• 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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This is Ponyville {Shimmerverse}

"Are we there yet?" Dash asked for the fifty seventh time (Twilight knew, she counted), as she lazily did backstrokes through the air. Her smirk showed she knew how annoying this was, but she was bored and this was fun.

“No,” Sunset seethed, her horn sparking. “I told you fifty seven times! We weren’t there then and we won’t be until I say so!”

"We're here!" Pizzelle announced.

“BUCKING FINALLY!” Sunset screamed to the heavens above. “Thank mom for miracles.” She turned to the new ponies. “Welcome to our Ponyville.”

"Aww man, now I can't ask if we're there yet." Dash grumbled, which earned her a smack in the face from Twilight's tail.

"Is it just me or does this Ponyville seem..." Sweetie struggled to find the words "...less colorful?"

"I'll admit, the color palate seems a little duller, but it's not like we were expecting a perfect match for our home." Twilight pointed out.

“It wouldn’t be practical to make a bright, colorful town right next to the Everfree Forest,” Redheart explained. “The bright colors would just attract predators. Who in their right minds would want that?”

"Uhhhh...actually, the dullest colored house in town belongs to the Cakes, and that's only because gingerbread is naturally dark." Twilight mused. "And yet monster attacks are very rare. I wonder if the close collection of brightly colored large objects intimides our creatures, makes them think it's a herd of some sort?"

"A herd of houses?" Dash snorted. "What, are they afraid a gazebo is going to attack them?"

“Yeah, that kind of sounds, how do I put this?” Sunset tapped her chin.

“Sunset,” Pizzelle said in a warning tone. “Be nice. The little darlings are lost in a whole new world and the last thing they need is somepony picking on them. That’s rude. Very rude. Why we need to be hospitable, like true Equestrians. Like my friend, Ditzy Doo,” she turned to the others. “She’s the local mailpony. Nice mare, if a bit klutzy. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. She is far from the worst….”

"Woah woah woah." Dash interrupted. "Ditzy Doo, one of the top precision fliers in Equestria, clumsy?"

“Her eyes are crooked,” Pizzelle snorted, giving Dash a stern glare. “It’s hard for her to fly straight. She was born with that, little filly and I think you should be a bit mindful of talk like that if we bump into her.”

"Ours had that problem when she was younger." Dash pointed out. "Why didn't she just get corrective surgery?"

"Dash, surgery is expensive, especially mystically enhanced ones." Twilight chided. "This version might not have been able to afford new eyes."

“Medical care is free in our Equestria,” Redheart beamed. “Any and all ponies in need of service are welcome in our doors.”

"Free medical care?" Dash asked, grinning. "That would so make it easier to practice stunts without having to worry about bills...wait, so what's keeping Ditzy from replacing her eyes then? Ours did it just fine. Sure some ponies think she looks a little silly with gems for eyes, but they work great."

“Gems for eyes?!!” Redheart exclaimed. “They actually put crystals in her head? Are they mad?”

"Uhhhh, I think it was topazes." Dash asked, looking at Redheart a little weird. "That's not a crystal right?"

"Correct." Twilight noted, tapping her chin in thought. "Though apparently there was a twinkle eye from our Sunset's orphanage who had rose quartz, so it's not unheard of."

“Orphans?” Redheart’s breath hitched. “They put those things in orphans’ heads?” She shook her head. “That’s sick...That’s wrong.”

"I think we're missing something here." Sweetie pointed out.

“It is impossible to safely connect a gem or crystal to the brain, especially a unicorns’.” Redheart started. “The magical circuitry doesn’t bind well and even if it works, there are unfortunate….problems.”

“Pretty much ‘boom’ dead,” Sunset said.

Redheart nodded. “They are not compatible. We have tried several times over the centuries. Death is the only outcome.”

The visitors looked quite stunned. "Wow, I knew we had different magic properties to our dimensions, but that's just, wow." Twilight shook her head. Then she looked rather nervous. "Wait, does that mean that if Masquerade had been in our group her head would have exploded?"

“I doubt it,” Sunset said. “If she’s had those things in her head for years with all the ambient magic around her and she’s still kicking, then unless the crystal eyes or whatevers of hers changed into our own...or her own biology, then she should be alright. We’re the ones that get the short end of the stick here.”

"Well that's a relief." Sweetie noted. "So if our friend comes over here or the like it won't kill her. That would have just been terrible."

“I couldn’t stand to think of something like that happening,” Pizzelle spoke up. “Terrible, just terrible. I know I haven’t met this friend of yours, but I am sure she will be fine here. Why, I own my own bakery just in town. Baking goes back generations in my blood, hun. We’ve even served Celestia herself.”

"That sounds lovely, I would love to see it if we have the time." Sweetie replied. "Sadly, my family doesn't have a legacy like that, but I have served some rather nice pastries to Celestia. She has a bit of a sweet tooth, in our world at least. Does your Celestia adore cake as well?"

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Spike chuckled. “Our chefs have to work overtime to prepare her cakes. She eats quite a bit of it.” He smiled a more roguish. “I would love to taste your pastries, Miss Sweetie.”

"Hmmm, well I could always make some cannoli with amethyst shavings, our Spike likes those." Sweetie noted.

“That sounds delightful,” Spike nodded his head. “I look forward to having the honor of tasting your hoof made treats. I’m sure they will be delicious. How could they not, when the mare making them is as beautiful as a star.”

"I'm spoken for." Sweetie said, her voice going a lot flatter. "I'll make them later. I believe you have a letter to send now?"

“Don’t mind him,” Sunset chuckled. “He’s just like that. He’ll flirt with anyone, but he won’t do anything. Just some fun...though he has this eye on Moondancer.”

Spike blushed. “She’s my friend…..” He fidgeted nervously in his steps.

"Okay this is getting weird." Dash said, clearly uncomfortable. "If everypony we know some bizarro flip flop version of themselves here or something? Cause I'm starting to think that's how it works here."

