Sunset Shimmer Hunts the Undead

by Rune Soldier Dan

Mano a Mano With a Fucking Werewolf

Maps of the campus, seeking fire-lanes to the werewolf’s haunt. Silver needles on Sour’s window ledge, and an evening of sharpshooting at the gun range. Maud did things differently than Celestia’s group, with slow, methodical motions.

To Sunset’s mind, the days of planning took a great risk with middling payoff. The examination of sniper lanes came to naught – Applejack was a decent marksman, and Maud an average one. None of the rest had much experience with long arms, nor did they have any true sniper tools. Maud produced a lever-action Winchester, while Applejack’s search yielded a hefty rifle from generations past.

“Worked for Macintosh Senior in the Pacific. I reckon it’ll do a werewolf just fine.”

Sunset had been skeptical, but Maud examined the weapon and declared it adequate. Sunset herself took Celestia’s shotgun. Limestone be damned, if the rifles failed they’d need a backup.

As for the rest… well, at least there were no surprises. An abortive lesson at the range established Wallflower as panicky and gun-shy, while Adagio refused to risk her precious soft hands and fingernails with any practice. Twilight refused as well, though she pledged a heat-scanning drone to the cause, in addition to whatever mad science lurked in her coat pockets. Sunset was afraid to ask, though she hoped for something easily bent to violence.

Between their limited skill and equipment, the only good firing spot was Sour’s dorm itself. To hear Maud tell it, things would go very quickly one way or another. They would ambush the werewolf and gun it down, or it would be in their midst before any Plan B could be made.

More sleepless observations showed the werewolf didn’t come every night, and it didn’t always peer from the elm tree. And it was wary. Perhaps the delay made it anxious, perhaps some hint of the hunters’ tension could be smelled. The wolf grew cautious and twitchy, sometimes howling from behind the tree line, and rarely spending more than a few minutes in one place. Hardly enough time for the guarantees Maud was looking for.

They needed bait.

Sour agreed. She was tired of waiting, though she said it like she was scheduling her own funeral.

A clear night with a half-moon. Maud said her grandfather believed werewolves were at their weakest then, though she noted it might be superstition. No scientific studies on this sort of thing, even from Twilight or Whooves.

They arrived during the day. Watched netshows on Sour’s television – ironically about a whiny ‘good’ vampire – while Maud methodically examined every gun and silver bullet. Silver could be sniffed out, but if the werewolf was distracted… focused on something else…

Evening fell. They went to the roof.

“Wait, stop,” Adagio said. “You have a bee by you. Hold on...”

She reared up and slapped Applejack’s backside. “Got it!”

Applejack raised an eyebrow, muttering her thanks as Twilight threw her drone to the air. Fifteen minutes passed while they watched the drone’s scans on her laptop’s screen, then she pointed to a red signal and announced their target was close.

Twilight’s eyes blinked to Sunset, and she gave a nervous laugh. Sniper and spotter respectively, her and Applejack would remain on the roof. The others got onto the elevator, with Maud and Adagio parting ways to shoot from the third-floor bedroom.

Sunset would go outside with Sour Sweet, shotgun in hand. A mix of threat and reward to hopefully keep the werewolf’s attention.

...Not much for Wallflower to do here. Maud gave her a first aid kit and said to watch from inside.

Sunset rubbed Sour Sweet’s back. The gesture got an eye-roll and groan, but Sour didn’t pull away.

The elevator chimed on the ground floor, and the pair departed. They exited on the woodland side and walked several steps from the building’s base, then turned to walk parallel to the wall. Visibility to the other teams let them track both werewolf and bait, ideally letting them gun it down before contact.


Sunset released her hold on Sour, hiding the faint tremble that came to her. Sweat greased her grip on the shotgun, loaded for bear with heavy silver slugs. Not so comforting after learning nothing but a perfect shot would matter.

She slung it to a two-handed pose. “You’ll be fine.”

The response was a snap. “You think I haven’t heard you guys talk about how all the real hunters think I’m not worth the risk?”

