Friends Forever

by Shadowmane PX-41

A Time-Honoured Friendship

Sunset Shimmer sat on the steps of Canterlot High, scribbling down equations and assignment answers in her book. Ever since the events at Camp Everfree, things had settled down incredibly quickly for the students at Canterlot High. Students had gone back to their daily routines, chatting with each other and quickly forgetting about the past.

For Sunset, however, everything had been everything but normal. Now that she and her friends had control of their new magic from the crystals of the Everfree Forest, it had become increasingly difficult for them to hide their powers from the rest of the world. There had been a few incidental slip-ups from her and the others, but they had managed to keep it under wraps as best as they could.

After writing down the last answer to the questions in her notebook, she pulled her head from the pages and looked over at the Canterlot High statue, and the portal to Equestria that it housed. Every time she got a glance of the glass pane that connected the human world to Equestria, she always thought of Princess Twilight on the other side. What she hadn't seen for the longest time was the small crack on the top and the trace amounts of magical energy that leaked out from time to time.

"What's up, Sunset?"

Sunset turned her head to see the other Twilight Sparkle sitting down next to her. "I'm fine. How about you?"

"Good, good." Twilight opened her book and pulled out a pencil, sharpener, and worksheet. She examined the first question and began writing down the answers as well as her calculations. "Today's algebra lesson was nothing too special. Just a simple reminder of SOH CAH TOA."

"Yeah, that's a real toughie. Took me about a week to master it, let alone understand it." Sunset let off a soft chuckle as she put her hands behind her head. "But, hey. At least it's better than having to deal with magic, right?"

"Yes. I agree" Twilight raised a brow at Sunset. "Heck, the trip to Camp Everfree was only a couple of months after the Friendship Games. Who's to say that magic won't just come crawling back next month? Or the month after that? And when it does return, who knows what kind of monster could be controlling it?"

"I'm sure it's nothing we can't handle, though." Sunset gave a smile and pulled out a book with her emblem on it. She brushed off the dust with the back of her hand and opened it up, flipping through many blank pages. "And besides. We've got our own magic and a contact to the other you on standby. If things go wrong, we can always fight fire with fire."

"I just wish you wouldn't call it that." Twilight continued to jot down answers on her papers. "That term brings back bad memories for me." She shuddered.

"Sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to bring back memories of the Friendship Games." Sunset pushed her arms out and looked back at the portal. The absence of the once majestic horse sculpture on top served as a reminder of that day.

"It's alright. I know you didn't mean it." Twilight put her hand on Sunset's hand and gently clutched it. "I'm not afraid of Midnight anymore, thanks to you. It's still the memories of Cinch and the other Crystal Prep students that won't go away."

"Cinch ingrained the thought of winning into their heads and manipulated you for her own gains. I'm sure the students themselves didn't mean to hurt you." Sunset turned her head towards the city. "And besides, they're different now, thanks to us. Not only did we save the world again, but we managed to change Crystal Prep for the better."

"I suppose we do have that solace to take from it..." Twilight's eyelids opened slightly as she turned her head toward the city as well. "If you and your friends hadn't let that magic slip, we wouldn't have become friends or saved Camp Everfree. That's the one solace that I can take from that day."

"Yeah. You see? It's not all bad." Sunset looked into Twilight's eyes and held onto her hand. "Magic can be used to create friendships just as much as it can defeat villains. When you look past the potential threats, you can see so much potential within."

"I know what you're getting at, Sunset." Twilight nodded gently. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. What others may see as terror and fear, we might see something truly wonderful. It just comes down to whether or not you want to make it good or make it bad." She then shook her head and looked down at her legs. "But after everything that's happened, I'm still not convinced that magic's all good in this world."

"Hey. We'll be fine." Sunset patted Twilight's back and turned her head to her book. "Just don't be quick to jump to conclusions. I did back when I first came here and things got pretty nasty at the Fall Formal..."

"I heard the whole story from your friends," said Twilight. "Looks like you and I have something in common, don't we? We both used magic to get what we thought we wanted, and in the end it turned us into something right out of a nightmare." She shook her head, brushing off the thoughts of what she and Sunset had become in the past. "But look at us now! We've both used magic again, and this time, it saved the world instead of destroying it!"

"You're right, Twilight." Sunset was about to continue with her talk, when she got a better look at Twilight. After gazing at her for a few seconds, her smile faded as she hung her head and let a long sigh slip from her lips. "It just isn't the same, is it?"

"What isn't the same?" Twilight asked.

"You. It's just... How do I explain this?" Sunset's shoulders slumped down as she looked up to the portal. "No matter how much I try to come to terms with everything that's happened, I know that you'll never be able to replace the Twilight back in Equestria. My Twilight. That doesn't mean that you're not as good as her, but I still can't really feel as strong a bond with you than I do with her."

"Sunset. I can understand why you'd think that, considering that I was playing for the wrong crowd at the Friendship Games." Twilight slowly began to rub Sunset's shoulders as she shuffled in closer towards her. "But the past is in the past. There's no changing it now. Whatever differences I might have, I'm really sorry for it."

"No. It's fine. You don't have to apologise, Twilight." Sunset shook her head, but knew deep down that she wasn't the one that she had used to know. She might have shared the same face, but she barely knew her new friend. "You are who you are. I can't change that. But I'm still having trouble trying to accept you over the other you."

"I'm still a little new to this whole magic business, but I know what you're talking about all too well." Twilight's eyes drifted towards what remained of the Canterlot High statue and the portal beneath it. "It must be hard trying to accept someone who tries their best to be the friend you used to know, but ends up being entirely different."

"Still, I wish that she could come around for one more day, just to see how much things have changed for us." Sunset began to picture the Twilight Sparkle of Equestria in her mind, walking out of the portal as a human being with Spike running by her side. "I'm sorry, Twilight. I've been trying to cope with this change, but I can't. Truth is, I miss the other you too much."

"Well, if you miss her, then why don't you go and see her?" Twilight placed her hand on Sunset's shoulder. "I'm sure that a long chat with my doppelganger should clear your head a little." Suddenly, the bell rang loudly throughout the front courtyard. "I gotta go. Are you coming?"

"You go on ahead. I'll catch up." Sunset waved Twilight off as her gaze shifted to the book.

"Okay. Don't take too long, though." Twilight waved back as she went back into the school.

When Twilight left, Sunset took another look at the portal. She might have made friends with the human counterpart, but it was the Twilight on the other side that she had grown more accustomed to. Despite the fact that she hadn't seen her since the aftermath of the Friendship Games, she was still in touch with her constantly, sending messages back and forth between her world and Equestria. She took out a pen and began to write down on a blank page in the book.

Dear Twilight,

How are you? Doing well, I hope.

Yeah. Things have been pretty crazy for us here at Canterlot High. The whole trip to Camp Everfree didn't really go quite as well as we'd thought, and now magic's been on our minds for weeks on end. As for the rest of the world? It's pretty quiet as far as quiet goes. Nothing new's spiked up for a while now, and the other you settled in pretty well here. Though, as good as that all is, I do miss you. I'm hoping that I can come home for a quick visit, just to see how everything's getting on with you back in Equestria.

Your friend,
Sunset Shimmer.

