• Published 14th Dec 2019
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Altered Perspectives: The Long Way Back - CapNTilfy



The Friendship Games have ended, and the students and faculty of Crystal Prep must adjust to the fact that magic does indeed exist...

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Prologue: After the Friendship Games

The clouds parted, letting the sun shine as the awards ceremony concluded. The Friendship Games were over, and Lemon Zest could only gawk at the statue that had been destroyed by Twilight when she turned into... whatever the hell that thing was. She shook her head. What in the fuck did she just see back there?! She felt a hand on her shoulder, causing her to yelp. She turned around to see a peach-skinned student with blonde hair, who she had recognized from Canterlot High's archery team.

"How y'all holdin' up?"

Lemon simply stared at her blankly.

"Oh, right," the student said with a blush. "Name's Applejack." Applejack extended a hand.

"How am I feeling?" Lemon turned around and sighed. "I... I honestly don't know."

"Understandable," Applejack said. "Magic's been around here for months, and it still don't make a lick of sense to me."

Lemon turned back to Applejack. "How did you cope with all this crazy shit?"

Applejack gave Lemon a faint smile as she folded her arms. "As best I could, I guess."

Lemon sighed again. "I appreciate what you're doing, Applejack, but I think I just need a moment."

Applejack nodded and lightly tipped her stetson hat, then walked away.

Lemon sat down and rested her chin in her hands. Everything she thought she knew had been fucked six ways from Sunday, and she felt that no amount of music would help her mood.

"Excuse me... Lemon, was it?"

Lemon looked over her shoulder to see a pale white teenager with purple hair. Her blue eyes sparkled as a grateful smile formed on her face.

"...Yes," Lemon asked.

"My name is Rarity, and I just wanted to thank you for saving my life back there."

Lemon snorted. "Well I sure as hell wasn't going to just sit and watch you fall." She blinked. "Why are you thanking me, though? Indigo was the one who pulled you out, not me."

"Indeed she did, and I already thanked her. But she wouldn't have been able to lift me out of that portal if you hadn't helped her."

Lemon cupped her chin in thought. "Huh. I guess you're right." She smiled. "You're welcome, Rarity."

Rarity returned the smile. "Now, is there anything I can do in return?"

Lemon raised an eyebrow and folded her arms. "Say what now?"

"I simply cannot let such heroism go unrewarded, darling."

"...'Darling'," Lemon asked in mild surprise.

Rarity giggled. "It's what I call everybody. 'Darling', 'dear', 'sweetie'... you know, those sorts of things."

"I see..."

"Is something the matter," Rarity asked as she put a hand on Lemon's shoulder.

Lemon scoffed. "Where should I start?"

"Ah, yes," Rarity said sheepishly, looking slightly embarrassed. "This was your first time seeing magic."

"How do you not just go 'what the fuck?!' whenever that happens?"

Rarity sat down next to Lemon. "I assure you that I have indeed had those moments before. Sometimes, I still do."

"Does it get any easier to deal with?"

"The magic?" Rarity looked at the destroyed statue. "I think you already know the answer to that, given you just witnessed it firsthand."

"A mixed bag, huh?"

Rarity nodded. "I'm afraid so."

Lemon made a sputtering noise.

Rarity stood back up. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to be of much help, Lemon."

Lemon stood up with her. "It's okay. Thanks for trying, at least."

"You're quite welcome. Ta-ta!" Rarity walked off as Lemon watched.

Once Rarity was out of eyesight, Lemon turned around to see a pink girl with pink hair wearing a huge grin. "Holy shit," she yelped as she nearly fell on her butt.

"Hiya," the pink girl chirped. "I'm Pinkie Pie! Did you enjoy the party I set up before your meanie of a principal wrecked it?"

Lemon stood still for a moment and gathered her bearings. "Wait... you threw that out-of-nowhere super party with all the cupcakes and confetti?"

"You better believe it," Pinkie said with pride as she put her hands on her hips. "I don't hold anything back when it comes to fun!"

"Yeah," Lemon said with a nod. "It was a pretty kickass party!"

Pinkie pumped her fist in victory. "Yes! Another satisfied customer." Suddenly, her eyes began to twitch.

