3. On the sins we've made
Sonata was humming a happy tune only she knew. Yes, the eggs were a little browner than they should be, and the hotcakes weren't sufficiently cooked. And yes, the bacon was a little saltier than she had expected it to be. But Adagio wasn't crying anymore, and Aria wasn't bottling up her anger as always. And Adagio had said that she had a plan to recover their cores and a big probability of returning to Equestria. So as far as Sonata knew, everything was good in the world.
Adagio sighed pleasantly after swallowing the last of her breakfast. "Ok, here's the plan," She said, and Sonata looked at her with rapt attention, "We have to befriend the Rainbooms."
Sonata nodded. She could do that.
"Are you serious?!" Aria protested, slamming her hand on the table. "I thought you wanted revenge, Adagio! They destroyed our cores, for crying out loud!" She snorted angrily, staring furiously at Adagio. "I say we hire a hitman or two." Sonata nodded in agreement. They didn't have to shatter their cores.
"Please use that little brain of yours for once." Adagio deadpanned, taking a hand to her forehead. "They possess Equestrian magic, that is a fact. There are only two ways to explain it: One, they somehow obtained it. Two, they are from Equestria." She placed her hands on the table, one upon the other, as she lifted her head. "Either way, they know how to get there. If we kill them, we'll lose our only chance to return." Sonata hummed an agreement. It was a solid point.
Aria huffed and crossed her arms. "Fine! We'll do it your way. It's not like it can get worse."
"It can always get worse," Adagio replied, "That's why we won't harm them." She shifted to get more comfortable in her chair. "The plan is simple. We'll tell them that we're sorry for everything, offer them gifts as apologies, ask them how to be better girls, hang out with them, and everything they need to trust us, to think that we're harmless." She pictured her plan in her mind, smiling as she got to the best part. "Then, we'll make them tell us how to return to Equestria. I believe we'll have to act like miserable, broken, and depressed teenagers, but that will be the fastest way to get to their soft side."
Aria smiled widely as her eyes widened at the realization.
"Oh, so the hitman will act after we return, right?"
Adagio rolled her eyes and sighed in annoyance.
"No. We won't try to take revenge on them." She waved a hand at Aria. "Think about it. If in the worst scenario, upon our return to Equestria things get out of control for any reason and we somehow end up returning to this world, we'll need them on our side to survive." She leaned back, resting her torso on the chair's backrest.
"So you want to take over Equestria?" Aria asked cautiously.
"No," Adagio replied calmly, "No. At least, not the ponies' land." She closed her eyes for a moment and sighed. "We already underestimated them twice. I don't think we'll survive a third one."
"Twice?" Aria asked, confused, "Wait, are you telling me that the Rainbooms used pony magic?"
Adagio found her position on the chair rather uncomfortable, so she shifted again. "I believe so. Why else would they create an alicorn with their magic?" Sonata cringed at the sudden memory before the unforgiving pain. "Anyway, I don't know about you two, but after millennia of being in this world, I'd rather return to the sea and feed solely on fish than to put our lives in danger again." She put her hands on her lap and looked down. "My plan goes that far. I know we'll figure out how to recover our cores once we return home."
"… I like fish."
"No one asked you, Sonata," Aria said.
"Oh yeah? Then I'll never cook for you ever again!" Sonata retorted with a huff, dramatically jerking her head to her right.
"Like I care!"
"Shut up!" Adagio interrupted them, "Stop arguing over every stupid thing!" Aria rolled her eyes, and Sonata only smiled at her. "Now, go get dressed in jeans and a hoodie, we're going to CHS in an hour. Sonata, you drive." Sonata squeaked. She loved to drive. "Aria, bring Annia, Vibia and Regilla. I'll bring some money."
Aria flinched a little.
"Wait what? Why do you want me to bring them?"
Adagio gave her a thoughtful look.
"For the first time since we got here, we have a real opportunity to return home. I think it's time to give up our most precious possessions. But if you want to keep Regilla, I'll understand."
For a moment, Aria just stared at Adagio, gaping. Aria narrowed her eyes and scrunched her nose, lost in deep thought. After a minute, she shook her head and sighed.
"If it'll help us return, then I'm willing to do it."
