• Published 18th Oct 2019
  • 7,818 Views, 94 Comments

Saving Sunset Shimmer - Lets Do This



Needing advice on an important project, Twilight, Tempest, and their friends work to reopen the mirror portal, and rescue a former student of Celestia's... Sunset Shimmer.

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You Need to Tell Her

Luna's office was, if anything, even darker than Twilight had expected. With the stormy weather outside, there was almost no natural lighting coming through the blinds, and the room lights were off. A heavy-shaded reading lamp on the desk cast a weak pool of light -- and put Luna's stern features in shadowed contrast as she glared across the desk at Sunset, Twilight, and their friends. The only one not present was Trixie -- true to form, she'd pulled a magician's exit during the confrontation with the guards, and vanished amongst the crowds of students in the halls.

"I have always had my suspicions about you, Sunset Shimmer," Luna was saying, "But now I've finally found out who the real ringleader is here... the cause of all these breakins..."

She stared levelly across the desk.

"Twilight Sparkle."

"Look..." Twilight said, "I can explain --"

"Non-students!" Luna snapped, overruling her. "Trespassing on school grounds, breaking and entering -- into a security office, no less!" Her eyebrow raised. "Which demonstrates either admirable self-confidence, or severe lack of information..."

She rose from the desk, and moved to the blinds, peering through the slats at the gathering storm.

"... and that is not even touching on the disappearance of Principal Celestia. Which I have every reason to believe you must be involved with."

"Now hang on a minute!" Applejack shouted. "We saw what happened with Celestia! On the security video!"

"Yeah!" Rainbow added. "You made her disappear... somehow! And now you want to pin it on Twilight?"

"That doesn't seem very nice," Fluttershy said quietly.

"Indeed! Most unflattering," Rarity added.

"Yeah!" Pinkie bounced agitatedly in her seat. "The mark of a really meany-mean-meany-pants!"

"Enough!" Luna thundered, swinging to face them. Her arms were crossed, her fingers drumming on her arm -- nervously, even as she scowled at them.

In the silence that followed, there was a soft buzzing from Sunset's schoolbag. Sunset exchanged a nervous glance with Twilight. "The journal!" she whispered.

"Starlight?" Twilight whispered back. "What if it's about the portal? What if it's a warning that it's about to close!"

"Excuse me!" Luna glared at them. "Do I have your full attention?"

Sunset and Twilight fell silent, eyeing her nervously.

Luna let out an exasperated breath. "Given all that has happened," she said. "And given your apparent unwillingness to present a full accounting for yourselves, I feel I'd be more than well advised to simply hand you over to the authorities and be done with it. I'm sure they must have official records on some of you..." She gave Tempest a distrusting glare... which Tempest returned with a dark scowl of her own.

"And then we might finally get this School back to some kind of order!"

Fluttershy gasped. "Principal Celestia never called in the police. She always said we were smart enough to work things out amongst ourselves..."

Luna stormed back to the desk, slammed a fist on it.

"I... am not... Celestia!"

Fluttershy quailed, looking like she wanted to cry.

Luna took a breath, composing herself. "And if we cannot achieve order, then perhaps it's even time to reconsider Principal Cinch's offer... to merge CHS with Crystal Prep, and finally bring this school's academic standards and discipline up to par!"

The students stared at her, in varying shades of disbelief, horror, and angry resentment.

"But before I go to that extreme," Luna went on, "there is one question I want answered. One thing I want settled, once and for all..."

She looked from Sunset, to Tempest... and then to Twilight. "Who are you three? What are you doing here?"

Luna leaned on her desk, glaring down at Twilight in particular.

"Who are you, Twilight Sparkle?"

Twilight hunched, peering up at Luna's fierce, unflinching scowl. Her hands twisted the hem of her skirt. Twilight felt alone, on the spot, and helpless. She tried to think of something -- anything -- to say that would get them out of this mess. And came up with nothing.

And then Sunset leaned towards her. "Twilight," she whispered, "you need to tell her."

"I can't! She'll never believe me! She'll think we're crazy!"

"We're short on time," Sunset said. "We need to go for broke. Trust me, Twilight... the truth! It's the only way Luna will believe us!"

"Uhhh..." Twilight looked back to Luna.

"Well?" Luna demanded.

Twilight swallowed, then nodded. She looked Luna right in the eye.

"The truth," she said firmly, calmly, "is that we're from an alternate universe... Sunset, Tempest, and I. A universe based on magic. It's connected to this one by a portal, hidden in the horse statue out front. The portal links universes based on the needs of the caster who opens it. Sunset opened the portal, and ended up here... where she became trapped when the portal closed on her. Tempest and I came through, hoping to find her -- to bring her home."

She looked up at Luna... pleadingly... hopingly...

"That's all we're here for! To rescue Sunset! We're not entirely sure why Principal Celestia has disappeared! But we do want to help find her, and bring her back... if we still can..."

Her gaze fell, her head drooped.

"That's it. That's the whole story. And I wouldn't be surprised if you don't --"

"An alternate universe... based on magic..." Luna said evenly, an eyebrow raised. From her tone, she didn't believe Twilight, and she didn't disbelieve, either. She sounded... cautiously curious, if anything. "So, presumably, the three of you would be able to work magic? And thereby prove what you're saying is true?"

"Well..." Twilight winced. "That's the thing. Even though the portal is reopened, I haven't been able to work any spells here. Can either of you?"

