• Published 28th Jun 2017
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Comparing Notes - Rose Quill

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Enchantments

I looked down at the two journals sitting on the table on the back veranda. We had lucked out in finding these two, decent sized and thicker than others though not as thick as the ones the Princess had made. Neither Twilight nor I were versed in the enchantment that would allow the pages to continuously renew themselves, but we didn’t need them to, if things went well in the other department. I looked over at my duplicate, sitting between Fluttershy and her Twilight.

“So,” she said. “How do we do this? We don't exactly have the same magic here that I did in Equestria.”

Sunshine picked up the leatherbound books and handed them to me before pulling a large rolled up bit of paper from under the bench we were sitting on.

“There is not much to the enchantment itself,” she said, adjusting her glasses as she unrolled the paper to reveal a simple thaumaturgic circle upon it. “In Equestria any of us could empower it, presumably. But you're right, there isn’t the same ambient magic here as there. There is a way to do it, in theory, but the method is untested so it may be a bit...squickish.”

“How so?” her counterpart asked, looking up from her notepad. She had been writing notes on everything since we had all gotten back to the villa last night and gotten her 'samples' from us. She had only refrained from asking Fluttershy and Rarity based on a stern look from my twin.

“Simply put,” she said, rubbing her elbow. “This method has three outcones. We will either succeed, fail, or massively fail.”

“Define massively fail, darling,” Rarity spoke up, a little concern in her eyes.

“Well,” Sunshine hesitated, looking at me.

“We could burn the island to a charred rock,” I said. “To pull enough magic in to power this spell we’d have to use our Midnight and Daydream forms to do it and failure could be worse than the havoc wreaked by the Crystal War.”

“I’ve studied them through the years,” Sunshine said. “In those forms we no longer just use our personal mana reserves, we also act as a conduit for any ambient mana as well. It's why when we power down from them sometimes, we're frazzled and tired. Draw too much in comparison to the amount used, and we could blow out like a fuse. If that happens, the mana would have no place to go or a will to direct it.”

I pantomimed an explosion with the accompanying ‘boom’ sound.

The faces of those around us were pale. Fluttershy and Rarity remembered whar they had seen, and my counterpart had gotten a glimpse several days ago.

"But, that doesnt make any sense," Twiliht said, putting her pencil down. "If we're a conduit, it should continue to follow the path we set." She skimmed her notes and tapped a section. "The Law of Conservation of Energy..."

"Doesn't apply to magic," Sunshine said immediately. "I know where your thoughts are going, because I went there myself a decade ago. You may have the edge in genetics, but I've spent time on both sides of the mirror exploring the differences in magic. The magic here is sporadic and wild. Even if you exclude the Sirens, us at the Games, and the events of Camp Everfree, there has still been at least three magic outbreaks of major concerns on this side alone that probably never would have happened in Equestria: Harpies, the Conjunction, and Juniper Montage. Four if we count this meeting of the minds. Not sure this is related to the Conjunction."

"Not to mention that our transformations should take longer and a lot more energy when we pony up," I put in. "The actual bodies should get smaller for those of us with wings, not to mention the pain of bones and muscles reforming to create them. And the same for the reverse, the hair should remain long and there should be some sort of visible mark from the wings if magic followed all laws of physics. You're off the edge of the map, Twilight Shimmer. Here, there be monsters."

“That’s why we woke you up early to talk about this,” I said, looking at Fluttershy and Rarity . “We want you to take the girls and Sunlight to the mainland. Keep them occupied, especially Middy. She’ll sense the build-up of mana if things start going critical. If anything happens…”

Rarity reached over. “We understand, Sunset,” she said. “Do our duty as Godparents.”

My double looked at Rainbow, who nodded after a glance to Adagio.

I heard a door slide open inside, heralding the emergence of at least one of the children of the eight of us. I looked at the journals and laid them on the enchanting circle.

“There are still some preparations to make,” Sunshine said, folding her hands. “So how about breakfast before we start? I believe it is my turn to make it.”

I nodded, seeing similar nods all around except from the other Twilight.

