Marking the Generations – Part Four (2024)

Adagio was standing behind stage, peering through a small gap in the curtain at the crowd. A look of apprehension on her face as her two sisters stood a little way behind her.

“Do you see her?” Aria asked.

“No, I don’t,” Adagio sighed. “The crowd is huge and I’m not sure if she’ll be in human form again. There was a pony on stage earlier that had her skin and hair colour. I couldn’t see the cutie mark though.”

“Sunset pony here,” another voice said suddenly. “In VIP section.”

Adagio cried out in surprise and practically jumped out of her skin. She turned around to find Runcord was stood directly behind her.

“Can you please stop appearing like that Runcord!” she gasped as she held her chest. “I’m nervous enough as it is.”

“Normally I’d poke fun at you for admitting that,” Aria frowned. “But you have good reason. This isn’t exactly a good idea.”

Sonata nodded in the background. “Remember what happened the last time we sang to ponies. We’re reformed. We don’t want to cause trouble.”

“Sirens powers left long ago,” Runcord reassured. “This chance to tell ponies your story. Explain how you changed.”

“What about Sunset Shimmer?” Adagio asked. “With everything that has been happening, I doubt her new friends have had chance to deliver my message.”

“It can be surprise,” Runcord smiled. “She will need it to help her.”

“Help her?” Adagio blinked. “What do you mean help her?”

Meanwhile, Sunny and Izzy grinned as they made their way through the crowds of ponies and dragons. Runcord had been correct in saying they were popular. However, Pipp had also been correct that just giving ponies a chance to meet them was going down well.

“I’m glad we’re doing this together,” Izzy commented to Sunny as she signed her autograph for the umpteenth time.

“Me too,” Sunny agreed. “I think this would be too overwhelming if we went alone.”

“E…excuse me,” a Unicorn ventured. “Will Sunset Shimmer be coming to meet us too?”

“Why should she?” a Pegasus growled. “She’s not a hero, she destroyed my shop.”

“No, no, no, you’ve got that wrong,” Izzy gasped.

“No, I haven’t,” the Pegasus answered. “Cutie marks are unique, the pony that attacked Zephyr Heights was definitely her.”

“No, it wasn’t,” Sunny defended. “Opaline made Sunset into what attacked Zephyr Heights. Sunset wasn’t in control and has no memory of it at all.”

“We rescued her,” Izzy added.

“W…What do you mean? Made?” the Pegasus gasped. “How?”

Sunny gulped, suddenly realising how closely ponies were now crowding around her. They were listening intently to what she had to say over the music.

“W…we’ll explain when we can,” Sunny said at last. “Come on Izzy.”

She made to leave, but the Pegasus stepped in her way. “No, no we need to know,” he demanded. “It’s all fine for the Unicorns, they weren’t attacked.”

“Of course we were,” the Unicorn answered. “We were attacked by those vines that took our cutie marks. Everypony was.”

“You didn’t get your homes destroyed,” another Pegasus shouted. “We want answers.”

“What’s stopping somepony else turning evil?” another voice shouted. “Could it happen to anypony?”

Shouts and cries rippled through the crowd all around Sunny and Izzy. Some demanding immediate answers, others recommending they let the pair leave. Sunny and Izzy moved closer together as the crowd got increasingly closer and more hostile.

“Okay everypony, give them some space,” a commanding voice said.

Sprout forced his way through the crowd, before standing so he was between Sunny and Izzy and the Pegasus that had started the commotion.

“If you’ve got questions, there will be answers given when they can be,” Sprout explained. “Right now, this is a celebration. A celebration of what we all achieved together. Let’s not start arguments over who was and was not attacked. Ultimately, we’re not Zephyr Hights, Bridlewood or Maretime Bay anymore. We’re Equestria and we’re united. An attack on one town is an attack against all of us, no matter where we live.”

A cheer of approval rippled through the crowd, and it finally parted, allowing Sprout to lead Sunny and Izzy back towards the VIP area.

“Thank you Sprout,” Sunny gasped.

“No problem at all,” Sprout smiled. “Just doing my job.”

Sunset looked at Sunny and Izzy in shock as she was told what had happened. “And here I was thinking about going for a walk,” she commented.

“Yeah, maybe not for the best,” Starlight sighed.

“Okay, so what else did I do?” Sunset asked gravely. “Where else did I attack? Who else got hurt?”

She looked pointedly at Starlight’s leg.

“No, you’re not doing that to yourself,” Sunny said. “It wasn’t you.”

“So, who was it then?” Sunset frowned and turned away. “Remember, this isn’t the first time I’ve turned into something evil.”

“But this time you had no control over it,” Starlight argued. “You didn’t do it to yourself, somepony did it to you against your will. You can’t even remember it.”

“Which only makes it worse,” Sunset sighed over her shoulder.

