Pull my Devil Trigger

by Tungul

First published

When demons begin to manifest all over Canterlot in search of Equestrian magic, Sunset Shimmer decides to use the demonic power left in her since the Fall Formal to return to her original passion: monster slaying.

Nopony is born a megalomaniac driven by an all-consuming desire for power.

When her plan at the Fall Formal is foiled by Twilight Sparkle and her friends, Sunset Shimmer is forced to confront her past. Guided by Harmony, she delves deep into her memories to find the reason for which she had once sought power, before power had become its own reason, and to rediscover the good within herself.

When demons begin to target her friends for their magic, the newly reformed Sunset sees her chance to use the demonic powers remaining in her for good, and decides to become a Devil Hunter.

Chapter 1 - Memories of Harmony

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A flash of light, a powerful impact upon her chest, and Sunset was flung backwards. She crashed hard into the wall behind her, the impact knocking the breath out of her lungs, and the power suffusing her body faded away. As the hellish red skin gave way to soft, amber flesh, Sunset slumped onto the ground and gasped painfully for air. Wiping the hair out of her eyes, the white strands sticky and crimson with her own blood, Sunset looked up towards her enemy. Samael still floated in the air where she had left him, his gold trimmed wings unfurled and his hand extended in an open palm strike. His face was impassive and his body motionless, only the slight sway of his white, blood splattered robe and long hair betrayed the fact that he wasn’t, in fact, a statue.

Gritting her teeth, Sunset struggled to rise to her feet. She was beyond exhausted, and her entire body hurt, but she was gonna be damned if she let that bastard get away. Bright orange fire flickered to life around her hand, but before she could cast it Samael had suddenly closed the distance between them. His hand grasped around her neck and lifted her up.

“You should have left when you had the chance,” He said. His voice was flat and as devoid of emotions as his face. His eyes seemed to stare right through her, empty and cold. There was nothing human, or even demonic, about those dead eyes.

Before Sunset could respond, or even spit defiantly in his androgynous face, Samael’s other hand struck out in another palm strike. Crashing against the wall again, Sunset’s body broke through the splintered stone and kept flying. Darkness encroached upon her vision and the last thing she felt as her consciousness faded was the sensation of falling, endlessly falling.

~Several Months Earlier~

As far as Fall Formals went, this one had been going rather poorly for Sunset Shimmer. First that purple dork and her pet lizard had woken up and ruined her smooth getaway with the crown. Then she had lost the crown in the ensuing struggle, and that wimp Fluttershy had found it and handed it over to the Principals. Okay, so far so salvageable. No one at CHS had dared to run against her this time, so the crown would’ve been hers by default. All she would’ve had to do was wait a few more days. But no! The purple dork just had to follow her all the way to CHS and enter into the contest. And to make matters worse, she just had to recruit Rarity, Sunset’s last real competition among the students, to her cause and even get her little posse back together. Who then, of course, promptly proceeded to rile up the entire school against her with a song and dance number, of all the ponyish things.

The student body had been so fired up about ‘helping Twilight win the crown’, even her tried and true tactics had no longer worked. Traffic to her little ‘Best of Twilight Sparkle’ video had trickled down to nothing almost immediately. The wrecked party preparations had been redone with a massive group effort. And Snips’ incompetence at disposing of the evidence had not only ended up embarrassing her in front of the Vice Principal, it had also lead to the matter being dropped immediately. When the night of the Formal finally came, Twilight’s election had been almost unanimous. But Sunset Shimmer hadn’t gotten this far just to fail at the final hurdle. It took some bluffing, some wrestling, and the most high stakes game of Hot Potato ever seen at Canterlot High School, but she finally had the crown on her head. And that’s where things really started to go downhill for her.

The moment the crown began its work, Sunset’s entire world had turned into pain. Horrible burning pain like a glowing hot metal spike being driven into her brain. Pain that had spread through every nerve fiber in her body, until it felt like her very soul was burning with the flames of magic she had called down upon herself. But as her tears boiled away on her cheeks, an immense feeling of power had suffused Sunset. Lifted into the air by the power of the crown, a tidal wave of magic had surged through her body, and in its wake her body had changed. Her fingers had sharpened into talons, a long tail had sprouted from her hip, and bat-like wings had burst from her back. Where there had once been a human, now stood a crimson demon.

