• Published 16th Feb 2019
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Equestria Girls: Duel Monsters - Night-Quill



Twilight Sparkle's crown, the Element of Magic, has been stolen. She must now pursue the wayward Sunset Shimmer into a new world. A world where a dark magic lurks beneath the notice of its inhabitants, within a most peculiar game unlike any other...

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Duel #21: Ultimate Miracle! Magic of Friendship

Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 1400

Sunset Shimmer’s field
Monsters:
Archfiend’s Ascent (Rank 6, 3000/1200) Attack position, Overlay units: 1
Archfiend’s Call (Level 6, 3000/1200) Attack position
Archfiend’s Manifestation (Level 6, 3000/1200) Attack position

Spells/Traps:
-

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 3400

Twilight Sparkle’s field
Monsters:
Downerd Magician (Rank 4, 3000/200) Attack position, Overlay units: 3
High Priestess of Prophecy (Level 7, 2800/2100) Attack Position

Spells/Traps:
Magicians’ Defense (Continuous Trap)
Spellbook Star Hall (Continuous Spell, 3x Spell Counters)
Facedown

The crackling sphere careened towards Priestess with a scream, the pink-haired caster holding her arms out in front of her in the vain attempt at trying to block the incoming attack.

“Continuous trap, activate!” Twilight responded in haste, “‘Safe Zone!’” A blue dome composed of hexagonal segments materialized over Priestess, the projection looking back at Twilight in relief. “Safe Zone takes one attack position monster on my field and makes that monster immune to destruction from battle and card effect, but it can’t attack directly.”

But you still take damage.

The purple lightning from Archfiend’s Manifestation’s attack coalesced into an arc racing around the Safe Zone barrier, which then shot out at Twilight in a straight line, hitting her square in the sternum. Though the damage still being halved due to Magicians’ Defense, the jolt to her system sent a burning sensation that made her gasp for breath. As before, her vision became overtaken by whiteness.

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 3400 – 100 = 3300

-

“Hurry up already!”

Twilight witnessed another familiar moment, just two days ago, seeing and hearing the world through her past self: Flash Sentry stood across from her, the two of them parallel at the side of the soccer field, with a familiar silver armored warrior in front of him, its back lined with a series of various blade while wielding a bladed polearm.

“Is this like her first duel or something?”

“Did she seriously challenge Flash Sentry with a deck she doesn’t even know how to use?”

“She couldn’t even turn on her duel disk from the looks of it…”

“I summon ‘The Fool of Prophecy’ in attack mode,” Twilight watched as she summoned her first ever monster in a duel, before the memory faded.

-

Twilight barely had enough time to regain her bearings as the entity within Sunset pointed a claw towards Priestess again, “Archfiend’s Call will now attack High Priestess!

The tuning ring suspended between the blue demon’s wings coalesced the white electricity coursing from its horns (ATK: 3000) into a beam that launched at Priestess again (ATK: 2800), striking the segmented forcefield, but failing to pierce and get at her. Instead the beam split around the barrier and struck Twilight on both shoulders. As the pain coursed through her body, her mind was once more overcome.

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 3300 – 100 = 3200

-

This time Twilight found herself back in Applejack’s bedroom, during her first night in the human world, when the two of them were talking over the destroyed friendships and relationship between Applejack and Rarity.

“So then… you were friends,” Twilight stated, “I just don’t understand-”

“More than just friends, some of us. Her name’s Rarity. We all knew each other way back from grade school. But her and me, we were always pretty close…”

Applejack leaned forward, elbows to her knees with the picture frame in hand, “She’s all about fashion an’ designin’ things and lookin’ pretty, while Ah’m just a simple to-the-point, roughin’-it country gal. But we understood each other. Ah’ve relatives livin’ in Manehatten, the Oranges. Now, we don’t see ‘em very often, just on those few rare occasions. Anyway, they’re these very uptight, prim and proper, ya know? We don’t get along…”

“Now Rarity; on the outside, she wants to be the definition of classy,” a chuckle escaped Applejack’s lips, looking back down at the phot, “But she also understood me, and Ah just couldn’t help but admire that about her… We always supported each other, helped one another when needin’ help…”

“So you…”

“Yea. Ah loved her…”

“What happened?”

“Ah found out she was cheatin’ on me… With Rainbow Dash,” she uttered the name in utter contempt.

“What makes you say-”

“Twilight, just…” the sigh followed, “Ah know you’re tryin’ to help. Really, Ah do. But that’s just how it is. Sometimes people aren’t the way you thought you knew ‘em. Ah’ve accepted that, an’ so should you.” She shut the photos in the nightstand draw, “There’s a towel set out for you in the bathroom. Just… Ah need to be alone now.”

-

She gasped again, the strain of back-to-back physical and mental attacks beginning to get to her. And she knew her foe still had one attack remaining.

Archfiend’s Ascent attacks Priestess!

Black lightning coursed through the thorny demon’s form as it spread its arms out. In a rattling roar, it lunged forth with its head, sending a trail of black bolts racing across the ground, a series of small combustions following in its wake before a large explosion erupted around Priestess’ shielded form. Twilight’s form was pelted with small stray bolts that still burned through her nerves, unable to resist as her mind once again became enveloped.

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 3200 – 100 = 3100

-

“Applejack… Is it true?”

Twilight found herself yesterday when she and Fluttershy had lured Applejack and Rarity onto the rooftop of CHS, the site where she would come to rekindle the love between the two.

“That photo of us from out of junior high? The card I gave you as a present for your birthday? Twilight told me you still have those. On your nightstand.”

“It… I… Twilight, I told you not to get involved with-”

“Applejack! Whether or not Twilight put you up to this or not, just answer me honestly! Is it true?”

“Why should I even answer that when you’re the one who went all gropey with Dash?!”

“What?!” Rarity exclaimed in response, “I did nothing of the sort!”

Applejack presented the now proven edited photograph through her cellphone, the one made to look much lewder than the genuine intentions portrayed.

“This isn’t true! Applejack; whoever sent you this, they’re lying! I waited for-”

-

On awakening, Twilight felt a pang of pain rush through her head, enough to err her balance.

Love: Such a strong emotion, a conviction most noble, and yet how easily it breaks,” the entity chuckled. “Then sets in the despair of heartbreak from such betrayal. Even what means to bring you such joy, is but a folly teetering on the edge.

Twilight made ready to retort, only to cringe in a particularly potent tinge of pain racking her body, “And yet it can rekindle, just like they proved it.”

And who’s to say when the two of them break each other’s hearts again, just like how easily Sunset broke them with a fanciful sleight of hand,” she smiled arrogantly, looking over her nose towards Twilight with those red, slitted eyes. “My turn is over. Do you really think your convictions can endure the truth?

(Hand: 0)

Turn 9: Twilight Sparkle (Hand: 1)

Twilight drew her next card. Nothing to make use of this turn, so she would have to make use of the tools on her field, “I activate Priestess’ effect: By banishing Spellbook of the Master from my graveyard, I destroy Archfiend’s Manifestation! Lexicon Designator!”

Just when Twilight believed she had the upper hand, her triumph was short lived as white lightning arced over Archfiend’s Manifestation’s form, and the emerald flames were repelled.

Archfiend’s Call prevents any ‘Summoned Skull’ monster from being targeted by card effects.

“Damn, that means Twilight has to destroy one of her own cards now…” said Rainbow with a wince.

