Sunset bit through the first tongue depressor after less than a minute. By the end of the ordeal, she had gone through 5 tongue depressors before Fluttershy suggested they roll up a hand towl for her to bite on instead. Both Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had resorted to cotton balls stuffed in their ears to get through the groans and muffled screams each tug of her shirt brought.
The pony-turned-human had never experienced this level of pain before. Even King S was never this sadistic, Sunset thought to herself bitterly. She was used to temporary pain, be it frequent, but this prolonged suffering was another matter altogether.
Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash looked at each other once her clothes were completely removed, save for her underwear, haunted and disturbed at both the traumatic experience they had all gone through, and the source of the bleeding.
Two long and slender cuts ran down both of Sunset's shoulder blades, each almost an inch wide and very shallow. At the base of the girl's spine was a perfectly formed circle of peeled flesh that looked to be about the size of a palm. It took everything in Fluttershy's power to keep herself from fainting. More than a few times the timid girl found herself reaching for the smelling salts she kept on hand for herself and Rarity.
The wounds were still oozing blood, though not heavily and not profusely. The two friends decided to give Sunset some time to recover from the pain, and time for them to pull themselves together.
“Sunset?” Fluttershy called out, careful to keep herself from reaching out to the girl.
“Yeah?” Sunset responded weakly without looking, her arms shaking beside her.
“We're going to step outside for a bit before we clean the wounds, is that ok?”
Sunset nodded before curling into herself, her arms wrapping around her stomach. I don't want to be alone, she thought frantically. Rainbow noticed how the girl turned into a remarkable imitation of an armadillo.
“Don't worry, dude,” Rainbow tried to reassure, “we'll be right outside and the door's gonna be open and everything. If you need anything, just call for us.” The chromatic girl tried to give a confident smile, but the effort was lost on Sunset who still had yet to look at them. Instead, she simply nodded and crossed her arms over her chest.
With a concerned look and a shrug, both girls retreated back into Fluttershy's room. The rest of the group sat on the bed in various states of emotional agony. Pinkie sat at the headboard, her hair completely flat and the color leached from her skin. Rarity and Applejack sat next to each other at the foot of the bed, leaning heavily against one another. All eyes turned to Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, both hopeful and relieved.
“Is it o’er?” Applejack pleaded, her heart torn to bits at the suffering they heard coming from the bathroom. Despite all the harm the girl did at the school, no one deserved to go through that sort of pain. Not even Sunset Shimmer. Though none of the girls wanted to admit it, they all knew what had caused the poor girl’s injuries and it brought guilt and sadness to them all.
Both girls shook their heads.
“We got her clothes off but I need a breather.” Rainbow collapsed face first across the bed, separating Pinkie Pie from Rarity and Applejack. Fluttershy sat near Pinkie and wrapped her in a tight hug.
“It was so awful,” Fluttershy whispered before the tears and sobs came. Despite knowing that they needed to get Sunset undressed so they could stop the bleeding and clean the wounds, it still hurt to cause the former queen bee so much pain. I can’t get her screams out of my head, Fluttershy thought with a whimper.
Pinkie stroked her friend’s hair. “Shhh, Shy. It’s ok. Your auntie Pinkie’s got you.” Her hair deflated even more when Fluttershy didn’t react to the inside joke the two shared.
Applejack shook her head and stood up, taking Rarity with her. “Y’all stay here whilst me n’ Rarity clean the girl up.” Applejack looked at Rarity, ready to convince the fashionista to get her hands dirty. Her gaze turned to surprise when Rarity nodded without hesitation.
“Please find the dear some clothes to wear while we get her cleaned up some,” Rarity requested, tugging Applejack into the adjoining bathroom without another word.
Sunset, who had been lost in her mind since the other two left, was wholly unprepared for anyone else to enter the room. As such, she had pitched backwards and landed on the floor with a sickening thwack.
“Sunset!” Applejack shouted as she moved quickly to the girl, blushing when she realized the girl was nearly naked.
“Uhnnn,” Sunset groaned, the pain in her back turning from soreness back into a sting. "I really gotta stop doing that," she muttered to herself.
Rarity, who was much more accustomed to nudity than her companion, rushed to kneel next to Sunset.
"Give me your hand, darling," the fashionista said softly, her eyes cataloging the scars and features of the fallen girl's body against her will. She was strikingly beautiful, if one could ignore the multiple scars and bruises that littered her entire body. Rarity could tell that the scars were too old to have been caused by their magic.
What has life done to you, my sweet girl?
After a few minutes of struggle, Rarity managed to get Sunset into a sitting position. By that time, AJ was finally functional again and quickly moved to wipe up the blood stains on the floor.
"We're gonna have tuh bathe her," AJ whispered to Rarity after discarding the bloody towel. “There’s too much blood.”
Rarity nodded. "I agree." She stood up and walked right out the door. "I'll be right back!"
Applejack took the fashionista's spot and gently held onto Sunset's shoulders so she wouldn't fall backwards again.
Everything hurts, Sunset thought with a groan. This is worse than that time King S found out I was hiding books in my pillow case. Sunset found herself remembering that night and the many others that often plagued her in her sleep.
Meanwhile, AJ tried to keep her eyes from drifting too far down, as she didn't want to invade Sunset's privacy. She couldn't help but notice the scars on her neck and shoulder, though.
God goddess, what happened tuh you?
"Sunset?" Applejack called our softly. After a few seconds, Sunset managed to focus her eyes Applejack.
