Sunset Shimmer's Equestrian Friendship Tour

by CapNTilfy

First published

Sunset Shimmer returns to Equestria to bond with the Mane 6 and discover the secrets of a long lost book. Book One of "Not Just Any Other Old Day", which is the second part of a trilogy.

Taking place directly after the events of "Not Just Any Old Day", Twilight Sparkle asks for Sunset Shimmer's help in uncovering the secrets of a long-forgotten book while the two visit Twilight's friends.

Book One of "Not Just Any Other Old Day."

Part of "Not Just Any Old Continuity", which includes
The Crystal Prep Chronicles
The Anon-A-Miss Saga

Check out all of my stories here!

The Castle of Friendship

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After she passed through the portal, Sunset Shimmer rode out a wave of dizziness. Don't think I'll ever get used to that. she thought. She immediately went down on all fours, since she's in her Equestrian form. Sunset looked around the castle library, noticing for once that nopony was waiting for her. "Twilight? Hello?" she said as she stepped further away from the portal. Well, she did say she found the book at the Canterlot restricted archives. Maybe Starlight's around here somewhere.

Sunset exited the library and came to a sudden realization. Oh, crap. Without Starlight or Twilight, I have no way of knowing what's where. I'm gonna get lost in this castle! Sunset shook her head. Okay, Sunset. You're more than capable of finding your way around. She cracked her neck, then her knu-wait. She's a pony. Damn forces of habit. she thought as she rolled her eyes. Oh well. Moving on!

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After several minutes of aimless wandering, Sunset found herself in yet another hallway that looked exactly the same as the last three freaking hallways. She sighed. This castle needs a map. she thought. I'd teleport out of here, but I don't know where here even is! She felt her frustration rise slowly. "Okay, Sunset, let's not resort to property damage..." she told herself. Hmm. I wonder if the book I use to communicate with Twilight works while I'm in Equestria. Worth a shot, I suppose. She began writing.

Dear Princess Twilight. I just got out of the portal and now I'm totally lost. You're probably waiting for me at the Canterlot Library right now, but all I need are some simple directions to the nearest exit.

Sunset waited for a response. After a few minutes, she gave up and went back to wandering. Gah! I wish I had music or a game to play or something. I'm going to lose my mind trying to navigate this Celestia forsaken castle! She sighed. "When in doubt, teleport out." She closed her eyes and teleported.

Sunset found herself back in the castle's library, right where she started. "Goddammit!" she yelled, her temper getting the better of her. Okay, Sunset, just calm down. You know the saying. "Cooler heads will prevail." Taking a deep breath, Sunset left the library again but in the direction opposite to her first trip down the hall.

Not caring if the book didn't work, Sunset decided to vent her frustrations.

Dear Princess Twilight. This castle needs a map. I wouldn't be surprised if I passed up at least one or two pony skeletons covered in cobwebs. Seriously, how did you and your friends ever manage to navigate this place? Sunset made a sputtering noise and continued her aimless wandering.

Deciding to take her chances, Sunset opened a random door. She was rewarded with brooms and other cleaning supplies falling on top of her. "Gah!" she yelped as they all tumbled on top of her. Grumbling, she used a levitation spell to put all the supplies back in their proper place. I bet I'm not the only one who's made that mistake here. she thought.

Continuing onward in her quest to find her bucking way out of here, she was startled half to death by a sudden party cannon going off. "Holy shit!" she shouted. Must be Pinkie Pie's personal touch. she thought as she tried to catch her breath.

As she was trotting around, she found a room that caught her eye. "Whoa...what is that?"

Sunset found herself gaping at a large table made out of crystal, surrounded by thrones that were emblazoned with the Power Symb- Sunset cut off her train of thought with an irritated roll of her eyes and corrected herself. Emblazoned with the Cutie Marks of Twilight and her friends.

As her curiosity took hold over her, Sunset slowly trotted closer to the giant table. She noticed that there was a smaller throne attached to Twilight's. Sunset smiled. Must be for Spike. Suddenly, the table started glowing, and the surface turned into what looked like a map of Equestria. Wait. This map is too big to just be Equestria. What the hell did I miss while I was gone?! She heard a sort of shimmering noise and saw..."Starlight Glimmer's Cutie Mark? What the fu-" before she could finish that sentence, she heard somepony galloping at a rapid pace. The sound of hooves running on the floor came closer, and closer.

Sunset decided to play it safe and hide. Who knows what would happen next? The galloping slowed to a trot, and in walked...

"Starlight!" said Sunset.

"Ack!" yelped Starlight, badly startled. Once she caught her breath, Starlight smiled widely. "Sunset Shimmer!" The two hugged. "What brings you to Equestria?"

Sunset broke the hug. "Twilight told me she found a long-lost book made by Clover the Clever in the restricted section of the Canterlot Library, but all the pages are blank!"

Starlight blinked. "There's a restricted section in the Canterlot Library? Why didn't anypony tell me?"

Sunset smiled. "Well...there's a bit of a story behind that. You see..."

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"...and then my friends and I all got our memories back. The yearbook was a success!"

Starlight stared at Sunset. "Wow...where was I when all that happened?"

"Funny you should say that, Starlight. Wait...what's up with your Cutie Mark?"

Starlight put her hoof to her face. "Oh, right! The map is calling me for a friendship problem!"

Sunset gave Starlight a quizzical look. "A friendship what now?"

Starlight gestured to the table. "This is the Friendship Map. Whenever there's a problem that needs solving that requires a certain pony or ponies, that pony's Cutie Mark will buzz. That means the pony is being called by the map. In this case, it's me." she said, putting her hoof to her chest.

Sunset nodded, listening intently.

"Once the pony gets to the Friendship Map, the Cutie Mark will hover over a location, which is where the friendship problem is. In this case, it's...the School of Friendship?" said Starlight.

Sunset's eyes widened. "Wait. There's a School of Friendship now? I have to come back more often, I've missed a lot."

Starlight smiled. "Well, I can get you caught up on the way. At least this time nothing's at risk of being destroyed."

Sunset laughed. "Never tempt fate, Starlight. Never tempt fate."

Starlight grinned. "Yeah, yeah. I know. But enough about that. I've kept this friendship problem waiting long enough! Follow me!" she said, and they both galloped off to the school.

The School of Friendship

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Upon entering the School of Friendship, Sunset went slack-jawed. "This...is...amazing!" She said as she looked around.

Starlight giggled. "Why don't you check the place out while I solve the friendship problem?"

Sunset nodded and the two went their separate ways. She wandered the halls, taking in the sights of this new building. "Wow...I've never seen anything like it!" She walked the halls, soaking in all the details. Honesty Class: Professor Applejack? Sunset stifled a giggle. Generosity Class: Professor Rarity. "Okay...that's new." Kindness Class: Professor Fluttershy...okay, this is getting weird. Laughter Class: Professor Pinkie Pie. Now that I'd like to see. Loyalty Class...Professor...Rainbow...Dash! Sunset immediately descended into a fit of laughter.

"Oh, Celestia...that's priceless!" she said as she recovered from her laughter and wiped a tear from her face. "Oh, man...I can't wait to tell everyone about this back home. I should take a picture of their faces!" Sunset caught her breath and continued further down the hallway. "Head Mare...Twilight Sparkle." Sunset rolled her eyes. "Naturally." She neared the end of the hallway. "Starlight Glimmer...Guidance Counselor." A smile crossed her face. "Ooh, I should ask her about that when I see her." Wait, if they all have roles, what about Spike? that's another thing I'll have to ask Starlight or Twilight.

Sunset changed direction and saw student photos. She first noticed a picture with a green earth pony with a Cutie Mark consisting of three turtles. She read the plaque. "Sandbar..." She did a double-take at the second photo. Is that a yak?! "Yona..." Her eyes went wide. "A hippogriff?!" she looked at the plaque. "Silverstream..." I don't even know who or what that's supposed to be... she looked at the plaque. "Ocellus..." She looked at the next photo. "Ooh, a dragon....Smolder." and she looked at the last photo. "Gallus. A Griffon. Wow."

Feeling overwhelmed by all the new information, Sunset ran outside and took a deep breath of fresh air. "Whoa." she said. She was outside now, but not at the entrance like she expected. She looked around and saw four small bridges. Two of them were connecting each half of the square, while the other two led to a center which was occupied by a fountain in the middle of some grass. Surrounding the grass and bridges was a moat.

"This is breathtaking...I wonder how long it took to make this whole school?" Sunset wondered out loud. She closed her eyes and let the sound of the flowing water fill her with calm. "Ahh." she sighed. "I could get used to this..." She felt herself relax like she never had before. After a few minutes passed, she opened her eyes. "Okay. I am definitely going to listen to ASMR more often when I get back home." she said. "Anyway...moving on!"

After more wandering, Sunset came across Twilight's lecture room. Scrolls were stacked neatly among the books. Surrounded by the scrolls was an arc with a pattern of Princess Twilight's Cutie Mark. Just under it was a blank chalkboard. Just to the right of the chalkboard and lecture podium was a writing desk with parchment, quills and several different colors of ink. Nice place! I wonder if I've ready any of the books she's got stashed around here. She took a quick glance at all the shelves and made mental notes on which ones piqued her interest. "Next stop!"

Sunset ended up finding herself in the gym. There were several buckball practice buckets scattered on the floor. Several large rings were suspended from the ceiling, which Sunset surmised were there as goals for aerial sports. Almost makes me wish I could fly. Almost . The walls were decorated with clouds and rainbows. Higher up in the gym were banners of Rainbow Dash's Cutie Mark and the emblem of the School of Friendship. She stared at a blank chalkboard behind a desk. Why do blank chalkboards bother me so much?! she thought.