Tempest shook her head, and so did Sunset. "And it's not for lack of trying," Sunset said. "And that's weird, because I created -- I mean, I opened the portal to this world in the first place! So my magic should have returned by now. But I'm still unable to change things here. Believe me, I wish I could!"

"Then you'll forgive me," Luna said darkly, "if I find your claims difficult to credit. So... if there's nothing else?"

"Wait!" Sunset said. "Give me a chance to prove it!"

"Sunset..." Twilight whispered.

But Sunset held up a hand. Her eyes locked with Luna's.

"Do you have a coin on you?"

Looking doubtful, Luna opened a desk drawer and produced a silver coin, which she held up.

"Put it on the desk," Sunset said, "heads-up. Put your hand over it."

Luna did so, eyeing Sunset for any sign of deception or trickery.

Sunset took a breath, then focused her gaze on Luna's hand... on the coin beneath it. All I have to do, she thought, is flip it over. How hard can inverting one coin be, out of the entirety of this universe I brought into being...

Sunset gritted her teeth, felt for the magic, for the strange automatic thereness she'd experienced before, whenever things just happened the way she wanted them to. Hoping against hope, that it was just a matter of having the portal open so Equestrian magic could soak into this world again, making the impossible possible...

Luna sighed in annoyance. "Is something meant to be happening?"

"Come on, Sunset!" Applejack breathed tensely. "You can do it!"

"Yeah!" Rainbow said. "Uh... whatever it is you're doing! Go for it!"

"We believe in you, dearest!" Rarity added.

"You can bring Celestia back!" Fluttershy whispered. "We know you can!"

"Oooh!" Pinkie shivered with excitement. "I wish I had some popcorn!"

Vice-Principal Luna looked around at all of them, seemingly about to call an end to it.

And then suddenly looked down at her hand. And snatched it away, as if scalded.

Resting on the desk where there had been a silver coin... was a shining disc of solid gold. A hundred-bit coin, if Sunset was any judge. The residual energy of transfiguration had left it scorching hot. The wood of the desk underneath was charred, wisps of smoke rising all around it.

"Woah!" Sunset said. "When I finally come through, I don't mess around with small change, huh?"

Luna was staring at the coin, still rubbing her hand -- though whether it was from discomfort or disquiet was hard to say. "Well..." she said, lost for words. "That was... astonishing, to say the least." She looked up at Twilight again.

"A magic portal, you said?" Luna's gaze as she looked at Twilight, was penetrating, evaluating... and intrigued. "Now that is something I'd very much like to see..."

Luna moved to the door, gesturing to the security detail, who herded the students after her. Luna opened the door.

And faced a wall of angry students. At the forefront of whom was...

"Trixie?" Twilight gasped, overjoyed.

The magician smirked. "Do I know how to work a crowd, or don't I? You can thank Trixie later!"

"What is the meaning of this?" Luna demanded.

"Well!" said Trixie, blowing on her nails and buffing them on her blouse. "Someone might have gone around letting everyone know that Sunset and her friends found out what you did to Principal Celestia! And that they know how to get her back!" She smiled around at the other students. "Which is what everyone here wants, am I right?"

"We want Celestia back!" the students shouted. "Yeah! What happened to her? Bring her back, right now!"

Luna's teeth ground. "Looks like we can add encouraging disobedience and inciting riot to the list..." she snarled.

"Let us show you the portal first," Twilight said, soothingly. "Let us prove what we're saying is the truth."

Luna glared at her.

"It had better be."

------------------------------

With seemingly the whole school population following them, they made their way out to the front of the school. And into a night-dark storm, with blustery winds. Lightning flashed, thunder rolled. When the rain finally fell, it would be falling sideways.

Sunset stared up at the sky anxiously. "This must be why Star Swirl put a time-limit on the portal. The darkness here, it's getting worse... if we don't do something soon, this world will start coming apart at the seams!"

They struggled down the sidewalk and over to the rearing horse statue... and then found themselves in an area of relative calm, the eye of the storm. With Vice Principal Luna looking on, her arms folded and a doubtful look on her face, Twilight demonstrated passing her hand through the faintly shimmering curtain of the portal, showed it stretching away to infinity beyond.

"And you say there's magic," Luna said, "in this other world?" Once again, Luna's voice betrayed neither doubt nor belief. She simply stated it, like a proposition to be proven or disproven. "Can any of you work it?"

Twilight nodded. "That's... something else you might not accept. In our world, we're actually ponies. Unicorns, to be specific. And all unicorns have the ability to direct and apply magic."

Luna stared at her. "Really," she said dryly. "Thus far, with one admittedly startling exception, I have seen no evidence. It would take quite the display to convince me..."

Tempest leaned closer to Twilight. "What about... you know?"

"Our little party trick?" Twilight replied, nodding. "That could work!" She turned to Sunset. "It's something we've been working on," she said. "It's actually what we wanted your advice about!"

"Well, all right then," Sunset replied readily, "let's do it!"

"There's just one problem," Tempest pointed out. "We don't have our horns In this world. And I don't see how we can direct the magic required without them."

Sunset looked from one of them to the other.

"Hey," she finally said, with a casual shrug, "you just have to think outside the box! Or in this case... outside the universe." Grinning, she reached into her bookbag.

A quick journal note and a lengthy, hoof-biting wait later, the portal shimmered and then disgorged a blue-skinned, white-haired girl, wearing a magician's hat and star-spangled cape. Tempest caught her as she plummeted woozily toward the pavement.

"Ugh! Next time, given a choice, the Great and Powerful Trixie would rather walk!"

