• Published 12th Jun 2017
  • 2,473 Views, 94 Comments

In Search of Sunset: The Mysterious Island - Jongoji245



One trip to apologize to Sunset turns out to be even longer than expected.

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Helpful Nightmares/Hornet's Nest

Author's Note:

My apologies for the long delay, but it's back, up and running.

Enjoy!

The Crusaders continued to look at Sunset like they’ve seen a ghost. His first encounter with her, Jimmy raises his finger and asks,


“Are you Sunset Shimmer?”


Untying a small knot, Sunset took off her cloak. Underneath she also wore a light blue tunic; to her touch, it felt like thin silk. She hangs it up on a protruding branch.


“Yes, I-” Suddenly, Sunset is pounced by Sweetie Belle.


“You’re alive! You’re alive! Thank God, you’re alive!” Sweetie Belle exclaims to the heavens while holding Sunset like a teddy bear. Too much in fact that the exiled Unicorn felt her ribs crack.


“Ah! Ah!” Sunset grabs Sweetie Belle’s arms and pries her away, “Fractured rib! Fractured rib!”


With a huff and a puff, Sunset bops her ribs and gets them back in place with a few loud pops. While she chuffs, Sweetie Belle reaches into her pocket and pulls out the piece of leather.


“We thought you were dead.” Sweetie adds, given Sunset the scrap.


Sunset looks at the piece of studded leather. The memories she had from wearing the jacket, most of which aren’t pleasant.


“It’s quite a conundrum.” Sunset answer before tossing the scrap aside. “Now-”


“What brought you here anyhow?” Scootaloo raises her arms in protest, “First we thought you were in Singapore for some internship, then we thought you were-.”


Sunset cups Scootaloo’s mouth, halting the echoing protest before letting go.


“One, I did stay in Singapore for a week.” Sunset takes a deep breath, “two, I was drawn here.” The girls and cabin boy raising an eyebrow, Sunset sits down, “A while after I ran off, I’ve been getting these... headaches. I thought it just me, but then I had a vision that brought me here.”


“Is that why you never answered our calls?” Sweetie Belle asks. Sunset reaches to her left and lifts up her phone, cracked and inactive.


“I was about to answer the voicemails when the ship capsized.” She puts the phone down and looks at the trio of girls, “Now, two questions.” Sunset raises a finger, “One, was that really another Twilight Sparkle and Spike with you guys?”


“Yep.” They answer.


“Okay," Sunset takes another breath before asking, "and two, why did you guys bring Principal Celestia along?”


The three girls looked at each other before Sweetie Belle asked, “You mean Princess Celestia?”


“Princess?” Jimmy asks while raising his brow.


"Wait," Sunset, also confused, raised both hands, "Princess Celestia's here too?"


“Yes, we felt her magic when you arrived.” Spoke a pair of voices out of nowhere. Confused, Scootaloo raises her finger.


“Your cave has a lot of reverb.” Scootaloo mutters.


“That wasn’t me.” Indeed, when Sunset flexes her index finger at the floor, the Crusaders and Jimmy look down to find a weird sight: two women, twins without a doubt, the size of a doll, stood side by side.


“Well, I’ll be damned.” Apple Bloom brings her finger forward, getting a hug from the twin on her right.


“Awww!!!” Sweetie Belle cooed with her hands on her cheeks, “Tiny little people.”


“So are they fairies or pixies?” Scootaloo asks, her tone a bit skeptical as she scratches her hair.


“We are the Shobijin,” the two girls spoke together. For such tiny people, they are as loud as their larger counterparts, “we help keep peace with the Tagatu and the creatures on the island.”


“Then,” Jimmy kneels down with the Crusaders, “do you know if Mr. Hayes is alive?”


“Yes, he is alive, as are all your friends.” The twins frown, “But they are in grave danger.”


“You guys shouldn’t have gone through Skedar territory.” Sunset adds, standing to her full height.


“Skedar?” The Crusaders ask.