Adagio turned to Sonata. "The same goes for you."
"It's ok. It's not like we'll need them in Equestria." She watched Aria stand up and walk away, most likely to get ready. She was going to do the same, but Adagio grabbed her hand. "What?"
"This will be our last move in this world," Adagio said with a serious gaze, "and hence the most important. We have to convince the Rainbooms and everyone else that we want to be their friends, that we're sorry. Even if you're not, Sonata. Do you understand?"
Sonata shifted awkwardly, tilting her head in confusion.
"Of course I do! I'm not stupid." She then stood up and walked away, humming a silly tune.
Adagio stared at her until she disappeared upstairs.
It was a dark and cold night. Sonata was shivering beneath her black cloak, and the hood combined with the pitch-black environment provided by the woods and tall grass made it nigh impossible for her to see anything. She looked to her right, lifting her head just enough to see the other two cloaked figures. It was impossible for her to see their faces, but just from the way they walked, she noticed that they were still very angry. She understood them, of course, but it was just so boring when nobody was allowed to talk.
She looked to the front again, suppressing a sigh. At least they were just a few minutes away from being happy again.
A smile formed on her face as a small building appeared in her field of view. It was a two-story-high building. Yellow light shone from some of the windows, and a big sign hanging on the front door with the words "Whitewheat Inn" told her that they had arrived at their destination.
They hurried to the entrance. Sonata relished on the pleasantly warm interior, wanting to sit down next to the chimney and do nothing for the rest of the night. But they had things to do, so she just stood a little behind Adagio, who quickly made her way to the innkeeper: an old man that looked more dead than alive. He raised an eyebrow at his newest customers, and then smiled brightly when Adagio removed the hood from her head.
"Well I'll be," he muttered loudly, "Room for three?"
Adagio offered him a smile, leaning on the table that served as counter.
"Actually, we're searching for someone," she purred, seductively passing a finger along his left arm, "A man called Steel Shield. They told us he's staying here."
The man babbled a little, his eyes lost in Adagio's gaze.
"I, uh… I'm sorry. I never ask my customers' names."
Adagio frowned for a moment, then leaned a little closer.
"Tall, short brown hair, beige skin, blue eyes. He's a soldier, so he probably was wearing a sword and a shield." She then leaned away, letting the old man slowly snap out of his trance. "If you help us, we'll be sure to repay you properly." She said, pulling her cloak from the neck, showing her collarbone.
"Room two-one-three." He answered, almost drooling.
Sonata suppressed a giggle. It was so easy to convince men to do things…
"Thank you. We'll be back shortly." The man nodded as Adagio led the girls to the upper floor.
They quickly made their way to room two-one-three. Adagio stopped right in front of the door and turned to the girls.
"So, who's gonna do it?" Aria asked before she could say anything.
Adagio snorted. "Why, me, of course."
Aria frowned, taking off her hood. "We all want to do it. I say we leave it to luck." She reached into a hidden pocket in her cloak and quickly took out a small bunch of hay. "The largest will be the winner."
Adagio rolled her eyes. "Fine." She then took a strand with two fingers, waiting for the others before pulling it out. Sonata made a face. It was really weird for Adagio to just give up like that. Sonata and Aria took a strand, and at the count of three, they all pulled.
"Yay, I win!" Sonata celebrated, seeing how her hay string was the longest. She then remembered what exactly she won, and her little excitement died down immediately.
With sighs of resignation, both Adagio and Aria hurried Sonata into the room. They all made sure to be as quiet as possible. The room was dark, and the sound of snoring told them what they wanted to know: their objective was completely defenseless.
Sonata silently walked towards the bed, looking down at the snoring man. Aria and Adagio started to hum an A, and Sonata immediately recognized the vibrations of a paralysis spell. She understood what they wanted her to do, and she didn't know how to feel about it. But she shrugged it off. If it meant that they were going to be happy again, then she'd gladly do it.
Her eyes were already used to the darkness of the room, so she easily climbed on the bed and upon the man. She put a hand inside her cloak at the same time she used her other hand to move the man in an attempt to wake him up. It worked.
