• Published 21st Apr 2017
  • 2,294 Views, 100 Comments

Cross Reference - Eyeswirl the Weirded

Following the events of the Friendship Games, various parties adapt to their new lives.

  • ...

Chapter 9: The Best-Laid Plans (Part 2)

She was being careful this time.

She had been careful the first time, but now Twilight really took steps to prevent disaster.

Of course, given that she was attempting to experiment with something she knew so little about, it was difficult to say where the lines were, and Sunset either wasn't keen on telling her, or didn't know herself. This essentially meant that she was, as before, blindly groping in the dark as far as her research into magic went, but this time, she knew what she wasn't going to do:

-She wasn't going to recreate the Spectrometer Mk.I.

-She wasn't going to place her research above the lives and well-being of other people.

-She wasn't going to recklessly push ahead to gather as much potential data as possible.

-No matter the outcome(s) or possibilities opened to her, she wasn't going to use whatever was attained from her experiments to wreak havoc and revenge on those she felt had wronged her in some way, no matter how 'justified' she felt at the time.

No, no, this time, she would have people to talk to, people to share her findings with! That was mainly just Sunset for now, but if Adagio didn't secretly (or not so secretly, on account of our many unwanted moments of physical contact) hate her guts, maybe she'd be willing to offer some insights too? Regardless, Twilight would take this slowly, do her best to understand every change and every effect before going further.

That in mind, she clutched the remote control to the cylindrical, metal object now sitting on her bedside table; the Spectrometer Mk.II. It was a completely different build from the previous, insanely dangerous model, and with any luck, it would detect a current of magic in the air, let it go, and then immediately deactivate again. Having taken apart the Mk.I, Twilight was fairly sure she figured out where in the device the magic was unintentionally stored, and without that compartment, it shouldn't be able to happen again, right?

Taking a deep breath, she pushed the button.

Nothing happened.

Snorting, Twilight devolved into gigglefits. There should have at least been some kind of noise to acknowledge the presence of magical energy in the air, but the Mk.I didn't activate constantly either, so maybe the sensitivity of the instruments needed to be adjusted before it could detect whatever energies were left over in Twilight herself following her massive infusion of magic.

Until then, however, she disassembled the Mk.II just on the off-chance that it was doing something and her own instruments weren't sensitive enough to detect it, and headed out to the mall, where she had agreed to meet her relatively new friends today.

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

When Twilight reached the mall, Sunset was the only one out front waiting for her.

"There's our straggler!"

"Sorry I'm late," Twilight replied with a sheepish smile, "but thanks for waiting."

There was an apologetic grin and a shrug. "I kinda didn't wait, I just came out here when you said you were on your way."

"Oh. Well, I guess it's about the same, functionally."

"C'mon," giggled Sunset while gesturing toward the door, "the others are inside."

As the two entered, Twilight was, as with the last time she was here, somewhat impressed with the scale of the place. It wasn't Sunny Flare's favorite, four-story mall in the high end of the city, but the glass and white-tile architecture, interladen with rectangular, steel bars and heavily favoring triangular patterns and long, diagonal lines, still tickled her imagination with visions of a futuristic space station. But, with two floors of shopping and amusements instead of voyages to distant worlds and robot maintenance stations. Daydreams aside, she refocused on their business here today.

"So, have I missed anything?"

"Rainbow and Applejack challenging each other to something or other at the arcade, Pinkie trying and failing to get a mall-wide song going, and I don't know what she and Fluttershy are up to now, but Rarity is with Adagio."

"Then Adagio has my sympathies."

Sunset chuckled. "Your makeover not go so well?"

"She put makeup on me!"

"You're a girl."

"Which does not necessitate the application of makeup!"

"Okay, okay," Sunset said while doing her best not to giggle, "but you've been wearing your school uniform since then, so I'm guessing you didn't find a look you liked?"

"We tried a lot of things, but at the end of the day, I found that I prefer a simple, yet dignified wardrobe, and that's pretty much my school uniform." She frowned. "However, as I no longer attend Crystal Prep, it's probably inappropriate for me to keep looking like it, so I'll try to find something new today."