“I’LL SAVE YOU, BON BON!” A voice cried out.

“Buck…..” All the locals groaned, knowing what was coming. Before they could do anything, somepony bowled over several of the guards, grabbed Sweetie and put her onto her back, and bolted for it.

Dash blinked a couple of times. "...well at least Lyra is normal...relatively speaking...for her...."

“LYRA, YOU IDIOT!” Bon Bon screamed after her. “THAT’S NOT ME!”

“THAT’S WHAT A SPY WOULD SAY!” Lyra screamed back. “I’M NOT STUPID!”

“YES YOU ARE!” Bon Bon huffed in anger. She looked at Sunset. “Princess…?”

Sunset nodded and her horn flashed. Immediately, Lyra was ‘winked’ into the path of a house. The mare smacked into the wall with Sweetie falling off her back.

"While I do appreciate the sentiment Lyra, and it's good to know you're very caring in this world too, I'm afraid you did make a mistake. My name is Sweetie Drops. It's a pleasure to meet you." Sweetie said, smiling her largest smile.

Lyra peeled herself out from the wall, leaving a pony sized indent. She shook herself off and looked at Sweetie. “Bon Bon!” She pulled her into a hug. “I’m glad I saved you...oh no….” She pulled back and looked at her in horror. “They took your memories!”

“Lyra!” Bon Bon stormed up to her. “I’m Bon Bon. She’s Sweetie Drops.”

“Likely story,” Lyra narrowed her eyes. “Then tell me why there are two of you, hmm? Obviously you took her identity and her clothes, you fiend!” She jumped to her back hooves and magicked up her trademark ‘hands’. The limbs glowed yellow in pure magic. “A clever trick, but I’m an Acolyte Inquisitor. I’m too clever for them...Besides, tricks are for kids.” Bon Bon smashed her face with an epic ‘face-hoof’.

"Wait!" Sweetie shouted. "That is Bon Bon! I'm her...identical cousin visiting from Baltimare."

“You had a cousin all this time and you didn’t tell me?” Lyra gasped. “I’m shocked. I thought we were BFFs?”

Bon Bon looked up at Lyra. She moved her mouth, but just face-hooved again, muttering darkly.

"Sorry about the confusion Lyra." Sweetie said, smiling. "You're just like my cousin's letters described you. So, um, maybe you should stop with the magic?"

“Right,” Lyra nodded and dispelled her hands. She dropped to all fours. “Well nice to meet you, Sweetie. I’m….”

“You already told her your name, Lyra.” Bon Bon deadpanned.

“...What about my last name?”

“She told you about the letters!”

“Well maybe she forgot?” Lyra shrugged. “That happens.”

“Like how you forget on ‘shopping day’?” Bon Bon scowled.

“Hey, how can I remember everything on that list? It’s long.”

“You take it with you!” Bon Bon threw her hooves up into the air. “Geez, why is that so hard?”

"Wow, this is a lot like watching Vinyl and Octavia back home." Twilight muttered. "Lyra said BFFs, so I take it they're not dating here?" she whispered the question to Coco.

“No,” Coco shook her head, whispering back. “I mean, it’s not my place to talk about it, but Lyra’s not into mares. I don’t think it would happen, though that sounds mean of me. I’m sorry for saying that.”

"No no, our Lyra being into mares doesn't mean this one has to be." Twilight whispered back. "Other reality and all that."

“I know,” Coco said. Her meek voice made it easy for her to whisper. “It’s just rude to talk about it like that. Well, I mean, it’s not my place. Besides, umm, Lyra kind of...is a bit much for most stallions.”

"Actually," Dash noted, butting in on the conversation, "your Lyra seems a lot calmer than our Lyra...or at least quieter."

“Well,” Coco said. “Lyra was raised by Diamond Dogs, so she’s kind of ‘boisterous’ to put it nicely. I hope I did.”

"Wait, she got cross species adopted?" Twilight asked, her voice rising a bit in her shock.

Coco nodded. “Yeah, kind of strange really. Most dogs would surely have killed a newborn, but thankfully it was some re-educated dogs that found her….I take it cross species adoption doesn’t happen often in your world?”

"Well, it's mostly due to physiological differences," Twilight said at normal volume, unconsciously switching to lecture mode. "after all most species nurturing instincts are triggered by the physiological symbology of their youngs form combined with basic survival instincts. While some cross species parallelism exists in the infant stages, it is usually only enough to trigger either minor empathy or feelings of "cuteness" in other species. On occasion there is enough similarity or enough empathy develops that cross species physiological differences can be somewhat overlooked, but then you start getting into the hurdles of physiological needs-"

Dash put her hoof in Twilight's mouth, stopping her. "We get it, there's a lot of reasons it's rare, you don't need to write a thesis on it."

“It’s not exactly common here,” Coco said. “But it’s definitely not that bad. I mean, it doesn’t matter what species you are, you can still love each other. I’ve heard of plenty of ponies taking in other species. Pizzelle’s adopted son is a kitsune.”

"A what-soon?" Dash asked, not understanding.

“You’ll see soon enough,” Coco smiled. “He’s so adorable, you’ll love him.”

"And so if Lyra returns the list with all the check marks and got all the groceries, she gets a treat." Sweetie finished explaining. "Does that sound like it would work?"

“I dunno…” Lyra tapped her chin. “Sounds a little convoluted to me. I mean, how will I know what to check at what time? I mean, should I just put an ‘x’ or something? What would happen if the enemy got it?!! I’d be leaking intel.”

"Well, I tried. Good luck you two." Sweetie said, standing up and trotting back over to the group. "Okay, so the flip flop with Lyra, as Dash would put it, is definitely brain power. My pumpkin pie would be doing mental laps around her."

“Hey!” Lyra pouted. “I’m smart.”

“What’s two plus two?” Bon Bon deadpanned.