As soon as she put down the full stop. Sunset paused momentarily. You know what? To heck with it! She stood up and waltzed over to the portal's glass pane, taking all of her personal belongings with her. She put her hand on the portal and watched it ripple. Why shouldn't I be allowed to come home? I miss my Twilight and I want to see her so badly!

She pushed her arm through the portal, seeing it sink even more into the gateway. Taking a massive breath, Sunset swallowed and barrelled herself straight through. She didn't even look back at the school as her whole body tumbled through the shimmering vortex.

Seconds after Sunset left, the crack on top of the statue's base began to leak, spilling magic out in all directions. Some of it draped down the sides of the portal, striking the glass as it continued to shake and wobble. The colour changed repeatedly throughout the entire spectrum before a short blast of white light stopped the flow of magic and restored the glass pane to normal.

Sunset Shimmer's eyes were shut as she flew through the blinding light. She just hurtled through the many different colours before a final flash took her into another world. Even with her eyelids firmly shut, all she could see was white as her body began to transform. Her human body quickly morphed into that of a pony's body, with a long horn, four yellow hooves, and a Cutie Mark in the shape of a sun. The one thing that she didn't notice, though, was that her bag had disappeared.

As the light dissipated, she bounced on something soft momentarily and landed on her back. The impact shot her eyes open, and she could see the glass where she had entered the room from. At that moment, bedsheets quickly covered her eyes and blotted out whatever vision she could see. She scrambled to get the covers off and sat on her haunches.

"Hang on a minute..." Sunset looked around the room as hard as she could. "This doesn't look like Equestria."

Sunset could already ascertain that she was in a bedroom, given that she had just taken some bedsheets off of her face. What she hadn't noticed was the actual room itself. There were purple walls with stickers in the shape of stars on the ceiling, a fuchsia-coloured floor that had been recently cleaned, and a lack of windows. She looked up and saw that she had actually fallen through a skylight instead of a portal.

"Where am I?" Sunset stood up on all fours and looked around. As soon as she was back on her hooves, she noticed that the bed was slightly bigger in height than she was. "What the? Who needs a bed that big? Honestly?" She walked around the bed and noticed that there was a pink duvet underneath the sheets that she had just taken off, with a white pillow on top of another one lying neatly at the end of it. She looked back and saw the sheets that she had pulled off her face. They were pink and had cartoon girls drawn on them, all giving off warm and comfortable smiles.

"Wait a minute. Am I in a filly's bedroom?" Sunset's eyes widened as she ran around the rest of the room, looking at the other stuff that adorned the room. There was a small plastic table with papers and crayons, a massive toy chest, and a computer desk with a pink chair sitting by it. "Hold on. A computer? But those don't exist in Equestria. At least, not to my knowledge...

"But still, there's one more important question." Sunset ran into the middle of the room and threw her neck skyward. "How in the world did I GET SO SMALL?!"

Suddenly, there came a knock from the bedroom door, followed by a shrill, young voice. "Hello? Is anyone in there?"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Sunset recognized the voice instantly. "Twilight? Is that you? Thank Celestia!" She galloped over and used her magic to open the door. "I'm just glad that it's you and not ano—"

Twilight Sparkle was standing on the other side of the door, but it wasn't the one that she had been expecting to see. There, standing before her, was a much younger version of the human world's Twilight Sparkle. She was wearing yellow pajamas with pink hearts scattered all over them and pink slippers on her feet. Her glasses were non-existent but her hair was still tied up in a ponytail with a pink band keeping it in place. She was holding a stuffed toy's arm in the palm of her left hand and a small book in the other.

"GAAAH!" Sunset screamed, lurching backwards at the young Twilight.

"AAGH!" Twilight recoiled as well at the sight of seeing a small unicorn in the room.

"Uh... Um..." Sunset's eyes darted all around her at the sight of the younger Twilight standing before her. Sweat began to slide down her forehead as she ran back into the room and jumped into the toy chest, spilling some of the toys inside. She used her magic to close it up and ducked underneath the other contents.

Twilight tilted her head slightly, bringing her hand close to her mouth. She waddled towards the toy chest, closing the door behind her. She put the book down onto the bed and held onto her plush animal with both her hands now.

"Hello?" Twilight reached out towards the toy chest. "Are you in there?" she asked, putting her hand on the top of the box. "Don't be scared. I'm not going to hurt you."

Sunset could only watch as the chest opened up. She could feel her heart pounding tremendously as she shivered and quaked on the spot, rustling the toys all around her. Her breathing became heavier the more the box was opened to the point where she was gasping like an actual horse.

With a quick push, Twilight threw the lid open, revealing the toys inside. She could see them all shaking and jolting around as Sunset neglected to move an inch. "Come on, Smarty Pants. Let's find our mystery friend." She chuckled and raked the toys aside, revealing Sunset's body and flanks.

"Please don't hurt me..." Sunset quivered as Twilight fully unearthed her from the box. "Just let me go. I'll go back to my world and leave you alone if you want."

"Hey. Who are you?" Twilight put her plush down and reached into the box with both hands, wrapping them around Sunset and pulling her out. She could see that Sunset was as tall as her chest and gently put her down on all fours.

"You're just like her, but you're even younger." Sunset got another glance of the child and yelped, almost jumping out of her skin. "This is all wrong. I went through the portal to Equestria. Why in the world would it send me here instead?"

"Equestria? What are you talking about?" asked the young Twilight. "You're on Earth, silly!"

"Earth? But it's not possible." Sunset looked down at her hooves. "I'm a pony. I must be in Equestria, I MUST be."

"A rather cute little pony too." Twilight giggled and pulled Sunset into a tight hug. "I'm going to call you Sweetie Pie and feed you sugarcubes, play with your mane, and it's gonna be lots of fun!" She hugged Sunset so tight that she didn't even notice her choking for air. Once she did, she immediately let go and watched her collapse like a ragdoll. "Oh! Sorry! Are you alright?"

"Y-yeah... I'm fine." Sunset got back onto her feet and looked back at Twilight. Taking a few deep breaths, she brushed down her chest with her hooves and turned towards the human. "So, where am I if I'm not in Equestria?"

"You're on planet Earth." Twilight sat down and crossed her legs. "Is this Equestria place your home?"

"Well, yes and no, really. It's a long story." Sunset brushed the back of her head, wondering whether or not Twilight would be able to understand. "See, I wanted to go back to Equestria to say hi to an old friend of mine. Someone who I really appreciated and respected for making me who I am. But something's gone horribly wrong. I didn't even make it back home and yet I'm still a pony. A pony on a world inhabited by humans." She sighed. "I guess you could say that I'm lost."

"Oh no!" Twilight gasped and brought her hand to her mouth again, standing up to give Sunset a more sympathetic hug. "Well, I'd be glad to help you get home, little pony."

"I have a name, you know. It's Sunset Shimmer." She broke out of the hug and held out her hoof towards the young Twilight.

"Nice to meet you, Sunset. My name is Twilight Sparkle." She held out her own hand and shook Sunset's hoof, smiling as she stared into her eyes. "So, how do we get you home?"

"Well..." Sunset looked up at the skylight. "Unless you can push me up there, I don't think I'll be getting home anytime soon."

