• Published 10th Nov 2019
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Equestria Girls: Love Is Magic - onekface



A new enemy threatens Sunset's new home. It craves magic and it craves all who has it. She and her friends must rise to face it. But they can't do it alone. Flash x Mane 7

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Zap Apples

Chapter 5: Zap Apple

(Sunday) (Morning) (Near Applejack’s home)

Damn it Rarity. Somehow this is all her fault.

Flash Sentry let out a tiresome yawn as he drove through the dirt road near the city’s farmstead. This was the last time he was gonna let that girl blackmail him into doing favors. Who in the world wakes up this early on a Sunday to deliver band-gear to someone else’s home? It was barely the crack of dawn and he hardly got a wink of sleep.

But the memories he got from last night was totally worth the fatigue. Seeing Sunset in that gorgeous stunningly stunning red dress gave him sweet dreams for weeks to come. She was so beautiful that he practically burned that image into his mind. He would’ve taken pictures too if he was given a chance. She would be the background of his computer, the fantasy of his dream, his princess to his kingdom.

And if it wasn’t his ex-girlfriend then it was Twilight’s sparkly eyes that lit his heart that night. The bespectacled girl had somehow stormed into the event on the very last minute. And while she looked like she was dressed for a date, her attire didn’t exactly match with the event. Thankfully he was there to give her a tour of the place. Her wide-eyed smile was all he needed as payment. A kiss would’ve been acceptable too but that was probably stretching it. Still…

… totally worth it.

“Doh!” The boy was brought back to reality when his car stumped on a pothole causing him to fumble and the band gear behind him to spiral out of control. “Ah come on!” He groaned loudly to himself pushing one of the guitars that was sticking its neck on his hair. For crying out loud Rarity. Next time, he’ll stick to buying his suits at another store.

This was totally not how he pictured spending his Sunday.

His irritation however came to a stop as Applejack’s farm came into view. Rainbow Dash’s directions were spot on in his GPS. At least now his car wouldn’t have to take anymore… punish…ment?

Flash hit the brakes and grinding his vehicle to a full stop just right outside the cute home. But his eyes were locked to the big pile of coal next to it which was once a barn.

Hesitantly he left his car wondering if he somehow got the wrong address. This was supposed to be the sight of a party. He expected, tables, chairs and all manner of festive decorations put around. But instead he found it more barren than an Arid Mausoleum. Pieces of wood were scattered, animals left lying everywhere.

Did a storm hit here last night? It was pretty much clear skies. But this place looked like it was struck with all manner of disasters.

“Hello?” The boy called out only to be replied with chickens clucking at the pens. It looked gruesome to say the least. Like the setting for a haunted movie. “Is anyone here?” He approached the house and knocked on the weak door frame expecting someone to answer. But it all seemed abandoned at this point. Not a soul to be seen or heard unless you count the animals left unattended.

Something was wrong here and he didn’t mean the burnt smell coming from the coal pile either.

“Oh for pete’s sake!” A commotion of breaking wood and curses jolted the boy’s attention. He quickly rushed to the side of the house noting a certain blonde cowgirl trying and failing to hold the fence up. “Stupid apple fudge oak.”

“Applejack?”

The cowgirl jolted upward to the mention of her name. She snapped her head at him, hammer at the ready with all over her body as if she just came out a chimney.

“Flash?” She recalled his name. “Wh… what are you doing here?”

“Rarity sent me. She wanted me to set up the band instruments for your… uh… reunion?” He eyed the surroundings carefully, noting the indiscriminate destruction. “What happened here?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” Applejack sighed with a tiresome sigh. She looked like she hadn’t slept all night. And those red streaks on her cheek indicated that she had been crying… a lot. “Sorry. I got a lot of work in my hands right now.”

“I can see that.” Flash noted the burnt out barn whose only portion left standing seemed to be on its literal-last-leg. “I don’t suppose you need help?”

“Nope. I got it covered.”

“Really? Because you look like you don’t.” Her knees were weak and her hands were shaking. She looked like she could fall to the ground any second now. “You look exhausted.”