"Does that mean you wanna head to where Rarity and Adagio are first?"

"I guess so."

"Cool, I'm gonna go look for Pinkie and Fluttershy. Meet up by the arcade?"

Twilight smiled. "Sounds like a plan."

*\0/* *\0/* *\0/*

While she hadn't exactly enjoyed their session, Rarity's fashion tips had certainly expedited Twilight's efforts to assemble a new outfit. She had done her best to mitigate the 'schoolgirl' look that had earned her some odd stares and embarrassing comments since coming to CHS, starting with shorter socks and a normal, blue-striped t-shirt, but couldn't help missing the feeling of some kind of tie around her neck, which she replicated with a pink ribbon. This, combined with a slightly puffier, purple skirt than the plaid one she'd been wearing still reminded her a little of the crystal prep uniform, but as almost every girl in CHS wore a similar skirt, she was now in-tune with that somewhat paradoxical freedom to show her individuality in approximately the same way as everyone else.

She even let her hairbun loose into a wild, flowing ponytail!

Ohh, yes! She was now a free spirit!

Well, okay, this was still pretty tame, but until the day tight, space-age style bodysuits caught on with society at large, she would be happy with what she'd picked out today. Fairly proud of her new look, she paid for her purchases and wore them out of the store, curiously not seeing a hair of Adagio or Rarity anywhere since she'd arrived.

I know I heard their voices on my way in, maybe they finished here and left?

Sunset had mentioned meeting up at the arcade, so she went there first, finding the rest of the Rainbooms almost immediately. Pinkie and Fluttershy were wearing big, green top hats with black, gold-buckle belts tied just over the rim, which she took to mean they had either been doing some dress-up themselves or involved in something very Irish, but the rest were wearing their usual clothes. She joined Sunset, Pinkie, and Fluttershy in standing behind Rainbow and Applejack, plastic pistols clutched tightly as they competed in one of those light-gun games, but the numbers on their scores moved so fast that Twilight couldn't tell who was winning. She was just about to ask when Rainbow spoke.


YOU ARE DEAD, went the words on Rainbow's side of the screen, Applejack's score slightly higher now that the numbers had stopped moving.

"Welp," said the smirking farmer, who would have twirled her gun around a finger if not for the wire connected to it, "looks like yer wearin' a clown wig to school tomorrow."

Unfortunately for Rainbow, she had long ago gotten used to composing comebacks when she was on the winning side of things, and her friends' giggling at her didn't help. She sighed.

"Should'a just went with Rarity."

"That may have been an even greater mistake, Rainbow Dash."

The slightly startled group turned to see their fashionista friend, standing with a slumped posture, her head tilted abnormally to one side, and her pupils shrunk to pin-pricks in her wide, sunken eyes. Sunset put a hand on her shoulder.

"Rarity, what hap-"

"We're doomed."


"I have made a dire mistake, and all of us are doomed."

Applejack rolled her eyes. "So, what, ya picked out the wrong color sock again?"

"If only... If only. It started as normal, you see, Miss Dazzle confided in me that since coming to this world, she had little in the way of a sense for fashion, didn't really care for clothing, but let Sonata take care of that for her. At first, like a fool, I was thrilled; 'What a chance, what an opportunity, to take such a rare beauty and a clean slate on which to impart a masterful dress sense!' I was reckless," she said with both hands on her cheeks, "careless, I didn't think of the consequences of the powers I was playing with, and now all of us will pay the price!"

"Ah'm sure it ain't that ba-"

She grabbed Applejack by the shirt and shook her. "I HAVE SCUH-REEEEWED THE PROVERBIAL POOCH, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!"

Before Rarity could catastrophize further, the group's attention was seized by melodious humming, rapidly growing louder in conjunction with very oddly-paced footsteps. The answer became clear as Adagio skipped around the corner, wearing the daintiest, laciest, most adorable little dress Twilight had ever seen.

