Fractured Sunlight

by Oroboro

Chapter 1: 1: Prologue

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1: Prologue

“Happy Birthday, dear Sunset, Happy Birthday to you!”

Twilight Sparkle clapped her hands, beaming as Sunset Shimmer blew out the ten candles on her birthday cake.

“Yeah, yeah,” Sunset huffed, crossing her arms over her chest and blowing her bangs out of her eyes. “Can I open my presents yet?”

“Yes, of course, dear,” Mr. Shimmer said, smiling down at the two of them as he ruffled his daughter’s hair, which earned him an annoyed grunt. “Just let me go cut the cake and I’ll be back with your presents.”

Once her father was out of the room, Sunset leaned forward across the table, eyes sparkling. “So, what did you get me, huh, huh?”

Twilight grinned and placed a finger on her cheek. “Oh, I dunno. A couple things, I guess. It’s a secret.”

“Not you too!” Sunset whined, slumping down onto the table. “You’re my best friend, Twilight! You’re not allowed to keep secrets from me on my birthday!”

Twilight giggled, then unzipped her backpack and pulled out two boxes. “Happy Birthday, Sunset.”

“Yes!” Sunset immediately began tearing apart the wrapping paper of the large box. “My Home Chemistry Set For Kids? My god, Twilight, you are such a nerd.”

“Hey…” Twilight mumbled, feeling her cheeks heat up. “Science is cool.”

“Oh, you’re always such a crybaby,” Sunset said, rolling her eyes. “It’s still a neat present, Twi. Thank you.” With a grin she added, “I bet if we look up some of the chemicals in here on the internet we can find a way to make them explode.”

“Ssh!” Twilight glanced towards the kitchen, then whispered, “I already know how to do it with some of them.”

The two giggled together quietly as Sunset unwrapped the smaller present.

Twilight bit her lip, unable to keep herself from grinning as she watched Sunset’s face light up with awe.

“Twilight, these are…” Sunset swallowed, holding up the earrings as if they would shatter if she breathed on them too hard. “Are these real emeralds?”

“Yep! At least, I’m pretty sure they are,” Twilight said, beaming.

“They’re beautiful…” Sunset took them out of their holder and began putting them in her ears. “Where did you get these? I’m pretty sure your allowance isn’t that high.”

“Well…” Twilight swallowed and looked away. “They were kind of a part of Cadance’s jewelry collection. I saw 'em and thought of you 'cause they match your eyes. She said it was okay.”

Sunset raised an eyebrow, her mouth twisting into a wry grin. “Oh, I see how it is. I’m only good enough for hand-me-downs, huh?”

“What? No, it’s not like that…” Twilight mumbled, folding her arms around her stomach. “I just thought… you said it yourself, I’m only nine, how would I get anything else?”

“Twilight, Twilight,” Sunset said, reaching over and tweaking her nose. “When are you ever going to be able to recognize when I’m just teasing you?”

Twilight stood there and continued to pout, so Sunset twirled around once and then patted at her ears. “How do I look?”

“Like my little princess!” Mr. Shimmer roared, scooping up his daughter from behind with one arm and lifting her high into the air.

“Daaaad!” Sunset whined. She twisted in his grasp ineffectually, trying to kick him in the chest as her face turned beet red. “Not in front of Twilight!” she hissed through clenched teeth.

Sunset finally struggled free and immediately skittered away, taking her seat at the table with a scowl.

“Ten years…” Mr. Shimmer mumbled, his eyes somewhat distant. “You sure did grow up fast.”

“Thank you for the cake, Mister Shimmer, and thank you for having me over,” Twilight said, giving a curtsy.

“It’s no trouble at all, Miss Sparkle,” he said, his eyes glinting with amusement. “In fact, you should have seen how excited Sunset got when she found out you could make it. She literally—”

Dad!” Sunset screamed, slamming her fist onto the table. “Can we just eat, please?”

Twilight couldn’t keep the grin from her face as she dug into her slice of cake.

Mr. Shimmer glanced at his watch, then up at the sky. “You girls be careful out there. I want you both back before it gets dark out, okay? Your brother should be here to pick you up by nine, Twilight.”

Sunset huffed and crossed her arms, but Twilight just gave a thumbs up and a big smile. “Don’t worry, Mister Shimmer, we’re prepared! I’ve got a compass, some snacks, water, a first aid kit, a map, and an emergency flare gun. Also we both have our cell phones.”

“Come on, girl scout, daylight’s wasting,” Sunset said, playfully shoving Twilight as the smaller girl shouldered her pack. “Race you to the tree line!”