"Finding everything okay?" ask Starlight as she entered the gym.

"Gah!" Sunset let out a yelp as she jumped. Once she landed, her face turned bright red. "God...fucking...dammit!" She punctuated the first and last words with a rear and a buck, respectively.

Starlight Glimmer stared at Sunset with shock, not expecting such a sudden outburst.

Sunset regained her composure and blushed. "Oh, Celestia...I'm sorry." she said as her ears flopped. "I've been startled so many times over the last forty-eight hours that It's really starting to get to me."

Starlight smiled awkwardly. "Feel any better?" she asked.

Sunset smiled. "Yeah. I just needed to vent. Thanks for not freaking out on me." she said as her ears perked back up.

Starlight laughed. "Why would I freak out?"

Sunset gave Starlight a look of confusion. "Why? Because I just said 'fuck'!"

Starlight laughed again. "Oh, I get it. Do you remember the look on my face the first time I heard that word during my visit?"

Sunset looked confused. "Yeah. You didn't react at all."

Starlight smiled. "It's true we ponies don't swear. The worst known word here is 'peeved'. At least, that's the worst word I've heard here. All those swear words that human people use have no meaning or power here. The worst you'd get from yelling that out would be confused stares. Regardless, I wouldn't want you saying them in front of fillies or colts. You know how impressionable they can be."

Sunset's eyes widened. "I don't know how I feel about that. So this means all dirty jokes are down the drain and now I have to make terrible horse puns all the time?"

Starlight barked a laugh. "Welcome back to Equestria, Sunset Shimmer." she said with a grin.

Sunset laughed in return.

"Well, now that I've solved the friendship problem, I think it's time we made our way to Canterlot. Don't you?" Starlight said as she her hoof around Sunset.

"Lead the way." said Sunset, grinning widely.

"To the train station, then. I can catch you up on everything that happened since the Memory Stone incident, and you can tell me what all I've missed." said Starlight as they made their way to Canterlot.

The Train Ride Part I: Sunset Shimmer

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"You know..." said Sunset as she and Starlight reached the train station. "We don't know an awful lot about each other."

"Yeah." said Starlight. "I suppose that's true. We both hung out the human girls for so long, you and I never really got a chance to connect."

"We could...I don't know...maybe talk about each other's past? All I know is that you ruled over a village."

Starlight gave Sunset a look.

Sunset stepped back. "But we don't have to if you don't want to! I just wanted to find common ground."

Starlight smiled. "No. It's fine. I'm curious to hear about your past...'exploits', too. Plus, it'll kill time on the way to Canterlot."

"Sweet." said Sunset. "Let's board the train first though. I have a feeling we're going to be asking each other tons of questions."

Starlight giggled. "Me too."

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The two got situated at their seats. Sunset was the first to talk. "Okay. I admit I'm nervous doing this."

Starlight smiled. "You don't have to if you don't want to, Sunset."

Sunset smiled back. "No. It's okay. This is just difficult to talk about."

"I understand. I've been there too."

Sunset looked out the window as the train started moving. She took a deep breath and sighed. "It all started when I first became one of Princess Celestia's students..."

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"...and that's how I first entered the human world." Sunset finished.

"Wait." said Starlight. "There's a dark magic library? Why would anypony make that a thing?! That's just dangerous!"

Sunset shrugged. "No idea, to be honest."

"So?" prodded Starlight. "I know that's not the whole story."

"You're right. It's not." said Sunset. "Adjusting to the human world was an absolute nightmare..."

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"...and the Fall Formal was just around the corner, so I figured it would be the perfect time to steal Princess Twilight's crown."

Starlight gaped at Sunset. "Wow...it sounds like you went through hell..."

Sunset smiled sadly. "Tell me about it. And during all that time, I was alone."

Starlight clenched her teeth and made a hissing noise.

"Like I said. Tell me about it." said Sunset. "Anyway, I went through with my plan to steal Twilight's crown. I ran through the portal..."

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"...and despite everything I did, they all still forgave me." Sunset said, eyes red. "I'll never forget that. Never." she said as she sniffled.

Starlight hugged her.

"Thank you, Starlight. I'm okay, I just get emotional remembering all the things I saw when the rainbow hit me."

Starlight smiled. "I understand. Please, continue."

Sunset nodded. "Not longer after that, Canterlot High started preparing for a musical showcase. The five girls had my back, at least..."

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"...and just like that, I proved myself to CHS. That is, until-"

"Wait." Starlight cut Sunset off. I'm sorry, but did you say sirens? The sirens that Starswirl the Bearded banished? They ended up in the human world?!"

"Yes." said Sunset, with a look of irritation on her face.

"Sorry." said Starlight, blushing. "I got a little excited there. Continue."

"As I was saying, I finally proved myself to CHS. Until one day, when the holidays were around the corner..."

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"...and after that, we all had a holiday party at Applejack's with her family." Sunset looked at Starlight. "Are you okay?"

Starlight's eyes were red with tears. "My Celestia...I can't even begin to imagine the pain..." She put her head in her hooves and started sobbing.

Sunset shot over to Starlight and gave her a hug as she continued crying.

"Finally having friendship, earning the respect you worked so hard for...only to have it taken away!" she sobbed again.

"Hey...hey...Starlight. It's okay. It's in the past. And I've said many times that my past is not today." She said as she comforted Starlight.

Starlight eventually calmed down. "I-I'm sorry. Loneliness has always been an emotional subject for me." she said as she wiped a tear away.

Sunset gave her a sympathetic look. "Are you going to be okay?" she asked.

Starlight smiled. "Yes. I'll be fine."

"Okay." Sunset said. "A while after that happened, there was an event between our school and another. The event called the Friendship Games"...

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"...and it was then that Princess Twilight Sparkle met the human Twilight Sparkle." Sunset looked at Starlight, who had been blushing. "Is something wrong?" she asked Starlight.

"I...didn't realize she told you about the whole time loop thing..." said Starlight, putting her hoof behind her head.

"Why would..." Sunset said as she suddenly put two and two together. Her eyes shot fully open and she gasped. "No!"

Starlight slowly nodded her head, ashamed.

"You were the one responsible for the time loop Princess Twilight mentioned? Oh, I have got to hear that!" said Sunset, her initial shock replaced by anticipation.

Starlight blushed. "I'll tell you, but I know for a fact you're not done telling me everything." she said.

Sunset frowned. "Fine. Anyway, later that year, me, the girls, and many of the CHS students to a trip to place called Camp Everfree..."

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"...and the Pinkie Pie accidentally destroyed the dock. After we rebuilt it!"

Starlight stared, slack-jawed. She shook her head to snap herself out of it. "Wait...human Twilight has a boyfriend?!" she shouted. All of the passengers gave Starlight a dirty look. She laughed sheepishly. "Sorry. I was just so surprised."

Sunset laughed. "Tell me about it. I tease her about it every chance I get!" she said with a grin. "Anyway, after that, Camp Everfree needed funds for repairs..."

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"...and together we won the contest!"

"Nice!" said Starlight.

"So after that, the director for the Daring Do movie approached us..."

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"...and Juniper was banned from the set."

"Ah, so that's how you know her." said Starlight.

Sunset nodded. "Now, as for the most recent of events. I was on my way home from work. Fluttershy had picked me up from work Friday night..."

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"...and that's when I came through the portal. I got lost in the castle until I found the Friendship Map's room until you showed up."

"Geez. You've been through a lot!"

Sunset smiled. "Well enough about me. How about you?"

The Train Ride Part II: Starlight Glimmer

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Starlight put her hoof to her chin. "Well, the best place to start is the beginning. See, one of my first friends and I hung out all the time..."

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"...and then he got his Cutie Mark. Before me. I wouldn't see him again for years. That's why loneliness is such a big issue for me."

Sunset blinked. "Wow. I had no idea..."

"So then as time went on, I studied spells and eventually came across this oddly-shaped stick. I started up a town and started ridding ponies of their Cutie Marks. But you already know that part. Now, as for what happened when Twilight and the girls arrived..."

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"...and I was infuriated. I galloped out of the caves after that, swearing revenge on Twilight and her friends. As I plotted, I followed her around while she was none the wiser."

"Wait." Sunset said, holding up a hoof. "You actually stalked her?!"

Starlight blushed. "Yeah. Not one of my prouder moments. Anyway, I sneaked into Twilight's lecture about Cutie Mark Magic..."

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"...and that's when Twilight convinced me to give friendship a chance."

Sunset stared at Starlight, mouth agape. "You...changed the course of history several times over by using an old Starswirl spell?!"

Starlight nodded.

"Wow. I'd love to hear what Twilight experienced." said Sunset.

"Well, you can ask her yourself when you see her at the library." said Starlight. "Anywho, a few months had passed and Twilight's brother and his wife were expecting a foal..."

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"...then Sunburst and I promised to keep in touch just as the train was pulling away from the station."

Sunset was shocked. "A fifth princess?! And a naturally born alicorn at that...she's going to be incredibly powerful when she grows up."

Starlight nodded. "Tell me about it. I still can't believe she shattered the Crystal Heart, and I was there! But anyway...a while after that, Twilight wanted me to make a new friend so she could show Princess Celestia how good a teacher she is..."

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"...and even the Princess was frustrated!" Starlight laughed.

"Wow. You and I both befriended our respective worlds' Trixies...what are the odds?" Sunset wondered out loud. "I can't believe Twilight preferred Muffins, DJ PON-3 and Cranky Doodle over her as a friend. I'd love to hear the history between those two."

