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Another Sunset · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
Sunset, Sunset, Goose
The pony known as Sunset Shimmer was having a rough day that lend into a bothersome afternoon. He was not having much luck making a bank on mining this month. Though due to the pony's hard work his savings were still deep. Mr. Shimmer could have had many bad months and still survived pretty well. What was frustrating for him that it seemed like there was always some creature at the node before him.

Sunset Shimmer specialized in mining gems and crystals. They were useful in jewelry, magical rituals and machinery. Lately the stallion had set up his residence in a small suburb at the bottom of Mount Canterlot. He would go out, use his homemade tech, and mine friendship crystals. These were highly valuable rainbow minerals that feed off the ambient friendship between creatures in the world.

Today his Magic Friendship Tracking Device, patent pending, brought him to another crystal node and another creature mining it before him. This time it was a female griffon pounding away at the mineral base. It appeared that she just got there moments before him. Sunset sighed and turned away.

The rules were that the first person to find a node or vein gets the claim. A special second rule when it came to friendship crystals was not to bother the person working on it, or get into a conflict or anything else. Sunset found out the hard way a couple of years ago not to break those rules. His experience afterwards led the pony to carry a couple of guns and other defensive tools.

It was afternoon going back to his home, when Sunset ran into his neighbor Soft Mist. She was a changeling who did odd jobs. The pony didn't pay too much attention to her while he was working, even though he thought she was cute. Sunset was always too busy with his life.

“Hiya Sunset! You're looking good today! By the look on your face, I take it you didn't have any luck today?” she asked with concern.

“Yes Soft. This was another unlucky day,” he replied, distracted.

“Maybe I can help you?”

“No thank you.”


“Maybe tomorrow,” Sunset said as he walked away.

The pony entered his home and looked around at his projects. Scattered on tables and floors were homemade devices he worked on. Some of them were simple like better gardening tools or kitchen gadgets. Others were things like his Magic Friendship Tracking Device or friendship powered skateboards.

In the corner of the room was an antique mirror given to Sunset by his mentor. Most of the time he never gave it a second thought because he wasn't vain. Now? It started to shake. The frame started to hum and the surface started to shine. The pony looked into the mirror and saw a distorted, twisted reflection that slowly became clearer.

What was looking back at Sunset was him but not. The image showed a creature with his yellow coat and his red mane with streaks of yellow. It had the same cyan eyes, almost the same face he had. Instead the face was feminine looking. Sunset noticed a horn on the reflection's head – a unicorn. As he tried to examine this creature more, it stepped out from the other side of the mirror. Odd.

“Oh wow. Err... don't be alarmed. I can explain this,” his strange doppelganger spoke.

“You must be an alternate version of me from another reality? Is your name Sunset Shimmer as well, miss?” Pony Sunset asked calmly.

“Ah, yes. I'm Sunset Shimmer. I’m pleased to meet you, and I take it that your name is Sunset Shimmer as well?” Unicorn Sunset asked in return.

“That it is Miss Shimmer. What do I owe the pleasure of your visit this afternoon?”

"Oh wow, you're taking this whole weird situation very well.”

“Thank you.”

“I'm here on a mission for a friend. You could say it's a friendship mission.”

He was intrigued by this and Mister Sunset had questions, “How did you get here? Is the mirror some type of inter-dimensional portal?”

“The mirror is and it connects to others like it. Most of the time it's a mirror, and other times it's something else. My friend Princess Twilight Sparkle modified the mirror so I was able to search for suitable realities.”

“Ah, we here have a President Twilight Sparkle. She's a pretty popular unicorn and excellent military leader.”

“Mine's an alicorn who is the embodiment of friendship.”

“Of course.”

“Do you have a lot of wars here?” Unicorn Sunset asked on a hunch.

“Not really, though on occasion we get invaded by human space pirates and space slavers. They are annoying,” Pony Sunset replied with a shrug.

“Oh, sorry about that.”

“No need. We do get other humans who contact us that are more agreeable. Tell me more about your mission here.”

“I'm here to acquire crystals that can store the magic of friendship,” Unicorn Sunset replied.

“We have these here and I'm making a job of mining them. Fortunate for you,” Pony Sunset nodded.

“Yeah but not really. As I said my friend modded the mirror and I used my magic to feel around for a place where they were more of a thing. Where I'm from they are not. They're only mentioned in legends.”

“Why do you need these friendship crystals?”

“She wants to create a fail-safe for pony... creaturekind in case something happens to her or Equestria.”

“Very forward thinking, just like our Twilight. Let me clean off a table and we will talk more,” suggest Pony Sunset.

