• Published 11th Aug 2017
  • 2,576 Views, 111 Comments

Vanishing Act - redandready45

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An Empty Trophy Case

Sunny Flare was walking across a steel foot bridge that straddled two sides of a gorge. It was night time, the air was still but cool, and the stars were shining beautifully in the sky. One hundred feet below was a raging river, the sounds of the rapids scraping the rocks created a delightful contrast with the calm night.

Sunny Flare happily inhaled through the nose, enjoying the brisk fresh air. She slowed her pace, and looked up at the stars, shining like gems that been woven into the sky. The night, it seemed, was being beautiful just for her...

BAM!

Sunny Flare heard a blast, but before she could see the source, she felt the bridge give out from under her. The span snapped in two. With quick thinking, she grabbed onto a bracing, closing her eyes in terror. When she opened them a few minutes later, her half of the bridge was dangling at a 90 degree angle. Down below, she saw the raging waters, their sounds now sounding like death instead of music.

Behind her, Sunny heard a violent sound, almost like scraping metal. She turned and saw the other half of the bridge had collapsed into the river, the impact of the fall breaking the steel girders like they were dried sticks in a vice, which only added to her terror.

Around Sunny, storm clouds were gathering, and winds were picking up. She felt the broken half of the bridge she was clinging to for life sway in fierce gusts. The sound of thunder cracked, shaking the bridge slightly.

Sunny saw the end of the bridge just six feet above her. It was so close, yet so agonizingly out of reach. Out of nowhere, a figure appeared neared the end. The person wore jeans, and a black sweatshirt with a hood that hid his or her face .

"Hey ," screamed Sunny out of exhilaration, "can you please get me out of here." The figure went over to the edge of the bridge, and looked down at the dangling Sunny.

"Do you have rope or something you can throw me so I can be pulled up," Sunny asked hopefully. The person, his or her face covered in a dark hood, just looked down at Sunny.

"Well," Sunny said impatiently, "don't just stand there staring. Help me?!"

"You're always expecting others to help you," the figure said a low, menacing, and female voice. She pulled down her hood, revealing red and golden hair, yellow skin, and blue, unforgiving eyes. "But you can't lift a finger for those who actually need it."

"Sunset," Sunny uttered, unnerved by the girl's tone, and the cold look in her eyes. "Please help me out!"

"Where were you when Twilight need help?" Sunset asked. The storms picked up, and sound of fierce lightning began filling the cloudy sky. "When Cinch and your team pushed Twilight, you saw her distress at being forced into using magic. Yet. you. did, nothing!" A fierce thunderbolt clapped, frightening Sunny.

"I didn't know..." Sunny said weakly.

"SHUT UP!" Sunset yelled, her voice soundly like angry thunder. Sunny did just that. "You saw the vines and the portals, and yet that did not stop you from pushing Twilight into unleashing the magic."

"I just wanted to win," Sunny said.

"Yes, you care more about victory than a human being," Sunset said, her voice beginning to echo, and her demeanor becoming increasingly angry."You proved that your willing to kill someone for your own ambition."

"I didn't want her to die," Sunny said, the memory of that day, and the pain of holding onto a girder making her cry. "I'm sorry."

"No, you're sorry you couldn't rub your victory into our faces," Sunset growled. "You willingly murdered an innocent girl for your own gain. And for that, you deserve nothing but the rocks below!"

"Please don't push me," Sunny screeched, "PLEASE!"

"No, I won't push you the same way you pushed poor Twilight," Sunset stood up, and turned away,"but nor will I save you from the fate you so rightfully deserve."

"Sunset please," Sunny said, more tears falling out of her eyes, as Sunset walked away. A bolt of lightening lit up the end of the bridge. In a flash, Sunset was gone.

Sunny cried more and more as her wrist ached from holding the bracing. The storms kept picking up, the girders keeping the bridge attached to the canyon were bending more and more, making a loud grinding noise.

BAM!

A lightning bolt struck at Sunny's hands, making her let go of the bracing. She screamed as she fell into the river below.

Sunny woke up with a loud scream, cold sweat all over her body . She was back in her room, in her nice soft bed. She laid back into bed, tears pouring from her eyes, terrified sobs coming from her mouth. She kept them quiet though. She didn't want to wake up her parents. Sunny felt she didn't deserve their comfort.