“But which will she choose?” asked Fluttershy. “All five cards on her field serve some form of purpose: Downerd Magician is her strongest monster, Magicians’ Defense protects her from damage, Star Hall empowers her, and Safe Zone keeps Priestess safe.”

“No matter what she picks, it’s gonna be tough…” Rainbow agreed.

“I choose… Downerd Magician,” Twilight looked sadly at the disheveled mage, “Please, forgive me.”

The mage looked to Twilight in reciprocation, when she was evaporated by the green fire.

“Why did she choose her?” asked Rarity in confusion.

“At this point I activate Stoic ;f Prophecy’s effect which was one of Downerd’s overlay units;” Twilight declared as she slid Downerd’s and her three overlays into the graveyard slot, “when he’s sent to the graveyard, I can add one level three or below ‘Prophecy’ from my deck to my hand. I choose ‘Fool of Prophecy,’ who I then normal summon.”

The yellow garbed sorcerer emerged onto the field, once again in a lax posture resting his scepter against a shoulder, chewing on the twig in his mouth. (Level 3, 1600/900 -> 1900/900)

“Once per turn,” as Twilight spoke, she chose a card from her deck, having one ejected into her hand, only to be slid into the graveyard slot, “With Fool I can send one ‘Spellbook’ spell card from my deck to the graveyard, and switch Priestess to defense mode (DEF: 2100). To which I end my turn.”

“Oh! Ooh!” Pinkie cried out, needlessly too enthusiastic given the situation, “I remember this part!”

“During my end phase, if I activated Fool’s effect, and I have five or more ‘Spellbook’ spell cards in my graveyard,” the duel disk projected a row of all Spellbook’s currently in Twilight’s graveyard; Eternity, Knowledge, Fate, Power, Spellbook Organization, Library of the Heliosphere, and Library of the Crescent, the last having been sent by Fool’s effect, “I can special summon one level five or higher dark spellcaster from my deck.”

Fool held aloft his scepter, the head of which erupted into a dazzling display of nearly blinding light. The yellow-robed sorcerer vanished, the light remaining, only for it to turn a cold white, when it suddenly inverted and coalesced into a swirling darkness. A great, silvery scythe flung itself from the dark, embedding itself to the floor by the blade, followed by its owner, the darkly dressed, gender ambiguous Reaper of Prophecy. The grim spellcaster gripped their weapon and tugged it loose, an ominous red glint emanating from underneath their cowl, while the wicked blade of their scythe elongated with a cold, blue extending beam. (Level 6, 2000/1600 -> 2300/1600)

“‘Reaper of Prophecy’s’ effect are determine by the number of ‘Spellbooks’ in my graveyard. My total is seven, meaning all three effects go into effect; increasing their attack by 600, allowing me to add a ‘Spellbook’ to my hand,” her deck shuffled, and her new card was ejected, “and I can special summon a level five or higher spellcaster from my deck! Come forth, ‘Wheel of Prophecy!’”

Reaper swung forth their empowered scythe, embedding it in the very air and pulled, tearing a swirling portal of darkness. With a bestial roar, the towering, anthropoid lion that was Wheel of Prophecy leapt forth, landing on all fours like the very beast it mirrored, before standing tall beside its comrades like a man. Holding aloft a muscular arm, his wheel-shaped shield came spinning from the void up above, the beastman with impossible agility caught it with its straps affixing it to its arm. (Level 8, 2700/1700 -> 3000/1700)

“When Wheel of Prophecy is special summoned by the effect of a spellcaster, I can return as many banished ‘Spellbooks’ to my deck and graveyard. I return Spellbook of the Master back into my deck.”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 10: Sunset Shimmer (?) (Hand: 0)

I see; you sacrificed Downerd Magician just to get Stoic into the graveyard to summon Fool for his effect,” the entity reiterated with muted intrigue. “Your propensity for planning is remarkable, alicorn. You very well might be the mightiest mortal yet to delve into a Game of Darkness yet.

“I understand well enough that you’re afraid of me, spirit,” Twilight replied calmly. “Or rather, the fact I’ve been able to overcome you with the deck me and my friends perfect together.”

The entity scoffed, “A deluded boast,” she claimed as she drew her next card. “I set one card, then I attack Reaper of Prophecy with Archfiend’s Manifestation!

Focusing the electricity surging through its body into its grafted arm, the red demon (ATK: 3000) launched a dark projectile at the kneeling Reaper (DEF: 1600), the darkly dressed sorcerer being obliterated in an instant. However, being in defense mode prevented Twilight taking further damage, therefore her mind and body were able to gain some relief for the moment.

I end my turn.

(Hand: 0)

Turn 11: Twilight Sparkle (Hand: 3)

The moment Twilight drew her next card, the previously set card unveiled itself, “I activate the trap card; ‘Heavy Storm Duster’. This trap allows me to destroy up to two spell or trap cards on the field. Therefore,” she pointed at Twilight’s field, “I destroy Safe Zone and Spellbook Star Hall!

A pair of twisters erupted from underneath the specified cards, Twilight, and everyone in the vicinity, needing to shield themselves from the violent updraft, was forced to watch as the two cards flew off the ground and shattered into tiny golden specks. Priestess watched is shock as her form faded from the field too, an unfortunate side-effect of Safe Zone.

Your partner is defeated, and now your monsters lack the support of Star Hall. Once again, you only delayed the inevitable outcome, alicorn.

Twilight said nothing as she slid Priestess’ card into the graveyard, “When Star Hall is destroyed, I can add a spellcaster-type monster with a level equal or less to the number of Spell Counters that were on it from my deck to my hand,” a card was ejected. “To battle! I attack Archfiend’s Manifestation with Wheel of Prophecy!”

“Wait, did she-?!” Rainbow just managed to ask when Wheel of Prophecy (ATK: 2700) tossed his giant shield like a discus towards the red demon (ATK: 3000). “Holy shit! She said it!” she nearly shrieked, pulling on her hair in a fit of panic.

“Quick-Play Spell! ‘Forbidden Scripture’!” Twilight interjected, swiftly inserting a card into her duel disk. “When my monster battles, all other effects on the field are negated, and the monsters battling have their attack and defense points reduced to their original values!”

What?!

The shield cleaved clean through the sinewy demon (ATK: 2500). Its jaw hung agape, looking as if nothing happened, when in a delayed reaction the cut ran diagonally from its left shoulder to its groin, and the two halves split apart before shattering. Before the entity possessing Sunset could react, the shield flew back in an arc like a boomerang, nicking at her left shoulder. She snarled in anger, when she and Twilight were once more shown a vision from the past.

Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 1400 – 200 = 1200

-

Twilight this time found herself in a room most familiar; the grand lecture hall in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, with its arcing three-tiered seating, each spot occupied by a representative of the best and the brightest of Equestria’s unicorns. There on the bottom tier between three other unicorn mares, sat Sunset Shimmer, her portion of the table stacked with three tomes, along with a journal, listening intently to the middle-aged lecturer, going over the principles pioneered by Clover the Clever.

“… And that is how Clover the Clever perfected her protection spell. We’ll be working on similar spells today! So please take out your notes and find a partner.”

Sunset looked to one of her fellow students to her left, smiling in anticipation, when the unicorn vanished in a puff of magical residue and reappeared to Sunset’s right, next to one of the other students. Sunset looked to the empty seat, disappointed.

“You should try to make some friends.”

