Sunset Shimmer vs Starlight Glimmer

by Sidral Mundet

First published

Sunset Shimmer and Starlight Glimmer have a magic duel

Starlight Glimmer, reformed villain and pupil to the Princess of Friendship, one of the most powerful magic users in all of Equestria, needs a change of pace. Twilight is a great teacher but after many a magic duel the two have less and less to teach each other magically. Sunset Shimmer on the other hand is very much ready to have a go at this new pupil.

Edited and proofreaded by Galactic Raincloud and Arzoo. Thank you for all the help!

Cover art by: dsana
Cover art link:

Sunset Shimmer vs Starlight Glimmer

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Sunset Shimmer vs Starlight Glimmer

“You sure about this?”

“Yeah, been looking forward to it all week. It’ll be fun”

“Are you absolutely sure? They say that magical atrophy-“

“Twilight, relax. I’m a grown woman... mare... whatever. I can make up my own decisions. So, are we still on?’

Twilight Sparkle sighed as she leaned over the Princess Celestia’s magic book. The Princess had used the tome to communicate with her pupils. It’d been less than a week ago that Twilight had casually mentioned to Sunset Shimmer that her own pupil, Starlight Glimmer, would really benefit from having more than just Twilight to magically spar with. Unfortunately, there were very few ponies on par with Twilight’s and Starlight’s abilities and Sunset had jumped at the opportunity to test her mettle against the Princess of Friendship’s student once she found out.

It wasn’t like Sunset coming to Equestria was anything new. Sure, she spent most of her time in the dimension beyond the mirror, but she stayed over for a weekend now and again. But that didn’t stop Twilight from being nervous. Starlight might overexert herself, and Sunset might not be prepared for Starlight’s power. Starlight was quite possibly the most powerful unicorn to ever roam Equestria. While Sunset had been chosen as Princess Celestia’s prized pupil, living in the human world for so long had left her severely out of practice. But alas, once Sunset had her mind set, there was no stopping her.

“We’re still on. Give me a few to get everything ready.”

“Great, see you then!”

A few minutes later in the great antechamber that now served as Twilight’s new library, the mirror portal violently rocked back and forth as it began to glow. With a burst of sparkles, a tangerine unicorn emerged.

“Ugh,” She moaned as she teetered on her hind legs, and fell with a slight womp back on all fours. “Every time,” She chuckled, as she trotted forward to greet the two purple ponies in front of her.

“ I always get a bit disoriented too.” Twilight smiled warmly, trotting forward and hugging Sunset. “How are you?”

“I’m good,” Sunset replied before turning to the other unicorn in the room. “Hi! You must be Starlight Glimmer. I’m Sunset Shimmer! It’s great to finally meet you.”

“Hello,” Starlight said, slightly timid as she moved to greet the new visitor. “Twilight’s told me a lot about you.”

“Not too much, I hope,” Sunset chuckled.

“No... Just that you stole one of the Elements of Harmony to brainwash an entire school, turned into a she-demon before being stopped by the very thing you stole, and redeemed yourself around to blast 3 evil sirens with rainbow lasers,” Starlight said, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
“HAHAHA!” Twilight gave a very uncomfortable laugh. “I think what Starlight means is that she knows how far you’ve come, and how hard you keep trying to show that you’ve changed! Isn’t that right, Starlight?” she said, slightly flustered as she put a hoof around her student.

Sunset smirked as she turned her attention to Starlight. “Did Twilight also mention that she hesitated when I offered to help her up the first time she came over after the Fall Formal?”

“What- No- I mean-” Twilight sputtered as Starlight looked on inquisitively.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sunset chuckled. “I would have done the same thing if I were you. But anyways: Starlight, how are you?”

“I’m doing well. Thanks for asking,” Starlight said.

“Yep! Everything’s good! Everything’s fine! Great! Dandy!” Twilight squeaked out as beads of sweat formed on her brow.

“...Are you always like this?” Starlight asked Twilight.

“You haven’t been around Twilight long, have you?” Sunset chuckled. “Anyways, is this where we’ll be having our little sparring match?” Sunset gestured at the room around them.

Recomposing herself, Twilight cleared her throat. “Yes, that is, unless you want to have it somewhere else?”

Sunset studied the room for a quick minute, looking at all the books on their shelves and the cases themselves., making quick note of things like ceiling height and amounts of books and shelves. “No this will do fine. But what I’d really like to see is a little taste of the competition.” She turned towards Starlight with a cocky smirk.

Starlight turned to Twilight, who in turn nodded her approval. “Okay, stand back,” Starlight said as she flared up her horn. Instantly, all of the books were spinning around the room in a mesmerizing dance, bathed in a teal glow, as Starlight focused intensely on the dance.

