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"For fun" is the best reason to do anything. "The best" is the best way to do everything.

T

This story is a sequel to In the Absence of Sunset Shimmer


Continuity diverges after Rainbow Rocks.


Twilight Sparkle's power over magic has grown since she visited the strange parallel world populated by ponies. She's trained under Sunset Shimmer, learning new spells daily, earning herself greater focus and stronger friendships.

However, magic can be found outside their small circle of friends. Sunset Shimmer is invited overseas to visit a school that is dedicated to teaching humans the mystic arts. The headmistress, Starlight Glimmer, appears to have good intentions, but Sunset's doubts rise as she meets the source of their knowledge: Another visitor from the far reaches of the multiverse.

Meanwhile, Twilight encounters a murder committed through the use of magic. Danger closes in on every side as she unravels the mystery clue by clue. With Shining Armor at her back, and magic flowing through her veins, she's sure she can conquer any challenge.

But the school and the murder are connected, and when the plots converge, Twilight will have to face her greatest challenge yet...

In an infinite multiverse with infinite possibilities, there is a third Twilight Sparkle.

And she's made Sunset Shimmer's home her own.


Rated Teen for

Muchas Smoochas
and
Severe Butt-Whooping


Chapters (11)
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Comments ( 84 )

In the Description:

She's trained under Sunset Shimmer, learning news spells daily...

Shifting careers from science cop to reporter?

Time to read!

--Spade

Okay, haven't started reading the story yet, but I just have to say, even though I knew the mirrorverse existed in this continuity, I did not anticipate that version of Twilight showing up, even when you showed the cover. Looking forward to finding out what's up with that.

Edit: Now I have read it.

Wow, and I thought I was giving the Twilight of my AU a hard time . . . how much time has passed between the first and last parts? She's described as being around Starlight's age in the last part, and she's old enough to drink, so she couldn't have been sent there immediately.

I like the setup for the relationships from "In the Absence of Sunset Shimmer", although I do wonder why Big Mac didn't also "recognize" Twilight, unless he'd heard the name from Shining Armor a while ago and has already had time to come to terms with it?

I'm detecting shades of Terminator in that last segment.

Awesome beginning, and looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Fascinating. Lets see he hows this plays out. Curious to see how this Twilight is handled. Is she pure evil, Sunset Shimmer levels of bad, or something else.

So, here we have two Twilights, neither of which is BookHorse?

I'm in :twilightsmile:

Oh shit! I loved the first one. Gotta remember to read this soon.

It's here! It's finally here!!!111! :yay::yay::yay: This is indeed a red-letter day! You better believe I'm going to be awaiting each and every update with baited breath!

Um...what's a "scantron?" :derpyderp1:

8028688 A scantron is basically a sheet of paper with a bunch of circles that you can fill in for multiple choice quizzes and tests that a machine can scan and automatically grade. I had to use a lot of them in college.

8028793 Well...I've been to three universities and have two degrees and I'd never heard or seen the word before.

Thanks!

8029479

Methinks it would have to depend a lot on WHEN you went to school.

I graduated high school without being held back in June 2009 and had to deal with scantron tests a lot, to the point I needed a "mark in book" exception just to take the test properly.

8029535 The last time I was in school was 1992 (and I didn't start college until I was 26 1/2), so it must be a new-fangled thing.

8029562

Must've been in the four years before I started kindergarten. Not that we had scantron tests in kindergarten, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

8029622 I was in college from Jan. 1984 to Dec. 1987; and as I said, I was 26 1/2 when I started and thirty when I graduated.

I was in a master's program from '89-91 and in a Ph.D. program for one year ('91-'92) before suffering total burnout. I was 35 at the time.

Wow. Was that really so long ago???

A trip through memory lane, this chapter.

I guess given how Shining was the last chapter reveal meant that we couldn't see the past back in the prequel... but it's really cool to see the past stuff here.

Of course, the Twilight conundrum over Sci-Twi and Princess that AJ was grappling with in this chapter didn't ever really get resolved and the only person who was able to act like Sci-Twi was her own person without awkwardness was Sunset. They told her something, though. It just didn't fix it.

And it looks like Starlight is a bit less hella awful in this world... but her better attitude toward her compatriots could conceal a personality that could be just as manipulative and self-centered.

What happened to Starlight in main-verse, here, given that we haven't seen her in Heart's Promise yet? It could even happen the same for most of S6 (until the finale) since she could simply be somewhere else this whole time.

8029746

And it looks like Starlight is a bit less hella awful in this world... but her better attitude toward her compatriots could conceal a personality that could be just as manipulative and self-centered.

I would think the only difference between this Starlight and pre-reform canon!Starlight is that this Starlight doesn't have magic and thus can't go all Harrison Bergeron with her followers.

8030810
Well... the EQG verse tends to make minor antagonists into bigger antagonists, see how Snips and Snails were "evil" and so was Filthy Rich. (Although, I always liked it when a Sunset redemption story paid attention to Snips and Snails, who graduated from "stupid local boys" to "evil minions", and sorta... had Sunset be the mentor that evil overlord Sunset couldn't be. *siiigh* if only.)

Anyway... I guess for Starlight it's hard to believe she'd be worse, though. Maybe having to respect them to get anywhere might have softened her up?

... Or maybe it just meant she never learned the lesson of "Even if you have the power to dominate others. Don't."

8030874
Indeed. Hence this prediction:

Starlight Glimmer will go mad with power once she is able to harness whatever magic she gains access to with Mirror Twilight's assistance.

Oh man am I excited, I love the "Reflections" universe! Looks like this chapter is set about 8 years in the past before the previous Absence.

