“You said we had to punish her!”
“I didn’t mean us too!”
“It’s not that bad…”
“She’s attached to a pole!”
“Technically, she’s just chained to it…”
Sunset smiled sheepishly when Silent Dusk sneered at them. She had her arms cross as she stood beside a light post on a street corner, her hands and the post had a slight yellow glow.
The girls were watching her from inside Sugercube Corner while Silent Dusk sulked outside. Pinkie had gone as far as to move one of the tables near her, but Silent Dusk didn’t want to give them the satisfaction. Applejack chuckled and turned back towards Rainbow Dash.
“I don’t see how any of us are punished.Just giving us a free show.”
Rainbow Dash had a flat look before pointing back at Silent Dusk. Everyone turned and saw Silent Dusk glaring at everyone about to enter. For good measure, she even prepared to throw a chair at Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, who ran almost immediately. The group cringed at the realization of the lack of customers around them as well.
“Yeah, real free…”
Rainbow Dash shook her head and flinched under Mrs. Cake’s glare. She turned to Sunset, “Eh…maybe we should bring her inside?”
“Good idea, I don’t think any of us want to be banned from the Sugar Corner, right?” She stood up and walked outside. Sunset flinched at the glare that received her, especially once Sunset forced Silent Dusk to clasp her hands together in front of her. They walked back inside and made her sit in a chair nearby.
Fluttershy gave a small smile while Twilight waved slightly. The rest of the girls averted their eyes and kept talking.
“So, are you girls going to Trixie’s Magic Show?”
All the girls, excluding Twilight who asked, groaned at the question. Trixie had been nagging everyone about her show for a month now.It wouldn’t be long until Trixie tried it on them.Twilight was the only one who was even considering going.
“Don’t tell me we’re actually going to that thing.” Rainbow Dash whined.
Twilight laughed nervously, “Well, I wouldn’t mind. I-I mean she hasn’t been that bad.”
“To you, darling. She’s still dreadful to us, thanks to that horrid Battle of the Bands.” Rarity rolled her eyes.
It was true. Trixie still had her vendetta against the RainBooms but was more annoying than anything else. When she met Twilight, they got along since Twilight wasn’t the same as Princess Twilight. For Twilight’s part, she was just interested in magician tricks; she had already seen real magic, of course. They weren’t exactly best friends, but the two were at better terms than the others.
“Don’t let it get to you, Twilight.” Sunset reassured her with a smile. “If you want to go, that’s completely fine with us. You don’t need our permission though.” She ended off with a chuckle.
“Yeah, but don’t think Trixie gonna be inviting us. She’s as stubborn as a mule.” Applejack huffed, not noticing Pinkie Pie stealing her milkshake.
“We’ll find out tomorrow either way. Pretty sure Trixie isn’t going to want this baggage.” Rainbow Dash pointed a thumb at Silent Dusk.
Their guest didn’t pay much mind since Twilight had given her a book to read. They were a little worried she was going to throw it, but as always, she read quietly. The girls continued chatting about their practices; wary but getting used to the odd grumpy reader in the background.
After a brief time, Rarity realized something that the others hadn’t noticed. “Sunset, dear? I was wondering if Silent Dusk had any issues with her clothes?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I notice she was just ‘dropped off’ so to speak. She didn’t exactly have any time to bring extra clothes.” Rarity motioned to Silent Dusk before continuing, “I’ve been dabbling in unique styles and I’m sure I could find something that suits her…style.”
“Oh, that sounds fun!” Pinkie Pie bounced in her seat as she balanced cupcakes on Silent Dusk, occasionally catching falling cupcakes and putting them back. “Won’t it, Dusky?”
Silent Dusk didn’t respond but twitched very slightly under her eye.
Sunset laughed nervously and responded to Rarity, “That would be great, but I don’t know if she’ll like that…”
“Not like she can say no.” Applejack pointed out. “We can just make it part of her punishment.”
“Oh come now,” Rarity smiled.“I’m sure Silent Dusk will enjoy the selection. Bring her over this weekend.”
“We’ll be there too, so she doesn’t try any funny business.” Rainbow Dash pointed at Silent Dusk, who was surround by several cupcakes.
