• Published 5th Sep 2018
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The Golden Age of Apocalypse - Book I - BlueBastard

A Berylverse Story - The ponies investigate an ancient prophecy tied to Sombra's plan to destroy Equestria, all the while Sunset prepares for her coronation. But not all is as it seems when the mystery begins to imply a far darker truth of the past.

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Chapter 23: Blinded By the Dark

Golden Age of Apocalypse

Chapter 23—Blinded By the Dark

The last time the triplets had been in the hospital, it had been shortly after the incident with Les SCARS at the old pizza place Adagio had worked at. Prior to that, it was a few incidents that ended up with them in sickbay...though that term had taken on negative connotations since their near brush with death in the wake of Project ANTHEMUSA. All things considered, however, pony hospitals were at least cheerier than human ones.

Now here they were, in yet another hospital, having been saved by sheer luck not once but twice in the same confrontation. It was also slightly humbling for the trio as while they’d held their own against Corner Shot, the fact they’d received the worst physical punishment of their lives (not counting the time Adagio would have actually died from her wounds had Sunset not used magic to heal her) all from one hostile was almost tantamount to failure.

“At least a building didn’t fall on top of us, right?” half-chuckled, half-coughed Sonata. Having received the worst of Corner’s wrath out of the three, she’d been put into a hospital cot and now had her right foreleg—effectively the same as her normal human form’s right arm—locked in a cast and cradled from a sling around her neck, slowly healing a nasty complex fracture under the skin. Under the covers she was tucked into, her barrel was wrapped up like a mummy, with gauze patches hidden underneath to help heal the worst of the slashes. None of which, thankfully, had been too deep and needed a trip to ER surgery, though a few had been bad enough to require stitches in uncomfortable places around her torso. Her left ear, in comparison to the rest of her injuries, looked almost comical in that all it had needed was a simple bandaid in the end.

“After that ass kicking?” replied Ari, “Having a building explode on us was preferable to last night! We’re lucky we’re in an alternate reality where instant healing magic is a thing!”

While it wasn’t instant healing in reality—rather, healing magic just rapidly accelerated the natural process—the nasty black eye Aria had received from Corner had been reduced to looking like a minor bruise under the ice pack she held over it. She too had received numerous cuts, also relatively minor save for one on her side that she was sure had made one of the nurses turn pale (or maybe it had been the light, she’d been a bit high on painkillers and so her perception of reality hadn’t been as sharp), so besides the remnants of other bad bruises having been reduced significantly, Aria just had a band-aid applied diagonally across her forehead that looked even sillier than the one on Soni’s ear.

“Well, one thing’s for sure,” interjected Adagio, “we at least succeeded somewhat in what Razz had asked of us in helping capture Corner Shot.” Then with a scowl, she added, “Not that I’m particularly happy to have almost died helping that cun...” Simultaneous glares from both of her sisters made Adagio trail off before correcting herself. “Cunning pony.”

The only one of the three to not be caught off guard by Corner’s sudden burst of psychotic anger, Dagi was no less in as bad shape as her sisters. Phantom pains from a dislocated left hind leg felt especially weird as it involved pain in places she’d never even had in her sixteen years as a human being - across virtually two completely different lives. Her head was wrapped up in bandages to help treat a concussion she’d gotten from the numerous times Corner had sent her flying and crashing into the ground, and more than a few bruises were present on her body throughout.

Just then, the door to the room the triplets were sharing burst open and a frantic looking Raspberry Beryl came in, followed shortly by an exhausted looking Heliodor—no doubt from his endless attempts to try and get Razz to calm down.

“Oh my Celestia I’m so, so sorry about what happened!” she blurted apologetically to the three bedridden mares. “I should have known Corner was more dangerous than she’d even let on and if I’d only been able to find that damn amulet sooner then she wouldn’t have been able to nearly kill the three of you!”

“It’s not your fault, Razz,” said Aria, preemptively cutting off whatever salt Adagio was about to rub into the wound. “I mean, putting our lives on the line to help protect others is what we swore as our duty to Queen Faust a few weeks back.”

“But I inadvertently put you three up against a Scion—worse, one who seems to have been turned into the deadliest one of all!”

“What’s a Scion, again?” asked Sonata. “Like, you were going on about this after you punched out Corner Shot’s lights and saw how much we’d gotten beat up by her, to the point Princess Twilight had to use a sleeping spell on you to get your histrionics under control.”

“I think an answer as to how Princess Twilight, Sunny, and a bunch of guards arrived at that exact moment also never made it to us, come to think of it,” added Adagio with just a hint of an accusatory glare.