Lemon raised an eyebrow. "Are you okay?"

"It's my Pinkie Sense! I'm needed elsewhere." Pinkie hugged Lemon. "It was nice to meet you, Lemon Zest!" She sped off in a pink blur.

"Wait... how did she know my name," Lemon thought out loud. She shrugged, then smiled, feeling a slight improvement in her mood.

"Hey," a raspy voice called out from behind Lemon.

Lemon turned around to see a light blue girl with rainbow hair. "You were pretty damn good out there on the track. I don't know many people who can catch up to Pinkie as fast as you and your teammate did."

"Thanks," Lemon said. "You were pretty badass out there going up against that... whatever the hell that weird plant thing was."

"Rainbow Dash."

"Lemon Zest."

The two fist-bumped.

"Wanna race sometime," Rainbow asked with a grin.

Lemon returned the grin. "You know it!"

"Awesome," Rainbow said. "Hit me up on MyStable when you get the chance and we'll work out the time and place." She looked left and right. "Hey... you didn't happen to see a pink-"

Lemon pointed in the direction the Pinkie ran off. "She said something about 'Pinkie Sense' or whatever."

"Pinkie Sense," Rainbow exclaimed. "Oh man, this is gonna be good!" She waved goodbye as she ran off.

Lemon waved back with a smile as she was gently tapped on the shoulder. She turned around to see a pale yellow girl hiding behind her pink hair.

The girl simply stood still for a moment, then took a deep breath and spoke. "Um... hi. I-I'm F-Flutters-shy."

Lemon blinked. "Fluttershy."

Fluttershy nodded, then reached into her backpack and pulled out a rabbit. She hugged it, then calmed visibly with a sigh.

"Aww," Lemon cooed as she reached out to the rabbit. "He's such a cutie!"

Fluttershy brightened. "His name is Angel Bunny," she said as Lemon gently stroked Angel's chin. "Do you have any pets?"

"I used to have a hedgehog named Grubber when I was in grade school, but not since he passed away."

"I see," Fluttershy said. "Well, if you ever want another furry friend, you can find me at the Canterlot Animal Shelter! I'll be sure to find you the right pet!"

Lemon smiled. "Maybe someday."

Fluttershy nodded, then walked past a girl with red and gold hair. She wore a black leather jacket which ended at her waist as her blue blouse lightly swayed with the wind.

Lemon stood still as the girl walked towards her. That was the one who transformed into that amazing winged angel!

"Hey," the girl said as she stopped a few feet away from Lemon. "I bet you have a few questions for me."

Lemon snorted. "A few?"

"I'll try to answer them as best I can."

"Who... or what... are you?"

"My name is Sunset Shimmer, and as for what I am..."


Sunny Flare sat in disbelief with her head in her hands. Life had thrown yet another curveball at her, and it was all she could do to not scream. It was bad enough that Rutherford died recently, but now this! Magic was a real thing! She shook her head slowly as a lump rose in her throat. She just wanted to go home and stay there...

"Hey... you okay?"

Sunny looked up to see a blue-haired teen with blue eyes. He wore a white t-shirt with a blue shield with a yellow bolt in front of it, which she assumed was his Power Symbol.

"What do you care," Sunny asked harshly. "I don't even know you, so why should I tell you?"

"Flash Sentry," the teen said as he sat down next to Sunny.

"Oh, goody," Sunny said sarcastically. "I know your name. Big deal."

"Look, you've obviously been through a lot, and I just want to-" Flash was cut off as Sunny slapped him across the face, as hard as she could.

Sunny grit her teeth as her blood boiled with absolute fury. "You have no idea what I've been through," she said coldly. "You don't have any fucking right to say that."

Flash rubbed the cheek that had been slapped as he stared at Sunny in shock.

"And if you even so much as think of following me," Sunny said as she trembled, "I will personally make sure that the lower half of your body bleeds for a goddamn week!" She stormed off, leaving a surprised and confused Flash Sentry alone.

Sunny slowed down as the lump in her throat returned. She sniffled, then leaned against a tree as she covered her head with her hands, then broke.


Sour Sweet heaved a sigh. Nothing in life could ever be simple, could it? She had tried to distract herself from the insanity by checking out all the male students in the hopes of finding a boyfriend.