“Don’t try and confuse me with your math!” Lyra shouted, pointing a hoof at Bon Bon. Bon Bon groaned.

"Ugh, we'll see you later. Come on, let's just head to Golden Oaks." Twilight groaned, walking off towards were the library is in her world.

It didn’t take them long before they reached their destination….before they saw Lyra guarding the door. “Halt, what’s the password?”

Sunset glared at her. “Are you just extra stupid today?”

“No, I’m extra clever,” Lyra smirked. “Now….”

Sunset magicked a red ball and Lyra eyed it intently. “See the ball, girl?” Lyra panted like a dog, rearing up like one ready to pounce. “You want it?” Lyra bounced up and down. “Fetch.” With that, she threw the ball. Lyra howled and gave chase. “That’ll distract her for a while.”

"Good, now let's get inside." Twilight said walking up to the door...and stopping. She just stared at it for several seconds. "...right, no magic. Can I get a little help here?"

Sunset snorted and turned the knob with her hoof. With a little push, the door opened. “There, magic. Now let’s get going.” She trotted inside.

Twilight trotted beside her, face low to the ground as she stared at Sunset's hooves, brow furrowed in concentration.

“...Why are you staring at my sister’s hooves?” Spike asked. He was giving her a suspicious, brotherly glare.

"How did you do that?" Twilight asked. "You're not an earth, you shouldn't be able to manipulate things with your hooves!"

Everyone’s jaw dropped. “Did...That…” Sunset sputtered, before glaring at her. “Tribalist propaganda! Just because we have magic, doesn’t mean we use it for everything. We can do stuff without it.”

"In our reality, unicorns have two options." Dash stated. "Mouth, or magic. They can't exactly grab anything with their hooves...well pegasi can't either, but that's what these are for." She fluttered her wings a couple of times.

“All ponies can manipulate things with their hooves,” Redheart held up a foreleg and flexed her hoof about. “Our hooves are actually made up of several interlocking bones that can stretch and bend in order to gain a hold on things. As well, our hooves are covered in a thin stick ‘fiber’ similar to that found on geckos.”

"Huh, that's interesting." Sweetie said. "All of our hooves are solid. Earths can manipulate objects with our hooves due to...magic...oh no." Rushing over, she clopped her hoof on a book a few times, attempting to pick it up. It remained stuck on the ground. "...it seems my magic isn't working either."

Looking a little nervous, Dash walked over to the book as well, but breathed a sigh of relief as she was able to grab the book with her wing, lifting it up with ease. "Well at least this still works."

“Why wouldn’t it deary?” Pizzelle asked, before walking up over to Sweetie. She put a comforting hoof on her shoulder. “Now don’t you worry about this, hun. We’ll get your magic back right quick. Why, this reminds me about this one time Presto accidentally ‘cancelled’ his own magic. The poor dear was a wreck for a week before it came back, but that’s the point. It’ll come back. Just give it some time, deary.”

"Wait Presto, as in Presto Change-o?" Twilight asked. "The stage magician?"

“Why yes,” Pizzelle nodded. “I was his traveling companion in my younger days. Even helped him perform a couple of times. I don’t mean to brag, but I was quite the hit with the stallions.” She giggled behind a hoof. “But that was yester years. I’m not that blossoming mare anymore.”

"That's amazing." Twilight said. "My dad was a big fan of Presto. He actually met my mother at a show."

“How romantic,” Pizzelle held her hooves together and smiled.

"Not really." Twilight laughed. "Dad crashed into her and spilled his concessions all over her. She spent so much time chasing him they missed the show. But he bought her tickets to the next show to make up for it, and they wound up talking and well, they wound up dating."

“Oh what I wouldn’t give to have that happen to me,” Pizzelle sighed. “Oh well. I have my son now, so it’s not all bad.”

"Right, Coco mentioned you adopted ah, um, kit-son-ay?" Twilight asked.

“That’s right and I love him to pieces,” Pizzelle’s eyes widened. “Oh dear me, I almost forgot. I left him at Rarity’s….” She raced out the door.

"...okay then. Spike, ya sent that letter yet?" Dash asked, "Or are we going to wait until we're old and gray before you get to it."

“Buck you too, Dash.” Sunset said as she dotted the letter. “There,” she rolled it up in her magic and held it to Spike’s mouth. With a little puff of fire, it was gone. “Letter sent. My mom will be here shortly.”

"Oh my goodness I probably look like a mess. I can't meet Princess Celestia like this! I need a shower, stat!" Twilight started looking around in a panic.

“Twilight Sparkle!” Sunset said in a stern voice like how her mother usually did. “Settle down.”

"Yes Princess Shimmer." Twilight said, sitting down and seeming to have stopped panicking on command. "My apologies my lady, I just was worried about being properly presentable to your mother."

“While the sentiment is honorable and you do need a shower,” Sunset smiled, before getting stern again. “I still have to say a few things before she arrives. I want you three to listen up and listen up good. Understand?”

"Yes my lady."

"Okay fine."

"I'm happy to listen."

“Good,” Sunset paced before them, keeping a regal posture as she did so. “I don’t know how you lot treat my mother on your side, but here you are to give her your utmost respect. I don’t want to hear any lip, crude jokes, or anything that would grate upon my or her ears...and my little brother's too.”

“Thanks,” Spike huffed. “I feel so included.”

“My mother deserves your respect,” Sunset said. “She hasn’t led Equestria for more than six thousand years for nothing, you know. She has fought tooth and hoof to keep this country existing. She took me in, a little mortal orphan, and treats me like flesh and blood. I will not stand seeing her brushed off, understand?”

"Of course Princess Shimmer. You don't have to worry about me." Twilight answered, bowing a bit. "Princess Celestia will receive all the respect I can give. No matter what version of her this is, she is the counterpart to the mare I have undying loyalty to."