That had been the part where things had started to look up for Sunset again. Or maybe she had just been so far up on her power high that she thought so. Using her newfound power, she had ripped open the entrance of CHS and brought the gathered students under her thrall. And just for good measure, she had also thrown a nice big ball of fire at the purple dork and her little gaggle of friends. Unfortunately for Sunset however, that last act of spite backfired on her. In trying to shield Twilight with their bodies, her friends had managed to invoke the magic of the other Elements of Harmony. Something that Twilight had, of course, wasted no time gloating to Sunset about.

Sprouting cute little ears and wings and ponytails, the six girls had been lifted into the air by their magic. And after one last pretentious little speech about friendship, Twilight had called down a giant rainbow coloured beam of magic on Sunset Shimmer’s head.

As the power of the Elements engulfed her, the fact that it didn’t hurt was probably the thing that surprised Sunset the most. It actually felt rather pleasant. The pain faded away and a gentle warmth engulfed her like a blanket. The faces of the six girls stood out sharply to her, even as the world dissolved into a maelstrom of light and colour. Then it all faded away and Sunset sunk down deep into herself.

The earliest memories of Sunset Shimmer’s life, were of her mother, Glowing Kiln. She was a unicorn mare with a passion for pottery and a very handy talent for fire magic. She would form the clay, dry it with a spell, and then fire it in a ball of her magic; producing in a few minutes what would take hours in a normal kiln. She ran her own shop, selling everything from simple stoneware goods to elaborately decorated porcelain artworks.

As a little filly, Sunset would often sit curled up in a chair in a corner of the atelier and watch her mother at work. Illuminated by the light of her magic, her mother's red mane would always look like it was made of fire itself, and her amber eyes glowed as brightly as the clay floating before her. There was always a very passionate look in her eyes, the look of a mare doing what she loved most. It was the same eyes she would look at Sunset with. Ever since those days, Sunset held a deep fascination and affection for fire.

Directly adjacent to Glowing Kiln’s Pottery Shop, stood the Pharmacy of Sunset’s father, Herbal Dosage. Seeing as how she was an inquisitive little filly, born with an unerring drive to taste test every new and exciting thing she could fit inside her mouth, Sunset’s parents made the wise decision to wait a few years before allowing her inside. Once they judged her mature enough not to snack on the deadly nightshade however, Sunset quickly became a fixture inside the pharmacy as much as the atelier. The inside of the shop held every herb and medicinal plant available in the region around Sunset’s hometown, and quite a few Herbal Dosage imported from other parts of Equestria. Each one preserved and sealed inside porcelain vessels, lovingly formed and decorated with an image of its content by Glowing Kiln.

As she grew older, Sunset began to help out in her parent’s shops. She would sit beside her father and grind up dried herbs, or tend to the many plants in his garden. Her mother would teach Sunset how to shape the clay, as well as the basics of magic; how to make fire and, more importantly, how to make fire go away. It stood as a testament to her mother’s teaching skills that Sunset never caused any serious fire hazards, despite her love for open flame. And sometimes, when her father was in need of fresh ingredients, he would take Sunset along to gather them out in the fields and the forests. It was a good life.

‘Where am I?’

The world was slowly coming back into focus; the maelstrom of light and colour condensing into solid shapes. Sunset found herself sitting on the ground in front of a fire. Not the strange magical fire of the Element of Magic; just regular orange flames dancing in a hearth. The sight of the fire calmed Sunset almost immediately. There was something strangely familiar and soothing about it. In fact, as Sunset looked more closely at the fireplace, she found it to be almost identical to the fireplace in her childhood home. Actually, more than just almost.

Sunset turned around. The room that greeted her looked exactly like the living room in her parent’s house. In the center stood a low coffee table made of dark, polished wood, surrounded by a broad couch and several upholstered chairs arranged in a semi circle. Soft rugs covered the floor and two large windows let the sunshine in. The walls were lined with photos of Sunset’s family. One showed her parents dancing at their wedding. Another the newly wed couple in front of their new home. Yet another held a pair of proud parents next to their newborn daughter’s crib. Over there, a picture of Sunset as a little filly making a vase with her mother. Next to it a shot of the same filly, her smiling face smudged with dirt, as she planted flowers with her father. Another one showing a slightly older Sunset standing proudly next to Celestia after having been chosen as the Royal Student, looking comically small next to the towering alicorn. Sunset smiled as she looked over the many family photos; memories of happier times bubbled up to the forefront of her mind.

“Life wasn’t always crowns and world domination for you, was it, Sunset Shimmer?.” A sudden voice spoke. It seemed to come from all directions at once, echoing like a chorus speaking as one.