Sunset took off at a sprint, leaving Twilight to scramble after her. “Hey, wait up! That’s not fair!”

Huffing, Twilight was beaten to the treeline and the two of them set off into the woods that edged Sunset’s property.

“Looks like your woodlands preparedness classes don’t help you when it comes to running. Must be all the cookies.”

“That would be ‘Woodland Survival Skills,’ thank you very much,” Twilight said, turning her nose into the air. “Besides, you’re just mad 'cause they kicked you out.”

Sunset bit her lip and looked away. “She had it coming, and you know it.”

“Maybe she did, but that doesn’t mean it was right. Teacher Dixie Tai says that when dealing with bullies, you’re supposed to—”

“Rules rules rules, that’s all it ever is with you, Twilight,” Sunset said, waving her hand dismissively. “Come on, I don’t wanna argue right now. So, what’s this about a secret place you wanna show me?”

“Oh, I’m just all about rules, am I?” Twilight said, sniffing. “Well then, I guess we better turn back now, because if we actually want to check this place out, both of us are going to get in serious trouble, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

Sunset spun in her tracks, her mouth hanging open. “Wait, are you serious? Twilight, since when do you do something if you know you’re going to get in trouble for it?”

Twilight felt herself blush, and she clasped her hands behind her back. “Well, you know. Um, Happy Birthday?”

Sunset’s expression slowly morphed into a wide grin. “Yes! We’ll make a troublemaker out of you yet, Twilight Sparkle.”

Twilight stuck her tongue out and the two of them started giggling as they resumed their journey.

“This place better be good then, yeah?” Sunset asked as she stopped for a brief moment, rummaging through the underbrush until she pulled out a suitably sized walking stick.

“Like I said, it’s a secret,” Twilight said, finding a stick of her own. “But it is a couple miles out, and we definitely won’t be back until after dark.”

“Man, your brother is going to kill you. I wish you could just spend the night, but my stupid birthday had to fall on a school day.”

Twilight shrugged. “Um, I’m sorry nobody else wanted to come to your party…”

Sunset scowled. “It’s not like I wanted those losers to come anyway. You’re here, and that’s enough. If we have to be the weird kids, at least we can be the weird kids together.”

Twilight couldn’t help but smile as a warmth flooded her heart. “Hey, wanna play ponies?”

“I dunno, Twilight.” Sunset said, glancing back at her. “I’m ten now. That means I should probably stop playing kiddie games like ponies.”

“It’s not kiddie!” Twilight snapped defensively. “Besides, I’m not ten yet, so we can still play it.”

Sunset rolled her eyes, laughing. “Fine, fine, whatever, dork. We can play ponies.”

“All right. I’ll be Twilight Sparkle, the magical unicorn.”

“You got to be a unicorn last time, I wanna be a unicorn!”

“I called it first. There’s Unicorns, Pegasi, and Earth Ponies, and we both have to pick a separate type.”

Sunset frowned, scratching at her head. “All right, fine… I wanna be an alicorn.”

Twilight blinked. “What’s an alicorn?”

“An Alicorn is a combination of all three types of ponies,” Sunset said, holding up three fingers. “They’ve got a horn, wings, and are super strong too. They’re the rulers of all the other ponies. Like, um, a princess.”

“That doesn’t sound fair at all.”

Sunset took off at a run and leapt over the small stream in front of them, then turned around and offered her hand to Twilight. “It’s my birthday, so I get to be a princess pony.”

Twilight rolled her eyes, but let Sunset help her over the stream. “Alright, fine.”

Sunset lifted her hand to shield her eyes from the sun as she looked up. “Is this seriously it?”

“Not quite,” Twilight said, pulling out her canteen and taking a swig of water. “It’s up at the top.”

“Um, Twilight,” Sunset mumbled. She glanced around, looking back at where they came. “That’s pretty high up, and it’s gonna get dark soon. We’re already going to be walking back in the dark… how are we supposed to get up there anyway?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “It’s not like we’re literally going to go rock climbing. It slopes in the back, just a steep hill. Come on—you’re not scared, are you?”

Sunset crossed her arms over her chest. “Of course I’m not. Just… this better be worth it, Twi. I’m freaking exhausted.”

“Just a little bit further, I promise.”

It took them maybe another half an hour to circle around the plateau and ascend the steep path to the top, and by the time they made it there, panting, the sun had fallen low on the horizon.

“Wow,” Sunset murmured with a labored breath. “It’s beautiful.”