It was a soft, light pink on the very modest, puffy-shouldered shirt and thigh-length skirt, which extended almost to her knees with white frills that hung somewhat outward at an angle, barely concealing the tops of her immaculate, white, shin-length socks, which were embroidered with little hearts in the same shade as her dress. The black Mary Janes on her feet and corset cinched tightly around her midsection provided a striking contrast, but didn't take away from how soft and huggable the outfit made Adagio look, especially now that her hair was down and adorned with thin, white ribbons.

Smiling since before she strolled into the arcade, she waved.

"♪Hello, everyone!♫"

Many jaws were dropped. People around the arcade even stopped what they were doing to stare.

"Man," whispered Rainbow, "a clown wig ain't that bad."

Sunset chuckled. "Was this what you meant, Rarity? She looks really cute."

"You don't understand," Rarity answered gravely, "the threat isn't just her appearance, it's-"

"I'll admit," cooed Adagio as she paced toward them, slowly swinging her hips like always, "when Rarity first showed this outfit to me, I didn't expect much of it, but it really has grown on me. I can go from disarming innocence-" she folded one arm over the other while clasping her hands and lowering her chin, grinning a little as she made what could only be called puppy eyes at Fluttershy, drawing an immediate, heart-felt smile of 'Oh, you precious little thing, let me hold you and love you forever' from her target, "-to elegant radiance-" she struck a dignified, lady-like pose with a faint smile on her lips, to the reverent awe of almost everyone with line of sight before she shifted her attention to Pinkie, tracing a fingertip under her chin and continuing with cocked hips, a husky voice, sharkish smirk, and half-lidded eyes, "-to raw passion in just seconds."

Eyes bulging and her entire head redder than the time she tried to eat her remaining stock of spicy, black beans before they went bad, Pinkie melted, quivering knees buckling under her to bring her to the floor in a sexually-confused heap as many somewhat envious eyes looked on.

"Really," chuckled Adagio as she looked back at Rarity, "you've outdone yourself!"

Okay, Sunset admitted to herself, this might be bad, but it's easily fixed.

"Um," she began, taking a tentative step forward, "Adagio? Not that you don't look nice, but would you maybe like to try on something else?"

Adagio giggled, which was especially cute and girly in that outfit. "No need, with the sheer range I now have in my command, I doubt any other arrangement will be necessary. I think I'll just dress like this from now on!"

Oh, no.

Sunset understood now; Rarity's choice of clothes had come out to be just the right blend of cute, graceful, and sexy as to simultaneously project those looks themselves and enhance them by contrast with the others based on the wearer's behavior in a given moment. Difficult for an ordinary person to pull off, but not for a trained-from-infancy sociopath (if there could be such a thing) with many years of experience in manipulation by beauty. Adagio was, arguably, more powerful now than she had been with the gems' magic, because Sunset doubted even Friendship Lasers would stop this.

Unless they strip her na-ANYWAY.

"A-are you sure? Because, I-I mean, there've gotta be other options you haven't explored, right?"

Adagio shrugged. "Maybe, but I'm content with this. And I think I'm not the only one!" Smiling, she closed one eye and blew a kiss to a group of teenage boys that had stopped their games to gawk at her, each one seizing up and collapsing like fainting goats as she giggled merrily. She followed it with a twirl toward a row of claw machines, stopping with a smirk and her hands behind her head as she popped her hips to one side, costing more people their ability to stand up straight.

"S-such destructive power," muttered a trembling Twilight, "and that's the one thing she doesn't look the part for!"

Sunset finally looked away from the rampaging monster, if only in the hope of getting her thoughts together a little more. "Huh?"

Twilight looked back at her, nodding. "Y'know, like... in fictional media, such a presence is usually illustrated with black capes, shiny leather, pointy boots, that kind of thing."

And then it hit her. Smiling, Sunset took a good look at Adagio, especially her bare neck. "I think I know how to stop this, but I need you to keep her busy."

"WHAT?! ME?!"

"And anyone else who can still think straight," she answered while jogging to the exit, "I'll be back, I promise!"

