• Published 28th Apr 2018
  • 1,190 Views, 51 Comments

Light and Magic - Allenator05

Sunset Shimmer has made mistakes in her past that she's trying to move on and learn from. What happens when she meets an iron-willed Guardian with a similar past?

  • ...

All Things Must End

Sunset Shimmer opened her eyes and wished she hadn't. The harsh florescent lighting glared down upon her and caused her to wince. Sunset sat up with a groan and wished the tiny Pinkie Pies in her brain would stop shooting party cannons everywhere. She rubbed her temples and tried to remember what happened, but her memories were fuzzy.

When Sunset's vision finally cleared, she looked around the room and sighed heavily. Once again, she found herself in the same room Agent Smith had questioned her before. To make matters worse, said agent was sitting at the table in the center of the room. "Hello Sunset. Good to see you again," he said.

Sunset narrowed her eyes and glared at Agent Smith. "I wish I could say the same, but then I would be lying," she said.

Agent Smith shrugged and pointed to the chair opposite him. "Please. Have a seat."

Sunset shook her head. "Sorry. I don't want to be anywhere near you right now."

"Suit yourself," Smith said and leaned forward with his arms on the table. "You've been busy these last few days."

"So? What about it?" Sunset challenged.

"I don't understand why you're so hostile," Smith said. "Despite what you think, we're all on the same side."

Sunset rolled her eyes and scoffed. "Really? Because it doesn't seem that way to me. Just what side are we supposed to be on anyway?"

"The side that keeps this country and her people safe," Smith said.

"By kidnapping me not once, but twice?" Sunset nearly shouted. "What you're doing right now isn't safety, it is surveillance. What kind of government doesn't trust its own people?"

"What kind of person harbors a dangerous fugitive from an unknown location?" Smith shot back.

Sunset frowned. "Hildr isn't a fugitive, she's a traveler through space and time."

Agent Smith cleared his throat and adjusted his sunglasses. "Forgive me if I find your claim a bit unbelievable."

"What's so unbelievable about it? I'm a unicorn pony from a different world that came here through a magic mirror. That sounds pretty unbelievable to me," Sunset replied and crossed her arms.

"Ah. I'm glad you brought that up," Smith said and put a fold on the table. "Just what was your reason for returning to your world?"

Sunset stared at Smith long and hard. "Why do you want to know?" she asked.

"Like I said, I care about the safety and security of this country," Smith said. "I find it a little concerning that you would willingly take a dangerous individual to your home world so blatantly and carefree. Do you not realize that your actions have consequences?"

"Why do you care what I do or don't do?" Sunset asked. "Didn't you tell me once the government didn't think me or my friends were a threat?"

Smith continued to stare at Sunset, his face unreadable behind his glasses. "I am seriously thinking about amending that oversight," he said. "Your recent actions have gained the notice of some very powerful people. These people are not as nice as I am and wouldn't have a second thought to making you and your friends disappear."

An icy hand gripped Sunset's heart and she shivered. "Threats are no way to make friends," she said uncertainly.

"I'm not here to be your friend. I'm here to determine if your actions pose a danger to the people of this country," Smith said.

"You've said that before. What changed your mind?" Sunset asked.

Smith said nothing and opened the folder. Sunset stepped closer to see the contents and gasped. Her hands quickly went to her pockets and found them empty. "So it seems you know what this is," Smith said. "Our top analysts and code breakers are still working on it. We'll get to the bottom of this, and when we do, you might not like it."

The folder contained the parchment on which the spells from Princess Celestia were written. Sunset carefully looked over the letters and was relieved to find them undamaged. It made sense Agent Smith wanted to know what they said since they were written in Equestrian script, which is based off classical Latin. Sunset chuckled softly to herself. "If you want to know what this says, you only needed to ask," she said.

Smith grunted and said, "I highly doubt you would tell the truth."

"I really don't care if you believe me or not," Sunset replied with a shrug. "Anyway, this is a secret recipe for hayfries."

To his credit, Smith was unconvinced. "Hayfries," he deadpanned.

Sunset nodded. "Yep. Eleven secret herbs and spices and all that. Ponies would kill to get this recipe."

Smith sighed and shook his head. "I find it very hard to believe you traveled back to your home world, just to commit corporate espionage. What would you even do with it here?"

"Market it to farmers?" Sunset suggested. "I can personally attest that hayfries are amazing and any farmer worth his salt would want to keep his animals fed and happy."

Smith suddenly slammed his hand on the table, startling Sunset. "This is no laughing matter. Tell me what I want to know."

Sunset winced and unconsciously took a defensive stance. Perhaps she had taken the joke a little too far, but what else could she do in this situation? She still had no idea where she was or how long she had been there. Sunset thought about Hildr and she suddenly became very nervous. She took a deep breath and said, "Okay, I'll tell you what you want to know."

Smith relaxed slightly and leaned back. "I really don't like using threats to get answers, but it can be effective."

Sunset rolled her eyes and approached the table. "What do you know about the ruins across the ocean that Hildr was poking around in?" she asked.

Smith sat a little straighter in his seat. "Even if I were to admit that, how do you know about it?" he asked.

"Because I've seen it," Sunset replied. "Well, I saw it from space."

Smith looked like he was about to say something, but remained silent instead. Sunset then told him what Hildr found and their theory. "We went back to my home world to get the spell to make the portals work so Hildr can go back to where she came from," Sunset finished.

Smith had a blank look on his face and Sunset wondered if he even heard her. "Look. Normally I'd be more than happy to sit here and tell you everything you ever wanted to know, but I don't have time for that right now," she said. "Please don't take this the wrong way, but if I don't get out of here soon, a very angry space wizard is going to find her way here and I don't think you'd like that very much."

"Are you threatening me?" Smith asked, his voice taking a dangerous edge.

Sunset's eyes went wide and she put her hands up in an attempt to keep Smith from getting angry. "Not exactly, but trust me, you won't like it if she does.

Smith slowly rose to his feet and towered over Sunset. Before he could say anything else, a phone started to ring. Smith and Sunset stared at each other while the phone continued to ring. "Um, are you going to get that?" Sunset asked carefully.

Smith's face twisted with annoyance as he jammed his hand into his pocket and whipped out his phone. He thumbed the answer button and asked, "What?"

Sunset watched as Smith's face changed from annoyed to surprised and finally to angry. "Listen, I don't know who you are or how you got this number but-" Smith said, but whoever he was talking to abruptly cut him off. He continued to listen and Sunset wondered who he was talking to. After a moment, Smith growled and thrust the phone at Sunset. "Here. It's for you," he said.

Sunset took the phone and cautiously answered. "Hello?"

"It's Hildr. Are you well?" Hildr asked bluntly.

Sunset was both relieved and frustrated at the same time. "What do you think?" she asked, more annoyed than she intended.

Fortunately, Hildr didn't seem to mind. "I think you've been kidnapped, drugged, and now you are feeling irritable at your current situation," she said.

Sunset rolled her eyes. "Gee. Thanks for your expert diagnosis, Doctor," she replied with as much sarcasm as she could muster.

"Be serious. How are you feeling?" Hildr asked. Hearing the concern in Hildr's voice deflated Sunset's defiance and she settled back in her chair. "I have a headache, but that happened last time too, and I'm feeling tired and angry. This is all your fault you know."

"I know and I'm sorry," Hildr said. "I'm close by and if I can't reach an agreement with these idiots, I'm going to come and get you."

Visions of an extremely angry Hildr burning everything in her path briefly passed through Sunset's mind and she suppressed a shudder. "From what I can tell, these guys really have it in for you," Sunset said.

"I figured," Hildr said. "Do you still have the spells?"

Sunset glanced to the table and said, "Yes, they are right here."

"Do you need the papers to perform the spell or can you memorize them?" Hildr asked. Sunset scanned over the papers and thought for a moment. "The spell is complex, but not too difficult. I can have it memorized shortly," she said.

"Good. Work on that and put the agent back on the phone," Hildr said. Sunset looked to Agent Smith and handed him back the phone. "She's not very happy with you right now," she said.

"Your friend has made her point perfectly clear," Smith said and snatched the phone back. While he was busy arguing with Hildr, Sunset memorized the spells as quickly as she could. Mirrors surrounded the room and she assumed she was being watched, but she didn't care.

Agent Smith started pacing and talking angrily in the phone. "You have no idea who you're messing with," he said. "There is nowhere you can hide that we won't find you."

Just then, the door exploded inward and slammed off the wall. "Good. I was starting to get bored with this conversation," Hildr said and entered the room. Both Sunset and Smith looked at her in shock.

"What? How? Where is security?" Smith babbled out loud.

"You mean those guys?" Hildr asked and pointed her thumb back to the door. "They're alive, if that's what you're asking. What kind of monster do you think I am?"