"Trixie?" Applejack asked, astounded.

Rainbow stared at her. "You mean, you're from this other world too?"

"What are you babbling about?" asked an annoyed voice behind them. "The Great and Powerful Trixie is right here!"

In shock, everyone looked from one of the two girls to the other. Apart from the magician's cloak and hat that the Trixie who'd stepped from the portal was wearing, the two of them were otherwise identical.

The two Trixies approached each other, stared at each other... and, as one, broke into overjoyed smiles.

"You know..." pony Trixie said, "this could work wonders for Trixie's act!"

"Indeed!" human Trixie replied. "Trixie could literally be in two places at once!"

"We might even be able to work the Moonshot Manticore Mouthdive! If Trixie could only figure out how to avoid being swallowed!"

"Oooh! Trixie has no idea what that is," human Trixie said. "But Trixie is dying to know more!"

"Uh, Trixie...?" Twilight reminded her.

"Of course, of course," pony Trixie said, waving a hand, "A showpony's work is never done! Duty calls!"

"It always does," human Trixie agreed. "Because..."

"The show must go on!" they chorused together.

"Trixie!"

"Yes, yes, all right, Twilight! Slave driver! Now, Trixie brought along the focus gem like you asked." She tapped the gem on her collar. "And the spare that we were using before, to redirect the beam." Dipping into her hat, she brought out the second gem. "So... what's next?"

Twilight looked at Tempest. Who turned to look at Sunset.

"Sunset," she said, quietly and evenly. "I need you to keep an eye on Twilight for me. Don't let anything happen to her... and I mean anything!"

Sunset put a hand on Twilight's shoulder. "You can count on me, Tempest."

Tempest nodded. And then turned and passed through the portal, disappearing from sight.

The others quickly arranged themselves. Twilight stood beside the portal, holding the redirecting gem. Pony Trixie stood a short distance away. And Sunset and the others stood well back, amongst the crowd of other students.

At Twilight's nod, Sunset scribbled a note in her journal.

Seconds later, the portal flickered, and a beam of blue, crackling magic projected through it. Twilight quickly held the redirecting gem in it, using it to aim the beam at the gemstone on Trixie's collar. The beam refracted, split, and then spiraled outward, into rings of blazing spectal magic, which increased in intensity as the storage loop charged up.

Surrounded by the whirling spectrum of power, Trixie rose into the air, eyes blazing, hands spread wide.

"BEHOLD!" her voice boomed. "The Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie is a sorceror without peer in multiple dimensions!

Everyone was staring up at her, bedazzled by the display of scintillating magic energies... and none more so than the five friends standing together with Sunset.

"Now that is something!" Applejack breathed.

"Truly magnificent! Rarity nodded. "I've never seen such glorious colors!"

"Awesome!" Rainbow shouted, punching a fist in the air.

"Wow..." Fluttershy whispered, overcome with awe.

"YAY!" Pinkie screamed, her hair curling in excitement.

Applejack looked at Sunset. "Boy howdy! I bet back home, you can do some right powerful magic, Sunset," she said. "Just like that, huh?"

"Not by myself," Sunset admitted. She shook her head, amazed. "I'd need friends to help with something like this -- good friends!"

"Well, she's got friends!" Rainbow said. "Right here! Right, gals?"

"You said, it, Rainbow!" Pinkie laughed.

"Absolutely!" Rarity agreed.

Sunset felt her friends' comforting hands resting on her shoulders, saw the warmly reassuring smiles on their faces. And for the first time in a long while, she felt... well, like she belonged. Sunset looked up at Trixie, hovering in midair. The magician had her own circle of friends, and with their help was able to do magic of a kind that Sunset could only dream about...

... and Sunset felt charged up with a sense of sheer wonder, a boundless, unfettered optimism that she hadn't felt in what seemed like ages...

I need to get back home, she thought. And be a part of something like that again... if only they'll let me...

Overcome with excitement,she pumped a fist in the air. "All right, Trixie!" she shouted. "Way to go!"

The students all around her were shouting as well... cheering, applauding, roaring excitedly.

The Trixie in midair suddenly looked round, realizing that there was something different about the flow of magic spiralling all around her. It was expanding steadily outwards... and upwards as well. Before she could say or do anything, it abruptly overloaded...

... and a pillar of roaring energy blasted into the looming, cloud-filled skies.

Trixie cowered, covering her eyes, as magic blazed all around her, lighting the entire block in front of the school as if it was midday. The arcs of spectral color swirled about her, expanding outwards. They chased away the clouds, which swept back as if scalded, swirling away into vapor. Revealed in their wake was a perfectly clear, sun-filled afternoon sky.

The chill winds fell silent. A pleasant, summery warmth swept over the crowd. It was like going from winter, to spring, and then summer, in the blink of an eye.

"Woah..." Twilight whispered, eyes wide, forcing herself to hold the redirecting gem steady. "Celestia was right! How did we do that?"

Trixie was staring around, just as dumbstruck as everyone else. Then she remembered, and resumed her stage voice.

"The Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie... uhhh, meant to do that! And now... as thrilling as this has been, Trixie feels it is time to bring this act to a close. Hint, hint!" she added anxiously.

Sunset looked to Twilight, who nodded. Sunset jotted another note in her journal.

The beam from the portal tapered off, and then disappeared. The blazing energies around Trixie faded, and she descended to the ground, landing softly on her sneakered feet. She looked around nervously, then got control of herself. Dusting off her cloak, she removed her hat and took a deep bow to the cheering, applauding students.