"That didn't work out too well, now, did it," asked Sour Side.

Sweet scoffed. Ya think?

That cute blue-haired boy with the guitar said he had a thing for someone from "out of town", the burly blue student with dark blue hair and a tornado on his shirt was gay...

"Don't forget that guy who turned out to be ace."

Sweet rolled her eyes. Don't remind me. She shook her head slowly as the memory of herself crushing the cup as a threat resurfaced.

"Yeah, not the best way to make a first impression."

Couldn't you have stopped me like you did when I tried to kill myself?

"That was self-preservation, Sweet. Totally different situation there."

An uncomfortable silence followed as Sour Sweet stared off at nothing in particular. She glanced at the broken statue and shuddered. Maybe walking around would ease her mind just a little.


Indigo Zap hadn't stopped walking around since the end of the awards ceremony. Ever since she had seen action movies, she had always laughed at civilians that ran in the face of terror. She always knew she'd save the day... but at the same time, she now found herself sympathizing with those that ran.

Truth be told, Indigo had wanted to flee along with Principal Cinch. What could she, a preparatory school student, have possibly done to something so far beyond her understanding? All of those portals to another world... the knowledge of such had made her feel very, very small in comparison with the rest of the universe.

Indigo shook her head rapidly. She hated when she did that deep thinking shit.

But what else could she do? Her mind had been going a mile a minute since that freaky plant thing showed up out of nowhere, and it likely wasn't going to stop anytime soon!

Indigo took a deep breath, then exhaled. What she needed to do was calm down. Chances were that wasn't going to happen, but she had to do something!

"Excuse me... Indigo, was it," a vaguely familiar voice asked from behind.

Indigo turned around to see a woman with light blue skin and two tones of blue in her hair. Her opal eyes seemed to look straight into Indigo's very being, causing her to step back.

Just before the final event when the shit hit the fan, that woman had spoken, and there was something about that voice that Indigo couldn't quite put her finger on...

"I'm Luna, the Vice-Principal of Canterlot High," the woman said, gesturing to herself.

"Uhh... hi," Indigo said, unsure of why the Vice-Principal would take time out of her normally busy schedule just to walk up to some student from another school.

"I just wanted to thank you for saving my students during that... well... "incident", I suppose, would be the proper word for it."

"I've got a word for it, too, but I don't think I can say it front of a faculty member."

Luna smiled. "Fair enough. Oh, and one more thing."

"Yes?"

"If you're ever up for another rematch, now you know where to find me," Luna said with a wink.

Indigo's eyes widened in recognition, and if brains could literally explode from mindfucks, hers would have done so for the umpteentillionth time that day. "Done," she shouted as she threw her hands up. "I'm fucking done!"

Vice-Principal Luna looked on in confusion as Indigo walked off, shouting almost incoherently.


Sugarcoat had barely said a word since the awards ceremony had concluded. All she had done since was find her boyfriend, Neon Lights, and held onto him tightly.

Neon had remained silent as well, taking comfort in Sugarcoat's embrace.

"Oh, god, Neon... we could have died," Sugarcoat all but whispered.

"I know," Neon said softly, then gently pecked Sugarcoat's forehead.

"I-I'm so scared right now."

"Me too, hon... me too." Neon gently ran a hand through her hair.

"When we get back to my place, can we just cuddle?"

"Of course, Sugar."

Sugarcoat sniffled. "I... I love you."

Neon tightened his hold on Sugarcoat. "I love you too."

Sugarcoat broke, and it took a great deal of willpower for Neon Lights not to do the same as he consoled her.


Twilight Sparkle sat on the front steps of Canterlot High as her mind replayed the events over and over. If it weren't for Spike being in her lap, she'd have gone absolutely mad!

"Hey, are you gonna be okay," Spike asked.

Twilight's eyes widened, then relaxed. Right. Her dog could talk now. That was a thing.

"I-I don't know, Spike... I'm still trying to make sense of it all," Twilight said as she put a hand to her forehead. "This 'Equestria' place, the magic, and those girls!"

"What about them?"

Twilight sighed. "That's just it, Spike. There's something about them. They didn't treat me with hostility. They readily accepted me, with open arms! Even after I became that... that thing!"