"How did you even find this place?" Sunset asked.

"It wasn't hard. I had a civil conversation with the welcoming party you left us and that led me here,"

Hildr replied with a shrug.

Smith recovered his composure somewhat and asked, "Do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?"

"Do you have any idea how little I care?" Hildr shot back. "Look. I am very busy and I have important things I have to do, and right now, you are in the way of me accomplishing those things. Are you going to continue to be a hindrance, or do I need to make you see the error of your ways?"

Both Sunset and Smith paled slightly at Hildr's words. "I thought you said you didn't hurt people," Sunset said uncertainly.

"I said I've never willingly killed anyone, but I'm willing to change that under special circumstances," Hildr said and glared at Smith.

"Don't think you can get away with threatening me," Smith warned. Sunset was slightly impressed how he was holding up against a very irate Hildr. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

Hildr let out a frustrated breath. "I don't have time for us to stand around glaring at each other and making threats. I need her," she pointed to Sunset, "And I probably need you too," she added and pointed to Smith.

"Me? What do you need me for?" Smith asked, clearly surprised.

"I need you to get on the phone with your bosses and round up some capable troops. We're probably going to have a fight on our hands," Hildr said.

Smith stood there in shock. "Well? What are you waiting for?" Hildr demanded.

"I don't really have that kind of authority," Smith said.

"So you are just a worthless government hack after all," Hildr said. "Pick up your phone, and make the call," she pointed her finger in Smith's face.

"And even if I am able to get a hold of them, what should I say?" Smith asked.

"Whatever you want!" Hildr exasperated. "Tell them the angry space lady you've been following is going to the forbidden continent to play with alien technology and who knows what will happen."

Smith quickly walked to one side of the room and dialed his phone. Sunset watched as he had an angry whispered conversation with someone, probably his boss. She turned back and saw Hildr standing over her. Startled, Sunset said, "Please don't. I don't think I can handle any more surprised today."

Hildr looked down and said softly, "I'm sorry they took you. We should have come through the portal together."

Sunset shook her head. "It's not your fault, or anyone's fault. They've been watching me for a while and waited for us to get back."

Hildr shook her head and sighed. "With everything that's happened up to now, I would be more concerned if things started to go well. I guess that if you expect to be disappointed, anything else is a welcome surprise."

"Like meeting magical ponies?" Sunset said with a smile and gently elbowed Hildr in the ribs.

Hildr frowned, but a wan smile crossed her face. "Especially meeting magical ponies," she said.

Sunset became serious and asked, "What happens if this doesn't work?"

Hildr shrugged. "Then we'll deal with it, just the two of us."

Sunset was taken aback. "Will the two of us be able to manage by ourselves?" she asked.

Hildr looked down at Sunset. "I am a Warlock. The energies of the universe bend to my will. You are a magical pony with an affinity for fire, trained by a virtual sun goddess. I think we can manage."

Sunset shrugged. "Well, when you put it that way."

Smith finally finished his phone call and carefully walked back to Hildr and Sunset. "It seems you'll get your wish," he said. "A squad of special forces will meet you at the location of your choosing."

Hildr nodded. "Good. I will contact you when I have the meeting place."

When he heard this news, Smith frowned. "You don't know where you're going?" he asked.

"I have an idea," Hildr said. "Like I said, I'll tell you when I've found it. How soon can I expect to meet your special forces?"

"That depends where you want them to meet you," Smith said. "The ocean is an hour away, not to mention the distance across the ocean itself. It will take some time for them to arrive."

Hildr let out a growl of annoyance. "Fine. Get them in the air now and I'll give them the directions en route." She turned to the door and added, "I'm taking this one with me. You don't mind do you?" Smith shook his head and waved them away. Hildr walked out the door with Sunset trailing close behind.

As they walked through the corridors, Sunset carefully took in their surroundings. Outside of the room, everything seemed old and run down. Water dripped overhead from rusted pipes and Sunset thought she could hear something skittering in the darkness. "Not exactly what I imagined a hidden base to look like," she muttered.

"Shh!" Hildr hissed and Sunset kept her mouth shut the rest of the way. Eventually, they emerged from the darkness and into the evening light. Sunset looked back and saw the building she had been held in was an old abandoned factory. "Really? Can this get any more cliché?" she wondered.

Hildr glanced around and surreptitiously held out her hand. Raven appeared and with a barely noticeable nod from Hildr, materialized her sparrow. Hildr quickly jumped on, grabbed a rather surprised Sunset Shimmer, and quickly sped off down the road.

"Hey! Stop! I'm gonna fall off!" Sunset cried out and scrambled to find something to grab onto, settling for Hildr's armor. When she was sure they were out of range, Hildr slowed and stopped. Sunset fell off and landed rather painfully in the dirt. "Ow," she winced and rubbed her backside.

Hildr dismounted the sparrow and looked back down the road. Satisfied they weren't followed, she turned her attention to Sunset and helped her to her feet. "Are you feeling better?"

Sunset glared at Hildr. "Not really. I still have a headache and now I have new bumps and bruises from almost becoming road kill."

Hildr handed Sunset a bottle of water and pills. Sunset swallowed the pills and chased them with water. She made a bitter face as she handed the bottle back to Hildr. "Bleh. Dash was right, pills are gross."

Hildr sighed and put her items away. "Do you have the spells?" she asked.

Sunset smiled smugly and pulled a folder out from under her jacket. "Yep. I memorized them too, just in case." She then frowned and asked, "How did you find me anyway?"

"I had Raven ping your phone," Hildr said. "That gave us a general direction until Agent Smith or whoever disabled it."

"Then we just asked the nice commandos who kidnapped you for directions," Raven spoke up.

Sunset winced. "You didn't kill them did you?"

Hildr rolled her eyes and scoffed. "Like I said to Agent What's-his-name, what kind of monster do you take me for? However, they attacked me first and I defended myself."

"Sure. Just keep telling yourself that," Raven said and Hildr shot him a dirty look. "To answer your question, they are still alive. At least they were when I took them to the hospital." Hildr gave a non-committal shrug. "Anyway, I borrowed a communication device and found the number for Agent Smith's phone. I had Raven give him a ring and we triangulated the call."

"And then you busted down the door like some kind of action hero," Sunset finished.

Raven turned to Hildr. "I told you that was a bad idea."

Hildr pushed him away, saying, "It's not very often I get to look cool. Just let me have this."

Sunset chuckled. "I didn't think you cared about such things."

Hildr cleared her throat. "I don't, not really anyway. Now that we've wasted enough time, shall we get on with this?"

Sunset rolled her eyes as Raven called Hildr's ship. Moments later, it descended through the trees and Sunset and Hildr climbed onboard. To her mild surprise, Sunset found she had a bit more room than the last time and quickly bucked herself in. "Ready to go?" Hildr asked.

"What, no surprises this time?" Sunset quipped.

"I thought we were past that," Hildr replied flatly and quickly accelerated into the atmosphere. Sunset watched as the ground quickly faded away. At this altitude, the sun was still barely visible over the horizon and turned the clouds various shades of pink, purple and blue. To the east, the stars were gradually becoming visible in the inky sky. Sunset gaped in awe at the sight. "Does this view ever get old for you?" she asked.

"No," Hildr replied. "A bit of a romantic, are we?"

"Well, evenings are my favorite time of day," Sunset admitted.

"And the fact your name is Sunset Shimmer has nothing to do with that?" Hildr asked dryly.

"Well…" Sunset chuckled and rubbed her head nervously.

Hildr turned her ship eastward and settled in for the journey. "Every day you wake up is a blessing. In my experience, you need to find joy and happiness where you can. The universe is a cold, cruel place that doesn't care about you or your feelings."

Sunset shivered and rubbed her arms. "That's a pretty dark and depressing view," she said.

Hildr turned her head and glanced over her shoulder. "Killer robots and the end of humanity, remember?"

"Yeah," Sunset replied glumly. She leaned forward and said, "With everything that you've told me, why would you want to go back? Why not stay here?"

"Is that a serious question?" Hildr asked. After a moment of hesitation, Sunset nodded. Hildr looked forward out of the viewport and sighed. "Despite what you might think, I am not a selfless or altruistic person."

"No," Sunset gasped. "I never would have guessed."

Hildr ignored her and continued. "Despite the awesome powers Guardians have been granted, some choose to use their gifts for their own selfish desires. Others do nothing more than fight against each other in the Crucible for glory and praise. Others have even abandoned the City to its fate."

"And what about you?" Sunset asked.

Hildr stared down at her hands. "I think I have told you before, but I have the power to help others, so I do. I choose to believe that I was brought back for that purpose. If I can bring just a small flicker of hope in the darkness, then isn't that good enough?"