“Who said that?!” Sunset’s head whipped around as she tried to find the source of the voice, but she couldn’t see anyone else in the room. “Where are you?!”

“Over here!” The voice answered. This time the sound only came from one direction. Still echoing in multiple timbres, but no longer a chorus of distinct voices.

Sunset’s gaze snapped towards a corner of the room. There, slowly sharpening into focus, stood a vaguely Celestia-shaped figure. Sunset watched as its shape solidified into a crystalline alicorn.

“Who are you?” Sunset asked immediately. “And what are you?”

“I am the one whom you ponies know as ‘Harmony’.” The Crystal Alicorn stepped towards Sunset, hues of colour running over the millions of facets that made up its crystalline coat.

“Harmony…” Sunset echoed. “As in The Elements of Harmony?”

“The very same,” Harmony nodded. “You might say that I am their collective spirit. The manifestation of the Magic of Friendship.”

“What is happening? Where are we?” Sunset was starting to feel just the tiniest bit of panic at this very strange situation. The Elements of Harmony had been used on various monsters and villains throughout Equestria’s history and it had never turned out pleasant for them. Spending the next thousand years on the moon, or as a statue, was a very real and very unpleasant possibility right now.

“We are inside your mind. In a memory to be specific.” Harmony sat down on one of the armchairs. “Please, have a seat. You and I need to talk.”

“Why does the inside of my head look like my parent’s living room?” Sunset demanded. She turned her eyes back to the fire, trying to fight down her sudden fear.

“You went through a very traumatic experience tonight, Sunset Shimmer. Your subconscious conjured up a memory of the place you feel instinctively safest in, in order to comfort you.” Harmony explained calmly. “Please, sit. I mean you no harm.”

“What do you want from me?” Sunset sat down on the chair opposite of Harmony. She only now realised that she was still human...oid-ish? Sunset stared down at her hands. Definitely hands, but covered in a fine amber coat. Hesitantly, she reached for her head and felt around. She felt large, velvety ears, a pointy spiral horn and a short muzzle. Twisting around to look at her backside revealed her tail sprouting from her back.

“What in the hell is going on?” Her voice cracked slightly. “Why do I look like this?!”

“You spend years in the human world, living as a human being. Such an experience brings changes with it. Your mental self image is no longer completely that of a pony, nor is it completely human.”

Sunset let out a defeated sigh. “Today is just not my day…”

“Indeed. Which brings us to the topic at hand; namely what happened today.” A still image appeared between them, floating above the table. Sunset stared mutely at the her own demonic self.

“Is that really what I look like?”

“It is.”

“I look like a monster.”

“Indeed.” Harmony nodded gravely. “This is what this dark path of yours has turned you into. All that you have forgotten in your twisted desire for power: Honesty, Loyalty, Laughter, Generosity, Kindness and Friendship. When you placed the Element of Magic on your head, it revealed the truth inside you. That this is all that remains of a pony who abandons these virtues.” The image zoomed in on the demon’s face, showing her cruel smile and the madness in her eyes.

“A monster that seeks power for power’s sake. No matter the cost, or the consequences.”

“But I need power!” Sunset snarled, her hands clenched into fists. “I need more power!”

“What for?” Harmony asked, her voice still perfectly calm. “What do you intend to do to use it for once you have it?”

“I…” Sunset was taken aback by that question. What did she intend to do? Conquer Equestria with an army of teenagers? That hadn’t been the plan until the crown had turned her head all screwy.

“Do you even still remember why you started seeking power to begin with?”

“What does it matter?” Sunset crossed her arms and slumped petulantly in her seat. She did not appreciate having her motives questioned like that. Mostly because she could not think of any answers and it deeply unsettled and aggravated her. “I’ve lost, haven’t I? Whatever power I’ve gained from the crown will be gone once we’re done here. What does it matter what I wanted to do with it, or why I wanted to have it?”

“It matters, because I do not believe that you are beyond saving yet, Sunset Shimmer,” Harmony replied simply. “Because I believe that you can still be the pony you once set out to be, before you lost your way. But first you have to remember who that pony is.”

“So in other words you’re going to go all Princess Celestia in here, and lecture me.” Sunset rolled her eyes. “Can we just skip this and get out of here? I’m sure little Miss Perfect out there is just dying to give me another speech about Friendship too…”

“I’m afraid you will have to endure both.” Harmony actually sounded faintly amused at Sunset’s display of childishness. “I understand that it is hard to face up to one’s faults, but I believe in you.”