“Those lizardmen from the graveyard.” Seeing the children still confused, Sunset lets the Shobijin climb on her palm and lift them up close to her body, “Come with me, and don’t touch anything.”


Leading them through the village passed the dozens of Tagatu living their lives in peace. The children take interest with their mainland counterparts, giving each of them a small rosette of animal teeth and claws. Sunset amuses herself by rubbing one of their shaved heads.


“We once believed in things that make us go bump in the night. Well, the Tagatu had that feeling too and used to live in fear of everything. Then,” Sunset motions her head to the large gorilla that provided their escape sitting down and checking his wounds, “some nightmares protected them from other nightmares.”


Sunset leads them to a shrine constructed from a cannibalized ocean liner, one in several that were accidentally run aground decades ago. Going through a tear in the hull, the “tour group” stops before another group of Tagatu adorned in blue, priests if to be asked. Walking inside, the Crusaders and Jimmy notice the small stalagmites with white ink painted on them; standing straight in front of them, the rocks formed a gestalt image of one of the many creatures this island contains. Another set of stalagmites displays a long battle between the Tagatu and the Skedar.


“From what I’ve gathered, such creatures have helped the Tagatu for centuries” - Sunset looks at another set of spires at her right, showing a depiction of the mass grave where she saved her guests - “but not without some losses.”


“But if you said the monsters are on our side,” Scootaloo motions to the world outside the village, “why are they trying to kill us?”


“I wasn’t exactly trusted by them either. But when I arrived,” Sunset points behind them, “they were scurrying the place.” The Crusaders and Jimmy turn around, seeing the painting of the white headed, two legged reptile that attacked them, “On this island, gods walk among, and devils creep beneath.”


“And what are they called?” Jimmy asks. The Shobijin each fold their hands and lower their heads, while the Tagatu shudder and mumble.


“The Shobijin and the Tagatu won’t speak their name,” Sunset whispers, “but I call them Skull Crawlers.”


“Because they have a white head?” Asks Sweetie Belle.


“No, because wherever they crawl, they leave death and de- look,” In a sharp change of mood, Sunset pinches her temples, “I’m still a bit scatterbrained after what just happened. You call them whatever you want.”


“I'm fine calling them that.” Scootaloo turns to her friends, “Are you cool with that?”


“Yeah.” Apple Bloom nods at Sweetie Belle, “That seems okay.”


“I like the name.” Sweetie Belle adds, looking at Jimmy who shakes his head as well.


An awkward silence before Sunset places the twins on her shoulders and brings her hands together.


“Anyway.”


Far away, the same giant blue Allosaurus, humiliated and still hungry, gnaws off its bonds and goes on its way. It’s not long before two odors, one favorable and one heavy enters its nostrils. Believing its gut, the beast follows the smells to the edge of a river. The dinosaur lowers its head at an unusual sight: a volcanic fissure. Though its size keeps it safe, just looking in the hole made it dizzy from inhaling a little too much of the fumes. Ever keeping itself horizontal for balance, it's hard for it to stand still.


“One of my jaunts I keeping finding these fissures.”


The dinosaur looks forward with blurry vision and finds the carcass of a massive water buffalo. Unfortunately, the animal didn’t die of natural causes as a Skull Crawler turns its attention to the larger beast. The dinosaur steps forward and lets out a roar, unknown that another of the two legged beasts are behind it.


“And I guess that's where the rats crawled from.”


Elsewhere in its thorny den, a giant, spiny king cobra of blue and red is disturbed from its slumber as another Skull Crawler spied the limbless reptile.


“For all the trouble you went through, they have troubles of their own. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have survived the night.”


The cobra lifts its head and spreads its hood. But even with a few mock lunges, the Skull Crawler doesn't retreat even if it means a lethal injection of venom.


“They’re crafty bastards, and mean as hell.”


The cobra dodges the Skull Crawler’s lunge and makes a strike before being bitten on the hood. The snake wraps the aggressor and makes several strikes again while rolling around.