Sunset sat back in her seat, unsure of what to say. When she thought about it, it wasn't surprising that Hildr was such a driven person. Sunset turned her thoughts on herself. What purpose did she serve? What drove her to be better than she was yesterday? She used to think it was to prove that she wasn't the same person she used to be, but how long would that last?

"Sunset, I would like to ask a personal question if you don't mind," Hildr said, breaking Sunset from her thoughts.

"Oh, okay," Sunset said.

"What was your dream when you were small?" Hildr asked. "What did you want to be when you grew up?"

"Huh? Where did that come from?" Sunset asked. She was quite surprised by Hildr's questions. She didn't think Hildr even cared.

"I was just curious," Hildr said. "I realize that in the short time we have been together, I have been rather pushy and uncaring about your needs."

"And you think that being nice now will make up for the way you've treated me?" Sunset asked. Her tone was a bit more venomous than she intended and she immediately regretted it.

Hildr shook her head. "No. You have every right to be upset with me. I just thought I would try and get to know you a little better." She let out a tired sigh. "The Fire of Friendship broke through most of the walls I had erected in my heart. In just this short time, I find that I am less bitter and closed off to the world. I suppose I have you to thank for that as well."

"Oh." Sunset was taken aback and didn't know what to say. "Well, I guess I just wanted to be somebody important. I liked learning new things and experimenting with my magic." She shrugged. "Growing up, every unicorn colt and filly hears about the great Starswirl the Bearded and Clover the Clever. With such amazing and legendary unicorns to look up to, who wouldn't want to be just like them? After Princess Celestia took me in, my dream was to be an alicorn just like her. I suppose that's where it all started. I thought that becoming an alicorn was my right as her student."

"Aren't the princesses the only alicorns? What would you be the princess of?" Hildr asked. "Celestia is princess of the sun, Luna has the moon, and Twilight is the Princess of Friendship."

"I don't know. I never really thought about it," Sunset admitted. "I thought that I would figure it out after I became an alicorn. But now, after everything I've been through, I don't know. I'm not sure I can even become an alicorn at this point."

"Why would you want to?" HIldr asked.

"What do you mean?" Sunset asked, frowning.

"What I mean is, if becoming an alicorn is what you want, by all means do it," Hildr said. "But as we grow and mature, our priorities change. I'm not saying that the dreams of children are unimportant, but sometimes, dreams are just that. There's nothing wrong with finding yourself on a different path than you intended."

"Is that what you did?" Sunset asked and Hildr snorted. "I'm too stubborn to do anything else," she said. "I decided that for me, this was the best way to use my gifts."

Sunset chuckled to herself and looked out the window at the ocean raced by. "I think that trying to prove to others and myself that I've changed isn't a very good long term goal. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I want to do anymore."

"There is nothing wrong with that," Hildr said. "Not everyone has their whole life planned out in advance. In my opinion, those who take each day as it comes often have the best stories. They are the type of people to get caught up in interesting adventures."

"That's because they have no anchor, nothing to hold them steady," Sunset said. "They just go where the wind takes them. I don't think I could do that."

"Perhaps not, but you are a smart young woman. I'm sure that whatever you decide to do, you'll be absolutely brilliant," Hildr said.

Sunset smiled to herself and was thankful Hildr couldn't see her blush. Soon the ocean gave way to land again and Sunset noticed a significant difference between this continent and the one where Canterlot was. It was difficult to see in the dark, but she could make out the abandoned and overgrown buildings. They were unlike any Sunset had ever seen before. "This is incredible," she said.

"Just wait, it gets better," Raven said. Sunset kept her face to the window and watched as the vegetation abruptly turned to stone and metal. "Is this the work of the Vex?" she asked.

"Yes," Hildr said. "Now imagine if the entire planet looked like this."

"But why?" Sunset asked. "What purpose would that serve?"

"If I knew that, I wouldn't be here," Hildr replied. She slowed down and hovered over the tower she had visited before. "Now to find the Citadel," she said.

"The what now?" Sunset asked.

Raven appeared in front of Sunset and said, "What we call the Citadel is actually a large Vex structure on the surface of Venus. We don't exactly know what function it serves. Some think it is a repository of information or that it is somehow related to the Vault of Glass. Teams of Guardians have been exploring and researching it for years."

"I believe that finding the Citadel here will be our best bet to activate a portal to the Vex Network," Hildr said. She checked the scanners and flew in the direction she remembered seeing that flash of light. As they flew closer, a tower appeared on the horizon and quickly grew bigger. It was unlike any of the other Vex structures they had seen so far. For one, it was enormous and even at their current altitude, the top disappeared into the clouds. The Citadel was a monolith of epic proportions, made of stone and bronze colored metal. Large boxy wings stuck out at random intervals, giving the appearance of a staircase from hell. The base covered nearly a square mile and gradually narrowed into a tall spire. All of the canyons and throughways all traced to this location. "It's like it's the center of everything," Sunset remarked.

"That's kind of the point," Raven said. "From this location, the Vex could spread their corruption across the entire planet."

"So what's the plan?" Sunset asked.

Hildr flipped a couple of switches and made several passes around the Citadel. "Right now I'm scanning for any signs of active technology," she said. "Raven, transmit our current location to Agent Smith and the commandos."

Raven's eye blinked rapidly. "Done," he said.

Hildr checked her monitors and wasn't surprised with the results. "As I suspected, dead like everything else."

"So now what?" Sunset asked.

Hildr frowned and pointed the nose of the ship up and opened the throttle. Sunset hung tight as the ship went nearly vertical to reach the top of the Citadel. "Just how tall is this thing?" she asked.

"So far, pretty tall," Raven said. "At this altitude, the air will be pretty thin."

"That won't be a problem," Hildr said.

"For you maybe, but what about Sunset?" Raven asked.

Hildr peeked back over her shoulder. "That might be a problem."

"How much of a problem?" Sunset asked uncertainly.

Hildr glanced at the altimeter. "Oh, five thousand feet above sea level and climbing," she said.

Sunset started to worry and sat back in her seat. Fear was starting to creep in and spread icy fingers through her core. Wild thoughts began to race through her mind and Sunset did her best to push them away. She had Magic and she had Hildr. She had faced great danger before and come out mostly unscathed. What was there for her to be afraid of?

A lot of things actually, and despite her best efforts, her mind started to make a list of all the possible things that could cause permanent injury or death. And that was before she took the Vex into account. Sunset screwed her eyes shut and gently beat her fists on her head.

The ship broke through the clouds and the top was finally in sight. Hildr found a wide platform and hovered just above. "This might feel a bit weird," she called out.

"What?" Sunset asked as Raven transmatted them to the platform. For Sunset, transmatting was a similar experience to going through the mirror portal. Her vision went white, her body went tingly all over, and she felt like she was being pulled apart like taffy. With a flash, Hildr and Sunset appeared on the platform. Hildr landed lightly on her feet and Sunset tripped and fell on her face. She sat up and waited for the wave of nausea to pass. "You could have warned me first," she grumped.

Hildr opened her mouth to speak, but thought better of it and held out a hand to Sunset instead, helping the girl get to her feet. Sunset looked around and shivered. "It's cold up here," she said.

"Indeed. This place is like a desert and doesn't keep the day's heat very well," Hildr agreed. She held out her hand and a thick jacket appeared from her inventory. She handed the garment to Sunset, who quickly put it on. "So, we just wait for backup?" she asked.

Hildr shook her head. "Although it will take some time for them to arrive, we need to head further in." She turned to Raven and said, "Put a beacon here so they know where to go."

"I'm on it," Raven replied with a sigh. Hildr checked her weapons and stowed them accordingly. She then looked Sunset over and hummed to herself. "Have you ever shot a gun before?" she asked.

"What? No. Well, not really," Sunset said. "Applejack lives on a farm and her family has a few hunting rifles and shotguns, but I've never handled one."

Hildr turned to Raven and asked, "Do I have any sidearms in my inventory?"

Raven nodded. "Yes, but there's only one that will be effective against the Vex," he said. Hildr held out her hand and a wireframe appeared and quickly materialized into a gun. Hildr checked it over and held it out to Sunset. "Here. I think you can manage with this."

Sunset looked carefully at the offered weapon. It closely resembled Hildr's rifle, as it was made out of what looked like rusted metal and old, weather beaten wood. "Are you sure about this?" she asked uncertainly.

Hildr frowned. "What's wrong with it?" she asked.

"I feel like I'm going to get tetanus just from looking at it," Sunset replied and made a face. "How do I know it won't fall apart when I use it?"

Hildr's face twisted with annoyance and quick as a flash, she turned around and rapidly pulled the trigger on the gun. The bullets impacted the wall and ricocheted harmlessly into space. When the magazine ran dry, Hildr skillfully ejected the spent mag, slipped a new one in place, released the slide forward, and shot the wall until that magazine was empty. Hildr turned back to Sunset. "Are you satisfied?" she asked.