“Ah that’s a hoot. I never back out of a challenge. Besides… I’m already catching my second wind. This is just hmph – something to spice… hurrkk – things up! Ha! There! See?” She presented her newly flimsily rebuilt section of the fence which looked like it was being held by spit and willpower. “Good as new.” And like a comic strip, the fence fell and broke apart. “Oh for the love of…!” She threw her hammer away in frustration nearly hitting the boy. “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

He quickly waved it off, understanding that it was just an act of anger. “Don’t mention it. Why don’t you tell me what happened and we can figure things from there?”

Applejack opened her mouth to argue but quickly found out that her limbs were barely responding. If she continued now, she’d probably just drop dead right then and there. She couldn’t even beat Flash in an arm-wrestling match if she wanted.

“I… guess a quick break wouldn’t hurt.”

xxxxxxxxxx

Applejack spent the next fifteen minutes explaining the events from last night to her visitor. She practically sprawled herself on the couch, fatigue finally kicking in. Strangely enough, the incident seemed oddly similar to that of Twilight’s encounter with the shadow monster. Though this story seemed to have had a worse ending.

“And you’re sure it’s the same animal that attacked Twilight?” Flash inquired, offering the cowgirl a bottle of apple cider that somehow managed to survive the onslaught.

“Oh I’m sure. Trust me. It’s the same one. With giant eyes, sharp teeth and everything. And almost as big as my barn too.” She shuddered at the thought. “And I’d be its supper too if Big Mac didn’t come along when he did.”

“And is he…?”

“Oh he’s fine. Sort of.” She answered quickly enough dispelling all horrifying thoughts. “The doc said he won’t be going anywhere for a while so Granny and Apple Bloom are staying with him until he gets better.”

“And why are you here?”

“Someone needs to fix the barn for tonight. This place looks more broken than that cornfield outside and I’m partially responsible for what happened. Besides, the whole family will be coming this afternoon. Can’t let them down either.” She was still planning to host the party even after all this mess?

“But that’s impossible! Look at yourself. You’re a mess. You can’t fix this whole place in just a few hours and definitely not by yourself.”

“I gotta.” She struggled to push herself off the couch but found her legs asleep. “It’s been my dream to host the family reunion and I ain’t gonna let them down.” The girl gave out a huff and a puff but the wind she blew out drained her.

“Easy. Just lie down for a spell. You’re won’t be doing anything if you push yourself too much.” He grabbed some tissues nearby wiping the sweat that accumulated on her brow. “You look pretty beaten up too.”

“Eh… it’s just a scratch.”

She calls that a scratch? He didn’t even want to know what a wound would look like in her point of view.

“Need to… get apple fritters. Flour… oil… wood for the fire. Three legged race. And the big family photo at the… barn.” She recounted her chores, sighing and moaning. “It might take some extra leggin but apple grease always gets the job done.” With some enthusiasm she forced her body to stand only to wobble in the process. Thankfully Flash was there to catch her and put her down.

“I don’t think extra leggin will be enough, even for you Applejack. This isn’t something you can just fix with your powers.” Or any of their magic. Not unless you had a small army of magically enchanted ponies. “Maybe you should call it quits. I’m sure everyone would understand.”

“And tell them what? That my place was sacked by a giant shadow monster and we had to set the barn on fire to drive it away?”

He puckered his lips and paused. “Ok maybe not everyone. But still! There’s just no way you can fix this whole place up in your condition. I mean look at you! You can barely stand.”

“I… have to.” Again the cowgirl rose, but her eyes were getting heavy and her whole body ached. The adrenaline from last night had finally released its grip on her putting her mind in auto-pilot. “And I can. Just… watch me.”

“Oh no you don’t.” Flash insisted this time, gently pushing the girl back on the couch. “You’re taking a long break. Starting right now.” With a quick motion the boy got to work grabbing pillows and blankets and putting Applejack in a comfortable position.

“I’ll be fine.” She whined back weakly. But the boy ignored her and quickly rush to the kitchen earning a confused look. “Wh… what are you doing?”

“Making you breakfast.” He ruffled through the shelves, putting one of Granny’s apron on. “We need to get your strength up and a balanced meal is the proper way to do it.” The boy made a mental note to properly thank Ms. Cheerilee when he gets a chance. Who would’ve thought that all those extra home-ec classes would actually prove useful here?