"Thank you! Thank you all! You've been a marvelous audience! Trixie could not have wished for better!"

The human Trixie rushed over and hugged her. "Trixie has never had the privilege of being her own audience before! And for such a impressive performance!"

In the meantime, Tempest had reemerged through the portal, shaking her head to clear it of the disorientation. Taking in the scene, she grinned. "You'd better watch out Twilight," she muttered. "Or we'll be going home with two of her!"

"Yeah!" Applejack agreed. "Never thought anyone could appreciate Trixie as much as Trixie does!"

"Ya know," Rainbow muttered dryly, "I think Trixie's waited her whole life for this?"

"Ain't that the truth!" Applejack said.

"Vice Principal Luna?" Fluttershy asked. "Are you okay?"

Everyone turned to look. Luna was staring around, at the sky, at the portal, at Twilight and her friends. She looked utterly shattered.

"Uhm," Twilight said, nervously glancing at the gem in her hand. "I'm sorry! Did we do something wrong?"

"What?" Luna looked at her, astounded. "No! Not in the least, Twilight! I'm astonished... and humbled. Everything you and your friends have been saying -- well, it's clear that I must believe you, that I must trust you. And Twilight," she said, an urgent tone in her voice, "I apologize for doubting you earlier... because now I need to ask something important of you. I need to ask a favor, of you and your friends."

"Of course! What?"

Luna sighed.

"I give you all my word, I do not know what has happened to Celestia. Yes, I saw what you saw on the security recording. I can only say it was not my doing. Yes, I was cross with her, but even given the power to do so I would not have sent her away like that. Yet I awoke yesterday morning, and found Celestia was simply... gone. No explanation, no note or message. No reason for her to leave without word. When I saw the recording myself... it frightened me, made me distrust you..."

Then, astonishingly, Vice Principal Luna... smiled.

"I don't any more. I need your help, to determine what has happened to Celestia. And to bring her back. Please... help me to bring her back. I did not want to send her away. I would not wish to be without her. I do not want to have to go on running this place by myself... alone!"

"I don't think anyone here would want to be without her!" Fluttershy said miserably.

Around them the students all nodded in agreement.

"Then perhaps," said a warm, confident voice behind them, "it's a good thing you won't have to be!"

They all turned, to find Principal Celestia walking around the statue. Behind her, a taxicab was just pulling away from the curb.

"I'm sorry, Luna! There was a family emergency, and I rushed out of my apartment like a madwoman, without my phone, without even leaving a note. And then there was a service outage, so I couldn't call to let you know where I was. And then there were delays at the airport. And it took forever getting a cab back here. Honestly! It was like every power in the universe was trying to keep me from returning, or even letting you know I was safe!"

Luna rushed over and hugged her. "I'm sorry as well, Tia! I'm afraid I let my concern about your disappearance get out of hand. I felt it necessary to take charge here at the School. And I... may have gone a little overboard..."

"A little?" Rainbow muttered in disbelief. The others shushed her.

"Well," Celestia replied, "I'm sure you acted as you thought best, in a trying situation. And I see you've had some... rather unusual help." Celestia looked around at Twilight and her friends. "I could see the light show as the cab was pulling up. I'd very much like to hear more about it. But right now, let's get things back in order here, you and I. We'll make an announcement to the students, reassure them we're both in charge again, and then work on restoring order... together."

"Tia?" Luna looked puzzled. This was clearly not what she'd expected.

"Luna, I'm proud of you. In the face of a crisis, you didn't falter, you didn't let the School go to wrack and ruin. You held things together, even in the face of your uncertainties and self-doubt. That's deserving of proper recognition." She shook her head, in silent frustration. "The Education Association might be unwilling to make the title official. But I'd like to go forward with our plan anyway. So from now on, you and I will be acting as co-Principals, here at the School."

"I... I don't know what to say! Aside from the obvious. Thank you, Tia!"

"Thank you, Luna!" Celestia turned to Twilight and her friends. "And thanks as well, to your young assistants here." She smiled around at them, a proud, knowing smile. "It's clear that as usual, we're hosting the best and brightest at CHS. I couldn't ask for better!"

Tempest, Trixie, Sunset, and Twilight all smiled at each other. All around them, the students cheered willingly, both for Celestia's safe return, and for the heroes of the hour.

Then Twilight suddenly looked very worried. "Sunset, give me your journal! We need to send a message to Starlight... and to our Celestia! Let them know everything turned out all right!"

Sunset held up the journal and her pen.

"Just tell me what to say, Twilight, and I'll write it. It's the least I can do to begin paying you back for all this!"

------------------------------

Things got back to normal fairly quickly, all things considered -- though it wasn't too surprising. The one constant in school life, in any universe, was that no matter what happened, no matter how bad things got, no matter how closely the world teetered on the brink of disaster... there were always classes the next day. Always an exam or pop quiz to worry about. Always the latest rumors and gossip to catch up on. Always something mundane to refocus attention on the here and now.

Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna, as a demonstration of their new working relationship, jointly announced the Spring Fling dance had been reinstated. And as a courtesy to their... guests from the other world, it would be held that evening, after school.

The Fling itself was decorated and put on in record time, even for Pinkie Pie. And Sunset Shimmer, for her efforts in returning things to normal at CHS, was elected Princess by a landslide straw vote.