"Oh! Is that where you came in from?" Twilight pointed over to it and took a few steps forward. "It's a really pretty window, isn't it?"

"It's not a window. It's a skylight." Sunset face-hoofed and shook her head. "But... now that I look at it, it does seem like my best shot of getting out of here."

"It looks pretty high up." Twilight's hand remained by her face as she eyed up the glass hanging above their heads. "And we're pretty itty-bitty. Even if I stood up and bounced on the bed, I don't think we'd be able to get up there..."

"Well, never say never." Sunset turned away from the skylight and began to search the room. "Come on. Help me find something to stack on top of your bed."

"Okay!" She beamed, picked up her plush, and chased after Sunset as she energetically looked in the different cupboards, closets, and drawers. Her childish nature was on full display as she took quick glances inside each different drawer, cupboard, and box she could see.

"Oh, and before I get sidetracked, what year is it?" Sunset quickly pulled her head from the drawer, failing to notice that she had unintentionally hooked one of Twilight's underpants with one of her ears.

"It's the year 2007." Twilight walked over and took the frilly pink undergarment off of Sunset's ear, sliding it back in with the others.

"And... how old are you?" Sunset cocked a brow at the little girl as she closed the drawer up. "Sorry for all of the questions. I'm just trying to get out of here as fast as I can."

"Oh, it's no worry." Twilight smiled and gently squeezed Smarty Pants in her arms. She ran over to her book and picked it up, showing the mildly-decorated cover to Sunset's face. "I'm eight years old and just started at second grade."

2007? Eight years old? Second grade? Sunset scratched her chin and blankly stared at the young Twilight. But that can only mean that I've travelled ten years into the past! Twilight was eighteen before I went through the portal! When she noticed that she hadn't moved, she took a small step forward with her hooves. But that doesn't explain why I'm a tiny pony instead of a human like her.

"Hey, Sunny?" Twilight put the book back where it was, sliding it gently beside the lamp as she ran back over to Sunset. "Are all ponies just as adorable as you are?"

And that's another thing. Sunset remained in her train of thought. Despite the fact that Twilight had asked her a question, she was still having trouble processing everything she had heard. How come the Twilight of this time is so playful and carefree? Of all of the stuff she told me about when she was a kid, she never brought up her attitude back then. Seriously, I could be stuck like this with Pinkie Pie and it'd be no different.

"I don't know if adorable is really the word I would use." Sunset emerged from her thoughts. She looked up at the girl and squinted her left eye. "Anyway, have you found anything for us to use to get me back home?"

"Nope. Nothing yet." She went over to the nearby closet and hummed a tuneless song to herself. She checked the walls and bottom of the compartment, feeling her head graze against the soft linens and fabrics of her clothes.

"Also, why did you call me Sunny?" Sunset stood behind Twilight and gently poked her back. Her actions attracted the attention of Twilight and she looked up at her eyes again. "It's Sunset. Sunset Shimmer."

"Because Sunny sounds way more cuter than Sunset." Twilight chuckled and went back into the closet.

"Just keep looking. We're bound to find something strong and sturdy to help me get back to my world." Sunset walked away from Twilight and went back to searching the room. She knew that there had to be at least one thing to hold her up, and she wouldn't rest until she found it.

"Twilight? Can I speak with you?"

There was another knocking on the door, and Sunset Shimmer froze up entirely. She was a pony in a world inhabited by humans. Words could not describe how she thought Twilight's mother would feel if she let herself get caught. She looked around for somewhere to hide and even tried to duck underneath the bed, but there was nothing that she could do to escape.

"Coming, Mommy!" Twilight dropped whatever she had picked up and ran over to the door as fast as her little legs could carry her. She barely even noticed Sunset's face tense up with sweat running down her forehead.

The door swung open and a woman, much larger and more casually dressed, came into Twilight's bedroom. She had grey skin, bright blue eyes, and white hair with two pink stripes. She looked around the room and sat on the bed with Twilight sitting down next to her.

"Mommy and daddy have to go out now to get the groceries." Twilight's mother wrapped her arm around Twilight's shoulders. "You be good for your big brother until we get back, alright?"

"Okay, Mommy." Twilight gave her a wide smile and looked behind the bed to try and find Sunset. "Sunny? Do you wanna see my big brother?"

"Who are you talking to, sweetie?" Twilight's mother turned her head around as well, examining the rest of the room.

"Huh? But she was just here a moment ago..." Twilight crawled across the bed and looked around for Sunset Shimmer. No matter where she looked and for how long it was, she couldn't see her at all. "Sunny? Where are you?"

"Well, anyway, we'll be back shortly." Twilight's mother tousled Twilight's hair, brushing some of it down over her face. She helped to straighten it again before she got back up and walked towards the door. "If you need anything at all, whether it's food, water, or a bath, Shining Armor will be glad to help you out." She grabbed onto the handle and blew Twilight a kiss. "Remember, Twilight. Mommy loves you."

"And I love my mommy!" She waved at her mother as she closed the door behind her.

When Twilight's mother left, Twilight went to pick up Smarty Pants. She held the doll close to her chest and briefly examined the room around her. A small smile appeared on her face and grew, until she let out a high-pitched giggle and looked around.

"Sunny? How did you know I love hide-and-seek?" She grinned, looking underneath the bed. She couldn't find Sunset anywhere and stood back up properly. "Ready or not, here I come!" she exclaimed and walked towards the toy chest where she had first found Sunset.

Twilight giggled and opened the chest, once more moving the toys inside around. She pushed them all to the side, creating a clear hole to the bottom. She felt around the hole, and the two separate piles that she had made, but Sunset wasn't anywhere. Shrugging, Twilight picked up the toys around her feet and put them in the hole that she had made, closing up the chest shortly afterwards.

"Sunny? Where are you?" she sing-songed as she tip-toed across the carpet, her eyes drifting off in different directions every few seconds. She held onto Smarty Pants and checked underneath her computer desk for Sunset, only to find darkness. "I'm gonna find you!"

Twilight toddled over towards the closet where she had searched before and opened the door, feeling around for any of Sunset's hair or fur. She was about to touch the wall when her hand stopped halfway. It was like she was touching an invisible barrier, or something was was pushing her back.

"Ah... Ah... ACHOO!" Sunset sneezed heavily, appearing before Twilight instantaneously. The sneeze lit up her horn, and it enveloped the girl in a split second, throwing her against the bed. Sunset stepped out of the closet and saw that Twilight had been launched onto her bed. "Uh, Twilight? You okay?"

There was a brief silence from Twilight after Sunset had used her magic on her. She simply gazed up at the skylight and star-covered ceiling and tilted her head forward. She saw Sunset's horn glow quickly vanish as the pony walked up to her.

"Did I hurt you? I'm sorry." Sunset jumped onto the bed and looked at Twilight's arms and legs, checking for any cuts or bruises.

Twilight simply let a small giggle slip from her mouth. It developed into a chuckle and then to a full-blown laugh as she flailed her arms and legs wildly. She sat back up and turned to face Sunset. "That was super-duper fun!" She beamed, clapping her hands. "Do it again! Do it again!"

"Fun?!" Sunset's jaw dropped at Twilight's merriment. She had just blasted Twilight across the room and it provoked laughter instead of fear or sadness. "I was trying to hide from your mom!"