Sunset let out an exaggerated sigh. “Let’s just get it over with.”

“Let us begin then.” Harmony nodded.

The image between them blurred and changed. The Demon and Canterlot High vanished and a sunlit forest trail took its place.

“Let us go back to the day it all began. The day you had the first taste of your true potential.”
Two ponies wandered into the scene. A peach coloured unicorn stallion with a bright yellow mane and a small amber filly with a red and gold mane.

“The day you earned your Cutie Mark.”

It was a beautiful day outside. The sun was shining, flowers were blooming, and birds were singing amidst the trees. For all its reputation as a dark and dangerous place, the southern tip of the Everfree Forest was beautiful during the day. The sunlight filtered in gently through the canopy of ancient trees, brightly coloured flowers bloomed in every clearing, and every so often Sunset could see squirrels scamper through the branches and underbrush. Trotting next to her father, the little filly hummed to herself as she took in the scenery.

Every other week, she accompanied her father into the woods in search of the rare magical plants and fungi that grew only in the Everfree. Her parents had initially been apprehensive about letting her come along, but Sunset had been insistent. She wanted to help her father with his work. Plus, this part of the Everfree was a close to safe as it could get. Nopony had seen so much as a Timberwolf there for generations. Humming happily to herself, little Sunset trotted alongside her father. Their saddle bags were already filled with freshly harvested plants and mushrooms for them to process at home.

“That’s most of them, Sunny,” Herbal Dosage said, looking over his checklist. “Only one left on our list, a certain herb that grows a bit deeper into the forest. It grows in bushels, with small red petals tinged white at the edges. Keep your eyes open for it. When brewed up into a tea heals a common cold almost instantly. ”

“That sounds pretty useful,” Sunset nodded, her eyes immediately began to scan the surrounding undergrowth for the herb. For a few minutes, they walked together silently, then Sunset saw something move out of the corner of her eye. She stopped, peering into the direction she’d seen the movement in.

“Is something wrong, Sunny?” Herbal stopped next to his daughter.

“I thought I saw something move over there,” Sunset replied, pulling her gaze away. “Probably just another squirrel.”

“Lots of these little guys scurrying around today,” Herbal nodded. “Look! There’s one in that tree branch right there.”

Sunset followed her father’s eyes to a small red squirrel sitting on a tree just ahead of them. It stared back at them a moment, before quickly scampering further up the tree.

“Let’s keep going,” Herbal said. “It shouldn’t be much further until we find the plant we’re looking for.”

Sunset nodded and followed her father. As they ventured deeper into the forest, the trees grew thicker together. The canopy of densely interwoven branches and leaves, let less and less light through, only occasionally interrupted by any clearings. The deeper they went, the more often Sunset thought she could see movement just at the edge of her vision, but each time she looked, there was nothing to be found. She knew this part of the forest was safe. The last monster in the area had been slain many years ago by her great-great-grandfather, in fact.

But still she could not help but feel a cold prickling sensation in her neck, as though something was watching her. The Everfree forest was an unnatural place, where the plants grew on their own, the animals took care of themselves and the weather happened without anypony making it happen. Near the outskirts where the trees where sparcer is was alright, but here in the half shadow on the dense forest, it was starting to scare the little filly. Summoning up her magic, Sunset conjured a little ball of flame in front of her. The warm glow of the flickering fire immediately helped her to calm down and drove away the fears.

“Careful with the fire there, Sunny,” Herbal chuckled. “The Princess will get mad at us if we end up burning the forest down. Not to mention what your mother would say.”

“I’m always careful with fire, dad,” Sunset rolled her eyes. In the soothing light of her fire, the Everfree didn’t look so scary anymore.

It didn’t take them much longer to find the plant they were looking for in a small clearing and Herbal wasted no time gathering up a healthy supply. They were just about to leave, when they heard a sound. A sound that made Sunset’s fur stand on end. A sound that hadn’t been heard in this part of the Everfree Forest in over a hundred years. The deep, rumbling growl of a timberwolf. Rearing around, Sunset felt her heart skip a beat and her knees starting to tremble. Her magic flame flickered and almost went out. The beast was enormous, standing even taller than her father, its body composed of gnarled and twisted pieces of wood. Leaves stuck out of its back like a shaggy coat of fur and its eyes glowed with a baleful green light. It stood at the other end of the clearing, slowly stalking towards them. Sap dripped from its long curved fangs.