Sunset's eyes were wide with surprise and she managed to nod her head. Hildr sighed and stepped toward her. "Look. I'm not trying to belittle you or make you feel bad. I'm just trying to look out for you. What we're about to do will probably be the most dangerous and terrifying thing you've ever done."

"I kinda figured that," Sunset mumbled and looked away.

Hildr put her hand on Sunset's shoulder and tried to cheer her up. "We have a little bit of time. I think it would help for you to practice with this gun, just so you don't hurt yourself."

Sunset reluctantly nodded and Hildr spent time going over the basics of the firearm: safety rules, how to operate the gun, loading and unloading a magazine, making the weapon ready to fire, proper aiming techniques, and how to change magazines. Sunset's hands shook slightly as she held the sidearm and carefully aimed. She winced as she pulled the trigger and as a result, her shot went wide.

"The recoil on this gun is very light compared to other guns," Hildr said. "Don't anticipate the shot. Keep your arms straight and the barrel pointed down range. Squeeze the trigger with firm pressure." Sunset took a deep breath and aimed the gun at the wall. "Do you see that spot that's slightly darker than the rest?" Hildr asked and Sunset nodded.

"Keep your eyes open and point the gun at that spot. Remember, squeeze the trigger," Hildr said. Sunset gently applied pressure to the trigger. As the trigger moved back, it became harder to pull. Sunset squeezed just a bit harder and the trigger broke. The gun fired with a light CRACK, startling Sunset.

"Not bad," Hildr said. "You hit the wall this time."

Sunset was pleased with the praise, but her mood quickly darkened when she saw the bullet mark on the wall. "That's not anywhere close to where I was aiming!" she pouted.

"At this point, aiming doesn't matter," Hildr said. "Right now you just need some practice with the fundamentals of shooting. Once you are comfortable handling the weapon, we'll worry about hitting the target."

Sunset frowned, but allowed herself to be coached by Hildr. After several magazines of ammo, Sunset was handling the weapon better and her shots were closer together. "But I still can't seem to hit the right target," she said.

"Don't worry too much about that. You're doing fine," Hildr said. "Groupings don't matter as much, just as long as you can hit the target."

"Oh," Sunset said. She looked down and frowned. "How am I supposed to carry this thing anyway? I don't really want to hold it the whole time."

Hildr looked in her inventory and found a holster that would fit Sunset. She also handed Sunset extra magazine pouches and a small messenger bag. "Here. I think you should hang on to this," she said.

Sunset looked inside and gasped. "Why me?" she asked.

"Because you have the spells and will be the one using it," Hildr said.

Sunset reached inside the bag and pulled out the crystal shard from the Fire of Friendship. "I don't know. I feel like it should be kept somewhere will it will be protected more."

Hildr sighed and tried to keep her annoyance from surfacing. "Do what you like, but you should be the one to keep it. I have a feeling that things might get out of control, and if I keep it, there's no guarantee I will be able to get it to you in time."

"Okay," Sunset reluctantly agreed and put the shard away. Once she was situated, Sunset nodded to Hildr and they set off deeper into the Citadel.

As they explored, Sunset took a chance and carefully peeked over the edge. She saw clouds float lazily past far below and she was struck by a wave of vertigo. She took several deep breaths and closed her eyes until the feeling passed.

"Are you doing okay?" Hildr asked.

"I…I just need a minute," Sunset replied and sat down with her back to the wall.

Hildr looked around and after a moment sat next to her. "Something is bothering you. Out with it," she said.

"No really, I'm fine. I just need a minute process all of this," Sunset said and waved her hands around, indicating to everything.

Hildr nodded. "We'll wait until you're ready," she said.

Sunset cast a sideways glance at Hildr. "You're being awfully nice to me all of a sudden. Where's the real Hildr and what have you done with her?"

"Is it really so hard for you to believe that I can be something other than an overbearing hardass?" Hildr asked. "You of all people should know that there is more than one side to a person."

"Yeah," Sunset replied and hugged her knees.

Hildr reached out and after a moment of hesitation, put her arm around Sunset's shoulders and pulled her close. Sunset's eyes went wide with shock. "I understand if you are feeling scared or nervous. I feel a bit of the same myself," Hildr said.

Sunset shook her head to try and focus her thoughts after Hildr's show of affection. "So how do you do it? What's your secret to bravely stepping into the unknown while feeling scared out of your mind?"

"Like I do everything else," Hildr said. "I make up my mind and I just do it. I push all the doubts aside and ignore the little voice that tries to put doubt in my heart."

"Sometimes that tiny bit of doubt can be a good thing," Sunset replied. "I think that's the difference between bravery and carelessness."

Hildr nodded. "I agree, however, I think experience also plays a part. The first time you rode a motorcycle, did you twist the throttle wide open and try to set a new land speed record?"

Sunset chuckled. "Not hardly. I was so nervous, I thought I was going to fall over and make a fool of myself."

"Exactly," Hildr said. "Now that you have experience, confidence, wisdom and a bit of brashness, cracking triple digits doesn't seem like a big deal."

Sunset thought for a moment. "I think I see your point," she said. She then grinned and waggled her

eyebrows suggestively at Hildr. "Besides, how would you know if I do dumb things on my motorcycle?"

Hildr rolled her eyes. "It is clear to me that your style of motorcycle is designed for speed and handling. And I have met the pegasus Rainbow Dash. Since you have told me that your human friends share traits with their pony counterparts, I assume that the two of you have engaged in plenty of questionable activities involving motorcycles and high speeds."

"I will neither confirm nor deny that statement," Sunset replied and turned her nose up at Hildr. "I am shocked and appalled that you would think that I am anything more than a model citizen."

Hildr chuckled and rose to her feet. "I think we've delayed long enough," she said. Sunset let out a short breath and stood up. She still felt a bit wobbly in the knees, but the vertigo was gone. Sunset followed Hildr to the edge and looked out. "Do you see that platform over there?" Hildr asked and pointed.

Sunset squinted and looked carefully. "It's hard to see in the dark, but I think so," she said. Hildr pulled out a pair of binoculars. "I think that's what we're looking for," she said.

Sunset carefully peeked over the edge. "So how are we going to get there?" she asked.

Raven floated around and scanned everything he could see. "Hmm. I'm detecting irregularities in the local time space continuum," he said.

"Meaning what?" Hildr asked.

Sunset looked out and saw a small platform that she was certain wasn't there before. "Hey, what's that?" she called out.

Hildr and Raven looked where she was pointing. "Interesting. I think that platform is the disturbance I was sensing," Raven said. While they were watching, the platform disappeared in a flash of light. Lines of light appeared in the air and a different platform appeared. Hildr watched and made a note of the platforms locations and how long they appeared. "It seems like we're going to have to jump across," she said.

Sunset backed away from the edge and vigorously shook her head. "Uh-uh. No way. I can't make that jump," she said.

Hildr and Raven shared a look. "I'd offer to carry you, but I don't think I would make it either," Hildr said. "Doesn't your magic enhance your natural abilities?"

Sunset nodded. "To a certain degree yes, but I don't really feel like testing that out right now."

Hildr placed her hands on Sunset's shoulders and looked down with her unrelenting stare. "I won't force you to do anything you would feel uncomfortable with. If you like, you can stay here and wait for the backup. I will go ahead and scout the area."

Sunset looked into Hildr's eyes. She wasn't being mean or threatening, she was showing how much she cared in her own way. Sunset closed her eyes and searched deep inside herself. She found the spark that was her magic and she reached out to it. It responded to her touch by flaring up and filling Sunset with warmth. Although they weren't here, she could feel the presence of her friends and it brought joy and contentment to her heart. Sunset felt a surge of power and when she opened her eyes, her body was covered in a red aura. She reached up and felt the pony ears on her head.

Hildr gave her a careful look. "Are you sure?"

"Nope," Sunset replied. "The night's not getting any younger and we're wasting time. Let's go."

A faint grin appeared on Hildr's face and stepped up to the edge next to Sunset. "Remember, the first platform will appear there," Hildr said and pointed out into space. "The next will be there, then there, and there, and there," she added.

Sunset carefully noted the locations Hildr pointed out. "We'll only have about ten seconds, so we have to move fast," Hildr added.

Sunset stepped back and crouched. When the white lines appeared, she sprinted forward and leapt as far as she could. A rush of exhilaration overcame Sunset as jumped out into space, followed by a bolt of fear as she thought she over-jumped the platform. Her feet touched down and she stumbled to her knees, very much alive.

"Don't stop! Keep going!" Hildr cried out as she floated to the platform. Sunset scrambled to her feet and she jumped to the next platform. With everything happening so quickly, Sunset didn't have time to second guess herself. She put those thoughts aside and jumped from platform to platform.

