• Published 25th Jan 2021
  • 2,356 Views, 60 Comments

Equestria at War: Solar Sacrifice - White Comet

This story takes place in the Equestria at War universe - When a certain thought to be dead Princess of the Night visits Sunrise Sparkle in her dreams, she begins to start doubting Daybreakers leadership. A decision that could decide her fate...

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Chapter 5: The Shadow of Twilight Sparkle



Sunrise groaned as she felt the sound of voices vibrate in her eardrums, followed up by some cries of joy. She was lying on something soft and pillowy, no doubt she was lying on top of a cloud-like in Luna’s dream of choice whenever she wanted to speak to her.

“I thought you were dead…”

“I thought I would never see you again…”

One of those voices was oddly familiar to Sunrise. It was as if she was hearing… herself…

Feeling her awareness returning, she gave her eyes a quick rub with her forehoof before opening them, blinking a few times as they adjusted. She was indeed laying on a bed of clouds illuminated by a full moon. She groaned again as she picked herself up into a sitting position. “Luna…” She winced, giving her forehead a rub, “...What the hell was that?”

Her vision finally decided to start focusing, giving her a crisper view of what was going on. Not getting a response from Luna, she lifted her head to look straight forward. Not far in front of her, she saw Luna hugging… herself? But she was here? Unless…

“No…” Sunrise’s eyes widened when she noticed the difference in the purple alicorn Luna was hugging. Specifically the purple and pink streak in her mane and tail where there should be red. “No no no…”

Luna’s ears twisted at Sunrise’s voice. “I see somepony has finally regained consciousness,” She stated, withdrawing the hug from the other purple alicorn. “I must say, this is certainly an unexpected turn of event--”

“BULLSHIT!” Sunrise butted in, jumping up and shooting off a beam of red magic from her horn. She shot just past Luna’s shoulder, but Luna remained unphased at the action, almost as if she knew Sunrise deliberately missed. A warning shot.

Sunrise took a quick glance at her doppelgänger before looking back at Luna. “This was your plan all along!” She accused, pointing her hoof at the other alicorn.

Luna looked blankly at Sunrise for a few moments before her lip quivered. “I…” She glanced down and away.

Sunrise was taken aback at the action, lifting her head and letting her jaw part slightly. It was almost as if Luna felt regretful.

“I wasn’t expecting this so soon…” Luna admitted, looking back up at Sunrise with deep eyes.

“I knew it,” Sunrise wasn’t buying any of Luna’s remorse. “You just set the wheels in motion and now you’re panicking because the wheels have been derailed.”

“Not at all,” Luna shook her head, “I just wasn’t expecting this.”

“Spare me your lies,” Sunrise rolled her eyes before locking them back onto her duplicate. “You just tried to kill me so SHE can take over my body.”

“Actually it’s MY body!” The other purple alicorn finally spoke up, standing tall with a wide stance and spreading her wings.

Sunrise chuffed and looked her in the eye. A strange sensation to say the least. It was like staring into a mirror. “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” Sunrise finally addressed. “Or should I say, Ex-Princess?” She taunted, a slight smile creeping onto her face. “Last time I checked, you two are just mirages in my imagination. And now I’ve seen your trick, what makes you think I’ll fall for it again?”

“I promise I wasn’t trying to trick you,” Luna once again stated before turning to Twilight. “Twilight, can you explain what happened to Sunrise?”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses, but something tells me I’m not getting much choice in this lecture,” Sunrise grumbled, sitting down in front of them. “Well go on then, enlighten me,” She mocked, rolled her hoof in circular motions.

“Sunrise, that tree you approached? Well, it wasn’t just a regular old tree,” Twilight began to explain.

“I gathered as much given that it was made from glowing crystals,” Sunrise butted in, raising an eyebrow.

“That tree was known as the Tree of Harmony. It’s the source of the Elements of Harmony.”

“Wait,” Sunrise blinked, “Elements of Harmony?”

“Yes,” Twilight nodded. “And… Well it’s hard to explain, but the tree has some degree of sentience to it. When you approached it and started using your magic, it must have sensed my body but not my conscious. It thought I was in danger, which is why it attacked you. It was using its magic to return me to my body, but you teleported out of its range halfway through. Which is the reason I’m here now…”

“Convenient…” Sunrise looked back at Luna. “So you’re saying that the only reason I’m still alive is because of my own actions? If I sat there and let that thing do its work, I’d be gone and she’d take my place?” Sunrise asked Luna, pointing at Twilight.

“Sunrise, as I’ve to you many times now, I need you alive. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t knowingly put you in a situation where your life will be threatened without warning you.” Luna stated, then sighed. “But I must confess; I knew that your presence would provoke a reaction of some sort to the tree. I just didn’t know to what degree,” Luna admitted, feeling her ears fold back. “For that I am sorry,” She bowed her head.

“Sorry, but I’m struggling to believe you,” Sunrise still rejected her apology, furrowing her brow. “I still think you’re hiding something from me.”

“And you aren’t hiding anything from us?” Luna raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been extremely uncooperative the entire time I’ve known you. I know you must be planning to stab me in the back at some point, so forgive me for taking precautions.”