"Yeah, I know. Hide-and-seek's fun too—especially when you're hiding from Mommy and Daddy!" Twilight still smiled, but she had calmed down by a fair margin.

"No, that's not what I—" Sunset sighed and shook her head "—forget it. We should get back to work. The clock's ticking, and I don't want to overstay my welcome."

"Silly Sunny. You don't burn time." Twilight pointed towards the clock. "It's far too high to burn. Remember; we're itty-bitty."

"No, I... Y'know, it—Ugh!" Sunset choked on her own words as she tried to recompose herself. She knew that Twilight had always been smart before, but the more she listened to the eight-year-old, the more dramatic the contrast between the two of them became. "It's just a figure of speech, alright?" Sighing, she climbed off of the bed and went over to the chest, picking it up with her magic.

"Ooh..." Twilight cooed and leaned closer to Sunset, looking at the magic on full display. "Pretty!"

"Just play along, Sunset. She's never seen magic before," she muttered to herself. "And who knows? This could be the perfect way for me to get out of here and back home." Sunset turned to face Twilight, lifting the toy chest through the air. "So, Twilight? First time seeing real magic from a talking pony. What do you think?"

"Super-cool! Much better than those magic shows Mommy and Daddy take me to!" Twilight gave a small, yet rapid and enthusiastic series of claps. "More! More! I wanna learn all about your magic!"

Well, she's certainly much more enthusiastic about it than the Twilight I know. Sunset smiled and put the toy chest back where it was. "Oh, that was nothing. Let me show you something really cool." She used her horn to coat herself in a blue aura. Her eyes shot open, and with a flash of light, she was gone. "Tada! Spell of invisibility."

"You can turn invisible too? That's so amazing!" Twilight jumped off of the bed and stared at the thin air where Sunset used to be. "Ooh! Wait right there! I've gotta write this down!" She ran over to the small table and took a sheet of paper and black crayon. She quickly wrote down the spells that Sunset Shimmer could pull off, leaving little stars beside each example. "Do more! I wanna know everything!"

Well, at least she still loves to learn. Sunset shrugged and rematerialised before Twilight. "It's been a while since I've done these last few spells, so I apologise in advance if I'm a bit rusty."

"It's okay. I love learning." Twilight cooed and twirled her crayon around in her fingers.

"Alright, Sunset. You can do this." She took in some deep breaths and concentrated on the spell she was trying to cast. "You haven't been back to Equestria since the Fall Formal, but you're still a strong unicorn at heart. Now let's impress this little Twilight so we can both get back to finding a way out of here."

Sunset Shimmer closed her eyes and let magic pour out of her horn. She fired a bolt of magic at the door and watched as the door transformed into a massive slice of cheese. Snapping her neck over to another part of the room, she launched a spell at one of the toys on the ground, turning it into a rock. With a final bolt of magic, she shot directly over Twilight's head to the wall, watching as the bolt bounced around the room and landed on the chair Twilight had been sitting on. With a few shakes and a blast of light, the chair had transformed into small giraffe that stood up, lifting Twilight up higher than the table itself.

"Whoa..." Twilight's jaw dropped as she slid off of the giraffe's back and landed on her slippers. She drew "Transformation Spells" on her paper and ran over to Sunset. "Sunny, you're incredible!"

Sunset opened her eyes and jumped when Twilight patted her on the back. With a gasp, everything that she had transformed returned to normal. "Y-yeah. I guess I am." She rubbed the back of her head as she looked around and caught a tiny glimpse of what she had done. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea I could do that. Guess I'm a more powerful unicorn than I thought...

"Do you have any more tricks that I can see?" Twilight asked.

"Maybe later, but right now, we really need to get back to work." Sunset used her magic to stack the toy chest and the table on top of each other, taking the crayons and paper off and putting them down on the ground. She was about to put the stack on top of Twilight's bed when she heard another knock coming from the door.

"Twily? Can I come in?"

"Of course, Shiny!" Twilight ran over to the door again and put her hand on the handle. "I want you to meet my newest friend, Sunny!"

Sunset quickly put the chest and table back where they were, returning the crayons and sheets of paper as well. She watched Twilight dash over to the door to let her brother in. Lighting up her horn again, Sunset made herself invisible and slid underneath the table.

Twilight opened the door, and her brother, Shining Armor, walked into the room. He was a well-kept teenager with white skin and blue hair. He wore a black bag around his shoulders, a purple suit and tie, and equally clean black trousers. He walked over to the bed and sat down, dropping his bag down by the bed's edge, with her jumping on next to him.

"What is it, Shiny?" Twilight asked and innocently flapped her eyelashes.

"I just wanted to see how you were doing." Shining Armor gave Twilight's hair a little ruffle. "Is it so wrong for big brothers to check on their little sisters?"

"It kinda is." Twilight blushed and rubbed the back of her head. "Especially when they interrupt playtime with Sunny."

"Sunny?" Shining Armor began searching the room for Sunset Shimmer but found nothing out of the ordinary. "Is that one of your imaginary friends, Twily? You always did have an active imagination..."

"Sunny's not imaginary. She's a real pony from another world." Twilight raised her finger and smiled proudly. "And apparently, she really loves playing hide-and-seek."

"Well, wherever she's hiding, she's doing a pretty good job at it." Shining Armor chuckled and turned back towards Twilight. "But anyway, I was just going to ask if you wanted to do anything with me. Y'know, stuff like making cookies, doing homework, watching TV?"

"Sure, Shiny! Anything for you!" Twilight jumped up from the bed and ran over to the door. She opened it and held it open. "You go ahead. I'll grab Sunny and catch up."

"Alright, Twily. Just don't take too long, alright?" Shining Armor clicked his fingers and pointed at her, giving a chuckle as he stood up and went downstairs.

"C'mon, Sunny. Where are you?" Twilight closed the door and began looking around for Sunset again. She checked underneath the bed and felt the tip of Sunset's horn. "Are you being invisible again? You know that's considered cheating in hide-and-seek rules." She giggled and rubbed Sunset's muzzle.

"H-hey! Stop it!" Sunset's invisibility wore off, and she brushed Twilight's arm away. "Are you trying to get me caught by animal control?"

"Sunny? Why do you hide from Mommy and Shiny?" Twilight tilted her head to the side and crawled underneath the bed to join Sunset. "They're both lovely and caring, so why don't you want that?"

"Thing is, Twilight. A pony living with humans is a bit unorthodox in this world." Sunset Shimmer cleared her throat and looked over at the door. "If your mom or brother caught me, they would phone the animal control team who would take me away and lock me up in a box like a caged animal. Then I'd be sent away to the fields or a farm and I'd never be able to get back home." She raised her hoof and put it on Twilight's shoulders. "Look. If your family sees me, I'm gonna be stuck here forever, and it's only going to get worse for me if I do."

"Why? What do you mean?" Twilight asked.

"It's bad enough that I'm a horse living with humans, but if they were to find out that I could talk, they could autopsy me or use me in some weird experiments for sure." Sunset's hoof drifted down Twilight's shoulders and onto her chest. "It's like those sci-fi movies where aliens crash on this planet, get captured by the military, and get examined by soldiers in this super-secret research facility. I don't want to end up like that and that's why you can't show me to any of your family members." She looked Twilight in the eyes. "You see, I don't want to ruin our friendship."

