It didn’t take long for word to spread that the sirens were living with Sunset, which sent many people from school into a large demand for them to pay for their actions. Sunset did her best to convince them that the sirens had already paid for their crimes and asked that they trust them to her, even promising to take full responsibility for their actions. She reminded them that they owed her, and even brought up the Anon-A-Miss incident despite her wishing not to. In the end, Principal Celestia agreed, but they were to not be anywhere near the school; a deal the sirens were all to happy to agree too.
Her friends were not as hard to convince. Although they were a bit angry that Sunset didn’t tell them immediately what she was doing, they decided to trust her with the sirens. After all, they trusted her when they were trying to teach her friendship and it seemed the right thing to do. Even Princess Twilight supported Sunset Shimmer’s efforts wholeheartedly.
It was awkward at first when Pinkie Pie hosted the “Welcome to The Gang Sirens!” party. However, when Sonata saw tacos she and Pinkie Pie became the best of friends, even acting like twins at times much to the horror of both sides. More than once had they tried seeing who was the better chef. Surprisingly, despite having hundreds of years of experience, Pinkie Pie was an even match for Sonata much to the shock of her best friends. Sonata eventually became friendly with the rest of the girls, but Pinkie was her second best non-siren friend. First, being “Sunny” of course.
In a surprising twist, Applejack learned that Adagio had known her grandfather after she asked about her last name and if they were related to an old friend she met during her stay in England during World War II. Applejack asked for every story she could about her grandpa and even showed Adagio his grave in thanks.This connection ended up making the two fast friends. Rarity also got along with Adagio when she told her of the various fashion statements from the Victorian Era to the Roaring twentie's. Her first hand experience gave Rarity plenty of inspiration to work with and soon Adagio had another close friend/former enemy.
Naturally, Aria was the hardest to be friendly with and it took Sunset a push to make her finally get friendly. She mentioned to Fluttershy that Aria liked dogs and took her to the animal shelter where Aria fell in love with the place (as much as she denied it). The pets, especially dogs, took a huge liking to Aria despite her cold personality. She eventually warmed up to Fluttershy. Unsurprisingly, she and Rainbow Dash butted heads a lot with Rainbow not trusting her and the other sirens at first. It eventually became so heated between the two it looked like they were ready to come to blows until Fluttershy suggested settling it with a soccer match. Rainbow accepted, thinking it would be an easy match. Turns out Aria knew THE Pelé and whooped Rainbow’s butt good. Things calmed down after that, and, while they weren’t friends, there was a now some respect between the two.
Still, despite having made new friends, the four roommates were worried that they wouldn’t find jobs to help support rent. Rumors of what they were and what they did made them afraid that finding a job would be next to impossible. However, their fears were proven wrong when Sonata got a job working as a chef of all things in one month. Granted, it was at a diner, but the owner was so amazed by her cooking that he hired her right on the spot. Her friendly demeanor and playful attitude helped earned her the love of the staff, not to mention the customers loved her cooking.
Adagio was the next to get a job, but it was mostly by accident. Pinkie and Dash had come over asking Sunset for help in history, but Adagio was the only one around at the time. However, she easily helped them study and got them A+’s. It was Rainbow Dash’s first ever. They spread word about Adagio’s teaching skills, and soon she was getting hired as a tutor from many families around town and even a few in the city. Even students from Canterlot High were desperate for an increase in the grades that they were willing to work with their former slave master for help.
Sunset was worried Aria wouldn’t get a job the most, especially when summer was coming to an end. However, friendship saved the day again as Fluttershy heard about Aria’s plight and, with much pleading to her bosses, helped get her a job at the animal shelter. It was the lowest paying out of all three of them, but it was better than nothing.
Sunset saved and closed her final summer essay before looking at the calendar that indicated that next week she would start her final year in school. It had been such an interesting summer and most of it had been thanks to her new roommates. It had all worked out better than expected and Sunset found it a much welcome experience to finally living with someone after being alone for so long.
“Hmm, we should do something special,” said Sunset to herself as she thought about it. They would be seeing less of each other with her going back to school in a week. It would be nice to spend time with all of them. Even though they had all big plans of going to the beach with her other friends on Saturday, that still left five other days to do stuff.
Let’s see. Sonata has off tomorrow. Aria on Wednesday. And Adagio on Friday, thought Sunset with a smile. I’ll spend time with each of them, it will be fun.
With her week planned, Sunset began to look online for events she could do with each siren.
Wow, seven minutes,” thought Sunset as she stared at an open jawed Sonata whose drool was starting to make a puddle. She’s beaten Rainbow’s record when we took her to that surprise VIP Wonderbolts soccer match.