“Well, you still haven’t told me what your plan is. How are you gonna deal with Daybreaker? When are you gonna show your face in the real world? Why are you--”

“I know what must be done!” Luna yelled quickly, flaring out her wings and shutting up Sunrise. “I’ve been plagued with the same parasite that currently poisons my sister's mind. I know how it works, and I know how to defeat that nightmare.”

“You…” Sunrise’s ears perked up, “Know…” Something in Luna’s words triggered a thought process in her head.

The Nightmare… Nightmare Moon… Defeated by…

“The Elements of Harmony…” Sunrise whispered to herself, looking back up at Luna. “You plan to use the Elements of Harmony against Daybreaker?”

Luna slowly nodded. “It seems you’re starting to understand…” She released a sigh, opening her eyes. “Which as I’m sure you’ve worked out would mean…” Her words stopped abruptly. Her eyes glanced upwards at her own horn, then back at Sunrise. “We’re out of time, you’re being awoken. Twilight will have to fill you in,” Luna’s horn ignited with the blue aura of her magic.

“Wait,” Sunrise said, standing to her hooves, but already seeing Luna and Twilight in front of her beginning to dissipate like dust in the wind. “What do I… do… next…?” She spoke hopelessly, knowing that she was already too late.

“Sunrise Sparkle?” A young-sounding voice spoke.

Sunrise felt a hoof on her side, causing her to quickly blink.

“G-Grand Inquisitor?” The voice asked again, sounding increasingly nervous.

Sunrise groaned as she felt the cold stone against her fur. She blinked several more times as she craned her neck up, examining the situation. She remembered passing out on the floor in the old Castle of the Two Sisters, and it appeared that was where she stayed. Judging from the sunlight now shining through the broken roof, she had stayed there all night.

She looked around, seeing a young colt in his Solar Youth uniform standing right next to her. Far behind him, a small group of a dozen or so other young ponies stood as far away as they could. He was obviously the only pony brave enough to step anywhere near her. Sunrise thought about commending him on it.

That was, if she could even think straight. She could feel her brain pounding inside her skull with every heartbeat. It was strange because she was getting a similar feeling that she was getting when trying to recall what she felt like was a repressed memory of Twilight Sparkle. Except she wasn’t even trying to do that at the moment. And the feeling was slightly different. It felt like her own thoughts but intertwined with different emotions that didn’t match hers.

She moved her hooves, causing the young colt to take a step back as she placed her hooves square against the floor. She groaned slightly as she pushed herself up, her muscles and joints punishing her for sleeping on the cold hard stone floor. Although it wasn’t really her choice.

“A-are you okay, M-Miss Inquisitor?” The little colt asked nervously.

Sunrise looked down at the young colt, he was very small and obviously young. Maybe eleven or twelve years old. The majority of ponies cowering against the back wall all seemed bigger and older than him. Yet he still seemed to show more courage than them… Or maybe he just picked the short straw when it came to deciding to wake her up.

“I’m fine,” Sunrise stated, stretching her limbs. “I, uhh… just got carried away and must have fallen asleep on the job,” She poorly explained with an uncharacteristic nervous laugh. She almost wanted to clamp a hoof around her muzzle after that. When in the world did she act like that?

The young mares and colts looking at her seemed to accept it though. Or at least, didn’t object. They just stared blankly while Sunrise stretched and adjusted her mane. As she did, she noticed her crown resting on the floor. No doubt it fell off her head when she was running through the castle last night. She used her magic and floated it back up onto her head.

Her brief check over her body showed no signs of any physical injuries. No bruising, and she assumed that her muscle pain was just the result of falling asleep in a bad posture on a bed made of stone.

In fact, she only noticed one typical biological need that she would need to take care of immediately. “I should probably get some fresh air,” she spoke nonchalantly, raising an eyebrow as she still didn’t sound like herself. She glanced back down at the young colt and cleared her throat to try and refocus herself. “Do we have any… facilities?”

“...Oh,” The colt quickly gathered that she meant bathrooms. “W-Well, we are camping… in n-n-nature…”

“I thought as much,” Sunrise retorted before starting to walk back through the castle.

“W-w-watch out for Timber Wolves,” The young colt called to her as she walked off.

“Dude, it’s Sunrise freakin’ Sparkle, she could beat an army of Timber Wolves,” One of the older colts responded to him in a hushed tone, obviously not meant to Sunrise to hear… but she didn’t mind, she even found it… funny…

Sunrise suppressed a chuckle as she walked out of the castles main entrance (or rather, what was left of it.) She shook her head, trying to get to grips with what she was feeling. This wasn’t like her at all… what was going on? What did the tree do?

The morning sun filtered through the trees of the Everfree Forest, lighting the way as she walked through the grass. But a sudden purple glow on an adjacent dirt path made Sunrise stop in her track, readying herself to respond in case it was one of the strange animals that lived in this forest.

But as the glow revealed itself… it appeared to be the silhouette of a unicorn. The facial features and any other distinguishing features were missing, it was just like watching a glowing purple phenomenon in the shape of a pony. Behind it walked another pony of the same design, this one glowing white. Then an orange, a yellow, and a pink silhouette following in a perfect line. Another cyan silhouette of a pegasus behind was flying around, but still following the group.