Applejack didn’t try to stop him. She was far too weak and far too exhausted to even try at this point. She opted to close her eyes for a bit, to take her mind off this whole mess. However the splattering sound coming from the kitchen only seemed to deter her. She tried to block it out, muffling her ears with the pillows and counting sheep. But the more clinking and clanging she heard, the more worried she became.

“What in mackerels’ tarnation is going on back there?”

“Uh… nothing!” The boy reassured her. “It’s just a special surprise. Nothing to be worried about.” That sound of plates breaking wasn’t reassuring.

About twenty minutes went by before Flash returned with a bowl in hand. His whole body reeked of sauce and spice and the burning smell from the kitchen didn’t elate Applejack’s irritation.

“Tada!” He revealed his result of his work presenting it to her like a culinary masterpiece.

Applejack looked down, not really sure if she was supposed to see something or just her wrinkly reflection on the plate.

“Soup?” She asked, eyeing her supposed savior like it was supposed to be some kind of punch line to a joke. “You made me soup?”

“Yup.” He smiled warmly, pushing the plate forward. “What better way to restore your strength with a little bit of… corn soup?”

The cowgirl looked at it. “I don’t see the corn.”

“Oh it’s there… somewhere.” It wasn’t supposed to be soup. It was supposed to be chowder. Corn chowder to be honest with a hint of carrot. Flash had put a number of ingredients in and even a couple of carrots but for some reason after he boiled it through they somehow… mysteriously disappeared. That was normal… right?

“I’m afraid to look at the kitchen.”

“Shh… no need to worry about that.” He chuckled awkwardly. “Just try it. At least get something in you. And please, do add any constructive criticism.”

Applejack looked at the soup, noticing the bizarre smell and the odd color, and then to him. She repeated that action about four times, trying to find a reason, any reason, to decline. But her growling stomach answered for her instead.

With a sluggish motion she grabbed a spoonful, eyes squinting to the bubbling texture. Honestly, what was in this thing? The more she looked at it, the more repulsive it became.

But Granny always said that she shouldn’t judge an apple by its color. So with a heavy gut she slurped.

And then her whole world exploded… in a torrent of vomit.

“Arghhh! Water water water water!” Desperate, she reached for the nearby flower vase and chugged the contents in, ignoring the flora Apple Bloom collected. It took a full minute for her to finally stop, breathing in just to remove the taste from her mouth.

“Was it… that bad?”

“Bad? BAD!?” She snapped. “That doesn’t even begin to describe what sam-heck infernal realm that thing came from! That… was the worst tasting soup I have ever had in my life!”

“Oh come on. That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?” He regretted those words immediately when he tasted his own creation, face turning a shade of purple before swallowed a chunk of his vomit. “Oh god. I think I just lost the will to live…”

“What in the world did you do?”

“I… don’t know what went wrong. Honest!” The boy held the bowl away, looking like he created a biological weapon. “I followed the recipe that Ms. Cheerilee gave us.” Or at least he thought he did. “I even put in a lot of salt to add extra flavor.”

“Tasted a little too sweet to be salty.” Applejack groaned wiping her tongue. “You sure it wasn’t sugar? We labeled the bottles.”

“Of course I’m…… sure…” He pulled out the vial that he believed contained salt but saw the word printed on the lid and paled. “Well… nobody’s perfect… right?”

“Sure…” She grumbled to herself now looking even more stressed than before. “Listen. Why don’t we make a deal? If you promise to stay out of the kitchen from here on out, I’ll rest. Ok?”

Flash nodded not trusting his words at this point. He wished he could take her out of this place. While her home was probably the most comfortable place for the little apple, the thought of seeing that old burned out barn and the messy farmstead must be torturing her on the inside. She can’t stay here. Not unless you wants to get better.

And through some miracle, his prayers were answered. “Applejack!”

Her friends poured from the door in a form of a messed up ball piling on one another.

“Fellas?” The cowgirl got up, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

“Apple Bloom called us and told us what happened.” Twilight explained first.

“We came as quick as we could.”

“Are you alright? Are you hurt?”

“Was it the same monster? Was it big? Was it cool!?”

“How are you feeling?”

“Is someone cooking?”

“Guy!” The tired girl snapped, silencing the girls. “One at a time please. I already got a big headache. I don’t need another. And I’m fine. Mostly. It’s my farm that took most of the beating. And yes… it was the monster. Or… at least I think it was.”

