The Soul's Savior

by Dusty Old Qrow

Chapter 8: The Jester

Turner heard footsteps entering his classroom.

He knew who they belonged to already. There was only one more student missing from the roll call. Turner saw as one by one his students turned to look at the new arrival, and bore witness to the wave of emotions that crashed through each and every one of them. Some faces landed on shock, some anger, but most looked conflicted. They didn’t know how to feel. Turner couldn’t blame them.

Turner turned to his left and put on a friendly smile. “Ms. Shimmer,” he said. “So glad you could join us. You know where your seat is.”

Sunset stood, frozen, in the doorway. She gripped the strap of her backpack tightly, so tight Turner could see her knuckles turning white. For a moment, he worried that the girl would remain there, unmoving, but eventually he saw her take a deep breath and relax. Sunset’s hand fell from the strap and to her side. She spared a glance at the students, and then turned back to Turner.

“Good morning, Mr. Turner,” she said smoothly. “Happy to be back.” With that, Sunset walked over to her desk at the end of the middle row and slid into the seat. As she walked, the other students’ eyes never left her. If it bothered her, Sunset refused to show it. As she started rummaging about her bag for her textbooks, her face was stone cold. A completely neutral expression was etched onto her face, and never once did it leave.

She’s being awfully brave, Turner thought to himself. I half expected her to bolt.

Turner’s voice cut through the overbearing silence in the classroom. “Yes!” He started with a clap of his hands. “Let’s get started. I know we all had an… eventful evening, last time we saw each other.”

“Why is she here?” A student exclaimed from the back of the class. Turner flicked his gaze to the source of the voice; a boy with grey skin, a tall, and a spiky red mohawk. He wore a green shirt with a skull on it. His face scrunched up in anger as he looked Sunset Shimmer’s way. “Why the hell hasn’t she been expelled?!”

A wave of murmurs went through the other students. Turner raised a hand to cut them off, but they simply ignored him and kept talking. Turner sighed. “Quiet!” He raised his voice - not quite a yell but close enough. The students ceased their conversations. Turner let the silence hang over the class before he continued.

“Crimson Napalm,” he said to the boy. “I don’t appreciate language in my classroom. Another instance of that, and I’ll be forced to write you up.” Crimson Napalm blinked at the teacher’s words, crossed his arms, and slumped forward over his desk. Turner resisted the urge to shake his head.

“I suppose I should address the elephant in the room,” Turner said with a breath. He briefly looked Sunset’s way, who was trying very hard to appear invisible but otherwise showed no objections to him continuing. “Yes, Sunset Shimmer is still a student at this school, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”

A girl’s voice interrupted Turner’s from the front row.. The girl had pale yellow skin and bright baby blue hair. She wore a dark green shirt under a white dress with the image of a tennis ball on the front. “After what she did?! She mind controlled us! She turned into a demon!” Tennis Match exclaimed.

“As I said,” Turner continued firmly. “Celestia and Luna have made their decision. It is done.” Turner let his words hang before he continued on, in a softer tone. “Listen, I understand your frustration. You’ve been hurt, and you want to see the one responsible be punished. But I assure you, she is being punished. Sunset Shimmer no longer poses a threat to you. Please, let what happened remain in the past.”

“Are you saying we should just forget it ever happened?” Tennis Match spoke again.

“No, I’m asking you to move past it. Do not let your anger at Sunset Shimmer turn into something worse.” Turner looked over the faces of his students. Some of them seemed to agree with him, others seemed more apprehensive. And Crimson Napalm, Tennis Match, and a few others still held their looks of anger.

“If you need to, please take a visit to the school’s counselor. Or at the very least, talk to someone about your feelings. It’s never good to let negative emotions fester. I believe we can work past this, together, as a school. This is the start of something new. Something better. Let’s keep it that way.”

With that, Turner spun around and began writing on the whiteboard. Sunset Shimmer sat in her desk and sighed, and buried her face in her textbook. The other students occasionally glanced her way but mostly paid their own mind, which she was grateful for. From the opposite end of the middle row, a girl with pink fluffy hair smiled to herself.