“And once Pinkie and Rarity were safe, whoosh!” The silhouette of the blue pegasus flew through the air. Sunrise noticed that when she spoke, the voice had an extreme echo to it. Almost like talking in a confined tunnel.

But Sunrise didn’t have much time to think about that. She flinched as the blue silhouette came barreling towards her, only for it to pass straight through her like a ghost.

“Me and Fluttershy looped-a-loop around and wham!” The pegasus touched down on the ground next to the purple silhouette. “Caught ya right in the nick of time.”

“Yes Rainbow, I was there, and I’m very grateful…” The purple silhouette replied, again very echoey. But Sunrise noticed that the voice didn’t sound too dissimilar to herself if a fair bit younger.

...Was she experiencing a memory?

She groaned as she suddenly felt a headache coming on, closing her eyes and giving the right side of her head a rub with a forehoof to try and dull the pain. When it faded to a tolerable level, she opened her eyes to find the silhouettes had disappeared.

“That’s a new one…” Sunrise said to herself. She glanced backwards over her shoulder, seeing that she wasn’t now pretty far away from the castle. Far enough that nopony would bother her. Satisfied with the distance, she broke from her path and took a few steps into the densely packed trees and shrubbery. She took one last look around to make sure nopony had followed her before she lowered her flank and began relieving herself against the base of a tree.

While she was doing so, she felt her hooves begin to tingle. She lifted her right forehoof off the ground and looked down at it, seeing it begin to shake. Almost instinctively, before she had even thought about it, her hoof moved to tap one of the hidden compartments on her regalia to reveal her carton of cigarettes and lighter. She fiddled about with them in her magic, drawing one of the paper sticks out and clicking the lighter a few times before it finally ignited and burnt the end of the cigarette. She slowly lifted it to her lips and took a deep inhale, her senses immediately feeling calmed by the--


“AHH!” Sunrise lept a foot or two into the air, startled by the bellow that just erupted next to her. She cringed as she felt a squelch under her hind left hoof, knowing what it just landed in. But that was the least of her concern right now.

Standing next to her… Was Twilight Sparkle. Or rather, a mirage of her. Her outline had a slight purple aura glowing around it, while the majority of her body was translucent like a ghost… And she did not look happy.

“Just what in Equestria do you think you’re doing?!” Twilight demanded.

“W-Well, I was taking a--”

“Do you know how bad smoking is for you?!”

Sunrise reared her head back and raised an eyebrow. “...What?” She asked, confused. Of the many confusing things going on right now… Of the many questions that needed answers… Twilight was concerned with THAT?

“Alicorns are immortal, but not invulnerable. Stop that right now,” Twilight continued to lay down her demands, furrowing her brow.

“Well, what…” Sunrise shook her head rapidly, starting to overcome the shock factor. “Ugh, forget it. What are you doing here? How are you even here?"

Twilight closed her eyes and concentrated briefly, only for a few purple sparks to fizzle out of her horn before she released a gasp. “Dammit, still no magic…”

“What’s going on?” Sunrise reaffirmed her position, taking a taller posture.

Twilight tilted her head. “It seems that while the Tree of Harmony wasn’t able to do enough to rid my body of you, it was enough to awaken my consciousness...” She deduced, rubbing her forehoof on her chin.

“Great,” Sunrise replied flatly, rolling her eyes. “So now you can stalk me when I’m awake as well as when I’m asleep.”

“Forgive me for wanting to take care of MY body,” Twilight replied, sounding more irritated.

“Whatever,” Sunrise shook her head, “Do you really think I’d give up on this so easily? I know your game. You’re gonna use me in your plot to kill Daybreaker then kill me off once I’ve served my purpose. But I promise you I won’t go down without a fight.”

Twilight could only stare at the passion Sunrise spoke to her with. Her mouth opened to respond, but no words came out. She hung her mouth ajar for a few seconds before releasing a sigh. “Sunrise…” She took a gentle trot, one hoof at a time, examining the surroundings. “You don’t fully understand, do you?”

“Understand what? Use the Elements of Harmony to kill Daybreaker, then stab me in the back when it’s next convenient. That’s your plan in a nutshell,” Sunrise snapped back.

“No…” Twilight shook her head. “You don’t understand. The Elements only work in harmony with each other. All six have to be present for them to work…” She turned back to face Sunrise. “And only I can wield the Element of Magic.”

Sunrise furrowed her brow and tilted her head. She had a feeling she knew where this was going.

“If you try to wield it yourself… It will have the same reaction the Tree of Harmony had to you. It will kill you.”

“Lies,” Sunrise snarled, flicking her head away. “I’ll find a way.”

“Sunrise, there is no other--”


Twilight flinched at Sunrise’s outburst, her mouth slightly ajar. “Fine,” She quickly regained composure. “You want to try something different? Go right ahead. But as of now, you’re also in a race against time.”

Sunrise lifted her head and raised an eyebrow, picking up on the different approach Twilight was taking. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Now that my consciousness has been awakened, my mind and magic will slowly begin to recognise my presence. It’s triggered a response against you. Over time, it will try to remove you from my body and let me take back control, like an immune system responding to an illness.” Twilight closed her eyes and tried to use her horn again, only to get purple holographic sparks falling limply from the tip of her horn. “My magic is still gathering its strength, but it’s only a matter of time.” Now it was Twilight’s turn to be intimidating as she glared harshly at Sunrise. “I will take back the body that is rightfully mine and make you atone for your crimes against the citizens of Equestria.”