The forest stretched below them for miles: the rolling hills, the winding trails and rivers and streams were all visible from their vantage point high above. “It’s gonna sound cliché, but I’m pretty sure I can see my house from here,” Sunset said, getting down on her knees and peering over the edge of the cliff. “Okay, I’ll admit, this is pretty cool. It didn’t look this high up from down below…”

Twilight smiled and closed her eyes, letting the cool summer breeze ruffle her hair as she basked in the warmth of the setting sun. “There’s more, you know,” she said as she glanced at her watch.

Sunset Shimmer turned around and raised an eyebrow, but Twilight just smiled and sat down, patting the stone next to her. “You’ve got flashlights in that pack, right?” Sunset asked.

Twilight nodded and shrugged off her pack, setting it to the side. “Of course I do.” She fished through until she pulled out a small digital camera.

“Smile!” Twilight quickly snapped a picture of Sunset before she could complain.

“Hey, gimme that!” Sunset lunged for the camera, trying to grab it from Twilight. The two wrestled, pushing back and forth as they fought for control of the device.

The alarm on Twilight’s watch began to beep rapidly. “Get off of me,” Twilight grunted as she held the camera pinned beneath her. “It’s about to start!”

“What’s about to start?”

“Just shut up and watch,” Twilight said, pointing to the edge of the cliff as the two disentangled themselves.

Right as the sun touched the horizon, there was a flicker of movement on the cliffside. What had previously appeared to be a small and twisted piece of grass twitched, and then slowly began to spread, blooming into a radiant orange and gold flower highlighted by the setting sun.

“It’s called a Chinensis Solruptis, or a Sunburst Rose,” Twilight said, glancing over at Sunset, who stared in stunned silence. “They’re incredibly rare, grow in high elevations, and only bloom during the few minutes between the sun touching the horizon and its disappearance..”

Twilight carefully made her way over to the flower and clipped it off with a tiny pair of shears she had slipped out of her pocket. Then, carrying it as if it were a fragile glass bauble, she walked over to Sunset and wove it into her hair.

“It almost blends in,” Twilight said with a giggle.

Sunset blushed slightly and raised her hand up to feel at the flower. “Wow, Twilight… This is… just like my book…”

Twilight nodded.

“The hero travels all the way to the end of the earth to find this flower just to give it to her true love?”

Twilight felt her cheeks heat up. “Yeah, well... I like you a lot, Sunset, and you’re apparently a princess and all…”

“Like?” Sunset raised an eyebrow, her expression slowly morphing into a smirk. “What, like, like-like me?”

“I dunno,” Twilight mumbled, looking away. “Maybe.”

Sunset threw her head back and laughed. “Come on, Twilight, you do realize we’re both girls, don’t you?”

Twilight looked up, her eyes starting to water. “So? I’ve got a cousin who’s married to a girl, it’s totally normal!”

Sunset grimaced, then looked away. “Sheesh. You know they already think of us as the weird girls, right?”

“I don’t care about that,” Twilight said, sitting down and pulling her legs close to her chest.

“I can hear it already.” Sunset jumped backwards, dancing and singing in a high pitched voice. “Sunset and Twilight, sitting in a tree…”

“Shut up.”


“I said shut—”

The ground at the edge of the cliff gave way, and Sunset windmilled her arms desperately to keep her balance.

Adrenaline hit Twilight like a freight train and she moved faster than she ever had before in her life, lunging forward as Sunset fell backwards, hand outstretched.

Their fingers met, and then gravity took its toll; Twilight was pulled down by Sunset’s weight, and her chest slammed into the cliffside. Her arm dangled over the edge, and Sunset hung from her trembling fingers.

“Twilight!” Sunset screamed as she grasped at Twilight’s wrist with her other hand. “H-help me!”

Twilight’s heart thundered in her chest as she struggled to breathe. She swung her other arm down to get a better grip and tried to pull Sunset up, but she couldn’t find the right leverage. “Sunset! I… can’t! Someone help!”

Sunset gazed up at her, eyes wide and pupils narrowed. She tried to swing her other arm up above her shoulder to grab onto Twilight’s hand, but the effort just caused her hand to slip further, their palms sweaty and losing grip fast. “Twilight! Please!”

Twilight held on, her muscles starting to go numb from the strain. She gave it everything she had.

It wasn’t enough.

The final sliver of the sun slipped below the horizon.

Their twin screams echoed throughout the forest as Sunset fell.

Author's Note


It's just the prologue, after all.

Next Chapter: 2: Demons Estimated time remaining: 7 Hours, 17 Minutes
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