Razz cringed. “The latter actually was my doing—I sent Heelee over to Twilight’s with a note to bring the guards to that location, probably should have had him doing that while I was looking for the amulet. The former though…” Razz took a deep breath and quickly explained King Sombra, and who the Scions were to him.

“And Corner is the second?” asked Dagi, eyebrow raised.

“Third, actually—though the second is extremely dangerous in her own right, she’s not an actual Sombra fanatic like Corner apparently is. Would you believe the whole point of her being in town was to try and indoctrinate me?”

Sonata nodded at that. “Yeah, compromise critical personnel within a command base and you have yourself a weak link in the chain. Textbook example.” Razz looked at her oddly, and Sonata said, “Trust me, it’s bad.”

Razz shrugged. “Oh, I was nice to her. At least compared to the shitstorm heading her way right now. Trust me, she’s going to get paid back for all the harm she’s done to everypony before she gets to leave town.”

Deep inside the Ponyville Guard garrison, the exposed assassin Corner Shot groaned from within her stockade. It was bad enough that she’d failed in the end, but to make matters worse, she’d lost the closest friend she’d ever had as a result, her cover as a professional pool player was probably ruined, and the guards had seen fit to lock her up with magically enchanted hobbles that ensured she couldn’t try to use anything she managed to get her hooves on as a weapon.

However, what poured salt in the wound and was slowly driving her nuts was her need to crack a joke or do something that would at least make the oppressive atmosphere seem a little more comforting. The problem she couldn’t overcome in that respect is that the two guards assigned to watch her cell wouldn’t show any emotional response to anything she did. She had no way of knowing if they were cracking up in hysterics or were as stone faced as the usual guardspony, for these two had been chosen from the ranks of some kind of secret guardspony regiment who wore full-body armors. She’d overheard a regular guard tell another that these ponies in their impenetrable armor had been rumored to not been seen in over a decade and were only called out to deal with super extreme dangers normal guards wouldn’t be able to handle, but were still beneath the notice of Princess Twilight and her friends who—inexplicably—tended to be the ones to handle the biggest dangers to the country.

Suddenly, the lights went out, providing some minor level of excitement for the pegasus simply because something had interrupted the boredom of imprisonment. A new set of hoofsteps then echoed in the relatively empty basement area the prison was in, prompting Corner to try and look into the darkness to see who the newcomer was. Having trained to work in environments with no light, Corner’s natural nightvision was better than the average pony—though nowhere close to even a batpony foal’s nightvision, but every little bit counted in Corner’s line of work. But nothing prepared her to see Razz’s silhouette start approaching the bars, stopping just before them to talk to the guards in a low whisper, intentionally making sure Corner couldn’t hear her voice.

“Cut the crap, Razz,” obnoxiously groaned Corner, turning to face the princess. “I know it’s you.”

The lights suddenly snapped back on, revealing much to Corner’s shock that it was not Raspberry Beryl. Raspberry Beryl wasn’t an alicorn. But she did look a whole lot like Sunset Shimmer.

“Nice guess, bitch,” taunted Sunset, whose eyes radiated with pure malice, “but do you really think she’d even want to talk to your sorry ass after the shit you pulled last night?”

“No, I suppose not,” said Corner, regaining her composure. “Though it makes me wonder what you want.”

“I want you to understand that whatever level of deep shit you think you’re in is not even remotely close to the actual level of shit you’re submerged in,” growled Sunset as she got close enough to the bars to almost stick her muzzle through them. “You went after one of my closest friends and nearly killed three of my family members! Let me translate that for you into common Equish: you assaulted three senior-ranking military personnel, the assistant to the Element of Generosity and an Archmagus of Equestria.”

Corner shrugged her withers. “So?”

“The last three people who tried to do something like that around me had everything they had become torn down around them and thrown into a hell of their own making—you’re lucky that I don’t have the rights to rip off those stupid looking wings of yours and shove them up and down both of your ends, because mark my words I totally could.”

“Oh, trust me, ponies have tried,” said Corner without showing any reaction to being threatened by the original prodigy of Princess Celestia herself. “Hell, for what it’s worth, I’ve tried to myself—but these augments to my wings are magically fused to my bones so they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.”

“Complements of that club of nutcases? Or maybe just another excuse for you to go chasing after Razz?”

“Are you accusing me of trying to make myself a cripple in some sense simply to try and get Razz to relate to me?” Corner fanned out her wings, evidently having a button pushed. “Because believe me, I’ve had these racks for years. But…we’re probably connected on a deeper level.”

