Author's Note: This one-shot is a prequel to Equestria Girls but takes place immediately after the end of Sunset Shimmer's portion of the Equestria Girls prequel comic.
Equestria Girls: Sunset's Arrival
The night of June 21, 2000 was like any other. The air was an odd mixture of warm and cold and the Moon shone brightly in the sky above. Situated within the radius of the Moon's light lay the vast and populated city of Ponyville. Many of its houses and buildings stood dark, waiting to be full of life once more the following morning. Most of the people in the city were peacefully asleep, completely oblivious to the incredible phenomena that was taking place just outside Canterlot High School.
The high school stood empty and abandoned, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the autumn term. The school was normally quiet on summer nights once the janitor had left. Tonight, it had started out like that. But it wasn't until around the hour of midnight that a strange event began to transpire. The lampposts began to flicker without reason. Powerful winds circled around the building, picking up old leaves along with discarded fliers and newspapers before tossing them around vigorously. A surge of energy protruded from the school's courtyard's main attraction: a large, marble horse with a base decorated with a large mirror on each of its four sides. This odd collection of other-worldly phenomena continued for over a minute before a single event caused everything to grind to a halt: someone emerged from one of the mirrors of the marble horse's base.
Her name was Sunset Shimmer, a lean and intimidating girl of at least seventeen years of age. Her skin was light yellow and her hair was striped with fiery orange and yellow. She was clothed in a black, leather jacket; a pink t-shirt with a sun in the center of it; a yellow, white, and pink striped skirt, and a pair of pink and black boots. "Well, well, this is an interesting development," she stated upon stepping through the portal and quickly taking a notice to her new body.
She made it. She finally made it to the other side of the mirror. She quickly glazed over her surroundings. It certainly looks different from my world, she thought. She brought her hands together before examining them. Strange...it appears my hooves have been replaced with some lesser variation of claws. She reached her hand up towards her forehead and felt around. And my horn's gone now, it seems. Sunset clenched her fists and gave a satisfied smirk. No matter. I'll get used to this body. I'll learn the secrets of this world and I'll finally show Princess Celestia how wrong she was to betray me!
Sunset stumbled forward and fell. She wanted to walk on all fours but the build of her new body told her that she was meant to walk on her hind legs. A groan of annoyance escaped her mouth as she pushed herself up and balanced herself on her two legs. For a few seconds, she wobbled a bit and nearly fell down once again. Thankfully, she managed to balance herself in the nick of time. A confident laugh passed through her lips in response to her triumph. It's going to take more than that to take down Sunset Shimmer!
She carefully walked in the direction of the building that stood before her. She was still a bit shaky with walking on only two legs but she could feel herself slowly growing used to it and she could tell that her body was happier on two legs than on all fours. As she walked, she flexed her fingers and examined them with an amused grin. She was experiencing so many new feelings at once that it was hard to control her excitement. A whole new world to explore and learn about. A whole new body. A whole new identity. A whole realm of possibilities and opportunities ahead of her.
Sunset came to a stop in front of a sign situated a few yards away from the portal she had exited from. She examined the contents of the sign and read aloud, "Canterlot High School." Her eyes widened as she read the word Canterlot. "Canterlot? School?" Sunset turned her attention back to the structure which cast a massive shadow over her. "This is a school?!" She turned away from Canterlot High and looked out upon the expansive rows of homes and businesses. "This...is Canterlot?!"
"No. Only the school is," said a calm voice from nearby. Sunset turned around so fast that she nearly lost her balance once more. Standing a few feet away from her was a woman with cream-colored skin and flowing silver hair. She was dressed in a long, green dress and her eyes were as blue as the ocean. Sunset wanted to ask this visitor who exactly she was but found herself inexplicably silenced. Sunset knew power. She had spent many years learning under the guidance of Princess Celestia and had spent plenty of those years studying about and aiming for true power. This woman, whoever she was, radiated power with as much intensity as Celestia's Sun. The woman took a step towards Sunset and gave an amused smile. "You've grown accustomed to your new body at a much faster pace than what I had originally anticipated. Interesting."
It was here where Sunset finally found her voice again. "Who...who the hay are you?!" she snapped.
The woman raised one of her hands. "Relax, child. I am of no threat to you. In fact, I have come to simply help guide you in the direction of what you seek." Sunset relaxed a bit but still kept her guard up. "You seek power, yes? You seek justice for the wrongs done upon you by your mentor, correct?"
"How...how do you know all this? Who are you?!"
The woman gave a quick, polite bow to Sunset before clearing her throat. "I was once called Silver Lining. Today, I am known as Iris Greene. I am here because you stepped through my portal just now."
