Excitement and exhaustion warred for dominance in Sunset Shimmer's weary mind as she sat, wearing comfortable shorts and a soft T-shirt, on her living room sofa, eating pizza and flipping through channels on the large-screen television. Most of the offerings seemed to be either news, interviewers talking to what she could only assume to be popular or famous individuals, and some type of comedy variety show which went way over her head.
She'd spent the entire day with Celestia; her pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator were now full of food, the clothes that had been in the bedroom closets had been cleared out and replaced with a significant wardrobe just for her, and dozens of household necessities had been purchased, replaced, and updated. She'd been supplied with a tablet which would, apparently, be her primary (if not only) school supply, as well as a scouter. She'd been curious about the scouters since first seeing one, and now she more fully understood their purpose: scouters detected sentou-ryoku within the user's proximity, including tracking vectors, but they also served as personal communication devices, could scan codes on various objects, display maps, and play music, among other things. They seemed to be a highly versatile tool. She'd also been provided with something called a smartphone, which had a lot of the same functions the tablet and scouter had, but did things a scouter couldn't do, had less functionality for some things than the tablet, and lacked the ability to sense sentou-ryoku. The three devices, near as Sunset could tell, were meant to function in tandem to provide the user complete access to a global information network. Lastly, she'd been given some identification cards and a debit card to use for purchases. "You'll probably be eating out more than you'll be eating at home," Celestia had told her. "Especially once you make some friends, you'll be hanging out with them more than you'll be sitting alone at home."
Sunset snorted. Both Celestias, pushing that rubbish on her. What use were friends? They were just distractions. Anyone who spent more time goofing off with friends than learning and studying and growing would never achieve true greatness. Of that, Sunset was certain.
After all, despite her...current setbacks...she'd become a great unicorn, and all without bothering with Celestia's friendship nonsense.
The next morning, at dawn, Vice-Principal Luna arrived. "Get dressed," she said impatiently. "We're starting."
Sunset blinked sleepily, but quickly changed into the clothes she'd been wearing upon arrival. "Okay," she said. "So, are we gonna...what're we gonna do? How do we do this?"
Luna smiled evilly. She raised one hand. The tip of one long, thick nail glowed red.
* * * * *
Sunset groaned, massaging an ache at the back of her head. She opened her eyes, then promptly squeezed them shut again; the bright sunlight was painful. "What...?"
"I suggest you pull yourself together quickly," Luna said from somewhere above her. "You're going to need all your wits about you."
Sunset slowly opened her eyes, blinking and rubbing tears and spots out, then stood up. She found herself at the bottom of a craggy pit, at least twenty feet deep, rectangular in shape. "What the—"
"Alright, you can take off the blindfold and go in now," Luna called to someone standing out of sight at the top of the pit. She had her arms folded, and a coldly amused smirk crossed her face.
Sunset was beginning to hate that smirk.
A lanky boy with turquiose skin and straw-colored hair pulled up in an ugly, messy bun, clad in loose blue breeches and an open suede vest, dropped down into the pit. His purple eyes lit up. "Well hello gorgeous!" he said in a voice that made Sunset's skin crawl.
"Sunset Shimmer, this is Zephyr Breeze," Luna said. "I've promised him one date a week with you for a year if he can knock you out."
"Heh, and what a knockout," Zephyr said, waggling his eyebrows.
Sunset stared from Zephyr to Luna, a sick feeling welling up in her gut. "Wait. What?!"
Luna chuckled darkly. "Have fun, you two," she said as she rose out of view and disappeared over the edge of the pit.
Sunset's mouth went dry, her eyes narrowing. "Oh, you have got to be kidding me!"
Zephyr Breeze swaggered toward her, arms loose at his sides. "You know, I don't like fightin'," he said. "I especially don't wanna hit a hot chick like you. Not when there's so many, heheh, better things we could be doin' all alone where nobody can see, if you know what I mean." He offered what Sunset suspected was supposed to be a rakish grin, but carried so much sleaze with it she felt disgusted to the soles of her boots. She felt an unfamiliar heat prickling up her back and along her arms and legs, matched by a sensation at the base of her brain, hot and tingling, a pressure unlike anything she'd ever known.
Zephyr was in her personal space now, and slung an arm lazily around her shoulders. "C'mon, Sunny baby. Whaddya say we—"
Sunset drove a fist into his gut, stomped on his foot, spun out from under his arm, grabbed it, and pulled violently, throwing him across the pit. Her chest heaved as she breathed, settling into a light stance her body seemed to instinctively feel comfortable in.
Zephyr stood up, dusting himself off. "Aww, c'mon baby, don't be like that! I know how to show a girl a good time! Whaddya say? Let a little Breeze blow through that pretty hair."
Sunset growled. "Stop talking or I'll break your jaw," she snarled.
Zephyr sighed. "Fine, you wanna do this the hard way?" He suddenly became blurry and indistinct. The hairs on the back of Sunset's neck rose.
A kick caught her in the small of her back, throwing her to the ground with a startled cry. She barely had time to roll over before Zephyr was on top of her, a glowing yellow ball of energy gathered in his right palm, aimed right at her stomach. "I'll be seeing you tomorrow night," Zephyr said. "Wear something sexy."