Rainbow Dash struggled to suppress a yawn.

Classes bored her enough on regular days. But today of all days? No chance in hell she’d be paying attention. She wasn’t the only one, either. All around her, students were either whispering to themselves or sneaking text messages under their desks, which usually wouldn’t be a notable sight if it weren’t for which class this was. Ms. Harshwhinny ran a tight ship and usually shut down any signs of slacking off.

I guess even the teachers are a tad overwhelmed, Rainbow Dash thought to herself. It’ll probably be back to normal tomorrow though.

Rainbow Dash chuckled, just a little, at ‘normal’. Was anything normal anymore? Alternate dimensions, pony princesses, magical powers, she had her friends back, and Sunset Shimmer… Rainbow wasn’t exactly sure how to classify Sunset yet. Friend seemed appropriate - she just couldn’t bring herself to hate Sunset. So much had changed in such a short time, but at the same time it seemed that not much had changed at all.

After all, here she was, still in class, still bored out of her mind.

Rainbow snuck a glance towards Ms. Harshwhinny. The teacher had her back turned, writing something on the whiteboard that Rainbow Dash couldn’t be bothered to read. She retrieved her phone from her pocket and, keeping it hidden under her desk, lit the screen up.

One of her eyebrows raised when she saw one notification on the display. It was a text from Pinkie Pie of all people. Weird, Rainbow mused. She’s in Turner’s class right now, and Pinkie never slacks off during that class.

Rainbow slid her thumb over the device and the text opened.

Hey Dashie! Did you know Sunset’s in my physics class?

Rainbow quickly glanced around, making sure she was in the clear, before sending a response. “Cool. So you can keep an eye on her, then.

Aw, were you worried about her? Cute!

What’s that supposed to mean?

Aw, nothin’, silly. No need to worry about Sunset - I’ll keep her company until lunch! I think you two have some classes together after that!

How do you know my sched-

A sudden noise right next to her made Rainbow jump, causing her to toss her phone against the underside of the desk with a loud bang. She scrambled to catch it and gripped it tight, bringing it to her face to check for damage. Rainbow was barely able to sigh in relief at her undamaged phone before it was snatched out of her hand.

“Hey!” She screeched, only to find Ms. Harshwhinny staring down at her with an icy glare, her arms crossed in disapproval, and Rainbow’s phone in her hand.

“No texting in class,” Ms. Harshwhinny said, and turned to walk back to the front of the room.

“But-!” Rainbow protested, only to be cut off by the teacher raising a hand. She watched as her phone was deposited onto Harshwhinny’s desk, far out of Rainbow’s reach. Sighing loudly, Rainbow slumped forward and rested her head in her arm. Stupid rules, she whined internally. Stupid teachers. Stupid class. All of ‘em, stupid.

As the minutes ticked by, Sunset felt a growing sense of unease build up in her. It started with one look at the clock - class was just under halfway over, and then the sudden realization hit her. If this morning was bad, passing period was bound to be worse. Rainbow Dash wasn’t here with her this time, after all.

When class was nearly over, she could feel the tension in the air - it felt as if everyone was looking at her. Though she could hear the scratching of pencil on paper, and of students rummaging through their bags, her skin still crawled as if all eyes were on her back. Sunset’s mind couldn’t help but race as the minutes ticked away.

Turner was mid-sentence when the bell finally rang. It’s high pitched scream droned on for a few seconds before dying out, and all of the students began rising from their seats. “Well then, seems we’re out of time,” Turner spoke over the hustling and bustling. “I’ll see you all next time. Don’t forget to do your homework, and have a nice day.” His eyes roamed over the class as they went, but seemed to linger on Sunset, still at her desk.

Sunset looked around at the moving bodies. When she was confident that none of them were paying her any mind, she too rose from her chair and slung her bag over her shoulder. She stood still for a moment, watching as the last of the class made their way into the hallway, and then made to follow them.

“Ms. Shimmer,” Turner called, causing Sunset to stop and turn to face him.