Sunset glanced back at the mirror she had stepped through. "Your portal?"
"Yes. What? Did you think gateways to alternate worlds simply appeared out of thin air like a gust of wind?"
"No! Of course not! It's just that when I read about the portal I don't recall reading the creator's name."
Iris stroked her hair with her fingers and sighed. "Alas, such is the curse of time. Not everything gets remembered and things tend to get forgotten unfortunately."
Sunset couldn't help but grow more and more curious about the mysterious Iris Greene. "So you created the portal."
"That is correct."
Iris waved one of her hands. "I was bored. I wanted to explore the concept of other worlds. I created a portal, jumped through, and have remained in this world ever since. I can honestly admit that I enjoy this world a bit more than dear old Equestria. Unlike Equestria, this world...well...let's just say that this world isn't afraid to not always end with a happily ever after."
As Sunset's curiosity grew, so did her suspicion. "Why are you here talking to me? What are you planning?!" Sunset asked with an accusing tone.
"I'm planning to help you, and that's the honest truth," Iris replied. "I admire you, Sunset Shimmer. You have much untapped potential. I wish to help you access this potential."
Sunset couldn't take it anymore. She had to cut to the chase. "Can you give me the power to put Celestia in her place?!"
"I can't give you the power, Sunset. That, you have to find on your own. However, I can help guide you in the direction that will help you obtain the power you seek as well as help you discover your potential." Iris extended one of her hands. "Come with me and I'll explain everything."
Sunset couldn't help but still feel suspicious but it's not like she had many other options. This was a new world that she needed to learn as much about as she could. An ally could prove useful, especially one which could help guide her to the power she sought. Sunset cautiously took Iris's hand and Iris smiled as she led Sunset away from the school.
Sunset was met with an incredibly strong aroma of chocolate as she stepped into Iris's home. "I apologize," Iris chuckled. "I have an uncontrollable love for chocolate. It is my biggest weakness."
Better keep a note of that, Sunset thought as she followed Iris towards a back room. As she passed through the living room and hallway, Sunset couldn't help but take notice of a selection of technological devices which appeared to be the stuff of Equestrian dreams. At the back of the hallway, Iris unlocked a door and led Sunset inside. The room that lay beyond the back door was a dim room with a red, circular table; a collection of chairs; and a few lit candles scattered about. "So...what exactly is all of this?" Sunset asked.
"This is my thinking room." Iris sat down in a chair by the red table and beckoned Sunset to sit in the empty chair across from her. Sunset nodded and did as she was told. "This is where I can find true peace of mind and delve into the foggy world that is times yet to pass."
Sunset's eyes widened a bit. "Are...are you saying that you can tell the future?"
"Not in its entirety but I can get a clear enough picture to fill in the dots. It's not only the future I can see in here but also the past and the present. My second sight is...somewhat weakened in this world. You see, real magic isn't as easy to come by in this world. There are no unicorns. No pegasi. No alicorns moving the Sun and the Moon. The closest thing to magic you'll find in this world are the few magical items and abilities I've managed to keep and the magic of technology. My, oh my, how far this world has advanced since I first arrived in it. It was truly a horrifically beautiful transition."
"Sorry to put a stop to your trip down memory lane but can we cut back to you being able to tell the future?!"
Iris giggled. "Yes, dear Sunset. Of course." She reached into a nearby drawer and pulled out a chocolate. "Want one?"
Sunset felt like she was about to explode with anger and bash the woman's head into the table over and over until she got the information she needed; but she figured that it wouldn't be good to attack the one creature in this strange world who had any chance of helping her. "No thank you."
"Your loss." Iris tore the wrapping away and tossed the chocolate into her mouth. Once she had thoroughly chewed and swallowed the sweet, she cleared her throat and clasped her hands together on the surface of the table. "I was doing one of my usual routines of deep thinking a few nights ago when I had another magic burst and experienced a series of visions. Most about you and some about those who will help lead you to what you seek. I saw your quest to learn the secret of my portal, your falling out with your dear mentor, and your arrival in this world. That's how I knew about you."
"Okay but what about the future?!"
Iris continued to give a teasing smile at Sunset that pushed the pony-turned-human's temper to the limit. "Tell me, Sunset Shimmer, do you know of the Elements of Harmony?"
Sunset sat back in response to the question. Yes. She knew what the Elements of Harmony were. She had read about them in passing a few times during her years of study and had even heard Celestia mention them from time to time. For some reason, she had never given them much thought. Just a collection of powerful objects lost to history she had previously assumed. "Yes. I've heard of them."