“Sure!” Unicorn Sunset beamed as she followed him.

He explained to her as he made dinner that he currently didn't have any, but would be able to help her in the morning since that's when the nodes of crystals popped out of the ground. As they ate, she commented again that he was taking this whole situation very well.

“My mentor, principle Solaris, was a strange stallion and he regaled me with stories of alternate worlds. He thought this mirror I have now, might have some abilities to cross the realities,” explain Pony Sunset.

“Err, was he a good mentor?” Unicorn Sunset wondered out loud.

“Of course. He helped me during my more hot headed days. Help turned my life around. Solaris gave me this mirror and some other furniture when I moved to this place.”

“Like this well used table?”

“And these old dishware as well.”

“Did he ever say why he thought it was magical or how it was created?”

“No, he never went on to explain why. Solaris inherited it from his older brother Artemis. The older brother disappeared years ago. Left no note or with no explanation. Maybe he activated the portal and got stuck on the other side?”

“Could be.”

Pony Sunset sighed, “They had a falling out, but Solaris always hoped his brother would return. You have a mentor similar to me, I take it?”

“Yeah, but we... I drifted apart from her. Right now it's alright between us,” Unicorn Sunset said with a slight frown on her face.

The both Sunsets continued to talk into sunset and night. He showed her his homemade devices and she showed him her notes on dimensional travel. The pony thought the unicorn was an alright person. They went to sleep and then woke up before dawn.

As he was putting on his mining gear, Pony Sunset asked, “Wanted to ask you how much you needed?”

“Enough from what you described from what you could get from a node,” Unicorn Sunset answered with a yawn.

“Hoping my luck changes today. If not, we can make other arrangements.”

“That's wonderful, though I hope we don’t have to dip into your savings!”

The two of them exited the home and noticed Soft Mist was flying around delivering mail.

“Oh, Sunset! Who's your uhm... friend there? Sister of yours?” Soft Mist asked stiffly.

Unicorn Sunset winced “Well... you could say that.”

“This is my alternate self from the mirror,” Pony Sunset replied.

“You mean those stories were true?”

“Indeed they were true Soft Mist.”

“Would you like some help today? Take it that you are trying again.”

“Yeah! The more the merrier...” Unicorn Sunset started to reply.

“Thanks, but no thanks. I don't want to burden you nor interrupt your new job. Mailmare?” Pony Sunset interrupted.

“Am I am and it wouldn't be an issue at all. Mean not really,” the mare changeling started to smile.

“...yeah it'll be fine.” the unicorn added absently.

Sunset shook his head. “Don't bother please,” he said as went on his way toward the mountain side.

“Oh, okay. You take care!” Soft Mist said crestfallen.

Unicorn Sunset gave an apologetic shrug to her and followed after him.

As they started up the mountain slope Unicorn Sunset asked, “You know, I think Soft there could have been helpful.”

“I think so too, but I really don't want to impose my problems on her,” Pony Sunset replied as checked out his devices.

“And I think she likes you too!”

“Hope so. We are friends and I do enjoy it when we spend time with each other. Just don't want to screw up her new job. Soft Mist has this issue of bad luck as well. She doesn’t keep them for long.”

“You think she's cute, right?”

The pony stopped and looked at the unicorn with confusion, “Yeah... but we're just friends. Not that great really, and I'm pretty sure she is not uhm... interested in me.”

The mare gave the stallion a quizzical look, “I think there is something more going on.”

“I doubt it. Let's continue on,” Pony Sunset replied as he adjusted his device.

“My magic is sensing that there are crystals nearby,” Unicorn Sunset continued.

“My readings off this device are pointing towards over there.”

As the sun rose above, they came to a friendship crystal node around a hill. They made haste towards it, but out of the sky a pegasus landed down next to it. She started to mine it.

“Ugh.” the stallion sighed.

“Oh come on!”

The pegasus shushed them and she went back to work. Pony Sunset led Unicorn Sunset away to search for another node.

“You know we could have asked her to back off,” she said, annoyed.

“That's not how we do things here. Finders keepers is the law.”

Over a bend in the terrain they saw another friendship crystal node. Again they made haste towards it, but again out of the sky a different pegasus mare got to it before they did. This repeated several times, and Unicorn Sunset Shimmer became more than peeved.

“This is stupid. Pegasus mares always getting to prize right before we do? I call fowl!” she growled.

“To be honest, I think our luck is bad because flight school for mares got out a couple of weeks ago, '' he pondered thoughtfully.

“Are you kidding me? Why?”

“Flight school is segregated by sex here...”