They scanned their surroundings noting the burnt smell done from last night. They’ve never seen this kind of damage before. At least not on their personal property.

“But why did it attack here?” Sunset inquired. “Or… why you for that matter? I thought it’d only be in the city.”

Applejack scoffed. “It didn’t exactly stay long enough for me to ask. It wasn’t exactly the talking type. And I was kind of distracted. You know? Running for my life?” Twilight shuddered back knowing well exactly how it felt. “I just wished it didn’t leave such a mess behind.”

“I’ll say.” Rainbow Dash cringed, looking at the grounds through the window. “Look at all that damage! I don’t think we’ll be able to fix that up any time soon. How are we gonna handle the party?”

“There ain’t gonna be a party.” The cowgirl sighed in defeat. “There’s just too much work to handle. There’s no way we can get it done in time even with magic. I stayed up all night trying to fix it but it’s hopeless. I’m sorry fellas… but I’m gonna have to call the whole thing off.”

“But darling. Hosting the reunion has always been your dream.”

“It’ll be my worst nightmare if my whole family comes by expecting to see a fair and instead they get to see… this.” She gestured to all the mess, the burnt barn and the animals let loose on the field. There was just no way would people willingly come here to celebrate… well… anything. “They’ll have more fun hanging out at the swamps than this place.”

“Ooooh~~~~ that sounds like fun! Mud pile!” Pinkie screamed out of place. “We could hang in the bushes, playing with frogs and throw mud at each other! It’ll be like kindergarten! Oh hey Flash. Woohoo!”

…!

“Flash?” Oh now they noticed him.

Sunset tilted her head confused. “What are you doing here?”

Doing you guys a favor carrying your stuff.

He rolled his eye in return. “No reason.” Pinkie then poked her head in his direction, eyeing the bowl he had on hand.

“Ooooh! Were you making soup? I’ll have some.” And the death dish claimed a third victim. The bubblegum gal took one little sip and dropped dead on the floor, the color drained from her face for a split second before she shocked herself back up with the power of her innate sugar. “Wow! I thought I saw the light on the other side for a second there but it was actually just my hunger pangs kicking in.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “That is definitely, absolutely THE worst soup I have ever tasted in my life. And believe me… I’ve had the cafeteria meatloaf.”

“Thank you… Pinkie… for that colorful… insight.”

“I’d sure hate to meet the person who made that. I mean… the damage you can do with that thing to someone’s stomach. It’ll be an epidemic of pandemic proportion!”

His eye twitched. “Thank you… Pinkie. I get it.”

“Why don’t we take you out for a trip to the mall, AJ?” Rainbow suggested. “Staying here is clearly making you miserable.”

“Thanks Dash. But there’s a lot of stuff I need to do first. Granny and Apple Bloom will be coming on back later and this place is still a mess.”

“You’re exhausted, Applejack.” Sunset pointed out the obvious. “You’re in no condition to do anything at this point. Besides, you’re gonna need a whole team of professionals if you want to repair this place. Some time off is probably best.”

A light bulb idea popped on Flash’s head. “Actually. Why don’t you girls take Applejack to the park? A bit of fresh air will do her some good. And I heard that the winter flowers are best this time before snow.”

“That’s… a wonderful idea!” Fluttershy agreed. “A change of scenery is always best for fatigue.” The rest followed suit, nodding in rhythm. “Then it’s settled.”

“Fine.” Applejack threw her hands up in defeat. There was no fighting this persistent group. It was six against one. May as well throw in the towel. “It’s not like I’m gonna get anything done here with all you guys yapping about.”

They gently lead the girl out of the house and hopefully get to the city, but not before Sunset noticed Flash lingering behind. “You coming?”

The boy smiled at her. “You go on ahead. I… have a mess to clean.” Sunset gave him a raised brow and was about to press for more but her friends’ calling beckoned her to drop it. Once she was gone, the boy quickly reach for his phone and dialed a number. “Edmund? It’s me.”

“Master Flash?” The butler on the other line answered with a rather surprised yet steady tone. “How may I be of service?”