Sunset took a calm breath, pointedly reminding herself Sour had every right to be afraid. “You are. They’re just sick or busy. And besides, we are real hunters.”

Wetness gleamed on Sour’s eyes in the moonlight. “Oh, please. A redneck, nerd, and brat princess, and I swear that Maud girl has autism or something. And you’re a mommy’s angel with delusions of–”


Somehow, having to care of this angry girl gave Sunset patience she never knew she had.

Courage, too – Sunset’s tremble stopped as purple eyes found hers. “You’ll be fine. Now I need you to be quiet and let me work.”

Sour clenched both fists, but obeyed. They continued walking in silence, broken only by the rustle of browning grass.

...And Twilight’s voice in the bluetooth in Sunset’s ear. “She knows you have your phone on, right?”

“And that we’re all in the call,” Maud said. “We dialed in on the roof.”

Applejack’s stern tone cut in. “Girls, let it go. Twi, how are we doing?”

“The signal is still fifty meters deep in the woods.” Twilight sniffed wetly into her speakers, drawing a cringe from Sunset. “But it’s been stopped for thirty seconds now maybe it… uh, moving again.”

“How fast?” Maud asked.

A keyboard tapped behind Twilight’s words. “Not fast. Actually, slower than before. But Sunset, it’s going right for you.”

Sunset nudged Sour to stop walking. “What angle?”

“Geometric, quadonometric, or non-Euclidean?”

“English, Twilight.”

“Call it ten o’clock: ahead of you, almost perpendicular.”

“Hold position,” Maud said. “Everyone, try to spot it. Hold fire until both snipers see it, or it starts to charge.”

Twilight cut in. “Almost out of the woods. It started running, then stopped again now.”

Sour did not bring an earpiece, and so glowered to Sunset’s side. “Will you please clue me in?”

Sunset firmly took her arm and pushed her between Sunset and the building. “Your friend’s here. Remember what we said, you can’t outrun it. If you stay behind me I can drill it point-blank if the others miss.”

She braced, turning her full attention and the muzzle of her gun down to the forest. The moon’s light there filtered down through the half-full trees, alternating shadows and pitch black. Leaves flew and branches waved with a growing breeze, bringing a crescendo of rustling which felt to deafen Sunset’s nervous ears.

She cursed the wind, but a moment later she blessed it for there was one thing in that sea of shadowed motion which remained utterly still. The curiosity of it caught her, although a lingering gaze almost dismissed it in her mind as simply part of the large elm until happenstance imagination traced a wolf-like ear… then yellow eyes, looking at or through her.

It was only unconscious duty that brought Sunset’s voice to say, “By the elm.” Everything else drained into the yellow eyes – bright and ghostly, promising death with no hope of retaliation. Her fingers grew cold, her heart thrilling with a terrible whisper that she was the prey and not the hunter. Even the wolf’s mundane appearance contributed, for she knew what lurked within… knew and could not see…

The shotgun was warm from her grip. She felt the heat on her numb fingers, and Applejack’s kind voice in her ear.

“Good job, Sunny, real good job. I got a bead on it.”

Maud spoke right after. “Me too. Sunset, are you ready?”

Sunset let out a slow breath, feeling her terror go out with it. It was like angels watched over her, except they were friends instead of angels. Much more reliable. “Now I am.”

“Alright.” A mechanical click followed Maud’s voice. “Hold fire until you’re point-blank. Applejack, with me...”


Two different rifles barked at once. The werewolf gave a shrill, feral yipe as a thin jet of blood shot from its shoulder. A blink’s time changed its form to an ape-armed brute, and on all fours it charged.

Curses and shouts came uselessly over the line. The crack of a second bullet sounded from the roof to no effect. Sour Sweet mewled weakly and collapsed to the ground.

Sunset aimed – at what? The left chest? There was nothing but a hairy blur of long arms, trailing chain, and narrow teeth that would be on her in the next second.

The shotgun’s comforting kick launched into her shoulder. Even before the blood came she knew it was wrong – there, in the crook of its right elbow.

