fluttershy growled. “Commander Hurricane and Queen Chrysalis, the first changeling. Everyone was trying to kill me. They killed my mother, this was the only place I could be safe.”

"Wait, you're saying your grandparents had a kid...then went to war?" Dash interrupted.

“Pegasi love war!” Fluttershy roared. “They hated Commander Hurricane for trying to bring peace to the world. They wanted it to continue, so they killed him and tried to exterminate the changeling race. They convinced the other races of it too….but not everypony listened. The Everfree Forest was a beacon of hope. My grandmother had an affinity with animals. I received that gift so I was not harmed. I eventually learned the language of the plants and earth.” She lovingly rubbed the ground. “It became my friend.”

"Amazing. Our Fluttershy also talks with animals." Sweetie notes. "She actually lives in a cottage next to the Everfree. She's probably one of a dozen ponies that could do so safely. Even the monsters of the forest love her."

"It also helps that she's tough enough to win a staring contest with a cocatrice." Dash pointed out.

“She has the Stare?” Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “I am impressed that a mortal can wield its power.”

Dash rolled her eyes. "The Stare isn't that amazing."

Fluttershy’s eyes widened and everyone froze instantly. “I beg to differ.” Her voice sounded more befitting of a booming goddess. Fears and dread filled everyone in the clearing, but they couldn’t move a muscle.

"Sorry sorry sorry!" Dash babbled. "I take it back, the Stare is awesome, go Stare!"

Fluttershy stopped her show. “Thank you, but I seem to have been distracted. I haven’t given you my answer.”

"Right...continue?" Twilight asked, unwrapping her tail from her face.

“I lived here in peace for many years….” Fluttershy started to shiver. “Until he came. He tortured the Forest, he broke it.” She started to sob. “It was screaming...So much pain, but he kept twisting and twisting every fiber in its being. I...I couldn’t stand it.”

Sweetie looked like she was going to cry. "That-that's horrible!"

“I wanted to help,” Fluttershy sobbed. “I wanted to end its pain, so I gave it something of my own.” Fluttershy put a hoof to her chest. “My grandmother was a goddess in her own right. I figured that I had enough energy to save the Forest...So I sacrificed myself….I just wanted to help it’s pain go away…I bled myself in the presence of the Tree of Harmony. I gave it every ounce of strength I could and...the pain stopped. The Forest became peaceful again, though it still holds some chaos within. The Tree saw my sacrifice and how much I loved the Forest. So, I was made one with it.”

The group was silent for a bit. Finally Twilight spoke. "That was...I just...wow. So, uh, yes. That seems to be something similar to conceptualization apotheosis. It uh, just also involved the individual dieing and...yeah."

Dash tried to think of a way to change the subject. "Sooooo, what's this Tree of Harmony thing?"

“She won’t tell you,” Sunset said. “She doesn’t tell anyone. She says it exists, but she’ll never show you it or how it works. She guards it like nothing else.”

"Soooo, it's important." Dash deadpanned.

“Apparently,” Sunset deadpanned right back.

"Huh...cool. We should probably head back to town now." Dash shrugged.

Sunset nodded and started off. “Master Sergeant Thunderlane?”

Thunderlane bowed. “Yes, Princess.” He turned to all the soldiers and Priestesses.”Everybody up and at ‘em. We’re going back to town! Move it, ponies. Move it!” Instantly, the soldiers and priestesses moved into two filed lines around the group. “Come on, you.” He gestured to the three newcomers. “And stay in sight. I don’t want you wandering off.”

"Little chance we'd want to." Twilight noted. "We don't know where we are, we want your help, and I'm crippled without magic."

The group fell into line, following them through Fluttershy's forest.

Author's Note:

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and please leave a comment.

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