On the dinosaur’s part, the Skull Crawler sneaking behind it makes its move, pouncing on the Allosaur and biting it on the back of the neck. The feasting Skull Crawler takes the opportunity to attack. The dinosaur takes notice, bites down on the assailant and tosses it aside. It then shakes the Skull Crawler off its back, grabs it and tosses it in another direction.


“They can handle them if they find them while they’re still small.”


The two Skull Crawlers make a joint attempt to slay the dinosaur before being given a good kangaroo kick to the face. The dinosaur grabs one of the Skull Crawlers by the neck, crunches it and lets out a roar.


“Small?” Sweetie Belle, as horrified as her friends, raises a finger, “They grow?”


“They all grow!” Sunset shouts, arms spread, “We’ve never seen a big Skull Crawler but the Shobijin keep mentioning of a greater evil. It’s out there and it’s waiting!”


“Yes, there is a great evil.” The Shobijin speak, their hands folded. “If it awakens, your friends might be the key.”


“But it wouldn’t matter if they’re killed.” Sunset places the Shobijin on a pedestal and makes her way to the exit, “Better set up a rescue party.”


“We can help you!” Asks Scootaloo, she and her friends walking with her.


“No.” Sunset stops and turns her upper body, “Your sisters risked your lives coming here, I’m not doing the same.”


“We made it this far, did we?” Jimmy asks before raising a finger, “And if you haven’t thrown our rifles away-”


“Jimmy, is it?” Sunset turns around, trying to keep her anger in check, “I lost everything since coming to this place. My home, my friends, everything. I’m not going to lose you again. Not ever. Never again.”


“Sunset,” Before she even finishes her first step, Sunset stops again to listen to Apple Bloom, “Were the Skull Crawlers the ones that got you stranded here?”


Staring into the horizon, Sunset doesn’t say a word. In fairness, how she got to the island in one piece is a blur. But there are some clues that give her chills. One stormy night long ago, a massive, yet slender, object smashes her boat in two, sending her flying into the deep, dark blue ocean. As the waves keep pulling her down, Sunset notices a giant, no a titan, fighting another winged beast. The last she can remember is a sound like a guitar string strummed by a resin glove.


“Bigger.” She answers, finally walking out from the shrine. Leaving the fate of their siblings and friends in the balance, the girls and cabin boy turn around.


“How did you know,” Sweetie Belle notices the Shobijin are gone, “where’d they go?”


One of the priests lights a torch and motions a guard to part a curtain. Silently, he leads the Crusaders and Jimmy further down a dark tunnel. As they go further down, the priest lights torch after torch, illuminating the tunnel and illuminating a fascinating sight. Lining the walls are cave paintings that would make Lascaux jealous. Aside from the creatures they encountered, they also see those illustrated much larger than them. One showed a spiny reptile standing on two thick legs, his back covered in blue dye. Another showed a winged creature flying so fast that the world behind it succumbed to hurricanes. The children then hear singing; while foreign to their ears, they do notice that the song repeats the word “Mosura.” As they continue on, they overlooked one massive painting of a three headed beast so large he could devour the Earth.


A soft light finally reaches them at the end of the cavern for a short while before they are enveloped in shadow. While the priest continues to step forward, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Jimmy stood perfectly still, mouth agape. The Shobijin stop their singing and turn around. Behind them, resting on the top of a stone hill is a massive moth of white, black, yellows, and oranges. Gently flapping her wings, she raises her head to an opening above her cave and lets out a “soft” chirp.


A stark contrast to the noble savage paradise Sunset brought them in, the Skedar literally drag the Rainbooms and the remaining sailors and Tagatu to hell. All around them in an inactive volcano, the floor is littered with bones both human and animal. Some of the larger corpses still have bits of flesh on them, which the Skedar constantly fight over; an unfortunate loser becoming the next meal. Worse, the Skull Crawlers taking residence devour many of the Skedar with one gulp. Strange though, the clan does not display interest in having Pinkie Pie for dinner. The Skedar instead shove them into a small cave, give them a hiss and walk away. Rainbow Dash tries to run out, but a Skull Crawler roars at her. The athlete’s skin turned pale while she collects her breath.