The last platform was a bit larger than she expected and Sunset sprinted as hard as she could to the edge. The platform started to glow and aided by adrenaline and fear, Sunset let out a shout and jumped as hard as she could. The instant she lifted off, the platform faded from existence.

She wasn't going to make it. Sunset realized she had mistimed her jump and she had reached the apex of her jump. Gravity was starting to take over and now she was going to fall to her death. Her breath caught in her throat as she desperately reached for the platform.

No! It can't end like this! I refuse to accept it! Sunset's mind raged. Time seemed to slow as she fell. Sunset stretched her arm until it felt like it was going to pull out of its socket. Sunset reached down into her magic and desperately tried to think of a spell, anything that could help her. At that moment, realization dawned on her. It was a gamble, since she had never attempted this particular spell since coming to the Human world, but it was her only chance.

Sunset tapped her magic and focused on the edge of the platform with all her might. Her salvation was so close, just tantalizingly out of reach. Sunset closed her eyes and concentrated as hard as she could. The spell was fighting her, probably because it had been so long. Sunset gave everything she had. The edges of her vision faded to white and everything became blurry for a moment.

Everything suddenly snapped back into focus and Sunset found herself terribly off balance and standing precariously on the edge of the platform. She started to panic as she started to fall backwards. Just as her foot slipped, Hildr reached out and grabbed her, pulling Sunset to safety.

"I got you," Hildr said and wrapped Sunset in her arms. "You're safe for now."

Sunset took in deep breaths to try and calm her racing heart. She was starting to come down off her adrenaline high and her body was shaking all over. Sunset choked out a sob and clutched Hildr tightly.

Hildr gently stroked Sunset's hair and waited for her to calm down. "That was very impressive. A teleportation spell?" she asked. Sunset nodded in Hildr's chest. "It reminds me of an ability some Hunters and Warlocks have called Blink."

Sunset pushed away from Hildr and wiped her eyes. "Thank you for saving me," she said.

"You did the hard part. I just helped a little at the end," Hildr said. She cocked her head to the side and asked, "So. Feel any different?"

Sunset frowned and looked down at herself. She was still "ponied up" as far as she could tell. "I don't think I understand what you mean," she said.

"It seems to me that you have just unlocked another ability you used to have," Hildr said. "You are slowly regaining your former abilities. I think you are more capable than you give yourself credit for."

Sunset let out a sigh. "It would be nice if I didn't have to face certain death to prove it thought."

Hildr shrugged. "As terrible as it sounds, self-preservation is a powerful motivator."

Fortunately, the rest of the way wasn't nearly as intense. They followed the path up a few ramps, around several corners and emerged out into a large flat rectangular area. At the far end was a large Vex portal. Several smaller ones ringed the perimeter. Like everything else, all the portals were dead.

"I hate to say it, but now what?" Sunset asked.

Hildr looked around. "We wait for our backup."

Fortunately, they didn't have to wait long. Hildr turned when she heard footsteps and saw a squad of six commandos. They all wore the same uniform; dark jump suit, soft sole boots, body armor and helmets. Each was holding a compact rifle and all were pointed at Hildr and Sunset. Sunset shrank back and hid behind Hildr.

"So. You're the squad sent by Agent Smith?" Hildr snorted.

One of the commandos stepped forward and said, "That's right ma'am. And we have orders to take both of you in to custody."

Hildr rolled her eyes. "Of course you do. At least you were polite enough to say so before shooting, unlike the last group."

The man tightened his grip on his weapon and the rest of the squad tensed up. "If you will not comply, we will be forced to take appropriate measures."

Hildr put her hands on her hips and shook her head. "Didn't Smith tell you guys anything? Why do you think you are here right now?"

"I can't answer that," the leader said. "This is your last warning. Drop your weapons and lie face down on the ground."

Hildr was quickly starting to lose her patience. "Oh, this just keeps getting better and better." She sighed and added, "I really don't blame you for reacting this way. It is a natural reaction upon learning that everything you thought you knew was a lie."

Rather than reply, the man signaled to his squad and they quickly surrounded Hildr and Sunset. Hildr turned to Sunset and asked, "How quickly can you activate the spell?"

"It won't take long," Sunset said. She looked around nervously at the squad members and put her hand over her bag.

Very carefully, Hildr reached up and put her helmet on. "I'll give you as much time as I can," she said. "Hopefully you're still fireproof."

"What?" Sunset exclaimed and quickly turned around.

Hildr's hand started to glow white with energy as she raised it above her head. Time to see if this still works, she thought. Since coming back through the mirror, the Magic wasn't as strong, but it was still there, intermingled with her Light. Hildr threw her hand down and pool of swirling energy appeared at her feet. Just as quickly, Hildr threw down her other hand and a sphere of burning energy surrounded her and Sunset.

The commandos immediately opened fire, but their bullets melted in the intense heat. The shards that managed to make it through pinged harmlessly off Hildr's armor.

Sunset started to panic and looked around wildly. "What is this? What did you do?" she asked.

"Focus!" Hildr said sharply. "I'm trying to keep them from killing us!"

Sunset quickly calmed down. Thanks to her own magic and the influence of Hildr's light, the intense heat was bearable. Sunset reached into her bag and pulled out the crystal shard. The purple flames danced hypnotically across its surface.

Sunset focused her magic in her hands and suddenly felt a rush of power as it interacted with the shard. The magic in the shard wanted to escape and Sunset struggled to keep it under control. Sweat dripped down her neck as she concentrated. When she was able to keep it stable, Sunset whispered the incantation for the spell.

Normally, an incantation wasn't necessary, but this was a high level and complex spell. Sunset focused the magic and concentrated on what she wanted it to do. The magic responded to her will and shaped itself accordingly. When she was ready, Sunset lifted the shard into the air and spoke the final line of the spell.

The crystal shard began to glow brightly and a wave of energy expanded outward. The sudden release of magic knocked the commandos back, snuffed out Hildr's fire, and caused the healing pool to wink out.

The commandos jumped to their feet and quickly regrouped. "What was that? What did you do?" the leader demanded.

Hildr looked around. "Hopefully we'll find out," she said.

The Citadel began to rumble and a low thrumming sound could be heard from deep within. The portals started to spark in the center before coming fully to life. Long, thin pieces of metal started to glow, providing illumination.

"Raven, start scanning for a conflux," Hildr said quickly.

"I'm doing the best I can while using your armor's systems," Raven replied. "I really don't feel like getting shot right now."

"Just hurry," Hildr said and faced the commandos. They looked around in awe and a bit of fear and kept their weapons pointed up. "Hey. Listen up," she said. All the commandos quickly pointed their weapons at her. "Could you not point those at me right now?" Hildr exasperated.

"Given the circumstances, I don't see why we should listen to you," the leader said.

Hildr glared at him. "Do you have a name or am I just going to have to call you Leader and his Group of Idiots."

The man lowered his weapon, just a tad. "The name's Captain Armor ma'am."

Sunset's jaw dropped. "Armor? As in Shining Armor?" she gasped.

Captain Armor frowned. "That's right. Do we know each other?"

"Nope. Not at all. We've never met," Sunset said hurriedly and played with her hair.

Not quite convinced, Armor turned back to Hildr. "Care to explain what this is all about?"

"Oh. So NOW you want to know?" Hildr exasperated. She threw her arms up and shouted, "Unbelievable! That Agent Smith is a hack and a stooge!" She whirled on Captain Armor and pointed her finger in his face. "Listen carefully to what I about to tell you, since that moron didn't do his job like I asked. Any minute now, a race of highly advance robots is going to start emerging from those portals."

Captain Armor glared at Hildr. "So is that your purpose? To invade our world with these robots?"

"Not in the slightest!" Hildr shouted. "I'm trying to use these portals to go home!"

Captain Armor pointed to the nearest portal. "They all appear to be working. Take your pick."

"I can't because I don't have the right access," Hildr growled. "I need a conflux, or remote terminal, to trick the portal into thinking I'm one of the robots."

Captain Armor stared at HIldr. "In all my time in the Royal Guard and Elite Forces, that is the craziest story I have ever heard."

"Oh really? Then how do you explain how any of this got here in the first place!" Hildr shouted. She turned to Sunset and asked, "Is this entire planet inhabited by morons?"

Sunset shrugged. "How should I know? I'm not from here remember?"

"Good point," Hildr said and turned back to Captain Armor. She took a deep breath to calm down. "Okay. This is how this is going to work. I need to find a conflux. You all," and she pointed to Captain Armor and the rest of his squad, "are going to keep the Vex busy by killing as many as you can as quickly as you can. Otherwise you'll be overwhelmed."

"What about me?" Sunset asked.

"You back them up," Hildr said. "You have Magic, plus the gun I gave you. Use that."

