• Published 1st Oct 2015
  • 1,210 Views, 13 Comments

Lack Of A Reflection - Sun Aura



Sunset Shimmer has made a lot of mistakes, and she's going to set them right. But there's someone else that made similar mistakes, but has yet to been offered another way back.

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Cracked

Author's Note:

Wow. I dropped this for a year and a half and come back with essentially an info-dump chapter. I will be working on this more, and I know generally where the story's going so I'll update it a lot sooner next time.

Sunset woke up to her ringtone. Blearily staring at the screen, she saw a message from Applejack, one from Twilight, and that she had woken up much later than she wanted. Twilight’s message was a time schedule for the day, and a list of who was doing what. Luckily, Sunset wasn’t assigned something to get ready.

Applejack’s message was an ‘on my way’ message. Sunset groaned and got up, knowing it would take less than ten minutes. She went downstairs and popped a bagel into the toaster before going back up to pack. It was strange being alone in her house again, but since they'd be gone for a few days she'd asked Fluttershy's parents to watch Rhea until they were back.

She shoved her phone charger, a few shirts, and an extra pair of jeans into a backpack. She put on her usual outfit, jeans and turquoise top with leather jacket and boots, but halfway down the stairs she changed her mind. In her closet, she found a jacket with longer sleeves. Then switched to combat boots; they have height and stability.

Sunset hesitated at the top of the stairs. Something felt missing. Walking back to her dresser, she pulled out a small box. Inside was a necklace, a black ribbon that would fit snugly around her throat. At its center, was the familiar red and yellow sun that was her Cutie Mark.

Though her Cutie Mark was no longer a part of her body, Sunset still felt better when she wore the symbol somewhere on her.

By the time she went back down, ate the bagel, and grabbed an energy drink from her fridge, there was just enough time to fix her hair and brush her teeth before Applejack arrived.

“Morning,” Sunset mumbled as she climbed in.

“Mornin’ Sugarcube,” Applejack greeted, oddly chipper. Then again, she usually got up much earlier. “Put your bag in the back.”

Like Sunset, Applejack had changed very little to her outfit. Instead of her skirt she was wearing jeans, and she had a jacket the same color as her boots. She had a bag about the same size as Sunset’s in the back.

Their next pickup was different. Both Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had completely different outfits. Rainbow Dash wore a dark blue tracksuit, the zipper open to show a black tanktop under it, and with sneakers that had to be part of the set, as they and the zipper on the jacket had a cloud and lightning bolt. Fluttershy had a green sweater and tan pants with pink butterflies on the calf, neither item dangly or baggy. Fluttershy was nodding off, but Dash seemed even more awake than Applejack.

“What’s got you all up and excited?” Sunset asked her as she climbed in.

“I got up early and did some exercises,” she shrugged. “Figured I’d get my energy out now, since I’ll be stuck in a car all day.”

“So, what time did you finally power down?” she asked. Sunset got out of her seat long enough to put it down for Fluttershy to climb in the back.

“Not until after bed,” Fluttershy yawned.

“Same for me,” Rainbow said. “Took a while because sleeping on my back is weird with wings.”

After tossing their bags, Rainbow’s looking especially empty, into the back, they took off once more. They weren’t even half way down the block before Fluttershy was asleep again. She looked adorable, softly snoring against the back window.

Rainbow, on the other hand took the passenger seat this time. She pulled her phone and a few wires out of her jacket and began to plug them in, much to Applejack’s displeasure.

“Twi put me in charge of roadtrip music,” she explained, swatting Applejack’s hand away from the controls. “Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of stuff on here for everyone. Even stuff I don’t usually listen to.”

As if to prove her point, she clicked on a country song, making sure the volume was low enough to not disturb Fluttershy’s sleep. Applejack rolled her eyes, but Sunset could see her tapping out the rhythm on the steering wheel.

Rarity was waiting for them on the sidewalk when they pulled up. She now wore a long-sleeved black top, purple shorts over black leggings, cream-colored boots with a faux fur trim, and a gold necklace with three diamonds on it. In her arms was a jacket that matched the boots, and at her side were two large suitcases.

“Rares, it’s a weekend trip!” Rainbow teased. “I don’t think you need your entire closet and bathroom.”