"Rarity n’ me are gonna help ya shower so ya don't end up hurtin' yerself."
Sunset nodded in reply, her eyes becoming distant again.
I just want to sleep, she thought. I want to stop hurting. A deep part of Sunset snorted at that thought. I’m always hurting...
"Are you ready, darling?" Rarity asked as she walked back through the door dressed in a sports bra and boy shorts, her hair tied in a ponytail.
Applejack turned but only blinked in response. "Huh."
"What?" Rarity said, looking down at herself and feeling self-conscious at the unusual response.
"Ah guess I never took ya fer a boy shorts kinda gal," Applejack responded quietly, turning back towards Sunset to conceal her burning cheeks.
"Why of course!"
Not bothering to respond, AJ reached for Sunset's face.
"We gotta wash ya now, if'n yer up for it."
Sunset nodded, her whole body aching.
Might as well get this torture over with, she silently grumbled. Every second she had to remain upright was a second closer she felt to passing out. I'd rather pass out in a bed than while two girls try to bathe me. Though part of her had to admit how amusing that would be.
With Applejack’s help, Sunset managed to stand up without passing out or throwing up. Score one for ponygirl! If she had the strength, Sunset would have tried to fist pump.
Rarity noticed that Sunset was still not completely naked yet. “Darling, would you prefer to leave your underwear on?” Her hand reached out to gently touch Sunset’s shoulder but despite the softness of the gesture, the damaged girl flinched away.
“No, wet clothes’re gross,” Sunset slurred, visibly swaying.
Rarity nodded. “Alright then.”
AJ and Rarity took turns holding Sunset steady while she slipped the last piece of clothing off.
With a grunt, Sunset turned to her helpers with expectation. Wasting no time, Rarity turned on the shower to the most gentle setting, which was nearly a mist given that Fluttershy used her shower to clean all sorts of animals. She made sure to invest in a shower head that could soothe even the most skittish of critters, a choice that would make this entire process much easier.
After some adjustments, Rarity nodded in satisfaction. “Right then, the shower is ready for you.”
Sunset blinked in response before stepping closer to the tub.
“One foot at’a time, sugarcube,” Applejack instructed, one hand on Sunset’s hip and the other between her shoulder blades to ensure her stability. Rarity got in with Sunset, shuddering at the feeling of the water soaking through her clothes. She was happy her past self had the forethought to pack old clothes for their sleep over. Heaven knows she wouldn't let any of her new creations be subjected to this kind of treatment.
“I will keep you steady while you wash,” Rarity explained from behind Sunset, her hands holding the girl’s hips. “Do you think you can wash your front?”
Sunset nodded, reaching for the body wash on the shower caddies. Though it took some time, Sunset managed to clean from her neck down to her knees. It feels good to be clean.
Rarity kept note of her progress, nodding when Sunset washed away the suds. She tried hard to not think about the red stains on her own clothing, nor the steady stream of red flowing down the drain.
“Applejack, darling,” Rarity called out, “Are you ready to hold Sunset while I clean her back?”
“Eeyup,” Applejack said, pushing aside the shower curtain to step in. Sunset barely registered her change of clothes before the farmer was twirling her to face away from the shower head.
Sunset hissed as the water touched her back.
“I do apologize dear, but this part will sting a bit.” Rarity rubbed Sunset’s arm in comfort as she grabbed the shower head off the holder. With a squeeze of Sunset’s hand, Rarity aimed the shower head at the girl’s shoulder blades.
“Nhhh,” Sunset whined, plopping her head down on Applejack’s firm shoulder. This sucks, she thought, closing her eyes at the sensation of the warm water cascading down her torn flesh. Despite the pain, it still felt nice under the warm water, especially when Rarity rinsed out her hair a bit. Hmm, the water at the factory definitely doesn't get this hot. It felt nice to be completely warm for the first time in years, and eventually Sunset began to relax.
After what seemed like seconds, the shower turned off.
“Huh?” Sunset muttered, lifting her head up to look at the other girls. “Wha’ happen’d to tha-water?”
Rarity giggled at the downright childish pout adorning Sunset’s face. She certainly could give Sweetie Belle a run for her money.
“I’m afraid shower time is over, sweetie,” Rarity cooed. She stepped out of the shower first, getting a few towels ready for herself and the other girls. Thankfully Fluttershy kept dark towels on hand in case of an emergency, otherwise the fashionista would have a conniption about ruining the fabric with blood stains.
Applejack nudged Sunset towards the edge of the tub. “Out yah go.”
Sunset was nearly asleep by this point but still managed to step out of the tub while only stumbling twice. Rarity tried wrapping the girl in a towel but was rebuffed.
“I can do’t,” she slurred, taking the towel from Rarity and trying her best to dry herself off.
Applejack and Rarity shared amused smiles at the way Sunset stuck her tongue out in concentration. How could someone so evil be this innocent and adorable? Rarity couldn’t help but wonder what had driven the girl to such drastic measures.
“Now you sit right down on the toilet whilst me’n Rares disinfect yer back,” AJ directed once everyone was dried off enough. Rarity wrapped Sunset's hair in a smaller towel before throwing another towel onto the toilet to give the girl some cushion. Sunset straddled the toilet, grateful for the comfort and rest.
Rarity brought over the supplies Fluttershy left on the counter over to the toilet. With a nod, Applejack took the disinfectant spray and prepared herself for the impending ordeal.
“Ya ready, Shimmer?”
“Go fer it,” the girl responded resolutely, her hands braced against the toilet lid.
It can’t be worse than before.