Sunset waved off Rainbow Dash and turned to Silent Dusk, “It’ll be fine. Silent Dusk, we’re just going to try on some clothes. You don’t have to worry about anything.”
The others cringed internally at the words.
“Welcome, welcome!” Rarity greeted the girls as they entered her home. Silent Dusk had a large scowl as she looked around at the various clothes in progress.
“Now, I wanted to design a bit more of a lineup.” Rarity led them to another room. “But I figured Silent Dusk wouldn’t be patient enough, oh I don’t mean to offend you in any way of course,” She apologized as they filed in. Silent Dusk didn’t pay attention as she sat down and stared at Rarity with distain.
“Sugarcube, maybe you should get started. You know, before Silent here blows a gasket.” Applejack pointed at the prisoner next to her.
Rarity rolled her eyes before moving the front of a curtain.
“Oh very well.Let me introduce…”
She pulled the curtain away.
“The Dusk Line Up!”
Rarity revealed an assortment of outfits. The girls marveled at the beautiful outfits, each were dark shade of colors and were a variation of Silent Dusk’s current clothes. There were six outfits in total, each with matching gloves. Rarity pulled out one outfit. It was a sleeveless gray light jacket, black and white wave pattern shirt, and gray cargo shorts with a black outline. Clipped to the hanger was a pair of black gloves with soft gray on the back.
“I know, small selection but I had little time.” Rarity defended, “I skipped the formal wear, but that doesn’t mean these lack grace.”
“They look great, Rarity!” Sunset exclaimed and looked through the clothing.
Applejack nodded, “Sure do. Leave it to Rare to find something that even our new guest would like.”
Silent Dusk stared at the line up and even seemed interested. Fluttershy glanced at Silent Dusk and smiled.
“I’m sure they’ll look lovely on you, Silent Dusk.”
Silent Dusk looked away while Rarity brought out two outfits to show her.
“I must admit, it was a bit worried the measurements wouldn’t match up. I’m delighted to see they should fit…” She held both in front of Silent Dusk. “What do you think?”
“I don’t need new clothes.”
Silent Dusk said with a glare. She snarled at the clothes but made no move to the door. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes at this but made no comment.
Rarity gave off a smile, that didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“O-Oh, is it the wrong color? Perhaps you would like a dark blue or-”
“I don’t need or want new clothes.” This time Silent Dusk growled, baring her teeth at Rarity. Rarity flinched and backed away while Applejack and Rainbow Dash moved in front of her. Before they could speak, they were interrupted by hands clasping onto her shoulders from behind.
“Don’t be such a grump grump!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, her smiling face appeared besides Silent Dusk’s. “You’ll look great! If you don’t like the matches…” She dramatically whispered, “I always mix them up for fun~”
Pinkie Pie hopped back with a giggle when Silent Dusk snapped at her.
“Um.” Fluttershy began, “Maybe we shou-”
“This is stupid.” Silent Dusk retorted, her eyes still glaring, “I’m not going to change clothes. Especially if it’s to wear something given by a group of airheads.”
She said the words as facts, rather than opinion. It was what irked the others more than anything. Rarity grimaced at the harsh words, not knowing what do with the clothing. Fluttershy choose not to speak and inched away from Silent Dusk while Pinkie Pie deflated slightly before joining her. Applejack and Rainbow Dash rose to the bait.
“Ok, that’s enough,” growled Applejack. She moved in front of Silent Dusk and crossed her arms, “You got a lot of nerve. Rare went through a lot of trouble to fix some clot-”
“Then she’s lacking brain cells.” Silent Dusk interjected. Her voice was flat again.
Rainbow Dash finally snapped, "That's it!" She grabbed the first set of clothes and stomped over to Silent Dusk, her eyes narrowed. Silent Dusk frowned as she got closer. "You're gonna at least wear the gloves! Stop being such a princess."
"I'm not taking off my gloves."
"I bet you are."
"And what if I don't?!" Silent Dusk shouted, "Chain me up again? Treat me like some kind of show dog while you get your stupid kicks?"
Rainbow Dash threw her hands up, exasperated, "Sure! Whatever you want to think!"