"Anyway," continued Starlight. "Twilight, Spike and I went to the Crystal Empire to visit Flurry Heart, Shining Armor, Princess Cadence and Sunburst. But when we arrived, nopony was there..."

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"...and that's when I told Twilight that she was right. You really can find a friendship lesson anywhere!"

"Spike made friends with a changeling? Wow..."

"But wait!" said Starlight. "There's more. One day, Muffins delivered a letter to me, and it was from my old village! You have no idea how nervous I was..."

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"...and that was when I judged a baking competition."

"You...you reformed all of the changelings?!" Sunset said in awe.

"Well, not all of them. But I'll get to that later." Starlight said and winked. "So after that, me, Discord, Trixie and Thorax were going to be awarded medals for our victory over Queen Chrysalis and the reformation of the Changelings..."

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"...and Twilight gave me an awesome mirror as a gift! I was all choked up over it." said Starlight.

"So, you're still staying at the castle?" asked Sunset.

"Yep!" said Starlight. "Not going anywhere anytime soon. But...speaking of unlikely friendships..."

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"and after that, Pinkie Pie finally let us be."

"Wow. You made friends with Maud? That's...interesting."

Starlight giggled. "You think that's interesting? Wait'll I tell you about the first time I got called by the map!"

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"...and then Twilight dragged me off into the castle to wring every last detail out of me."

Sunset stared at Starlight. Eyes wide from pure shock. "You...changed Princess Celestia and Princess Luna's...Cutie Marks?"

Starlight shrugged. "Hey, the map called me. I did what I thought was best, even though I almost got in serious trouble. One of my strongest moments of self-doubt."

Sunset shook her head to snap herself out of it.

Starlight laughed. "You okay there?"

Sunset blushed and smiled. "Sorry. That was just a lot to take in."

Starlight grinned. "Totally understandable. But don't worry, this next one, while still eventful, isn't as...intense. Anyway...Thorax was having trouble under his new role as leader of the Changelings, so Trixie and I decided to surprise him by showing up unannounced..."

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"...and Pharynx was the final Changeling...you know, besides Queen Chrysalis, to transform."

"Nice." said Sunset. "Too bad Trixie tried to throw you under the bus..."

"Meh." said Starlight. "Okay, prepare yourself. Out of all the stories I have, this one's going to blow. Your. Mind!"

Sunset's eyes lit up. "Oooh, do tell!"

Starlight grinned. "Well, one day Sunburst came over to visit me in Ponyville..."

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"...and then Twilight thanked me for helping her see things clearly!"

Sunset stood motionless. If the jaw of a pony was capable of hitting the floor while sitting a couple of feet above it, Sunset would have succeeded in doing so.

"Sunset? ...Are you okay?" Starlight said, a touch concerned.

"...Starlight." said Sunset, still staring on in disbelief.

"Yes, Sunset?" she answered, still worried about her friend.

"Can you indulge me for just one sentence?" Sunset said, still frozen from the neck down.

"...Okay, sure. Just...try not to be too loud." said Starlight, suddenly realizing where this was going.

Sunset Shimmer took a deep breath, and exhaled to calm herself. It worked...for all of about two seconds, as Sunset shouted "Holy fucking shit, you met Starswirl the Bearded?!?!?

Everypony on the train gave both Starlight and Sunset dirty looks.

Sunset blushed. "I'm sorry, I just had to get that out of my system." she said to Starlight and the passengers.

Starlight looked mortified for a moment.

Sunset's ears drooped. "I'm sorry. I got a little bit carried away there." she smiled sheepishly.

Starlight quirked an eyebrow. "A little?"

"Please, I'm embarrassed enough as it is." said Sunset. "I can't believe his initial attitude towards you." she said, in the hopes of changing the subject. "You think you know your legends of Equestria..."

Starlight sighed. "Yeah, he was kind of a tough nut to crack. But enough about that. A while later, all of Equestria was preparing for the Festival of Friendship..."

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"Unfortunately, Trixie and were in a cage during the action. You'd have to talk to Twilight about that."

Sunset smiled. "Don't worry, I will."

"After the festival, we all got back to the throne room and noticed the map had gotten bigger. This was when Twilight got the idea to build the School of Friendship..."

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"...and the school stayed open, despite Chancellor Neighsay's protests."

Sunset blinked. "Wow. Now I know why I hate bureaucratic paperwork."

Starlight laughed. Suddenly, the train braked to a halt.

"Canterlot Station!" the conductor announced.

Starlight and Sunset smiled.

Canterlot

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Sunset and Starlight exited the train. Sunset took deep breath, then exhaled. "Ahh!" she sighed. "It's nice to finally see something familiar!"

Starlight giggled. "Overwhelmed by all the new information?"

Sunset rolled her eyes and smiled. "Yeah, kinda." she admitted. Suddenly, an idea formed in her head and her eyes popped wide open. "Hey! Once we see Twilight we should totally go to the art museum!"

Starlight gave Sunset a questioning look. "Why's that?"

Sunset smiled fondly. "Did I ever show you any of my paintings when you visited?"

"I don't think so..."

"Well," Sunset said. "When I was just a filly, I saw an absolutely beautiful painting of Princess Celestia raising the sun. It's what got me into art in the first place. I saw it in Vanhoover, but I was hoping it'd be here. You know how some art pieces circulate."

Starlight smiled awkwardly. "Not really, no. I never got into art, but I'd be willing to take a look on the off-chance it's being featured. You make it sound so good."

Sunset grinned. "Of course it's good! It changed my whole life, after all." As they walked through Canterlot, Sunset looked around. "At least this place hasn't changed much. Then again, I wouldn't really expect it to." She took a deep breath as she took in the scents surrounding herself. Coffee, hay, tea, cake, and...oh. That's a new and interesting scent. "Starlight?" asked Sunset. "Are you hungry?"

Starlight whiffed the air. "Is that smell making you hungry?" she smiled.

"Well it certainly stands out. Want to get something to eat?" said Sunset.

Starlight shrugged. "Sure, why not?"

Starlight and Sunset sniffed the air, following the scent as it became stronger and stronger. Eventually, they stopped in front of a building that stood out from all the others. A small staircase which led to the entrance was sandwiched between two shrubs. The wall was painted a dark orange, decorated with swirls and flowers. The two windows of the entrance were shaped like spires. Just above the entrance was an elephant holding a spoon in its trunk, which was in front of an open flower.

"The Tasty Treat?" Asked Starlight. "Huh. Never seen this restaurant before. I wonder why."

Sunset smiled and licked her lips. "Sure stands out though, doesn't it?" she grabbed Starlight by the hoof. "C'mon, let's eat!" she said excitedly as she pulled Starlight inside.

"Welcome to The Tasty Treat! Make yourselves comfortable!" said the waiter. "Saffron Masala! Ready the stove, we have customers!"

"Yes, father!" said a voice in the kitchen.

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Sunset sighed in satisfaction. "Whew! That totally hit the spot! I forgot how great Equestrian cuisine was!"

Starlight flinched. "Oof. Reminds me of how hard it was to keep human food down. That ice cream from the mall was great, but oh, Celestia, did I pay for it later."

Sunset shuddered. "I remember helping you through that. I didn't think it was that possible for any creature to get that sick, and I went through the same thing. Can we not talk about that though? I want to keep my food down, thank you very much."

"Sorry." said Starlight, blushing.

"It's okay." said Sunset. "So what now? I don't want to take up too much time. You know, destiny and all that." she smirked.

"Right. Had enough fun then?" Starlight said with a teasing look.

"Well..." said Sunset. "I wasn't told it was an urgent situation..." she said slyly.

"What do you have in mind?" asked Starlight.

"Hmm..." said Sunset as she put her hoof to her chin. "Oh! I know! Got room for dessert?"

Starlight smiled.

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Twilight Sparkle was outside the Canterlot Library, tapping her hoof. I can only wait so long before I start to get impatient...where is she?

"Something on your mind, Twilight?" said Spike, her faithful assistant and close friend.

Twilight sighed. "Sunset should be here by now. What's taking her so long?"

"Maybe she got lost in the castle. You remember how lost Starlight was her first few times around? I think the castle needs a map or something." Spike said.

Twilight put her hoof to her chin. "I suppose, but I'm not leaving this spot unless there's an emergency. When Sunset gets here I hope she has a good reason for taking her sweet time..."

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"Okay." said Sunset. "Now I'm full. Totally worth it." she smiled.

Starlight smiled. "You said it. Now I really think we should get to the library. We don't want Twilight any more...'peeved' than she already might be."

Sunset laughed. "Okay, okay. You're right. No more distractions. Let's be on our way. For real this time."

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If Twilight wore a watch on her hoof, she'd be staring at it impatiently right now. Seriously! Where in the name of Celestia is she? Maybe I should have put more urgency into that message. "Oh!" said Twilight. "Spike!"

"Yes, Twilight?" asked Spike.

"Why don't you go and find Sunset? That way I don't have to leave this spot!" Said Twilight.

"Okay, Twilight. Will do!" said Spike with a smile, then ran off in search of Sunset.

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"So...got any crushes?" asked Starlight.

Sunset blinked. "Where did that question come from?"

Starlight smiled. "Just curious. Thought I'd make some small talk on the way."

"Well, to be honest, no. I don't have a crush. Never have. Not yet anyway." said Sunset.

Starlight looked shocked. "Wait. Really? Never? I've had at least two crushes, but that was before I got all...you know."

Sunset sighed. "You remember what I told about my past?"

Starlight thought for a moment. "Well, you told me you poured your heart and soul into magic studies..."

