• Published 11th May 2018
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The Issue of Multiple Sunsets - Hopeful_Ink_Hoof

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Trixie and her Sunny assistant

It was a clear and sunny Saturday afternoon. In front of Canterlot High School stood what remained of a statue's base. This, however, was no ordinary plinth. It held a magical portal to another land. A land known as Equestria, where horse-like creatures with human intellect were the prominent species.

Not too long ago, the statue was destroyed when the human world's Twilight Sparkle was transformed into a magical dark-angel like being, who tore inter-dimensional rifts between the two worlds. The tears had been closed, but raw magic would leak through to the human world like water seeping through a crack in a glass.

Unlike water, however, the magic did not simply linger where it was. Instead it went out into the world, seeking an object for the power to possess.

Not far from the school was an outdoor stage. On this particular Saturday, the stage was the scene of a practice magic show. On one side stood a wooden box, more than large enough to fit a person.

It was that box which the magic found, the briefest glow emanating from the surface as the energy infused into it.

On the other side of the stage stood the greatest magician of her generation as far as she was concerned: Trixie. She was dressed in her stage clothes, the pointed wizard hat on her head, and one arm holding her cape out at her side.

"And now," Trixie announced to the audience, "The Grrrreat and Powerful Trixie will require the aid of her assistant!" She pointed off-stage with the last word.

A second passed with nothing happening. Then another.

"Eh-hem," Trixie coughed out. "Trixie requires her assistant!"

Several more seconds passed.

"SUNSET!"

"Just give me a moment!" Sunset called back, then whispered, "Can't believe I agreed to this."

After another second, Sunset Shimmer stepped out onto the stage. At the moment she was dressed in a red leotard, with a stylized red and yellow sun on her stomach, a pair of fishnet stockings a shade darker than her skin, and red heels. Her arms were crossed over her chest, covering them as she hunched over.

In the audience area sat six girls. As Sunset came out, three of them -- Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight "Sci-Twi" Sparkle -- clapped normally, two of them -- Fluttershy and Rarity -- gave small but polite applause, and one -- Pinkamena Diane "Pinkie" Pie -- applauded as loud as she could with the occasional whistle breaking it up.

"How did you talk me into this?" Sunset grumbled as she continued to cover herself.

"By pointing out that friends help each other out," Trixie replied. "Plus, I did help you out not too long ago."

"First," Sunset stated, "I wouldn't call standing around and passing me tools with a dramatic flourish while I fix my bike 'helping.' And second, I don't mean helping you with your trick. I meant letting you and Rarity dress me up in this." She motioned at the costume with one hand, turning to glare toward the audience.

"It's a traditional magician's assistant's costume," Trixie stated.

"And it does look rather lovely on you," Rarity called out. She brought a finger up to her chin, tapping on it. "Or... rather it would if you would stand up and stop trying to hide your body."

Sunset let out a huff and rolled her eyes. For a moment, she considered using one of her own fingers to express what she thought of Rarity's opinion. Instead, she straightened up to her full height and pulled her arms away from her chest, putting one hand on her hips as she raised the other toward Trixie.

She could not help but notice that some of the girls were very interested in her body. Surprisingly to her, she actually did not mind it as much as she thought. She even managed to flash a wink.

Trixie walked away from the center, moving toward the box, with Sunset following. Each of them took a side, bringing it out toward center stage.

"Behold! The Great and Powerful Trixie's Magic Box of Mystery!"

Several fireworks went off around the stage as Trixie finished her announcement. This was met with one "ooh," several polite applause, and one squeak of surprise and fear. Sunset took a hold of the box, walking in a circle as she turned it around for the audience to see all four sides. She then pulled open the door to reveal the mirrored interior.

"Now, Trixie's assistant shall step into... The Magic Box of Mystery!"

Taking a deep breath, Sunset moved to the box and stepped inside. As she did, she was able to see herself from every angle. And she had to admit, she looked pretty good. As much as she did not like the outfit, she had to admit that Rarity knew how to accentuate the right parts, and cover up the ones she was not so fond of.

The door was shut, and there was darkness for a second before Sunset's necklace started to glow, giving off a faint orange light that filled the entire little box.

Trixie stepped forward, flinging her cape behind her as she lifted her arms up high above her head.

"Now, watch! And be amazed!"

With a quick downward thrust of her hand, there was a pop as a cloud of glittering smoke appeared, engulfing Trixie and hiding her from sight.

The box exploded, chunks of wood and shards of glass flying in every direction. A ball of orange energy shot up into the air above the stage before breaking apart and shooting off to who knows where.

In the audience Twilight grabbed her own pendant and threw up an arm, creating a shield to protect her and the others from the debris.

Alas, for one, it was too late.

There was an ear-piercing shriek, causing the other five to jump and looked at the injured party.

"It's horrible!" Rarity cried out. "It's awful! Of all the things that could happen, this is the worst, possible, thing!"

"Rarity?" Applejack called out, standing up. "You a'right? What happened?"

Standing up, Rarity turned around, glaring at Applejack.

"I most certainly am not 'aw right,'" she snapped. Grabbing a lock of hair, she held it up in front of her. "Look at this!"

The other five looked at the hair being held up to them.

"What about it?" Rainbow Dash finally asked.

"'What about it?' 'What about it?!'" Rarity held it up more. "Look at it! An entire quarter of an inch has been cut off! It's ruined! And it ruins my entire hairstyle!"

"I don't think anyone is going to notice."

"Of course you would think that," Rarity snapped, turning her full attention to Rainbow Dash. "Your hair looks like you cut it yourself with dull child safety scissors!"

Before Rainbow could respond, Applejack stepped between them.

"A'right you two," she cut in. "How 'bout we stow it 'fore we say something we regret, and get back to the magic show?"