“Am I right to assume,” Rarity said, “that the only items in your bag are pajamas, an extra shirt, and your phone charger?”

“I don’t need much,” she said.

“Toothbrush, thoothpaste, hairbrush,” she listed.

“Okay, maybe I forgot a few things,” she admitted.

“Hairties,” she continued, “extra shirts and pants, deodorant, a few pairs of underwear, extra money in case your wallet gets stolen, socks, a sewing kit, a first aid kit, certain feminine items, painkillers, medicine for carsickness, multitool-“

“I get it!” Rainbow huffed.

Sunset chuckled to herself before getting out to help Rarity lift the suitcases into the back. After the hatch was closed, she put her seat down once more to let Rarity climb next to Fluttershy.

Applejack started the car going again, and Rarity’s phone seemed to buzz immediately. She looked over to see Sunset staring not-so-secretly curious.

“Yes, I’m talking to Lance,” she informed. “He texted me after I got home last night. We didn’t talk too long, since I enforced my ‘go to bed early’ suggestion. Mostly he just asked about what you’re like. I did have to tell him about the Fall Formal, I hope that’s okay?”

“Yeah,” Sunset sighed. “I was going to ask you to anyway.”

Rarity nodded before turning her head back to her phone. It was only seconds before their next stop.

“I’ll be right out!” Pinkie shouted from her doorway before jumping back inside. They all shrugged before seeing her carry out a medium-sized cooler and a backpack. The weirdest thing, was that she was still in her Pony Up form.

“What’s in the…?” Sunset asked, pointing to the cooler.

“Snacks and drinks!” Pinkie answered. “Mostly drinks. Twilight said we’d find a restaurant around lunch time, but roadtrips totally need snacks along the way, and we don’t want to have to spend a ton of money on this. Plus, I don’t know about you, but after I pony up I usually need to eat, like, a lot! And I have no idea if we’ll use any magic for this, but we’ve been using magic more and more often so I don’t want to be without something after coming down from that.”

“Pinkie, have you slept at all?” Rainbow asked.

“Nope!” she answered. “When I got home I started fixing up the actual plans for that party and, like, writing it all out in an actual plan. And before I knew it, it was morning and I had to get snacks ready. I’ll probably crash once the roadtrip gets going so I’ll apologize in advance but so far I haven’t felt tired! I don’t even feel cold!”

That explained her outfit. Despite the chill in the air, Pinkie was wearing blue shorts, a pale lavender tanktop with balloons on it, and no shoes whatsoever.

“Did you power down at all?” Sunset asked.

“Not yet!” Pinkie replied. “I’m sure it’ll happen when I fall asleep. And don’t worry, I have shoes and a jacket in my backpack! Oh, and Maud helped me make these!”

She held out a few straps of fabric and what looked like Canterlot High’s novelty headbands with the ears ripped off.

“Um, what are they, exactly?” Rarity asked.

“Disguises, duh!” Pinkie answered.

“Isn’t the point of a disguise to make us look like someone else?” Applejack said.

“They’re not meant to disguise our faces, silly!” she said. “They’re to disguise our magic! Like, CHS and really most of the town is kinda used to seeing us Pony Up by now, so if we walk around here with ears and wings and stuff it’s fine, but won’t we look super suspicious if we Pony Up in Hollow Shades? Or anywhere where they’re not used to teenagers magically transforming? The headbands hide our ears!”

She demonstrated this fact, slipping her pony ears through the holes in the band. It looked like it fit fairly comfortably, giving her ears enough room to move around.

“See?” she asked. “If someone sees us wearing these, they’ll think we’re just wearing costumes unless they look too close!”

“Then the straps are for the wings?” Sunset said.

“Yep!” she confirmed. “Just like from a costume store! Though you’ll have to keep them, like, really still, but it should work long enough! I can’t do anything to disguise the actual transformation though, and I’m not sure what we can do about Unicorn horns. We thought of making another hole in the headband to slip it over that, but we might need a wider headband and to measure exactly where to cut it and we didn’t have you on hand. Plus if Rarity has a horn added to her transformation, Sunset and Princess Twilight probably do too, so that’s even more measuring and-“

“It’s great, Pinkie,” she assured.