"Exactly." said Sunset. "Studying magic was the obsession that drove me. Aside from basic self-care, that was all that I did. I never bothered to find romantic love or friendship because at the time I viewed both those things as unnecessary. It was such a narrow focus of mine that once everything fell apart for me after the Fall Formal, I had nothing. I was a blank slate. I had to find out who I was all over again, and I'm still in the process. I don't even know my own sexual orientation."

Starlight gave Sunset a look of shame. "I...I'm sorry. I had no idea."

Sunset smiled warmly. "You don't have to apologize, Starlight. Of course you didn't know. We're still finding out things about each other and ourselves."

"Wait..." said Starlight. "Is that...Spike?"

"There you are, Sunset! ...Starlight? What are you doing here?" Spike said as he caught up to the two mares.

Starlight smiled. "I'm guessing you're looking for us on behalf of Twilight?"

Spike nodded.

"Well then, let's get going! I'll tell you why I'm here on the way, okay Spike?" said Starlight.

"Okay!" he said as they headed towards the Canterlot Library.

Canterlot Library

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Sunset, Starlight and Spike finally arrived at the entrance to the Canterlot Library where a stern Twilight Sparkle was waiting for them.

"There you are, Sunset! Where were-" she stopped mid-sentence once she noticed Starlight. "Hey, Starlight. What brings you here?"

"Sunset just happened to be in the map room when I was called for a friendship problem at the School of Friendship." answered Starlight. "After that, I just kind of went along for the ride."

Twilight smiled. "Well you're here now, so let's all go inside." she said.

"So", said Sunset. "Are you done freaking out over the restricted section yet?" she grinned.

Twilight blushed. "Are you kidding? Of course not! That section is bigger than it looks."

Sunset laughed. No matter which world I'm in, it's always fun to tease Twilight Sparkle. she smiled. "All right, let's get into the library already."

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"Wow." said Starlight as the four entered the restricted section. "This is incredible! I...I..."

Sunset grinned widely. "Nowhere near as excited as you were, but I'll take it." she said to Twilight.

Twilight giggled. "I've still been reading and re-reading so much that I haven't had time to fix the archives' mechanical catalog. Not that I think I'd want to, I'd much rather organize it by hoof."

Sunset, Starlight and Spike smiled and rolled their eyes.

"So...where's Clover the Clever's book?" asked Sunset.

Twilight smiled sheepishly. "Oh! Right. Almost forgot about that." She reached under the desk she and Sunset used to research the Memory Stone and produced a brown book with clovers all over the cover.

Starlight, Sunset and Spike all walked up to the book. Sunset began to use her magic on the book when it started to glow, then levitate on its own. "Whoa!" yelped Sunset. "Did this happen when you found it?" she asked Twilight.

"No!" Twilight responded. "I don't even know what's happening!"

"Can you at least tell if it's a good or a bad thing??" asked Spike.

"We'll know in a few seconds!" Starlight said, shielding her eyes from the glow as it intensified.

After a couple of seconds, the book stopped glowing and fell back onto the desk.

The four of them just stared at it, unsure of what action to take next.

"Okay." said Twilight. "I think I have a theory." She looked at Starlight. "Try levitating that book and see what happens."

Starlight nodded, but felt a wave of uncertainty as she prepared herself. She closed her eyes and used her magic. The book was levitating, but not glowing. Starlight let out a sigh of relief and wiped sweat off her brow. The others took notice and gave her a look of concern. Starlight blushed and laughed with embarrassment. "What? The unknown can be very scary sometimes."

Twilight looked at Spike. "Okay, Spike." she said. "Your turn."

Spike looked at Twilight, eyes wide. "But I don't have magic like the three of you."

Twilight smiled. "I know, but I just wanted to confirm something." she said as she gave him a look of assurance.

"Okay" Spike said. He gulped, put on a face of determination, rolled up sleeves he didn't have and picked up the book. "Huh." he said. "Nothing."

Twilight's smile widened. "Okay, Sunset. Now you try again."

Sunset looked confused at first, but complied, an idea of what Twilight was thinking entering her head. "Here goes nothing...but it better be something." As soon as her magic took hold of the book, it started glowing again.

Twilight was ecstatic. "I knew it!" she said.

Sunset let go of the book, in shock.

Starlight and Spike looked at each other in confusion, then at Twilight and Sunset.

"So?" asked Starlight. "What does this mean?"

Sunset stared at the book incredulously. "I...I think it means this book was meant for me. Like it's a part of my destiny from the dream I had the night before."

Twilight gaped at Sunset. "Wait...what?"

Sunset smiled. "I guess now's as good a time as any to tell you what happened before you sent me that message, Twilight. You see..."

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"...and that's when you sent me the message about this book." Sunset said.

Twilight and Spike remained silent, both of their jaws dropped.

Sunset looked at Starlight with a grin. "Want to play magic rock, paper, scissors to see who picks whose jaw up?"

Starlight laughed. "I'm game if you are!"

Before they could get started, Spike and Twilight had snapped out of their daze.

"Wow. I don't know what to make of that...but I do wish I could have seen it." said Twilight.

"You don't have to, Twilight." said Sunset as she reached into her saddlebags and brought out a piece of paper with a drawing. She showed it to Twilight.

Twilight looked it over and started tearing up. "Oh...wow..." she said.

"Let me see, let me see!" said Spike. He gently took it from Sunset's hoof and his eyes widened. "Sweet Celestia...it's...it's..."

"I know. It's hard to put it into words." said Sunset, fighting tears of her own.

Starlight's curiosity got the better of her and she levitated the drawing towards herself. She put her hooves to her mouth in an audible gasp. "I...I've never seen anything like it."

Sunset smiled. "Are you guys going to be okay, or do you all need a moment?"

Starlight, Twilight and Spike calmed down after a couple of minutes.

"Okay." said Sunset. "So we've established that this book is clearly meant for me. But why?"

"Why not open it up?" ask Starlight. "Maybe some of the pages have been filled in."

"Worth a check." said Sunset as she opened the book. "Hm. Still no title." she said as she continued to flip through the pages. She suddenly stopped at one point. "Wait. What's this?"

Sunset had stopped on a page with a picture of the founders of Equestria. Each of them standing in a circle and smiling. "I wonder what this means?"

"Well," said Twilight. "From what you've told me about your dream, we have to see all of my closest friends so you can get to know them. Right?"

"Right." said Sunset.

"Then let's not waste any more time!" Twilight said and teleported the four of them to the Canterlot train station.

The Train Ride Back: Twilight Sparkle

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"So" said Twilight as the group of four found their seats on the train. "What should we do to pass the time?"

Starlight and Sunset looked at each other and nodded. "Well, on the way here we both told each other about what all we've been through. Maybe you could tell us about your adventures."

Twilight blushed. "Aww, I'm flattered." she said and thought for a moment. "...Okay, why not? I don't see the harm in that."

Starlight and Sunset leaned in closely, excited.

Twilight smiled. "I assume both of you are familiar with Nightmare Moon, correct?"

Sunset and Starlight nodded.

"Well one day I just happened to be reading a book called 'Predictions and Prophecies', and I noticed the signs signaling her return..."

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"...and that's how I ended up in Ponyville." said Twilight.

Sunset looked at Twilight. "Wait. A library? What about your castle?"

"I'm getting to that." Twilight said. "Starlight...did Trixie ever tell you about my history with her?"

Starlight shook her head.

"What I'm about to tell you is exactly what happened the first time we saw her."

Starlight gave Twilight a nasty look.

Twilight smiled. "I promise. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."

Starlight seemed reassured by this, so Twilight began. "I was practicing magic with Spike in the Golden Oaks Library that day. I had mastered many kinds of magic..."

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"...and then she ran off." finished Twilight.

"Well. That definitely sounds like Trixie, all right." said Starlight.

"And I can totally see Snips and Snails getting into trouble like that." said Sunset.

Twilight nodded. "Starlight, you already know the next story I'm going to tell."

Starlight blushed. "What is it? I already told Sunset about my village and time-travel schemes."

Twilight smiled. "Remember when you showed up at my lecture about Cutie Mark magic?"

"Oh, I see where you're going with this." said Starlight.

Twilight nodded. "The Cutie Mark Crusaders, at the time still searching for their Cutie Marks, began asking me and each my friends how we got ours..."

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"...and then we sang a song."

"Wow." said Sunset. You guys really do belong together, huh?"

Twilight grinned. "Oh, there's plenty more stories. Starlight, how much do you know about Discord?"


Starlight shrugged. "Not much, really."

"Well...the first time the girls and I met him, things got a little, shall we say...chaotic." Twilight grinned.

Starlight gave Twilight a flat stare. "Really?"

Twilight giggled. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. Anyway, it started out like any other day..."

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Then we turned him back into stone using the Elements of Harmony." finished Twilight.

Starlight held up a hoof. "But he's free now."

"Don't worry about that." said Twilight. "I'll get back to him later. But by now I suppose you're wondering why I don't write friendship reports Princess Celestia anymore. Y'know, aside from these." she said as she unfolded her wings.

"Might as well indulge you." said Sunset.

"Well, I had just finished a checklist with Spike's help that day. We were spending the day at home..."

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"...so from then on, all of us had to write to the Princess."

"Wow. I would've loved to see all that happen." said Sunset.

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Speaking of princesses, Nightmare Night had come to Ponyville. I dressed up as Starswirl the Bearded..."

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"...and then Princess Luna scared Rainbow Dash away!" she finished.

Everyone laughed.

"Sunset." said Twilight. "I assume Starlight told you about Thorax?"

"She did.", said Sunset.

"Well, our first encounter with the changeling race wasn't exactly friendly..."

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"...then Shining Armor and Cadence's coach left."

"Wow." said Sunset and Starlight in unison.

"Tell me about it." said Spike. "I never got to plan that bachelor party."