"Friendship?" Twilight parroted. "But I've never had any friends apart from Smarty Pants..."

"Well now you do." Sunset held Twilight's hoof as closely as she could. "Just promise me one thing. Don't ever let your family see me, and we can be friends. Do you promise?"

"I promise!" Twilight grabbed Sunset's hoof with both of her hands and shook vigorously. This went on for a moment before she stopped. "Um... So, what do friends do?"

"Well, how about for one, we go down and make some of those cookies your brother was talking about?" Sunset climbed out of the bed and walked over to the door.

"But didn't you just say I couldn't show you to my family?" Twilight shuffled out of the bed as well.

"Don't worry about that." Sunset turned herself invisible once again. Shortly afterward, her face, horn, and mane re-appeared. "I'm getting stronger control of this spell. I'll be able to hide myself for a while. Just go downstairs and act natural." Sunset walked out of the room and concealed the rest of herself once she was past the door.

"Come on, Smarty Pants. We're gonna have fun with our new friend, Sunny!" Twilight ran over to pick up her doll and shot out of the room, laughing all the way towards the stairs.

She was about to run down the stairs when she saw Sunset Shimmer's invisibility break once again. She saw the pony slide off the edge of one of the stairs and tumble down to the bottom, grunting and exclaiming with every bump. Twilight ran close behind Sunset and saw her land flat as a pancake on the ground, with bruises and bumps all over her body.

"Sunny! Are you okay?" Twilight threw her arms over Sunset's body and picked her head up.

"Why are the stairs so big in this world?" Sunset groaned and felt a clicking noise in the back of her neck. "Oh, darn it. I think I broke something."

"Twily? What happened?!" Shining Armor's voice resounded from the nearby kitchen.

"Just tell him the truth." Sunset gave a gentle whisper and made herself invisible. "It'll be fine. Trust me."

"Shiny! Sunny fell and hurt herself!" Twilight saw her brother walk up to her. "Do you have any bandages and plasters?"

"Right here." Shining Armor opened up a cupboard and produced a first-aid kit. He pulled it off of the shelves and opened it up, giving Twilight what she needed. "I hope this helps."

"It sure will, Shiny." Twilight took the bandages and ran back over to where Sunset Shimmer lay. She wrapped her arms around Sunset's chest and carried her around the corner towards the nearby couch, propping her head up with a pillow. "You're in luck, Sunny. I love playing doctor as well!"

"You, a doctor?" Sunset chuckled lightly through her pain. "That I'd like to see."

"Wait right here." Twilight picked up Smarty Pants and laid him down next to Sunset. "I'll be right back." And with that, Twilight ran up the stairs.

Sunset picked up the doll and brought it close to her, taking an extra close look at all of the different parts. The doll's right button eye was slightly detatched from its face, but the rest of the doll was structurally sound. Despite the ragged shape it was in, it was still soft to the touch, and Sunset could feel the fur brushing against her own whenever her hoof glided across it.

"Hey, little guy." Sunset stroked the doll's hair and looked it in the eyes. "Name's Sunset." She watched the doll lazily flop down onto her chest. "Not much of a talker, are you? That's fine. You're just a toy, after all. Something to bring amusement to little Twilight. And just look at me. I'm a horse stuck in another world ten years ago with lots of different humans much bigger than me." She let out a weary sigh and leaned back into the pillow. "At least we've got one thing in common, don't we? We both care for Twilight and keep her happy. That's all that we could ever ask for."

"I'm back!" Twilight ran down the stairs wearing a white hat with a red cross on it, as well as a white apron around her body. She was holding a book in one hand and the bandages in the other. "Nurse Twily is on the job! Caring for plush toys and pony friends alike!"

"Heh." Sunset gave off a weak and strained chuckle. "Oh, help me, Nurse Twily. I've got some terrible bumps and bruises!" She acted, throwing her hoof onto her forehead and looking up to the ceiling. So this must be what it's like to be as over-dramatic as Rarity...

"Don't worry, little pony friend." Twilight picked up some bandages and felt Sunset's wounds, causing her spell to be cut off momentarily. "Just let me know where it hurts and I'll do all that I can to help."

"Well, I feel like I've got a bit of a concussion, some cuts on my legs, and some bruises all over." Sunset explained her injuries in great detail, pointing to each part of her body that hurt her the most. "Do you think you can help me with that?"

"Well, it's a tough job, but luckily, this doctor's manual has all of the answers." Twilight flipped open the book and scrolled through the multiple pages until she found the first of Sunset's ailments. "First things first is that we're gonna have to stop the bleeding. Some force applied onto the cuts should help."

Sunset lay perfectly still while Twilight pushed down both of her hands hard onto the cuts on her legs. She winced as the stings of each cut resonated with Twilight's touch, but the pressure that she was applying to each wound quickly nullified the pain. At first, she had been dreading the thought of her injuries being tended to by an eight-year-old, but as the pain in her legs began to dwindle, she felt more and more confident of going through with the procedure.

"According to this book, the best way to heal a cut is to stop the flow of blood. Applying pressure for long enough should minimize, and maybe even stop it most of the time." She took two of the bandages and put them over Sunset's cuts. "There we go. And a little kiss to make it all better." She kissed the bandages that she had just applied.

"What now?" Sunset asked.

"Now, I wash my hands. It's not a good idea to have bloody hands during a doctor's appointment." She walked over to the sink and reached up at Shining Armor. "Shiny? Can you help me up?"

Shining Armor jumped at the sight of Twilight's hands, but regained his composure shortly after. "Oh, sure thing, Twily." He took a chair from the kitchen table and propped it up against the sink. He helped Twilight climb onto the chair and got the water running. "Now, remember what mom always said—"

"I know, I know. Scrub long and scrub hard, and you can hit those germ monsters hard!" Twilight giggled and ran her hands underneath the tap, with Shining Armor giving her soap to apply a fresh scent. "I never forget Mommy's teachings."

Sunset Shimmer poked her head from around the corner and watched Twilight and Shining Armor. After everything that she had seen, she still had a hard time trying to figure out the eight-year-old girl out. First, she had been dressing wounds, and now she was playing with her brother. The instant transition between the two mindsets was something that left Sunset thinking. She had always known Twilight to be a smart girl, but she had never thought that she could've been so carefree in her youth. But maybe that was because she had never asked before. As she let those thoughts sink in, she sighed and watched as Shining Armor and Twilight finished washing their hands.

"Thank you, Shiny." Twilight beamed and jumped down off of the chair. "Now I need to go and see how my patient is doing." She ran back to Sunset. "Once she's feeling better, we can get started on those cookies!"

"Heh. Children..." Shining Armor blushed at Twilight's antics and rubbed the back of his head.

"Hi, Sunny! Feeling better?" Twilight hung her body over Sunset's.

"Yeah. A little." Sunset looked down at her bandages. "Though, I don't suppose you know how to treat concussions..."

"Oh, I do." Twilight took another cushion and laid it behind the one that Sunset had her head propped on. "Just sit back and relax. It'll go away soon. Don't strain yourself, though. That's what causes it to get worse." She tapped at one of Sunset's bruises as well. "As for the bruises, the same rule applies. If you'd like, I could give you some cold towels after I'm done playing with Shiny."

