• Published 23rd Apr 2020
  • 814 Views, 44 Comments

Seeing the Light - SilverStar7

After a magical accident, Sunburst is in a parallel universe where he is betrothed to Twilight.

  • ...

A Curious Case

The hugging ponies both looked over at the new arrival. Starlight was not dressed up like they were. Instead of formal, she looked quite relaxed and pleased with herself. It took Sunburst a moment to register what Starlight was talking about, but he soon realized that she had to be talking about his—no, the other Starburst's—reaction to the upcoming wedding.

That said, he still didn't like the idea that his best friend thought he wasn't emotionally capable of handling the situation. Even if by "he" he meant a different version of himself. So he asked, defensively, "What made you think I would need a pep-talk?"

"Don't seem so surprised," Starlight said. "Sure, we all knew Twilight was gonna have a big freak out at some point, but she's been excited about this planning dinner for weeks. Planning keeps her calm, so I figured you were gonna be nervous now and she wasn't gonna go all cray-cray until the night before."

"I am not gonna go 'cray-cray' the night before!" said Twilight, pulling herself away from Sunburst. "I mean, sure, that was my modus operandi for a while there, but you know I've been getting better about that."

"Oh really? Then how do you explain rushing into your fiancé's embrace to have him console you?" Starlight asked, smugly leaning against the doorway of the room.

"This isn't about pre-wedding jitters," said Sunburst. "We've got a bigger problem on our hooves."

Starlight's expression immediately shifted from condescension to concern. "What's going on?"

"You see, Sunburst here—" Twilight stopped, now looking back at the stallion. "Hold up. Before we try to explain everything to Starlight, first thing's first: do you know who she is?"

Sunburst nodded. "I do. We were childhood friends in the other universe."

"Good. That's the same. And the brainwashing a whole village thing?"

"Also the same," said Sunburst. "So far, the only difference here seems to be with our relationship. I'll let you know if we run into anything else that I'm not familiar with."

"Please do," said Twilight. "Any little detail could prove important in figuring out how we get you back home."

"Did Sunburst just say something about another universe?" Starlight fully entered the room, trotting forward until she was standing just a few paces from the pair.

"Yes. This Sunburst is not the Sunburst you and I know. Or, he sort of is? Not exactly... The long-story-short version is that a magical accident sent him to our universe and our Sunburst—" Twilight stopped again. Her eyes clamped shut and she shivered.

Sunburst put a hoof on Twilight's withers. When he did so, she turned to him and put her muzzle into his shoulder. Sunburst then continued for her, "The Sunburst from this universe is missing now. Because the spell involved was experimental, I have no idea what happened to him. We might have switched places or maybe he's stuck in some sort of limbo. We don't have enough information to figure that out yet."

Then Sunburst proceeded to explain what had happened to him. He tried to keep in all of the most important details, but also not drag things out. He had a feeling that he was going to be telling this story a lot over the next few days, so it was probably best to try to pare things down where possible, lest he spend more time telling people about his problem than actually working to solve it.

As he explained, Sunburst tried to use Starlight's expression as a guide for how much information he should be providing, but he found that this wasn't very helpful. The confusion on her face was unwavering. No matter what details he gave, her brow remained knit. She also didn't make much eye contact with him, nodding along while looking at his suit or even looking at Twilight instead.

Sunburst was starting to get annoyed, thinking that she wasn't listening, but when he finished, Starlight immediately said, "So it sounds like what we need to do is get to the Crystal Empire to examine the Heart and look into the books you used to make the spell. We should probably also have Spike send a letter to Starswirl to see if he can meet us there."

Twilight pulled herself from Sunburst's shoulder and said, "I think you're right. We won't solve this problem from here. If the Crystal Heart is the source of this magic, it has to offer a solution too." She then said to Starlight, "Head down to the train station and get us three tickets to the Crystal Empire. Sunburst and I will go find Spike."

Nodding, Starlight blinked away in a flash of teleportation. Twilight ran out of the throne room shouting "Spike!" and Sunburst ran after her. A little ways down the hall, the two found the dragon walking out of the kitchen, wearing his apron and carrying a mixing bowl.

"What is it?" he asked, still stirring the contents of the bowl. "Need something else for your planning dinner?"

"That's not important right now," said Twilight

"Yikes!" Spike stopped stirring. "If planning isn't important to you, then obviously we're talking about something big. What happened?"

Twilight pointed at Sunburst, "This Sunburst is a version of himself from a parallel reality sent here via an experimental spell designed by Starswirl and using the power of the Crystal Heart. We need to travel to the Crystal Empire to see if we can send him back and you need to send a letter to Starswirl asking him to meet us there."

Setting down his bowl on a nearby table, Spike gave a salute. "On it! I'll let Starswirl know what happened and I'll explain everything to the girls when they come for the dinner."

Trotting forward, Twilight threw her forelimbs around her Number One Assistant. "Thank you, Spike."

Sunburst, on the other hoof, was dumbfounded. It was like all of the careful thought that he put into explaining things first to Twilight and then to Starlight was for nothing. When the pair broke apart he asked, "Spike, how were you able to process all that so quickly?"

The dragon chuckled. "Do you realize how many comic books I read? Alternate universes are a bit a bushel in those. Besides, compared to everything else we've been through, this isn't that big of a deal. Even including breaks, I'm sure you guys'll probably have it figured out in, like, 30 minutes."

"Huh. Guess you gotta know your audience," said Sunburst.

At that moment, Starlight reappeared, three tickets held in her magic. "Okay, good news bad news: There's a train leaving shortly, but by shortly I mean, right now!"

"Then we don't have a choice," said Twilight.

The two mares looked at Sunburst with worried expressions.

He looked back and forth between the pair. "What?"

Immediately, Twilight put a hoof around Sunburst. "Sorry, Sunny. I know you hate this." Then there was a bright magenta flash.

Suddenly finding himself on Ponyville's train platform, Sunburst wobbled as he took a step forward, almost falling over if not for Twilight and Starlight holding him up. His ears rang with a high pitch whine. His insides churned and he tasted gastric acid in the back of his throat. He clamped shut his eyes, both in the hopes of calming his stomach and to keep out the sunlight that was both blinding him and giving him a headache.

"Come on, the train is this way," one of the others said. Sunburst felt a hoof press into his side and he began to move in the opposite direction. He dared to open one eye, but even then, everything before him was a blur. Sunburst put a hoof to his muzzle to confirm that he was still wearing his glasses. He saw a group of multi-colored blobs, mostly pink, and figured that that was the train. The fact that there were no voices telling him to change direction confirmed this.

"Okay, big step up," said Twilight as they crossed onto the train car. Sunburst was quickly pushed onto one of the seats and Twilight sat next to him.

Starlight took a seat opposite the pair. "Hold him steady," she said. "The train's about to start moving."

Sunburst felt forelimbs around him again. He was about to say that he was starting to feel better, but when the train began its acceleration, all of the sickness he was feeling a moment before returned with a vengeance. Instead of saying anything, he moaned his displeasure.

"I'm so sorry," said Twilight, gently rubbing his back. "I know you get really bad teleportation sickness."

Well I didn't know that, Sunburst thought. As far as he could remember, he had never teleported before, having never mastered the spell himself. Apparently, in this reality, Twilight occasionally felt the need to bring him along for the ride, leading to the discomfort he was currently feeling. That meant that Sunburst had another difference with this reality to report. Once he didn't feel like the train car was doing loops anymore, of course.

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