Everyone laughed.

"Now I know for a fact that Starlight's heard Spike's story about the Crystal Empire, but Sunset hasn't." Said Twilight. "So...'Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious', you tell the story."

Sunset gave Twilight a look.

"Don't worry." said Twilight. "It'll make sense in the end."

Spike cleared his throat. "One day, Princess Celestia had test for Twilight. The wasn't you average everyday test, either..."

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"...and I even got my own stained glass window!" Spike finished, a huge proud grin on his face.

"Wow. Nice going, Spike!" said Sunset.

"Thank you." he said.

"But the peace didn't last too long, because shortly afterwards a mysterious pony in a black cloak came to Ponyville and started zapping specific ponies..."

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"...then she threw a smoke bomb on the ground and left, tripping on her way out."

Sunset had a look of sadness on her face. "I can relate to that. Being corrupted by dark magic. But also learning from my mistakes." her facial expression turned into a smile.

"Now we've all spoken of Changelings and Trixie, but now it's Discord's turn." said Twilight.

Sunset and Starlight nodded.

"One day, Princess Celestia had told us she'd be bringing a 'very special' guest with her to see us. Never in a million moons would we have expected Discord..."

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"...and then Fluttershy said 'He can be a real sweetheart once you get to know him.'"

Starlight snickered.

Sunset raised an eyebrow. "Fluttershy reformed the Spirit of Chaos? Why do I find that hard to believe?"

"That doesn't surprise me." said Starlight. "He treats her so nicely."

"That's true." said Twilight. "Now I know both of you don't really know the specifics, but here's how I got my wings..."

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"...and after the coronation, we all had an after-party at Sugarcube Corner."

Starlight smiled. "Well now we know the whole story."

Sunset blinked. "That's amazing."

"So." said Twilight. "Here's how I got the castle we all know and love..."

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"...and the castle literally popped up from the ground!"

Sunset stared in absolute shock.

Starlight waved her hoof in front of Sunset's face. "Uhh...are you okay, Sunset?"

Spike walked up to Sunset. "Equestria to Sunset Shimmer! Hello?"

Twilight used her magic and yanked Sunset's tail.

"Ouch!" yelled Sunset. "What was that for?"

"Sorry." said Twilight. "You were totally out of it there."

"Oh." said Sunset. "Well...it's just that in my world, Tirek is a video game character and not a real tyrant who was banished to Tartarus. That was just a huge shock to me."

Twilight laughed. "Oh, I wish Tirek was just a video game character."

Everyone laughed.

"Ponyville Train Station!" called out the conductor.

Twilight grinned. "All right, girls. Where to first?"

Carousel Boutique

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Sunset thought for a moment. "Anywhere's good, so long there isn't any food. Starlight and I stuffed our faces back in Canterlot."

Twilight gave a look of frustration. "That's what you two were doing?"

Starlight smiled sheepishly. "What? We were hungry."

Twilight put her hoof to her head and sighed. "Okay, so that rules out Sweet Apple Acres and Sugarcube Corner..."

"What are our other options?" said Sunset.

"Well, there's the Carousel Boutique which is where Rarity lives and works. There's Sweet Feathers Sanctuary, where Fluttershy is. Then there's Rainbow Dash's house. We can't go to Wonderbolts HQ, because according to Rainbow it'd be 'against protocol'."

"Okay." said Sunset. "Why not Carousel Boutique? I'm curious to see what pony fashion looks like. Maybe I can draw pictures of them for the Rarity of my world." she smiled.

"Yes!" said Spike. "I mean...okay, cool."

Twilight rolled her eyes and teleported all to the front door of Carousel Boutique. Twilight opened the door. "Hi, Rarity!" called out Twilight.

Rarity trotted out of the changing room section of her shop. "Hello, Twilight! Hello, Starlight. Hello, Spike! and Hello..." Rarity blanched a little. "Twilight...is that who I think it is?"

Before Sunset could say anything, Twilight spoke up. "Yes, Rarity. This is Sunset Shimmer."

Sunset waved at Rarity, feeling awkward. "Hi."

"Now before you say anything, Rarity, you should know that she's more than proven herself in my book. I know the initial impression she left on all of us was...less than stellar."

Rarity trotted over to Sunset with a blank expression on her face. She leaned in closely, as if she was scrutinizing her. "So." she said. "What brings you back here after all this time?"

"What do you mean, 'all this time'?" Sunset said, confused. "I've been back a couple of times already and even brought Starlight to the mirror world with me."

Rarity stepped back and looked at Starlight. "Is this true?" she asked.

Starlight smiled. "It is."

"Rarity." said Twilight. "You should also know that I saw Sunset Shimmer reconcile with Princess Celestia. First-hoof."

Rarity's expression softened considerably. "Well why didn't you say so in the first place?" she looked at Sunset with a sincere smile. "Please forgive me if I came off as rude, Sunset Shimmer."

Sunset smiled back. "It's okay, I totally get where you were coming from. As for the reason I'm here..."

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"...and then we all got off the train and Twilight teleported us here." finished Sunset.

Rarity stood still, processing all she had heard. "Goodness, darling. That's quite a tale! If I had known it would have been that long, I would have made us all tea." she said. "So...what does it all mean?"

Sunset shrugged. "As far as we can all tell, this book from Clover the Clever was meant for me for some reason. It might be related to my dream." Her eyes widened. "Oh, wait." she took out her drawing from her saddlebag. "What do you think of this?"

Rarity floated her red sewing glasses over her nose and took a good look at the drawing. Slowly, she put her hoof up to her mouth, eyes watering. "You...you drew this?"

"Yeah." said Sunset.

"I...I'm at a loss for words. This is unlike anything I've ever seen." said Rarity.

"I can make copies for everyone when I get back home. I made some for my friends in the mirror world." said Sunset.

"And that's what our mirror counterparts look like?" asked Rarity.

"Not exactly." said Twilight. "The mirror Twilight in this drawing is the Twilight from Sunset's world. My mirror form looks different."

"I must say, the resemblance to us is rather uncanny!" said Rarity.

"That's how I felt when I first visited." said Twilight.

Rarity returned the drawing to Sunset. "Well, that certainly was an inspiring piece of art."

Sunset smiled. "Thank you. Speaking of inspiration...what kind of dresses do you make? Your mirror counterpart and I bounce ideas off of each other, so I was wondering if I could do the same with you."

Rarity's eyes lit up. "Oh, that sounds positively fabulous! Let me show you my designs and tell me what you think!" she said excitedly.

Rarity and Sunset spent what seemed like hours going back and forth about creative arts and the differences and similarities of such between the two worlds.

Twilight beamed. "I can't remember the last time I saw Rarity so excited and happy!"

"Well, at least it's not a stallion she's having fun with." Spike said under his breath.

"What was that, Spike?" asked Twilight.

"Nothing!" said Spike, too quickly to avoid suspicion.

Starlight rolled her eyes. "Hey, Sunset. Anything new with the book yet?"

Sunset took the book out of her saddlebags and thoroughly examined it. "Nope. Nothing yet."

"Well, we do still have to meet the others. Maybe connecting with all of them will cause the book to react." said Spike.

Sunset laughed. "That is the whole point of this journey."

"Besides," said Twilight. "When has friendship ever failed us?"

"Indeed." said Rarity. "I just hope you didn't tempt fate by saying that."

"I find your lack of faith disturbing." said Sunset.

Everyone shot a dirty look at her.

"Sorry. I didn't really mean it, I just felt like referencing a bit of my world's popular culture." she put her hoof to her head. "I hope I'm not getting homesick, I haven't been here that long!" she blushed.

Everyone laughed.

"Well, I think it's time we moved on to our next location." said Twilight.

"Okay." said Sunset. She ran over to Rarity and gave her a hug. "Thank you." she said sincerely.

"Not a problem, darling. Best of luck on your quest!" she said as she returned the hug.

"Goodbye!" said Sunset as she broke the hug and left with Twilight, Spike and Starlight.

Wait. thought Rarity. What was she thanking me for?

Now outside, the four began discussing where to go to next.

"How about Rainbow Dash's place? I'd love to see a house in the clouds." said Sunset.

"Sounds like a plan to me!" said Twilight, and teleported them right in front of Rainbow Dash's house while simultaneously casting a spell to have Spike and Sunset walk on clouds.

Rainbow Dash's Cloudominium

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Sunset gaped at Rainbow's dwelling. "Okay. I want a house like that."

Starlight giggled.

"Rainbow Dash!" Twilight called out.

Within seconds, Rainbow Dash flew out of her house. "Hey guys!" She said "What's..." she trailed off as she found Sunset Shimmer.

"Don't do anything rash, Rainbow. Let me explain what's going on." said Twilight.

After Twilight told Rainbow everything, Rainbow flew close to Sunset.

Sunset backed up slowly, uncertain.

Rainbow Dash smiled. "If Twilight says you've changed, that's all I need to hear. So you're meeting up with all of us for some kind of destiny thing, huh?"

Sunset nodded. "To be honest, I'm still kind of figuring it out myself." she said.

"It was a lot to take in." admitted Starlight.

"So, Rainbow Dash...what do you think of this?" Sunset said as she brought out her drawing and levitated it towards her.

Rainbow Dash took a look at it and teared up. "It's...awesome. Not just awesome...there needs to be a new kind of word for how it makes me feel..."

Sunset smiled as she returned the drawing to her saddlebags. "I'm glad you like it. I can make copies for each of you when I get back home."

"You know, something just occurred to me." said Twilight, a smile forming on her face. "I don't think Sunset has seen your Sonic Rainboom, Rainbow Dash."

Sunset blinked. "Sonic what now?" she asked.