(Celestia/Luna’s apartment)

Celestia let out a tiresome sigh as she slumped onto the couch after a nice warm bath. The weekend was a time to unwind and relax after a grueling week of paperwork in school. She didn’t have to sign another document, have a serious talk with another student or hear any of her faculty’s complain about this and that. No siree. It was just her, her jammies, the couch, this hot-steaming-sexy caffeinated drink in one hand and the remote for the TV in another. Yup, all was right in the world and that was how she liked it.

But her little paradise was interrupted when the phone line rang nearly making her spit her coffee. She eyed it bitterly and was quite thankful when Luna was there to answer it.

The Principal returned her attention back to the TV, ignoring the conversation behind her. Whatever it was, her sister would know how to handle it. For all she knows it was probably just another sales pitch or the board trying to make another appointment. All trivial stuff.

She switched the TV on and saw the local news channel come up. A fire incident on the outskirts of the city. Meh. Pedestrian sighting a large animal roaming the streets. Boring. It was all boring. And strangely enough she liked it that way.

Boring meant safe. Boring meant that there was no one getting hurt. Boring meant that there was no magic going around. And god knows that she had seen enough magic gone through her school already. Seriously, that mystical mumbo-jumbo has caused her and her students and faculties nothing but trouble. If she could remove that factor from the world, she won’t shed a tear for it.

“Uh… sister?” Luna called out holding the phone, breaking the woman’s train of thoughts. “The… Chairman wants to talk to you.”

Oh come on now. Seriously? It was Sunday of all days. Can’t she have one moment to relax?

Celestia held back a sigh and hesitantly answered. “Principal Celestia speaking.” The man on the other line muttered to her softly, just enough for her to hear. “Yes Chairman. I heard. The new Superintendent sounds very promising. I’m sure Vice Principal Luna is more than capable of showing him around and…” There was a lull. “Me? Why me? Who…” She listened intently until the name dropped making her eyes go wild. “Oh…”

Celestia glanced a knowing glance at her sister who also seemed to be aware what was happening.

There was a long pause before she resumed the conversation. “Yes. Of course.” She said finally, breathing a solemn breath. “I understand, Chairman. I’ll meet him at Crystal Prep Academy tomorrow. Yes. Thank you. Goodbye.” With a grunt she hung up, putting the phone on the seat next to her. The Principal’s eyes cast downward, while memories spurned in her head.


“Are you alright, sister?”


Her short silence said much. “I am. Thanks for asking Luna.” She sighed. “The Chairman has asked me to usher the new superintendent of Crystal Prep Academy. With Principal Cinch resigning after the Friendship Games, they need me to do the introductions. If all goes smoothly… he’ll be the new Principal of the Academy by the end of the year.”

“What about Cadance? I thought they made her the new Principal of Crystal Prep.”

“Cadance was simply there to fill in the seat until a replacement could be found.” Celestia explained. “It was never to be permanent even though we would’ve preferred it.”

“And now ‘He’s’ going to be there.” Luna stretched the ‘he’ part questionably. “You know I can take your place. I can talk to the Chairman for you, if you want.”

“No Luna. But I appreciate the offer.” Celestia stood from her couch, reaching for a framed photograph that she placed by the window.

A younger version of herself and her sister stared back with brightly sparkling eyes filled with love and hope for the future. And standing with them were her fellow alumni, throwing their academic caps into the air. One might say that this was the happiest time of their lives. But she didn’t look at any of them. Her eyes were focused solely on the dashing young man standing next to her younger self, holding her in his arm like she was the most precious treasure in the world.

“Besides. We can’t escape our past forever.”

(The park)

Sunset wasn’t really sure how cheering up works here in the human world. If it was anything like in Equestria, it would usually involve cake and ice cream. A LOT of ice cream. And thankfully that part of her culture seemed to be similar here.

When they found themselves an empty table at the park, the gang quickly got to work in giving Applejack everything she needed to get through the day. By the time they got their seats, Applejack was flooded with every treat the park could offer.

Pinkie practically dotted on the poor cowgirl, giving her nonstop attention. Going as far as providing foot rubs.

“Guys. Seriously. You don’t have to do this for me.”

Twilight shook her head and shrugged. “We didn’t. But we want to.”

“And you’re looking very famished. So eat up! I’d totally recommend you start from the top to bottom to keep the structural balance of the plate otherwise it’ll fall on your and the sauce can get really REALLY sticky!”