"So what are you going to do about it?"

Twilight cupped her chin in thought. "Well, I'd definitely like to get to know them better."

Spike nodded as his tail wagged. "Right, me too."

Twilight watched as a light green female student wearing a harp necklace openly held hands with a cream skin colored female. The former gently ran a hand through the latter's blue and fuchsia hair as they gazed at each other in what could only be construed as a romantic moment.

"It certainly seems that this school is much more open-minded than Crystal Prep," Twilight noted with a growing smile. "Who knows, maybe I could learn something new from this place."

Spike raised an eyebrow. "Wait... are you thinking of transferring here," he asked, gesturing to the whole of Canterlot High.

"Well... yes."

"You've got my support, Twi," Spike said, then licked her chin.

Twilight laughed, then smiled. "Thank you."

"I just hope your friend doesn't take the it too badly when you tell her."

Twilight hissed through her teeth. She hadn't thought about that! As she pulled at her hair, she began to think of ways to break the news...


Dean Cadance had kept a close eye on her students ever since the proverbial storm died down. Each of them were no doubt shaken to their very cores, and if she was to be honest with herself, so was she. Magic was one thing, but a whole other parallel world?

Had Cadance known ahead of time about the danger, she would have done whatever she could have to prevent it. But what could she have done? Seeing Twilight transform into that winged creature was the single most horrifying sight to her since the night her mother was poisoned! She shuddered at the memory and shook her head.

Cadance took solace in the fact that at the very least, her students were physically no worse for the wear. As for psychologically, though... Radiant Hope, Crystal Clarity and the other counselors would more than likely have their hands full for days to come.

Cadance checked her phone. The buses were due to leave fairly soon, and she'd have to round up the student body. She heaved a sigh, knowing that she'd be getting calls from alarmed and confused parents, as well as her agents. With determination, she started searching for her charges.


On the surface, Abacus Cinch seemed calm, cool and collected. On the inside, however, she was furious! A tie. Unacceptable. Simply unacceptable! Had it not been for those damnable Canterlot High students using magic of all things. Magic! Magic that had corrupted and influenced her students to turn against her! After everything she had done for them! How dare they be so ungrateful!

Victory should have been hers, and she would fight tooth and nail once she found a way to overturn this wretched outcome! She took a deep breath, then exhaled. Her anger was still prevalent, but she would not let Canterlot High have the satisfaction of seeing her angry! Her mind raced as she ran idea after idea in her head...


Lemon heaved a sigh as she put on a classic rock song. She almost wished she hadn't gotten any answers! Sunset Shimmer was a unicorn?

Lemon would've called bullshit if she hadn't seen the portals to this "Equestria" place for herself! She shook her head slowly as she felt a headache coming on.

With her hands in her pockets, Lemon continued forward until she caught sight of a pale white student with dark purple sunglasses. She bobbed her head to a beat from her earphones.

With a wide grin, Lemon hurried over to the student and pointed at her headphones, then took them off. The student did the same.

"'Sup, fellow headphone enthusiast," the student asked.

"Whatcha listening to," Lemon asked.

"My music."

"Yeah, but what genre?"

"EDM. House, Trap, Vaporwave, Dubstep... though I might experiment with Chillwave sometime in the near future."

Lemon's eyes widened. "Wait, when you said 'my music'."

"DJ P0N-3, at your service," she said with a flourish. "Well, that's my stage name, anyway. Vinyl Scratch," she said, extending a fist.

"Lemon Zest," Lemon said as they bumped fists.

"So. What are you listening to," Vinyl asked.


Sunny Flare wiped the tears from her eyes with a sniffle. She felt absolutely miserable as she looked back where she left Flash, only to see nobody there. She shouldn't have lashed out at him, he was clearly just trying to make her feel better. Maybe she'd find him and apologize to him sometime, but not now. Her pride wouldn't allow it. God, she was such a mess...

Sunny left the tree and passed Sunburst, who looked very deep in thought. She pressed onward, not willing to get herself mixed with any further drama if she could help it! She saw students begin to gather, and she headed in that direction.

Sunny simply wanted to move on with her day and let her suffering continue in what little peace she had.