“Not what I mean. But why here?”

“Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but Cloudsdale where the school is located has been moving closer to Mount Canterlot here this year. They move around a lot. Anyhow, friendship crystals make a pretty bit and any student could use a node's worth to get through a month of hard partying,” Pony Sunset explained.

“Really? This is ridiculous. You know what I think? I think it's Soft Mist in disguise and she is following us. When we find a node, she pounces on it,” Unicorn Sunset countered.

“This theory you have is... odd. Insane really. I mean to what purpose would she do this?”

“Look Mister Sunset. Soft Mist likes you. I mean, she really likes you. But you have this tendency to ignore her.”

“Okay? I disagree on the like part but the ignoring is not really my fault. My devices and projects are expensive. I live modestly as you saw. Why would she try to get attention this way?”

“To impress you! You'll get frustrated and sooner or later you'll ask her for help. She'll swoop in and save the day. Bet she is even stalking you.”

Pony Sunset Shimmer thought this theory was very flawed.

“Okay,” Unicorn Sunset Shimmer continued, “Next pegasus mare we run into at a node, I'll confront them. It'll be Soft Mist in disguise.”

“That is not wise. If you don't know already, it's dangerous to confront ponies working on getting the crystals out of the ground.”

Ignoring him, Unicorn Sunset spotted a crystal node in the distance and a pegasus stallion landing towards it.

“Heh, Soft Mist! Back off because that's ours!” she shouted.

The confused stallion who we will call Confused Pegasus replied back, “Who? Also, no it's not. It's mine and I got here first. See? I'm mining it right now.”

Before Confused Pegasus could swing his pick, Unicorn Sunset used her magic to stop him and he found himself stuck in mid air.

Pony Sunset was mortified but had idea to what was going on, “Look Miss Sunset, you are overly emotional and I think you are in the early stages of friendship madness. The crystals can have that effect on a low number of creatures.”

“What? Also... no! What kinda of stupid thing is that? It sounds stupid,” she yelled back in anger.

"I thought you knew since you were looking for these crystals.”

“Knew? What did you not get that I'm a visitor from another reality? We don't have them growing out of the ground. You think you would have mentioned something so important like that last night while we chatted?”

“It slipped my mind...”

“Oh, of course! I should have expected something like this from some person who is so self absorbed he can even see that this is the changeling in love with you!”

“Whoa, whoa. I'm not a changeling!” Confused Pegasus protested.


“Don't Sunset me!”

“... this is not Soft Mist. You are being influenced by the unstable post processes of the crystals forming,” Pony Sunset tried to explain.

“He's telling the truth, please calm down. Please, I'll let you have the find. Just don't get any more angrier,” Confused Pegasus pleaded.

The unicorn paused, but it was too late. A surge of magic power pulsed from the crystal and knocked the trio on their collective plots. The crystal shattered as a form started to rise and take shape.

Unicorn Sunset broke out of her rage and started to panic, “That can't be good, Sunset! Oh sweet Celestia, what have I done?”

“It wasn't fully your fault Sunset,” Pony Sunset tried to comfort her.

"Mistakes happen. No big deal,” Confused Pegasus added.

The dark shape coalesced into a humanoid form and cackled.

“I live again! You fools will feel my...”, it started to monologue as a changeling landed between them and interrupted the dark creature.

“I don't think so,” Soft Mist said as she pulled the trigger with her magic on her rifle.

Confused Pegasus whipped out a shotgun with his wings and fired shot into shot at the creature. Pony Sunset threw a pistol at Unicorn Sunset as he broke out a pair of his own and shot the creature over and over again. Unicorn Sunset looked at the pistol, shrugged and took it with her magic. She placed several head shots into the darkness that this thing was. In less than no time, the dark creature dissipated from whence it came.

“Huh... this is a different way of solving a problem. Usually I just get people together and talk it out. Or a rainbow laser,” Unicorn Sunset mused.

“Yeah! Faust may have created every creature but Filly '45 made them all equal,” giggled Soft Mist.

“That got my heart pumping! I'm happy we didn't have to use a grenade or three,” breathed out Confused Pegasus. As he started to fly away, the stallion added, ”I had enough of this for today. See ya!”

“I should have mentioned it when we were talking last night. This Shadow Monster is bounded to this mountain and the formation of the friendship crystals,” Pony Sunset explained.

“We can talk about this later. First I want to apologize for me going nuts. I get that it wasn't my fault really, but this thought I had in my head just had a life of its own. I'm sorry,” Unicorn Sunset said with sincerity.