“What, are you attracted to her sexually?" Sunset snarled. "Trying to find a little sapphic lambda energy or something? No, let me guess: your mother's name is Harmonic Convergence and she wants you to have an Ishtarine coterie and fuck as many of your female relatives as possible, right?"

“What the fuck are you even talking about?” gaped Corner. “Like, what’s ‘Ish-tar-eene’ even mean?”

“None of your concern,” replied the alicorn. “All you need to know is that whatever game you’re playing? It’s over.”

“You’re blind if you think this is over,” said Corner. “You yourself said it: My ‘club of nutcases’ clearly has more than just me. And whether or not she meant it, Razz has only helped the Covenant by naming me as one of Sombra’s Scions.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that old dusty shadow is so proud of you getting your ass in jail. And only two of his descendants known and you got your ass kicked by the better one.”

“What?” Corner grinned cockily. “You clearly are out of the loop if you think it’s just me and her. No, I’m the third—the Covenant knows of the second, and we will get her in due time.”

Sunset’s lack of reaction slowly brought Corner’s grin into a frown, then into an open gasp as she realized her slip up. Sunset had to have known about the second Scion—Razz obviously had met them though the actual identity was still an unknown to Corner, and Razz would have at least told Sunset—so all Corner had done was reveal more about the Covenant than she should have.

“You sure do seem confident about your friends being competent enough to do whatever you failed at doing if you’re willing to let that slip,” said Sunset. “Anything else you think the Covenant’s flunkie messenger pigeon should mention to strike fear into the hearts of Equestria?”

Corner wasn’t able to keep the hateful glare off her face. Alicorn or no, Corner wasn’t going to take such disrespect from one of the Sun Tyrant’s lapdogs. “You think I’m finished now that you’ve caught me? Now that I know I’m one of Sombra’s Scions, I’m just getting started! No cell you put me in is gonna keep me from achieving my destiny, and when I’m free you’d better tell those three flunkies of your own to stay the hell out of my way, or they’re going to end up with a lot worse than a few bruises next time!”

If her words had any effect on the alicorn, she hid it well behind a neutral expression. “I see. So that’s how you want to play?”

Corner didn’t know what to expect next. A verbal threat, or perhaps even a physical one. She hadn’t expected Sunset to simply turn around and start walking away.

“Oh? Nothing to say, huh?!” Corner called after her. “It’s because you know I’m right! I have the power to bring real change to this country and there’s nothing you can do to stop—”

But all the lights suddenly went out again, and Corner did stop. She looked around in the darkness outside her cell, her well-honed eyes scanning for any movement.

“Oh come on! Using the same trick to scare me won’t work. Hell, it didn’t even work the first time!”

But Corner was only answered by the silent darkness. Seconds ticked by, then minutes, until finally Corner thought that maybe Sunset had left. So she turned around to sit on her cot...and came face to face with a monster.

“Boo,” said the monster from its place seated on the cell’s cot, grinning evilly. The creature stood heads above her and looked like a minotaur dragged through the worst part of Luna’s nightmares.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!” screamed Corner, rocketing back hard into the cell door, wondering if the guards would intervene if this thing meant her harm. But one glance out the bars and Corner realized with dread that the guards had disappeared. She was alone now—alone with this thing.

It was as the creature stood and took a step toward her that Corner managed to get a good look at it, and right away its features were familiar. Red and yellow hair framed a beige, hairless face, upon which a pair of familiar cyan eyes glared at her. It held out an appendage with five protruding digits and powerful magic energy began to twist and crackle before her, making Corner’s hairs stand on end from both the static energy and her own fear.

“What… what are you?” Corner stammered.

The terrifying biped then spoke in Sunset Shimmer’s voice. “I’m what you’ll answer to if you ever try to hurt my family again!”

The Sunset-creature then promptly closed its hand around the building magic energy into a fist, and a sound like shattering glass accompanied a blinding flash of light, and for a moment Corner thought she was being incinerated right then and there. Then her senses returned, and she found herself standing in her cell, exactly where she had been, with no sign that the Sunset-monster had ever been there.

“We hope that you enjoyed your stay at the Traveler’s Retreat and that you’ll come to visit again soon!”