“Thank you Pinkie.” Applejack pushed her off her face resisting the urge to comment on personal space. “But I’m telling you guys. I’m good. I only got a few bruises. Nothing like Big Mac got.”

“I still don’t understand why that thing would attack you.” Sunset stated. “Did you do something to make it angry?”

“Not that I can think of.” The cowgirl shook her head solemnly. “We were just closing up when I saw that thing hiding in the cornfield. I took one peek… and the next thing I know I was fighting for my life.”

Rainbow Dash frowned, hands on her chin. “Couldn’t you have just whacked it? I mean, you got super strength. I’ve seen you carry a giant tree on one hand and eating cotton candy in another.”

“And that’s surprisingly not an exaggeration.” Fluttershy agreed. Applejack was stupidly strong. Probably strong enough to take on a professional wrestler.

“I did! I tried to whack it. I even tried to hit it with a club. But…” Applejack shuddered, remembering the cold feeling when her attacks simply passed through the monster. “But nothing worked. Every time I tried to hit it, my fists just goes through it. It’s like it was some kind of… ghost. Just like what Twilight said. It was a rigged fight from the start. It could touch me but I couldn’t touch it.”

Twilight understood that fear. Normally when they fought against monsters they could at least fight back with their unique powers. This thing on the other hand had the power of invincibility. It was like playing a game except that the cheat codes were now working for the other team.

“It’s alright Applejack.” The egghead held her arm, calming her down. “You’re safe now. Why don’t we discuss something else? Something that could actually help us solve this problem. Sunset, can you show us what you took in the museum?”

The redhead rebel nodded and brought out her phone showing the pictures she got last night. “We did some digging on the artifacts.” She pointed to each object. “From the looks of it – the strange magical energy that we’ve been feeling are all coming from these items.”

The gang huddled over to her phone squinting at the low resolution photo. It was hard to tell what they were if at all.

“Twilight and I looked into these things and found traces of magic.”

“A broken knife, a bottle and a statue of a dancing man?” Rainbow Dash deduced from what she could see. “So these are the things that are bringing this monster to us?”

“Well… not entirely.” Twilight spoke up. “I double checked and discovered that these objects had only traces of magic. They were more likely used for casting spells, but not the true source.”

“We believe that the real source, comes from this.” Sunset swiped the screen presenting them with a picture of a jeweled chalice that outshined everything they’ve seen so far. It was a cup made out of silver, with five different colored gemstones the size of quail eggs embedded on the outer layer. It was held up by a single stilt which reflected its magnificence for all to see.

“Oh my…” No surprise that Rarity would take a shine on it. “How beautiful. How needlessly gaudy, how excessively regal! It would make a fine addition to a collector for sure.”

“It’s called the Chalice of Wishes.” Twilight graciously explained in her usual genius tone. “According to legend: And anyone who drinks from it will be granted one wish. But not just anything. The Yaztec shamans had to prepare a special kind of brew. It was very powerful and many sought it, which of course, ultimately led to their extinction thousands of years later. I know it sounds ridiculous.”

That because it was ridiculous. When people hear something about wishes in this day and age they’d think about genies in magic lamps or magical fairies that can grant your every desire. Not… cups.

“A cup?” Pinkie said with a voice of disappointment. “Boo! Boring!”

“A Chalice!” Twilight insisted. “It might be a little unorthodox, but remember: This is an ancient civilization we’re talking about. They don’t have our reference to pop culture.”

Applejack didn’t seem all that convinced though. “I dunno Twilight. I have to go with Pinkie on this one. I find that statue more convincing than a fancy looking mug.”

“I thought so too.” Sunset agreed on that notion. “But that was until we saw these.” She tap the screen, zooming onto the chalice once more revealing a face on the yellow gemstone. Which looked surprisingly like a wolf. “Does that remind you of anything?”

“It’s that wolf thing!” The cowgirl gasped. “There’s no doubt about it. I’d recognize that ugly mug like I saw it yesterday.” Which she did.

“I thought as much.” The egghead gave a confirming nod. “According to legend, that wolf is called Uta. The Ghost of the Shadows. It’s one of the 5 guardian spirits that the Yaztec people created.”