In a flash, Twilight was in Celestia’s throne room, nearing the dusk, with the evening sun beaming in through the stained-glass windows lining the grand structure as the only illumination. At the base of the platform leading to where only one throne currently stood, was Sunset Shimmer, looking to the seated Celestia in uncertainty.

“But… why?”

“Because… friends bring happiness.”

“I’m happy when I do magic.”

Celestia walked down from her throne, bidding the yellow unicorn to walk with her, “But why do you do magic?”

Sunset seemed to contemplate on the princess’ query for a long moment as they walked down the great hall, before finally responding, “To do good things?”

“But for who? You need to make some friends, Sunset.”

“I couldn’t just tell her… That to do good things, my first and foremost, was to fix the greatest mistake I ever made.”

-

The entity held her nicked shoulder in pain, glaring at Twilight accusingly. “Wishing to make right the one greatest mistake, only to be held back from that goal, over something so meaningless as friends,” she said with a mocking sneer, despite losing its advantage. “Is that the mark of a loving mentor? Or a glorified jailer?

“I understand…” she winced from the strain, “Sunset’s goals. But no such magic exists, for it would disturb the balance of order.”

Coming from someone in a realm where you already sin against much of the natural world around you,” the entity scoffed. “A world where magic can fix just about any issue, and yet one of the few things your kind refuse to even touch upon. Are you certain such power doesn’t exist? Or that your beloved mentor wants you to think it doesn’t?” She grinned maliciously, “It seems you are so bidden to Celestia, that you refuse to even acknowledge how she holds your shackles; her little playthings.

Twilight was not going to give the parasite the satisfaction, “Princess Celestia has reigned for a thousand years; she carries a burden unlike any other that a pony could hope to. She’s had to make difficult choices, perhaps more than any other ruler known in our world and this one.”

No matter how much you wish to deny the hypocrisy of your wannabe goddess, she will continue to use you, until you become unpleasant in her eyes, just as she did with Sunset.” She swept forth with an arm, “I activate Archfiend Manifestation’s effect; when destroyed, I can special summon from my hand, deck or graveyard one Summoned Skull!

In a flash of purple light, the original sinewy demon emerged onto the field, kneeling down with its wings covering the sides of its body. (Level 6, 2500/1200)

“Without Manifestation, your Archfiends’ attack points go back down to their base values.”

And I assume you are under the false hope I cannot power through your monster with their attack points decreased, yes?” the entity raised a daring brow.

Twilight looked over her hand: The destruction of Star Hall had added Justice of Prophecy to her hand, but without a different Spellbook, Spellbook of Life could not be used, and Effect Veiler would do no good on the field. “I set one card and end my turn.”

(Hand: 3)

Turn 12: Sunset Shimmer (?) (Hand: 0)

My turn,” a smile of dark confidence stretched onto the entity’s face, her pupils distending in a disturbing fashion. “I drew a nice card this time; one I’m certain you yourself remember…” she casually tossed the newly drawn card to the floor, before its grim image appeared for all to see, “‘Card of Demise’.

“That’s the one that lets her draw three cards,” Fluttershy noted from memory.

“As long as she discards her whole hand at the end of the turn and Twilight won’t take damage,” Rainbow nodded in confirmation.

The entity drew thrice, picking up all three cards in one go with impressive dexterity and finesse despite the gangly claws. “I set all three cards in my hand. My turn has concluded,” she declared, dropping all three cards to the ground which then grew into the size of the usual projections.

(Hand: 0)

“It’s just like last time she… I mean Sunset… I mean…” Pinkie threw her hands into the air, “Augh forget it…”

Turn 13: Twilight Sparkle (Hand: 3)

So now the question is if one, two or all three of them are trap cards, Twilight pondered as she drew her next card. I drew Spellbook of Wisdom! If I attack and she activates a trap, I can make my Wheel of Prophecy immune from them for one turn. Of course, there’s also the question on whether or not she’ll use Archfiend’s Ascent’s effect to negate their destruction: If I attack Archfiend’s Call, which is imperative for its ability to make them immune to targeting effects, she will definitely try to protect it.

Twilight stood in contemplative silence, weighing her options. If she attacked and set off a trap, she could protect Wheel of Prophecy, or she could use Spellbook of Life to resurrect Priestess and use her to destroy one of the set cards, and should whatever was controlling Sunset use a trap against Priestess’ summoning, she could use Spellbook of Wisdom to protect her. The problem was that Priestess’ attack points were even with each Archfiend, and with no Safe Zone to protect her this time…

“I activate the equip spell ‘Spellbook of Life,’ by revealing another ‘Spellbook’,” she pressed Spellbook of Wisdom to her duel disk screen, “and banishing a spellcaster-type monster from my graveyard,” Stoic of Prophecy was ejected, “I can special summon another spellcaster from my graveyard and equip it with this card. The monster I choose is Reaper of Prophecy!”

The violet tome that was the Spellbook of Life appeared spinning onto the field, opening its cover to emit a soothing violet light onto the field, the light coalescing into the shape of the grim sorcerer, the eerie red glint emanating from under their cowl and their scythe elongating once more. (Level 6 -> 7, 2000/1600)

“I still have enough Spellbooks in my graveyard to activate all three of Reaper’s effects: I add ‘Spellbook of Power’ from my deck to my hand, and special summon ‘Prophecy Destroyer!’”

Reaper (ATK: 2000 -> 2600) once again sunk their scythe into the fabric of reality itself, tearing a hole into the very air. From up above, a familiar, giant flaming sword plunged into the ground. From the tear reached forth a smoldering grey arm, grasping the hilt of the weapon as the demon warrior that was Prophecy Destroyer dragged itself from within. Taking a swipe forward with his weapon, the sword igniting in flames. (Level 6, 2500/1200)

“I then activate ‘Spellbook of Power’ on Prophecy Destroyer, increasing his attack points by 1000!”

“Alright! Kick ‘er ass, Twi!” cheered Applejack pumping a fist.

Counter trap, activate: ‘Dark Illusion’!” the entity unveiled one of the three set cards, depicting a dark wraith-like being, which expelled a dark mist. “This negates a card effect targeting a Dark attribute monster and destroys it.” Said mist wafted over the projection of Spellbook of Power, which seemed to corrode and fade away.

Twilight suppressed a frustrated grunt, “Very well; I’ll attack Arcfiend’s Ascent with Reaper of Prophecy!”

Reaper’s eye glinted in an ominous air about him (ATK: 2600) as his form faded. In but a moment the reaping sorcerer appeared behind Archfiend’s Ascent (ATK: 2500), the great scythe poised to strike. In what might have been but a blink; a flash of steel, followed by Reaper appearing back on Twilight’s field, the scythe held behind as if following a strike that never came. As expected, the last remaining overlay unit vanished from around the dark purple demon.

By removing an overlay unit, my Archfiend’s Ascent is not destroyed.

“But you still take damage.”

The entity wearing Sunset’s body retched forward when a cold blue outline cut across her body, forcing her to cross her elongated arms over her chest, her veiny face contorting in pain. Even with but a measly 100 points of damage, the two were forced to once again view the past…

Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 1200 – 100 = 1100

-

“How can I make myself some friends?”

“Well… You talk to them. You make jokes. You have fun. You do things together. You just become friends with them.”