"Hildr, I've located an access terminal," Raven said over her helmet speakers. "It's not far. I'll mark it on your display." A white arrow appeared in Hildr's view. "Okay. The access point is located. You all take cover and kill anything that comes through." Hildr pointed around the corner. "I'm going to be right over there. If it gets too bad, give a shout." And with that, she ran off.

Captain Armor and his commandos watched her go, then slowly turned their attention to Sunset. Her eyes went wide when she noticed the looks they were giving her. She managed a nervous chuckle and a wave. "Hey guys. What's up?"

Hildr ran down the ramp and turned the corner. She followed the path back the way they had come and found the conflux. Unfortunately, a portal was close by. If any Vex appeared, Hildr would have no cover. Raven appeared over her shoulder. "I'll get right on this," he said and zoomed over to the conflux.

Hildr pulled her pulse rifle over her shoulder and checked the magazine. "You do that," she replied testily. "How long do you need?"

"Depends," Raven replied. "I'll go as fast as I can."

Hildr started to become antsy and her body tingled in anticipation. As if the gods wanted to oblige her, the portal flashed and two Vex Goblins appeared. Before they could take another step, Hildr gunned them down. "The Vex are here," she warned.

"Three minutes tops," Raven replied. "It's been a while since I've had to deal with this level of security, so I'm a bit rusty."

More Vex appeared and Hildr's rifle locked open as she fired the last bullets. She dodged a blast from a Hobgoblin as she reloaded and quickly closed the distance to the Hobgoblin. Before it could teleport away, Hildr swapped for her shotgun and blasted the Hobgoblin point blank. Before Hildr could move, she caught a blast square in the back and fell forward. She rolled over and stared up at a Minotaur with its foot raised over her head. Hildr continued her roll just as the Minotaur stepped down, missing her head by inches. From her back, Hildr unloaded the rest of her shotgun magazine into the Minotaur, turning it into scrap metal.

"A little help please?" Raven asked, his voice rising in panic. Hildr jumped to her feet and tossed a flaming ball of energy into the group of Goblins surrounding the conflux. It landed on the ground and quickly expanded into a small sun. The Goblins melted apart before they could move.

Hildr reloaded her weapons as she ran to the Conflux. She racked the shotgun before stowing it over her shoulder. "Is everything okay now?" she asked as she quickly checked her pulse rifle for damage.

"For the moment," Raven said. "You might want to pay attention to that though."

Hildr looked up as two Minotaurs ran toward her. Hildr let out a growl and ran to meet them.

Sunset ducked behind the wall as the energy beam from the Hobgoblin hit nearby, sending shards of hot metal everywhere. She looked around to see how Captain Armor and his commandos were faring. She had tried to warn them about the Vex as best as she could, but once they started showing up, the commandos learned pretty quickly.

Sunset peeked out again and saw a Minotaur stalking towards them. Her pulse quickened as she pulled out the sidearm and tried to remember what Hildr had taught her. Sunset steadied her shaking hands and pulled the trigger. The pistol cracked three times and the Minotaur's shield failed. It staggered briefly as its systems were overloaded. Captain Armor took the chance to pour bullets into the Minotaur and it dropped to the ground.

Sunset ducked behind her wall again and checked her bullets. She saw movement out of the corner of her eye and looked up in horror as a Hobgoblin had teleported behind them and was drawing a bead on one of the commandos.

"No!" Sunset shouted and thrust her hand out. She felt a draw on her magic and a fireball appeared and hit the Hobgoblin, interrupting its aim. It then turned its attention to Sunset and pointed its weapon at her. In a panic, Sunset raised her weapon and emptied the magazine. The Hobgoblin twitched from the impacts and fell to the ground and lay still.

Sunset blew out a deep breath and changed magazines with shaking hands. Captain Armor and his troops were disciplined and highly trained, but nothing could prepare you for an enemy you have never faced before. They were holding their own, but the Vex were starting to overwhelm them.

Sunset became frustrated. "What more can I do?" she asked out loud. He hand went to the pendant around her neck. "Everyone is counting on me, one way or another," she said. Sunset opened her eyes and a new fire burned brightly within. "I will not go down without a fight. Hildr would be disappointed otherwise." This thought brought a smile to her face.

Sunset's pendant began to glow and fire spread throughout her body. Captain Armor noticed a flash of light out of the corner of his eye and watched as Sunset's body began to glow bright red. Her outline slowly morphed and changed shape, and when the light faded, Sunset was wearing new clothes.

Sunset looked herself over in awe. She wore knee length leather boots with metal plating and black leggings. Her hips were covered with a short leather skirt that was open in the front and tied with a wide belt and buckle. A tight weave of cloth material and light armor plating covered her upper body. She wore elbow length gloves with light armor on her arms, leaving her hands free. Her hair was pulled back in a long pony tail and stuck through a hole in her metal helmet, along with her pony ears.

"Whoa. This is different," Sunset said in awe. An energy beam whizzed past her head, bringing Sunset back to reality. She quickly ducked and glared at the Hobgoblin that tried to shoot her. "I'm starting to getrealirritated with you," Sunset growled. She gripped her weapon in her hand and found herself wishing she had something with a little more impact.

Her Magic responded to her desire and her hand started to burn. Golden flames wrapped around the sidearm and changed it to a weapon that suited Sunset's needs. She raised her arm, pointed her golden gun at the nearest Goblin, and pulled the trigger.

There was no CRACK of bullets, but an angry WOOSH as streams of white hot flame shot forth like a laser and burned the Vex to ash. Sunset shifted her aim and disintegrated another Vex. Every time Sunset pointed her gun, a Vex burned. She focused on the Minotaurs since they posed the biggest problem.

Hildr had a quick moment to catch her breath and she watched Sunset's transformation and subsequent rampage against the Vex. There was an inherent beauty in the destruction. Sunset's body was enveloped in red energy and the golden gun flashed with each trigger pull.

"Look at that Raven. She's a natural Gunslinger. Ana would be proud," Hildr remarked.

"Oh? Do I detect a hint of pride in your voice?" Raven asked.

After a short pause, Hildr gave a quick nod. "I guess so."

"Good, because I'm done here," Raven said and disappeared. "We have what we need. We can go."

Hildr didn't waste any time and ran to rejoin the others. As she ran up the ramp, the large portal at the far end began to flash and send out waves of light. The remaining Vex crouched down and faded from existence.

Captain Armor kept his weapon raised and cautiously emerged from cover. "Is it over now?" he asked.

Sunset's golden gun faded and disappeared, leaving her feeling drained. She sighed and bent over. "I hope so," she muttered.

Hildr walked boldly out to the center and stood before the large Vex gate. "It's not over yet," she said.

Sunset stood up and groaned. Captain Armor and his troops checked their weapons. The portal flashed one more time, followed by a loud THRUM. A large wireframe shape appeared and the biggest Hydra Sunset had ever seen appeared. Granted, she had only seen one Vex Hydra before, but this one clearly outclassed the other.

"What is that?" Captain Armor shouted.

"An Axis Mind," Hildr replied defiantly.

"How do we kill it?" he asked.

"Shoot it. A lot," Hildr replied.

"We don't have enough bullets!" Captain armor replied angrily.

"We still have grenades," one of the commandos spoke up. Captain Armor glared in reply and pulled a grenade off his harness.

The Axis Mind looked around and turned its attention to Hildr. She stood alone before the giant Hydra, completely fearless. "Hi. You're in my way," Hildr said simply.

The Axis Mind replied with a barrage of loud, angry mechanical noises and opened fire with its powerful weapons.

Captain Armor and his troops started throwing grenades. Most exploded harmlessly against the Mind's rotating energy shield, but a few lucky ones rolled up underneath before exploding.

Hildr jumped up and floated above the Mind and emptied her shotgun against its unprotected head. The Mind rotated about and brought its guns to bear on Hildr and started shooting. Hildr dodged to the side and quickly fell to the ground. She tossed flaming balls of energy between the Mind's shields, lighting it on fire. It screeched in protest and moved away from the fireballs.

Sunset looked down at the small gun in her hand. She didn't think she had enough magic left to form the golden gun again, and she didn't want to use the crystal shard since she still needed the magic for the other spell. She made her way to Captain Armor and leaned against the wall. He noticed her and frowned. "What are you doing? Fight back!"

Sunset sighed. "Sorry. Just taking a quick breather."

"Well hurry up already," he said angrily and tossed another grenade. "None of us can afford to slack off against this thing if you want to make it out of here alive."

Taking advantage of their lapse in concentration, the Mind unleashed a barrage directly at Sunset and Captain Armor. Hildr swooped in and tackled them behind cover. Sunset curled up in a little ball as the constant stream of energy shook the ground. When it finally ended, Hildr picked herself up and angrily pulled Sunset and Captain Armor to their feet. "What's wrong with you?" she asked and smacked them both on the head. "Now is not the time for daydreaming!"