"Relax." Dash said, rolling her eyes. "I have tons of respect for Celestia. She's like, super mega awesome you know?"

"Yes Dash, we know." Sweetie said, smiling. "Now don't you worry about me, I know how to be a polite guest."

“Excellent!” Sunset smiled. “Twilight Sparkle,” she turned her gaze to the mare. She never used to be this formal, but she was getting better at treating others with respect. “From here on out, you will be considered the de facto Ambassador of your world and of Celestia herself. Try and live up to that.”

Thud.

"I'm starting to think we should carry a pillow around here." Dash noted, looking at the collapsed Twilight, again. "Or at least stop dropping stuff like this on her so suddenly."

“Why?” Sunset smirked. “I kind of like it. I don’t see ponies fall unconscious at my very words often.”

"At least not from something besides terror." Spike added. He blinked as a fireball smashed into his head. He didn’t flinch or anything like that, only holding his pose. “Case in point.”

"Augh, whatever." Dash grumbled. "Anyway, do you have a shower or a bath or something these guys can use?"

“Upstairs, to the left,” Sunset said. “Try and not clog it with your feathers, will you?”

Dash looked at her, confused. "Uh, I was just going to use a cloud."

“Oh...the shower’s for Twilight then,” Sunset blinked at her mistake. “..Forgot you pegasi do that.”

"Yeah. Anyway, somepony help Twilight out? She's not exactly in a state to wash herself, unless you want her mouthing the soap." Dash pointed out. "I'm gonna go find a cloud. Be right back." And then she was out the door in a rainbow streak of light.

Spike sighed. “I’ll do it. It would be a shame to let a lovely lady go without aid.” Gently, he picked her up in his claws and walked upstairs. He was thankful that he could effortlessly walk like a biped when he wanted.

"Uhhhh," Sweetie wasn't sure what she should say, if anything. "So, uh, how uh, how are things going for you guys, besides the whole alternate reality thing?"

“Same old, same old.” Sunset shrugged. “I’m just thankful no super villain or monster showed up this time. Nice change up.”

Sweetie immediately flinched and looked around nervously. "I hope Murphy didn't hear that."

“It was going to happen anyways, whether you showed up or not.” Sunset rolled her eyes. “Equestria’s always in danger. Hay, there are ponies fighting at the borders as we speak. Besides, we’ve beaten everything that’s come our way so far. We’ll do it again.”

"Yes, we'll, that's nice." Sweetie said, then frowned. "Oh dear, I just realized, I won't be able to make Spike his treat later. Not until I can use my hooves again."

“I’m sure Pizzelle with you help you, miss.” Coco Pommel spoke up in her soft toned voice. “Of course, I don’t want to pressure you or her any.”

"That could work, thank you dear." Sweetie frowned. "Shouldn't Rainbow be back by now?"

****************

"Why is it so hard to find a free cloud?!" Dash shouted in frustration. "Did they seriously schedule a completely clear sky?" Indeed, it seemed that there wasn't a cloud in the sky, well except for the cloud houses but you wouldn't really use those for a wash.

“Actually miss, yes.” A voice spoke up from behind her.

Turning around, Dash saw a tan pegasus with a brown mane, dressed in some weird golden colored outfit. It honestly looked a little ridiculous and impractical to fly in. "Oh come on! Why would they do that?"

“Sorry miss,” the stallion said. He was relatively young, about her age. “Orders. The town wanted a sunny day.”

"Yeah but you usually leave at least a few well shapes clouds in the sky to add accent to the vista." Dash grumbled. "And anyway, now where am I going to get a quick bath?"

“There’s the local spa, miss.” The stallion said.

"Spa? Do I look like some frilly little thing? Did somepony put bows in my mane while I wasn't looking? Do I look like the 'spa type'?"

The pegasus’ ears splayed back as he frowned. “I...I’m sorry miss. It was just a suggestion.”

Rainbow sighed, calming down. "No I'm sorry. It's just been a frustrating day and I snapped. You didn't deserve that, my bad. Let's start this over. Name's Rainbow Dash, nice to meet you."

The stallion saluted. “Private Stonewall, reporting miss.”

"...is private your name or your rank? Cause I know this one pony named Captain Waves, and he never captained anything." Dash asked.

“Rank, miss.” Stonewall smiled. “I just turned fourteen recently and I joined the Local Militia. I wanted to help ponies. Thought the guard would be a good place to do that.”

"Huh neat. Well, if there's no free clouds, then lake it is. Do you know where one nearby is?" Dash thought she knew, but in this freaky place the locations could have changed.

“I can escort you to one myself, miss Dash.” Stonewall said.

"Alright, lead the way Private. Double time, I'm in a hurry." Dash barked, going into 'captain mode' with the voice of authority.

“Yes ma’am,” Stonewall saluted and took off in a flash.

Rainbow Dash followed, taking the time granted by the 'leisurely pace' to see if she spotted any familiar landmarks in Bizzaro Land.

“I apologize if I’m interrupting,” Stonewall made sure to fly beside her. His voice had a ‘country gentleman’ tune to it, but it was nice and comforting. “But I have to ask if you’re taking all this well.”

"Taking what well?" Dash asked, spotting what was probably this world's version of Rarity's shop.

“A new world, miss.” Stonewall said. “That’s a lot to take in.”

"Meh." Dash said with a shrug. "After turning Nightmare Moon into a potato, getting turned into a geriatric, and having faced Discord, I don't think I can be phased anymore by the weird."

“Well that’s good to hear,” Stonewall smiled, nodding. “...That’s quite a lineup, if I do say so myself.”

"That's nothing, you should hear the really weird stuff." Dash teased. "Oh look we're here. Bye." she said, diving towards the lake below.

Stonewall flew down as well. “Sorry miss, I have orders to follow and ensure your safety. Can’t leave you.”

