When the alarm buzzed the next morning, Sunset woke with a start and slammed that snooze button with an open palm. After scrubbing her face, brushing her teeth, and combing her hair, she burst her way out of the house. She made it to school with eight minutes to spare. But just as she thought she made it first, there she was: Twilight Sparkle, showing up like the Ghost of Christmas Past. After waving to her friends, she immediately notices Sunset and waves her over. With little to no choice, Sunset walked over to speak with her as they walked toward the doors together.
“You won’t believe this meeting I just got out of,” Twilight spoke, mid-walk. “And it feels like there’s still so much to finish when they just keep coming.”
“That’s how much trust they got on us, it’s a miracle we’re not on our backs right now,” Sunset replied. “We always think of it as work worth doing.”
“That’s a mature way to look at it,” Twilight smiled, in agreement.
The way Twilight carried on left Sunset dumbfounded. She could feel every brain cell drop, the more she spoke to this girl.
“Oh, I almost forgot,” Twilight remembered. “Do you have any type of music you like?”
“Well… I understand it might be different from the music you’re used to but I’m a huge rock fan,” Sunset said, in an actual sincere tone. “It’s floaty and, for lack of a better word, totally awesome.”
“Well, if you want, I can teach you the music I listen to.”
“Really? Well… Thanks.”
Surprisingly, Sunset felt slightly interested in Twilight, since her family held an auspicious attitude towards music. The rest of the day was mostly calm until it grew pretty late. Sunset had just left the school and was well on her way when all of a sudden…
Sunset stopped and turned around, as Twilight Sparkle appeared.
“Were you just on your way home?” She asked.
“Yeah I am,” Sunset nodded. “What about you? Don’t you have club activities to attend to? You can't be done that early, could you?”
“They told me I needed time to focus on the exams, so I’m not doing anything for a while,” Twilight replied. “You mind if I tag along?”
“Oh great, just what I needed,” Sunset thought, to herself.
Deep down, Sunset wanted to say ‘No, get lost!’ but for whatever reason when it came to Twilight, she just couldn’t say it. So sweet, so nice, so… Pathetic. But her sweet nature ended up getting the best of her.
“Sure, why not?” Sunset nodded.
Several minutes went by and they said nothing during their walk, nothing but silence as they admired the scenery. Eventually, as Sunset neared her house, the two parted ways. As usual, Sunset’s brothers were there to greet her, but she was too wrapped up in her obsession that she walked right by. Climbing upstairs to her room, she buried herself in her studies determined to not be upstaged again. Her entire weekend depended on it, she ‘needed’ to use all the time she has now. Just then, they appear behind Sunset, tugging her.
“Come on Sunset, let’s go outside and play together for once!” Snips begged. “We haven’t played in forever!”
“Yeah, all you ever do is lock yourself in your room and act like we don’t exist,” Snails added. “Come on, won’t you hang out with us? Just for a few minutes?”
“Absolutely not!” Sunset yelled. “I must beat that smug Twilight Sparkle, no matter what the cost. That brat has already bested me one too many times and I don’t have the time to play some stupid games when there are more important things to do!”
Sunset Shimmer really took it too far, whether she knew it or not. It wasn’t enough she yelled at the boys, but the tears in their eyes made it clear how she made them feel.
“You know what?” Snips said, crying. “You used to be so much fun, but now… Now you’re just focused on being better than everyone else!”
“Seems the only one who’s acting like a brat is you!” Snails said, annoyed.
“Yeah, well… So what?!” Sunset snapped back. “I want to be seen; that’s who I am. You two wouldn’t understand.”
The boys turned away, not even bothering to lock eyes with her. It was one thing for the whole school to give these two a hard time, but having to deal with it at home… And by their own sister as well, it’s no wonder they seem miserable. Sunset looked at them, but neither said another word. A sigh escapes her lips and she reluctantly approached them.
“Look… I’m sorry, okay? I really need to study; I don’t like getting second place. I never meant to hurt you guys.”
They smiled with a nod; this was as close to an apology they can get from her. Eventually, they leave the room with no further complaint so Sunset could have all the time she needed to keep her head straight. As much as she would like to fall asleep, the need to study made it so she couldn’t. Yet somehow, a slight change of plans came before her. Instead of being noticed or worshipped like a Goddess, all Sunset wanted to do was beat Twilight if it meant retaining her title. Sunset could already imagine the look on her face when she defeats her in front of the entire student body. She kept studying for what felt like forever, until eventually sleep overpowered her and she passed out.
Sunset awoke with the start, the need to rush beckoning her out the door. After her usual routine, she bolted through the door. Entering her classroom, she took a seat at her desk waiting for her classmates to follow suit. When the minutes wrapped up, all the students in their seats and the teacher passing their exams, Sunset wasted no time.
She made sure to examine every question thoroughly, double checking for every correct answer before filling the bubble. Overtime, she got incredibly impatient and sat there tapping at her desk to near insanity. Three more hours later, the bell rang, and everyone could finally turn their papers in. Since the exam took hours to finish, the teacher agreed they could leave early today. As much as Sunset wanted to know her score, the teacher said the results would not be posted till tomorrow. With nothing left to do, she decided to just go home and wait. She fell asleep almost immediately after plopping on the bed.
For the umpteenth time, Sunset woke up and performed her usual routine before leaving the house. She breezed through the entire day, until at last she dashed to the result board. It was heavily crowded, a line practically formed just to spend minutes waiting to see their result. Eventually, it was Sunset’s turn to look at her score. As she expected, she was at the top of the list and Twilight Sparkle was just a few points behind her. Everyone cheered, as Sunset could feel the praise finally directed toward her. She was so happy, finally getting one over Twilight Sparkle, hardly remembering the last time she felt adored this much. She couldn’t even remember what it felt like to laugh.