"I'm sorry," Sunset said. "All this fighting has drained a lot of my magic and made me really tired."

Hildr turned to Captain Armor. "What's your excuse?" Captain Armor shrugged and shook his head. A cry went out from one of the commandos and Hildr turned around to see one of them had taken a large piece of shrapnel through the leg.

"Let's go!" she said and rushed to the commando's side. She threw down a pool of healing energy and quickly went to work stabilizing the commando. Sunset stumbled inside the circle of light and felt a rush of energy. Her fatigue faded and she felt her magic being restored little by little. She looked up at the Mind and her brow furrowed. "I have a plan," she announced.

"Oh? This will be good," Hildr said as she wrapped the commando's leg.

Sunset rolled her eyes. "You have what you need to use the portal right?" she asked and Hildr nodded.

"Okay then. The plan is simple. We distract the giant Hydra and you go through the portal," Sunset said.

Hildr stopped what she was doing and stared stupidly up at Sunset. "Have you taken too many hits to the head?" she asked. "Do you need to sit down and let me look at you?"

Sunset crossed her arms and glared at Hildr. "Oh. You were serious," Hildr said.

"Of course I'm serious," Sunset said.

Hildr finished up with the wounded commando and patted him on the shoulder. She rose to her feet and faced Sunset. "Fine. We don't have time to argue. Do what you will." Hildr pulled her sword out and stepped out to face the Mind.

"Are you crazy? What are you going to do with just a sword?" Captain Armor asked.

Hildr didn't bother replying. She touched her Light and her body burst into flames. Captain Armor stared in shock as large golden wings appeared on Hildr's back and she jumped into the air. The Mind noticed her and started shooting. Hildr dodged the blasts and swung her sword. A string of fire appeared along the edge of the sword and lashed out at the Mind. With every swing, the fire from Hildr's sword made deep cuts in the Mind's metal skin.

Sunset watched carefully. The Mind was weakening, but it wasn't enough. They needed more power. Sunset reached into her bag and pulled out the crystal shard. It felt lighter than before and the purple flames weren't as vibrant. Sunset considered her next course of action very carefully. Hildr's healing pool had restored some of her magic, but she still needed more. This would be tricky. She needed to borrow magic from the shard, but still have enough left over for the spell.

Sunset shook her head. No time for doubts. With Hildr distracting the Mind, Sunset closed her eyes to concentrate. Like with the teleportation spell, she hadn't use this spell in a very long time. She pulled deep from her magic and gently touched on the shard. Little by little, Sunset shaped and formed the magic. She opened her eyes just as Hildr's Light extinguished. It was now or never.

Sunset completed the spell and thrust out with her hand toward the Mind. A tiny flicker of light appeared in its center. Sunset slowly clenched her fist and the tiny light began to grow and turn on itself. Sunset focused harder and raised her hand in the air. The light expanded outward and a shockwave nearly knocked everyone over. Sunset ignored this and kept her focus squarely on the Mind where a new sun had appeared. Deep gold and bright red swirled together at the center. The Mind screeched in agony as it attempted to escape the inferno, but Sunset kept it firmly anchored.

Severely damaged from Hildr's assault, the Mind had little defenses remaining against Sunset's starfire spell. Its outer protrusions melted into slag and fell away. The starfire quickly ate its way through the Mind's outer plating and into its core. Flames began shooting out of the gaps in the Mind's armor and its shield generators faded out. With one last cry of anguish, the rest of the Mind melted into liquid metal.

Captain Armor and his commandos could only watch in awe. What else was there for them to do? A new sun had been born into existence before their very eyes. Heat radiated off it in visible waves and Captain Armor could barely look at it. Sunset's face was a mask of pure concentration. She didn't blink and barely remembered to breathe. Like she told Hildr, fire is an animal that doesn't like being caged. Sunset couldn't let up for one second, or there could be disastrous consequences.

Hildr stood to one side and watched carefully. Sunset had indeed exceeded her expectations. Hildr was confident she would continue to grow and become a beautiful woman. Hildr felt a light pang of regret that she wouldn't be able to see it.

With the Mind defeated, Sunset allowed herself to relax, just a little. As she shifted her focus, the starfire began to contract and burn itself out. Sunset looked down at the crystal shard in her hand. Yes, it still had what she needed. Once again, Sunset held the shard in her hands as she chanted the incantation. Her voice echoed through the area, proud and strong. Hildr could only pick out bits and pieces, but she understood the gist of it. Squaring her shoulders, Hildr stepped around the rapidly cooling mass of metal that used to be the Axis Mind and approached the portal.

Sunset continued with the spell. The shard began to glow as the remaining magic surrounded her and lifted her into the air. Sunset poured everything she had left into the spell. What else was there? This was the end. Sunset's Empathy Touch activated and she saw her own memories of the past week, everything that had happened since meeting Hildr. She thought about her meeting with Princess Celestia and it filled her with joy. Her mind shifted to Hildr and conflicting emotions collided within her. At first she was upset and annoyed, then indifferent, and finally understanding. But now she felt a pang of sorrow. Sunset looked down and saw Hildr standing before the portal.

Her breath caught in her throat. So this was it. Sunset knew Hildr would have to leave eventually, but a small part of her hoped that there would be time for a proper goodbye. A small tear escaped her eye and fell down her cheek. No. This was the way it had to be. Hildr would settle for nothing less.

As if sensing her hesitation, Hildr looked up and locked eyes with Sunset. Sunset couldn't see her face through her helmet, but she imagined Hildr was content. She watched as Hildr turned back to the portal and pulled the sword off her back. She raised it into the air and stabbed it into the ground. After a short pause, Hildr tossed her head back and strode confidently through the portal. Sunset chanted the last line of the spell. The shard began to pulse and glow brightly with rainbow colors. Soon it became too bright to look at, forcing Sunset to squint her eyes. Then everything went white.

A week later, Sunset sat at home, listening to the radio and surrounded by her friends. The news anchor was talking about how scientists and engineers were sill baffled by the mysterious Aurora Borealis and momentary planet-wide black out the previous week. It was mostly agreed that a rare solar flare had caused a severe reaction with the planet's magnetic field. Sunset could only chuckle to herself. If only they knew.

Rainbow Dash and Apple Jack were playing a competitive video game with Fluttershy watching nearby. Rarity was engrossed in her latest fashion magazine, and Pinkie Pie was in Sunset's tiny kitchen making cookies. Twilight Sparkle (the human one) was sitting next to Sunset and reading a book while keeping an ear to the news. She sighed and shook her head. "You know, I don't by the whole, 'It was just a solar flare' excuse," she said.

"Why not?" Sunset asked.

Twilight pushed her glasses up on her nose. "I've been doing some research and my findings just don't add up. From what I've found, our sun was not active and displayed none of the signs that normally lead to an event. I think someone is trying to hide something."

"And what would someone be trying to hide?" Sunset asked, suddenly interested.

Twilight gave her a curious look. "Well for starters, around the time they are claiming the solar flare happened, my pendant activated and my magic suddenly spiked."

"Yeah, me too," Rainbow Dash spoke up. Everyone else nodded in agreement and stared expectantly at Sunset.

"What do you want me to say?" she asked with a shrug. "I had the same experience you all did."

Applejack glared at Sunset. "Somehow, I don't quite believe you," she said.

"Aw give it a rest AJ," Rainbow said and gave her a light shove. "You're just making excuses for me kicking your butt in this game."

Applejack turned to face her friend. "I ain't makin' excuses for nothin."

Rainbow rolled her eyes and crawled over to peek over Sunset's shoulder. "Whatcha workin' on?" she asked.

"Oh, just an idea I had," Sunset said and turned her sketchpad for Rainbow to see. "Whoa, that's so cool!" Rainbow exclaimed. "I didn't know you were an artist."

"I dabble from time to time," Sunset replied with a shrug. Rainbow grabbed the sketchbook and quickly read through the pages. "I'm really digging these character designs. And the action is totally

awesome! What's it about?"

"A time traveling space wizard from the future fighting against an endless enemy of evil robots who want to convert the universe into a giant machine, one planet at a time," Sunset said with suspense.

"Ooh, I got the chills!" Rainbow giggled. "What's it called?" She flipped to the front and read the title. "Valkyrie. So mysterious!"

"It's a work in progress," Sunset admitted sheepishly.

Rarity leaned over and glanced over the art. "I must say, the design for your Valkyrie character is most interesting. What was your inspiration?"

"I was thinking of a medieval knights and wizards look with a futuristic twist," Sunset explained. Actually, it's Hildr's armor as best as I can remember.

Rarity frowned and turned the book sideways. "Hmm. I'm not quite sure what I think, but it fits the character and narrative you've created."