“Oooh…” Rainbow whistled intrigued. “So it’s an evil spirit that goes around hunting people?”

“Actually it’s not an evil spirit at all. It’s a familiar. A summoned creature.”

“Kind of like the wizards and witches in Ogres and Oubliettes. They summon these cute animals like pets who help on their research and experiments.” Sunset froze when all eyes landed on her. “What? I play games too.”

“In other words, the summoned is only an extension of the person who summoned it. Which begs the big question.”

“Who was the one who called it – and – why did it go after Twilight and Applejack?”

That was a big question. One to which they didn’t have the answer to. It was frightening to know that someone would actively try to harm them, physically.

Applejack gave it a thought and came to a troubling conclusion. “Now that I think about it, we have been making a lot of waves lately. After everything that’s happened I wouldn’t be surprised if we made a couple of enemies along the way.”

“I bet my socks that it’s those no good Dazzlings.” Rainbow deduced with no real evidence to back it up. “They’ve been looking for a way to get back at us since our school’s Musical Showcase. Especially that Adagio girl. I bet my other socks that she’s the one behind it.”

“Or the Shadowbolts from Crystal Prep.” Fluttershy added sadly. “I hear that a few students there still has a grudge from the Friendship Games.”

“Oh oh oh! Or maybe it was Flim and Flam or or or or… Gloriosa! She could’ve gone back to her evil plant magic thing while our backs were turned!” Pinkie… just… no.

The names went on for the girls. With all the adventures they’ve been going through and all the evil plans they’ve foiled, it wouldn’t be a surprise that some folks would hold a grudge against them. Even the Dazzlers sound like a solid lead. But the list of suspect was long. Too long to make any quick guesses.

But in Sunset’s mind, there was one she wanted to point out. Someone only she saw.

“Got something to say there, Sugar Cube?”

Sunset darted up when she noticed her friends staring at her. “Huh? No. I was just… thinking about our… usual suspects.”

“Really? Because you have that look in your face right now.”

“Look?” The girl blinked, tilting her head confusingly. “What look?”

“That look you have when you got something to say but can’t really say it.” Rainbow Dash explained, pointing at her cheeks. “You normally have one hand on your chin, your brows down about 30 degrees and you have this frown on your face.” She paused, smiling. “Yeah… that look. You have it just like… all the time. Especially when we have these magical adventures.”

Did she now? She never really noticed that she had a habit of putting on a look. Huh. The more you know…

Twilight nodded in agreement. “You know something Sunset?”

“Ah… well. It’s… stupid. I’m probably just bias.”

“Might as well spill it.” Applejack insisted. “It can’t be any worse than Pinkie Pie’s theories.”

“OH! Broccoli! The villain of vegetables!”

Sunset gave up a sigh. There was little good to hide her own suspicions. “Well… I might be wrong and this might sound kind of bias, but I think this guy might be the culprit.” She tapped her phone again putting on another picture of a tall dark haired man.

“Professor Sombra?” Twilight recognized him instantly while she failed to notice Pinkie spitting out her drink. He was the man of the hour during the fundraiser event yesterday. “The investor?” The girls gave them a questioning look. “He’s the one who discovered the artifact and donated it to the museum. From what I can tell he’s pretty well off. Even more so than Filthy Rich.”

“Is he now~~?” Rarity’s eyes twinkled like stars for a second there while her humming sweetened.

“Don’t even think about it.” Sunset warned.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about darling. I’m simply admiring his… unique outfit. That’s all.” Their squinted eyes made it clear that no one believed that line for a second. Rarity was anything but subtle when something or someone caught her eye. If it shines like a diamond, you can bet your breeches that she wants it in her pocket. “Though I must admit that he is quite easy on the eyes.”

The gang stuck their tongues out in disgust.

“Rarity! He’s like… way too old for you!”

“At tut tut. Age is but a number, Rainbow.”

“He’s also Flash’s dad.” Sunset pointed out.

“He is?”

“Oh!? R… really!?” Pinkie chuckled in a strangely robotic manner. “I did not… know that. That is entirely brand new information. Ha… ha… haha.”

“Why is he a suspect?” Twilight inquired curiously. “Do you know something about him?”