He opened his eyes just a little bit, tiredly gazing at Sonata before closing them again. But only a second later, they snapped open, filled with surprise and horror. That one second was enough for Sonata to find what she was searching for and pull it out: a dagger.
"Hello!" she said cheerfully as she flagrantly placed the tip of the dagger right below his Adam's apple, "Long time no see, Steely"
Steel Shield's first reaction was to push her away and go for his sword. But he was unable to move more than his face, and even that was difficult. He swallowed, feeling the blade against his skin.
"H-How?" He asked with a hoarse voice, "You died! I saw it!"
Sonata's mouth was a thin line. Her usual happy attitude was replaced by an unnervingly serious and stern stare.
"Yeah, and it hurt a lot." Her eyes flickered in the moonlight that came through the window, and the dagger shone brightly as she spun it a little bit to the right. "Being burned at the stake made me wish I could die. Totally not fun." She tilted her head for a moment, quietly observing his expression. It was interesting how everyone reacted differently when they learned that they were immortal.
"Why don't you kill me already?" Steel said through his teeth.
Sonata frowned softly, tilting the dagger and pressing it a little until blood came out and made a thin trail of red down his neck.
"Why the rush? We haven't seen each other in, like, a year." She slowly spun the dagger, earning a grunt of pain. She then smiled widely, almost beaming with a childish expression. "I missed you, you know? You're really fun to talk to, and the first person to win the game."
In that moment, Adagio forced a little disturbance in the song. Sonata noticed it, turning at her for a brief moment before returning to Steel Shield with a sad expression.
"I'm sorry, we don't have time to catch up." Steel gritted his teeth, and Sonata could feel his body so tense that it felt like a statue. "Oh, don't take it personally. It's just that Adagio and Aria don't like to lose." She sighed softly, looking at the window for a moment. She then shrugged and turned again to Steel Shield, making a face of resignation. "You were a good player. Goodbye."
Before Steel Shield could even react, Sonata pulled her dagger a little away, and then with a swift move, she stabbed him with it from below the jaw and all the way up. She made sure to give him a quick death. After all, she was a good loser. At the same time, Adagio and Aria let the spell slowly fade into silence.
When the spark of life finally left his eyes, Sonata retrieved the dagger, frowning in disgust at the blood falling in thick drops. She took the blanket of the bed and started to clean the blade.
"What was that of catching up, Sonata?" Aria barked, crossing her arms and looking between the lifeless body of Steel Shield and Sonata, "Were you trying to give him a chance to defend himself?"
Sonata passed a finger across the length of her dagger, making sure that it was clean.
"Well, yes." She looked at Aria with a smile that was somehow torn between happy and sad. "I wanted to have another round. I'm sure we'd have won this time."
Adagio raised an eyebrow.
"Is this just a game to you?!" Aria stomped a foot on the floor. "He sent us to the stake! If you want to die so badly then fine, but don't take me with you!"
"Oh, pish posh," Sonata replied with a roll of her eyes, "At least now we know we can't die by fire either."
"Why you little—"
"You two shut up already!" Adagio commanded. She was at the door, making sure they hadn't been discovered. Upon closing the door, she walked towards the bed and stared at the corpse for just a moment. "Move him to the middle of the room, put his sword and shield on his arms." While Aria and Sonata obliged, she opened a big leather sack that was near the bed. She took a bag three times the size of her fist and showed it to the girls. "We'll make it look like a robbery. That way nobody will suspect that it was us."
Sonata huffed out of tiredness as she finished putting Steel's body in a believable position.
"But they think we died, why would they know it was us?"
Adagio shrugged as she hid the bag of money in her cloak.
"I don't want to leave loose ends."
Aria idly kicked the shield, and it somehow ended up moving in a position that seemed like Steel had tried to take it but failed. She raised her eyebrow at that, but shrugged it off.
"So, does that mean we have to kill the innkeeper too?"
Adagio crossed her arms and looked through the window.
"Yes," she said. With a sigh, she turned around and looked at them. "I know that we only kill as a last resource or in desperate circumstances. But we can't take any more risks, at least until everyone forgets about us."
"Ok, then. You kill him while we take Steel's horse," Aria stated. Adagio didn't complain, and she only stared as Aria and Sonata left the room.