"Thanks, I guess," Sunset said and took her book back.

Applejack pointed to the wall behind Sunset's couch. "I've been meanin' to ask, but where did you find that?"

Sunset looked where she was pointing and saw Hildr's sword hanging on her wall. "I found it in that specialty shop in the mall," Sunset lied. "When I saw it, it made me think of knights in armor fighting dragons and going on epic adventures. Actually, that's kind of how I got the idea for my story in the first place."

"Really? Because I thought it was because you got it from a strange lady that you met in the woods who came through a magic portal that wasn't the mirror from a dark and depressing future who only came here because she was fighting the bad robots and you took her to the pony Equestria to get a really powerful magic spell to beat the robots and send the strange lady back to her world," Pinkie Pie blurted out.

The rest of the girls just stared at her in shock. "Or not," Pinkie added and smiled as she stuffed a handful of cookies in her mouth.

Twilight slowly turned to face Sunset. "You'd tell us if something like that happened, right?" she asked.

Sunset chuckled nervously.

Dear Princess Twilight,

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while, but so much has happened that I don't know where to begin. I guess I should start with what happened after Hildr and I went back through the mirror. We ended up meeting with that government agent I met before and we…came to an understanding. Hildr and I then flew to the far continent to look for a Vex portal. We found one at the top of an enormous tower called the Citadel.

Before I go any further, I just want to tell you it worked Twilight! The Magic from the piece of crystal we got from the Fire of Friendship was more than enough for what we needed. I was able to use the spell from Princess Celestia and the Vex technology came to life. However, just as we feared, the Vex started coming through the portals. Hildr and I, along with some troops sent by the government managed to defeat them and Hildr went back through the portal. Don't worry, the other spell worked just fine and turned everything off again. I must say I was quite surprised to find the spell might have worked a little too well and caused a planet wide blackout. Oops.

Twilight, using the power from the Fire of Friendship was the most exhilarating and intense experience I've ever had. The time I temporarily borrowed my friend's Magic of Friendship to fight with my Twilight was nothing compared to this. It helped me harness my magic in ways I never thought were possible. I wonder if that's how Hildr feels when she uses her Light?

Speaking of Hildr, she is gone. To be honest, I am sad that she left. I understand why she did, but that doesn't make our parting any less painful. I find that interesting. I knew her for barely a week and at the time, I couldn't wait for her to be gone. But as I spent time with her, talked with her, and fought by her side, I feel like I came to understand her just a little bit. Although our time was brief, I learned a lot from her. Hildr showed me what can happen if we close our hearts and avoid relationships with others. The reason she pushed herself so hard was to hide the pain she felt from leaving those she cared about the most. Honestly, I don't blame her. With all the loss and terrible things she's experienced, how could you not close yourself off to avoid being hurt?

I believe that some relationships aren't meant to last. What I mean is, I think that there are people that we meet that are supposed to have a lasting impact on our lives. I think that's what Hildr was, not just for me, but for everyone she encountered while she was here. As much as you hate to admit it Twilight, you learned a thing or two from Hildr. I can only imagine what Princess Celestia and Luna think of her.

As for me, I feel…content. Hopefully the excitement will drop down to a more reasonable level. I don't know how much more I can take right now. Summer is supposed to be for relaxing, not running around with a stranger from the stars. School will be starting again soon and Pinkie is planning a beach trip to close out the summer. I can't wait. It should be a time to remember.

Anyway, it's getting late and I should get to bed. Using up so much of my magic has left me pretty exhausted these last few days. I'll talk to you later.

Your friend always,

Sunset Shimmer

The sky was a dreary and depressing gray. Thick clouds covered the sky and blotted out the sun. Off in the distance, a volcano sat belching smoke and noxious fumes into the sky. To make matters worse, it was raining. Of course, it was always raining on Venus, but that was beside the point. Not that it bothered the hunter. She sat on a block of square cut stone underneath a ledge that provided some shelter from the misting rain. She absentmindedly played with her knife as she stared at an old Vex portal.

Her Ghost hovered nearby. He was mumbling to himself and flitting about nervously. "Why are we here? Is this necessary? Are you sure this will work? What if a Vex patrol finds us? What if the Fallen find us? Oh dear." And on and on. It was starting to get on her nerves.

"Calm down before you make yourself sick," she said tiredly.

"I can't get sick. No Ghost can get sick," he replied and went back to what he was doing.

The hunter sighed. She'd been here for almost an hour already. If something didn't happen soon, she was going to get annoyed.

Finally, the portal started to spark and slowly came to life. The hunter put her knife away and sat up to watch. Her Ghost also ceased his ramblings and turned his attention to the portal. At first, nothing happened, but then a figure appeared and walked confidently out of the portal.

Hildr looked around and took note of her surroundings. It seemed that very little had changed since she first stepped through the portal. The sky was still depressing and the local vegetation seemed to have grown a little.

"Well. It seems something is finally going our way," Raven said as he appeared over her shoulder.

"Now we just need to figure out when we are," Hildr said.

"Yo. I can help with that," the hunter spoke up.

Hildr quickly turned and pointed her rifle in the direction of the voice. The hunter slowly stood and raised her hands above her head. "I would like it if you didn't shoot me," she said.

Hildr frowned and lowered her weapon. The hunter jumped down and slowly approached. Hildr noted her armor was mostly white and gray with blue piping. Her chest armor was an interesting design of symmetrical silver straps and buckles along the ribs. The hunter's cloak fell nearly to her feet and was attached at the neck with a wide collar. Her hood was pulled low to keep the rain off, but Hildr could see her faceplate was monogrammed with the Future War Cult symbol. "So. You are one of the cultists?" she asked warily.

The hunter nodded. "You could say that."

"What's your name Hunter? Why are you out here?" Hildr asked.

The hunter pointed her thumb at herself and said, "Name's Nyx, and I've been expecting you. We have a lot to catch up on."

Hildr was surprised. "You were expecting us? How?"

Nyx lowered her arms and put her hands on her hips. "The actual explanation would be too long and boring, but I'm here because The Plot demands it."

"What?" Hildr asked, clearly confused.

"Just come with me. Like I said, we have a lot to talk about. Much has happened while you were gone," Nyx said.

Hildr hesitated. She wasn't sure what to make of this mysterious Hunter. She and Raven shared a look.

"It can't hurt I suppose," Raven said.

Hildr sighed and stared long and hard at Nyx. "Very well. I will listen to what you have to say."

Nyx nodded and waved Hildr forward. When Hildr was several paces ahead, Nyx stopped and looked to the sky, as if staring past time and space. "This is where this story ends, oh reader mine. Perhaps in time, a new one will begin." Nyx then shook her head, as if clearing the cobwebs, and walked after Hildr.

Author's Note:

Hello everyone. Thank you for going with me on this interesting journey. I must admit, I wasn't sure how it would end when I started, so I hope it was somewhat satisfying. All I wanted to do was write an interesting story about space wizards and pastel talking ponies.

Comments ( 16 )

A story I'll be reading again and again. I hope to see another with Hildr and Sunset meeting again. I hope to see you again Hunter. Warlock out.:twilightsmile:

You have done well. Hopefully we will get a sequel.

As a big fan of Destiny, I can say that I definitely clicked on this story immediately the moment I saw it!

It's not often that I see Destiny fics on here, and even rarer for them to be finished. But to say the least this story was a wild ride, I seriously loved what you did with it as well as the special spins you put in both franchises!

Even though there's definitely errors in the story in terms of grammar and what-not, that stuff however is seriously dwarfed by how much I love what you did with it! The direction was fun and the overall plot had a satisfying conclusion (although a bit teasing too with Nyx).

Overall I'd like to thank you for the finished story, it was very satisfying to read and I appreciate the work you've done for it! If you ever plan to do a sequel, I can guarantee that I will immediately be there to check it out~

Wow. Thank you for your comment, that really means a lot.

Avatar The Last Airbender

Ah. I've never heard it called that before.

1. I usually just chuck a cluster grenade, does the job good
3. I mean like between the three, which exotic would you pick of you absolutely had to?

Between those three? Awesome space laser for sure.

Oh yes. Do you play Destiny 1 or 2?

Lit. Finally, actual fourth wall breaking, and it's at the end of the last chapter. What the fuck.

Mech-alicorn maybe? That or nothing happens. This is a hard one to call here.

Then Sleeper, Crimson, or Thunderlord?

Most Ganon V, Hawkwood-A, and Arc Edge.

It kinda gets glossed over a little in An Unusual Request when Nyx goes to Equestria, but I am of the opinion that nothing would happen to her since she is a mechanical being. The mirror only seems to affect organic life (ponies, people, dragons, etc.)

I would have loved to see an after credit scene where Shining Armor comes to pick up Twilight And see Sunset just hanging with his LSBFF

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