Twilight this time found herself in the meadows within Canterlot’s royal grand garden; as if a great expanse of the wilderness was simply plucked out and placed within the confines of the castle; teeming with trees, remarkable flora, and teeming with a plethora of various animals not usually found in the locality of Canterlot. In one of the outlying thickets, Twilight saw Sunset spying on two unicorns who Twilight had seen in the memory of the lecture, laying down on the grass in the evening sun, deep in conversation. Sunset propped a forehoof against the trunk of the tree she was currently hiding behind, looking absolutely perplexed on how to approach.

The golden yellow unicorn reached out in a tentative effort to wave at the two, her mouth opening to call out… but no voice ever came. Her lips simply moved as if speaking with no sound, her brow wrinkling apprehensively, before scooting back completely behind the tree. She mouthed something in silence, seeming to look for the right things to say, the right things to do, but for whatever reason, she could not muster them. She turned tail and ran further into the thicket, out of sight, out of mind.

-

Twilight gasped as her nerves reconnected her consciousness to her body, shaking her head to clear out the dream-like fog from her vision, before turning her attention towards Archfiend’s Call, intent on ridding the field of it at least, “I attack Archfiend’s Call with Wheel of Prophecy!”

The lion warrior (ATK: 2700) revved back his muscly arm and tossed his great shield at the blue demon (ATK: 2500), when another card on her foe’s side unveiled itself.

Trap card: ‘Hate Buster’! When a fiend-type monster on my side is attacked, this card destroys both monsters and you take damage equal to your monster’s attack points!

This one Twilight was ready for, “Quick-play spell; ‘Spellbook of Wisdom’! I use it to make Wheel of Prophecy unaffected by traps this turn!”

The entity snarled in frustration when a green aura surrounded Wheel of Prophecy, protecting it from the effects of Hate Buster, now rendered useless. The wheeling shield cleaved through Archfiend’s Call, to which the tuning ring between its wings shattered and the creature collapsed before falling apart. The shield grazed her left arm, a pained growl projecting from her lips when more of the past was unveiled.

Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 1100 – 200 = 900

-

“Friendship is not easy, Sunset.”

They were back in the throne room, Sunset Shimmer this time being right below Celestia up the platform leading to the Princess of the Sun’s golden throne.

“But why? You want me to fail again?!” Sunset looked upon her mentor with clear indignancy in her eyes.

“I don’t think anypony would be incapable of making friends,” said Celestia, her face remaining calm, almost serene, despite her students forward displays of frustration.

“But what am I doing wrong?!” the unicorn plead. “I’m acting nice. I try to be friendly and… nothing works!”

Celestia raised a strangely humored brow, “You’re telling me you can figure out the fundamentals of magic, but simply friendship is too hard for you?” Celestia clearly meant no ill will with her remark, when Sunset herself looked clearly abashed. The alicorn reached out with a forehoof and gently stroked Sunset’s mane, “I’m sure you will figure it out.”

Sunset stifled a saddened sniff, “Is… Is this an order?”

Celestia pulled back her hoof, “Yes. And until you figure it out, I don’t want you in the library.”

Sunset’s eyes darted up in absolute shock, before humbly lowering her gaze, an evident display of submission to the alicorn Princess’ decree.

“I couldn’t waste time. I had to become stronger. She closed off my avenue to greatness. What was I supposed to do?”

-

Twilight found herself almost collapsing again from the repeated forays in and out of her body, the sounds of Celestia’s declaration of barring Sunset from the library ringing in her ears. Throughout her time as the Princess’ protégé, never had Celestia barred her entry from the library, nor access to her books. Perhaps a needlessly stringent punishment, even by Celestia’s standards, even if her heart was undoubtedly in the right place… Like the mournful night she had to punish someone else most dear to her.

Do you not see it yet, alicorn?” the entity called out, one of her slitted eyes visibly twitching, Twilight thinking she saw a single vein creep up her cheek, “How she got in the way of Sunset’s goals, almost as if she were afraid. And yet here you are; ascended to the very status Sunset yearned for. Tell me; how often did she shackle you when you displeased your posturing goddess?

Twilight frowned, sighing in reluctant admittance that Celestia, arguably, had favored her in some regards, “I used to be like Sunset myself; only striving for knowledge for the sake of knowledge. When she sent me to Ponyville to oversee the Summer Sun Celebration preparation, I was furious, but in the end, it not only ended up in saving Equestria from the return of Nightmare Moon, but I also learned… that one could not go about life on their own for their own sakes.”

A cackle permeated the gymnasium, the entity glaring at Twilight with a contorted grin, “And yet she still used you for her own ends; unwilling to lift a hoof to fix her own mistakes!

“How would you even-?”

She tapped her forehead, bone clicking against bone as her gnarled claw tapped against the bony sun crest protruding through the skin of her forehead, “When Sunset inadvertently let me in; I gained access to her memories. Unlike you, there were some secrets Celestia was willing to reveal to her. The tyrannical sun god who banished her sister to the moon a thousand years ago when she dared speak out. Why do unicorns like you draw her interests? The desire to teach young minds?” she laughed in mockery. “Hardly. You, Sunset and all who came before you throughout the millennium; you are just tools for Celestia. She knew that one day her sister’s banishment would come to an end, and she needed able marionettes to pick up that which she could no longer wield,” she pressed a hand against the star of the crown ingrained to her ‘hair’.

Twilight growled, her patience beginning to wear thin at the parasite’s ceaseless mockery, “I attack Archfiend’s Ascent with Prophecy Destroyer!”

Before you do, Archfiend’s Call’s effect activates: I special summon one of my Summoned Skulls from my graveyard!” the remains of Sunset’s duel disk ejected a card, which the entity picked up and dropped to the floor, the card conjuring up a second Summoned Skull to the field. (Level 6, 2500/1200)

Alighting his sword in fire (ATK: 2500), the demonic warrior lunged towards the purple demon (ATK: 2500), which snarled and ran to face its challenger head on. An upward swipe from the skeletal being tore into Destroyer’s chest. In a comparatively gallant roar, Destroyer drove his sword straight through Archfiend’s Ascent, pinning the two together as his flaming core began to spill forth, resulting in a burst of red fire engulfing the both of them, the resulting shockwave feeling like a tropical wind buffeting everyone in the gymnasium.

The entity chuckled, “And in your anger you sent your minion to his death. Whereas when mine dies,” another card ejected from the duel disk’s remains and was cast to the floor, emerging as a third Summoned Skull, “another takes its place.

Twilight pressed her duel disk’s screen, “I don’t think so,” to which three cards were ejected from the graveyard, “I banish Spellbook Library of the Helios and Cresent, and Spellbook Organization from my graveyard to activate Destroyer’s effect from the graveyard.”

Destroyer’s sword fell from the dark shrouded ceiling, a flaming circle, within it inscribed an arcane symbol reminiscent of the symbol of the Prophecies. With a fiery burst the grey singed demon warrior arose from the flames, seizing his weapon once more to stand beside his two comrades once again. (Level 6, 2500/1200)

“Your three Archfiends are defeated; you no longer have their effects to rely on, I have over three thousand life points remaining, and my three companions overpower your Summoned Skulls.”