"What do you know of them?"
"What is this, a test?"
"Just answer my questions and I'll answer yours in due time."
Sunset groaned, rolled her eyes, and exhaled deeply. "There's six of them. Laughter. Generosity. Honesty. Loyalty. Kindness. The sixth one, however, remains a mystery."
"Magic. That's the sixth Element of Harmony. The Element of Magic."
Sunset shook her head and leaned forward. "Okay, I'll bite. What do the Elements of Harmony have anything to do with me defeating Celestia? Last time I checked, they're back in Equestria. And they're missing, no less!"
Iris followed Sunset's example and leaned forward as well. "Dear Sunset, the Elements of Harmony have everything to do with your goals; especially the Element of Magic."
"There's a little filly in Canterlot right now. Her name is Twilight Sparkle. Pretty soon she will be earning her cutie mark as well as the reward of becoming Celestia's next pupil."
Sunset clenched her fists and teeth. "My replacement," she snarled.
"Yes, I suppose," Iris stated with a slight nod. "Several years from now, Twilight Sparkle will find the Elements with the help of five mares who will become her close friends: Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy. Twilight will represent the Element of Magic. A couple years after that, Twilight become a master of the magic of friendship and Celestia will make her a Princess of Equestria." Sunset clenched her teeth harder. "Her Element of Magic will become her crown. A little while after this, the portal will open after its usual thirty moons of silence. When it does at that point in time, the Element of Magic will be within your grasp and that is when you shall claim it as your own. It will be especially productive for you in this world for the Elements of Harmony can grant great power to anyone whilst in a separate world from that of their creation."
Sunset sat as calmly as she could as she allowed all of the information to sink in. The Elements of Harmony. Twilight Sparkle. The Element of Magic. She let it all sink in as best as she could allow it. Suddenly, a particular detail crept up on her. "Wait a moment. You said that she would find the Elements several years from now. Exactly how long is it going to be before I can claim the Element of Magic?!"
"Around thirteen years, child."
"THIRTEEN YEARS?! I'm going to have to wait thirteen years to get the power I rightfully deserve?!"
Iris chuckled. "Yes, I can see how such a wait can bother you. But fear not for I have a solution to this that will help lessen the wait for you whilst also helping you achieve your goal." Iris reached into another drawer and pulled out a piece of chocolate wrapped in green paper.
"A piece of chocolate? Really?!" Sunset snapped.
"This isn't just any ordinary piece of chocolate, Sunset Shimmer," said Iris. "I've implemented some of my own magic into it, given it a few extra features."
Sunset calmed herself down as she focused on the candy. "Go on."
"Remember that school you appeared in front of?"
"Yeah. Canterlot High School."
"Just in case you haven't caught on, this world is, in some regards, a reflection of Equestria. In time, you will see familiar faces appear from the shadows. That school, Canterlot High, will be the key to obtaining what you seek. You must rule that school." Iris waved her hand with the chocolate a bit. "However, you will need to be of appropriate age to attend when time comes to pass for you to gain what you seek; and I think it's quite clear that you won't remain seventeen years old for thirteen years straight."
"This chocolate will age you down to the appropriate age for you to grow up and be the right age you need to be when the time comes to obtain the Element of Magic. Simultaneously, all of your memories of your life prior to eating the chocolate will be erased."
"How is that supposed to help?! You're basically going to turn me into a four-year-old with amnesia!"
"Exactly. You'll forget about your Equestrian life and that thirteen-year wait will become a bit easier to bear. Don't worry, the amnesia won't be permanent. When the time comes for you to remember, we will meet again and you will remember your goal."
Sunset took the chocolate from Iris's hand and looked at it. "Why? All I keep asking myself is why are you doing all this for me?"
"Like I said earlier, you have plenty of untapped potential just waiting to be expanded upon. Finding what you seek will help you explore this potential."
"So...I eat this and I forget everything and turn into a toddler?"
"What will happen to me after this? Are you just going to abandon me on the street?"
"Of course not! I will make sure that you will be put into proper care. You will grow up in this world, grow accustomed to how it works, and learn its secrets."
Sunset grew fixated on the chocolate. "After I eat this...there's no going back."
"Sunset, there was no going back the moment you stepped through that mirror."
Sunset eyed Iris for a moment. She wanted to say thank you but she held back, nearly mouthing it in her attempt to keep her gratitude held inside. This was it. Her journey to vengeance had begun. "This is it," she said as she unwrapped the chocolate and raised it before her. "Goodbye for now, old life. Hello, new life." Sunset hesitated for a brief second before tossing the chocolate into her mouth, quickly chewing it, and swallowing hard.