She moved to look out over the balcony. Looking down at the crowd she couldn’t help wondering how many ponies there thought she was a monster. How many had she done harm to. Then, she looked at the stage and saw Runcord was walking out onto it.

“Live music start now,” Runcord announced. “Please be welcoming first special act. The Dazzlings.”

Sunset gasped as the lights dimmed and smoke billowed out onto the stage. “Wait? What? How?” she muttered. “There’s no way they’d still be around.”

She watched the stage intently, three coloured spotlights turned on as the music started. As the intro played, three human figures rose from the stage. Seemingly appearing from the smoke as they started singing the first verse.

Where do we go? Every day's the same
Did we lose the magic, magic, magic?
So ordinary, stuck on repeat
Gotta find the passion, passion, passion

Sunset watched the three Dazzlings in complete and utter shock. She didn’t understand how in Equestria they could be there; it made no sense.

This wasn’t a high energy song, so they weren’t dancing quickly. However, their movements were deliberate and well-rehearsed. They moved around the stage and through the smoke in perfect unison.

The days go round and round, round and round
Gotta break away, find a great escape
Round and round and round
Round and round and round, oh-oh

Sunset suddenly gasped as she realised the smoke surrounding the three of them had taken on a green aura. It looked just like the energy they’d taken from the students at CHS.

However, she then thought back to the last time she’d seen them. How she’d thought they’d been behind the time loop she’d been trapped in and had been wrong.

She looked up, and sighed with relief as she spotted the lights had turned green. That was clearly the cause of the green tint. She shook her head and continued to watch.

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find the magic
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find the magic

“They’re really good aren’t they,” Misty said as she joined Sunset. “When we were last here, they helped me find everypony.”

“They…They did?” Sunset blinked. “Oh, that was…”

She trailed off and Misty looked at her with concern.

Can I find the beauty in the simple things?
Can I learn to see it, see it, see it?

The days go round and round, round and round
Gotta break away, find a great escape
Round and round and round
Round and round and round, oh-oh

“I completely forgot,” Misty gasped suddenly. “Adagio, I think that’s her name. She wanted to speak to you. Let you know they’re still around and doing well.”

“Oh?” Sunset said looking surprised.

“Yeah, she said you were old acquaintances,” Misty explained. “She said they’d turned their lives around whilst working in the Night Market.”

“Honestly, I think they’d already started turning themselves around last time I saw them,” Sunset smiled. “I…I don’t get it though, how are they still here?”

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find the magic (Let's find the magic)
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find (Hey!)
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, let's find the magic

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh

As the song ended, the crowd erupted into applause. Adagio walked forwards smiling gratefully.

“Thank you Equestria,” she grinned. “I’m Adagio, and I’m going to be honest with you all. The last time my sisters, Aria, Sonata, and I, sang to ponies, it wasn’t for the right reasons. However, that has all changed now.”

“We want to share with you at least part of our story,” Sonata beamed.

“Technically, it was our lowest point,” Aria added. “But it’s from your lowest point that you can sometimes build something greater than before.”

“So, with the help of some special effects. Join us as we show you how we were defeated by none other than Princess Twilight Sparkle, her friend Sunset Shimmer and their human allies The Rainbooms,” Adagio announced.

Sunset gasped and couldn’t help noticing Adagio look in her direction as the music started. Memories came flooding back as the intro played.

Welcome to the show (ah-ah-ah-ah)
We're here to let you know (ah-ah-ah-ah)
Our time is now (ah-ah-ah-ah)
Your time is running out (ah-ah-ah)

A worried looking Sunny and Zipp joined Sunset and Misty. Zipp was looking at her phone, scrolling through and looking concerned. “Sunset, we’ve got a problem,” Zipp admitted.

“Let me guess,” Sunset sighed. “The socials are calling for my blood.”

“Something like that,” Sunny responded. “Honestly, I think they are putting two and two together and making six. Photos of Nightmare Shimmer are flying around but with your name attached.”

“They don’t even realise you were on stage earlier,” Zipp added. “They don’t realise who the real you is.”

Sunset took a deep breath as she looked down at the Dazzlings as they continued performing. “Well, let’s see what they think after this. I bet there are some confused ponies out there right now.”

Feel the wave of sound as it crashes down
You can't turn away
We'll make you wanna stay

There was a burst of special effects which lit up the stage. The three sisters suddenly appeared to be giving off a red aura as the smoke around them disappeared.

Whilst they didn’t sprout pony ears or ponytails like they had in their actual battle, they did start floating. Then, there was another flash as wings appeared on their backs. However, they didn’t flap like actual wings would.

We will be adored
Tell us that you want us
We won't be ignored
It's time for our reward
Now, you need us
Come and heed us
Nothing can stop us now

“Okay, so how are they going to do this next part?” Sunset queried as she looked around expectingly.