Rainbow grinned widely. "Sonic Rainboom."

Sunset snickered.

"What's so funny?" asked Rainbow Dash.

Twilight smiled. "I didn't tell you the name of the rock band your mirror counterpart started, did I?"

Rainbow thought for a moment and shook her head.

"We're called the Rainbooms." said Sunset, with a hint of pride. "I'm just laughing at the coincidence."

"Awesome!" shouted Rainbow. "Now let me show you a Sonic Rainboom." She flew high into the sky, higher than anypony Sunset had ever seen fly before. Rainbow then sped down so fast, Sunset almost couldn't keep up. Then, an explosion of color and a rainbow shockwave appeared in the sky.

Sunset's jaw dropped as Rainbow landed right next to her, smiling confidently.

Everyone waited for Sunset to say something.

"Heh. She's speechless! That's my favorite reaction!" said Rainbow.

"Holy shit..." Sunset said in an almost inaudible whisper, slowly regaining her senses.

Starlight laughed. "I think you broke her."

Sunset shook her head rapidly. "Wow...I have no words for that." she smiled widely.

Spike leaned over to Twilight and whispered. "At least you didn't have to pull on her tail this time."

Twilight giggled.

"Wow." said Starlight. "That was even more impressive that when I saw you do it as a filly."

Rainbow laughed. "Yeah, I'm awesome." she said. "Hey, wanna check my place out?"

Sunset's eyes lit up. "Do I!"

Rainbow grinned. "Sweet." She opened the door and they all walked in.

Sunset's eyes went wide as she stared in awe. "Whoa..."

Everything around her seemed to be made from some sort of marble-like material. The floor beneath her hooves was patterned with a giant spiral. As Sunset looked around, she saw several windows, a statue that she guessed was probably a Wonderbolt, one column on each side of the entrance, a stairway leading upwards and shields on the wall.

"How can you afford a place like this?" asked Sunset, still gaping at the scenery.

"Well, I'm charge of the weather in Ponyville. I guess you could say it's like a government thing or something." said Rainbow Dash. "Also, I finally became a Wonderbolt a while back. It pays pretty good too."

"Wow." said Sunset. "I gotta admit, I'm jealous. This is like nothing I've ever seen before."

"I know, right?" said Rainbow Dash. "What's your place like?"

Sunset described her dwelling in almost excruciating detail, taking about an hour to give Rainbow Dash a decent visual idea.

"Hmm." said Rainbow. "Sounds pretty cool."

Sunset smiled. "It is. So...what do you for fun since there's no video games in this world?"

"Oh, there's video games in this world." said Starlight. "But they're nowhere near as popular as they are in yours. In fact, the only pony I've ever seen playing video games often is that one colt with a propeller hat..." she put her hoof to her chin. "But I'm sure there's others out there too."

"I'm not all that into video games, anyway." said Rainbow. "I prefer being active as often as possible. I get all anxious if I stay still for too long without anything keeping my attention."

"You wouldn't happen to read any Daring Do novels, would you?" said Sunset.

"Uh, yeah I would! I've read every single volume from cover to cover like a gazillion times!" Rainbow said excitedly.

Good to know that there's still some similarities between worlds. thought Sunset.

"What about you, Sunset? What do you do with your friends when you all hang out?" asked Rainbow.

"Well...we just talk, or play video games. Sometimes we'll rehearse songs for the band. We're pretty much as inseparable as you all are here." replied Sunset.

"Sounds pretty cool. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to see your world." said Rainbow.

"Maybe someday, Rainbow Dash. Maybe someday." said Sunset.

"It's something you have to see to believe." said Starlight.

"Wait." said Rainbow Dash. "You've been there?!"

Starlight nodded. "If you ever go to the mirror world, just keep this in mind: the food there tastes great, but good luck getting used to it."

Sunset and Starlight shuddered from the memories.

Twilight snickered. "Oh come on, girls. It's not that bad."

"Easy for you to say." said Starlight. "You're an alicorn! You must have had something magical that kept you from puking your guts out."

Poor choice of words, Starlight. thought Sunset as she rolled her eyes.

"We should probably get going though. Destiny waits for nopony!" said Sunset.

"I hear that!" said Rainbow.

They all hugged and said their goodbyes, then Twilight teleported herself, Sunset, Starlight and Spike back onto the ground right next to Rainbow's mailbox.

"So. Anything from the book yet?" asked Twilight.

Sunset checked. "Nope. That's okay, because we still have three more stops." she smiled.

"Right." said Twilight. "Where to then? We have yet to go to Sweet Feathers Sanctuary, Sugarcube Corner, and Sweet Apple Acres."

"Hmm." Sunset said, thinking. "How about Sweet Feathers Sanctuary? I'm still not ready to be around food just yet."

Twilight laughed. "Sweet Feathers Sanctuary it is, then." she said, then teleported the group right in front of the entrance.

Sweet Feather Sanctuary

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Sunset took a look around. She and her friends were in an open field in the midst of trees. A small creek was flowing, letting the sound of rushing fill her ears. There was a waterfall from the top of a stone cave that had several entrances. There was a hammock hanging between two palm trees on one small section of the cave. The other section had many trees with planks of wood nailed into and onto them, so creatures could climb and eat to their hearts' content. Many animals were enjoying themselves in various parts of the sanctuary.

"Nice place. Has this been here long?" asked Sunset.

"No, not really." said Twilight. "Fluttershy had said that it's been her dream to open a sanctuary for animals, so we all helped her in building it. Not that it went well at first."

"What happened?" asked Sunset.

Twilight told Sunset what happened, from beginning to end. Once she finished, Sunset rolled her eyes.

"Ugh." Sunset said in disgust. "I can't stand those types. Thinking their ideas are better despite the client basically spelling out what they want. Good on Fluttershy for sticking up for herself though."

There was a rustling noise coming from one of the bushes. Twilight trotted over to the bush. "Fluttershy? Is that you?" Startled by Twilight's voice, a squirrel leaped out of the bush and fled. "Huh. Guess not."

"Is she even here?" asked Sunset.

"She should be." said Twilight. "This is where she spends most of her time when she's not with us or at her cottage."

"Fluttershy, are you here?" Spike called out.

Off in the distance, the four spotted Fluttershy slowly walking toward them. "There you are!" said Twilight.

Fluttershy caught a glimpse of Sunset. She blinked, a bead of sweat trailing down her forehead. "H...Hello, Sunset." she said anxiously.

"You don't have to put on a brave face, Fluttershy. She's come a long way since the last time you saw her." said Twilight.

Fluttershy exhaled deeply, a look of relief on her face.

Sunset quirked an eyebrow. "Just like that?"

Fluttershy giggled and trotted towards her. "You're not the only one who's come a long way, Sunset. If Twilight trusts you, then so do I." she smiled.

"Well, you did reform the Spirit of Chaos." said Sunset.

Fluttershy blushed. "Twilight told you about that?"

Sunset nodded. "That and pretty much every major adventure you guys have had since."

Fluttershy smiled. "So, what have you been up to?"

"Twilight hasn't told you what's happened?" asked Sunset.

Fluttershy shook her head. "Not since the trouble with the sirens."

Sunset looked at Twilight. "What? They don't really ask about you."

I suppose that's a fair point. thought Sunset. They don't know me too well. "You're going to want to sit down for this. It's a long story." she said.

As Sunset told Fluttershy all that had happened to her, Fluttershy listened intently, nodding from time to time. When Sunset finished, Fluttershy blinked.

"Goodness." said Fluttershy. "That was a long story."

Twilight was blushing heavily.

Sunset looked at Twilight with a grin, imagining what she was thinking. "You okay there?" Twilight stared off in the distance. Payback time. she thought. She used her magic and lightly yanked Twilight's tail.

Twilight let out a yelp and fell over. "What was that for?" she asked Sunset.

"You were kind of spacing out there. Weirded out by the fact that your mirror counterpart is dating?" asked Sunset.

"No!" said Twilight. "...Okay, yeah. A little bit." she admitted.

"What's so weird about it?" asked Fluttershy.

Twilight sighed. "I guess I'm still used to the fact that there's an alternate version of me. I feel like I'm still having an identity crisis over it."

"You'll be fine, Twilight. You always know what to do." said Fluttershy.

"Thanks." Twilight smiled.

"So, what do you do here?" Sunset asked Fluttershy.

Fluttershy's eyes lit up. "I take care of animals, of course! Animals who need help, animals who are lonely...all animals are welcome here!"

"Oh! I almost forgot." Sunset said as she took her drawing out of her saddlebags. "What do you think of this?" she floated the picture to Fluttershy.

"Oh...my..." tears almost immediately welled up in her eyes. "It's beautiful...simply beautiful! You drew this?" asked Fluttershy.

"I did." said Sunset, smiling. "I'm glad you liked it. I'll make some copies when I get home later today."

"That would be wonderful, Sunset Shimmer." Fluttershy said, wiping a tear from her face.

"So." said Sunset. "Anything you want to do?" she asked Fluttershy.

Fluttershy thought for a moment. "Not that I can think of." she said. "I already have my hooves full taking care of all these animals." Her eyes lit up. "Would you like to help me take care of them?"

"Sure!" said Sunset.

Sunset, Starlight, Spike and Twilight helped Fluttershy at her sanctuary for a while. After some time had passed, they decided to take a break.

"What time is it?" asked Sunset, not used to not having her phone on her. "Does anypony know?"

"I don't." said Twilight. "And I'm not sure how much longer we can stay here. We still have yet to visit Applejack at Sweet Apple Acres and Pinkie Pie at Sugarcube Corner."