Sonata finally had her jaw come back up as she squealed and hugged Sunset so tight she started to feel her lungs crushing inside her ribcage. “I can’t believe you brought me to the 2015 Canterlot City CookCon! This is amazing! Thank you so much, Sunny! Thank you a million billion times!”
“Sonata... can’t... breathe...” gasped Sunset before she was released by a very embarrassed siren. While taking in deep breaths to recover, she looked at the large auditorium that was being used for the con. She had read about it online and figured a food lover like Sonata would enjoy coming here for a day. It wasn’t just about looking and eating various food from around the world, it was about cooking techniques, tools, what spices and oils to use, famous chefs giving talks and demonstrations about their work and more. Conventions weren’t normally Sunset’s thing, although she had been to a few Daring Do ones with her friends who were all big fans.
“Well what are we waiting for! Let’s go!” shouted Sonata as she took Sunset by the hand and dragged her inside.
Even if she wasn’t as big of a food lover as Sonata was, Sunset found herself very entertained by the con. Even more entertaining was watching her friend go into explanation about everything they saw from the various pans used for different meals to the spices on display for taste testing. Since it was Sonata’s day, she let Sonata choose where to go and what to do. First off, she took to them to a Stir-Fry show where asian chefs displayed an acrobatic like style of cooking food in big thin pans and open fires. It was like watching kung-fu films, only with chopped vegetables instead of ninjas.
After that, Sonata took them to a small museum dedicated to Italian cuisine history. Sonata explained certain parts in vivid detail, having been there personally. One small area for the kids was creating pizza using ingredients and passing them over to workers who would cook it in ovens before handing them to eat.
“Hey, we should try it out!” shouted Sonata with glee.
“But we can get pizza at the food court” said Sunset, raising her eyebrow.
“Psst, yeah but come on. Making pizza never gets old no matter how old you really are! I mean, look at me!” proclaimed Sonata, pointing to her self. She grabbed a few chef hats and aprons before putting them on. After placing a hat on Sonata’s head, she said, “Come on, Sunny. It’ll be fun!”
Sonata chuckled upon seeing Sonata’s pleading eyes and nodded. “Okay. One pizza.”
After a small cheer, Sonata took them to an open table and began to set everything up. “Okay, I’m going to pound on the dough and start flipping it. You put these spices in the sauce and mix it up.” Sonata pulled a few bottles out of her pockets and handed them over.
“Where did you get these?” asked Sunset, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, I always carry a few special ingredients with me. You never know,” said Sonata before she closed her eyes and placed her hands together as if she was in prayer.
“Sonata?” asked Sunset, wondering what her friend was doing.
Suddenly, Sonata’s eyes opened and she began to pound the dough mercilessly with rapid fire punches. “Atatatatatatatatatatatata!”
Sunset was sure that everyone's eyes were on their table as Sonata continued to pound the dough like she was avenging her dead master or something. She then grabbed the dough and started making it flat before flipping it in midair like an expert. Sunset stared for a bit longer until she decide to focus on her task. All while wondering if Sonata had been watching too much Fist of the North Star with Pinkie Pie.
After putting in what she felt was the right amount of spices, Sunset began stirring for a bit before she gave it a taste test and found her taste buds satisfied. “Hey Sonata, I think the sauce is ready.”
“Huh?” asked Sonata, who miscalculated her next spin when she turned towards Sunset. The dough inched to the left and managed to land on both their heads. Everyone who saw them laughed at the sight, including Sonata and Sunset when they realized what happened.
“Mmmm, that was good. We make a good team,” said a satisfied Sonata with a thumbs up.
Wiping the crust from her shirt, Sunset nodded in agreement before wiping her face. “Maybe we should have you make the pizza’s from now on.”
“Nah, I like ordering pizza. There’s something neat about waiting until the food comes to you and you then eat it when its all warm and good,” said Sonata, as she turned around and eyed something from across the room. Sunset turned in the same direction and saw a little girl trying to flip pizza dough, but it kept landing on her table. She puffed her cheeks and looked ready to cry, but Sonata got up and walked towards her.
Sunset stayed quiet as she saw Sonata smiling at the little girl before grabbing the pizza dough, making sure the little girl could see her hands. “You gotta do it like this. See?” She then flipped it in the air a few times before handing it back to the little girl. “Try it.”
The little girl nodded before she repeated the same movement as Sonata did and this time succeeded in getting it to flip. The girl smiled with thanks before Sonata walked back with the same look. Sunset giggled which made Sonata tilt her head. “What?”
“Nothing, you just looked cute helping that little girl,” answered Sunset, sighing with nostalgia. “Kind of reminds me of my fillyhood when I was trying to learn magic under Princess Celestia.”
“What was your fillyhood like?” asked Sonata, putting her hands over her chin and looking at her with full focus.