“With that out of the way,” Applejack said, gaining their attention, “let’s load up that there cooler and get goin’! We got a long drive to Hollow Shades, and we still need t’ pick up the Twilights.”

Sunset began to get up to lower her seat again, but Pinkie heaved the cooler over the top of the seats putting it between Rarity and Fluttershy’s legs, the former only seeming mildly annoyed. Pinkie followed behind it, clambering between the gap from the row and the roof, which seemed too small for someone Pinkie’s size, and twisting around to sit next to Rarity. They all shrugged it off as ‘just Pinkie’.

The next twenty minutes to Twilight’s house, they didn’t talk much. Applejack and Rainbow Dash were bickering about their music preferences, and Fluttershy was still asleep. Pinkie had pulled out a handheld game system, which was a good way to keep her entertained without driving everyone nuts during the ride. Rarity seemed to be furiously texting. It was amazing how dexterous human hands could be.

Both Twilghts were waiting on the sidewalk for them, trays of drinks in their hands. They each changed outfits, so it was even harder to tell them apart. It was hard to be mad at them when neither the Crystal Prep Uniform nor the skirt and blouse the mirror had given Princess Twilight were made for cold weather. She just had to remember; one was taller and the other has glasses.

Both were wearing loose black jeans, Princess Twilight’s seemed to fit a little better. Sci-Twi had her hair in a high ponytail, and was wearing deep purple flannel over a black tank top with the six pointed star on it. Princess Twilight had opted for a long coat black coat with a deep purple tank top, with a pink six pointed star on the coat’s hem. Her hair had been pulled into a ponytail as well, but a low one hanging over her shoulder.

“We stopped at a coffee shop!” Sci-Twi announced.

“I assumed you would have the same orders as your counterparts,” Princess Twilight explained before they could ask. She began handing cups to them. “Black coffee for Applejack, Strawberries and crème frappuccino for Rarity, cinnamon dolce frappuccino for Fluttershy, caramel frappuccino for Sunset and-“

“Pinkie and I don’t drink coffee,” Rainbow interrupted.

“Have you ever tasted it?” Pinkie shouted from the back. “It’s, like, bitter and burns the back of your throat!”

“And you don’t have coffee,” both Twilights said. “Rainbow gets a smoothie , oranges, lemons, all kinds of wakeup fruits. Pinkie has berry hibiscus tea with a generous amount of sugar. I would’ve gotten you hot chocolate, but I know you find the kind from most shops like that to be too powdered.”

It was a little creepy to hear both of them talking at once. Rainbow took the cup skeptically while the Twilights put their bags in the back. She took a sip before shrugging and settling back down into her seat.

“You not bringing Spike?” Applejack asked as they took off.

“No, for a few reasons,” Sci-Twi said. “Mostly because we’re trying not to be noticed and a talking dog really doesn’t help. Besides, dad wanted to see what all he could do. I made him promise not to go all ‘mad scientist’, but mom said she’d keep an eye on them.”

“Speaking of your parents,” Sunset said, “how did that go? I bet it wasn’t easy convincing them there’s another magical dimension full of ponies.”

“It went great actually!” Princess Twilight said. “The hard part was convincing dad, er, dad’s counterpart, not to immediately jump through the portal and investigate everything. We ended up discussing how magic and the world in general work. I even had Spike send over some family pictures. Speaking of, the horses of this world look really weird comparatively.”

“Comparatively?” they asked.

“She means that those in Equestria aren’t exactly your horses with magic and sentience,” Sunset answered.

“Exactly,” she agreed. “We look enough like your horses to be recognizable; we have hooves, tails, similar structure in general. But our muzzles are a bit different. And our coats and manes come in way more colors. Basically, your skin colors here are the same colors as your coats. Hold on, I put most of the pictures back in the journal.”

She rummaged through the smaller bag at her feet. She pulled out a small stack of photographs before passing one around.

“This one’s from last Hearth’s Warming,” she said. “Spike and I went back up to Canterlot to be with mom, dad, and Shining.”

“That’s definitely different!” Rarity exclaimed.

“You look so cute!” Pinkie shouted.

Sunset caught a glance at the image. Twilight was still a Unicorn in this one, and it was easy to recognize Spike and Shining Armor. Her dad, a blue unicorn, didn’t stand out much. However, the mare was interesting.