"Rainbow, calm down, this isn't-," Sunset tried to intervene.
"No!" Rainbow Dash cut off, "She's been acting like WE'RE the ones who decided to keep her here!"
"Yes, because you're not aligned with those Equestrians." Silent Dusk commented sarcastically, "Please forgive my ignorance, guard."
"Well at least we weren't the ones who committed crimes." Rainbow Dash responded with equal venom.
The two continued to argue, but didn't notice a certain farmer creeping behind Silent Dusk.
"A-Hah!" Applejack held up her prize, a dark blue glove, Silent Dusk's glove. "See? That wasn't so ba-"
Applejack gasped at Silent Dusk's exposed hand. Three scars were across the back of her hand, outlined by jagged lines and filled with a deep pink color. The front wasn't much better. Discolored patches of skin littered her palm and some could be seen trailing up her arm, covered by the long sleeve.
Before anyone could speak, Silent Dusk quickly snatched her glove and clad her hand again. She didn't look at anyone, preferring to look at the floor. She cleared her throat and tried to bury herself into her book again. Sunset didn't need to read her mind to see she was just reading the same line or see her biting her lip ever so slightly. Right before Sunset could speak up for Silent Dusk, another did.
"...It's not ugly."
Every head turned to Fluttershy who stepped towards Silent Dusk. She continued.
"Your hand isn't ugly."
Silent Dusk clenched her jaw and tightened her grip on her book. She didn't turn her head, but stared at Fluttershy from the corner of her eyes.
"...Is it a birthmark?"
Silent Dusk didn't respond at first, but quietly replied, "Yes, it's not something I like to show to...anyone."
"It's ok." Fluttershy smiled, "I think it's unique though. A lot of animals at the shelter have birthmarks, on their face, body, and paws." She paused before continuing, "Some have scars though..."
Silent Dusk's shoulder stiffen at the comment but stayed quiet.
"Not everyone's a good owner...They can be mean and take it out on their pets. They scare them, yell at them, throw things at them, even leave scars on them..." Flutteryshy frowned and shook her head, "Those are usually the most aggressive. Not because they're bad or mean, but because they think everyone else is going to be the same."
Silent Dusk slowly closed her book.
"It's scary, but I don't want to give up on them." Fluttershy gave a faint smile, "When they do get adopted, it always puts a smile on my face. They finally got a second chance to be happy."
Silent Dusk turned to Flutteryshy, "...Are you calling me a dog?"
Fluttershy immediately brought her hands up to defend herself, "N-No! I didn't m-mean it like that! I just-"
"I wouldn't mind helping them." Silent Dusk cut in, "With those kind of pets I mean. If that's...allowed anyways."
It took a moment for Sunset to regiester what was happening and quickly agreed, "Yes! I mean, that's completely fine with us!" She couldn't believe it, Silent Dusk was volunteering? It was a good sign! She took a step and nudged Applejack. When the farmer looked confused, she nodded towards Silent Dusk who was still talking with Fluttershy.
"Apologize," Sunset harshly whispered, "for the glove?"
Applejack's grimaced, but cleared her throat anyways.
Silent Dusk tensed again, but didn't turn from Fluttershy.
"Listen," Applejack began, her eyes darted to the floor and back to Silent Dusk as she picked her words carefully, "I'm awfully sorry about what I did. It wasn't right and I shouldn't have done it, 'specially when we don't know each other that well." When she didn't get a response, she continued, "I understand if you don't want to talk. Just know th-"
"Two cases." Silent Dusk interrupted and held up two fingers in front of her. She didn't turn, but Fluttershy smiled with glee in front of her anyways.
"Two cases..." Applejack snapped in realization, "Oh! Apple cider? Of course, ain't a problem at all!"
Silent Dusk nodded before returning to her conversation.
"So, what kind of pets are there?"
"Oh, we have all kinds. I can give you a tour of them this week, maybe we can even find a pet."
"Let's not get carried away..."
The others smiled at the scene before they left the room to Silent Dusk and Fluttershy. The clothes hung forgotten, but Rarity didn't miss the longing looks Silent Dusk kept giving the set of clothes. She made a mental note to give them to Sunset, surely she'll come around eventually.