“Well you were kinda right in a way. I've been kind of, sort of stalking him,” Soft Mist said as she shrunk into herself with embarrassment.

“Let me guess, you disguise yourself as a cloud?” Unicorn Sunset asked.

Soft Mist nodded.

“And you are doing this because you like, really like me a lot?” Pony Sunset asked.

Soft Mist nodded again.

“We should talk about ourselves and our possible future later. For now we should get back to finding crystals," Pony Sunset stated.

“Yay! I'll help,” Soft Mist offered.

“I don't know...” Pony Sunset started to say.

“Ugh... just use Soft Mist’s ability to fly and spot them. Your Magic Friendship Tracking Device...” Unicorn Sunset interrupted.

“Patent pending,” Pony Sunset added.

Unicorn Sunset continued, "... can help point her in the correct direction. Swallow some of your pride. I know you have some, because you are a lot like me. I’m guessing?”

“More like I have not been paying attention. Self absorbed was the term you used,” smiled Pony Sunset.

“Again, sorry.”

“No need to be.”

So the trio set off in search of them again. With a little teamwork and a lot of time, they found a node of friendship crystals for Sunset Shimmer from the alternate world. They gathered it up and set off for home into the sunset. As for what became of this world's Sunset Shimmer and Soft Mist concerning their relationship? That is a tale for another story.

Anyhow, I have to get back to mining these friendship crystals. Seem to be running into bad luck of my own.
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#1 · 1
· · >>Griseus
This was neat. I liked how the problem with the "getting into a conflict with somebody else who's mining" was not what I thought it would be. Clever. Thanks for writing.
#2 · 1
>>Anonymous Potato
Thank you. You are too kind.
#3 ·
Yes, let's get this out of the way: an 8th grader could write a more technical fit story. I be lucky to get a C, if this was school assignment. D minus all around instead.

This whole story had too much padding of worthless points and not enough character development or world building. The Sunsets seem different enough. Soft Mist is just kinda there, not even coming across as a bimbo or anything. Confused Pegasus? Background garbage. World building? It's an alternate Equestria in which how would a newbie understand? Didn't go much into details. That would have been better to add, instead of some of the dialog banter that didn't add to much to who these characters were.

Lack of conflict with the plot hurts this. Could have passed this off as a weird Slice of Life, but I can't even claim that as a crutch because of how boring this is. Resolution and the "joke" at the end was the worst part. Could rewrite this with 1000 less words I bet and drop the mirror backstory to have something leaner and to the point. Maybe next time I won't use life experiences from an MMO about bot miners?
#4 · 1
· · >>Griseus
Maybe next time I won't use life experiences from an MMO about bot miners?

Well, or at flesh out the mechanics a bit with a view to a more realist feeling. A game can get away with treating "to mine" as a single, uniform action that's just something you do, but with a story one expects some more details of what is actually happening. Is digging involved? Or are the crystals simply sticking out of the ground and it's a matter of picking them, like carrots? The latter seems to match better with how it can apparently be seen plainly from at least some distance away whether there are crystals to "mine" or not. The way it's described here, I suspect that "gather" would have been a better verb than "mine".

I don't think Confused Pegasus is a garbage as you say -- he's important to the resolution of the scene, and the way he suddenly backs down nervously helps set up the twist. However, he could easily be given a real name if he had simply replied "No, my name is not Soft Mist, it's So-And-So".

The real problem here seems to be that there were too many ideas to develop within the time you had. It shouldn't be 1000 words shorter, it should be longer. E.g., take some time to either allow Pony Sunset to be appropriately surprised at the interdimensional visitor, or alternatively establish more firmly that this is a world where running into one's dimensional alternates is something that tends to happen on Tuesdays.

Technical advice: I feel that each time we hit a stretch of dialogue -- especially the ones early in the piece -- you forget to tell the story and instead just produce an audio transcript of who said what in which order. If there's a viewpoint character, they must be thinking something throughout the conversation; tell us what that is. Or when that doesn't work, give the characters some stage directions, expressions to wear, directions to look in, little things to do while they're talking. Even if those actions don't openly move the story forward, it can make the scene flow a lot smoother if just every two or three changes of speaker there's a sentence with a description of something that isn't words. (Bonus points if you can pick actions that somehow illuminate the scene, but that's not strictly necessary, so long as it stops it being talking heads).

The last line confuses me. Suddenly there's an in-universe narrator? Is that supposed to be a character from the story telling it? The only obvious candidate would be Confused Pegasus, but that doesn't make a lot of sense.
#5 ·
I'll make a note to have them or future characters "animate more" around the dialog parts.