They’d be able to bring her brother back home.

I'm guessing here Shining Armor is in the sway of Empress "Hearbreak" Cadenza of the Crystal Empire.

“My family’s owned the farm at the edge of town for three generations, now. Pretty as a picture. Got corn, got cows, but mostly we got the best dang apple farm this side of Peopleburg. We felt that if we wanted the farm to keep up with the times, I needed some solid secondary schoolin’. Been takin’ a couple classes every semester, paying for it a little at a time. It’s slow goin’.”

I love the backstory this gives.

Applejack’s smile melted away in an instant. “What in the name of Aunt Mildew’s Super Duper No Kids Allowed Special Cider was that?”

The day I get tired of Applejack's countryisms is the day they can put me in a box.

“Hokey Peat.” Applejack slid the curtain closed and went about setting the table. “Sunset… Sunset, I don’t think that’s a secret we can keep. Not if she’s gonna be so close to Macintosh.”
“No, we can’t keep it.” Sunset Shimmer sighed. “We shouldn’t keep it.”

Yeah, I completely agree with you Sunset and Applejack, I hope you don't change your mind down the line...

So, two romantic meet-cute moments, a wonderful slice-of-life dinner, and dramatic introductions to the third Twilight Sparkle! I wonder why this meeting of Twilight's double never caused Sunset Shimmer to look for her own double.


8028299

I do wonder why Big Mac didn't also "recognize" Twilight, unless he'd heard the name from Shining Armor a while ago and has already had time to come to terms with it?

I was wondering the same thing, but it is possible he never actually met her. In the first movie I don't think he's a student, he just makes a cider-delivery and bounces. Of course, it is really weird that Applejack never mentioned that name to Big Mac as the name of one of her friends.

“Sine, cosine, tangent. The unholy trinity.”

HEH!

“There’s how to teach, there’s how to treat the kids, how to deal with hard cases, when to discipline, why to discipline. I think I’m going crazy.”

Hence why I will never consider being a teacher. I just don't have that kind of patience.

Sunset drummed her fingers across her shorts. She snapped her fingers as she stumbled upon a topic. “So, Applejack’s in the kitchen, Apple Bloom’s keeping the dogs out of trouble, Granny Smith and Big Mac are out back grilling. So… I guess you can pick your poison.”
Twilight snorted. “Arsenic.”

I'm more of a cyanide guy myself.

I prefer to think of it as ‘chemically expressive.’

This amuses me far too much.

“Well,” Granny Smith said, “if’n you can hold off on the world domination rigmarole for a night, I think it’s pert near time to break out the s’mores.”

Granny Smith, not a known giver of fucks.

She smiled a sad sort of smile at him, tilting her head to the side, flashing him a wink. “My past does not define me, ‘cause my past is not today.”

I didn't really like that song.

“I am Twilight Sparkle.”

Well! How interesting...

Glad I finally got around to starting this. Looks to be interesting times ahead. Also,

Peoplesburg

I am so glad I forgot about this if only so I could laugh about it as if I'd heard it again for the first time. Also also,

Applejack stood over the pot of mashed botatoes

Not sure what a botato is, but if it's anything like a potato it's probably delicious when cut up and deep fried!

Hm. So this, in the timeline, is a prequel to Absence of Sunset. Where the cast is just meeting EQG-world Twi for the first time, after Rainbow Rocks. Yet a third Twi appears, one who is magically gifted and isn't Princess-Twi? :rainbowderp:

I feel we're in for a wild ride. :rainbowhuh:

Strangely, only ducks live in Peopleburg.:pinkiecrazy:

He tilted his head, reaching up to brush her bangs out of the way. “How’s this: When the sunlight hits you just right, as it crests over yonder hill, a fiery halo surrounds you, shining with holy beauty.”

She raised a single eyebrow.

And already I'm amused.

She giggled, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Class act as always, Shiny.”

Shining Armor and Sunset Shimmer, unexpected.

Sunset, at a loss for words, could only gasp the boy’s name. “Sunny!”

And with a son.

Sunset shot her husband a white-hot glare, then turned tender eyes on her son. “Yes, I’m pretty sure Apple Bloom will be there.”

“And Sweetie Belle and Aunt Scootaloo?”

Sunset cracked a smile. “Yes, Aunt Scootaloo and her friend will be there, too.”

Aunt Scootaloo, interesting.

“Oh.” Sunny’s head shot towards his mother, pulling his ears from her warm touch. “Will Aunt Twilight be there?”

And Aunt Twilight. There is some explaining that needs to happen.

The cadaver lay on the table, lifelessly staring at the ceiling. Although staring was difficult, considering the non-existence of its eyes. The poor thing was basically skin and bone, leathery and dry. Perfectly, pristinely, impossibly mummified. Nothing had decayed, not even the internal organs. The moisture had simply disappeared en masse.

Which, is impossible with normal means I believe as a heat blast enough to make all the moisture from your body vanish would probably be enough to set you on fire.

Twilight jotted down the thought on a nearby yellow notepad. Normally, when all the moisture in an object evaporated at once, it tended to end in an explosion of steam, destroying whatever had spontaneously combusted. Mummies were created under special conditions, in a dry environment with specific chemicals to preserve the skin, muscles, and bones.

I figured.

She scratched that last note off. Black humor didn’t quite seem appropriate.

Yeah, that's for later.

“Tomorrow-o’-clock.” Moondancer eased herself around the cadaver to stand at Twilight’s side. “You’ve got the weekend off, right? Get some sleep, Twi.”

Moondancer. Neat.

A blade fell from her grip. She reach out with sheer instinct and snatched it before it hit the ground. It hovered in midair, glistening with faint purple sparks.