Suddenly, Herbal Dosage stepped in front of Sunset.

“Sunny, when I give the word, I want you to run away as fast as you can.” His voice was low and calm, his eyes fixed on the advancing timberwolf. “Run back to town and alert the Guards. I’ll hold the wolf off and come after you.”

“But, Dad-”

“No buts!” Herbal cut her off sharply. “Run and don’t look back. And keep that fire going. I doubt a wood monster will want to go anywhere near it.”

Sunset blinked away the tears welling up in her eyes. She didn’t want to leave her father alone with the monster. She wasn’t even sure if she could, even if she wanted to. Her legs felt like jelly, but frozen at the same time. Not a single muscle in her body would budge and her gaze was fixed on the glowing eyes of the timberwolf. In front of her, her father pawed at the ground as he prepared to charge, his horn starting to glow with gold coloured magic. The threat display didn’t impress the timberwolf however, who continued his advance, his eyes resting squarely on Sunset.

“NOW! RUN!” Herbal Dosage roared and charged at the wolf, firing off a beam of magic at the beast.

The magic beam tore a chunk out of the wolves shoulder, who didn’t even seem to notice. The moment Herbal had begun his charge, the wolf had broken into a sprint, swerving to pass by the stallion and reach the filly. Herbal didn’t let him, however. Putting his full weight into the charge he crashed into the injured shoulder of the wolf, throwing it off course. Rearing up on his hind legs he began to strike at the wolf’s head with his front hooves.

“WHAT ARE YOU STANDING THERE!? RUN, SUNSET! RUN!” He roared again, firing off another beam of magic at the wolf, who snarled and snapped at his flailing hooves..

Sunset stared in mute horror as her father fought with the wolf. She couldn’t run. She couldn’t move a single muscle. She couldn’t even breath. All she could do was watch, helplessly. Her father screamed at her to run one more time, then his words were cut off by a scream of pain as the wolf caught his right front leg between his teeth. Flesh tore and blood splattered onto the leaf covered forest floor. In Sunset’s ears the scream lost itself into nothingness. The sound of her heart, beating like a sledgehammer, drowned out everything else. Her flame sputtered and died. And as the wolf toppled her father to the ground, wooden claws tearing at his chest, something inside Sunset Shimmer snapped.

The flame that had just vanished came roaring back to life, as a sudden wave of magic surged through Sunset’s body. The world disappeared into white light until only her father and the wolf remained in her vision. Her limbs suddenly loose again, Sunset took a step forward, not even noticing the leafs catching fire under her hooves. Every hair on her body stood on end and sparks of energy danced over her skin. The red glow of magic intensifying into a brilliant crimson, Sunset let out a roar of anger and charged at the timberwolf, her horn lowered and her fire extending before her like a lance.


The wolf barely had time to turn his head towards the sudden noise, before Sunset’s fire lance skewered him through the chest. Her strength multiplied by her magic, Sunset’s body crashed into the timberwolf like a steam train and flung him off her father. The wolf went flying across the clearing and crashed into a tree on the other end, where it collapsed onto the ground, smoke billowing out the hole in his chest.

Standing protectively over her father, Sunset gathered her fire into a ball above her head. Her tiny chest heaved with exertion, and the fireball grew bigger and rose higher with each ragged breath she took, as she poured all her rage and hatred into the flames. Like a miniature sun it rose above the trees, dousing the entire southern Everfree Forest in its fiery orange glow. Finally, when the weight of the fire became too much to bear, Sunset reared up and threw it at the downed timberwolf with a scream of rage.


The timberwolf didn’t even have time to try and run away, before the tiny sun descended upon him and burned him to ash. The fireball exploded into a pillar of roaring flame, engulfing the clearing and the surrounding forest. Sunset watched from inside a protective bubble of magic as the flames passed by around her. Though the noise was deafening and her head felt woozy from magical exhaustion, the spectacle of fire and flame was utterly beautiful to her. When the flames finally died down, Sunset dropped the shield and turned towards her father, who looked at her with wide, amazed eyes.

“Are you alright, daddy?”

“I’m just fine, Sunny,” Herbal Dosage grabbing his daughter with his magic and pulled her into his arms, not even feeling the pain from his wounds. “Just a few scratches. Nothing Doctor Lockstitch can’t fix.”

Sunset closed her eyes and leaned against her father.

“I’m glad.”