“Impressive, most impressive,” Sunset said as she lazily trotted across the room, studying Starlight. “Okay, you can stop now. I’ve seen enough.”

Starlight momentarily snapped as Sunset’s voice shocked her, her attention being on the books. “Okay,” Starlight acknowledged and with that the books flashed back to their alcoves. “Swan-Boat Levitation Configuration.” Starlight said with pride. “Just learnt that one last week. But levitation’s foal’s play. You know, I’m so glad that I have someone else that I can practice magic with. Twilight’s great, but it’s nice to get a bit of variety, you know?”

“And it gets her out of your hair for a while,” Sunset added with a smile.

“And ‘she’ is still in the room,” Twilight deadpanned.

“Well, I’m ready when you are,” Starlight said, turning back to her magic companion.

“Woah, hold your horses,” Sunset said to the confused look of her companions. “I just got back. Need to stretch the old magic muscles, if you get what I mean. I need a little warm up time.”

“Yeah, Starlight, I’m with Sunset on this. Let her get acclimated to magic again before we do anything crazy.” Twilight said. “Let’s leave if off until Sunday.”

“No need to wait that long,” Sunset said. “Give me about three or four hours and I’ll be good to go.”

“What?!” Twilight shrieked. “Sunset, you just arrived! You haven’t used magic in Celestia knows how long! And no your last visit doesn’t count, you only levitated a fork. There’s no way you’ll be good to go in three hours.”

“Don’t worry, Twilight. I’ll be fine,” Sunset said. “So three hours then?”

“Yeah, three hours works for me.” Starlight said. “I need to catch up with Trixie anyways. Her still-unnamed tour has some scheduling to do. I’ll meet you then!” With a flash and a pop, she vanished.

“Not one for goodbyes, is she?” Sunset said. “Anywho, let’s get to magic practice!”

And with that Sunset took to reacquainting herself with Equestrian magic. Twilight watched on, “helping” ,or rather, nagging, with everything Sunset did, whether it be proper form, or effect, or just the amount of sparkles. Sunset practiced levitation, teleportation, magic beams, and more, but it was all very basic. No high end magic, no super-tricks or complex shield spells. It was all just basic Celestia’s School techniques. After about two hours, Sunset stopped, her forehead beaded with sweat.

“Well,” Sunset said wiping the sweat off with a foreleg. “I think that should cover it.” She made her way to the door. “Kitchen’s that way right?”

Twilight nodded along, then realized what Sunset said. “Wait. What do you mean, ‘that should cover it’? Sunset, all you’ve covered is the basics of Unicorn magic. There’s no way you’re ready,” Twilight explained. She then let out a long sigh. “Look, Sunset. I know you haven’t really seen her in action, but Starlight is incredibly powerful. There’s no way you can win right now. Let’s just call this off for now and get you back into magical shape.”

“I said I’m fine, Twilight,” Sunset said with an eye roll. “And no. We’re not cancelling this sparring match. Starlight will be here in an hour, and I need to rest up. I can’t be exhausted before this thing even starts! Besides, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.” She winked at Twilight. “...Or I would if I had any sleeves that is.”

After getting a glass of milk and a celery stick, Sunset trotted back to the library and sat down with a newspaper.

“Hey Sunset!” Twilight asked as Sunset turned her head.

“Do you want to read Starswirl’s Solutions for the Sporadically and Spontaneously Stripped of Spells?”

Sunset let out a long sigh. “Maybe not right now,” she said, flipping a page.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Sunset exclaimed. She then turned over the newspaper in her hooves. “Man haven’t seen one of these in ages.”

“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.

“And what about the comics? Where are you supposed to go and find those without a newspaper?” Twilight sputtered on, a good thirty-seven minutes into her rant as Starlight walked into the library.

“What’s happening here?” Starlight asked.

“Twilight’s upset about the portal world’s lack of respect for newspapers,” Sunset giggled.

“I’m not upset! My distaste in your world’s lack of proper journalism and intellectual pursuits is perfectly valid!” Twilight huffed.

“Hey, not ‘my world,’” Sunset said deflectively, before turning to Starlight. “You ready to go?”

Starlight snapped out of watching Twilight’s rant, shaking her head around, “Oh right. Yeah, I’m ready.”

“Hey, so I was thinking,” Twilight began, trying to change the subject, “It’s such a lovely day out. We should really postpone this and spend the day out on Sweet Apple Acres, helping Applejack and having a nice workout so we’re all tired out and forget about magic. GAH! I mean... so that we can help her family out! Yeah! That’s what I mean!” Twilight frantically burst out.

Sunset and Starlight looked at each other for a moment. “After you,” Sunset said to Starlight. And with that, Twilight was enveloped in Starlight’s magic before being teleported right outside the library's doors.