“Wait, that’s your mom?” she asked.

“Er, yeah?” She answered.

“I think I met her,” she said. “Or actually, her counterpart. When I went to buy my house here, a woman that looked just like that was talking to the Real Estate agent about buying the place. I got it because I paid cash on the spot, but she was intent on buying it and tried to talk me out of it buying it. And, uh, let’s just say I’m sorry for the things I said to her about that subject?”

“I remember that,” Sci-Twi said. “Not what actually happened, but her coming back and telling Dad about some rude girl. Actually, now that I think about it, Shining and I would’ve been in Canterlot High’s zoning if she bought the house. Instead we ended up at Crystal Prep.”

“Hey look,” Sunset sank into the car seat. “Another person whose life I screwed up with my power-mad phase.”

“Hey, you didn’t-“ she tried to protest.

“I’m not saying it as a ‘wow this sucks’ thing,” she assured. “If I hadn’t even entered this dimension, you would’ve gone to CHS and probably have become friends with all of them at the Freshman Fair.”

“Oh the fair!” Rarity chuckled. “That was quite a night!”

“What actually happened that night?” Princess Twilight asked.

“Vice Principal Luna happened!” Rainbow said.

“She said she’d had a fight with her sister,” Applejack elaborated. “She asked Pinkie to help her find Principal Celestia. So she came to my stand, and then we went to the sports team stands and found Dash and Fluttershy, but then we had to go over to Rarity’s stand to get a new shirt and-“

“And then we had to chase Principal Celestia across the fair!” Pinkie finished. “VP Luna was really glad we kept with it! We didn’t find her sister until right before the fair ended! And then at that point we were all friends!”

Sunset remembered that night. She’d kept running into them every time. She never did apologize for hitting Pinkie with a ball at the dunk tank.

“Um, by any chance, did your VP have shorter hair Freshman year?” Sci-Twi asked.

“Yeah! I got pictures!” Pinkie exclaimed, handing Twilight her phone.

Sure enough there was a picture of the five of them, Celestia and Luna hugging one another behind them. Sunset remembered this as well. She had been passing by when Pinkie asked her to take a picture. Just as Twilight asked, Luna’s hair was barely brushing her neck, and a much lighter blue than usual.

“Stars that’s weird,” Sci-Twi said.

“Did you know her?” Rarity asked.

“I met her,” she answered. “When I rode my bike home from Crystal Prep, I’d cut through the park. She was sitting on a bench all upset, so I asked what was wrong. She said she’d had a fight with her sister the year before and they hadn’t talked since. I told her she should try, and she gave me her scarf and jacket as a thank you. ”

“I didn’t know their fight had been that long,” she said.

“That’s nothing compared to their counterparts,” Princess Twilight sighed. “Wow, the nostalgia is hitting hard. Though it’s not really ‘nostalgia’ if it’s just a year ago. It feels a lot longer.”

“What are you talking about?” Rainbow asked.

“The fair seems to be another parallel event,” she said. “I’ve told you how in our world, Princesses Celestia and Luna are Immortals who raise the sun and moon. Well, a little over one thousand years ago, they got into a fight. Luna became Nightmare Moon, a monstrous version of herself, and tried to create an Eternal Night.”

“Who hasn’t become a monstrous villain?” Sunset chuckled to herself.

“Sorry,” she said. “Celestia used the Elements of Harmony to lock Nightmare in the Moon for one thousand years. A little over a year ago, she returned and tried to do it again. Your counterparts and I went on a journey to find the Elements of Harmony, and we became friends along the way.”

“So how true were the Nightmare Night stories,” she asked. She glanced at the confused looks. “Our version of Halloween, based on the legend. Loosely based.”

“Nightmare is scary, Luna’s quite nice,” she answered. “She won’t eat you for not giving enough candy though.”

Sunset snorted with laughter.

“Are there any other events?” Sci-Twi asked. “Like, things aren’t exact because of magic and stuff. But what happened?”

“Did you accidently destroy a fancy party?” Princess Twilight asked.

“Oh stars, don’t remind me of the Freshman year Fall Formal,” Rarity groaned. “That was a disaster.

“Then that was the Gala,” she sighed. “What about Discord?”