"That'd be great, but first, I need to ask you something." Sunset drifted a hoof to Twilight's chest. "How can you be both a genius and an adorable kid at the same time? It just doesn't make any sense."

"Sunny, I might be smart, but I'm still an eight-year-old." She chuckled and pinched Sunset's cheeks. "Little kids like me are supposed to have fun, not just read for the sake of a head-start at high school or college. I can be smart if you want me to be, but I'm still going to find ways to play and have fun with it. That's what kids like us do. We work hard and play more!"

"But you're an eight-year-old girl and you don't even need your parents' help to do this!" Sunset threw her hooves out. "How can you be smart and fun-loving and childish at the same time?"

"Sunny, Sunny, Sunny. I'm not that smart yet." Twilight chuckled. "I still love reading and learning, but I've got a lot to do before I'm as smart and pretty as you are. I'm still just a kid at heart. And kids love to play more than they love to learn. Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't like learning any less than I do having fun. In fact, I think it's even more fun to do both!"

"Huh?" Sunset tilted her head.

"You'll see what I mean. But for now, just lay there and get some rest. You look like you need it." Twilight stroked Sunset's mane and went off to play with Shining Armor.

Sunset Shimmer could only watch from afar as Shining Armor and Twilight made some cookies together. She saw the two of them make the dough, coat it in chocolate, and then stuff it in the oven, sharing the utensils with each other and playing around with them once the work was finished. As she witnessed the two of them bonding with each other, she simply smiled at both of them.

A few minutes after Twilight and Shining Armor put the cookies in the oven, their parents came in with full bags of groceries. Together, the family put the items away quickly and efficiently. By the time that the job was done, the cookies had finally been baked, prompting Twilight and Shining Armor to retrieve them from the oven and lay them out on the counter.

"Sorry it took so long for us to get back, sweetie." Twilight's mother picked Twilight up and gave her a kiss on the forehead. "Traffic was a nightmare and this one guy had way too many items in his cart."

"It's okay, Mommy. I had lots of fun with Shiny and Sunny." Twilight held onto Shining Armor's hand once she had been put back down on the floor. "I played doctor with Sunny and made these yummy cookies with Shiny." She pointed over to the couch where Sunset lied, then snuggled up close to her brother.

"Well, it's good to know that you had fun." Twilight's dad, a well-groomed man with dark blue skin and hair and navy-blue suit, walked up to Twilight and tousled her hair.

"Before you go back upstairs, why don't you watch one of your cartoons?" Twilight's mother walked up to where Sunset Shimmer was lying and retrieved a slim black TV remote with multiple different coloured buttons. She pushed the big red button at the top, pointed the remote towards the TV, and turned on a brightly-coloured show with people dressed up in equally bright clothing. "It'll help you get prepared for your homework."

"Okay, Mommy!" Twilight ran on the spot and sat down in front of the TV with her legs crossed.

"Shining?" Twilight's dad tapped on Shining Armor's shoulders. "Do you think you could help me with something important in my office?"

"Sure thing, Dad." Shining Armor followed his father up the stairs, away from Twilight, her mom, and Sunset Shimmer.

"What the heck is this?" Sunset Shimmer shimmied off of the couch and crawled up next to Twilight.

"This is a cartoon, Sunny." Twilight wrapped her arm around Sunset's body. "It's a source of entertainment for kids like me. Often full of silly and nonsensical stuff, these shows really put a smile on my face."

"A cartoon?" Sunset raised an eyebrow at the show. "I've heard of them, but I must say that I've never actually seen one myself."

"Just sit back and enjoy the show, Sunny. And don't be afraid to play and sing along as well." Twilight held onto her knees with her eyes fixated on the cartoon.

Sunset and Twilight sat next to each other, watching the cartoon as much as they could. Their entire viewing experience consisted of jokes, educational sections on mathematics and English, and a few songs mixed in later on. Despite the wacky and zany antics that went on in the show, every part of the program followed a plot.

Sunset Shimmer didn't catch on with most of the jokes, but she could hear Twilight giggling whenever one was told. She pried her eyes away from the show and saw Twilight's wide smile. It was a side of her that Sunset had never seen before; a side of innocence, youth, and being completely carefree.

"You really like this sort of stuff, don't you?" Sunset smirked at Twilight once she sat back down after the song had ended.

"Yeah! It's really fun! You should give it a try, Sunny!" She clasped her hands together.

"No thanks. I'm not really as spontaneous as you are." She tipped her hoof and leaned back. "The show's pretty good, though, I have to admit. I never thought that such knowledge could be that easy to teach and to entertain children at the same time."

"Yeah. Like I said. It's even more fun to learn and play at the same time." Twilight wrapped her arm around Sunset's shoulders.

"You know, maybe I underestimated you a bit, Twilight." Sunset patted Twilight's chest and looked her in the eyes. "I thought that you were just another kid like all of the others, but you've definitely gone and proved me wrong. You can be smart, funny, positive, cheerful, and friendly all at once. If anything, I bet you'd make lots of new friends with those attributes."

"Really? Wow. Thanks, Sunny!" Twilight gave Sunset a small hug, lightly caressing her in her arms as she brushed her face against her new friend. "No one's ever said that to me before."

"No problem, Twilight." Sunset stroked Twilight's back and returned to watching the cartoon with her friend.

Once the show had come to an end and the credits began to roll, Sunset and Twilight walked back upstairs to their room. They went inside the room and closed the door, allowing Sunset to break her invisibility spell and fully reveal herself to Twilight once again.

"So, do you want to go home now, Sunny?" Twilight pointed to the skylight once again. "I can help you out if you want."

"Actually, Twilight, I want to give it a little more time." Sunset gave a smile and walked over to Twilight, almost bumping into her chest with how close she got. "I've really grown to like you after all that we've done together. Me showing you magic, you treating my injuries, and you being both funny and clever." She grabbed onto Twilight's hand and looked up at her. "Besides. That portal's not going anywhere anytime soon."

"Cool!" Twilight jumped on the spot and held onto Sunset's hoof, walking her over to the desk where her computer lied. "Do you want to help me with my homework?"

"Homework? Why not?" Sunset nodded.

Twilight Sparkle climbed onto her chair and sat down, propping her back against the rest as she opened up a bag and pulled out a white sheet of paper. On the paper were multiple questions with boxes for her to write down her answers. She reached over to a pencil holder and pulled out a black pen and clicked it with her thumb.

"Looks pretty basic to me." Sunset looked over the questions. They were mostly to do with math, but there were a few questions that involved Twilight having to write big numbers as words instead. "What do you want me to do?"

"I want you... to time me!" Twilight twirled her pen around in her hand and held it ready, pointing it over the first question. She used her free hand to grab a stopwatch and throw it over to Sunset.

"Whoa, wait! Time you?" Sunset fumbled about in trying to grab the watch and almost dropped it to the ground. She used her magic to grab the watch and place it in her hooves. "Don't you need my advice on some of these questions?"

Twilight let out yet another giggle. "Silly Sunny. I pretty much know all of the answers already. I just want you to time me and see how fast I can do it."

"Just how smart are you?" Sunset's mouth opened wide when she heard Twilight's response.