“Well, you don’t have to be rude.” Rarity sassed the reptile, who snaps at her before crawling away. All the other Rainbooms, including both Twilight’s and Spikes, watch as this satanic collection of beasts banter and fight for whatever scrap of meat there is.


“Why don’t they just eat us already?” Asks Applejack, fanning herself with her Stetson.


“Well, duh,” Pinkie Pie takes out a hundred-page pamphlet from her hair, “it’s called holding us hostage until the Tagatu rescues us!”


“The who?” Rainbow Dash asks, getting the party planner to purse her lips.


“Oops.” Pinkie’s hair deflates a little.


“No,” Princess Twilight fingers her chin, “it’s something else. Look at how they move.”


“Your Point?” Asked Hayes.


“Their movements look static,” Twilight turns around, “almost robotic.”


“Mind control?” Asks Fluttershy, petting Spike the Dog. Spike the Dragon raises his ears.


“But the only ones who could do that are the-” Twilight stops upon turning around again, staring face to face with the familiar blue girl known as-


“Hello.” Sonata Dusk greets, getting the other Rainbooms, except Sci-Twi, on their feet. Her sisters, Adagio Dazzle and Aria Blaze, soon join her. From the looks of them, they’ve been here for a long while; most of their old clothing has worn down and is replaced with animal hides and have a crown of fish bones on their heads. Adagio’s massive hair is kept together by knitting it with a shin bone.


“How’d you three get here?!” Applejack stepped forward before dodging a swipe from a Skedar drone.


“After you wrecked our show,” Aria twirls her a bit of her hair, “we were recruited by some agency and brought here.”


“Yeah,” Sonata wraps her arm around Applejack, “I remember it like it was yesterday. We came in with helicopters, dropped a few bombs, then got most of us-!”


Adagio cups Sonata’s mouth and continues, “we settled in soon after. These creatures might be dumb as bricks but they make good servants.”


“You’re controlling them?” Princess Twilight asks, getting a very nasty smile in return, “How? We destroyed your pendants!”


“Well, we couldn’t be trusted with all three,” Reaching into her worn pockets, Aria pulls out the ruby charm, fused together, the gem is half the size of a grapefruit, “but it gets the job done.”


“Now, let’s catch up. We never did get to know the rest of your names.” Adagio steps in taking a look at the people she hasn’t seen in a long while, “And what do we have? The Princess, the pink one, the farm girl, the drama queen,”


“I beg your pardon?” Rarity huffed, Spike growling in her defense.


“The animal lover, and” Adagio stops to chuckle at Rainbow, “the rebel.”


Rainbow Dash stands up and runs at the trio. She didn’t come close for one of the sailors grabs her wrist. Rainbow looks at how the sailor has a green glow in his eyes, then looks back and sees Sonata singing the same melody used to influence her classmates.


“But we’re missing someone? What was her name…?” Adagio snaps her fingers before her mind picks up, “Sunset! Where is she?”


“She’s a little occupied.” Rainbow Dash answers, pulling her arm away.


“Really?” Aria Blaze circles around Rainbow, “Doesn’t explain why you look like hell.”


Adagio spots one surprise to her guest list and approaches her.


“Well,” Adagio coos while holding Sci Twi by the chin, “I wasn’t expecting a twin.” She notices the spectrometer around her neck. Seeing her combined gem glowing rapidly, the yellow Siren reaches for the device, “What a funny looking.”


“Don’t!” Sci-Twi pulls herself away, cradling the device while chuckling uneasily, “It’s a sensitive device! Very volatile!”


But that only got the Siren to draw a grin, adding, “Really? Let’s test it out.”