How interesting...

“Sunset.” Shining tapped the paper against the dashboard. He shot her a half-convincing grin. “It’s fine. There’s no stress. I’m not stressed at all. Maybe you’re stressed, but I’m not. Not even a little.”

Bullshit.

“Can ye tell me anything more about Miss Raven?” he asked.

Raven, Ray, coincidence? Possibly, but as this likely involves at least a murder mystery SUBplot, if not the main plot, I'd say this is important.

Principal Celestia sat with her arms propped on her knees, leaning over as if she was ready to vomit. She rubbed her temple. “I don’t know.”

Celestia. Lesti. I'd probably have picked it up sooner if not for my having never seen that as a nickname for any Celestia, it's usually Celly or Tia. But, I suppose that'd have been too obvious.

Celestia was quiet for a long moment. She sat down, her eyes staring at nothing, the very color seeming to drain from her wavy locks. “Oh God.” She swallowed hard, and acknowledged Twilight with a tearful blink. “You found the watch, didn’t you?”

'Fraid so.

Twilight wanted for all the world to roll her eyes, but kept a professional face. Barely. “I connected the dots on your investigation before you started. You’re welcome.”

“I swear, Sparkle, one of these days—” He stepped to the side to allow another officer to pass between the desks. “—one of these days you’re gonna step on the toes of due process and get yourself in a problem you can’t get out of.”

Maybe, but he still managed to discover in a matter of seconds, possibly a few minutes, what might have taken you days if not more.

Walter and Wilbur, the Apple Family’s most recent batch of puppies, collided with Sunny and nearly knocked him over. The three of them ran around like mad, barking and yipping up a storm. If Sunset didn’t know better, she’d say Sunny was barking louder than the dogs combined.

Rarity sniffed, holding her nose in the air. “Well, if I must maintain a certain distance from Sunset, then I shall have to settle for spoiling her darling child. Come to Auntie Rarity, dear!”

You would.

Shining Armor scratched his forehead. “I think Twilight’d be proud of that assessment.”

I'm inclined to agree.

“Yeah.” Sunset Shimmer brushed her hair behind her ear with the tips of her fingers. “Wish me luck.”

Applejack nodded. “Godspeed.”

This should prove interesting.

“Because I didn’t tell Mom.” Scootaloo held up a hand, hesitating before touching it to Sunset’s shoulder. “Don’t tell Mom. She’d die, then come back as a zombie to kill me. And then she’d ground me. As a zombie. Please.”

That, sounds about right.

“That’s right, Scootaloo.” Sunset Shimmer set her plate down, all but ignored. She hugged her bare arms, wishing for words worth speaking. “Keep following that dream.”

Hm...

Spike. Beloved dog and fearsome dragon.

R.I.P, Spike The Dog.

Big Mac cupped the side of her head and laid a kiss atop it. “I love you, Twilight.”

“I love you, too, Mac.”

Adorable.

Celestia steeled herself from her core. Her hand gripped the cell phone tight. “I need to speak with a professor there. Would you connect me to Dr. Sombra?”

Hm, King in one world, Doctor in this one.

“Please tell him… it’s from Celestia.” Celestia sighed. Luna put reassuring hands on her shoulders, even as she leaned forward to listen closer. “Tell him I have… very important news about his sister.”

Oho! Ain't that a twist.

Such romantic, slice of life scenes with Sunset and Shining. Kind of funny, how in so many Sunset stories, Sunset resents Cadance for getting what she wanted most (alicornhood). I wonder if this world's Cadance feels something similar.

Poor Principal Celestia, hopefully Twilight tells her pseudo-daughter to call her as soon as possible, I suspect a few hours snuggling Sunny is going to be highly therapeutic.

I'll admit, it's been so long since the first chapter was published I had to really wrack my brain to remember everything that happened, but I got there! (I could have just gone back and reread it I guess, but who has time for that?)

You really do write nice slice of life scenes that are simultaneously believable and fun to read. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things pan out!

I am so sorry for taking so long to have a look at this chapter. It's coming along nicely, although I'm just realizing how much you like to have characters killed off. That's not a bad thing in this case, but it may partially explain your downvotes.

As for the mystery, I know Sombra and Starlight have met thanks to ItAoSS, and the death seems magical in nature (almost vampiric), but I don't see why he would be involved in the death of his own sister. If it wasn't by his will or consent, it may act as the basis for a heel-face turn later.

Hey, officer tape shouldn't give her so much trouble. If he's the father of this world's Scootaloo the two of them may be indirectly related.

I'm looking forward to seeing more.

8487901

Shining Armor and Sunset Shimmer, unexpected.

They've been a couple since In The Absence of Sunset Shimmer, soooooooooo... Shrug! :ajsmug:

Celestia. Lesti. I'd probably have picked it up sooner if not for my having never seen that as a nickname for any Celestia, it's usually Celly or Tia. But, I suppose that'd have been too obvious.

A lot of the time I just wanna do something different than the thing everybody else is doing, whether it be Scootaloo's flight, Celestia's immortality, or Spike the dog's likability. It's the little things that set a fresh new world apart, alongside the big things. And the medium things.


8490772

Such romantic, slice of life scenes with Sunset and Shining. Kind of funny, how in so many Sunset stories, Sunset resents Cadance for getting what she wanted most (alicornhood). I wonder if this world's Cadance feels something similar.

Jury's out on whether Cadence even knows about Shining and Sunset, since she became the President of United States of Pedestria rather than the Dean of Crystal High. Aaand since there's no First Man in sight, the poor woman hasn't even got a booby prize to replace her high school heartthrob.