“He became our theatre teacher last year!” Pinkie answered. “He was there the year before too, but he was doing one of those ‘shadow a teacher’ things you have to do before you’re a teacher! He got in a passive-aggressive prank war with Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna! Until a prank went far enough for Fluttershy to yell at him!”

“Of course he’d be a theatre teacher,” she rolled her eyes. “What’s the best job for an over dramatic embodiment of Chaos to have at a high school? Theatre teacher. It fits too well actually.”

Flames of a deeper emerald color than last time flew through the window, solidified into a scroll, and fell in Princess Twilight’s lap. She opened it and sighed.

“You see what I mean?” she asked, holding open the scroll for them to see ‘I heard that!’ scrawled in what looked like glitter glue.

“Here’s a picture!” Pinkie said, holding the phone out for Sci-Twi. “Have you met him before?”

The picture was a selfie of Pinkie with Discord behind her, sticking his tongue out at the camera. His skin was grayish, his shoulder-length hair was black and white and held in a ponytail by a light and dark blue bow. Strangely, his beard and eyebrows were only white. One eye was red while the other was yellow. He wore a tshirt from last year’s Midsummer Night’s Dream play, and a long dark brown coat. One hand had a yellow glove, but the other seemed to be in a yellow-colored wrist brace. He had mis-matched earrings, one blue and the other white.

She couldn’t see his legs from here, but she could guess what he was wearing. Pants that had to be custom, as one leg was green and the other was golden brown. Different shoes, one white and one dark brown. And around his waist would be a red sash of sorts, with a bit of white fluff at the end.

Honestly he fit in with Theatre Students.

“I remember him,” Sci-Twi sighed. “I volunteer at the city library, and during my Sophmore year he came in and managed to knock over a shelf and make the whole place go down like dominos.”

“I have a feeling y’all would remember that even if he wasn’t dressed funny,” Applejack laughed.

“He avoided the library for a while,” she said, ignoring the comment. “Then he showed up months later and apologized for it. He’s been fairly friendly since then, although his library etiquette could use some work.”

“That’s true in any dimension,” Princess Twilight said. “I know you haven’t met Starlight, but what about Tirek?”

“The name sounds familiar,” she said. “But I can’t place my finger on it.”

“Eh, it’s not like that’ll be important later!” Pinkie said.

“What about Sombra?” Princess Twilight asked. “Have you girls run into him? Don’t know how some evil King of Shadows would translate here, but if Nightmare Moon can translate to general Teen Rebellion, who knows.”

There was general murmuring of no from the six of them.

“Um, I’ve run into a Sombra,” Sci-Twi spoke up. “Well, sort of.”

“Sort of?” Princess Twilight asked.

“There’s a student at Crystal Prep with ‘Sombra’ as a nickname,” she said. “I’m not sure how it started, something to do with hiding in shadows to attack people because he was kind of a dick. He’s not that bad actually. Well, not that bad anymore.”

“Anymore?” she asked.

“Well, it’s probably different from your world,” she chuckled nervously. “But the guy he’s, well, he had a lot of problems. It’s not really my thing to tell, but they the kind of problem where you have to get handed off to ‘next of kin’ that you didn’t know you had, in this case Cadence. He had a lot of anger issues, and he kept getting into fights at school. He really should’ve been expelled, but Principal Cinch wanted his test scores, even f the amount of detention he got disqualified him for the Friendship Games.

“Oh dear,” Rarity said. “You said it’s better now, what happened?”

“Well, I kinda got caught in the crossfire of one of his fights,” she said. “And I might’ve accidently broke his nose.”

“Go Twilight!” Rainbow cheered.

“Well, after that he kind of snapped out of it,” she said. “Cadence got him into therapy, he’s apologized. He’s actually really nice. And probably the only person who understands when I ramble about something in class.”

“You said ‘Sombra’ was a nickname?” Applejack asked.

“Yeah, his real name is Obsidian,” she answered.

“But that’s- but he-“ Princess Twilight stammered. “That’s- very different.”

“Are you okay?” Sunset asked.

“No,” she said. “Hand me the book, I need to ask Spike to send a letter to Celestia.”