Rubbing the back of her head, Sunset answered, “Well, it was hard to explain. I didn’t know who my parents were so I grew up in an orphanage. I loved reading a lot, especially magic. In fact, I was the best orphan in magic so when I got offered a chance to join The School of Gifted Unicorns, I managed to ace the test no problem. Princess Celestia saw me and I became her apprentice.”
“What was it like? Living with her?” asked Sonata, tilting her head. “I didn’t really hear much about her before we got banished, but Twilight and you talk about her like some kind of goddess.”
“She’s not a goddess, she can make mistakes and have fun,” said Sunset. “But she is very wise and loving. She sees all her subjects as her own children, maybe that’s why in some ways I’ve thought about he as my mother” Sunset smiled, thinking of all the close memories she had with her former teacher. Especially her birthday parties. It was the one day they never studied and had fun together, just the two of them. She then frowned. “But then I ruined everything with my arrogance.”
Memories of their argument about her “superior” behavior towards the other students and her demands to become a princess echoed in her mind. All the hateful screaming. The insults. And the final declaration that declared her expelled before she ran into the mirror, determined to prove her mentor that she was better than her. But I wasn’t. I was a fool. I blind, arrogant fool.
“Did you ever make up with her?” asked Sonata, raising an eyebrow. “I mean, you can go through that mirror portal and all.”
Sunset rubbed her arm. “I’ve... thought about it. But I don’t know what to say to her...”
“That’s easy, silly Sunny!” cried out Sonata with a big smile as she spread her hands. “Just give her a hug and say you’re sorry! Simple as that.”
“But... but I just can’t... I mean...”
“Sure you can,” said Sonata, waving her hand around like it was no big deal. “I’m sure she’s missed you after all these years.” Sonata then frowned, starting at the table with her eyes losing their spark. “Not like my folks...”
This got Sunset’s attention. Although her siren friends told her that they had no home to go back to in Equestria, she got the sense that there was more to this. “What was your childhood like?”
“Honestly? Before I met Aria and Adagio? It sucked,” answered Sonata, sticking her tongue out. “My parents never really wanted me. Hell, they didn’t want each other. It was an arranged marriage which is how half of our mates are formed in our society. I don’t know if that’s changed or not now.”
“I take it they didn’t like each other?” asked Sunset, seeing where this was going.
“That’s an understatement,” muttered Sonata, closing her eyes. “My parents hated each other. If it wasn’t for the fact that their parents were controlling them they would have divorced in a minute. I was never suppose to be born, actually. My mother got into heat and my father was unable to resist it one day and... well they had me.” Sonata shook her head as a rare angry growl escaped her lips. “I grew up under the care of nannies while my parents did their own thing. Mostly cheating on each other and they did it with the other knowing. Neither of them cared about me on any day, even my birthday.”
“That’s... Sonata, I’m so sorry...” whispered Sunset, putting a hand over Sonata’s.
“It’s fine. Things got better when I met Aria and Adagio at school,” said Sonata, smiling. “It was them who helped me come out of my shell and taught me to have fun. We all came from troubled families and hated our lives so we just did whatever we wanted for fun. That... didn’t work out for us in the end.”
“Were your actions against Equestria that bad?” asked Sunset.
“We...took it too far. We didn’t think of the consequences when we started putting pony towns into chaos and causing riots and violence. We didn’t know we had ruined so many lives... I don’t think we cared at the time,” muttered Sonata, shaking her head. “War was threatened unless we were punished so our people allowed Starswirl to banish us. The last thing my parents told me before I was gone was that they wished I was never born.”
Sunset just stared at Sonata with awe. Here was one of the most happy-go-lucky people that Sunset ever knew and yet she could still smile despite being told by her own parents that she was better of not existing? How can she live with that?
“I know what you're thinking,” answered Sonata with a small smile. “And the reason I can smile everyday and enjoy life is because I want to show my parents they were wrong.” She pointed to herself. “I’m alive. I exist. And I’m going to show that I deserve to exist by doing all I can in existence and having fun with it. I don’t care what they think anymore because I don’t need them to be happy. I have Aria and Adaggio. And now I have you and the other girls too. To me? I’m happy because I have friends who acknowledge my existence.”
“Wow, Sonata... that’s-”
“Holy moley!” shouted Sonata as she stared at her watch with horror. “We’re gonna be late for Gustav’s Live Cooking Panel! We gotta go!”
Before Sunset could say anything, again, Sonata grabbed her hand and they took off.
By the time the con was ending, Sonata and Sunset were both stuffed and tired. Just even the thought of food made Sunset’s stomach nauseous. The two of them were on the bus that would take them home as Sonata was double checking all the cooking stuff she had bought including a pan signed by Gustav himself. Sonata turned to her friend and smiled, “Thanks for the most awesome day ever, Sunny! You really are a good friend.”