“Hey! Wait a-!” Twilight shouted as the doors were slammed and enchanted. She let out a long sigh. “Second.”

“Okay, that’s taken care of,” Sunset said. “You ready?”

“Sure am,” Starlight said. The two ponies moved to opposite sides of the room, both eager to start the show.

“Just before we start, I want to thank you for doing this,” Starlight said. “It’s not often I get someone new to challenge magically. I’ll try not to go too rough on you.” Starlight quipped.

“I’m sure you won’t” Sunset shot back as the two bowed to each other, the standard sign of respect before a duel such as this.

Sunset immediately got the drop and shot a beam directly at Starlight, but Starlight was too quick, and had a shield up in no time at all. Sunset’s blast didn’t even move her opponent an inch.

After the blast subsided, Starlight fired her own counterattack, which Sunset easily dodged, leaping around the energy beam to come out unscathed as she fired her own horn in retaliation.

It when back and forth, each of them throwing beams back at one another, either blocking them or dodging them. After a minute of this Sunset was pressing the attack, sending beam after beam at Starlight. Starlight blocked them with expert shield spells as she retreated from the onslaught, making sure her kept her distance. Starlight then tripped over a lamp post behind her that had fallen in the course of the battle. Sunset moved it quickly to the fallen Starlight but Starlight recovered rapidly. Firing a quick short burst at near point blank range sent Sunset tumbling into the wall.

“Come on Sunset, I thought you’d put up more of a fight.” Starlight gloated as she got up. “I mean, even a foal could cast magic stronger than you have.”

“Oh great, she’s a talker,” Sunset muttered as she picked herself off the floor. “Well then, how about this?!” A cyan aura surrounded at least 6 shelf's worth of books, leaving them hovering in the air for moment, only to rocket straight towards Starlight.

“Levitation? Really? That’s foal’s play.” Starlight said as she formed an expanding barrier that cleared away all the attacking books, only to be greeted with a magic beam straight from Sunset’s horn. Not having any time to think, Starlight teleported to the center of the room, a few feet up. Not having a moment to gain her bearing, she was immediately pelted by 2 dozen tomes about the Pre-Celestia era, and the odd book about silverware placement.

Starlight landed, slightly paper-cut, but overall fine. “Tracking spell, clever,” she said, clearly annoyed. Of course, Sunset’s restrained laughter didn’t help.

“Sorry, I guess I should have taken you for a light reader.” Sunset quipped.

“Haha, very funny,” Starlight said as she fired back, not waiting a moment for a reply.

Sunset dodged the attack, circling around the energy beam as she let loose her own beam. Starlight, expecting this, cast her magic shield spell. But the beam passed right by Starlight and hit behind her.

“You really need to work on you aim,” Starlight gloated as she charged up her horn for another attack.

“Really now?”

“Yeah, you do-“ A bookcase slammed down on top of the mare, bouncing a few times before coming to a rest.

Sunset tried to hold back her laughter. “You okay in there?” She said in-between fits.

With a massive surge of magical energy, the bookcase splintered into a thousand pieces as Starlight, covered in her own magic aura, slowly lifted into the air, anger burning in her eyes. “This ends. NOW,” she said, letting loose a supercharged magical blast.

Sunset just barely escaped the magic and the bookcases now slamming down around her, before yet another beam came flying towards her. It was easily dodged, but another attack quickly took its place, causing a massive explosion. “Okay, Starlight, this has probably gone a bit too far. You can stop now.” Sunset yelled, struggling to make her voice heard over the battle. In response, she got beamed in the chest, flying back into a pile of disheveled books that had formed from the toppled shelves.

Starlight slowly levitated over to Sunset, who was still lying in the pile, muzzle down in books. “It’s over!” she said, charging up another blast.

Sunset whirled her body around, putting her hooves to her horn.

“Solar Flare!” she shouted, causing a blinding light to flood the room.

Starlight couldn’t see. Everything was a bright white. She whirled her head around and continuously fired her horn as she grimaced. She slammed her eyes shut in pain. Then she felt a hoof land hard on her right cheek, knocking her off balance. It was followed quickly up by an uppercut to the bottom of her chin, and then finally a dual hoofed slam against the center of her forehead, knocking her out cold.

A few minutes later, Starlight regained consciousness. “Ugggh,” She groaned, as Sunset helped her get back onto her hooves. The room was swimming while doing pirouettes, and it was as if somepony was using a jackhammer on her head.

“How are you feeling?” Sunset said, gingerly leading Starlight to a plush armchair, which Starlight sunk into.

“Like my head has a fault line running through it, and it’s causing a level 9 earthquake on the Richer scale.” she groaned. “What happened?”