“What’s wrong, Twily?” her wife asked.

“Nothing important,” she grumped. “Just trying to figure out how she wound up such a good cook.

"Don't feel too bad," I said with a grin. "She approached it like chemestry when she was learning, from what I hear. First time she cooked for me, she had all these digital scales and graduated cylinders. I wasn't sure what she was doing."

"I did not have graduated cylinders," my wife huffed under her breath. "They were narrow beakers."

Twilight Shimmer waited until her wife had her back turned at the counter. Sunset had taken to talking to Adagio, who was also in the kitchen helping Other Twilight. Sunset had relinquished a bowl of pancake batter that needed the blueberries to be folded in. It should have been simple enough for even this Twilight to not go astray. However, the temptation was too strong.

Perhaps if I just transformed a little I could make these stand out more...

Sunset snapped immediately from her other conversation and grabbed her wife's wrist. It wasn't rough, but it was firm. "No. No blueberry pancake monsters."

"Aww," the woman pouted, her glasses falling a bit down the bridge of her nose as a sort of emphasis.

Meanwhile, the children in the living area were having an excited conversation about the Siren's Haven. The idea of Adagio remaining a siren in human form was thus brought into the ongoing talk in the kitchen amongst those preparing main dishes and entrees. Other Twilight moved some finished hash browns to the side and added her own curiosity to her wife's question on Adagio's remaining powers.

"It's not worth much," the mother siren downplayed. She just finished juicing some fresh oranges and began pouring into a pitcher from the juicer to set on the counter. "Before Dash, I couldn't do much at all. I lost my siren song the same as my sisters and it never came back. But when I fell in love with Dash, I eventually was able to do a partial transformation. Nothing spectacular. Just some siren ears and back fins like Dashie's pony versions."

"She can also breath underwater and swim like a dolphin," Rainbow added from her perch on the armrest of the sofa.

"I prefer shark," Adagio corrected with a toothy grin. "And get over here. We need some stuff washed before it gets caked on."

"Yes, ma'am, hot mama, sir," Rainbow saluted in a joking manner, swinging off the sofa and striding into the kitchen like she owned it. "I'll expect your number when this is all over, though."

Adagio splayed her hands out as if to say "how long have we been married like this?"

Sunset shook her head at the familiar routine and turned her attention to her alternate version. "So what else do you typically have on your vacation agenda?"

"Well, meeting an alternate version of me is low among the list," I said as I pulled jars of jams and preserves from the fridge. "Normally we come out in the winter so there's window shopping, shows, the Isle of Lights..."

"Last year's was so beautiful," my wife sighed to herself.

"Twilight going mushy over the season," I continued as though nothing had happened. "I swear she and the girls regress into single digit ages around Hearth's Warming time."

"Mom!" I heard my girls shout in unison at my jibe.

"You know it's a special time for us," Sunshine reproached, tossing a spare scrap of potato peel at me. "You proposed to me just after Christmas."

"December 28," I said as my mind flew backward for a moment, the look on her face as I asked.

"Seems that might be why we keep missing each other if these two worlds were linked for as long as you speculated," my twin mused as she plated the finished pancakes. "We tend to come in the summer."

"Seems logical," I nodded, dropping a dollop of raspberry jam on the pancakes I accepted from her. "But it's mostly just relaxing for a few days between semesters."

"And for this trip?" Twilight asked, leaning forward.

"Well, more less the same," Sunshine said. "I take over as department chair this year, so winter is going to be busy with setting up things. I have quite a bit to do over the break this might be the last time we could spend as a family for a bit."

"I've seen the checklists, Mom," Middy called in. "Four handwritten pages isn't quite a bit for you!"

"You want pancakes or not?" came my wife's return shot. I smiled. Life continued as normal for now.

"What about you?" I asked. "What did Timepiece Twilight set up for you guys?"

"Timepiece?" Twilight deadpanned.

Giggling at it, Sunset did her best to answer. "All the usual I guess. We've been here so many times that we don't really keep a strict schedule. That only happened for the first five or so times."