And when Principal Celestia finally placed the golden foil crown with its plastic magenta gemstone on Sunset's head, Sunset made sure that her friends, both old and new, were standing right there with her. "Because without their help," she told the watching students and teachers, "this wouldn't have been possible... and who knows where I'd have ended up!"

------------------------------

All too soon, the Fling was over, and they were all standing before the rearing horse statue again, before the faintly shimmering curtain of the portal, ready to go home.

"I find it astounding to contemplate," Principal Celestia said. "An entire other world. Inhabited by... ponies, you said? And based on magic?"

"Even stranger," Vice Principal Luna added, "is the thought that our entire world may have been created, brought into existence, merely by Sunset's opening the portal to pass through into it."

Sunset gritted her teeth. "That's... something I try not to think too hard about. Though I do have to say, considering the friends I've made here... as universes go I could have done a lot worse!"

"I'm pleased to hear you say that," Celestia said, "And I hope you realize you're more than welcome here. There's much we could learn from you, about your world and its magic... and perhaps in the process, about our world, as well."

Sunset smiled gratefully. "I do feel welcome here," she said. "More than you know. But... I really need to go back home. I promised to help Twilight and her friends with the work they're doing. And... I have a teacher of my own back there. To whom I owe a huge apology..."

Applejack smiled sadly at her. "You'll come back and visit us, won'tcha?"

"You darn well better!" Rainbow added, tensely. "Or you're gonna have one heck of a detention for skipping classes!"

"I think we can bend the rules in this case," Principal Celestia said diplomatically. "And consider Sunset to be on... extended leave? Due to issues at home?"

"Thanks!" Sunset said. "Though to be honest, I'm not sure how long it'll be before I can come back."

"Well, when you do, dearest," Rarity said firmly, "we'll be here waiting for you!"

"Yes, indeedy!" Pinkie Pie beamed.

"We won't forget you, Sunset!" Fluttershy said meekly. "We've only known you a few days but, well, it's not going to feel the same without you!"

Sunset looked at her five friends. And then pulled them all into one large group hug.

"It's not going to be the same for me, either," she whispered. "I'm going to miss all of you. And I'll be back as soon as I can... Celestia willing."

The Principal gave her a curious look, and Sunset blushed. "Uh, sorry... different Celestia!"

Then Sunset turned, and faced the portal. She glanced at Twilight and Tempest, standing beside her, with Spike and Grubber at their heels.

Okay, Sunset thought, time to face the music...

Together, they stepped through the portal, and disappeared.

Pinkie Pie hurried over to put a hand to the marble wall of the statue -- and felt only solid stone. The portal was closed again.

"Awww... I was hopin' we could go visit their world -- that would totally rock!"

"Ya know," Rainbow said, scratching her chin thoughtfully, "speaking of rockin', what Sunset was sayin' earlier... about being a world-famous music star when she got here? Well hey, what about us? We're all into music, kinda sorta. Why don't we form a band? All we need is some practice!"

Applejack nodded. "That'd be a sweet way to remember our friends, from that other world," she said. "I'm in. I can play guitar."

"Ahem, backup guitar?" Rainbow corrected. "I'm obviously lead guitar!"

"Fine, whatever!"

"I call drums!" Pinkie shouted.

"I can design some marvelous costumes for us!" Rarity added.

"Oh, it sounds wonderful!" Fluttershy said. "I'm in too!"

"All righty then," Applejack said. "So... what're we gonna call ourselves?"

Rainbow looked smug. "What else? The Rainbooms! I know... awesome name, right?"

------------------------------

In the vast, echoing corridors of the Royal Palace of Canterlot, the sound of hooves was at once comfortingly familiar... and a disquieting reminder of what lay ahead. Sunset shivered as the group of five ponies -- plus a dragon and a hedgehog -- approached the doors of the Royal Audience Hall together.

"It'll be okay, Sunset," Twilight said, putting a hoof on her withers, "And don't worry. We're here for you if you need us."

"Thanks, Twilight." Sunset smiled gratefully. "But this is something I need to do on my own. I messed up. I need to make it right, one last time."

As they reached the tall, gilded doors, the doors swept open, revealing the length of the Hall beyond and the Sun Throne at its far end. Princess Celestia was seated upon the throne, her golden regalia shining in the brilliant sunlight that streamed through the arched windows.

As they'd planned, Twilight and her friends accompanied Sunset most of the way up the length of red carpet, and then came to a halt. Sunset continued onward the rest of the way, to stand alone before the Throne itself.

Sunset risked a look upward... and tensed. Celestia's face was set calmly, regally. She gazed down upon Sunset with neither recognition nor rancor. You are here, her look said. And I am listening. You have my full attention.

"Princess Celestia," Sunset said. She felt miserably small, listening to the echoes of her words bouncing back from the silent chamber. "The last time we saw each other, I was your impatient little student, who couldn't see beyond her own selfish ambitions. I thought I knew better than you, what I needed and wanted. I was wrong. I didn't know any better. I insulted you, I betrayed you, and then... and then I abandoned you, ran away through the mirror into a different universe, seeking something I was never going to find there. I apologize... for the things I said, for the things I did."

She looked up, into the eyes of her teacher, her mentor. The one and only Princess of all Equestria...

"I come before you a changed pony, humbly seeking forgiveness, guidance, and knowledge."

The Princess's wings flared, and she rose from her seat. Sunset backed up a step nervously, as the white alicorn strode down the Throne's ramp to stand before her, gazing down at her with an unreadably intense stare.

"Or..." Sunset mumbled, crouching nervously, "I could just go, and you'll never have to see me again..."