“What do you mean?” Sunny asked.

“This is where my friends show up,” Sunset clarified as the beat of the song changed. “The Rainbooms.”

Oh-oh, whoa-oh
I've got the music in me
Oh-oh, whoa-oh

Sunset gasped as large holographic versions of The Rainbooms appeared floating above the audience. They were all wearing the same costumes that Rarity had made for them for the actual battle of the bands.

She couldn’t help smiling as holographic Twilight continued singing. She had to admit, the reproduction of her voice was uncanny. Suddenly she realised, it could even be a recording.

Don't need to hear a crowd cheering out my name
I didn't come here seeking infamy or fame
The one and only thing that I am here to bring
Is music, is the music
Is the music in my soul

“So, where are you?” Sunny asked in wonder.

“Oh, I wasn’t part of this bit,” Sunset admitted. “I was stood at the back. Hoping for the best and hoping my being there was supporting them. If they do it right, get ready for the pony-up.”

Gonna break out (out)
Set myself free, yeah
Let it all go (go)
Just let it be, yeah
Find the music in your heart (ah)
Let the music make you start (ah)
To set yourself apart

As Sunset hoped, each of the holographic versions of her friends took on the pony forms they had during the battle. Each took centre stage as they did so, the holographic nature of the effects meaning their names even appeared in a flourishing display along with their cutie marks.

Once their verse ended, they all appeared again, this time with a shining aura around their holographic forms.

Then it was time for Adagio to play her part. She hovered forwards and upwards, smirking confidently and giving off a convincing evil aura. The only thing showing she wasn’t actually flying was her fake wings not flapping.

“So, looks like the Rainbooms want to make this a real battle of the bands!” she announced. “So, let’s BATTLE!”

What we have in store? (Ah)
All we want and more (ah)
We will break on through (ah)
Now, it's time to finish you

Whilst Adagio and her sisters didn’t have the red eyes they had during the actual battle. The red auras around them did intensify before there was a flash of red over the entire stage.

Three holographic versions of their Equestrian forms appeared from this. Flying around above the crowd they began attacking the Rainbooms with their siren voices. Meanwhile, the Rainbooms attacked back with their instruments. The effects of these clashing and showing neither had the upperhoof.

“I…Is this…” Misty gasped.

“Almost,” Sunset smiled.

“So, when do…” Sunny started.

“…I get involved?” Sunset guessed. “Don’t worry, it’s coming up.”

Suddenly, one by one, the holographic versions of the Rainbooms were defeated and disappeared. Finally, holographic Twilight was defeated. As she disappeared, a large holographic microphone spun through the air towards the rear of the audience. Meanwhile, the three siren holograms moved to the very front above the stage looking very pleased.

Suddenly, all the lights went out completely and the music stopped. The audience gasped and the sound of confused and concerned voices could be heard. Some thought it was a power cut, others thought it was all actually real. Seemingly, the whole Night Market party was shrouded in darkness.

“Sunset Shimmer,” Twilight’s voice boomed. “We need you!”

At the very rear of the audience, the large holographic microphone reappeared. A large hand picked it up before a holographic version of Sunset in her human form appeared.

You're never gonna bring me down
You're never gonna break this part of me
My friends are here to bring me 'round
Not singing just for popularity

As holographic Sunset sang, each of the Rainbooms reappeared and slowly rose to their feet. The last one was Twilight who appeared alongside holographic Sunset and shared the microphone.

We're here to let you know
That we won't let it go
Our music is a bomb and it's about to blow
And you can try to fight
But we have got the light of friendship on our side

As holographic Sunset and Twilight sang together it was clear their song was building in energy.

Spotlights illuminated the three actual Dazzling sisters before their holographic versions also reappeared. They looked worriedly up at the Rainbooms, seemingly having no answer for the song that was now playing.

Got the music in our hearts
We're here to blow this thing apart
And together, we will never be afraid of the dark
Here to sing our song out loud
Get you dancing with the crowd
As the music of our friendship survives, survives

As with the actual battle, a wave of rainbow light energy was emitted from holographic Sunset and Twilight in an arc towards the Dazzlings. Their red auras diminished significantly as a result.

Then, holographic Sunset finally took on her ponied up form. As with the others, there was a flourishing display of her name along with her cutie mark.

For any sceptical ponies, there was no longer any doubt. Zipp continued checking the social channels and grinned as conflicting messages began appearing. It seemed the tide of opinion was turning.

Got the music in our hearts
We’re here to blow this thing apart
And together, we will never be afraid of the dark
Here to sing our song out loud
Get you dancing with the crowd
As the music of our friendship survives, survives, survives

As the final verse started, a rainbow of light began shooting upwards from the holographic versions of the Rainbooms.

However, there was no large Alicorn pony appearing in the sky this time. Partly as there just wasn’t space under the ceiling to do it justice. Instead, a ball of rainbow energy swirled around and around as the song came to its climax.