Sonata waved at the innkeeper as she walked to the entrance. She followed Aria to the stakes that served as improvised stables. There was a dark-brown stallion with black mane and tail. Aria quietly took its clothes off, for they had royal guard's insignias sewed everywhere. "How much do you think they'll give us for him?" Sonata asked as she patted its face.
Aria shrugged. "Enough to survive a month, probably." With a nod, Sonata walked to the horse's side and took the saddle off. "What are you doing?" Aria asked.
"A saddle can't fit the three of us," Sonata answered, hopping on it, "Besides, it feels better to ride horses without saddles."
"You know that that can be misinterpreted in a very sick way, right?"
Sonata stared at her for a very long moment before she spoke up.
"Why?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.
Aria rolled her eyes.
"Forget it. I don't know why I even try."
"Try what?" Adagio asked, walking to Aria while curiously eyeing Sonata.
"Nothing," Aria replied with a bored tone. She then narrowed her eyes a little as her gaze focused on Adagio's face. "You have blood on your face," she said, pointing at her own cheek.
Adagio rubbed her right cheek with the back of her hand for a moment and then looked at the red stain on it.
"Thanks," she said slowly. The horse started to pace a little as Sonata tried to guide it to the road. Adagio looked at her and sighed. "Ok, let's go," she said and hopped on the horse.
"Where are we going now?" Aria asked as she tried to get comfortable behind Adagio.
"Just ride west until we get to the sea." She closed her eyes for a moment, enjoying the lulling sound of the horse's clopping. "There's going to be a big gold shipment at Silverblade's dock in about two weeks. We'll steal the ship and get us about a ton of gold ingots." She smiled softly as she stared at the moon. "From there, we'll have to find ways to feed without anyone noticing." Her smile disappeared as she forced away a painful memory. "I don't know about you, but I don't want to die again."
Sonata made a face as the gears in her brain spun a little. "But, we never really die, do we?"
Adagio breathed through her nose as she looked down tiredly. "I don't know, and honestly, I don't want to find out."
"Agreed," Aria stated.
Sonata pouted, but didn't say anything else. After all, if they didn't want to know, it meant that they weren't going to find an answer, and if there wasn't going to be an answer for them, there wouldn't be any for her. She shrugged. She was sure that if they didn't find the answers, the answers were going to find them sooner or later. And if there was something she had, it was time.
The sun shone brightly from the horizon, and the fresh air running through Sonata's hair made her smile. She was resting her body against the big statue in front of Canterlot High. She liked that statue; it had a sculpture of a war horse. Ever since people started using those automobiles, horses stopped being common in towns. Of course she loved cars because they were a lot faster and easier to control and cheaper to maintain, but riding a horse was a completely unique experience. Especially when galloping.
Aria snorted, or sneezed. It was hard to tell, because they always sounded the same. So just to be safe, she offered a casual "gesundheit".
Sonata smiled to herself. It had been a sneeze after all. Now it was five thousand times she had guessed a sneeze correctly against the five thousand and thirty two times she had been wrong. Well, the list was actually a lot bigger. But a certain incident with a spoon of cinnamon a few years in the past made her lose count, and she had to start from square one.
"Here they come," Adagio said.
Sonata looked at the entrance and looked at the six girls that had defeated them just last night. She made a face of confusion when the blue one started to walk closer to the red-haired one and spoke to her ear while looking at Aria. Was she telling her to attack or was she declaring her love? Sonata hummed silently as she observed them getting closer.
"Not now, Rainbow," the red-haired one said as she came to a stop just a couple of meters away from Adagio.
Yeah, she had probably declared her love.
"Good morning, girls," Adagio said, opening her arms with a welcome gesture. She was also smiling. It was odd, Sonata thought. Adagio never smiled to people that defeated her.
"What are you doing here?" The blue one —now Rainbow— barked, pointing a finger at Adagio, "Wasn't enough that we kicked your sorry butts last night?"
Or probably she had told the red-haired one to attack. Wait, sorry butts? Sonata thought. How can a butt be sorry about anything? She had to ask Adagio about it later.
"Calm down, Rainbow," the red-haired one said as she stepped further and looked at Adagio with her eyes narrowed, "But we do want to know what you want."
