Chapter III – High School
“Deus malum sit!” Sunset muttered under her breath, slipping into Latin as she fiddled with her locker. She’d spent eight years fighting for lords and ladies living a thousand years in the past; why in God’s name would she be expected to remember something as minute and insignificant as a locker combination‽ Of all the things to get hung up on…
“Sunset!” A ladylike voice called out, bringing the former Warden’s attention over to… wait a minute. That was Rarity waving at her from the main entrance… Sunset’s breath caught in her throat as her eyes fell upon a sight she had so longed to see for such a long time.
Sunset bolted down the hall to them, putting her years of physical training to good use. She attempted to skid to a halt right in front of them, only to crash straight into Pinkie Pie, who embraced the former knight in a rib-crushing hug – at least, it would’ve been rib-crushing had Sunset not been used to being crushed. She knew why the Shugoki were so feared on the battlefield; she’d been the target of a few of their backbreaking embraces herself. Needless to say, Sunset was not at all fazed by Pinkie’s hug, and gladly returned it with equal enthusiasm and greater strength.
Naturally, this came as a surprise to the pink-skinned party-planner; Pinkie dropped her friend in shock and Sunset fell to the floor. “Whoa, Sunset!” Pinkie exclaimed, clutching her sides to ease the slight ache. “When did you get so strong‽”
Deus malum sit.
Sunset gave a mental facepalm as she picked herself up off the floor. With how used to her increased physique she was, she hadn’t considered that her friends may find it strange! Stultus!
“M-my sincerest apologies Pinkie,” she stammered out, seeing her friend clutching her ribs. Had she hurt her? “Art thou alright?”
She hadn’t even finished inquiring as to her friend’s well-being before Pinkie had bounced back into her usual joyful state, her poofy rose hair bouncing around in all its brilliance. “Yep!” she replied with a smile, any indication of pain vanishing. “I was just surprised is all.” Pinkie paused all of a sudden, cupping her hand over her mouth in an expression of thought. “Huh. I wonder if Granny Surprise would like to meet you.”
The not-so-discreet snicker of Rainbow Dash interrupted the party planner’s train of thought. “Pinkie, you’re so random sometimes.” The group shared a brief laugh before Rainbow remembered what Pinkie had just said. “Sooo,” she began, drawing the word out, “What did Pinkie mean about you being strong?”
Before Sunset had a chance to respond, Pinkie popped back into the frame with a gasp. “Did I mean that Sunset Shimmer just got back from spending who knows how loŋ a thousand years in the future as a super space soldier who had to save the last city in space from an evil army of space aliens in SPACE‽”
To her infinite astonishment, Sunset was the only one to sport a completely dumbfounded expression. Maybe she just wasn’t as used to Pinkie Pie’s absurd antics as she used to be. Applejack was the first to speak. “Pinkie, how did ya know that?”
“Just a hunch.”
Sunset gave Applejack a strange look. Sure, Pinkie’s hunches had often been unnervingly accurate from what she could remember, but that seemed to be a little too ludicrous, even for Pinkie Pie. “I’m sorry to say this Pinkie,” she said, resting a hand on the party planner’s shoulder. “But for once, you couldn’t be farther off.”
Cue another round of jaws hitting the floor.
“Wait, what‽” Rainbow exclaimed, jumping back in shock. “Pinkie’s hunch is wrong‽” A look of complete and utter shock was plastered across her face, and judging from the identical look worn by everyone else, she had said what everyone was thinking. Are they serious? Sunset thought, almost unaware of her fingers wrapping around the bridge of her nose.
“Yes,” she said, slowly shaking her head. “Pinkie Pie is wrong.”
The instant the words left her mouth, Sunset wished she could take back the unintentional insult. She immediately paid close attention to her piŋk playful partner, her eyes shrinking to pinpricks as she saw the rosy poof deflate slightly. “N-not that that’s a sin!” Sunset stammered in a desperate attempt to save face. “Everybody makes mistakes sometimes!”
Thankfully, the save seemed to work on Pinkie, as the playful pink party planner popped back to her default state of delight, earning a sigh of relief from everyone.
…Awkward silence, round III.
“So…” Fluttershy began, willing to brave the spotlight to bring the silence to a close. “If Pinkie’s explanation of, um… space, isn’t it, then what is?”
“I wouldn’t worry about it at the moment,” Sunset said, not quite sure if she should tell them. After all, she had slaughtered many in the names of lords and ladies, for the Blackstone and Iron Legions alike. “So,” she started, quick to change the subject. “Is there anything new happening with you all?”
“Ya don’t have to say anythin’,” Applejack said, seeing right through Sunset’s feeble attempt to divert their attention. “Ya don’t have ta tell us nothin’ if you’re not comfortable with it yet.”
Sunset looked into the green-eyed gaze of Applejack, “You have my thanks,” Sunset replied, wincing slightly as she brushed the farmer’s hand off her shoulder – and off the still-aching scar from Apollyon’s blade.
Sunset jumped back slightly as the bell rang, signifying the beginning of class. “Zounds!” Sunset exclaimed, extracting herself from the group. “We’re late for our studies!” The group nodded in understanding, quickly separating as they ran for their respective classes. Instinctively, Sunset’s left hand flew to her hip as she took off, before slowly pulling away as she was reminded of her scabbard’s absence.