"Oh dear!" said Fluttershy. "Don't let me keep you from your destiny!" she said to Sunset.

Sunset laughed. "It's okay, Fluttershy. I had a lot of fun helping you out with your animal friends."

Fluttershy smiled. "I'm glad you were able to help out and have fun at the same time."

"It was nice meeting you. Who knows? Maybe I'll come visit you again." said Sunset.

"Oh, that would be wonderful. I look forward to seeing you again! Goodbye!" said Fluttershy.

As they all said their goodbyes, the four discussed where to go next.

"Okay." said Twilight. "All that's left is Sugarcube Corner and Sweet Apple Acres."

"All that work did make me hungry...but something tells me we might have more work ahead of us if we went to Sweet Apple Acres..." Sunset thought out loud. She put her hoof to her chin. "Eh. Dinner first, dessert later! Let's go to Sweet Apple Acres."

"You got it!" said Twilight, and they teleported away.

Sweet Apple Acres

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Twilight, Spike, Starlight and Sunset had arrived at Sweet Apple Acres. The air was filled with the scent of apples.

"This place is huge! It's way bigger than the one in the mirror world." said Sunset.

"Well...now that's a voice I never thought I'd hear again." said a voice with a southern drawl.

"Hi, Applejack." said Sunset.

"Howdy yerself." said Applejack. "What in tarnation are y'all doing here?"

Twilight got between Applejack and Sunset. "Hang on, AJ. Before anything else, listen to what I have to say."

Applejack stopped. "Okay. I'm all ears." she said.

Twilight told Applejack everything she knew. From the Friendship Games to the Memory Stone incident and the most recent events from the day before.

"Well I'll be." said Applejack. "You've been through a whole bushel of craziness, haven't you?"

Sunset nodded. "Seems like there's more of that to come."

"I'll say." said Applejack as she took off her hat. "After all you've gone through and the many ways you've proven yourself, I'd be glad to spend some time with you." she gave Sunset a sincere smile.

Sunset gave Applejack a hug. Applejack was surprised at first, then returned the hug and put her hat back on.

After a moment, the hug broke.

"So are apples all you sell here?" asked Sunset.

"Shoot, no." said Applejack. "We also sell corn, grapes and carrots, among other things."

"How long does it take for you and your family to clear the trees?" asked Sunset.

"Depends on a lot of things." said Applejack. "For one, it's usually just me and Big Macintosh. Sometimes Apple Bloom helps out, and one time Twilight and the girls helped me after I let my stubborn streak get the better of me." she blushed.

"Oooh, I haven't heard this one before!" said Starlight.

Applejack told Starlight and Sunset about the time Big Mac was injured and unable to help her harvest the apples.

"Yikes." said Starlight.

"Good thing you finally asked for help. It's not good to overwork yourself like that." said Sunset.

"I know that now." said Applejack, smiling.

"Another thing that apple harvesting depends on is the weather. Rainbow Dash stops by to give me the schedule so I know what to expect and when to expect it." said Applejack. "Course, there's many more factors but I get the feeling we don't have enough time for me to go into all that."

Sunset nodded. "So. Do you need any help now? We'd love to give you a hoof."

Applejack smiled. "Well, that's mighty sweet of you. Sure you can help! Just one question."

Sunset nodded.

"How strong are your hind quarter muscles?" Applejack asked.

"Good question." answered Sunset. "I've been in the mirror world so long that I've only used my legs to walk. Maybe kicking a few times while playing sports, but nothing like bucking."

"Okay then, how about this?" said Applejack. "Come with me." she gestured Sunset over as Twilight, Spike and Starlight followed.

"I can easily buck all the apples out of this here tree." Applejack said as she pointed at a specific tree. "I reckon Twilight can too, since she has all the abilities of the three pony races." Twilight nodded. "And Starlight can get a few good apples outta one buck." Starlight smiled proudly. "So." she said to Sunset. "Show me what you've got."

"All right, then." said Sunset. She stretched for a couple of moments. "I hope I get at least one apple down." she said.

"You should be able to. Apple Bloom can buck down half the apples off a tree, and she's still a youngin."

Sunset turned to face the direction opposite of the tree. She took a deep breath and exhaled. "Okay. Here goes!" she said as she tucked in her back hooves. She launched them forward with a grunt and all her might. Her hooves struck the tree and it shook. Several apples fell to the ground.

Applejack looked around the tree. "Hmm." she said. "Not too shabby there, Sunset."

"Thanks." said Sunset. "Speaking of 'not too shabby'..." she took out a cupcake from her saddlebags.

"Uhh...what's a cupcake got to do with anything?" asked Applejack.

Sunset blushed. "Oh yeah, I forgot Pinkie gave this to me before I left..."

"You aren't going to eat it, are you?" asked Twilight. "It's passed through the mirror. Celestia knows what'll happen to you if you do."

"Good point." said Sunset. "I'd rather not take the risk." she put it on the ground and destroyed it. "Just in case. You can never be too careful sometimes."

Twilight nodded in agreement.

"Anyway." said Sunset. "This is what I meant to take out." she said she took out her drawing and showed it to Applejack.

Applejack looked at it, tears slowly forming in her eyes. "Well I'll be..." she said as she wiped the tears away. "I ain't never seen nothing like this before. That's what we all look like in the mirror world?"

"All of you but Twilight." said Sunset. "The mirror Twilight in that picture belongs to the mirror world. Princess Twilight's mirror form looks slightly different."

"Lands sake, Sunset Shimmer. Y'all got a serious talent for art." said Applejack as she gave Sunset back her drawing.

"Thanks." Sunset smiled. Her stomach growled.

"You must be hungry, huh?" Applejack grinned. "Why don't you come on into the barn and I'll have Granny Smith whip us up something special for the occasion?"

"Sounds good to me, AJ." said Sunset.

Over the course of the meal, Sunset and Applejack got to know each other better, with Sunset doing most of the speaking. She shared several anecdotes about her time in the mirror world after the Memory Stone incident that even Twilight didn't know. They all laughed and had a great time together.

After the meal, Sunset and the group said their goodbyes.

"So, Sunset." Twilight said. "Anything from the book?"

Sunset checked. "Nope. It looks like Princess Luna's raising the moon."

Twilight smiled. "That's okay, because we're down to our last stop: Sugarcube Corner."

Twilight teleported the group to the front door of Sugarcube Corner. Sunset was about to open the door when she was struck by a pink, pony-sized projectile.

Sugarcube Corner

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"Hiya, SunShim!" said Pinkie.

"Oof!" said Sunset as she landed on the ground. "Hi...Pinkie." she said as she struggled to regain the breath that was abruptly taken from her lungs. "Wait. How do you know that nickname?" she asked.

Pinkie smiled. "Uh, duh! I read the fanfic from the beginning to the very moment you guys showed up!"

Spike, Sunset, Twilight and Starlight blinked.

"What?" said Pinkie. "I don't want to read ahead of the readers, I want to be just as surprised as they are!" she said, punctuating her giant grin with a squeaking noise.

"Oookay." said Sunset. "So it's just you being you."

"Yupperooni!" Pinkie said cheerfully.

Sunset smiled and rolled her eyes. "So I'm guessing you already know why I'm here then?"

"Indeedily!" said Pinkie. "It's another one of those magical object of personal destiny things!"

"Eh. Pretty much." said Sunset.

"Buuut, you can still tell me anyway for the sake of consistency!" Pinkie grinned.

Sunset shrugged and told Pinkie everything that had happened up to the point they arrived in front of Sugarcube Corner.

"Yup. Pretty much word for word." said Pinkie.

"So where do we go from here? Things haven't moved this quickly before." said Starlight.

"Well." said Pinkie. "You could always show me that picture you've been carrying around with you. I only have a detailed description to go on."

Sunset smiled and took the drawing out of her saddlebag.

Pinkie took a good look at it. "Oh, sweet Celestia...words don't do it any justice!" she said before she immediately began bawling, creating tiny puddles of water on both her left and right sides.

"I know, right?" said Sunset, putting her drawing away before it got drenched by Pinkie's tears.

Pinkie stopped crying all of a sudden. "So, whatcha wanna do?" she asked.

"Hmm." Sunset put her hoof to her chin.

Twilight leaned over to Sunset and whispered into her ear. "Why don't you ask her about her party planning cave?"

"Wait, what?" said Sunset.

Pinkie leaned over to Sunset and whispered in her other ear. "She wants you to ask about my party planning cave."

Sunset blinked. "Oookay. What about your party planning cave?" she said.

"Sounds like a good idea to me!" said Pinkie. "Come on in and I'll show you around!"

They all walked into Sugarcube Corner. "This way!" Pinkie said as she gestured all of them towards the lower banister of the staircase. She made a walkie-talkie static noise. "This is Party General Pinkie Pie, over! Deploying troops to party drop zone!" She said, then grinned as she touched the banister. "Hold onto yer plots, ladies!"

Sunset gave Pinkie a look of confusion. "Why?" the floor dropped out from under her. "Oh, shi-" she fell and slid down to the cave, complete with a fairly rough landing. "Ow." she said. "Maybe a more proper warning would have helped."

"Are you okay, Sunset?" asked Twilight.

"Yeah. I'm just a little disoriented, that's all." said Sunset as she slowly stood up. "...Wow." Sunset took notice of her surroundings. The floor was a light shade of purple, with several pastel spots of varying colors and sizes. There were several party supplies around the cave, as well as cakes, giant cupcakes and more filing cabinets than she had ever seen in one place!

"Again...wow." The smell of all the sweets in the air was almost overwhelming. "I had no idea you were so organized, Pinkie!"

Pinkie Pie smiled. "Well, I can't plan a part in a sloppy room now, can I?" she said.