Sunset watched her furiously write into the journal. She gave up trying to write with hands and began using her mouth again. She wondered why that was so important. Then again, she barely knew of how Equestria had changed since then.
She began wondering about her favorite spots. The cliff overlooking the towns below Canterlot, the restaurant that had those delicious strawberry cake. She didn’t snap out of it until she felt a tap on the side of her head.

Looking over, she saw Pinkie. She had leaned over Rarity to put her face right near Sunset’s.

“Are you okay, Sunny?” she asked. “You got really quiet!”

“Still thinking about home, I guess,” she answered. “Wondering what else has changed. Well, obviously there’s been quite a few big changes. But just little things. Normal things that happen when you’re gone for six years.”

“Well, you’ll find out soon enough!” Pinkie said. “Actually, I know something that would help!”

Pinkie leaned back and rummaged into her cooler. She pulled out an apple and handed it to Sunset. Sunset only raised an eyebrow at the idea of an apple, but Pinkie encouraged her to take a bite.

“Oh my stars!” Sunset exclaimed, bite still in her mouth. “How did you get this?”

“It’s an apple?” Applejack said. “I think that’s self-explanitory.”

“It’s an apple from Equestria!” she corrected. “Here, taste it!”

She passed the apple up to her. Applejack inspected it before taking a bite. Sunset watched her eyes widen at the taste.

“That ain’t like any apple I’ve tasted before,” Applejack agreed.

“How did Pinkie-“ Princess Twilight began.

“You left the portal open,” Pinkie shrugged, handing out more snacks and drinks. “So when you put me in charge of snacks, I hopped over and grabbed a few things. Don’t worry, as much as I wanted to go into town, I only talked to Spike. And Starlight, but I don’t know if she knew I was me or not, but I did help her with her hair!”

“So, why does the apple taste different?” Rarity asked.

“Probably because of magic,” Sunset answered. “I mean, while farms in Equestria use mostly the same tools as farms here, there’s a lot of magic that goes into growing food. Most farmers are Earth Ponies, who have passive magic that actually helps them grow things easier. And then there’s the fact that the weather is controlled by Pegasai, so the rainwater is different.”

“Huh,” Applejack said. “Think y’all’d do an experiment on that? I think it’d be interesting to see if it’s just the magic or if the apples over there are a whole new kind of apples because of it. If you need someone to try out growing apple trees in different dimensions, I’m your girl.”

“You know, I have a question about the differences,” Rainbow said, turning in her seat. “How old are you two?”

“What do you mean?” Sunset asked.

“I mean,” Rainbow rolled her eyes, “You and Princess Twilight. You’ve told us about our counterparts in your world, and we seem to be out of school with our own homes and jobs and stuff.”

“I was actually wondering about that,” Princess Twilight said. “I never got a chance to ask since, you know, we always had other things going on. But to answer your question, I’m sixteen. As for your counterparts, Rainbow and Pinkie are seventeen, Rarity and Fluttershy are eighteen, and Applejack is nineteen. I don’t know about Sunset though.”

“Wait, I’m seventeen now,” she said. “And the rest of the numbers are spot-on.”

“I’m nineteen,” Sunset said. “And the reason for that is cultural and species differences. A pony is a legal adult at fifteen.”

“Really?” Rarity asked. “Doesn’t that seem a bit young?”

“Again, species difference," she shrugged. "Basically, pregnancy and birth is one of the things where we're more like horses than Humans. A Human will be pregnant for nine to ten months before giving birth, and the baby spends the next two-ish years developing outside the womb. Ponies are pregnant for closer to a full year, so we come out able to walk and talk as well as a Human Toddler. We still age like Humans, so we're usually adults around fifteen or sixteen. Add in the culture around Cutie Marks, and you can pin it at fifteen."

“What’s a Cutie Mark?” she asked.

“A magic symbol that appears here, around the same age you’d hit puberty” she explained, pointing a hand to her ‘flank’. “It’s basically a symbol of your talent and your magic, and generally just you. Once you have your Cutie Mark, you pretty much have an idea of what you want to do with your life, so you’d go either straight into the job, to an apprenticeship, or to another school.”

“Are you sure you don’t have Cutie Marks here?” Princess Twilight asked. “I mean, everyone I’ve met is literally wearing their Counterpart’s Cutie Mark.”

“Really?” Rainbow asked, shifting around to look at all of her outfit.