Sunset groaned. It was a difficult thing to explain. That tends to happen when you see two worlds at once. “Well… not exactly. You all know that I come from another world, right?” They nodded and shrugged like it was just another fact of their daily lives. “And you know that pretty much almost everyone here has a counterpart there. Like Princess Twilight and our Twilight.”

“Who isn’t a Princess.” Rainbow teased though it failed to get a proper reaction from the egghead.

“Well in my world… there was also someone named Sombra. And he wasn’t exactly the nicest guy in Equestria.”

“So a villain?” The multicolored girl gave an interest.

“The worst kind. In my world he’s known as King Sombra. A powerful and tyrannical unicorn who once took over the Crystal Empire. He enslaved his own people and forced them to wage a drawn out war across all of Equestria. And he would’ve conquered everything if Princess Celestia and Princess Luna didn’t banish him.”

“That… does sound like someone I don’t want to meet.” Fluttershy shuddered.

“But this is a different Sombra.” Twilight reminded. “Not everyone shares a one dimensional outlook. I mean look at me. I’m just a high school student on this side of the mirror but my counterpart over there is a Princess. And Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna are our teachers, not royals.”

“And that’s exactly why I didn’t want to bring him up.” Sunset explained to them, sighing. “Like I said: My opinion is kind of bias.” And knowing a tyrannical dictator on the other side didn’t exactly improve his image here.

“Ok so what’s the plan?” Applejack asked at last sounding even more exhausted. “We can’t exactly go through everyone we’ve met and see if they know anything about this stuff.”

Thankfully they didn’t have to as their resident Einstein already had a plan. “Actually, I think we can narrow it down. Seeing as this is a magical mystery on its own, why don’t we look into those who have ties with Equestrian Magic? Our most notable suspects, as Rainbow suggested, are the Dazzlings. Rainbow Dash, you will handle them.”

“Yes!”

“Take Fluttershy and Applejack with you. Just in case. The Dazzlings might’ve lost their powers but you can never be too careful. The rest of us will investigate the area I found the monster and see what we can find. If there are clues, we’ll find it.”

“Ah… ahem. Pardon.” Rarity raised her hand up like a kid beckoning a question to her teacher in class. “But Applejack and I would like to be exempted from this scavenger hunt.”

The cowgirl bobbed her head in her direction. “We do?”

“Yes. Apparently I’ve scheduled a spa session in the city and would very much like to take her for a moment to de-stress. I’m more than certain she could use it.”

“Now hold on a minute. I didn’t agree to no…”

“I think that’s a great idea.” Sunset agreed much to Applejack’s confusion. “No offense Applejack but Rarity is right. You’re exhausted. You look like you could drop any second.”

“I’m telling you, I’m fine!” How many times has she said that now? It’s hard to keep count. “Besides, if you guys are going out looking for that monster, I want in. I owe it a smack down for what it did to my farm.” She tried to flex her arms and tried to act tough but they ultimately failed. She would’ve fallen off the bench if Fluttershy didn’t held her back.

“You can barely stand, darling. And you’re practically filthy. You’re in no shape to be fighting or doing anything for that matter.”

“She’s right.” Even Rainbow Dash saw the logic – or at least they hope she did. “We’re not looking for that wolf monster right now. So it’d be better if you just rest up and get charged. And even if we did meet it, I’ll be sure to clobber it for ya!”

Everyone else chimed in agreement and again Applejack found herself outnumbered. With another defeated sigh, she agreed.

“Alright alright! I get it. I heard ya the first time. No need to speak up like some broken recorder.”

Rarity giddied and quickly dragged the tiresome girl out of the park. “Wonderful darling. Oh! We are going to have so much fun, you and I. We’ll have a makeover, a manicure/pedicure session and a good old massage to get that negative energy out of you.” She held a squeal. “So exciting!”

Sunset couldn’t help but smile as she watched those two grab a taxi leaving the rest of them to do the heavy lifting. But knowing what AJ went through, they believed she deserved it.

“So… the Dazzlings.” Rainbow Dash pumped her fist together, readying herself for whatever that may come. “Where can I find these creeps and give them a piece of my mind?”

“You won’t have to look far.” Twilight answered with a reply ready. “They actually have a part-time job working over at a store a few blocks from here. It’s an internet café called… the Sleepy Sirens.”

Ha!

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