Sunset laughed. "No, I guess not." she looked around. "How do you manage to find time to do all of this if you're either working or hanging out with your friends?"

"You'd be surprised how much free time I have, Sunset." said Pinkie.

"Knowing you, I guess you're right." said Sunset.

Pinkie giggled. "Looks like you've made a new friend." she said to Sunset and pointed at her tail.

Sunset looked behind her and saw that a young alligator had clamped its mouth onto her tail. Her eyes widened with fright. "Holy fuck!" she yelled, before running full speed into the slide that brought her down to the cave. Dazed, she stumbled for a few steps, then fell over.

All her friends rushed toward her. "Sunset!" said Pinkie. "Are you okay?"

Still dizzy, all Sunset could manage to say was "No, Mister Meow-Meow, that's a salad fork!" then blacked out.

Sunset?

All Sunset could see was pitch black. What happened to her?

Sunset?

All she could remember was being at Sugarcube Corner in Equestria, in Pinkie Pie's party planning cave.

Sunset!

Wait. Wasn't there something on her tail before she passed out?

Sunset!

Oh shit, now she remembered! It was an-

Sunset awakened from her blackout. "Alligator!" she shrieked.

Twilight cast a telekinetic spell to hold Sunset in place.

"I'm sorry, Sunset." Pinkie said, her ears drooping. "I should have warned you ahead of time."

"Wait..." Sunset said, putting two and two together. She looked around for the alligator, only to find it was still clamped tightly onto her tail. "Is this...Gummy?"

Realizing Sunset had calmed down, Twilight dissipated her telekinesis.

"Yeah." said Pinkie. "Are you okay?"

Sunset took a breath and exhaled. "I am now, now that I know something isn't trying to eat me."

Pinkie's ears perked up. "That reaction was something else! When Twilight first met Gummy, she had her back arched like a freaked out cat!"

Sunset and Starlight laughed at the mental image as Twilight blushed.

"Can you stick around for dessert?" asked Pinkie.

"I think I can spare a little bit of time..." said Sunset.

During dessert, Pinkie had told Sunset about all the parties she had ever thrown, from her very first to her most recent. She did so in a surprisingly short amount of time.

"Hey." said Sunset. "When did Princess Luna raise the moon?"

Twilight thought for a moment. "Hmm. Probably an hour or two ago."

"Well it was a blast hanging out with you, Pinkie Pie." Sunset smiled.

"Same here!" said Pinkie. "You should come back again soon!"

"You can count on it!" Sunset said with a wink.

They all said their goodbyes.

As Sunset, Twilight, Starlight and Spike left Sugarcube Corner, Sunset checked the book again. "Nope. Still nothing." She felt a wave of disappointment wash over her.

"Hey now, it's not the end of the world." said Twilight. "Remember what happened in your dream?"

Sunset thought back to the dream she had. and her eyes lit up. "Of course! The weekend sleepover! Thanks for reminding me, Twilight!" she hugged her.

"You're welcome." Twilight smiled. "Now let's get you home."

Twilight teleported the group back to the Castle of Friendship. They walked to the library where the mirror was, and much to all of their surprise, they found Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Applejack waiting for them.

Sunset Shimmer Returns to the Human Realm

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"What are you all doing here?" asked Sunset.

"After all the fun we've had with you, wouldn't seem proper to not see you on your way out." said Applejack.

"Indeed!" said Rarity. "You truly are a delight, Sunset Shimmer."

"You're welcome back anytime." said Fluttershy.

"Yeah!" said Rainbow Dash. "Next time you come over, we should all do something awesome together!"

"I'll throw you a 'welcome back' party each time you visit!" grinned Pinkie.

"You may not have figured out what the book has to do with all of this, but you have our full support!" said Twilight.

"I'll try to visit you sometime soon, too!" said Starlight.

"You'll be missed!" said Spike.

Sunset felt her eyes water up. "Guys...I don't know what to say..."

Everyone gathered around for a group hug. "Thank you. Thank you all!" Sunset said, tears streaming down her face.

"No. Thank you." all but Sunset said.

"I'll come back soon, I promise!" Sunset said as walked into the portal.

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Upon exiting the portal from the plinth, Sunset rode out another wave of dizziness. "Ugh." she said. "What time is it?" She took out her phone and looked at the time. "Man, it's late! I was gone longer than I thought I'd be!" she sighed. I know this is a safe neighborhood and all, but I'd rather not take the chance. Sunset called a taxi on her phone. While she waited, she sent everyone a text.

Hey girls, I'm back! - Sent by Sunset Shimmer

Too tired to be bothered to check any new messages, she stood waiting for her taxi. Once it arrived, she got in. She gave the driver the address and she was on her way. The cab driver dropped her off in front of her place. Ahh, home sweet home.

She opened the door and took a deep whiff of the air. "Oh yeah. It's good to be back." She turned on the lights and walked over to Ray's cage. "How ya doing, lil' guy? Sorry I haven't been around all day, I hope you're not starving. I'll feed you extra to make up for it, okay?" Sunset said with a smile. She fed Ray, then went up to her loft. She let out a loud yawn. Damn, today really took a lot out of me. I'm surprised I have enough energy to move . She put on her pajamas and turned the lights off. She almost immediately fell asleep.

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She opened her eyes to a landscape similar to the one in her dream with all of her friends, but with one difference. Instead of sunny and vibrant, it was dull. Colorless. There was an almost palpable sense of sadness and despair in the air. Slowly, color returned to the landscape. The color orange. That's a good sign, thought Sunset. The air seemed to be getting warm. She could hear noise in the background. It sounded like cicadas at first, but then it slowly turned from the buzzing of cicadas to people talking among themselves. Then it changed to what sounded like people screaming as the temperature began to rise. "Wait..." Sunset said as she ran toward the noise. When she reached the peak of a hill, she stared in complete horror at the sight before her.

It was the whole of Canterlot. Not just the schools and the houses, but the observatory, the mall, and everything. Everything was on fire. The smell of ash and smoke was in the air. Sunset made a mad dash down the hill, fear taking hold of her heart. Bodies were scattered all around her. Some were crying over the corpses of their lost loves, some were staring at her with pleading eyes, begging for either salvation or the sweet release of death. Sunset teared up, knowing in her heart of hearts that she could provide those poor souls with neither. She heard footsteps behind her. She turned around.

Behind her were Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. They all were terribly injured.

Twilight had a gash along her left leg, making it hard for her to move properly. Both her eyes were closed as she winced each time she stepped forward. Her right arm was in a cast and sling.

Applejack had a couple of teeth missing and spat blood on the ground. Her right ankle was badly twisted.

Fluttershy was missing part of her ears, which seemed to have been cut off. She had an open wound on her left cheek, which was bleeding.

Pinkie Pie had bruises all over her body and was struggling to breathe. Sunset surmised her injuries to be internal.

Rarity was wearing an eyepatch, meaning she must have lost an eye in a previous battle against some unknown foe.

Rainbow Dash was struggling just to stand up. She had her hand holding her left hip, which was covered with gauze. Her feet had looked like a truck ran over them.

"What...happened?" said Sunset, staring at her friends in disbelief.

None of them answered. Sunset turned around to see six cloaked figures, their faces hidden by masks. One mask had several animals etched on it. Another mask had a plague doctor's mask etched on it. The third mask Sunset saw had a nightcap etched on it. The fourth was a giant question mark. The fifth was a gravestone, and the last was a king's crown, which led Sunset to believe this was the leader.

She looked back and forth at her friends and the cloaked figures. It had seemed like time stood still. Nothing was happening. Until suddenly, they charged at each other and engaged in one final battle.

Rainbow Dash fell to the ground almost immediately, her eyes lifeless. "Oh, god...Rainbow Dash!" Sunset screamed. She ran over to her friend, tears streaming down her eyes. "Oh please no..." she pleaded silently as she felt her friend's hand. Her attention was diverted to another body that fell directly behind her.

"Applejack!" Sunset cried out. All Applejack could muster was a shuddering breath, then she remained still. Sunset shook her head in disbelief. This had to be a nightmare. It had to be! Why can't she wake up? She heard a loud cough, followed by the sound of a body crumpling to the ground nearby.

"This...this can't be happening." she said in shock as she stared at Pinkie Pie's lifeless body, blood dripping from her mouth. Sunset could no longer hold back the tears she was so desperately fighting. The only thing that snapped her out of crying was a sudden weight she felt on her shoulders.

She looked up and saw Fluttershy slowly dying, leaning on her for support for a second before succumbing to her fatal injuries. "NO!" she shrieked again.

She saw Rarity rushing into battle. "Rarity!" she called out as she reached out to grab her hand, but it had phased through. Rarity was blown back a few inches by an unknown force, then fell limp to the ground.

"Sun...set?" said a weak voice behind her. It was Twilight, reaching out for her closest friend. Sunset took Twilight's hand, grateful that at least one of her friends was okay. Twilight suddenly gasped. Sunset's eyes widened in horror as she saw a sharp blade poke through her dearest friend's chest. Twilight's eyes rolled back, and she fell to the ground, motionless. Sunset shrieked in anguish.

All six of the hooded figures encircled Sunset. Readied themselves to strike her, and-

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Sunset woke up in a cold sweat. For a few minutes, she simply sat there until everything that happened in the dream came back to her. She began to cry. Tears of relief, fear and sorrow flowed for a while until she had none left. She decided to check her phone for messages. Her eyes widened in shock at the messages that were left for her. No. Not just her. All of her friends. As she scrolled through them she came to realize that right now, at this very moment, they needed her. They needed each other.

"What in the name of Celestia happened while I was gone?!" said Sunset.