The entity frowned in frustration, seeming to take a step backwards, in fear perhaps? With the two remaining cards in her hand not having a use for the moment, and having her two trap cards, Twilight felt confident she was safe for the moment, “I end my turn.”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 14: Sunset Shimmer (?) (Hand: 0)

The entity drew her next card with exasperation. The moment she saw what she’d drawn, the frown curved back upwards, casting a sideward, glare, almost as if daring Twilight, “You think I’m defeated just like that, arrogant fool?” A long slimy tongue lulled out of her mouth in a sickening taunt. “I activate my third facedown; ‘Reckless Greed!’ With this I draw two cards, but I cannot draw for my next two draw phases. And then, I play the spell card ‘The Beginning of the End!’” A dark void opened above her. Five cards ejected out of her duel disk by themselves, revolving around her before swerving into the void, which then closed in on them, “By banishing five dark attribute monsters from my graveyard when I have seven or more in my graveyard, I draw thrice.

Twilight’s mouth lined as she tried to hide her nervous swallow; the entity now had a sizable five cards in their hand.

Now, the portent to your oblivion!” she tossed a card to the ground in a more flourished fashion, “Ritual spell; ‘Contract with the Abyss’!

Twilight furrowed her brow, “Ritual spell?”

“Ya gotta be kiddin’ me,” exclaimed Applejack, “She can do rituals too?!”

A great hexagonal pit opened in the middle of the gymnasium floor (making Twilight assume the only physical effects were those dealt directly to the players and the projections themselves). Twilight, in her trepidatious curiosity, dared to peek over the edge, when a rush of flame pervaded the scene, the pit alighting in a dark purple fire.

I use one of my level six Summoned Skulls for the terms of this ritual!

The center Summoned Skull degraded into a flaming blue sphere, which bound and plunged into the fire. The flames roared in increased fervor from the macabre kindling.

“From the endless depths of the dark abyss, take flight, the form of its power awakened within!”

Ritual Summon! Emerge, level six will of the dark realized; ‘Archfiend’s Awakening’!

Finally, something rocketed out and over the flames. It hovered over the pit, which seemed to dissolve back into the floor, like it had never been there, the flicking illumination… strangely not fading around its form, like its whole body was emitting the very same hellish purple light.

Physically, it looked identical to Summoned Skull, with the addition of the tail of its Fusion, Synchro and Xyz brethren, its sinew throbbing and flaring like the very fire that birthed it. Arcs of blue electricity coursed around its body at random intervals. (Level 6, 2500/1200)

Another incarnation of Summoned Skull?! Twilight gawked, yet another form of this highly persistent demon descending upon her foe’s field. “Your monster’s still not strong enough.”

The entity merely laughed before proceeding to flash a spell card from her hand, “I activate the spell ‘Makiu – The Magical Mist’.” As if by an unintentional command on her part, the field became enshrouded in a thick wall of mist.

Twilight felt an uncontrollable shiver run down her spinal cord, when she thought she saw something like a face waft across her vision. An illusion by the projection of the mist perhaps. Peering through as best she could she saw the outline of what was either one of her foe’s monsters, or the entity in Sunset’s body. Her question was soon answered, with the guttural rattle that rang through the mist. She suddenly felt an abrupt sting along her arm, then her leg. Whether due to fear or natural preservation instinct, she rushed as far back from the mist as she could, when one of the Summoned Skulls let loose a roar, accented by the crackle of electricity, the mist serving as an adequate conductor. Her monsters all proceeded to roar in pain before three explosions rocked the gymnasium. It was then that the mist faded as abruptly as it had appeared, with all three of her monsters gone.

Magical Mist destroys all monsters on my opponent’s field that have less defense points than the attack points of Summoned Skull.

Twilight gasped through gritted teeth, hearing her friends voice similar concerns, with Rarity bringing her hands to her mouth to desperately try and suppress her own shock. With all her monsters destroyed, she was open to a direct attack, with each Summoned Skull having 2500 attack points; equaling up to 7500 points of damage…

Unfortunately, due to its effect, I cannot conduct my battle phase this turn. I will then switch my second Summoned Skull to attack mode,” the kneeling Summoned Skull arose to its feet, wings folding behind its back (ATK: 2500). “I set one card, and end my turn. What will you do now, Princess Sparkle?” she asked with a toothy grin, accented with a bizarre twitch encompassing her entire face.

(Hand: 3)

Turn 15: Twilight Sparkle (Hand: 2)

Every time I make some form of progress, she turns everything around and I’m forced back to defending… Twilight drew her next card. “I banish Spellbook Star Hall, Spellbook of Power, and Spellbook of Wisdom to special summon back Prophecy Destroyer!”

The flaming sword descended from up above once again, a repeat of the summoning rite occurring with Prophecy Destroyer erupting from the ground to brandish his weapon.

Each Summoned Skull she’s had so far has had some form of ability. Now I need to figure out which of her monsters I need to take out. Although… if I use Prophecy Destroyer to attack, I’ll end up destroying him and will need to raise him back, but… I’m running low on Spellbooks. Although… She eyed her set card, running over the scenarios in her mind. “Alright; I’ll use Destroyer to attack one Summoned Skull!”

His sword lighting in a roaring flame, Destroyer (ATK: 2500) lunged forth at one of the skeletal demons. As he positioned his sword for a forward thrust, Summoned Skull’s (ATK: 2500) sinewy body raced with electricity in preparation.

Continuous trap: ‘Call of the Archfiend!’” the entity snarled, unveiling another card used by Sunset from their last duel. “I discard ‘Archfiend Emperor’ from my hand to special summon ‘Archfiend’s Manifestation’ from my graveyard!

Twilight gasped when from the darkness above the iteration of Summoned Skull with the grander wings and thorny attached extremity in place of its right arm descended, landing into a kneel. It stood up to its full height, roaring in fury for its previous obliteration by Twilight’s hand. A red aura surrounded it, and the three other demons on the field, as an indicator its effect had triggered, increasing all their attack points to 3000.

“I call off my attack!” Twilight declared, Prophecy Destroyer skidding to a halt, and leapt back to Twilight’s front row with the assistance of a buffet of its thorny wings. “I summon Hermit of Prophecy in defense mode…” The white bearded, purple robed wizard emerged onto the field, holding his scepter in front of him in a feeble display of defense. (Level 3, 1200/700) “I end my turn…”

(Hand: 2)

Turn 16: Sunset Shimmer (?) (Hand: 2)

As per the effect of Reckless Greed, the entity didn’t draw a card, instead an overeager grin spread across her face, looking like it was contorting Sunset’s face with how wide her maw stretched, “It’s over, Twilight Sparkle!” She pointed at Destroyer with murderous intend, “I attack your Destroyer with Summoned Skull!

One of the two Summoned Skulls (ATK: 3000) bodies began to surge with electricity, followed by it launching a bolt into the darkness up above. The shroud flashed mutedly, followed by the rumbling of thunder, after which a great lightning bolt struck down upon Prophecy Destroyer (ATK: 2500), the demonic warrior roaring through its smoldering helm and exploded violently. The wave from the explosion rocked Twilight’s body, despite Magicians’ Defense reducing the damage she suffered by half.

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 3100 – 250 = 2950

-

“It was, yes. I just felt that I should do something, for the school, and hearing what the girls told me, it made me want to help them most of all, and by extension, I wanted to help all of you.”

Twilight witnessed through her past self’s vision that she was back in the very gymnasium, yesterday after Pinkie and Fluttershy’s duel with Snips and Snails, when she was forced to come clean about using the girls for her own ends.

“So, getting me and Applejack back together? Pinkie and Fluttershy? Rainbow Dash? All of this was for your chance at Duel Queen of the fall formal?” she watched Rarity asking her through her eyes.

-

Like goddess, like sycophantic student; using others for her own whims!” the entity cackled. “You’ll make a great example of the world’s folly when I begin to devour it! I attack your Hermit with my second Summoned Skull!