The finely dressed stallion smiled, nodded, then picked up his bag before walking out the front door. Razz then looked from left to right, seeing if there was anypony still waiting to be checked out, before letting out a relieved sigh. After apologizing to the injured triplets about a billion more times, she’d finally been forced to return home when she realized her front desk shift was going to start soon. Upon arrival, she’d had to rush into action as there were so many ponies who were waiting to be checked out with only a harried-looking Ascot doing his best to expedite the process. After relieving her father of duty, she’d helped maybe twenty ponies check out before now, her first chance to catch her breath.

“Never realized how much I missed doing something normal,” sighed Razz, turning to scratch Heliodor’s chin. He’d taken his deskside stand perch when Razz had taken the desk and patiently waited since for her to finish up. Which could only mean one thing.

“Alright, you silly bird,” teased Razz, putting up a BACK IN FIVE MINUTES sign on the desk before leaving it. “I’ll get you your chopped pears. Just don’t torch anypony when I’m not looking, even if they deserve it, okay?”

He nodded eagerly—there was little he wouldn’t do for his favorite fruit. However, after a quick trip to the kitchen and returning with a bowl of her pet’s treasured foodstuff, he seemed to have forgotten all about the pears, instead staring intently at something in front of him.

“Hey, Heelee, pears!” said Razz, putting the bowl in front of the phoenix. He didn’t seem to react. Finally deciding to see what had captured Heelee’s attention, Razz turned to follow his gaze…and gave a little jump when she saw Nineball waiting in front of the desk. “Oh, uh, hello!” she stammered, still feeling a bit as intimidated of the large stallion as she had been the first time they’d come face to face and he’d asked those weird questions about her relations to Sombra and…something else, she didn’t recall. “How can I be off assistance, Mr. Nineball?”

“I’d like to checkout, please,” he simply stated. Whatever he’d wanted to know before seemed to be of no consequence now. Razz hoped it would stay that way, but it seemed odd that he’d been staying at the Retreat and only now did she realize that fact. However, as he handed her his room keys and she cross checked the list of guests, sure enough he’d been here the whole time.

Just let it go, Razz, she thought to herself, keeping up a smile as she put the keys up. “Were there any problems with the room or any other concerns about how your experience here has been?”

“No,” was all Nineball said. That was good enough for Razz.

“Well, we here at the Traveler’s Retreat hope that you enjoyed your stay with us and—”

Suddenly, Heliodor bolted from his perch and seemed hell-bent on attacking Nineball’s luggage—specifically a nondescript briefcase.

“What the- NO! BAD HELIODOR!” Razz was furious, she’d drilled how important it was for Heliodor to behave if he was to be allowed to stay in the Retreat—magical creatures like him were normally banned from public lodgings like the Retreat in fear of attacking the guests, with phoenixes at the top of the list of banned animals because of their ability to manipulate fire hot enough to melt metals and sometimes even rock. At the same time, though, Heliodor never acted against what he knew were the rules unless it was in his mistress’ best interest, the examples of which included willingly risking his life to save hers more than once. Nothing Razz could think of, though, justified Heliodor randomly attacking a guest’s luggage like this, and she rushed around the desk to pull him away from further eviscerating the suitcase.

But before she could, Heliodor had already gotten it open and with his beak pulled out a manila envelope labeled “Ponyville”. Then with his talons, he ripped the envelope open before tossing it to the ground, sending the contents of photographs spilling onto the floor.

Photographs that, to Raspberry’s horror, were almost all of her. Specifically when she’d gotten Corner Shot and Coco Pommel to stop trying to knock each other’s blocks off.

The usually imposing Nineball now seemed not so frightening, instead he seemed extremely nervous about what was about to happen. Razz knew he should be feeling that way given she did not handle her temper well.

“Mr. Nineball…” the unicorn started, slowly looking up from the photographs on the ground to the red stallion who clearly had taken them, “…why are there photographs of me, clearly taken with the intent that I wasn’t supposed to know about them, in your luggage?”

“I, uh…” stammered Nineball. He didn’t seem so terrifying now.

“This doesn’t happen to involve the way you popped all those questions about me a few days ago, does it?” Razz was doing her best to keep from unloading on him right then and there—after learning Corner Shot had been an agent of the loonies who tried to draw her into their King Sombra worshiping cult, then before that learning that for unknown reasons, Queen Chrysalis also had an interest in her to the point of posting her own guard in secret to protect Razz, the idea that yet another pony was performing illicit surveillance on her really was going to push her over the edge. Already she could feel her fangs starting to extend, hoping nopony actually noticed.