"Well that and Thunderlane obviously doesn't trust us." Dash noted, gliding in for a landing. "So, did he pick you because he figured I'd be more trusting of somepony my age, because he thought I'd underestimate you, or because you're a charming guy who could probably put me off guard?"

Stonewall blinked in confusion. “Charming? Put you off guard? Miss, I would not overstep my boundaries if you did not wish it.”

Dash snorted. "My Thundelane is a lazy, low ranking lackey with no motivation and little interest in doing his job. By flip flop rules, that mean's here he's highly dedicated to a job he's skilled at. Not exactly trusting him to be trusting of us." She then slipped into the water, all but her legs floating above as she swam out a bit, almost reminiscent of a duck.

“I apologize if my presence is unwelcome,” Stonewall bowed his head. “And I also apologize for the Master Sergeants’ attitude.”

"Eh, not your fault, you don't have to apologize for the creep." Dash noted. Having swum out far enough, she then proceeded to quickly rock her body violently back and forth in quick bursts, fluttering her wings and shaking her feathers as she did so. "There we go, bath's done." She said, popping out of the water and flying back over to Stonewall.

He was glancing away, hat covering half his face, before he heard her say that. Pulling it back, he cleared his throat with a little red in his cheeks. “Right well, is there any place you would like me to show you Miss Dash, or shall you wish to just roam?”

Dash's stomach growled then. "Uh, know any good eateries? Don't have any money on me though...and it would have been weird other world money to you guys anyway."

“I can pay for your meal,” Stonewall bowed his head. “I know some fine eateries in town, miss Dash.”

" Cool. Just remember, herbivore. I don't do meat." Dash reminded him. She didn't want another 'ham' incident.

Stonewall nodded. “Of course, that will be no trouble. Ponyville’s an Earth Pony town after all.”

"Cool. Hey, I've been meaning to ask, why do you guys keep adding pony after earth? You don't go around saying Pegasus Pony or Unicorn Pony all the time. Why is that?"

“Well…” Stonewall frowned. “That’s just how it is. Don’t rightly know why, miss. Though, we do have to call unicorns, unicorn ponies when talking about the Prench since they’re another tribe and all.”

Dash just stared at him for several seconds. "This place is weird."

****************

"I hope nothing has happened to her." Sweetie Drops fussed.

“She’s fine,” Sunset snorted. “If she’s anything like our Lightning Dust, whatever trouble she’ll get into, she’ll make it out okay.”

"True." Sweetie conceded. "She was still very feisty when she became old after all."

“Pegasi are a feisty species,” Redheart put a hoof over her heart. “I should know, I practically helped raise one.”

"Oh really? What was that like?" Sweetie asked. "You said you helped babysit Lightning back in the forest."

“It was toughest assignment I ever had,” Redheart muttered. “Lightning Dust was a very unruly child. She hated authority. I was...uneasy at first around her ‘meat’ eating habits, but I am a member of the Order Hospitallar. I had to get past that and I did quickly enough. Though...It was her father that made it like working in Tartarus. He was a tribalist.”

"Oh my, that sounds quite rough." Sweetie empathized. "Dealing with tribalist attitudes is grating at the best of times. I've actually had one or two ignorant ponies look down on my inter tribal relationship."

“Yes those types of morons can be difficult to deal with,” Redheart huffed. “But we’re all sapients, so it shouldn’t be an issue. It was too him, the bitter featherhead.”

"I agree." Sweetie said. "After having some of my own shortcomings in that regard pointed out, I made a personal vow to give everything the benefit of the doubt. Shorty afterwards it earned me the Element of Kindness. After I gave a river serpent some relationship advice."

“Interesting,” Redheart said. “I earned the Element of Benevolence because I decided to save a shadow warlock. I couldn’t just let him die, even if he served a monster.”

"Oh my!" Sweetie gasped. "That certainly sounds more dramatic than me giving
Steven some relationship advice and a pep talk."

“Steven?” Coco spoke up. “You know him?”

Sweetie nodded. "Oh yes, he is quite the gentleserpent. Very charming fellow."

“He saved my life that night,” Coco smiled. “He fought those soldiers that wanted to...do things with me.” She shied away a little. “But he best them and helped us find the Castle.”

Sweetie turned a little green. "Soldiers who wanted to-that's, I, oh my Celestia that is horrible!"

Coco huddled close to the ground and whimpered. Redheart went to her side and gently stroked her, humming softly.

“Yes, remind her how horrible it was,” Sunset rolled her eyes. “Good job.”

Evaluating the situation as it stood, Sweetie Drops, Bearer of the Element of Kindness, knew exactly what to do. She proceeded to hug Coco for all her worth, crying her own eyes out.

“I’m sorry, Miss Drops.” Coco whimpered. “I didn’t mean to make you cry. I’m sorry.”

"You didn't make me cry." Sweetie said. "Those soldiers did. Nothing about this is your fault."

From upstairs came a sudden shout. "Gah! Cold cold cold!!!"

Sunset chuckled. “Seems like Twilight’s awake…” She frowned, looking at Coco and then at Sweetie Drops. “Sorry for the snarky comment. Coco’s a friend of mine. I don’t like seeing her upset.”

"Nopony would." Sweetie said, smiling a faint smile. "That's why I didn't hold it against you. Benefit of the doubt."

********************

Twilight awoke to the sensation of running water. Cold running water. "Gah! Cold cold cold!!!"

“Always works,” Spike chuckled. “I apologize if it was too cold. My sister has a rather ‘hot head’, so I’m used to dialing down."

Twilight looked around her, shocked. "Oh, right, the bathroom...this looks bigger than the one in our universe...wait a minute, Spike! What are you doing here?"

“I’m tending to you,” Spike said. “You fell unconscious, remember?”

"Yes but now I'm awake so goodbye." Twilight huffed.

“But you’re wet,” Spike pointed out. “I would normally leave right about now, but you don’t have magic nor can you grab the towels with your hooves. I can’t just let you catch a cold or something.”