Twilight rolled her eyes, her copy giving a knowing smile.

"And what are the staples?" Other Sunset insisted.

Since Sunset had taken to finally eating her own small stack of pancakes, Twilight took up the question upon sitting herself down. "Relaxing at the beach, simple swimming, hot tub...we stick to the mellow activities later on in the day and do the more exhausting ones early. It just depends on what we are in the mood for - mostly Lighty, actually. We've gone through the options here several times but it's still fun and we can mix it up. Like the sailboarding we did. Oxy will let us scuba dive in more interesting and remote area as long as Dagi is with us."

"It must be really handy having her work here and have a residence on the resort," Other Sunset commented after swallowing a bit of her breakfast. She shared in her copy's love of pancakes.

"Yeah," Sunlight broke in, having walked over. "She really helped me to love swimming so much. My parents and Aunt Dashie are great and all but there's nothing as cool as swimming with a siren!"

"Don't take all the pancakes, Lighty," Twilight waved her fork at her son.

The boy blushed and put a few back so that his plate didn't resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. He set aside the strawberry jam so he could instead go for the blueberry one. His redhead mother quickly made hand gestures - since her mouth was full - for him to bring it over to her as well.

As Sunlight delivered the bottle, he turned his attention back to the girls around his age. "Blueberry. Yay or nay?"

“Strawberry for me, please,” Rory said as she settled her plate onto the table. “I’m allergic to blueberries.”

“I’ll take some,” Middy said around a mouthful of hash browns. I smiled. The girl never could make it to the table before taking a few test bites lately. Maybe the whole freshman fifteen rumor was true. I certainly never gained any weight my freshman year.

That’s because our freshman year if we weren’t fighting Chrysalis we were engaged in other activities. I heard spread through my mind. And don’t think I won’t get you for the Timepiece remark.

I winked at my wife as she chewed on a mouthful of pancake. You know I love you I sent back.

“May I just have some syrup?” Melody asked as she tied her long hair behind her shoulders. She had always been simple with her tastes and likes. For all of Rarity she had on the outside, she was Fluttershy’s child through and through.

“So,” I began, turning to Adagio. “Have you gotten up with your sisters since the Battle? I know our Sirens stayed together afterward and had a pretty bad go of it for a while.”

Adagio nodded, covering her mouth with her hand as she finished her mouthful. “I see Aria whenever there’s a ceremony or championship game with Dashie’s team. She’s mellowed out a little, though she’ll never admit it. Sonata...” she trailed on, as if articulating in her head what she was allowed to say. "She hasn't changed the slightest even after all these years. Sweet enough to give cavities. In fact, her more recent visits have hyped up the twins even more than usual."

Rainbow’s head snapped up. “Where are they?” she asked, looking around, concern on her face.

Adagio’s head whipped around, confused. “I’d swear they were just here,” she muttered, a familiar glower coming over her face.

Sunshine wiped her mouth on a napkin and rose. “I’ll help you look,” she offered as she pushed her chair in. “How far could they have gotten, after all?”

“You’d be surprised,” Dash said as she poked her head in the room the twins had slept in.

“Well, while you corral the twins,” I said as I popped the last forkful of hash browns into my mouth. “I’ll get the books and all ready.” I looked at my counterpart.

“Want in on some old-fashioned Unicorn research?” I asked with a grin.

"Might as well," my counterpart smiled with a thoughtful look. "Could even give me a bit of nostalgia while we're at it."

Rainbow Dash ran out to the Hydro Star, being the fastest on foot. Meanwhile Adagio walked at a slower pace out the rear door along with Sunshine and Fluttershy. The siren mother gave uncertain glances as they started back toward the lagoon.

"Trying to remind yourself that I'm not the Twilight you know?" Sunshine made an apt observation.

"That's the easy part," Adagio replied flatly. "You walk differently. It's weird."

"Walk?" Sunshine repeated with an amused giggle. "Well, so do you. The differences are at least as interesting as the similarities."