Sunrise scoffed, “We’ll see about that,” She spat back. “For all I know, you could be full of shit. So I think I’ll take my chances with--”

Her sentence was interrupted by the sound of a colt clearing his throat. Sunrise turned her head to see a teenage colt standing on the other side of the bush. “Are you… okay, your Highness?” The colt asked curiously, raising an eyebrow.

“Y-Yes, I was just...talking…” She turned back to Twilight, “To…” She quickly remembered that since Twilight was in her head (quite literally,) the colt probably couldn’t see her. She turned her head back to the colt. “Myself. I just… had something on my mind…”

“...Oo...kay…” The colt cleared his throat again, “I’ll just… keep walking…” The colt spoke awkwardly before hastily taking off down the path.

“I’m only in your head, you know. You don’t need to speak out loud to talk to me,” Twilight explained to Sunrise.

“Thanks for the heads up,” Sunrise tested it out, thinking it back to Twilight as she turned on the spot. “Now where did I drop my…” Sunrise’s sentence trailed off as she located where her lighter and cigarette carton landed but cringed when she saw what they landed in. “...Nevermind...” Sunrise huffed then twisted and began walking away from behind the shrubbery, giving her left hind leg a quick scrub along the grass to try and dry it off. At least she was wearing hoof shoes.

Despite keeping her distance by walking around the outermost edge of Ponyville, Sunrise still got pounding headaches whenever she looked at the town. All she had to do was blink and she started seeing ghosts of memories long gone, from the blue pegasus clearing the clouds to a yellow pegasus caring for some animals. Luckily her memories came with their own tour guide in the form of Twilight herself, even if she was annoying.

“Y-Your Highness, it’s quicker to go across the bridge than through the town,” A teenage colt behind her suggested.

“No,” Sunrise glanced back at the colt pulling a wooden wagon with all their findings in it. Various texts and other artefacts were neatly arranged inside the wagon. “I want to walk this way,” She stated before looking back at where she was walking.

“What are you avoiding?” Twilight asked, standing in place alongside Sunrise but her ghost form still floated at the same speed Sunrise was walking.

“These damn headaches,” Sunrise thought back, still getting used to the technique of ‘thinking’ to Twilight instead of talking to her.

“That will happen when two ponies’ emotions and memories try to merge into one. I feel the same way…” Twilight explained, then glanced away. “You know what you need to do to stop it though…”

“I’m not doing it,” Sunrise persisted, knowing what Twilight meant, then glanced up at the crystal castle she was approaching. The Castle of Friendship. Once the home of Twilight Sparkle. Now the residence of Sunset Shimmer, gifted to her by Daybreaker after her service in the Great War. Its design remained relatively unchanged, it was still the same purple crystal structure it always was. The only new thing was the red banners of the Solar Empire that hung from its balconies, along with the Solar Empire flag flying atop its spire.

Sunrise approached the two guards wearing the black and orange uniforms of the Solar Empire standing just in front of the stairs ascending to the castle’s front door. Sunrise waited for the wagon the colt was pulling to come to a halt before turning her head to speak to him. “Thank you, you may leave now.”

“Of course, your Highness,” The Colt unhinged himself from the wagon before taking his leave, trotting off back towards Ponyville.

Sunrise turned her head back to the closest guard. “I would like to speak to Sunset Shimmer,” Sunrise instructed.

“One moment, your Highness,” The guard turned around and trotted up the stairs then began operating an intercom beside the door.

Sunrise turned to look at the other guard. “See to it that this is secure,” She motioned with her head to the wagon.

The stallion nodded in response, then looked at the wagon.

The other guard trotted back down from the entrance. “You may enter,” He informed before stepping aside.

Sunrise gracefully trotted up the stairs and pushed the heavy doors with her magic, heading a faint creak at the hinge as the thick doors were pushed back into the hallway. She stepped into the well-lit entrance, stepping onto the purple carpet that ran above the crystal tiles that made up the floor. The crystal walls were lined with golden sconces that provided the light down the hallways. Sunrise closed the door behind her with her magic as she trotted in. “Home sweet home…” Twilight mused alongside Sunrise.

“Good afternoon, Sunrise,” Sunset greeted in a raised voice from atop the main stairs at the very back of the hallway as she began trotting down. “This was unexpected…”

Sunrise began trotting towards the staircase, keeping an eye on Sunset as she descended. “I’ve just come to tell you that I completed your task,” Sunrise began.

Sunset sighed in relief, “You’re a lifesaver, Sunrise,” She said with a smile, reaching the bottom of the staircase and stopping short of Sunrise. “I’m so grateful you could come on short notice.”

Twilight could only smile at the sight of Sunset standing in front of her. “Good to see you again, Sunset…” She mused out loud, despite knowing that Sunset couldn’t hear her.

“It’s not a problem,” Sunrise replied, ignoring whatever Twilight was doing. “How are you feeling?” She asked, noticing the bags under Sunset’s eyes. No doubt she was still tired if her own experiences were anything to go by.