Sunset’s breath fled her body, and she definitely felt ribs crack as the wolf made contact. Her trigger hand still gripped the shotgun, but she was flying…

And then stopped abruptly, pulled by many sharp feelings on her shoulder. A wet sensation blossomed out from it as the sharp feelings slammed her to the ground. The wolf loomed high, raising claws as wide as her wrists.

Something caught the moonlight above the wolf. Something silver.

The werewolf saw, and leaped away. Maud’s pick buried into the ground, its owner no worse from her three-story jump. The wolf was still recovering when Adagio launched from Maud’s shoulders, silver knife in each hand. She landed perfectly, then twirled eel-like around the wolf’s clumsy guard and buried a blade between its left ribs.

Still no death. The wolf turned, but Adagio circled fast enough to keep pace. “Not deep enough? Well let’s start digging!”

Adagio jerked the blade savagely, drawing a fresh eruption of blood. She twirled ahead of the claws, and gave mocking laughter even as they forced her back.

Still half-dazed and confused by the feeling in her arm, Sunset tried to get her shotgun to bear as Maud recovered and charged. A drone rammed the werewolf’s head, trying and failing to cover her move. Long arms punched the heavy pick aside, and may have disemboweled Maud if a bullet from above hadn’t knocked the beast off-balance.

The claws still scratched Maude’s belly, ruining her shirt along with. Droplets of dark blood pooled into her navel as she rallied, emotionless, just out of claw’s reach. She stared the werewolf down, and as one second passed Sunset swore a gray hand curled upwards, giving unspoken command to bring it on.

The wolf obeyed. It jumped instead of pounced, nowhere near Maud’s low swing as its knee connected with her face. Claws again rose to flay, this time getting tangled in a second drone. The instant’s delay launched Maud to tentative safety, though her pick spun in the wrong direction and she collapsed with the fall.

One foe down, the wolf spun on Adagio, whose smile grew a deal less gleeful.

But Sunset had the shotgun ready. Not her best-aimed shot, with the left arm growing numb. Yet the wolf’s turn gave her a beautiful view of its side, and perhaps a bare two seconds remained before melee with Adagio obscured her aim.

Again came the kick, and heartening retort. The silver slug entered just above Adagio’s cuts, crushing ribs and impacting a great bloody something that filled the hole with spurting blood.

There was more, too. Ribs around it bent outwards, like something exploded with no room to go. The wolf staggered and jerked violently, then went motionless at a stand.

Bright yellow eyes met Sunset’s. There was meaning in the gesture, surely, but all she could do was stare as the beast collapsed – a large, gunned-down wolf, and nothing more.

Sunset blinked, and blinked again. Dizzy, but somehow unable to fall. The wet feeling had spread to her fingers. Distantly, like a fading dream, she noticed Maud climb to her feet, and heard the elevator chime inside.

A last blink cleared her thoughts as a familiar drawl exited the dorm. “Didn’t know you brought two drones, Twi.”

A nasal, nervous chuckle answered. “I, uh, only had the one. I saw the second flying around and hacked it. Figured it might... oh no, Sunset!”

“What?” Sunset turned, looking worriedly to her panicked friends.

Then down, to the blood dripping from her left hand. “Oh.”

She traced its flow upwards, past shiny pools on black leather to the ordered teeth marks around her shoulder. “...Oh.”

“Girls, we got a problem,” Applejack said urgently.

Wallflower ran forwards, unzipping her polyester aid kit. “Get her jacket off!”

Sunset complied, and following it with her bloody shirt revealed bruises along the chest. Wallflower busied herself cleaning and bandaging, squeaking “I’m helping!” every few seconds.

“Me next, please.” Maud approached at an even tromp, her ruined shirt balled up and pressed to her wounds. Her face was strangely unbruised, and Sunset vaguely wondered if the werewolf’s knee had taken more damage in the exchange.

Their eyes met, and the thought died. Maud’s gaze – cold as ever – drifted to Sunset’s bite.