“Well, yes, honestly, but…please, a moment.” Keeping his cool, Nineball recomposed himself and from another bag pulled out what looked like a wallet. “As you already know, I am from Stalliongrad, a place far from most of the country, especially Ponyville. My place as a pool player in tournaments such as the one just concluded allows me to journey all over the world, to see beyond my hometown. But as it is not cheap to travel around with such a far place away as my home, I can rarely bring my family to see the world with me.” He then opened the wallet, showing in one of the window compartments a picture of four ponies all wearing papakhas and silly grins. Alongside Nineball was a beautiful medium blue pegasus with a warm, red mane, in front of them were two young ponies: a gray coated earth pony colt with a black-and red striped mane and an eight ball cutie mark, and a snow-white pegasus filly with a gray mane who had yet to get her mark.

“What does telling me your…” said Razz, before stopping herself to also recompose. “I’m sorry, that was impolite.” She figured there had to be some point to him explaining all this to why he was secretly photographing one of the country’s most dangerous ponies.

Nineball nodded slightly, sensing Razz was beginning to understand. “This is my wife, Blue Magnolia; and our children, Eight Ball and White Glint. During my travels, I try to bring back the world I see for them to experience it as well. My wife is a botanist, so I always send local flowers home for her. My son takes after me so I bring him memorabilia from the pool establishments I go to—including the odd trophy now and then.” He sighed before continuing. “My daughter has an interest in ornithology, which I believe will become evident as her special talent to be manifested in her cutie mark.”

“Ornithology?” asked Razz.

Nineball grinned. “The study of birds. Photographing them, learning about all their natural habits, nothing can sate her love of avians. Of course, in Stalliongrad, there’s only a hoofful of birds for her to see—mostly just iron kestrels and dwarf rocs—so I take it upon myself to bring home images of the birds I see—I’m actually pretty good at photographing birds, if you’d be so kind to take a look at those photos again.”

Eyebrow raised, Razz glance back down to the photos on the floor. What she thought had been images taken with her as the primary focus proved to be anything but, as more often than not she wasn’t centered and/or even in focus.

But in every shot, it was clear who really had been the subject of interest: Heliodor.

“Given your pet’s reaction, I’m guessing he doesn’t like attention?” sheepishly asked Nineball.

“Are you kidding? He freakin’ loves attention!” Razz looked over to Heelee, who now looked properly embarrassed. “I don’t know how you knew Nineball was doing this—which I would like to remind him I’m still not happy about—but you wanted me to see the pics because you thought he was photographing me, right?”

The bird nodded.

“Well, can’t fault you for that, you featherbrain,” chuckled Razz, then turning to Nineball again. “But if it was Heliodor you were interested in…why didn’t you just ask me for permission in the first place?”

“I tried,” pointed out Nineball, and as Razz recalled their previous interaction, she understood that he had indeed tried to ask about this matter. “But, erm,” Nineball blushed—blushed!—and rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. “If you must know I’m kind of utterly terrified of you.”

“That explains the way you addressed me before,” surmised Razz. “That also why you decided to take pics of Heliodor and by proxy me from a distance, then?”

Nineball nodded.

The unicorn sighed with relief. “Oh thank Celestia, you have no idea how relieved I am this is just one big mix-up. And, uh, sorry about what Heliodor did to your bag.”

“It is no problem—I have duct tape for these kinds of situations.” Nineball then produced a roll of duct tape, evidently well-used judging from how thin the outer layer of tape was.

“Actually, if you don’t have to go immediately,” said Razz, glancing down to her apologetic-looking bird before back up at Nineball, “since this matter is cleared up and these photos were meant for your daughter…how’d you like to get better photos of Heliodor up close and personal?”

The big red stallion grinned appreciatively. “It would make my daughter the happiest filly in the world, and thank you for understanding.”

Later that day, Twilight Sparkle accompanied Sunset and her cousins—now able to walk after another round of healing magic—back to Canterlot Castle with the small assortment of luggage they’d managed to acquire unintentionally during their stay. Razz had wanted to come see Sunset off as well, but there were still more ponies who needed to check out of the Retreat and she was needed to help stem the tide. But both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna were there to see off the former’s de facto-adopted child through Platinum's Mirror, something they both felt might end up being a semi-often occurrence at this rate.

“I do wish your first visit to Equestria hadn’t ended on such an ugly note,” Celestia apologized to the SIRENs. As Razz had confirmed Corner Shot as the third Scion, naturally Celestia and Luna had been notified by flamefax as soon as Twilight was done writing the letter herself. They’d also learned of what Corner Shot had done, which would have proven a real headache trying to figure out what countries on either side of the interdimensional border the triplets were considered nationals of. After all, even though they were human, they’d transferred the flag of the SIREN outfit to the Royal Equestrian Navy, pending final approval by the Lord Admiral.