Twilight was gripped by a sense of panic. She was a unicorn, blasted with cold water, with no quick way to dry herself off. Modesty be damned, she was not in the mood to die. Hopping out of the shower, she pranced in place in panic. "Dry me off dry me off dry me off!"

“Twilight,” Spike snapped his fingers in her face. “Snap out of it. I’ll dry you off. You’re going to be okay. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

"Well sorry if I'm a little panicky in the face of potential death!" Twilight snapped back at him. "Unicorns in my world can die from this sort of thing!"

“Well you’re not in your world right now,” Spike huffed hefting a towel and starting to rub her down. “So please, my lady, calm yourself.”

As she started to feel herself slowly dry, a unicorns long hair easily held a lot of water, her heart rate started to fall. "Sorry. It's just, well, I didn't want to be another point in the "unicorn deaths from disease" statistic. It's depressingly high enough already."

“Well….” Spike frowned, continuing to dry the unicorn. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

"It's not all bad." Twilight admitted. "Thanks to advances in medicine, a larger chunk of us are living our full lifespans instead of falling prey to disease as we get older. Now only about 43% of unicorns die from disease, and 70% of those are sixty or older."

“Strange,” Spike said. “Unicorns are the least affected by diseases here. Their magic keeps them safe from it.”

"Lucky." Twilight groused. "Unicorn's just seem...better here."

“....In some ways,” Spike said. “But they aren’t the most numerous. It’s hard for them to have kids. They aren’t as fertile as the other tribes.”

"Ha. We win there at least. We have a pretty solid birth rate, enough to keep up with the other tribes." Twilight said, smirking.

“Well yeah,” Spike frowned. “That’s the main reason our unicorns kept to themselves. They had magic that could kill most anything, but not the numbers. It took a while before they could muster armies, but then they never needed big armies to do damage….and while I may not be a unicorn, my sister is. I’d like to think she might make me an Uncle one day.” The comment really irked him, but he wasn’t going to say it.

"Huh, interesting. Our tribe mostly stayed isolated because "oh my gosh, look at how freaky the other tribes are! That one has feathers everywhere!" and stuff like that." Twilight noted. "And just so you know, you'll make a great uncle some day...assuming Sunset's coltfriend can survive her."

“Shade’s lived this long,” Spike smirked. “I think he can survive and yeah, that sounds like our ancient unicorns. They acted just like their Prench descendants, high and mighty.”

"Ours were mostly scared and freaked out." Twilight admitted. "Pegasi and bicorns were the more aggressive tribes. One could fly, which we couldn't really counter, and the other had magic too, so yeah. Earths had numbers, and thestrals...they mostly kept to themselves actually."

“Threstrals?...ah yes, Vamphirines.” Spike nodded in understanding. “Here the Vamphirines take after their pegasi ancestors. They are extremely militaristic and always looking at the chance to go to war. At least they're nice and polite. That and they are probably one of the more ‘knowledgeable’ tribes, if you don’t count unicorns.”

"...you still have bat ponies?" Twilight asked, amazed. "Wait, is it okay to call them that? Is that tribalist? I have so many questions."

“And I’ll do my best to answer them,” Spike smiled. “And yes, it’s a bit of an insult. Don’t call them that in their face or anywhere near you. They might call you out for a duel.”

"Fascinating. And sorry, but I don't have a local universe equivalent for ready comparison. Now then," Twilight said, "Do you know if they actually have fangs? Scholars are in debate of if that was an actual trait, or if it was an exaggeration add on, and on a related note if they do have fangs do they actually drink blood?"

“They are pure carnivores,” Spike said. “Pretty much the only tribe that lives exclusively on meat, so yes on the fangs, and no….They hate that stereotype. They aren’t blood drinkers.”

"I see. So, color pallet. Ours supposedly had a very limited range of grays, dark blues, and black, to blend in with the night sky. Your vamphirines like that?"

“Some of them,” Spike said. “Those are usually the ones on the outskirt portions of their kingdom. They aren’t numerous, but they’re the most daring. So, most creatures see them so they think all of them are dull and dark colors. Most of them are actually shades of brown.”

"If this matches my world, this is amazing." Twilight said. "Records from more than four hundred years ago are spotty at best, due to the low literacy rate. So stuff about a race gone for a thousand years is both rare and suspect in accuracy. What's their average body size? Wingspan? Life expectancy? Birth rate? Flight speed? What sort of magic do they have? Are they nocturnal?"

“If it wasn’t for my mother’s teachings,” Spike chuckled. “I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with all those questions, but I will do my best.” He cleared his throat. “They’re a little taller than most ponies. I would say our local Big Macintosh is their normal size, with only a few inches differences between the sexes...Do you have a Big Macintosh, or should I try and come up with another height example?”

Twilight blushed heavily, and her tail stuck straight out. Grabbing it with her foreleg, awkwardly, she blushed even harder. "I am familiar with Big Mac, please continue."

Spike gave her a knowing smile, but said nothing. “Wingspan? It’s quite large, actually. They can cover their whole bodies with it. It’s a habit of theirs to cover themselves when they sleep upside down. They don’t really feel comfortable in other positions.”

"Really, fascinating, they sleep upside down." Twilight noted absentmindedly as she tried to get her tail back under control.

“Most of the other questions are simple,” Spike said. “As I said before, they are descended from the pegasi, so they came about eight thousand years ago. Lifespans and birth rates are the same as pegasi, though, thanks to their changeling genes, they are effectively immune to any and all diseases and are without birth defects. They’re all perfect soldiers.”

"Does every tribe here beat mine when it comes to disease? Cause it sounds like you're even beating the Earth's back home at this point."

“Yeah, the Earth’s here aren’t that great with diseases,” Spike stated. “They had numbers to make up for losses, until modern medical treatments.”

Twilight facehoofed. "Ours are the ultra disease resistant tribe."