And then she was gone, leaving Twilight with just a fawning Fluttershy, a regretful Rarity, a puddle of Pinkie, and...

Oh, good, those two are still conscious!

"Rainbow, Applejack, we need to buy time until Sunset gets back. Can you get the others?"

Though visibly flustered themselves, the two saluted. Applejack looked at Rainbow. "Ah'll get Rare, you get Fluttershy, first to wrap up with them gets Pinkie?"

"Game on!"

They split, Applejack quickly grabbing Rarity by the shoulders. "Hey! You know more about clothes than anybody, what would it take to get her to take that off?" The reply was an unintelligible mutter. "Dangit, Rarity, snap out of it!"

"Hopeless, I said."

"'Hopeless'? How ya figure?"

"Because," she answered wistfully while taking another look at the monster she'd created as it froze another group of pubescents with a coquettish giggle, "what could possibly convince someone to abandon my fashion choices?"

There was a silence. She found Applejack looking back at her in a thoroughly unamused deadpan, to which she blinked in earnest confusion.


Meanwhile, Rainbow did her best with Fluttershy, but couldn't get more than things like "Isn't she just lovely?" and "I'd love to brush her hair" out of her, so she moved to Pinkie.

"Pinkie? C'mon, get up!"

Her hopes rose when Pinkie's eyes cracked open, though her voice was faint.


"It's me, Pinkie, I'm here!"

"Rainbow, I..."

Worry clear in her face, Rainbow held her hand. "Yea?"

Pinkie coughed. "I... I... I can see up her skirt from here."

Her big, green top hat fell off when her head lolled lifelessly to one side, blood leaking from her nose as Rainbow screamed skywards.


Looking at her surprisingly dramatic friends, Twilight gulped.

Guess I'm on my own here. No pressure.

Fortunately, she had an idea. "Um, Adagio?"

Chuckling to herself after another arcade-goer tripped over their own feet just looking at her, Adagio turned her head, an inquisitive eyebrow raised. "Hm?"

Twilight gestured to herself. "I picked out some new clothes today too, what do you think?"

Asking a question like that in public did not help with the resulting wave of self-consciousness that came with being looked over, but she held her ground in the appraising silence that followed.

"...I'm afraid I don't have a great eye for clothes, but I suppose it looks good on you?" She wasn't sure how she felt about the ponytail, though, because if that was an attempt to remind her of Sonata, it wasn't going to make her any more forgiving of accidents from this girl.

Come to think of it, I'm a little surprised she hasn't fondled me already. If she can contain herself now, then maybe...?

Taking a few steps closer, she kept her tone casual. "I'll be honest, though, I half-expected you to be wearing a labcoat."

Doing her best to ignore the needling tension in the back of her head, Twilight managed a little smile and a shrug. "It wouldn't be a labcoat if I just wore it everywhere." The tension ebbed somewhat as Adagio giggled.

"I suppose so." She stopped just barely within arm's reach, which was more than close enough if Twilight were to suddenly 'trip' and fall at her. "You could have joined me and Rarity today, you know, the changing rooms are abundantly spacious."

As Twilight blushed and tried to form a coherent sentence, Adagio kept her cool, passive expression.

Alright, she's flustered by the idea, but she doesn't show excitement or eagerness to go along with that plan. I wonder...

"I say that because Rarity knows a great deal about clothes," she said while slowly running a hand down her side, Twilight's eyes following as she stopped on a thigh. "This outfit is both functional and very comfortable. Want to feel it?"

Twilight's pupils shrunk. "Huh?!"

"The dress is as soft as my hair," she assured with a nod, "go on, touch me."

And if you go for anywhere but the shoulders, she thought to herself, I'll know those groping moments were no accident...

She watched in silence as Twilight scanned her options, face growing redder by the second. It was a cute look for her, but probably not something Rarity would have picked out. Eventually, Twilight reached for her, purple hands going for a hip until they clasped onto one of Adagio's own hands. Adagio raised an eyebrow as Twilight inspected her palm and slender fingers, delicately brushing her own fingertips along her skin as though afraid she would leave marks somehow.