“Something in your pocket?” Sunset jumped, whirling around to see the unmistakable multicolored mane of Rainbow Dash. Once again, Sunset’s hand flew to her hip seeking the familiar grip of Miroiter. To no one’s surprise, no luck.
“What art thou doing here?” Sunset cried, cursing herself for her battle reflex. “You’re supposed to be getting to class!”
“Uh, yeah,” Rainbow replied, crossing her arms. “I’ve got gym class first, same as you.” She reached up and wrapped an arm around Sunset’s shoulders. Sunset winced; Apollyon’s blade had left quite the scar, and it still hurt to touch. Thinkiŋ quickly, she pulled away from Rainbow’s arm. “So let us be off,” she said, preparing to once again sprint down the hallway – only for Rainbow’s hand to come down again on her shoulder. She winced again. Always on the God-forsaken scar!
“Uh, Sunset,” Rainbow said, pulling Sunset back around. “The locker room is that way,” she said, throwing a thumb over her shoulder. Sunset leaned over, glancing behind Rainbow to see the sign to the gym.
Sunset blushed, giving a sheepish smile. “My apologies,” she said, bowing in shame. “I’ve been a bit…” She paused, trying to find the right word. “Disoriented as of late.” Her hand unconsciously came to grasp her left bicep, feeling the reminder of her duel with Ademar under her jacket.
Looking back at Rainbow, the athlete was staring at her with a face practically screaming ‘I don’t buy it’. “Oookay,” she said, her voice laden with suspicion. “Well, we’ve gotta get to class. Coach Spitfire will have our hides if we’re any later.” Without another word, Rainbow grabbed Sunset by the arm – her right arm this time, thank God – and dragged her across the hallway and into the changing room.
Sunset sighed in frustration as she removed her top, letting out a hiss of pain as her top brushed against her shoulder – a harsh reminder of the cruel warlord who gave it to her. This scar was going to be the end of her, Sunset just knew it.
Sighiŋ, Sunset pulled her gym shirt over her head and turned to leave – only to come face-to-face with the shell-shocked expression of Rainbow Dash. “Yes?” She asked, attempting to play dumb even though she knew it wouldn’t work. She knew what exactly what Rainbow had been staring at.
“What do you mean ‘What’‽” Rainbow demanded, shattering the silence that had passed over the room. Before Sunset had a chance to respond, the athlete stormed over and pulled up Sunset’s shirt. “Where did these come from‽” she demanded, thrusting a finger at the scars that strung themselves across Sunset’s body.
“What’s wrong with them?” Sunset said, defaulting to her usual response whenever a peasant had asked her about her scars. “They’re nothing to worry about. They’ve long since healed over.”
“And that one‽” Rainbow accused, pointing directly at the large red gash that streaked through her left shoulder.
Sunset’s expression turned grim. “You should see my opponent,” she said darkly. “Trust me – I gave as well as I got.”
Rainbow’s expression turned from accusing to shocked and a little scared. She opened her mouth to retort, but couldn’t seem to find the words. Sighing, Sunset snatched her gym shirt back from Rainbow. “I will explain it to you all later,” she promised, pulling the shirt back over her head. “For now, we have physical education and Coach Spitfire to worry about.”
Rainbow glared at her, clearly wanting to press the subject further. “Fine,” she relented, throwing her arms up in exasperation. “But you’re hiding something,” she said, giving Fluttershy’s famous Stare a run for its money. “And you’re going to tell us.”
“As I said.”
“Sooner rather than later.”
Sunset sighed again as she walked toward the door. “Come,” she said, her voice laced with irritation. “We must face the wrath of Coach Spitfire.” Rainbow gave one last glare of suspicion, then reluctantly followed Sunset out the door into the gym.
To Sunset’s surprise, Coach Spitfire wasn’t the least bit irate with the two of them for their tardiness. “What took you two so long?” She called, a cocky smirk planted firmly across her face. “Couldn’t find the changing room?”
“Yes, my lady,” Sunset said as she walked to her place on the floor, accidentally delving back into her default chivalry. “I will not let it happen again.”
“I’ll hold ya to that,” the coach responded, bringing her whistle up to her lips in an unspoken threat. “Just because you’re the principa’s daughter now doesn’t mean you can get off scot-free.”
“Understood, my lady,” Sunset called back, once again speaking to her teacher as if she were noble.
Spitfire’s smirk grew into a lighthearted grin. “‘Lady’, eh?” She asked, raising one eyebrow behind her aviator sunglasses. “When did you get so polite, Shimmer?”
Too late, Sunset realized her mistake. “Ah,” she stuttered, scrambling for an answer. “Sh-should not my attempts to better myself include my speech?”
Thankfully, Spitfire seemed to find this answer acceptable. “Eh,” she shrugged. “Your speech is your business.” Turning back to the rest of the class. “Alright maggots,” she shouted, her voice raising to drill-sergeant levels. “Hope you’ve been brushing up on your throwing arm.” She kicked the trash can beside her, which toppled over as a multitude of colored balls came spilling out. “‘Cause it’s dodge-ball time!”