“Well….” Spike blinked in shock. “Really? That’s interesting. Earth’s here just have standard health for sapients.”

Twilight snorted. "Yeah. Ours aren't. That's pegasi. Earths are disease and poison resistant, stronger, tougher, can handle high heat, heal faster from injuries, have a deeper connection to nature, and can live a couple of centuries. Physical powers might be all they've really got, but dang if they don't make it look good."

“Most of that is the same here, except the lifespans.” Spike said. “It’s why the Earth Ponies were so successful. It’s calculated that Earth Ponies outnumber the other sapients of Equis by a surprisingly high margin. They’re the ones who founded most of the more...hostile territories due to their hardiness.”

"Same with us...your planet is named Equis?"

“Equines are among the oldest races to have come about,” Spike said. “With only deer and dragons being older.”

"Huh...ours is called Ungula because most of the sentients of our world are hooved. Naming it after any singular species seems a little...hubristic."

“Nobody could think of a good name,” Spike rolled his eyes. “The deer were too full of themselves, the dragons too busy hoarding, everyone else squabbled about for pickings. Then, one day, someone asked ‘Hey guys, what’s the name of the planet?’.........We went to war after that.” He frowned. “Yeah, the sapients of this world are kind of trigger happy. So, we just threw suggestions into a hat and picked one. The humans think we rigged it though.”

"...did you?" Twilight asked. "Also, for the record, the is the third stupidest reason for a war I've ever heard."

“Yeah, I”m going to have to agree.” Spike said. “So...wait, I believe I didn’t answer all of your questions.”

"Oh right, magic and nocturnal." Twilight listed off. "And you still haven't said if you rigged it or not."

“We didn’t,” Spike huffed. “Humans just like blaming ponies for everything. ‘Our crops are withering. Ponies did it.’ ‘A plague! Ponies did it.’ “I stubbed my toe. Bloody ponies.’ Yeah, they don’t like us at all, mostly because we use magic...and other reasons, but mainly magic.”

"Augh, sounds like our Elk." Twilight moaned. "'Our crops are dieing! It must be pony magic!', 'Ponies are soft and have fat land, it should be ours!', 'Earthy ponies are all greedy stupid farmers!', 'Birdy ponies fly away as cowards!', 'Unicorns are all vile mages, look how magic twist their body!', oh yeah Elk really hate us. Our horns are prime time trophies."

“Humans don’t take trophies,” Spike said. “They just burn and destroy, because they fear the magic might hurt them...It’s why they don’t take unicorn prisoners.”

"Jeeze, problems everywhere here it seems." Twilight noted. "Oh, careful with drying the tail, they're sensitive and bruise easy."

“I’m sorry,” Spike said. “And to finally answer you, the same as pegasi and for the most part, no. Again, that’s more of the dark variety and they aren’t that common amongst them. Most of their image as dark, blood thirsty monsters comes from soldiers for hire and such. They aren’t that bad.”

"Huh. Our thestral's were nocturnal, there's way to much evidence to dispute that. I guess vamphirine are just equivalents, not parallels. Well, it was still interesting." Twilight tapped her chin. "Any equivalents to bicorns in this universe?"

“....Should I ask what a ‘bicorn’ is?” Spike peered at her inquisitively.

"The other, confirmed, extinct tribe, thank goodness." Twilight noted. "They were nasty. They looked like earths, but had twin goat horns and used them to cast magic like a unicorn. They were very aggressive. Also due to them always being depicted with slit pupils some speculate they may have been nocturnal as well."

“Sounds nasty,” Spike said. “They’d fit right at home here. Plenty of things to be ‘aggressive’ to.”

"Yeah." Twilight said, nodding. "Back home, the thestral's extinction is "a tragedy of the ages". On the other hoof, in Equestria's early days there were petitions for a national holiday to celebrate the disappearance of the bicorns." She paused for a moment. "I think that's actually been submitted a few times over the centuries."

“Sounds like our countries would get along quite nicely,” Spike chuckled.

"Oh please don't tell me you actually have holidays celebrating the extinction of your enemies." Twilight groaned. "That didn't get passed back home because it was considered to be in poor taste, even if it was the bicorns."

“No, but there are plenty of nobles that wish they could do that.” Spike commented dryly.

Twilight let out a relieved breath. "Well that's a relief. You know this world is fascinating, just in and off itself without adding in the parallelism and comparative attributes. If we weren't so pressed for time and the fate of the world, I could spend year's just studying here."

“Maybe you could drop by and visit sometime,” Spike offered. “I mean, if it can happen once, it can be replicated.”

"True. Alright then, now that I'm dry I need to brush down. Unicorn hair is massively prone to tangle." She explained. "Since I can't work a brush you'll have to."

“I am at your command, my lady.” Spike smirked, bowing before her.

"Good. Now then, don't forget to brush the shaft of my tail, not just the flair on the tip." Twilight noted. "A lot of non-unicorns only work on the tip, and forget to work on the shaft...why are you looking at me like that?"

Spike was holding a hand over his snout as he suppressed his laughter. “Nothing, nothing.” He shook his head, trying to clear up his humor. “I’m looking at nothing, but a beautiful maiden with a mind as vast as the heavens above.”

"Um, thank you." Twilight noted, unsure of what was going on. It was a nice implement, but she never really considered herself beautiful, meanly average looking for a unicorn. However the vast mind thing was a nice compliment. It felt good to have one's scholarly acumen noted.

“You’re welcome,” Spike said, gingerly brushing her mane. He had a lot of experience in the art from brushing his sister and to top it off, he was in no danger of Twilight blasting him for his comments. “You have an exquisite mane, Twilight. Why, I would think it was made out of the finest silk.”

"Thanks. Unicorn hair is naturally very fine in my world." Twilight said. "I noticed it was a lot...thicker here. Also, that shampoo Rarity recommended really helps." Unicorn hair often got compared to silk, so it probably would impress him the first time he encountered it.