"Was it good?" Iris asked with a chuckle.
The world began to spin and grow and Sunset could feel everything slipping away from her. Height. Memories. Knowledge. It was all slipping away. Before she finally lost it all, she gave a quick smile and replied, "Yes. Delicious." The last thing Sunset heard before the world went black was Iris chuckling once more.
Sunflower Stalk clutched the baseball bat tightly in her hands as she approached the front door of the Ponyville Central Orphanage. The knocking at the door had awoken her from a lovely slumber and now all she could do was clutch her weapon in fear, constantly asking who could be banging on an orphanage door at this hour. As she came close to the door, the knocking stopped. She pressed her eye against the peephole and stared out upon the empty front porch. Was it a robber? Was it a murderer hiding in the dark? Was it simply a group of teenagers playing a prank? Was it a ghost? Sunflower shook at the thought. She would take a robber, murderer, or even rebellious teenagers over a ghost any day of the week.
With extreme caution, she unlocked the door and pulled it open. "Hello?! Who's there?! I'm warning you! I'm armed!" she snapped as she slowly swung the door open. She stepped through the door and onto the porch and it didn't take her long to realize that she wasn't alone. She wasn't joined by a robber, a murderer, or pranking teens but instead a sleeping toddler bundled up in a fiery orange quilt. "Oh my goodness!"
Sunflower knelt down and examined the child. She was sleeping soundly, the toddler. Sunflower's eyes trailed over to a bag situated next to the child. She peered inside to find a collection of clothes made to be worn by at least a teenage girl along with a single note. Sunflower brought the note close to her face. It read: Please take care of my dear Sunset Shimmer. She's a special girl.
"Oh dear," said Sunflower after reading the note. She placed it back in the bag and proceeded to pick up both the sleeping Sunset Shimmer and the bag. Just before she was about to go back inside, she saw what appeared to be a woman with silver hair standing in the street. She shook her head and looked back only to see that the woman had vanished. Sunflower looked into the innocent face of the sleeping Sunset and smiled. "Don't worry. We'll take care of you, Sunset Shimmer." She then walked through the front door and closed it as softly as she could manage.
Ten Years Later...
Sunflower Stalk laughed as two children ran past her. Most of the orphanage's children were running about the grounds. However, there was one child outside who wasn't running around like the others: Sunset Shimmer. Sunflower could only smile as she approached the 14-year-old Sunset, who was currently busy reading her way through another collection of books from the library. In the ten years she had spent at the orphanage, Sunset had always been a rather quiet but demanding person. It didn't take long for the orphan to find her true passion: knowledge. It was not uncommon for Sunset Shimmer to be seen reading her way through a history book or any other book for that matter. However, Sunset had gained an odd interest in learning about powerful historical figures. Presidents. Tyrants. Dictators. Kings. Queens. Whether they be good or evil, Sunset seemed to always be attracted to those who had great power. Those with a lot of influence.
"Sunset Shimmer!" Sunflower called with excitement as she approached the girl sitting against the trunk of a tree. "I have some exciting news!"
"Did the new Daring Do book get released early?" Sunset asked as she turned her attention away from a book about Julius Caesar.
Sunflower giggled. "Sorry, dear. No."
Sunset sighed. "One can dream. So what is it then?"
"Read for yourself!" Sunflower handed an envelope to Sunset and she hastily took it.
Sunset's eyes widened as she read the front of the envelope and she didn't waste any time ripping through the paper to get to the message that lay within. After several seconds of silent reading, Sunset jumped into the air. "YES! I got in! I'm going to Canterlot High!"
Suddenly, everything in the world seemed to grow silent. Time slowed down to a snail's pace and the wind felt like waves of gaseous syrup. Sunset's eyes had fallen on a woman standing several yards away, at the edge of the orphanage grounds. A woman with flowing, silver hair. For what seemed like forever, they stared at each other. The woman then gave a simple nod in Sunset's direction and disappeared down the road. That's when it happened.
Seventeen years of lost memories came flooding back into Sunset's mind all at once. She grabbed her forehead and breathed heavily. Equestria. Princess Celestia. The mirror. Iris Greene. Twilight Sparkle. The Elements of Harmony. Everything came crashing back in a single instant. For a few seconds, the pain was beyond anything Sunset had ever experienced in her two lives. Thankfully, the pain quickly died down as her old memories settled in, as clear and as perfect as if they had happened to her merely a few hours earlier.