Adagio put her hands on her hips and tilted her head to her right. "We just want to talk. In a private place, preferably." She then lifted her chin and smiled. "Don't worry, we don't want to do anything bad to you. In fact, we'd like to apologize."
"And how do we know it's not a trap?" Rainbow said angrily, "For all we know, you just want to get revenge in a place where no one can hear us scream!"
Aria snorted. Or was it a sneeze? Sonata pondered for a moment. Aria didn't say anything, so it was a snort. Probably.
"Oh, come on, now," Adagio said with an amused tone in her voice, "If we wanted revenge, we wouldn't be here giving you apology presents."
"Apology presents?" the yellow one asked, but nobody seemed to hear her.
"What do you mean by that?" the red-haired one asked.
Adagio leaned down and picked up a black suitcase.
"Give this to the principal. We turned your showcase in a battle, and in the end the school didn't get any money." She opened the suitcase, and watched, very amusedly, how their jaws dropped. People always did that when they weren't used to seeing so much money in a single place.
"We can't take this money," the red-haired one said. Sonata needed a name for this girl quick. If only she had paid attention when it had been mentioned…
"Well, no. It's not for you," Adagio said, closing the suitcase, "It's for your school. You can even consider it as an anonymous donation, if you want to."
"Where didcha get this money from?" The orange one asked.
Aria let out an exasperated groan.
"Why do people always hesitate? Just take it already!"
Adagio frowned a little, but the girls didn't seem to notice.
"It doesn't matter where we got it. What matters is that we are offering it to your school. Besides, it's not like we killed someone for it."
The red-haired one —now Reddy for a lack of a better name— took the suitcase and gave it to the white one.
"Fine," she said, "We'll give it to Principal Celestia."
"Good," Adagio said with a satisfied smile, "We also have something for you." She turned around and took a black wooden box with her both arms. She showed it to the girls. "These are our most valuable possessions. We're giving them to you as an apology and a sign of peace, so to speak." Aria walked to her and opened the box.
The girls froze for a moment, and the white one almost dropped the suitcase.
Carefully placed in gold holders and surrounded by an interior of red velvet, there were three daggers. They were covered in their sheaths made of pure gold, each with a different pattern carved in the gold and a different gemstone placed in the handle. Not only did they look beautiful, but also extremely expensive.
Aria pointed at the first one. The gemstone in its handle was red, probably a ruby, and had a rhomboid pattern in its sheath, like they were diamonds or something.
"This is Annia, Adagio's dagger." She then pointed to the one at the bottom. Its gemstone was a color between blue and green, probably a turquoise, and the pattern in the sheath was a series of swirls, almost looking like sea waves. "This is Vibia, Sonata's dagger." And finally, she pointed to the one in the middle. Its gemstone was definitely an amethyst, and the pattern in the sheath resembled the scales of a reptile. "And this is Regilla, my dagger."
"We commissioned them about two thousand years ago," Adagio said, looking at Annia with a spark of melancholy in her eyes, "They saved our lives many times, but we haven't used them in about a hundred years." She then looked at their eyes. "Now they're yours. You can do whatever you want with them. Sell them, if you like. You'll be rich in a moment."
Sonata's mouth was a thin line. Adagio didn't sound very convinced, even though it was her idea.
"These daggers are more than mere weapons, though," Aria stated coldly, "There's a story behind them, and I'd really like you to not sell them."
Reddy raised an eyebrow.
"They really look very important to you… You don't have to give them to us."
"But, can we hear the story anyway?" The pink one asked, leaning in one foot, "I love stories!"
Adagio closed the box and practically shoved it into Reddy's arms.
"We're willing to answer any question you may have; the only thing we ask of you is your forgiveness," she said, taking a piece of paper that looked like a business card from the right pocket of her hoodie, "This is our address. Come over after school; we'll be waiting for you." She placed the card upon the box and turned around, motioning the other sirens to follow her.
Sonata complied, taking a last look at the dumbfounded faces of the girls. They walked in silence until they got to their car: A very modest, black sedan of three years ago.
"You didn't say anything about inviting them to our house," Aria complained as Adagio opened the co-driver door and got in.