“Ehh…” Sunset glanced away, flicking her yellow and red mane that she had tied back in a ponytail to the side. “Better, I guess…”

Sunrise tilted her head and raised an eyebrow. “Want to talk about it?”

Sunset huffed, “It’s… nothing…” She glanced back up at Sunrise. “Was… Daybreaker angry?”

“No more than usual,” Sunrise answered, cocking a half-smile. “I was just curious what was wrong with you. You know how she can be when it comes to getting a straight answer.”

“I just… didn’t get much rest, that’s all,” Sunset admitted with a sigh. “I had some terrible nightmares. I’ve never seen them that vivid before.”

Sunrise glanced to her left as Twilight’s ghost approached Sunset with a smile. She lowered her head down to Sunset’s level, but obviously, Sunset couldn’t see her. “It’s been a very long time… but you still seem like the same pony I’ve always known…”

“So can I trust her?” Sunrise asked Twilight.

Twilight looked back at Sunrise, “I would say so…" she tilted her head away, "But… don't expect her to not be curious…"

“Is there anything else you wanted from me, Sunrise?” Sunset asked.

“...Actually, yes,” Sunrise glanced over her shoulders before looking back at Sunset. “Do you have somewhere private we can talk?”

Sunrise shrugged, “Well, I’m the only one here, so let's go to the library,” She declared, walking around Sunrise to lead the way.

Sunrise followed Sunset through the halls, taking in the various portraits Sunset had adorned her walls with. Most of it was from Sunset’s taste in art, but occasionally she would pass a certain frame which contained something like a news article from the Great War or her standing with significant figures or important moments in history. Occasionally the frames would trigger something in Sunrise’s mind, causing them to change to a portrait from a previous time, such as Twilight posing with her friends. But a few blinks and suppression of the accompanying headache usually made them go away.

Sunrise pushed the double doors open to the library, revealing the circular room with a bookcase extending all the way around the outer edge, matching the contours of the wall. Dotted around the middle of the room were several tables with matching chairs next to them.

Sunset walked over to the nearest table and pulled out a chair with her magic. “Well, how can I help?” Sunset asked, taking a seat.

Twilight checked the double doors were closed before she walked to the other side of the table, taking a seat. “I’m hoping you can help with something I think you’ve encountered in the past,” She began explaining, watching Twilight’s mirage sit beside her.

“What is it?” Sunset asked.

“A book,” Sunrise answered. “I believe you used a similar book in the past that allows for two way communication. Whatever is written in one book appears in the other.”

Sunset smiled, “Now there’s a blast from the past I wasn’t expecting today,” She chuckled, shaking her head. “Yeah, me and Celesti--...I mean, Daybreaker, before she ascended, used to use them to keep in contact. I’m pretty familiar with them.”

Sunrise nodded. “If I had one book in my possession, would it be possible to track down the location of the other?”

“I’m afraid not,” Sunrise shook her head, “You could theoretically send a spell through it that triggers it to glow, but there’s no way of telling where the other book would be.”

Sunrise sighed, “I thought so,” She replied, glancing away. “I just wanted to be sure.”

“...Or…” Sunrise raised an eyebrow, “You could just write in it and see who replies…”

“That’s what I was considering…” Sunrise looked back at Sunset, “But I’m leaving it to SMILE to investigate,” She bought herself to her hooves. “Thanks anyway, Sunset.”

“You’re welcome,” Sunset replied, “But I must ask… What’s this all about? If you can tell me...”

“Oh,” Sunrise chuffed, “It’s nothing. I just found a strange book the other day, it had a magical reaction when I picked it up. I recalled that you had seen them before, so thought you might know something I don’t. Evidently not…”

Sunset tilted her head, a slight smirk forming on her mouth. "Sounds like you're up to something…" she joked slyly.

"Told you," Twilight chimed to Sunrise with a smile. "Do you want my advice?"

"No." Sunrise put bluntly, but knew she would get it anyway.

"She's very similar to the Sunset Shimmer I knew,” Twilight began regardless, “I don't know what her reputation is like now, but she acts the same. I think you can trust her." Twilight gave out her advice anyway. It's not like Sunrise could shut her up.

"It's nothing…" Sunrise tried to deflect the subject, batting a hoof at Sunset.

"Oh come on," Sunrise jested with a chuckle. "I could use some excitement around this place, and it's not every day you drop by."

"Don't you have the Eagle’s Nest training exercise to plan?" Sunrise raised an eyebrow.

"Pffft," Sunset rolled her eyes, "That's all I ever do these days. Plan some training, sign some papers, show my face for recruitment days," Sunset rolled her hooves around, mimicking the actions, all while keeping a flat expression that slowly sunk into unamusement. Finally, she let out a long sigh. "Don't get me wrong, the fact that there hasn’t been a war in decades is a good thing, but…” she lowered her head to the table and rested her chin down, “It sure is boring here…”

Sunrise glanced over at Twilight’s mirage, their eyes locking briefly as if they were both thinking the same thing, then she looked back at Sunset. “Why don’t you ask Daybreaker?”

“Ugh, don’t get me started on her,” Sunrise groaned, her horn igniting in the turquoise colour of her magic.

Sunrise didn’t react, she simply let whatever Sunset was trying to do happen. A beam of turquoise magic slowly extended up a few feet from her horn then a translucent bubble began to take shape, slowly enveloping them and forming a translucent dome around them. She knew exactly what it was, a soundproofing spell. She had used a similar one not long ago.