“Yes?” She asked.

“Apologies for keeping you,” he said, as Sunset walked over to him. “But I wanted to ask you how you are doing. I know your… situation can’t be the easiest to deal with.”

Sunset looked at the teacher for a second. “Why?” She asked. “Of all the students in this school, do you really think I’m the one you should be asking that?”

Turner stuck his hands into the pockets of his coat and leaned against the whiteboard, shaking his head. “You may have a point there, but regardless.” He looked Sunset in the eyes. “How are you?”

“... I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I’ve been trying to make up for the stuff I did, but so far I’ve just ended up being forgiven without doing anything to earn it. I don’t know how to feel about that.”

Turner raised an eyebrow and stood up straight. “What do you mean?”

Sighing, Sunset continued. “You know Granny Smith, the lunch lady, right?”

“I know of her, yes.”

“Well, she let me stay at the Apple farm for a night. But then in the morning, she gave me permission to stay there whenever I needed to. And… it was nice. Really nice of her. But it was the morning after the Fall Formal - I hadn’t done anything to earn that. I still haven’t.” Sunset’s voice cracked slightly as she spoke, but she continued on. “I just don’t get it.”

Turner was silent for a few moments. He closed his eyes in thought, mumbling to himself under his breath, and then opened his eyes. He gave Sunset a soft look. “Believe it or not, I know exactly what you mean.”

“You do?”

“Oh, yes. And it can be tough, accepting forgiveness when you don’t feel you’ve earned it. I’m still coming to terms with it, myself. But one thing that I’ve had drilled into me by someone very close to me, is that sometimes, we just have to suck it up. Forgiveness is a very personal matter. It’s up to whoever gives it - not who gets it - to decide when it’s earned.”

Sunset tilted her head down and frowned. “But why? Why would Rainbow Dash, or anyone, forgive me when I’ve done so much to hurt them?”

Turner hummed. “I can only guess. I’m not them. I’m sure they have their own reasons, very complicated ones for choosing to forgive you and help you through this time. But at the core of it all, it’s because they’ve decided you’re worthy of it. It’s not about whether or not you deserve it. At the end of the day, it’s their choice, not ours. We just have to live with that.”

Sunset let the words sink in, repeating them in her mind over and over again. “I’m not sure I like that,” she mumbled. “I don’t want to be someone who just takes stuff without earning it, not again.”

Turner chuckled under his breath. “If I may, I’d say that sentence there proves you’re worthy of it.” He then turned around, grabbed a pen, and scribbled on a small piece of paper. “Here, take this. If I’ve made you tardy, this will get you out of trouble,” he said, handing her the paper.

Sunset reached out and grabbed it. “Thanks, Mr. Turner.”

He smiled softly. “You’re welcome. I hope your day treats you well.”

Sunset gave a nod and turned, walking to the door. She stepped through, only to be stopped by Turner’s voice yet again.

“And do tell Pinkie Pie not to stay after class without permission!”


Sunset found herself cut off by a mass of pink fluff entering her vision. She jumped back in surprise, only for a pair of arms to wrap themselves around her midsection and pull her in for a tight hug.

“Sunny! It’s good to see you!” Pinkie Pie’s high pitched voice rang out. The hug became even tighter. Sunset saw black spots creeping at the edge of her vision, and just when she felt as if the end had come, the arms retreated and Sunset immediately gulped down a lungful of air.

“Hi Pinkie…” Sunset breathed out, her face flushed. Black spots dotted her vision. Behind them she saw Pinkie Pie standing there with bright eyes and a wide smile. She was cheery as ever, as if Sunset hadn’t just almost been suffocated.

“Come on, we’ve gotta get you to class!” Pinkie said loudly, leaning forward and grabbing Sunset by the wrist. “Get moving, lazy bones!” She yanked Sunset in front of her and gave her a light push, keeping Sunset moving forward.