“The cloud and lightning bolt,” she answered. “Rarity has the diamonds, Fluttershy has butterflies, Applejack gets apples, and Pinkie's is the balloons.”

“Huh,” Applejack said, trying to look at her boots without taking her eyes off the road. “It ain’t really a ‘thing’ here. I just like wearing it.”

“I put it on all the outfits I make for myself,” Rarity said, running her fingers over her necklace.

“Mine is the Sun I wear,” Sunset said, absentmindedly touching her own necklace. “Twilight’s is the six pointed star. Both represent Magic as a talent.”

“Oh, that explains it,” Sci-Twi said.

“Explains what?” Applejack asked.

“Why the other me turned down the rest of the outfits I offered,” she replied.

“To be fair, a few didn’t fit right,” Princess Twilight said. “But yeah, my Cutie Mark is a part of me. I can’t just not wear it.”

“Well, you could,” Sunset said. “But I get it. If you don’t have it, it feels like something’s missing. Although, when I Pony Up, the ‘missing’ feeling goes away.”

“Well if magic gives us ears, wings, and now horns, why not a Cutie Mark?” Rarity said.

“Have any of you checked?” Princess Twilight asked.

“No offense, Twi,” Applejak said. “But usually when we Pony Up, we ain’t looking at our upper thigh.”

“Wait! I’m still magic!” Pinkie exclaimed.

Pinkie twisted in her seat until she was practically sitting sideways. Thankfully, instead of pulling her shorts down, she pulled the hem upwards to her hip. There, they saw the same balloons.

“Sweet!” Pinkie shouted.

“You know, I have a question,” Rainbow said, turning to point at Sunset and Twilight. “If you both have Magic Talents, why don’t you have the same Cutie Mark?”

“It’s a little more than just a symbol of talent,” Sunset said. “It’s a combination of that and who you are as a Pony, with a little bit of what you associate with said talent. For example, I always saw Princess Celestia as the most magical thing, and my Dad taught me Magic, so when I got Magic as a talent, it was the Sun like theirs.”

“I’m honestly kind of similar,” Princess Twilight laughed. “But my Dad has the Moon for a Cutie Mark, so I guess I split the difference and got a star. You know, my first major spell was a Light Spell. Dad was so happy that I might be following in his hoofsteps. Obviously that didn’t happen, but I think he’s still happy with how it ended up.”

“Your Dad works with Light Spells?” she wondered.

“Yeah,” she replied. “He’s one of Canterlot’s Magic Researchers, and specializes in light spells.”

“Really?” she frowned. “What does your Mom do?”

“She’s a mystery writer,” she answered. “Why?”

“Because my Dad’s also one of the Magic Researchers,” she said. “He works in Light Spells too. And Mom writes romance novels.”

“That’s really weird,” she said.

“Romance novels?” Rarity asked.

“You’d only like half of them,” Sunset waved her off. “Half are actually good, and the other hald are purposely bad with phrases like ‘galloping abs’ and ‘she was on him like a piranha on a corndog’.”

There was a resounding snort of laughter from everyone.

“So wait,” Princess Twilight began. “We’re two magical prodigies, both with an older brother in the Guard, a writer for a mom, and a dad in Magical Research?”

“Don’t forget that Shining and Lance knew each other,” Sunset said. “And our dads had to have talked because they work on the same stuff. And all the writers in Canterlot know one another.”

“How the stars did we never meet as fillies?” she wondered aloud.

“Because we were both ridiculously anti-social?” she offered. “If Dad said ‘hey sweetheart, one of my coworkers had a kid around your age with similar interests. Want to meet her and make a friend this Saturday?’, I would’ve said ‘Sorry, I already planned to be reading the entirety of the Starswirl the Bearded section of the Library on Saturday!’.”

“To be fair, we could have met in the library,” she said.

“If one of us looked away from a book long enough,” she said. “Of course, after I was Princess Celestia’s student I didn’t have much time for friends, even if I wanted them. And then I hopped into another dimension.”

“And I find you six years later!” she laughed, despite hanging her head in her hands.

“Technically I found you,” she retorted.

“How’d you do that?” Pinkie asked, leaning forward to lace her hands on Sunset’s head. “Do you have some sort of awesome mind powers that let you see into another dimension through your dreams that let you know what was happening all the time?”