*********

Friday Morning

'It wasn't supposed to be like this', Sugarcoat thought, as she left the parking lot to enter Crystal Prep. Friday was supposed to be the best day of any school week. When everybody was excited over the last day before the weekend. Doubly so, since after their expected victory at the Friendship Games, there was supposed to be a day long party, in which they would celebrate their triumph.

But nobody liked to throw a party during a day of mourning.

The students who had been to the Friendship Games looked like they saw a puppy cry. Well they did see that, but they also witnessed someone be vaporized before their eyes because of their own selfish wants. The angry speech by the fire-haired girl in which she told them the harsh but honest truth about them -one that Sugarcoat would compliment, if not for the tragedy of the situation- hung over their heads as well.

As Sugarcoat walked to class, she walked past the trophy case. It was a clear glass box that held all the great victories Crystal Prep had gotten. It was put on the wall in the front lobby, obviously to impress visitors. The section that was set up for this year's Friendship Game trophy was empty, despite the fact that Crystal Prep had won,

'The empty case is a actually the perfect symbol of just how empty our victory was,' Sugarcoat thought as she made her way to class. She saw a crowd had gathered near the wall, and were gawking at it, like a group of bystanders would gawk at a crime scene.

When she saw the wall, it was spray painted with the word, "MURDERERS" in bright, bold red letters. Put there by some student from Canterlot, obviously. The accusation, despite it being directed at the school, proved too much for Sugarcoat, and she began sprinting away from it, trying to hold back the tears in her eyes.

She arrived at her physics class, and took a seat right next to Lemon Zest. The normally peppy girl looked like she had not slept, sad bags under eyes. She wore her headphones, but instead of the rock music blaring from the phones, Sugarcoat heard a sad blues song. Lemon Zest, instead of her usual "dude", just gave a nod of the head, acknowledging Sugarcoats presence.

"You look like you saw a morgue", is what Sugarcoat normally said when her friends were in a poor mood, but she realized that now was not the time for being blunt, and the quip was too appropriate. The girl looked like she was about to breakdown.

Mrs. Chalk came in and greeted the class, her usual authoritarian tones replaced with profound loss. She was a relatively short woman, who wore a uniform that combined the school dress code with some professionalism. Most of the students would usually greet her, but most were too upset to offer any greeting, even one that was half-hearted.

With that, the teacher jumped right to attendance. When she heard 'Twilight' pop up, Sugarcoat and others instinctively looked to the front row desk, and sighed. Twilight wasn't there. She would never be there again. She saw Lemon and a few other students had also looked at that tragically empty chair, and sighed at their foolishness.

"Sorry," Mrs. Chalk said sheepishly. She looked at everyone, seeing their profound despair. "Look, I know you all are upset," she paused, trying to hold back tears, "but the world is still turning, and we need to keep going."

The teacher, of course, began by asking some question about physics, almost rhetorically, since nobody would be able to answer these questions off the top of their heads. Well, except one.

"Can anybody tell me what kind of orbit planets move in," Mrs. Chalk asked in her excited tone.

"Ooh, ohh," Twilight said, waving her arm in the air excitedly. "I know, I know." The teacher hesitated for a minute, hoping someone other than the top student could answer the question. She sighed and gave up.

"Yes, Miss Sparkle," she said, in a disappointed tone, annoyed that no one else raised their hand.

"Elliptical", Twilight said happily.

"Very good," the teacher said happily. "The rest of you, take notes," she told the other students in an unimpressed tone.

Twilight smiled at the teacher's praise, like someone who had just won the lottery. She was oblivious to the jealous looks her classmates were giving her.

"You should become an encyclopedia," Sugarcoat said to Twilight, exasperated by the egghead's profligate one-upping of everybody around her,"you'd be more interesting that way." Twilight's joy faded at Sugarcoat's barb.

Sugarcoat always felt jealous and annoyed with Twilight always trying to show off her smarts and relishing it. But now, hearing Twilight's excited voice would sound like music to her ears.

'You know a person grows on you when they go away you and you miss their most annoying behavior,' Sugarcoat thought.