"I'm pretty smart." Twilight fluttered her eyelashes as she looked back at Sunset. "Now go on. Count me down from three. Or just say go. Whatever you think works."

"Uh... Alright." Sunset came closer to the desk and looked at all of Twilight's questions. "Just don't crash out and make a wrong answer, K?" She held the watch high with her magic. "Three. Two. One. Go!"

Twilight took the pen and rapidly began scribbling down the answers to her questions. She didn't even need to look at the full question and just wrote the numbers down one after another. She didn't break a sweat or grimace at any of the questions as she pounded out answer after answer. She had done this kind of stuff many times before and could mentally calculate numbers much faster than any of her classmates at school.

It was when she got to the questions that required her to turn numbers into words where she started to slow down, though, as she needed to read the numbers and find the right spellings. One wrong letter, and she would have to correct it, adding on to the time that she was trying to race again. Throughout the whole process, she didn't utter a single peep. Deep in concentration, she wanted to finish the work as fast as possible and without any distractions.

She made it to the final question, read it in a flash, and wrote down the final correct answer, slamming her pen down on the desk and raising the sheet of paper high into the air once she had done. "FINISHED!"

"That fast?" Sunset pressed the button on the stopwatch again, stopping the progressively increasing time. "A minute and twenty-five seconds and your homework's already done for the day?"

"Yep! I'm so smart that I could finish my homework for the rest of the year and—" she was about to grab another paper, but her finger slid across the edges so fast that it left a wide cut in her finger "—OWIE! Paper cut!" She moaned and put the cut finger into her mouth, sucking on it to try and ease the pain.

"Guess it's my turn to play doctor, isn't it?" Sunset walked over to Twilight and examined the cut, watching the blood begin to trickle out. "Hmm. Looks pretty bad. But, I think we have a solution for this. First, you should rinse the cut with cold water."

"Alright." Twilight ran out of the room and into the neighbouring bathroom. She turned on the tap and ran her paper cut underneath the rushing water. "What now?"

"Step two; clean the cut with soap, but don't rub too forcefully." Sunset followed Twilight into the bathroom and watched her follow her instructions.

"OK." Twilight squirted some liquid soap onto her cut, rubbing it all over the cut. There were surges of pain when she rubbed the wound with the lather, but she took some deep breaths and forged on.

"Step three; rinse the wound, dry it, and cover the cut with a bandage." Sunset walked out of the room and ran down the stairs. "You dry the cut, I'll get the bandages."

As Sunset went to retrieve the first-aid supplies, Twilight put her finger underneath the cold tap water once again, washing away the soap on and around the cut. She picked up the towel from the ring and cocooned her finger, pressing down on where the cut was with her free hand. Once she felt dry, Twilight took the towel off and put it back on the ring.

"I'm here." Sunset walked into the bathroom and closed the door, removing her spell for the umpteenth time that day. "Now hold still, Twilight. Doctor Sunny's here to check on you."

Twilight giggled and held out her finger as still as possible. She watched and waited as Sunset tied the bandage around the cut and properly aligned it so that the adhesive parts didn't catch on Twilight's skin and cause her discomfort. She made a perfect ring, and Twilight dropped her hand down to her side.

"Thank you, Doctor Sunny." Twilight shook Sunset's hoof with her free hand.

"No problem, Twilight." Sunset returned the gesture. "Wish I had a lollipop to give you."

"It's no big deal, really." Twilight walked out of the bathroom with Sunset following close behind her. "I'm not a big fan of lollipops anyway. Mommy says they're too sugary and that they'll make me get diabetes or something."

Sunset chuckled as she and Twilight walked back into the bedroom. "Looks like you've still got some stuff to learn after all."

"Yeah. I guess I do." Twilight nodded. "I must feel pretty silly, huh? I can treat scratches, bruises, and even a concussion, but I still cry like a baby over a little paper cut."

"It's alright, Twilight." Sunset gave a warm and calm smile as she sat on the bed. "It's alright to cry over pain sometimes. But if we learn to get over it and muster up the courage to brave it, then it can help us grow up and make us better. It's a natural part of life, especially for kids your age."

"Thank you, Sunny." Twilight gave her one more little hug. "You're the bestest friend I've ever had." She let a small tear drip down from her eyes into Sunset's fur as she nuzzled Sunset's neck. She sniffled and used her fingers to brush her eyes dry. "Now let's get you back home, shall we?"

"Yeah. We've had our fun and games for the day, but now it's time for Sunny to go home. Back to my world." Sunset began to tear up as well. "I'm so glad that this all happened today, Twilight." She jumped off of the bed and lit up her horn. "Now let's get to work!"

Twilight and Sunset ran around the room, picking up the biggest and most stable items that they could find. They picked up Twilight's computer chair, the toy chest, and some of the chairs from the little drawing table.

"That should be enough to get me up there." Sunset looked at all of the items and proceeded to stack them on top of one another. She made extra care to balance it all evenly, but given how rigid and oddly-shaped the different items were, it proved much more daunting of a challenge than she had liked. "Jeez! Will these things just hold still?!"

"It's like playing with building blocks, isn't it?" Twilight marvelled at Sunset's attempts to try and stack the objects into a column. "You've just gotta keep trying and build it up right, even if they all fall down again and again!"

"Yeah. I guess you could call it that." Sunset rubbed some sweat off of her brow and put them all down, seeing that the current alignment she had built wasn't stable enough.

While Sunset repeatedly tried—and failed—to correctly place the objects on top of each other, Twilight went over to the colouring table and got down onto her knees. She took a piece of paper and some crayons and began to draw a picture, sticking her tongue out all the while. The more she drew, the less she paid attention to Sunset and the different shapes she was making with the toy chest and chairs, to the point where she was completely lost in her own imagination.

"Got it!" Sunset cried out as she finished the last stack. She had placed the toy chest at the bottom with the table on top of it. With her balance, she had also placed the chairs on top of each other with the large one sitting in the middle of the smaller ones. "Hopefully, the hundredth time's the charm."

"Well, let's see. Put it on the bed. Put it on the bed!" Twilight looked at the stack before Sunset's aura covered it.

Sunset picked the stack up and hovered it over to the bed. She placed it down just gently enough that even the bed was able to hold it. There was a loud creaking noise from the bed, but the frame still held as she let go of the chest, table, and chairs.

"Yes! It works! And it just touches the edge of the skylight!" Sunset wagged her tail and pranced on the spot. "I'm gonna get to go home!"

"Yay! We did it!" Twilight cheered at Sunset's accomplishment.

"Only one more thing to do now, right, Twilight?" Sunset walked over to her.

"Yep." Twilight picked Sunset Shimmer up and helped her onto the table. "Let's send you home, Sunny!"

Sunset climbed onto the plastic table, causing it to wobble slightly underneath her touch. The legs of the plastic table were supported by their proximity to the box and prevented any chance of it falling off from the round-topped chest. She was about to climb up to the computer chair when she felt something tugging on her tail.

"Hey!" She yelped at the sensation and stumbled around that she almost disrupted the balance. She took a quick look back to see Twilight, looking like she was about to cry. "What is it?"