The natural sounds of the island sang as they always had. Tropical birds made themselves heard from the high canopy above them. Waves swept in and out, audible even in the small island interior. There was also the rustle of the jungle plants in the humid breeze. They continued walking the path strewn with cobblestone hardly visible below the wet soil that had crept in every time the weather encouraged it.

"What's she like?" Adagio finally had the idea to ask. She hated to give space to the thought that she wouldn't have wound up as content as she was in this realm. Alternate realities were so complicated.

"My Adagio Dazzle?" Sunshine asked for clarity. Upon seeing the nod, she continued. "Well, slimmer. That's for sure."

Adagio stopped them in their tracks. She stared straight at Sunshine with an open mouth. It stayed that way for precious seconds before she closed it with a grin. "So your Sunset rubbed off on you as well."

Fluttershy giggled at that.

"What do you think about her?" Adagio turned her attention to the animal lover.

"About my world's Adagio?"

"Yeah," the siren got them moving again, her arms crossed.

"Well," Fluttershy whispered as I adjusted my glasses. "She's not as forceful a personality as she once was. In that way, I think Sandalwood is rubbing off on her. She is a wonderful wife and mother, and the B&B she helps run is simply lovely. I'm so happy I was able to find you all after the Battle."

"What do you mean?" Adagio asked.

"When you all," I paused, blushing. "Rather, when our Sirens lost at the BOB, they wound up staying in a halfway house for lack of anywhere better to go."

"I found them just before the winter hit the year after and took a few care packages to them," Fluttershy paused to kneel by a field mouse that stuck it's head out of the undergrowth and rubbed her finger along its head. "The loss of their Song caused withdrawal symptoms. Like opioid addicts going cold turkey. It was horrible. But between their restoration of their songs and meeting their other halves, they've all been great friends. Helped save Equestria from an undead army, managed to keep us sane when the magic that Chrysalis used started going awry, and even helped Pinkie get her business started."

"Actually, Sonata helped there," I added. "At the time, you had become the manager of a nice bar and grill in Midtown. Aria had the farthest to go, sadly."

Fluttershy nodded, her gaze dropping for a moment.

"Sounds like hell," Adagio put it bluntly. "I guess we had it easier. Still, we didn't talk for the longest time. It was years before I reconnected with either of my sisters. The Battle of the Bands broke the last thing that held us together. We each learned our lesson, though."

"It does sound like you and your sisters are quite happy," Fluttershy glady remarked.

They had come to the end of the path where it met the lagoon. Adagio stopped them for a moment. Cursing, she knelt down and put her ear to the water. It prompted Sunshine to begin asking a question to which she was immediately hushed. After another moment, Adagio stood back up with a groan. "Yeah?" she let Sunshine speak up.

"You have special water-based senses?"

"I'm a siren. Just because I can't sing doesn't mean my other abilities have been destroyed. They're down there. Cloud was just following to stop his sister from galavanting in the maze. I'll get them."

"Um...do you need a swimming suit?" Fluttershy softly asked, perfectly willing to go retrieve something for the woman.

Adagio pulled her light shirt up and off of her and quickly did the same to her shorts. Fluttershy gave an "oh my" before politely averting her gaze. Sunshine was simply still in surprise.

Beneath the removed garments, Adagio's curves were sporting what could be mistaken at quick glance as a sports bra and simple-shaped panties. However, the purple and blue fabric had a texture to it that gave it away as high-performance swimwear.

"I usually wear something for situations where I need to do some unexpected swimming," Adagio explained and handed her clothes to Sunshine, who almost fumbled with them. "I've worked here too long. I'll have the kids in a moment."

Fluttershy looked back to Sunshine and then Adagio as the woman dived into the lagoon to start towards the underwater maze entrance.

"So...um...do we wait here or...or what?"

"We'll wait," I said. "We may be needed to help wrangle Trance when she catches up to her." I lifted a rock out of the undergrowth that was likely equal to the weight of either twin.

Fluttershy smiled, then furrowed her brow.

"Should we tell her about how low Aria fell?" She asked in a shadow of her old voice.