Adagio snaps her fingers, letting two of the Skedar around her grab Sci-Twi and pull her out of the cave. The others rush to protest, but the remaining Skedar growl and gnash their teeth.


“Hey!” Rainbow Dash shouts, “It’s us you want, not her!”


“Well, we would just shoot you,” Adagio shuffles her fingers, “but our employees deserve a much-needed reward. Ciao.”


“Don’t feel so bad, call this a parting gift.” Sonata adds, giving a twirl as she joins her sibling.


“Yeah,” Aria waves at the cavern wall, “they might adorn you on the wall.”


Sci-Twi shivered as she is pulled through the parting ocean of Skedar and Skull Crawlers. Adagio motions Sonata to move ahead, singing and twirling as effortless as a ribbon dancing. The humanoid reptiles clearing enough space for an arena, Sci Twi is pushed to the center and left alone.


However effortless, the Rainbooms, shipmates, and Tagatu grab a few large rocks as the Skedar lick their dripping fangs. One of the beasts takes the first lunge, pouncing on Rarity. Both Spikes dash for the assailant, but are grabbed by another. Rainbow Dash smacks the reptile on the head. In retaliation, the beast slashes Rainbow’s blue jacket. Hayes shoves the beast aside and lands a few punches before he is ambushed by another. Grabbing the man by the shoulders, the Skedar bites down on his neck, holding him down before a spear gets lodged in its throat.


The other beasts turn to the mouth of the cave. Before them is Sunset’s rescue party, who fire arrows at the Skedar with such accuracy as a SWAT sniper. Sunset herself gives a few hand gestures, ordering her men to escort everyone, the two dogs lifted up quickly.


“Wait!” Spike the Dog barks, pushing himself against the tribesman’s grip, “Twilight’s down there!”


Seeing that there is only one Twilight in present company, Sunset looks down at the encroaching crowd of Skedar at the lone Sci-Twi. She knows she can’t take all of them on, not on a rescue mission. But, she does see, to her surprise, the Dazzlings sitting down on makeshift thrones made of animal bones atop a platform of the same material. Assuming they are the masterminds behind the whole deal, Sunset would have a little trouble holding the snake by the head.


“Come on, girl!” Adagio reaches out with her hand, “I won’t stop them until you show us!”


Sci-Twi’s heart pumped faster than a racehorse’, her eyes shrinking as she whipped her head around, seeing the scaly monsters both big and small coming around her. Some of the Skedar started stamping their feet in rhythm, getting faster and louder as everyone else joined in. The Skull Crawlers flicked their tongues and smacked their whip-like tails on the ground. Seeing her “experiment” hopeless, Aria rolls her eyes and starts to raise her hand.


“I don’t think so.” Aria and Sonata turn to their oldest sister. Sunset held a carved tooth against Adagio’s throat, yet the Siren seems unfazed.


“Do that,” Adagio turns her raspberry eyes at Sunset, then to the marching Skedar, “and they’ll have your friend for dinner.”


“Why do you think I’m keeping you alive?” Sunset adds, giving her a little squeeze.


“Because ” Adagio draws a grin, “I know that’s not what you do... Sunset.”


After Adagio stamps her foot, a Skedar drone bursts through the platform and pulls Sunset away. The Siren takes the knife away from her and pulls off the mask.


“I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time,” Adagio rubs the tip of the knife on her finger, “you and your friends.”


While shaking like mad, Sci-Twi shifts her eyes at the platform. Though to her a complete stranger, the Dazzlings and a Skedar holding Sunset at knife point, combined with the stamping, slobbering, teeth gnashing, stomach growling crowd of carnivorous reptiles proved too much for her. She grabs the spectrometer, puts her left hand on the lid and takes a deep breath.


The hellish waste illuminates with a purple glow, and the unbearable heat is soothed by torrential winds. Adagio, Aria, and Sonata turn around, the first so amazed that she drops the knife. With amazing footwork, Sunset kicks the knife to her hand and stabs her captor on the side, then stabs it in the head. She joins the Dazzlings, looking horrified. From Celestia’s position along the riverbank to the Tagatu village, to even the escapees just a distance away from the wastes, they can see what’s going on.