And then, Sunset suddenly realized why Celestia looked that way. Her Highness was simply speechless, struggling to find words to express how strongly she felt. Finally, she spoke.

"I... I've missed you, Sunset Shimmer."

Tears welled up in Sunset's eyes. "I'm so sorry..."

Celestia swept her close, into a warm neck-hug, which went on at length.

Finally, Celestia drew back, clearing her throat and trying to act regal once again... though the smile on her face totally destroyed the image. "It's good to have you back with us, Sunset. And for more than merely personal reasons. I'm sure Twilight has mentioned the project she and her friends have been working on."

"I... had a first-hoof demonstration," Sunset said. "It was amazing!"

"If you're willing, they could greatly benefit from your assistance and guidance. We can consider it to be part of your studies... that is, assuming you want to return to them?"

"I'll be glad to help," Sunset agreed. "Twilight and her friends did me such a huge favor in coming to find me. I want to pay them back for it."

Sunset looked over her shoulder at Twilight and the others, standing there with happy smiles on their faces.

Twilight in particular... She has no clue, Sunset thought.

Looking up at Celestia, Sunset motioned for the Princess to lean close again, and dropped her voice to a whisper.

"I haven't said anything, Your Highness. About... you know. Because you told me not to, but..."

Sunset glanced at Twilight again.

"You need to tell her. She needs to know. They all do. They deserve to know what they're up against."

Celestia stared at her, looking hesitant, worried...

... then she sighed, nodding in acknowledgement.

"You're right, Sunset. I have kept this from them -- from everyone -- for far too long. Perhaps it's finally time I stopped thinking like a chessmaster... and started putting all my cards on the table, hmm?"

Sunset risked a smile. "That's a mixed metaphor, Your Highness!"

Celestia smiled back. She gently stroked Sunset's mane with a hoof.

"You're allowed them, Sunset," she said, "when you're a true Princess..."

------------------------------

In Twilight's tower room, Trixie was sitting at the worktable, her head nodding over a book of spells. Having had a taste, even indirectly, of real, powerful magic, Trixie was determined to learn, to develop her skills... to truly become Great and Powerful...

... if only it wasn't so boring!

Her eyes slid shut, her thoughts drifted...

She felt a hoof at her shoulder and looked up... into the stern, yet proud face of Princess Luna.

"Princess! Did Trixie find the key this time?" she asked anxiously.

"You have done excellently, Trixie Luna Moon," the Princess replied, "my diligent student!"

"When Trixie finds you, and finally sets you free... will we still be able to spend time together?"

Luna smiled. "I can think of nothing I would like better. You have much to learn... and I would be proud to teach you."

Overcome, Trixie turned and reached out her forehooves, wanting to hug her kind, understanding teacher, to hold onto her forever and ever...

And blinked, startled. There was no one there.

Trixie swallowed, and wiped her eyes. Why am I crying? she wondered.

"Did Trixie find the key?" she whispered aloud.

"Hey, Trixie?" called a voice from the stairs leading down to the doorway. It was Sunset Shimmer. "You still at work up there?"

Wiping her snout, Trixie cleared her throat. "Well, of course! The Great and Powerful Trixie does not shirk in her studies!"

"Well, if you're at a good stopping point, Twilight suggested we take a break and go have a snack at Pony Joe's." Sunset laughed. "I mean, I was there just last week! But at the same time, I haven't been there for years! I guess it's true what they say... there's always Pony Joe's! You wanna come along?"

Trixie stared at her books, her studies. And seemed to hear a voice whispering to her in her head:

Go, my diligent student. You have more than earned a break...

Trixie drew herself up haughtily. "The Grrreat and Powerful Trrrixie..." she declared, "... would like that very much, actually."

Jumping up from the table, Trixie galloped down the stairs to join her new friend.

And the door shut behind them both.

The End

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, its characters and indicia are the property of Hasbro.
No infringement is intended. This story is a work of fan fiction, written by fans for fans of the series.

Comments ( 55 )

The human Trixie rushed over and hugged her. "Trixie has never had the privilege of being her own audience before! And for such a impressive performance!"

My absolute favorite trope to read or write about: Trixie and Trixie hanging out! :pinkiehappy:

So, the disappearance deal was a misunderstanding? That's a HUGE relief. But it was great seeing Sunset's friends willing to step up to the plate to help not just Sunset, but ALSO Twilight. And the interaction between the two Trixies was downright entertaining. And, Principal Celestia and Vice-Principal Luna's interaction following the misunderstanding's clear-up was beautiful stuff too. And, hey, maybe Pony Trixie could use this adventure as inspiration for later on - figuring that Luna patching things up with Celestia and becoming a co-ruler again really would be what was best for her. Thus, allowing her to honor her contract without betraying her friends. Now, all we need is a way to work in Moondancer and Twilight will have a large enough group to use the Elements of Harmony.

Anyway, once more, the exchanges, characterizations, general wrap-up and future story set-up are superbly done.

9891641
AU meeting Show Canon stories are few in number, but often VERY fun and interesting to read.

In Twilight's tower room, Trixie was sitting at the worktable, her head nodding over a book of spells. Having had a taste, even indirectly, of real, powerful magic, Trixie was determined to learn, to develop her skills... to truly become Great and Powerful...

For a moment there I thought they'd swapped.