The energy blast leapt from his palm. Sunset's irises contracted. The heat of it prickled along her stomach.
A massive cloud of dust and smoke exploded around Sunset. Zephyr Breeze turned away, ready to fly out of the pit, a lecherous smirk on his face.
The dust cleared. Sunset Shimmer, face twisted in fury, dashed out of it, slamming her fist into the back of Zephyr's head. As he spun around in confusion, she kicked him in the stomach, delivered a vicious uppercut to his jaw, then swept his feet, grabbed his shoulders, planted him in the ground, leapt up, and descended upon him, driving both feet into his shoulder blades. As bones and cartilage crunched beneath her, Sunset flipped away, eyes blazing, heart pounding like a jackhammer. Every nerve in her body sang; her senses were sharper than she could ever remember as she watched the twitching lump of douchebag lying several feet away. A hot fire burned through her muscles. She felt relentlessly aware of her body and her surroundings.
A cold spike drove itself through her spine. She snapped her head up to see Luna descending into the pit. "Alright, that's enough," Luna said, smirking. She landed next to Zephyr, hauled him up by his suede vest, and threw him high into the air. She then blurred and vanished, reappeared high above, and delivered a spinning kick that sent the unconscious boy sailing over the horizon.
Luna dropped back down beside her, arms still folded. "Excellent," she said. "I felt your instincts awaken. Well done."
Sunset floundered like a fish. The tension in her body ebbed away, the jangling in her nerves fading, leaving behind confusion and soreness. "Wh—what the hell?" she demanded. "How could you just...and that creep, and—" She fumbled for words. "What was all this?"
Luna raised a hairless eyebrow ridge. "Why, this was the beginning of your training," she said calmly. "In order to learn to fight, first one must awaken their fighting instinct. For Saiyans and Umans, it's a matter of nature—they're born ready to fight, and learn to temper that instinct into discipline as they grow older. But in your case...you needed to awaken those instincts, to develop the natural fighting edge you'll need to survive as an Uman." She smirked. "I thought perhaps fending off the advances of the most obnoxious would-be paramour in Umajin City would help awaken those instincts."
Sunset let out a long, slow hiss between her teeth. "You're worse than the old nag," she said.
Luna sketched a mock bow. "Oh, I assure you, you haven't seen anything yet," she said. "But for now, we've gotten the first step out of the way. Your body knows what a real fight feels like."
Sunset frowned, looking down at her hands. "Yeah," she said. "You're right. I definitely felt something...change."
"Good," Luna said. "Remember that feeling. Now, we're going to find you a student tutor to fulfill Celestia's conditions, and to get you up to speed on the basics." She frowned. "I expect you to have a decent grasp on fighting by the end of the week, because that's how long I'm giving you until our next lesson. If you can't hold your own in a fight come next Saturday, you're probably going to die."
* * * * *
Flash Sentry was a pretty laid-back guy. He had a handful of good friends, he enjoyed playing guitar, he had a pretty decent car. Even though he had stronger Saiyan roots than most of his peers, his mother being a pureblooded Saiyan, he didn't really care much for fighting—he'd fight for a reason, he'd spar with a friend if they needed a punching bag, but he didn't really care much about fighting personally.
Which is why an urgent summons from Vice-Principal Luna on a Saturday morning had him tense, nervous, and on edge.
He stood on the lip of an old skate park in the older, more run-down part of town, wearing jeans and a dark grey felt windbreaker, his spiky blue hair swept up, hands in his pockets. His scouter beeped, announcing two approaching figures. One was the terrifyingly powerful Vice-Principal. The other was unfamiliar, but not exceptionally powerful.
Moments later, Luna lowered into view before him, feet never touching the ground. A skybike wobbled behind her, landing shakily. The rider, a girl with long copper-and-gold hair, got off shakily. Flash raised an eyebrow.
"Flash Sentry," Luna said, "this is Sunset Shimmer. She may be an Uma-Saiyan, but she has only just arrived on Planet Uma, and her fighting skills are...not exactly up to par. She needs to relearn the basics. All the basics. Do you think you're up to the challenge of teaching her?"
Flash blinked. "Me? Teach someone how to fight? But...I don't really fight, Vice-Principal Luna!"
"Yes, I know, but that makes you an excellent choice for our purposes," Luna said. "Miss Shimmer needs to be trained quietly, in secret. And she needs to be trained quickly. You may not be one of the more combative pupils at Harmony High, but I happen to know your technical skills are satisfactory." Her tail swished. "Consider it a favor for Principal Celestia. Also consider that I'm the one asking." Her words carried the malice of an implicit threat. Flash tensed, the color draining from his cheeks. His eyes flicked to Sunset. He swallowed.
"Y-yeah, sure," Flash said. "I think I can handle it."
Luna smirked. "Excellent," she said. "Then I'll leave you to it." She rose up into the air and disappeared.
Flash and Sunset stood, watching each other awkwardly, for a long moment.
"S-so, uhh..." Flash said, scratching the back of his head. "I guess...I'll be teaching you how to fight?"
Sunset rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I'm dead," she muttered.