Sunset shivered, wanting to retreat but somehow unable. She grinned weakly as Maud stepped close and wrapped her in a hug. “Thank you.”

The fear babbled out of Sunset’s mouth. “Maud, please tell me this isn’t the part where you snap my neck to stop me from becoming a werewolf.”


Maud’s habitual monotone was unchanged, but as she stepped back Sunset saw confusion on the gray face. “No. No, Sunset.”

“I heard you the other day!” Sunset snapped, her voice cracking. “You said it’s not something you can live with.”

“I said you can’t do it without professional guidance.”

“And are you a professional werewolf tamer?”

“Well, no, but listen to me.” Maud took her by the bloodstained hand, staring with deathly earnest into Sunset’s eyes. “We get bit sometimes. It’s just part of the business. We contact Miss Redheart when it happens, and we’ll do so for this. Tonight. She has pills and compounds that can destroy the curse when it’s young. It’s not perfect, and yes, you’ll sleep in a cage next full moon just in case. I don’t know what will happen, but whatever happens, you will be fine.”

“We’re all in this together, Sunny.” Applejack made to slap Sunset on the shoulder, then halted in the nick of time. “We’ll make it a girls’ night when the time comes. I’ll be right in that cage with you.”

“Right outside the cage,” Maud corrected.

Adagio cut in from her position at the werewolf’s corpse. “You guys are so sappy I want to mine you for syrup. But come here, get a load of this.”

The party gingerly approached the still, fallen form of the wolf, where Adagio lifted one end of a heavy chain. It terminated in a spiked drill, embedded in some fragment of concrete that was presumably once part of a floor.

“The chain I saw,” Sunset mused, trailing it with her eyes to a metal collar around the wolf’s neck. “Oh, and the clinking Sour told us about when she saw it.”

Applejack grunted. “Some pet?”

Twilight peered closely at the collar. She scratched its surface with a fingernail, then gasped and flinched away.

Maud’s cold green eyes belied her fast words. “Tell me that’s not–”

“Silver.” Twilight swallowed hard and pulled back the fur beneath. “Look, you can see where it burned.”

Maud leaned close, impassively allowing Twilight to show her the damage. A familiar chill descended as they worked, and this time Maud Mountain did not go unscarred. She stood from the exam with slim gray fists clenched, frowning so firmly it seemed a mirror of Limestone.

“Maud,” Sunset began, but got no further.

“Werewolves are a menace.” Wet cracks emerged in Maud’s voice. “They hunt us, we hunt them. We can only be enemies.”

She gently touched the fallen, shaggy head. “But not even one of them deserves this. Tortured, collared. Poor animal...”

A long moment passed before she moved. Maud righted herself and looked to Sunset, her neutrality back in place. The avalanche was over. “Let’s go. Your treatment needs to start tonight.”

“Yeah...” Sunset ran a hand through her hair, not caring for the mingled blood and grime. A short, terrified giggle squeaked out, and she waved down curious looks. “Sorry, sorry. Just thinking about how Mom’s going to kill me when she finds out.”

Twilight pushed up her glasses, obscuring her eyes with reflected moonlight. “Correction: ‘if’ she finds out.”

Adagio lingered, watching the werewolf as the others began their retreat. A sad, distant smile hovered on her face, and she passed her hand along its back.

She thought of their talk last month, and wondered if this would help Sunset understand. Werewolves weren’t evil. Nothing was. Not even its captors. Cruel, yes, but cats played with mice before spearing them, and humans did far worse. Everyone’s a predator, living on the pain of others. Sirens, humans, werewolves, sharks.

Probably not worth it to explain. Adagio retracted her hand, but startled as something followed it upwards. The muscles of the dead beast gave a twitch, and wisps of faint green smoke rose from head to tail.

...Very, very nostalgic green smoke. It departed as fast as it came, fading into the ether.

“Coming, Daj?” Applejack’s lovely twang sounded from the dorm’s entrance.

“Yeah,” Adagio called. She paused, opening and closing her mouth before turning to hustle after. “Yeah. I’m coming.”