The two rainbow-maned, blue-coated pegasi stared at each other. Dash couldn't believe what she was seeing. She'd always felt she was unique: not just the tripe parents fed their foals about "everypony being special in their own way", but because ponies with naturally many-colored manes were fairly rare, and she had never met another pony that shared the same shades that were her namesake. Even worse... even worse, this pony was her – the same face, the same coat, the same rose-hued eyes she saw every morning in the mirror.
A wave of vertigo swept over her, as though she'd been riding a thermal a mile up and lost it suddenly, plummeting down; she scrambled to regain control, to stay calm, to figure out what the hay was going on.
This wasn't her. This... other self looked grimmer than she ever had: there was a hard set to her jaw, a tightness around the eyes, and the eyes themselves, well... she knew she'd never looked so cold and calculating. There was darkness there
Twilight slid to a halt against the base of one of the computational stacks, groaning as the rough-hewn stone floor scraped her hide. She looked up to scold Dash for her rash behavior but saw nothing – her friend was gone.
Luna looked horrified. "That device – it fired a blast of energy and she... she dissolved." The princess turned to Twilight. "It would have hit you, had she not intervened. What is this? Some new teleportation spell?"
Twilight pushed herself to her hooves. "Celestia’s notes didn’t say anything about this... but there’s no way Celestia would create something that destroys ponies, so Rainbow must be safe, wherever she is." She moved back to the master console, inspecting the display, mentally retracing her steps. "I had been running through the Princess’s commands, re-entering them one at a time to see what they did. There was no indication in her available research that a comp
Rainbow Dash surged forward, glaring at Applejack’s tail bobbing just in front of her. "Come on, Rainbow... show ’em a little Dash!" she muttered to herself as she put on an extra burst of speed, pulling abreast of her challenger. Red, orange, and yellow leaves rained down around them as they pounded down the dirt path that snaked through Whitetail Wood. As Rainbow came up alongside Applejack, she glanced over and their eyes met for an instant – hard determination gleamed in each – and suddenly Dash was in the air, catapulting forward, watching the ground spin beneath her as she tumbled, a confused AJ looking on, landing flat on her back, wings spread, looking back the way she’d come at a gnarled tree root that had broken through the surface of the dirt.
With a start, Dash tumbled out of bed, landing flat on her back, wings spread, and groaned. "That... is getting really old." Ever since their first grudge match years ago,