"Only if she asks," I responded. "I don't think we should let her let her hear those particular stories. The shock of her finding out who she married on our side will be enough."

My friend giggled at the thought. "No one saw that coming," she agreed. "The grump and the party animal, quite the odd couple."

I grinned. "You must admit though," I sighed, stretching my arms as I spoke. "They had quite the rocky road. But they make each other so happy."

"Who's happy?" a voice asked from the lagoon.

Turning, we saw Cloud silently drifting towards the shore, his hair clinging to his forehead.

I helped him out, smiling. "Just some friends of ours," I said, ruffling his hair. "You ok?"

He nodded and opened his mouth, but any words were interrupted by something being launched from the water, arms and legs flailing as a wail came from Trance's mouth. I caught her in my telekinetic grip and left her hanging head downwards as her mother broke the surface and swam silently forward, an angry look on her face. Her hair was raked back behind her, exposing the wing-like fins and altered ears. Her skin also held a faint iridescent shine that faded as she climbed from the water.

"And another thing, young lady," she seethed, apparently continuing a lecture begun in the Maze. "We are guests of your aunts on this island, and you will behave for once! If your mother or I catch you so much as inflating a whoopie cushion or leaving the table without permission, I'll send you to stay with Aria for a month. Am I understood?"

"But..."

"You're angling for six weeks now. Am. I. Understood?"

"Yes ma'am," the girl said, quieter than she had been the rest of the week.

"I'll get Rainbow while the rest of you head back," Adagio waved her arms about to dry them even though it was a fruitless endeavor. She may have done it more in an effort to nullify the rest of her transformation, which did disappear.

Cloud Prism came up to Fluttershy and gently took her hand while saying something to her regarding familiarity. Sunshine was about to make a suggestion of her own but a rainbow-colored blur blew by her, nearly throwing the glasses from her face and tossing her hair out of place.

"I found them!" Rainbow stopped right in front of her daughter, Trance. The child had been let back down by Sunshine's magic and just stood there looking somewhat dejected. "Case closed!"

"I found them, you idiot," Adagio grumbled and lightly bopped her wife on the head with a clenched fist.

"Maybe we should go back for towels," Fluttershy made an apt observation. The kids were still dripping wet in their swimwear and so was Adagio.

"Yes. Now that I'm all wet-" Adagio began with a sigh.

"-and sexy," Rainbow Dash wiggled her brows at her wife, who gave a look of "seriously now" in return.

"-we should go dry off," Adagio finished with a deadpan. "We may be getting wet again later but I don't find it comfortable to sit in the Star while damp."

"As we going to stop at the resort hot tubs today?" Cloud politely asked his mothers, feeling less guilty than Trance.

"Yeah," Rainbow answered that one as the group followed her beckoning towards the villa. "Even if we have to pull the fireheads from their magic act."

While the search effort took place, I led my double to my room and smiled.

“It’s not going to be exactly like the research we used to do,” I said as I pulled one of my wife’s bags out of the closet. “I am married to a scientist and a professor who happens to be an organizational neat freak.”

“You’re not the only one,” my twin smirked, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

“Yes, well,” I said, opening the bag and pulling a black box out about the size of a small stereo speaker. “I doubt yours has gone this far.” I opened the box to reveal a neat line of tablets, each with a printed label against the exposed edges. I pulled one out and checked its charge before handing it to the Sunset standing opposite me.

“That’s got all the thaumaturgical information on it,” I said, pulling another tablet out whose label read “Dimensional Theory” and powered it on. “The table of contents should be on the home screen.”

“She keeps ten tablets of magical notes?” my twin asked with mild surprise.

“Celestia, no!” I laughed. “This is just what she brought to read while we were here before we bumped into you. She has terabytes of data on magical theory and notes from her practical experience at home. She may not be as precise as the Princess Twilight or even us when we were students, but she makes up for it in enthusiasm and innovation.”

“Innovation?”