Sonata got in the driver seat while Aria lazily laid down on the back seat.
"I wasn't sure myself," Adagio answered as Sonata turned on the engine, "But I saw them and I thought…" She looked at Aria through the rearview mirror. "I thought that we need to make them trust us, quick. I got this feeling…" She put a hand on her neck right where her core had been and sighed. "I don't really know how to describe it. Just trust me on this one."
"I never thought I'd live to see the day you run on hunches," Aria said, resting her head on her arms and closing her eyes, "But if you think that's how we'll return to Equestria, then I don't care."
Adagio flickered a smile before she looked at Sonata.
"What do you think about it?"
Sonata turned at her for a moment, raising an eyebrow.
"Who? Me?" Adagio nodded. "Uh… Whatever you say is good?" she said, stopping the car at a red light.
"Are you asking or answering me?"
Adagio smiled softly and turned around, looking out the window. Sonata took the opportunity to turn on the radio on one of her many favorite stations. This time it was some jazz. The girls didn't say a word for the rest of the way home.
Aria was lazily sitting in the armchair of the living room, her legs crossed upon one of the arms and her head supported by her right arm. She was half watching a documentary about wild wolves and half sleeping.
Adagio was sitting on the beige couch with her legs crossed below her. She was writing something on a laptop she had resting on her lap. A small stack of papers was perfectly lined up next to her, and there was a cup of black coffee on the coffee table in front of her.
"Shut up, already!" Aria snapped at Sonata, who was sitting on the floor next to the T.V. She was playing with a stuffed pig that was wearing a monocle, a top hat, and a mustache.
"It's not me! It's Pigget!" Sonata replied with a frown. She made another oink sound with the toy pressed to her ear and then looked at Aria. "He says you're being too loud and doesn't let him concentrate."
Aria was about to blurt an insult or two, but Adagio spoke first.
"Sonata, did you read the paper I gave you?"
"And I memorized it too." She made a face that slightly resembled a pout. "I think Reddy is a better name."
Adagio deadpanned at her for a moment.
"Just make sure to follow my instructions. A single wrong step and we'll never get back to Equestria, nor recover our cores." She narrowed her eyes and spoke next with a low, menacing voice. "You don't want to be the reason of our next failure, do you?"
Sonata paled a little before standing up and taking a sheet of paper from one of her skirt's pockets.
"I better study this a little more," she said, unfolding the paper and reading it in silence. Aria muttered a silent thanks to Adagio before leaning back again. Adagio smiled a little and returned to write on her laptop.
But the silence didn't last too long, as just ten minutes later the bell of the house rang loudly. Aria sighed in annoyance, closing her eyes in an attempt to calm herself.
"Sonata, let in our guests and bring them here," Adagio commanded with a neutral voice, not looking away from the screen of her laptop.
"Ok." Sonata stood up and quietly walked to the entrance door. She read the names of the girls one last time just to be sure and then folded the paper to save it for later. She reached the knob and opened the door. "Hello!" She greeted with a wide smile.
Six pairs of eyes landed on her, and she could feel that four of them were gazes of distrust. Adagio did write that this would happen.
"Hello." Sunset replied quietly.
"Come in," Sonata said, opening the door wide and making a welcoming gesture with her arm. "Make yourselves comfortable." The six girls slowly got in the house, looking at each other for support. The yellow one was practically clinging from Rainbow's arm. Sonata closed the door behind them and walked to Sunset, pointing a finger at a hall. "We can talk there."
The girls followed her, looking unsure and concerned. Sonata knew, more out of experience than anything else, that they were admiring the various paintings and ornaments hanging from the walls or placed upon complex furniture with decoration as their only purpose.
Well, everything that decorated her house was interesting, and even she would stop to admire them every now and then. Many of the paintings were of the three sirens in different periods of time and wearing different kinds of clothes. The ornaments consisted mostly on replicas of various kinds of weaponry like swords, daggers, shields, spears, guns, and armors from every part of the world.
Sonata led the girls to the living room where Adagio and Aria were waiting.
"They're here!" she announced right before she launched herself to the beige couch right next to Adagio. Fortunately for her, the stack of papers had been removed from the seat and carefully placed upon the coffee table.