9891641
9891760
Thanks so much for reading, and especially for your detailed feedback -- it's very encouraging, hearing what works for you, and what makes you keep coming back for more in this series!
:twilightsmile:

9892092
Right, Celestia's reminiscences of Star Swirl here are intentionally a reference to the Reflections backstory from the comics. While I don't feel beholden to the comics as canon in general, they are a great source of inspiration for things like this...

RuBoo #7 · Oct 19th, 2019 · · 1 ·

Y’know, I might actually like Trixie if she were Luna’s student. And a fair bit more humble. And perhaps had a lovely pair of wings... Perhaps the best part of the Reflections arc, aside from the double Heel-Face Turn (ignoring that it was accompanied by a Face-Heel Turn), was the hint to the existence of Humble Trixie. If only she were Luna’s student...

9891760

I'm not sure it was a misunderstanding- I think the focus of everyone present on bringing back Celestia, with all that magic in the air, caused the world to /twist/, and find a way for Celestia to return.

9892949
9891760
Got it in one! Though to be fair, in a sense it turned into a simple misunderstanding, so you're both right.
:twilightsmile:

That was really heartfelt. Everything turned out okay for Sunset and her human friends and Sunset is home where she belongs, as the newest member of Twilight!s group. That makes 5 now right? Who will be lucky number 6?

Trixie and Luna still has me a bit concerned though. How long until everyone finds out? Will that turn out okay too?

Unless the group you intended to create is now full, I am eager to see who else you plan to add to this group. I can only guess it would either be Moondancer or Rarity. Either one I can see having something to contribute to their project.

The AU continues to deliver. I have to say, you have the uncanny ability to reinterpret and reinvent things in ways that both compliment and improve upon the original canon in some respects. I really like everything about this Sunset better. And the short-lived "human NMM but not really" segment was cool and didn't actually resort to the EqG staple magical transformation and subsequent temporary villainification, which I don't mind in the movies, and honestly wouldn't have minded here despite the lack of originality, but it was one hell of a subversion in that way. Turns out the magic did other things and Luna got more serious because of inner emotional turmoil. It's also a very good parallel to the pony NMM situation, but scaled back to human context, instead of being a somewhat tacked-on lip service magical crisis that it could've been.

9896842
Thanks for reading! Yes, I always intended for this story to be a light-handed look at how Nightmare Moon's redemption might appear in the EQG world, so I'm really glad that works well for you. And like you, I felt the "she-demon" ending of Equestria Girls was a little over-the-top, so I wanted an ending here that was more down-to-earth and justified by the needs of the characters. With just a little Equestrian magic rainbow apocalypse thrown in, because rainbow lasers...
:rainbowlaugh:

Very nice. Have to wonder what element each of these girls would represent, so far I would have to go with Loyalty for Tempest, Laughter for Trixie, Honesty for Sunset, and either Generosity or Kindness for Starlight depending on if you want to view her cooperation with Tempest as one or the other.

Brilliant work from start to finish, with some excellent tension in the uncertain portal duration. And I can only imagine how Princess Celestia feels about being able to visit another Luna. Now there's just the matter of Starlight knowing something Princess Luna would rather she didn't...

Thank you for this.

Okay, with Sunset that makes 5. Now who's the last member of this Avengers team?

9907919
Zesty, Rarity, Luna? Seriously I would love a story where Luna is the magic specialist of some group or another. But after reading the comments I realize it's probably going to be Moon Dancer. That said whoever it is I am sure I am going to love their characterization as I've enjoyed this series immensely so far, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

9920673
Thanks much for reading! It's encouraging to hear this series is still holding readers' interest, especially now that the stories are tending longer, which often seems to work against me a bit -- I worry that word count may be a turnoff for some folks. Hopefully I can keep the ideas interesting to help justify the story length!
:twilightsmile:

9920888
Word count has never been a problem for me so I may not have the best advice for dealing with the public on that score but I love what you've done so far and can't wait to see what you do next.

9920673
Or both Moony and Rares, and Trixie turns out not to be an element bearer.

9930828
Probably unlikely but it's certainly a possibility depending on how the rest of the story goes.

Edit: Actually I wonder if Sunburst or Stygian will show up as the additional obligatory seventh pony without a element. It would definitely be interesting to see one them star in a major series.

9932005
Hm, Stygion's a no (still trapped), but Sunburst is a maybe if male characters are okay, though on that front, Neighsay is more likely (he was an antagonist after all).

9932088
True, I guess I was thinking more long term since we don't have a whole lot of male unicorn antagonists, though i suppose Chrysalis could always reform early but technically Stygian came before Neighsay in the show. Although now that I think about it and researched the relevant information I realize that without a excuse to go antiquing in Ponyville they wouldn't have discovered the journal or freed the pillars at all.

I can honestly see Rarity becoming part of the team because their school project deals in holding magic in gemstones. Rarity would likely be a gemstone specialist because she has an eye for detail and such a skill would help the team create more flawless gemstones and reduce the risk of disaster.

It's possible for there to be only the five of them and that they will all share the element of magic.

Edit: with Sunset being Honesty
Trixie being Laughter
Starlight being Kindness
Tempest being Loyalty
Twilight being Generosity.

A masterfully executed adaptation that raises some very intriguing questions of its own. Once again, I tip my nonexistent hat to you.

9956825
Hi, Eroraf86, and thanks much! A lot went into this (effectively) three-parter, so I'm glad you liked it!
:twilightsmile:

9945984
I think any group of six with the proper personalities can form a Elementsmof Harmony grouping but certain beings can only hold one element, while others could have more than one, it depends on individual's personality and or destiny. Ponies like Twilight and Pinkie for example are anchored to their element fully, destiny says Twi must be magic and Pinke's personality makes it impossible for her to not be Laughter, while say AJ and Dash could easily bear one another's element easily. Sunset really has the most flexibility on where she could fit.