“She’s made some surprising discoveries simply because she was never taught how magic is supposed to work,” I said, tapping the table of contents bookmark on the home screen of my tablet. “Not to mention she’s one of the foremost experts on magic on this side of the mirror, followed by myself and Midnight.”

Scanning her screen, my double let out a low whistle. “This reads like Twily, all right,” she said, blowing a wisp of hair from her face. “I mean, I’m fairly bright and remember most of my time in Canterlot, but what in the world is a ‘teledisplacement’ spell?”

“One of her mistakes,” I said. “When the Princess and I tried to teach her teleportation, she accidentally found a way to swap places with another Unicorn, though the release points are less precise.”

“That’s some mistake,” she said.

“Twilight is some Unicorn,” I said, rummaging in the closet for my bag and withdrawing a small case. “We’ve gotten quite an understanding of each other over the years.”

“And what manner of tool is in that?” my double asked while nodding at the case in my hand.

“One of the most essential,” I said while opening it and removing my reading glasses and placing them on my nose.

Sunset let out a giggle. Not because it looked strange but instead because she thought it looked surprisingly good. "Wow," she breathed out with a big grin, "never knew 'I' would ever wear glasses or that 'I' would look better than my wife in them."

Other Sunset ribbed her for the remark, though smiled at it. "I'm not sure if I should feel complimented by praise coming from myself."

Sunset couldn't help herself so she added on while pointing her index fingers at her copy. "Who's the best looking gal in town?"

"I am!" Other Sunset smirked with a puffed out chest full of mock pride.

"Sunny!" a third voice spoke up.

Both Sunsets turned to see Twilight standing in the doorway, currently in the final act of face-palming.

"I should have known. You still do this in the mirror at home," the glasses-wearing and ponytailed girl sighed. "We're supposed to be working on a spell."

Both Sunset's shrugged at the same time. "We are, I swear," Other Sunset insisted.

"Alright, let's see," Twilight said upon walking up to the tablet her wife was holding. She read off some entries as she scrolled through them.

"Transwarp...transteleport...transgalactic....transdimensional!"

Other Sunset was about to say something but Twilight spoke to her first, a suspicious look on her face.

"This seems a bit much even for the other me. You do provide Sunshine with adequate levels of late-night stress-reducing activities don't you?"

I raised an eyebrow while I pulled my Element pendant into view.

"I've never had complaints, and I believe it to be adequate," I smirked. "Though I could show you if you are concerned for her well being."

The Twilight across from me flushed red and waved her hands. "No, no," she said hurriedly. "I trust you."

"Fair enough," I said. "I'm sure you don't want to see the look she gets or the sounds when I caress her..."

"Oh, hey!" She sputtered. "Was that the door?" She vanished fast enough to have made Dash proud.

My twin looked at me.

"That was evil," she said with a grin. "I approve."

I shrugged and mimicked our wife's glasses habit and voice.

"Seemed the most expedient way to end the concern and lighten the mood. Besides," I said while sliding a knowing smirk onto my face. "We get plenty of late night activities without worry of being interrupted. Remind me to show you the dreamscape spell."

"Oh, I most certainly will," Sunset spoke with precise pronunciation. "But only if it can allow one or both of us to be in pony form."

Other Sunset stopped. She was going to pick up another tablet that she remembered might have something relevant, but was halted by this idea. She gave her other self a knowing smile. "You sly minx."

"I get it from you," Sunset winked.

"It's a dreamscape, so yes."

"I know what I'm doing when we get home."

"Twice daily and call me in the morning," Other Sunset added and then laughed out with her double. With nobody to check against them, the pair of Sunsets merely went rampant with their questionable jokes.

"Aww," Sunset pouted afterward as she looked over one tablet's research notes on transdimensional links. She was actually quite attuned to deciphering the scientific jargon due to her usual work. "It's more fun when I get to see Twily's reaction."

"I know," Other Sunset sighed and resumed looking for the entry she was thinking of. Sunshine came to her mind instead of the alt-dimensional Twilight. She loved to tease but only in good spirits.

"You know," Sunset said, moving so that the sun coming from the window would stop heating her left leg, "I think this will be a snap."