Sunset was the first to see the other two sirens, and she couldn't help but raise an eyebrow. She didn't know what she had expected, but the sight was curious, to say the least. Aria was lying on an armchair with her hair untied, looking like a normal teenager on the first day of vacation, and Adagio looked like she was resting after hours of working on something important. And even more importantly, the three girls were dressed in what could be considered as pajamas. Or at least that's what they seemed, because just like the house and everything else, they looked really expensive.
"Please take a seat. Let's talk," Adagio said, snapping Sunset out of her thoughts. She glanced at the room, finding enough couches to fit at least twenty people, a T.V. that occupied an entire wall, and a glass door that lead to the backyard. Sunset decided to follow instructions for now and sat down, waiting for her friends to do the same. "I know it must feel weird, seeing how we were mortal enemies just yesterday," Adagio said with an amused smirk.
"You don't say," Rainbow replied, crossing her arms as she sat down next to Fluttershy, who chose the farthest seat from the sirens.
"I wouldn't say mortal," Sunset said, shifting in her seat.
"Ah just wanna know why ya'll ain't mad at us," Applejack questioned, having chosen a seat between Rainbow and Rarity, "Not that Ah'm giving ya any ideas, but it's weird."
Adagio let out a soft sigh as she leaned forward.
"When you… used your magic, we were forced to see all of our bad actions. For normal humans, no, even for teenagers like yourselves, it would be very little. But we?" She forced a dry chuckle. "We've been doing bad things for, how long? Over three thousand years?"
"Three thousand, one hundred and twelve years, four months, twenty-eight days and, uh, two hours," Sonata answered. Out of the three of them, she was the best at numbers and remembering things. Aria would remark time and time again how unfair it was, but Sonata never thought of it as something special.
"Right," Adagio replied, "So, imagine that weight being tossed over our shoulders, all at once, for an endless second." She lifted a hand and reached her neck, right where her core had once been. She managed to pull a regretful expression. "Now that we're free from our dark magic, we want nothing but redeem ourselves, or at least, we want to try…" She looked at Sunset directly in the eyes. "You, above anyone else in this world, should understand our plea."
Sunset looked away for a moment. Of course she understood. She had used the Element of Magic to harness dark magic, and she had spent the following six months trying to redeem herself. The girls noticed her expression, and Rarity, who was right next to her, put a hand on her shoulder. They didn't say a word, for that silent expression was enough. After a couple of seconds, Rarity looked at Sonata and Aria.
"How about you two? Do you agree?"
Aria looked away with a scowl.
"I don't need help from anyone." Adagio almost smiled. Aria was a terrible liar, but that had never been a problem, since she could say the truth and somehow make it seem like a lie. She really thought that she didn't need help, nor did she want it, but the tone of her voice and the subtle moves of her body told the Rainbooms a totally different thing.
On her part, Sonata only nodded.
"I want to be a good girl." She didn't sound very convinced. Adagio stiffened for a moment.
Fortunately, the Rainbooms didn't seem to notice.
"Well, uh… What are you going to do now?" Sunset asked, "You want us to help you, but, how exactly? I don't believe you want to return to Canterlot High."
"Well, no," Adagio answered, slowly relaxing her body, "We may look about your age, but we're really, really old." She sighed and made a little grimace. "Being around kids is… kind of annoying, at times. In fact, the only reason we want your help is because you are the only humans that know who we are and where we come from."
"And that don't try to kill us," Aria said, still looking away.
"I like children," Sonata said.
"Me too!" Pinkie suddenly made her existence known.
"Oh, yeah, you keep insulting us. Let's see who helps you then!" Rainbow blurted out.
Adagio rolled her eyes.
"I've heard that honesty is the best policy," she said, taking notice on how Applejack's eyes flickered, "We need your help, so we offer you what we can give. Money, personal possessions, even forgotten information." She gazed at Sunset. "You knew who we are and what we could do, but I'm sure you still have questions. So, ask away."
The girls looked at each other for a moment, but Rainbow was the first to speak.