“Sorry if that caught you off guard, but I don’t like to take any chances when it comes to…” Sunset trailed off, glancing away.

“Criticising the Empress?” Sunrise finished for her with a slight smirk.

Sunset almost gasped as she looked back at Sunrise, seeing the expression on her face. She never thought she would hear those words spoken in that context from Sunrise’s mouth, but she felt a lot more comfortable now that she was certain that they were on the same page. “She’s just been so demanding and self-centred recently. No matter what concerns I raise to her, she just seems to brush them off.” Sunrise scoffed, “Probably too busy being adored by all her ‘loving subjects’,” She raised her hoof in air quotes. “She’s working Equestria to the bone and she doesn’t even see it happening because she’s too busy laying her lazy ass on that throne getting tongue-bathed by her servants.”

Sunrise puffed out her lips and closed her eyes for a moment to try and shift that disturbing image out of her mind before responding. “So… you wouldn’t object to her… removal?”

Sunset grinned from ear to ear, “Now this sounds exciting, sure beats sitting around here,” She shimmied her chair slightly closer to Sunrise, raising an eyebrow. “So what’s the plan?”

“Well…” Sunrise chuffed, “Nothing yet… But it’s good to know you’d be on my side,”

“Well that’s less exciting,” Sunrise replied, her eyelids flattening. “But… I have to ask,” She raised an eyebrow, “What brought this on? You’d be the last pony I’d expect to organise a rebellion against the Empress. Daybreaker treats you like her own daughter.”

“Pfft,” Sunrise almost laughed, “I wouldn’t go that far. But…” She sighed, looking away. “I’ve always been a supporter for her policies, ever since the beginning. But that was way back in ten eleven. It’s been over twenty years since then and the world has changed. The Solar Empire rules across the Equestrian continent unchallenged. Our closest rival is separated by an ocean. The world is at peace, but that peace is balanced on a knife-edge. But with the new technologies we have available in this day and age, that balance could collapse at a moment's notice.”

“Yeah, I wonder what brilliant mare is responsible for all these technological advances,” Sunset hinted with a grin, winking at Sunrise.

“Oh it wasn’t ALL me,” Sunrise batted a hoof back at Sunset.

“Yeah right,” Sunset continued sarcastically. “You only developed the warhead for the Star Collapser ICBM… and the Starswirl magi-nuclear reactor that powers the Solar Navy’s submarines… not to mention the crystal-enhanced next-generation jet engine you’re currently working on for the Air Force.” Sunset wiggled her eyebrow, “Need I go on?”

“Heheh,” Sunrise felt uncharacteristically bashful, feeling the heat rising in her cheeks. She couldn’t help but shoot a glance at Twilight sitting beside them. It was obviously her emotions mixing with hers. “Alright, I guess I did a lot…” She cleared her throat then looked back at Sunset. “But my point is, think about what would happen if those weapons were actually used. I think the whole world would be wiped out in the blink of an eye. We would all die. I think somepony needs to stop this stupid arms race and defuse the situation. Something Daybreaker isn’t willing to do. I want to take her place and open a new line of dialogue with Dawnclaw and the Griffonian Empire.”

Sunset nodded, listening intently to what Sunrise was suggesting. “I see what you’re saying, and I generally agree. But what makes you think the Griffonian Empire will be on the same page as us?”

“That’s… what I’m still trying to figure out,” Sunrise briefly explained. She was about to spill her whole plan, but decided that she should maybe hold some cards closer to her chest. She was certain that she could trust Sunset, but at the same time, she didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.

“Hmm…” Sunset rubbed her chin, then released a sigh. “Well... if you find anything out, let me know… I might be interested,” She hinted before the magic aura around her horn phased out and slowly dissipated.

Sunrise raised an eyebrow, watching the bubble dissipate. “...Of course…” She stood up, “Well, I’ve got a train waiting for me. I best report back to the Empress.”

Sunset nodded, “It’s been great to see you again, Sunrise. We should do this more often,” She smiled.

“I’ll write to you when I get back,” Sunrise replied, smiling. She then turned towards the library doors. “Goodbye for now, Sunset,” She said as she started trotting towards the door.

“Bye, Sunrise,” Sunset called, watching Sunrise leave the library.

Sunrise walked through the castle's hallway, keeping her head down while she was alone with her thoughts. She used her magic to push through the main door and trotted down the golden steps. She paid no mind to the guards on either side of her, she just kept her head straight and continued walking.

“You seem tense,” Twilight sensed, trotting alongside Sunrise. “Do you not trust Sunset?”

“Something isn’t right,” Sunrise thought back, glancing a quick look over at Twilight before looking back at where she was walking. “Are you sure we can trust her?”

“I do,” Twilight answered, raising an eyebrow. “You don’t?”

“I don’t know…” Sunrise sighed, “I just… Something seemed off. She ended the conversation abruptly, as if she suddenly became disinterested.”

“Well probably because she doesn’t know any more than what you’re telling her. You were kind of vague with the details, you didn’t give her much to work with.”

“I know, but I wanted to keep certain details to myself in case the wrong pony heard about them,” Sunrise explained. "I deliberately omitted the part about you and Luna."