Before Twilight could fathom what the entity was alluding to, the second Summoned Skull (ATK: 3000) proceeded to perform the same attack as its twin, launching a bolt of electricity into the blackness above, followed by another lightning bolt striking down on Hermit (DEF: 700), the explosion decimating the wizened sorcerer with no trouble.

And now; you die!” the entity roared, when Archfiend’s Awakening surged with blue lightning.

“Twilight!” she heard her friends, call out almost in unison, hearing their footsteps draw closer.

“Wait! Don’t-!”

A loud explosion rocked the gymnasium, covering Twilight and the girls in a thick cloud of dust. Celestia and Luna looked on in horror, as did many students, whilst others were huddling as far back as they could, some clinging to one another in desperate comfort, with an odd few covering their eyes and ears in fear. Sunset Shimmer, or whatever she now was stood sneering at the cloud of smoke, the creeping veins looking to only spread further in her maddened glare.

When the smoke cleared, Twilight and the girls were… Unharmed! Instead before them a trap card had unveiled itself, along with a red-haired, red garbed warrior or knight-like woman standing before the girls, brandishing an axe with a blade carved in the likeness of a snarling beast’s head in a defensive posture.

What?!” the entity roared furiously.

Rainbow Dash and Applejack had rushed in front of Twilight, reeling from the incoming attack that never came. Rarity, Pinkie and Fluttershy had huddled around her protectively, each of them cringing similarly to take the incoming lightning bolt. Pinkie was the first to peer out through a half-lidded eye.

“Hunh, that wasn’t as painful as I expected…”

“Whu-?” Rainbow muttered as she looked forth, spotting the upturned trap card and the red-haired warrior; Strength of Prophecy. “How…?”

“I had everything under control,” said Twilight, indicating the card before them, “I activated ‘Counter Gate’, “It negated the direct attack and let me draw a card, which happened to be Strength of Prophecy, which I could then special summon to my field. (Level 4, 1500/1400)”

Fluttershy stuttered uncontrollably as she clung to Twilight, “W-w-we t-thought… We t-thought you were…” she uttered, her hand clasping to Twilight’s bicep area tightly.

“I know,” Twilight placed a comforting hand over Fluttershy’s, which seemed enough to ease the pink-haired girl to some extent, “And I’m sorry I worried you all. But girls; you could have been hurt!”

“Hurt or not,” Applejack retorted, “We couldn’t just stand there!”

The entity growled, bony fingers rolling into what would be close to a fist, “Why?! Why won’t you just die?!

Twilight stared back at the entity in Sunset’s skin, her visage turning increasingly sickening as more veins had snaked around her features, a few of them throbbing in a disgusting pulse, the reptilian slits turning increasingly glazed over, “Are you afraid of me? It would seem your gloating about your superiority and the fickleness of friendship was wrong all along.”

The entity’s eye twitched profusely, “I still have an attack remaining! Archfiend’s Manifestation, destroy her Strength of Prophecy!

Archfiend’s Manifestation (ATK: 3000) trained its grafted appendage towards Strength (ATK: 1500), its body crackling in purple lightning that coursed across its body, coalescing into a sphere of electricity in between its limb’s pronged claws. In a shrieking rush, the sphere propelled at Strength and combusted, the red warrior mage swallowed by the blast. The blast carried over onto the girls… But there was no pain…?

Twilight Sparkle Life Points: 2950 – 750 = 2200

-

The first thing she heard was that awful laughter; “You little foal! Thinking you could defeat me? Now you will never see your princess, or your sun! The night will last forever!”

Twilight found herself back much father than before; a dark, rundown grey stone interior, while up ahead stood the tall, slender, pitch black form of a pony, her coat a lightless pitch-black, her head, chest and hooves adorned in blue armor that shone with an unnatural ethereal light. A pair of wide wings a blend between a chiropteran and a pegasus spread from her back, and a misty, dark blue mane wafted around her head, filled with endless upon endless shifting stars and nebulae. A pair of bright teal eyes, centered by monstrous slits for pupils stared down on her, a laughing in triumph at what lay shattered around her; shattered shards of what looked to be glistening baubles of glass around her hooves, as her misty tail spiraled over her, further blanketing the room in darkness.

Twilight, on the precipice of despair, found her ears picking up a series of voices coming up from the passage behind her. Turning around, she could see the silhouettes of everypony coming up into that very chamber. It was there when the ultimate realization came upon her, one that proved herself both wrong and right.

“You think you can destroy The Elements of Harmony just like that?” she asked, turning towards the Mare in the Moon herself, Nightmare Moon. “Well, you're wrong, because the spirits of The Elements of Harmony are right here.”

The shattered pieces of the former elements began to jingle, when an unseen magic raised each and every one off the ground, much to the shock that overcame Nightmare Moon’s feral eyes, “What?!”

Applejack, who reassured me when I was in doubt, represents the spirit of honesty! Fluttershy, who tamed the manticore with her compassion, represents the spirit of kindness! Pinkie Pie, who banished fear by giggling in the face of danger, represents the spirit of laughter! Rarity, who calmed a sorrowful serpent with a meaningful gift represents the spirit of generosity! And Rainbow Dash, who could not abandon her friends for her own heart's desire represents the spirit of loyalty! The spirits of these five ponies got us through every challenge you threw at us.”

With each pony and their virtue declared, the pieces of the elements gathered to revolve around that specific pony.

“You still don't have the sixth Element! The spark didn't work!” Nightmare Moon interjected, though her composure was clearly failing.

“But it did! A different kind of spark. I felt it the very moment I realized how happy I was to hear you, to see you, how much I cared about you,” she looked over the five, who from that night onward she was the proudest to get to address as… “The spark ignited inside me when I realized that you all... are my friends!”

Nightmare Moon reeled, when a sixth, new bauble materialized into being over Twilight’s head, “You see, Nightmare Moon, when those Elements are ignited by the... the spark, that resides in the heart of us all, it creates the sixth element: the element of... magic!”

It was there, when the Elements of Harmony unleashed their combined powers, bathing their six newly appointed wielders in the warm, soothing light, lashing out at the darkness in a rainbow blast. The last the world ever saw of Nightmare Moon, was her calling out in vain, as the elements enveloped her, and the darkness was no more.

-

Twilight came to, her body reacting to her mind reasserting itself over her body, but this time there was no pain. In fact, something felt very off about… everything

“What ‘n tarnation?!” she heard Applejack exclaim. A most apt choice of words, when Twilight witnessed her friends, and how they had changed.

“Did you see what I did?” asked Rarity, holding a hand to her forehead, clearly recovering from the same return to awakening as Twilight. “Was that… Was that Twilight? And that dark pony?”

“And the rainbows?!” exclaimed Pinkie, all the while looking quite intrigued at something on her person.

Everyone appeared mostly human, but now, up to the sides of each one’s head. Twilight saw what looked to be softly triangular ears perking up through their hair. Each and everyone’s hair had change too, having lengthened at the ends with a glistening band corresponding to the colors of their counterparts’ elements, the shapes of which reminded greatly of an equine’s tail. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash sported the most drastic changes, both having sprouted wings; significantly wider than those of pegasi, fanning out their pristine, perfectly lined plumage. Twilight herself felt something new, yet familiar upon her body.