“Pinkie, what are you-”

“I’m helping!” Pinkie Pie explained with a large grin. “Rainbow Dash was worried about ‘cha, and I offered to help you get to your next class. So come on! We’ve gotta go!” Pinkie said. She looked as if she were ready to run across the school at full speed, but relaxed when she saw Sunset not ready to run with her. “What, are you not in a hurry?”

Sunset continued walking at her normal pace. “No, not really,” she said. “Why?”

Pinkie shrugged, her grin falling. “I dunno. I just figured you wouldn’t wanna be in the hallways right now. There’s a lotta nasties out and about at the moment.” Just as the words left Pinkie’s mouth, Sunset felt a shove from behind, sending her stumbling forward.

Pinkie’s hand shot out to grab Sunset by the shoulder, barely keeping her on her feet, then yanked her back upright. Sunset took a moment to compose herself before shooting Pinkie a smile. “Thanks.”

“No problem, Sunny. There’s a lotta meanies, and I just thought that you’d appreciate someone trying to keep ‘em off of you for a sec.” Pinkie gave a smile - smaller than her usual ones but still larger than average.

Sunset felt her chest tighten. Another person helping me out, she thought to herself. When am I going to stop freeloading like this? She managed to keep her thoughts off of her face, and instead gave Pinkie a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Thank you, Pinkie Pie. If I can ever repay you, please, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Pinkie’s smile instantly became larger than it had been yet. “Aw, Sunny, that’s what friends are for! You don’t gotta pay me back.” She then wrapped an arm around Sunset’s shoulders. “Now, we’re off to class! Let’s get going!”

“Wait, do you even know what my next class is?”

Pinkie stopped for a split second, but then kept going. “Not a clue!”

Walking with Pinkie had a strange way of putting Sunset at ease. As they walked through the crowded hallways, Sunset found herself noticing the other students less and less, their presence drowned out by Pinkie Pie’s constant flow of words. Sunset found herself hardly getting any words in edgewise, but couldn’t find it in herself to care.

The passing period was already over by a few minutes, but neither of them seemed to really care. They walked at a comfortable pace. Pinkie Pie bounced high with every step while Sunset followed by her side. It was the best Sunset had felt since getting to school.

Eventually they arrived at the door to Sunset’s next class. The two girls stopped in front of the door and looked at it for a second before turning to each other, both with smiles on their faces. “Well, Sunset,” Pinkie said cheerfully. “Looks like we’re here! I hope you’ll be alright without me.”

Sunset gave her a small nod. “I’m sure I will, Pinkie. Thanks for walking me here. It… it really meant a lot to me.”

Quicker than Sunset could blink, Pinkie rushed forward and trapped her in a tight bearhug. Sunset let out a loud oof as all of the air was pushed from her lungs. “Oh, Sunset, I’m so happy to hear you say that! The old you never would have! You really changed!” The hug became so tight, Sunset felt her feet lift off the ground.

“I’d… like… to think so…” Sunset choked out. Pinkie released her, and Sunset came crashing back to the floor, leaning against the wall as she tried to catch her breath. “Pinkie… please… stop doing that…” She said breathily.

Pinkie nodded, still smiling brightly. “I’m just so happy! When we made that promise to Princess Twilight, there was a teensie-tiny part of me that didn’t know if we could really keep it,” Pinkie said, bouncing on her heels. “But I’m glad we can! I can tell we’re gonna have some good times ahead of us.”

Sunset took in a last deep breath and pushed herself off the wall. “I hope so, Pinkie. Thanks again.” She outstretched her hand. Pinkie didn’t hesitate to grab it with her own. Pinkie shook up and down so hard, Sunset feared her arm would pop out of its socket. But eventually Pinkie stopped and let go.

“Not a problem, Sunny! I’ll see you at lunch!” With that, Pinkie turned on one heel and began skipping down the hallway. Sunset watched her go with a smile on her face. Funny. Before, I thought she was annoying, Sunset mused, but that was probably the best I’ve felt in awhile.