Sour Sweet had been walking around for who knows how long, keeping herself sane by conversing with Sour Side.

"I mean, can you imagine if your landlords saw this shit? They'd be like 'Fine. Magic is real, but Sour Side isn't.'"

Sweet snorted.

"There you go!"

You know this happiness is only temporary, right? It'll be straight back to hell with us.

"We've got each other, Sweet. You won't be miserable alone."

Sweet allowed herself a small smile as she noticed Dean Cadance gesturing her forward.

Yeah. I know... Thank you.


Indigo Zap had been basically running on fumes for the past couple of minutes as the weight of everything began to crash down upon her. Her speed had slowed to a crawl and she spaced out more and more frequently.

"I-Indigo?"

Indigo looked to see Fleur De Verre, who sported a worried expression.

"Are you okay?"

Indigo stood still for several moments, then sighed. "D... D... D-Don't... t-think... think so..."

"Is there anything I can-"

A wave of frustration flowed through Indigo, and she swiftly thrust her hand out with fingers outstretched. "Done... no... n-no talk."

De Verre nodded in understanding, and the two made their way to the buses.


Sugarcoat shuddered as she finished crying. "Neon... I want to go home and pretend this never happened."

Neon frowned. "You know we can only do one of those without making things worse."

"Neon, old friend," Royal Pin said as he walked towards the couple. "I believe it is time to go." He gestured to the buses.

Neon and Sugarcoat stood up.

"Sit next to me," Sugarcoat said as she wrapped an arm around Neon.

"Of course."

"Hold my hand and don't let go."

"I promise," Neon said, then pecked Sugarcoat on the lips.

The three headed towards the buses.


Upper Crust stood in front of Dean Cadance. "Can we leave yet? I'm feeling rather jumpy and I wish to be at home!"

"Just as soon as everyone's ready," Cadance said.

Sour Sweet walked up. "I know I'm ready," she said cheerfully. "So everybody else better get their fucking asses in gear already!"

"Don't worry," Cadance said. "I'll make sure everyone is accounted for. Now get in the buses." As Sour and Crust left, she turned her attention to Twilight Sparkle, who was sitting on the steps.


Lemon sighed happily with closed eyes as Vinyl's music soothed her nerves. She had then opened her eyes to see Dean Cadance and Twilight speaking to each other. Whatever it was about, she could ask Twilight later.

A sudden tap on the shoulder alerted Lemon as her borrowed headphones were removed.

"I think everyone's leaving, Lemon," Vinyl said.

"Oh, crap! Thanks," Lemon said before taking off. "Keep in touch, will ya?"

Vinyl gave Lemon a thumbs up as she put her headphones back on.

Lemon dashed towards the buses, nearly passing Twilight. "Twi, don't you know the buses are leaving?"

Twilight looked away for a moment and sighed. "Lemon... there's something I need to tell you..."


Dean Cadance stood in front of the buses as she double-checked the attendance sheets. She had everyone accounted for. Everyone, that is, except Lemon Zest.

"WHAT?!" A scream at the doorsteps had told Cadance all she needed to know. She hurried over to the source of the noise.


It only took a moment for Lemon's world to come crashing down. "Twi... are you serious?"

Twilight nodded. "Yeah... I am."

"After everything you and I went through this past week... the moments we had together," Lemon felt a lump in her throat. "The things we shared in confidence!"

"Lemon..."

"P-Please, Twilight... don't leave me all alone in that hellhole..."

Twilight shot towards Lemon and hugged her. "You'll have Sour Sweet. And something tells me more friends will follow."

Lemon sniffled and returned the hug. "I... I-I'm going to miss you."

A tear ran down Twilight's cheek. "Lemon... I'm only transferring schools. It's not like I'll never see you again."

"Yeah... I know."

Dean Cadance ran up to the two. "Lemon, the buses are leaving! Let's go!"

Lemon sniffled again as she looked into Twilight's eyes.

"Think of it this way; This isn't 'goodbye'. It's just 'goodbye 'til next time'."

"Yeah... 'goodbye 'til next time'." Lemon broke the hug and hurried off.

Lemon Zest and Dean Cadance entered the bus, and the Shadowbolts began their long way back.