“Ah yes, Miss Rarity.” Spike nodded. “She’s always helping others exemplify the beauty beneath the surface and might I say, she did a wonderful job.”

"Yeah, Rarity knows her stuff. She's a good friend. She and our Sunset spend time at the spa together regularly." Twilight replied, glad for some idle conversation.

“It’s good to know that somethings are universal,” Spike said. “Such as radiance.”

"Well I don't think the properties of light would change much between dimensions, or if it did our eyes would be useless for it, so there is that to consider." Twilight pondered this interesting physics riddle.

Spike faltered in his brushing. “I….of course.” He said. It was right then and there Spike realized something….This mare was clueless when it came to romance. Spike inwardly groaned, ‘cause he knew that the only way for this to work was if he spelled it out to her, but then it would just make him the bad guy. Still, he would just keep pampering her. “I applaud that mind of yours, Miss Twilight. It’s always good to see a mare so willing to learn and understand. Those are very appealing aspects.”

Twilight's mind was sharp. As such, it started piecing things together without her. Such as 'appealing', 'radiant', 'beautiful', and the constant compliments. Having sorted through the available data, her mind came to the proper conclusion, double checked it's facts, and then submitted its findings to her conscious mind. Her conscious mind, to extend the metaphor, was driving while reading it, spit out coffee in surprise, lost control of the carriage, and drove at full speed into a brick wall.

Twilight's right eye and ear started twitching. "Hahaha, there's no way. Spike, this is going to sound crazy, but it almost sounds like you're flirting with me. Hahaha."

Spike knew something was off and he didn’t like it. A twitching unicorn was never safe, even if he was pretty much immune to magic. Perhaps it was just living under the same roof as an overbearing unicorn sister that gave him this little fear. “If you would like to think that, Miss Twilight, or not if you don’t.”

"No no no no no no!" Twilight said, starting to panic. "I am not being hit on by an alternate version of my son!"

Spike dropped the hair brush and stared at her. “...I think my hearing went there for a moment. It almost sounded like you said something...no….”

"Uhhhhh surprise?" Twilight squeaked, nervous.

“You can’t….you’re my mother?” Spike’s breathing hitched. “But...no, I think we have a misunderstanding.”

"Well, adopted mother." Twilight started explaining. "See, at the entrance exam for Celestia's School for the Gifted, I was shown this dragon egg and told to hatch it..."

“And you did….” Spike’s body started to shake. “And they gave me to you….because that’s it? No one wanted me? They just left me up to chance...no, no, no, I refuse to believe that….” He shook his head.

"They didn't just give you to me." Twilight protested. "I felt responsible for you, so I had to fight hoof and horn to get you. If I hadn't become Celestia's personal student after that, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep you."

“....An entrance test?” Spike’s eyes started to water. “...I was an entrance test in her school….A test….” He fell on his haunches, not looking at anything at all. “...I’m just a test.”

"That's not true." Twilight said, putting a comforting hoof on his shoulder. "To me, you're family."

“But she…” Spike shook his head, wiping his eyes with his sleeve. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be doing this. I know it’s a different world, but….I love my mother. The thought of her putting me up like that….A test for her school?”

"Celestia didn't have anything to do with that." Twilight noted. "That was the school board. They had been using the egg for years, the children weren't supposed to be able to hatch it. It was a test to see how we tried to solve the problem and how we handled failure."

“Our Celestia doesn’t do that,” Spike said, trying to stop his tears. “They’re given other tests to prove themselves….Not given a bleeding dragons’ egg.”

Twilight smirked. "Well, Princess Celestia wasn't too happy about it herself. She'd heard of the test and thought it was a good idea, but she'd thought the dragon egg was a mock up the entire time. When she found out they'd been using a real egg the entire time, hoo boy. I think she actually replaced over half the faculty at the school for that. Now the dragon egg they use is a very nicely painted rock."

Spike chuckled, picking himself up. He smiled, but a couple of tears still fell from his eyes. “Sounds like something she would do….” He worked his jaw, now a bit nervous.

"Yeah, and that was before you practically became her grandson." Twilight added. "I hate to think what she would have done to he school if that had been the case. She'd probably have made the place look like your Sunset had a temper tantrum."

Spike laughed. “Not hard to picture.”

Twilight smiled. "Feeling better?"

“Yeah…..” Spike nodded slowly. “So...you really love me over there?”

"You're my son, of course I do." she snorted as she added "Although it wouldn't hurt if you cleaned up after yourself more, and did your chores without complaining, and is it too much to ask that you don't try and backsass me when I'm giving life advice? I'm you're mother, you could always try and make things easier for me you know."

“But it’s fun to backsass,” Spike said in his meager defense. “And I clean up after myself…..and you’re asking for the complaints.”

Twilight laughed. "Yep, definitely parent and child. So, ready to head back on down?"

“Whenever you are mom...I mean, Twilight,” Spike caught himself and chuckled nervously. “Gonna have to get used to that.”

"Just call me Twilight, I'm not your mother here." She looked herself over in the mirror, then frowned. "Darn it, you forgot to stroke the shaft, it's very important to work on the shaft."

“Do you want me to be wary of the balls?” Spike sputtered as he tried to keep himself from laughing as he got to work.

Twilight was very confused.

That just made it even funnier as Spike laughed his tail off, finishing her brushing. “You have to come back sometime. You’re hilarious.”

"Uh, thanks?" Twilight said, uncertain what he found so funny, but still. She was glad he was feeling better.

“And done,” Spike added with a flourish. He smiled down at her and then pulled her into a hug. “Thank you.”

"You're welcome. And thank you for helping me get ready to see the Princess." Twilight said, returning the hug. "Now come on, the others are probably waiting for us."

Spike picked her up and carried her bridal style. “They won’t have to wait for long.” And like that, he dashed off.

Author's Note:

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

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