“Pinkie, I don’t think that’s how it works,” Applejack said.

“Actually, she’s pretty close,” Sunset said, raising an eyebrow at the pink girl.

“Wait, you can’t actually see into people’s dreams, can you?” Sci-Twi asked.

“As far as I know, the only one who can go in others’ dreams is Princess Luna,” she said. “But there are a few who are more connected to their Counterpart than others. The connection manifests as a Dream, showing the counterpart’s life.”

“But you don’t have a Counterpart in Equestria,” Princess Twilight said.

“Technically, she is the Counterpart from Equestria,” Rarity pointed out.

“True, I don’t have a Counterpart there,” Sunset agreed. “But Flash does.”

“You’re telling me that Flash can see into his Counterpart’s brain?” Applejack deadpanned from the front.

“Kind of,” she said. “He can’t really choose when to do it, but usually major events. He saw Nightmare Moon and Discord’s returns, the Royal Wedding, the Crystal Empire and his counterpart’s transfer, as well as Princess Twilight’s coronation. He didn’t really ‘know’ that it was more than a dream, but when he told me about it I could figure out what had happened.”

“The day before he and I ‘broke up’,” she continued, “was when he had a dream of the mirror being transferred to the Empire. I thought I would have had to track you down somewhere, but luckily, or unluckily I guess, you were visiting the Empire when I went through.”

“Well, he probably knows what he saw now,” Rainbow laughed, adjusting the volume for the next song.

“To be fair,” she said, “the whole reason I dated him was because I overheard him telling a friend about his ‘weird dreams’. It was a social power boost too, but there were a handful of guys I could’ve chose for that.”

“That’s another thing,” Applejack said. “You and Flash were dating for a few years. How’d you manage that, considering your reputation?”

“Was it blackmail?” Pinkie stage-whispered.

“No,” Sunset laughed. “He’s honestly someone difficult to get blackmail on, and trust me I had blackmail on nearly everyone. Overall nice, stays away from underage drinking or drug use, no cheating on tests or any embarrassing secrets. Hell, his only real ex was from middle school, and they broke up because she figured out she was gay so I couldn’t get much on that.”

“So how did you do it?” Rarity wondered.

“Well, during Freshman year,” she began, “I pulled him aside and said ‘hey, my parents found out I’m gay, so please pretend to be my boyfriend so they think I’m straight because they’re threatening to kick me out!’. “

Everyone had a silent reaction to that. Sunset saw the gaze Applejack gave her in the rearview mirror.

“Don’t give me that look, AJ,” Sunset sighed. “It was back when I was terrible. Besides, it was only a half-lie. Well, more like one-third a lie.”

“How can something be ‘one third a lie’?” Applejack asked.

“My parents found out I’m gay, but they didn’t threaten to kick me out?” she offered.

“So you and Lance are both the ‘gay sibling’,” Rainbow snickered.

“You know, I never did get that phrase,” she rolled her eyes. “Maybe it’s a culture thing?”

“Not a culture thing,” Pinkie said. “I have three sisters, and the only one of us who hasn’t liked a girl is Limestone. But she hasn’t liked a boy either so who knows!”

“Would it count if you split the gay sibling in half?” Princes Twilight wondered. “I mean, Shining and I are both Bi, so neither is technically the ‘gay sibling’, but there’s still a fifty-fifty split if you added us up.”

“Good to know that’s the same across dimensions,” Sci-Twi sighed. “You have a point though.”

“Only you could turn this into math,” Rarity said. “Though sometimes I think a ‘Princess’ would be better than a ‘Knight’.”

For some reason Pinkie Pie found this hilarious. She let out a snort of laughter as everyone looked confused. They wondered if her laughter would wake Fluttershy, but she barely shuffled over.

“Darling, could possibly be so funny?” Rarity asked.

“I’m pretty sure that’s her ‘this is inappropriate’ laugh,” Applejack sighed.

“Which means she should definitely tell us!” Rainbow shouted.

“Well, it’s just-“ Pinkie had to pause to laugh again. “Have-have you ever heard the phrase ‘a Knight in Shining Armor’?”

They all lost it, which woke up a very confused Fluttershy.

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