Then, just after the last line. There was a flash as a streak of rainbow energy blasted from the swirling ball. It enveloped the holographic sirens before engulfing the stage entirely.

Finally, there was a blinding white flash from all the lights as a finale and the song ended.

As everypony’s eyes readjusted, they could see the holograms had disappeared completely. Adagio, Aria and Sonata grinned as they stood on the stage. No longer floating and without the fake wings. It also seemed that they had somehow managed to change costume!

After a few moments, there was an eruption of applause throughout the audience.

“Thank you everypony and dragon,” Adagio smiled. “That was a reconstruction of our last defeat which took place many, many moons ago during Equestria’s time of harmony.”

“We’ve not been defeated since then,” Aria smirked.

“Mainly because we’ve not needed defeating,” Sonata responded. “Since then, we’ve turned our lives around.”

“Well, yes,” Aria admitted. “But I wasn’t going to tell them that.”

“Well maybe you ought to,” Adagio grinned. “Second chances are often wonderful things. Anycreature can make mistakes, and we are so fortunate that Runcord decided to take us in.”

“Now, we want to address something,” Aria said seriously. “Some unrest that’s come to our attention regarding a pony that you’ve just seen defeat us.”

“We want to set the records straight,” Adagio continued. “To do that, we’d like to invite Sunset Shimmer herself here to speak to you all, if she would like to.”

Sunset looked at Sunny, Zipp, and Misty with determination in her eyes. She didn’t need to say anything, they immediately knew that there would be no stopping her going to the stage.

“I’m coming with you,” Sunny said. “Somepony needs to explain, and you can’t remember anything about it.”

“Thanks Sunny,” Sunset smiled as her horn glowed and she teleported the pair of them.

Sunset and Sunny appeared on the stage next to Adagio with a flash. Adagio smiled as she covered the microphone. “I knew you’d come,” she said. “Whatever rumours are swirling I know they can’t be true.”

“Depends how you look at it,” Sunset admitted. “Quickly answer me one thing, how are you…”

“…Still here?” Adagio guessed. “Seems if those from Equestria spend enough time in the human world they stop aging.”

Sunset’s eyes widened as more questions formed in her mind. However, she put those to one side as she noticed the audience was getting restless. She smiled and nodded to Adagio as she went to move towards the microphone. However, Sunny got there before her.

“Just before you hear from Sunset herself. I wanted to put things into context for you all,” Sunny announced. “It is true that both Zephyr Heights and Maretime Bay were attacked by a pony who wore Sunset’s cutie mark. Even the Dragon Lands were attacked by this pony. However, that pony was not Sunset, at least not in mind. Know that whatever events took place, Sunset has no recollection of them at all.”

Rumbles of confusion emanated from the crowd. Many unsure of what they were hearing, how could somepony not be there in mind? How could she not remember? Others looked at the photos of the pony on their phones, they looked completely different to the one stood onstage.

Sunny smiled and stood to one side allowing Sunset to gratefully step forwards to the microphone.

“Thank you, Sunny,” she smiled. “Everypony, firstly I want to introduce myself to you all. I am Sunset Shimmer, at one time a student of Princess Celestia and now a pony who lives as a human in an alternate world. You may have seen the livestreams from Princess Pipp, how my friend Starlight Glimmer and I were brought here from our own time. It seems our reason for being here has been fulfilled and soon we’ll be heading back. However, before I go, I wanted to make it clearer to you all what happened to me whilst I was here.”

As Sunset stopped to collect her thoughts, a murmuring sound went through the crowd.

“In short, I was captured by Opaline,” she continued. “I attempted to escape but failed. As a result, she was able to cast a spell on me using historical artifacts. Such spells tend to be extremely powerful and potent. As a result, as Sunny mentioned, I have no memory of what happened from that point. All I know is Opaline turned me into something. What that was, I don’t know. Apparently, there are photos of it flying around on social media. However, I’ve not yet had chance to look at them. Fortunately, Sunny and her friends were able to rescue me.”

She smiled as Sunny returned to the microphone to take over.

“It was using the Elements of Unity that my friends, and I, were able to save Sunset,” she explained. “We used them to defeat, the evil mind-controlled pony that Opaline had made Sunset into and turned her back to normal. The pony that was responsible for the attacks many of you are upset about is Opaline and she has already been punished. My friends and I will also be dealing with the artifacts to ensure that they cannot be used against Equestria in the future.”

“So hopefully that has set the record straight,” Adagio smiled. “Now who’s ready for some more music?”

A round of applause and cheering erupted from the crowd whilst Sunset smiled gratefully at Sunny and Adagio. Adagio winked back before Sunny and Sunset started to make their way offstage so the music could continue.

Marking the Generations – Part Four (2024)
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