Same complaint I had about Sunset Part II. Way too quick on the resolution, pacing was absolutely breakneck.
Also Tempest should have been missing something important, to mirror her pony self.

9971040
A very nice review! Thanks so much for your feedback!
:twilightsmile:

This was great! We get to see Sunset come to terms with her flaws. And Celestia starts to put her plans into motion. Tempest was an absolute delight. Though Starlight didn't do as much here compared to the rest in this story. The revelation that Trixie converse with both Luna and Nightmare Moon was interesting. Showing that she does want to be friends with Twilight and gang. Can't wait to read the sequel.

10047933
Thanks much for the read, and for your kind feedback! And yeah, Starlight didn't have as large a role in this one, basically because somepony had to be there, just in case Trixie fell off the couch... :twilightsmile:

Hope you like my take on Moondancer in the next story!

Man, this AU of yours intrigues me. Looks like I'm moving on to Moondancer next...

You've been a busy little horsewordsmith since I read the first few stories of this series, I see. But I've just reread the first few so I can start reading the new stuff. Now... let's do this! :rainbowwild:

"Ya know," Rainbow muttered dryly, "I think Trixie's waited her whole life for this?"

I think I just found the real, hidden purpose of this fic! :twilightsmile::trollestia:

I reread it, and... Several things come to mind.
1)Principal Celly OWES Luna. Like MAJOR favor. It doesn't matter what kind of emergency comes up, you do NOT LEAVE without ANY intstructions, be it on the spot or preplanning.
2) Can Principal teleport? What the hell? What the HELL?! She just DISSAPEARS in flash of light.

Wish there was an explanation for that.

10482095
Seems like it's the magic of that world's way of explaining her disappearance seeing as how it affects the mind but not technology.

10652414
As Sunset realizes in the middle chapter, while watching the recording:

"Yeah, well... when I came here, I had a lot of pent-up resentment for her. And my magic was still active, granting my wishes. When Luna called me to her office, well... let's just say that I understand her resentment. And I might have wished that there was something I could do to help. Maybe my magic rubbed off on her somehow, so that she was able to make Celestia... go away."

Sunset has (or had) a lot of power over this world, even more than she realized. And as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for -- particularly if you don't realize somepony has granted you wishes in the first place...
:twilightsmile:

10652414

Welp, seems Let's explained it, and it checks out. First point still stands. Celly OWES Luna. Doesn't matter wish, or something or other.

10653011
Actually... This begs second question, did they not notice "world hacking"? Celestia or Luna should have brought up the fact that neither could do magic? Celestia gets teleported, then comes back, "oh, just a problem, I had to take care of." No apology on DUMPING all the stuff on Luna(correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Luna here complain about not having responsobility)? My Point of Luna wanting it is not in defence, but rather Principal Celestia REFUSAL to grant her responsobility, then puffing out of existence, then coming back and congratulating Luna on handling it well... Not to mention, Luna did NOT pass. Students pressed Luna, HARD on NOT being a hardcase. If any of the students lacked charisma or evidence - Good Game, Well Played. School's on total lockdown.

What I'm saying is, it's not Luna that abstained of hard measures. Students managed to steer situation away from it.

10653011
Let's, have any arguments on my last comment?

Aww Trixie.
She just wants to be with her mentor for real.

"You're allowed them, Sunset," she said, "when you're a true Princess..."

Oh that was just such a c*nt thing to say! Especially considering that’s what started this whole situation…

10735857
That just shows that she WILL NEVER be the right person to be in the spotlight. There needs to be a balance, and the way she was going was a full blown Police State.

10999151
Yeah. Like you wouldn't be if YOUR family just VANISHED, MAGICALLY. Before your EYES(on recording). You can see them standing around, doing stuff, then there is a bright flash of light, and POOF. They are GONE. No instructions are left on who to contact, no "transfer" of responsobilities was made. You don't have a clue, and suddenly have to juggle all of THEIR workload, in addition to trying to find THEM. That wouldn't play merry hell on YOUR judgement.

10914748
Haha, is he wrong though? You. One disliker. What is wrong with his statement. That's called "rubbing salt in the wound", buddy. That IS a c*nt thing to say to Sunset.

10999424
Of course it would be horrifying, but I wouldn't take it out on innocent people that had nothing to do with it!

11000365
Yeah, I'd like you to repeat that statement when your emotions are running high. Let me REPEAT.

YOUR family has VANISHED. In a LITERAL flash of LIGHT. You SUDDENLY have responsobility for the jobs of your PARENTS and/or siblings. In addition you want to know where they have gone. Try thinking CRITICALLLY in THIS situation...

1) Sudden responsobility of job.
2) Dissapearence of a close family member.
3) New suspicious arrivals.

Tell me that this would not throw you off, I dare you. In addition on how Celestia came back and has never acknoldegded that she user used magic or was teleported by magic from some other source, AND just gave Luna pat on the back, despite Luna clearly failing that test. No apology was made. PROFOUND apology. "I'm sorry I literally dissapeared on you, and made you carry a mountan. This WILL NEVER happen again. I promise."

11000766
Well, first of all, don't make promises that you can't keep.

Second of all, I know that potentially, I could go overboard, but I do believe that I would do my best to not go down that path.

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