“It’s no problem,” said Sunset with a smile. “I just wanted to do something before I have to go back to school.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Sonata, pouting. “We’re not gonna see each other that often, huh? I wish I could go back to school.”
“I think the hundreds of still angry students would have objections with that,” answered Sunset before sighing. “Besides, you don’t want to go through what I went though after my fall from grace. Not to mention the whole Anon-A-Miss thing...”
Even if it was a long time ago, Sunset still couldn’t get those horrible memories out of her mind whenever she thought about them or if ever came up in a conversation. The feeling of shame, guilt, and loneliness almost made it unbearable to even live. She was just grateful that it all worked out in the end. Even so, it was a pain she wouldn’t wish on her worst enemy.
Her thoughts were interrupted when both girls were nearly thrown out of their seats. The truck screeched to a halt as the passengers began to complain about what happened. Sunset groaned as she held her head with one hand while helping Sonata up with the other. “You okay?”
“Yeah, but I think I broke my rear,” muttered Sonata, rubbing said area while hissing in pain.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” shouted the driver, trying to get his voice over the complaints. “We have experienced engine trouble! We are sorry, but we have to stop here. The next bus station is a few blocks so please make your way to that station where a new bus will come shorty.”
Despite a few more complaints, the passengers had no choice but to get off and head for other transportation. Some headed for the direction of the other bus stop, others called for a taxi service. After telling Aria and Adagio of their situation, Sunset decided it was best to get a cab as well since dark clouds had been growing in the sky and looked to be raining any minute now.
“Man, this sucks,” said Sonata as she sat down on a bench on the pavement.
“Don’t worry. I’ll call a taxi service,” said Sunset before she checked her wallet and cursed. “Damn, not enough cash. Mind waiting here until I get back from an ATM?”
“Sure thing,” answered Sonata with a smile.
Sunset nodded and took off down the street to search, hoping that Sonata would be alright on her own.
By the time Sunset managed to find a mini-mart that had an ATM, it was already raining. Wishing she had looked up the forecast before they left, a very wet Sunset rushed inside before she found the machine she was looking for. While waiting for her money, she heard the door open and in came three people she recognized from school with disgust: Lightning Dust, Gilda, and Starlight Glimmer. When Sunset stopped being the “boss” of Canterlot High it led to a rising of those who wanted power as well. These three were jerks in their own way, yet they were also best friends. Lightning Dust was the captain of the volleyball team who belittled anyone who wasn’t a match for her skills, even her teammates. Gilda used to be the captain of the soccer team before Rainbow Dash exposed that she had been extorting money from lesser graders who didn’t pay for “protection”. And Starlight Glimmer was a A rank student, and a member of the student council who acted like she was all for unifying clicks, but she was just power hungry and wanted everyone equal but her. The three weren’t so much as “friends” as they were an “alliance”.
Hoping they didn’t see her, Sunset kept her face hidden from the three as they paid for a six pack of beer with Gilda showing a licence that had to be fake. While the cashier rang them up, Starlight said, “Can you believe how much that bitch was crying when we took her stuff? I mean, what ever happened to that big bad scary siren everyone was so afraid of?”
“Yeah, check what she had as well,” said Lighting Dust, going through a very familiar bag. “All of this is a bunch of cooking stuff for some fair. Oh, and some pan signed by a ‘Chef Gustav’.”
“Hold on, I know that name,” said Gilda, grabbing it and checking it out. “Yeah, my old lady watches this guy on TV. I think we can sell this online and get a few grand out of it.”
While the other girls were voicing their agreement on the idea, Sunset calmly took her cash before reaching for a broom that was left over by the janitor...
Thankfully Sonata wasn’t physically hurt by the time Sunset made it back to the train stop. The crying siren lifted her head from her knees to see Sunset smiling at her while holding back her bag. Upon recognizing it as the one those three mean girls took from her, she instantly jumped up and hugged Sunset.
“I overheard them talking,” said Sunset, wincing a bit as she felt the bruises from the fight affect her from the hug. Still, she wasn’t as bad off as the other three thanks to that trusty broom. “Don’t worry, I taught them a lesson.”
“T-thanks,” whispered Sonata with a smile as she looked at her stuff in the bag, sighing in relief upon seeing it all there.
“Did they hurt you?” asked Sunset, touching her shoulder.
“No, all they did was insult me like said I was ugly or something...” muttered Sonata, downtrodden.
“Ah ignore them. You’re actually kinda cute,” said Sunset with a smile which made Sonata blush. “Anyway, let’s get that cab.”
Five minutes later it came and both girls were on their way home. But Sunset didn’t notice that Sonata moved closer to her friend and rested on her shoulder with a smile on her face.