“It wasn’t all bad,” said Adagio. “If anything, this shows we need to be in our human forms if we’re going to be as effective as possible.”

“Human?” asked Luna with a touch of worry in her voice. “As in, you’d be walking around as creatures most of ponykind has never seen before? I’m not sure that is wise given how the common pony tends to fear things bigger than they are.”

“I don’t think it can be avoided,” said Sunset. “I’m sure I mentioned this before, but when my cousins and I come back in a couple of weeks for my coronation, there’s…a lot of people who are going to want to come.”

“Define ‘a lot’ in this case,” requested Twilight, though she already had a feeling about who else would be among the first humans to visit Canterlot, present company excluded.

“Well, there’s my parents, Shiny, Cady, Spike, Twily, Tavi, AJ, Rainbow, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie, Ms. Luna, Ms. Celestia, and, given the aftermath of what happened back in Canterlot, Ms. Celestia’s boyfriend…” Sunset caught herself as she realized why the human Celestia’s boyfriend effectively being the human world counterpart to one of Princess Celestia’s most hated enemies—one Sable Loam—might need some replanning.

“I suppose we would need to reveal the ‘natives’ of where I sent my beloved daughter for all these years sooner or later, anyway,” admitted Celestia. “So if they are all going to come, please at least remind them that by doing so, they’re going to serve as ponykind’s first true experience with humans.”

“Plus,” Aria added, “if we’re going to be recruiting future SIRENs from the services, they have to know what form they’ll pretty much be spending the rest of their lives in. It’s a big commitment, and it’s better that we acclimate ponykind to humanity soonest.”

“Hopefully it will be less painful than this trip ended up being,” groaned Soni, rubbing her formerly broken foreleg and wincing. While it had never been seen what would happen to the injuries of individuals who got shapeshifted through the portal, Sunset had somewhat shyly mentioned that on her first return visit, she’d still had a scar left from the time she’d gotten stabbed nearly a year ago, so it was assumed what lingering injuries the SIRENs still had would translate over to their human selves.

“For us, at least,” remarked Aria with an impish smile. “We already got to meet our counterparts in this world. But the other girls? For starters, we’re going to do the impossible by having two Pinkie Pies in the same place, at the same time, in the same reality. We seriously might break the laws of physics.”

“What a great way to start off my coronation,” mock-groaned Sunset, before moving to hug the elder princesses. “Anyway, we gotta get going—if the time back in the human world is set to match the time here through the mirror, the triplets and I might be running late for dinner!”

“Well, guess we can’t have that, now can we?” laughed Celestia, nuzzling her daughter. “I trust you know what to do during the week before you, your family, and your friends come to see your homeland?”

“Like we haven’t gone over it a billion, billion times,” sighed Sunset with a smile. “Just like we always did.”

“If you’re going to start stealing my lines,” retorted Twilight with a huff, “then you really do need to go!”

“Fine, fine,” said Sunset, though as she approached the mirror, she then turned around and added, “but be ready to meet your counterpart, Twilight Sparkle, the version of you who until recently didn’t believe magic existed!” As Twilight’s face reacted in shock upon being reminded of the monumental task that would come with Sunset next time, the maize-coated alicorn merely winked mischievously before plunging back into the mirror. Bowing one last time for the three remaining princesses, the triplets then followed suit.

“It’ll be a golden age of apocalypse when worlds collide upon Sunset’s return,” mused Luna. “Of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less from her—she really does follow in your hoofsteps in that respect.”

Celestia said nothing, instead merely grinning almost as much as a sedated Pinkie Pie.

Twilight sighed. “I guess I’d best go get the supplies ready. Reagents, alchemical compounds, and a keg of scrumpy.”

Luna looked at the youngest alicorn. “What’s that for?”

“The reagents and compounds are for researching the counteractive spell Sunset’s companions will need for the next time around so they can retain their normal forms. As far as I know, only the human Element Bearers have magic, and they haven’t been trained, I’m sure.”

“And the keg?” Luna asked as Twilight started to walk towards her labs.

“I have a feeling we’re all going to need a stiff drink,” the Princess of Friendship replied over her shoulder.

Author's Note:

And now, this is the point where things get interesting because don't think events during GAOA are limited to Equestria alone...as the side story Confessions written by Flynt Coal will tell you! And it will revisit some plot elements that have laid dormant for a while so be sure to check it out and see what's going on with the human side of things!


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