"So we can ask anything?" Adagio nodded. "And you just will answer with the truth?" Another nod. Rainbow narrowed her eyes slightly. "Ok, then. It's obvious that you have an awful lot of money. You gave Principal Celestia about two million dollars as if it was nothing, and you live in a mansion in the nicest part of the city. And I'm not counting your three cars!" She spread her arms in an attempt to reiterate her point. She then raised an eyebrow. "How did you get to be this rich?"
"It's not a mansion, it's just a big house," Sonata pointed out.
Adagio ignored her and shifted in her place to get a little more comfortable.
"Well, we did start by stealing a cargo of gold over two thousand years ago." That earned a few raised eyebrows and a suspicious stare. It was expected, but she was planning to say, if not everything, enough to make them trust her. "From there we just invested it." She leaned back and crossed her legs. "It would be very tiring now to tell you the full details, so let's just say that we control our many consortiums from the shadows."
Rainbow raised an eyebrow.
"Like an evil organization?"
That question made Adagio smile a little; kids could actually be funny.
"No, that never works."
"Why from the shadows, then?" Rarity asked, tilting her head to her right.
This time, it was Aria who answered.
"Because it's easier to hide our existence that way."
A few raised eyebrows told Adagio to explain.
"Humans don't take well our long lives. It's healthier for us to move the strings anonymously."
"Ya weren't exactly anonymous the past few days," Applejack pointed out, "What with all the 'adore us' and 'heed us' and stuff."
Adagio grimaced and closed her eyes.
"For the first time since our arrival to this world, we had the chance to feed on Equestrian Magic again." She opened her eyes and observed them. "It took us six months to reunite enough power to mind control the principal and vice principal of your school. And in only two days, with the little amount of Equestrian Magic lingering in your school, we could mind control the entire student body." She narrowed her eyes and frowned. "You don't understand the power you harness, but we do. And we were desperate to have it. Being subtle wasn't an option, mostly because it wouldn't work to begin with."
There were a couple of seconds of silence before Fluttershy spoke up.
"But, you're good girls now, right?"
Adagio smiled almost instantly.
"Of course! Or at least we want to be."
Rainbow leaned forward.
"It's kind of hard to believe that you turned good in a day."
"Yeah, it took you six months to believe me," Sunset muttered under her breath, but everyone heard her perfectly clear. She immediately looked at her friends, and their expressions of shock and concern.
And Rainbow had the word guilt written all over her face.
"It's ok…" Sunset said with a sad smile, "I know you didn't mean it like that…"
"No, no, it's my fault. I should've thought before saying anything!"
"Girls?" Rarity interrupted them, "You know what to do to save us the two hour-long apology session."
Pinkie on her part, started to bounce on her seat.
"Hug! Hug! Hug!"
Sunset and Rainbow both looked away for a moment before standing up and sharing a quick yet meaningful hug.
"I'm sorry, Sunset," Rainbow said before ending the hug.
"Me too." Sunset replied with a small smile.
"So this is what good girls do?" Sonata asked, startling the girls, "Hug each time they fight?" She then looked at Aria, who would have killed her if her eyes were daggers.
Sunset smiled at her.
Rainbow, on her part, looked at the sirens with an apologetic gaze. "How about we start by hanging out and we uh, teach you about friendship and all that mushy stuff?" She then smiled at Sunset. "We should give you the benefit of the doubt."
The rest of the Rainbooms stood up and shared a group hug.
"Come on girls, you too!" Rarity said, and Adagio noticed that Sonata had joined them.
Adagio tilted her head. Aria was never going to do a group hug, and she just didn't want to. So she just waved her hand.
"I'm sorry. I don't feel comfortable for that just yet."
Pinkie smiled at her.
"It's ok! We won't force you to do things you don't want to!"
The group hug ended, and Sunset looked at Sonata, who was with Pinkie, and then at Adagio and Aria.
"How about we go to Sugar Cube Corner? We need a friendly environment to get to know each other."
Aria raised an eyebrow.
"Are you saying our house isn't friendly?"
Sunset almost paled.
"N-No! Of course not!"
For the first moment that day, Aria smiled.
"Just kidding. I know it isn't."
Sunset didn't know what to say. Fortunately, Adagio spoke up.
"Let's go, I could use the extra energy of those sugary treats."