Adagio snorted, amused. "I know I said 'touch me,' but my skin isn't part of the outfit, Twilight Sparkle."

As though she were just realizing this, Twilight retracted her hands, smiling sheepishly. "N-no, I, guess not."

While Adagio mulled over whether or not to try testing her again, Sunset returned to the arcade, short of breath and clutching an unfamiliar object, practically panting as she jogged toward them.

"Hey, Adagio, you- huff! -you m-mind trying this on?" She held up the black band with inch-long, metal spikes sticking out in a straight line along one side, but neither Adagio nor Twilight seemed to understand the thing's purpose, Adagio tilting her head.

"I, don't think that'll cover very much, Sunset..."

Seeing where her mind was going, Sunset blushed and shook her head. "No, no, it's not- I mean," she raised it to her own neck, pressing the flat, non-spiky side against her skin as though wearing it, "it's like a necklace, see?" Adagio didn't say anything, but Sunset could see by her widening eyes and her mouth forming a little 'o' shape that her curiosity was piqued. She smiled when Adagio lifted her chin and held her hair back with both hands.

"Would you do the honors?"

Sunset quickly whispered "Grab a mirror from somewhere," to Twilight and stepped forward, trying not to look down as she gently fastened the spiked neckband in place.

"Ooh," cooed Adagio when it was on her, "it's leather! It feels the same as our old necklaces did. How do I look?"

On cue, Twilight raised the pocket mirror acquired from a near-catatonic Rarity, holding perfectly still as Adagio admired herself. The bright smile said she very much liked this new accessory, but then, just as Sunset hoped, she made a face as though she'd tasted something odd, turning to view herself from multiple angles in search of the problem.

"Hm... I feel like... something's off."

As casually as possible, Sunset shrugged. "Well, the necklace doesn't exactly go with what you're wearing now, but other than that, it looks great on you!"

Adagio studied herself further. "...It's the same shade of black as my shoes and corset, so I suppose I could just find a version without the spikes," Sunset's heart sank as the hole in her plan came to light, "but..." She smiled almost bashfully. "I think I like the spikes."

"Your usual clothes are very spiky," added Twilight with a hopeful smile.


Sunset, Twilight, and the rest of the Rainbooms (bar Fluttershy) held their breath. For a tense moment, all they could do was pray.

"Well," shrugged Adagio after a long, contemplative silence, "I guess this outfit is more of a 'special occasion' kind of thing anyway."

With that, Rarity awakened in full. "Yes," she said with a smile, "that, that was exactly what I had in mind for that look!"

Truth be told, she had really been trying to get Adagio away from pointy things in her wardrobe (apart from some stunning heels, perhaps), but this regression seemed a fitting punishment for her earlier hubris.

Moments later, she left with Adagio to discuss spiky-collar-friendly options, Sunset wiping her brow in relief of another day saved. "Man, I wasn't sure that would work!"

Twilight giggled. "It was close, but good thinking on your part. Where'd you get the necklace, anyway?"

"There's a punky, gothy, I-wanna-be-a-rebel-and-lack-the-awareness-of-irony-to-keep-me-from-feeding-the-very-consumerism-I'm-supposedly-against sorta shop a floor down from here, it's where I get most of my jackets."


An awkward silence followed. Rainbow scratched her head.

"So, that was pretty stressful. Who's up for ice cream?"

Enthusiastic replies were heard as the group headed for the exit, Applejack stopping to tap Fluttershy on the shoulder.

"You okay, Sugarcube?"

Fluttershy blinked twice, quickly glancing around before looking at Applejack.

"...What day is it?"

Author's Note:

Remember when Sonata said "I know my clothes!!" in the first chapter? Probably not, because it was almost two years ago, but she said that because it turns out that Sonata is the one who coordinates the group's outfits!

And yes, Aria was the first to say something along the lines of "You would have a talent that was completely useless in our own world."