"Sunrise…" Twilight sighed, "You must know we can't do this on our own. Sooner or later you're going to have to trust somepony…"

"When the time is right, I will," Sunrise replied, walking back towards the train station. “But if she really wanted to help, I would’ve expected an officer of her calibre to throw in her own suggestions. But she just left it and walked away. And that doesn’t sit well with me.”

Sunrise walked her familiar route from Canterlot train station through to Canterlot Castle and up towards Daybreakers throne room. Although the constant headaches were making her vision hazy. Every few steps she would be hit by what she could only describe as a brief flashback of what the castle used to look like before Daybreaker.

“Ugh, can you stop that?” Sunrise demanded at Twilight.

“Even if I wanted to, I can’t,” Twilight replied, trotting beside Sunrise. “This is part of the resonance reaction my presence is having on your mind. I can’t do anything about it.”

Sunrise rolled her eyes and just kept walking, trying her best to simply keep her eyes straight to avoid distractions.

Arriving at the main door to the throne room, she motioned to the guard to let her through. He simply nodded and pushed the door open, letting Sunrise walk in.

She tried her best to ignore all the funny colours caused by her merging memories as she entered the throne room. She felt as if she had taken some sort of hallucinogenic drug. In another scenario, she may have even found it amusing. But she kept her focus, keeping her eyes forward as she concentrated on Daybreaker. She seemed to be amusing herself with half a dozen ponies captured in chains wrapped around their hooves and necks, standing in two columns of three, and with two solar guards in front of them.

“Oh perfect timing Sunrise,” Daybreaker greeted her, looking back at Sunrise with a wide smile. “I just finished…” She looked over at her guards, a more serious look returning to her face. “Escort these traitors to the dungeon. I’ll deal with them later.”

The guards nodded and one of them quickly gave one of the prisoners at the front a shove. “Move it,” he spoke harshly. The chains clacked as the captive ponies dragged their hooves along the floor.

“Wait,” Daybreaker spoke abruptly, making the guards stop in their tracks. She slowly stepped forward, one hoof at a time, being sure to make every step sound loud and intimidating as she approached a pegasus stallion with a canary yellow coat and a faded red short cut mane. She craned her neck down towards him and placed her tongue on his back. It immediately made a sizzling sound upon contact with his fur and he hissed through gritted teeth. It even made Sunrise wince slightly.

Daybreaker slowly ran her tongue along his back up to the base of his neck before she mercifully withdrew her tongue, leaving a singed mark on his coat. “This one’s cute,” she glanced up at her guards. “Take him to MY dungeon,” She looked back down at the stallion with a smile, who was only looking back at her with eyes filled with fear. “We’ll continue this later,” She said with a wink, holding her right forehoof up to her chin. “Mwah,” Daybreaker made a smoochy kiss sound while breathing some fire and used her magic to form it into the shape of a heart. She gave it a gentle blow where it floated through the air and landed on the stallion’s flank, where it immediately singed its shape just above his cutie mark. The stallion yelped on impact but otherwise kept quiet as he was escorted out of the throne room.

“She’s in a good mood,” Twilight commented with a low growl, looking at Daybreaker. No words could describe the way she wanted to march right up to the Empress and give her a piece of her mind. And while it was possible for her to do that right here and now, she decided to save her energy, given that Daybreaker couldn’t even see or respond to her.

“It would appear so…” Sunrise thought back to Twilight, watching the prisoners get walked out of the main doors of the throne room. The guards closed the doors with their magic as they left.

“So,” Daybreaker began, trotting towards Sunrise, “I take it everything went as planned?” She asked, holding her head up and looking down at Sunrise as she spoke.

“Yes," Sunrise replied, nodding. "And I have left the material of value we found with Sunset."

“Good…” Daybreaker acknowledged, stopping just short of Sunrise. “Anything else to report?” She asked, her tone sounding sharper.

“S-Sunrise,” Twilight stammered, looking over at Sunrise, “We gotta get out of here. Now!”

“What?!” Sunrise did her best not to look over at Twilight, keeping her eyes locked with Daybreakers. “No, nothing else,” Sunrise spoke back to Daybreaker.

“If any part of Celestia’s personality is left in this monster, she’s onto us,” Twilight began to panic. “We need to get away.”

Sunrise felt her hind legs begin to tremble. “Get it together, your emotions are clouding mine again!” She complained back at Twilight.

“So you discovered the artefact?” Daybreaker raised an eyebrow. “And didn’t approach it?”

Sunrise quickly shook her head involuntarily, as if her muscles suddenly got a mind of their own. “N-No,” She stammered, blinking. She briefly gritted her teeth and cleared her throat. “I only kept an eye on it to make sure nopony went through the shutter,” Sunrise quickly explained, but that didn’t even sound convincing to herself. “If you want to live, keep a lid on it, Twilight!”

Daybreaker raised her head and glared right at Sunrise. Sunrise held her nerve, doing her best to look confident.

“Excellent...” Daybreaker’s lips slowly curled into a smile. She turned her head and slowly began to trot back towards her throne. “But you seem tense. Did anything else happen?”