Eventually, Pinkie turned a corner and went out of sight. Sunset’s gaze lingered for a few moments before she turned towards the classroom door, her smile falling off her face. Through the door’s window, she could see the class in session. Some students were paying attention, though most were quite obviously talking to their friends. Mr. Clover didn’t seem to care much.

With a sigh, Sunset pushed the door open and stepped inside.

The day seemed to breeze by for Time Turner. Outside of his first class, the rest of the day went business as usual. The same students sat in the same seats they usually did, and he taught the same way he would have any day. Save for a few unruly students, it seemed as if not much had changed at all.

The lunch bell rang, and Turner found himself double-checking the clock to make sure it was right. The students all began rising from their seats with their bags in tow, and Turner watched as they filed out of the classroom. “Have a nice lunch, everyone,” he called as they left. “Enjoy the rest of your day!”

A few students gave goodbyes as they left, which Turner returned with a smile. The last student left and he was suddenly left alone in the empty classroom. With his hands in his pockets, Turner walked over to his desk and sat down, propping his feet on top of it as he leaned back.

He fished his phone out of his pocket. Just as he did it began to ring, making him jump and nearly throw it across the room. Turner cursed loudly as he composed himself and read the name on the screen - Berry Punch. Turner answered as quickly as he could.

“Hello?” he asked.

Hello, Time Turner.” Berry Punch’s voice rang through the speaker. “It’s about lunchtime at the school, yeah? Don’t think you would have answered otherwise.

“May I ask what you’re calling about, Berry? Are we still on for…” Turner paused to take a calming breath. “For after school?”

Yeah, yeah we are. I just wanted to… I don’t know, set some things straight.” Turner hadn’t heard her voice this soft in years. “I know I haven’t exactly been the friendliest to you, over the past few years. That wasn’t very fair to you.

“No, no, no. You don’t need to do that,” Turner said, placing his feet on the floor and sitting up straight. “I never held it against you. I did shove two kids into your lap unprompted, after all.”

Ah, I needed to sober up anyways. And those girls are the best things to ever happen to me, you know that. Not that I’m saying I’m glad Ditzy-

“I know you didn’t mean it that way. Ditzy would be happy to know you love them as much as she did.” Turner’s face fell as he closed his eyes. “Thank you for being there for Derpy and Dinky, for all these years. You’re a good mother, Berry.”

Thank you. You know, when you sent me that text, it really surprised me. I honestly never thought you’d want to tell the girls the truth about yourself.

Turner sighed. “I was scared. I still am, truth be told. I’m not sure how I’ll do it, and I’m not sure how they’ll react… but I won’t know unless I try, right? Honestly, I needed a push in order to get the bravery to ask you in the first place.”

Oh? And who gave you that push?

“Luna and Celestia. They encouraged me to entertain the possibility. Luna especially.”

Hm. You and Luna have always been close. Does Celestia still hate you?

“I wouldn’t say she hates me…” Turner said uncomfortably. “She just… really hated my decision to give up the girls.”

It’s been nearly almost two decades now. I say she needs to get over it.

Turner remained silent. Neither of them spoke for a few seconds before Berry broke the silence.

I’m thinkin’ we should meet at Sugar Cube Corner. I’ll pick up the girls and give you a call later. I’m gonna try to prepare them.

“What are you going to tell them?”

The truth. You’re gonna be there and you’ve got something big you need to tell them. The girls are smart, they might have an inkling the moment you open your mouth.

“Maybe,” Turner said. “... Sugar Cube Corner?”

Yeah. Figured it makes sense. I mean, the place does hold a lot of memories for us. Remember that time Ditzy threw a milkshape in some creep’s face?” Berry asked with an audible smile.

Turner couldn’t help but smile as well. “I do. He wouldn’t leave her alone. Ditzy never did give any mercy to people like that.”

Ah… good times. I’ll see you in a few hours, Turner.

“See you. And Berry… Thanks for this. It means a lot.”

No problem.

Turner took the phone from his ear and hung up. He stared as the phone’s screen faded to black, and then hung his head with a sigh.

The screeching of the school bell made him jump yet again.

Oh, dammit. I didn’t get any lunch.