"Sunny. Thank you so much for today." Twilight's voice had degraded to a gentle whisper as she picked up the drawing that she had made. "If this is goodbye, then I want you to have this to remember me by."

"A present? For me?" Sunset picked up the paper with her magic and looked at what Twilight had drawn. It was a very artistic—despite being slightly crudely-drawn—picture of Twilight and Sunset standing on a grass-covered hill with a smiling sun in the background and a rainbow arching over them. "Wow, Twilight. This is beautiful..." She sniffled, fighting back against the tears that began to resurface.

"Thank you, Sunny. Anything for my best friend." Twilight gave Sunset another wide smile.

"I kinda feel bad for leaving you like this, though." Sunset looked down at the bed and scratched her chin with her hooves. "I should give you something in return." She lit up her horn and closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as a ball of magic left her horn. "Let's just see if I can still pull this off..."

A small ball of blue magic floated from Sunset's horn over to Twilight. It got bigger and bigger the closer it got to the child until it stopped a few inches from her face. The globe of magic popped, and a smaller plushie of Sunset sat before Twilight's feet. It had a big smile on her face, as well as the Cutie Mark on the flank.

"There. So that you don't forget about me either," Sunset whispered to Twilight. "A toy of me for you to play with, hug, cuddle, and love; so that we can always remember the time that we had together."

"Goodbye, Sunny." Twilight began to cry as Sunset made it up to the skylight.

"Goodbye, Twilight." Sunset took the picture, climbed up, and put her hooves through the glass, replacing the glass with a bright square of light. "See you again soon..." She jumped through the light, causing the chairs to drop all around her with her leap. Just before they could crash and hit the floor, Sunset poked her head back through the crack and put everything back where it was before she sunk back up through the portal.

When Sunset left, the light from the portal illuminated the room for a short while before it began to wither down to a small sliver. It quickly disappeared, leaving Twilight with her new toy. All that remained from the skylight was a darkened sky, with the sun beginning to set.

Twilight looked down at the Sunset Shimmer doll and picked it up, tears dripping down from her eyes as she brought the toy into yet another hug. She pressed her face against the pony plush, rubbing her tears into it as she gave it a kiss, before running out of the room and back down the stairs to show her parents.

Sunset Shimmer crashed into the ground as she popped out of the other side of the portal. She was back at Canterlot High and had reverted to her human form, with the bag that she had carried through in the first place landing close by her.

"Huh." Sunset shrugged and opened up the bag, looking at all of the stuff inside. "They're all still there." She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone, looking at the time. "Only ten minutes passed? That's odd. I would've expected everyone to be rushing around panicking about my disappearance."

As Sunset stood up, she noticed that a piece of paper was portruding out of her shoe. She raised her feet and picked up the paper, looking at the picture on the other side.

"Twilight. I'm so glad that I'm friends with you." She put the paper into her bag, slipped her arms through the straps, put it on her back, and walked into Canterlot High, just in time for her next class of the day.

On the way through the classes, she caught a glimpse of Twilight working in the nearby classroom, listening to a lecture. Since she was back in the present, it was the Twilight that she had grown more accustomed to, the one that she had met at the Friendship Games. She watched her scribbling down all of the answers, sticking her tongue out in the same way that she did when she was eight.

"They grow up so fast, don't they?" Sunset put her hand on the window and smiled at Twilight before continuing to her own class.

Later that day, Sunset and Twilight were sitting together in the cafeteria at CHS, politely eating their food with their bags beneath their feet. Sunset was eating a jacket potato with butter and coleslaw while Twilight was eating a simple salad. The two of them didn't talk much while eating their food, as they focused more on getting their vitamins and nutrients from their meals.

Eventually, Sunset finished her last mouthful and looked over at Twilight. "So, how'd class go?"

"Good. Though I swear that some of the work these days is far too easy." Twilight devoured a lettuce leaf and turned to face Sunset. "But I guess I shouldn't be too hard on them. "I mean, I did transfer from one of the most prestigious and most informative schools in the country."

"I saw you pounding down those answers earlier, Twilight," Sunset said. "You were like hail on a tin roof, dotting down those answers in record time..." She sighed. "Just like you did when you were eight."

Twilight froze up at that sentence and dropped her fork, hearing it clatter against the plate of food she had been eating. She swivelled her head towards Sunset and looked at her with wide eyes. "H-how did you know I was so smart back then?"

"Let's just say... I've seen some things today." Sunset pulled out the bag from underneath her feet and pulled out the drawing. She laid it on the table before her and Twilight. "At first, I wanted to go back to Equestria to see the pony you, but instead, I met someone else who was just as kind. Someone both smart and fun at the same time."

"I remember that picture!" Twilight's eyes flew wide open when she examined the picture. Every detail that she had originally drawn as a child had been unchanged. "That was the day I made my first friend."

"A new friend, eh?" Sunset lied and nudged her friend's shoulders. She knew exactly who Twilight was thinking of. "What was she like?"

"She was a bit shy and reluctant to see my parents and big brother, so I did my best to try and hide her." Twilight reached for the bag beneath her legs and pulled out her own bag. Inside, she retrieved the plushie that Sunset had left her ten years ago. "But when we were in the clear, she and I had so much fun. She showed me magic, helped me time my homework, and we even played doctor together when we both hurt ourselves. Then, right when she left, she gave me this doll to remember her by." Twilight gave it a squeeze, pressing into the fabric once more. "I've been carrying it ever since—even when I had been a student at Crystal Prep."

"Her name wasn't Sunny, was it?" Sunset looked at the pony that Twilight had been holding.

"Actually... She was. But how could you have known that unless—" Twilight let out a massive gasp when the realisation had struck her "—You mean... Sunny was YOU?!"

"Surprise." Sunset chuckled and threw her arms out, before being tackled and hugged by Twilight. "Whoa! Okay. That's a bit too close for comfort, Twilight." She patted Twilight's back.

"Sunny! I can't believe it's you!" Twilight wept even more tears as she pushed her head into Sunset's chest. After ten long years, she had finally reunited with her best friend. "But... why did you come back? And more importantly, why are you a human like me now?"

"Twilight. I would never leave a friend like you for anything." Sunset played with Twilight's hair and placed her hand on the spectacled girl's chest. "I might have said goodbye before, but I never said that it would be goodbye forever. You've taught me quite a lot when you were a kid about how to work and play, and I've enjoyed being with you. I'm just glad that I found you again."

"Me too, Sunset." Twilight sunk back into Sunset's warm embrace. "Now that you're here with me, my life feels so much better."

"Mine too." Sunset brushed Twilight's hair as she gave her a smile. "And I'm sorry for what I thought of you earlier. I was just so eager to see my friend that I never really considered getting to know you better. Whether or not you're like the Twilight from Equestria, you're still a good friend. I just hope that you can forgive me for thinking differently of you."

"It's alright." Twilight patted Sunset's back and gave her a hug. "I know that I've got some imperfections, but I'm still going to try my hardest to be a friend to both you and all of the Canterlot High students." She pulled her head from Sunset's chest and looked up at her face. "And, hey. I'm glad that I get to do it all with you, Sunset."

"Please, Twilight. Call me Sunny." Sunset returned the gesture and wrapped her arms around her. After ten long years, her best friend had finally reunited with her, and she would never leave her behind ever again.