"The freshman fair is two weeks from now," Sunflower continued. "However, you don't have to go if you don't-"
"No!" Sunset stated suddenly, a satisfied yet dark chuckle escaping her lips. "I'd...be happy to go."
"Really? Huh, I expected you to skip over festivities like the freshman fair." Sunset looked up at Sunflower and Sunflower, unexpectedly, felt intimidated. Sunset's eyes seemed almost darker than usual and her face was curved into an honestly creepy smile. Something had changed about Sunset in that instant...yet Sunflower couldn't tell what it was.
"I'd love to go to the freshman fair, Ms. Sunflower. After all, it would be a nice chance for me to meet my future classmates."
"Yes...of course, Sunset. I'd be happy to drive you there."
"Thank you, Ms. Sunflower. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to reading about Julius Caesar. I was just about to get to the assassination."
"Oh...okay. Have fun...I guess." Sunflower quickly turned around and began making her way back towards the main building.
Sunset let out a quiet laugh before sitting down against the trunk of the tree, a very different girl from the one who had been sitting against it a moment previously. Sunset turned in the direction Iris Greene had been standing earlier and smiled. "Thank you, Iris. Long time, no see," she said with a dark, giddy chuckle.
Two Weeks Later...
Sunset placed her hands in her leather jacket's pockets as she made her way through the hustle and bustle of the Canterlot High Freshman Fair. The other incoming freshmen of Canterlot High ran about and tried to see what every stand at the fair had to offer. However, Sunset currently had no interest in any of the games or advertised clubs. No, she was back to thinking of her goal. Her quest for vengeance. Her longing for power. Her revenge. She knew she still had at least three years to go before she would have access to the Element of Magic. But she didn't care right now. She had spent a decade in the dark and now she was back in the light. Sunset Shimmer was happy.
"HEY!" cried an extremely hyper voice. Sunset nearly jumped out of her skin as she turned around to see a girl with pink skin and extremely pink and poofy hair standing incredibly close to her.
"Uh...personal space," said Sunset in the most polite way she could manage.
"Sorry 'bout that," said a girl with orange skin and blonde hair as she pulled the pink girl away. "She's been doing that to everyone today."
Sunset noticed that the two girls were joined by three more: one with white skin and purple hair, one with cyan skin and rainbow hair, and one with yellow skin and light pink hair. The girl with purple hair pulled out a camera and presented it to Sunset. "Sorry to interrupt whatever you were doing before this but would you be a dear and take our picture?" she asked.
Sunset shrugged her shoulders and took the camera. "Sure," she said with a small smile. The five girls got close to each other and smiled at Sunset as she aimed the camera. "Say Canterlot Wonderbolts!"
"Canterlot Wonderbolts!" cheered the five girls as the camera went off.
The pink girl hastily grabbed the camera following the taking of the picture and looked at the screen. "Ooh! This is a good picture!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah! Maybe we should submit it for this year's yearbook or something," joked the girl with rainbow hair.
"That would be nice," stated the girl with light pink hair.
"So, are you an upperclassmen or a freshman like us?" asked the girl with purple hair.
"I'm a freshman. Name's Sunset Shimmer," Sunset replied.
"Nice to meet ya, Sunset Shimmer," said the girl with rainbow hair. "Name's Rainbow Dash."
"Applejack," said the girl with the cowboy hat.
"Name's Pinkie Pie!" exclaimed the pink girl.
"I'm Fluttershy," said the girl with light pink hair.
"And my name is Rarity," stated the girl with purple hair.
Sunset froze momentarily as the names allowed her to think back to her meeting with Iris ten years previously. "Several years from now, Twilight Sparkle will find the Elements with the help of five mares who will become her close friends: Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy," she had stated.
"Reflections of the Element Wielders!" Sunset hissed under her breath.
"Did you say something?" Applejack asked.
"Yeah! I just said I'm...very looking forward to attending Canterlot High."
"Maybe we'll see ya around," said Rainbow Dash.
"Maybe," chuckled Sunset with a shrug of her shoulders.
"Nice to meet ya, Sunset Shimmer!" said Pinkie Pie as she vigorously shook Sunset's hand. The hyper girl then began to push the others off in another direction. "Come on, girls! Things to do, more people to meet!"
"No need to be so pushy, Pinkie Pie!" said Rarity.
Sunset waved goodbye to the five girls as they disappeared into the crowd. She then laughed happily under her breath before turning her attention towards the looming building that was Canterlot High School. "It has begun," she stated before turning away and walking off into the crowd. Everything was falling into place and Sunset Shimmer was happy.