A great pair of violet wings spread out from her shoulder blades, much wider, grander than even those of her pony form, possibly even those of the other Princesses, enough that they could embrace around the five girls standing around her. All around, the once cowering students stared down upon her in silent awe.

“Holy crap…”

“Is… Is she an angel or something?”

“Are we dead? Or are we just having a shared fear-induced hallucination?”

The entity looked equally flummoxed, her contorted, veiny face looking absolutely incredulous over the spectacle, combined with the star-shaped gem of the Element of Magic embedded in her casting off its own glow. “What is this?! You…?!

(Hand: 2)

Twilight said nothing. She would not, not yet, at the very least, when in this inexplicable transformation, something else had changed within her, and not just from the parts of her body reflecting her true nature. She could see, and hear, things around her she couldn’t before. All about her, she could make out faint swathes of luminous colors, wafting around aimlessly. The darkness from above seething with wisps of blackness going in and out of its swirling surface, something she could not discern before.

These very wisps crawled about ceaselessly over the ceiling, on the floor. And it was most concentrated around Sunset… No, not Sunset, the being inside her that was wearing her twisted, mangled body as a living suit. But there, she could… hear? See? Something removed from the senses of a human, possibly even pony? Somewhere inside this aberration of Sunset was something, someone… Sunset?

“The Element of Magic does not belong to you,” Twilight called out. “It was not intended for something such as you. It wants to be released from your clutches.”

The entity growled, when it took to try and blustering yet again, “You have nothing on your field but that trap that is completely useless now! And do you forget? Even if you defeat me, you’ll only be killing Sunset Shimmer! Do you want her blood on your hands as your first act as princess?!

“Sunset Shimmer is an innocent in all of this,” Twilight declared, raising her left arm in preparation for the next draw, “You clouded her mind, poisoned her from within with false promises of revenge, that only by hurting others would she be able to be free from her sadness. Sunset never needed something like you, monster.”

Turn 17: Twilight Sparkle (Hand: 2)

Twilight placed an affirming hand upon her deck, turning to look upon her friends. The five of them, despite the confusion about what happened, reciprocated their sentiments in encouraging smiles, each standing close to Twilight, with Rarity and Rainbow placing a hand upon her shoulders.

“You call us weak and fickle, whatever you may be. But this; this is what gives me my power, and my will to go on; both in Equestria, and here. The ultimate power, that will overcome even your darkness.”

What power?!

“The magic of friendship!” Twilight drew, a violet afterimage trailing behind the card. “You will release Sunset, even if I have to drag her from the dark into the light! I activate the spell card ‘Mystical Space Typhoon’ to destroy Magicians’ Defense!”

A cyclone emerged around Twilight’s remaining card, blowing it away, leaving Twilight’s field completely empty. In its place opened a summoning portal.

“When Magicians’ Defense is sent to the graveyard, I can special summon one spellcaster-type monster from the graveyard.”

The entity sneered, “Your precious Priestess will not save you! Even if you destroy Archfiend’s Manifestation, my remaining Summoned Skulls will make short work of her!

“The monster I choose is Temperance of Prophecy. Return to us, my magical comrade!” Twilight beckoned, Temperance’s card being ejected from her graveyard, finding her place on her duel disk once more, the robed sorceress with her twin chalices appearing before the girls (Level 3, 1000/1000)

Priestess; can you still hear me?” Twilight reached forth with her mind.

Twilight…? What is it?

I know you think there is no saving Sunset; but I assure you, I have the way to do it: But I will need your help. When the time comes, you must tear the darkness out from Sunset.

I… Alright. I await your signal. If you think you can save her, then I’ll put my faith in you, partner.

“Now, the ultimate Spellbook; ‘Spellbook of Judgement’!” Twilight slide the second last card in her hand into the graveyard. “With a Spellbook activated; I sacrifice Temperance to call upon the light that shines in my deck!”

Temperance’s chalices erupted with smoke, only this time both chalices expelled white smoke, which for the third time in this duel enveloped her. But to everyone’s surprise, no monster emerged. It wasn’t until something shimmered from up above, which grew into rays of light. Gazing above, these rays pierced the darkness, forcing it to reel when something descended from on high in its wake.

“Descend from the heavens; ‘World of Prophecy’!”

Her body was enveloped entirely in pristine, almost blinding, white robes, the rims being lines with equally radiant golden linings. At the center of it all being a large silver crest of the Prophecies themselves with blue round gemstones adorned at the front of her waist, whilst white and gold cloth talismans hung from the front and back sides. From underneath a white hood, the barest glimpses of reddish-brown hair could be made out, between which shone a pair of eyes that shone like the sun itself. From her back extended six magnificent white wings. (Level 9, 2900/2400)

The entity reeled as the newest Prophecy’s light shone upon the field, “Fool! Your light is still too weak to match my minions!

“Or is she?” asked Rainbow Dash daringly.

“When World of Prophecy is successfully special summoned by the effect of a ‘Prophecy’ or ‘Spellbook’ card, I can add two Spellbooks from my graveyard to my hand. But all I need is this one,” Twilight accepted the two cards ejected from her graveyard, one which was inserted into the spell and trap slot, “Spellbook of Power.”

The fiery tome spun before World, the intense, heavenly glow rendering the tome itself into a fiery gold. Without more than holding her hands to the side, a sphere of light formed before her. (ATK: 2900 -> 3900)

The entity grimaced, all the confidence and rage evaporating from her twisted visage, leaving behind only fear, “S-stop! You’ll kill Sunset Shimmer! Is that really what you want?! Are you so willing to follow your god’s whims that you’ll murder her?!

Twilight was unperturbed, “Sunset Shimmer, if you can hear me, I’m coming to get you out. You will not need to be alone anymore in the dark!” she pointed a hand towards Archfiend’s Awakening. “World of Prophecy, attack!”

With a swing of her arm, World (ATK: 3900) launched the golden orb towards Archfiend’s Awakening (ATK: 3000), the projectile bringing behind it a beam of pure light that began searing away at the demon’s flesh, the brunt of which was centered not on it, but its twisted master. The entity shrieked, in a haunting pitch, the darkness surrounding her fading away in the light’s wake.

Sunset Shimmer Life Points: 900 – 900 = 0

With no hesitation, Twilight ran towards the entity, ignoring anything else, the protests from her friends over the searing light. With a jump, and assistance from her wings, she flung herself forward, arms held out, until they literally plunged themselves inside the aberration’s chest, the world around her fading away into whiteness.

-

Twilight found herself somewhere she was quite accustomed to; the Canterlot Royal Library. The place was dark, only the faintest hints of a late evening sun, bordering on twilight, peering in through the few windows. There, huddled in a corner, Sunset Shimmer, clearly in violation of Celestia’s orders, huddled underneath a dark cloak, the light of her horn revealing a series of books spread out on the floor.

“As I continue my research, I found that this mirror is not just an ordinary one, but in fact a door to a door to a new world that looks completely different from ours,” she murmured, perusing one specific tome, which depicted a detailed drawing of an all too familiar mirror. “It also seems the mirror-”

“What are you doing here?!” Twilight felt like she would jump herself as Sunset did, when the stern authoritative voice of Celestia echoed through the capacious room.

The regal alicorn princess approached, flanked on both sides by a royal guard, each brandishing a spear in their own levitative magic. But there, in the dark, with her voice no longer soft and composed, Celestia appeared downright intimidating over the golden yellow unicorn.

“P-princess Celestia?!” Sunset stammered, huddling lower, in evident fear of her mentor’s unusual tone of voice.