What Sci-Twi hoped with just a few random rifts backfired. Her hands trapped in a glowing orb, she is lifted off the ground; the higher she goes, the bigger the orb grows. Twilight tries to escape, but like a fly in flypaper, it proved fruitless. She was, however, able to turn her head to the others, using all of her strength to pull her arm out.


“Help! ME!”


The orb consumes her, but Sci-Twi can still be heard. The orb finishes its work with blinding light. The spectrometer shoots out at the Dazzlings and Sunset, who look up again. The orb recedes, revealing an orb of violet raven feathers. The ball opens into a pair of massive wings carrying a transformed Twilight Sparkle. Her skin is a darker shade of purple, clothed in an even darker ballroom gown, shoes, and gauntlets. Lighting her forehead is a beam of light shaped into a crooked horn. With a deep breath, she opens her glowing eyes surrounded by a visor of blue fire.


She stares at the four with greater confidence than she ever had before. An impatient Skull Crawler lashes out its tongue, wraps her up, and swallows her whole. While Adagio looked disappointed, Sunset, Sonata, and Aria worry about this newly powered up Twilight. And they’re right, for the reptile swelled like a balloon before exploding. Though fresh meat is now available, the Skedar hold back as Sci-Twi shoots several beams of energy, setting hundreds of the reptiles ablaze. She turns her gaze at Adagio and rushes at her, clutching her throat. One in many a while, the Siren is afraid, especially when Sci-Twi cackles like a witch.


“I can feel the magic coursing through me!” Sci-Twi hisses before looking at her gauntlet, “I can see, no I can feel, what it’s like to have magic!”


The three slowly back away, Sunset grabbing the Spectrometer, while Sci-Twi lifts Adagio higher.


“There’s so much to learn,” Sci-Twi’s arms start glowing, “but I just need one test subject.”


In a blaze of violet fire, Adagio echoes the den with her screams as she is slowly turned into particles. Sunset, Aria, and Sonata are horrified at what she has done. So curious as to the extent of her powers, Sci-Twi brings Aria Blaze to her grasp and is just about to do the same when,


“Twilight, stop!” Sunset shouts; though the deranged Sci-Twi didn’t turn her to dust, Aria was still motionless, no matter how Sonata begged her not to. “Sonata, go! ...Run!”


Her planned test subject gone, Sci-Twi’s happiness becomes anger, raising her wings defensively. “You shouldn’t have done that!”


“And killing two innocent individuals is called science?” Sunset motions her hand at the unconscious Aria, “This isn’t the way!”


“Not the way?” Sci-Twi waves her arm around. “Look around you! All this magic, this island, everything is worth breaking a few eggs! There’s knowledge to learn, and I want it all!”


“You can’t learn everything!” Sunset argues.


“Oh, but I can.” Sci-Twi’s arm glows before looking at the retreating Skedar and Skull Crawlers, “And. I. Will!”


Using as much power as she can imagine, Sci-Twi shoots at the ground ahead of her. A small portal like the one she accidentally made during the Friendship Games grows larger as she spreads her arms. Hundreds of thousands of Skedar and Skull Crawlers are sent falling to their deaths. As she watched Sci-Twi laugh so loudly, Sunset’s vision of the winged scientist starts to morph into a creature hauntingly familiar. Red skin, leathery wings, fire hair and tail, and a Flintstones-esque dress, Sunset became horrified before she started to run. As she retreats into the jungle, she thinks of several questions. Most important among them is how can she be saved again.


Sci-Twi’s little experiment with a massive portal is followed with a massive howl. She looks down, then looks up as a large shadow envelopes her. Not even scared, the sight of the creature excites her.


“Magnificent.” She squeaks as a trumpeting roar echoes the island.

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