“Sunrise, the charade is up! Teleport out of here while we still can!” Twilight pleaded, her eyes quickly darting between Daybreaker and Sunrise. If she was capable of sweating in this form, she would be standing in a puddle.

“I’m fine,” Sunrise replied back to Daybreaker, ignoring Twilight. “I just… Well, I wasn’t expecting camping. I had a rough night,” She feigned.

“Oh?” Daybreaker tilted her head back to Sunrise as she continued at her leisurely pace.

“Well, not exactly camping,” Sunrise chuckled, “I kind of… got caught up in my work and ended up falling asleep in the old castle…”

Daybreaker couldn’t help but laugh back. “Oh, Sunrise. All these years and you never change,” She stopped walking and turned back to face Sunrise. “I’d love to stay and chat, but you seem tired and I’ve got a prisoner to attend to,” her voice trailed off as she finished her sentence with a lick of her lips. She flicked her mane and continued walking back towards her throne. "Do get some rest when you get back to the Crystal Empire…"

Sunrise blinked, "Thank you, Your Majesty," She craned her neck down into a bow. "I'll take my leave. Enjoy your… interrogation…" Sunrise put it in friendly terms before turning to walk back towards the door.

She walked out of the door holding her breath, continuously trotting down the hallway. As soon as she heard the click of the doors shutting, she released a sharp exhale and took several quick deep breaths.

“That was WAY too close…” Twilight commented, walking alongside Sunrise.

“What the hell was that?!” Sunrise barked angrily at Twilight. Or at least, as best as she could emulate it with her thoughts.

“Daybreaker knew you were up to something. I was trying to save you,” Twilight retorted stubbornly.

“She doesn’t suspect a thing, so stop worrying. Your emotions imprint onto mine. So when you get nervous, I get nervous. You made me look nervous in front of her, which in turn, made me look suspicious. It was your fault.” Sunrise explained.

Twilight suddenly teleported in the blink of an eye to appear in front of Sunrise, causing Sunrise to screech to a stop as she dragged her hooves along the floor. “Sunrise, I’ve known Celestia for a long time. And if Daybreaker took any of her old habits with her when she took over Celestia’s body, then I know that she was suspicious of something.”

Sunrise scoffed, flicking her head to her left. “In case you forgot, you’ve been dead for over twenty years. I’ve known Daybreaker for all that time, and I’ve gotten to know her hints and habits just as well as you learned Celestia’s.” She turned her head to look back at Twilight in the eyes. “And I’m telling you, she doesn’t suspect a thing.” She spoke bluntly and clearly before marching angrily through Twilight’s ghost, passing through it as if she weren’t even there.

“You’re wrong,” Twilight continued to try and reason with Sunrise, walking alongside her out of the castle back towards the train station. “This is one of her tricks. She’ll act like she doesn’t suspect a thing, but will keep a close eye on you to assess the situation, then act accordingly. And given that the situation is a threat to her own life, I think she would seek to eliminate that threat swiftly.”

Sunrise snorted through her nostrils, “Fine, I’ll bite,” she stopped dead in her tracks just outside the courtyard. Twilight turned to face her eye to eye. “Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re right, and somepony from SMILE is gonna slit my throat in my sleep tonight. If it satisfies you, I’ll be extra cautious and make sure I have suitable security in place.”

Twilight blinked and pulled her head back, “What are you--”

“BUT,” Sunrise gritted her teeth, her sudden interruption making Twilight jump. “When that time comes, I’ll stand corrected. But until then, remember that you’re in MY body, I’M in control, and I’M calling the shots.” She pushed her head forward, keeping her eyes locked with Twilights. “Got it?”

Twilight kept her eyes locked with Sunrise for some time. Her mouth hung slightly ajar as if she wanted to say something but had no idea what to say. Sunrise was right, there was nothing she could do but watch for now. She huffed and glanced away from Sunrise.

Sunrise snorted again and just kept walking, once again stepping through Twilight’s mirage. She was starting to think that coexisting with her might be more trouble than she first thought. Although she didn’t really have any choice in the matter. All she could do was try to manage it the best she can.

But she couldn’t deny considering Twilight’s concerns… Did Daybreaker really know what was going on? Sunrise could only take comfort in knowing that if she did, she’d be dead already...

Author's Note:

Well now, here's where things get interesting. Sunrise appears to be working towards the same common goal as Twilight and Luna... but with both sides not prepared to show their full intentions, will they end up stumbling over each other? While Sunrise continues to decide on where to place her trust, time keeps ticking forwards. She better put her commitments on the table soon before time catches up with her...

Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter out. I had some IRL stuff come up just after the EAW writing contest as well as other commitments, but we should be back on a regular update schedule now.

I want to state for the record that I've never actually seen Equestria Girls, so I don't know much about Sunset Shimmer. I just watched a few clips on YouTube to get the gist of her and added my own interpretation of her since I imagine she's somewhat different in EAW's version of her character anyway. Any feedback on writing her, good or bad, would be appreciated. :twilightblush:

That being said... boy oh boy was it a pain to write Sunrise and Sunset together. Their names are so bloody similar I kept miswriting their lines :rainbowlaugh:

Oh, and you may have also noticed that I have acquired some fancy cover art. Courtesy of one of EAW's own artists, Neither. Go check him out!

Thanks for reading! :twilightsmile: