The last chord of the electric guitar echoed in Rainbow’s garage as Sunset and Applejack sung the last of the chorus. When it was over, the group panted and, as if rehearsed, grabbed their water bottles before chugging the things down; their pony appendices also fading now that the music was done. Ever since Fluttershy became their new head lyricist, she had been writing song after song with inspiration suddenly kicking her with confidence. Of course, the others had been writing songs of their own, but no one did it better than Fluttershy. If it wasn’t for the fact she wanted to be a veterinarian, she’d would have been perfect as a lyricist for hire.
“Man, Fluttershy, what are you trying to make with that one? The next ‘Stairway to Heaven’?” asked Rainbow Dash, crunching her empty water bottle while wiping the sweat from her brow.
“S-sorry, is it too long? I can shorten it,” said Fluttershy, hiding behind her tambourine.
“Nah, that’s a compliment, really,” assured Rainbow Dash, stretching her arms. “It’s just really hard to play, especially after all the other songs we’ve done.”
“I agree with Rainbow Dash. Perhaps we should hold on playing that song in future concerts until we can play it without exhausting ourselves,” pointed out Rarity.
“Awww, but I could go for playing it again,” said Pinkie Pie, the only one not tired looking. How she got her energy, nobody know.
Sunset Shimmer was packing her guitar as the others talked about what to do with the song. Personally, she wanted to say her piece, but her voice was way too tired to even talk. All she wanted was to get home, order pizza, have a nice shower, and get to bed for the weekend. Applejack noticed her packing up and asked, “Ya hittin’ the road?”
“Yup, I’m beat. I’m gonna take the weekend and relax. We still on for the water resort park next week?” asked Sunset.
Pinkie Pie seemed to perk up upon hearing this, and her hair exploded into a bright pink cloud. “Definitely! And best of all, Twilight’s going to be there with us!”
“Oh, I can’t wait to show her the bikini I’m making for her! She’s going to absolutely adore it!” shouted Rarity, clapping her hands.
“I can’t wait to see the aquarium. It’s been so long. I hope Mr. Sharky hasn’t forgotten about me,” said Fluttershy with as much excitement as there was for the shy girl.
Sunset placed her guitar over her shoulder and made for the door. “I’m sure she’ll love it. See you later girls, goodnight!”
“Goodnight, Sunset! We love you!” shouted the five, much to her embarrassment.
“Girls, how many times do I have to tell you? I forgave you for what happened with Anon-A-Miss. Really, it’s water under the bridge,” said Sunset, shaking her head. It had been a dark moment in their friendship when that incident occurred, caused by Apple Bloom and her friends. It made her the most hated person in Canterlot High again, but thankfully, the situation was cleared up. Although, she did feel bad for the three friends whose popularity was still low.
“We know, we just wanted to let ya know just in case,” said Applejack with a smile.
Sunset nodded to her friends and waved goodbye before she left Rainbow Dash’s yard, making her way down the street. Thankfully, she didn’t live too far away from her, and it was a nice night for a walk. Sunset hummed to herself as she thought about what her life was like now. Despite having been redeemed in the eyes of her peers for being a complete bully and power hungry egomaniac, Sunset still felt like she had more to accomplish before she could throw off the shackles of her past. She had spent so much of her life being arrogant and hurtful towards others. It had only been a year since her quest to redeem herself, and while she had accomplished much, she still felt like she had much more to do.
Plus, I only have one more year of school left, thought Sunset as she tried to think about what she wanted to do with her life, and where she was going to live it.
Despite being a pony from birth, she loved being a human and the new adopted world she had come to appreciate in her years living in it. She loved working with computers, and had a knack for coding. Her teachers often suggested she'd go to college to learn more and make a career out of it. However, Sunset was resistant to do so. It wasn't like she didn't have the grades, the problem was funding. Despite living alone, most of the money came from the state to support herself, and it would end when she graduated high school. She could try to get a scholarship to help out, or get a full time job somewhere and save for college.
The other option was going home to Equestria. Twilight had told her that, for her role in stopping the sirens, she had been pardoned for her crimes against Equestria. Sunset was free to return home, but to what? She had no parents to go back too, Celestia had taken her in from the orphanage as her ward. She could live with Princess Celestia, or Twilight, but the former she was still ashamed of seeing, and the latter had done so much already for the repenting Sunset it didn’t seem right. Plus, it had been ages since she had used Equestrian magic like a unicorn, or even walked like a unicorn. Not to mention there were no computers.
While the mirror could help her transport between both worlds, she didn’t know which one she wanted to live in. I only have one more year. I can still figure it out later.
Just as she was about to cross the street to get to her house, she heard the sound of trash cans being knocked over behind her. Nearly jumping out of her boots, she turned around and saw someone down on the ground, rubbing their head. Concerned, Sunset walked over, “Do you need a hand?”
When Sunset got closer, she saw who it was that fell and gasped. The person's hair was messy, and she didn’t have her ponytail this time. Rather, it was flowing freely in the wind. Her clothes were ripped up and look like they hadn’t been washed in a long time. Even without these changes, the most iconic thing was the fact that the prized necklace she and the others associated with this girl were gone; destroyed in the Battle of the Bands. Sunset felt her entire body freeze up as she saw Sonata Dusk rise to her feet while holding her head. “Thanks, but I think it would be best if the world stopped spinning.”
“Um, it’s not. You just crashed,” said Sunset, with caution, ready to reach for her guitar as a weapon if need be. Even if she and her friends got rid of the magic of the sirens that didn’t mean they weren’t dangerous.
Sonata shook her head, stared at Sunset and gasped. “Wait! You!”
Sunset prepared herself, her fingers closer to the zipper of her guitar bag...
“I need your help!”
... and then she almost fell off her own feet upon hearing this. “Wait, what?”
Before she could ask further, Sonata grabbed Sunset’s hand. With a pleading face, she bit her lip and said, “Aria told me to get help and you're the first person I saw! Please! My friend is sick!”
Although it could have been a trap, the scared look in Sonata’s eyes reminded her almost of Fluttershy whenever she needed help. Plus, even though Sunset didn’t like to admit it to anyone, she was a great liar. It was a skill she had developed over her years as the tyrant of Canterlot High. That included making her able to see through lies as well. There was no sense of falseness from Sonata’s calm or in her body language that Sunset could detect.
Plus, I’m sure this is one of those lessons on friendship Princess Twilight would want me to do, thought Sunset as she nodded. “Okay, lead the way.”
Sonata squealed with joy before dragging Sunset down the alley so fast she could have sworn her arm was gonna pop out. They ran for almost ten minutes before they entered into what looked to be an abandoned storage garage. Sunset was surprised, yet again, to see that this was where the sirens had been living in for nearly half a year. Ever since they fled in shame, Sunset and the others had tried looking for them all over town. After two months of searching they came to the conclusion that they had fled which Rainbow Dash called “good riddance”.
Entering the garage, Sunset spotted the other two sirens inside. Aria Blaze was holding onto a sweating and heavy breathing Adagio Dazzle. Both of them were similar to Sonata in terms of messed up hair and dirty clothing. If Sunset didn’t know them before, she would have assumed they were homeless girls on the run.
Aria’s eyes widen with shock and then growled upon seeing Sunset. “What are you doing here?!”
Sunset gulped at the death like stare and was already starting to regret coming here. Sonata might have been the nicest of the three, but the other two she knew to be downright sinister if need be. Luckily, Sonata came over and smiled at her fellow siren. “She’s here to help us!”
“Why?!” asked Aria glaring at Sonata now.
“You said to get help, right?” asked Sonata, tilting her head.
“You bubble head! I mean a doctor or a EMC or even a fricken stranger!” growled Aria, face palming. “Not one of the students at that high school that are responsible for what’s happened to us!”
Sonata turned to Sunset and rubbed her chin. “Huh, I thought you looked familiar.”
Aria mumbled something to herself but her anger was quickly subsided when Adagio started coughing really loud. Both of the sirens went over to her side and held on to her. “Hang on, Adagio,” whispered Aria with a gentle look of concern that Sunset had never seen before. “We’ll get you cured with... whatever it is you have, I promise.”
“Yeah, we’ll be here with you all the way!” shouted Sonata, doing her best to smile, but it was clear she was trembling with fear.
Seeing this bond of sisterhood between the three powerless villains brought a realization in Sunset’s eyes as she stared at them. They... they care for each other, thought Sunset as a smile graced her lips. I guess there is some good in them after all.
Remembering why she came here in the first place, Sunset gathered her thoughts and made her way to Adagio. Pressing her hand against the lead siren’s forehead, she felt it starting to heat up to the point where she could feel the sweat. The intense breathing and semi-conscious state only brought it to one conclusion. “She has a fever. How long has she been sick?” Sunset said to Aria who looked surprised to be addressed.
“I... I don’t know. She hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and all of a sudden she collapsed,” answered Aria, frowning as she gently caressed Adagio's cheek. “I didn’t know we could even get sick... I guess Adagio’s worries were true...”
“What worries?” asked Sunset, checking for a pulse to judge the heart beats.
“That rainbow thing you guys did? It broke our pendants and took away our magic. Adagio said that without them, we’re just like everyone else in this world,” said Sonata, biting her lip. “We can’t use magic to protect ourselves. We can’t feed like we used too. Plus...” Sonata gulped. “S-she said without our magic to s-sustain us... w-w-we’ll a-age and d-d-d...”
The room suddenly got ten degrees colder as Sonata didn’t even bother finishing the word, instead she hugged her knees closer to her chest. Even Aria seemed to avoid gazing at anyone, and focused on the floor instead. Sunset felt her blood turn ice-cold as the implications of what she and her friends did finally hit her. But it makes sense. If their magic was the only thing that has kept them alive for so long since being banished nearly a thousand years ago, without it that protection goes. thought Sunset, feeling guilty. She had to stop them from what they were doing to her school, but she didn’t want this to happen. Are we... am I responsible for this?
Adagio’s coughing woke all of them from the depressing moment as Sunset reminded herself what was more important to focus on hand. She lifted Adagio up, surprised by how light she was. Probably hasn’t eaten anything filling in a long time.
“We need to get her to my house. I have medicine that can help,” said Sunset.
“Why should we trust you?! It’s your fault she got sick in the first place, you and your little band of bitches!” shouted Aria, getting up with her hands clenched.
Sunset forced herself to not slap Aria for what she called her friends and instead glared at her. “Because I’m probably the only person in all of town that is willing to help you three after what you tried to do. You have no money for a doctor, and I’m willing to even order pizza for you three to share with me. So unless you want to take your chances without me, I suggest you shut the hell up, and follow me home.”
Their silent glare went on for some time until Sonata raised her hand. “I’m going with her.”
“Sonata?” asked Aria, taken back by this change of events.
With a rare serious look on her face, Sonata stared at her friend. “We need help, Aria. I know you don’t like it, but Adagio is sick. She could have ignored us and left, but she’s trying to help us. If this is what it will take to save Adagio then I’m fine with it.”
Aria crossed her arms and closed her eyes. “Fine, but this doesn’t make us friends.”
Sunset nodded as she guided the two out of the garage, carefully holding onto Adagio.
Sunset had just finished pressing the hand towel on Adagio’s forehead when she started to spur. She muttered something and coughed before opening her eyes. Upon seeing Sunset, she began to panic and tried to escape the guest bed, but was gently pressed back down. “Shh. Shhh. Relax, you’re safe. I’m not gonna hurt you," assured Sunset, giving the leader siren a warm smile.
Adagio tried to say something, but all she could do was moan and lay her head down on the pillow. Sunset grabbed the medicine off the nearby dresser and poured a spoonful of it. She reached her arm out to Adagio who looked at it like it was poison. “It’s not gonna kill you. It’s going to make you feel better. I promise.”
“... friends...” croaked Adagio.
“Oh, they’re fine. I promise. They’re eating pizza I ordered in the living room,” replied Sunset, inching the spoon of medicine closer to the mouth. “Now, open wide.” Adagio stared at it for a bit before she opened her mouth and took the spoonful in one gulp. She stuck her tongue out due to the taste, but swallowed it. “Good, now get some rest. It will be a few days until you're fully recovered. I left a bottle of water by the stand, and the bathroom is right across from your room should you need it. I’ll be back in the morning with soup and crackers.”
Sunset shut off the light and was about to close the door when she heard a whisper. “... thank you...”
She smiled to herself before shutting the door. Even if Adagio once tried to nearly doom her school, it did feel good to do what she did. Entering the living room of her apartment, she found the other two sirens gorging themselves on the pizza she ordered. They ordered everything they could on their orders while Sunset kept to her usual onions and mushrooms with extra cheese. The fact that they ate entire pies by themselves showed just how hungry they were.
“Sunset Shimmer, you are the best!” shouted Sonata before biting half of her last slice off. “Oh, I missed this so much.”
“Yeah, remind me to never make fun of fast food again,” whispered Aria, chewing on her crust. She then asked, “How’s Adagio?”
“She’s asleep, but I’m sure she’ll recover,” said Sunset, grabbing her own slice. “You three are welcomed to stay until she gets better.”
“Aww, thanks Sunny!” said Sonata, making Sunset raise her eyebrow at the nickname. “You’re a really nice person despite our attempt to enslave your school and drain everyone of their energy so we could get back to Equestria.”
Sunset paused before looking at them with wide eyes. “That’s why you wanted to steal their energy? To get back to Equestria?”
“That was the plan!” said Sonata with a smile. “Well, it was also to feed and keep ourselves alive for another hundred years, but mainly to break the curse on us.”
“Sonata! Do you really want to tell her all this?” hissed Aria.
“What’s the harm, Aria? It’s not like we can use magic again,” said Sonata, shrugging.
“Why do you want to go home so badly? Do you have family?” asked Sunset, curious about the reasons behind the three. She never thought to consider there was a logic to their behavior, just the focus on beating them. For Sunset and her attempts, it was to gain the means to show Princess Celestia she was worthy of being a princess and an alicorn. To show that she was powerful and better. And that plan got turned into creating a demon teenager army to rule the world.
“We don’t have family” muttered Aria, frowning. “Our families abandoned us when we were captured by Starswirl, and they disowned us. Apparently, we were at risk for our people going to war against Equestria because of our actions. They allowed us to be exiled.”
“I... I’m sure they would forgive you if you went back,” said Sunset, trying to be supportive.
To her surprise it was Sonata who snorted. “No, they clearly don’t want us. Not after my own dad said he wished he never had me.”
“... I’m so sorry,” whispered Sunset, who couldn’t even think of Princess Celestia saying such a thing to her. “But why then go back?”
“... because it was our home,” whispered Aria, looking away. “We just... we thought we paid for our crimes long enough. We just wanted a chance to live our lives without wasting away in a magicless world.”
“But you hurt so many people to do it,” pointed out Sunset.
“Normally, we don’t go as far as we did, but we were desperate,” muttered Sonata, hugging her knees. “To feel actual Equestrian magic for the first time in nearly a thousand and two hundred years? We didn’t care what the cost, we wanted this chance to be free. Maybe it was wrong in your eyes, but it was the only option we had in ours.”
Sunset Shimmer didn’t know what to say. I guess I can understand that. Maybe it’s not right, but it’s understandable now that they explained it.
“It doesn’t matter anyway,” whispered Aria, pounding her fist into the couch. “Without our magic we’re gonna be like the rest of these mortals. Even if we did get back to Equestria, we’d be just regular ponies like the rest of them.”
“So are you giving up on life? You can still make the most of it! We all do, and we’re not immortal,” said Sunset.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about..” whispered Aria, getting up and walking away. “I’m gonna take a shower.”
Once Aria had left, Sonata smiled at Sunset and walked over, putting a hand over her shoulder. “Don’t worry, I get what you're saying. I’m actually not as bothered as Aria is. She’s just still bitter that we lost.”
“Is she ever happy?” asked Sunset.
“Oh, she used to be, but ever since...” Sonata’s eyes widen as she looked down. “Sorry, I can’t say. I promised.”
Sunset wanted to pry, but figured it would be best to let it go. “Are you two okay sleeping on the cot in the couch?”
“It’s better than the cold pavement,” said Sonata cheerfully. “And tomorrow I’m making waffles!”
Sunset laid down on her bed, staring at the ceiling as she thought back to what the girls had explained to her. The more she thought about their situation, the more she began to feel sorry for them. They have nobody. Not in this world. Not in Equestria. It’s just the three of them by themselves. To spend over a millennia banished from home, trapped in a world completely alien to your own, and forced to feed on those people just to survive? It must have been hard. Still doesn’t excuse them for what they did.
Yet, she could see the girls weren’t pure evil as she originally thought. It was obvious that they cared for each other, and they didn’t want to enslave the world, or take it over, like Sunset did. They just wanted to go home.
So what happens when Adagio gets better? They leave? Go back to the streets? thought Sunset as a crazy idea occurred to her. What if they live with me?
Sunset shot straight up from her back and shook her head. “Are you crazy, Sunset? You’re talking about three formally evil girls who hypnotized everyone into being jerks and drained the energy from your entire school! Why should you help them further?”
Because you were helped when you were at your lowest? said a voice inside of her head. Didn’t you once try to take over the world? Kill six friends? Hurt and bully so many people to tears? Didn’t you seek redemption once? Fought for it? Struggled for it? And finally earned it after so long? Sunset didn’t answer herself. And how did you do it? With your friends.
Even though she was still learning the magic of friendship, she knew that if Princess Twilight was here, she would tell her to make friends with the three sirens. Maybe they can be made good? Maybe I can change them like my friends changed me?
It was worth a shot and she knew she couldn’t do this alone. Her other friends would have to help out as well. If she could convince them that is. I’ll focus on helping Adagio get better for now. We’ll cross the other bridges when we get to them.
With a plan in hand, Sunset gently set down her head and went back to sleep.
It didn’t take long for Sonata to quickly show how kind and bubbly she was. It almost made Sunset forget her previous evil actions. Sonata, as it turned out, was a really good cook and loved doing so, saying she learned various dishes from Italy, China, France, England, Germany, and Poland during their travels. Besides cooking, she was always watching TV or chatting with Sunset on anything that came to her mind. She was always smiling, even when sad or bad topics wet brought up. If anything, she was almost like Pinkie Pie’s twin. Still, she had a serious side, even if it was rare. She always made sure to check on Adagio first, and never joked around when taking care of her friend. It showed how much she cared in her heart.
Aira was the more difficult one to get along with. She preferred to sit on her own, read whatever books there were, or watch classic movies from the 20’s and 30’s. According to Sonata, they were in Hollywood at the time and it was an important era to Aria for, again, reasons she couldn’t tell. While Aria was less of a talker, it didn’t make her a bad person per say. Oh sure, she didn’t like dealing with stupidity, or some of Sonata’s insane babbling, but more than once did Sunset watch Aria play with one of her neighbor's dogs. She even asked if she could walk it once or twice for a few bucks. Thankfully, Aria had also grown less suspicious of Sunset as well. Sure, they weren’t “instant buddies” like Sonata had done, but they had a certain level of respect.
Adagio, who didn’t stay sick for long, was definitely an alpha girl. She had an aura of command and intimidation that Sunset remembered when she first met the leader of the three. When she could speak again, Sunset found her quite intelligent as well. She easily helped Sunset with her homework in record time-as thanks for helping her-and even explained some things in history that books had gotten wrong. When she was able to walk on her own without falling, she was instantly hugged by her two friends and the sight warmed Sunset’s heart. Immediately, she started to plan what to do next once she was better. Where they would go. How much cash they had. Where to beg and sleep. Adagio planned it all.
Naturally, spending so much time at home had caused her friends to be worried. She had to cancel a few plans which made it look suspicious. Sunset decided to tell them a half-truth, that she was taking care of some people who lived in the apartments and didn’t want her friends getting sick. They took the lie, although Applejack was still unsure.
Before Sunset knew it, an entire six days had passed and Adagio was back at full strength. They decided to celebrate with another pizza barrage. While they waited for the pizza, Sunset decided now was the best time to put her plan into action. She walked over to the three who were watching a game show called “Lingo” and cleared her throat.
“Um, everyone? I have something I want to say,” said Sunset.
“You’re finally kicking us out?” asked Aria, but the small smirk on her lips proved it was only a tease.
“No, but I want you three to move in with me,” said Sunset with a smile.
The reactions were perfect. Adagio spat out her soda onto Aria who turned to Sunset like she had grown three heads as her jaw dropped low enough to fit an entire fist in her mouth. Sonata had gasped and her face looked like that of a fish looking for air until a smile threatened to tear her face apart. She raised her hands in the air. “Woohoo! We get to live with Sunny!”
“Wait a minute, we didn’t agree to anything!” said Aria, who got up and stared at Sunset with suspicion. “Why do you want us to live with you? What’s the catch?”
Sunset sighed. “Look, I used to be in a position like you girls long ago. You know of my...past that I told you about last night, right?”
“Well, I know what its like to be left with nothing. Maybe not as bad as your girls have it, but I know what it feels like. I guess a part of me sees something of what I once was in all of you and I want to help you out. Maybe even get you to be forgiven by the town like I was,” said Sunset, rubbing her shoulders.
“It would be nice to not go around town with glares in our direction,” said Sonata.
“The thing is, and I won’t lie, you’ll have to work for it. That means trying to make up for what you did in what manner you can. I doubt you can go back to school, but you can still help around the community in some way,” explained Sunset, before shaking her head. “That doesn’t mean you get to be here for free. You all need to get jobs to help pay rent. We all split the chores. And we’re each responsible for ourselves when we mess things up. But if you agree to this you get a home, food, and... me as a friend.”
The three looked at each other before Adagio motioned them to come closer. They whispered to one another for sometime, until they broke up and Adagio nodded her head. “We agree, but two conditions.” Sunset nodded back. “One. You have to help us sing again. Even if it was to use our magic, we still are sirens. We need to sing good.”
“And two... we want to visit Equestria,” finished Adagio. “We don’t care if it’s for a day. An hour. Even five minutes. We just want to breath the air of our home for a bit.”
Sunset bit her lip. That will be difficult to do. Princess Celestia might not allow it at first... but if I can prove they are good, it might work. Plus, Princess Twilight might be okay with it.
“It may take some time, but deal,” said Sunset as she held out her hand and shook it with Adagio.
The doorbell rang as Sonata cheered. “Yeah! Pizza party!”
While the three head for the door, Sunset took out her cellphone and began to call for all five of her friends. I have a lot of explaining to do...