“Well... you went kind of crazy, slammed me into a wall, then I blinded you and knocked you out.” Sunset said.

“Whose technique did you use? I swear, I’m going to feel this for a year.” Starlight rubbed her aching head.

“A wise Earth master known as Bruce Lee. It’s called the ‘Punch them until they’re down’ style” Sunset concluded.

“You punched me?!” Starlight yelled and immediately regretted it, rubbing her head. “That’s not how magic duels work.”

“No but then again, you didn’t exactly follow the rules either.” Sunset said.

Starlight’s face flashed with anger before sagging in depressed resignation. “It seems like everytime I try to take one step forward I end up taking three back.” She moaned.

Sunset trotted over to her saddlebag and grabbed a cup of water and some ibupastern. “Here. drink this,” Sunset said, handing the water and the medicine to her. “You’re being a little hard on yourself,” she went on. “I wasn’t exactly presenting the best attitude out there. But there is a lesson in there that I was trying to teach you. One that actually had some correlation with friendship.”

Starlight raised an eyebrow at that. “A lesson, really? What was it?”

“Do you know why I beat you?” Sunset asked.

“Because you punched me and then knocked me out?” Starlight guessed.

“Well, yes,” Sunset chuckled, “But what I mean is: You’re clearly got more magical potential than me. You’re in a league all in your own, I have no problem admitting that. But do you know why I was able to gain the edge on you?”

Starlight looked puzzled. “No. How?”

“It’s because you’re too focused.” Sunset said. “You look only at your goal and what’s there, you never take in your surroundings. You’re so fixated on the endgame, you don’t take into account what’s happening around you. That’s how I was able to win.” Sunset reached over and grabbed a bottle of water for herself, taking a sip from it. “And from what Twilight’s told me, it’s a problem you run into regularly.”

Starlight perked up her ears at this. “Yeah, Twilight’s told me a lot about you as well,” Sunset went on. “How you focused on trying to get a friend as a diner guest but ended up getting sour with Mrs. Cake and Big Mac, or how you mind controlled everyone so you could complete some friendship lessons,” Sunset said as she curled up the newspaper in her magic and hit Starlight in the head with it. “Don’t ever do that again, by the way.” she let out a sigh. “Look. The point is, you look to what the “solution” to the problem is, how to finish as fast as possible, but you never seem to take the time to look around you and see what the problem is. You need to be more aware of what you’re doing, and why you are doing it. With both with magic and with friendship.” Sunset concluded.

“Thanks, Sunset. ...I guess I still have a lot to learn,” Starlight said, still a bit depressed.

“Don’t worry about it, Starlight! From what Twilight’s told me, you’re doing great,” Sunset smiled. “...Except with that whole ‘mind control’ thing. Seriously. Never again.” Sunset gave Starlight a stern look. “Anyways, it wasn’t too long ago I was paddling the same boat as you are.”

“Really?” Starlight asked.

“Eeyup. Wasn’t too long ago I was constantly questioning if what I was doing was right, how people saw me, and if the mean ones were right. I was constantly wondering what the other people were thinking of me.

“Erm… What are ‘people’, anyways?” Starlight asked.

“Er... it’s the population on the other side of the mirror,” Sunset explained. “But back to the topic at hoof. Do you know what I did?” Starlight shook her head.

“I kept my head held high, told myself it was all worth it in the end, and pressed on. You just need to take it one day at a time. You get it?”
Starlight nodded, a faint smile spreading across her muzzle.

“Trust me, it gets better,” Sunset said as Starlight smiled. “And even if you do screw up, don’t worry. You have one of the best teachers a pony could ask for in your corner. Oh! Which reminds me, we’d better let her in.”

And with that, Sunset undid the magical barriers keeping Twilight out. In a flash, the doors to the library burst open.

“Is everything okay? Is everypony alright? Does anyone need to go to the hospital?” Twilight panicked, flying around the room, then seeing the two unicorns neatly seating at the nearby table, seemingly fine. “What the heck happened in here? And what did you two do to my Daring Do collection?!”

“Um... Well... You see...,” Sunset and Starlight scrambled for excuses as Twilight’s fiery stare met their much more timid eyes. The princess’s gaze was like a million sharp daggers piercing the soul.

“I just remembered I have to go meet Rainbow Dash for that thing with the stuff bye!” Sunset blurted out before leaping up and darting straight into the mirror portal, the mirror shimmering.

“And I have to go do something with Trixie… Again!” Starlight teleported away, leaving Twilight alone in the library.

“Oh, you’ll repair half of a school or the space-time continuum, but help me clean your mess in my library and you both disappear!” Twilight grumbled, grabbing a broom in her magic as she began the long task of cleaning up the mess her two “friends” had made.