Princess Celestia stepped forth from the dimness, “I made it clear that you were not allowed in here and you disobeyed me!”

“I told you! I couldn’t make friends!” Sunset retorted, getting up to her hooves, only to reel when the two guards reached forth with their spears.

“You didn’t even try!”

“Try what?!” Sunset retorted. “I’ve tried everything you told me!”

Celestia’s brow furrowed, “Did you?”

Sunset stomped an angry hoof to the floor, glaring up at her mentor in anger, “You’re a hypocrite! You don’t even have friends!”

The last statement seemed to have struck Celestia deep, the echo reverberating throughout the library, when Sunset’s horn glowed. In a puff of magic, her form vanished from within the cloak, which crumpled onto the floor with nopony to wear it.

In another flash, Twilight found herself in a different location; Princess Celestia’s private quarters.

“You’re replacing me?!” Sunset shouted indignantly at Celestia, whose back was currently turned away from Sunset, focused on a scroll levitating in her telekinesis.

“You disobeyed me, Sunset. I made it clear you were not to dabble with the mirror and the danger it could pose.” Celestia’s sideward glance eyed accusingly at Sunset. “You’ve shown me that I can’t even trust you anymore.”

“No!” Sunset stomped a hoof on the tiled floor. “I have worked so hard! Suffered so much! You can’t just abandon me!”

“You’re too volatile, Sunset,” said Celestia in a strained voice. “Your obsession with magic and power will drive you down a dangerous road that can endanger both you and others around you!”

Sunset clenched her eyes shut, tiny droplets seeping through the lids, “I just… I just want to be strong so I could…” she sniffed, “So I could bring them back! I need to fix my mistake, and I can’t do it without your guidance!”

Celestia turned to face Sunset, “You cannot just fix it, Sunset!”

Sunset’s eyes snapped open, glaring up venomously at Celestia, “I hate you!” she shouted, the words echoing throughout the chambers. With that, the memory crackled, and finally broke away like a shattered mirror.

“That was the last time I ever spoke to Celestia. My greatest desire that I strove for was to gain the power to undo… to undo death itself, to bring back my mother and father, whom I killed, because I was a stupid foal who thought too highly of herself. The closest I had to a mother figure saying I cannot fix my greatest mistake… It hurt me so much…”

As the memory shattered and faded away, she found herself in an unending void of white. There, standing in the distance, yet also close was a human girl, her hair a radiant fiery red and yellow, and her downward, saddened eyes a cyan hue, nothing like the orange to hellish red Twilight had beheld in the waking world. Beside her stood a golden yellow unicorn, her mane and tail matching the same fiery splendor, as did her eyes match the same cyan orbs, her flank emblazoned with a bright yellow and red flaming sun.

Twilight, in an extraordinary perception, saw as she walked forth, both as a human, and as a pony, towards the girl and pony, the true Sunset Shimmer. She looked up at her, her visage the epitome of great sorrow.

“I’ve come to get you,” said Twilight softly, holding out a hand slash hoof.

Sunset turned away, her human self hugging at her body, “Just leave me.”

“Sunset,” Twilight reached out to plant a hand slash hoof on Sunset’s shoulder, “whatever happened in the past, I… I can only imagine what it must have felt like. But Princess Celestia, she…” she paused to consider her words carefully, “I want you to know that she’s not angry with you anymore. And… She really wasn’t the best when it came to making friends.” A tinge of apprehension nagged at her conscience for saying that, but she persevered, “Trust me, I was thrust into the same position you were in. But it’s not too late.”

Sunset looked over her shoulder, “After what I’ve done… No-one will want to be friends with me.” She looked down upon her hands slash hooves, unable to stifle a sorrowful sniffle, “I’m just a monster. What I’ve become… I don’t deserve it.”

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” Twilight responded softly. “You don’t need to be alone anymore, Sunset. I understand you feel guilty, but it’s no reason to give up on your happiness. If you need a shoulder to cry on, then let mine be it. Let me help shoulder your burden.”

Sunset returned her gaze towards Twilight. Her lips quivering, a streak of pristine liquid slipped down her golden yellow cheek.

“Let me be your first friend.”

Sunset’s sniffled, her eyes seeping more pristine tears, with not a trace of the dark. With a sorrowful gasp, she threw herself into Twilight’s arms slash hooves, burying her face in Twilight’s shoulder, and let out her sorrows. Twilight wrapped her arms slash forehooves around the long distraught girl slash unicorn, and held her tight.

As Twilight tenderly patted Sunset on the back, she remained wary, knowing that they were not alone there. She said nothing as a dark spec loomed over the endless white, only eyeing it vigilantly, letting Sunset let out all the suffering she was forced to endure, or inflict. With every passing moment, the speck grew bigger, from the size of a pin tip, until it grew into a great expanse before her. Twilight could feel Sunset clutching onto her tight, feeling her tremble against her body; she knew it was looming over them too, and she was scared.

Sunset Shimmer is mine, alicorn! Now and forever!” Tendrils of blackness began slithering towards the two, spreading like a virulent growth, clamoring for footing.

Now! “Priestess, now!”

As the encroaching darkness was on the verge of snaking its way up to Sunset’s feet, a baffled snarl echoed throughout the void. The tendrils began to reel away… Or rather, were forcibly being dragged away, the blackness of the expanse beginning to recede.

-

Twilight found herself back in the waking world, only now, she had not awoken alone. Still embraced in her arms was not the fleshy aberration, but a weary, frightened Sunset Shimmer, her body stripped of the unsightly sinew and bone, replaced with the black studded jacket, her arms were back to their regular state, her talons were replaced by her feet within her black boots, and the solid mass upon her head had reverted back to her radiant red and yellow hair. The Element of Magic lay upon the floor, unharmed.

A choked sniffle escaped Sunset’s lips, her face still buried in Twilight’s neck, now stained in the girl’s tears, “I’m sorry…”

Twilight said nothing, and continued to kindly embrace her former enemy, her wings even wrapping around her, as if to shield her further.

No!” an unworldly voice snarled from ahead.

Twilight looked up, seeing Priestess, no longer as an astral projection, but as a seemingly in a visible, tangible form, currently busy suspending a writhing, black mass in between her hands. A pair of pale white specks shone from its surface, which looked as if they were looking at Twilight.

Twilight Sparkle!” it roared, its voice, now bereft of Sunset’s in the abysmal cacophony, “If I cannot have her, then I’ll take you! My purpose will not be denied any longer!

Priestess continued to struggle as the throbbing mass seemed to be pulling on whatever force the spirit was applying to keep it in check. Letting loose an unworldly howl, it broke off from Priestess’ grip, soaring directly at Twilight in a screaming beeline. Twilight felt Sunset cling to her tighter, all the while she closed her wings protectively in front of her. As the two clung to one another, nothing ever touched them. The two of them urged themselves to look, when they were almost blinded by what felt like direct sunlight emanating from behind them.

The projection of World of Prophecy shone its glorious luster upon the two of them, leaving the black mass writhing on the floor, emitting a series of unearthly noises, whilst it shrunk like a shadow fading in the morning sun.

I will… find you… again… Princess Twilight… Sparkle…

And with its disappearance, the ceiling up above cleared of the dark void, and the shackles over the gymnasium door shattered, the remains of the dark chains evaporating, for lack of a better description, into nothing. Lastly the images of Priestess and World faded.

Twilight Sparkle Victory!