Poor Principal Celestia, hopefully Twilight tells her pseudo-daughter to call her as soon as possible, I suspect a few hours snuggling Sunny is going to be highly therapeutic.

Sadly, many things must happen before the recovery can occur. Messages must be sent, lives must be changed, and horrible things must be uncovered.

But then they can totally snuggle! :derpytongue2:


8520494

I'll admit, it's been so long since the first chapter was published I had to really wrack my brain to remember everything that happened, but I got there! (I could have just gone back and reread it I guess, but who has time for that?)

Mmyeah. Try remembering what happened in the first story as well. That's the real ticker!

I'm a bit embarrassed that chapters have taken this long to produce, but that's what happens when you have responsibilities and a life and a job and a healthy video game addiction and a love for film and several shows to binge watch and time to sleep and aaaaaaaaaaaaa...........:raritydespair:

You really do write nice slice of life scenes that are simultaneously believable and fun to read. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things pan out!

Thank you. I do love showcasing the life of my characters before and after I overturn their worldview. It's an opportunity to really make the world lived in and alive. I do need to write more pure slice of life and comedy stories one of these days... but probably not very soon.


8543366

I am so sorry for taking so long to have a look at this chapter. It's coming along nicely, although I'm just realizing how much you like to have characters killed off. That's not a bad thing in this case, but it may partially explain your downvotes.

I find that slightly hard to believe that all my downvotes come from people butthurt over character death :trollestia: I've only killed Raven, who is a practical non-character in the show and my story, and Dog!Spike, who perished in a previous story. That's not to say that's the only body-count we'll see, but...

Frankly, I'm pretty sure I'll have at least some downvotes on every multi-chapter story I post, because some folks just don't like my writing. My humor, my pacing, my subject matter, it's all suspect. And besides, what's a few red marks to me? I've had fun writing the story, and I've had a few dedicated souls to join me on the journey. I'm gonna keep writing what I like!

I do like to kill characters, because I enjoy the emotional impact it can have on the characters and the readers. The death in this chapter I know wasn't very affecting for the audience, but it wasn't supposed to be. The one in the previous story, though? That's a thing with long-reaching consequences and still can leave an ache in the reader's heart. So I make sure to play out the emotion for all it's worth, because strong emotions are more memorable.

I always make sure to only kill a character when the resulting story would be better than leaving them alive.

Besides, you can't very well have a murder mystery without the requisite murder.

As for the mystery,I know Sombra and Starlight have met thanks to ItAoSS, and the death seems magical in nature (almost vampiric), but I don't see why he would be involved in the death of his own sister. If it wasn't by his will or consent, it may act as the basis for a heel-face turn later.

If the murder has anything to do with them! Which it might! Or not!

Hey, officer tape shouldn't give her so much trouble. If he's thefather of this world's Scootaloothe two of them may be indirectly related.

Boy, what would you even call that? Foster sister in law's biodad? That's quite the indirect relation! :rainbowwild:

Though, considering the strange turn genetics takes between the worlds, he may very well not be related! Maybe? Will I ever admit one or the other? Probably one day.

Yay! It's back! I've missed this story, since I'm such a fan of its prequel, "In the Absence of Sunset Shimmer."

I hope it won't be as long before the next chapter is posted.

Cheese Sandwich snorted as he tried to hold his phone steady. A video displayed on the touch screen, showcasing a variety of wild animals dubbed over with various accents from the Highborn Isles. Two giraffes played the part of a couple in the midst of a lovers’ spat.

Huh?

Big Macintosh watched from over Cheese’s shoulder, his mouth not quite betraying emotion, but his eyes lighting up all the same. Shining was in hysterics, the video having hit his funny bonejuuustright.

I, see.

“We have fun,” Cheese said, putting his phone away and leaning back against the grass.

We do.

“I know you know I knew.” Cheese Sandwich tapped the side of his nose. “But there’s more to knowing than knowing who, you know?”

No.

“Not just money troubles.” Cheese ran a hand through his curls. “Nooot just money. Experience more than anything else tells you how to deal with stress. We had next to none. Car troubles, house hunting, living with the Cakes for the first two years… Oh boythatgot awkward.”

I can imagine.

Twilight raised her eyebrows. “Does this look like the face of a woman who comprehends?”

No.

“Of course, you’re lucky it only manifests when you’re happy.” Sunset snickered and doused the fire in the pond. “Take it from one who’s been there. If you were super-angry all the time, those sparks would probably more likely kill small birds than tickle my hand.”

Yikes.

“More or less,” Sunset said. “But kids generally have less destructive capability than you.”

True enough.

She grinned. “You know what’s really fun? Teleportation.”

It is.

She snapped her head around, holding out a hand. “You have to explain the theory. We need to get on this as soon as possible! How long have you…” Twilight blinked as reality set in. A crushing weight descended on her chest. “You’ve been trying to figure it out since high school, haven’t you?”

Yup.

“Magical overload’s the most dangerous thing.” Sunset narrowed her eyes in concentration. “Ruptured fairy strings and or blood vessels. Heart failure. If the teleport is performed, but the destination’s wrong, you could end up appearing encased in solid rock. It took three days to dig Litterbug out of the foundations of Celestia’s School.”

Beg pardon?

“Nah. Just really, really traumatized.” Sunset snickered. “You’d be surprised how much of the preliminary casting is just a series of failsafes. Personal forcefields, safety areas, good old reality checks. It’s all interwoven so that if anything gets missed, the spell just plain won’t work.”

That's, a relief.

“Starswirl never missed a trick.”

Clever stallion.

Save for the horrific mess that had once been his knee.

Could you get surgery for that or something?

There was another thing that eased the pain. Something wonderous and magical, yet something he was hesitant to share with the world at large. It was a tiny magic spark that lit deep in his breast and trailed down to the injured limb, soothing as it went.

Hm...

The man took the hand with a firm shake. “Viscount Dulcimer. Pleasure to meet you.”

That name alone is making alarm bells ring in my head.

“No, of course not.” Dulcimer smiled, tapping a knee. “But we both know that Miss Starlight Glimmer is capable of far more than mere words.” He leaned back, steepling his fingers. “What I don’t know is: Just whatisshe capable of?”

A LOT.

He took the chair once more, a faraway look shimmering behind his eyes. “I’ve always had some intertest in magic. Not the occult, of course, but something more real. Something, I think, you know quite a bit about.” He pointed at Sombra. “It scares Fancy Pants. As does everything he sees as potentially becoming more powerful than he is. And this Starlight Glimmer has real power. Dangerous power.”

You have no idea.

“Strange times.” Sombra shuffled through his papers, prepping his mind for his conversation with Glimmer. The woman could be difficult, but she may very well see reason. At the least, he could spin it as free advertising.

Good luck.

Raven. His sister. His friend.

Oh jeez...

But, Twilight couldn’t weave her magic if Moondancer didn’t gather the pieces for her. So gather she did, and quickly. Data by the bucketload weaved its way through the computer systems. Samples were used to their fullest potential. Sweat was wiped away, and tools were sterilized.

Can't make bricks without clay.

There. Right in the middle. A handheld device; some sort of meter with a needle display, like an old voltmeter. When she moved the dish closer, the crackling intensified.

Oh boy.

“You and your homemade devices, Sparkle.” Moondancer turned the meter end over end, examining screw holes, plastic seams, the rubber grip, and anything else she could get a glimpse of. “As if I didn’t already consider you a mad scientist.”

Oh she is. She's just an EFFECTIVE mad scientist.

With Twilight Sparkle, the impossible just seemed like a stepping stone toward the unimaginable.

Accurate.

Ah, another round with one of my favorite stories.

For just this small moment, nobody had work to do, or places to be, or worries to ponder. Not unless they brought such things for themselves.

I enjoy the fact that this dark mystery thriller nevertheless has spent the majority of its time luxuriating at the Apple Family Reunion. Is it weird that I kind of wish, in the manner of an Agatha Christie novel, that the entire mystery of alternate universes and mysterious deaths tied to a cross-continental university could somehow be solved over the course of a weekend on-site at Sweet Apple Acres, while everyone munches on a Brown Betty?

Mac rested his elbows on his knees. “Big awkward thing right now: I’m a full-time farmer and she’s a full-time science-magician.”

That's never going to change, buddy. A good farmer should know when the time is ripe!

She licked her lips. “This stuff could change the world.”
“Yeah, it could.” Sunset bumped shoulders with Twilight. “So be careful who knows this, alright?”

An interesting digression on teleportation. However, I'm quite confident the subject won't come up again in this story. :raritywink:

The man took the hand with a firm shake. “Viscount Dulcimer. Pleasure to meet you.”

Oh Shooot! And it was now I realized one of the advantages of mirror universes: When an author has built a ton of rich characterization into someone that nevertheless needs to die, there's a second chance to see that character again.

Does Daring Do of Equestria know about the Portal?

“It scares Fancy Pants. As does everything he sees as potentially becoming more powerful than he is.

Interesting. It feels like this Fancy Pants is slightly sneakier than Equestrian Fancy Pants (but only slightly). A lot of fans forget that pony Fancy Pants is a fairly sneaky noble himself.

His only family save for Celestia.

I am intrigued indeed. If you're really tying this into the reflections-verse, the relationship between Sombra and Celestia could not be ignored...

She’d seen it ever since their time together at Crystal Prep, learning under the stringent eye of Principal Abacus “The Witch” Cinch.

Now I hope that this Moondancer gets quality time with her Twilight Sparkle. It doesn't sound like Moonie has other friends.

“You and your homemade devices, Sparkle.” Moondancer turned the meter end over end, examining screw holes, plastic seams, the rubber grip, and anything else she could get a glimpse of. “As if I didn’t already consider you a mad scientist.”

Interesting. Sounds like Twilight made a magic detector, but in this AU she never got a chance to build a magic trapper.

Good to see this still going. I feel like I should point out that some of your paragraphs aren’t separated, thanks to Fimfiction’s poorly implemented autoformatting. I’d recommend giving every new chapter you upload a careful look before publishing.

The chapter itself is pretty good, with some lovely bits of foreshadowing/set up something tells me that Dulcimer’s presence here is a red herring, and he’s not going to be nearly as bad as his pony counterpart.

8914775

Good to see this still going. I feel like I should point out that some of your paragraphs aren’t separated, thanks to Fimfiction’s poorly implemented autoformatting. I’d recommend giving every new chapter you upload a careful look before publishing.

Could you pick out a couple? I can't find any. The only suspects I see are just long paragraphs where the one sentence ends right at the end of a line.

Like this:

She carefully carried the petri dish from one table to the next, bringing it towards her favorite microscope. The one that took the best pictures, the one that had the smoothest zoom, the one with the happiest “ding” noises. Twilight usually used it because, well, she had definitely earned the right, but she wasn’t here right now. Aside from the microscope, the table was overflowing with various devices and baubles Twilight used. Test tubes, a pocket calendar, electronics Moondancer couldn’t recognize…

This is on purpose.

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Hmm, I can't seem to find them now. Weird. Of course, I'm only skimming through the chapter now. If I read through the entire chapter again carefully I could probably spot them, but I just don't have the time for that atm

Tension bombs going off in SPADES.

His full name is Oscuro Sombra Relámpago. It means what you think it means.

Shadow Shadow Bobado?

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It's Spanish, apparently. Oscuro/Dark, Sombra/Shadow, Relampago/Lightning It's an in-joke regarding a previous series of mine, in which a disguised Sombra made his mark as a fashion designer under the pseudonym Dark Shadow Lightning.

:pinkiehappy: It was silly.

Since the school year was nearing its end, Sunset had temporarily disbanded their little carpool, leaving Twilight to fend for herself.

Sounds rough.

“The device also goes crazy whenever we try to put it in your locker.”

Indeed?

Moondancer was forgotten.

Ah hell.

Call it power, call it magic, it’s been used for something tragic and I want to get to the bottom of it.

Nice call back.

She nodded softly. She tried to speak, but couldn’t find her voice. It was hushed, muted, constricted. She sucked in a breath and was repaid with a sob. Hot tears dribbled down her cheeks.

She's had a DAY.

The buzzer sounded, and was followed by a voice over the intercom. It was Principal Celestia, and the message was for her. “Sunset Shimmer, please come to the front office. Sunset Shimmer to the office.”

Oh boy.

He was a tall man, perhaps even head and shoulders above the likes of Shining Armor or Big Mac. He was broad at the shoulders, strongly built. His short black hair betrayed a widow’s peak, and his downright archaic sideburns lent an air of ancient history to his personage. His green eyes shone bright from beneath a weighty brow, and his high cheekbones twitched with a smile similar to Celestia’s. He stood in Sunset’s presence and offered a hand.

Sombra.

“Sunset Shimmer,” Celestia said, “I’d like to introduce you to an old friend of mine: Dr. Oscuro Sombra Relámpago.”

Fun fact, Oscuro and Relampago mean dark and thunder. So his name, is Dark Shadow Thunder. Which sounds stupid as hell and I LOVE IT.

Three women who spoke of other worlds and magnificent creatures as if they were real. They exhibited strange powers of their own: the ability to turn friends against each other with a mere song.”

The Dazzlings.

He smiled and held a hand out, as if offering a trinket of some sort. “Tell me, have you ever heard of Starlight Glimmer?”

Nuts.

Sunset’s heart raced. Words failed her. Teach magic? To people around the world? Was Starlight a genius or crazy?

Both?

“Starlight Glimmer would like to invite you to the Highborn Isles to show you the school she’s built,” he said, breaking through her thoughts. “We are small, but willing to learn. It is her hope that, should you be a good fit, you would join us in sharing magic with all people.”

I don't like this one bit. I get that she's not the same psycho cult leader as the pony her was, but...

“When I say compensate…” Celestia shrugged. “I mean he’s going to pay you an amount of money that completely embarrasses my yearly wages.”

Oh.

She had an interesting conversation in her future.

Oh boy do you.

She sat on the couch in front of the old TV. Granny Smith insisted it was in perfect condition, but most colors seemed to be replaced with yellow and green.

Yeah, I've been there.

Granny Smith set a small teacup in front of Twilight. The scent of cinnamon floated freely about the room. “Gotcha a nice cuppa apple cider tea. Warmth helps with the nerves. Drink up while the gettin’s good.”

I like you.

“Aw, heck. I’d be worried if you didn’t need to get a couple things offa your chest.” Granny sighed through her nose. “You need to scream, scream. You need to cry, cry. You need to cuss… I’ve heard worse. Guaranteed.”

Granny Smith best character.

“Well, don’t forget; you’re always welcome at Sweet Apple Acres.” Granny Smith brushed a lock of Twilight’s hair behind her ear. “Just wanted to make sure you knew you were loved.”

BEST. FUCKING. CHARACTER.

Sunset bit back a groan. It was the truth. Sunset had no small part in Scootaloo’s upbringing. “She’ll keep you in line. Believe me. You’ll known exactly when you’re doing something wrong, and exactly what that is.”

Well, better than continuing to screw up with no correction.

“But…” He brought his eyes to hers, fully in the now, focused on her. “The Highborn Isles are going through a really rocky time right now. The monarchy is teetering and people are protesting. Violently. There’s practically a civil war between the people who want to keep the line of succession going, and those who want their government upheaved. Monarchists and anarchists and all sorts of bad vibes.”

Ah...

And… if it’s already out in the world, don’t we want it being taught by somebody who knows exactly how dangerous it is? Who has a working knowledge of every form it takes?”

And who knows how to avoid making things blow up in their face.

Yes, fans of Blueblood's Ascension. His full name is Oscuro Sombra Relámpago. It means what you think it means.

And it is beyond hilariously edgy.

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I got "flash of lightning" from Google Translate, so yeah...

Poor Twilight. Does Big Mac know that Spike could talk? Because losing a pet is really tough, but people would get over that within a year or two. But losing your talking, intelligent pet is almost like losing a child...

I don't know how Twilight would ever be whole again, not without some serious therapy that I doubt she'll submit to because then she would have to talk about magic.

I like the callback to Moondancer, and the parallels to Amending Friendship. I always knew keeping magic a secret was a bad idea! Now it looks like Moondancer will have to be the one that clears Twilight's name.

9201867 Good times!

Poor Moondancer, always left behind and forgotten no matter what universe she's in. Good chapter!

That got Twilight to sit upright. She stared at the phone with her forehead wrinkled, frowning as though Sunset could see her. “Come again? You talking real, real magic? Our kinda magic?”

Yup.

Apple Bloom chose that moment to pop her head out of the bathroom, toothbrush in hand. “If’n I hear any weird noises durin’ the night, I’m gettin’ the hose.”

HAH!

Applejack appeared on the other side and gave it a similarly puzzled look-over. “Guys? Is the princess comin’ here, to this world?”

So it seems. I should reread this at some point to remember what's going on.

The old woman kept up despite her years. Heck, from the smile on her face, Twilight figured she reveled in it.

They're good dogs, of course she does.

She slammed the door as her mind went on the fritz. It was Spike, in the prime of his life. Purple and green coat. Strong muscles from lots of exercise. A gleefully wagging tail. He wasn’t old, and tired, and worn out like he’d been in the years leading to his death.

Oh that's gotta sting.

“Don’t call me L—” Spike cleared his throat, brushed his paw against his snout, and set about cleaning up the mess of pens he’d knocked over. “Probably not the time,” he muttered.

Probably not.

Glad to see this back in action!

Heheh, Apple Bloom is hilarious. I wonder who she will end up with in this world.

I hope the Princess of Friendship can solve the friendship problems of a second Moondancer.

Man the Highborn Isles are throwing off so many red flags. I feel like a rebel terrorist attack on the school is only a matter of time.

Geez Twilight, could you not see what it would do to Sci-Twi to see the living version of her dead sontalking dog appear in front of her?

I love this so much, I really hope to see more

“Dunno, but she looks like your sister.” Scootaloo hoisted a hefty toolbox and pulled it towards the car Shining’d finished up. “Got a cousin I don’t know about?”

Vinyl?

Scootaloo snorted, waving him off. “M’kay. I hear everybody has an evil twin somewhere in the world, and I think we just found Sparkle’s.”

Nope. Starlight or the third Twilight from the description.

Twilight Sparkle sat in a chair nearby the entrance. But it wasn’t. For one, she wasn’t wearing glasses, and Twilight had a well-documented hatred of contact lenses. For another, she wore a knee-length dress, which Twilight was loath to wear on even the most formal occasions (save for being a bridesmaid). For yet another, she seemed to be smiling for the sake of it, which was a rare enough occasion for his little sister that it was worth noting.

Or just Princess Twilight.

“I insisted she bring me,” Skyhook said. “Things are getting more dangerous lately. In all worlds.” The commander narrowed glittering golden eyes at Shining. “You guys don’t have trouble with the Unseelie Court around here, do you?”

I think the Queen Of Air And Darkness is more interested in one Harry Dresden than Shining Armor.

It wasn’t the accent Sunset was expecting from someone from the Highborn Isles. He sounded like a stereotypical surfer dude from some kid’s TV show. “Yep. That’s me.”

And he's voiced by the Ocean Dub's Vegeta.

The woman removed her hood and revealed the pale-blue stripe threaded through her hair. “Welcome to the Highborn Isles! I am your host, Starlight Glimmer. It is my greatest pleasure to welcome you, of all people, to our humble little school of magic.”

Let's hope SHE'S not evil.

“Exactly.” A quizzical look passed across his face, which was quickly replaced with a more confident one. “I’m a bit of a test market, so to speak. I’m here at the Prime Minister’s behest. To see what exactly this school looks like from the inside.”

Prime Minister?

Viscount Dulcimer scratched his goatee as his admittedly-nice ponytail waved in the breeze. He muttered a dark “takes all kinds” and brought Sunset’s luggage belowdecks.

Hm, what's going on?

Water sprinkled across the deck. Starlight pulled her hood on and moved to stand beside Double Diamond. “I’d recommend getting yourself below, unless you like being soaked down to your pants.”

Eh, some people are into that.

“Twilight’s parents raised me, so she’s ‘Mom’ to me.”

That's fair.

Twilight swung her hand to one side. The digits spiraled around an invisible axis. “‘Steal?’ Was this back when Sunset was a delinquent?”

To say the least.

Twilight gave him a sidelong glance. “Are we talking about the same Sunset?”

Biologically.

Applejack finished her walk to them with a hasty jog. “If I may ask: What in tarnation?”

Teleporting.

“Just so long as you don’t turn nothin’ into a frog.”

I don't think it'd backfire like that.

“Equestrian bits look an awful lot like play money, is what I’m sayin’.”

Ooof.

Little Spike covered up a snort by faking a cough. It was almost convincing. “Twi—Princess Twilight didn’t wanna impose. She figures if she’s gonna spend some time in this world, she should start getting used to it.”

Sounds about right.

“Yeah, hi. Name’s Spike. I’m a dragon.” Little Spike patted Shining’s shin as he walked by. “Can we skip the whole ‘oh my golly gosh, a talking dog, I never seen the like’ bit?”

Aw, but it's funny!

Sunny jolted back like he’d been shocked by lightning. His face took on a very similar expression to what Shining’s had been only seconds before. He looked to his father with a mixture of confusion and requesting reassurance.

Oh that's fun.

Apple Bloom scratched Little Spike all along his back, prompting his hind leg to thump repeatedly. “An’ he’s cute as a dang button, is what he is!”

Damn right.

Anger? Jealousy? She wasn’t certain, and it was gone in an instant.

Hm...

Known associates include Principal Celestia and her brother, the Highborn Lord Oscuro Sombra Relámpago.”

You know how fucking edgy that sounds if translated, right? It means literally "Dark Shadow Lightning". Which sounds like a bad OC.

“Yeah.” Twilight leaned an arm on her knee. “Heard of him?”

To say the least.

Twilight narrowed her eyes at her brother. She pushed her glasses further up her nose. “Who?”

How don't you know Luna?

“Their magic had been ripped from their bodies.”

Like Tirek?

“No, not quite. Tirek stole the magic built up inside the individual. He devoured magic already produced.” The princess rubbed the corner of her eye. A soft breath brought her equilibrium back into check. “These ponies had their fairy strings forcibly ripped out.”

That, sounds horrifying.

But Viscount Dulcimer’s been dead for more than two years.”

Ah shit.

He raised a hand. His fingernails lit up with swirling purple magic. Strands of starlight snaked their way down his leg to his shin. They wrapped themselves around the knee, connecting the upper and lower leg. Before Sunset’s eyes, they hardened to solid crystal. Sombra stood up with no sign of pain or weariness. He bounced from one foot to the other, light as a feather.

Interesting...

The mirth fled from Starlight Glimmer at a speed to rival Sombra’s. “Double Diamond, would you please show the viscount to his room? Thank you.”

There's history here.

The war. The Great War.” Starlight held the door open and allowed Sunset to enter. “The last one fought on Highborn soil. I believe both Sombra and Celestia were combatants. It’s how they met.”

Jeez.

The woman slid a finger through her bangs and brushed aside the pink stripe tracing its way through her lavender locks. A voice as near and dear to her as could possibly be issued forth from the stranger’s mouth. “Hello, Sunset Shimmer. I am Dr. Twilight Sparkle of Equestria. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?”

Aaand there she is!

Also, good thing Shining stopped pony Twilight from going to the police station. That would have seriously complicated things.

Hehehe, you know Spike is going to return the favor when he goes back to Equestria, we'll see which of the two of them is more pettable then!

Very cool to see the positive effects of this new magic. Call me crazy, but I doubt this Dulcimer is somehow a good guy.

Also, have I pointed out before how ironic the title is? Unless the absence is the two other dimensions currently lacking a Twilight Sparkle.

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It's the only thing I'm working on storywise right now, so more shall come, in its own time.

More. Shall. Come.:moustache:

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So it seems. I should reread this at some point to remember what's going on.

I also have a recap in this blog post.

And he's voiced by the Ocean Dub's Vegeta.

Oh that's just precious. :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

Hm, what's going on?

Dulcimer is acting on behalf of Prime Minister Fancy Pants, in order to study the school. But Dulcimer's more interested in magic than taxation.

You know how funky edgy that sounds if translated, right? It means literally "Dark Shadow Lightning". Which sounds like a bad OC.

Dat's de joak. :pinkiehappy:

How don't you know Luna?

Twilight Sparkle never went to Canterlot High in this version of the tale. She got super sick and was unable to attend the AcaDecathlon.

"I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS"

These are the questions the story seeks to answer!


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Aaand there she is!

Took her two flibbing years to show up, but there she be!

Also, good thing Shining stopped pony Twilight from going to the police station. That would have seriously complicated things.

I gotta throw myself a bone occasionally. Things get messed up in much different ways later down the line.


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Heheh, Apple Bloom is hilarious. I wonder who she will end up with in this world.

Mm, you know I'm the East India Trading Company when it comes to background ships! :coolphoto:

Jury's out on Bloom. Sometimes I wanna ask her how she feels about bowl cuts, and the rest of the time I just realize I've put Featherweight through enough heartbreak to last three lifetimes in as many worlds. He's at least a friend, though that's about as far as it can go unless something happens on either end.

We know Scootaloo's still on friendly terms with Lickety Split in this world. She had a lunch date planned with him at the tail end of the last story.

Sweetie hasn't said a word, and never has she ever watched Button Mash's live streams on Spontaneous Muscle Movement (SpoMo). So she claims.

Man the Highborn Isles are throwing off so many red flags. I feel like a rebel terrorist attack on the school is only a matter of time.

Geez Twilight, could you not see what it would do to Sci-Twi to see the living version of her dead son talking dog appear in front of her?

Admittedly, Spike's as much a guilty party in this as she is. And, well, there's something that I hope to address later...

Hehehe, you know Spike is going to return the favor when he goes back to Equestria, we'll see which of the two of them is more pettable then!

C'mon, now. The drake has some decorum. :moustache: They are equally pettable.

Truth be told though, it's a paradigm shift every time he meets this Apple Bloom, followed by a period of confusion going back to his Apple Bloom. The mind takes a moment to readjust, you know?

Very cool to see the positive effects of this new magic. Call me crazy, but I doubt this Dulcimer is somehow a good guy.

A heroic Sombra you can believe, but Dulcimer? The very name sends chills down your spine! Truly, Dulcimer is the source of all evil in this world, and shall ultimately take the position of Final Boss come the climax.

Ha. Hammer Dulcimer, One Stringed Angel.

Also, have I pointed out before how ironic the title is? Unless the absence is the two other dimensions currently lacking a Twilight Sparkle.

:trollestia::twistnerd::trixieshiftright::duck:

Sombra and Dulcimer both have a connection to the mummification spell... and they’re both at the new school. The plot thickens. That and the fact mirror Twilight is there... methinks the School is much bigger than it appears.

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It's quite fun to learn the slang and colloquial phrases of another culture. :twilightsmile: Yare yare, indeed.

To reveal the absolute depths of my ignorance, I had no idea Touhou had an anime. I thought it was just a video game series.

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Sombra and Dulcimer both have a connection to the mummification spell... and they’re both at the new school. The plot thickens.

One variation certainly does. But the undead unicorn wizard and the time-stopping mad scientist don't necessarily reflect their counterparts in the here and now. Unless, of course, they do... :scootangel:

That and the fact mirror Twilight is there... methinks the School is much bigger than it appears.

Here there be dragons, indeed. But be they friend? Or foe?

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