Rainbow and Rarity gave each other one last glare before turning away from each other, looking at the stage. There, Trixie stood where the box had been, her back to them as she slowly turned around.

"That was a pretty impressive trick," Twilight stated, pushing up her glasses as she did. "The explosion especially. It's kind of dangerous, though. While it would thrill an audience, someone could get hurt."

"That wasn't supposed to happen," Trixie replied, turning to look at them. "That was not how Trixie had planned it. We were supposed to switch places so that Sunset could appear on stage, then open the box to reveal Trixie inside. There weren't any explosives set up."

"So, where's Sunset?" Fluttershy asked.

"I don't know."

"Oh! Oh!" Pinkie cried out, jumping up and down on the bench and raising a hand. "Maybe she's in the space under the stage! You know, like when Trixie was jealous us of being allowed into the finals instead of her because of the sirens' brainwashing Principal Celestia and Vice-principal Luna, so she activated the trap door to get the six of us stuck down there, allowing her to go on in our place, and sending us into a spiral of anger and in-fighting which allowed the sirens to feed off our negative emotions, in turn supercharging their brainwashing powers and allowing them to manifest massive energy projections of their Equestrian forms which we had to defeat by working together to summon a giant magic alicorn which blasted them all away with a giant magic rainbow!"

The others all stared at Pinkie a second as they tried to figure out what all she had said. Well... most of them anyways.

"How is she able to say all that without pausing for breath?" Trixie asked.

"I don't know," Twilight replied. "None of the test I ran were conclusive, and I'm not allowed to run more intrusive ones because 'that's not something friends do,' or 'legal.'"

Once they had figured out what Pinkie had said, the seven of them headed to the door that led under the stage. And it was not a pleasant place. The cement floor was slimy from moisture and had signs of rats or mice having been there. The wooden supports were discolored and rotted, and the metal was rusted. Spider-webs filled the little corners here and there, with many still in use. In one corner stood a seven foot tall statue of a clown, its colors faded and the teeth splintered and broken as it stared with red around its eyes.

"It's like it wants to eat my soul," said Rainbow Dash as she stared at it.

However, there was no sign of Sunset Shimmer.

"Well, she ain't here," Applejack finally declared as the seven of them left. "Any other ideas?"

As they stepped out, the sounds of birds filled the air, drawing Fluttershy's attention.

"Oh?"

"How far have you ever teleported anyone?" Twilight asked, turning to Trixie.

"Are you sure?"

"Only a few feet," Trixie replied. "I've never had a reason to try and use it further than that."

"Excuse me."

Twilight sighed, rubbing her forehead.

"That means we don't know the range. She could be as close as anywhere in the park, to as far as the other side of the country. Or even the world."

"Girls?"

"I doubt it would send her that far," Rarity said. "She should at least still be somewhere in town."

"Girls!"

"Maybe the school?" Twilight suggested. "It's a place where the magical anomalies are pretty strong, and a common location where Trixie and Sunset both spend a lot of time."

"Okay," Rainbow Dash called out, puffing up her chest. "I can run to the school no problem a--"

An ear-piercing whistle brought an end to the conversation as it filled the air. Six of the girls brought their hands to their ears, trying to keep them from bleeding as they turned their attention to the source.

Fluttershy stopped. A blush formed on her cheeks as she slouched her shoulders, looking down at her hands.

"Sorry. But, Mrs. Jay said that something shot from here and landed near her tree. She doesn't know what, though, but maybe it's Sunset?"

"Well..." Applejack said slowly. "Reckon it's as good a place to start as any."

"Even if not," Twilight added, "if something did come from what happened, we should check it out. It could be a threat, or something that needs help."

With Mrs. Green Jay giving directions and Fluttershy leading, the seven of them made their way through the park. The group was led to a patch of trees not far from one of the picnic areas. No one else was around at the moment, but if the raccoons around the trashcans were any indication, there had been some people who had lunch there not too long ago.

Reaching the area, the group stops, staring in surprise.

There was Sunset Shimmer.

...sort of...

Lying on the grass was an orange coated unicorn. If it were standing up, it would be around four feet in height, and the legs were thicker than a typical horse's. The unicorn's coat and mane were red and yellow mixed together, and on its flank was a picture of a red and yellow sun, almost like a stylized yin-yang symbol.

Although none of them had ever seen it directly, all the girls instantly recognized it.

"Oh my gosh!" Fluttershy squealed out. "Look at her. She's so adorable." Running up, she crouched down in front of the unicorn, reaching out to touch it.

With a groan, unicorn Sunset Shimmer opened her eyes. Everything was blurry, but there was some amorphous yellow blob moving toward her face. With a shriek of terror, her horn lit up, lashing out with raw magic at the presumed attacker.

A yelp escaped Fluttershy as she was knocked back.

"Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash cried out, rushing over to her friend.

"I'm okay," Fluttershy assured, holding her nose. "Just startled her a little is all."

"Fluttershy?" Sunset asked as she stood up. With a groan, she rubbed at her head. "What... what happened?" Blinking, she looked around. "Where am I?" Her gaze locked and the girls, blue eyes going wide. "Wh-why are you human?"

"We've always been human, darling," Rarity answered. "The question is: why are you in your pony form?"

Before Sunset could answer, cellphones started ringing.

Author's Note:

Surprise?
Originally, I posted the idea of something like Crisis of Infinite Twilight happening to Sunset Shimmer in the Blame Defender2222 group forum. Originally, it was to share the idea with others in case anyone wanted to try it. I wasn't confident in trying it, because my writing style is so different from Defenders as is my sense of humor. The idea stuck with me, however, and ideas kept coming. So after struggling with something else, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.

It will be a while before I post the next, but I thought I would post this now.