Suddenly, Mrs. Chalk's cell phone rang, and she paused her lecture to answer it.

"Lemon Zest, Sugarcoat," the teacher said. The two Shadowbolts lifted their heads. "Dean Cadence wants to speak to both of you." Sugarcoat and Lemon Zest stood up, and slowly walked out of the room.

Lemon Zest and Sugarcoat marched slowly toward the Dean's Office. They still remembered the tragic look in Cadence's eyes, seeing her favorite student die before her eyes, which is why they walked as slowly as they could. They could only imagine the punishment they were going to get.

They finally reached the Dean's Office. They walked in to see the Dean, her normally bright pink face the very image of solemness. They also saw her eyes were still puffy from tears.

'Selfish idiot,' thought Sugarcoat, her mouth twitching,'I killed her favorite student. I deserve it.'

"Sit," Cadence said, in a quiet but pained tone. Normally, she would say "please sit down," but it was clear Cadence was not in the mood to feel polite. Sugarcoat and Lemon Zest both sat down in the two chairs in front of them, as if the pain from the Dean's words was like a giant hand that pushed them in. Sugarcoat and Lemon looked around. They saw on the desk a pair of glasses, a melted shoe, a purple pendent, and on a filing cabinet, was the trophy that was supposed to be a sign of Crystal Prep's greatness.

Seeing Cadence trying to keep what remained of Twilight was like a knife to the heart of the two Shadowbolts.

"Well, you're here," Cadence said quietly as she walked over to the door. Normally she would say "welcome," as a sign she was ready to help any student to asked. Lemon Zest and Sugarcoat saw her close the door. Usually, she kept it open, even when meeting a student, as a sign that she would lend an ear to anybody who asked. After closing it, she turned the lock, and pulled down the shades, proving she was indeed not going to pull punches.

"Girls," Cadence said softly....

With that, Lemon Zest broke down in sobs.

"I'm so sorry," Zest said in a forlorn voice to Cadence. "I'm so sorry." She repeated over and over again, sobbing. Sugarcoat tried to keep in equanimity, but was straining to maintain it.

Cadence stared at Lemon Zest for a minute, before walking over to Lemon and... hugging the inconsolable girl, patting her on the back, and assuring her it wasn't. The sight of Cadence giving Lemon forgiveness the music-loving girl felt she didn't deserve was too much for the stoic Sugarcoat. She pulled off her glasses, and began wailing and apologizing. Warm tears pored down her cheeks. Cadence saw this, and also gave her a warm hug, assuring her she didn't blame her.

After a minute, their crying mostly subsided, and Cadence went back to her desk.

"Listen, I don't blame you girls," Cadence said in a soothing voice. Sugarcoat and Lemon Zest hung their heads in shame, and starting blinking their eyes and biting their lips to keep more tears from spilling out. "You didn't know. But if you still blame yourselves, there is something you can do to make it up to...her." She said this while glancing at Twilight's possessions.

They lifted their heads to look at her, seeing kind, merciful eyes.

"What," asked Sugarcoat in a broken voice. "What can we do?" With that, Cadence handed the girls each some kind of form. Sugarcoat put her glasses back on to read. Both Sugarcoat and Lemon Zest both looked at the forms, at first with a despondent disinterest. As they read more and more, their despondence was replaced with confusion. Then curiosity. Then astonishment. Then a mix of fear and amazement. The two Shadowbolts put the forms down, their faces full of anxiety.

"Are you sure this is gonna work," said Lemon Zest, fear in her voice.

"This is a serious legal risk," Sugarcoat said, her voice also somewhat reluctant, but more professional than Lemon's.

"It can work," Cadence said, a confident smile on her face,"as long as we work together."

For the first time in hours, Sugarcoat and Lemon Zest's faces had brightened. As they signed the form, their expressions less inconsolable then before. Cadence took the forms from them, and gave each girl a proud smile.

Author's Note:

A few of you have mentioned that I put the "Sci-Twi" tag in the story. I did that because, even in her death, Sci-Twi is still a character in the story. Not just because of the flashbacks of her life that are going to be in the story, but because her absence is having a greater impact on everyone around her than anything she did while she was still alive. It ties into the theme of the story: how it takes someone to vanish before you even begin to appreciate what that person does.

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