“Nice job, Sunset,” Twilight smiled.
Now there she was, standing before her, giving those three simple words. Sunset must’ve felt the former develop a sense of dread at this point, believing she would go down in flames and learn what it is like to be a nobody.
After some time passed, Sunset walked over to her and pitifully said:
“Better luck next time.”
To Sunset, that would be the icing on the cake. All she needed now was for Twilight to voice her disappointment and submit.
“I knew you were something after all,” Twilight smiled. “If I didn’t see for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Sunset was knocked for a loop; this wasn’t what she pictured. All Sunset needed to do was best Twilight and reclaim her reputation. She won, but it didn’t feel like a victory. Instead, it felt… Different. In the beginning, Sunset felt superior to ‘everything’ Twilight did, but now… She feels empty. She was acknowledged, even if Twilight wasn’t around long enough. Yet Twilight never had that big goal of victory nor any reason to outdo Sunset Shimmer. Perhaps this was the reason why Twilight was possibly more popular than Sunset.
For the very first time in her life, Sunset felt incredibly guilty trying to stand out from the norm. All this time, she played the fool, lying to everyone about who she pretends to be. Now she was the liar; worse than that, she felt like a petty loser. Sunset couldn’t remember the last time she was praised without the need to feel noticed. All she wanted to hear was, You did a good job, you are stupendous, whether or not that’s a lie. Sunset kept pushing it, but never took the time to notice the monster she became. But now, the more she thought about it, she realized all she cared about was just being popular. Another selfish girl caring for her own feelings and no one else.
Had Sunset focused more on her true self, one with no lies or restraints, she might have reached the same love and care Twilight was sharing. But even if she did, she would just be seen as another weirdo, an outcast to the entire school… Even beyond that. It was ironic, seeing how much attention and love the world can give, only to realize how pointless it is when it is all a lie. Sunset felt stupid thinking this way, she wanted to just walk away and say no words to anyone. Instead, she simply went to her next class hoping to avoid as much contact as possible.
The whole time Sunset felt depressed, even though she despised being seen as a disappointment. All she needed to do was through the rest of the day before the final bell and go home. Unfortunately, this habit has grown on Sunset for years. Of course, she always had the time to unwind and not push herself so hard. She could always head to the music room and play something calming. But before she could leave, she accidentally ran into someone.
“Sorry,” She said, sadly.
But when she looked up, there she was: Twilight Sparkle, the blush on her face, the look of pity behind her glasses. Sunset felt stupid for making that mistake, she had never been the type to be so careless. All she wanted to do was run away, to escape all the embarrassing emotions in her head. But before she could leave, Twilight stopped her.
Sunset felt her hand grip her arm, leaving her stumped by this quick action. She turned back to her and for the first time, she felt completely confused. But then it happened, Twilight pulled Sunset close until their eyes fully met.
“Sunset, there’s something I’ve been meaning to say to you,” Twilight whispered, in her ear. “I love you.”
There it was: Direct and forward, her eyes never turning away from Sunset’s. Her heart dropped harder than it ever had. But she didn’t say anything, not even an insult. She just clamped her mouth shut, turned around, and trudged back home. Never had Sunset felt so melancholy, so utterly alone. No one had ever confessed something that serious to her before, no man or woman brave enough to speak to her in the public’s eye. But then someone like her came along and suddenly her whole world made no sense anymore.
Walking into her home, Sunset tried to remain calm. Sitting on the downstairs couch, trying to soak in the silence to relax.
“Well at least it’s nice to have someone fond of you,” Sunset said, joking to herself.
Sunset turned around, noticing Snips and Snails sitting at the table, the latter writing on a note pad.
“You are popular after all,” Snails continued. “It was only a matter of time.”
“You know what the irony is? The person who confessed to me is supposed to be my enemy! Ha… Whether I won or lost, it’s all irrelevant now that she is in the palm of my hand. As one famous person said and I quote, ‘The person I love, who is loved, wins'.”
“What did you say?” Snips asked.
“Nothing,” Sunset said, bluntly. “I didn’t say a word, you know I think about petty feelings for someone. She just felt defeated and left it at that.”
“Are you sure that’s what happened?”
“What?!” Sunset asked, annoyed. “Isn’t that the truth? Isn’t that more than enough?”
“Sunset, do you really hate her?” Snails asked.
“The way I got this processed, it looks to me she spoke to you because you have a superiority complex or something,” Snips added.
“Yeah, I see it. You DO have a superiority complex, sister. Look at it this way: You have it bad for that girl and you know it.”
Sunset didn’t want to admit it, but it was the truth. Twilight has the brains and personally everyone desires, the type a girl like Sunset would want if she weren’t lying to herself. On the other hand, all her life Sunset had done nothing but attempt to maintain perfection without fail, trying so hard to be at the top. But now, after clearing her head of bias, she had to admit Twilight is a great person. Sunset felt terrible for her poor judge of character.
“Even if that’s true, it’s pointless now,” Sunset said, climbing to her room. “I didn’t say a word to her, and I will never get another chance. ‘Night.”
Shutting the door behind her, Sunset plopped herself onto bed. The boys were right, they were right about everything. Sunset was so angry and naïve to never even consider the possibility of just accepting her. But soon, Monday will come around, and now Sunset had a new goal in mind:
“I must find a way to make amends with Twilight Sparkle.”